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What Major League Euro Clubs Do You Want to See on a U.S. Tour?

Would you want to see Guiseppe Rossi this summer?

Earlier this offseason, I posted a poll and question about what EPL teams you would like to see do a tour of the United States.  Since then we have seen Barcelona confirm a three-stop tour of the U.S., where they will be playing both Manchester United (DC) and AC Milan (Miami).  But with as large a country as ours, there is plenty of space and a diverse enough fan base in the United States for other European clubs to pay a visit this year .

Today’s question will expand the original to the other three major European leagues: La Liga, Bundesliga, and Serie A.  A later post or two will include further European leagues and clubs, so if your favorite European team has not yet been posted, you will have your chance to pick it later.  All three of the other major leagues have diverse styles of play and passionate fans in the U.S. who sometimes have to compete for attention with the more popular (and culturally accessible) English Premier League.  But a major driver of the popularity of these leagues is immigration – fans root for teams in the country of their descendants or from where they originate.  Hence the huge Barcelona and AC Milan followings across the United States.

So here are six clubs that I think would do well to take a tour of the United States this summer who have not already announced any matches.  Of course vote for which ones you’d like to see through the poll below and in the comments section:

Inter Milan:  The nerazzurri hit hard times under Rafa Benitez but slowly seem to be righting themselves.  Even if they are not treble contenders this year, the team is stocked with world class talent from front to back.  Wesley Snejder, Samuel Eto’o, Cambiasso, Julio Cesar, etc. are all big names in the soccer world, and are good draws.  Inter has visited the United States as recently as last year and draws very well.  Dream match – Inter Milan versus AC Milan in Baltimore.  Bring one of the best derbies in the world to the U.S. city with a rich Italian history.

Juventus: Juve is another large Italian club that has fallen on hard times.  But Juventus has traditionally been the face of Italian soccer, supplying the national team with many of its players.  Fans would come out to see Gigi Buffon, maybe when healthy the world’s best keeper, as well as Alessandro Del Piero, Alberto Aquilani, and breakout star Milos Krasic.  Dream match – Juventus versus Ajax in the New Meadowlands.  Replay the 1996 now-Champions League final outside a city with supporters of both clubs.

Real Madrid: Any chance you can see The Special One, you have to take that opportunity.  But besides Mr Mourinho, Real Madrid may have the best collection of soccer talent in the world.  Even a second or half squad would bring out world-class players but fans could hope to see Ronaldo, Higuain, Xabi Alonso, and Mesut Ozil.  Dream match – Real Madrid versus FC Dallas in the Jerry Dome.  Miami gets Barcelona this summer, so Dallas gets Real.

Villareal: The big reason to bring Villareal to the United States is Jozy Altidore.  If he is the future of the U.S. national team, bring him to the U.S. on a tour or for a friendly so Americans can see him with his club.  And Villareal is having a great season, third in the league behind the big two, and they have a ton of talent.  One of their top scorers is Giuseppe Rossi, someone American soccer fans may have heard of.  Dream match – New York Red Bulls and Villareal in New Meadowlands.  Playing the match here allows Rossi and Altidore a chance to play near their hometowns.

Bayern Munich: The Bundesliga pecking order has been upset this year, with traditional clubs like Stuttgart in danger of relegation.  However, even though they are sitting just fifth, Bayern is the premier name in Bundesliga outside Germany.  Big names from the most recent World Cup like Muller and Schweinsteiger populate the roster, and French fans can come out to see Franck Ribery.  Dream match – Bayern visiting Seattle at Qwest Field.  Seattle has been skipped in many of these tours and deserve a big-name competition.

TSG Hoffenheim: Many people may not have heard about this club or think it would be a good draw in the United States, but Hoffenheim, a mid-table club, has a great story in Vedad Ibisevic.  You can read the entire story in this New York Times article, but in brief Ibisevic’s family fled to the United States to avoid the ethnic warfare in Bosnia.  Vedad played for a year with the University of St. Louis before beginning his professional career in Europe.  Dream match – Obviously Hoffenheim should play in St. Louis and the probably opponent should be Sporting Kansas City, the closest professional club.

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  1. GI Joe

    January 22, 2011 at 1:44 pm

    Villareal and Hoffenheim, really???? Both are from small villages, both do well on the domestic league, but not so great on international competitions!
    Rafa Benitez isn’t FC Internazionale Milano head coach any more, since a month ago, it’s Leonardo (former AC Milan head coach).
    Juventus is a bunch of old guys!
    MLS All-stars against Inter (World, European and Italian Champions)
    FC Dallas against Barcelona (Spanish Champions)
    Chicago Fire against Bayern (German Champions)
    LA Galaxy/NY Red Bulls against Chelsea (English Champions)
    New England Revolution against Olympique Marseille (French Champions)

    • Dave C

      January 24, 2011 at 10:38 am

      Villareal may not be a huge metropolis, but it’s not a “village” either. It has a population of about 50k, and about 600k in the local province. The presence of Altidore and Rossi are pretty obvious reasons why people in the US might be interested in seeing them play.

  2. CTBlues

    January 22, 2011 at 1:58 am


  3. Robin

    January 21, 2011 at 8:06 pm

    Why not Arsenal FC v New York Red Bulls. Arsenal verse Thierry Henry would be great plus if Arsenal come to New York maybe there will be some Arsenal fans at my school and not so-called Barcalona fans (Front-runners)

  4. ExtraMedium

    January 21, 2011 at 2:48 pm

    Villareal-NYRB duh! Altidore is a NYRB youth product and Rossi’s from Jersey. That match-up would actually be a bigger deal for Villareal because more people in America know about NYRB.

  5. Dave C

    January 21, 2011 at 9:02 am

    But a major driver of the popularity of these leagues is immigration — fans root for teams in the country of their descendants or from where they originate. Hence the huge Barcelona and AC Milan followings across the United States.

    Not sure if that’s really true. The vast majority of Italian immigration to the US took place way before AC Milan (or professional football in general) was a big deal, and there are hardly any Spanish immigrants in America (certainly not enough to explain the popularity of Barcelona shirts in the US). I think the more likely explanation for these teams’ popularity is the more simple one – these teams are well supported simply because they’re successful.

    • Charles

      January 21, 2011 at 9:30 am

      I believe the technical name for them is “front running tools”.

      We all know what they look like, they are wearing Man U and Barca jerseys into work today, since it is casual Friday and they “understand” football.

      • Dave C

        January 21, 2011 at 2:22 pm

        Exactly – same reason that when there was a brief period in the UK when watching NFL was the cool thing to do, everyone was a Cowboys, 49ers or Dolphins fan.

    • short passes

      January 21, 2011 at 11:01 am

      Dave C. — Agree! — with the qualification that it isn’t just success, in the case of Barca, it’s actually HOW they play, how they are winning. Rooney hit the nail on the head when he said that Barca is probably the greatest team of this generation and is actually changing the way teams will want to play. It’s too bad that some fans can’t understand that recognizing that MLS has a long way to go to reach the level of these teams (Barca, AC Milan, Man U, Chelsea, Arsenal) DOES NOT MEAN that we can’t simultaneously continue to support our favorite teams in MLS. I am a big Chicago Fire fan, have been for 10 years but have no illusions about how they measure up to these top international teams. Just remember that without criticism nothing improves and blind support of mediocrity accomplishes nothing.

      • Alan Higgins

        January 21, 2011 at 12:13 pm

        Most countries support the European teams AND a native team. Why can’t we do the same. I follow Serie A and MLS both, and there is nothing wrong with liking both. It is an international sport after all.

      • Dave C

        January 21, 2011 at 2:28 pm

        True – in the case of Barca, it’s hard to fault anyone for being a fan – they seem to be universally recognized as the good guys of world football in everything they do.

        Also, I just wanted to add another thought – even if it were true that people support teams because of their ancestry (which I doubt), then in that case, most Italian-Americans would be more likely to support teams from the south of Italy, not Milan.

  6. Alan Higgins

    January 20, 2011 at 11:49 pm

    Any Serie A club (my favorite Euro soccer) to Columbus so I can travel to see it, or maybe Chicago.

  7. short passes

    January 20, 2011 at 8:43 pm

    Real Madrid, Villareal, or Valencia along with Barca would all be great representatives of how the beautiful game SHOULD be played.

  8. Charles

    January 20, 2011 at 1:57 pm

    None. Period.
    We have a great league, playing real games that mean something. I can hardly wait.

    Sounders offered a Top 5 in the World team as the friendly…..I opted out.
    It was great to see Barca one time…sort of. They were amazing…Glad I did it. But for those that won’t get to see them…I wouldn’t be bummed if I missed it. I would be shocked if the Sounders have a friendly next year.

    The other friendlies from Chelsea on down was a waste of time and a lot of money.

  9. Robert

    January 20, 2011 at 1:06 pm

    I hate these friendlies especially when MLS is in mid-season. MLS should focus on MLS Cup, Open Cup, CCL Cup and get rid of All-Star Game and pointless friendlies. Risking injury along with fixture congestion is not worth it.

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