The Premier League season is over, the champions of Europe have been crowned and the Championship Playoff Final has decided who will be the third team going up. Now what? Some of you may be wondering what you have to look forward to this summer, if anything, to cure your soccer summertime blues. Or whether it’s worth canceling your TV sports package during the off-season, or keeping it. Here’s our look at what soccer you can catch on television or online this summer and whether it’s worth keeping your sports packages or not.
1. Premier League Archives
I’m surprised by how few people are aware of one of Fox Soccer Channel’s best programs. Most weeknights at 7pm ET, Fox shows highlights of a classic English Premier League game from yesteryear. In the past several weeks I’ve gone back in the time machine to see Arsenal winning the 2002 Premier League title at Old Trafford courtesy of a Sylvain Wiltord goal, Tore Andre Flo scoring for Chelsea on a muddy pitch at Stamford Bridge, Southampton’s Matthew Le Tissier score another wonderful goal and much more.
Whether you want to relive your great memories or study up on ones you’ve missed, the 30-minute Premier League Archives show is one that you shouldn’t miss.
2. Copa America
Now that more Premier League clubs are buying players from South America to play on English soil, the Copa America tournament is even more intriguing than usual. Oftentimes you’ll get to see Premier League footballers such as Carlos Tevez, Javier Hernandez and Hugo Rodallega (just to name a few) plying their trade for their respective countries. But you also get an opportunity to scout teams to see which players will stand out and may help secure themselves a contract with a Premier League club during this summer’s transfer window. Plus, most importantly of all, the soccer on display in most of the games is fantastic. The games are often more open and feature more goals than cagey European Championships.
In the United States, Copa America will be shown exclusively on Univision (both TV and online) from July 1 to July 24.
3. Gold Cup
While the level of football on display in the Gold Cup isn’t nearly as good as Copa America, it’s still a good opportunity to see the United States men’s national team perform in a tournament. Fox Soccer Channel will be showing the first three games featuring the United States (versus Canada on June 7, versus Panama on June 11, versus Guadelope on June 14). Plus, Fox will broadcast the quarter-final, semi-final and final live on its channel. Assuming that the United States can advance from the group stage, you can watch the US team progress through the tournament and hopefully to the final where everyone expects them to play Mexico at the Rose Bowl on June 25.
4. Women’s World Cup
From June 26 to July 17, ESPN will be showing each game of the 2011 Women’s World Cup live and in HD. If you’ve watched the Women’s World Cup before, you know it’s an entertaining tournament where the US has a chance of advancing deep into the competition. Still, there’s no guarantees and the US women’s team struggled to qualify.
Leading the commentating on many of the games will be the familiar voices of Ian Darke and Julie Foudy.
For the complete schedule and TV times (as well as online and mobile coverage), visit this page.
5. Premier League Preseason Friendlies
Throughout this summer, there’ll be plenty of Premier League preseason friendlies on television. For the World Football Challenge alone, most of the games (if not all of them) will be televised. So you’ll get a chance to watch Manchester United vs Barcelona, Manchester City against LA Galaxy, Real Madrid vs LA Galaxy, Manchester City against Club America, Chicago Fire against Man United and many more games. The TV schedules for these games, and the others featuring Premier League teams playing across the United States (and around the world), haven’t been announced yet. But suffice to say that July will be filled with plenty of exhibition games featuring Premier League teams on US television.
6. Major League Soccer
Let us not forget that the 2011 MLS season continues from now until the Autumn with plenty of games on ESPN2, Fox Soccer Channel and other networks. The standard of play in the league is improving and there are bigger crowds and plenty of new teams to add a different dynamic to what you’re accustomed to seeing.
For Major League Soccer coverage, visit our sister site MLS Talk.
7. Toulon Tournament
Since 1974, the annual Toulon Tournament features some of the best under-21 national squads from around the world. The tournament, which runs from June 1 to June 11, will include high-intensity matches between Mexico, Ivory Coast, China, France, Italy, Colombia, Hungary, and Portugal. The games will feature future soccer stars looking to rise in a competition that delivered breakout performances from Kaka, Ronaldo and Henry.
Many of the games will be shown live on GolTV.
So there you have it. Seven ways to cure the summertime soccer blues. Did I miss any leagues or tournaments that you would recommend readers watch? If so, share your suggestions in the comments section below.
PS – As for FoxSoccer.tv, the broadband website will be showing several European Championship qualification games in June.
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