Soccer Fan’s Guide of What to Watch This Summer

Now that England has been knocked out of Euro 2012, what are you going to do with the rest of your summer? After all, there’s 53 days to go until the 2012-13 Premier League season kicks off on August 18.

Have no fear. Here’s our guide of the dates to mark on your calendar of what to watch this summer:

1. Pre-season friendlies (July 18-August 1).

Chelsea and Aston Villa kick off their 2012 US summer tours with friendlies in the United States on July 18 — just 22 days away. In addition to Chelsea and Aston Villa playing matches in the United States, Liverpool, Tottenham Hotspur, Swansea and Stoke City will be playing friendlies across the United States through August 1.

If you can’t make many of the games, several of them will be on television — across ESPN and FOX Soccer in the United States. Plus, you can always watch Real Madrid vs AC Milan in New York City on August 8.

2. Summer Olympics (July 25-August 11).

There’s 29 days to go before the soccer begins in the 2012 Summer Olympics, held in England. The women’s soccer tournament begins on July 25, which will feature the US women’s Olympic team, while the men kick off on July 26 featuring, of course, the Great Britain men’s Olympic team featuring Craig Bellamy and many others, including presumably David Beckham. The soccer tournaments at the Olympics run through August 11.

3. Europa League (August 2-onwards).

Liverpool will begin its Europa League campaign on August 2 in the third-qualifying round of the tournament. Newcastle United will join in the next round, the playoffs for Europa League, while Tottenham Hotspur will enter in the group stage. In the United States, FOX Soccer will be showing the Europa League beginning this season.

4. Community Shield (August 12).

One day after the soccer finals in the 2012 Olympics, the 2012-13 season will traditionally begin with the Community Shield, which will be played at Villa Park between Manchester City and Chelsea. The match will be televised live on television worldwide including the United States on FOX Soccer.

5. England vs Italy friendly (August 15).

Three days before the 2012-13 Premier League season begins, England plays Italy in a friendly in Switzerland, pre-arranged before Euro 2012 kicked off. The match will be played as preparation before England’s 2014 World Cup campaign starts in September, but I’m sure many England footballers and fans will be seeking revenge in this match on August 15.

With Euro 2012 concluding on Sunday, July 1 with the final from Ukraine, there’s a gap until the Premier League clubs begin their preseason friendlies on July 18. I’m sure there’ll be a ton of Premier League transfer news during those weeks, as well as other sports such as tennis (the Wimbledon Championships end July 8), but there’s also Major League Soccer, NASL and USL leagues in the United States. Of course, it’s also a good time to enjoy the summer, recharge the batteries and head to the beach.

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