City heading Stateside this summer
- Fri 10 Jun 2011, 10:13AM
- Posted by Emily Brobyn
Manchester City are heading to North America this July to compete in the glittering Herbalife World Football Challenge.
The tournament, which is in its third year, has previously featured teams such as Chelsea, Club America, Internazionale and AC Milan. Chelsea won the competition in 2009, when Pasadena, Atlanta, Baltimore, Foxboro and Arlington played host to the European clubs, with a round-robin of games deciding the winner.
There was no World Football Challenge last year due to the 2010 FIFA World Cup, but now it’s back and bigger than ever, with 11 teams competing to win the tournament. Flying Stateside this summer to compete are some of the biggest teams in Europe: Real Madrid, Barcelona, City and Manchester United. Italian side Juventus are also travelling across the Atlantic for pre-season training.
During a six week period they will be taking on clubs from both Major League Soccer and the Primera Division De Mexico in a selection of cities in both North America and Canada. These teams are the New England Revolutions, LA Galaxy, Vancouver Whitecaps, Chicago Fire, Philadelphia Union, CD Guadalajara and Club America.
The tournament will be a further boost to the profile of the MLS after the league caught the world’s attention in 2007 due to one of the most prolific and expensive transfers in football.
When MLS team LA Galaxy announced in January 2007 that they had signed David Beckham from Real Madrid in one of the most lucrative transfer deals ever, it was a huge statement of intent from the Californian club.
The MLS is eclipsed in popularity by other sports in the United States: baseball, ice hockey, basketball and American football. Yet Galaxy’s manager at the time, Alexei Lalas, recognised the capture of Beckham for the platform the transfer would inevitably give to boost the sport’s profile across the US and beyond.
“People are going to see the quality that exists over here,” he said. “I fully recognise that many people over in England don't have a grasp of what's going on with major league soccer on or off the field.
"The fact is that we have competitive teams, competitive individual players and a very good and growing league. It's not that we can't get better and I would put our teams up against some Premiership teams in a second."
With the help of Beckham’s transfer, America has come a long way in its quest to be recognised within football and promote the game in America worldwide. With the help of City and the other elite European clubs involved, the Herbalife World Football Challenge is set to increase the country’s football profile even more.