The “off-season” in professional soccer in our country is a different animal anyway; so much attention here is focused on Europe, Mexico and South America that there’s plenty going on, never mind the brief domestic break.
But even here, the first six weeks of 2013 has plenty going on. Here are the highlights (and feel free to “clip and save”):
- Major League Soccer’s annual combine in Florida takes place Jan. 11-15.
- Jurgen Klinsmann’s national team gets into its early training camp on Jan. 14. The camp, mostly for MLS men and players on break in the Scandinavian leagues, goes through Jan. 31.
- Major League Soccer’s draft, held annually in conjunction with the NSCAA convention in Indianapolis, takes place on Jan. 17.
- The MLS supplemental draft is Jan. 22. Somewhere around that time, most MLS teams will begin their training camps (about two weeks earlier than usual due to the league’s earliest first kick date).
- Canada meets Denmark in a friendly in Tucson on Jan. 26. Mexico meets Denmark in nearby Glendale on Jan. 30.
- A growing slate of MLS pre-season tournament begins Jan. 29 with the Desert Friendlies in Tucson, featuring six MLS teams. (For a state with no MLS presence, Arizona sure has a lot to say about pro soccer in winter. Well done, Ariz.!)
- Also on Jan. 29, Klinsmann’s national team camp concludes with a friendly in Houston against Canada. A few days later, the team gathers in Miami to train for a day or so before …
- … A Feb. 6 date in Honduras to open final round World Cup qualifying.
- The U.S. women’s team begins its 2013 schedule with a friendly against Scotland in Jacksonville on Feb. 9.