Norwich City becomes fourth Premier League side set for U.S. tour

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As the market for soccer in the U.S. continues to grow, so does the interest of Premier League clubs.

Manchester City, Chelsea and Stoke City have already announced U.S. tours and now we can add Norwich City to that list as the Canaries become the fourth English side to commit to a stateside tour.

This July, Chris Hughton’s squad will take on the San Jose Earthquakes and Portland Timbers, as well as another fixture that has yet to be confirmed. The Canaries will arrive in California on July 15th to train and three days later will participate in a special ‘Sacramento Soccer Day,’ where they will compete against an unnamed opponent.

On July 20th Norwich will take on the Earthquakes at Buck Shaw Stadium before the final tour stop in Oregon on July 24th where the English side will take on the Portland Timbers at JELD WEN Field.

“We’re delighted to have made arrangements for a summer tour to America where we will play two games against MLS sides and another side to be confirmed,” Hughton said. “The games will provide an important part of our pre-season build-up for the 2013-14 domestic campaign and of course it’s a great opportunity for the club to engage with football fans in the United States.”

Summer exhibitions against European clubs are nothing new for MLS and provide the league with added exposure across the pond. Not everyone is on board with games, however. Many MLS supporters feel the exhibitions do little for their squad except tire out the players during a crucial part of their season.

These sentiments beg the question – when does it all become too much? Should MLS consider capping the amount of exhibitions its clubs play? With more and more European clubs seeking access to the U.S. market these are real issues the league may soon need to confront.

Here’s a list of Premier League clubs that have thus far committed to a 2013 U.S. summer tour along with the relevant match dates:

Chelsea

May 23: Manchester City (St Louis, US)
May 25: Manchester City (New York, US)

Manchester City

May 23: Chelsea (St Louis, US)
May 25: Chelsea (New York, US)

Norwich City

July 18: Opponent TBC (Sacramento)
July 20: San Jose Earthquakes (San Jose)
July 24: Portland Timbers (Portland)

Stoke City

July 24: Houston Dynamo (Houston)
July 27: FC Dallas (Dallas)

Griezmann backtracks over ‘insensitive’ blackface tweet

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MADRID (AP) Soccer star Antoine Griezmann has apologized for any offense caused after posting an image of himself on social media in blackface as part of an NBA party costume on Sunday.

Griezmann, who is white, was also wearing a wig and holding a basketball in the photo which had “NBA 69 ALLSTARS” on the jersey.

[ MORE: Making sense of the PL table ]

The photo on his official Twitter account was accompanied by the message “80’s Party” followed by basketball and laughing emojis.

One response called the photo a “bad idea” with others urging the France forward to delete the tweet.

Griezmann at first reacted to the criticism by tweeting: “Calm down friends, I’m a fan of the Harlem Globetrotters and of this great era… It’s a tribute.”

He later tweeted an apology to those he had offended.

“I recognize that’s it’s insensitive on my part. If I offended some people I’m sorry,” he wrote.

The 26-year-old Griezmann plays for Spanish team Atletico Madrid but has been linked to a move to Barcelona.

Alex Morgan named CONCACAF Female POY, Navas wins Male POY

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CONCACAF awarded some of its finest players and coaches on Sunday night, and two familiar faces took home the evening’s most notable awards.

[ MORE: Making sense of table in Man City’s world ]

U.S. Women’s National Team forward Alex Morgan (Orlando Pride) and Keylor Navas of Costa Rica and Real Madrid each earned Female and Male Player of the Year honors, after boasting tremendous 2017 seasons.

Morgan who primarily plays for Orlando in the NWSL, was also a member of Lyon, who went on to win the Women’s Champions League this past season.

Navas, on the other hand, played a key role in Real Madrid’s UEFA Champions League run, as well as Los Blancos’ La Liga title.

For Morgan, the award is her third since CONCACAF began handing out its annual awards in 2013. Meanwhile, Navas has now won Male Player of the Year on two occasions.

Leon Bailey stars but Bayer Leverkusen held 4-4 by Hannover

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BERLIN (AP) Jamaica striker Leon Bailey scored twice after coming on as a substitute but Bayer Leverkusen failed to hang on as Hannover grabbed a 4-4 draw in the Bundesliga on Sunday.

[ MORE: Liverpool smashes Bournemouth to move fourth ]

Bailey, who came on at the break, needed only two minutes to equalize after Hannover had gone 3-2 ahead, and he scored again 20 minutes later to put Leverkusen 4-3 in front.

But the 20-year-old missed another chance to complete a hat trick and Julian Korb scored late for Hannover to draw.

“I had a third chance, and I just know if I had taken that chance it would have been over for them. It’s just unlucky. But that’s football,” said Bailey. “A wise man learns from his mistakes. But a wiser man learns from others’ mistakes.”

Both teams traded goals on an afternoon to forget for the goalkeepers.

“It was worth the entrance price for the spectators,” Korb said.

Julian Brandt fired Leverkusen into an early lead with a brilliant volley but Ihlas Bebou replied straight away with a header for Hannover.

Niclas Fuellkrug put the home side ahead with a penalty, only for Admir Mehmedi to equalize four minutes later for Leverkusen.

Hannover went ahead again after Fuellkrug set up Felix Klaus with his heel before the break, when Leverkusen coach Heiko Herrlich reacted with two substitutions.

One of them was Bailey, who raced forward to reach Kai Havertz’s through ball and kept his cool to beat Hannover `keeper Philipp Tschauner.

Bailey claimed his sixth goal of the season after the game’s longest stretch without a goal when Mehmedi played him through on a counterattack after a Hannover corner.

But there was further drama to come as Bebou eluded three Leverkusen defenders to set up Korb for Hannover’s equalizer with seven minutes remaining.

Leipzig, level on points with Leverkusen, had the chance to go second again with a win at home against Hertha Berlin later Sunday.

The 2 Robbies podcast: Liverpool dominates, selling Coutinho discussed

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Robbie Earle and Robbie Mustoe start off today’s show by discussing Man United’s win at The Hawthorns as Lukaku scores for the second straight match with Juan Mata impressing with his link up play. The guys also look at Alan Pardew’s influence on the Baggies. Liverpool net four in a dominating victory over Bournemouth and with Mo Salah continuing to dominate, the Robbies ask: can Liverpool now afford to sell Coutinho? And finally, the guys discuss Bournemouth’s recent struggles.

Join Earle & Mustoe on The 2 Robbies Football Show, Saturdays at 5pm ET. Listen on the NBCSports Radio App and call 855-323-4622 in the U.S. for lively passionate debate.

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Listen to the latest pod by clicking play below.

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