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:
May 23: Manchester City (St Louis, US)
May 25: Manchester City (New York, US)
May 23: Chelsea (St Louis, US)
May 25: Chelsea (New York, US)
July 18: Opponent TBC (Sacramento)
July 20: San Jose Earthquakes (San Jose)
July 24: Portland Timbers (Portland)
July 24: Houston Dynamo (Houston)
July 27: FC Dallas (Dallas)