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Bayern Munich explain US plans; hope to return for preseason in 2018

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Bayern Munich is working hard to continue its growth in the United States of America.

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Since 2014 Bayern have had an office in New York City which heads up its plan to grow its fanbase in the USA through marketing. With the team coming to the U.S. for preseason in both 2014 and 2016, and again this summer, the Bundesliga giants are certainly trying to muscle their way into the American market.

The man leading that push is Rudolf Vidal, Bayern Munich’s President of the Americas, and he spoke to the guys over on the Beyond the Pitch podcast about what Bayern have been doing, and are planning to do, in the U.S. market.

He believes it is crucial that Bayern is on the ground in NYC.

“We wanted to connect with our fans and in order to do that and build with our partners and look for mutually beneficial partnerships, it is crucial to be in the market,” Vidal said. “It is way easy than doing that from 6,000 kilometers away. In order to face those opportunities it is very important to be here in the market.”

Vidal also spoke to BTP about how Bayern has been able to grow in the U.S. over the past three years, as they started with eight fan clubs Stateside and now have 122 across 38 states and Canada. Connecting with fans of traditional American sports has been a big reason in their growth.

“The sports market here in the U.S. is very competitive but we also saw that all the soccer fans are interested in any kind of sports, so it is easy to connect with them when you do things together with those other leagues,” Vidal revealed. “That’s something we tried from the beginning and working with those leagues are crucial.”

Vidal also feels that Bayern’s last two preseason trips to the U.S. have been hugely beneficial in growing their fanbase and revealed they’re looking to come back the summer after next.

“We will hopefully be coming back to the U.S. in the summer of 2018,” Vidal said. “It has been very, very successful. We gained more than 180,000 people attending three matches. We gained 34 million impressions across social media and had over 12 million people watching on TV, which is awesome.”

Below you can listen to the interview in full.

 

Photo: Flamengo supporter tattoos club jersey on body

MAURÍCIO DOS ANJOS VIA VICE
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A supporter in Brazil has taken fandom to a whole new level with a piece of body art that shows his devotion to the club.

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Maurício dos Anjos, a passionate Flamengo fan, has been a life-long supporter of the Rio de Janeiro-based club, and has the tattoo to prove it.

While it may look like body paint, Dos Anjos has a tattoo on the upper-half of his body depicting the Flamengo jersey, and it’s pretty awesome.

“People ask me if I don’t find it strange that I’m always wearing a Flamengo shirt. And I just don’t,” dos Anjos told VICE. “To me, it’s normal. But it doesn’t seem like anyone I talk to about it actually dislikes my tattoo.”

In total, Dos Anjos says the body work took over 90 hours and 30 sessions to complete the tattoo.

Has the perception of MLS really changed?

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When David Beckham arrived in Los Angeles back in 2007 his presence changed the complexion of Major League Soccer for all the right reasons, and the perception of the growing league changed.

[ MORE: Go behind the scenes at NYCFC’s new training facility ]

Over the years, MLS has strived to move into the upper-echelon of the global game, in an attempt to compete with the likes of the Premier League, Bundesliga and La Liga, but naysayers still indicate to this day that the United States’ top flight lacks the quality of the aforementioned.

Phrases like “retirement league” and “uninspired” have been used to describe MLS in the past, particularly when it comes to the league’s willingness to spend boatloads of cash on notable players well past their prime.

Examples such as Andrea Pirlo, Steven Gerrard and Rafael Marquez have at times dampened the perception of MLS due to the lack of quality on the pitch from those players, along with several others that had previously boasted extensive resumes.

Now, we’re at a time where MLS has picked up its scouting, with clubs focused more on younger, more skilled talents from South America and Europe.

That has led to major signings over the past several years, such as Ezequiel Barco, Miguel Almiron, Diego Rossi and Jesus Medina, to name a few.

Has that changed the overall complexion of MLS though?

On Thursday, Kevin De Bruyne‘s agent, Patrick de Koster, suggested in an interview that the Belgium international would likely “finish” his career in MLS.

“For now, he’s very happy at this club,” De Koster said. “We always look what the best solution for the player, both financially and football wise. Kevin’s future? I can see him finish at Los Angeles.”

This comes on the heels of a 36-year-old Zlatan Ibrahimovic joining the LA Galaxy in a move that has sent shockwaves across the league and the world because of the Swede’s great presence on a global scale.

It’s not to say that players like Ibrahimovic, or previous signings like David Villa and Didier Drogba cannot help the overall growth of MLS, because they certainly bring an awareness to the matches and draw attention to their respective clubs.

However, the long-term viability of MLS has been and will continue to be sustained on youth players succeeding in the league, as well as being able to draw promising young talents into the top flight of the U.S.

Report: USMNT likely to face Brazil, Mexico in September friendlies

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The U.S. Men’s National Team won’t have a busy schedule throughout the summer, but Dave Sarachan and his side will get a tiny taste of the World Cup in September.

[ MORE: Chivas’ Almeyda exhales after CCL title win ]

ESPN FC is reporting that the USMNT will likely face Brazil and Mexico — both of whom will travel to Russia in June — later this year, as the U.S. Soccer Federation is in the process of finalizing both friendlies.

The matches are set to be played during the September international window, which runs from Sept. 3 through Sept. 11.

Both fixtures will reportedly be played in the United States, although venues haven’t been determined yet.

The U.S. has already begun booking a slate of difficult matches to round out 2018, with England and Italy already confirmed opponents for the Yanks in November.

The Yanks are 1-17-0 all-time against Brazil in all competitions, while the U.S. hasn’t faced Mexico since its 1-1 draw at the Estadio Azteca in June 2017 during CONCACAF World Cup qualifying.

Men in Blazers: Jurgen Klopp talks loss of Coutinho and more

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Roger Bennett talks with manager Jurgen Klopp about revolutionizing Liverpool, his Greatest Show on Turf-esque offense, the loss of Philippe Coutinho and how he keeps football in perspective.

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