There are really three seasons in professional, domestic soccer: MLS season, an absurdly brief off-season and “Friendly Season.”
Friendly Season is where foreign clubs of varying profile raid the United States, still among the final frontiers for clubs looking to mine every possible nugget of financial gold from around the globe.
Used to be “Friendly Season” began in earnest around July, as the Chelseas, Evertons, Real Madrids, etc., got into camp and then booked passage for U.S. ports, looking to make a little financial hay while training in blue ribbon facilities. It was a win-win, really – once MLS marketers adopted a doctrine of “Can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em,” and began funneling dollars away from un-attached promoters and into league pockets, at any rate.
There were always a few sides ready to exploit the May window, squeezing a little extra juice from the orange on a post-Euro season global hop. Well, money is tight everywhere, I suppose. So it seems like the post-season profit grab is looking better and better to the distinguished clubs from Europe.
Yesterday brought word that La Liga middleweight Valencia would visit Portland on May 23, with a trip in Houston and its new complex arranged for a week later. Expect more May visits to come from fellow European travelers.
You know all about Valencia, right? If not, here’s Valencia 101, courtesy of the Dynamo.
And, of course, the July window is wide, wide open. So there will be lots of headlines in coming weeks of this club or that one setting up temporarily along the various green hills of Don Garber Valley. This very morning comes news that Tottenham Hotspur will make its way to Los Angeles and New York for matches against Major League Soccer’s bell cows.