It has been announced that four Premier League teams are heading to China this summer, as reigning champs Manchester City will be joined by Newcastle United, West Ham United and Wolverhampton Wanderers in playing games in Nanjing and Shanghai in the 2019 Premier League Asia Trophy.
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The biennial tournament is now in its ninth edition and this will be the second time it has been played in mainland China. It will also be the first time a reigning PL champ has been invited to play, plus it is the first time teams will play in multiple cities during the tournament.
Given this PL organized tournament in Asia, it got me thinking: in the future is there the potential for a U.S. version of this tournament?
With the International Champions Cup already an established force for putting on preseason games in North America, it will be intriguing to see if the PL plans to create a Premier League American Trophy during preseason.
The advantage the organizers behind the ICC tournament have is that the giants from Spain, Italy, Germany and France have all signed up for the tournament, and they go head-to-head with the top PL clubs with plenty of stars on show.
But shouldn’t all PL clubs have a chance to expand their fanbase overseas during preseason? Most do go on preseason tours they arrange themselves, but the U.S. is a perfect place for PL teams to use as a preseason training base, much like Arizona and Florida is for MLB teams. With the athletic facilities of top university campuses empty for the summer, plus NFL stadiums available to use for games, everything is there.
Seeing Southampton, Tottenham, Chelsea and Bournemouth battle it out for silverware in LA and San Francisco in the future would certainly be pretty cool, especially for fans of the smaller teams. We all know the top six clubs sell out large stadiums across the U.S. when they play, but maybe MLS teams would love to host games between the so-called ‘smaller teams’ in the PL? Right now, when MLS teams play against PL teams in preseason, the MLS clubs do not put out their full-strength team because they are in midseason and do not want to risk injuries.
Having something more organized makes better sense for everyone, and although PL teams playing each other in preseason is a bit of a no-no, more and more now do that in ICC games across the globe.
Imagine this: two groups of four PL teams on each of the East and West coasts, playing each other once in three group games. The teams who finish top of each group then face off in a final in Chicago or Kansas City. That would be epic.
I’m just throwing it out there…