Top clubs lining up for World Football Challenge

MessiVilla (Reuters)

If you thought your summer soccer plans were going to be limited to MLS and the Gold Cup, think again.

Major League Soccer recently announced the staging of the World Football Challenge from July 14th through August 6th and now sources have revealed the names of some of the clubs being lined up to compete in the competition.

Manchester United, Manchester City, Barcelona, Real Madrid, Club America, Chivas Guadalajara and Juventus are all being lined up to take part in the eight-team competition, which will consist of a round-robin two-game format. A second Italian club is expected to round out the eight-team field, with Inter Milan and Napoli identified as targets.

The teams will play each other in matches throughout North America, while also facing MLS clubs in friendlies. Manchester United has already been announced as the MLS All-Star Game opponent.

What do you think of the potential lineup? Excited about the competition, or are you more focused on the Gold Cup and MLS play this summer?

Share your thoughts below.

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80 Responses to Top clubs lining up for World Football Challenge

  1. RSL til I DIE says:

    Barca vs RSL would be epic!

  2. dutchman says:

    Where are the dutch teams?

  3. nam says:

    How about Real Madrid versus Real Salt Lake, a preview of the Club World Cup final.

  4. Hutskizzle says:

    i see what ur doing here nam

  5. Anne says:

    Unpopular opinion here probably, but I’m the opposite of excited about this lineup. I can’t stand either Manchester side, Spanish and Italian football are not my cup of tea, and there isn’t a single German team. I might be tempted to see Real Madrid if they come within an hour of where I live, but besides that I will be giving this a pass. I’m really looking forward to seeing the USA play in the Gold Cup in June, though.

    Oh well. I always knew I had to go to Germany to see German football – good thing I’m doing exactly that!

  6. alexalex says:

    If you are more excited to see any German team (besides MAYBE Borussia Dortmund) play rather than the clubs Ives listed in you own backyard, you are beyond help IMO.

  7. Ralph says:

    Just out of curiosity what do you like about German football that you don’t like about Manchester/Spanish/Italian sides? I consider myself to be pretty impartial…but realistically, I’d take Man U/Barca/Real Madrid over any German side

  8. LoS says:

    cant see them beating Monterrey or Cruz Azul in the final.

  9. scott47a says:

    I’m excited to sell my Sounders/Man U friendly tickets to the highest bidder.

    I can’t imagine why I would want to pay to watch one of these exhibition games in person.

    Great seats folks, right near the North End goal. Get them while they are hot!

  10. Don says:

    Why do people get so excited about off-season tourists visiting the USA? They rarely, if ever, bring their A-game. Like paying to watch scrimmages.

  11. KCB says:

    I’ll back you up Anne. Rather see Dortmund or Bayern. Can you imagine watching Robin and Ribery slaughtering outside backs of an MLS team? As long as it’s not SKC, that would be fun to watch.

  12. Don says:

    DCU, MLS, I dont ask for much, but if you would play Barcelona this summer I would be beside myself with excitement and would be lining up for tickets right away.

  13. AL17 says:

    I’m liking the idea behind this event and especially if becomes an annual event. It also says a hell of alot of good things about the American Soccer scene. Doesn’t matter if your club is making the trip the tentative line up sounds good so far and this really isn’t different from the pre-season tournaments taking place in Europe before the start of a season, aside from the fact that many of the teams participating will make a nice buck from a pre-season training tour. That’s just good business.

  14. Coop says:

    Eh. I wouldn’t mind seeing Euro clubs but won’t be happy when they are smashing MLS sides. More fodder for the haters.

  15. Don says:

    Obviously, not the same “Don” as above.

  16. Matt says:

    You already have tickets?

  17. Grant says:


  18. Jason B says:

    He’s probably got season tickets.

  19. Leo says:

    They should also bring a top Brazilian or Argentine team. South American soccer is more entertaining.

  20. scott47a says:

    Yeah, season ticket holder. Friendly was part of the package. They charged us more for the game this year too, even though they didn’t have an opponent.

    They promised us a “top 5″ team, but when I asked the ticket rep who they meant by “top 5″ he couldn’t name off the five.

    All the rumors are Man U v. Sounders, though, on July 20 or 21.

  21. Matt says:

    Because “to each their own” was a stupid statement in the first place.

  22. Anne says:

    That’s a really lovely insult, alexalex, thanks a lot. My personal preference is the Bundesliga for a lot of reasons that are not purely football. Barcelona might play “pretty” football but their ideology puts me off something fierce, and I have no interest in watching boring old United or money-only City. That’s a personal preference and I never said it was anyone else’s. To give you some idea of what I personally prefer in my football, my chosen club team is not Bayern Munich (as I know you’re assuming), but FSV Mainz 05, a small club with a big heart. Sorry if that isn’t fancy enough for you.

  23. Matt says:

    Word, lucky to get a friendly in the season tix package. For RSL we got two Champs league games and a playoff ticket. Not complaining though.

  24. Seriously says:

    They have already shown they can beat Cruz Azul, and play them tough in Mexico.

  25. three11stu says:

    Why? RSL beat Cruz Azul 3-1 at home, and lost 5-4 in Mexico. That would be a 7-6 aggreate if they were at that stage. RSL has developed into a pretty good road team, and they are unbeatable at home.

  26. Anne says:

    Thanks for asking politely Ralph, unlike some people. I explained a bit in the comment above, but I came into the Bundesliga via the German national team. A lot of the qualities that made the NT so exciting at the WC permeate through the league. It’s sometimes messy and chaotic, and the football is certainly not spectacular every day, but there’s a fantastic spirit about it, from the fan ownership of the clubs to the massive Süd Tribune at the Westfalenstadion to the prevalence of home-grown German talent throughout the league. The unpredictability is thrilling to me. I would rather watch Dortmund and Mainz duke it out any day above watching Barca or Man United win again (yawn).

    I once read an article about how you can have brilliance or parity in football, and to have more of one you have to sacrifice some of the other. I choose more parity. That’s just how my personality is.

  27. Seriously says:

    People like to euro-pose and not support their own domestic league, which feed their own national team. I will never understand a USMNT fan that would rather watch an EPL game over an MLS one.

  28. RB says:

    “If you thought your summer soccer plans were going to be limited to MLS and the Gold Cup, think again.”

    I actually thought mine would be limited to those plus the Women’s World Cup in Germany, plus possibly some of the U-17 World Cup in Mexico. But OK…

  29. Anne says:

    Thanks KCB. That would be kind of… hilarious, and a wee bit pathetic to be honest. I’d be more excited to see my personal hero, Schweinsteiger, as long as he was back in form. Ideally I’d love to see Dortmund blaze through with all their pure youthful joy in simply playing football. That squad cost a fraction of what a single Bayern player does, but they play as a family, and I just love it.

  30. Anne says:

    I had that thought too, thanks for mentioning it RB. I’m really excited for the Women’s World Cup.

  31. Dale says:

    Ther was a familiar tournament last summer much like this. Chelsea, AC Milan, Club America, and Inter Milan participated. I just remember Club America beating both Inter and Ac Milan and chelsea winning the tournament in the Final against Club America….This should be an interesting tournament, but I think it would be better if Chivas and America faced each other, cant beat The Super classico Mexicano or even a Real vs Barca classico.

  32. Neruda says:

    It would be fun to see but Barca would take it by two goals. RSL would come out of a challenge like that a much better team though. After the demolition of LA on Sat. there won’t be many other teams that can challenge RSL in MLS play.

  33. Conev13 says:

    What on earth is “a round-robin two-game format.” Sounds to me like saying each club will play two games as part of the competition, not 7 games!

    Seriously its not round robin unless everyone plays everyone a equal number of times, and although i know there are no major tournament for non americas teams, but we’ve never had 7 pre season games in a foreign country before. And i doubt they would fit in the MLS schedule. And it would cost the MLS a fortune!

  34. thesmoker says:

    RSL would beat Azul if they play them again… that rain match was a mess last year. RSL has now learned how to win in a monsoon… see opening night victory over SJ.

  35. Colinb7654 says:

    Looks like it will be fun to watch! Would have loved to see a German team thrown in, perhaps Bayern or Dortmund.

  36. Neruda says:

    RSL is almost up to form and that’s a scary thought for MLS. In CONCACAF it means they will be hard to beat in the final. They are deep and fear no side, with the exception of a loaded Euro club like Barca.

  37. alexalex says:

    Maybe because it’s higher quality? Also, why can’t one watch both? Europe in the morning and MLS in the evening – let along that MLS plays in summer when most teams are on holiday.

    As part of an immigrant family, I’ve followed AC Milan longer than MLS has existed, but that’s not to say that I haven’t watched/attended MLS game. Soccer’s meant to be seen live, anyway.

  38. ManicMessiah says:

    It’s playing through the Copa America, right? At least part of it, so I can’t imagine many of the participants will be involved.

    I would choose Gold Cup and MLS over this if I had to.

  39. alexalex says:

    Who says it’s an insult? You stated your opinion, and I think it’s daft to think that a majority of Americans would want to see a Bundesliga team more than Man U, Barca, Real, etc. You have your personal reasons, which I can respect. IMO the best quality of the Bundesliga is the parity of the teams, so while it might be interesting in relative terms, I’d pay to see Real or Barca play live more often than I’d pay to see Mainz or Hamburg. I just can’t get excited about seeing Nuri Sahin when I could see Ronaldo or Xavi live. Sorry if you take offense, but “to each their own.”

  40. alexalex says:

    Ribery is out of form (possible coming back, though), and if the sky is blue, Robben will be injured. It’s unfortunate, but that is the way it will most likely be if they came.

    Dortmund would be the cream of the league if they came, but I doubt they will be able to keep the team together.

  41. alexalex says:

    Plus U-20 World Cup, in which the US has a realistic shot

  42. Oleoleole says:

    Have you seen Barca’s bench? They can probably play and beat most clubs in the world.

  43. Ade says:

    City and Inter Milan already have committments in Dublin, Ireland the last weekend of July. They are playing in a tournament with Celtic and the Irish league all-stars.

  44. Thomas513 says:

    I will be glad when people stop paying for these games so we can stop having them (this includes me since my club includes friendlies in STH packages). I have been to a few of these types of exhibitions and am consistently underwhelmed – and that is even though my club is playing. 45 minutes of half effort by the starters followed by 45 minutes of three-quarter effort by some reserves and trialists. Trophies not friendlies, indeed.

  45. SG says:

    I agree with Anne on basically everything. Ive been following the bundesliga for a while and there’s a reason it’s the most financially successful leagues in the World. There is alot of quality and stadiums always full no matter who plays. I would have loved to see Dortmund or Bayern represent Germany. The youth over there is insanely good right now. And homegrown talent over there stays in their own league for the most part. ManU has been drooling over German players but have yet to lock one up. Either way I’d watch Bayern and Dortmund over all the aforementioned clubs.

  46. Anne says:

    You said “you are beyond help”, which suggests I have some sort of disorder that needs helping. That I do classify as an insult.

    Please point out where I said anything about the “majority of Americans”. My entire comment was “I” statements, as in what I would personally prefer, and my follow up only included my own opinions and preferences. Additionally, as others have pointed out, these teams rarely bring their A game to these friendlies anyway, so it would be a watered down version of something I don’t enjoy in the first place.

    I’m glad you’re excited and I hope you enjoy. Just don’t call me daft for something I didn’t actually say.

    Also, I’d pick Nuri Sahin any day of the week.

  47. john.q says:

    this is also good because it exposes those players, some who may never have set foot in america before, to the united states and its way of life. who knows it could help convince certain players to come play in MLS down the road.

    no one should be complaining. we are lucky to be relatively close to europe and south america and to have a massive untapped fan-source in the american people. its easy for those top teams to come over for a summer tour. those teams and MLS make a quick buck. we have the chance to enjoy the high-quality game that they bring. our players will have a chance to train and play against them. its a win win for everyone.

  48. Anne says:

    It’s pretty clear you don’t know the Bundesliga well then. Dortmund has already locked the vast majority of their stars down with extended contracts within the last couple months, including their coach. All of them love playing there and have showed zero interest in moving. With 80,000+ crowds every week and guaranteed CL football next season, why would they? If you answer money, then you assume every single player is a mercenary, which is simply untrue. The only possible flight risk seems to be Neven Subotic. They’re gonna do just fine.

    Also, Ribery has been one of Bayern’s better players recently (not saying much, I know, but he’s the last one you would call out of form right now).

  49. StevenG says:

    I think Ajax has kinda lost its luster of the years.

  50. Anne says:

    Thanks SG! I agree with you on all points too. Rah rah Bundesliga! :)

  51. Raymon says:

    Is Messi still Messi if he shows up to sit on the bench wearing flip flops and sweats? (That’s what Lampard did when Chelsea played one of their games the last time this challenge was in town.) Would you get a kick out of seeing David Villa warm up? (Thats all Cech did).

    It is what it is, these are pre-season scrimmages and tuneups and global marketing events to expand the reach of the club’s brands. Nothing more, nothing less. So as long as you dont expect “leaving it all on the pitch” soccer, you should enjoy these games somewhat even if you are a little bit of a fan of one of the clubs you are watching or just enjoy the game.

    If you only want to spend $ on competitive games, watch it on TV, save your dough for the Gold Cup, World Cup, Qualifying games, etc.

  52. Jason B says:

    Yes, I am watching SKC’s reserve game right now and Ochocinco looks tired after playing 15 minutes. He’s put in a few poor crosses and has lost possession several times. Pretty poor overall, but what did everyone expect?

  53. Warren says:

    + 1 or
    +2 for 1 each from Brazil and Argentina.

  54. Eric says:

    I enjoy full days of soccer. Right now is the best time of year for me.

  55. Dave from Charlotte says:

    +1… i hate the hype for these tournaments when 50%+ of the line up is scrubs or bench players. If they were actually playing for a pot of gold and they were playing their actual line ups i might get excited.

    I’ve save it for the Gold Cup and maybe MLS…i did get Direct Kick after all….

  56. Der_Amerikanische_Kaiser says:

    Have to agree with Anne. Where is Bayern in all this? They would fill stadiums in Chicago and Philly where large German heritage flourishes.

  57. Der_Amerikanische_Kaiser says:

    In other words, he looked like Altidore :)

  58. Dr. Robert Dobalina says:

    RSL could make it but Madrid won’t!

  59. RB says:

    Glad to be of service! :-)

    It will be tough for the US women, judging by the difficulties during qualifying and especially with the German women playing at home, of course. And that’s not even to mention Brazil or anybody else.

  60. rick says:

    Gold Cup-Beat Mexico!

  61. Paul C says:

    Did you see the LA Real game last year? The Inter Dallas game?

    The irony is yes, the Euro clubs goal is to trial their youth and fringe… but that usually lasts about 30 minutes, until their respective manager realizes there is some decent competition, and the A guys either come off the bench or pick up their game.

    I don’t like them for a number of reasons, mostly because it takes away from our regular season. But the quality of the players the clubs bring is not one the problems.

  62. Booster says:

    Relax Rapunzel…It’s still very early. RSL got a head start on everybody else. They are a team in form.

  63. Cautr says:

    That rain match was a classic

  64. Isidro says:

    French teams play exciting, competitive ball also…These teams are getting a little stale

  65. Polo says:

    True that these games are getting competitive, but the xperience for MLS sides is priceless

  66. brad says:

    Barcelona is already playing Man United in DC July 30th. They won’t play DC United.

  67. bottlcaps says:

    Anytime you bring in teams of this caliber, to these shores, it’s a good thing!

    But let’s be realistic. We will be seeing “a lot” of the second string and reserve team members on these European Club teams.The season is long and brutal and the players need rest.

    Look to a lot of the teams to treat this as a “working vacation” more than a competitive tournament.

  68. John says:

    Face it, these games don’t win over fans to MLS. We need people to care so we can go over to Europe in the Winter and support the MLS teams when THEY go on tour to adoring European fans*.

    *I do not expect to see this in my lifetime.

  69. Alex says:

    Aren’t they in season during our winter?

  70. Larry says:

    You must not have watched the friendlies in recent years…more competitive every game. Th All-Star game doesn’t count because it’s a team that has only 1 practice together. They need to give these guys a longer all-star break to get acquainted.

  71. Strawberry Quick says:

    Europe doesn’t only consist of Britain and Spain….

  72. Jayrod says:

    Forza la Juve la Juve la Juve-ale!!!!!!!!

    Absolulutally thrilled and will travel anywhere in the US to see my beloved Juve

  73. Dan says:

    its in our country and we dont even get to participate but only do friendlies! WTF

  74. Oranje says:

    They would get run over by any team in the big four leagues.

  75. rodrigo says:

    no club america vs Barca will be an epic game!!!!

  76. Nader says:

    The same SKC that “slaughtered” Man U last season and is on the rise big time?

  77. pissedagain says:

    city still have not confirmed it to us in england, but if they do i ll pop over the pond, had a great time last year…please sing along now… ohhhh!!!! man city, the only football team to come from manchester….

  78. BrandonH says:

    If you take into consideration preseason games, then RSL doesn’t have more games under their belt this year than LA. As far as competitive games go, RSL had four and LA had two. If that’s all it takes for LA to be completely dominated by RSL, then there’s still cause for worry for LA fans.

  79. BrandonH says:

    The two key phrases that make your statement wrong are “run over” and “any team”.

  80. Klausey says:

    Italian football is nearly unwatchable