World Cup Qualifying is on the horizon, Major League Soccer preseason is in full swing, rostering in the new womens soccer league has been generating headlines and the international transfer market is sizzling. It is a good time to be a soccer fan in the United States!
We’ll start with the ramp-up into the preseason. We’ll take a deeper look at Tuscon’s growing role as the focal point of Major League Soccer in January/February. In short, the Arizona city will host 18 games over 29 days including matches between MLS teams, International squads and others. A 3,000 seat stadium that includes a press box is set to be completed in October, while FC Tuscon will operate in a smaller venue this season. The Soccer Fest concludes with the Desert Diamond Cup in February. For more on the events in Tucson, click here.
We wrote last week about the sale of RSL and the departure of Dave Checketts from the soccer scene. Soccer America offers up this excellent profile of Checketts and provides some fantastic thoughts on his contributions to soccer in this country. Under Checketts, RSL built and filled Rio Tinto and landed the first jersey sponsorship deal with Xango. Perhaps more importantly, Checketts’ long history of success in American sports provided the league with another credible persona to sell the game to corporate and media partners.
One final business note from the weekend. One of the big soccer stories from last week was the “interaction” between Eden Hazard and a Swansea ball boy leading to Hazard’s ejection. Under the theory that any publicity is good publicity, soccer was certainly in the news over the weekend.
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