Everything You Need to Know About the International Champions Cup
American soccer fans are a bit spoiled nowadays. In the not-so-recent past if you were a fan of a European soccer team, you’d have to travel thousands of miles abroad in order to see your favorite team play live. However thanks to the International Champions Cup, (a tournament which was founded back in 2012) United States-based fans can see some of the best teams in the world play on American soil.
With that being said, most Americans that aren’t diehard fans of the sport are likely a bit clueless when it comes to this particular tournament–so let’s break it down.
How Does the International Champions Cup Work?
The tournament itself is a series of pre-season exhibition matches between some of the most well-supported and talented soccer clubs from Europe. The International Champions Cup games are played in three separate group locations: The United States, Europe, and Singapore. The tournament itself runs from July 20 to August 12, 2018.
Each team plays three games and the teams are then ranked based on their results from their three matches. The best-ranked team after all matches are played are crowned the champions of the International Champions Cup. Wins are worth three points, penalty kick wins are worth two points, and penalty kick losses are worth one point.
There are no ties in this tournament, which is great for the fans in attendance. Should teams finish with the same amount of points at the end, there are a series of tie-breakers used to crown the winner which include head-to-head points and goal differentials. Previous winners of the tournament include Spanish giants Real Madrid, Manchester United, Paris Saint-Germain (who won it in back-to-back years) and last year’s winners Barcelona.
What Teams Are Competing in the 2018 Int’l Champions Cup?
There are a total of 18 teams taking part in this year’s tournament, with 11 teams set to play games in the United States. The 2018 tournament, which is the sixth ever Champions Cup, will see the following teams play games in the United States: Manchester City, Tottenham, Liverpool, Manchester United, Borussia Dortmund, Bayern Munich, Barcelona, Real Madrid, Benfica, Roma, AC Milan and Juventus.
This particular crop of teams features some of the best sides in the world. All four teams that have made the Champions League semi-finals this year (Roma, Liverpool, Bayern Munich and Real Madrid) will play in the States during this year’s tournament.
Where Are the Games Being Held?
For the United States leg of the tournament, there are matches taking place all over the country. There’s a heavy concentration of games in the Northeast which includes East Rutherford and Harrison, NJ; Philadelphia, PA and Landover, MD.
California will see games played in Santa Clara, Pasadena and San Diego.
The Midwest will have games in Minneapolis, MN, Chicago, IL, Ann Arbor, MI and Pittsburgh, PA.
The southern part of the country will feature games in Arlington, TX, Charlotte, NC and Miami Gardens, FL.
View the full Int’l Cup schedule here.
How Can I Watch the Int’l Champions Cup?
If you’re looking for a match-day experience and atmosphere unlike anything else in American soccer, you should check out one of these games in person. For tickets to any of the matches, SeatGeek has you covered.
If you’re someone who prefers watching the game from the comfort of your own home, these games will be carried on the ESPN family of television networks. Cable subscribers will be able to watch the games on their television and through ESPN’s “WatchESPN” app on the computer and smartphones/wireless devices.
For all of you cord cutters that don’t have cable, ESPN is available on streaming services like DirecTV Now, Sling TV, and YouTube TV. Most of these services offer free trials for new customers, so you can try these services out before committing to a subscription.
(Cropped image courtesy J Pellgen via Flickr.)