Football

European soccer heads stateside

Updated 1413 GMT (2213 HKT) July 23, 2014
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The United States soccer team's display at the World Cup in Brazil sparked new interest in the game in America. The team, roared on by its fans -- many of whom made the trip to Latin America -- reached the round of 16 before being knocked out by Belgium. Jamie McDonald/Getty Images
Team USA goalkeeper Tim Howard became a national hero after he made a remarkable 16 saves in the 2-1 defeat to Belgium. Social media was awash with tributes to the Everton stopper, who was christened the "Secretary of Defense" -- a measure of how the tournament captured the imagination. Robert Cianflone/Getty Images
According to Nielsen figures, 25 million television viewers tuned in for the United States' opening draw with Portugal. Even after they were eliminated those stats remained strong -- 26.5 million watching the World Cup final between Germany and Argentina. Michael Steele/Getty Images
Now a clutch of Europe's top clubs are heading to the States to try and tap into this new love of soccer and build their following across the pond. German champions Bayern Munich are one -- its captain Philipp Lahm lifted the World Cup with Germany in Brazil. PEDRO UGARTE/AFP/Getty Images
Bayern has a host of international stars in its ranks, including Mario Goetze, the man who scored the World Cup winning goal for Germany. Though it is likely he, goalkeeper Manuel Neuer, midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger and striker Thomas Muller -- who scored five times in Brazil -- will be rested for the U.S. trip. JUAN MABROMATA/AFP/GEtty images
Julian Green will be part of Bayern's squad though. The 19-year-old scored a stunning volley for the United States team in their last 16 defeat to Belgium to become the youngest USA scorer at a World Cup. But he has a battle on his hands to break into Bayern's first team. FRANCISCO LEONG/AFP/Getty Images
Cristiano Ronaldo didn't enjoy the happiest of World Cups as Portugal were beaten to second place in their group by the USA. His Real Madrid teammates are one of the biggest draws in the International Champions Cup tournament. Francisco Leong/AFP/Getty Images
Gareth Bale (R) and Pepe (center) tune up in Los Angeles ahead of Real's opening game. The Spanish giants, who won the European Champions League last season, face Italian side Inter in their first match, hoping to attract a legion of new fans. FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP/Getty Images
Sergio Aguero's Argentina side were beaten in the World Cup final by Germany. His teammates at English champions Manchester City are stateside and take on AC Milan in Pittsburgh on July 27. "A lot of people still ask 'when is soccer going to make it in the United States?' I think it has," Daniel Wiersema, a soccer fan from Austin, told CNN. Quinn Rooney/Getty Images
Louis Van Gaal will take charge of Manchester United for the first time against Major League Soccer (MLS) side Los Angeles Galaxy at the Rose Bowl on Wednesday. "If an American becomes a lifetime Manchester United fan following a tour game, the lifetime flow of income from them is potentially very significant for a club," professor Simon Chadwick told CNN. Clive Mason/Getty Images
These high-profile tours disrupt MLS matches, given their season runs from March to October. But the trade off is seen as a worthwhile. "It's the unique position of U.S. soccer that we have a different season and a unique position that we need the profile of the global leagues to increase the local one," Wiersema added. Mike Stobe/Getty Images/file