Soccer superfans—or football fanatics as they’re known in the rest of the world—are always looking for the next thrilling rivalry to fuel their passion for the pitch. Are you ready for a globetrotting adventure to see the hottest action the sport has to offer? With stops in Europe, Latin America, the United States and everywhere else under the sun, this soccer bucket list will have you shouting GOOOOAAAALLLL!
Must-See Soccer Tournaments for Your Sports Bucket List
The CONCACAF Gold Cup determines who is the best in North America and the Caribbean, pitting proud nations like Mexico, Cuba, and Panama in a battle for bragging rights. This tournament is set to enter its bracket phase on Saturday July 18 with knockout excitement kicking off at stadiums across the hosting United States. Can the host nation win their second straight Gold Cup, or will the tirelessly competitive Mexican national team claim victory for a record 7th title? With a berth in the FIFA Confederations Cup on the line, this tournament has serious World Cup implications that any soccer fan will want to witness first hand.
UEFA Champions League
Soccer fans know that no bucket list would be complete without a trip to Europe, where the UEFA Champions League hosts some of the biggest teams in the world. As its name implies, the Champions League is made up of the top professional clubs from the continent, including Real Madrid, Manchester United, Juventus, Arsenal, and last year’s champions FC Barcelona. They’ll all be fighting for bragging rights, with action-packed showdowns at premier venues like Emirates Stadium in London and Anfield Stadium in Liverpool.
For 99 years (longer than any other continental championship), Copa America has decided the best team in all of South America—the only continent that rivals Europe for their soccer dedication and appreciation. With bitter rivalries between prestigious soccer-loving countries like Argentina, Uruguay, and Brazil, the national pride of these matches reaches epic proportions. And for the centennial Copa America in 2016, the USA is hosting each of these South American soccer superpowers and competing for their own chance hold the Copa America trophy high. Be sure to cheer on the red, white, and blue in a stadium near you!
FIFA World Cup
Every four years, skilled strikers from around the world leave their professional clubs to support their nations in this thrilling soccer tournament. And fans from around the globe will be painted in their native colors as they bring unrelenting international energy. Even though the World Cup is the most widely viewed sporting event around the world, anyone who’s ever been there will tell you it has to be experienced in person. You have three years to plan a trip to Russia where the next FIFA Men’s World Cup will be held in 2018, while the next FIFA Women’s World Cup tournament will be held in France in 2019.
MLS All-Star Game
Can’t travel abroad to experience great soccer? The 2015 MLS All-Star Game is set to kick off on July 29 in Denver, CO featuring the best professional athletes playing for American clubs. You’ll see the cream of the MLS crop face off against legendary British Premier League challengers Tottenham Hotspur at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park this summer. Root on our All-Stars as they battle for a second straight victory against opposing European clubs for the MLS All-Star Game’s tenth installment.
You can also help spread the word about soccer stateside by following the thrilling competition of the MLS Cup. Pitting the highest-scoring clubs coast-to-coast against each other, the MLS Cup showcases some of the best rivalries already brewing in America. Will there be a thrilling rematch between the LA Galaxy and the New England Revolution in the finals this year? The only way to know is to follow all the action for yourself, and nothing beats seeing these teams go toe-to-toe in person.
FIFA Confederations Cup
Held a year before each FIFA World Cup, the Confederations Cup features the best teams from the six continental soccer associations, plus the host nation and the previous World Cup Victor. The 12-team tournament offers plenty of preview action with transcontinental rivalries on tap as these astonishing athletes battle for national honor. As an appetizer to the main course, this event is a tantalizing sampler of some of the best teams from around the globe and a great place for international fans to showcase their country’s pride a year before the World Cup. The next men’s cup will take place in Russia in 2017, while the women’s cup will be held in France in 2018.
Some of the best strikers in the world come out of the United Kingdom, and over a hundred leagues worth of teams are constantly chomping at the bit to prove their supremacy. You can always count on thrilling action in the FA Cup, where low-level British teams square off against juggernauts like Manchester City, Chelsea, Manchester United, and Arsenal. And with knock-out style excitement, you can’t predict which “minnows” will transform into “giant-killers” overnight. No soccer fan’s bucket list is complete until they see the thrilling win-or-go-home action of the oldest association soccer tournament, founded in 1871.
Must-See Soccer Rivalries
El Classico – Real Madrid vs. Barcelona
The two largest cities in Spain also host two of the most legendary soccer clubs in the world: Real Madrid and FC Barcelona. Having met over 262 times in what’s known as “El Classico”, these two behemoths of soccer have permeated all of Spanish culture, creating a fiercely competitive atmosphere between fans of each club.
The Old Firm Derby – Rangers vs. Celtic
Scottish culture is divided along the lines of this Glasgow rivalry that’s over a century old, first played in 1888. Celtic FC and Rangers FC have met over 400 times, and the two most prestigious clubs in the Scottish Professional Football League show no signs of giving up the fierce intensity of their rivalry.
Superclassico – Boca Juniors vs. River Plate
Cross-town rivals Boca Juniors and River Plate offer one of the most unique fan experiences whenever they meet in the Superclassico. Imagine if the LA Lakers lived next door to the Boston Celtics and had faced off since 1913. The stadiums are filled with fans on opposing sides, as they flood the arena with colorful banners and fireworks that will make any soccer fan’s bucket list complete.