After touring the north in 2008 and the west coast in 2009, is it time to have FC Barcelona tour Florida as its USA tour of the south, especially Miami.
Back in May 2008, FC Barcelona signed a five year deal with the MLS. This five year agreement dealt with MLS negotiating the club's sponsorship rights, and handling the public relations and marketing in the United States. It also could be implied that the team would tour the US the next five years although that never was ever mentioned as an obligation.
Once that deal was announced, FC Barcelona toured the northeast of the US with games in Chicago and New York.Â This past summer, the team toured the west coast with games in Los Angeles, Seattle and San Francisco. The club had previously visited the US in 2003 when they played three matches against Juventus, AC Milan and Manchester United. That tour had the Blaugrana playing matches in Massachusetts, Washington DC and Philadelphia. They also toured in 2006 and played in Los Angeles, Houston and New York.
So now, after a successful 2009 tour, will there be a 2010 tour? If there will be a tour after the 2010 World Cup, will Florida finally host it? It doesnâ€™t seem too long ago when Brazil and Mexico faced off in a friendly in Miami at the Orange Bowl. Miami had hosted some of the 1996 Atlanta Summer Olympics football games, Boca Juniors, Concacaf Gold Cup matches and Brazil friendlies. So why not Miami for 2010?
It makes sense for Florida to host FC Barcelona. It wonâ€™t be cold, nice beaches and a lot of football fans. Tampa Bay can be a venue with Raymond James stadium hosting the US Menâ€™s national team in the past.Â Itâ€™s close to the US youth academy in Bradenton and also close to Orlando for the natives and tourists to make a drive on I-4.
Obviously, the final game should be played in Miami. Beautiful beaches, many Spaniard citizens and ex-pats, and, of course, a great penya is what Miami has to offer. We have had president Laporta vacation here and Etoâ€™o was in Miami vacationing prior to his move to Inter Milan. Sadly the Orange Bowl is no longer an option but the FIU is a suitable alternative. However, the Seattle friendly showed us that the club will only play on grass so the artificial turf issue has to be addressed. Consequentially, the FIU stadium only seats 19,000 so will the venue, albeit great for MLS, be considered too small for a friendly.
Tropical Park Stadium is definitely out of the question but perhaps Lockhart Stadium can be a suitable venue.Â Sure it is in Fort Lauderdale but if it is real turf stadium, and not artificial turf, then why not. The small seating capacity hurts.Â Additionally, they can also have a game in Jacksonville, Atlanta or in Texas to have more than just 2 games inÂ Tampa and Miami.
Wishful thinking and hereâ€™s hoping that the team does indeed tour the US come next summer.
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