The French Trophée des Champions, the match between the league champion and Coupe de France winner – i.e. Charity Shield – , will be played at New York’s Red Bull Arena this year.
It is the fourth time the match will be played abroad, with earlier versions taking place in Montreal, Tunis, and Rabat. This time however, it will be the first time that the match is played in a non-French speaking country.
The Red Bull Arena is the recently opened new stadium of the New York Red Bulls, another franchise of drinks manufacturer Red Bull, and is with a capacity of 25,000 seats one of the largest stadiums in the Major League Soccer. The stadium actually lies in New Jersey, in the town of Harrison, about 9 miles west of Manhattan.
The Trophée des Champions used to rotate among a fair share of smaller and larger French stadiums, however never really made it out of obscurity, often only attracting ten to twenty-thousand spectators.
The fist venture on foreign soil, in Canada, was a relative success with 35,000 people attending despite the not-so-exciting fixture between Bordeaux and Guingamp. The following year Marseille and Paris Saint-Germain played in front of a 65,000 crowd in Tunis, and the LFP seems set to continue looking for venues abroad.
The match is scheduled to be played on Saturday the 28th of July. On the same day the New York Red Bulls will play an away match at the Montreal Impact.
Most likely contenders in New York will be either Paris Saint-Germain or Montpellier, as both go head-to-head in the league at the moment. The Coupe de France has reached the quarter-final stage with big guns as PSG, Marseille, and Lyonnais still in the tournament.
Photo: © Flickr user Paul Lowry