Juventus will be heading to the United States this summer to be the opponent for Major League Soccer’s annual All-Star Game set for 1 August in Atlanta, Georgia.
The 23rd edition of the MLS summer showcase, Juventus will face a squad featuring the best from the ever-growing American league at the recently-opened Mercedes-Benz Stadium, home to MLS side Atlanta United FC and the NFL’s Atlanta Falcons.
With prior opponents like Bayern Munich, Real Madrid, Manchester United, Chelsea and Arsenal, the MLS All-Star game is one of the biggest events of the summer and this will be Juve’s first time to take part.
“We are happy to represent European football in this year’s MLS All-Star Game,” said President Andrea Agnelli. “It’s an opportunity to get closer to the passionate American soccer fans. For many years, Juventus has considered the United States and Canada as a crucial market for growing our presence as shown by the opening of our new academies and our digital strategy that has greatly expanded the possibility to connect with fans on this continent. The first team and the game, however, will be the main show that Juventus offers and we are proud to be in Atlanta.”
Last year, in front of a sold-out crowd of over 61,000 at Soldier Field in Chicago, the MLS All-Stars featuring internationally-known players like Sebastian Giovinco, David Villa, Kaka and Bastian Schweinsteiger, as well as U.S. National Team players like Tim Howard, Michael Bradley and Jozy Altidore battled Real Madrid to a 1-1 draw before falling on penalty kicks.
“It will be a pleasure for us to play in this game and feel the energy of MLS, an ever-growing league attracting more and more passionate fans,” said Manager Massimiliano Allegri. “It will also be a great chance for the many Juventus supporters in North America to see their team and favorite players.”
The stage will be one of the biggest in American sports at the brand-new Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Having opened in August 2017, the stadium that cost more than $1.5 billion to build is set to host Super Bowl LIII in February 2019 and has already hosted numerous collegiate American football games including the 2018 BCS National Championship game.
However, it’s not just American football that has filled the stadium as the other football has captured the hearts of the locals through Atlanta United. The team, which launched for the 2017 MLS season, has set the MLS single-game attendance record twice with 72,035 attending their match on 11 March against D.C. United. They also broke the single-season MLS attendance record in their inaugural campaign averaging over 48,000 fans.
“We welcome Juventus -- one of the world’s iconic clubs -- as our opponent for the 2018 MLS All-Star Game presented by Target,” said MLS Commissioner Don Garber. "Our midseason showcase annually attracts the most prominent clubs in global soccer, and this year our All-Stars will face one of the sport’s most historically successful teams. And we can’t think of a better city to host the game than in Atlanta, which due to the incredible success and popularity of Atlanta United, has rapidly captured the attention of the entire soccer world.”
In addition to the match, MLS will host a week of events in Atlanta surrounding the game, including concerts, community service initiatives and player appearances.