Monday, July 9, 2012

Trophee des Champions

Want to win a pair of tickets to the match? Read on to find out how.

With over fifty friendlies scheduled throughout North America this summer a lot of soccer fans have been asking the question, which matches should I try to attend? Perhaps the most unique soccer experience this summer will be the Trophee des Champions match at Red Bull Arena in Harrison on July 28th as it is the only official championship being contested.

Typical summer friendlies are little more than organized scrimmages between big name clubs in front of large crowds who hope to see all the stars in action, but rarely do. The Trophee des Champions will be contested between Montpellier and Lyon in what is the first silverware awarded by the French Football Federation (FFF) for the 2012/13 season.

So if this is such a unique experience why have I never heard of this championship before? You probably haven't heard of it because you either don't follow French football or didn't realize the championship is being played in the United States for the first time. The match has been around since the 1940's and was given the name Trophee des Champions in 1995 and was played in France up until 2009 at which time the FFF decided to take their show on the road. The match was played in Montreal that year followed by Tunisia and Morocco; this year marks the first time the game will be played in a non-french speaking country.

If you are more familiar with English soccer, then you probably are familiar with the Community Shield where the winners of the FA Cup and Premier League face-off in August. The Trophee des Champions is just the French version where the winners of the Coupe de France meet the Ligue 1 champions from the previous season.

Montpellier, in a bit of a surprise, was able to hold on to win their first Ligue 1 title last season holding off big-spending Paris Saint-Germain and only four season from being promoted back to top flight soccer. The team is led by Olivier Giroud who totaled 21 goals to win the golden boot at Ligue 1's top scorer last season. By winning the league last season, the Trophee des Champions is just the first reward for Montpellier in the coming months as they will also take part in the UEFA Champions League for the first time.

For Lyon winning this match is nothing new as they have won the Trophee des Champions a record 7 times including six-in-a-row from 2002 to 2007. Many French soccer followers would argue that Lyon has been the best club in the country over the last decade, adding seven Ligue 1 titles in a row from 2002 to 2008. The club finished fourth in the league last season and earned a spot in the UEFA Europa League tournament which they have played in several times in addition to their Champions League runs previously.

The bottom line is that unlike all of the other friendlies taking place stateside this summer, these guys actually have something to play for which will make for a great match. Montpellier will come out on the pitch looking to prove that their title last season was no fluke and that they deserve to be considered the best in France. Lyon will use the match to try to increase their record number of wins in the championship and look towards setting the pace for the start of their Ligue 1 season. If you are in the New York City area there are lots of friendlies to choose from this summer, but consider the trip to Red Bull on July 28th, it should be well worth it.

Want to go see the match for FREE? All you have to do is LIKE US on Facebook (if you haven't already) and post a comment, picture, or video on our wall telling us why we should send you to the TDC. We will be giving away a pair of tickets for the match at Noon on Thursday July 26th to one lucky winner. If you don't have Facebook you can send your entry to me at PracticeCone@ScoringThird.com with the subject "TDC Giveaway". Make sure to head over to TDC-NYC.com for all the details on the match.

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