Since many Americans base their travel plans on the school schedule, they tend to wind up in England over the summer — but is there soccer in England over the summer? Yes! And some of it counts.
First, let’s define summer as before Labor Day. And let’s also stipulate the previous season ends in mid May. Assuming your kiddos are still in school then, we’re really talking about soccer in England during July and August.
Ironically, many of the big English clubs like Manchester United, Manchester City, Arsenal and Chelsea actually leave the UK for international tours, often to the US. (Here’s a look at which English teams are touring the US in the summer of 2018.)
Meanwhile, back in the UK, many clubs start playing friendlies in July. But honestly, those aren’t even worth going to if you’re an American and want to see “real” English soccer action. It’s like a preseason NFL game: a bunch of reserves, and nobody cares.
When Does the English Soccer Season Start?
“Kicking a ball in anger” — one of the great phrases in English sport commentary — begins the first weekend of August. That’s the Football League, levels 2 through 4 of the pyramid. (Here’s a guide to all the leagues and cups of English soccer.) The Premier League season starts on the second week of August.
For the 2018-19 season, that means the Football League starts August 4 and the Premier League starts August 11.
But it’s not just the leagues! Here’s a week-by-week look at English soccer during the month of August:
- August 2-7: First Rounds of the Europa League (featuring Burnley this year) plus a full weekend of Football League (36 games) that stretches to Tuesday.
- August 10-14: Another full weekend of Football League (36 games), plus the Premier League starts (10 games), and then a couple dozen games in the League Cup
- August 18-22: Full slate of Premier League and two rounds of Football League (a total of 82 games!)
- August 25-29: Full slate of Premier League and Football League, followed by Round Two of the League Cup (total of about 60 games)
- Labor Day Weekend: Premier League and Football League (46 games)
So yes, there is soccer in England over the summer. And it’s one of the best times to go over for games, because the weather is great and everybody can convince themselves they have a shot at winning something, if only for a while.