NEW YORK -- Yankee Stadium will again transform into a soccer field this summer, when it plays host on July 30 to rivals Manchester City and Liverpool as part of the 2014 Guinness International Champions Cup.
The match is part of a round-robin tournament featuring eight clubs that will take place in the United States from July 26-Aug. 4. The July 30 clash at Yankee Stadium will mark the third straight year that the iconic ballpark has hosted a soccer match during the Yankees' regular season.
The announcement of the Manchester City-Liverpool match also came on the heels of Yankee Stadium hosting its first National Hockey League games last month -- as part of the NHL's 2014 Stadium Series -- and college football's New Era Pinstripe Bowl in December.
"Since the new stadium has been built, look at everything that has been done here," said Mark Holtzman, the Yankees' executive director of non-baseball events. "We just had the NHL here, we've had concerts and bowl games -- we're doing a lot of things we didn't do in the old stadium. And soccer has been, and will continue to be, a big part of those plans."
The latter part holds especially true considering the partnership formed last year between the Yankees and Manchester City. The two franchises teamed up to purchase the New York City Football Club, a Major League Soccer expansion team that will begin play in 2015. Though nothing is official yet, the possibility remains that the expansion club could play its home games at Yankee Stadium while it awaits the construction of its new stadium.
For the time being, both the Yankees and Manchester City are focused simply on promoting each other's brands, starting with this summer's match against Liverpool.
"We're very lucky to be associated with the New York Yankees," said Manchester City legend Mike Summerbee. "It's very exciting for Manchester City to be involved in New York City, and it's always wonderful to come play here. Everyone wants to be a part of something like this, and it will be a great match when we play Liverpool, just as it always is wherever we play them."
This rivalry will mark the fourth soccer match to take place at Yankee Stadium in the past three years. In 2012, Chelsea and PSG played to a 1-1 draw in July before Cristiano Ronaldo led Real Madrid to a 5-1 rout of AC Milan one month later. Last year, defending World Cup winner Spain defeated the Republic of Ireland, 2-0, in an international friendly in the Bronx.
"We've hosted some very exciting games over the last couple years, so we're continuing that string of excellence with this game we're going to have this summer," Holtzman said. "And we are extremely excited to continue the tradition."
While the Manchester City side will have the opportunity to further its relationship with fans in the New York City area, Liverpool's club is also excited for the opportunity. For the tournament, Man City and Liverpool will be joined in Group B by AC Milan and Olympiacos, while Group A will consist of Inter Milan, Manchester United, Real Madrid and AS Roma, with the top team from each group meeting in the championship game on Aug. 4 in Miami.
"Unfortunately, not everyone can get to our field and visit us, so we like to bring the club to some of our supporters over here in the United States, especially New York City," said Liverpool legend Robbie Fowler, the sixth-highest goal scorer in Premier League history. "It's good for the club to visit all these places. And for people who might never get the opportunity to come over to our field and see our club, we like to come over here and visit them."
The previous Yankee Stadium soccer matches have been a resounding success, as soccer popularity continues to grow in the United States. Holtzman said the Yankees are proud to be a part of the growing sport, both in terms of the new expansion team and hosting these mid-summer matches.
"We're very excited about our commitment to soccer in the United States," Holtzman said. "We're very excited to be associated with Man City and soccer, in general, and we think soccer has a great future in the United States and we want to be part of it."
Summerbee not only echoed that sentiment, but even went as far as to predict the United States will become an international soccer power over the next two decades.
"A generation is coming forward in America and they're the ones that are going to put soccer right on the map," Summerbee said. "And I'll tell you, I won't be around for it, but in four World Cups -- which is 16 years -- America will win the World Cup.
"America has got a big opportunity, because when they put their mind to do something, they do it very well. That's why Liverpool and Manchester City enjoy coming over here so much and are looking forward to this match at Yankee Stadium."