Soccer will dominate 2024 sports menu with smorgasbord of tournaments

Soccer will dominate 2024 sports menu with smorgasbord of tournaments

Updated Dec. 28, 2023 3:39 p.m. ET

The year 2024 is nearly here, and as the turn of a new calendar brings excitement and anticipation to every sport, none finds itself looking ahead more breathlessly than the beautiful game itself. 

Soccer is about to experience the best kind of overload, a year stuffed to the brim with big tournaments, huge storylines, and a summer stretch when games will come more frequently than meals, as helpfully pointed out by FOX Soccer analyst Alexi Lalas when I spoke to him this week. 

"This coming summer, America will be able to watch games over breakfast, brunch, lunch, linner, dinner; it’s a smorgasbord. You might be watching them with a mimosa to start things off and a nightcap to end the evening," the former United States national team star said. 

"It fits the category of ‘something for everyone,’ and if you’re one of the many soccer obsessives who want to watch everything, yeah, you’re going to need to edit your lifestyle somewhat to fit it all in." 


Usually, the golden section of soccer’s standard four-year cycle has inevitably been during any year when the men’s soccer World Cup sits, with it being the global festival to top them all. 

Yet in terms of seeking a nonstop party of round-ball fun, it is going to be mightily hard to top all the things that 2024 will bring, especially the middle part of the year. 

Much of June and July will be booked out for soccer junkies, with the twin continental spectacles of Europe and South America’s regional championships taking place, and every game will air on the FOX family of networks.

The Euros are to be held in Germany, a nation that does a phenomenal job of staging major events, while the Copa América relocates this time to U.S. soil with an additional batch of teams (including the hosts) added.  

The sublime talents of Lionel Messi, Vinicius Jr., Luis Suarez and more will be doing their thing on our doorsteps, while for Gregg Berhalter’s USMNT squad, this is the only real opportunity for a tournament test against world-class opposition before the 2026 World Cup

Gregg Berhalter reacts to USMNT's draw in 2024 Copa América

"For Berhalter, this is the year when the knives will be out for him, and it is his chance to prove he is the right man for the job going into 2026," Lalas added. "He has to deliver – and that’s not an unfair expectation given the second chance he’s had. A lot of that will fall on how the team does at the Copa America." 

Time zones can be confounding things at times, but thank goodness for them because that’s what will allow you to do things like start your day with Spain vs. Italy and end it with Messi and Argentina back at it after their World Cup triumph. 

Or maybe you prefer an appetizer of Cristiano Ronaldo or Kylian Mbappé paired with a dessert of Berhalter’s USA. Or maybe you'd even enjoy Mexico’s redemption bid or Brazil’s mesmerizing brilliance. 

Euros draw: Which group is toughest?

The Euros will feature an England team laden with the talent of Jude Bellingham, playing lights out for Real Madrid at the ripe old age of 20. Then there is Harry Kane, who has gotten an enjoyable taste of German life and developed an incurable scoring addiction since moving to Bayern Munich

France, having come so close to winning the World Cup, will bring Mbappé and friends to a squad that will be a tournament favorite. Meanwhile, host Germany surely can’t be as bad as they’ve looked in friendly games, while Ronaldo has a point to prove, playing brilliantly in Saudi Arabia and having reestablished himself as a key part of Portugal’s squad. 

Perhaps it is time we started thinking of major soccer tournaments as cultural events in their own right, given how they offer a window into the passionate nature of a nation’s soul. To that end, National Geographic normally restricts its annual "Cool List" of favored travel spots to specific destinations, based off factors such as arts, food or natural beauty. This year "the Euros" was included on their list. So, if you have some air miles lying around unused, just saying … 

On the women’s side, the summer will end in Paris with the Olympics, essentially the second "major" of women’s football, where new USWNT head coach Emma Hayes faces the tall task of resurrecting a program that suffered its biggest World Cup disappointment during 2023. 

"Emma is an incredible hire on paper," Lalas said. "Women’s soccer is changing so quickly. Will this be a new dawn and a new generation and a new direction for the U.S. That’s the hope, obviously, getting back to a position of dominance even while all these other nations improve constantly." 

Can the USMNT win its group? Alexi Lalas, Stu Holden react

It’s not going to be all about the summer either. Between now and then, a series of entertaining title races will play out across the main European domestic leagues.  

Manchester City’s dominance in the English Premier League is being threatened, by Arsenal, Liverpool, and the unexpected enterprise of Aston Villa

On the local front, Messi’s first full season with Inter Miami will be well worth watching, especially as Miami owner David Beckham is trying to build a genuine MLS superclub, with Suarez having now joined his old Barcelona pals of Messi, Sergio Busquets and Jordi Alba

That’s a lot of superstar power, worthy of a lot of superlatives. Indeed, a super year beckons for soccer, so clear your schedule, stock the fridge, and enjoy. 

Martin Rogers is a columnist for FOX Sports and the author of the FOX Sports Insider newsletter. Follow him on Twitter @MRogersFOX and subscribe to the daily newsletter.


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