April 13th: Golden Lions vs. U.S. Invitational in California
Tolkin noted that the Lions envisaged the matches in Vancouver and California to include a team of combined North American internationals as well as seven internationals of the Lions choosing. Tolkin prefers that the match in California feature U.S. players with the seven internationals while the match in Vancouver feature Canadian player along with the Seven internationals, but he also expressed that much of that was up to the Lions.
Tolkin reassured TIAR that "we're going to have a bunch of our domestic guys involved...my intention is to use all the top guys that are here to get them a high-level competitive game." He added that "since the Lions are paying the bills they want seven foreign internationals. The internationals will probably be based in Japan since their season will be over." One of the venues being discussed for the match is Cal State Fullerton.
Take the jump to read more.
May 25th: Canada 'A' vs. Eagles Selects in Edmonton
That's the same day as the Elite Cup final but it was the best date available. Tolkin said that "we're going to try and get the best domestic guys we have and then see what's going on with the international guys. Obviously we wouldn't be able to use any of the guys playing over in Europe due to their on-going seasons."
The Eagles will then have two matches at home:
June 8th: Eagles vs. Ireland in Houston (BBVA Compass Stadium)
This match is set in stone and has been reported on for some time.
June 14th: Eagles vs. Tonga in Salt Lake City (Rio Tinto Stadium)
Tolkin made sure to point out that this was not an absolute definite at this point but that it looked likely, giving it a 90% chance.
The Eagles will then travel to Japan for the Pacific Nations Cup:
June 19th: Eagles vs. Fiji
June 23rd: Eagles vs. Japan
Tolkin said that "the trip is good to have because we're playing good matches but it will be a tough test playing Fiji and Japan close together."
Lastly, the U.S. has World Cup Qualifying in July:
July 20th: Eagles vs. Canada in Atlanta (Kennesaw State University soccer stadium)
July 27th or 28th: Eagles vs. Canada in Toronto
Overall, this summer schedule differs from what we have been able to gather from the far-flung reaches of the internet, but it's nice to finally have something we can use to arrange our calendars. One of the biggest concerns based on rumored information was that a trip to Japan for the Pacific Nations Cup would be too close to the World Cup Qualifiers and would lead to tired players. That appears to be settled and the team should have plenty of time to recuperate. The U.S. will now also see three home matches (a fourth if you count the Lions match), and two matches in Canada. They will also have six full internationals.
Here are some more quotes from Tolkin:
On designing the schedule:
"It wasn't necessarily my hands. It's an IRB sponsored tournament (the Pacific Nations Cup) so they had the reigns on the schedule. But in terms of what we wanted, we went to them and asked for more games and they came back with the Pacific Nations Cup. The tournament is about getting overall international games and experiences."
On player fatigue, especially professional players during a long summer:
"We have to be smart about it. We have to use a rotation and take the opportunity to get our fringe players and younger players games. We're going to be smart and work with our international players. They obviously need rest."
What do you think of the schedule? Are you planning on attending a match? Are you disappointed or excited the the U.S. Invitational team will feature foreign internationals?