English Premier League giants Arsenal will face the best of MLS in the 2016 AT&T MLS All-Star Game.
The match, announced on Thursday, will be held at Avaya Stadium in San Jose on Thursday, July 28 at 9 pm ET and will mark Arsenal’s first participation in the All-Star Game. The event will be televised in the US on ESPN and UniMás, in Canada on TSN and RDS, and in more than 140 countries around the world, including Sky Sports in the UK.
“We are pleased to welcome Arsenal, one of the most successful clubs in the world, to compete against the best of MLS,” said MLS Commissioner Don Garber in a statement. “Our AT&T MLS All-Star Week has become a celebration for the North American soccer community, highlighted by two teams showcasing many of the world’s top players. We look forward to a world-class event on July 28 at our newest state-of-the-art venue, Avaya Stadium.”
It will be the second time the All-Star Game will be hosted in San Jose, with the first coming at Spartan Stadium in 2001. Avaya Stadium is the newest stadium in MLS, having opened during the 2015 season and it is the first cloud-enabled stadium in MLS, featuring European-inspired architecture with a canopy roof, the steepest-raked seating in the league and the largest outdoor bar in North America.
The Earthquakes sold out all 15 regular season matches at Avaya Stadium during its inaugural season in 2015 and finished with the seventh highest average attendance in Major League Soccer.
Arsenal’s participation will continue the tradition of the MLS All-Stars facing international clubs, joining the likes of fellow Premier League sides Manchester United, Everton, Chelsea and Arsenal’s biggest rival, Tottenham Hotspur, as well as Italy's AS Roma and Bayern Munich.
Currently tied for second place in the Barclays Premier League, Arsenal are managed by Arsene Wenger and feature stars like Alexis Sanchez, Mesut Ozil, Petr Cech, Aaron Ramsey and Theo Walcott. The Gunners are defending English FA Cup champions, winning the domestic cup competition the past two years.
Following the MLS All-Star Game, Arsenal will play Mexican side Chivas de Guadalajara at StubHub Center on July 31.
“Preseason is a critically important time for us and we are delighted to be coming to San Jose and Los Angeles to participate in the 2016 MLS All-Star Game and to play Chivas,” Wenger said in a statement. “We have tremendous support across America and enjoyed our visit to New York in the summer of 2014 when we played the New York Red Bulls at Red Bull Arena. We are all looking forward to this summer’s trip as we prepare for our 2016-2017 season.”
San Jose Earthquakes season ticket holders will receive an exclusive pre-sale opportunity to purchase tickets. All others will have the chance to buy tickets to the 2016 MLS All-Star Game through a lottery system.