Piqué with the fans on the 2011 American tour / MIGUEL RUIZ-FCB

The announcement that this summer Barça are to embark on a trip across the Atlantic to tread American soil brings to mind previous visits to the continent. The blaugranes’ history is replete with games and anecdotes with the Club aware that it is a key area for Barça as a global brand. The relationship between FC Barcelona and the American continent goes back to 1928 when their search for new opponents and new experiences in the New World began.

The first game in America took place in August of 1928 when they faced an Argentine XI in Buenos Aires. That game ended in defeat for the blaugranes but their last match on the continent ended in happier fashion as they overcame Mexican side Club América by two goals to nil in the summer of 2011.

Taking America to mean North, South and Central America, the Club have in total played 89 different matches in countries such as Mexico, Uruguay, Argentina, Venezuela, Paraguay, El Salvador, Colombia, Chile, Ecuador and the USA.

Return to the continent

After an absence of 15 years, the FC Barcelona first team coached by Frank Rijkaard at the time returned to the continent. It was July 2003 and in their first match of the tour they overcame Italian side Juventus in Boston on penalties after the game had ended 2-2 after 90 minutes. Later on the tour came two more matches: against AC Milan in Washington DC which ended in a 2-0 win for the blaugranes and against Manchester United in Philadelphia which saw the English emerge victorious by three goals to one.

In 2006, just two months after the Club had added a second Champions League title to their silverware against Arsenal in Paris, the first team once again visited American soil, more particularly the US and Mexico. Barça played four matches on that pre-season tour, one in Monterrey where they beat local side Tigres UANL 3-0. The three other matches were all played in the US: a 1-1 draw in Los Angeles against Mexican side Chivas Guadalajara, a spectacular 4-4 draw in Houston against another Mexican outfit, Club América and finally a 4-1 victory in New York over the New York Red Bulls.

The preseason for the 2008/09 season – the first with Pep Guardiola as coach – once again saw the squad crossing the Atlantic. This time they played twice in the United States: a clear 5-2 win over Chivas de Guadalajara in Chicago and an impressive 6-2 win against New Your Red Bulls.

The success of the preseason tours to the Americas led the squad back their just a few weeks after they had claimed their third Champions League trophy in May 2009. A Barça side took on LA Galaxy in the Pasadena Rose Bowl in their first game of the trip. The blaugranes recorded a 2-1 win that day with David Beckham finding the net for the US team and Pedro and Jeffren scoring for the visitors.

The next friendly of the tour came on the Pacific Northwest in Seattle. The Qwest field stadium registered its biggest ever attendance to witness a 4-0 win for Barça over local team the Seattle Sounders. Pedro and Jeffren were again amongst the scorers with Leo Messi also scoring twice.

The final game of that tour took them down to San Francisco where they drew 1-1 against old foes Chivas de Guadalajara from Mexico.

Following Barça’s fourth win in the Champions League, the team travelled across the pond once again for preseason in 2011. The blaugranes visited Washington DC once again where they lost to Manchester United by two goals to one. In Miami they were surprisingly beaten 4-1 by Chivas de Guadalajara before finally tasting victory with a 2-0 win over América in Dallas.

It has not all been football on American soil with LA Lakers superstar Kobe Bryant paying the team a visit during one of their tours. Also, the travelling party also enjoyed a guided tour of the White House during one stay in Washington DC.

First official tour

During the three years of the Spanish Civil War (1936-39), the Club was run by a workers’ commission. In the summer of 1937, in the middle of the conflict, FC Barcelona travelled to Mexico to play a series of matches. The reason for the trip was sporting and also economic: the ‘American’ games helped to save the club from the brink of financial extinction.

That trip converted Barça into a symbol of freedom. Some of the players in the squad, given the political situation, decided never to return to Barcelona.

Those first games for Barça in the USA and Mexico are remembered and catalogued as the Club’s first official trip to the Americas even though just a few years previously they had played in Argentina.

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