NEW YORK – From one city of fountains to another, AS Roma are headed stateside this summer.
Major League Soccer announced on Thursday that the Italian powers will take on the MLS All-Stars in the 2013 AT&T MLS All-Star Game on July 31 at Sporting Park in Kansas City (9 pm ET, ESPN2, UniMás, and in Canada on TSN and RDS), marking the 10th time in the game’s 18-year history that the opponent will be a marquee international club and the first time that club hails from Serie A. Sporting KC manager Peter Vermes will coach the MLS All-Stars.
WATCH: Bradley on taking on MLS All-Stars
The match also marks the return of former MLS and current United States national team midfield Michael Bradley, who played for the MetroStars in 2004 and 2005 before being sold to Dutch club SC Heerenveen. Bradley, who is current with the US ahead of June’s World Cup qualifiers, also made stops at Borussia Mönchengladbach, Aston Villa and Chievo Verona before landing at Roma ahead of the 2012-13 season.
“We are pleased to welcome AS Roma as the opponent for the MLS All Stars in the 2013 All-Star Game in Kansas City,” MLS Commissioner Don Garber said in a statement. “As the winner of multiple Serie A and Coppa Italia titles, Roma is one of Italy’s most popular and successful clubs. We are also proud to welcome back Roma midfielder Michael Bradley. Michael began his professional career in MLS as a 16-year old and has become one of the most successful American players of this era."
The MLS All-Stars are 6-2-1 against outside competition, and defeated Chelsea 3-2 in the 2012 edition at PPL Park in Philadelphia. Manchester United, Everton, Celtic, West Ham, Fulham and Chivas Guadalajara have also lined up against the best the league has to offer in the past.
Roma, which is the only Italian club owned and managed by a group based in the US, will bring stars such as Francesco Totti, Daniele De Rossi, Erik Lamela, Maarten Stekelenburg and Bradley to Sporting Park after finishing sixth in Serie A this season.
"We look forward to playing against the best talent in MLS,” AS Roma CEO Italo Zanzi said. “The All-Star game has proven to be a serious and competitive match and will be an important part of our preparation for next season. We're also very happy that it will highlight Michael Bradley's important role at Roma and for the US national team."
This summer's event is the first MLS All-Star game held in Kansas City, and another showcase for Sporting Park. Since opening in June 2011, the stadium has garnered plaudits throughout soccer circles as one of the best venues of its size in the world while hosting events such as the 2012 Lamar Hunt US Open Cup Championship, US men and women’s national team matches, CONCACAF Gold Cup games and the 2012 CONCACAF Olympic Qualifying semifinals and championship. Sporting Park will also host the US’ World Cup qualifier against Jamaica on October 11.
“We are honored to host AS Roma for the 2013 MLS All-Star Game. The weeklong events and game will be great for Kansas City as our fans here deserve it,” Sporting Club CEO Robb Heineman said. “Our ownership group and organization is setting a strong emphasis on making this the best All-Star game there has been in our league. We welcome AS Roma, a great club with tremendous history, to Sporting Park on July 31st where it will be as loud and passionate as ever.”
In addition to the match, AT&T will host five days of events at the Power and Light District in downtown Kansas City, including a July 30 concent by Silversun Pickups.