The International Champions Cup is gaining traction across the United States, as eight of the world’s top clubs compete mostly in NFL stadiums and Major League Baseball parks converted to soccer fields.
Juventus and A.S. Roma, the top two Italian Serie A teams in 2016-17, will bring its storied rivalry to Gillette Stadium Sunday at 4 p.m. Juventus edged out Roma by four points to win the Serie A title last season.
Boston will be Roma’s third visit on its United States tour, with games in Detroit and Harrison, N.J., in a week’s span. Roma began practicing at Harvard last Thursday.
“Our experience has been very nice because of the tradition around Harvard,” Roma coach Eusebio Di Francesco said. “In general, Boston is a sports city full of history, tradition, and legacy. It is a pleasure to be here. Our president [Jim Pallotta] is from Boston, so it is probably the most fitting place to be.”
In the early fall last year, Roma contacted Harvard about holding practices at its Allston facilities. Harvard has hosted many of the world’s top soccer clubs in recent summers, including Manchester United, Liverpool, and Inter Milan. International squads Brazil and Argentina trained at Harvard last summer ahead of their Copa America matches.
Since Roma arrived in Boston July 20, the squad has practiced on Harvard soccer’s Ohiri Field, adjacent to Harvard Stadium, and weight-trained inside the Palmer Dixon Strength and Conditioning Center.
In European soccer, the summer is the offseason, but transfer activity and international friendlies enliven the transitional period. Within the past 1½ month, Roma has acquired six new players and appointed Di Francesco.
Despite finishing second in the Serie A…