International friendlies tournaments don’t count toward team or player statistics, but they’re a great way to get extra game time. Teams often participate in international friendlies matches to prepare for tournaments, such as the FIFA World Cup, or as preseason conditioning. Let’s look at the top reasons soccer players participate in international friendlies.
Provide Player and Team Improvement
Additional playing time during an international friendlies tournament allows players to get extra practice via gameplay, thus improving their fitness and getting them ready for the next big game. These matches are often scheduled before big tournaments or off-season to keep players in shape. International friendlies are used in soccer like spring training is in baseball and preseason play is in the NFL, NBA, and NHL.
International friendly matches also let a team see how the players work together, introduce new players to the team, or try out new strategies or tactics. Teams may want to try new formations, players in different positions, or untested offensive or defensive tactics. The statistics for the game won’t count for the player or the team, so it provides a safe space to try new players or plays.
International friendlies can also allow more players to see the field by eliminating the substitution limits defined by the international soccer rules established by FIFA. National soccer teams often play in other countries, so home-field friendlies can let fans see more of their favorite players or see new players in action.
Hosting an international friendlies tournament is an excellent way to raise funds for soccer programs. Smaller programs often rely on this form of fundraising to pay for operating expenses incurred throughout the season. Operating fees include stadium and facility maintenance, youth academies, marketing and administrative needs, or travel.
Teams can also fundraise for a charity by hosting an international friendlies tournament. Participating teams will usually donate all money from ticket sales, creating a significant donation for the charity of their choice. Matches can also be played as testimonials, where players donate their earnings from the game to a designated charity. These players often have played on the team for a long time or are retiring.
Select National Rosters
If a country believes they have a chance at sending a team to the FIFA World Cup, they may organize international friendlies tournaments to help select a national roster. Countries can use all players native to their country to form a World Cup team, regardless of the team or league that player belongs to during the regular season. International friendlies let the national team’s coaching staff assess each player’s skills and level of teamwork to pick out the top players for their World Cup team. National rosters allow countries to handpick their lineup.
If you’re interested in watching an international friendlies tournament, you can catch them online, on television, and in person. International friendlies may not affect a player’s statistics or team’s standings, but they can provide the players with extra practice time and fans with an opportunity to watch their favorite team in action.