To call the International Champions Cup a prestigious soccer tournament would be a bit of a stretch. After all, the event will only mark its third year in 2015. It also takes place during the summer months, and is labeled as "friendly" tournament rather than as a competitive one. Still, the Champions Cup is cool for how it brings high-profile football clubs to the stadiums of the United States and Canada. Last year the Red Devils won, but can Manchester United defend International Champions Cup title this summer?

North America has typically been much less into soccer than the rest of the world, but the International Champions Cup seems to be changing that. For instance, last year 109,318 people filed into the Big House in Ann Arbor, Michigan-the home of the University of Michigan Wolverines-to see a battle between Manchester United and Real Madrid. It was the highest attendance ever for a soccer fixture in the United States, and while the proximity to the World Cup definitely drove interest, it represented a growing appreciation for association football in the USA.

Manchester United Kit

Manchester United: Defending Champions

With this summer's 2015 International Champions Cup, we are excited to learn whether or not American soccer fandom will continue to grow. Perhaps even more than that, we can't wait to see whether or not Manchester United will be able to defend their title from 2014.

It was something of a surprise last summer, when the Red Devils cruised to victory in the International Champions Cup. The club were coming off their worst Premier League finish since 1990, and while hopes were high for new manager Louis van Gaal, no one was sure how long it would take Manchester United to recover from their slump.

Not very long, it seemed. Manchester United roared into the ICC group stage looking like a team with something to prove. Whatever that was, they certainly did prove it, hammering Roma 3-2 in Denver, beating Internazionale on penalty kicks in Landover, Maryland, and crushing a decorated Real Madrid squad 3-1 in Ann Arbor. By the time the Red Devils had beaten their fellow Premier Leaguers from Liverpool in the ICC final (a 3-1 victory lap in Miami), it looked like Manchester United were back and better than ever.

Something to Prove

As it turned out, the 2014 International Champions Cup was something of a red herring. Manchester United did bounce back in the 2014 2015 season, but not like many had hoped them to bounce back. The football squad ultimately finished in fourth place in the Premier League, and failed to win any major cup or continental titles. And while fourth place doesn't look bad on paper, it sounds a lot worse when you consider the fact that the Red Devils finished in the top three every season from 1991 1992 up to 2012 2013.

The good news in all of this is that American football fans will once again get to see a Manchester United team with something to prove. Louis van Gaal and his team have laid the groundwork for recovery. Now, in 2015 2016, they need to start building upon that foundation and incorporating new talent into the mix. The 2015 International Champions Cup will be the team's first chance to do that, so expect to see them playing at full force come the end of July.

The 2015 International Champions Cup

So can the wearers of the Manchester United away shirt 2014 2015 defend their ICC title in 2015? Well, considering how the tournament is changing this year, that question doesn't really have a simple "yes" or "no" answer.

Where the prior incarnations of this tournament took place exclusively in the United States and Canada, the 2015 ICC will be split up into three editions and played around the world. An Australian iteration of the tournament will feature just three teams-Manchester City, Real Madrid, and Roma. A China-based version will be similarly limited-with Real Madrid, Internazionale, and Milan being the only teams scheduled to play.

The main tournament will still play out mostly in North America, and that portion of ICC 2015 is where we will see Manchester United. Their first match will take place on July 17th and will be an away fixture against Mexican team América. Games are also scheduled between Man United and the San Jose Earthquakes (July 21st), Barcelona (July 25th), and Paris Saint Germain (July 29th).

Needless to say, the Red Devils will face some tough competition as they fight to defend their International Champions Cup title. Do you think they can do it? Stop by Soccer Box today to pick up a Manchester United football jersey in support of the club!