Top 2014 NFL Training Camp Sites

NFLTrainingCampDiehard football fans look forward to August in much the same way that children look forward to Christmas morning.  After a five-month post-Super Bowl hiatus, the National Football League finally starts staging games again every August.  The slate begins, as always, on August 3 with the Hall of Fame Game, which features the New York Giants and the Buffalo Bills this year.  The 2014 NFL regular season kicks off a month later on Thursday, September 4, when the Green Bay Packers travel to Seattle to face the Seahawks.  If four weeks of exhibition games aren’t enough to satisfy your football urges, we recommend checking out the following NFL training camps:

Pittsburgh Steelers, Saint Vincent College, Latrobe, Pennsylvania

With six titles, the Steelers are the most successful team in the Super Bowl era.  Since 1967, they’ve been training in Latrobe, hometown of the first Rolling Rock brewery, golfer Arnold Palmer, and Fred Rogers (a.k.a. “Mr. Rogers”).  If you’re hoping to watch the Steelers train, consider staying in Pittsburgh, which is 40 miles from Latrobe and offers world-class attractions.

NFLTrainingCamp_FootballGreen Bay Packers, St. Norbert College, De Pere, Wisconsin

The Packers, the only publicly-owned team in the NFL, have captured four Super Bowl titles.  2014 marks their 57th straight year of training in De Pere, a suburb of Green Bay.  Visitors can take in all of the charms and amenities of the third-largest city in Wisconsin, including Lambeau Field, the Green Bay Botanical Garden, and more.

Oakland Raiders, Marriott Napa Valley Spa and Resort, Napa, California

The Raiders have three Super Bowl rings, not to mention perhaps the nicest training-camp location in the NFL.  Since their 1995 return to Oakland, the Raiders have been working out in Napa Valley, i.e., Wine Country, which boasts approximately 400 wineries across the county.  A renowned tourist destination, Napa offers plentiful accommodations to suit every taste.

Dallas Cowboys, River Ridge Playing Fields, Oxnard, California

The Cowboys, named “America’s Team” by NFL Films after losing Super Bowl XIII to the Steelers, have five Super Bowl titles, tied with San Francisco for second all-time.  They return to Oxnard in 2014, the ninth time they’ve held camp there.  A coastal city about 40 miles southeast of Santa Barbara, Oxnard visitors can catch the Ventura County Fair, Concerts by the Sea, and other events when they’re not watching the Cowboys train.

(Please note that public training sessions for the Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks in Renton, Washington, are already sold out.)

Travel Plus, Everywhere, USA

Whether you’re attending an NFL training camp or just getting away from it all, you can earn 5% cash back on flight, hotel, and rental-car reservations by making them through Travel Plus — plus you can get cash back on all sorts of travel services, including airline needs, hotel perks, rental-car extras, Wi-Fi, and more.  Wherever you go, there you are, but when you get there with Travel Plus, you know you’re saving on all your travel plans.

Advertisements

Where to Watch 2014 FIFA World Cup Stars in the United States This Summer

FIFA_coverThe 2014 FIFA World Cup™ caught the attention of the U.S. population like no previous World Cup ever.  The final game on July 13, in which Germany defeated Argentina 1-0 on a goal by Mario Götze in extra time, drew a combined audience of 25.6 million on ABC and Univision, making it the most-watched soccer game in U.S. history.  The U.S.-Portugal group-stage match-up on June 22 set an English-language broadcast record, with 18.7 million people tuning in nationwide.  If you’re hoping to continue to feed your futbol fever this summer, you’re in luck:  Quite a few World Cup stars will be playing the 2014 Guinness International Champions Cup in North America this summer.  Below are a few opportunities for you to catch the action, live or on TV.

Manchester United v. Inter (Milan), July 29, FedEx Field, Washington, D.C.

Under the watchful eye of new manager Louis van Gaal, who led the Netherlands to a third-place finish in the World Cup, Manchester United is hoping to rebound from a disappointing 2013-14 English Premier League (EPL) season.  Among the World Cup stars expected to play for Man U. are Wayne Rooney and Danny Welbeck (England), Juan Mata (Spain), and Shinji Kagawa (Japan).  Inter plans to field World Cuppers Yuto Nagatomo (Japan), Saphir Taider (Algeria), and Fredy Guarín (Colombia).

FIFA_kick

Liverpool FC v. Manchester City, July 30, Yankee Stadium, New York, NY

Following its second-place EPL finish last season, Liverpool plans to use World Cup stars Pepe Reina (Spain), Sebastian Coates (Uruguay), Steven Gerrard, Raheem Sterling, and Daniel Sturridge (England), and Kolo Toure (Ivory Coast).  Manchester City will counter with a squad of international stand-outs like David Silva (Spain), Yaya Toure (Ivory Coast), Joe Hart (England), and Edin Dzeko (Bosnia and Herzegovina).

Olympiacos vs. Manchester City, July 30, Yankee Stadium, New York, NY

Champions of the Greek Super League last year, Olympiacos will field several Greek national team members, including Ioannnis Maniatis, José Holebas, and Konstantinos Manolas, against a Man City squad preparing to defend its 2013-14 EPL crown.

Manchester United vs. Real Madrid, August 2, Michigan Stadium, Ann Arbor, MI

Although James Rodriguez (Columbia), the 2014 World Cup breakout star and Golden Boot winner who recently signed with Real Madrid, probably won’t play, the squad will feature World Cup participants Pepe and Fábio Coentrão (Portugal), as well as Xabi Alonso (Spain).  Unfortunately, though, Real Madrid stars Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal), Toni Kroos (Germany), and Keylor Navas (Costa Rica) will be skipping the tournament.

FIFA_goalie

Join Travel Plus

When traveling across the U.S., be sure to earn 5% cash back on airline, hotel, and rental-car reservations by making them through Travel Plus.  You can also save on a variety of travel extras, including in-flight entertainment, hotel services, rental-car gear, and Wi-Fi wherever you go.  And if you’re among the millions of Americans who got caught up in the excitement of the 2014 World Cup, be sure to check out the August 6 MLS All-Star Game in Portland, OR, featuring eight U.S. men’s team performers.

August Vacation Destinations in the United States

grand_canyonIf you’re a hardcore summertime devotee, the start of August can test your “is the glass half-full or half-empty?” philosophy:  You still have a month of “official” summer to enjoy, but you only have one month of summer left.  However you look at it, if you haven’t taken a summer vacation yet, the clock is definitely ticking.  In the spirit of assistance, we hereby offer you a few choice August vacation destinations across the country:

marthas

Martha’s Vineyard

There are plenty of other great August vacation destinations across the United States; feel free to share your favorite spots in the Comments section.  Wherever you go, be sure you make your plans early enough to find accommodations, of course.  And be sure to book your travel through Travel Plus if you want to earn 5% cash back on reservations and enjoy cash-back rebates on airline, hotel, rental-car, and Wi-Fi services.  Enjoy your final “official” month of summer!