In the Box

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For soccer fans the next couple of months are mouth watering.

The Mexican First Division playoffs are off and running with great matchups like Atlas against UNAM Pumas, Chivas and Atlante, America versus Toluca, and upstart Chiapas taking on Cruz Azul.

Cruz Azul got into the final eight teams after defeating defending champion Pachuca in a home and home series. What is interesting to note is that fans here in Houston got to witness nearly all of these team live at Reliant Stadium during the Texas International Soccer Series and the Interliga tournament.

On June 12 Euro 2004 kicks off in Portugal with the host nation taking on Greece. Suspense is heightening for this tournament as the date gets closer.

To put it simply this is like a mini-world cup featuring the best of Europe. Sixteen teams in four groups will fight for the right to be called Europe's best.

Early matches of note that you will not want to miss include England against France on June 13 and Germany taking on the Netherlands on June 15.

South America's equivalent of Euro-2004 is the Copa America beginning on July 6 in Peru with the host nation taking on Bolivia. The Copa America is the oldest national teams tournament in the world having been created in 1916.

This summer's version will be the 41st time the right to be champion of South America will be contested.

South American giants like Brazil and Argentina are the favorites in the 12-team tournament but many eyes will be on Concacaf representatives Mexico and Costa Rica to see how they fare against their rivals to the south.

So if you are not lucky enough to be able to go to Portugal and Peru how can you catch the drama?

The games will be carried pay per view so you have the ability to buy the complete package of games or selected individual ones at home.

A great option is to go to local bars that will be carrying the package like Big John's and the Richmond Arms to name a few.

NBC will carry the men's and women's soccer competition from Athens, Greece in August. This will be an opportunity for the United States Women to win Gold and avenge their World Cup loss to Germany. This will also be Mia Hamm's final run with the national team as she has stated she will retire.

The U.S. men did not qualify but the positive way of looking at it is players like Landon Donovan and DaMarcus Beasley can focus on World Cup qualifying which you can catch on ESPN starting on June 13 in Columbus, Ohio.

The long arduous process to get to World Cup 2006 in Germany begins.

Still with me?

Let's not forget Major League Soccer on ESPN, Fox, and HDNET.

As a broadcaster for HDNET along with Marcelo Balboa the pictures in high definition are stunning and a great compliment to the special game of soccer. If you haven't seen it check it out in Circuit City to get a taste of what soccer in High Defintion television looks like.

What about live options?

Why not head north on I-45 to the Cotton Bowl in Dallas to catch the re-vamped Dallas Burn take on MLS rivals. Time your visit to catch defending MLS Cup Champions the San Jose Earthquakes and Landon Donovan or the Chicago Fire and DaMarcus Beasley.

How about the LA Galaxy and their strike force of Carlos Ruiz, Jovan Kirovski, and former Bayern Munich man Andres Herzog?

Or you could catch former Houston area youth players like Eric Quill and Chris Gbandi (Dallas), Rusty Pierce (NE Revolution), and Arturo Alvarez (San Jose Earthquakes) plying their trade.

As for Houston, the rumor is that an English Premiership team will play two games here in August at Reliant Stadium during the Texas International Soccer Series.

After excitement like the U.S. and Mexico and the Interliga Tournament at Reliant Stadium this will be one not to be missed.

An English Premiership team in Houston, I for one can't wait.

Here's to hoping you you have time to  hold down your job!

Davis is a nationally recognized broadcaster for HDNET where he partners up with former U.S. National Team defender Marcelo Balboa. He was one of the lead voices for ESPN during the 2002 World Cup and has called major international soccer matches for the Fox Network as well.  He is a weekly columnist for the Houston Chronicle and hosts the "Soccer Hour with Glenn Davis" radio show on 90.1KPFT FM Radio every Sunday from 5-6 pm.  Davis played soccer professionally for the Houston Dynamos where he was a league all star selection and team captain.

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