2012 soccer calendar: European Championship, Olympics, World Cup qualifying, African Cup of Nations

With 2011 winding down, we look ahead to a busy 2012 calendar for soccer/football/futbol/fussball/calcio.....

Jan. 3: USA men’s training camp opens (roster).

Jan. 12: MLS draft in Kansas City, Mo. (two rounds).

Jan. 13: WPS draft in Kansas City, Mo.

Jan. 17: MLS supplemental draft.

Jan. 19-29: CONCACAF Olympic women’s qualifying in Vancouver (Two berths at stake. Group A: Canada, Costa Rica, Cuba, Haiti; Group B: USA, Mexico, Guatemala, Dominican Republic).

Jan. 21: USA men vs. Venezuela friendly in Glendale, Ariz.

Jan. 21-Feb. 12: African Cup on Nations in Gabon and Equatorial Guinea (Group A: Equatorial Guinea, Libya, Senegal, Zambia; Group B: Ivory Coast, Sudan, Burkina Faso, Angola; Group C: Gabon, Niger, Morocco, Tunisia; Group D: Ghana, Botswana, Mali, Guinea).

Jan. 25: USA men at Panama friendly in Panama City.

Feb. 11: USA women vs. New Zealand friendly in Frisco, Tex.

Feb. 29: FIFA fixture date.

Feb. 29: USA men at Italy friendly (probable).

March 6-15: CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinals (Morelia-Monterrey, Toronto-Galaxy, Sounders-Santos Laguna, Metapan-Pumas).

March 10: MLS opening day.

March 22-April 2: CONCACAF Olympic men’s qualifying in Nashville, Carson, Calif., and Kansas City, Kan. (Two berths at stake. Group A: USA, Canada, El Salvador, Cuba; Group B: Mexico, Honduras, Panama, T&T).

March 27-April 3: CONCACAF Champions League semifinals.

April 17-24: CONCACAF Champions League finals.

April 21: Real Madrid at FC Barcelona.

April 24: Olympic group draws in London.

May 5: FA Cup final in London.

May 9: UEFA Europa League final in Bucharest.

May 19: UEFA Champions League final in Munich.

June 2: South American World Cup qualifying resumes.

June 8: CONCACAF World Cup qualifying, third round begins (USA vs. Antigua, Mexico vs. Guyana, Canada at Cuba, three others).

June 8-July 1: European Championship in Poland and Ukraine (Group A: Poland, Greece, Russia, Czech Republic; Group B: Netherland, Germany, Denmark, Portugal; Group C: Spain, Italy, Ireland, Croatia; Group D: Ukraine, Sweden, France, England.)

June 12: CONCACAF World Cup qualifying, matchday #2 (USA at Guatemala, Mexico at El Salvador, Canada vs. Honduras, three others).

June 26-July 5: Copa Libertadores finals.

July 25-Aug. 9: Olympic women’s tournament in Manchester, Newcastle, Glasgow, Coventry, Cardiff, London. (Great Britain, France, Sweden, Brazil, Colombia, Cameroon, South Africa, Japan, North Korea, 2 CONCACAF teams, 1 Oceania team).

July 26-Aug. 11: Olympic men’s tournament in Manchester, Newcastle, Glasgow, Coventry, Cardiff, London. (Great Britain, Spain, Switzerland, Belarus, Brazil, Uruguay, Egypt, Morocco, Gabon, 3 Asian teams, 2 CONCACAF teams, 1 Oceania team, Asia-Africa playoff winner).

Aug. 15: FIFA fixture date.

Sept. 7: CONCACAF World Cup qualifying, matchday #3 (USA at Jamaica, Mexico at Costa Rica, Canada vs. Panama, three others).

Sept. 7: UEFA World Cup qualifying begins.

Sept. 11: CONCACAF World Cup qualifying, matchday #4 (USA vs. Jamaica, Mexico vs. Costa Rica, Canada at Panama, three others).

Sept. 22-Oct. 13: FIFA Under-17 Women’s World Cup in Azerbaijan.

Oct. 12: CONCACAF World Cup qualifying, matchday #5 (USA at Antigua, Mexico at Guyana, Canada vs. Cuba, three others).

Oct. 16: CONCACAF World Cup qualifying, matchday #6 (USA vs. Guatemala, Mexico vs. El Salvador, Canada at Honduras, three others).

Nov. 14: FIFA fixture date.

Late November: MLS Cup, hosted by club with most regular season points.

Nov. 30-Dec. 2: NCAA women’s College Cup, venue TBA.

Dec. 6-16: FIFA Club World Cup in Japan.

Dec. 7-9: NCAA men’s College Cup in Hoover, Ala.

Steven Goff is The Post’s soccer writer. His beats include D.C. United, MLS and the international game, as well as local college basketball.
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