Before we start, a public service announcement: this column is going to once a week until the end of August because there are fewer major midweek games on the calendar.
Mexico vs. Japan
Friday, 5 a.m. (USA Network, Telemundo)
Sweden vs. Canada
Friday, 8 a.m. (USA Network, Universo)
The women’s soccer gold medal game was originally scheduled for Thursday at 10 p.m. Eastern (11 a.m. in Tokyo), with a nudge from NBC executives who believed the United States would be there. After Canada beat the U.S. in the semifinals, the two finalists saw that it’ll be nearly 100 degrees at kickoff and petitioned the IOC to reschedule the game to a cooler hour. At the last minute, the IOC agreed to the change.
The venue was also changed to the soccer stadium in Yokohama to avoid scheduling conflicts at Tokyo’s Olympic Stadium, where the women’s final was originally to be played.
It was the right thing to do, and a rare example of the IOC putting athletes over TV networks’ profits. Though the time will be just fine for Canadian TV, and certainly for Swedish TV, which gets a 2 p.m. kickoff.
Monaco vs. Nantes
Friday, 3 p.m. (beIN Sports, beIN Sports Español)
After a winter of turmoil because of trouble with TV broadcasters, France’s Ligue 1 kicks off a new season this weekend. Monaco, featuring Cesc Fábregas and on-loan Bayern Munich goalkeeper Alexander Nübel, hopes to improve on last season’s third-place finish. Nantes barely avoided relegation, and one of French soccer’s old powers could be in worse shape now.
It’s a crucial moment for beIN Sports, too. The American outlet of the Qatar-based broadcaster — which runs Ligue 1′s global distribution and has a big-time channel in France — lost Spain’s La Liga to ESPN, which means the French league is its highest-profile European soccer property. Its other big-ticket item is South America’s Copa Libertadores.
That combination isn’t enough to merit wider distribution on cable and satellite platforms, especially Comcast. If another U.S. network is able to buy Ligue 1 or Copa Libertadores rights, beIN will face some tough questions.
Brazil vs. Spain
Saturday, 7:30 a.m. (Telemundo, NBCOlympics.com)
If you insist that soccer be high-scoring, the Olympics men’s soccer gold medal game might not be for you. But if you’re a fan of quality soccer, this is a must-watch matchup. Richarlison, Matheus Cunha, and veteran Dani Alves lead Brazil against Spain’s Marco Asensio, Mikel Oyarzabal, Pedri, and Dani Olmo.
Note that the game will not be televised live on an English-language linear TV channel. It was originally scheduled to be on NBCSN, but the channel will have live coverage of the baseball gold medal game between the U.S. and Japan instead. USA Network will show the game tape-delayed at 9:30 a.m., and CNBC will show it at 8 p.m.
Dundee United vs. Rangers
Saturday, 7:30 a.m. (CBS Sports Network)
The first Scottish Premiership game on CBSSN is a reminder that those games are not simulcast on Paramount+. That’s different from how CBS’ deal with the UEFA Champions League and Europa League works, but it’s like how the network’s deal with the NWSL works.
Leicester City vs. Manchester City
Saturday, noon (ESPN+)
The annual Community Shield game kicks off the English soccer season, featuring reigning Premier League champion Manchester City and reigning FA Cup champion Leicester. Man City has had another big offseason, splashing $139 million on Aston Villa playmaker Jack Grealish and lining up an even bigger check for Tottenham’s Harry Kane.
Troyes vs. Paris Saint-Germain
Saturday, 3 p.m. (beIN Sports, beIN Sports Español)
Gotham FC vs. North Carolina Courage
Saturday, 7 p.m. (Paramount+)
As NWSL teams welcome back their Olympic stars, Gotham has quietly risen to second place in the standings with a seven-game winning streak.
Metz vs. Lille
Sunday, 11 a.m. (beIN Sports, beIN Sports Español)
U.S. national team winger Tim Weah and Canadian striker Jonathan David helped Lille dethrone PSG in the spring. The club surprisingly managed to hold on to David and French wingers Jonathan Bamba and Jonathan Ikoné, but might not be able to for much longer.
Montpellier vs. Olympique Marseille
Sunday, 2:45 p.m. (beIN Sports, beIN Sports Español)
Though PSG is France’s biggest-name team and Lille is its reigning champion, Marseille is the country’s traditional soccer power. The club will be worth watching for American fans this season, because it signed U.S. youth national team Konrad de la Fuente from Barcelona.
» READ MORE: The rest of this weekend's Ligue 1 schedule
Independiente vs. Racing Club
Sunday, 7:15 p.m. (Paramount+, PrendeTV)
Few geographic rivalry games in the soccer world have two teams closer to each other than the Avellaneda Derby. Independiente’s Estadio Libertadores de América, which hosts this edition, is just over a soccer field’s length down the street from Racing’s Estadio Presidente Peron.
Shakhtar Donetsk vs. Genk
Tuesday, 1:30 p.m. (Paramount+)
The first leg of this UEFA Champions League qualifying playoff second round series was a 2-1 win for Shakhtar on Genk’s home turf, putting Mark McKenzie’s team in a big hole for the second leg in Ukraine.
Monterrey vs. Cruz Azul
Wednesday, 10 p.m. (FS1, TUDN)
The day before the Union’s Champions League semifinal series against Club América kicks off, the other semifinal gets underway. It’s an all-Mexican matchup, and its winner will likely be favored to win the title. Monterrey’s Rogelio Funes Mori and Cruz Azul’s Orbelin Pineda are marquee talents.