LOS ANGELES (AP) — Charlie Stillitano initially feared he would have trouble persuading Europe's top soccer clubs to jet off around the globe this summer for the International Champions Cup, because it begins mere days after the World Cup ends.

Turns out the man behind the world's largest summer club tournament had no worries. With no exceptions, the biggest teams all lined up to use the ICC as part of their preparation for their new domestic season, and American soccer fans again will reap the greatest benefits.

"We were thinking teams may not want to travel, but everyone was like, 'No, we've got to get ready for the season,'" Stillitano said. "We can't not have a preseason. I'll have my players meet me from the World Cup directly here.' Managers have picked up on the preparation they can do. I think this has been a real turning point this year."

That turning point is reflected in the 18-team field for the sixth edition of this tournament, which begins July 20 and stretches into early August at stadiums in the U.S., Europe and Singapore.

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Stillitano is an enthusiastic promoter of his event, but the ICC requires no hyperbole: The biggest clubs in Europe are all in, including all of the world's 14 richest teams as ranked by Forbes.

All eight Champions League quarterfinalists are contained in a field that includes all of England's Big Six clubs, four Italian powerhouses, Germany's two best-known teams, Paris Saint-Germain and Spanish giants Real Madrid, Barcelona and Atletico Madrid.

And the schedule holds several eye-catching matchups: Manchester United plays Liverpool at Ann Arbor's Michigan Stadium, where Real Madrid and Man United drew a U.S. soccer-record 109,318 fans in 2014; English champions Manchester City play German champions Bayern Munich in Miami on July 28, followed three days later by a Real-Man United rematch, also in Hard Rock Stadium; and Barcelona plays Tottenham at Southern California's venerable Rose Bowl.

Not every big star will play in every game, of course. But the ICC also unveiled a new format designed to undermine any notion that these games are meaningless training exhibitions: Every team will play three matches, and one champion will be crowned with the most points in a unified table.

While the young tournament initially gained its foothold in teams' summer plans through appearance fees, most clubs now see the greater benefit in showcasing their brand and sport to audiences that only see them on television for the rest of the year.

That benefit has become so obvious that it has led to another surprising development, according to Stillitano.

"We've had a couple of teams call us — I can't say who, because it would be embarrassing — but they said they would like to pay us to play in the ICC," Stillitano said. "Almost everyone — especially the growing teams, the teams that want to be in the upper echelon — say, 'It's important to us. We need to be in it.' It's seen as a bellwether for where you are in the pecking order of football."

Of the ICC's 27 matches, 17 will be held in the U.S. Most teams will play at least once stateside, although Arsenal, Chelsea, Atletico Madrid and Inter Milan are sticking to Singapore or Europe this year.

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Former Barcelona winger Luis Garcia can only marvel at the growth in the American appetite for top European teams. He traveled to Boston and Washington with Barca in 2002 for exhibition play against Juventus, and he remembers seeing only 10,000 people in the stands — a shock for players used to frenzied crowds everywhere they go.

"It's very important for Barcelona to be in this competition," said Garcia, who also played for ICC participants Liverpool and Atletico Madrid. "Football passion in the USA has been growing so much. Every team wants to be a part of it, and this tournament is a great opportunity to show yourself to lots of fans."