The biggest international tournament in Europe will receive a bit of MLS flair this month with three MLS players make final preparations as UEFA EURO 2016 kicks off later this week. Colorado Rapids Designated Player Shkëlzen Gashi is set to make history, as he leads Albania to its first ever appearance at Euros facing Switzerland in the opening match of group play on Saturday, June 11 at Stade Bollart-Delelis in Lens Agglo, France (9 a.m. ET, ESPN). It will be an emotional matchup for Gashi against some friendly and familiar faces, as he was born in Switzerland and played at the Under-17,19 and 21 levels for the youth national team. Gashi is part of a Rapids squad sitting atop the Supporters’ Shield standings approaching the midway point of the season. A two-time winner of the Golden Boot in the Swiss Super League, Gashi has proven pivotal in Colorado’s attack in his first season with the Rapids with two goals and three assists, including a game-winning goal for his first MLS score on April 13.
Joining Gashi at Euro 2016 is LA Galaxy forward Robbie Keane, once again representing the Republic of Ireland as team captain. The all-time leader for Ireland in both caps and goals scored, Keane has four goals in six matches for the Galaxy this season. Ireland kicks off Euro 2016 play against Sweden on Monday, June 13 at Stade de France in Saint-Denis, France (12 p.m. ET, ESPN). The final MLS member playing in Euro 2016 is Montreal Impact defender Laurent Ciman who scored his first international goal in heroic fashion with a game-winning goal against Norway in a friendly match on June 5. Ciman pulled in the hardware in his first season in MLS last year, winning the MLS Defender of the Year while being named to the Best XI and MLS All-Star squads. Belgium will face Italy on Monday, June 13 for its opening match of Euro 2016 play at Stade de Lyon in Lyon, France (3 p.m. ET, ESPN).