Daily news roundups

Quotes from BSFC USL unveiling, Carroll on his future, playoffs begin tonight, Wambach retires, more

Photo: Courtesy of Philadelphia Union

Philadelphia Union

“This is the most exciting time in the Union’s six-year history,” said Jim Curtin at Tuesday’s unveiling of Bethlehem Steel FC as the name of the Union’s USL franchise. And who can blame him for feeling that way with the announcement coming a day after Earnie Stewart was announced as the club’s new sporting director, and majority owner Jay Sugarman saying the team is ready to spend significant money on players.

Dave Rowan said at the Bethlehem Steel FC announcement event, “Soccer emanates from communities and from neighborhoods, and there’s not a better way to start this franchise in an area that exudes neighborhoods and friends and family. My great grandfather worked in the steel mills behind us, and so many people have put in a lot of time and effort to make this city and this area remember the history of that. We are honored to be part of that to carry on that legacy at the Philadelphia Union and our franchise in the USL.”

Minority owner Richie Graham said, “As a club, we have made some significant investments in the manufacturing process of building the American player. Our USL team here in the Lehigh Valley represents a critical step in the forging process, for it is here that the future stars of American soccer will be made. We’re very excited to be a part of that.”

Curtin described, “Our job is to put a team on the field that represents the hard work and blue-collared nature of this town. We will play a high-pressured game, an in-you-face style, that attacks and is aggressive going for goal. The team will be assembled with a blend of first team players, so you will see our first-team players playing in this group, our top academy players will play here. We have the top academy in MLS right now. We are stetting the ground and paving the way in that regard. There will be a bunch of current rising stars in MLS. So it will be a blend of the three.” Curtin also said open tryouts for the team will be held soon.

Reports from PSP, Philadelphia Union, USLLehigh UniversityMLSsoccer.comAllentown Morning Call, Lehigh Valley Live, Lehigh Valley BusinessPhilly.com, Delco Times, CSN PhillyPhilly Soccer News, Brotherly Game, Vavel, Sons of Penn, Soccer AmericaEmpire of Soccer, and Junior College.

At MLSsoccer.com, Dave Zeitlin speaks to Brian Carroll about his future with the Union. Carroll believes he can still be an effective player for the team in 2016 before transitioning to an off the field role whether on the technical staff or in the front office. “The hope and the plan is to work something out to be a part of the team next year and then see what happens as far as transitioning into the club beyond the playing days in the future. There have been a few ideas floated around. We’ll just have to see what works best for my family but also keeps the best interest of the club at heart as well.”

Fresh on the heels of being named to MLSsoccer.com’s Team of the Week, Andre Blake is up for Save of the Week. Also nominated is Zac MacMath, who is on loan to Colorado.

Philly Sports Network has praise for Richie Marquez.

Looking ahead to January’s SuperDraft in Maryland, Brotherly Game says the Union should select the best player available regardless of position, as they did when they selected Andre Blake.

Local

The USWNT visited the White House on Tuesday to be honored for their World Cup victory. Naturally, local lass Carli Lloyd was singled out by President Barack Obama. The AP has the story:

Obama singled out midfielder Carli Lloyd, who was named the tournament’s most valuable player after scoring three goals in the final. He noted that Lloyd’s title on Wikipedia was jokingly changed during the game to president of the United States, a job Obama said “is about to open up.”

“What’s another candidate in the mix,” Obama said. Dinging the 2016 Republican presidential field, he added, “I guarantee Carli knows more about being president than some of the folks running.”

More at Burlington County Times, and FIFA. You can view video of the ceremony here (fast forward to 41:20).

Best Obama quote from the visit: “This team taught all America’s children that ‘playing like a girl’ means you’re a badass.”

Three area teams make the Top 25 in the latest USA Today/NSCAA high school boys soccer national rankings: Central Bucks East (Doylestown, Pa.) at No. 15, Father Judge (Philadelphia) at No. 24, and Washington Township (Sewell, N.J.) at No. 25.

Three area teams also make the latest national rankings for girls soccer: Cumberland Valley (Mechanicsburg, Pa.) at No. 7, Central Bucks East (Doylestown, Pa.) at No. 20, and Immaculate Heart Academy (Township of Washington, N.J.) at No. 25.

MLS

Postseason play begins tonight with DC hosting New England at 7:30 pm, and Seattle hosting Los Angeles at 10:30 pm. Both games are on UniMas and MLS Live. The winners advance, the losers start their vacation. At ESPN, previews of DC-NE and Seattle-LA.

Toronto Sun reports Toronto’s traveling support is being investigated for lighting flares during Sunday’s Decision Day loss to Montreal and may be banned from sitting together when the two teams face one another in Thursday night’s knockout round game. More at Waking the Red.

The Guardian considers why it is tougher than ever for an expansion team to reach the postseason in its debut season.

Is Mike Petke a candidate for the vacant head coach position at Chicago Fire?

Zlatan Ibrahimovic to David Beckham’s Miami franchise?

Orlando will travel to Brazil to play Flamengo in a friendly at the Maracana on Nov. 15.

The New York Times looks MLS’ popularity in England with a piece on the guys who run the MLSGB blog. The Times reports,

East, Ashton and Addley say they prefer M.L.S. precisely because it is not the Premier League. The games are more wide open and the outcomes less predictable, they said, and recent imports like Didier Drogba, Steven Gerrard and Sebastian Giovinco have elevated the level of play…

East and his friends also prefer M.L.S. for precisely the reasons its critics deride it: a playoff system that gives at least a dozen teams a chance at the title; the parity of a two-conference system; and the lack of relegation, which in other countries can banish a fan’s favorite team out of the top flight for good. In comparison to the staid leagues of Europe, which are often dominated by a handful of top teams, those features add to the excitement, they said.

“One of the things that’s more enjoyable is there’s so much they can do to improve the league,” said Addley, who, like his friends, has never seen an M.L.S. match in person.

Reuters reports, “Retired English soccer star David Beckham is considering a proposal to build a sports high school at a new soccer stadium in Miami as part of his quest to bring a Major League Soccer team to the city.”

A Feel for the Game,” or behind the scenes with an MLS referee. Interesting video.

US

Hours after visiting the White House with her World Cup-winning teammates, Abby Wambach, the all-time goal leader in international soccer with 184 tallies in 252 caps, announced she will retire after appearing for the US against China in New Orleans on Dec. 16. I would not be surprised if she’s coaching the USWNT within the next five years.

If you don’t mind getting a little teary-eyed, scroll through the replies to Wambach’s tweet thanking her fans.

Accolades to Wambach, and analysis, at ESPNW, Goal.com, SI, Rochester Democrat & ChronicleSeattle Times, and Soccer WireESPNW has ten top moments from Wambach’s storied career.

Elsewhere

FIFA has announced seven candidates to replace Sepp Blatter as president of soccer’s world governing body, although Michel Platini’s candidature will not be processed until after the end of his current ban. The candidates will now have to pass integrity checks before being allowed to run for the presidency. More at ESPN. Reviews of the candidates at SI (Lyttleton, Wahl). Soccer America takes a closer look at the background of Bahrain’s Sheikh Salman bin Ebrahim al-Khalifa.

Despite being prohibited from doing interviews while he is serving the ban given to him and Michel Platini by the FIFA ethics committee, Sepp Blatter has given an extensive interview with Russian news agency TASS. And, boy oh boy, it’s a doozy, with attacks on Michel Platini, denials of any responsibility for FIFA’s problems, suggestions that the US investigation into FIFA corruption is a case of sour grapes over not winning the hosting rights to the 2022 World Cup, as well as talk of US “takeover” of FIFA, and declarations of Blatter’s undying admiration and support of Vladimir Putin. More at The Guardian and ESPN, and US Soccer Players.

But while all of Blatter’s classless mudslinging is lots of fun, there’s also this: According to Blatter, a deal was in place for Russia to be awarded the hosting rights to the 2018 World Cup, and the US the 2022 hosting rights, before the executive committee vote in 2010:

In 2010 we had a discussion of the World Cup and then we went to a double decision. For the World Cups it was agreed that we go to Russia because it’s never been in Russia, eastern Europe, and for 2022 we go back to America. And so we will have the World Cup in the two biggest political powers. And everything was good until the moment when [then French president Nicolas Sarkozy] came in a meeting with the crown prince of Qatar, who is now the ruler of Qatar (Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani). And at a lunch afterwards with Mr. Platini he said it would be good to go to Qatar. And this has changed all pattern. There was an election by secret ballot. Four votes from Europe went away from the USA and so the result was fourteen to eight. If you put the four votes, it would have been twelve to ten. If the USA was given the World Cup, we would only speak about the wonderful World Cup 2018 in Russia and we would not speak about any problems at FIFA.

More from Sky Sports.

Also from Sky Sports, “Fresh allegations that bribes were paid to help Germany secure the 2006 World Cup have surfaced with claims that a FIFA member from New Zealand was paid 250,000 US dollars on the eve of the vote.”

The AP reports, “The head of organizing the 2014 World Cup in Brazil has agreed to be extradited to the United States in the FIFA bribery case.” The Swiss department of justice says Jose Maria Marin “must be placed in the custody of a U.S. police escort and taken to the USA within 10 days.”

Reuters has more on the UK’s Serious Fraud Office investigation into possible FIFA corruption.

22 Comments

  1. Richie Graham, the erudite.
    .
    A man who chooses his words carefully.
    .
    Thank you A. Wambach.

  2. Am I only one wishing David Beckham’s Miami franchise would just go away already? Now they’re getting Zlatan?

    • No one “gets” Zlatan.
      Zlatan gets them.

    • By the time they get their act together, Zlatan will have been retired for 10 years so it’s not that big a deal.

    • I am with you. I don’t mind Beckham, as he’s quite dreamy, but Miami as a necessary MLS franchise destination gets on my nerves. MIAMI IS THE WORST SPORTS TOWN IN AMERICA. David, put your team in a town where people will care long-term.

  3. When’s the post-Earnie Stewart KYW Philly Soccer Show Podcast going to drop? Can’t wait for the off-season talk to start.

  4. Just Rob f/k/a Rob127 says:

    Congrats on a fine career to Abby Wambach. The Union players could do with a little more of her kind of heart.

  5. We’ll have to see it in action, but for those wondering about Curtin’s desire to play bunker-ball:
    Curtin described, “Our job is to put a team on the field that represents the hard work and blue-collared nature of this town. We will play a high-pressured game, an in-you-face style, that attacks and is aggressive going for goal.”
    .
    Sounds like he and Earnie had that meeting about playing a more aesthetically pleasing and attacking style. It should be very interesting to see what kind of talent is assembled to make it happen.

    • Just Rob f/k/a Rob127 says:

      With all due respect, he’s said pretty much the same thing before about the Union. He loves that “blue collar, Philly tough” bullshit but it doesn’t translate to the pitch.

  6. Typo in Curtin’s comments:
    .
    I believe instead of “We will play a high-pressured game, an in-you-face style,”…it should read ” IN-YO-FACE..”

  7. Fuckin Blatter, man… this guy is something else… just, WOW.
    .
    CONGRATS! to Abby on a great career. Hopes he stays around and leads the USWNT to its next World Cup.
    .
    This offseason is gonna be fun 🙂

  8. Very mixed feelings on Abby. She is immensely talented but also had a habit of going down VERY easily. I often had a hard time differentiating her from Greg Louganis.

  9. Tomorrow at 10a Brendan Burke will be introduced as first coach of BSFC, sources say. @KKevinCBS3 says he will share the dais with Richie Graham, who is quickly raising his profile with “the company.” Thankfully. What will Friday bring?

    • Ibra isn’t going to sign with Miami…he’s going to sign with…
      (Ok, I’m reaching…but it’s been that kind of week!)

    • Interesting to me how everything is unfolding.
      .
      Saw Chris Albright up at YSC headquarters today…. it is almost as if the academy is becoming the hub…. and that is EXACTLY how it should be… I do recognize the first team doesn’t practice there but this is pretty close. Love it.
      .
      Everything in all societies begins and ends with the youth and so it should be with this club.
      .
      Saw Richie Graham yesterday and he must have been like, ‘man back off.’ I was stammering on to him like a frenetic gatling gun….. couldn’t help it though… I’m really proud and hopeful right now and I hope and trust the ceaseless unfolding of excellence continues….
      .
      ….it is the ONLY acceptable outcome for me. EXCELLENCE.

    • Your line about “What will Friday bring?” made me think about the great sequence from Men In Black:
      .
      Fifteen hundred years ago everybody knew the Earth was the center of the universe. Five hundred years ago, everybody knew the Earth was flat, and fifteen minutes ago, you knew that humans were alone on this planet. Imagine what you’ll know tomorrow.
      .
      I can’t imagine what we will know tomorrow about this franchise.

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