Daily news roundups

Blake named MLS Goalkeeper of the Year, more news

Photo: Earl Gardner

Philadelphia Union

Beating out Luis Robles (last year’s winner) and Tim Howard (2001’s winner), Bill Hamid, (2014’s winner), and David Bingham in a vote by players, clubs, and the media, Andre Blake has been named MLS Goalkeeper of the Year. The 24-year-old Jamaican international said in a statement,

I’m extremely grateful for this award. To win Goalkeeper of the Year in my first full season as a starter is something I will always cherish. I want to thank my teammates for pushing me to be better each day. Thank you to our technical staff and my goalkeeper coach Oka Nikolov. Thank you to the voters across MLS for recognizing the season we had here in Philadelphia. We will look to be even better in 2017.

Earlier this week Blake was named Goalkeeper of the Year by Goal.com and Pro Soccer Talk. Before Thursday’s announcement, CHris Pontius was named Comeback Player of the Year and Keegan Rosenberry won the Fair Play Award. More on Blake at Philadelphia Union, Philly.com, Delco Times, CSN Philly, Philly Soccer News, Brotherly Game, Section 215, Soccer America, Goal.comMLS Multiplex, and UConn Huskies.

MLS Comeback Player of the Year Chris Pontius on what changed for him to have such a strong season: “Nothing’s different. I honestly think my body just settled down. It was two years post-surgery, and I think my body just settled down and the inflammation was down. We train a lot in Philly. I would say we spend more time on the field than any other team in the league, so my body had to put up with a lot this year and responded well.” More from Pontius at Philadelphia Union (audio), Union Tally and MLSsoccer.com.

A look at each MLS team’s MVP at MLSsoccer.com says of Pontius, “One of the most important pieces in the Union’s return to the postseason, Pontius performed really, really solidly in his first season with Philadelphia after being acquired in an offseason trade with D.C. The MLS Comeback Player of the Year led the Union with 12 goals and finished tied for second on the team with six assists, the highest combined total of his eight-year MLS career.”

At the Union website, five lessons learned by Josh Yaro during his rookie season.

Section 215 has a quick Q&A with Fabian Herbers.

Brotherly Game’s end-of-season review series continues with Anderson and Ray Gaddis, and Brian Carroll.

Former Union man Chandler Hoffman, who recently left USL side Louisville City, has signed with USL side Real Monarchs.

Philadelphia Union Academy

The Union Academy finishes the first part of the 2016-17 USSDA season on Saturday. The U-12s host TSF Academy in a pair of games at YSC on Saturday at 12:30 pm and 2 pm. The rest of the Union Academy teams host Cedar Stars Academy-Monmouth, with the U-13s playing at 3 pm, and the U-14s at 1 pm, both at YSC. At the Power Training Complex, the U-15/16s, currently second place in the Atlantic Division (17 points, 5-1-2, with three games in hand), host Cedar Stars Academy-Monmouth at 2 pm. The U-17/18s, also currently in second place in the Atlantic Division (19 points, 6-1-1, also with three games in hand) play the Monmouth team at 12 pm.

While USSDA conference games will be on break until March 5, there are still games to be played. The USSDA Winter Showcase, held in conjunction with the Nike International Friendlies will take place at Lakewood Ranch in Florida, Dec. 1-5. The Union U-15/16s will face Sacramento Republic on Friday, Dec. 2 at 10 am, Vancouver Whitecaps at 2 pm on Saturday, Dec. 3, and Sporting Kansas City on Monday, Dec. 5 at 9 am. The U-17/18s play Real So Cal on Thursday, Dec. 1 at 2 pm, Sporting Kansas City on Friday, Dec. 2 at 4:15 pm, and Atlanta United on Sunday, Dec. 4 at 11:15 am.

At Brotherly Game, Matt Ralph notes Union Academy connected and other area players in the NCAA men’s soccer championship tournament. Ralph also notes Academy goalkeeper Tomas Romero is with the El Salvador U-17s in the Central America qualifiers for the CONCACAF U-17 Championship.

Local

It was a short run for area teams in the NCAA men’s soccer championship tournament. Villanova was defeated 2-0 by Akron. Delaware fell 2-0 to Providence. Rider lost 4-1 to University of Vermont.

Lancaster Online reports, “More than 35,000 people are expected to visit Lancaster County this weekend for the largest two-day youth soccer tournament in Pennsylvania. The 31st annual Hempfield Adidas Fall Classic will feature an estimated 13,400 players on 780 teams from eight states.”

MLS

Robbie Keane will leave LA Galaxy when his contract expires at the end of the year. Keane said in a statement, “I believe that now is the right time for a new challenge as I look towards the next chapter of my playing career. I still feel as fit and sharp as ever and I am looking forward to my next adventure. Having now retired from international football I am ready to focus everything I have on one last major challenge in club football and will be taking time out to consider my options before announcing my next move.”

NYCFC have announced that 34-year-old former Spanish international right back Andoni Iraola has retired.

FC Dallas have signed 15-year-old forward forward Jesus Ferreira to a Homegrown Player contract. He is the son of former Colombian international and MLS MVP while he was with Dallas David Ferreira.

Pioneer Press joins earlier reports in saying former Orlando City head coach Adrian Heath will be named as the head coach of expansion side Minnesota United.

Portland Timbers have announced Jack Jewsbury as their new Director of Business Development. Jewsbury announced his retirement as a player in September.

Former New England Revolution defender A.J. Soares, most recently with Danish side AGF Aarhus, has announced he has been forced to retire “due to the effects of a head injury.”

The MLS-backed ownership group in St. Louis, calling itself SC STL, has announced plans to build a $200 million downtown stadium with “an opening day capacity of approximately 20,000 seats with the ability to expand to 28,500 seats.” St. Louis Business Journal notes, “The ownership group is led by Paul Edgerley of VantEdge Partners. Edgerley, formerly of Bain Capital, will serve as chairman and lead owner of the team, called SC STL. World Wide Technology CEO Jim Kavanaugh will serve as vice chairman the group, while former Anheuser-Busch President Dave Peacock will serve on the group’s executive committee. Terry Matlack, managing director of Tortoise Capital in Kansas City and partner in VantEdge Partners, is also vice chair of the group. Additional investors are expected to be introduced next month.”

KSDK reports a “verbal agreement” has been reached with MLS to bring a franchise to the city: “The SC STL group will pay the entire MLS expansion fee, and ‘much of the construction of the stadium project’ estimated at $200 million…The group will also acquire USL team St. Louis FC and youth soccer club St. Louis Scott Gallagher to create a developmental pipeline of local talent.” St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports,

Private investors would cover at least 60 percent of the stadium costs, and the facility would be owned by the city of St. Louis, said Jim Kavanaugh, vice chairman of the ownership group and founder of the minor league soccer club St. Louis FC.

Voters could be asked to put $80 million in public money toward a 20,000-seat stadium, not including a potential land purchase west of Union Station. That amount could be lower depending on financial assistance from the state, Kavanaugh said.

The issue could be on the municipal election ballot April 4…“That vote would likely need to be taken before being awarded a team,” Kavanaugh said Thursday by phone.

The renderings of the proposed stadium, which would open for the 2020 or 2021 season, are quite nice. More on the announcement at MLSsoccer.com, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, St. Louis Public Radio, nextSTL, KTVI, and ESPN.

The Miami Herald reports,

David Beckham’s representatives Thursday moved to jump-start a stalled effort to build a Miami soccer stadium by bringing potential investors to a pitch by Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez.

The investors weren’t identified, but the sales pitch apparently involves a new set of potential financiers in a project that has been courting deep pockets since the start.

More at CBS Miami.

From Nashville Business Journal: “Rich Riebeling, Metro Nashville’s chief operating officer, says the city has a role to play in building a soccer-specific stadium for either (or both) the minor-league Nashville Soccer Club or a potential Major League Soccer franchise, with the city’s work with the Nashville Sounds’ First Tennessee Park serving as a potential model.” Nashville Sounds are the Triple-A affiliate of the Oakland Athletics.

US

The big news on the fire Jurgen Klinsmann front: Citing “multiple sources,” ESPN reports “the U.S. Soccer Federation has been gauging the interest of potential replacements since at least late last year. U.S. Soccer has been in contact with LA Galaxy boss Bruce Arena and Sporting Kansas City counterpart Peter Vermes within the past 12 months, the sources said. The federation declined to comment on Thursday.” The article also says Tab Ramos is an option.

Goal.com says sources confirm a Washington Post report earlier this week that there has been contact between US Soccer and Bruce Arena.

SI says we know what we need to know about Jurgen Klinsmann. Whether he remains as head coach will tell us plenty about Sunil Gulati.

USA Today lists eight possible replacements for Klinsmann and also wonders what happens next should he be fired.

At ESPN, “Jurgen Klinsmann’s U.S. tenure has been so frustrating. Can he fix it?”

At the Guardian, a rather tortured analogy comparing “everyone’s a winner” youth soccer to the state of mediocrity in the USMNT. The author even manages to link the lack of pro/rel in US pro soccer to the USMNT’s troubles.

SI looks at the precipitous decline of John Brooks’ performance in the loss to Costa Rica compared to his strong play in the Copa America: “Brooks wasn’t the only problem Tuesday, nor was Tuesday the only problem for this U.S. men’s program. But Brooks’s puzzling collapse, and the possibility that Klinsmann’s handling of his previous mistake contributed to that collapse, are yet more unwelcome problems for a team suddenly inundated with them.”

The Guardian says CONCACAF should look to UEFA for how to fix its qualification tournament: “The CONCACAF format is too top-heavy – and it means USA should still qualify for Russia despite their 4-0 capitulation to Costa Rica. It’s time for a change.”

World Soccer Talk reports the TV ratings for USMNT games in 2016 are up 32 percent compared to 2015, in part thanks to the Copa America. Ratings for the USWNT are down 71 percent thanks to the ratings boost in 2015 from the Women’s World Cup.

Vice Sports considers the true impact of the USMNT’s 1-0 win over Trinidad and Tobago in November, 1989, the game that saw the US qualify for the World Cup for the first time since 1950.

Elsewhere

From the AP:

Kosovo police said on Thursday that they prevented simultaneous attacks by the Islamic State group, including on the Israeli national football team that played a World Cup qualifier in neighbouring Albania.

A police statement said plans were in place to attack Saturday’s match in Albania, and at the same time attack another target in Kosovo. Nineteen people were detained in Kosovo on 4 November, of whom one has since been released, police there said. Albania and Macedonia announced six more people were detained.

Also from the AP: “A stadium in St. Petersburg due to host a 2018 World Cup semifinal has been accused of breaking Russian rules on air quality.”

And the rich get richer. Following a report from The Times, Fox Soccer reports, “Chinese broadcaster Suning is set to buy the rights to broadcast the Premier League for a whopping $700 million for three years. That would give the EPL a $233 million windfall each year from 2019-22. With 20 Premier League teams and an incoming $233 million, that means Premier League teams stand to earn $11.65 million apiece from Chinese television rights alone. Factor in the expected increased exposure to a country of more than a billion people, and merchandising and other commercial interests should also see an uptick for Premier League teams.”

The BBC reports, “Manchester United will lose more than £20m in sponsorship income from Adidas if they fail to qualify for next year’s Champions League.”

Goal.com reports, “A group of FIFA Ultimate Team hackers are facing jail time after attempting to steal in-game currency. Anthony J. Clark and three others are accused of attempting to hack the servers of EA Sports’ popular game in order to steal ‘coins’ – used to purchase players or packs in the game mode – and sell them on for cash. The Federal Bureau of Investigation has alleged that the quartet made up to $18 million from the scheme.”

Checkout the latest Footy on the Telly for listings of live soccer on TV, online, and on satellite radio for the upcoming week.

4 Comments

  1. It’s interesting that Pontius said the Union spends more time on the training field than any other team in the league. If that’s the case, why are no fringe players able to find their way on the field, and why is the team not more prepared? These obviously point to Jim Curtin as the manager, but I wonder why those things are the case – stubbornness? lack of talent? injuries from over-training?

    • The details of the extra time in a typical one game practice week, are that twice there are extra sessions.
      .
      The day immediately following a game is a recovery day with nutrition and activity designed to counter the game effort’s effects. The following day is off. Then come two days of heavy work, two sessions a day. I know directly from Coach Burke that on the Steel the second session is devoted to working on each player’s individual development plan. (IDP). Those plans are tailored to the needs of each individual with input from technical staff throughout the organization, Earnie Stewart to the Academy Director and coaches.
      .
      Then, two days before the game, comes the light day.
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      The day before the game, space is restricted and time is truncated, but intensity is high, pulses of intense effort if you will. I have seen the intensity for myself twice in open practices, and the extra effort expended to score a goal is when Maurice Edu broke his leg the next to the last day of the regular season in late October.
      .
      They use the Sports Science people to avoid over-training.
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      In a seven day period they have an extra training session twice.
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      What I describe comes from Jim Curtin’s verbal description explaining the two open practices.
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      I cannot speak to how they practice in preseason. I cannot speak to how they practice in a sequence of games more frequent than once a week.
      .
      My last nugget on training customs is that once when the Steel were away to Louisville on Saturday night and then played Harrisburg away on Tuesday, they flew to Louisville and back so that there would be time for a regeneration day and a preparation day. The bus ride to Louisville from Chester, according to google maps, is ten Hours in motion. Add in meals and a stretch break for total time.

  2. Roger Allaway says:

    I clicked on the link to the Vice Sports article about 1989. I didn’t get past the first paragraph of that article, because the second sentence of it told me all I needed to know about how little the author knew about his subject.

    That sentence says of the United States’ qualification for the 1990 World Cup: “It was the first World Cup for which the U.S. national team actually earned qualification, having been invited in 1930 and 1950, the Americans’ only two other appearances.”

    First, the United States had three other appearances, not two (a minor point, but indicative of how slim the author’s study of American soccer history is). The United States played in the 1930, 1934 and 1950 World Cups. Second, it had earned qualification in 1934, beating Mexico in a qualifier, and it had earned qualification in 1950, finishing second in a qualifying tournament against Mexico and Cuba in 1949.

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