Daily news roundups

Union sign forward, Steel looking forward to D2, league news, Lloyd voted world’s best, more

Photo: Courtesy of Philadelphia Union

Philadelphia Union

Remember that tweet last week from the Washington Post’s Steven Goff?

The Union announced on Monday the signing of 28-year-old English forward Jay Simpson from League 2 (fourth division) side Leyton Orient “as a Discovery Signing using Targeted Allocation Money.” Transfermarkt.com puts his market value at €400,000, or $422,966, which probably explains why the Union used TAM.

Simpson will take the last of the Union’s seven international spots and fills out the team’s forward depth chart alongside CJ Sapong, Charlie Davies, and Fabian Herbers.

Naturally, Union fans are wondering if Simpson will he be the team’s Bradley Wright-Phillips. Earnie Stewart said in the signing announcement, “Jay brings goal-scoring prowess to our team, in addition to a valuable veteran presence, as he has demonstrated with multiple clubs in England. He has played at the highest levels of club soccer, including in the Premier League, and we are excited to add a forward of his quality to our squad.” Simpson made 13 Premier League appearances in the 2008/9 season, scoring one goal. He scored 28 goals over 133 appearances in the Championship (between 2008 and 2013), 11 goals over 69 appearances in League 1 (2007/8, 2014/15), and 28 goals over 59 appearances in League (2015-16).

Some highlights from the Hackney Gazette report on the Simpson move from Leyton Orient:

Simpson asked for a move away from Brisbane Road towards the end of 2016, which led to boss Andy Edwards leaving him out of the squad to play Cambridge United on News Years Eve.

It was expected the former Arsenal striker would remain in London having previously expressed a desire to keep his family settled…

It is understood Philadelphia Union don’t usually announce the length of deals, though Simpson is likely to have agreed at least a two-year contract…

After a disappointing first year, he made a stunning start to the 2015/16 campaign, but struggled in the second half of last season.

The ex-Hull City striker was then frozen out back in August with a transfer to local rivals Southend United expected.

It never materialized, however, and eventually Simpson was brought back into the O’s struggling team…

Simpson departs the east Londoners six months before his contract was due to expire having scored 36 goals for the O’s.

The details of the deal have remained undisclosed so it isn’t known whether Orient got a fee for the striker or not.

That stunning start to last season saw Simpson scoring a remarkable 22 goals in 26 games. The struggles of the second half saw him net only three goals for the rest of the season. The Daily Mail has an interesting report on Simpson from when he was at the height of his 2015/16 season and the top scorer in England.

East London & West Essex Guardian says, after joining Leyton Orient, “The former Arsenal academy player quickly became a fan favourite.”

More on the signing at PSP, Philadelphia Union (also, video of Simpson: introduction, ambitions, on the Arsenal Academy), MLSsoccer.comPhilly.comCSN PhillyDelco Times, Philly Soccer News, Brotherly Game (report, reaction), Philly Sports NationProst Amerika, Leyton Orient, BBCGoal.com, Pro Soccer Talk, and Tribal Football.

At MLSsoccer.com, a look at draft pick success since 2010 observes, “The club that has been most successful in finding players who can contribute has been the Philadelphia Union, who have seen 21 of the players they have selected take the field for their team.” Looking at “the number of minutes played by draft picks divided by the number of drafts in which teams participated,” the Union comes in at No. 1 in the league. In terms of average number of minutes played by draft picks, the Union come in at No. 6.

At the Union website, the order of this week’s SuperDraft. The Union don’t have a selection until the eleventh pick of the second round, 33rd overall (followed by the 42nd, 55th, 77th, and 82nd picks).

At Philly Voice, Kevin Kinkead has more on nine-year-old Ethan Chambers visit last Friday’s visit to the Union facility with Keegan Rosenberry.

Bethlehem Steel FC

Steel business operations director Richard Searls says the USL being granted provisional Division 2 status “further reinforces our position as a strong league and we will continue to grow with more expansion on the horizon.”

Head coach Brendan Burke says, “This is a very exciting development for the league and our club. As standards continue to rise on and off the field, the match environments provided for younger players in a structure like ours will only accelerate their growth. I’d like to credit to all of the owners, coaches, and leadership at the league for making this progression possible. It will certainly make for an exciting 2017.”

Bethlehem begins preseason training at YSC Sports on Feb. 1.

With the question of divisional status for 2017 now answered, the USL announced on Monday the conference alignment for the new season. Each Conference will feature 15 teams, with St. Louis FC rejoining the Eastern Conference along with former NASL sides Ottawa and Tampa Bay. Expansion side Reno 1868 FC joins the Western Conference.

The announcement notes, “The 2017 USL regular season schedule will see teams play a 32 matches contested over 30 weeks, with the regular season starting March 24-26 and concluding the weekend of October 13-15. Teams will play two games (one home, one away) against each conference rival. The remaining four games will be played against regional foes. Teams will not face each other more than three times during the 2017 regular season.”

At Soccer America, a look at the 12 teams in the USL owned by MLS teams includes a review of Bethlehem.

Philadelphia Union Academy

Union Academy midfielder Julian Anderson (Ocean, N.J.) has been called up for the US U-15 BNT camp at the Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista, Calif. that opened Jan. 6 and runs through Jan. 13.

Brotherly Game notes former Philadelphia Union Academy goalkeeper Kyle Morton is on trial with the Tampa Bay Rowdies. Matt Ralph writes the West Chester native “was part of the Union Academy ‘club and country’ setup in 2012-13, a year prior to the Union joining the U.S. Soccer Development Academy. He played club soccer at Penn Fusion and high school soccer at West Chester Henderson while also placekicking for the football team.”

Reading United

Reading United have announced a fan vote for a Best XI All-Alumni team. There are some fine players to chose from.

Local

At Brotherly Game, Matt Ralph talks to Jorge Gomez Sanchez about possibly becoming the first Temple player selected in the SuperDraft.

MLS

Kansas City have acquired forward Christian Volesky from Portland in exchange for the Timbers’ natural fourth-round pick in the 2017 MLS Super Draft. “Volesky is on a one-year contract with options for 2018, 2019 and 2020.”

Portland have sent midfielder Lucas Melano on loan to Argentine first division side Club Atlético Belgrano through the end of 2017.

Montreal have re-signed goalkeeper Eric Kronberg to “a new one-year deal.”

FC Dallas defender Ryan Hollingshead suffered three broken vertebrae when he was struck by a car as he was rendering assistance to another motorist on Friday. He’ll be in a neck brace for six to eight weeks but will not require surgery.

The league has announced a new TV deal in Canada.

At SI, Brian Straus’ review of the leading contenders for the few remaining expansion spots continues with a look at Tampa/St. Petersburg.

NASL

The NASL announced on Monday morning its team owners “are committed to delivering a new era for the league in which a new direction and vision is essential.” The announcement states is has “amicably” parted ways with league commissioner Bill Peterson, who was named commissioner in 2012, with Rishi Sehgal, Director of Business Development and Legal Affairs, named interim commissioner. While saying “there are a number of groups that have been in discussions with the NASL about committing to the league in the next 12 months,” the announcement also states the league “will take a more prudent approach to expansion with a more rigorous vetting process by creating an Expansion Committee.” The announcement also confirms the league severed ties with Traffic Sports “in November 2016.”

On Tuesday morning, the New York Cosmos announced Rocco B. Commisso “has purchased a majority ownership stake” in the club and is the new chairman of the team’s ownership group, replacing Seamus O’Brien.

NWSL

Official: Western New York Flash is moving to North Carolina and being renamed North Carolina Courage after being bought by Steve Malik, the owner of NASL-side North Carolina FC, which until recently was known as Carolina RailHawks.

A statement from the owners of the Flash said, “Unfortunately, it has become apparent that the WEstern New York market is not the right fit for the NWSL and the future direction of the league”

More on the move at Rochester Democrat & ChronicleCharlotte Observer, and WRAL.

ASN looks at how some NWSL players are using their entrepreneurial skills to supplement their income.

US

For the second year in a row, Carli Lloyd has been named Best FIFA Women’s Player 2016. Lloyd said, “I honestly wasn’t expecting this.” At Fox Sports, Caitlin Murray explains why. More at US Soccer and Philly.com.

Elsewhere

This:

Vice Sports rightly wonders what happens now with World Cup qualification. ESPN notes some Brazilian World Cup winners don’t like the expanded format. More from The GuardianGoal.com and Press Association.

Cristiano Ronaldo has been named Best FIFA’s Men’s Player 2016. Claudio Ranieri  won the men’s coach award, Silvia Neid the women’s coach award. Borussia Dortmund and Liverpool supporters received the inaugural FIFA Fan Award. Mohd Faiz Subri won the FIFA Puskás Award 2016 for Goal of the Year.

The AP reports, “France says that organizing the European soccer championships last summer provided an economic boost worth 1.2 billion euros ($1.26 billion) to the economy.”

26 Comments

  1. Simpson, eh? New man?

  2. The Realist Brian says:

    16 groups of 3 is a diasaster. Teams struggle to get there and play two games and they are out? This is a cash grab. Period.
    .
    The corruption that will take place for 2 and third place teams to make it to the next round will be a cluster bleep.
    .
    I do hope they combine Concacaf and South America so we have to play better competition. It would be great to get smoked by Argentina and Brazil so that we improve plus it will show our true level.
    .
    On the Union front, here’s hoping the former Arsenal man Jay Simpson tears it up this year. While not a DP signing, could prove interesting if he can bag 15-20 goals.
    .

    • Supposedly 32 teams will advance to the knockout round, which means only the 3rd place team will miss out, and they may even use PKs to settle draws. But I agree, there has to be more than 2 group stage games. Lesser teams that sit back and can force a regulation draw could steal 3 points in PKs and knock out a power. At this level of sport 2 games leaves way too much to chance. And if you don’t think the 3rd game matters, I remind you of the 2009 Confed. Cup in South Africa, where the U.S. lost games 1 & 2 but advanced on goal differential with a 3-0 win in game 3. Don’t fix what ain’t broken.

      • I’m not a big fan of this either as a friend said…what’s the point of qualifying…
        .
        my hopes though – with one fewer game will it force teams to actually play from jump-as often times the first game of draw is a rather boring -dare not make a mistake lets grab that first point- sleeper.
        .
        I’m all for a merging of federations as well… and the additional teams in WC would probably help USA survive qualifying…though I’m not sure.

    • I disagree, have no problem with the new 48 team World Cup. In the current set-up some of the group games can be a complete waste of time. In the new format almost every game with be a knockout affair. The margin of error will be so small. Every game will be important. It might be easier for one of the big teams to be upset – so what! If anything that benefits teams like the USA.

  3. After reading about the Simpson signing, I keep thinking about the scene in Moneyball where Billy Beane is proposing players to his scouts. I sure hope they have an alogrithm or something showing he’s gonna work out.
    .

    I mean, if they announced he was signed by Bethlehem Steel instead, would anyone be shocked?

  4. Posted this on yesterday’s thread announcing Simpson but thought it might be interesting here, too. Just looking at some of the numbers BWP vs Simpson, BWP’s time with Charlton produced pretty similar results to Simpson’s stay at Leyton. BWP scored 31 goals in 82 appearances, all in L1. Simpson netted 33 in 87. Not sure the minutes there. But it’s interesting nonetheless. It works out to .378 goals per appearance for BWP and .379 for Simpson…. I know, not worth much without minutes, but it’s compelling. (I think the numbers I have for Simpson are slightly obsolete — he scored a few more goals and appeared a few more times. But the point that he had a comparable performance in lower division to BWP is still sound, I think).

    I think he’s likely more talented than a guy who should be playing for Bethlehem Steel. I think the level of play in League 1 and 2 in England is better than people think. And the guy had cups of coffee (tea?) for Arsenal, West Brom and QPR in the PL and CL. I think he deserves more than a chance from fans. Shrewd signing. Lots of upside.

    • OneManWolfpack says:

      I’m not against the signing. I was a little chapped yesterday, but I am absolutely on board with ES, and what he’s trying to do. It does have a lot of upside, and it didn’t cost a ton of “real” money. I think the shock of realizing they are most likely not signing a #9 DP that pissed me off. But I am a supporter and I will cheer him and the team on for sure.

  5. Anybody figure out why the Union only have 7 international slots yet?

  6. Here’s the real question, who will be gone to free up at least one international spot? I know there are some green card rumors, but without some movement we are really stuck, right?

    • I have to think that Ilsinho, Herbers, Yaro, Blake, and Ayuk could honestly all be close.

      • Agreed.
        .
        Ilsinho has flat out stated that he wanted to move to the US, and Ayuk has been here for two years now and the other three attended university in the US. It has to be possible for at least one of them, if not more, to get a green card at this point.

    • Not to start political debate but do you think incoming party policy will effect internationals playing here and change that dynamic in mls? Brexit raised this debate in England.
      Let’s face it…Mahrez or even Ozil or Ribery might understandably hesitate to come here.
      Sad but true.
      UnionGoal

      • Ps. I don’t confess to know anything that went on with M’bohli but back of my mind I wondered if being a Middle Eastern Muslim made his situation and locker room chemistry more difficult than say Nogueira who even had green card and still felt homesick.
        Sometimes we forget these are fellow humans who get trashed on these pages.
        UnionGoal

      • M’bohli was on record saying how great he was treated in this country based on his religion. Major sports teams are all based in cities which are not going to care about that kind of stuff.
        .
        Ask most people who have lived in Europe and America which place is better for immigrants and they will tell you America is better and Europe is very racist. Plus the people who complain about immigrants will be able to make an exception for sports. You see those kind of metal gymnastics all the time with these kinds of issues.

  7. 16 groups is a horrible idea. It just throws too much to chance regarding the luck of the draw and which groups someone is in since there will be an even wider variance in strength than now.
    .
    Also, you can’t have simultaneous final games in the group which opens up the chances for sportsmanlike dumping to eliminate the team not playing in the last game.

  8. Ncaa bball shows how it’s done….64 teams. Perfect betting system.
    And soccer is built on gambling….why do you think those corrupt fifa guys made so much.
    UnionGoal

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