Daily news roundups

Hack says DP option possible, Perez update, Reading United name new coach, more news

Photo: Daniel Gajdamowicz

Philadelphia Union

At the Delco Times, Matthew De George writes that the Union has “accumulated a sizeable reserve of funds for new arrivals.” John Hackworth tells De George, “We have a plan that was put in place a while ago and we’ve built up some resources for players in terms of quality.” Hackworth added, “We would not be talking to these types of players, specifically foreign players bringing them into this MLS market, if we weren’t willing to discuss the designated player option.”

Hackworth explained his approach to player acquisitions in this offseason,

We feel we have a strong core of players and lots of guys who are young, and they give us as an organization some serious confidence going forward based on what they have done in past years in terms of their growth and development and who are ready to take it to another level. At the same time, you have guys who have veteran experience and success in the league. And combine that with the young guys who have gotten a ton of minutes, and we don’t think we need to make major or wholesale changes. That can come off as, “hey, they haven’t done a lot.” But we’re looking at specific targets, and it’s quality over quantity.

Here’s Dave Zeitlin’s article at mlssoccer.com talking to Hackworth about the Michael Farfan transfer. Hackworth explains that “the financial situation” offered by Cruz Azul made the deal easier for the Union to accept. “We’ll miss him on our team, but it’s our job to go out and find a replacement for Michael. Because of the transfer, we’ll have a little bit of resources to do that. We’re hopeful our hard work is going to pay off sooner rather than later.”

There is at present one reliably reported current Union transfer target, Pablo Perez of Argentina’s Newell’s Old Boys. You will recall that earlier reports indicated that the Union had made an offer for the midfielder, as had another unidentified club, but that Perez was not “seduced” by a move to MLS. Later reports indicated the Union had outbid the previously unidentified club, now named as La Liga club Malaga, and said that a European move was “the priority” for Perez.

  • La Opinion de Malaga reports that the Spanish club “neither affirms nor denies contact” with Perez “but there is interest in him.” (Crappy Google translation here.)
  • A later report from Diariosur.es says talks are “at an early stage” with Perez and any deal is “subject to what may happen with other players in the winter market.” (Crappy Google translation here.)
  • Malaga Deportes gives some background on who those other players may be, namely, Jose Sosa from Ukrainian club Metalist Kharkiv. (Crappy Google translation here.)

Interest in Perez is apparently growing back in the States. A report at Ole.com.ar (crappy Google translation here) says that the Chicago Fire and FC Dallas join the Union on the list of MLS clubs interested in Perez but there have been “no concrete offers to take him.” His agent, Jorge Bilicich, is quoted in the report, “There have been inquiries and we have talked with several clubs, but have not yet received any formal offer.”

SBI has named Zac MacMath to its Most Improved Best XI for 2013. Ray Gaddis received an honorable mention.

Amobi Okugo comes in at No. 9 on ASN’s list of ten USMNT players who lifted their game in 2013. “The 22-year-old California native may not have sufficient time to break into the 2014 World Cup roster—barring injuries, that is—but he looks primed for 2018, 2022, and beyond.”

According to the Brotherly Game’s calculations, “the Union has between $422K and $600K in salary budget available going into next year.”

Local

Reading United have announced Dave Castellanos as their new head coach effective Jan. 1. Castellanos has long experience as a player — including time as a US Youth International with Danny Califf — and a coach and is currently the head coach of Penn State Abington as well as the U12, U13, and U15 Contintental FC Delco Academy teams. The press release notes that former head coach Brendan Burke “will see his Philadelphia Union coaching duties expanded this season as the Union look to build on their 2013 season.” More from The Examiner.

Philly Soccer News has a list of the top ten local soccer stories of 2013.

MLS

The Latino Post notes that viewership numbers for Spanish language broadcasts of MLS games on UniMas were higher than ESPN’s in 2013. The article omits a comparison to MLS broadcasts on NBCSN.

The Washington Post reports, “A planned new D.C. United stadium could receive extensive breaks on sales and property taxes over the next three decades, and in return the team could share some of its revenue with the city, under a deal presented to District lawmakers.”

This guest editorial at the New York Daily News lays out the outlines of opposition to expect to a new stadium for NYC FC in the Bronx using underutilized and subsidized parking areas around Yankee Stadium.

According to the Daily Star, celebrity interest in backing David Beckham’s proposed Miami team is growing. “Hollywood stars Tom Cruise, Will Smith and Jack Nicholson, along with music icons Jay-Z and wife ­Beyoncé, have all said they want to buy shares in his Miami side.”

US

At SI, Brian Straus reviews the top 13 US Soccer stories for 2013.

At the Guardian, Graham Parker reviews the year of US soccer for 2013.

At ASN, Brian Sciaretta rounds up the ten best USMNT goals of 2013.

At Soccer America, part one of a Q&A with new US Soccer Youth Technical Director Tab Ramos. An important read.

Last Monday, PSP’s Steve Holroyd offered an alternative US Soccer Best XI that focused on players from before the 1990 World Cup, a group of players the panel of voters for US Soccer’s All-time Best XI largely ignored. At beINSport, Phil Schoen offers an impassioned explanation of why such players are essential to discussion of US Soccer’s best players and provides selections of his own. At the Tuscon Sentinel, Ted Prezelski does the same.

The LA Times has an interesting read on Christie Rampone and Sydney Leroux.

The New York Times looks at the launch of three new soccer magazines in the US in 2013.

Elsewhere

Nicolas Anelka is under scrutiny after making a gesture known in France as  “la quenelle after scoring in West Brom’s 3-3 draw with West Ham on Saturday. Goal.com explains, “The gesture has gained publicity and infamy thanks to comedian Dieudonne, who claims it to be an anti-establishment statement. To much of France, however, it is seen as anti-Semitic – a reverse Nazi salute.” Anelka says the gesture was made in support of Dieudonne. European Jewish Congress president Moshe Kantor says the gesture can only be understood as anti-semitic. “This salute is merely a lesser-known Nazi salute and we expect the same kind of punishment to be handed down by the authorities as if Anelka had made the infamous outstretched arm salute.” Anelka could face a minimum five-game ban from the FA.

The Mirror has some good background on la quenelle and Dieudonne.

The BBC reports, “One fan has been killed and 20 more injured during skirmishes at a Malawi Super League game on Saturday. Six of those injured are in a serious condition after fans from Mighty Wanderers and Silver Strikers clashed at the stadium in Balaka.”

The Guardian asks, should timeouts be allowed in soccer?

17 Comments

  1. It tears my heart to see Will Smith possibly buy ownership with Miami when he could buy into the Union’s franchise. The U could really use the money and framiliar face.

    Last thing but biggest thing for me is why do the Union seem to be always looking to South America for their new talent? Why not Europe? Asia? Or even Africa? I can only think of one good signing that came out of South America. Why not look in some of the lower divisions in England? Good talent there. Croatia, Serbia, Slovakia, Belgium, Denmark, and Holland are places that just spill out good talent that have gone unnoticed. Maybe it’s just me getting tired of watching South American players come into the Union side and get pushed around by the Physical play. Just would love to see other influences come in…

    Thoughts?

    • I had the same reaction about Will Smith. The Union sure could use his money and his name.
      .
      On the South America thing… it’s a great question. I don’t know enough about player movement to give a thoughtful reply, other than to ask if it really is a Union problem, or is it more of an MLS problem on the whole?

      • Ryan and John…I’m on the same page regarding Will Smith and the South America thing…

        Another question that popped into my head…and for poops and giggles,

        what would be the reaction if the Union announced that Corben Bone would be the only new addition for 2014 but Hackworth was stepping down/fired?

      • From my perspective, Steve, that would be horrible. But, to qualify that: I’m in the camp that’s willing to give Hackworth 2014 with a (supposedly) cleaned up roster and salary cap to see what happens. So for my money, if you’re telling me that all we get is Bone *and* we’re starting over from square one on the rebuilding (because a new coach wants his players, etc) then I’d be pretty unhappy.

    • Not only that, but now I have Will Smith’s “Miami” stuck in my head.

    • Ryan, I totally agree with you 100%. We need the front office, or someone or something to persuade European players to come to Philadelphia (easier said then done). The European players are only investing in popular cities. I agree we should definitely be looking in other countries besides South America. Of course there are many factors that are involved and difficulies within the transfer market.

    • I can’t disagree with you more. If you look at the history of MLS, S. American players and D.P.s have been much more successful then European imports. The bottom line is value. You can get higher quality players cheaper from S. America then you can Europe. Also, you can afford younger S. American players then European ones.

      The simple facts are that the U and MLS cannot afford to give contracts to good young players from the countries that you listed. The league is not in a position to compete economically with the European leagues.

    • I think the primary reason that the Union are focusing on South America is that’s where their head scout has most of his contacts and expertise. Unfortunately, it’s a big hunting ground for many of the European clubs as buying players in Europe and Africa has gotten very expensive.

      I think that the instability of the various South American currencies and the favorable exchange rate are two big reasons to try to find players there, especially for a “value shopper” like the Union.

  2. Jorge Bilicich is doing his job. Looks like he is orchestrating a bidding war for Pablo Perez. That doesn’t bode well for the Union.

    • If thats the case, the Union should explore the discovery tag. Im not sure exactly how it works, but I think it gives the Union first rights to discuss with him if they file the claim.

  3. OneManWolfpack says:

    “Just sign F’n sign someone!!”
    .
    – Everyone

  4. No one with any talent will come to Philly as long as the cheapskate front office, Hack, our ” Outstanding MF’ers”: Carroll,Keon, and Cruz are in the payroll. This organization is content in its current position. They are in the black and devoted fans keep paying. Why would they go get a DP , when profits are more important than winning?

  5. Have you guys ever been to Miami? The day that Will Smith invests his money in Philly is the day our Jersey Shore girls look like the ones on South Beach.

  6. JamesCantknow says:

    Okay so when Pablo Perez officially turns us down what exactly is Plan B? I’ve heard NOTHING at all about other targets. Why no rumors? It’s way too quiet.

    I was just thinking that the Union got rid of the wrong midfielders. Would you rather have Marfan, Torres, and Kleberson OR Keon, Cruz, and BC?

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