Daily news roundups

Sak says 3 or 4 signings & practice facility are priorities, Perez joins Malaga, Pfeffer gets US U-20 call up, more

Photo: Paul Rudderow

Philadelphia Union

In the second part of a Q&A at the Union website, Nick Sakiewicz reiterated his view that the Union need “three or four important pieces to add to the group that we have now” to  help the team to the next level. “We love the group we have now, but they need some help. They need three or four pieces, players, that are going to make a difference for us next year. For me, that’s our first priority and second priority and probably third is a training pitch.”

Training pitch, you ask? Sakiewicz explains, “It’s a top priority. We are finalizing plans and the financing to build two practice fields here for the first team. We already have a practice facility for our youth players. It’s a world-class, $5 million facility for our youth players in Wayne. But for our first team, we have to establish that and we have a plan. We do hope to break ground on those fields here very soon.” It isn’t stated in the Q&A but presumably “here” means somewhere in close proximity to PPL Park.

In an article at MLSsoccer.com, John Hackworth explains why Union players aren’t going on any overseas training stints this offseason. “In the past, we’ve had a lot of young guys that didn’t maybe play as much, so they needed to gather some experiences. But those young guys played a lot of minutes in the last two years, specifically in the last year-and-a-half…It’s really important in the balance of making sure players are fully prepared and are able to have proper regeneration and recovery. It’s important to understand it’s a long-term process. So that’s why our plan is to make sure these guys get proper development in all ways – from playing time to rest to not getting burnt out on training stints at other clubs. It all plays into that picture.”

Could this view have anything to do with the fact that no Union players were called up for the January USMNT camp? (The article appeared on the league site after the USMNT roster announcement.) Probably not, but he omissions of Amobi Okugo and Jack McInerney have been noted by ASN (“And where the hell is Amobi Okugo?”) and SI, while local fans are also shaking their heads about the absence of Sheanon Williams, who got married on New Year’s Eve, from the roster.

In case you missed it, on Friday afternoon Newell’s Old Boys confirmed that reported Union transfer target Pablo Perez will be joining La Liga side Malaga. Perez tweeted Newell’s fans, “It’s not a goodbye but a see you later.” Reports indicate that Perez joins Malaga on a three-year deal worth €950,000, which works out to $1.29 million. Given that multiple reports had previously stated that the Union’s bid for Perez was similar to Malaga’s bid (some said the Union’s bid was higher), this number may give a sense of how prepared the Union are to lay down some serious money (by MLS standards) on new signings.

Perez will need to pass a physical on Tuesday, as well as secure an European Union passport since Malaga is already at its quota of non-EU players. Malaga will also need to pay the €400,000 it owes former center back Martin Demichelis, who is now with Manchester City, before the deal is sanctioned Spanish Footballers’ Association.

Like mock drafts? Agreeing with the mock draft at MLSsoccer.com we linked to a couple of weeks ago, SBI has the Union using the second pick of the first round of the SuperDraft to select centerback Christian Dean. Interestingly, the section on Dean says Amobi Okugo’s contract is up after 2014 while Jack McInerney “has two years left on his contract.” But where MLSsoccer.com had the Union selecting former Reading United midfielder Pedro Ribeiro with their other first round pick, SBI has them going for Maryland forward/midfielder Patrick Mullins. In the second round, SBI has the Union selecting right winger Luca Gimenez and defensive midfielder George Fochive, while in the third round selecting forward Pete Caringi, goalkeeper Kees Heemskerk, and centerback Nick Walker.

The Brotherly Game has an interesting statistical analysis of the value of the SuperDraft.

The preseason Disney Pro Soccer Classic tournament just got a little more interesting. According to Empire of Soccer, the Red Bulls will be participating this year.

The roster for the US U-20 MNT January camp was also released on Friday and Zach Pfeffer and Union Academy alumni Zack Steffen are on it. Today also happens to be Pfeffer’s 19th birthday.

No Union Academy players were called up US Development Academy Winter Showcase in the beginning of December.

Former Union midfielder Michael Farfan was not in the Cruz Azul lineup for Saturday’s 0-0 draw with Monterrey. Fellow recent signings from MLS Jose Villareal and Rafael Baca were also not in the lineup. The trio also did not appear in Cruz Azul Hidalgo’s 3-1 win over Ballenas Galeana on Sunday.

Looking for a summer internship? The Union has posted listings for a variety of positions.


At Goal.com, Ives Galarcep reports that Oscar Pareja has stepped down as head coach of the Colorado Rapids. It’s complicated.

Chivas USA hope to “finalize the candidate” for their vacant head coach position “in the next week or two.”

At MLSsoccer.com, Charles Boehm has a list of the top eleven league storylines one month before the start of the preseason.

The New York Daily News looks at a proposed deal that would see the Yankees and Sheik Mansour Bin Zayed Al Nahyan pay $25 million for a nearly bankrupt Yankees Stadium garage to build a new MLS stadium that would enjoy taxpayer subsidies of some $200 million. The URL for the article includes the word “sheikdown.”


The Equalizer has a team-by-team breakdown of the allocation list of national team players from the US (26), Canada (16), and Mexico (8) across the league that was released on Friday.

Randy Waldrum, who had previously been head coach of the Notre Dame women’s team, has been named the inaugural head coach of the NWSL expansion side the Houston Dash.


The roster for the USMNT January camp was released on Friday. Checkout PSP’s reaction post.

In a must read Q&A at the US Soccer website, Jurgen Klinsman said of the January camp, “What’s exciting is always to find another two, three, four guys that will break into that inner circle of the Senior Team. This is the opportunity now. Prove it in the next four weeks that you should go. It’s a never-ending process. You always want to see the players taking the next step and challenging themselves for the next level and never be content with what they have achieved to this point. ”

More on the January roster from The New York Times, The LA Times, ESPN, MLSsoccer.com, ASN, Goal.com, and The Soccer Desk. The camp concludes with a friendly against South Korea at the StubHub Center on Feb. 1 (5 pm, ESPN2, WatchESPN, UniMas).

In case you missed it, the USWNT roster for the January camp was released last Thursday. The team plays its first game of 2014 on Jan. 31 against Canada at Toyota Stadium in Frisco, Texas (9 pm, Fox Sports 1).

Alex Morgan will not be with the team as she recovers from a lingering left ankle injury. USWNT coach Tom Sermanni said, “It’s an injury that’s a bit more serious than we thought so we’ll take the appropriate action to make sure she’s completely healed before getting her back on the field. It’s just an injury that takes time to heal. We’re putting no time frame on her whatsoever. What’s most important is that when she’s ready to go, she’s healthy and able to perform at her highest level. ” With an in-camp forward corps that features the likes of Sarah Hagen, Sydney Leroux, Christen Press, Amy Rodriguez, and Abby Wambach, the team will be just fine.


Sepp Blatter has expressed frustration at the state of preparations for the World Cup in Brazil. “No country has been so far behind in preparations since I have been at FIFA even though it is the only host nation which has had so much time – seven years – in which to prepare.”

Rest in peace, Eusebio, rest in peace. What a remarkable career.


  1. OneManWolfpack says:

    Bone, Pfeffer, and a practice field. Hell of an offseason…

    • Whoa Whoa Whoa what makes you think we are getting the practice field this year.

      Seriously, I am glad we got Pfeffer I want to see how he progressed.

      • OneManWolfpack says:

        Yeah, I agree on Pfeffer… I think he’s got a shot to be a real solid player. I’m just getting a little more than agitated at the lack of player acquisition.
        And you’re right… we’re years away from one practice field, let alone two.

  2. When I took the STH stadium tour in 2012 the guide – can’t remember his name – said the team was looking at the run-down building on the far end of LOT C, as far away from the stadium as you can get, for their practice facility. He said they planned on building an outdoor turf field and an indoor complex in that area. That was in Oct. of 2012. Don’t know the validity of that information, but that would certainly be convenient for the team, and clean that area up as well.

  3. I never understood how businesses pass off customer service jobs as internships.

  4. We are due for a new away jersey this season, aren’t we? That may be the most exciting thing to happen this off-season.

    • we’re due for a new home and a new away kit this year, i think. second week of february is jersey week, if they keep it the same as last year.

    • You know it’s a slow Monday when all I can think to comment on is I hope we get new jerseys. The current one looks like someone was confused. (Home jersey). I was always a fan of the original colors. Just dark blue and gold. Very classy!

      • OneManWolfpack says:

        Agreed. We need to return to normal with the jersey. I didn’t buy the current one, cause it kind of sucked. I like the original.
        Man I am really down on this team today…

  5. Well, if any of you guys want to feel better about the Union, check out the bizarre story happening in Vancouver with Camilo Sanvezzo apparently signing for Queretaro. He’s pictured in the kit and everything:
    Now, the difference between this and the Farfan Farce, is that Vancouver hasn’t issued a weak “no comment”, but is actively denying that has been any discussion with Queretaro or Camilo’s agent, let alone a deal, and tweeting that “the club is working with MLS in this matter.” Could get ugly.

  6. So, since it’s a slow day I’d like to toss out a few league-related questions I’ve had for a while, and haven’t ever really seen a good answer for. Maybe they’ll spur discussion.
    1: Why a 2nd team in NY? I mean, sure, a $100 million expansion fee is nice. But there’s already a team in that market that can’t sell out. Why a second team? (A friend of mine who is a KC fan but born and raised in NY told me he thinks they’ll do well, specifically because they’re inside the city and therefore easier to get to.)
    2: Why Miami? This one baffles me even more than Q1. MLS failed there once. Other teams in the market – Dolphins and Panthers were around 80-85% capacity, Marlins were a dismal 523%; the Heat average over-capacity, but — LeBron. On top of being a fickle market, the weather during an MLS season is brutal for soccer – hot, humid, lots of thunderstorms. Is the league afraid to tell Becks no? I just don’t get going back to this market…
    So, help a brother out, eh?

    • 1. 2nd NYC team for a few reasons

      a. build rivalry with NYRB to increase value of both teams.

      b. have a proper NYC team for all of the reasons your friend mentioned

      c. largest metro area in the country. Popular team in largest metro area increases TV viewers, more TV viewers increase TV contracts.

      d. Currently high profile DPs (Beckhams, Keanes,Henrys, etc) want to only play in high profile cities. Currently the only teams in high profile cities are NYRB, which isn’t even in the city and the LA Galaxy. Chivas USA is in LA, but they’re a joke. Next level would be Seattle and Toronto.

      More high profile teams mean more DPs. More DPs increase TV ratings, increased TV ratings mean increases TV contracts.

      2. Would you rather work in Miami or Columbus Ohio? The Heat have the Wade/Lebron/Bosh thing going not because they cleared the cap space (plenty of teams did that prior to that Free agency season) but because Miami has great weather, nightspots, hot chicks and a very friendly state income tax setup.

      So Beckham wants to build a brand. You build a brand with stars. High level DPs will come to Miami to play which adds TV viewers, blah, blah, blah.

      These expansion cities have not been chosen for in house attendance, but their affect of how much $ MLS can try and get for their next TV contracts.
      Which of course is the only way the league can continue to grow. And in business, if you are not growing, you are dying. At the end of the day, this is just a business. Just ask Sak and the silent partners!

      • I tried to space my reply out better, I apologize for the brutality to anyone’s eyes who read this!

      • What he said, with some additions on MLS thinking:
        Miami: Big Latino population generally means more soccer fans, so a good team could thrive. (Miami is a historically weak pro sports market in terms of attendance, however.)
        NYC: Red Bulls have failed to adequately draw from the NY market, particularly from Long Island, Queens and beyond due to long traffic-related travel times. So that means the NYC market isn’t fully tapped. The NYC media market supports at least two teams in every major team sport, so there’s a track record of success that would indicate NYCFC could thrive if placed in the right location in the city. (Queens is a better location than the Bronx because it opens up Long Island more, but oh well.)

      • I think the fact is that The Red Bulls are a New Jersey team when it comes down to it and a MLS 2.0 team.

        What the MLS thinks it needs (and are probably right.) is a MLS 2.5 team like Seattle and Portland in NYC that means not only having a stadium but a stadium located in the city accessible to public transportation as opposed to MLS 2.0 teams that had their stadium located in any shithole that would mortgage its soul on a hail mary of economic development pretty much conceding the cities and marketing primarily to the suburbs.

    • John O'Donnell says:

      I believe New York $100 million dollars answers the first question. They are getting some buzz on twitter from fans in New York though.
      You can’t look at Miami with statistics for more than a decade ago. MLS was doing just as bad and since has shown tremendous growth. If Beck’s thinks he can make it work, well it’s his call. You really don’t want to look at other sports because they don’t have a lot to do with each other.

      • Well you kind of do. Sports are in competition with one another for a somewhat finite sports dollar. Fortunately for Miami the Marlins have pretty much destroyed their credibility and their fan base.

    • Thanks.
      So, then, a follow up question. If NY2 and Miami consistently fail to sell out but bring DPs into the league and raise the TV profile a little bit, are they successful franchises or unsuccessful? Say 75-80% capacity – about the the New Jersey Pink Cows get now.

      • If they raise the TV profile and allow the league to obtain larger TV revenue then they are a success. Look at the NFL this weekend. How many stadiums were not sold out and almost had their games blacked out. Noone is saying that the NFL isn’t succesful, lol. The only way the league can continue to improve is to increase revenue to go out and get, and just importantly retain better players.

      • Depends.
        New York will bring in DPs and raise the TV profile slightly. That is a given. If NY fails then the MLS is pretty much doomed.

        But that being said if NYFC is anything less than a Seattle/Portland level of success, given the size of the market, the league will be disappointed. The more successful the franchise the bigger the profile, so I expect LA Galaxy/Seattle Sounders level of rule bending to accomidate them.

        Miami on the other hand… If they are a solid franchise the MLS will be happy. They already have a failed franchise there to put NY levels of expectations there would be insane.

      • The whole Miami thing just reminds me of the NHL with Atlanta. “Oh, the first team failed? That’s OK, this time it’s different. Wait, what do you mean they’re moving to Canada…”
        Hopefully I’m wrong – Miami would be an awesome road trip!

      • Actually the 3 times I’ve been up to RBA the stadium has been, at most, 75% full, but it was announced as a sell out. I think the same will be for NYCFC and Miami’s team – they sell every ticket, but don’t always fill it up. From a business perspective, that’s successful since the team gets the money whether you show up or not, but from a fan/tv perspective the league would rather the seats be full. So it’s a tricky situation.

      • NHL in Atlanta isn’t a great comparison, because the NHL anywhere in the South is generally a bad idea. The better comparison is to prior Miami area clubs in all major team sports, because it’s a unique city where there is a lot to do besides follow pro sports.

      • Fair enough, Dan. The Marlins drew 52.3% last year. The Panthers and Dolphins were both in the 80-85% range. The Heat sell over capacity – 101%. If you go back to the 09-10 season (LeBron’s last year in Cleveland), the Heat averaged 90.5%, so still pretty damn good. (08-09, they were even a little better at 93%.)
        So, I guess the question is whether people of South Florida will show up like they do for the fall-winter-spring seasons (overall, not bad even for the Panthers), or will they it be more like their other summer team (dismal for the Marlins, though there’s some baggage there way beyond just being a summer sport)?

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