Daily news roundups

Maidana update, Amobi says, Pfeffer gets props, Bradley & Defoe to TFC confirmed, more news

Philadelphia Union

If you missed it last night, our post on the Union’s pursuit of Argentine winger Cristian “Chaco” Maidana has been updated with new details.

  • A Maidana deal would involve an estimated $400k transfer fee to CDS Rangers in Chile, who hold his rights.
  • The Maidana move would be for a 3-year deal. Maidana would likely be a DP due to transfer fee.

Stay tuned.

Amobi Okugo says of not being called up for the January USMNT camp, “Looking at the roster, all of the guys that got called in made the playoffs and did well with their teams. Klinsmann seems like he wants players that come from winning teams and have winning mentalities. Unfortunately our team didn’t do that, so I wasn’t really expecting a call…Personally I feel like I played well. A number of guys on our team played well. But when it came down to it, every coach wants a winner. The guys that were called in, they’re all deserving and they were all key components to their teams making the playoffs. At the end of the day, everyone’s watching the playoffs. And no one’s watching the team at home.”

Okugo also features in a thought provoking article from Jonah Freedman that asks this question: Is Michael Bradley’s return to MLS “the tipping point for how our kids view their soccer dreams.” Okugo describes how the path of US players at the 2002 and 2006 World Cups — work hard in MLS before moving to “legit leagues” in Europe — was the inspiration for himself and many of his colleagues around the league. Describing Okugo as “the exact prototype of what US Soccer is shooting for,” Freedman wonders if a new model is emerging. “If Bradley joins Dempsey back in MLS and the stream of young homegrown talent continues to flow into MLS clubs instead of overseas, kids will have a new path to follow…And maybe then Okugo will realize how many kids are looking up to him – because he plays for the Union.”

At ASN, US U-20 MNT coach Tab Ramos had some glowing words to say about Zach Pfeffer. “Zach Pfeffer and Amando Moreno, these are guys I think we’re going to be able to count on for the full cycle. You don’t want to give people a free pass but these are guys who work very hard every practice, every game. I’m pretty comfortable saying these are guys we can probably count on for a while.”

At the Union website, Kerith Gabriel has a moving story on Danny Cruz fulfilling a charity appearance commitment despite the passing this week of his grandmother. Cruz said, “My family, they’ve told me on numerous occasions that my career here with the Union is what they think kept her alive as long as she was and kept her going. I’m okay talking about this and her when it involves soccer; because I know I didn’t have a bigger fan. She would have wanted me to be here, and to celebrate with those kids because she was passionate about me and who I am as a person. A large part of who I am as a person is because of her.”

At the Reading United website, PSP contributor Sean Doyle, who was a guest on this week’s Philly Soccer Show podcast, looks at the seven Reading United players participating in the MLS Combine, Jan. 10-14.

Local

US Soccer have announced that former Eastern PA Youth Soccer Association president Richard Groff as the recipient of the 2014 Werner Fricker Builder Award.

Mechanicsburg-native Bobby Warshaw, most recently on loan to Ängelholms in Sweden from FC Dallas, provides a fascinating glimpse into the drive and motivation of being a professional soccer player in his latest blog post at Penn Live.

MLS

Roma have confirmed the Michael Bradley move in a statement on the club website. “AS Rome SpA announces that it has signed with Major League Soccer (MLS) a deal for the outright sale of the rights to the player Michael Bradley, for the sum of US $10 million.” They even tweeted him best wishes.

The transfer fee is a new record for an amount paid by MLS for a player.

Landon Donovan said of the Bradley move, “I think it’s a testament to our league that people want to come back and play here, particularly six months before a World Cup. It’s a strong statement…Michael’s a smart guy. And I’m sure he’s thought about this a lot, and it’s something he wants to do, and it’s great.”

At ASN, there’s an omnibus reaction piece to the Bradley news from 19 soccer pundits and an analysis article from Brian Sciaretta. At Soccer America, Ridge Mahoney says the Bradley move “ratchets up scrutiny of MLS.”

Tottenham have confirmed the Jermaine Defoe to Toronto move, effective Feb. 28. Defoe is expected to be unveiled in Toronto on Monday. The confirmation also notes a new marketing partnership between Tottenham and Toronto FC owners Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment and a a friendly between the two clubs in Toronto on July 23.

Defoe said, “I am grateful for the opportunity for myself and my family to experience living overseas and for me to play in the MLS with a contract that will take me to the age of 35.”

In other player moves,

The Camilo Sanvezzo story continues after photographs appeared on Thursday of the 2013 MLS Golden Boot winner training with Liga MX side Querétaro despite still being under contract with Vancouver. Whitecaps head coach Carl Robinson said, “I’ve let him know our stance on the situation, his behavior that he’s shown, the unprofessionalism he’s shown, is not acceptable for me, being in charge as the head coach…I was as surprised as any, and disappointed as well, because I don’t expect that from any professional player. I’ve been in the game a long time and I’ve never seen that before. It’s surprising and disappointing, but like I said we need to find a solution for that now.” If you have a moment, scroll through the comments in the last link. Funny stuff.

Chivas USA have named former Colorado assistant coach Wilmer Cabrera as their new head coach.

Jason Kreis will be unveiled today as the first head coach of New York City FC. You can watch the press conference live at 11 am on the club website.

At Philly.com, Jonathan Tannenwald reports that MLS executive vice president of competition, technical and game operations Nelson Rodriguez will step down on Jan. 31 after 14 years with the league.

At Goal.com, Ives Galarcep reports that the NBC Sports Group has lost out on its bid to renew its contract to broadcast MLS games when its three-year deal expires at the end of 2014.Galarcep says the new deal “will be worth significantly more” than the current one.

At Philly.com, Tannenwald reports that Fox has won the broadcasting rights. “The number one factor in Fox’s desire to get back on board is the network’s ownership of FIFA rights from 2015 through 2022. MLS’ television rights are purposely packaged with U.S. national team television rights, and Fox Sports really wanted both in order to build up to its World Cup broadcasts.”

Inc.com uses MLS as an example of a business organization that is successfully managing fast growth. A very interesting read.

US

Jurgen Klinsman says of efforts by MLS-based national team players to secure loans in Europe, “There is no demand. It means for us we have to work even harder — players like Graham Zusi, Matt Besler or Omar Gonzalez — they have to work harder to get the opportunity to be in that picture with teams in Europe for a short period of time and maybe later on for a long period of time. It is just a sign of reality. The demand is not there.”

The problem is that, while European coaches have positive things to say about the league, there is “a lot of doubt still.” Klinsmann explained, “It is a very, very tricky situation that players face right now. You want them to play in the best clubs in best leagues in the world and obviously MLS is not there yet. MLS is trying badly to improve quality of soccer year by year. When a player decides to come back from your Europe because offer is just so exceptionally good that he wants to combine other things with it and help also the league to grow, as a national team coach you accept that and help the player to make the best out of it.” That last sentence isn’t exactly a ringing endorsement of Bradley’s return to the league.

The US defeated Costa Rica 6-1 in their opening game at the CONCACAF Women’s U-20 Championship in the Cayman Islands. They next face Jamaica on Saturday at 7:30pm (Fox Soccer Plus, Fox Soccer 2Go). Click here to view highlights from the win.

You may have noticed the change on the US Soccer website or on the federation’s social media platforms, but it seems there is a new crest. It’s just the same old terrible crest but with a more classically red, white and blue color scheme. It is mind boggling that the federation continues to use that terrible design.

The MAC Hermann Trophy winners will be announced tonight in St. Louis.

Elsewhere

Check out the latest Footy on the Telly for listings of the week’s upcoming live soccer games on TV,  online, and on satellite radio.

29 Comments

  1. Gotta admit, happy about both the Maidana news as well as the numerous rumors starting to pop up.
    Deep down I know it’s not Michael Bradley or Defoe, but at the same time it is what it is. There is going to be tiers in terms of money and right now we are not that high.
    And at the same time, money, salary or reputation is not what plays every game. We will get to see the signings speak for themselves every game at that point everyone is on the same playing field.

    • Ray Hudson had a great line this morning on SiriusXM FC regarding how teams can build without splashing great amounts of cash. He said to be successful in MLS, “ya don’t need to hand out big paychecks, but ya do need to get out there and bang the bushes.”

      Nice to see the Union banging the bushes.

  2. Word is out that the MLS will over pay for US Nationals. I wonder how many more will try to jump on this gravy train?

  3. So maybe I’m wrong, and misremembering. Didn’t TFC already have 2 DPs under contract?

    • You aren’t. I feel MLS MAGIC is in the offing.

      • Eli Pearlman-Storch says:

        I’d guess they’d work with Laba to renegotiate his contract, as I believe he’s cheaper than Gilberto. It would mean more money on the books, but would allow them to keep all 4. just a guess.

      • Ah, yes. I’ll wait for MLS to mention on the side somewhere (because there’s never an announcement) that USMNT players with bald heads don’t count toward the DP limit…

      • More likely that Laba will have contract negotiated down or he will be transferred out or traded to another MLS side.

  4. Personally, I’m not upset that the U. didn’t get Bradley. He is a terrific player, of course, and just what we need, and yet these players who get whale contracts seem very commonly to not make the proportional impact that one would expect for that expenditure.

    In other words: I bet the Union can probably do as well, a lot cheaper than the incredible price TFC is paying for Bradley (or Seattle paid for Deuce), when you factor in the money left over that will allow them to do other things.

    Also, as James said above, not every team can play with that kinda money, and we just ain’t there. But that doesn’t mean we can’t assemble a good, competitive team. Seattle has enormous attendance to help bolster their finances (in addition to very wealthy owners), and TFC had to do something big, as their franchise has underperformed in such an appalling way for so many years now.

    • John O'Donnell says:

      I also believe that it takes a year to adjust to the league. When it comes to money for the Union, I hear a rumor that they might be for sale.

    • I get what you’re saying, but this really looks like you’re trying to talk yourself into believing we’re better not having Bradley. And I just don’t think that’s true.
      .
      Michael Bradley raises the team’s profile in the city, almost certainly raises merchandise sales, and raises interest in other cities when the Union come to town. And there’s most certainly value to having Bradley on your roster when it comes to signing other players. (Think Jack would stop whining about bad service if he had Bradley as his CAM?) There’s also the residual value of having Bradley in the league, but that comes whether he’s here or TFC.
      .
      As of right now, the Union’s “payroll” is effectively $0.00. The league pays for the non-DP contracts, and (at least until Maidana signs) the U don’t have a DP. If Sugarman and the Invisibles can’t afford to invest $6.5 million a year into their team – money they very well could make back – then they really don’t belong as owners. If “we can’t afford it” is the reason Michael Bradley isn’t here, there’s a problem. If “we could afford it, but then couldn’t do anything else significant” is the reason, there’s a problem (though not as big, in my opinion). If there are soccer reasons (“we’d rather bring in two or three DPs, each for less money, who will have a larger impact”) then I’m OK.
      .
      I’ve generally not been one of those fans who cries about Sugarman and the Invisibles being cheap (other than being snarky about unpaved parking lots). But if the Union were out of the Michael Bradley sweapstakes even before they started *just* because of money, then there’s a problem.

      • Dan C (formerly of 103) says:

        John,
        I’m the opposite. I’m not mad at the U for not getting Bradley. The reality is that most MLS teams can’t pay anyone 6.5 million a year. I’m mad at the U because of their body of work. The entire organization has regressed in 5 years. My anger isn’t about 1 big player, but because of the basics that they fail to cover….

    • ” I bet the Union can probably do as well, a lot cheaper than the incredible price TFC is paying for Bradley (or Seattle paid for Deuce), when you factor in the money left over that will allow them to do other things.”

      I’d take that bet. While Nowak was (is? Anyone see him lately?) a crazy person, I had a confidence level he could find and bring in impact players from overseas (Mondragon, Califf,Paunstar) and do not have that same confidence with Hackworth/Sak (Fabinho,Gilberto,Ekra). So theoretically, yes, it is possible to find the Higuain’s of the soccer world and get them to play for a fraction of what Defoe/Bradley would cost. The reality is the current administration of the club does not have a track record that supports your assertion.

    • I am not upset because with the team, the country, the economic system and laws of physics all in their current configurations there was now way the Union would every get Bradley.
      So it isn’t worth getting worked up about.

  5. I can’t believe that there aren’t any comments about Amobi’s quote. That is some scary stuff. Read between the lines, and this is a guy who believes he missed a USMNT callup BECAUSE HE PLAYS FOR THE UNION! He’s not only saying “you better pay me to keep me,” he’s saying “you need to get a better team if you want to keep me.” This is serious stuff guys. Much scarier that Jack Mac’s complaints about “needing more through balls.”

    • Haha. Nah, I’m pretty sure he said he wasn’t called up because his team wasn’t in the playoffs. I think it’s a very realistic and healthy attitude to take. He realizes what he and the team needs to do to get that kind of recognition and hopefully it drives all of them to play even better to get it.

      • I like your optimism, and I do think that Amobi is not the kind of guy to put his team down in the media (unlike some other young stars), but still, if the Union don’t improve, and he continues to get passed over for callups, you gotta believe that he’ll jump at the first chance to join a side that consistently makes the playoffs, no?

      • Green Eggs & Ham says:

        I think you’re both sort of correct. I took the comments similar to James’ understanding. A healthy introspective self-evaluating attitude. However with time (9-18 months) that objective viewpoint could turn to ‘it’s time to get out of here’ if a young player like Okugo thinks the best interests of his career aren’t being served by being a part of the Philadelphia Union organization.

      • Right on spuggger.

  6. OneManWolfpack says:

    I’m not sure what to think about missing out/maybe never being in on Bradley. On one hand, it was at least nice to hear that the Union “bid” on him. To what extent, I don’t know, but at least there was a kicking of the tires. On second thought, a simple question still comes to mind, “Why not us?” There is just an increasing feeling that is never going to be us.
    .
    I am really starting to believe that in 5 years this club will either be a powerhouse, producing youth and senior MNT players, with world class facilities, and great reputation, with all this stuff behind them… or Chivas USA. HA! Stay tuned!!

  7. James lockerbie says:

    it’s crazy but i think your right it’s one or the other let’s hope it’s not chivas

  8. Having grown up in the Philly area, I am just grateful to have a professional soccer team to support. PPL is great. The Vet was a rotten place to watch a match. The owners might not have the deep pockets that other teams have but you can build winners through your pipeline. I am willing to let the team build the facilties that they need to become world class. It just takes time.

    • 5 years is long enough to build a team, the U front office does nothing to instill confidence that they are capable of building a team through the draft, youth development programs etc. Any young player with an upside (MF) is long gone. Why not spend some money on DPs as long as they’re not Freddy Adu. Otherwise 6th place finishes will be as close as this team will get. Michael Bradley in blue and gold would have elevated the play of the whole team.

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