Daily news roundups

Spring groundbreaking for practice facility planned, on new draftees & Maidana, Valdes update, more

Photo: Earl Gardner

Philadelphia Union

The Union is scheduled to announce its preseason schedule on Tuesday, including information about an open practice at YSC and meet and greet at Fados.

Union CEO Nick Sakiewicz spoke to the Philadelphia Business Journal about plans for a new practice facility nearby PPL Park and said, “The plan is to break ground on the facility in the spring. In the meantime, the team will continue to practice in the stadium.” Sakiewicz indicated that there are no plans at present to expand PPL Park itself.

Sakiewicz also spoke about rumors that the team’s ownership was looking to sell the club. “Ownership has no intention of selling control. However, we have always reserved an opportunity for an equity placement with long-term local investors.”

Union No. 1 draft pick Andre Blake said he was aware the club was interested in him before the draft. “I knew they were interested because I know the coach has been following me while I was at school. I had a talk with him two or three days before the draft, so I knew they were interested. I just didn’t know what to expect.”

Blake also said, “Just being there, in Philadelphia, being drafted by Philadelphia Union at No. 1 is a great feeling. The fans reaction after it, I felt at home with it.”

Blake and John Hackworth are the guests on the latest SBI podcast.

After selecting at No. 15 overall in Thursday’s draft, John Hackworth said of Pedro Ribeiro, “He’s got serious tools.” In an article at The Sun News, Ribeiro described his feelings about being select by the Union. “Just excitement, all kinds of good feelings. I didn’t expect to be drafted that high. I was just [waiting] for my name to come up, and when it came up it was the best feeling in the world, probably one of the best feelings in my life.”

Ribeiro said of his development at Coastal Carolina, “I became a completely different player, much more complete. Being able to play both sides of the ball, offensively and defensively, is something I feel I improved a lot. Because back home I was just more worried about scoring and getting assists. I definitely became a better defender, a better two-way player here at Coastal.”

Ribeiro said he expects to report for the start of preseason training on Jan. 24. “I’m definitely ready. I’m just really excited, looking forward to it. Of course, a little anxious. I’ll be a freshman again and a rookie on a new team with new guys. But I’m sure they’re great guys … I’m just really looking forward to it.”

Impact 89 FM has a podcast of an interview with Union draft selection Kevin Cope, who says “I’m really excited. I know I have to earn everything to get there and that’s what I’m gonna do.”He sounds like a very nice and thoughtful young man.

At the Union website, Andy Jasner has more background on the Union’s draft picks.

At Union Tally, Matthew De George says the signing if Cristian Maidana brings “the promise to Union fans that a different era of investment is dawning. Talk of his arrival didn’t posit him as the culmination of investment, but rather as an excuse to spend more and emphatically awaken a long dormant offseason.”

John Hackworth says of the Union’s commitment to spend, “I’ve been saying that for a long time, but I just couldn’t really prove it until we brought some of those guys in. That’s been a work in progress, and a lot of work, to be fair. I asked the fans to be patient and trust that we were trying to build this thing. This has been a long-term plan for us, to build through last year, build up these resources so we could kind of go after it this year. We’re still working hard on a couple more.”

Also at the Union website, our own photo essay from PSP photographer Earl Gardner.

Valdes update

Gocaracol posted video on Sunday of Carlos Valdes at an airport in Colombia before flying to Argentina to try to finalize a deal with San Lorenzo. Thanks to the translation work of PSP contributor Barb Colligon, I can relate that Valdes said that the deal “will be a loan of 6 months,” pending approval from MLS. Valdes added, “There’s interest to buy permanently.”

Ricardo Pachon, Valdes’ agent, confirmed the flight to Argentina on Twitter and that he is “Waiting for a final document for MLS to sign.”

Ole reports (crappy Google translation here) that Valdes said he will meet with San Lorenzo president Matthias Lammens today to try to finalize the deal.

Lammens tells Diario Popular (crappy Google translation here) that he believes Valdes “has a high resale value.”

Earlier today, Ole confirmed (crappy Google translation here) Valdes’ arrival in Argentina. Beginning with, “The novel of Carlos Valdes has more chapters than The Walking Dead,” the report says that San Lorenzo seeks to buy 60 percent of Valdes’ rights.


Hershey, PA’s Christian Pulisic scored the game winner for the US U-17s in their 2-1 win over France at the Aegean Cup in Turkey earlier today.

On Sunday, Brian Sciaretta tweeted news that Reading-native Corey Hertzog had suffered a hamstring injury while on trial with Falkensberg in Sweden. Reading United president Arthur Auchenbach tweeted that Hertzog was back in the States and would begin his recovery with the help of Reading United staff and facilities. Click here for the Twitter thread between Sciaretta and Auchenbach.

USL PRO announced on Friday that all league and playoff games in 2014 will be streamed live via team channels on YouTube. Very nice!

The Times of Trenton and Philly.com have articles that give a sense of some of the many exhibits at the NSCAA Convention. The snark at the end of the Philly.com report is, however, as unnecessary as it is inaccurate and contradictory, considering it ends with a link to an article at Forbes on MLS’ surging popularity.


Some player transactions for you:

Speaking at Thursday’s SuperDraft, Don Garber used some sugar to coat a bitter pill:

The sugar: “One of the things that is interesting with (the league) is that I don’t get asked as much about our economic viability and the stability of the league. It’s all accepted that this league is going to be here to stay.”

The bitter pill, “But we still have to manage through the fact that the league is losing between $75 (million) and $100 million a year.”

To which I can only say, “Yikes!”

Seattle head coach Sigi Schmid says that, contrary to rumors, he expects Obafemi Martins to be with the team when their preseason begins on Jan. 25.

From the Department of Thank Goodness That’s Over With, Vancouver announced on Friday that it had reached an agreement to transfer Camilo Sanvezzo to Liga MZ side Querétaro FC for a “club record” multimillion-dollar fee.

From the Department of When It Rains It Pours in Vancouver, Ives Galarcep reported at Goal.com on Friday that Vancouver draft pick Andre Lewis, the No. 7 pick overall and a midfielder from Jamaica, had actually signed with the New York Cosmos. Cosmos CEO Erik Stover confirmed the signing, telling Goal.com, “We agreed to a deal in principle with the player a while ago, and he’s under contract with us now pending approval from U.S. Soccer. We haven’t made an official announcement yet since we’re in the process of finalizing the terms of the developmental agreement with his club in Jamaica.”

Using words eerily similar to those he used at the beginning of the Camilo Affair, Whitecaps president Bob Lenarduzzi said, “He’s going to be in Vancouver. He’s our player,” and explained the team was aware of the situation before drafting Lewis. For his part, Lewis said, “I’m a fan of Vancouver because of Darren Mattocks. I love the support that the fans give to Vancouver. I’m looking forward to starting my professional career with the Whitecaps and to just go there and work hard and do my best.”

MLS vice president of player personnel Lino DiCuollo said, “MLS has an agreement with Lewis and the Cosmos for him to join MLS and Vancouver, provided certain conditions are met. In the event the Whitecaps want to retain the player, as of the roster compliance date (March 1), then he will be with them on a loan or after a transfer from the Cosmos.”

Galarcep wraps the Lewis story at Goal.com.

The Star reports, “Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment could expand BMO Field in time for the July 2015 Pan Am Games, its chief executive says — but only if MLSE and the government can come to a financial agreement ‘very’ soon.” MLSE CEO Tim Leiweke says, “What we’re trying to figure out is a way to get the renovation done where the majority of the burden, almost all of the burden, falls upon us, the private sector.”

At ESPN, John Duerden says Asian leagues can learn a thing or two from MLS and would benefit from closer ties to the league.


Penn State’s Maya Hayes was selected 6th overall in Friday’s NWSL draft. Villanova’s Jami Kranich was the 32nd overall pick.

More on the draft from and ProSoccerTalk.

Several coaches at the draft said that NWSL teams cannot compete financially with big clubs in Europe or with the stature of the UEFA Women’s Champions League. US Soccer head Sunil Gulati is more optimistic.


The US defeated Mexico 4-0 on Sunday to claim the CONCACAF Women’s U-20 Championship ahead of the U-20 World Cup in Canada later this year. The US scored 29 goals as it defeated the five opponents it faced in the CONCACAF tournament while conceding zero goals. On Friday, the US topped Trinidad & Tobago 6-0 in the semifinals.

Jurgen Klinsmann is sort of confident that the US will make it out of the group stage at this year’s World Cup, saying, “I’m pretty sure we are going to make it through to the [knockout] round…I think it is still possible for us to go eye-to-eye with the big nations and give them real games even if it is difficult climate zones or circumstances. The more we are able to adjust quicker than the other ones to those circumstances…to prepare ourselves on a higher level physically and mentally, the more we have a chance to beat them…We know on a God-given day we can beat big nations. We just have to time it extremely well so it happens in June 2014, and that’s why I am not scared about Ghana, Portugal or Germany.”

Klinsmann also described why he is referring to the 2014 World Cup as “the World Cup of Patience”: “Because of the Brazilian style of life, there will be a lot of surprises waiting…It’s not going to be a perfect World Cup for anybody…Nothing will be laid out perfectly. Nothing [in Brazil] will be kind of the German way of 2006 where everything was on time and ironed out. There will be delays and logistical challenges with the hotels, fields, stadiums or whatever.”

Don Garber says of concerns about the so many national team players being based in or returning to MLS ahead of the World Cup, “The league is maturing and it’s becoming a league of choice for top American players. Years ago we probably hadn’t entirely earned the right to be able to have the best American players here in our league…I think [Klinsmann] is turning around a bit and seeing that MLS cannot just be a part of the process but actually can help the national team be better. It’s undoubtedly a viable way for them to train for the World Cup.”


Former adviser to Sepp Blatter Jérôme Champagne has announced he will stand for the FIFA presidency next year. His announcement came with an endorsement from Pele.


  1. Nick: “The plan is to break ground in on the facility in the spring.”
    So, I guess it’ll be ready in 2021, then? I can’t wait until we hear it’s “60 to 90 days” away in four or five years!

  2. Any chance the crew breaking ground on the training facility can also pave the parking lots?

    • This was actually one of the reasons my family decided not to renew season tickets when we stopped. If they didn’t have the money or the will to make their parking lots decent, we didn’t have any faith in them spending money to make the product on the field any better either.

      • Help me out with this, please. I just don’t get why people have their panties in a bunch over the parking lots.

      • I would much prefer the million dollars that it would cost to pave the lot go towards player development or a training facility.

      • because cars are very expensive investments and parking cars where they can be damaged by rocks and gravel is bad. Parking them in veritable mud piles and having fans walk through vast expanses of mud to get to the stadium is also bad.

        Having a goddamn unpaved parking lot kind of screams half assed mickey mouse organization

      • it isn’t that big of a deal

      • Speak for yourself. It’s a big deal to me and many others. The fact that you disagree does not invalidate out opinions. I’ll keep my panties bunched if that’s ok with you.

  3. I have my doubts about the leagues 75-100 million loss figure. It is in the best of the teams/leagues to inflate their losses. Especially with a new CBA coming up and cities wondering how much the league can kick in for new stadiums.
    I am not saying the league is making money but I would only believe the team is losing that much if Garber opened up the books.
    And he won’t.

    • Agreed, I’m sure there are a lot of non-cash items in that $75-100M.

    • I think the use of the word “losses” here is a mistake.. I highly doubt that the league is just burning through that amount of money. More likely that the 75-100 Million is being invested without an immediate return.
      Sidenote: Also doesn’t help when Chivas can barely get people into the stadium. The fees for the use their has to been way more expensive than the proceeds coming in at the gate and concessions.

  4. Regarding Valdes, I am all for him pursuing his dream of making the Colombian team for the WC. That being said, how does another loan help the Union in the long term? It seems obvious that Valdes will never play at PPL again, even after this summer. The longer into his existing contract he plays without being sold, the less transfer value he will have when a sale is finally completed.

    Also, can anyone explain buying a percentage of a player’s rights? Is this a sell-on fee or something different altogether?

    • I don’t have the answers to all your questions but if he has a good world cup playing for Colombia, his transfer value goes up not down. So, there’s that.

    • Yea… Valdes is a big ol’ lottery ticket for the Union. He starts on a highly rated Colombian team in the world cup he is worth a couple mil. He gets injured not so much.

    • Valdes is signed with the Union through 2015. The loan spell doesn’t help the Union on the field but it does increase his exposure and subsequent value by playing for big teams in South America and the Columbian National Team. Not sure about the 60% rights situation, but the Union will most likely look to offload him now through the January 2015 window to maximize his re-sale value. Anywhere between 1.2-2 Million imo.

      • OneManWolfpack says:

        If he ain’t gonna play… at least make money from the sale. That’s soccer. It is what it is. Happens all over. Just move on and use the money to pave the lots. Ha!

    • Buying a percentage of a players rights is a big thing in South America and is highly frowned upon everywhere else. What usually happens with those situations, is a business will come in and buy the other percentage. Look up Carlos Tevez, Javier Mascherano and third party ownership.

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