Daily news roundups

Sugarman to be at today’s presser, Sak not pleased with Klinsy, SoB elections, USA v COL, WC report fallout, more

Photo: Earl Gardner

Philadelphia Union

The Union will hold a press conference today at 11 am that is widely expected to announce Rene Meulensteen joining the club as some kind of consultant. Along with Nick Sakiewicz, Jay Sugarman will be there to answer questions, something that he hasn’t done — possibly, as far as we can remember — ever.

The Inquirer’s Marc Narducci provided further confirmation that Rene Meulensteen will be announced at a press conference this morning as a consultant to the Union. Narducci writes that, according to a “MLS source,”

Meulensteen will work very closely with the team as it prepares for the franchise’s sixth season. The source added that Meulensteen will be very active during this offseason and leading into the season which will begin in March.

The team and Meulensteen, 50, could eventually agree to an even larger role, but both sides felt that this would be the best way to start, according to the source.

Narducci’s report was followed minutes later by a report from Kevin Kinkead at CBS Philly, which describes Meulensteen’s role as “sporting director.”

At CSN Philly, Ryan Bright writes, “The Dutch manager is expected to take a position as a personnel consultant over technical director Chris Albright and coach Jim Curtin, helping the club identify talent and on-field direction.”

Brotherly Game talks to fellow SB Nation Fulham blog Cottage Confidential about Meulensteen. The Fulham folks seem to think Meulensteen would make a great coach but a terrible sporting director. “If Curtin struggles at all next year, I expect Meulensteen to quickly be the manager. If Curtin does well, Meulensteen probably leaves for the first job that comes up.”

At ESPN, Nick Sakiewicz and Seattle’s Adrian Hanauer are critical of Jurgen Klinsmann advising youth players to go overseas. Sakiewicz said,

Some of our youth national team kids have reported to us that there have been European agents at their training sessions, and they have been encouraged to sign or look at European options by members of U.S. Soccer staff. It’s disturbing to us, because we can’t afford to have our best players leave.

I find it hard to believe that Mr. Klinsmann can take this approach when he has never seen or visited our academy. I invite him to come and see for himself and engage in constructive dialog on how to improve the development of our players instead of simply encouraging them to go overseas.

Congratulations to Rais Mbolhi and his wife on the birth of their daughter. One assumes he won’t be with Algeria when they face Ethiopia on Saturday in Africa Cup of Nations play (2:25 pm, beIN Sports).

In the latest rankings of the top 100 US players, Maurice Edu comes in at No. 29, Amobi Okugo at No. 44, and Sheanon Williams at No. 87.

At MLSsoccer.com, Jim Curtin tells Dave Zeitlin that he left Chivas USA and moved back to Philadelphia with the plan of playing for the Union for a couple of seasons before retiring.

I took a gamble. It didn’t pay off. But it opened a door in another direction. I could have played two or three more years, I think. But the plan changed, and I’m happy with how it has gone.

I wanted to play for the Union. But I’m a believer that things happen for a reason. It sped up my coaching process. At a young age, I was thrown into a great environment at YSC Sports with our youth academy. I kind of got a crash course and accelerated learning. I was able to catch on with the first team and kind of run with it from there.

It’s been a quick process – quicker than I thought. I’m the youngest coach in the league. It happened fast. But it’s one I think I’m ready for.

The thought of what the Union could’ve done with Curtin and Danny Califf partnered in the first season…

At MLSsoccer.com, more on the guy who prevented that from happening, Peter Nowak, and his new job as technical director of the Antigua & Barbuda national team program. I wonder what kind of shady mischief he’ll be getting into down there.

Brotherly Game’s “You be the GM” series continues with Andrew Wenger.

Sons of Ben

Voting for the Sons of Ben 2015 Leadership Board opened this morning at 8 am and will conclude on Friday, November 21 at 8 pm. An announcement on the SoB website describes,

All paid members for 2014 will receive an email ballot from the website managing the balloting, BallotBoxOnline.com.  If you do not see the email in your inbox, please check your spam folder. Voters will create a password, and then be able to vote for either 1 or 2 new Board members.

The announcement notes, “The ballot will be smart phone-friendly, so you will not need to be at a desktop to vote.” Click here to view bios on the four candidates.

Local

The Penn men’s team finished the 2014 season at home against Harvard on Saturday at 7 pm.

Numerous local players have been selected to participate the annual US Youth Soccer Olympic Development Program Girls Thanksgiving Interregional, which will be held Nov. 21-28 in Boca Raton, Fla.

Several local players have also been selected for the ODP Boys Thanksgiving Interregional, which will be held Nov. 27 – Dec. 1 in Casa Grande, Ariz.

MLS

NYCFC primary kit

The draw to determine the order of the dispersal draft for Chivas USA players will take place today. The draft will take place on Wednesday, Nov. 19.

NYCFC unveiled its home kit and, to the surprise of no one who might have spent half a second thinking about it before the unveiling, it looks a lot like Manchester City’s home kit, from the light blue color down to the Etihad Airways shirt sponsor. You can decide for yourself if the outpouring of indignation about the similarity between the two jerseys on social media was surprising or simply hilarious. Reports on the unveiling from NYCFC, MLSsoccer.comNew York Times, Wall Street Journal, New York Daily NewsBloomberg Businessweek, Empire of Soccer, ProSoccerTalk.

Some other NYCFC news came out of the unveiling, including the club’s desire to acquire a third DPseason ticket sales hitting the 11,000 sold mark, and an update on the search for land to build a stadium.

Robbie Rogers has signed a “multi-year” contract extension with LA Galaxy.

Looks like Omar Salgado’s four-year run with Vancouver is over.

Ronaldinho to MLS? Here we go again.

US

Check out our preview, and these from Soccer America, Goal.com, US Soccer Players, Empire of Soccer, and the New York Times.

Jurgen Klinsmann expects a pro-Colombia crowd at the game:

It’s huge to play these sort of games outside of our normal comfort zone, away from the United States, in order to grow and to learn. You can only win from something like this. We want to beat Colombia.

I know it’s going to almost be like a home game for Colombia, with all their fans here in London. But that’s what we need. We need to grow; we need to have those experiences. And I think it’s going to be a great test for us.

At US Soccer, a Q&A with Klinsmann about today’s game.

Ahead of today’s game, ESPN convenes a roundtable to discuss “Klinsmann, the state of the team, the ‘club vs. country’ debate and the road ahead for American soccer.”

At ESPN, Graham Parker says Klinsmann’s project is reaching a critical point.

Klinsmann says he hasn’t spoken with Don Garber since the recent spat, although they have exchange emails. No word on whether they are still friends on Facebook.

Alex Morgan, out with an ankle injury suffered during the CONCACAF Women’s Championship in October, is hopeful she’ll be able to rejoin the USWNT in December in time for the Brazil Tournament.

US Soccer have announced the appointment of Nelson Rodriguez as Nelson Rodríguez Managing Director of National Team Advisory Services, a newly created position. Rodriguez, you will recall, most recently worked as president of Chivas USA after MLS took over the club.

The announcement describes, “Rodríguez will establish an office dedicated to educating members of the National Teams player pool on a variety of topics related to their careers. In addition, the office will serve as a resource to the players and their parents to provide information, guidance and counseling services as they seek to make choices about their career path.” Rodriguez provides more detail in this Q&A.

Dan Wetzel writes at Yahoo Sports that, even though FIFA is “a clown show that would be funny if it wasn’t for all the cheap coffins holding poor third world laborers being shipped from Doha back to Nepal,” the US should still bid to host the 2026 World Cup.

Taylor Twellman has signed an eight-year deal to remain at ESPN.

Elsewhere

The fallout from the summary of the investigation into corruption in the bidding for the hosting rights to the 2018 and 2022 World Cups continues. On Thursday, US Soccer president Sunil Gulati and CONCACAF president Jeffrey Webb released a joint statement calling for the release of the full report.

Given the disagreement between the two Chairmen of the Investigatory and Adjudicatory Chambers of the Ethics Committee and to ensure complete transparency we believe the full report conducted by the FIFA Ethics Committee into the bidding process for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups should be made public as soon as possible. This can be done with appropriate redaction to protect any confidentiality required by the FIFA Code of Ethics. Providing the entire independent report for inspection is in the best interest of the game and FIFA.

FIFA ethics judge Hans-Joachim Eckert, the author of the summary of the investigation report, tells the BBC, the AP, and Reuters that he’s surprised by the criticism from the lead investigator, Michael Garcia, who said the summary contained “numerous materially incomplete and erroneous representations of the facts” and that he would appeal against the conclusion clearing Qatar and Russia.

CNN reports, “US investigators are stepping up the pace of a corruption investigation into senior leaders of FIFA, even as the world soccer body is giving itself a clean bill of health, according to U.S. law enforcement officials.”

The Guardian has ten questions that need to be answered about the report.

More reaction to the release of the summary from New York Times (1), New York Times (2), USA TodayFox Sports, Soccer America, Reuters (1), Reuters (2) and the AP. It’s clear that the English-speaking world widely views the summary as a farce. I’m curious to know how it has been received in the rest of the world.

A piece at Huffington Post calls on a boycott of the 2022 World Cup because of Qatar’s discrimination against gay people.

In a piece from at ESPNW on the 2015 Women’s World Cup turf lawsuit, former Philadelphia Inquirer reporter Kate Fagan raises an interesting point about host country Canada, which has said it plans to bid on hosting the 2026 World Cup:

When Canada submits its official bid in a few years to host the 2026 World Cup, it will be for a tournament played on grass — unless Canada is bidding ironically and doesn’t actually want to host the event. (Insiders interviewed for this column have already hinted that if Canada wants to be taken seriously, the bid will have to include plans for grass fields.)

Of course, the timing of when Canada must submit its bid for 2026 — likely in 2018, long after the conclusion of next summer’s marquee women’s event — means we won’t get our foolproof piece of evidence that this is gender discrimination. We don’t get our side-by-side comparison, neat and tidy, between which excuses have no room. Sure, in 2018, when the details of Canada’s bid are revealed, and it includes playing on grass, some people will say, “Hey! Wait a second! I guess this proves that the women did play their World Cup on turf because of sexism — not because grass can’t work in Canada!”

But most people won’t say anything at all.

The Confederation of African Football has announced that Equatorial Guinea will replace Morocco as host of the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations. Qatar offered to host the tournament before the decision was announced.

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

18 Comments

  1. “Meulensteen will work very closely with the team as it prepares for the franchise’s sixth season. The source added that Meulensteen will be very active during this offseason and leading into the season which will begin in March.”
    /
    Soooooo….. Glorified scout?

  2. For what it’s worth, Ray Hudson was asked about the Mulensteen signing on Sirius XM FC’s “The Football Show.” He said (paraphrasing) that, ‘I love Nik Sackiewicz. Whatever he does with a team, I trust it’s the right thing.’

  3. I would not want the guy as manager at this point, just because he doesn’t know the league at all. But being a consultant, he can learn about the league without making catastrophic screw-ups out of ignorance. And then, as some have said, potentially entering in a managerial role, with some understanding of the league, if Curtin screws up and needs to be canned. So, I’m fine with this. It’s not clear to me that it will help or hurt the club.

  4. I see the potential for good things and/or bad things to come from this position for Mulensteen… On the plus side the guy has to have some of the deepest connections anyone in the soccer world could ever want to have. This would easily give the Union the inside line on players in Europe and beyond that may want to play in the U.S. for a variety of reasons, or young rising stars that need a little more exposure for the bigger clubs to see, etc. On the negative side, part of me is fearful that Mulensteen is a Plan B situation if Curtin doesn’t do well enough next year. Curtin could be removed and Mulensteen will have had time to learn the economics of the league without having to figure it out on the fly. To me, that would make it very difficult for Curtin to succeed knowing that, potentially, every screw up and mistake you make is being scrutinized and your possible replacement is just biding time as a consultant while learning the system. And, as the article from Fulham said, if Curtin does do well and stays on, Mulensteen can leave for the 1st job that comes along. This just feels more like a rental with potential Plan B implications than a long-term strategy to identify talent, but I hope I’m wrong.

    • Good points but the pros far outweigh the cons here. Curtin should feel pressure to immediately improve results. It should help with retaining our better players as well. Any organization worth its salt wants smart experienced people. To me this seems a move a higher caliber team would make.

  5. At least we know who the next interim coach will be.

  6. Look, I’m just saying’- how many years ago was our newly minted manager working with 7 and 8 year olds? I saw Danny Califf up there at YSC last year working with the 7 and 8 year olds- maybe if this doesn’t work out we can offer the gig to him. I’m sorry I’m sorry- but really……..
    .
    ….for me this is quite interesting.

  7. I am stunned the so called Greatest City on Earth has kneeled before Zod in such a way. To shame with those colors for NYCFC. Bollox. Bollox. Bollox.

    • OneManWolfpack says:

      Come on… NYCFC had zero chance to be anything except Man City blue.

      • How about sky blue hoops then? I get the connection and expected the colors- but a total rip of the parent club in England? Maybe I should have been more specific regarding colors versus kit. None-the-less. Bollox.

  8. 17th in the dispersal draft. Guess we won’t be getting any help there!

    • OneManWolfpack says:

      17th and we had 2 envelopes. Great start to the offseason. Ha! I mean there isn’t a lot to puck from the Chivas carcass, but still.

  9. “I invite [Klinsy] to come and see for himself and engage in constructive dialog on how to improve the development of our players instead of simply encouraging them to go overseas.”
    .
    Finally, an issue about which Sakiewicz doesn’t have his head up his ass.

    • Unlike his beef about sending our best players overseas – like Amobi whom he won’t make more than the minimum offer to keep? Does he think that we’re not paying attention to what he does compared to what he says?

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