Daily news roundups

Amobi says, Academy braces power wins, Conference Final first legs, more

Photo: Daniel Gajdamowicz

Philadelphia Union

MLS Transfers has an interview with Amobi Okugo. Of particular interest to Union fans is the question of whether or not he has received an offer from the Union. Okugo said,

Yeah, we had our end of the year meetings, they went well and we talked about what they have in mind for next year. There’s all these reports coming out about a bona fide offer but I haven’t gotten any offer, maybe they are talking to my agent who is actually dealing with that kind of stuff.

As for his future — be it in Europe or in the US — Okugo said,

Yeah, there’s interest but it’s all about me at the age of 23 taking the right steps and doing what’s best for you. There’s options within MLS and Europe, I’m just trying to take my time in the offseason training hard still, and letting my agent handle that situation.

Personally, God willing, I think I’ll end up in the best situation for me. I don’t want to be too revealing but if Philly makes an offer, I’ve always stated that I want to win something for the club and fans and I regret not having won a trophy for them and wanted so bad to win the Open Cup, but I’ve also said that my dream is to play in Europe to improve my chance of making the national team. We’ll see what happens, I’m enjoying my options right now.

On the question of when a decision will be made about where he will be playing next season, Okugo said,

I don’t want to put a timetable on it but I don’t want to be lollygagging around, I want to have an idea of what’s happening. My goal is sometime before Christmas but we’ll see how everything plays out because MLS teams have a lot going on with the expansion draft and all the other drafts…

A lot of people are saying things about me but nothing’s coming from me or from my agent, I don’t know. I haven’t gotten an offer so if they think I’m not going to come back, it’s because of that. Again, you never really know what’s going to happen.

Looking back to the 2014 season, Okugo underscored the effect on the Union defense of injury that Austin Berry suffered early in the season. “I was consistent in the beginning of the season with Austin Berry but unfortunately, Austin got a little knock and then we had to shuffle the back line. I think that affected our backline as a whole and affected my partnership (with other players).”

Okugo also said he’s acquiring a Nigerian passport to keep his national team options open.

At the Union website, a “The Year in Quotes” piece in which the Hackworth era basically does not exist.

Brotherly Game’s “You be the GM” series continues with Antoine Hoppenot.

Philadelphia Union Academy

The Union U-15/16s bounced back from last weekend’s loss to New York Red Bulls with a 2-0 win over Continental FC Delco courtesy of a second half brace from Raheem Taylor-Parkes.

The Union U-17/18s, who drew 0-0 with New York last weekend, defeated Continental FC Delco 2-1 on Saturday. Down a goal after the first half, Sebastian Elney tallied in the 49th and 90th minute to give the Union the win.

The Union U-13/14s are on break in US Soccer Development Academy play until March.

The schedule for the 2014 US Soccer Development Academy Winter Showcase that will take place on Nov. 29-Dec. 3 at the Premier Sports Campus in Lakewood Ranch, Florida, and will involve the Union U-15/16 and U-17/18 teams has been announced.

Sons of Ben

Voting for the Sons of Ben 2015 Board ended on Friday. The winners should be announced shortly.

Don’t forget, 2015 Sons of Ben membership packages are now on sale.


Penn State was knocked out of the NCAA Division I men’s tournament on Saturday with a 2-1 road loss to Syracuse.

The Penn State women’s team defeated Virginia Tech, 2-1, on Sunday to advance to the NCAA Division I women’s tournament Elite Eight.

Hershey, Pa.’s Christian Pulisic scored an 85th minute equalizer to level the score at 3-3 but Brazil found the winner in the third minute of stoppage time to defeat the US U-17 team, 4-3, at the 2014 Copa Libertador Bernardo O’Higgins last Thursday in Chile. The US finished the tournament with a draw against Qatar on Saturday.

Philadelphia Business Journal has a piece on Live Breathe Futbol founders Ebun Olaloye and Dom Cucinotta.


The first leg games of the conference finals took place on Sunday. New England defeated New York 2-1 at Red Bull Arena. Not only did the win include two valuable road goals, Bradley Wright-Phillips was shown his second yellow card of the playoffs, meaning he won’t be available for the second leg on Saturday (3 pm: NBCSN, Univision, NBC Sports Live Extra). Wright-Phillips said after the game, “I didn’t know the rules of the yellow card accumulation. I’m angry, obviously. I’m angry. Stupid yellow card and now I have to pay.” Thierry Henry has confirmed he will play on the artificial turf at Gillette Stadium, something he has never before done in his five seasons in MLS. Is Henry’s future with the Arsenal coaching staff?

Los Angeles defeated Seattle 1-0. The second leg will be played on Sunday (9 pm: ESPN, ESPN Deportes, Watch ESPN).

Unsurprisingly, criticism of the officiating in both matches followed the final whistle.

The dates for the CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinals have been announced. Play will resume on the road for DC United (against Costa Rica’s Alajuelense) and Montreal Impact (against Mexico’s Pachuca) on Feb. 24.

Jermain Defoe is recovering from groin surgery in England. Whether he will be with Toronto next season remains to be seen. TFC head coach Greg Vanney said, “Our focus right now is getting him healthy, and we continue to have ongoing conversations about getting him back here, and what it would look like to get him back on our team.”

Montreal have signed goalkeeper Evan Bush to a new contract.

Orlando City head coach Adrian Heath has signed a contract extension to remain with the club through 2017.

Vancouver Whitecaps announced on Friday the launch of USL PRO side Whitecaps FC 2 (WFC2), which will debut in 2015 and will be partially fan-owned. WFC2 will be 12th new team added to the third division league and the seventh MLS-owned USL PRO side. More from MLSsoccer.com, USL PRO, Vancouver Sun, The Canadian Press,

Last Thursday say representatives from Sacramento, Minneapolis, and Las Vegas make their case for MLS franchise to league officials in New York. Gordon Hartman, the owner of the NASL Soccer Bowl champion San Antonio Scorpions, says his team is also still in the mix. “I’ve seen the reports, and I’m feeling very comfortable that the process we’re working with will move forward as planned. I can’t say much more than that.” More from San Antonio Business Journal and KENS5.

An opinion piece at My San Antonio says it would be regrettable if, over the possibility of becoming the new home of the Oakland Raiders, city officials bungle landing a MLS franchise, which they view as much more feasible.

City officials at Sacramento neighbor Elk Grove say they are still confident in their bid to land a MLS franchise.

The Minneapolis effort to land a MLS franchise contains two rival bids, one backed by the Minnesota Vikings, the other by NASL side Minnesota United and the owners of the Minneapolis Twins. Minneapolis/St, Paul Business Journal talks to Minnesota United FC President Nick Rogers about the bid.

MLS Multiplex on whether Atlanta MLS means the end of the NASL’s Atlanta Silverbacks. In a word, yes.

The soccer culture wars. Wade in if you dare.


At US Soccer Players, Charles Boehm on Jurgen Klinsmann and the specter of second-cycle stagnancy.

At Soccer America, Paul Kennedy has five pieces of advice for Jurgen Klinsmann.

Bolton manager Neil Lennon says Jurgen Klinsmann showed Tim Ream and the Wanderers a “lack of respect” after calling up Ream and only playing him three minutes against Ieeland.

Bloomberg Businessweek wonders why Nike doesn’t sell the USWNT jersey in men’s sizes. Good question.

The US U-16 team finished its week-long training stint in France with a 3-0 loss to the France U-16s.


The AP reports, “FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke said Friday a boycott of the 2018 World Cup in Russia would be ‘nonsense.'”

And there’s this:

Two of the five top-tier global PR agencies that FIFA invited to pitch for an assignment burnishing the reputation of the next two World Cups have pulled themselves out of contention, PRWeek has learned.

The firms have not divulged their reasons for doing so, but industry insiders say the winning shop could face reputational risks to its own business.



  1. Can anyone explain how Raheem Taylor-Parkes is in the Union academy? Some googling shows him with connections all over the country (and Canada) other than Philly.

    It’s probably a good thing for the Union that they are attracting top youth talent but it seems like a zero sum game for US soccer in general and no real benefit for Philly-area soccer.

  2. Amobi is no good to Orlando or NYCFC if he has no contract, and is looking to Europe. One interpretation is that the U want to wait until after the expansion draft, leave him unprotected, w/o contract, possibly looking to Europe, and so he doesn’t get picked, and then the U makes it worth his while.

    • That’s exactly what I was thinking!

    • I am curious about the future of the holding midfield role for the USMNT. Beckerman is getting older. I wonder who Klinsman considers as defensive midfielders going forward. I wonder who could step in to that role for the next 8 to 10 years. Hmm. #14. Be nice to get a call up sometime soon.
      Granted, Andy, I know we have differing opinions of #14.

      • Perry Kitchen and Wil Trapp come to mind. Danny Williams is just 25. Okugo’s a really good player, but I don’t think he’ll ever get more than a sniff at the NT. I’d love to be wrong on that one!

      • Agree on Trapp. Very young but solid. Smart Okugo looking for Nigerian passport- find anyway you can to play nationally.

      • I forgot about Danny WIlliams. German ties too. JK likes that. Lots for the coach to figure out with some of the aging players.

    • Ask Houston how well this strategy works.

  3. If the Union do that, I suspect Amobi will call NYCFC or Orlando and let them know that he’d be happy to play for them. I mean, come on, he’s not a dope. And he’s looking to get paid. And he could be on a good team in NY or Orlando, instead of a perpetually rebuilding team. Plus, he wouldn’t have to play for a coach that sat him in the US Open Cup final.

  4. OneManWolfpack says:

    I guessing it is gamesmanship or whatever, but I can’t figure out why the Union haven’t made Okugo the bonafide offer they need to make to retain his rights, should he go to Europe. This just seems like a no brainer. Why wouldn’t it be?!

    • I think ScottE might have the key. We’ve been assuming the Union will handle this professionally. Probably a poor assumption.

  5. old soccer coach says:

    Czsak4’s admittedly oblique reference to Montreal and Brian Ching in their expansion draft points out the pitfall of leaving Okugo unprotected. He’s a tradeable asset. Acquire him and swap him to someone who has an asset you want, with apologizes to Amobi Okugo for depersonalizing and quantifying him. Worth looking at is the German website “transfermarkt” to get a sense of how he is currently valued by one European entity.

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