Daily news roundups

Union bits, Lampard follies, Gerrard’s future, more

Photo: Earl Gardner

Philadelphia Union

If you follow PSP on Twitter, you will know that on Wednesday we tweeted out the news that Zach Pfeffer is recovering from a minor injury, one that prevented him from joining the US U-20 camp in Florida. It’s unclear if the injury will see Pfeffer miss being selected for the team’s 20-player roster for the upcoming CONCACAF U-20 Championship, which are the qualifiers for the U-20 World Cup. That roster is scheduled to be announced today.

Jim Curtin has been vocal about what it means to him to be the head coach of his hometown team. He also takes the role of ambassador for the game as the Union works to expand its place in the crowded Philadelphia sports market. Curtin tells Dave Zeitlin at CSN Philly,

As a young coach and a guy that’s the head coach of his hometown team, I think you have the responsibility to do that — to be kind of a guy that’s an ambassador for the game, specifically for the Philadelphia Union. I was a guy that always took my role seriously as a player in that regard, spreading the game and being on the players’ union for 10 years. Now I feel like I have a big responsibility to be out in the public and on the radio and doing all the little things to spread awareness of a growing game.

Curtin says the first step in gaining new support is getting people to see a game at PPL Park.

I’m confident that any diehard Flyers fan, any diehard Sixers fan, any diehard Phillies fan that came to a game at PPL and saw it live would say, “OK, I get it.” They might not love the sport as much as they love baseball, hockey, basketball — but there’d be an appreciation for it. And the crowd and environment would sell itself. So I challenge any fan to come to a game here and walk away and say, “Soccer’s stupid.” It wouldn’t happen.

As for the soccer haters? “There’s definitely still people in the media that have an agenda against soccer. It’s a silly one…And in our city, to the people who don’t like it and will never like it, we don’t need them. But you’re starting to see a lot more open-mindedness toward the sport. We have our own diehard fans, but we’re definitely starting to pull people toward us from the other sports that are maybe frustrated.”

At Brotherly Game, season reviews for Maurice Edu, Ethan White, and Amobi Okugo, as well as year-end awards, and some staff resolutions for the new year.

Former Union defender Jordan Harvey and American Idol alum Kimberly Caldwell were married on Wednesday.


Penn’s Markhus “Duke” Lacroix at PPL Park on May 28, 2013.


On Wednesday, Manchester City announced “it has extended Frank Lampard’s contract up to the end of Manchester City’s season, enabling his continued participation in both domestic and European campaigns.” NYCFC issued a similar statement, adding, “His exact starting date with New York City FC will be confirmed as the EPL and MLS seasons unfold. All parties remain in ongoing dialogue to create the best outcome for all.”

Queue outrage in the US.

NYCFC supporters group The Third Rail issued a statement “to publicly denounce” the news:

Many fans, including our members, decided to support the team, committed to season tickets, and bought merchandise under the impression that Frank Lampard would be playing for New York City Football Club, not Manchester City.  Many of those fans are rightly outraged by this decision, and we support any course of action they take to voice their discontent over this decision…

Our support for our ownership group has been unwavering until now, but this we cannot support.  We reject out of hand any suggestion that NYCFC is in any way secondary to Manchester City FC, regardless of the source, and are disappointed that City Football Group would give such an appearance…

Let’s be clear – this is not about one player, even a star player; this is about how City Football Group will treat our club going forward. It is also about defending the entire league and American soccer.

Capital New York said the Lampard decision “makes a joke of N.Y. soccer expansion,” adding, “It undermines the very reason that NYCFC even exists.” Big Apple Soccer called the Lampard saga “farcical” and “an embarrassing own-goal.” Soccer America called it “an embarrassment for MLS, for NYCFC,” as did Goal.com. SI called it “a slap in the face to MLS and to the more than 11,000 New York City fans who’ve bought season tickets for the team.” ASN called it a “debacle” that makes MLS look “foolish.” Former New England Revolution coach Steve Nichol said, “It’s a disaster, an absolute disaster for that new franchise, a disaster for MLS.” One shop is already offering refunds to fans who purchased Lampard NYCFC jerseys.

But here’s the thing: MLS-NYCFC-Manchester City may have also been liars as Lampard may in fact never have been on loan. At the Guardian, Jamie Jackson reports,

Lampard, who scored a 73rd-minute winner in City’s 3-2 victory over Sunderland on Thursday, had initially been set to join NYC after 31 December when it was believed his loan contract at the Etihad Stadium expired. However, it has emerged that Lampard has never been on loan at City from NYC but instead signed a deal that extended beyond New Year’s Eve. The champions had to have the existing terms amended to have a break clause removed and were granted permission to do so by the Premier League on Wednesday.

As no player can be registered to two clubs at the same time Lampard is officially on City’s books. He may possibly have signed a pre-contract agreement or agreed terms with City Football Group, the parent company of both clubs.

The Telegraph’s Mark Odgen also said Lampard was not on loan to Manchester City but rather on “a standalone short-term contract.” At ESPN, Jeff Carlisle reports, “An NYCFC source confirmed earlier reports to ESPN FC that Lampard’s current contract is with Man City and not New York.” More from Empire of Soccer and Big Apple Soccer.

And if that isn’t enough, Jackson’s report says Manchester City head coach Manuel Pellegrini has hinted that Lampard could remain in Manchester beyond the end of the 2014-15 Premier League season. As Chris Taylor writes at the Guardian, “Like it or not, though, for NYCFC’s owners there’s clearly only one City that counts,” a view that Doug McIntyre shares at ESPN. Perhaps, as Simon Evans writes at the Guardian, NYCFC may be better off without Lampard.

More from BBC, the TelegraphNew York Times, Quartz, and Reuters.

Just in time for something of a distraction from the Lampard debacle comes confirmation from Liverpool that Steven Gerrard will leave the club at the end of the season and reports suggest that MLS will be his next destination with LA Galaxy the frontrunner (crappy Google translation here) to land the 34-year-old midfielder, although New Red Bulls and NYCFC are also reportedly in the mix, as are “clubs in the Middle East.”

Speaking about his decision to leave Liverpool, Gerrard said,

I am making the announcement now so that the manager and the team are not distracted by stories or speculation about my future…

I’m going to carry on playing and although I can’t confirm at this stage where that will be, I can say it will be somewhere that means I won’t be playing for a competing club and will not therefore be lining up against Liverpool — that is something I could never contemplate.

My decision is completely based on my wish to experience something different in my career and life and I also want to make sure that I have no regrets when my playing career is eventually over.

More from BBCProSoccerTalk, and Reuters.

Is Jermain Defoe’s price tag too high for him to be taken out of Toronto’s hands? More at SBI.

The league has announced 19 players invited to the Caribbean Combine in Bayamón, Puerto Rico. The combine runs today through Jan.5.

Owen Coyle’s longtime assistant coach Alexander “Sandy” Stewart has joined the coaching staff of the Houston Dynamo. Steve Ralston resigned as assistant coach on Monday, as did goalkeeping coach Tim Hanley. More at MLSsoccer.com.

MLSsoccer.com has a calendar of 2015’s major soccer events. So does Top Drawer Soccer.

What’s that? Ronaldinho is staying with Queretaro? OK, then.


At US Soccer, USMNT and USWNT highlights from 2014.

Alex Morgan and Houston Dynamo midfielder Servando Carrasco were married on Wednesday. At SI and Bleacher Report, some terrible photos from the wedding that have shown up on social media.


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


  1. Seeing the Houston Asst coach shake-up, anything going on at PPL Park with the staff?

  2. I know it’s early, but NYCFC is string itself up for disaster. No stadium plans and now no Lampard… I don’t see why any fans should get excited. If the team wins, of course, they’ll be fine. But this is not a great start for the team.

    Eager to see Gerrard in MLS. Hope it’s not NYCFC, though.

  3. “Many fans, including our members, decided to support the team . . . under the impression that Frank Lampard would be playing for New York City Football Club”
    So you’re not really fans then . . . you are more like groupies!

    • The Little Fish says:

      +1 Excellent comment. Spot on.

      • I thought the same thing when I read that statement. Putting that in writing is pretty weak.

        I have to pile on and say that 11,000 season tickets sold at this point ain’t exactly the bee’s knees (unless that is a capped number). C’mon, NYCFC, you’re pulling from a population of 9 million people in the city itself. For years we’ve been hearing from New Yorkers that Red Bull Arena is too far, not really in the city, not accessible, blah, blah, blah. Well, now you don’t have that BS excuse.

        Of course, it’s early. The team hasn’t even started playing yet. Maybe they’ll sell 10,000 more season tickets by March. I doubt it, though. After the novelty wears off, Yankee Stadium is going to look a lot like Red Bull Arena on match day…..sparsely populated.

  4. As much as I’d like to see more talent come to MLS, it’s fun to see NYCFC floundering a bit already. Orlando City will pose a much bigger threat to our playoff aspirations than another New York side.

  5. As an expat New Yorker (believe me, not by choice; my parents raised me there), I find it kind of depressing that NYC can’t even support one MLS soccer team, much less 2. But it makes sense. NY fans are Yankees and Giants groupies, as shane suggests. They like to win because it feeds their inate superiority complex. They have little appreciation of the character built by supporting a perenially under-acheiving team.

  6. If Real Madrid money was to back an MLS franchise, do any of us really think that MLS club would be on equal footing with the Spanish Super Giant in the eyes of the Madradistas or in the eyes of the money holders for Los Merengues? Please do not be deluded NYCFC Supporters.
    The best thing that can happen for your little franchise, because it is of little consequence in the Futbol Galaxy – is for one of your HG players to get called up to City someday. Best case. Or to siphon off some players who are reserve quality for the parent club. What did you expect, ‘oh hey, look were backed by City money and we matter just as much.’ It is laughable and arrogant. I do not blame you for being annoyed by the whole Lampard situation but…..
    ….make no mistake, you are a toy for City, shiny and new and experimental and totally and completely at their disposal. Isn’t that the way it should be? To think it any differently is silly. Welcome to asking them to the MLS party- any regrets yet?
    Personally, I’d take River Plate and be their bitch in a second.

  7. Would it be foolish to think our front office is preparing a bid for Gerrard? He would make a huge impact in the locker room, solidify the midfield, bring some international attention to the club. Philadelphia as a city is a lot like Liverpool. Hard working blue collar town with die hard loyal fans. One can only hope…

    • Looks like he’s already going to the Galaxy. To me, he’d be money poorly spent in Philly where midfield isn’t the biggest hole.

      Also, I’ve been watching Liverpool all season. Gerard is pretty slow. Still very smart, but not so quick.

      • The Black Hand says:

        Gerrard would have instantly upgraded our entire club…he is better than Edu, Noguiera, Maidana and anyone else on our club COMBINED. That said, he would only come to Philly on the back of a flying pig, after flying over the frozen tundra of hell. Damn you, LA Galaxy!!!!!!

      • haha…+1

    • Ian I am sorry to say, it is evident and apparent, Gerrard type players don’t come to The Outpost. We just have wolves we nickname Two Socks and chase them around like Dunbar.

  8. So it sounds official that Gerrard is going to the Galaxy for 6 million. I have a lot of trouble swallowing this if only because is Steven Gerrard really worth 6,000,000 dollars a year. It seems bsackwards to me the way MLS is going about bringing these old euro players here that can’t find the big pay day anywhere else, and believe me this is only about money for these guys. I know I know they say all the right things about MLS being a great league with great competetion and great quality but come now. Do I look stupid?
    So good luck to the Galaxy for weiling the dollar I so badly wish the Union would wield, but really, do I want Steven Gerrard for that kind of money?

  9. The issue isn’t Gerrard or the money. It’s the total lack of any plan or effort to shore up – much less improve – the Union. I don’t expect them to spend $6 million. But maybe $600,000? And midfield isn’t really our strength, now that the FO has let our youngest and one of our best midfielders leave for an expansion team for relative pennies. Orlando and NYCFC are going to kick our asses. Forget the playoffs. I repeat, WE’VE MADE NO IMPROVEMENTS AND LOST ONE OF OUR BEST PLAYERS. The arguments about it still being early in the transfer window are silly. Other teams have improved themselves. The Union haven’t. That simple.

  10. Steve OMalley says:

    Old players come to die here and steal our precocious dp money so signings like edu, Bradley and Dempsey is where 4th mls should be headed for and Danielle De Rossi has reportedly signed with NYC FC

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