Daily news roundups

Preseason IMG Tournament schedule announced, Bradley says players “ready to strike,” WWC turf suit dropped, more

Philadelphia Union

There’s been no official announcement as of this writing from the Union, but a tentative schedule is up on the website of the preseason IMG Suncoast Pro Classic. The Union is in Bracket 2 of the tournament along with the Costa Rica U-23 team, TP Mazembe of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Columbus Crew.

  • Wednesday, Feb. 18, 2:30 pm: Philadelphia Union vs. Costa Rica U-23 (Field 1 — Free)
  • Saturday, Feb. 21, 7:30 pm: TP Mazembe vs. Philadelphia Union (IMG Academy Stadium — Purchase tickets here)
  • Wednesday, Feb. 25, 5 pm: Philadelphia Union vs. Columbus Crew (IMG Academy Stadium — Purchase tickets here)
  • Saturday, Feb. 28: Final day of tournament, opponent TBD (12 pm and 2:30 pm games at Field 1, Third Place (5 pm) and Championship (7:30 pm) games at IMG Academy Stadium)

Bracket 1 of the tournament includes New York Red Bulls, Toronto FC, HB Koge of Denmark, and USL PRO side Oklahoma City Energy. Four matches will take place on the final day of the tournament on Feb. 28, with the tournament championship game kicking off at 7:30 pm. Tickets at $17 and $23; $27 gets you a ticket and scarf. We are awaiting word on whether the games will be live streamed.

More on the tournament at the Bradenton Herald and the Sarasota Herald-Tribune.

In case you missed it, PSP’s Adam Cann has an illuminating interview with Chris Hughes, Union draft pick Dzenan Catic’s coach at Davenport University. More on Catic’s selection at Metro.

Are the Union interested (crappy Google translation here) in Polish defensive midfielder Cezary Wilk? At “5 milionów dolarów,” probably not.

At Brotherly Game, Frank Cobbina has a quick look at goalkeeping coach Paulo Grilo, who arrived with Rais Mbolhi.

Also at Brotherly Game, Eryin Wandel has a nice looking design of the Union’s 2015 schedule that highlights how many miles the team will travel that can be downloaded to use as a screensaver.

Tickets are now available for the Philadelphia Union Foundation’s Third Annual Cocktails and Cleats charity event, which will take place at Vie on March 11 (6 pm, 600 North Broad Street).


USL PRO has announced a move to a conference format “to further promote regional rivalries following the league’s unprecedented off-season growth,” with 12 teams each in the new Eastern and Western Conferences. A league announcement notes teams will face “each of their conference opponents at least twice during the 28-game regular season schedule,” adding, “The additional six games (beyond the standard home and away against the other 11 intra-conference foes) will be matchups against geographic rivals resulting in several cross-conference contests.” The league is expected to release the full schedule later this month.

At the Reading United website, a look at the three alums picked in the final rounds of the draft: goalkeeper Keasel Broome, midfielder Lucas Baldin, and local lad Manolo Sanchez, who was selected by New York Red Bulls. In all nine of the 84 players selected in the 2015 draft had ties to Reading.


How important is free agency to the MLS Players Union in the CBA negotiations? Michael Bradley said, “Should we get to a point before the season where things and negotiations aren’t where they should be, we are ready to strike, and we are united as a group to make real progress in terms of the way players get treated in this league.” Bradley explained,

The goal is to find a new agreement, one that works for the league and one that works for the players. Nobody is sitting here right now saying to themselves, “We want a work stoppage.” That’s not the end goal for anybody…

We’re in no way being greedy. We want what’s best for the league, we want to help this league grow and continue to push forward in every possible way. But it is time for some changes in the way that things are done and I think that in the end we’ll find a good way to get all that done.

Negotiations between the league and the players union resumed on Tuesday and could continue up to the season opener on March 6.

At ASN, Brooke Tunstall has a good read on the issue of free agency with comments from players and agents, as well as league and team officials. Tunstall notes that, in the absence of a CBA, “teams and players are in a state of limbo as they wonder what the salary cap will be and how many players they can put on their rosters. Also confounding, it’s unclear how the league will handle player movement rules for teams with their own reserve squads in USL Pro, and how those players will apply to the cap.”

Vancouver has signed former Portland center back Pa-Modou Kah.

Dallas has acquired midfielder Kyle Bekker from Toronto in exchange for allocation money. Dallas also agreed to terms with midfielder Atiba Harris.

Michael Essien to FC Dallas?

It’s official: Denver will host this year’s All-Star Game.

It’s official: Toronto’s new USL PRO team will be called Toronto FC II. They adapted the TFC crest rather nicely for the new team.

New York Red Bulls have announced they will field their own as yet unnamed USL PRO side in 2015.


Just one more win. That’s what the US needs after Wednesday’s 1-0 victory over Trinidad & Tobago to qualify for the U-20 World Cup (video highlights of the game here). With the Wednesday’s result, the US finished in second place in Group A behind Panama, above third place Guatemala with the same 3-1-1 record but more goals scored. The US now must win Saturday’s playoff against a still to be determined opponent to qualify for the U-20 World Cup. Saturday’s game will take place at 2 pm or 5 pm and will be broadcast on Fox Sports 2.

Chile has named its roster for next Wednesday’s friendly against the USMNT (5 pm: Fox Sports 1, UniMas, UDN).

At SI, a look at Jurgen Klinsmann’s interest in dual nationals Tesho Akindele (Canadian-American and MLS Rookie of the Year) and Julio Morales (Mexican-American).

US Soccer has suspended USWNT goalkeeper Hope Solo for 30 days, effective immediately. Head coach Jill Ellis said,

During our current National Team camp, Hope made a poor decision that has resulted in a negative impact on U.S. Soccer and her teammates. We feel at this time it is best for her to step away from the team.

The announcement from the federation said the suspension “stems from an incident that occurred during the current WNT training camp being held in Carson, California.” Solo’s husband was arrested for drunk driving on Tuesday and reports suggested that Solo was belligerent with police. The suspension means Solo will miss the upcoming friendlies in Europe against France on Feb. 8, and against England on Feb. 13.

Solo said in a statement on her Facebook page, “I accept and respect the Federation’s decision, and more importantly, I apologize for disappointing my teammates, coaches and the Federation who have always supported me. I think it’s best for me to take a break, decompress from the stress of the last several months, and come back mentally and physically ready to positively contribute to the team.” Last week, the domestic assault charges Solo was facing following an incident last summer were dismissed.


The gender discrimination lawsuit aimed at forcing the upcoming Women’s World Cup to be played on grass rather than artificial turf has been dropped. Abby Wambach said,

I am hopeful that the players’ willingness to contest the unequal playing fields — and the tremendous public support we received during the effort — marks the start of even greater activism to ensure fair treatment when it comes to women’s sports

More from SIESPNW,TSNNPR, Reuters, and the AP.

Reuters reports,

FIFA faces potentially the greatest challenge to its authority since it was formed 111 years ago following the launch on Wednesday of the ‘New FIFA Now’ coalition of reformists calling for change.

Following years of controversies and endless allegations of bribery and corruption directed at the highest levels of FIFA governance, the campaign to change world soccer’s governing body was launched at the European Parliament.

The report notes, “While the coalition has no power, as a pressure group in the run-up to the FIFA presidential election in May, it could have an influence on the way FIFA is governed in the future and is the first time so many different groups have publicly stated their lack of faith in soccer’s ruling body.”

The AFP reports, “As many as three people died when a grenade went off at a bar in the Guinean capital Conakry where football fans were celebrating their team’s goal in a 2015 Africa Cup of Nations game against Ivory Coast, police said.” Apparently the grenade went off by accident. Questions, two: Who brings a grenade to a bar to watch soccer? How does a grenade accidentally go off?

Who are the richest clubs in the world? Here’s a new list.


  1. Atomic Spartan says:

    Aren’t we getting kinda close to the panic point? Not even semi-solid rumors about new player negotiations, much less signings? Can PSP please start to post a countdown counter, or maybe a soothing big red button that says “Don’t Panic” until something finally happens to restore our faith in the promised proof that will be on the field on March 7? I’m beginning to get the feeling that a Vogon construction crew is going to show up before then. Better pack my towel.

    • The Black Hand says:

      I’m on year 3 of panic, mate.

    • Throw back a couple of pan galactic gargle blasters to take the edge off the panic. Hopefully, they will be served at PPL Park this year so we’ll have something potent in which to drown our sorrows if the Union spectacularly flame out again.

  2. OneManWolfpack says:

    OH MY GOD!! AN “Are the Union interested (crappy Google translation here) in…” I HAVE WAITED SO LONG!!

  3. Usually I find myself siding with Management in these sport CBA negotiations (except for Gary Bettman), but I’m hoping the players get what they want here. I’d love to see a lot less of the nebulous, capricious player acquisition “rules” that get cooked up by Garber and pals. Hopefully they find common ground where players- all players, not just superstars- can earn a little more say in how they move about the league.

    • I think that ultimately they will. The players have a pretty good amount of leverage this time around. The league absolutely cannot afford for it’s recent growth to get stymied by a player strike. With decent TV deals finally coming through and a new slew of star players joining the league at a time when interest in soccer in America is the highest it has been since probably ever, a slowdown in the momentum now would be a missed opportunity at best and potentially a catastrophic disaster at worst. Furthermore, the league doesn’t have the recourse to go to the media and say the players are being greedy with a straight face (as MLB, NFL and NHL all have done in the past) when the median player salary is like 90k. Though I could be wrong, I think you will see the players extract some key concessions here.

      • I’m worried that “doing what’s best for soccer” is taking a back seat to “winning”. On both the players’ and franchisees’ sides.

      • I liked what the player’s union was going for as outlined in the ASN article- approx. doubling of minimum salary to around 70k and pushing up the current mid-range guys to around 200k, possible second tier of DPs. That’s what I was hoping they would be focusing on and it sounds like the owners aren’t too opposed to those things.

        The free agency sounds like a different bag though. I think the owners are really stretching it if their reasoning is no free agency because they want “cost control”. They’ve already got a relatively hard cap (minus the DPs, and shrouded-in-mystery allocation $). American leagues in the past who have opposed forms of free agency have done so without any kind of salary cap in place- definitely not the case here. If the owners want to push the “cost control” line if a PR battle breaks out, not sure how much sympathy they’d generate, as you said.

      • OneManWolfpack says:

        This CBA will go a long way to determining how serious these new(er) owners are about growing the game, etc.
        Also, I think free agency is must, but maybe an agreement can be made where you have to have a certain numbers of years experience in order to earn it.
        I just really don’t want to be talking about the possibility of a strike in a month’s time.

      • Would agree that it will be interesting to see if there will be any divide between the newer owners and the old guard who basically propped up the league. And agree on earning the free agent rights. I’m talking guys like Casey and Carroll should be able to play wherever they like at this point.

  4. “Solo’s husband was arrested for drunk driving on Tuesday and reports suggested that Solo was belligerent with police.” Probably because the conversation went something like this. Solo “do you know who I am” Cop “No”

    • OneManWolfpack says:

      He was apparently driving a USWNT van while loaded and she was with him. When they got stopped, she flipped on the cops. Way to go Hope. Way to go.

      • My wife’s reaction to this story: it’s time for the US team to cut ties with Hope Solo.

        Hard to argue with that. The team doesn’t need any more distractions heading into the World Cup.

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