Daily news roundups

A few Mbolhi details, Union finances, new US Soccer rules for youth game, more

Photo: Earl Gardner

Philadelphia Union

Yeah, I’m still feeling a little giddy following the news on Monday Rais Mbolhi had signed with Antalyaspor on what the BBC reports is a three-year deal.

Are there any further details?

At the Philadelphia Inquirer, Marc Narducci writes “the Union did not receive a transfer fee for Mbolhi,” although they do save by not having to pay him for the final eight games of the season, “almost a quarter of that salary this year.”

Narducci adds, “A Union official said that Mbolhi was as eager to leave as the Union were to have him go out the door, knowing he needed to get back onto the field.”

At CBS Philly, Kevin Kinkead observes, “Mbolhi was not well-liked in the Union locker room. He didn’t mesh with his teammates and never really made an effort to do that. The body language on the field and during training was poor, and it seemed like the player was a bad fit from the beginning.”

At Delco Times, Matthew De George notes the departure of  Mbolhi — “The Philadelphia Union’s most enduring, most lampoonable laughingstock…widely panned as one of the worst acquisitions in MLS history” — came on the the one-year anniversary of his MLS debut, which also happened to be the only win in his 1-4-4 record with the team. Poetic, and whatnot.

Bolton News reports Mbolhi trialled with Bolton Wanderer’s for three days before signing with Antalyaspor. Ahram Online reports “he failed to impress.”

More reports on Mbolhi’s departure at PSPPhiladelphia InquirerDelco Times, CSN Philly, Philly Soccer News, Brotherly Game (report), Philly Sports Network, Philly Sports Nation (report, opinion), Vavel, MLSsoccer.comGoal.com, and Read US Soccer.

In the latest Inside Doop, Dave Zeitlin notes of Sebastien Le Toux, “Of his five goals in the past six games, two have been game-winners, one was a game-tying goal and another was a go-ahead goal.”

Andre Blake makes the bench in MLSsoccer.com’s latest Team of the Week.

Maurice Edu and CJ Sapong are among the options in a MLSsoccer.com fan vote on league players most deserving of a USMNT call up.

Power rankings: At SI, the Union move up two spots to No. 17. Same at Soccer America, who note Saturday’s 1-0 in Montreal was the first time the UNion have posted consecutive road shutouts in two years. ESPN bumps the Union up three spots to No. 16: “The East is so tight that even in ninth, the Union still have dreams of making a playoff run.”


We all know anecdotally how the financial crisis of 2009 affected the redevelopment plans for the Chester waterfront around PPL Park. The crisis necessarily affected the personal worth of Union owner Jay Sugarman and, it follows, his ability to spend on big ticket players. At Brotherly Game, Jared Young has an informative and in-depth look at how the economic crisis negatively affected the performance and value of the real estate investment company Sugarman runs, iStar (formerly known as iStar Financial), and how the company’s declining performance negatively affected the compensation Sugarman has received and, therefore, has at his disposal to spend on the Union. Young concludes with possible scenarios that might see the Union able to fund “a million-dollar player.”

Union Academy

Last Friday, Union Academy center back Auston Trusty scored the equalizer of a Christian Pulisic free kick in the US U-17’s 1-1 draw with Slovakia to conclude group play in the Vaclav Jezek Tournament. Trusty went the full 90 in the previous match, a 1-1 draw with Slovenia.


At Delco Times, Matthew De George has a good read on Sinead Farrelly, the Haverford native who began her pro career with Philadelphia Independence and now is with Portland Thorns (under former Independence head coach Paul Riley). Farrelly deserves a national team call up but she makes clear she won’t be concerned if one does not come.


In CONCACAF Champions League play, DC hosts Montego Bay United of Jamaica (8 pm, Fox Sports 2).

Citing a sore toe, Didier Drogba will not travel with Montreal to face Vancouver for the second leg of the Canadian Championship final on Wednesday. The teams go into the final game tied 2-2.

In a profile piece at The Guardian, Sebastian Giovinco says, “I’m playing better than I was in Europe.”

From Soccer America: “Seattle, Orlando City and New York City FC, 1-2-3 in MLS average attendance, were all playing — and losing — on the road, but the weekend’s nine matches still averaged 21,697 fans, pushing the season average to 21,343, on course to shatter the league attendance mark set in 2014.”

Mercedes-Benz has won the naming rights to the new stadium that will be shared by NFL’s Atlanta Falcons and Atlanta United.

The head of New York State’s AFL-CIO has written a letter urging state economic development chief Howard Zemsky to approve the New York Cosmos’ plan to build a stadium at Belmont Park.


At US Soccer, Jurgen Klinsmann talks about the difficulty of assembling rosters for both the Confederations Cup qualification playoff game against Mexico and the Olympic qualifiers:

It will be a big challenge for us to organize both rosters for the Olympic qualification, but also for the all-decisive playoff against Mexico. Obviously we want both. We want to be in Rio with the Olympic team and we want to be in Russia in 2017 for the Confederations Cup…

The Olympic qualifiers start outside of the FIFA window [which begins Oct. 5, four days after the start of the tournament] and we badly need those players to qualify for Rio de Janeiro. Hopefully we get the support from all the clubs to get the players in. It’s going to be an extremely busy time period, we just hope we get all the players on board and get the job done.

US Soccer has announced new standards regarding youth soccer. The birth-year calendar has been re-aligned to international standards and moves from the current cutoff date of Aug. 1, which followed the academic year, to Jan. 1. In addition to aligning with international standards, the move is aimed at providing “clearer information on player birth dates to combat ‘relative age effect.'”

The announcement notes, “The birth-year registration initiative will not cause the dissolution of age-group based teams that already play together, but will rather give players the opportunity to ‘play up’ with older age-groups.”

Additionally, the federation announced new small-sided field standards for the U-6 to U-12 age groups. “The field dimensions and number of players on the pitch will increase in size from 4v4 to 7v7 to 9v9 as players age, up until they reach the U-13 age group and begin to play full 11v11 matches.”

The new standards will be mandated by August of 2017.


At ESPN, Gabriele Marcotti has a good take on the recent comments of FIFA reform committee chairperson Francois Carrard to a Swiss newspaper, including his view that soccer in the US “it’s just an ethnic sport for girls in schools,” that the ongoing FIFA scandal “involves only a few rogues,” and Sepp Blatter is being treated “unfairly”:

Carrard’s interview suggests he sees himself as some kind of wannabe folksy, non-PC blunt speaking truth-teller. Instead, he comes across as someone who doesn’t understand the weight of his words and for whom a modicum of respect — or at least diplomacy — is a bridge too far.

And that’s worrying. Because if FIFA reform is to have a snowball’s chance in Doha of succeeding, the guy leading the charge needs to be seen as an impartial technocrat who can’t be attacked by anyone for his views or biases.

More on Carrard’s comments at the New York Times. New chairperson, please.

In an interview with the BBC, Sepp Blatter says, “”I have my conscience and I know I’m an honest man. I am clean. I am not a worried man.” Blatter also said FIFA “is not corrupt…There is no corruption in football, there is corruption with individuals, it is the people.” He added that he is not “morally responsible” for the practices of individuals like Chuck Blazer.

Reuters reports, “FIFA have dismissed claims by Indonesia that they will visit Jakarta in October with a view to overturning the soccer ban on the Southeast Asian nation for government interference.” The claims were made by Indonesia’s Youth and Sports Minister.


  1. WilkersonMcLaser says:

    I am definitely warming to CJ Sapong, and the team is generally better with Edu on the field than not, but to say they deserve USMNT callups at this point is insane.

    • To be fair, they do play at two of the thinner positions on the USMNT – striker and centerback.
      I would bet that Edu would have more success then Jones in the center of a back 3. and his ability on the ball would be a good thing too considering the direction that JK says he is taking the team (more possession, build out of the back).
      And CJ would be a decent like-for-like option for Jozy. The other option right now is really Aron, who is not as big of a physical presence or Zardes, who has been playing wide more then not for both club and country. I liken CJ to Eddie Johnson a few years ago for the US.
      Not saying that they should be called in but I don’t think it is insane that they are in the conversation.

      • WilkersonMcLaser says:

        So because Edu is a better candidate for CB than Jones makes it a good idea? Whether you’re talking players in their prime or players you want to cultivate the next generation, there are a number of better options than Edu. Would Edu be better than Jones? Yes — but probably so would Richie Marquez.
        I’m higher on CJ, but we’re talking about a guy playing for a cellar dweller who was shipped off because of low production at Sporting KC. He needs more than 2/3 of a season and seven goals to suddenly be USMNT material.

      • Again, not saying that they should be called in but I don’t think it is insane that they are in the conversation
        My point is that if JK was willing to try out Jones at CB can you really say it would be “insane” for Edu to get a run out?

      • WilkersonMcLaser says:

        Haha, that’s fair, but only because we seem to agree that JK’s choices are often irrational — which means tapping irrational-sounding candidates for USMNT duty is, well, rational. Sigh. Why do all my teams suck?

      • CJ had low production in KC because they were primarily playing him on the outside, and not the target forward. Since coming to the Union, and regaining his target forward status, he’s had a resurgence. Simply because it’s the best place to play him. I’d take CJ over Jozy at the moment. So, yes, he deserves a shot.

      • Alan Gordon was called up for the US in the Gold Cup. Who would you rather have coming off the bench – Gordon or Sapong? To me, Sapong is clearly the better player.

      • WilkersonMcLaser says:

        I agree with that, but shouldn’t form/pedigree have something to do with it? I’d think Jozy, Bobby Wood, Andrew Wooten, and Zardes are all ahead on both counts (though I don’t buy a lot of the Zardes hype). Miguel Ibarra, though not a big no 9, seems to be doing rather well in Mexico.

  2. Great article by the brotherly game. But It does miss one thing: The recently released Forbes report only considers 2014 finances. This year every team in the league is supposedly receiving about 3 million per annum from the new TV deal. I bet our ownership group is using a fair portion of that on the new USL franchise, and rightly so in my mind, but I bet there may be enough left overt to sign our first Million dollar player in January. An speaking of Jay Sugarcane and istar tree is also this http://www.phillymag.com/property/2015/08/20/istar-asbury-park-nj-waterfront/#more-3001739

  3. damn, that Atlanta stadium looks sick.
    looking forward to going there a few times a year.

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