Daily news roundups

Stewart and Bobic linked to Union for SD job, more news

Photo: Courtesy of AZ Alkmaar

Philadelphia Union

Sporting director search

In an interview with CSN Philly’s Amy Fadool last week, Union Executive Vice President & Chief Revenue Officer Dave Rowan said, “We need that sporting director and I think you’ll see that very, very shortly.”

It’s starting to look like Rowan was kidding around.

On Tuesday evening, Washington Post reporter Steven Goff tweeted Earnie Stewart, the former USMNT midfielder (he played with Union assistant coach Mike Sorber and technical director Chris Albright on the national team) and current Director of Football Affairs at Eredivisie club AZ, is one of two candidates being pursued by the Union for Sporting Director.

Goff followed the Stewart tweet up with another naming Yugoslav-born former German international Fredi Bobic, who was sporting director and board representative for sport at Stuttgart, as the other Union target.

In a 2012 interview with Leander Schaerlaeckens at ESPN, Stewart discussed working with tight budget restraints and his embrace of the moneyball philosophy, his emphasis on fitness and intricate training methods, and the importance of locker room unity. As he would say in a later interview with Noah Davis at ASN, Stewart told Schaerlaeckens he isn’t one “for career planning and plotting out future moves.” However, Schaerlaeckens writes Stewart admitted he would like to return to MLS, where he played two seasons with DC United (where he was a teammate of Union midfielder Brian Carroll and team coordinator Josh Gros):

“One ambition I do have is to go back to the United States and to be of importance to soccer,” he said. “It’s not an ambition I want to do next year or in two or three or four years, but at some point that’s something I would like to do.” At that point, Stewart probably won’t become a general manager in Major League Soccer. He’s put off by the constraints, quirks and parity mechanisms that allow others to reap the benefits of your own work. More likely, he’ll take an executive job somewhere.

Stewart’s success at AZ stands in contrast to that of Bobic’s at Stuttgart. When Bobic was fired from Stuttgart in 2014, club chairman Dr. Joachim Schmidt said,

He was here for a difficult phase of our club history and had to battle some adversity. But the bottom line remains that after four years he was unable to put together a team which consistently reached the appropriate table area to match our budget. A payroll of 40 million [Euros] must have us, as VfB, at least in a single-digit table placement. We’ve been left behind in recent years by other clubs with smaller budgets.

Union Rumors tweeted in reply to Goff’s Bobic tweet that the former Stuttgart man currently “is working as columnist for Sport1 in Germany.”

You will recall that CBS Philly producer and PSP contributor Kevin Kinkead tweeted on Sunday the Union’s search for a sporting director had been narrowed to two candidates, tweeting further, “one candidate has already gone through the interview process, there is supposed to be another guy in town for a few days this week,” and adding “One apparently has USMNT pedigree”. Kinkead said a hire “could happen in 1-2 weeks.”

Dutch site AZFanPage notes the Goff tweet about Stewart and also says AZ academy director Aloys Wijnker is seeing interest in his services from US Soccer.

More Union

At the Union website, Tranquillo Barnetta on wearing the captain’s armband in Sunday’s loss to NYRB: “It’s always nice to lead the team, but [Sunday] was a difficult game. We had a terrible first half, but we stepped up in the second half.”

Also at the Union website, a nice profile piece on the Mitchell family — SoB social media director Jeffrey, wife Rachel, and five-year old Benjamin Franklin Mitchell — and their connection to the team.

At Sons of Penn, a prediction of what the Union USL team’s jersey, which will be unveiled at SteelStacks in Bethlehem next Tuesday, might look like.

The referee assignments for Sunday’s season finale have been announced. Carrying the whistle and getting yelled at by the fans is Chris Penso. Carrying the flags and getting yelled at by the fans are Sean Hurd and Jeff Muschik. Getting yelled at by the coaches and lifting the sub board is Robert Sibiga.

Local

Carli Lloyd has been named the Women’s Sports Foundation’s Sportswoman of the Year in the category of team sports.

Lehigh Valley Live notes, “Former Central Catholic and Lehigh standout Gina Lewandowski will join the World Cup champion United States team for upcoming games against Brazil, according to releases from U.S. Soccer and Lehigh.” The USWNT hosts Brazil tonight in what will be their first real challenge of a game in the World Cup Victory Tour (10 pm, ESPN2).

Drexel fell 3-2 on the road to Loyola on Tuesday night, conceding the game-winner with only 15 seconds to play.

Temple hosts UConn today at 3 pm. La Salle is on the road to face Massachusetts this evening. St. Joseph’s begins a three-game road stretch when the travel to face Davidson today.

At CBS Philly, Matt Leon on how this has been a special season for head coach Pat Farrell and his son, senior captain and forward Joe Farrell.

MLS

In CONCACAF Champions League play, Real Salt Lake defeated Municipal 1-0 to finish first in Group G ahead of the start of the knockout rounds in February.

In midweek league play, Kansas City (48 points) will look to clinch a playoff spot with a win that could see them move from sixth place in the West to as high as second place when they host last place Colorado (34 points) tonight (8:30 pm, MLS Live).

In CONCACAF Champions League play, Los Angeles faces Comunicaciones in Guatemala City at 10 pm (Fox Soccer Plus). The Galaxy have already secured advancement to the knockout round.

At SI, Grant Wahl on the partnership between MLS and Twitter to promote Sunday’s “Decision Day” slate of season finale games, which will see five games kicking off at 5 pm, and five games kicking off at 7 pm.

Sebastian Giovinco’s debut season with Toronto: Best MLS season ever?

Is NYRB looking to sell naming rights to Red Bull Arena? Might I suggest Kohler, American Standard, or Mansfield?

Miami Herald reports Tim Leiweke is joining David Beckham’s Miami MLS group: “Miami Beckham United spokesman Tadd Schwartz wouldn’t confirm Leiweke’s involvement, but sources said Leiweke has been meeting with Miami-Dade politicians over the past several weeks to accelerate the deal [for a stadium site].” Earlier this year Leiweke said he would be stepping down as CEO of Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment, owners of Toronto FC, as soon as a replacement can be found.

At ESPN, Jeff Carlisle reports, “A vote on a proposed soccer stadium for David Beckham’s potential MLS club could go before the Miami city commission as early as December, with a referendum going before Miami voters in March, according to several Miami politicians and officials.”

At The Athlete Story, “5 truths I’ve learned in 5 years as a professional athlete” from former Union man Amobi Okugo and Mechanicsburg native Bobby Warshaw.

At Sport Techie, “What Major League Soccer Knows About Predictive Analytics Marketing.”

NWSL

NWSL and MLS side Orlando City SC have announced league’s tenth club and second expansion team, Orlando Pride. The team, which will begin play in 2016, will be coached by former USWNT head coach Tom Sermanni.

US

Hershey Pa.’s Christian Pulisic (Borussia Dortmund) scored in the 20th minute, and assisted Brandon Vazquez’s 40th minute tally, but the US conceded two second half goals to draw 2-2 with Croatia at the U-17 World Cup in Chile on Tuesday. Allentown’s Danny Barbir (West Bromwich Albion) went the full 90 in the draw. The team faces host country Chile in their final group game on Friday at 7 pm (FS2, Fox Sports Go, Fox Soccer 2Go, and NBC Universo), a game they will have to win in order to keep their hopes of advancing to the next round alive. Reports on Tuesday’s draw at US SoccerFox SoccerSoccer Wire, Soccer AmericaGoal.com, MLSsoccer.comStars and Stripes FC.

At Four Four Two, Kristan Heneage on “where it is all going wrong for Jurgen Klinsmann.”

US Soccer released its financial statement covering April 2014 through March 2015. USMNT expenses for 2014 were $31.1 million, fro the USWNT expenses were $10.3 million. The Washington Post notes, “The financial period encompassed the 2014 (men’s) World Cup and the last stage of preparations. The period closed before the 2015 (women’s) World Cup.” More analysis at the Post and SI.

Sunil Gulati will give an onstage interview at Securing Sport, “the leading international sport safety, security and integrity conference” organized by the International Centre for Sport Security, in New York on November 4. “Gulati will discuss and share his insights on the social impact, responsibility and legacy of sport – including one of the world’s most beloved sports, soccer – in a special one-on-one discussion with James Carville, American political strategist and commentator.”

Is Bob Bradley about to become head coach of French Ligue 2 club Le Havre?

Elsewhere

On Tuesday, FIFA’s Executive Committee announced a series of rule changes aimed at ensuring more transparency, including allowing the independent Ethics Committee to name individuals who are under investigation. Reuters reports, “FIFA’s independent Ethics Committee is expected to name individuals who are under investigation on Wednesday, adding more embarrassment to the scandal-plagued governing body of international soccer.”

The announcement said that applications for the FIFA presidency from individuals currently serving bans such as UEFA president Michel Platini “will not be processed by the Ad-hoc Electoral Committee as long as such ban is valid and in force.” Platini may have to win an appeal against his ban in order to be able to run. His lawyer says Platini is “calm, determined and impatient.”

The announcement also said the executive committee “welcomed the preliminary recommendations developed by the 2016 FIFA Reform Committee,” adding “the final set of reform proposals” will be submitted at the executive committee’s next session in December. “The final proposals will be submitted to the FIFA Congress for consideration at the extraordinary congress in February 2016.”

Among the proposals are “a 12-year term limit on the FIFA president and an age limit of 74 for members of its top body.” Click here to view the preliminary recommendations. You can read a summary here.

Domenico Scala, head of FIFA’s Audit and Compliance Committee, tells the AP Sepp Blatter’s authorization of a payment to fellow FIFA executive Michel Platini without a written contract was a “classic conflict of interest” and that Blatter “could be culpable of falsification of accounts over the 2011 payment of 2m Swiss francs (£1.35m) to Platini.” The reports says “Scala stressed that it is an issue if ‘two members of the executive committee, have an agreement and no one knows about it. It is their obligation to disclose it to the executive committee that they have such an agreement.'”

Scala tells Simon Evans of Reuters he believes FIFA should have a rotating presidency. Scala said, “There are other governance entities that have the principle of rotation for their presidencies such as the European Union. Every confederation could appoint a president on a rotation of four or six years – I think four would be better.” Evans writes, “FIFA has six continental confederations and Scala’s plan would ensure that each part of the world had a regular time at the top of the body.”

The Guardian reports, “Human rights campaigners have called on the acting FIFA president, Issa Hayatou,to bar the Asian Football Confederation president, Sheikh Salman bin Ebrahim al-Khalifa, from standing in February’s presidential election, accusing him of taking part in a crackdown against pro-democracy athletes in Bahrain in 2011.” More on al-Khalifa’s shameful history here and here.

The AP reports, “Former FIFA vice president Chung Mong-joon has accused world football’s governing body of sabotaging his bid to succeed Sepp Blatter after its ethics committee banned him for six years.”

Reuters reports David Ginola is ready to run again for the FIFA presidency but only if the election is delayed. Ginola pulled out of the last election when he failed to gain the required written nominations of five national football associations. As noted in Tuesday’s roundup, FIFA already confirmed the elections will go ahead in February as planned.

CONCACAF announced on Tuesday a new Partner Code of Conduct that provides “stricter standards and protocols for any party that provides a product or service to CONCACAF or to whom the Confederation makes payments or provides services.”

49 Comments

  1. WestmontUnion says:

    Very excited about Stewart. The fact that he has experience in MLS as a player, knows the inner workings, but also has experience in Europe will be a huge advantage. Dealing with agents outside of the MLS, and knowing what the MLS can provide (lifestyle, on time pay, good facilities etc, less strenuous schedule, less media pressure) is key to attracting new talent to the Union going forwards. My vote is for Stewart!! Come on the U!

    • Stewart is the obvious choice. What he did at Alkmaar with dealing Dembele and bringing in Altidore was great. Hope the transition to MLS constraints isn’t too difficult. I’d also like to know how much responsibility he will take for the Academy.
      .
      He does seem fond of switching managers (Van Gaal, Koeman, Avocaat, Verbeek, Avocaat again, and Van Basten) which I don’t love.

      • They brought the technical director of the academy from Rangers……you think they would can him after just bringing him in a few years ago? Second, the academy is the only thing this club has really going for it right now……does it make sense to fire the guy who brought you what little success and recognition the club has? Just asking. I would think that Stewart would obviously oversee it…..but how hands on is the question.

  2. WestmontUnion says:

    Ps, I would love for PSP to write a piece in March when the new season starts, and the new Union squad takes place under the guidance of the newly hired SD (and manager hopefully, but that’s a personal opinion) and breakdown how truly Sak crippled this club from top to bottom with his mismanagement and drive to ‘increase franchise value’ at all costs…

    • As good an idea I think this is, I think it poses a few problems and questions. First, without actual access to Sugarman or Sak, most of the piece would be speculation. So access to both or either would be necessary. So, would that actually happen? I’m betting not. Second, what was Sak’s directive from Sugar? Did Sugar innocuously say to Sak, don’t lose money? Or did Sak run with the idea of having a big profit margin on his own?
      .
      Following up on this begs the question, what does Sugar actually want from his club? Does he just want a profitable organization that becomes a cash cow? Does he want to be a winner and grab titles? Does he want to be the beloved owner, i.e. in the vein of Ed Synder (yes this has waned, but only after 40 years). The only indication that I get so far, is that he realizes his customers are upset. That fact will eventually, or has started to, cut into his profit margins. I have yet to see a declaration from Sugar stating he wants to be a winner. That he wants trophies. That he desires the spotlight, and for his team to be number 1. All I see is that he’s concerned about losing money. That’s it.

      • We know from Sugarman himself, at the time of Sakiewicz’s departure, when discussing Sakiewicz’s ownership stake in the club that Sakiewicz’s class B shares would have converted into Class A shares only had the value of the club passed a threshold. In other words, if Sak increases the club’s value past the unknown threshold, he becomes a voting owner. He did not. He is out, not necessarily but possibly because that target threshold had not be reached. My last sentence is speculative.

      • I do know this. And it gives direction to Sak’s motivations concerning the club. I guess what I’m really asking is what is it that Sugar wants? I’m sure he just didn’t hand over the reigns and say “Here Sak, go make money and make yourself a partner.” Obviously, no owner starts a business to lose money. But, did Sugar enter this venture just to make money, or does he want the accolades and trophies that can come along with it? If Sugar really wants a cash cow, then I’d say for him to do that in this town there needs to be at least an appearance of trying to spend and compete with the big boys. The Flyers won two Stanley Cups, and have been living handsomely off it for 40 years. The Union, in my opinion could have that too, if they gave off the perception of trying to compete with the top teams in MLS. So somewhere along the line, there has to have been/be a disconnect between what Sugar wanted and Sak provided. What is it? Where was it? That’s what I want to know. Because that’s how we got to this point.

      • My guess is that Sugarman did not get into the MLS soccer business to make money. A guy with a real estate fortune can probably think of a lot of ways to better make money. I believe he does want this team to be successful. he thought Sak could get it done and realized recently that he was wrong. I have a feeling that Sak was absolutely THE barrier to getting a SD in here. What Sak wanted was the control, something an SD would take from him. I really believe getting rid of Sak is a big, positive first step, and hopefully a good education for Sugarman that getting these hires right is crucial to be successful.

      • This is an interesting take on the situation. I’m not sure I’m entirely convinced it’s the way things went down. But some things do point to this.

  3. Stewart sounds like a good fit and I certainly like the concept that he comes from AZ. Gives him a better overall concept of how to develop players and form a vision philosophy and plan for the team as the Union need. If hired maybe he could also get a player or two to follow him to the MLS that would be a nice deal if possible.

  4. Please let it be Stewart. Please.

    Answering the question that hasn’t (today) been asked: Why come here? This club is so bad, you almost can’t lose. If you can’t improve on of the worst two to three teams in the league, you don’t belong in the business.

    • This is a statement of a more general principle: always better to take a new position when your predecessor did a crappy job. Then even if you’re so-so, you look like a stud by comparison.

  5. A couple nitpicks. 2nd paragraph, I think you mean wasn’t kidding around. Also, schedule change for this Sunday’s MLS games – 4 games are at 5 pm, and 6 are at 7 pm. The NYRB-Chicago game was moved to 7 because of the supporters shield race with FCD.

  6. I knew nothing about Stewart before this round of rumors went up, but I have to say he sounds perfect for the job. Also, I was wondering how he was identified, since Sugarman is not really a soccer guy (and Sak has been sacked). But Stewart’s prior relationship with Albright and Sorber provides the likely answer to that question.

    • Mule steen did make a report to Sugarman, also. We known nothing of what the report said.

      • The funny thing is….in Sir Alex’s new book, he speaks very highly of Rene Mulensteen’s methods and coaching….I’m still trying to figure out what he did here…..

      • something this site or others should be following up on is the impact of Rene and what was in the report. would be interesting to hear if it contained any or a combo of these: damning the current program, outlining deficiencies and a roadmap to build a stronger club.

      • from what he says in the book……Rene pulls no punches when it comes to criticism, he is known for it….even pissed off other United coaches because he tells them what they need to hear….but obviously don’t want too. Maybe his report was too damning and they didn’t want it public……thats my hunch.

  7. When I first read about the two candidates, Stewart and Bobic, I was inclined to want Bobic. Mostly due to the fact he was a German international. After reading what his club chairman had to say about him, I’m all for Stewart. If Bobic had trouble creating a good team with a $40 million budget, he sure as heck won’t do well here.
    .
    As for Pete’s question of why come here, I think it’s an easy answer for Stewart. He knows most of the staff. That’s another reason I’d vote for him as SD.

    • Since Stewart currently has a job and Bobic is essentially unemployed, perhaps Bobic is the backup candidate in case Sugarman can’t convince Stewart to leave AZ.

  8. Stewart would be a great grab………

  9. Why would Stewart himself want to leave Holland? Earlier there is a quote from him that I filed under “giving back,” but the time frame did not indicate immediacy. He knows Albright, and Albright has had a year to learn the Byzantine intricacies of MLS’s secret rules and informal customs. [to wit, the allocation of Jermaine Jones, for a recent example.]. But why would he want to come here?

    • for the cheesesteaks obviously

    • I agree……I don’t understand why you would leave AZ…unless he gets paid a hell of a lot more!

      • The same reasons US players are coming back. A lot of people want to be home closer to their family and native culture and they want to grow the sport at home. The Union job is also not as bad as we make it out to be. Our facilities are getting better, we have a usl team now and with the salary cap the money is a lot more even between teams probably any other league.

      • Stewart is Dutch by birth, grew up there, and spent the bulk of his professional career there. His father was American, hence he was able to represent the US internationally. His time in MLS was just a swansong at the end of his career. I obviously don’t know the man, but while he no doubt feels a strong connection to the US, I doubt he feels more at home here than in the Netherlands.

      • Did not know this, thanks for the info. That said, in the interview liked to above from 2012 he talked about coming back to the US so he is clearly interested in the idea even if it’s not the homecoming I stated before.

      • thank you….Stewart is Dutch-American. Spent most of his life in Holland! So I stopped reading the rest of your argument…….

      • el Pachyderm says:

        Could be as simple as national pride.
        .
        Or maybe Vito Andolini made him an offer he couldn’t refuse.

      • As Vito said “It was NOT a threat…It was a request you should take under consideration.”

      • Living in the US and in a major metro area like Philadelphia is a very good place to be. Just like the foreign players who come here, I’m sure that the FO people would enjoy being able to be out at dinner or running errands and not be recognized or hassled.

  10. Did you mean “wasnt kidding around” in the second sentence?

    Edit – I see someone already asked.
    Never mind 🙂

  11. el Pachyderm says:

    Damn shame to give up 2 gols in 2nd half. I was hopeful for a bit … but nothing this team has done defensively gives me hope they can beat the hosts.
    .
    Far trip for 3 games….
    .

    • I only caught the last 15 minutes of the game- did you see the end? On the last 2 kicks of 2nd half stoppage, Croatia hit the right post then the crossbar. I guess we should feel lucky to get the one point. Still, probably means going home early though…as usual.

    • not only a shame….but not allowed to happen! 2nil is the most dangerous lead in footy……but at that level…you need to close that one out! They were a different team in the second half……when Croatia made their adjustments…..we really didn’t.

  12. OneManWolfpack says:

    There’s a lady Lewandowski?!? I LIKE IT!!
    .
    Love that Stewart is in consideration. That would mean some serious Vision, Philosophy, Plan. Make it happen… and turn this club around.

  13. I wonder if Stewart is being considered as a Sakiewicz replacement- like Union President or something. Goff’s tweet only mentions an “executive position”. In the 2012 interview Stewart said he wouldn’t want to be an MLS GM. Dave Rowan was clearly announced as an interim Union CEO at Sak’s canning. And it would better explain Stewart’s motivation to come here if he was moving up from a SD position to a team president. Just some speculation on my part.

  14. Sounds like Nogueira wants to come back next year. Which is great news in the fact that he’s one of if not our best player, but also that he doesn’t hate it here in terms of how he feels about the culture around the team and the city.

    • Nogs is a must. No brain-er. The question mark is Chaco.

      • I think Nogs stays and Chaco goes. Chaco is a nice player…but I think JC wants someone with an engine who can run the middle of the pitch. Chaco has no pace…….and you can tell it bothers JC…if you read through his comments. Nogs is clearly the best player on this squad……not even close.

      • I sure hope Nogs stays……

  15. The chant for Sunday’s game:

    “It matters TO US!”

  16. UnitedPenn13 says:

    Goal.com has a blurb about Man City Youth coach, Patrick Vieira replacing NYCFC coach Jason Kreis. http://www.goal.com/en-us/rumours/last/24?ICID=HP_FT_1

  17. And if no one overseas puts a bid in on NE’s Fagundez….I would throw the bank at that kid! There is your OCM!

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