Daily news roundups

“Super excited”: Sugarman on Stewart hire, Union to unveil USL team name/crest today, more

Photo: Earl Gardner

Philadelphia Union

“This might be the best signing in franchise history.”

That’s what CBS Philly producer and PSP contributor Kevin Kinkead thinks about the naming of Earnie Stewart as the Union’s first sporting director, and he’s not alone, with accolades pouring in for the National Soccer Hall of Famer all over social media.

Heck, even Union owner Jay Sugarman told reporters he’s “super excited,” explaining,

This is a piece of the puzzle. If we’re going to be a top-tier team, we need to be a top-tier organization led by a top-tier person. With Earnie in place, a lot of the hard work that’s been done on the ground can start showing results.

It hasn’t been much fun. We want passion inside and outside the organization to really come back to the level we knew when we started the team in 2010. I really think this is the beginning of that. I’m truly excited that this is the beginning of something really good.

Sugarman also said the team has the financial resources to enable the turnaround Stewart is expected to lead.

My view is we’re going to spend money when we have a man we believe in and players that we know fit our system well. There’s going to be the resources for Earnie and the team to go after them…I don’t think we disagree in terms of you spend when it’s right to spend; we will not be the highest spending in the league, but the resources are there for the right moves. I think he looked at our infrastructure, what we’ve done with the academy, training complex, soon to be annex, what we’re doing with USL, I think he sees all the pieces. In fact I think he was somewhat surprised with the level of commitment we’ve made of the lower levels. I think he understands we’re prepared to make commitments at the most senior levels once we have the right structure, the right processes and really the right system in place.

Sugarman confirmed Jim Curtin will remain head coach: “Yes, Jim is the coach for the 2016 season. I can make that clear. But I can also make clear Earnie is going to set a high bar. And I know Jim is looking forward to the challenge but throughout the organization we are expecting people to raise their games. I don’t think anybody is satisfied where we’ve been and I have no doubt that Earnie is going to set a high bar and people are going to have to reach it.” Sugarman also said Stewart will be involved in offseason decisions before he officially takes up his new post on January 1.

Stewart’s former teammate at DC United Brian Carroll tells the Inquirer’s Marc Narducci of the hire, “You look at his resumé and he has won an MLS Cup, starred for the U.S. team and is now a technical director who will bring a wealth of knowledge and hard work…”I think he will be a great addition. This will certainly help move our club in a new direction and take it to a new level.” Narducci also notes Carroll “indicated that he plans to play again next season.”

The theme in the end of season power rankings and reviews at ESPN, Soccer America, and Pro Soccer Talk is that Stewart’s arrival means a new beginning for the Union.

Look for a reaction piece on the Stewart hiring here at PSP from Dan Walsh later this morning. In the meantime, reports and reaction to the Stewart announcement at PSP, Philadelphia Union, AZ (crappy Google translation here), Philadelphia Inquirer, Daily News, Philly.com, Delco Times, CBS Philly, CSN Philly, Fox 29Philadelphia Business Journal, Philadelphia MagazineUnion Tally, MLSsoccer.comPhilly Soccer News, Brotherly GameVavelSons of Penn, Philly Sports Live, ESPN, SI, Soccer America, SBI (1, 2), Goal.com, and US Soccer Players.

There’s more reason for excitement today as the Union will unveil their new USL team’s name and crest today at 11 am at SteelStacks in Bethlehem. Jay Sugarman said the Union must move to name a head coach for the team and that Earnie Stewart will be “in the loop” on that decision.

Look for Adam Cann’s final analysis/player ratings post of the season on the Union’s win over Orlando later this morning. In the meanwhile, at Brotherly Game, Barry Evans looks at Sunday’s game.

Andre Blake was named to MLSsoccer.com’s Team of the Week.

At Delco Times, Matthew De George on the positive impact Tranquillo Barnetta has had in his short time so far with the Union.

Also at the Delco Times, Jack McCaffery with praise for Sebastien Le Toux.

Examiner has a season review.

Sons of Ben

SoB president Kenny Hanson has announced he will step down at the end of the year. “By now, most of you know about all the changes happening within the Philadelphia Union’s organization. I feel that the future leader(s) of the Sons of Ben should be the ones to build and structure that relationship. I also feel 3 years is a long time to be in this role. It’s time for a change.” All of us at PSP wish Hanson all the best.

MLS

Thanks in part to the inaugural seasons of Orlando City and NYCFC, as well as San Jose’s new stadium, the league set a new record for average announced attendance in 2015 of 21,574 fans per game over 340 games, a total attendance of 7,335,053. That represents a 12.7 percent increase over 2014’s record breaking numbers. Seattle’s average of 44,247 was also a new new record and, as this infographic demonstrates, is higher than the averages for Liverpool, Porto, and Chelsea.

At SI, playoff power rankings. NYRB is, understandably, at No. 1. MLSsoccer.com has an Eastern Conference playoff primer.

Also at MLSsoccer.com, disciplinary guidelines for the playoffs.

American Soccer Analysis has playoff predictions.

Soccer America on how NYRB and FC Dallas are finding success the right way.

Kansas City’s English-born Dom Dwyer on getting a call-up from the USMNT: “It’s every kid’s dream to play for the country and when I was a kid that was England but things change…It may be sooner depending on the situation: paperwork, immigration stuff and how I progress. It’s a work in progress.” Dwyer, who has had a green card since 2012, is expected to receive a US passport in 2017, although a call-up could come before that.

NWSL

The league announced the list of protected players ahead of the expansion draft on Nov. 2. This comes after a series of trades on Monday that saw Orlando acquire Alex Morgan and Kaylyn Kyle from Portland, and Sarah Hagen from Kansas City.

Local lass Sinead Farrelly was also traded by Portland to Boston, along with fellow midfielder McCall Zerboni. More on the Farrelly trade at Delco Times.

US

Following the poor showing at the U-17 World Cup, many observers are saying the problem isn’t with the players but with their coaching. Examples at Soccer America and Soccer Wire.

Former USMNT head coach Bob Bradley has quashed rumors that he’s in the running for the manager job at Aston Villa. “I think Aston Villa have many other options. My name has been linked to many clubs in recent times, but I’ve only had direct contact with one club in the years I’ve been here. I’m not waiting to hear something concrete from [Villa]. My focus is only on Stabæk. We have two games left, so we’ll see what happens when the season is over.”

Elsewhere

Reuters reports, “Franz Beckenbauer, who headed Germany’s 2006 World Cup organizing committee, said on Monday a transfer of 6.7 million euros to world soccer’s governing body FIFA in 2005 was a mistake but rejected claims it was a return of a loan to buy votes in favor of the country’s World Cup bid.”

FIFA presidential candidate Sheikh Salman bin Ebrahim al-Khalifa has denied allegations that he was complicit in the torture of athletes in Bahrain who took part in pro-democracy demonstrations in 2011 when he was head of the Bahrain FA. “Such accusations are not just damaging, it’s really hurting. Some people have agenda on their table. It’s not just damaging me, it’s damaging the people and the country. These are false, nasty lies that have been repeated again and again in the past and the present.”

Reviews the field of candidates for the FIFA presidency at The Guardian, ESPN, and  Soccer America.

Reuters reports, “Liberian Football Association president Musa Bility, one of eight potential candidates for the FIFA presidency, says he presents the only credible option for the leadership of world soccer’s governing body.” The report notes the African Football Confederation “has declined to endorse Bility’s bid to stand for the election.”

Fellow candidate Tokyo Sexwale of South Africa says, “Having spent time inside Fifa, I am more than ready to take on the world…I am going into this campaign as a candidate of my country with the confidence bestowed in me to make sure that we win. But win or lose people will know that there was an African who was here who shook things up.”

Goal.com reports, “Former Brazil international star Zico has withdrawn his bid for the FIFA presidency after he attracted meager support to stand for the role.

The Guardian reports, “The Serious Fraud Office is looking at potential money-laundering offences involving the bidding for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups, the organisation’s director has told MPs.David Green said the SFO had no jurisdiction to go after FIFA under bribery laws but that there may have been potential money-laundering offences. One of these involved a £270,000 payment (A$500,000) payment by the Australia 2022 bid committee to Jack Warner which may have gone through London.” The SFO has jurisdiction in England, Wales and Northern Ireland and reports to the UK’s Attorney General.

16 Comments

  1. I think that Curtin’s young age and lack of ego may mesh well with a strong-handed sporting director

  2. Key statement from Surgarman’s comments: “Sugarman also said Stewart will be involved in offseason decisions before he officially takes up his new post on January 1.”
    .
    It’s good to know that even before he moves into a new office here, he’ll be involved in the roster, the draft, etc.
    .
    This is such a great thing for the club. It must magnify the club’s appeal to potential players by many magnitudes. It’s a sign that the Union mean business and are indeed serious about winning. It’s not a purgatory of pathetic between NY and DC. I’m — as you can tell — very excited by this development. It’s a real reason to have hope that things are looking up.

    • Oh yeah. If Earnie is what we think he is then we should see a pretty quick turnaround. The base of an MLS roster is the players in the $150k to $400k range. Listed players in that range for us are Valdes, Vitoria, Aristeguieta, Mbolhi, Nogueira, Le Toux, Wenger, Maidana, Casey, Carroll. That’s 10 players, I’d say Nogueira, Le Toux, Maidana, and Carroll were the only ones worth that last year. Upgrade those other 6 spots and you’re looking a good team.

    • Thanks Pete! I’ve been busy and haven’t had a chance to read everything, and that was the #1 question I was hoping the reporters would ask him. Last year alone Sapong, Casey and Okugo deals were all done well before January . . . plus the MLS combine and Re-entry draft both take place in December.

  3. Dude…. this is so cool.
    .
    The State of the Union… is on the mend.
    .
    Sit back and observe.

  4. I am excited to get back to that level in 2010. There’s 3 games I recall with amazing atmospheres – the PPL opener in 2010, the playoff game in 2011 and the 1st Open Cup final last year – and I want that to be the norm, even if it’s a midweek game in July against Colorado. I want every game to mean something again, and losses to sting because we’re in the playoff hunt not because it’s the same old crap. Stewart, Bethlehem Steel, Barnetta and Blake, I feel like the team is finally starting to turn the corner and stabilize this thing. Please, please let next year be a winning year.

  5. Just Rob f/k/a Rob127 says:

    It’s really fun to see all the positive energy on this site over the new hire. I hate to pull an Eeyore but after 6 years of constant disappointment, I can’t be that enthused. Here’s hoping Stewart makes me a believer.

  6. Best week ever.

  7. James Lockerbie says:

    Sunshine on my shoulders makes me Happy! What a great way to start a new day with a new Sporting Director

  8. Wait, there’s a FIFA candidate named Tokyo Sexwhale??
    —–
    Any chance that this Stewart hiring could result in the acquisition of, say, perhaps, one Aaron Johansen?

    • i don’t see this kind of thing happening with stewart here. he will bring a no name here and they will become aaron johansen. we’ll get a couple good seasons out of them and then we will sell them to a bigger league for a profit. and i don’t have a problem with that

      • Right. I’m not getting attached to any one player going forward. As long as the combination of players on the pitch and at the ready make a good team, I won’t be missing a guy when we cash in the chips to buy two more of him

      • Let’s hope everyone’s as calm about it as you guys when they cash in on Andre Blake.

      • el Pachyderm says:

        I’m not okay with the club being a midtable feeder for the LAG or Sheffield Wednesday and I dont think that is the goal… but as salaries escalate I’m okay with being the birthplace of the first truly world class US player and more going forward and that simply isn’t going to happen in MLS yet by staying with your team. Build them then sell them to the world…. sounds a lot like a steel plant to me.
        .
        This is why the clubwide philosophy is so important because the pipeline just keeps churning out quality players that replace the departed and every so often it all comes together with a trophy.
        .
        I guess what I’m trying to say is it is more important to me that the club produces players that are considered top notch then not giving young players a chance and winning a title then watching guys get old… ie Phillies.

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