Daily news roundups

Report says Union had record high gross revenues in 2015, more news

Photo: Paul Rudderow

Philadelphia Union

An article at Metro on the future of former Union COO Nick Sakiewicz reports total gross revenues for the club in 2015 reached “a high water mark at a record $23 million representing a double digit increase over its second best year which was 2014” with revenue from sponsorships “growing by double digits to over $8 million.” Does gross revenues mean for all events at PPL Park or for Union events?

The article suggest Sakiewicz (and his “two gold shovels”) may be the subject of “a bidding war” that could see him land in the NASL. Sakiewicz says, “I have 21 years invested in MLS and very proud to have played a small part in growing the game in America. While I would love to stay involved in MLS and continue the great work we started 21 years ago there are a lot of opportunities in soccer as well as other sports and leagues.”

In a top ten list of players by position at Goal.com, Maurice Edu comes in at No. 10 for right center back, Sebastien Le Toux at No. 5 for right wing, and Cristian Maidana at No. 7 for playmaker. Former Union man Sheanon Williams comes in at No. 9 for right back.

At Brotherly Game, following up on an earlier post making a case for Jim Curtin, Jared Young wonders why the Union coach is “getting a pass from the FO and fans alike” despite the lack of progress in 2015.

Brotherly Game also has season reviews for Fabinho and Ray Gaddis.

Philadelphia Sports Nation argues the Union need a postgame show. (Thank you for the mention, James, but I am not TV material.)


Julia Burnell (M: Penn Fusion; Glen Mills, Pa.), has been called up for the US U-15 GNT camp in Sunrise, Fla., Nov. 20-27.


Orlando City forward Cyle Larin has been named Rookie of the Year. Larin, the No. 1 pick of the 2015 draft, scored 17 goals, breaking the previous record of 11 goals set by Damani Ralph in 2003.

Four Four Two on why NYCFC hiring Patrick Vieira was a bad idea.

FC Dallas defender Walker Zimmerman on defeating Seattle to advance to the Western Conference finals: “When you look at a lot of MLS stuff and all the propaganda toward a team like Seattle with their big stars, it does create a little bit of a chip on your shoulder.”

From the Miami Herald:

The head of Miami-Dade Schools wants to negotiate a million-dollar deal for education in return for shielding David Beckham’s proposed soccer stadium from taxes.

Superintendent Alberto Carvalho told the Miami Herald’s editorial board on Tuesday that the community benefits negotiated would be at least equal to what Miami Beckham United would pay in taxes on a new stadium, and he downplayed any risk that could come with owning a $200 million venue.

“I do not support free tax exemptions, free give-aways to private-sector entities,” Carvalho said.

Bexar County commissioners in Texas voted unanimously to back the purchase of Toyota Field in San Antonio with the aim of securing a MLS franchise. Reports at My San Antonio, KSAT, San Antonio Current, and Texas Public Radio.

It’s official: the NASL has announced a new club in Oklahoma City, Rayo OKC, the majority owner of which is La Liga side Rayo Vallecano. The team, which will debut in the spring of 2016, will play its home games at Yukon High School’s Miller Stadium, which has “fixed seating of 6,500, and has the ability to expand to 11,000 for pro soccer games.” The team’s crest is terrible.

Puerto Rico FC, which will make its NASL debut in the fall of 2016, has named Thomas Payne as president. Payne was head of business operations at LA Galaxy between 2008-2012.


Stating the obvious, ESPN says Jurgen Klinsmann could face more scrutiny if the US does not convincingly defeat St. Vincent and the Grenadines and Trinidad and Tobago in its opening World Cup qualifying games.

Another piece at ESPN says if Klinsmann really wants to make a statement about giving young players more playing time, he should start Bobby Wood over Jozy Altidore, a player who “has served as the primary target striker in part because of his skill but also because no one else managed to grab the role.” I’m down with that.

More on the start of the US’s World Cup qualification campaign at US Soccer, SI,

It’s official (crappy Google translation here): Bob Bradley is the new head coach of French second division side Le Havre, the oldest soccer team in France. The AP notes the team is owned by “American executive Vincent Volpe, the president of an oil and energy company who bought the club over the summer.” More at MLSsoccer.comSoccer America, and Goal.com.

Reaction to US Soccer’s newly announced policy to ban headed balls for player under the age of 10, and limiting practicing headers between the ages of 11 and 13, continues. Eurosport notes the primary concern is cumulative damage from heading the ball at a young age. (For more on cumulative subconcussive injuries, click here.) At Soccer America, Mike Woitalla endorses the new policy. Answering a number of criticisms about the policy — that it will leave the US at a player development disadvantage compared to other players internationally, for example– Woitalla wonders if, given medical evidence and recommendations (girl soccer players have higher incidences of concussion related injuries than boys, heading the ball — like tackling in American football and body checking in ice hockey — should not be allowed until the age of 14) the policy doesn’t go far enough. (For more on the 14 years of age restriction, click here and here.)

Woitalla argues the US will be followed in its concussion policy by other countries. Indeed, Sky Sports reports England’s FA released a statement after the announcement from US Soccer that said in part,

The FA is committed to making the game as safe as possible and has noted today’s new rule changes outlined by US Soccer and will closely monitor any available new research in this area.

The FA will shortly announce new guidelines – formed by an independent expert panel – which look at how to identify, manage and treat suspected head injuries and to manage a player’s safe return to play at all levels of football.

The Sky Sports report quotes Laraine Astle, the widow of Jeff Astle, who has campaigned in England for controls on heading the ball since her husband Jeff Astle, the West Bromwich Albion legend and noted header of the ball, died at the age of 59 in 2002 in what was ruled to be a case of “industrial disease” after an autopsy showed he suffered degenerative brain disease as a result of repeated trauma from heading the old style leather balls: “There is such an awful lot to be done. I’ve never felt this country has taken it seriously as the Americans. This is now a wake-up call.”

Regarding US Soccer’s concussion policy announcement, US Club Soccer says it “will follow up with its members as soon as specific information and implementation plans become available.”


Something FIFA corruption related is sure to be going on somewhere.


  1. The Rayo crest isn’t that bad…it’s just that it is a near exact replica of the original Vellacano crest. Clearly going for authenticity. It will be interesting to see how increased international investment in NASL will pan out.
    On the concussion front – if you get Sirius/XM, be sure to check out today’s special 3 hr long show on the “concussion crisis” starting at 1pm. It has the potential to be informative.

  2. Jim Curtin is not getting a “pass” from me. Nothing he has shown with what he was given proves that if he was given even better players, he could have done a better job. Jason Kreis, Sigi, Petke…..ALL better options than Curtin. Though what is Curtin more so than the others….CHEAP! The Front Office has been cleaning house, and I feel that Curtin needs to go to the curb as well. He is still culpable to why the Union are where they are. He said Defense “Philly Tough” and that his “philosophy” of that would keep the Union in games…..FAIL! The entire season was defensively, the biggest “leaky ship” since the Titanic! No real philosophy, he was “spray and pray,” and couldn’t make tactical adjustments in-game to grind a 1-0 or a 1-1 result…..time and time again the Losses piled up because Curtin couldn’t manage his team to grind the result. Then when the season was all but lost, didn’t even want to experiment with formations….like what the hell, lets see what Fabinho and Wenger look like in a 3-5-2 when as wing-backs I can use there speed on the flanks, but also use it to gauge how well their defending abilities are, which could also create more movement off the ball for Barnetta, Nogs, and Chaco…… FFS Curtin’s tactical acumen is MLS 0.5 of lumping the ball to a big man, and players running around aimlessly kicking a ball.

    Change is good, and I am glad the changes so far have taken place, I just feel the Ax swinging shouldn’t have stopped.

    • To be fair, though, the Titanic wasn’t a leaky ship until its last few hours…

    • Your argument is so completely sound regarding defense, Ian.
      He stood on the platform of defense as the team principal then was completely unable to deliver consistent defensive continuity…yielding, I believe the most goals in MLS or near the bottom… standing by with the same talk while his team committed at times egregious defensive lapses at crucial moments of games…OVER and OVER throughout the season.
      This is my reason for his dismissal.
      That said… we will see what he is able to deliver over the first 12 games of season — which is ALL he gets from me….the chief CEO of my-make-believe-futbol-firm.

      • I give Curtin 34 games next year regardless. Even if the team gets out of the gate poorly, firing him mid-season probably means elevating Burke as interim coach, seeing the team improve short term, and continuing on the same old merry-go-round. No, the next coaching change must happen during the offseason.

      • I think 12 to 16 is fair…There has to be a points per game increase. Simply the best way to gauge his improvement. The team needs 1.5 to get to the playoffs… So anything close to that is what we need!

    • I know I said I’d never defend Curtain again. Truly I don’t feel that I necessarily was a defender of Curtain. More that I tried to see the position he was in and give it some perspective. Thus I would never say that Curtain was/is a better choice than Kreis, Petke, or Sigi. I don’t think ANY fan has or would say that. It’s just what are/were you expecting from an inexperienced coach that had one hand tied behind his back? Miracles? Cause that’s what would have been required to make this team a viable contender last year. Injuries, lack of depth, Dui’s, red cards, he who shall not be named…insert miracle worker here to fix all these problems. So pointing to Kreis, Petke, and Sigi, none of them have halos over their heads so I doubt even they could have produced the miracles needed to save last season.
      So, if Stewart feels the team needs a change next year, I’m all for it. Just don’t act like anybody besides Curtain could have made last season a success. Cause that’s just living in a dream world.

      • Well put.

      • I’m generally with you here. Although if Stewart wanted to replace Curtin immediately I would not have a problem with it.
        I also don’t think the available coaches are all the same. I don’t think Petke showed much better than Curtin, supporter’s shield or not. He had a much better team to work with, and I suspect that would be a pretty lateral move.
        Kreis is a good coach, but he has really been successful with one very specific style and hasn’t shown the ability to adapt. I don’t know that his possession 4-4-2 play will necessarily work with the Dutch style we assume Stewart would want to employ. I like Kreis but don’t know that he’d fit here.
        Sigi on the other hand. I’d take him in a second. The guy is possibly the best MLS coach ever. Seattle fans want to move on because they ONLY make the playoffs every year and only win things like supporter’s shields and open cups. Yeash, must be nice.

      • I know I said “next year”, which technically would be when Stewart actually takes the reigns, but I wouldn’t be adverse to a change now either, except maybe the Pauno rumor. Part of me thinks having some continuity going into next year would be a good thing. Though on the other hand, if they did want to make a change I’d rather they did it now to go after one of the three mentioned, before they get snapped up by another team.

  3. My position on heading and punting has been well documented on this sight…but lets take the concussion issue to the 2nd level in our thinking. Let’s address the tackling issue we have stateside instead of the heading issue.
    How about teaching our players…to play the ball and not the man.
    One of the countless reasons the game is so god awful ugly in this country is because our defensive understanding and tactics are so bad we are forced…by circumstance of ignorance and style to tackle the player…
    I highlighted a spot to my children in this weekend’s game of Barca v Villareal when Iniesta completely “pulled out of challenge” because he was beaten- then circled back to help the developing play in a different way…(cutting off an angle of pass) trusting his teammates where positioned to shut down the attacker on the ball… which they were. .
    Now when you have a Sergio Busquests or Mascherano this is easy… the point though (which still stands)… is if we stopped playing so much soccer on grass and started playing more and more and more futsal… we would learn to position ourselves better and quicker and choose to play the ball and not the man as we so often see in the street game. We would choose to stay on our feet… as the means to playing better defense… We would not be forced to clip, kick and hammer players to the ground as we see in this NFL mediated MLS league.
    In MLS the ball carrier is simply scythed to the ground (HATE IT) …. playing the man. Not the ball. Teach to play defense. Let’s stop worrying about headers as if they are the real problem.
    Outlaw punting the ball! Death to travel soccer!
    el pachyderm en la sala

    • As for your point about defensive positioning, I think this is where your observation about basketball comes into play. I.E. zone defense. Or even hockey and the penalty kill. Cutting off angles, filling passing lanes. I think learning defensive positioning from both of these other sports can only help. Since you are more involved in the youth side of things el P, do they ever practice 3 v 2, or 5 v 3 etc.? Would this not also help in developing defensive positioning? Just some thoughts.

    • Good point on tackling. Even at the professional level, it’s hard for players to not follow the ball and instead focus on a runner or an open passing lane.

      Here’s the problem with little kids. Many of them (along with some of their parents) are impressed when a soccer ball is sent airborne. It’s akin to a long pass in football, a home run in baseball or a three point shot in basketball. It’s exciting for many people to see someone put their foot through the ball and send it flying through the air. It’s like a feat of strength to many.

      I’d love to see it go away and playing futsal is one way to do it because you can’t just lump that ball into the air. All4U is right that the small sided drills are the best way to get that out of kids’ heads. When you’re playing 5v2, you find out early that the real fun is either megging one of the defenders or splitting them both with a pass.

    • Good discussion here. I have an 8-year-old playing in a local league that has intramural and a pretty good travel team. The intramural league is run by a bunch of volunteer coaches (dads and moms) most of whom never played soccer or even watched it. They get little to no direction to coach and are left trying to figure the game out themselves. This translates into emphasizing aggressive play, always going at the ball and pushing it up. Every game I attend coaches encourage their charges to lump the ball forward regardless of whether there is an open teammate or not. Goalies are always encouraged to put a ball forward instead of to an open teammate even when the frequent result is a slow grounder to an opponent who feeds it right back into the goalie’s net for goal. I can go on and on.
      I can’t blame the coaches. They’re doing their best, answering the call to volunteer. I coached a few years and was amazed at the lack of organization and direction. I played from about 4th grade through high school and had at least a pretty good idea of what to do. But I was in a minority. Most people needed help. They are people who have zero exposure to the sport, don’t know the rules, let alone the nuances. I bet 80 % of youth soccer coaches don’t know how the offsides rule works.
      It may take a whole further generational turnover to get a good number of coaches who grew up not only playing but watching the game. My kids live in a time when you can watch soccer on TV. When I played, there was nothing on TV. I don’t remember getting to see the World Cup until I was in high school. Our kids now know at least what playing the sport looks like. That’s huge. It will get better, but it’s going to take a lot of time.

      • Its still all a mess…. a well intentioned mess. But a mess non-the-less. Coaches and parents telling Johnny at 6 what to do every time he touches the ball.
        I’m grateful to the volunteer…I am – but this whole organizing of IM and travel by age has fouled everything up for the exact reason that a 5 year old can learn a lot about the game from a 7 year old just as a 10 year old can learn a lot about the game from a 13 year old. It is all natural hierarchy and we steal it right out from under our kids… the ability to learn the game from each other instead of well meaning uninformed parent volunteers.
        I could go on and on…. the best story I heard just a few weeks ago was from a friend with a U10 ‘A’ team travel kid who drove 120 minutes to Maryland only to have the game forfeited because the other travel team didn’t have enough players.
        Everybody got in their car and drove home- 5 hours round trip for nothing.
        If this happened to my kid I would be apoplectic…. course I also would be the parent standing in the middle of the departure screaming, “no no no no – – get 3v3 here – get 3v3 there – get each others name round robin lets go have fun” and that would have been the best day of travel soccer for both teams the whole season. Tragically not one person spoke up. Just a wasted morning and is it any wonder why kids don’t want to play anymore at 14?
        I detest the whole idea of travel soccer for any kid under 12 years of age….and barely tolerate the idea of it at all. It is an Unnecessary evil- what does a 9 and 10 year old kid gain from having their parent drive 17 miles as the crow flies on a saturday morning in one direction to get 9 touches on the ball…..
        Detest. Travel. Soccer.
        We do need another generation or two for the teaching to filter properly that much I am sure of….

      • That’s what I’m wrestling with. Stick with shoddy coaching in intramural or get (hopefully) better coaching in travel. I would be homicidal if I drove to Maryland for nothing, for sure. Just don’t know what other options there are for my 8 year old who really loves to play. I’ve been thinking of just organizing a club to get local kids together once a week to play. indoors in the cold, outside when it’s warm. Keep it fun,coach the game and let the kids learn in their ‘hood. Not sure I’d get enough people to be interested. They’ll likely all go the travel route.

      • It is what we have…. that said I am very very judicious in where the developmental education comes from….
        Ask some probing questions of your club and coach.
        Part of the problem is most travel clubs are set up with equal play rules which is absurd…
        Coaches are not able to base playing time off of meritocracy. Johnny’s mom spent her $900 and even though Johnny could give a shit… he deserves to play.

      • Which is why it all needs to come back to more cleanly organized IM free play pick up games driven by the local club … the Academy.
        and begrudged travel for 12 and up.
        and more and more futsal courts springing up everywhere.

      • Excellent points, Pachy.

  4. Wow, I didn’t realize that Sak was the Johnny Appleseed of soccer, spreading it all throughout North America. Who knew?

  5. IF Miami and Becks ever get a team in south Florida, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE let it be called Miami Beckham United. It makes me cringe at first, but then I chuckle every time I see it in print. It’s the small things.

  6. OK, can someone comment about the fact that gross revenue was the best it has been. How is that possible, i.e. not even a sellout for the US Open Cup final 14,000? Where is all this money going not certainly into this team. Why play money ball when revenues more than doubled? I’m confused someone please enlighten me cause this is feeling like the usual all over again. They make money team just gets worse. This does not have me feeling positive.

    • Yet more reason to hate the Sixers. BTW CPfeif, nice counter-argument posted on the Brotherly Game. I would suggest anyone who is baffled by “Curtain’s defenders” reads his post. It’s a thorough explanation and well done.

      • Thank you for your kind words!
        I don’t know what the problem was but for a few months I was having trouble with logging into that site to post. Happy I can join the discussion there again in addition to here.
        Hat’s off to all the Union bloggers/media for everything they do to allow we fans a place to doop!

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