Daily news roundups

Linc to host Copa Centenario games, Maidana nominated, Conference finals begin, more

Philadelphia Union

CONCACAFUS Soccer, Philadelphia Union, and Philadelphia Eagles announced on Thursday Lincoln Financial Field will be one of the host venues for the Copa America Centenario, which will be staged in the US, June 3-26, 2016.

Union Chief Revenue Officer and Executive Vice President Dave Rowan said in a statement, “On behalf of the Philadelphia Union, we’re ecstatic for this city to have the opportunity to host some of biggest international games on the 2016 calendar. In coordination with Lincoln Financial Field, the Philadelphia Eagles, and the Philadelphia Sports Congress, we’ll do everything in our power to ensure the best possible environment at these games.”

While the games that will be hosted will be announced at a later date, the US Soccer press release notes, “Similar to the FIFA World Cup, each venue will host matches on multiple days through the tournament. Most venues will host at least three games.” More on the announcement at Philly.com and Philadelphia Business Journal.

The Union website notes Cristian Maidana is one of 32 nominees for the league’s Latino of the Year award. The editor’s rankings at Univision have Maidana at No. 24. Place your vote here.

Brotherly Game reviews Eric Ayuk’s season.

The Union Academy teams are hosting Continental FC Delco this Saturday at YSC Sports in Wayne. The U-17/18s kick off at 11 am, followed by the U-15/16s at 1 pm, and the U-13/14s at 3 pm.

Danny, we all hope you are recovered.


Haverford is hosting the NCAA Division III men’s soccer sectional semifinals this weekend. Haverford kicks off against St. Lawrence at 11 am. You can watch a stream of the game hereFranklin & Marshall faces Calvin College today at 1:30 pm in Gambier, Ohio. You can watch a stream of the game here.

The CB East boys and girls teams are in Saturday’s PIAA Class AAA state finals, with the boys facing Seneca Valley, and the girls facing Upper St. Clair. Both games are at Hershey Park Stadium.

The Adidas Fall Classic, hosted by Penn Legacy, is taking place in Lancaster this weekend. Lancaster Online notes, “What started with 40 teams in 1986 has exploded to 738 teams and 112 age-group brackets. More than 110 fields at 15 venues. from Landisville to Ephrata and points in between, will be used to host the tournament’s 1,238 scheduled games, which start Saturday morning.” That’s a lot of soccer!


The first leg games of the Conference finals will be played on Sunday. At 5 pm, Columbus will host NYRB (ESPN, ESPN Deportes, a, MLS Live, SiriusXM FC). At 7:30 pm, Portland will host Dallas (FS1, Fox Sports Go, Fox Soccer 2Go, , MLS Live, Fox Deportes, SiriusXM FC).

At MLSsoccer.com, head-to-head breakdowns of Columbus-NYRB and Portland-Dallas. More on the start of the conference finals at SI and The Guardian.

Remember the warning in Dan’s column on Thursday about false dichotomies? Consider the takes on what it means that the four teams competing for the MLS Cup final include the two lowest payrolls in the league — and that all four of the team’s lack big name DPs — from Kristian Dyer at Metro, and Jeff Carlisle at ESPN. Which is the “either/or” take and which tries to “reframe the issue”?

NYRB’s Luis Robles has been named Goalkeeper of the Year.

The Guardian on how the homegrown model at FC Dallas could “revolutionize” US soccer.

Steven Gerrard says he won’t be going on loan to Liverpool or anywhere else during the offseason.

Javier Morales has signed a multi-year contract extension with Real Salt Lake.

Kendall Watson has signed a multi-year contract extension with Vancouver Whitecaps.

Chicago Fire Confidential reports the Fire have dismissed much of their technical staff, with technical director Brian Bliss leaving the club in January.

Don Garber tells the BBC he believes the Premier League playing league games in the US would harm the growth of MLS:

(Premier League games abroad) really would cross the line of going into a market and potentially threatening the first division.

While the Premier League is interested in growing revenues, they are the leaders of the game professionally – or certainly in the top two – and I think (chief executive) Richard Scudamore really cares about the game, loves our country and loves our league…

The report notes Premier League head Scudamore says the league playing a 39th game in the US is “as far away now as it’s ever been.” The report also says Garber “admitted interest in the idea of a friendly summer competition involving the best of the MLS, the Premier League, the German Bundesliga and Italy’s Serie A.” Garber is quoted: “What we’re trying to do is create a soccer nation in the US and Canada, and the more people we can turn into professional soccer watchers the more we can convince to become fans of their local team and the better off we’ll be.” Presumably the main difference between such a competition and the current Guinness International Champions Cup is that Garber’s tournament would be owned by MLS.

Sporting Kansas City’s home stadium will be renamed Children’s Mercy Park as part of a new partnership with the Children’s Mercy Kansas City health system “to promote health and fitness among Kansas City-area school children and provide specialized sports medicine to a youth athlete market that has experienced a substantial increase in sports-related injuries.” The name kind of creeps me out.


At ESPN, Doug McIntyre on how the USMNT can build on Tuesday’s World Cup qualifier draw in Trinidad and Tobago: “[T]he Americans’ performance against the Soca Warriors was a heck of a lot better than the national team’s dour 2014 finale against Ireland.”

The Huffington Post reports that 35 members of Congress have written to US Soccer president Sunil Gulati urging him to support the reforms proposed by Moya Dodd, the chair of FIFA’s Task Force for Women’s Football, aimed at requiring that at least 30 percent of leadership positions at FIFA be filled by women. FIFA’s reform committee is meeting today to decide what proposals will be presented to the FIFA congress in December and be voted upon in February.

At Soccer America, parts one and two of Paul Gardner’s thought provoking take on academies.

In view of all the ugly anti-Syrian refugee rhetoric being spouted by politicians and others in the US, CNN has an article on how soccer helped to integrate Somali refugees in Lewiston, Maine, which is the subject of the new documentary film “One Team: The Story of the Lewiston High School Blue Devils.”


The AP reports, “The suspended UEFA president, Michel Platini, has lodged an appeal to the court of arbitration for sport against his 90-day ban.”

PA Sport reports, “Corruption in football is systemic and the game’s leaders must not bury their heads in the sand, the man in charge of the FIFA presidential election has warned.” Domenico Scala said at the International Football Arena conference held in Zurich at FIFA’s headquarters, “We have to accept that corruption is systemic in football. If we accept it is systemic, we can start to do something about it. If we deny it, we dismiss the problem.”

Reuters reports, “FIFA should set limits on the term and age of its future presidents as world soccer’s governing body seeks to reform after a corruption scandal, the chief executive of long-standing sponsor Adidas was quoted as saying on Thursday.”

Reuters reports, “Russia’s World Cup chief said on Thursday that Swiss and U.S investigators looking into corruption in global soccer have not been in contact with him and he had no doubt the competition would go ahead in Russia in 2018.” Alexey Sorokin also believes racism won’t be a problem at the tournament and also says the ongoing doping scandal, which the World Anti-Doping Agency says Russia’s sports minister Vitaly Mutko (who happens to be a FIFA executive committee member) must have known about, won’t harm the reputation of the tournament in Russia.

ESPN reports, “Franz Beckenbauer has hit out at the new German FA (DFB) leaders, and told Suddeutsche Zeitung they did not answer a letter in which he offered to talk to them about the ongoing 2006 World Cup scandal.”

Following the Transparency International report we linked to in Thursday’s roundup that criticized the lack of publically available financial records of FIFA’s member associations, FIFA says, “Additional measures to strengthen the member associations’ financial governance and management will be discussed at the upcoming FIFA Executive Committee meeting on 2-3 December 2015, including the obligation for the associations to publish their statutory annual reports and activity reports.” The FIFA statement also criticized the methodology of Transparency International’s report — “We note that Transparency International’s methodology for its report, which appears to consist of a search of internet pages, does not reflect the significant reporting that already exists at member association level and between member associations and FIFA.” — apparently missing the point that the report was critical of the lack of publicly available information.

A report on the increased security precautions that will be in place for Saturday’s El Clasico (12 pm: beIN Sports, beIN Sports en Español) following the attacks in Paris last week quotes one official as saying, “Even the sandwiches will be checked.” The report notes, “It should be pointed out that Benfica fans took flares into the Vicente Calderon in September in sandwiches.”

The Premier League has announced that French national anthem will be played before the start of all of its games this weekend.


Roma and Belgium international midfielder Radja Nainggolan has been reportedly mistaken for a terrorist while relaxing at a hotel with friends.

According to a report by Belgian newspaper La Dernière Heure, guests at the Radisson Blu Astrid hotel in Antwerp called police on Tuesday night, worried by the appearance of the Belgian-Indonesian midfielder.

When the officers arrived, however, they immediately recognised Nainggolan and realised that the guests had make a mistake…

“Obviously, I have a look that is scary,” Nainggolan told La Dernière Heure. “Fortunately the police recognized me.”

Nainggolan, who was in Belgium after been called up by the Belgian national team for the cancelled friendly against Spain, tweeted a photo of himself with the police.

Check out the latest Footy on the Telly for listings of live soccer on TV, online, and on satellite radio for the upcoming week.


  1. If your looking for me summer 2016 Centenario….. I’ll be down The Linc … hope you are too…
    that said…. hosting a final on a field with ‘fake grass’ sodden over well…. fake grass just seems a bit off to me… can you imagine Messi kicking the turf because the gyroscope of his hips and legs lose the ball on a gnikcuf seam or dead patch…. mumbling mumbling mumbling something about ass crack and savage in his native tongue.
    The solution to the final… the latin and south american Copa final is clearly southern california.
    Stevie G…. sit back… relax…. feet up…. SoCal in winter is lovely…. sun sun sun which is something you aren’t likely to recognize being from the Island. If you’re looking for something fun to do…trundle on down to San Diego…. hang around Pacific Beach for a few hours and get a load of Slo’ Mo…. the retired neurologist roller skater in his 70s who holds a pose for over and hour or so barely- ever so barely- moving down the promenade in his best archer pose or Warrior I…. well worth the trip- well worth the trip.

    • Any international final should be played at the Rose Bowl, but especially, as you said, this final. There’s not a better stadium locale in the land. 100,000 capacity.

      • If you are going strictly by capacity, it should probably be at The Big House. I believe that’s still the largest stadium in the country.

  2. That Guardian article about FC Dallas is a big positive for US soccer youth development. It took a while but many teams are starting to really get a handle on academy development.

    • Not so sure. Think Dallas is an anomaly. This is somewhat confirmed by Paul Garnder in his article about (European) Academies. (the article is also linked above). Here are some important quotes:
      If the academies were living up to expectations, there should have been a demonstrable, certainly a detectable, up-turn in the appearance of such players. That has not happened. Which is a serious indictment of the academies on two fronts: They are not doing the job in soccer terms, and — for those who believe in a profit-and-loss verdict — they are proving a poor investment.
      Academy products will definitely be more highly trained, more tactically aware than previous generations of boys. Whether that necessarily makes for better soccer — I rather doubt that.
      I do believe that too much emphasis on teaching — however expert it may be — tends to shrivel a young player’s soccer personality. Playing in games — without frequent interruptions from coaches — allows a boy to learn without being taught, or instructed, allows his personal traits, foibles, flairs and whimsies to develop and those are the qualities that distinguish a talented artist from a robot.
      I fear a lot of those personal touches would be frowned on by the academy coaches, probably suppressed in the name of “correcting bad habits.” Of course, there’s a nice academic discipline involved in that, getting the pupils to do things correctly — but I think the academies need to do more. They need to demonstrate, incontestably, that their didactic, academic approach is the right one.
      Right now, the evidence seems to me to point in the other direction: That nurturing young soccer talent needs a very flexible, non-programmed approach. Developing team players — which will surely be a top target in the pro-linked academies — is not the same thing as developing individual players. Players with their own soccer personality, their own set of skills, their own magic, maybe their own genius. Rare players, but the sort of players that soccer has relied on for over 100 years to raise it above, way above, simply a bunch of guys running about.

      • Great points, Guido. I do think that academy training has a tendency to produce homogenous types of players who many times seem to play like robots or like they’re on auto-pilot.

        While we tend to think that traditional number 10’s have been gradually taken out of the game by tactical innovations, a lot of it has to do with the fact that most academies don’t produce these types of players. They typically get produced during informal playing of the game. Argentina still seems like they can churn #10’s out the best.

        Even the famed La Masia at Barcelona doesn’t do a good job of producing players for all position types. They pump out a ton of functional/highly technical central midfielders and wingers, but rarely ever produce a center back, outside back or striker that’s good enough for the senior team.

        There’s always a time in a player’s development where they need more instruction and tactical training, but that doesn’t need to occur until they are in the early teens. All playing below 11-12 yrs old should be strictly informal and recreational with no more travel teams for this age group (I’ll quit now as I’m starting to sound like El Pachy).

      • This is so well said Guido and Zizou. Thanks for releasing me from the burden of having to try.
        Btw… maybe I have said it before…but it bares repeating… for me, there is only Zidane.

      • The true #10 brings chaos to the game.
        Chaos operates inside organized systems and not outside them… but only comes about on the winds of freedom from the normal rules and precepts.
        You can’t teach chaos theory inside the academy… Impossible unless the academy focuses on free expression and zero concern for consequence… which I can say for sure isn’t happening in King of Prussia for any other academy for that matter. The whole reason Travel Soccer needs to die is for bringing about the chaos of free play so the academy can bring it inside their organized system and turn it into the beautiful game. Till that happens…..
        For as much as I like Mr. Graham I was watching the 18s a while back and he commented to me, “It’s really looking good.” I didn’t have the heart to tell him there wasn’t ONE difference maker on the field- just a bunch of players afraid to take even ONE risk with the ball at their feet or more to the point, the inability to take a calculated chaotic risk with the ball at their feet.
        Chaos is why Lionel Messi is the greatest player ever… he operates with pure right brain inside a completely left brain way of playing.

      • Good points Guido,

        I should clarify that I agree on the points regarding individual player development. I believe that the sole focus of kids under say 12 should be on skill development – rondos, shooting and passing drills, 1v1 attack/defending, etc. Kids should not feel they have a position (“I’m a leftback”) or need to worry about tactics or positioning until they are teens. They should be encouraged to “try $h!t” and have fun while developing their technical ability and not focus on winning some game.
        My comment was based on the seemingly new focus of MLS clubs looking to develop their own players rather then relying on the college/university system or looking overseas for players and that FC Dallas is a good example of those players beginning to break into the first team. The academy system still needs refinement, but the fact that this is the direction many teams seem to be heading and some teams proving it can work is certainly a positive for the league as well as US soccer.
        Ideally what I think you are speaking about is how in many other countries, kids grow up with a ball at their feet playing in the streets outside their homes but that is not the nature of our country. It is easier for kids to find a court and play basketball then to find a field and enough friends to get a soccer game going. I’ve worked and lived in Philly for almost 8 years now and have yet to see a single kid kicking around a ball in the street – dribbling a basketball yes, throwing a football yes. But never soccer. I don’t know if that will ever change in a country with so many major sports leagues so it will have to come from more of a developmental place. The only hope of that changing or even getting to the same level would have to be putting the cart before the horse. We need a star or stars that kids see as a hero in the game to grow up wanting to be. “Be like Mike” and play basketball. “Be like Jeter” and play baseball. “Be like Montana” and play football. These sports are on TV constantly, the stars are in commercials, they are household names. Until some player comes from Nowhere USA and makes it to the highest level of the sport, the only kids playing soccer in this country will be doing so in a development setting.

  3. Let’s hope MLS has the common sense not to schedule Union games (home or away) the same day as games at the Linc, like they did with the Gold Cup final.

    • Just Rob f/k/a Rob127 says:

      Come on Andy, you and I both know they’ll schedule games at the same time. Planning with fans in mind is not they’re strong suit.

      • I know but until the schedules come out one can continue to hope 🙂

      • James Lockerbie says:

        I had visions of marching into RFK stadium with my kids and the Sons of Ben. The reality was my family and approx 25 others. I blame the poor standings and the final of the gold cup at the Linc. Everyone thought we had a chance to see USMNT in the final at the linc. I missed the Union goals while getting refreshments. The day was very disappointing.

  4. The Dwyer article and Carlisle article are both good reads. The Carlisle article lays out its argument stronger…. displays the many facets on the diamond instead of just cut or setting. I’d grade his article at VS1 very slight included and Dwyer’s at slightly included.
    No matter what… the thing I (re)learned is it is all about your clearly defined philosophy of play and the vision you have for your club and having the person capable of instituting a plan to see it through.
    Nothing changes. DP HG TAM salary cap…. it is all about club philosophy and finding the pieces that fit your metrics.
    Here’s to Ernie Stewart being the man capable of rescuing this franchise…. and yes…. it needs rescuing… as it has been set adrift for three years now…. Ernest Shackleton type adrift.

  5. Like, if peas are on-sale, purchase several containers.

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