Daily news roundups

Sylvestre under contract with RaiHawks for 2016, more Union bits and news

Photo: Earl Gardner

Philadelphia Union

NASL side Carolina RailHawks have announced that Brian Sylvestre is one of five players under contract with the team for the 2016 season, and is the only goalkeeper currently on the roster. This presumably means that, if the Union want him permanently, it’s gonna cost them. In case you’re wondering, Sylvestre is still listed in the roster on the Union website.

An article at the Union website from Charlotte Muscroft on Sunday’s Bethlehem Steel FC open tryout reports Union assistant coach B.J. Callaghan said, “coaches had identified talent for not only Bethlehem Steel FC, but also the U-18 academy team, U-20 PDL team and Reading United.”

Cristian Maidana finished third in Group A in the vote for MLS Latino Player of the Year with 8 percent of the vote and so fails to advance to the next round of voting. (At least I think he finished third. He’s listed in fourth on the league website but his vote tally makes him third.)

At Brotherly Game, season reviews for Tranquillo Barnetta and Zach Pfeffer, and Sebastien Le Toux.

Former Union man Chandler Hoffman is giving back to kids in his home state of Alabama with a pair of soccer camps in December.

The funniest part of this year’s Thanksgiving video from the Union is most of the players balking at making turkey noises, although John McCarthy’s effort is pretty hilarious.

Sons of Ben

Red City SoBs are hosting a Sons of Ben: The Movie viewing party in Reading on Sunday in support of Help Kick Hunger.

You can save money on tickets for the main Help Kick Hunger event taking place at Neshaminy Creek Brewing Company on Dec. 5 if you purchase before Thanksgiving. Click here for ticket information.


The Washington Township High School boys team won the NJSIAA Group 4 state championship for the second year in a row on Sunday, defeating West Orange 1-0. Ryan Logar, who spent the week before the game on crutches nursing a badly sprained left ankle, score the lone goal — with his left foot. Reports at NJ.com, Philadelphia Inquirer, and Brotherly Game.

The Schalick High School boys team fell 1-0 to Brearley in the NJSIAA Group 1 final.

With the conclusion of the second round of Open Division qualifiers over this past weekend — you will recall West Chester United defeated Salone FC 3-0 in the local Open Division qualifier two weekends ago — the field of teams for April’s third round is now set. The US Soccer website says, “Twelve of the 14 Second Qualifying Round winners in closest proximity to each other will compete. The remaining two winners will be awarded the first two slots into the 2016 U.S. Open Cup from the Open Division local qualifying track and will be joined by the six victors from the Third Qualifying Round.” If West Chester isn’t awarded one of the first two slots, the closest possible opponents are Pancyprian Freedoms of New York, Lansdowne Bhoys of New York, Aromas Café FC of Virginia, and Southie FC of Massachusetts, followed by Motagua of New Orleans, Florida’s Boca Raton Football Club, NTX Rayados of Texas, and Colorado’s Harpo’s FC (the remaining five teams are all in California). We’ll know for sure when the third round matchups are announced on Jan. 7.


Sebastian Giovinco has been named MLS Newcomer of the Year. And rightly so.

Kansas City Star reports on international interest in the services of head coach Peter Vermes: “Two English Premier League teams used agents last week to gauge Vermes’ willingness to depart Kansas City. A European country’s men’s national team has expressed interest in Vermes taking over its coaching duties and replicating his player development model on an international level.” Vermes is under contract through 2017. The report also notes Sporting KC assistant coach Kerry Zavagnin is in the running for the vacant head coach job at Chicago Fire.

SI reports Tony Meola, who you will recall was reportedly in the running for the job of head coach of the Union before Jim Curtin got the job, will be named head coach of NASL side Jacksonville Armada.


US Soccer announced on Monday the USMNT will host the World Cup qualifier against Guatemala on March 29 in Columbus. The match comes four days after the US plays Guatemala in Guatemala City.

The schedule for CONCACAF’s women’s Olympic qualification tournament in Texas has been announced. The US, in Group A, will play its group games in Frisco, facing Costa Rica on Feb. 10 in Frisco, followed by Mexico on Feb. 13, and Puerto Rico on Feb. 15. Group B is made up of Canada, Guatemala, Trinidad and Tobago and Guyana. The semifinals will be played on Feb. 19 in Houston, with the finals. also in Houston, on Feb. 21.

Looks like Gedion Zelalem’s loan from Arsenal to Rangers will be extended until the end of the season. Rangers manager Mark Warburton said, “He is speaking to his family and, hopefully, we are closing to securing him. The current deal is until January, but, as long as everyone is happy, we will extend that. I have been delighted with his contribution and the last game he played for Rangers was his best so far. We have a great relationship with Arsenal and our job is to make sure they know their asset is being developed properly.”

Bob Bradley’s first game as head coach of Ligue 2 side Le Havre ended as a 0-0 draw.


From Reuters: “FIFA’s ethics judges said on Monday they were aiming to decide the fate of suspended president Sepp Blatter and the man who hopes to succeed him, Michel Platini, by the end of December, following an investigation into graft allegations.”

The BBC reports, “Suspended FIFA president Sepp Blatter and vice-president Michel Platini could face seven-year bans from football if found guilty of corruption claims.”

Platini’s lawyer, pre, says the ethics committee wants Platini banned for life. The lawyer says a lifetime ban would be a “scandal” and “excessive.”

FIFA has published the agenda for next week’s executive committee meeting, the main focus of which will be “the reforms to be presented at the Extraordinary FIFA Congress on 26 February 2016.” The announcement says a media briefing will take place after the meeting.

The AP reports, “Executive committee members will also be updated next week on the American and Swiss federal investigations into corruption in soccer.” The AP report also says, “FIFA will likely report an annual loss next March after failing to sign any World Cup sponsor deals in 2015.”

Paris Saint-Germain will replace the Fly Emirates sponsor logo on their jersey with “Je Suis Paris” for the next two games, including Wednesday’s Champions League match against Malmo and Saturday’s league match against Troyes, their first home game since the terrorist attacks in Paris. Over the weekend, Saint-Etienne honored the victims of the terrorist attacks with a special jersey featuring the now iconic Paris peace symbol in place of their shirt sponsor.


  1. The Fire get Paunkvic and we get Curtin? Wow, the shine has come off the Earnie Stewart era pretty quick.

  2. Some might say taking a multi million dollar bribe is a “scandal”

  3. Lucky Striker says:

    Paun to the Fire confirmed. Congrats to Velcro, hope he sticks around awhile.

  4. Hindsight tells me Jeff Laurie should have hired Bruce Arians.
    Foresight and a hunch tells me we will rue not hiring Veljko Paunovic to coach Union.
    Boy Jim Curtin….. the set of all ordered pairs for your function better include a steep upslope indicating the ability to improve cause….as many many have read…. I have my doubts.

    • Paunovic would have been good. But if we could pry Zavagnin from KC to stand behind Curtin and not let him do stupid things, it would be better.

      • The timing is unfortunate IMO…. kinda wish this was news in about 8 months…. when Kevin Kinkhead spots Ernie Stewart and Mr. Sugarman yucking it up with Mr. Paunovic at the bar in Del Friscos… and the Union are dragging their feet through another rough start under current management.
        Hard to argue the many good steps forward for the club the last 3 months…. this would have been a coup though.
        Everything about Paunovic says class. and we all know in the game of futbol… form is temporary but class …… class is forever.

      • If you were Zavagnin, why would you make a lateral move to be an assistant on a weaker team?
        And if you were Stewart, why would you keep Curtin as head coach if you felt he needed an assistant to “not let him do stupid things”?

      • Old Soccer Coach says:

        The Phillies got Charlie Manuel an assistant to help him figure out pitching changes and pinch hitters in the no DH National League.
        I’m by no means suggesting JC is CM, but such specific band aids have plenty of precedent.

  5. Is Peter Vermes a better manager than Bob Bradley?

  6. Jay publicly committed to Curtin before hiring Earnie, which is unusual. Now that Earnie has an early release from AZ he can focus on the many problems in this club and how its first team coach will implement the program and the roster. Frankly I don’t think it will be the team’s record this year that makes or breaks it for Jim, rather it will be how well he does those other things. If he works out reasonably well, it’s one less urgent hole for Earnie to fill. If not, it will be the most important decision for Earnie early in his tenure.

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