Daily news roundups

First BSFC signing, Cosmos want to keep Leo, Garber’s State of the League, FIFA fallout, more

Photo: Courtesy of Bethlehem Steel

Bethlehem Steel

Bethlehem Steel announced its first ever signing on Thursday, Union Academy product Derrick Jones. More on the Jones signing at PSP, Brotherly Game, USL, and GhanaSoccerNet.

Jones was in the lineup for the Union Academy U-18s when they faced Houston Dynamo at the Development Academy Showcase in Florida on Thursday. Amidst heavy rain, the team lost, 2-1, after a late Dynamo goal.

Jones was in the lineup again as the team defeated Georgia United 2-1 this morning.

Philadelphia Union

The New York Cosmos have announced postseason roster moves. The announcement says, “The loan of midfielder Leo Fernandes, 23, has expired, but the club is working to keep him and further his development as a player.” The announcement also says the contract of former Harrisburg City Islander and Union trialist Lucky Mkosana has been extended. Incidentally, the contract of US youth international Haji Wright, whose arrival at the Cosmos resulted in a great deal of commentary, has not been renewed.

At Brotherly Game, Jared Young wonders if CJ Sapong can carry the load at striker.

The fourth round of voting for the Top 10 moments of the 2015 season continues with Cristian Maidana picking up his third assist in less than 15 minutes in the 3-0 win over Portland on July 15 versus Vincent Nogueira’s long-distance pass to set up Sebastien Le Toux’s goal in the US Open Cup final. I’m not sure if I’m ready yet to think about the final.

Brotherly Game on where the forwards on the 2010 Union are now.

Help Kick Hunger

The Sons of Ben’s annual Help Kick Hunger charity event takes place on Saturday beginning at 6 pm at the Neshaminy Creek Brewing Company in Croydon. Click here to purchase tickets for the event. More on the event at the Union website.

Local

The NSCAA Division II and Division III All-America Teams have been announced. Making the Division II Men’s second team is Millersville’s Jaime Vazquez (Bernville, Pa.) and University of Wilmington’s Clifford Nwechefom (Port Harcourt, Nigeria ). Making the Women’s second team is Limestone’s Mariette Martinez (East Stroudsburg, Pa.).

Making the Division III Men’s first team are Elizabethtown’s Martin Fevre (Chablis, France) and Gilbert Waso (Elizabethtown, Pa.), and Franklin & Marshall’s Chase TenBrook (Millville, N.J.). Making the second team is Haverford’s Sam Yarosh (West Chester, Pa.). On the third team are Messiah’s Jacob Bender (Baltimore, Md.) and Danny Rowe (Lancaster, Pa.), Connecticut College’s Patrik Devlin (Washington Crossing, Pa.), and Rutgers-Camden’s Michael Ryan (Marlton, NJ).

Making the Division III Women’s first team are Ithaca’s Kelsey King (Coopersburg, Pa.), as well as Messiah’s Macaulay Soto (Lititz, Pa.) and Nikki Elsaesser (Old Bridge, N.J.). Rowan’s Emily Daigle (Millville, N.J.) was named to the third team, as was Swarthmore’s Caroline Khanna (Chevy Chase, Md.).

MLS

First things first: The MLS Cup final takes place on Sunday between Columbus Crew and Portland Timbers (4 pm: ESPN, Watch ESPN, UniMás, Univision Deportes.) Previews at MLSsoccer.com and Portland Timbers. Also at MLSsoccer.com, a cheat sheet and three things to look out for.

Don Garber said in his annual State of the League remarks, “We’ve been around for a generation; the brand is very simple. We are the league for a new America, a country that is changing, that has become increasing global. It has shifting demographics that has our nation looking like, acting like, we are a country represented by every country from around the world. The league for a new America — that’s our brand.”

Soccer America, Toronto Sun, and The Mane Land have a helpful summary of Garber’s comments. More on Garber’s State of the League address at MLSsoccer.comColumbus Dispatch, Orlando SentinelToronto StarBrotherly Game, and the AP.

In an interview with ESPN before Thursday’s State of the League address, Garber said the league will continue to play on FIFA international dates.

I’m not sure we have it 100 percent right. There is a large group of supporters, and even some of our club staff and players, who believe that we should break during the international window…

We all know that we have schedule challenges, and that we’re trying to fit a lot of different things into our calendar. t gets very difficult to do everything we want to do. In 2015, we gave teams the option of taking a break [during FIFA fixture windows]. We’ll go forward with that approach in 2016. We’ll look again if that’s the right way to manage FIFA dates in 2017.

More from the ESPN interview here.

At Yahoo Sports, Leander Schaerlaeckens on the price MLS pays in not being more transparent about how it spends its money on players. “People don’t accept that the league spends more because they don’t know how much it spends and has no way of verifying anything…MLS would benefit significantly from just coming out and saying what it spends on players and player development…by being obtuse about what the numbers really are, MLS makes itself look more minor league than it really is. If the numbers are still relatively small, why make them seem even smaller?”

The Wall Street Journal reports MLS teams spent $40 million on player development in 2015.

The Miami Herald reports Beckham United are closing in on a stadium site in the Overtown neighborhood of Miami. “The primary site is a vacant four-acre private lot that sits off Northwest Seventh Avenue in the neighborhood known as Spring Garden, and the Beckham group also plans to secure county land that’s occupied by a Miami-Dade sewage treatment plant, sources said. The sources said Beckham’s group plans to own the real estate and stadium itself, dropping past efforts for a government-owned stadium that would be shielded from property taxes.”

Sacramento could move past Miami to take the 24th expansion spot if Beckham United cannot complete a stadium deal. Garber said on Thursday, “Sacramento will be very high on our list of next clubs to come into the league…This might be painful in the short term, but long term I believe Republic will be in this league … and everybody will forget the drama and uncertainty of where we are today.

At Howler, has MLS 2.0 run its course?

FourFourTwo on how MLS “embraced the fanatics — and won.”

Former Union man Veljko Paunovic addressed the media for the first time as head coach of Chicago Fire on Thursday.

FC Dallas announced on Thursday it has declined contract options on five players — only four are listed, though: Otis Earle, Danny Garcia, David Texeira and Michel — while picking up the options on seven players. 12 players are already under contract. Forward Blas Perez and defender Stephen Keel are out of contract. Former Union man Bakary Soumare has announced his retirement.

Colorado Rapids announced on Thursday it has declined the options on ten players: defenders James Riley, Drew Moor, Sean St. Ledger and Maynor Figueroa; midfielders Nick LaBrocca, Lucas Pittinari, Vicente Sánchez and Carlos Alvarez; and forwards Charles Eloundou and Gabriel Torres. The team exercised the options on eight players, while another eight were already under contract. Two players, Bobby Burling and Michael Harrington, are out of contract.

Ronaldinho to Fort Lauderdale Strikers? Deep breaths, Union Hulk, deep breaths.

US

FIFA presidential candidate Prince Ali bin al-Hussein hopes to address the federation’s board of governors this weekend in Columbus.

US Soccer has announced the USWNT will begin play in 2016 against Ireland on Jan. 23 in San Diego. The match will come at the end of January’s training camp ahead of the start of the qualifiers for the 2016 Summer Olympics, which begin Feb. 10 in Texas.

The USWNT hosts Trinidad and Tobago on Sunday in a friendly (8 pm, FS1).

Elsewhere

US Attorney General Loretta Lynch said at a press conference on Thursday following the indictment of an additional 16 soccer officials early in the day in Zurich, including five current or former FIFA executive committee members, among them acting CONCACAF president Alfredo Hawit of Honduras and CONMEBOL president Juan Angel Napout of Paraguay, “The message from this announcement should be clear to every culpable individual who remains in the shadows, hoping to evade our investigation: You will not wait us out. You will not escape our focus.” Those indicted are alleged to have conspired since 1991 for some $200 million in bribes and kickbacks related to media and marketing rights.

That brings the total of indicted officials since the first wave of indictments and arrests in May to 27 — among them 11 past or current FIFA executive committee members, including the last three presidents of CONCACAF and CONMEBOL — as well as 24 unnamed co-conspirators. Lynch said eight of those indicted in May have plead guilty.

Click here to read the full 236-page, 92 count-indictment. Reports and commentary from ESPN, The Guardian (report, commentary), Soccer America, and the AP.  Soccer America has a list, and  SI has a gallery, of all the rogues.

Among the information in the latest indictment is that well known crook Jack Warner, and Jeffrey Webb, and the man that replaced him as CONCACAF president “embezzled money meant for natural disaster relief.” Webb has pleaded guilty to corruption charges and is assisting the US investigation. Warner, who continues to fight extradition to the US, makes a list of another sort, coming in at No. 3 in Awful Announcing’s top 10 list of the the best sports media feuds of 2015 for the series of very entertaining exchanges with John Oliver.

Vice Sports notes, according to CONCACAF statutes, the successor to the confederation’s presidency is the senior most vice president. That would be Justino Compeán, former president of the Mexican soccer federation.

The AP on the crisis at CONMEBOL following Thursday’s arrests and indictments. The article notes the offices of the Chilean FA were raided by federal investigators on Thursday.

Also on Thursday, FBI agents in Miami raided the offices of Media World, a subsidiary of the “Spanish media giant” Imagina Group. Reuters reports, “Media World was one of the unidentified sports marketing companies identified in a U.S. indictment in May as having agreed to pay a bribe to a high-ranking soccer official in the Americas.” After the raid, Imagina suspended the chief executive and another executive at Media World Sports.

Meanwhile, the AP reports Sepp Blatter and Michel Platini will appear before the FIFA ethics committee in Zurich, Dec. 16-18. “Verdicts are expected within days.” TASS reports Sepp Blatter wants to be elected “honorary” president of FIFA. Hilarious.

Speaking of Russia, the kickoff of the 2018 World Cup final will take place at 2 pm local time, which is 11 am EDT.

Overshadowed by Thursday’s law enforcement activity in Zurich was the announcement of the proposals recommended by FIFA’s reform committee that had been accepted by FIFA’s executive committee. The New York Times has a report on the reforms, which include term limits, more women in leadership positions, and greater separation of power within FIFA. More at Reuters and Fox Soccer.

Just to keep things interesting, there’s this from Reuters: “The Argentine Football Association’s attempt to hold a democratic election for the first time in 36 years ended in farce on Thursday when organisers discovered an extra vote among the 75 cast by the assembly.”

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

19 Comments

  1. Well Veljko — welcome back to MLS. Already talking about vision and plan.
    .
    Damn man. I want him. Just a hunch.
    .
    anyway moving on….

    • After listening to the Extra Time Radio interview with Nelson Rodriguez, I’d be worried if I were a Chicago fan. He spouted an awful lot of generic executive talk and very little in terms of actual soccer ideas. I tuned into the show before knowing who was talking, and my reaction to the interviewee was, “Hm, whoever this guy is sounds like an all flash and no substance blowhard.” Obviously, that’s a judgment based on only one interview, but the vibe was just not good.
      .
      That doesn’t mean Veljko can’t be brilliant of course, but the front office guy sounded awfully Sak-like. On one hand, I want to route for Our Serb, because he has always seemed like such a great guy, but on the other hand, now he’s really Their Serb, with the “they” being a conference rival, so I can’t honestly say I’m that eager to see him succeed.

  2. I would love to have an NASL team in Philadelphia. I also want an NWSL back in Philadelhia. Is it too much to hope for?

    #PHILLYFC

    • el Pachyderm says:

      Agree 100%
      .
      Viable 2nd league. Need NASL to be strong and to inch forward with their homegrown growth. No salary cap. No franchise: put the fry machine here make the secret sauce this way do this this this this in order to be part of our ‘special’ invitation only league. Slow steady growth of another league that promotes and relegates. My dream.
      .
      My grandkids will reap the reward. I’ll be on my way out- riding the light.

      • Single entity has its issues, but the NASL did not even average 6,000 fans per match in 2015. It is not a “viable” first division with attendance that low and no media profile. People in NYC aren’t even aware the Cosmos were reborn, and that was with Raul. Minnesota is being “promoted” to MLS thus the NASL will lose its second-highest draw, plus Atlanta will take a hit at the gate with United FC joining MLS.

        While having a team in Philly proper would have been nice, the NASL is not what they think they are. Their US Open Cup results against the USL (I believe USL teams were 7-0 against the NASL in 2015) and woeful attendance cast big question marks over the league’s claim to D1 status.

      • Agreed on all counts… hard to argue numbers… one can hope and continue to argue on its behalf though.
        .
        Inch forward. The game is only going to grow in this country in every nook and hamlet…maybe in ten or 15 years those 6,000 are 11,000.
        .
        I am pro promotion and relegation and it is quite clear MLS has no specific intentions for it in the foreseeable future.
        .
        So long as that is the case we will never rise to the highest levels relative to the rest of the world.
        .
        Need a viable second league just like NFL and NBA had the AFL and ABA and to a different extent MLB had the Negro Leagues.
        .
        Has to happen IMO.

      • Promotion/relegation isn’t happening soon, Garber made that clear recently. But as soccer continues to move forward in this country, and as more franchises join MLS, it might be inevitable. I love pro/rel in Europe but things are structured differently in American sports, particularly with the minor league model rather than independent clubs like in Europe, so I’m not as attached to the idea. I expect the USL to become almost exclusively a MLS reserve division, and then maybe the NASL clubs link up with independently-owned USL teams (Rochester, Charleston, etc.) to form a true second division (with MLS2 being its own beast). Who knows, with the USSF banning reserve teams from the Open Cup, it changes the dynamics of that competition and perhaps will change how leagues structure down the line? One last thought, is a viable second division really that important considering the global marketplace? It seems to me that plenty of competition exists for MLS in the form of Liga MX, European leagues, etc. MLS needs to keep moving forward to compete with them, so perhaps a second American league isn’t crucial? Just a thought and question. I agree that a healthy, well-attended USSF pyramid from top division down the ranks is crucial. I’m encouraged that all three professional men’s leagues (MLS, NASL, USL) posted their best attendances this year, keep that progress moving along!

      • el Pachyderm says:

        Good points Dan.. I appreciate the conversation.
        .
        Amongst the issues from my POV, our primary problem with the current setup… there are only about 1,200 kids in MLS academies … which simply isn’t enough.
        .
        In a nation of 350,000,000 people with huge numbers youth playing and more being drawn to the game- 1,200 kids playing at the highest levels isn’t enough to affect significant change in the short, mid or long term.
        .
        Not to mention teams like our Union have no significant disadvantage to being terrible when the value of the franchise increases exorbinantly all the while being the worst or second worst team in the league.
        .
        Once again… I am fairly convinced the infrastructure is not yet in place for a viable pro/rel conversation but as the years unfold and the league and game grows the development will reach saturation without the incentive for constant improvement that would come from real fear of failure (relegation) versus perceived success/your club value growing despite suboptimal performance.

  3. Old soccer coach says:

    FIFA is not worth reforming. Withdraw from it and replace it.

    US Soccer should withdraw from CONCACAF and join UEFA. Canada would probably follow, Mexico might.

    And UEFA and CONMEBOL should withdraw from FIFA and start over.

  4. “The league for a new America — that’s our brand.” There are three current and at least two hopeful MLS cities that probably aren’t thrilled with that slogan.

    • I’m sure Don meant the ‘new North America’…. it seems he isn’t choosing his words carefully these days.
      .
      A sure sign of insolence.
      .
      Incidentally what are the 2 hopeful cities?

  5. 2 pm Moscow time is definitely not 11 am EDT. I think Moscow is either 7 or 8 hours ahead of EST depending on daylight savings…

    • Moscow is 7 hours ahead, 8 in the summer. I got to watch the Union lose to New England from a Moscow hotel room in August. The linked article has the kickoff at 6pm local time.

  6. Who else noticed that Fabian Johnson is getting the best results of his career – after JK called him out following the El Tri debacle? For a USMNT in desperate need of another goal scorer, welcome news. Maybe JK is better at player motivation than given credit.

  7. Enjoying reading a bit of Twitter where Houston fans seem excited about adding Wenger’s versatility. Poor bastards.

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