Daily news roundups

Stewart assumes all duties, waiver draft today, Rosenberry homegrown claim denied, more

Photo: Courtesy of AZ Alkmaar

Philadelphia Union

The Union will introduce new sporting director Earnie Stewart to the press on Thursday at 3 pm and the event will be streamed. The announcement from the team says Stewart “has now assumed all duties and responsibilities with the Union.”

Matthew De George of the Delco Times tweeted on Tuesday, “I got official confirmation from the Union that options were picked up on CJ Sapong and Sebastien Le Toux,” adding, “No word on either Michael Lahoud or Ethan White, who also had contract options but weren’t on re-entry lists.” De George noted, “Clubs have until 5 p.m. Thursday to negotiate with their players (re-sign, trade, etc.) We’ll certainly know by Stewart’s presser.”

In related news, the league has released the list of players available in the Waiver Draft, which will take place today at 4:30 pm and for which the Union have the third pick. No Union players are on the list.

In an commentary piece at the Delco Times, De George writes that Jim Curtin may have only a short amount of time to produce with the team that is being assembled in the offseason.

At Fox Soccer, Kyle McCarthy lays out how free agency will work in MLS. At MLSsoccer.com, Armchair Analyst Matthew Doyle has a list of the eight most intriguing names in the league’s first free agent class. Doyle says centerback Drew Moor, left back Corey Ashe, defender/midfielder Jeff Larentowicz, and midfielder Ned Grabavoy would all be good fits for the Union.

Rosenberry with the Union Reserves against Columbus Crew, April 14, 2012. Photo: Paul Rudderow

Rosenberry with the Union Reserves against Columbus Crew, April 14, 2012. Photo: Paul Rudderow

The Washington Post’s Steven Goff tweeted on Tuesday the Union’s Homegrown claim on Keegan Rosenberry has been denied, which means the standout Georgetown defender and Ronks, Pa. native will be eligible for the 2016 SuperDraft.

The league’s roster rules state, “A club may sign a player to his first professional contract without subjecting him to the MLS SuperDraft if the player has been a member of a club’s youth academy for at least one year and has met the necessary training and retention requirements.” In the time when the Union Academy was drawn from affiliate clubs rather, Rosenberry was a member of Union affiliate Penn Fusion but he did not play US Soccer Development Academy soccer with Penn Fusion or the Union. Prospects XI (which, incidentally, describes Rosenberry’s current status as “Senior at Georgetown (NCAA –D1), Philadelphia Union Homegrown player”) lists his Union related playing career as:

2011: Philadelphia Union (MLS Reserve) – 1 games, 20 minutes
2012: Philadelphia Union (MLS Reserve) – 3 games, 71 minutes
2013: Reading United AC (PDL) – 8 games, 658 minutes, 3 total shots
2015: Reading United (PDL) – 6 games, 530 minutes, 1 goals, 2 assists, 9 total shots

Rosenberry has also spent time training with the senior team. Apparently, all of this was not good enough for the league (it’s again clear significant time with Union developmental partner Reading has no bearing on Homegrown claims), which continues to penalize the Union for not having the kind of more fully developed academy systems other already existing MLS teams had when the Union began play in 2010. A clearer explanation from the league of what constitutes “the necessary training and retention requirements” would be a welcome move toward greater transparency.

At Brotherly Game, Eugene Rupinski on Monday’s Union roster moves. Also at Brotherly Game, a call for more transparency from the Union and the league on player movement.

Philly Sports Nation calls on fans to “trust the process” as the Union look to rebuild.

Bethlehem Steel

At the Washington Post, Steven Goff reports, “An effort to unionize U.S. soccer’s third division has gained support from more than half of the USL players, the threshold needed to begin the process of becoming formally recognized.” Goff explains,

Organizers said this week that about 53 percent of the players have signed authorization cards. If the league, which is two levels below MLS, does not voluntarily recognize the union, the United Soccer League Players Association said it will petition the National Labor Relations Board to conduct an election. A majority vote would result in certification. The process could take another year.

Once a USL Players Union is recognized, players will be able to negotiate for a CBA.

ESPN reports Ted Philipakos, “a New York University professor and player agent, who has been assisting the players with the unionization effort,” said, “The organization effort represents the players’ desire to have a voice and a working relationship with the league. It should be emphasized that the proposed union gained majority support by promoting collaboration with the league rather than activism against it.”


An estimated 20,000 fans lined the eight-block Timbers MLS Cup victory parade as rain fell on Portland on Tuesday. After the parade, 9,000 fans gathered at Providence Park for a victory ceremony.

Head coach Caleb Porter told the crowd, “To win an MLS Cup, it takes an army. You are that army.” He added, “My favorite chant that you guys do is the we salute you. I hear you guys salute me and the players all the time and, so, this time we salute you.”

Looks like Portland left back Jorge Villafaña is on his way to Santos Laguna. Also, Timbers captain Will Johnson says his time with Portland is over.

More on the viewing numbers for Sunday’s MLS Cup final. Soccer America reports the game “averaged 668,000 viewers on ESPN, the second lowest audience for a final on ESPN above only the 2013 Sporting Kansas City-Real Salt Lake final.” However, “unique viewers on ESPNWatch were 108,000, up more than 22 percent from 2014.” The UniMas numbers have not yet been released.

MLSsoccer.com and Dynamo Theory on how former Union men Cristian Maidana and Andrew Wenger will fit in Houston. Dynamo manager Owen Coyle said of Wenger, “I see him playing one place, and that’s in a wide area for me with blistering pace and power. He knows the role in the wide area that we want from him. Focusing him in that area with his skill, he can make full use of his abilities and talents.”

LAFC have named John Thorrington executive vice president for soccer operations, which will put him in charge of player and personnel decisions. Thorrington’s last job was with the MLS Players Union. More on the hire at Los Angeles Times and MLSsoccer.com.

The St. Kitts and Nevis Football Association (SKNFA) will be hosting the Caribbean MLS Combine, Dec. 14-16.

Movement continues in San Antonio’s push for an MLS franchise. San Antonio Business Journal reports Bexar County Commissioners on Tuesday approved “a resolution for an interlocal agreement with the city of San Antonio that would allow for the formation of a public financial corporation.” The San Antonio city council must now approve the agreement and Spurs Sports & Entertainment still needs to agree to a long-term lease to operate Toyota Field, which would be owned by the city.

US Soccer

The US faces Haiti today in their final group game at the CONCACAF Women’s U-20 tournament (3 pm, Fox Soccer 2Go).

Hawaii News Now reports, “A class-action lawsuit has been filed over the last-minute cancellation of Sunday’s U.S. Women’s soccer game, just as the state has launched its own investigation.” The suit is being filed on behalf “of two Oahu soccer fans who bought six tickets, spending more than $300. The lawyers said fans from the neighbor islands and the mainland lost even more money because they won’t be reimbursed for their travel costs.”

Sunil Gulati has spoken to the New York Times about the cancellation of the friendly. Sam Borden reports Gulati said “the last-minute cancellation of a women’s national team exhibition game over the weekend in Honolulu because of an unsafe artificial turf field was ‘absolutely a black eye for this organization,’ and he apologized to the team’s fans, players and support staff for the federation’s ‘series of mistakes’ in failing to ensure that the field was suitable for an international match.” Gulati admitted federation representatives had not inspected the playing surface at Aloha Stadium prior to the team’s arrival, although he said it was the only stadium on the World Cup Victory tour that had not been inspected. (KHON2 reports Aloha Stadium officials say federation representatives inspected the field last Thursday and made no objections at that time.)

Gulati said all of the USWNT matches in 2016 in the lead up to the Summer Olympics will be played on grass. However, some games will be played on artificial turf in the future.

We’re not willing to rule out artificial surfaces. It’s quite possible that the men’s team will play on an artificial surface in the next year, too.

Is there always a preference to play on a well-kept grass surface? Yes. Of course. But I can’t rule artificial surfaces out because of all the different factors. Time zones, weather, stadium availabilities — there are a lot of things that go into scheduling games in this country.

Stadium officials at the Alamodome in San Antonio, site of Thursday’s USWNT friendly against Trinidad & Tobago, say federation officials have inspected the artificial surface there and seem to have no objections.

ASN has a profile on Tobin Heath.

Lori Chalupny, who played her final match for the USWNT earlier in the Victory Tour, has announced her retirement from professional soccer.

Great read at The Sporting Intelligence on the entirely English origins of the word “soccer,” of which the first recorded instance of its use in print took place 130 years ago this month.


Sky Sports reports, “Michel Platini hopes his lawyers have done enough to win him a temporary return to football later this week after his appeal was heard by the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

From the AP: “U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch hopes Qatar will cooperate with the World Cup bidding investigation, and says the Gulf nation being a key ally in the fight against Islamic State militants is irrelevant in considering pursuing a corruption case.”

Also from the AP: “President Vladimir Putin has demanded delays in construction of 2018 World Cup projects be quickly overcome.”


  1. Some interesting names in the Waiver Draft today. Speas, Stolz, Cochran, and Earle would all be high on my list.

    • We really need to stock this team up quick. Even with just roleplayers.

      • Exactly. Waiver, Re-entry and Superdraft to pick up some role players. development projects, and possible steals [See DCU two years back]. Big signings come through in January when the window opens.

      • The new free agency aspect can be a real game changer for depth/role players.

      • +1 Completely forgot this existed as well. Not sure that many players would want to play for the Union without solid salary considerations – except maybe Lawrentwicz [sp]

      • Keep in mind that the FA guys are going to want a large salary. Fans in all cities complain when your subs are making more money than 8 of your starters.

      • True, free agency could lead to bidding wars and over-paying. My thoughts were mostly toward an assumption that a player like Lawrentwicz would like to come home to play.

      • Pretty sure there’s a cap on the raise a free agent can get. Think I saw 15% earlier today.

  2. An open letter to Mr. Jay Sugarman and Mr. Earnie Stewart.
    Sirs. On behalf of nearly every soul in this city surrounds who believes in this game… loves this game… needs this game… spends every waking moment thinking about this game…we wish you well on this new venture. .
    As for myself, I hope for a club wide philosophy of play that trickles down to every level of youth- that is the emergence of beautiful to watch. A new football paradigm. I hope for a vision that sees this franchise as GRAND in a league with expected parody… and lastly I hope for a plan to institute this vision and philosophy. This is my expectation and nothing else will do.
    Dear sirs, I am not sure if you saw what happened in Portland yesterday. I did- as nearly as one can- who lives 3,500 miles away but I/we want what they had yesterday. Football joy. I’ve lived amongst those people and they know joy. We will not rest here until we are standing on the Ben Franklin Parkway… scarves aloft singing as one… in joy….
    TILL THE DAY I DIE….. TILL THE DAY I DIE. I challenge you sirs. Win the title. Win it…do it before the Birds and this city will become yours.
    Bring us the parade sirs. Do it.
    “Attention all planets of the Solar Federation. Attention all planets of the Solar Federation…. Earnie Stewart has assumed control. Earnie Stewart has assumed control”

    • “The sleep is still in my eyes
      The dream is still in my head
      I heave a sigh and sadly smile
      And lie a while in bed
      I wish that it might come to pass
      Not fade like all my dreams”

      • el Pachyderm says:

        And in truth I am far more hopeful than the song concludes~~ 2112 was maybe a more proper song when Mr Sakiewicz was in control.
        If I had it to do over this morning- would change the word ‘letter’ for post…. consider this the revision.
        As Adrian says to Rocky says to Mickey
        Win. Win!
        What are we wait in’ for!

    • Disciple of Reuben Kincaid says:

      I agree wholehearedly with your sentiments but hope that “parody” was only a Freudian slip.

  3. I’m excited for the Stewart presser tomorrow. It will be informative to hear how he fields questions regarding his vision for the team.

  4. The Rosenberry thing is frankly, bullshit, and I hope that Curt and/or Earnie lay into the league about this. I don’t believe for one second that if this were LA, Seattle or Toronto that they would have had any trouble here.
    Now the question is, do the Union spend a high draft pick on him him? Seems that he’s likely a first-round talent but haven’t heard anyone indicate that he is worth a Top-10 pick (correct me if I’m wrong, I honestly don’t know if he is or not). It’s pretty salty that the Union would have to use a pick they just acquired to pick up a guy they thought would just be able to sign.

    • I’m not trying to sound arrogant, but that’s completely on The Union. I could have told them Reading time didn’t count! I’ve gone to those games for years and am very good friends with the parents of kids who played up there. PDL is primarily a mechanism for kids to play during summer who live locally . . . IE Cochrane who was playing at Louisville but lives in Delco. The fact the Union didn’t factor this in . . . for multiple players . . . is on them. Just another example of what a cluster f this Academy/Union relationship has been for years, despite them always patting themselves on the back about how wonderful it’s been.

      • I think the point most people are making is that the league would have allowed this in LA/Seattle/NYC, etc.

      • They did already. See Zardes.

      • OneManWolfpack says:

        Exactly. I don’t want to cry foul… Lord knows the Union have made more than their share of mind-numbing mistakes… but they got screwed here. If it’s an LA or Seattle, they get this guy.

    • i agree 100%. it really irritates me that in a league that is all about enforcing parity that they would pull a move like this. they can bend the rules so la can get zardes and seattle can get yedlin but philly can’t get rosenberry. the teams that already have so much also get favors from the league

    • Zardes and Shipp were granted homegrown status on very skeptical claims as well. But this is really up to the Union to do their homework. I don’t think Rosenberry has been high on draft boards because many assumed he was already a HGP.

  5. For those who understand the MLS BS better… what’s the basic difference between the waiver draft and the re-entry draft? I know the re-entry draft is for players who have not had their options picked up; and that in “round one” teams selecting a player effectively agree to pick up the option; and in “round two” selecting teams need to negotiate a new contract. But… how does the waiver draft fit into that?

    • As I understand it, the waiver draft is for any player who is out of contract or has an option declined who is not old enough (23) or has enough MLS service time (3 years) to qualify for the Re-entry Draft, and his previous team does not wish to exercise their right of first refusal. I believe anyone selected in it negotiates a new contract with the club as with the 2nd round of Re-entry.

  6. Any guesses as to who the Union will pick up today?

  7. Catic is on the waiver draft list.

    • Old Soccer Coach says:

      He is indeed, as of 6:51 pm. He was not c. 11:30 this morning. Late processing the Union paperwork by MLS? Late breakdown of negotiations? Just late, as in tardy?
      Thank you SJ Doc.

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