Daily news roundups

Lahoud honored for work in Sierra Leone, Mapp first ever free agent signing in MLS, more

Photo: Paul Rudderow

Philadelphia Union

In case you missed it, Michael Lahoud, along with Kei Kamara, is the recipients of FIFPro’s Merit Award for their work with Schools for Salone. More at MLSsoccer.com and Soccer America.

Black and Red United reviews the injury-plagued 2015 season of recent Union signing Chris Pontius. A reader poll overwhelmingly agrees with DC’s decision to trade Pontius to Philadelphia. Interesting note, Pontius’ nickname is apparently Party Boy. [Eli Note: Ed is unfamiliar with the television program “Jackass” and is therefore equally unfamiliar with the character of “Party Boy,” played by the actor Chris Pontius.]

Maurice Edu is in Group B of “the inaugural #MLSSoshies,” the league’s “social media awards.” In the running with Edu for “Most Social Player” are Dax McCarty, Quincy Amarikwa, and Mike Magee. Voting closes tonight at midnight, although I have no idea when voting opens. Former Union man Ethan White is up for the “Bigger Picture” award. The offseason is terrible.

At Brotherly Game, Jared Young’s “You be the Coach” series continues with this question: Should Edu play in defence or the midfield. Or, maybe he’s too expensive and should be traded?

Forbes notes the Union’s holiday ticket packages: two tickets and a blanket, or four tickets and a scarf.


Lancaster’s Zarek Valentin: Will the right back stay in Norway or return to MLS?

Lehigh University notes Jamie Luchini’s invitation to the 2016 MLS Combine.


Former Union man Justin Mapp has signed with Kansas City, making him the first free agent signing in MLS history. Mapp said, “Players who have played in this league a long time and have seen and helped the league grow deserve these opportunities, especially in the latter stages of their career when they’ve put in the time and kind of want more of a say in where they want to live, want to play, whatever their case may be. So it was refreshing. But the process was definitely something different.” Peter Vermes described Mapp as his team’s “No. 1 target in free agency.”

Portland’s Will Johnson to Toronto? Or, maybe Chicago?


Beau Dure writes at The Guardian, “Somewhere along the path to Hawaii, the US women’s soccer team’s victory tour veered into Spinal Tap territory…This situation is preventable, but it requires a rethink. It’s time to treat the USWNT as a national soccer team rather than a traveling circus.” Yep. The team wraps up 2015 on Wednesday (8 pm, FS1, Fox Sports Go) when they host China in New Orleans in what will be Abby Wambach’s final game.

From Goal.com: “Richie Williams has left his post as U.S. Under-17 national team coach to join Real Salt Lake’s coaching staff as an assistant. Former Philadelphia Union coach John Hackworth is believed to be the frontrunner to replace Williams as U.S. Under-17 head coach.” Hackworth, you will recall, is currently head coach of the U.S. U-15 BNT.


The Press Association reports, “Sepp Blatter and Michel Platini are likely to escape lifetime bans for corruption but investigators expect the pair to receive lengthy suspensions of at least seven years when their hearings take place this week, according to insiders…Sources with knowledge of the case say it will be difficult to prove corruption, which carries a lifetime ban, but believe there is clear evidence of a conflict of interest in the payment being made.”

At The Guardian: “Sepp Blatter has written to FIFA’s 209 member associations protesting his innocence and criticising FIFA’s ethics committee ahead of disciplinary hearings later this week. Blatter writes in the letter the proceedings against him have been “like an inquisition.”

Looking ahead to Thursday’s ethics committee hearing, Blatter told Swiss newspaper Blick, “I will fight on for my rights and present my view of things to the…chamber with great conviction and a firm belief in justice. I am suspended but not isolated and not at all mute.”

The AP reports, “Honduras’ foreign minister says ex-President Rafael Callejas has left the country aboard a private plane with the intention of turning himself in to U.S. authorities investigating corruption and kickbacks in FIFA, soccer’s scandal-plagued governing body.” More at Reuters.

More from The AP: “FIFA presidential hopeful David Nakhid has lost his appeal against being excluded from the election contest for filing invalid nomination papers.”

Another from the AP: “FIFA has tasked a Harvard professor with formulating human rights requirements for World Cup hosts and sponsors of the scandal-tarnished governing body.”

Also from The AP: “FIFA has stopped Steven Gerrard, Andrea Pirlo and Xavi Hernandez from playing in a friendly in Kuwait because of the Gulf nation’s ban from international soccer.” Kuwait, you will recall, was suspended by FIFA in October because of government interference.

There’s algae on the pitch!


  1. Did I not appreciate Mapp when he was here or did he kind of become good when he went to Montreal?
    I am confused.

    • both of your statements are true

    • Section 114 (Formerly) says:

      Much like Chaco, he was a valuable piece that did not fit into an athletic-over-finesse system that was not designed around his quality of play. But, yeah, he seems to have found the fountain of youth in Montreal.
      I wonder what he found up there that he won’t be able to get in Kansas City (other than culture)?

      • Poutine

      • Dan C (formerly of 103) says:

        God, I love me some Poutine, gotta be with duck though!

      • so true, Union likes to kick run and pray, they have no class

      • Passing cloud commentary… move along.
        I will engage…what the hell. Its blustery outside and the clouds roll by fast…this’ll be quick and easy.
        Who is your team Jerome? DC United.
        Are you a Red Bull fan trolling along the Corridor?
        Let me guess a ManU fan? and you think MLS is junk.
        Which is it. Give it up so I know what we are dealing with.

      • Union are in last for a reason they don’t have a clue what there doing loser, will they change? or the same sh-t different year. They have to prove themselves talk is cheap, I think the latter so spend your money wisely

      • el Pachyderm says:

        Nothing constructive ever from your words Jerome. I will engage you today but then treat your thoughts as they deserve to be treated – passing clouds.
        You didn’t even answer my questions – just started right back in with the digs. The easiest thing in the world slinging fault arrows in your quiver.
        Just be man enough to check back in once they begin playing better.

    • he used to run in circles to get the ball onto his left foot
      in Montreal he seemed to play much more directly, and he used his right foot more
      also I agree poutine probably figures into it somehow

    • They played him on the right in Montreal. He flourished. With the Union, he was usually on the left, much like his prior time with Chicago.

      • It is all about the coach and getting the best out of his players!

      • Old Soccer Coach says:

        Does make a difference, that.

      • Playing with Di Vaio kinda helped . . .

        2013 – 10 assists
        2014 – 10 assists
        2015 – 1 assist (Di Vaio retired)

      • That’s a little unfair. In 2015 he had that hideous elbow injury in, I think, the first game and was injured for the majority of the season, then struggled to get back to form when finally recovered.
        Di Vaio is a good player, but I don’t think he’d have stopped Mapp from dislocating his elbow.

      • He would have . . he’s that good! 😉

    • In general I think people were waaay too down on Mapp when he was here. He like, Brian Carroll, took far more abuse than he deserved. Maybe there’s something about Philly not liking blonde dudes who look inexplicably much older than they really are?
      The problem, I think, was that the team was bad enough that when Mapp was here, we were basically trying to run the offense though him, and he’s not that good. He is, however, exactly the sort of solid player you want filling out your MLS team. He can’t raise the level of the team by himself though. Shame to have lost him in the expansion draft.
      Speaking of the expansion draft, I think I heard rumors of its demise. I hope that’s true. It’s one thing to have one here and there, but with eight more teams coming in, continual expansion drafts punish teams for building deep squads. If I knew I could only protect 11 guys against repeated drafts for the foreseeable future, I’d be much more likely to build a top heavy roster that I cannot lose for nothing in return.

    • He was not that good for the Union, for whatever reason. Your memory is not in error. Whether that was due to coaching, style of play, or Mapp’s performance is not entirely clear (to me, at least).

      • In a season and a half with the Union he had 4 goals and 8 assists. In two full seasons with Montreal he had 4 goals and 13 assists. His production didn’t change all that much.

  2. Is anyone else struggling to accept this is real life with Leicester City on top of the Premiership and Chelsea just above the relegation zone?

    • I am enjoying it fully. Not as a Leicester supporter (I’m a Spurs fan), but as a full-blooded Mourinho-hater.
      There would be no better present for worldwide soccer/football fans (pick your society) than for one of his teams to be relegated.
      Oh, the joy that would bring…

      • That would be pretty hilarious.

      • I have a serious case of schadenfreude watching Chelsea this year. I’d feel guilty taking this much pleasure in it if it wasn’t Mourhino. The cherry on top would be Costa or Hazard eye-gouging him with their thumb in the last game as they are relegated. Now if our Spurs can just put a few wins together over the holiday period…

      • Hate is such a strong word.
        I like to call it “entertaining” to see what antics he pulls next. If he stays on the whole season he might need to be committed!
        Leicester could lose every game the rest of the year and I would still vote Ranieri for coach of the year.

    • Honestly I’m loving it. It’s good to see other teams outside of the big 4-5 performing well.

    • yes! very exciting. can’t wait for the City v City match after Xmas.

    • Given the Aston Villa is looking like relegation material, it would be interesting if Chelsea were to also be relegated the same season, given they are 2 of the 7 teams that have been in the league since it became the Premier League (Spurs, Everton, Liverpool, Man U, and Arsenal being the others).

  3. “The offseason is terrible.”
    Yes. Yes it is.
    Speaking of the offseason. I think we should make it even longer. I mean nothing says improvement and growing a culture like playing your last match on October 25th and not actually playing again until…. when February? Is that when camp opens?
    Is it any wonder Jurgen Klinsman was pissed off at his players for being un-match fit in February. Or better… how many of our MLS guys are even playing at all at the moment? Please….and we think we want to be great in this country. Oh but JK is a task master. He’s too hard.
    I was talking with a buddy from the NE who routinely played with Fabinho and Chaco Maidana over the winter in a house league the last few off seasons with car painters and accountants and mechanics and grocery store clerks cause their love of the game — their NEED to play was so engrained the thought of not playing was inconceivable. Off season.
    Think about that for a minute.
    There ain’t no offseason for south and central and latin americans.
    How about that for soccer. Yeah – – let’s add ‘soccer offseason’ to my growing list of soccer iterations.

    • Or just do what NYCFC did and go on a postseason tour which extended their season for another 30-45 days.

      • Agreed …. though the backing of an empire makes that a bit easier I guess.
        For me this is an argument, and a strong one, for changing the schedule. MLS is going to get so rooted into its paradigm .. now is the time to change to international schedule wile the league is growing strongly and prepared to grow even more.
        If Switzerland can play in winter well…..
        …or go to a Clausura Apertura. with a 6 week hiatus through the dead of winter. something.

      • I could see MLS going to a Fall-Spring schedule at some point. Play from Aug-Dec (right up to Christmas), take a 6-8 week break then play late Feb-end of May. It can work, especially because it allows you to keep the playoffs.

        However, they also need to flesh out whether they split into two leagues to reduce travel for at least one of those seasons as well as be able to deal with bad weather. I think that once MLS gets to 24, they’ll go this route. It could be structured how Mexico/Argentina does it with two seasons or perhaps go the same route as Brazil which plays a regionalized schedule for a portion of the year.

      • Sporting my beloved Le Bleu Zidane as we speak.
        For me there is only Zidane.
        I know I told you already…I just repeat it for rhythmic pleasure and dopamine drift.

      • I definitely didn’t just spend an hour watching reels.

    • I wonder why the team can not continue ‘offseason’ conditioning and training at our new facilities, and inter-act with other clubs too?
      ‘FYI’ — England is the origin of the word ‘Soccer’. In the 19th century Rugby & Football played in England were BOTH commonly known as ‘Football’. Rugby was termed rugby football while football was termed association football. That being a mouthful to say both were shortened, ‘Rugger’ & ‘Soccer’ were both adopted and used by Britain, until the games’ popularity spiked here, & the Brits considered the word “Too American” & they stopped using the word by the 1980’s. So blame the British, & Enjoy THE MOST BEAUTIFUL GAME, which ever word you wish to call it. UNION-UNION-UNION!!! FOUNDING MEMBER, STH – SEC 127. UNION-UNION-UNION-UNION-UNION-UNION.
      *PS. I NEVER-EVER thought it would feel SOOOO GOOD being “SAK-LESS”. YEEHA!!!

      • The training facilities are still being built and I’m pretty sure you can’t get in without a hard hat (at least the area is still fenced off).
        And I agree, 127 is the place to be for going on 7 straight years.

      • I hear you regarding the word origin….someone brought it to me before. My answer is the same now as then…
        In truth… I wouldn’t mind putting space between us and the word soccer and us and England’s version of the game. Fine by me.
        Soccer. Galls me.

      • Sounds fair, the first coach I ever played for in 1967 was from England and he called it soccer… I was twelve years old and played for the ‘Mayfair Red Devils’boys club in the NE. Needless to say we routinely got our asses kicked by most clubs, esp. the German clubs… OUCH, some painful memories… HA!- Hats off to Charles Sculley my first coach who taught me to love the game…

  4. Interesting tidbit about free agency:
    Teams are apparently limited to a maximum of two signings from free agent pool.

    • i’m curious about how strict they would be with this. for instance- lets say skc signs two free agents. separately there is a free agent that can’t find an mls team that wants him to sign him; the only team that wants him is skc. would that guy just be plum out of luck?

      • Who knows.
        As much as I’d like to see this stopping rich teams from buying up players I can see it really fueling bidding wars since every team will want to make the most of their two signings, leading to bad contracts.

    • MLS doesn’t really have “rules”, more like guidelines which they can apply when convenient.

    • MLS teams have exactly 24 hours to sign Re-Entry Draft eligible players (deadline is tomorrow 11am for Thursday’s Draft at 3pm).
      No word yet on Fabinho and Lahoud both of whom are out of contract with Curtin mentioning that they were in negotiations. Also no word on Carroll who is a free agent, but that is on a different timeline.

      • Don’t believe that Fabinho is re-entry eligible (not enough MLS service time) so that deadline would not apply to him. I think Lahoud would have been eligible but must have withdrawn (same with Creavalle) because he was not available to be picked in the first round.

      • Good catch.
        “Players who are at least 25 years old with a minimum of four years of MLS experience who are out of contract and whose club does not wish to re-sign them at their previous salary (available for at least their 2015 salary).”
        Fabinho has only been in the MLS 3 years.

  5. FYI ExtraTime Radio on Mlssoccer.com has a nice spot on some of the draft prospects – including Stanford’s Vincent

  6. Now Aristeguieta news.
    BeIN Sports reports he as returned to training with Nantes – Google translate of article:
    “On loan with option to buy in Philadelphia since February, Fernando Aristeguieta is back in Nantes on Monday , reports Ouest-France, after the end of the season in MLS . The Venezuelan striker returned to training at the Jonelière after scoring 5 goals in 21 matches in the United States . It could strengthen the attack coming from the Canaries in January , although his statistics in Ligue 1 (2 goals in 23 matches) and its style of game similar to those of Emiliano Sala Kolbeinn Sigthorsson and do not necessarily advocate his favor.”

  7. So glad Richie Williams left the U-17’s. I’m not going to act like I follow them religiously, but I have read a lot of articles saying he was a problem, and the cause for their recent failures.

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