Daily news roundups

Blatter and Platini banned, McFadden says he’s Union bound, more news

FIFA ethics committee bans Blatter and Platini

The FIFA Ethics Committee has banned Sepp Blatter and Michel Platini for eight years from all football-related activities after finding the $2 million payment authorized by Blatter to Platini in 2011 “had no legal basis.”

Both men say they will appeal the Ethics Committee’s decision.

Blatter said,

I will fight. I will fight for me and I will fight for FIFA. Suspended for what? I spoke with my lawyer this morning and we were not surprised that the notification was made first to the media. This committee has no right to go against the president of FIFA. The president can only be removed by the congress. Even suspended, I am still the president. I regret, but I am not ashamed.

I’m really sorry. I’m sorry that I am still somewhere a punching ball. As president of FIFA, I’m still this punching ball. I’m sorry for Fifa. I’m sorry for football. I’m also sorry about me. How I am treated in this world…I’ll be back.

Blatter also said, “If we had awarded the World Cup in 2022 the USA, we would not be here.” More Blatter blather at ESPN.

Platini said “this verdict is just the pathetic cover-up for a desire to eliminate me from the world of football,” adding that he was “at peace with my conscience.” UEFA issued a statement saying it was “extremely disappointed” with the decision to ban Platini. More from Platini at ESPN.

At The Guardian, David Conn on “how the Machiavellian master of FIFA power politics fell.” Also at The Guardian, Owen Gibson on the fall of Platini, “a smooth operator who thought he played by different rules.”

More on the story at New York TimesThe Guardian,  Goal.comReuters, and the AP.

Philadelphia Union

In Friday’s roundup, we linked to an announcement from SPL side Motherwell that James McFadden, the Scottish footballer who had trialed with the Union late last season, had signed a short-term contract with the club that expires in January. “Just to keep Union speculation interesting,” was the phrase we used. Well, speculate no more, apparently. McFadden tells the BBC he’ll be signing with the Union “in the new year.” He explained,

I went over, I had a trial, they were very happy with how it went and at the time they couldn’t sign me even if they wanted to.

It is a case of just waiting. They’ve got a few things going on in terms of getting rid of some players and then hopefully we’ll get round the table to agree a deal for January. I held off signing anywhere until I knew what was happening as that’s what I wanted to do.

In case you missed it, check out Adam Cann’s interview with Union sporting director Earnie StewartUS Soccer looks back on Stewart’s USMNT debut on Dec. 19, 1990 against Portugal.

Bethlehem Steel and Reading United

Reading United announced on Friday Stephen Hogan is the team’s new head coach. The announcement says Hogan will also serve as an assistant coach for Bethlehem Steel.

An article at the USL website says Union Academy U-16 coach Jeff Cook is joining Hogan as an assistant coach for Bethlehem Steel. However, there has been no official announcement from the Union’s USL team on either Hogan of Cook.

Proud Jamaica reports Bethlehem Steel have signed forwards Corey Burke and Amoy Brown. No confirmation yet from Bethlehem Steel.


FC Misconduct came from behind to defeat Philly Soccer Firm 4-3 in the Casa League’s Kelly Cup final on Saturday. Blake Fink scored a hat trick in the final nine minutes for the win.

From the AP: “English Premier League club Crystal Palace has confirmed a long-awaited deal with American sports tycoons Josh Harris and David Blitzer, who co-own the NBA’s Philadelphia 76ers and the NHL’s New Jersey Devils.” You can read the official announcement from Crystal Palace here.

At Philly.com, Jonathan Tannenwald rounds up the ticket numbers for soccer games played at the Linc since its opening in 2003.


Toronto have acquired Canadian international midfielder Will Johnson from Portland Timbers in exchange for a conditional second round pick in the 2017 MLS SuperDraft and targeted allocation money.

New England have re-signed New Hope-native Steve Neumann.

Yahoo Sports says Chicago, Los Angeles, Kansas City, and Vancouver are vying for Mike Magee’s services.

Jermaine Jones isn’t happy with the offer New England made to retain his services for 2016.

Is Didier Drogba’s stay at Montreal Impact over so that he can help rescue Chelsea? Montreal Impact says no.

Houston Chronicle talks to former Union men Cristian Maidana and Andrew Wenger. Maidana came in at No. 4 in Soccer America’s rankings of the best attacking midfielders in MLS.

Former Union man Pedro Ribeiro talks about Orlando’s inaugural season.

David Beckham wants to sign Zlatan Ibrahimovic to his as yet nonexistent Miami team.

Top Drawer Soccer has an interesting read on third party ownership and MLS players moving to Europe.

At the Washington Post, DC United managing general partner Jason Levien has an update on the progress of the team’s new stadium at Buzzard Point.

Could NYCFC find a home at Sunnyside Yards in Queens?

The AP reports, “St. Louis aldermen on Friday agreed to spend $150 million to help finance a new riverfront football stadium as part of the effort to keep the Rams from moving.” The stadium is also being touted as a possible home for a MLS team.


Michael Bradley has been named Futbol de Primera’s US Player of the Year.

Matt Miazga has been named US Soccer’s Young Male Player of the Year. Mallory Pugh was named Young Female Player of the Year. Kevin Hensley was named Young Disabled Player of the Year.

In a Q&A at the US Soccer website, Jurgen Klinsmann talks about the upcoming friendlies against Iceland and Canada, as well as the US U-23’s Olympic qualification series against Colombia.

The Los Angeles Times on the boom of foreign-based academies aimed at discovering talent in the enormous player pool that is youth soccer in the US.


From Reuters: “Switzerland has authorized the extradition of Eugenio Figueredo, the former head of South America’s CONMEBOL soccer body, to Uruguay to face trial on corruption charges, a source with direct knowledge of the matter told Reuters on Friday.”

Also from Reuters, “Former Costa Rican Football Federation President Eduardo Li on Friday pleaded not guilty in Brooklyn federal court to corruption charges connected to the ongoing scandal around FIFA.”

Tim Roth has had the decency to admit he took the role of Sepp Blatter in United Passions solely for the money.


  1. Sepp Blatter Banned – YAY!
    James McFadden tothe Union – Meh….

    • All depends on salary.
      In that BBC article he also says “I just want to help the team push up the league and help the younger players – that was another part of the conversation I had – to try to help the younger players the manager is trying to introduce to the first team. The motivation for me is purely for the love of the game. I love playing, I love turning up for training, but anybody who knows me knows I am never happy sitting on the bench.”
      He was speaking about his short term contract with Motherwell but if he brings that same attitude to the Union for about 150-220k and no more then 2 years I’d call it a good signing.

  2. The Realist Brian says:

    I know we are just getting going with the Steel (U2?), but isn’t this a mechanism to sign, you know, Philly kids from the Academy? I know we have to stock the team. I have seen LA sign a ton of kids to their LA Dos team, and some of them were very short playing with their Academy. So question: Why not sign Roseberry to the Steel to circumvent the draft, promote him midseason, and viola- no wasted draft pick.
    Because this is a travesty that we didn’t get Rosenberry. He had WAY more training units than Hernandez, Pfeffer and JMac. He played for Reading, which does count for training (see: Harry Shipp) and the fact the league screwed us over because another team complained should infuriate each of you.
    So if the league screws us over, why not screw them over by using the USL, which is not MLS owned and operates as a separate entity in this non-PRO/REL arena of soccer in the US so that we can keep one of our guys? There is nothing prevented it from happening, and LA uses this tactic to keep guys in the LA system, not put them on the full roster and away from MX teams. Time to start bending the rules if we are going to keep getting screwed.
    By the way, was that post too sexist for the Social Justice Warriors out there? Just checking, you sensitive dweeb. You know who you are.

    • Sieve!¡!¡! says:

      Somebody is a toughguy this morning.

    • just a guess: if you are Rosenberry you want the higher paycheck and longer term that comes with being a high draft pick. and to play in the MLS from the start.

      • The Realist Brian says:

        Possibly, but he wants to play here, and he could negotiate directly with the Union for more, and/or just stay in the draft. But my point is LA has been skirting the rules with a number of players, so the Union should do the same thing to keep players here.

      • if he really wanted to be here, he already would be – the rules are played by both sides, to the extent there even are any consistent, transparent rules.

    • hahaha i love when people unironically use the term social justice warriors as an insult

  3. “hopefully we’ll get round the table to agree a deal for January” – hopefully not, unless it is very inexpensive and short term. This direction would be a bad sign/start.

    • I think Earnie sounds like he really wants short-term contracts. As long as he can still attract quality players, that’s a good philosphy. Agreed on McFadden. At least he tipped his hand that he wants to come and has held off other options. Sounds like he’s willing to come in for a reduced salary.

    • At least he wants to be here, for me that means something. He’s not coming for the money or a “vacation.” His league stats are pedestrian, but he scored almost a goal every 3 games for Scotland, so that’s something.

    • I agree with spugger and Brian. See my comment above about his quote in the BBC article.
      If he comes with the right attitude and accepts a reasonable backup striker salary I think he can help the team with his experience.

  4. So now I’m picturing “Tim Roth as Sepp Blatter” being interviewed by “Tim Roth as Dr. Lightman from Lie To Me”.

    • Cal Lightman was just about my favorite character… I still have not recovered from the show being so ruthlessly and quickly given the hook. I do not ascribe to tv very often and likely ‘miss’ many many good shows.. but I really enjoyed that show. I practice ‘radical honesty’ at best as possible even to this day… is that an oxymoron?
      Anyway…Tim Roth is one of my favorites and his character had more development in the works… gone too soon.
      Lie to Me…. you hit a soft spot and sore nerve all in one this morning 4.

  5. Blatter’s quote reminded me of Mortimer Duke’s rant at the end of Trading Places.


    BTW, I love how Tim Roth has come out and said that they only reason that he agreed to be in the FIFA movie was because they paid him a lot of money to do it.

  6. James McFadden began trialing with The Union 10/5 (flying over and setting it up in advance of that date)
    Earnie Stewart was not hired by The Union until 10/26.
    Is this troubling to anyone else?

    • he’s talking himself up. let it play out – “hopefully” an appropriate decision is made. he’s no “catch”.

    • It’s also troubling me that the Union are signing a striker who is a year older than Conor Casey was when he joined the team. Stewart’s talked about a long term building process but this doesn’t seem like the best start.

      • Stewart also talked about knowing that the team has to win now while building long term.
        Granted, I don’t think McFadden will come in and be a high impact player but rather, with his experience, will be able to help young players like Ayuk, Leo, etc. develop for the long term while coming of the bench or making spot starts like Casey did.
        All depends on what contract is given. With Stewart now running the show I would be surprised if he is offered a bad contract.

    • Well obviously they aren’t doing anything without Ernie’s OK. It’s also the case that Ernie can’t literally learn everything the team needs, make an entire plan, and scout the world for possible players in the brief time since he’s been hired. I mean, the dude still had to do his job for AZ Alkmaar until Dec. 1.

      So, there are going to be moves during the transition period that he didn’t hand-pick. Also, if the Union are going to be developing young players, this may be a guy who gets us some juice for a couple of years while those players develop (and while Earnie gets the lay of the land) so we don’t suffer through another season at the bottom of the table.

      My big concern with this move is the impressive history of failed Scottish attackers in recent MLS history. All of them end up heading back across the pond in less than a year.

    • Lucky Striker says:


      It would be, if I ever allowed myself to trust this club for a nanosecond. The more Stewart talks, the more he gives himself away. Unfortunately, he isn’t coming here (in 2016) to tell Jimbo how it’s going to be. It’s completely the other way around. Curtin is removing guys he doesn’t want, and keeping “his guys” and likely adding selected vets and “friends”. I expect another decent draft that will be complained about going forward because he won’t play kids with his job on the line.

      I see the starting XI featuring every player who brought this team down over the last few years who remains available for selection.

      Have no idea what the Scotsman brings to the equation-other than a trialist who Curts likes for whatever reason. (Cheap Casey replacey?)

      Because this time it will be different…….

      *On an unrelated note; keep having this vision of Seppo and Beppo handcuffed to each other behind their backs in a padded cell……..

      • I think Curtin is more open minded to youth then you are giving him credit for.
        He gave 20yr old Pfeffer more appearances last season then he had in his career at that point, gave 18yr old Ayuk gametime, and gave 23yr old Marquez a shot to win a starting position, which he then did. He also committed to 25yr old Blake as the #1 keeper once he got fully healthy.

      • +1, and he sure gave Wenger plenty of leash to try and get himself right. The only “his guys” mistake I can recall was labeling Ray his starter instead of letting Gaddis and Williams earn that spot week to week.

    • No.

  7. Hey Sepp, since you’re not going to be too busy for a while, we’ve got a really cool rocket to show you…Fabinho no longer needs it.

  8. While there has been a lot of talk about a 4-3-3 formation. If McFadden gets signed any thoughts this might be a 4-4-2 formation. I mean Le Toux is essentially a second striker as is McFadden and Nando played better in the beginning of the season with a second person up there. I don’t see it hurting Sapongs production. Maybe we have this wrong. At the start of last season Curtin seemed to want to play two up top maybe things are not what we think they are.

    • Maybe, though I can’t figure out how that formation would work for our two best players (Nogs and Barnetta). If both are best deployed centrally, where do you get your #6, destroyer type onto the field? Nogueira seems best paired with a Lahoud/Carroll style player in the middle. Still feels like a 4-3-3 or 4-2-3-1 to me given the personnel here, though would be nice to have the option to flip to a viable 2 forward lineup on occasion.

      • I agree that it seems a bit odd with Nogs and Barnetta. However I wonder if you could do a flat 4 with Nogs and Barnetta in the middle as Barnetta does track back on defense. Essentially having no #6 just two #8 in the middle of the park. Maybe putting Pontius and Ayuk on the outside with Sapong and Le toux up top. Or Leo Fernandes and Ayuk outside with Sapong and Pontius up top. I mean I think things still need to play out and it does seem odd. Just makes me wonder why they might be considering a more prototypical 2nd forward then a stand alone striker up top.

    • Piggybacking off this, I still see Le Toux as a natural striker being forced to play wing.
      We know he can score goals in bunches so why not put him in a position to do just that? Now on the wrong side of 30, it could help save his legs and allow for more of a 2-way midfielder to play on the wing. Frequently, Le Toux was caught upfield leaving his outside back isolated.

  9. All we can do is sit and observe.
    It is my belief if we wring our hands over every choice this club makes or doesn’t make we will drive ourselves nuts in a circle. All we can do is sit and observe and see what it looks like upon kickoff in April then again at the beginning of the next season.
    I appreciate all the conjecture and wonderment about who is in charge who is making decisions what formation what players MLS/USL roster why why why when when when….because that is what we here do….
    … but in all honesty all we can do is sit and observe as right now there is a tabula rasa in front of our eyes and only time will tell if success was nurtured or not…
    – – – Gotta be careful not to get sucked into the very dichotomy of conversation Mr. Walsh wrote about not too long ago.
    From the LA Times article: “A 7-year-old kid in the Netherlands or in Germany is not more or less talented than a 7-year-old kid in the United States. This is why coaches are so important. This is why structures are so important. You find the talented kids and start to train them.” — that’s about right. Difference is your training and our training are two worlds apart.

  10. I’m starting to get a vibe that this coming season’s Union team is going to be a real rebuild, with no true focus on winning games. Not necessarily a total “76ers tank job”, but I think Stewart really wants to build through youth, and academy, and all that. That takes time, which we all know, but another season like this last one, wouldn’t surprise me. Maybe I’m just being negative today, but the apparent McFadden signing kind of tells me it’s a bit of a patchwork season in the making. It’s early, so we’ll see I guess. Anyone else feeling this?

    • Agree. Seems like the aim is getting draft picks for the future along with aging players and single year contracts. I’m worried with this though cause only so many people can be developed through the youth system and there are so many empty roster spots.

      • I do not think this is the case because of Stewart’s comments saying he knows we need to win along the way to building the future.
        However, if it is more of a patchwork season, it will be a good test to find out if Curtin can cut the mustard as a coach and get the team to overachieve.

    • That’s a horrifying thought! I don’t see how they can without really alienating the fan base after these last few lean years. And in MLS, it’s not all that difficult to go from 9th up into that 5th place neighborhood with a few shrewd acquisitions. DC certainly did it recently. If I remember right, Portland wasn’t in the playoffs last year either. There’s also a handful of moderately expensive to expensive players in their prime on the roster already (Barnetta, Nogueira, Sapong, Edu) who don’t seem to fit in with a rebuilding project. Install the longer term vision and plan, but please give us something competitive while we wait (short term contracts and loans are fine) for that to take shape.

    • I understand the basis of the thinking, but I disagree. This isn’t the NBA, or even the NFL where you look to the draft to build your franchise by finding that one true superstar. If that guy was there, he’d be a homegrown player, or he’d be on his way to Europe.
      You can and should have a strong youth program, and over time it should sustain your program. Columbus is a great example. They sustain their team on the backs of Finlay, Meram, and Trapp. But they were in the finals thanks to Kamara, Higuain, Parkhurst, and Tchani (to a degree).
      Patience. McFadden will almost assuredly not be a DP player. Give them time to put things together before pushing the panic button…even though that is in a Philly Nature. (Is that what “Philly Tough” really means? Panic like hell?)

      • Such an apt name for you, Oh Voice of Reason.
        We have a stud young goalkeeper. A strong CB in Marquez with a likely other strong CB in Edu. We have a strong starting midfield in place already. We have a fair to not so hot forward group that may all of a sudden score more with better, more central service from The Calm…and can be altered/enhanced with a shrewd signing or two like a… Chris Pontius – that matters.
        We need a solid draft with 1 undeniable usable first team player (Striker/LB/RB/DM) to plug into starting XI this season at some point… which brings us up to 8 or 9 quality starting XI.
        As far as depth we have a more rounded Pfeffer maybe a few others… ES will find and add some depth…. is it a finished piece by season kickoff? NO. A bit deeper than last year is my expectation and hope and this is something the club will need to address.
        The USL team will solve itself out… I mean in truth does it really even matter what becomes of the USL team this year? No. Brendan Burke will figure that out. The USL team is solely for our youth development…that’s it… we will see the fruit of that along my 18 month to 24 month continuum.
        This team has ONE job this season and it is not to qualify for the playoffs, or make a run to Cup or win the Open Cup… the ONE solid objective this year is to instill the CORE VALUEs our Sporting Director has spoken about and begin to identify a STYLE of play based around a philosophy of player development and specificity of player acquisition that says Philadelphia Union. Our new Sporting Director has said this over and over and over the last 2 months both directly and indirectly.
        This cannot and will not be solved in a calendar year so don’t worry about it… so my suggestion to everyone is to sit back, enjoy and observe.
        If this team finishes 7th next season but in October we can say with fair certainty we saw the makings of something bigger and beautiful and a swagger and a discernible manner of play that we relate to and think is moving towards something infinitely more beautiful and better than the DRECK we have seen these past 6 seasons and set our sights towards the following season — then the 2016 year will have been a success. .
        Unquestionable success. ONE job this season: IDENTITY.

      • Sorry El P while you make some good points I tend to disagree. This team is on a knife edge leaning towards falling into a pit of despair if they have another season like last year. Yes identity is one thing not losing the fan base and becoming a contender are definite needs for this club. No its not going to happen overnight and no it could take a year or two, but 12 teams make the playoffs in this league the Union need to be one of them. I will wait and see, but a lot of this seems familiar to what we have seen in the past with emptying out a team and making very few pick ups. I just want something to be excited about. We will see what happens when opening day rolls around, but can’t say I have much confidence in the current roster as they are 13 players minus our assist leader plus one injury prone player. Stud goalie is still to be determined if you ask me (he has never played a full season don’t like McCarthy as the backup). Edu does not want to play CB and until he buys in his untimely runs destroys that defense. We have no LB on the roster. Two solid midfielders in Nogs and Barnetta, but even here at PSP their isn’t total agreement on how you play the two of them and where they best fit. And none of our strikers have had a double digit scoring season in awhile. Just don’t have confidence yet, but I will wait and see and hopefully be proven wrong.

      • Understood.
        Though to expound on one of your points, I don’t have such a problem with Edu bombing forward occasionally… I see Chiellini and Koscielny do it all the time… so long as Marquez slides over I’m fine with it… Edu brings a very interesting skill set… speed and comfort on the ball for a CB and if him playing the position happily also comes with the occasional jaunt forward…so be it.

      • I would be okay with it if he hustled back, but he just wonders around and takes a good 5 minutes or so to get back in position. He is not what I would want in a CB, but then I’ve been pushing that the U should have been trying to trade him all season. I think he makes to much money for what he does. Much rather have a CB like Besler who makes $100,000 less than Edu.

  11. Earnie Stewart is here to implement the Jay Sugarman doctrine. Develop players he can sell for a profit. First club division success while appreciated is not required.

    You will see a club on a budget, hopefully competitive enough to keep the seats fairly full, but that’s it. Jay wants to make money selling players while watching the value of his investment rise each year due to the rising fortunes of MLS.

    • I don’t see it that way. Time will tell. I full-well expect this team to be a near top of the table contender year in year out as ultimately that makes more money than the develop and sell mediocre road doctrine.
      I also don’t believe a guy who’s star on the rise Dutchness sat across the table from Jay Sugarman and Richie Graham, uprooted his family across two continents to be a feeder for other clubs… and to languish in the Art of Almost.
      Earnie Stewart is here to make a mark in the US. Let’s give him the chance before we write off the owner and newly appointed Sporting Director.
      I am surprised by your position Chopper. You are a clean reader usually… but this time I hope you are dead wrong.

    • His fortunes will rise even higher if he fields a championship team.
      The Donald Sterling plan is seldom used without being run out of town on a rail.

  12. I have confidence in Stewart’s ability, but I I have learned much that unfortunately I can not share that makes me question Mr Sugarman’s commitment to fielding a winning product.

    • A season or two ago I would have reluctantly agreed but the new investments he is making give me new belief.
      New USL team, new training grounds, new training facility/offices, first ever Sporting Director, bringing back Burke, all good things and showing that profits are being reinvested.
      Now if he would just fix the traffic problems getting into and out of the parking lots and I wouldn’t care if he brought a helicopter to every game.

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