Daily news roundups

Alberg signed and more Union news, BSFC to face HCI in preseason, USMNT hosts Canada, more news

Photo: Courtesy of Stone Sports Management

Philadelphia Union

The signing of Roland Alberg was officially announced by the Union on Thursday. The signing announcement included the very welcome information that Alberg signed a two-year deal, information that historically has not been included in signing announcements. Before the Alberg announcement, Union press officer Chris Winkler tweeted, “We will be releasing contract lengths from here on out.” Huzzah!

An article at Stone Sports Management, the agency that represents Alberg (and also represents recent Union loan signing Anderson Conceicao) says the two-year contract is “with options,” adding, “Deal terms will remain undisclosed, but MLS secured Alberg’s services with a transfer fee, and the Philadelphia Union elected to use Targeted Allocation Money (‘TAM’) to complete the transfer… Negotiations started in January after Alberg was within six months of his ADO Den Haag’s contract expiration.” Alberg is co-represented by his brother Ibad Muhamadu, who was represented by Stone Sports Management when he signed with Portland Timbers in 2010, the year before the club began playing in MLS.

Alberg takes the last remaining international spot presently on the Union roster. CSN Philly’s Ryan Bright tweeted, “Can confirm that Roland Alberg is not a DP. Not sure if that’s because of TAM, salary or both, though.”

ADO Den Haag Technical Director John Metgod said of the move,

We talked extensively with Roland in recent weeks and looked at all options regarding his expiring contract this summer. The option to extend the contract was discussed, but did not materialize. The agreement with Philadelphia Union therefore offers a good solution for all parties. We get a nice fee and he makes the next move to another club.

Alberg says,

After spending all but six months of my professional career in Holland, I wanted to find a club in a new competition that would challenge me on and off the field. I have studied MLS for the past couple of seasons and have seen the competition grow tremendously. After visiting Philadelphia and meeting with [Sports Director] Earnie Stewart, [Technical Director] Chris Albright and [Head Coach] Jim Curtin, it was clear that joining the Union gives me the best chance to succeed and develop. I know it will not be easy and take lots of hard work on and off the field, but I am fully committed to helping the club and my teammates achieve its goals and look forward to meeting the fans, especially the Sons of Ben!

More on the Alberg signing at PSP, Philadelphia UnionADO Den Haag (crappy Google translation here), Stone Sports Management MLSsoccer.comPhiladelphia Inquirer, Delco Times, CSN Philly, Philly Soccer News, Brotherly Game, Goal.com, FourFourTwo,

Will Alberg be available to play against Jacksonville Armada this weekend? We shall see. Information on the livestream for the game, which kicks off at 6 pm on Saturday, will be announced later today. On Thursday, Jacksonville announced the signing of 2015 USL MVP and Golden Boot winner Matt Fondy from Louisville City FC. has a Match previews at Jacksonville Armada and Brotherly Game. [UPDATE: Livestream of Saturday’s game will be available on the Union website.]

At ASN, Brian Sciaretta interviews Earnie Stewart:

Stewart believes, “everything is here to be a good MLS team and be in contention for a playoff spot,” but he acknowledges that progress for Philadelphia “hasn’t come as quick as the rest of the organizations around the league.”…

“We want to be a club known for its development,” Stewart said. “Hopefully several years down the road, kids will be saying, ‘If you want to be developed and take the next steps in your career, Philadelphia Union is the place to be.’”

At the Union website, Union Insider Marisa Pilla has more with Stewart and the emphasis on quality rather than simply filling out the roster.

At SBI, Joe Tansey has a piece on CJ Sapong, who says,

I’m feeling amazing about this season. I’m feeling very fit. My spirits are high and I feel like a lot of the guys on the team are feeling that way as well. I think that’s going to set us up for maximizing our potential getting into March…Coming here with a new direction in our organization, everyone is on to that quickly. Even the young guys are assimilating into the angle we’re heading into as an organization very nicely. I think that this is the start of something very good for the organization.

Good read at Delco Times from Matthew De George on Joshua Yaro that revolves around questions about the 5ft-11in center back’s height. “I’m really blessed and really fortunate that I ended up with a club like this, because [head coach Jim Curtin] sees past that. There are some coaches that would just say, if you’re not 6-foot-3, 6-foot-4 or whatever it is, you will not make my team, no matter how good you are. I think for a coach to look past that and look at other things and your qualities as a player and be able to use that, it’s great. I’m fortunate to have him as a coach, and he’s really encouraging so far.”

The Union’s new home kit was officially unveiled on Thursday. CJ Sapong said, “I feel a good energy wearing this jersey. It is complete with the snake theme, which rounds out the vibe. I am super excited to be wearing this jersey in 2016.” MLSsoccer.com has closeup looks at some of the details of the new kit. More on the new jersey at SportsLogos.net, CSN PhillyPhilly Soccer News, and Brotherly Game.

This smile-inducing behind the scenes look at the Union’s Media Day has some good looks at the team’s new goalkeeper jerseys, which have a snakeskin print on the shoulders:

Sons of Penn on how the 4-3-3 “will impact the Union roster.”

At Brotherly Game, Matt Albaugh looks at how the transfer window “impacts the [Union] roster on FIFA 16.”

Bethlehem Steel

Bethlehem Steel will play Harrisburg City Islanders at Lehigh University’s Goodman Stadium on Tuesday, March 15. Kickoff is at noon.


Harrisburg City Islanders’ preseason schedule is now available. In addition to facing Bethlehem Steel, Penn State, UMBC, and Lehigh University, the City Islanders will also play NYRB II.

The Kitsap Sun on how Yardley, Pa.’s Jimmy Ockford is Seattle’s first choice for backup center back. Fellow backup center back Damion Lowe is, like Ockford, a Reading United alum.

Rebecca Jarrett (F: World Class; Washington Township, N.J.) has been called up for the US U-16 GNT camp at the National Training Center in Carson, Feb. 20-27.

Pulisic! Pulisic!


Player moves:

Preseason games:

  • NYRB defeated Montreal 5-0 in a game played over “three 45-minute periods, each with different lineups.”
  • Dallas defeated New England, 2-1.

The Washington Post reports DC United will file a tampering charge against Orlando City because of the team’s interference in negotiations with AC Milan midfielder Antonio Nocerino. DC has a discovery claim on the player.

At Orlando Sentinel, Paul Tenorio on why the Nocerino transfer drama might be good for MLS and Orlando City.

On Thursday, the MLS Players Union made a copy of the CBA approved by players last year available on its website. Soccer America glens a few details.



NYCFC have extended their affiliation with USL side Wilmington Hammerheads for the 2016 season.

Atlanta United has released season ticket pricing for its inaugural season in 2017.

St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports, “Major League Soccer will begin searching for a stadium site in St. Louis and planning for its financing and operations immediately, the league’s commissioner told the Post-Dispatch Thursday.” More MLS in St. Louis news at St. Louis Business Journal and Alton Telegraph.

The new USL side and MLS hopeful in San Antonio will call itself San Antonio FC and has released its logo. It’s terrible. More at USLsoccer.com, San Antonio Express-NewsKSAT, and My San Antonio.

So, the new league protocol for championship stars on MLS jerseys. It’s a little complicated.


The USMNT hosts Canada in a friendly tonight (10:15pm: FS1, Fox Sports Go, Fox Soccer 2Go, UniMás, Univision Deportes). Match previews and more on the game at Fox Soccer, ASNSoccer AmericaGoal.com, and MLSsoccer.com.

Former Union man Steven Vitoria is expected to debut for Canada.

Good read at MLSsoccer.com on Jerome Kiesewetter, the young German-born player who made his sevior USMNT debut in the win over Iceland, who says he’s always felt American.

If you haven’t read it yet, check out Steve Holroyd’s analysis here at PSP of US Soccer’s lawsuit against the union representing the USWNT. More analysis at Vice SportsUSA Today and OTF Soccer.

The copy of the lawsuit against the USWNT players union filed by US Soccer in the United States District Court in Chicago made available to the public contained the personal information on more than 20 players, including home addresses and personal email addresses. A new copy of the lawsuit with personal information redacted has since been issued.

At Houston Chronicle, Carli Lloyd on the lawsuit: “We’re here focusing on Olympic qualifying. This is a legal matter being addressed by our lawyers. We obviously just want to be treated fairly and with respect. That’s really what it comes down to. All negotiations in the world are never easy, right? So there’s some hiccups in the way and things that happen, but we’re really not concerned and we’re just focused on being here and making sure that we qualify for the Olympics.” The team faces Costa Rica in its first qualifier on Wednesday, Feb. 10.

Mattel is releasing an Abby Wambach Barbie doll. Wambach said, “You guys may not believe this but I was a Barbie kid, like for real. I’m not just saying that. When I told my mom (Judy) two days ago that this was happening she said, ‘Oh my gosh! Can you get like a case of those things?'” I’m getting one for each of my girlfriend’s daughters as soon as I can.


From the Guardian: “The first ever walkout protest in Liverpool’s history is being planned for Anfield on Saturday, when supporters’ groups are urging fans to leave their seats in the 77th minute of the game against Sunderland in opposition to the club’s ticket pricing policy announced for next season.” The report explains, “The significance of the 77th minute is that the top-priced ticket in the newly reconstructed Main Stand has been set at £77, up from £59.”

TASS reports, “All candidates running for the presidential post in FIFA will gather for a meeting on February 17, Vitaly Mutko, a member of the FIFA Executive Committee [and Russia’s Sports Minister], told journalists on Wednesday, but did not specify the venue for possible talks.”

From ESPN: “The Spanish FA are the latest to offer their backing to Gianni Infantino ahead of the FIFA presidential elections on Feb. 26.” Wake me up when Asian and African federations begin lining up to support Infantino. What’s that, the CAF is backing Sheikh Salman? There you go.


  1. “We will be releasing contract lengths from here on out.”
    Here’s to greater transparency!

  2. Shout out to the Sons of Ben in Alberg’s comments. I like this guy even more!

  3. There is a tenor to all of the quotes coming from both players and management that reeks of optimism. I understand that can all be undone quickly (reference: March/April/May 2015). But I don’t remember this organization starting a season with so much optimism, maybe ever. There is something to be said about a positive mindset entering a season.
    Also, I love Earnie’s quote: “Hopefully several years down the road, kids will be saying, ‘If you want to be developed and take the next steps in your career, Philadelphia Union is the place to be.’”
    That is a fantastic goal. To become what Southampton was, and what Tottenham is becoming under Pochettino is a great goal. Find, and develop youth. This is the most effective way to play moneyball, and to keep up the excitement among the fans.

    • el Pachyderm says:

      Sir. Yes.
      Our claims to a new day are not without proper reading of the tea leaves. Let the Debbie Downers lament.
      Mine is a deep yoga induced breath of holistic contentment … what was “ALL WRONG”….. has clearly.
      More than DP and trades I want to keynote a player on the 16s in a couple of years and get excited and clammy hands when he gets called up at 18 and finds his way and explodes and goes overseas and makes an impact or gets traded for good money or is a Union lifer. Yes. A thousand yes’

    • I think the biggest benefit of team optimism is that it helps the team get through the rough spots much better. I hope the players (and us) understand that there will be rough spots, particularly at the start of the season when the pieces are still trying to fit together, or when 3 or 4 freak injuries to key players overlap. The Union will struggle at times because the depth isn’t quite there yet. But that’s where the mental component becomes much more important: it keeps a few rough games from becoming a mid-season slide, where you only win one game out of ten and go from fourth to ninth in the conference.

      Am I optimistic that the Union will be at the top of the league standings this year? I don’t think that’s optimism, so much as fanciful dreaming. But I am optimistic that they won’t have an up and DOWN season like the last two, and the reason is what pragmatist pointed out – the organization seems much more optimistic and confident, from management to coaches to players, in themselves and in the changes being made to the organization.

      Let’s just hope it isn’t fragile enough to fracture at the first sign of trouble.

      • The danger area is:
        Dallas, Columbus, New England, Seattle in 4 of the first 6 games.
        If they can make it through the first 6 games averaging about 1.5 points per game (9 points through 6), that will be mildly disappointing, but acceptable.
        If it’s closer to 2 points per game, and they are sitting on 12 points through 6, I think we can let our optimism grow a bit.
        I’m expecting closer to 9, however. I’ll base my expectation on that number for my own sanity.

      • .
        So many permutations.
        My gol for the start of the season is objective well balanced reporting, a lot of positives and here are the negatives and here are the qualities to the VPP I see playing out before our eyes… I took a flamethrower to this organization for its lack of vision. lack of philosophy. lack of plan… the last 36 months culminating in the first 15 or so games last season and it was tiring.
        Mindbending in its fatigue….
        Just give me the aesthetic, just play well, just win a bit… the rest follows from there.

  4. el Pachyderm says:

    Jerome Kieswetter, Abby.
    The contrapuntal to your ridiculous assertions regarding “foreigners” on the national team.

  5. Yaro seems like a very thoughtful and grounded guy.
    “They can keep saying that,” he said. “For me, the important thing is focusing on myself and my development and how I can make the best out of every situation I’m given. And when the chance comes, I will look to prove that point and let people know that I’m capable of being just as fine as the bigger center backs.”

  6. Jerome K. was on Extra Time Radio. Contract expires in the summer and he said he’d like to play for MLS….. I guess that puts him on that whole allocation order mechanism. Union must be high on that list, no? Would be a nice kid to pick up in July….

  7. I’m expecting a car load of goals from the U.S. tonight if Vittoria starts. I don’t know if I’ve ever laughed during a U.S. match, but tonight might be a first.

  8. I know it was a particularly fun day with the snake and all, but you can’t deny these guys are smiling brighter. Dare I say the dog days are over?

    • Don’t jump the gun. But the signs are positive.

    • Remove the last standing link to the days of recorded spankings and morale is sure to improve. All kidding aside, the dark cloud seems to have lifted and they seem to have some good character guys who have now been there a little while (Barnetta, Edu, Sapong, etc…to go with folks like Carroll and LeToux).

  9. Players are optimistic. Just like us fans. Am only concerned that the optimism will give way to frustration for all when our “Philly tough – win all games 1-0 – keeping a clean sheet is the priority” “coach” tries to coach a team designed to play Dutch 4-3-3 possession and attacking soccer. It’s a plan, el P, it’s just a sucky plan.

    • el Pachyderm says:

      Understood… likely the manager will be on the 3:15 out of town if that is the course though.

    • I’m guessing the manager has been instructed about how this team will play. If he can’t implement that style, he won’t stick around.
      That said, Jim’s comments have pointed towards more of an offensively-minded style. He has mentioned keeping the clean sheet, but in the same breath he talks about the high line and putting pressure on opposing defenses. He has not suggested sitting deep at all. When the high line is combined with an emphasis on getting players crashing the 18, it all points to a more aggressive gameplan.
      We can only hope, but that is what I have taken from the quotes.

    • I will say in Curtin’s defense will, I will combine the following quotes by Curtin himself:
      “I like the idea of being the head coach, but I still know that I have a lot to learn. I know I have a long coaching career ahead of me.”
      “We don’t have an identity. I’m a big believer that you don’t have an identity until you win something, and we haven’t won anything.”
      “Interesting stat, and it’s an obvious stat when you hear it: In games where teams kept a clean sheet last year, they averaged 2.5 points…In games where you give up a goal, the average is 1.2 points. The focus has to be not conceding first.”
      “I can’t snap my finger and all of the sudden we’re going to become a team that possesses the ball 75 percent of the time and passes out of the back with no mistakes. The important thing is that we have guys that, if the ball does turn over, their reactions are quick, they’re alert, and they win the ball back or they take a foul to stop the play.”
      “You are going to see us split our center backs wide, in some instances you will see Mo in the holding midfield role and then dropping in between those center backs to build out of the back, because he is talented enough. Clarifying his role as a guy who does sit in front of the back four — we don’t need him running all over the field to break up plays.”
      ““The biggest difference that you’ll see from our two wide players is that, in the past, I would say they were referred to almost as midfielders, we want them to be more outside strikers, would be the term I would use.”
      The most important being the first two. Earnie has come in and installed a style of play and Jim is a new head coach who admits he has a lot to learn. He does not have a coaching identity yet because he has not won anything.
      I’m not so sure that we can hold him to being solely a “counterattacking, bunker and defend” coach.

      • I should say I added the other quotes after the first two because as pragmatist said, Curtin has been talking of a more offensive minded style.

  10. That San Antonio badge looks like it belongs in a original Nintendo game.

  11. https://t.co/VTDiBYI1b1


    Ernie wants two deep at every position, solid backup while Blake is away on international duty. Talk amongst yourselves. (Linda Richman voice)

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