Daily news roundups

Notes from Curtin’s presser, Kenney proposes Philly International Cup, No. 22, more

Photo: Earl Gardner

Philadelphia Union

In Wednesday’s weekly press conference (full transcript here at PSP), Jim Curtin emphasized the win over Columbus will mean nothing if the Union do not defeat New England in Sunday’s home opener and so create the consistency and confidence needed to make Talen Energy Stadium fortress against visiting teams.

Acknowledging the team’s inconsistency at home over the past several years, Curtin said the past is the past: “A lot of new faces that maybe aren’t used to the past; the past is gone, this is a new year for us, that needs to be our mindset moving forward. We have a lot of new players, we have a lot of new faces that the past doesn’t mean anything to.” He explained,

We’ve made a real effort, a big emphasis on really protecting this house and getting three points this Sunday is very important to the group…I’ve set the goal of at a minimum 10 wins in this building. Historically, look at the club, our highest win total is 12, so people might think I’m crazy in that regard, but I think if we get to 10 in this building, you win some on the road, you draw a few, you’ll be in the playoffs, in terms of a blueprint for it. But, yes, it is critical to put back-to-backs together, that’s what good teams do. We have not been a good team in the past and we’re trying to change that this year. I think we are a different team.

More from the press conference:

  • Tranquillo Barnetta was in full training with the team on Wednesday. While he is looking “sharper and sharper,” he is still working to regain full match fitness.
  • Vincent Nogueira is “kind of day-to-day.” He did not train with the team on Wednesday morning but Curtin was hopeful he would participate in Wednesday afternoon’s training session.
  • Roland Alberg has been “very sharp in training…he’s really pushing to break into the lineup…you start to think of him, Ilsinho, and Tranquillo all on the field at the same time and get excited as a coach.”
  • Curtin praised Sebastien Le Toux for doing “a great job coming in as a sub defensively and offensively,” while acknowledging Le Toux is himself working hard for a starting spot: “Everybody wants to be in that starting XI, which is natural and good. He’s disappointed that he’s not there. He’s shown it in training that he wants to be, and he’s really been a good pro about it…
  • Curtin praised Andre Blake both for his highlight reel quality saves and for all “the little things” he does.
  • Curtin praised Keegan Rosenberry as an intelligent player with a high soccer IQ: “We knew when we drafted him that he would have a really strong pro career. Is it starting a little earlier than we anticipated? Probably. But, sometimes with injuries, guys step up and he’s done a good job stepping in, doing a very good job, an honest player who brings a lot of intangibles.”
  • Curtin Richie Marquez had a “very strong game” in the win over Columbus but allowing Kei Kamara a free header to score late in the game is “unacceptable and something we’ll fix.”

Curtin was effusive in his praise of the team’s newly-opened training facility. Aside from how the team will benefit from the “state of the art” features of the facility, Curtin said it may also contribute to the new attitude he is trying to instill for home games. Curtin explained,

[O]ne thing too that I would add in terms of game day, as it relates to game day, when you locker out of this beautiful stadium everyday, human nature is you get comfortable here. It feels the same, Tuesday feels like Saturday, game day, whereas now, you know, for the first time we’ll be putting the work in over in that building, on the [training] field also, but when we walk into the stadium for a Saturday or Sunday game, it feels different, something triggers in your head. I can think back to, you know, times in Chicago when I played, it was different when you walked into Soldier Field, if felt different. We trained at Lake Forrest [so] game days had a different feel to them. Maybe that was lacking in the past here. I can’t emphasize that enough: To a player’s mindset, it is different. People say that’s just a little thing but I think it’s a big one.

More from the press conference at Philadelphia UnionDaily News and SBI.

PSP, Philly.com, and Brotherly Game.

In a video piece at MLSsoccer.com,  Keegan Rosenberry and Joshua Yaro talk about the transition from being a college prospect to being on their first pro team. Two thoughtful young men.

At Brotherly Game, Matt Ralph has a nice read on the 22-hour journey made by two of Rosenberry’s youth coaches to see his MLS debut in Dallas.

Vavel wonders what a Union Best XI would look like.

Brotherly Game wonders what the Union’s tactical identity is.

Prost Amerika analyzes the Union’s win over Columbus.

Black and Red United reports former Union man Amobi Okugo is training with DC United: “Through a spokesperson, United confirmed that Okugo is training with the club but emphasized that this is not a trial.”

Philadelphia International Cup

Al Dia reports Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney has asked the city’s Department of Parks and Recreation and Office of Immigrant Affairs OIA) to organize a city-wide soccer tournament that “will feature teams representing the cultures and countries of Philadelphia’s immigrant communities.” The report explains,

Mayor Kenney said his hope is the tournament will highlight Philadelphia’s diversity and bring together neighborhoods. It has always been a dream of his, he said.

“The Germans from Cannstatter in the Northeast playing the Mexicans in South Philly playing the Ghanaians of Southwest and so on,” Kenney said. “When you bring people together around one commonality, it’s the foundation for important cultural exchange and understanding that increases tolerance across the city.”

While details are still being worked out, the 32-team tournament (eight groups of four teams), tentatively being called the Philadelphia International Cup, would take place in the fall with group games in September, the knockout stages throughout October, with the final at Citizens Bank Park on November 5. Al Dia reports,

Teams can have up to 25 players on their rosters. They will have to commit to play all the games they are scheduled for. A $100 bond is required to play. This will be refunded after the tournament.

Each registered player will be given a special ID card. Salvatore said they are considering the possibility of gathering player statistics. Both women and men can register to play but they must be at least 18-years old…

Games will be played at various fields owned by the Parks and Rec Department with the possibility of having the playoffs on “supersites” owned by the Philadelphia School District. These are larger capacity venues with synthetic turf fields. The school district has sites in Rhawnhurst, Stenton, Hunting Park, and South Philly…

The games will be free and open to the public, including the final at the Bank. The referees will be assigned by college-level officials…Also planned is a cultural festival to be held on the day of the final.

Parks and Rec. leadership and organizational development manager Bill Salvatore says, “We’re also toying around with the idea of playing at local high schools and colleges. But we don’t know that far logistically yet.”

Needless to say, the tournament is an absolutely brilliant idea. If you are interested in fielding a team for the tournament, contact the Office of Immigrant Affairs by emailing OIA Deputy Director Hani White at [email protected].

Local

The new Gilt Edge Soccer Marketing “Soccer Market Rankings Study” has Philadelphia at the No. 22 spot for top soccer markets in the US. The report used 22 different data sets to correlate information on five broad principles: playing, watching, attending, conversing, and searching. No. 22 simply is not good enough.

Bobby Warshaw, the Mechanicsburg native who was selected by FC Dallas in the first round of the 2011 SuperDraft (17th overall) and was last playing in Norway, has signed with Harrisburg City Islanders. In an interview with CBS21, Warshaw said, “I wanted to be around my family again, I wanted to be comfortable. I think there is huge merit in being uncomfortable in life and in growth as a player but I wanted to be comfortable again. But I also think it’s important — and I won’t lie about this — to pay it back to my parents, to my community, to the Mechanicsburg soccer club; the people that supported me and give them a chance to be a part of the ride again.” More at USLsoccer.com and Philly Soccer News.

At Penn97, a Q&A with Junior Lone Star FC Executive Director Paul Konneh. One would think they’ll have a squad in the Philadelphia International Cup.

Registration is open for the Reading United Summer Select Program, “a training program geared for youth soccer players in the Under-9 through Under-12 age groups.”

MLS

NYCFC has acquired an international spot from Kansas City in exchange for Targeted Allocation Money.

DC United goalkeeper Andrew Dykstra will be out 10-12 weeks after undergoing surgery for a herniated disk.

New England has signed SuperDraft pick and forward Femi Hollinger-Janzen.

The Houston Chronicle on former Union man and local lad Andrew Wenger’s fast start with the Dynamo.

After spending time training with Sacramento Republic, Didier Drogba will train with Montreal in Texas and could feature in this weekend’s game against FC Dallas and its natural grass field.

Drogba’s time in Sacramento came about because Republic director of football Graham Smith is a former Chelsea FC board member. Though it is unclear if he will return to train with the USL team after Saturday’s game, Drogba’s humble demeanor has impressed. Said Sacramento head coach Paul Buckle, “His attitude has been what stands out for me. His first day (of practice), he’s out collecting cones. From minute one, he has wanted to be a part of the team. … It has been a fantastic couple of weeks not only for the players but for the coaching staff to see how somebody who is in the twilight of his career now approaches training. His attitude has been exemplary.”

Soccer America reviews MLS signings this season from the USL. The article notes, “MLS has introduced new rules for clubs wishing to sign players from their affiliates. They have priority for up to three players from their USL affiliate. Beyond those three players, teams can add other players to their Discovery List (seven players).”

US

At SI, Brian Straus on who could be called up for the U-23 MNT for the do-or-die Olympic qualifiers against Colombia, and for the senior USMNT’s World Cup qualifiers against Guatemala.

Elsewhere

After announcing it is seeking restitution from those convicted as part of the FIFA corruption investigation, Omni Sport reports, “FIFA has denied it made allegations that South Africa was complicit in securing the right to host the 2010 World Cup through bribery.” FIFA said in a statement, “The US indictments do not allege that South Africa “bought” the World Cup with bribes. Nor does FIFA. The US indictments, which FIFA is relying upon in its restitution request, merely accuses certain individuals of criminal behaviour.” More at Goal.com.

Apparently, this is what happens when Bayern Munich uses graphics “made by young people who have no idea of German history.” Presumably, the “young people” came from Mars.

17 Comments

  1. Citizen’s Bank Park? I understand because it’s in Philly, but haven’t we learned from NYCFC that soccer on baseball fields doesn’t work? In all of the city, they can’t find a better place to hold the final?

  2. Ah, urban soccer matches based on ethnic affiliation. What could possibly go wrong?

    I wonder if Kinney said Cannstatter because UGH and VE (which are actual soccer clubs) are outside the city limits?

    • pragmatist says:

      Yeah, considering the current political climate, and the fact that they are planning this right as the November elections will be in full swing…there are red flags everywhere on this one.
      .
      I would love to think that we can rise above…but everything we’ve seen over the past 6 months points otherwise.

    • I’ve played in such tourney’s in Philly- there is a cup in South PHilly, Nigerian, Sudanese, Haitian teams- we played hard, everything was fine.

  3. Zizouisgod says:

    “Each registered player will be given a special ID card. Salvatore said they are considering the possibility of gathering player statistics.”

    Opta stats or are they planning on tracking other “stats”?

  4. One take away from the presser is how narrow New England can play and how Nguyen has free reign to drift and move. This has to send a red flag up about playing Carroll right? He can’t track that kind of movement anymore.

  5. I like YSC a lot… but I hope the academy teams move to new facility and I hope room has been created with this in mind.… this is no small request and hopefully something that is being considered….
    .
    a 12 year old seeing Andre ‘Superman’ Blake or Keegan Rosenberry in a few years or The Calm up close matters…one more way in which this game is totally different than any other we play stateside.
    .
    The dream is literally tangible…

    • Since the Union Academy is, I believe, actually owned by YSC, and YSC is owned by a Union owner, such a move seems unlikely.

      But no reason they can’t spend more time in Chester and use the fields, etc.

      • Glad I am no longer a dad of young kids. As a dad I would hate to drive to Chester 2-3 days per week. Believe many others would as well. YSC’s location is 1000% better. Plus one can go have a drink at Wegman’s while the kids practice.

  6. el Pachyderm says:

    New mayor is a genius. The Cosmos do something very similar. The baseball field part is stupid though.

    • Dan C (formerly of 103) says:

      I love the tournament idea as well. On the baseball field…. the City kicked in a bunch of money to build it, they may as well get something out of it.

  7. South Philly Supersite would be an ideal venue for the final of the proposed Philadelphia International Cup, not Citizens Bank Park.

    Well, they are still in the planning stages so changes could still be made later.

  8. Love the tournament idea. Not sure why you wouldn’t hold the final at the Linc, though.
    .
    The Union should get on board as a sponsor and more. It would be an amazing opportunity for them to reach out to the community and earn some supporters.

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