Daily news roundups

Mini pitches, area schools in NCAA tourney, US-Costa Rica tonight, more

Photo: Courtesy of Philadelphia Union

Philadelphia Union

Longtime readers will recall we’ve repeatedly commented that it would benefit the Union to become more involved in the building of mini-pitches in and around Philadelphia (the Union-supported mini pitch in Chester at Stetser Elementary School opened in October of 2015). Philadelphia Union Foundation chairman Mike Curry tells Philly Voice’s Kevin Kinkead that the foundation wants to build 50 mini pitches:

We already have one mini-pitch [in Chester], but we’ve been having discussions with U.S. Soccer, and ultimately through the Philadelphia Union Foundation, and the Union, and soccer partners within Philadelphia, we hope to move forward to help them with their initiative to build 1,000 mini pitches around the country. We want to carve out a small part of that for Philadelphia…

[T]o put on building 50 mini pitches, you’re looking at maybe five or six million dollars to do that. Those types of efforts really involve “friend-raising,” and getting people to write some pretty big checks…the next phase will be going after some larger donors who can help us do some of these larger initiatives, like funding sources for building these mini pitches and scholarships for players at YSC and other ambitions and things we want to do.

The first part is actually putting the program together and letting everybody know that we actually want to do that…I’ll be meeting with Union ownership in the next week to start kicking off those plans. We’ve had meetings with U.S. Soccer. We’ve had meetings with some of our sponsors. We’re starting to lay the groundwork. The key is helping people to understand the value. The real testament to this is that, over in Chester, the first mini pitch that we put in, you go over there on any day, and what used to be an area where you had gang activity and all kinds of negative things going on, now you have kids playing and enjoying themselves.

The target of 50 mini pitches is not unprecedented. In July, NYCFC announced it would help in the building of 50 new mini pitches in New York City over the next three years. Surely the Union’s connections to Comcast (who in partnership with Street Soccer USA and Kensington Soccer Club was involved in funding the recently opened $100,000 futsal court in North Philadelphia) and Bimbo, among other, should result in some of those “pretty big checks.” There’s a perfect spot for one in my neighborhood at Tiptop Playground in Northern Liberties. Just saying.

At the Union website, the final quarterfinal matchup in the fan vote for the Union’s Player of the Year pits Andre Blake against Fabian Herbers.

Brotherly Game’s end-of-season player review continues with John McCarthy and Matt Jones, Richie Marquez, and Fabinho.

At MLSsoccer.com, review of the new book from Phil West, The United States of Soccer: MLS and the Rise of American Soccer Fandom, notes that Nick Sakiewicz says he approached Portland Timbers owner Merritt Paulson to be part of the Union’s original ownership group.

Bethlehem Steel FC

In case you missed it, Bethlehem Steel announced on Monday it has acquired Jamaican international forward Cory Burke, who spent 2016 on loan with the Union’s USL team from Jamaican National Premier League side Rivoli United. In addition to Burke, the Bethlehem roster at present also includes Bolu Akinyode, Amoy Brown, James Chambers, Seku Conneh, Josh Heard, Matthew Perrella and Yosef Samuel.

Burke has scored twice in his three appearances for Jamaica, and both goals were game winners, including the goal he scored in Sunday’s 1-0 win over Suriname in Caribbean Cup play, a win that not only saw Jamaica advance to the semifinal round of the tournament but also qualified Jamaica for the 2017 Gold Cup. Speaking to Jamaica Gleaner, Burke says he wants to make the move to MLS: “This (goal) will be a big chance for me to get into the MLS. Being a part of the national first team, my agent is always telling that whenever I get a chance to play in the national team I should always try to score a goal or two, so it’s a big opportunity for me being in the first team and scoring, it means a lot.”

Philadelphia Union Academy

Union Academy midfielder Paxten Aaronson (Medford, N.J.) has been called up for the US U-14 BNT training camp at the National Training Center in Carson, Calif., Nov. 13-20. A post at the Union website notes, “Paxten’s brother, Brenden, is a Union Academy player as well and has been called up to the US Boys National Team previously.”

Local

Villanova will face Akron in the first round of the NCAA men’s soccer tournament on Thursday at 7 pm, the same time that Delaware faces Providence, and Rider faces Vermont. Villanova was eliminated from the semifinals of the Big East tournament on Thursday, falling 1-0 to Butler in overtime. On Sunday, Delaware defeated William & Mary 2-1 to claim the CAA championship. Rider defeated top-seeded Quinnipiac on Sunday 3-1 in the MCAA championship game.

The Philly Soccer Six weekly award winners are:

Player of the Week: Miguel Polley, Villanova (GWG, assist)
Defender of the Week: Will Steiner, Villanova (shutout in Big East Tournament, 3 shootout saves)
Rookie of the Week: Shane Bradley, Villanova (All-Big East Tournament Team, center back as team gave up one goal in 220:00 of tournament action)

At the USL website, a review of the City Islanders’ 2016 season.

MLS

Colorado Rapids have confirmed Tim Howard, injured in last week’s World Cup qualification loss to Mexico, will miss the rest of the MLS postseason and is expected to be out for four months after undergoing scheduled surgery on Thursday to repair “a fracture of the right adductor longus.” Good thing they have Zac MacMath.

At ESPN, Jeff Carlisle reports, “Midfielder Benny Feilhaber is poised to re-sign with Sporting Kansas City, multiple sources have told ESPN FC.”

Alvaro Saborio announced on Twitter over the weekend he is leaving DC United. Earlier reports suggest the forward will return to his first club, Saprissa.

Jamison Olave announced on Twitter he is leaving Real Salt Lake. The defender did not say where he will go from there.

Atlanta United — who are set to unveil their inaugural home jersey todayannounced on Monday seven new members of the team’s technical staff under head coach Gerardo Martino. “Of the seven additions, six have either played or worked for respective national team federations, four have directly worked with Martino before and three have spent extensive time with MLS and U.S. Soccer.”

Following an earlier report from SIFifty Five•One reports New York Cosmos head coach is “the top pick” to lead Minnesota United has head coach.  Following an earlier report from ESPN linking him to the job, Empire of Soccer reports former Orlando City head coach Adrian Heath “is all but set to take the reins with the Loons.”

From ESPN: “Los Angeles FC is attempting to sign a ‘global’ star in time for the club’s MLS debut in 2018, with the expansion franchise shortlisting 10 potential recruits who could seal agreements during the 2017 summer transfer window.” Among the players on the shortlist are Wayne Rooney, Cesc Fabregas, Luka Modric and Javier Hernandez.

Also at ESPN, an update on the construction of LAFC’s new stadium.

St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports, “Attorneys for a Major League Soccer ownership group appear closely involved with St. Louis’ potential purchase of a downtown stadium site, public records released Monday show. The city’s Land Clearance for Redevelopment Authority has said the site could host a soccer stadium, but soccer was not the only consideration in pursuing a purchase option…However, the role of an MLS ownership group’s attorneys raises questions about the process.”

Possible bad news for the NASL in an update on the proposed Canadian Premier League. Talking to Paul Beirne, the project manager for the league and Toronto FC’s vice-president of business operations from 2006 until 2013, the Hamilton Spectator reports that FC Edmonton “will move over to the CPL” along with the Ottawa Fury, which has already left the NASL to join the USL. Montreal Impact, Toronto FC, and Vancouver Whitecaps are all expected to remain in MLS.

US

No team has ever lost the first two games of the Hexagonal round of CONCACAF’s World Cup qualifiers and finished in the top three to secure automatic qualification to the World Cup. While the US has an impressive 14-5-4 record at home against Costa Rica (6-1-2 in World Cup qualifiers), the team has never won a game in Costa Rica over 10 tries with a 0-9-1 record (0-8-1 in World Cup qualifiers), the lone draw coming way back on May 26, 1985. Over those 10 away games, the US has been outscored 23 goals to 8.

Says Michael Bradley, “History is just that – history…You guys probably spend a little more time thinking about all that than we do. For us, we’re just trying to recover from a tough game Friday, mentally and physically.”

Jurgen Klinsmann said, “It’s a long path. It’s a road of 10 games and we lost the first won. Our team is in good shape and the guys are really positive.” He explained,

We can win here, we can absolutely win here. Will it take a lot of effort and things need to click? Absolutely. We should have beaten Mexico a couple days ago. We didn’t knock them off with the second goal, and they out of the blue get a corner kick, an individual mistake and they scored. Boom. There go the three points you wanted…We all understand we need points to qualify. The first game [against Mexico], the result sits right here [pointing to the pit of his stomach]. It puts us on the spot for tomorrow night. We all know that. Players know that. The staff knows that. But it’s absolutely doable.

Costa Rica has made two changes to its roster ahead of tonight’s game: “Defenders Leonardo Gonzalez and Allan Miranda have been added to Los Ticos roster to replace Francisco Calvo and Cristian Gamboa. Calvo departed Friday’s win over Trinidad & Tobago with an ankle injury, while Gamboa will miss out due to a suspension for yellow card accumulation.”

Previews at PSP, US Soccer (preview, five things), MLSsoccer.com (preview, tactical preview), Los Angeles TimesWall Street Journal, ESPNSI, Fox Soccer, Soccer America (US, Costa Rica), ASNPro Soccer Talk,  and Goal.com.

Pulisic!

Elsewhere

ESPN reports, “The president of the Italian Referees’ Association (AIA), Marcello Nicchi, believes Video Assistant Referees (VAR) could be officially introduced into Serie A within months.”

FIFA Secretary General Fatma Samoura last week when asked questions about the rights and safety workers involved in construction projects ahead of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar: “I don’t waste my time answering these… everywhere you go, there are human rights issues. Qatar and Russia are no exceptions.”

You will recall that the managing director of FIFA’s new $140,000,000 Football Museum stepped down last month. Reports now say the museum lost $30 million in its first year.

Well known crook Jack Warner on the election of Donald Trump: “Immediately on the morning he won, I sent him a congratulatory email. My email to him congratulated him on his stunning victory…The CONCACAF office I had headed was on the 17th floor of the Trump Towers from 1990 to 2010 and my own apartment was on the 52nd floor of the Trump Towers as well. In fact, my apartment was opposite his and we were accustomed to greeting each other. I had rented the office space for $11,000 a month and by the time we vacated in 2010, the rent was $100,000 monthly. I would also often go to his casino in Atlantic City, so I’m all for him and wish him the best.”

3-4-2-1.

3 Comments

  1. a warning to Union supporters who follow that last link above: Wilson’s explanation of how teams exploit space when facing 4-2-3-1 is going to sound very familiar…

  2. OneManWolfpack says:

    The Jack Warner quote is amazing on so many levels. HA!

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