Daily news roundups

Arena widely expected to replace ousted Klinsmann, more news

US

Official: Jurgen Klinsmann is out as head coach and technical director of the USMNT.

Sunil Gulati said in a statement, “While we remain confident that we have quality players to help us advance to Russia 2018, the form and growth of the team up to this point left us convinced that we need to go in a different direction. With the next qualifying match in late March, we have several months to refocus the group and determine the best way forward to ensure a successful journey to qualify for our eighth-consecutive World Cup.”

Pro Soccer Talk reports it “understands senior USMNT players spoke with USSF following the defeat to Costa Rica and ahead of their upcoming meeting with Klinsmann in California on Monday where his fate was sealed. Not for the first time Klinsmann had pushed people within U.S. Soccer to breaking point.”

ESPNGoal.com, and Fox Sports are among many outlets reporting Bruce Arena is in line to replace Klinsmann. Goal.com’s Ives Galarcep tweeted “U.S. Soccer has reached an agreement with Bruce Arena.” SI’s Grant Wahl and USA Today’s Martin Rogers tweeted, and the AP reports, Arena could be announced as the new head coach as early as today. The Los Angeles Times reports, “A federation spokesman confirmed interest in Arena, while the coach and the Galaxy declined to comment.” The Washington Post reports, “Several of Arena’s associates, who requested anonymity, said he would be eager to take the job.” Pro Soccer Talk says, “Bruce Arena will be a mixed bag with the USMNT, but he’s what they need to pick up the pieces at this juncture.” Soccer America lays out what’s next for Klinsmann’s successor.

The New York Times says Klinsmann promised a lot but wonders if he delivered. ESPN says Klinsmann’s excuses were the final straw. Fox Sports says US Soccer had no choice but to fire him and has eight reasons he was firedGoal.com says he leaves the team weaker than it was when he arrived. The Guardian says he “leaves soccer in America in a better place than he found it” and that fans may regret his departure. USA Today wonders what’s next for the team. ESPN identifies five issues that Klinsmann’s successor must address. Goal.com lists players who could benefit, and players who could lose out, now that Klinsmann is gone.

No word yet on who is likely to fill the now vacant technical director position.

More at PSP, Philly.com, SIASN, and The Guardian.

The Guardian considers some of the many unknowns surrounding the USWNT’s equal pay dispute.

Philadelphia Union

Brotherly Game’s player review series continues with a look at Vincent Nogueira, Leo Fernandes, Erik Ayuk, and Walter Restrepo.

Section 215 wonders if Keegan Rosenberry is still in the running for a USMNT call up now that Jurgen Klinsmann is out as head coach.

Prost Amerika reviews the Union’s up, then down, season.

At the Union website, the voting is open for Save of the Year.

Bethlehem Steel

Bethlehem Steel announced on Tuesday morning a new “Steel Soccer School” program in local elementary schools in the Lehigh Valley: “The program allows members of the club to take over physical education classes for all grades. Mixing exercise with a new sport, Steel Soccer School shows kids not only the basics of soccer, but how much fun the sport is.”

Head coach Brendan Burke said in a statement, “In our inaugural season, we had the dual goal of establishing ourselves as the area’s professional soccer club and building a foundation on which to grow. Now, in advance of our second season, bringing Steel Soccer Schools to a variety of schools in the valley, it enables thousands of young people to interact with pros, exposing them to a sport that millions in the world love, while also growing the game in our community.”

Philadelphia Union Academy

At the Union website, a recap of last weekend’s Union Academy games, the last USSDA league games until March 5.

At Philly Voice, Kevin Kinkead has a report from last week’s open house at YSC Academy.

MLS

The first leg games of the conference finals are played tonight. At 8 pm, Montreal hosts Toronto (ESPN, ESPN Deportes, WatchESPN). At 10 pm, Seattle hosts Colorado (FS1, Fox Deportes, Fox Sports Go).

At the Colorado Rapids website, part one and part two of a Q&A with former Union man Sebastien Le Toux. Le Toux says of fellow former Union man Zac MacMath replacing the injured Tim Howard in goal: “Zac is a great goalkeeper. He would have been a starter on many teams in this League. I have 100 per cent confidence in him and my team-mates do too. He makes great saves and is a good leader from the back line. People respect him a lot.”

Seattle midfielder Nicolas Lodeiro has been named MLS Newcomer of the Year.

Columbus has exercised the contract options on Federico Higuain, Justin Meram, and Wil Trapp.

FC Dallas has picked up the options on ten players –Matt Hedges, Tesho Akindele, Michael Barrios, Maynor Figueroa, Maxi Urruti, Timo Pitter, Colin Bonner, Aaron Guillen, Jesse Gonzalez, and Chris Seitz — and declined the options on seven: Aubrey David, Carlos Lizarazo, Getterson, Juan Esteban Ortiz, Mauro Rosales, Norberto Paparatto and Ryan Herman. “Defenders Zach Loyd and Atiba Harris as well as forward Carlos Ruiz, are out of contract.”

FourFourTwo looks at the MLS salary cap and says teams are ready to spend more. Will the league let them?

Speaking of which, Zlatan Ibrahimovic on the ongoing speculation that he will end his career in the US: “It’s a huge option for me. For the football and everything else. I can see myself conquering the US as I have with Europe. Lots of people stay in one place throughout their career, but I’ve travelled around like Napoleon, and conquered every new country where I’ve set foot. So perhaps I should do what Napoleon didn’t and cross the Atlantic and conquer the States as well.”

ESPN calls for a closer relationship between MLS and LigaMX.

The Wall Street Journal reports MLS is among the leagues Amazon has talked to about live game rights for streaming to Amazon Prime members. More at USA Today and Reuters.

Quicken Loans founder Dan Gilbert, who along with Detroit Pistons owner Tom Gores is leading the effort to bring a MLS franchise to Detroit, tells Crain’s Detroit Business a study should be completed in December examining the options for the uncompleted county jail that is on the site he and Gores favor for the construction of a soccer stadium. Gilbert says the study “is determining exactly how much it would cost to build [the jail] somewhere else, as well as the other buildings they would move, and then see if there is a deficit, which there will be, and how much of that can be eaten up by the cost of buying the land and any other creative ways to make this happen.” More at Detroit Free Press.

Speaking of studies, at ESPN, MLS deputy commissioner Mark Abbott says the fact that the Deloitte report we linked to on Monday that recommends promotion-relegation be introduced to the US Soccer pyramid was commissioned by the owner of a NASL team, Miami FC owner Riccardo Silva, “causes a series of questions about its credibility.” Report author and head of the Sport Business Group at Deloitte Dan Jones says Silva had no influence over the report: “It’s an independent report inasmuch as the authors of the report had full editorial control over what was written. It’s not the case that we were told what to write or that it was forced or that Silva International had any type of editorial control.” (For the sake of argument, would a report commissioned by an oil company that says global warming is not an issue raise “questions about its credibility”? Would the author of that report deny that those who paid for the report had any influence over its conclusions?)

Abbott also said,

[The study] basically ignored what I think is the most important aspect of what has driven growth and continues to drive growth of pro soccer in the U.S. and Canada, which is investment of hundreds of millions and in some cases billions of dollars in a variety of different aspects, including infrastructure like stadiums, player development, marketing, digital content, broadcast production — all of those things are what are driving fan interest.

The NASL’s proposal on promotion focuses only on who wins the Division Two league. It doesn’t incentivise those investments, and could actually discourage them. What community would be prepared to enter into a public-private partnership on a $150 million stadium if they knew their club could be relegated before that stadium even opened?

Jones says the US investment in foreign teams shows some owners are willing to accept the risk of relegation. More on the Deloitte report at The Guardian, The Telegraph, and SBI.

14 Comments

  1. LOL ARENA.

    Talk about one step forward and 4 steps back.

    • OneManWolfpack says:

      I disagree. As long as Arena is done after the 2018 World Cup, I am fine with his hiring. He is not the long term solution. I hope Gulati goes after 2018 as well. Get some real managing talent in here and see if we can elevate as a national team.

  2. I have a bone to pick with some of the statements in that Trecker piece from the Guardian. Trecker tries to have it both ways with Klinsmann, saying he expanded the player pool but then claiming the pool is in the worst state it’s ever been. Aside from the obvious inability for Trecker to make up his mind, I think the player pool is better now than it was before. Trecker claims there is no one in the pipeline to replace Howard and Guzan, which is absurd.

    Finally, MLS man Abbott’s comments are also absurd. He assumes there would be no fan interest without these $150 million MLS investments. I think that’s remarkably short sighted. It assumes a market that only exists because of the product. Like soccer is an iPhone or something.

  3. Old Soccer Coach says:

    Mr. Ibrahimovich is certainly Napoleonic on one aspect of his being, his ego is healthy and well developed.
    .
    He is Napoleonic in another way also, conquering England is so far problematical.
    .
    Will he be Napoleonic in third way and sell out on North America after three weeks? [Okay, okay, he actually sold long before taking formal French possession because re-ignition of war with Great Britain was obvious. Without a fleet capable of disputing the British Navy, overseas possessions in Louisiana and on Saint Dominigue were untenable.]

    • Actually the US helped finance much of Napoleon’s ventures in the form of the Louisiana purchase. (If we sell it back to France before the Electoral college meets next month would it be enough to swing the election to Hillary?)

      • Old Soccer Coach says:

        Too few electoral votes if you mean the just the state of Louisiana.
        .
        If you mean the entire Louisiana Purchase territory, that might change things. But there would be international complications because the border with Canada has since been readjusted. The original northern border followed a watershed rather than the 49th parallel. Minnesota and Colorado are Blue states that would be affected. The red states are Montana, the Dakotas, part of Wyoming, Iowa, Nebraska, Kansas, Missouri, Arkansas, Part of Oklahoma, and Most of Louisiana.

        Now, remember that every disappearing state reduces the majority needed in the Electoral College.

  4. Have to give one thing to Klinsmann. He did beat Ghana which both of his predecessors were unable to do.

  5. There were positives and negatives with JK during his time. I agree with his approach of making players a bit uncomfortable. But he chose to do it at the wrong times. The mad scientist gets called out onto the carpet and is not appreciated until he’s gone.
    I agree with the move to replace, as the boys in the room lost faith. (See Chelsea-Mourhino era for examples).
    Yesterday there was a commenter who hit the nail on the head- a national team coach is a manager to choose the players and put them in the best position to succeed for the tactics he wants to deploy for a match or matches. JK failed in 1) tactics and 2) the right players in the right roles for the job.
    I also think the players have to shoulder some of this blame and the way they handled themselves the past 14 days. ie: not sure how Brooks can be an “all-star” for his club but swiss cheese for the US?

    • Agreed. I think that Klinsmann saw himself as more of the teacher from Dead Poets Society who inspired his pupils rather than the manager of the men’s senior national team who is supposed to get results. When you look at his strengths, he was much more suited to be a technical director or someone who worked with youth players. He’s just not pragmatic enough to be an international manager.

  6. A few things on this Deloitte report:

    1) If I’m writing a check to someone for a study, I will have at a minimum of some influence on said study. I’m paying this person for a product that they will produce for me so that’s only natural.

    2) The person doing the study will do their work independently and will take the input that I give to him under consideration. If my input has no merit and is completely false, it won’t be part of the study’s conclusion. A good consultant will flesh this out before they even sign the agreement to do the work. If my input or desired outcome is at least viable and/or possible, the author will make it part of the study’s conclusion.

    3) If/when the study is completed and I’m unhappy with it, the author/consultant did not do their job correctly. Companies and people who do this type of consulting work want repeat business. The last thing that they want is an unhappy customer who will not give them any future business or referrals to other potential customers.

    Are there facts/reasons which would support Pro/Rel in the US? Yes, absolutely.

    Are there facts/reasons which would go against the concept of Pro/Rel here? Again, yes, absolutely.

    Did the person who paid for the Deloitte study have a vested interested in seeing a particular conclusion be presented as part of it? Unequivocally, yes.

  7. OK if healthy I hope the Union is paying attention to this but Zach Loyd is out of contract there you go veteran CB and can help out as OB if needed as well. Grab him now if you ask me.

    • Old Soccer Coach says:

      Cannot till MLS Cup is over. Roster freeze since mid-September. Have a deal ready to go, sure.

      • Yeah I just hope they have a deal ready and are looking at it I think he would be a great pick up and clearly he wouldn’t cost that much. He could be turned into the comeback player of next year.

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