Daily news roundups

Union news, Academy Winter Showcase results, league news, more

Photo: Earl Gardner

Philadelphia Union

At MLSsoccer.com, a look at the tactical identities of each MLS team says this about the Union:

STYLE: Deep-lying mids the focal point in 4-2-3-1
The Union were a pleasant surprise in 2016, reaching the playoffs despite Maurice Edu failing to make a single appearance. They used a 4-2-3-1 that saw Vincent Nogueira and Alejandro Bedoya as key players in the deep-lying midfield role, though never together. The Union’s hot start was based on C.J. Sapong providing a platform for a plethora of creative players in the line of three, but that seemed to break down towards the end of the year as the Union went from averaging 1.75 goals in their first 24 games to only one goal per game in their last 11. Head coach Jim Curtin is a big believer in the character of his squad, and the Union will be even more formidable next season if they can pair Edu and Bedoya together in midfield.

Fabian Herber’s strike at Talen Energy Stadium against Columbus has been voted Goal of the Year.

MLS Aces talks to Josh Yaro.

Brotherly Game has three MLS players the Union could target.

At Prost Amerika, a year in review photo essay.

Pattison Ave’s review of the Union’s 2016 season continues.

Bethlehem Steel

Bethlehem Steel has announced it “has teamed up with New Bethany Ministries to collect Christmas gift donations for children throughout the Lehigh Valley.” The announcement calls for “donations of new or gently used soccer equipment including cleats, balls, shin guards, gloves among other items. Fans wishing to donate other items such as toys are encouraged to do so, to enable both organizations want to bring the holiday spirit to as many children in the region as possible…The main drop off point for donations will be at Steel FC’s main office currently located at The Turf Club, 1206 N. Sherman Street in Allentown during normal business hours (Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.)…Supporters of the donation drive will be given a voucher good for four general admission tickets to any 2017 home match upon donating their items. Along with the tickets, each person or family will be entered to win a Bethlehem Steel Swag Bag, with the winner chosen at random on Dec. 20.” The donation drive runs through Dec. 19.

Philadelphia Union Academy

Coming off of their 21 comeback win over Real So Cal on Thursday at the USSDA Winter Showcase in Florida, the Union Academy U-17/18s defeated their counterparts from Sporting Kansas City 31 on Friday with goals from Anthony Fontana (10′), Andrew Aprahamian (25′), and Tiger Graham (28′), who scored his second goal of the tournament after scoring the gamewinner in the first match. In their final game on Sunday, the Union U-17/18s fell 20 to Atlanta United.

The Union U-15/16s opened play at the USSDA Winter Showcase with a commanding 51 win over Sacramento Republic. Axel Picazo opened the scoring with a brace of goals in the 20th and 23rd minutes with Sacramento halving the scoreline in the 31st minute. The scoreline remained at 2-1 until the Brenden Aaronson scored for the Union in the 66th minute. Benjamin Ofeimu then scored in the 76th minute with Chad Letts getting the final tally in the 80th minute. On Saturday, it was the Union’s turn to get a thumping as they fell 40 to their counterparts from Vancouver Whitecaps. The Union U-15/16s finish play in the Winter Showcase today at 9 am against Sporting Kansas City.

After scoring the final goal in the 7-1 win over Portugal on Wednesday, Union Academy midfielder Rayshaun McGann entered the game against Turkey on Friday in the 71st minute as the US U-17s defeated Turkey 5-1 in their second game of the Nike International Friendlies. The US then defeated Brazil 3-0 in the final game on Sunday to claim the tournament title, with McGann being subbed into the game in the 42nd minute.


Havertown native, PSP fave, and former Philadelphia Independence midfielder Sinead Farrelly has announced her retirement from professional soccer. Farrelly missed last season after sustaining injuries in a car accident. More on the announcement at Excelle Sports, The Bold, and Philly Soccer News.

Archbishop Wood head coach Bill Cappo has announced he is retiring after leading the team for 23 season. Cappo leaves with a 311-109-39 record.

Philadelphia comes in at No. 17 in WalletHub’s ranking of soccer cities in the US, No. 6 for sports cities overall. (Philly was at No. 16 in WalletHub’s rankings for soccer cities back in June.)

Brotherly Game looks back to the 1976 NCAA men’s soccer final at Franklin Field in which University of San Francisco defeated Indiana, 1-0.


Roster moves:

  • Atlanta has signed 18-year-old US youth international forward Brandon Vazquez from Club Tijuana as a Discovery Signing. Atlanta has now signed nine players to its roster ahead of next week’s Expansion Draft.
  • Sporting Kansas City has signed midfielder Tyler Pasher and goalkeeper Adrian Zendejas from its USL team, Swope Park Rangers: “Both players have contract options for 2018, 2019 and 2020.”
  • San Jose announced on Friday it has picked up the options of six players — David Bingham, Victor Bernardez, Kip Colvey, Andres Imperiale, Fatai Alashe, and Matheus Silva — while declining the options on nine — Bryan Meredith, Clarence Goodson, Marc Pelosi, Tommy Thompson, Chad Barrett, Henok Goitom, Innocent, Steven Lenhart, and Mark Sherrod. Already under contract for 2017 are Andrew Tarbell, Shaun Francis, Cordell Cato, Darwin Ceren, Simon Dawkins, Anibal Godoy, former Union man Shea Salinas, Quincy Amarikwa, and Chris Wondolowski.

At MLSsoccer.com, a Re-Entry Draft 101.

Minneapolis Star Tribune reports, “The owners of the Major League Soccer (MLS) expansion franchise the Minnesota United are in talks about playing games at U.S. Bank Stadium — and it has left the stadium’s primary tenant, the Vikings, crying foul and threatening to sue…The Vikings say the 2012 legislation that got the stadium built gave them five-year exclusive rights to bring an MLS team into the building. Michele Kelm-Helgen, chairwoman of the [Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority, who own the stadium], said the Vikings have a right to ‘establish’ an MLS team at U.S. Bank, but the team has no say in whether the Minnesota United play an ‘exhibition’ game at the stadium. A Minnesota United spokesman, however, indicated the talks went well beyond a single exhibition game and included the possibility of home games at the stadium.” You will recall the Vikings ownership’s bid to land a MLS franchise lost out to Minnesota United, who are leaving the NASL to begin MLS play in 2017.

More on Don Garber’s visit last week to Cincinnati at MLSsoccer.com (1, 2) and The Telegraph.

The outlook for the NASL continues to be grim with reports suggesting much will hinge on meetings in New York today and on Tuesday in which US Soccer’s pro league task force will review year-end reports from the NASL and USL before recommending to the federation’s board of directors whether the NASL or the USL should have Division II standing.

SI reports, “NASL commissioner Bill Peterson has been trying to recruit expansion teams and at least four potential groups were present at the league’s meetings last week in Atlanta, according to sources. The NASL’s hope is that it can hang on at D2 long enough to bring new teams aboard in 2018. Los Angeles, San Diego, Detroit, Chicago, Atlanta and Hartford are among the cities with potential investors, according to sources.”

The SI report continues, “Sources say the key to both leagues’ future may be in North Carolina, where the Cary-based Carolina RailHawks believe they are laying the groundwork for entry into MLS. The question is whether they’ll attempt to make the jump from the NASL, where they’ve spent the past six years, or the USL, where they played in 2007-09…If Carolina switches leagues, the remaining dominoes may fall.” You will recall we linked to reports in Friday’s roundup concerning leaks that the Carolina RailHawks will rebrand as North Carolina FC as part of their push to join MLS. More on the North Carolina angle at Triangle Business JournalWRAL, and abc11.

Meanwhile, Big Apple Soccer reported on Sunday the New York Cosmos “have ceased operations,” according to a source: “The club also has released their players, who have been paid through the end of November, but won’t be compensated for December because they were not with the team anymore, according to the source. The staff has not been paid, the source added.” Empire of Soccer reported on Friday that the furlough of staff has been extended another week. (A writer for FiftyFiveOne tweeted on Thursday a source tells him the Cosmos have lost $30 million since the brand was relaunched with the new NASL.)

The Big Apple Soccer report also says “the Cosmos have been in negotiations with a New York group interested in purchasing the team. As of Sunday night, no deal had been reached and it was not immediately known whether one could be finalized by Monday.”

Reaction pieces (of varying quality) to the ongoing NASL saga at Big Apple Soccer, Soccer Nation, and Playing for 90.


Is Barcelona looking to get involved with the NWSL?


At the U-20 Women’s World Cup in New Guinea on Saturday, the US was defeated 1-0 by Japan to finish fourth in the tournament.

The Set Pieces recalls Joe Gaetjen’s goal against England in the 1950 World Cup.


Chapecoense interim president Ivan Tozzo has confirmed he’s been told by CONMEBOL that his club will be named Copa Sudamericana champions following last week’s tragic plane crash. The bodies of those who died in the crash were returned to Brazil on Saturday after which a final memorial service was then held at the Chapecoense stadium.

From the BBC: “Former FIFA president Sepp Blatter’s six-year ban from football has been upheld after an appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.” More from CAS, PA Sport, and  the AP.

Reuters reports, “A former head of the Peruvian soccer federation pleaded not guilty on Friday to U.S. charges stemming from a wide-ranging bribery investigation involving FIFA, the sport’s world governing body. Manuel Burga, who led the Peruvian Football Federation from 2002 to 2014, entered his plea to racketeering conspiracy and other charges in federal court in Brooklyn after being extradited from Peru.”

This: “Russian MPs have asked the state communications oversight agency to take action against the FIFA 17 video game for violating the country’s law against gay propaganda. Communist MPs sent a letter to the communications oversight and state consumer protection agencies complaining that the popular EA Sports football game, which is rated all ages, ‘invites users to support the English football premier league’s Rainbow Laces action, a massive campaign in support of LGBT,’ Izvestia newspaper reported.”

Another tax evasion story, this time involving Cristiano Ronaldo and Jose Mourinho.


  1. Gyahhhhh playoffs are taking forever….
    I just want this season to be over just so we can get some Union news.

  2. Is it worth it for the Union to consider Clarence Goodsen? He’s a vetern who is vocal and could help organize our young defense. He’d a decent presence in the air (i.e. could help with some of the Union’s historical/perpetual/innate disorganization on corner kicks). He’s also someone who could help mentor Yaro/Marquez.

    • Base salary last year was 315k which would be pricey for a backup. Only option then would be to start him with Marquez and push Yaro to the bench which stunts his development.

      • I don’t think putting Yaro to the bench makes sense, but putting him in the USL will help him improve. From what I can tell Yaro has confidence problems and need reassurance all the time bringing in Goodson if he can play on the right would let you start Marquez and Goodson, with Tribbet as a backup and Yaro at Steel with Trusty. If anyone gets hurt you bring Yaro or Trusty back up. Whether its Goodson or someone else a veteran presence is needed on the backline and someone starting making between 200k-300k would likely be my target. Unless there was a better cheaper option that I could see.

      • I’m not sure how much Yaro would get from playing at the USL level. I think he has shown himself to be at the MLS level albeit some expected rookie mistakes. To me, the injures and stuff really messed his season up because as soon as he settled into the speed of play in the league he would miss a few games and have to acclimate all over again.
        Agree about bringing someone else into the fold at the position is a good idea to push the others and for cover. But I just think that starter-level salaries are better used for a 6/8 and a striker.

      • Can’t disagree that we need a 6 and 8 and a striker, but Yaro clearly lacks confidence to me. He is always being reassured by Curtin and other players. I think right now it is a major fault and just playing game after game would help him regardless of speed of play. If it wasn’t for Rosenberry I think he would be even more uncomfortable. He clearly gets flustered easily and while he can make the passes and find the play. He often last year just ditched the ball to Rosenberry in hurry because he was flustered. I think he is a good prospect, but I think more constant play at any level would help him to gain game confidence and let him realize he does not need to be reassured by coaches.

      • Fair enough. He always seemed pretty confident to me in interviews and stuff. Getting flustered in game is expected for any rookie (I think Rosenberry was the closest thing to an exception) but I may be underrating those instances.
        In any case, I will never be against upgrading a position if possible. If they can bring in a solid veteran then I’m all for it. I just worry about salary distribution since it is a capped league.

    • The Realist Brian says:

      I would take him. I would also sign Tommy Thompson and Marc Pelosi. Crazy that they don’t keep ballers out there.

      • Yes and yes. Both talented and under 23.
        But my guess is that negotiations to resign them are underway because, like you say, it would be crazy if the Quakes are letting them both go.

      • article I saw yesterday on MLS website indicated that the Quakes were negotiating to resign both Pelosi and Thompson.
        Article is their ongoing “transfer tracker” page, very useful to stay up to date because the dates of reports are given, so it is easy to isolate the new developments.

  3. I can’t wrap my head around why anyone right now would invest in an NASL team. Setting aside the success of some of the league’s teams (Cinci, Indy), part of the allure of investing, I would think, would be growth potential. What is the realistic growth potential of NASL? I think the theory at the league’s outset was to compete for div 1 attention with MLS. That’s a fantasy today. It’s place seems likely that of baseball’s Federal League in the 1910s.

    I really get the arguments for the closed system in the U.S., but still can’t argue with the fact that it hurts the game at the local level. If investors in Hartford wanted to start a club, their ceiling would be 2nd Division. They’re best bet is likely to shoot for a small USL club that would be lucky to draw 5,000. Even though Hartford New Haven is a large media market than Columbus, Cincinnati, San Antonio, Las Vegas and Kansas City, you couldn’t invest in a club and shoot for the moon. It’s not possible. Imagine what fan interest might be if promotion were possible?

    • this argument essentially is why I wonder about the possibility of a Four Tiered Major League Soccer controlled pyramid- with multiple Minor League Soccer levels and semi pro levels below…
      Your point about Hartford is one of THE conundrums… at least the multiple levels, in time as the game evolves and evolves organically a local group could conceivably have a chance to earn their way in to the Fourth Tier of MLS controlled pyramid and work their way up. I know many figure this is faux pro/rel but I come back to my point ultimately of does it matter– so long as it works and affects the game locally enough to affect the culture of the game positively too and ultimately win a World Cup.
      Who knows. Tumultuous times for US Soccer and as many have said and written- this age could very well define us as a soccer nation forever… for good, bad or worse yet— mediocrity.

      • OneManWolfpack says:

        Your first paragraph is exactly what I think this league is going for. They don’t care about the USL being Division 2 or whatever. Keep adding teams to MLS, once you get big enough, split it in 2. Then 3, etc. Creating essentially pro-rel, but under the complete control of MLS. I’m 35. I guarantee this happens before I’m 50.

      • And thinking more about this — the Hartford example…. critics would be quick to point out, “well if Hartford can only draw 5,000 fans, than it’s clearly not a market that deserves to field a 1st division club.” But how can you expect fans to really buy in when 2nd division is the best they can hope for?

        As for a four tier league, I don’t see it. At Minor League Baseball parks, they do everything from dancing teams of mascots to firing hotdogs out of cannons at kids every other inning to make the game a family event. It’s the only way they can keep paying customers coming back. I’m not sure how many pay to see hot prospects earn their way to the parent club. There’s really not that much intrigue.

        I think this of pro/rel: It definitely raises the stakes for clubs and fans. That is not arguable. And that said, I do read a lot of Twitter flame wars and wish a lot of the pro/rel advocates were a little less zealous. They don’t do themselves any favors. I feel a little like a zealot spending all these pixels writing about it here, but if not here, I’d have to mutter these ramblings to myself. Not the best situation.

      • The Realist Brian says:

        You are starting to wake up. Welcome to the real world.

      • Pete – You know why they do those things at minor league baseball parks? Because the game is slow and boring as all get out. 😉

      • Oh, I know, though I did kinda enjoy an Iron Pigs game I went to a few years ago. Was nice to sit behind the first base dugout for about $20.

    • tiny point Pete. Cincy is USL not NASL.

  4. After a tumultuous and informative debate over the weekend….I was gonna chill today but then two things came up:
    The USWNT is in real trouble. Real- bonafide trouble. They are almost literally the Scot Farkus of World Soccer…. the big bad aggressive bully who gets his from Ralphie one day, course the rest of the world is using good footballing common sense and actually playing football to beat the US… instead of a curse word tirade and body blows.
    Team USA ceded 67% possession to Japan. I think Japan started actually playing soccer during the Clinton Administration.
    This team was incapable -even— of trying to play out from the back and then lost possession the one time they did try, as Twitter surely mentions- They couldn’t even really throw the ball in with any intent to maintain possession… for Japan to win the duel and simply cycle possession out of danger.
    Soccer is not rocket science. What is going on with US Soccer…. why are we.just.so…..so.
    This is NOT rocket science or advanced imaginative mathematics. Its a game of triangles and diamonds, pressure release and numerical advantage — being played by ball watchers at EVERY level of the game here… save outliers.
    Second: The Soccerparentingsummit on Twitter was really really good for anyone with a kid and a stake in the game.

    • I’m sure there are many among the faithful who will say…but they won the World Cup.
      Actually Carli Lloyd won the World Cup…. and it may very well be the last time the trophy is hoisted again.
      ….or was it late on in George W’s tenure when the Japanese women began kicking a ball around the international stage… yet there is efficiency, IQ and utter elegance to their play.

      • The Realist Brian says:

        So completely spot on! The masses don’t realize the world has caught onto women’s soccer and they develop young players way better than we do. .
        Case in point: Why is our leading MLS facility hosting 6 v 6 (plus goalie) and telling us to not coach 5-6 year olds because “the game will teach them?” Are you fucking kidding me!?! What Kindergarteners learn the alphabet/math just be sitting in a classroom? We sent an email to the team with the KINS model (kicking is not soccer) and that the kids should be encouraged to trap the ball and get their head up (look and learn). We also talked about not bunching up and spreading out on the field. During the game, we were told/scolded to not coach and that the kids will figure it out. Meanwhile idiot parents are screaming from the sidelines “Kick it, kick it out!!!” So, we have a rec mentality that is promoting 7v7 at this tender age (which is against US soccer idicts by the way) by the leading academy in the area, and we are getting seriously scolded for coaching the right way! Get the fuck out of here- no wonder we are shit. We have been doing that same shit since I played intramurals in kindergarten and “blob soccer/kick it” hasn’t changed in 36 years.
        Also, another indictment is watching training sessions for 7-8 yr olds that a 5 and 6 year old dominate skill wise, while other kids can’t fucking dribble or trap is absolutely pathetic. I know there are a lot of paid coaches who salivate go get these disasters at 10-16 looking to get better because they never learned the fundamental techniques when they were young (4-10) is a huge problem. And the rec mentality has to change in the country. I am so unbelievably committed to this because I see it with my own kid and lived it myself.
        Final point on the closed system: it has to change. It wrecks any opportunity for outside investment in the game. Cosmos, FC NY, Phoenix, ect ect have all failed because their is no upward progression. One of the the more brilliant ideas I saw posted recently was how do you help the owners that invested in this Ponzi scheme called MLS? Simple- reimburse them on their “entrance fees” and let them us the money to finance new stadium/player development or put it back in their pocket/bank. How could they argue except THEY DON’T WANT COMPETITION.

      • Citizen Insane says:

        That fizzing sound- hear it getting louder and louder it’s a truth bomb… coming to land on you.
        I know I’m not alone I know I’m not alone I know I’m not alone…. sings the infidel with outrageous polarizing thoughts. I know exactly of what you write.

        Best part… I’ve had the distinct pleasure of spending quite a bit of time with a UEFA B licensed rather recent Spanish immigrant to America…. we are so off the mark at the youngest levels … we are so off the mark. Teachers teach. The game teaches only when played with constraint of amid is in the street 15 hours a week perfecting his or her insight.

      • Citizen Insane says:

        or in the street 15 hours…

      • The Realist Brian says:

        The best part that Tom Byers writes about is that a skilled player at 8 will look magnificent compared to his peers here in the US. The problem is this is far below the world standard and we shouldn’t accept it. He is also spot on about kids quitting because they aren’t very good.

      • Everything you said about coaching and youth is 100% right.

        But one issue I had is here: “have all failed because their is no upward progression. ”

        No, they failed because they couldn’t be financially responsible in the 3rd division of US soccer when there is barely a market for the 1st division.

        I mean, I really don’t get how this is an issue. Yes, ideally you want competition and upward progression. Ideally I would love to have a pyramid like the rest of Europe.

        But … America is different. No one here cares about soccer. Teams have failed in MLS, why the hell should we pretend we have a strong enough foundation to do something like pro/rel?

      • No one here cares about soccer…
        Is it at all possible there is a reason for this.
        Can you stipulate to the idea that the Policy of US Soccer is what is crippling this notion of no one caring about the game.
        I’m not asking you to say this is the case I’m asking you to stipulate to the possibility that the policy of US Soccer is exactly what is holding us back… which mind you has been and is the only consistent policy we’ve had…. which then provides for causation.
        We’ve been screwing this up for 125 years. 125…with dramatic pause—– If the Gatekeepers had done it properly the first time… the game would be no different here than in every other advanced soccer nation in the world… We’d be a corrupt Federation like most the others with 6 world cups.
        As it is we are only a corrupt federation.

      • What’s holding us back is that an exciting as hell semi final game in probably the best MLS Playoff series ever drew 200K viewers on Fox Sports 1.

        Pro/Rel proponents seem to think there is some magical population of soccer fans out there that will flock to the scene once Pro/Rel is instituted.

        The MLS is going good (relatively) but it’s TV ratings are still terrible. And without great TV ratings there is no big TV money coming into the league. And without big money coming into the league, there is a very fragile base that can’t be upset by teams being relegated into the nethers of 2nd/3rd division American Soccer.

      • As someone who has coached most of my son’s team between his U6 and U 10 years, trying to instruct children to play off the ball is the most difficult thing I’ve ever tried. I tried to keep it super simple when they were younger and then pushed positions at u 10 and passing, but even some of my best players from an individual skill standpoint (fast, great goal scoring and dribbling) just could not unwrap themselves from a need to do it all. To always be on the ball, never finding space, never making runs, never passing to an open teammate. Some of my players got it, but man is it tough. I felt like I needed to 15 hours a week to get them to learn the game… And I don’t have that kind of time.

      • IMO we can trace two distinct different ways of teaching and playing the game.
        the America way which is founded on independence of thought and the individual and dribbling to goal to be the scorer and is a capitalist society.
        Europe and SA which tend toward a socialist ethic of the group and shared governance and responsibility where the ball is first protected and given to the player in the best position to succeed with it.
        At the heart… it is a worldview deal.
        ….And that doesn’t even confront the huge disparity in rudimentary skills between players… of the three continents.
        First and foremost I teach my kids to ‘pass and move,” and to always take at least two touches.
        Next I teach them even at youngest ages, soccer is a game of ‘who uses space the best.’
        Next they need to use both feet.. because ‘that’s why God gave you two.’
        Then we talk about ‘scoring goals’ by dribbling.

      • Historical Points, CI, two.
        1. Capitalism invented in Europe.
        2. Europe tried to commit suicide twice inn the 20th C, or once with a 20 year rest break.

      • John P O'Donnell says:

        There’s no bad students, just bad teachers. Now let’s go watch European soccer and complain about 125 years of the game not being popular enough for the “smart people to go pro/rel” . So the league is failing and we can institute pro/rel and make money hand over fist. But why would we do that when the future of soccer is the indoor game? The first Cosmos finished as an indoor team. Why didn’t the NASL just go to that system back in 80’s instead of going out of business? I guess they just weren’t that smart? Or willing to take the risk?

        The second Cosmos started as a D2 team that thought they were gone to bully their way into MLS. Other lower league teams are doing well with the proper business plan. Stop with this nonsense that they couldn’t go up, so they folded. They knew that going in and just didn’t believe it. They wouldn’t even have a stadium to play in if they went up. They didn’t even secure a better venue after they saw nobody wanted to go to Hifstra. They suffered from terrible management that was based on a takeover and failed. But keep looking to pro/rel and not revenue. Russia has pro/rel, plays the international schedule and has a population in the top ten countries in the world. It’s not a soccer nation and its playing catch up. Hmm

        My favorite line is make them sell the team. Let think about this, ten owners go okay, I want to sell. How much do you think they get back? The money they invested? The money that the team would be worth without pro/rel? Let’s face it, it would crush D1 if ten owners put teams up for sale all at once. Oh and by the way , make sure you get money for the stadium in the sale because you’re gone to have to pay back the government probably, since you changed the system.

      • Thinking this isn’t directed to me.
        But If so, I’m simply asking the poster if it is possible the state of US Soccer is related to its policy.
        To not recognize this as at least a possibility… takes every excellent argument you make and renders it impotent because it is as blind then as you telling me I’m a fool for thinking Pro/Rel solves everything…

      • John P O'Donnell says:

        It’s directed at anybody who believes pro/rel is a good option after twenty years of people investing in a soccer league and succeeding. USSF asked for a plan and this was the winning plan….in more ways than one. Please anybody who can give me a reasonable argument why a team should get into the league by winning a title in a second division without enormous investment in the first division like so many operators already have, I would love to hear it. Let’s swap the Union with the Cosmos this past year, what would happen? Union probably don’t open a training center and why would you invest in Cosmos? The team would face bigger expenses and have no infrastructure to help them be competitive worth the investment into the club. There is no prize money for winning D2 and no parachute payment for being relegated. So how would it change? I need a little more than imaginary investment based on top leagues. Another thing, enough with the kids that are five years old and using it as evidence why a closed system doesn’t work. England has a great league and it doesn’t translate to five year old kids making England great.

      • James – Most academies don’t start teaching kids those types of things until they are 8 yrs old. The main reason is because kids brains are not developed enough to understand concepts of formations, spacing, etc. That’s not just MLS clubs, that’s Barca who preaches that. They feel that very young kids should just be given a ball and to explore with it. The coach says “show me what you can do.”

        Also, you mention the concept of learning the alphabet. While that’s true of the alphabet because it only has 26 letters, the possibilities of what one can do with the ball are endless.

        So if you teach young players a universe that’s limited to 26 letters, you likely won’t produce any great ones with imagination, outrageous skill, etc. That’s not what we are looking to do.

      • Sorry – message was for The Realist Brian…too long of a thread.

      • This is simply not accurate that kids are just allow to explore with no tactical understanding as though understanding was gained via osmotic or oncotic pressure.
        Barcelona players at 7 are using rondos to teach the game.
        As a case in point…have you watched Bayern Leverkusen U8 play?
        I have.
        I’ll argue your point into ‘infinity….and BEYOND!’
        I just watched the semi final and final of Barcelona U9 in the Iscar Cup against…I can’t remember and then against Espanyol… I’ll argue the point into Infinity and beyond. Kids clearly understand space and perception and positional discipline at U8… it ALL depends on how it is being taught.

  5. Blake was just named to the MLS Best XI for the season.

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