Daily news roundups

Union bits, league news, more

Photo: Paul Rudderow

Philadelphia Union

At ESPN, a good interview with Alejandro Bedoya about the USMNT and the Union (video). Asked about the Union needing to start delivering on some of the promise the team showed last season, Bedoya replied, “You’re right. I think we invite that pressure, that’s what we need to be able to compete with the big boys.”

ESPN also has an interview with Richie Marquez (video).

At the Union website, a behind the scenes look at Bedoya and Marquez in the MLS Media and Marketing Tour.

At the Union website, Keegan Rosenberry talks about being at the USMNT’s January camp (video). Also at the Union website, a slideshow of pictures of Rosenberry, Bedoya, and Chris Pontius at the camp.

At MLSsoccer.com, Matthew Doyle updates his look at the Union’s offseason roster build: “The two other pieces I think they’ll add? A third-string ‘keeper and another center back. It wouldn’t shock me if they addressed that latter spot in a big way.”

At Philly Voice, Kevin Kinkead responds to a variety of Union-related questions from readers.

At the Union website, a roundup of the Union’s 2017 SuperDraft picks’ reactions on social media to being selected by the team

WVU student news outlet The Daily Athenaeum notes Jack Elliott’s selection by the Union in the SuperDraft.

MetroSection 215, and MLS Multiplex on the Union’s SuperDraft picks.

Former Union man Leo Fernandes has signed with Tampa Bay Rowdies. He face his former Union teammates in the Suncoast Invitational preseason tournament on Saturday, February 18.

Bethlehem Steel FC

At Delco Times, Matthew De George talks to Matt Real about why he signed with Bethlehem rather than going to college. Real says, “This decision came about because I feel that I develop best in an environment like this, in the city that I’m from. In college, the season is only like three months, so four years of college is only like one year of playing. Here, I’m surrounded by professionals day in and day out, so that’s why I thought I would be best here.” Real, who was committed to Wake Forest, adds, “It definitely was difficult because I know how good of a program Wake Forest has and I have a lot of respect for the organization, how they helped me to make the decision to commit there and everything. But I felt like staying here was the best option for me because I feel more comfortable in this environment surrounded by professionals.

Local

On Tuesday night, National Soccer Hall of Famer Gene Olaff, in his first article for PSP. At US Soccer, an obituary for Olaff.

Carli Lloyd is to be inducted into the New Jersey Hall of Fame.

At CBS Philly, Matt Leon talks to Jorge Gomez Sanchez about being the first-ever Temple player to be picked in the SuperDraft after being selected by Vancouver Whitecaps.

West Chester United will be playing in the NPSL beginning in 2017.

MLS

Official: The Galaxy have signed Jermaine Jones.

The Galaxy have re-signed Sebastian Lletget with a contract extension.

DC have re-signed midfielder Jared Jeffrey.

Seattle have signed midfielder Henry Wingo and forward Seyi Adekoya to Homegrown Player contracts.

Seattle’s Nicolas Lodeiro on his pal Luis Suarez coming to MLS: “It’s just a matter of a phone call, a phone call away. He already makes jokes that he’s coming to the league. He’s already a fan of Seattle.”

Kaka, who is in the last year of his three-year contract with Orlando, says reports in Brazil that he is planning to leave MLS are mistaken: “A misunderstanding because I am very happy here…I had a three year contract, so this is the last year under this contract, but my idea is to stay here…Of course we never know what can happen at the end of the season or during the season, but my idea for now is to stay in Orlando and stay in the league.”

DC’s Bill Hamid will be out for six weeks following knee surgery.

Robbie Keane tells talkSport MLS must continue to attract big name players from abroad:

When I arrived in 2011, it was just starting to really, really grow. After a couple of years you could start seeing the stadiums really filling up.

Now they’re at a great level in terms of the fans watching the game, the TV rights and the rest of it.

I had an unbelievable time there…but they just have to be careful now because some of the big players have left, and at the end of the day people want to watch names – that’s the just the reality.

Myself, Gerrard, Lampard and a few of the other big players are just starting to drift out, and now they’re going down to route where they want younger players who are not really well known.

That is a good thing I think, but people do want to watch big names.

They have to be careful – they’ve set a high standard that they have to keep going and I’m not sure if they go down this route they’ll be able to do that.

Kaka says European players should know playing in MLS isn’t easy.

Target has been announced as Minnesota United’s official partner and kit sponsor.

MLS has also announced a “multi-year agreement” with Target: “Target’s MLS partnership will include brand integration across platforms, including broadcast, digital, video, content, in-stadium and on-site activation at marquee MLS events.” Yes, but will fans be able to purchase MLS gear at Target stores?

Atlanta United will partner again with USL side Charleston Battery for the 2017 season.

From the St. Louis Post-Dispatch:

A week after aldermen said a public funding proposal for a Major League Soccer stadium would not move forward, the bill is set for a committee hearing Thursday.

Bill sponsor Alderwoman Christine Ingrassia said the proposal would now allocate about $60 million in new tax revenue to the $200 million project. The previous proposal called for an $80 million city contribution.

Ingrassia said she requested the hearing with the caveat that team ownership investors provide certain financial information, and that other elected city officials express their satisfaction with the plan, before the 9 a.m. hearing.

More at St. Louis Business Journal and KBIA.

TWC News has an update on Charlotte’s expansion bid. The Charlotte Observer has an opinion piece on why a MLS team in Charlotte needs to have a downtown stadium.

US

Tim Howard tells ESPN that his comments in a USA Today interview about some players under Jurgen Klinsmann not having enough pride and commitment in representing the US were not directed only at dual national players: “some of our dual nationals have been brilliant.”

Jermaine Jones tells ESPN of Howard’s comments in the USA TOday interview, “It’s dangerous stuff where you have to be careful what you’re saying…With all the respect for Timmy, I feel it’s not if you’re half American or full-American. It’s more what you have in here [taps his chest].”

Michael Bradley says all of the players are to blame for the team’s poor start in the Hexagonal phase of World Cup qualifying.

Alex Morgan has been voted the 2016 CONCACAF Female Player of the Year. Ashlyn Harris is the CONCACAF Female Goalkeeper of the Year. Joining the pair on the Female Best XI are Becky Sauerbrunn, Ali Krieger, Tobin Heath, and local lass Carli Lloyd. No USMNT players were named to the Male Best XI.

Heather O’Reilly has signed with Arsenal Ladies.

Elsewhere

At the AP, more on some of the rule changes FIFA technical director Marco van Basten says are being considered. The opening sentence reads, “Restricting players to 60 games a year. Replacing penalty shootouts with eight-second run-ups. Introducing orange cards to send players off for 10 minutes. Scrapping offside.” More at Goal.com and Soccer America.

That time Donald Trump was thinking about buying Rangers.

52 Comments

  1. The stuff van Basten is talking abut regarding rules changes is real madness. No offsides rule? MLS 1.0 style shootouts? A “penalty box” ? Is FIFA in charge of promoting and governing the sport or of sabotaging it?

    • The Realist Brian says:

      I do like the concept of a “sin bin” that they use in Rugby. Too many games are ruined by a second yellow by MLS refs and Mike Dean. The other suggestions are crazy though. Penalty kicks are exciting and not chance.

      • Dan C (formerly of 103) says:

        I hate the orange card, I think it will make players more reckless as they know the repercussions will be less. Also, I don’t want to discuss soccer and talk about who the top team in the league is on powerplays. All of the rule suggestions suck in my opinion.

    • All the rules sounds horrible except maybe limiting players to 60 games a year. But I’m not sure how that can be enforced. No club is going to hold a player out in order to “save” games for a national team.

    • The one proposed rule change I like is the one where only captains can speak to the refs. I could get behind that one.

  2. Robbie Keane’s opinion is very blunt and true. Yes, develop youth. But you need marketing power that comes from the marquee names, even if some of them are on the back end of their careers.
    .
    It’s a reality in every league, in every country. You need personalities and superior talent in order to sell your team and league.
    .
    This year may be a lull, but I have a feeling there will be an arms race as soon as LAFC enters the league and Atlanta has a season under their belt. LAG, NYCFC, and SEA won’t want to lag behind in merchandising or wins. (some of those franchises value the merchandising more. So be it.)

    • I agree everyone’s so obsessed with youth but there’s nothing wrong with having some uber talented legends still kicking the ball around here in MLS.

    • TBH I think Robbie Keane is out of his mind.
      .
      .
      Of course…names matter. What matters more are names in their prime…. those are the players that should be getting 6mil a year…. particularly in a league with as much mindless running as MLS.
      .
      Steven Gerrard. No… Lampard. No.
      and TBH as much I hate to say it Pirlo. No.
      .
      Dos Santos types. Yes. Chicharito types. Yes. These types of players…

      • Agreed. But the occasional Pirlo doesn’t hurt. It’s akin to signing a veteran to a young NBA team or MLB team to mentor the young kids. If you sell a few extra jerseys as a result, great.
        .
        But, yes, the focus should be on the 2nd and 3rd-tier players that are in their primes. Unfortunately, even those guys tend to be expensive transfers for this league, so we rely on out-of-contract players.
        .
        Hopefully the coffers will expand considerably soon and we will be able to at least sit at the table for some of these deals.

      • Agree. I want more Barnettas or Giovincos, but the superstar names certainly pique interest. My first real attraction to MLS was learning that Henry had signed with the RBs. Before that, the only blip it made on my radar was when Beckham signed in LA.

        Better way to actually build and keep a fan base, though, will always be to win. Win some silverware, and you’ll gain and keep fans.

      • Whenever I see this stuff I think:
        .
        OJ with the Niners
        .
        Mays with the Mets
        .
        Unitas with the Chargers
        .
        Namath with the Rams
        .
        Carlton with anyone after the Phillies
        .
        It feels like the league is playing to a “lowest common denominator” fan. The problem with that (in the MLS case) is THAT fan probably doesn’t know those “name” players to begin with.
        .
        So then that overpaid “name” gets over here and…What? How many of these guys have REALLY played any team changing ball over the years? Granted, a couple recently (Drogba stands out), but still…At this point, couldn’t that money be better spent?
        .
        Just doodling in my head

      • Old Soccer Coach says:

        I have to say that watching Beckham deliver his passes, the one time he was on the pitch at PPL, or Henry’s movement to get open were sublime moments for me.
        .
        No, neither could any longer play for Real and Barca. They were still supremely good, and live is simply better than televised. As unscientific and irrational as this sentence is going to been, I could “feel” the quality.

      • John O'Donnell Jr says:

        Also, I think of the Chicago Fire with Cuauhtémoc Blanco. They packed the stands to see him but once he left and the team didn’t win, it turned into a ghost town. Big names help but so does winning.

      • Just to double down on that thought – I almost feet that there have been more ‘big names’ that have come here and failed than have truly driven their team. Drogba last year was great. Drogba this year was a whiny baby. NYCFC trio was only 1/2 successful at best.

      • I agree although I must say that David Villa has probably been the player who has given his all to the league. I didn’t like the signing when they made it and I hate that team, but that man has a big fan in me now.

      • I’m going to respectfully dissent. Yeah, we resent the retirement league tag because we want our league to be the best (or at least headed that way). Signing some of these names on the downside of their career is as much off-field marketing as on-field prowess. Also, the investment is, actually, fairly low risk/high reward. Even the failed ones. You want a young up and comer from a top 10 league? He’s probably on higher wages, under contract and his club will want a largish transfer fee. No guarantee the guy stays beyond the contract either, so a lot of investment. The older guys? The selling clubs want their large salary off their books, so often will let them walk on a free. Yeah, the salary is high but they spread the below DP line risk amongst 22 teams. Not really that risky. So a Drogba may cost MTL $5M for 2.5 seasons, a small portion is offset by MLS gleefully to market a guy known the world over and he’s still good enough to help them get deep into the playoffs, selling enough tickets and jerseys to almost pay for himself. So Lampard was a no show in 2015, in 2016 he bagged a few goals and a new club with aspirations splashed on the map in a tough (and crowded for fan eyes) sports town made a postseason run. Even nonfans will buy the idea that the clean cut guy in the ad is good and the team is a contender.
        .

        Its just money, and it feels like theyre printing more. NBC couldn’t be happier that the shared investment is resulting in guys that may start to excite advertisers, and that’s the whole ball game.

      • ^This. +1

      • John O'Donnell Jr says:

        ESPN, FOX & Unimas. NBC is that other league. Lol

    • My issue is that marketing power means nothing. The average american isn;t going to start watching MLS because some european stars he never heard of came over.

      • No, it’s about retention. It won’t attract the average American sports fan, but it will keep soccer fans engaged.
        .
        Retention is just as important as recruitment.

      • Agreed. And yes it does attract foreign eyes when we take in big stars I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard that before. But yes let’s just call a legendary soccer player crazy. Anyone who disagrees with him doesn’t know a lick about how to run a business, and that’s ok, that’s why I’m glad some of you aren’t running jack.

      • Which soccer fans? Id say theres plenty of those who arent tricked by big names and wouldnt watch mls anyway. They realize the quality overall is still middling and wont be tricked into watching bcoz lampard.

      • But I bet you enjoyed watching NYCFC fail because of the ridiculous Lampard situation.
        .
        Success or failure is irrelevant from a marketing perspective. The conversation is what is important.

  3. The Realist Brian says:

    Matthew Real: Nail. Head. One brilliant hit and he drove it all the way to the wood.
    .
    College soccer’s compressed season is fraught with needless injuries (I was one of them and missed my entire sophomore season due to a calf injury) and the lack of meaningful practices is a complete detriment to development. My game actually improved much more after college playing in the Majors. They need to expand the season and space out games for more recovery for the players. And get rid of the asinine count down clock, for the love of Pete.

    • Old Soccer Coach says:

      in watching the livestreamed portion of the MLS Superdraft, the Maryland Coach who was one of the four commentators rotating through the three commentator seats described a plan addressing many of your concerns that sounded like it was ready for consideration by the wider soccer community and then the decision makers.

    • Agree with your succinct first paragraph.

  4. Matthew De George talks to Matt Real about why he signed with Bethlehem rather than going to college. Real says, “This decision came about because I feel that I develop best in an environment like this, in the city that I’m from. In college, the season is only like three months, so four years of college is only like one year of playing. Here, I’m surrounded by professionals day in and day out, so that’s why I thought I would be best here.”
    .
    .
    .
    This boy sees the MATIRX… wants to be a professional… this is the what the mindset simply has to be.
    .
    Closing arguments?

    • An important piece of this discussion lies some time in the future when YSC Academy Alumni who have moved beyond soccer discuss candidly how well the Academy prepared them, both to cope with their further careers in the game and to cope with life after the game.
      .
      I know from conversations and visits that those teachers, coaches and administrators are trying hard to create those coping skills, they are trying passionately to do so.
      .
      Only time will reveal how well they have succeeded. Academic 2016-17 is the fourth year of the program. Much is still being invented. A long-term track record cannot yet be known.
      .
      Interim assessments in the future might be newsworthy.

    • He’s all in, that’s for sure. Once inside the academy, I imagine it’s a very clear decision to stay if the person’s goal is to play professionally.
      .
      The challenge is for those who for whatever reason did not end up in an academy… college is probably the only hope/path that remains.

      • Correct. Even with Academies, there will always be kids who either are not identified or who develop later. College, while not a perfect path to the pros, should still be a viable one. (And I’m not even touching the “get an education” piece.)
        .
        As long as we have trouble identifying talent at younger ages in this country, we will continue to need alternate paths.
        .
        If it’s going to cost $5-6K year for your kid to play travel soccer for a “recognized” program, we are going to miss out on a TON of kids who should be otherwise identified.

      • Sound point of view.
        .
        When the model is not open and built for 1000s and 1000s of local clubs with aspirations of first teams…college will likely remain as a pathway unfortunately but that speaks to the greater problem which is and will likely always be US Soccer/MLS policy.
        .
        There are currently what…24 first teams in the United States of America (utterly dumbfounding to me) – this is why the college system HAS to be revamped in order to serve those players…but like ALL things soccer in this country– there are too many federations driving their own policy and agenda whether US Soccer/MLS, NCAA, etc etc.
        .
        .
        In short order, and until it is changed, the players coming out of MLS Academy and USL will be infinitely better than any Wake Forest kid…

      • Let’s think of it this way:
        .
        Which countries have the best Euro professional leagues? (The South American leagues have fallen on hard times, so we will limit this to Europe.)
        – England: Size of Michigan
        – Germany: Size of Montana
        – Italy: Size of Arizona
        – France: Size of California
        .
        There is a logistical problem in the United States that no one else has to face. How do we overcome the great expanse of land, and the 300+ million people to find the right kids?
        .
        Also, top sports in those countries:
        – UK: Soccer, Cricket
        – Germany: Soccer, Golf, Tennis
        – Italy: Soccer, Basketball, Volleyball
        – France: Soccer, Tennis
        .
        In this country, the resources for soccer fall behind football, basketball, and baseball, at least.
        .
        There is a massive problem in identifying talent in this country. I have no solutions, but we have to recognize how unique our situation is before we can just throw bandaids at the problem.

      • Old Soccer Coach says:

        a quibble, if I may. Your sizes are geographic, as is your good point.
        .
        population sizes matter too, numbers of candidates to play number of potential consumers. your comparisons change if size means population.

      • Scott of Nazareth says:

        Great points! As a country we are way too spread out. US Soccer could/should allocate travel $ to each state association to subsidize the expense of taking teams to Florida or California…

      • Dan C (formerly of 103) says:

        Rosenberry and Morris would be exceptions to your statement. I’m not disagreeing with you about the importance of the academies, but you can’t make a blanket statement that the academy kids will ALWAYS be better.

      • In the present tense, yes agreed…In 5 to 10 years once the Academy has solidified and College hasn’t changed…yes- this is an easy logical conclusion.
        .
        Playing against men will simply make an 17-18 year old better then a 17-18 year old playing against old children or very young men.
        .
        I can’t quite get why people seem to argue this.

      • RE: I Am Citizen Insane – I think you can argue that it still comes back to the individual player’s potential. If you’re talking about the exact same player, he will be at a better stage if he competed against pros than if he competed against other kids his age. I am with you there and there’s really no arguing that.
        .
        BUT – it’s not exactly the same player with exactly the same potential. There may be a kid who doesn’t live within distance to academy that was born with pure talent and was able to cultivate that in some way. He may not have an opportunity to turn pro, so college is his only option. His potential and skills could still be higher than any player coming through an Academy.
        .
        In a country this big, there’s going to be players that slip through the cracks and college is a way to catch those players. If we can revamp the program to spread the season out and institute better training policies, I think the college game still holds an important place in our development process.

      • DK___ well argued…
        .
        ~ and it is also safe to wonder if the missing US soccer tribal culture could be cultivated at the collegiate level as we see in college football or basketball.
        .
        These potentialities like many of the others with our game stateside come back full circle to policy.

    • Cool story bro. Let’s circle up with Mr Real about his decision in 4 years when he’s a Rowdie, holding onto a career without a degree.

      • Old Soccer Coach says:

        see earlier comment about coping skills.
        .
        a degree without the toolset to make something of it is good s emergency fire-starter, if you have a match.
        .
        just sayin’

      • I’m not entirely sure I followed your folksy saying. A degree is often the minimum requirement for a job. Whether he can cope or bring other skills will determine his market value in whatever he does, but not clearing the first gate is detrimental.

      • In my opinion the experiences and skills he’ll gain from being a professional at an early age could be invaluable depending on what he wants to do if things don’t work out. Yes, a degree is a minimum requirement if he wants to work in a normal corporate job, but there are tons of avenues for jobs these days.
        .
        If he wants to work in soccer as a coach or scout, the door is wide open after a playing career no matter how short or seemingly insignificant. Also, the networking and connections he will make as a player with other players, former players, managers, agents, etc. who leave soccer and go on to do other business ventures could open doors.
        .
        If he wants to go the startup route, degrees aren’t as valuable as life experiences and this kid will likely have quite the life experience 4 years from now no matter what.
        .
        Plus he could always go back and get a degree.
        .
        I think it’s a risk for him to take when he’s leaving a free ACC education on the table, but a calculated one that hopefully won’t ruin his future. It’s still ultimately up to him to make the most of his opportunities and experiences (both sporting and otherwise). I just don’t think his future is crushed if things don’t work out.
        .
        It comes back to the coping skills that the YSC teachers are able to develop for these kids that OSC mentioned. Failing as a pro soccer player, doesn’t mean failure at life. He will still have a ton of opportunities if things don’t work out with soccer.

      • Yeah man or on transfer to Cruz Azul.
        ~
        Or starting LB for Union.
        Or betting on himself abroad.
        Or injured and out of the game.
        Or in college at Franklin Marshall.
        Or studying Geography at West Chester.
        Or pursuing his college degree in the offseason.
        .
        Come on– Good Grief.
        .
        Do you really think he will have regret?
        .

      • Yes if his free education is now $200k retail.

  5. 6 degrees of separation: a coworker’s brother grew up friends with Real’s dad. Says they’re great people. Dad apparently was born in Brazil and moved to Philly area when he was young. Played the game, too. Exciting to have quality home grown talent signing up with the club.

  6. Old Soccer Coach says:

    Apropos of nothing above particularly,
    .
    An article went up on the MLS website long after Ed posted “Daily News Roundup” (11:00 AM this morning) that gives the MLSsoccer staff’s understanding of the current Union roster. And all the other rosters. Gives international slots, DPs, GAs, lists the unsigned draft choices.
    .
    Quite the useful snapshot.
    .
    http://www.mlssoccer.com/rosters/2017
    .
    Ed Farnsworth, I have no interest in competing with your dedicated, daily, highly useful service to us readers.

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