Photo: Daniel Gajdamowicz
Several Union players talk about preseason training at YSC SPorts last week. The team landed in Orlando on Sunday.
Danny Califf, acknowledging that only he and Brian Carroll are the only players remaining on the Union who are older than 27, tells MLSsoccer.com that he hopes the club signs a few more veterans before the start of the season. “In any sport, there’s always a period of the season when things hit the skids a little bit. It’s those times when you need guys who don’t get all panicked and that know you’ll be able to right the ship at some point. That’s gonna fall a lot on Brian and I, but hopefully in the near future we can add a couple of guys who will make it a little bit easier on us.” Only Califf, Carroll and Freddy Adu have played more than two seasons in MLS.
Regarding the article quoted above, on the MLS site, the article is titled, “Califf to don Philadelphia armband, but wants backup.” The same article on the Union website has tilted, “Califf hopes leadership burden will be shared in 2012.” One article, but the title on the league website suggests one message, the title on the Union website suggests another.
MLSsoccer.com wonders if Peter Nowak has a “fan insurrection on his hands” after the Sebastien Le Toux trade. “Le Toux’s frustration with the situation has helped prompt a wave of venomous fan dissent, which could increase the pressure on Freddy Adu and the team’s other talented youngsters.”
JP Dellacamera’s otherwise laughable piece of propagandanstic puffery on the departures of Faryd Mondragon and Le Toux—regarding the overwhelmingly negative reaction to the Le Toux trade, Dellacamera helpfully writes, “All of this talk is healthy”—contains two piece of useful commentary. First, that the union need to sign a veteran goalkeeper. Second, that “end of the season is a better barometer in terms of knowing how the transactions of this past week worked out.” We shall see.
In a post at Major League Soccer Talk.com that wonders who is the best coach in MLS, Peter Nowak comes in at No. 5. The author offers such insightful analysis as, “Maybe the restructuring going on in Philadelphia is Nowak’s way to challenge himself” (You’re joking, right?), and “Building the team around a stout defense and the timely scoring of his offense, Nowak has made the club in his image and, even with the departures, Philadelphia is now a team to watch every year” (the Union, given their very existence, are indeed a team to watch every year), as well as, “Although he does not have the large number of trophies some of the others on this list have, he is undoubtedly established himself as one of the best head coaches in the league,” (This may—or may not—be true, but simply asserting so with an “undoubtedly” is laughably lame).
More than 600 job seekers showed up for Saturday’s Job Fair at PPL Park.
An article at sportsnet.ca praising Vancouver coach Martin Rennie on the transfer “savvy” he demonstrated by pulling off the Sebastien Le Toux deal says “Vancouver has brought in or kept strikers as if they’re going out of style this off-season, but Le Toux is the first with a track record of excellence in MLS.” The article continues, “While allocation money is one of those mysteries of MLS (the league never discloses how much allocation money is exchanged during transactions), it seems like a lopsided move in Vancouver’s favour assuming Le Toux can replicate his Union form with the Whitecaps,” before concluding, “Perhaps the anger of the Philadelphia fans upon hearing of the deal should be the greatest encouragement for Whitecaps supporters.”
Vancouver will play Seattle today in a scrimmage. You can follow the action to see what Le Toux does on Twitter at @WhitecapsFC.
Here’s footage of Le Toux after landing to join his new team in Arizona.
The US Soccer Foundation, the charitable arm of US Soccer, has announced the recipients of some $2.4 million in grants. Among the local recipients are Helping Hand Rescue Mission, Kensington Soccer Club, Soccer Sisters United, Starfinder Foundation The JT Dorsey Foundation, and William Trippley Youth Development. Lehigh Valley United FC is a recipient of a Synthetic Field Building Grant.
On Friday, the league filed a motion saying that US Soccer will not approve league team’s playing magicJack in exhibition games. Borislow—surprise!—disagrees. “I was going to have a team anyway you looked at it. This deal was never contingent on the USSF. The transcripts don’t lie.”
Philadelphia Independence owner David Halstead says the league never agreed to play exhibition games. “A deal where there’s exhibition games against magicJack, I don’t know much about a deal like that.” Halstead describes a series of concerns that would need to be addressed for exhibition games of any sort to happen—venue costs, concession splits, insurance concerns, transportation costs, etc.—and says, “I was never faced with those questions because there’s nothing like that that ever materialized from a standpoint of something we needed to analyze as a real settlement option.”
The Equalizer tries to explain some of the current mess, which appears to lie not with US Soccer rules but with FIFA rules.
Jerry Zanelli, commissioner of the Women’s Premier Soccer League (WPSL), the second tier of the American women’s soccer pyramid, has expressed his support of WPS. “Our country and our top female players deserve the WPS and need a high quality professional league to support our U.S. Women’s National Team. It is important that our professional level players have games to play and maintain their skills…We are reaching out to WPS to see what we can do to help…The WPSL is committed to doing everything possible to help the WPS make it through these trying times.”
Abby Wambach continues to support Dan Borislow, painted by many (PSP among them) as a prime villain in the cancellation of the 2012 season.
“I’ve always been a proponent of Dan because he and [Western New York Flash owner] Joe Sahlen stepped in at a time when we needed them. People are quick to point fingers and blame. Dan is considered the villain in this, with all the media attention it’s gotten. The truth is that the responsibility is all of ours. Nothing rises or fails with one person. We all need to step back, look at ourselves, and take responsibility for all of the things. Nobody is talking about the amazing things Dan did and how he treated his players. Everybody focuses all the attention on the negative. And that’s not how we’re going to get the WPS back and running. You can’t build something great on negativity. It has to be in a positive manner.”
Independence captain Nikki Krzysik was very surprised by the season cancellation and is still unsure what she will do in 2012. “We were getting e-mails for our preseason, and our conditioning packets. I still can’t get my head around it. I figure I’d give myself a week to wrap my head around it.”
Atlanta Beat midfielder Yael Averbuch, who was training with Krzysik when she received news of the cancellation, remains optimistic. “Maybe this year is a blessing in disguise — a time to step back, gather our resources, and realize just how important W.P.S. is to a lot of us. Let’s start preparing for the 2013 season now!”
Penn State alumni and Boston Breaker Katie Schoepfer is another player surprised by the cancellation and uncertain about what the future holds.
The Shin Guardian weighs in on the WPS situation.
The first MLS SuperDraft was held on this day in 2000. Among those picked in the first round were Danny Califf (6th), Carlos Bocanegra (4th) and Bobby Convey (12th).
Kyle McCarthy has a thought-provoking piece titled, “Generation adidas players bring short-term benefits and long-term budget concerns.”
Portland Timbers, the Union’s first opponent of the season, have moved their preseason to LA. There they will play four games over the next 10-days against the Galaxy, Montreal, Houston and Chicago. During the same period, the Union will play Florida Gulf Coast University, University of Central Florida and Orlando City.
Arsenal may try to extend Thierry Henry’s loan. Bet you didn’t see that coming.
Speaking of the Red Bulls, an Essex County judge has ruled that the team must pay the city of Harrison $3.7 million in back taxes and interest. The Red Bulls say they will appeal.
David Beckham admitted on British TV that he recently received a red card for arguing a ref’s decision—at a youth game. “I was watching the kids play the other day, it was the game just before they were playing. It was the younger kids of Romeo’s club, and they’re playing in the game and there was a penalty given. And the kids are 7 years old and he sent the kid off.’ And I was like, ‘Come on, he’s 7 years old, Referee, you can’t send him off.’ And he looked at me and was like, ‘Yes, I can.’ And I was like, ‘O.K., well, you can’t, he’s 7 years old.’ And he came over and gave me a red card. He told me to get out of the park. For real. The gate was only 20 yards away and I waited and went back in when my son’s game was on.”
The Impact may set a new record for attendance at a soccer game in Montreal with their home opener against Chicago Fire on March 17. The previous record of 58,542 was set in 1981 by the NASL’s Montreal Manic. The Impact sold more than 25,000 tickets in less than 48 hours after individual tickets went on sale this week.
On Friday it was announced that the Quebec Labour Federation Solidarity Fund has invested $7.5 million into the Impact. The investment includes ”part of the ownership as well as some visibility” as a sponsor.
Roger Allaway takes a brief look at some of the oldest soccer specific stadiums in the US.
Manchester United’s Rio Ferdinand thanks Chelsea supporters via Twitter for booing him during Sunday’s comeback draw, tweeting, “I got booed by the CFC fans today — well done guys. Thanks for inspiring me & the lads! That’s like fuel to me! TeamSpirit.”
Chelsea manager Andre Villas-Boas says it was wrong for fans to boo Ferdinand.
Between the ongoing racism scandals in England and the riot in Egypt, Steven Cohen wonders if soccer has lost its human decency.
Sepp Blatter will seek to reinstate Egyptian football officials dismissed by the Egyptian government after last week’s football riot, calling the dismissals “direct interference” in football matters.