Photo: Nick Waters
Porfirio Lopez describes what he will bring to the Union: “Having a winning mentality is the most important thing in soccer. I’m going to try to bring my experiences and positive attitude into the group. Without a doubt, winning championships is the priority.”
Lopez says of Josue Martinez, “We played a lot of games against each other. Josué is a natural born goal-scorer. He’s going to add a lot to the offense and make things difficult for opposing defenses.”
Danny Califf says of Lopez, “We essentially kept the back line pretty much intact. We added a left back with a true left foot [López], which will maybe give Gabe [Farfan] a chance to move into the midfield where he’s a little more comfortable. I really hope we can be the rock for the team again this year and build from the back forward.”
Peter Nowak describes Lionard Pajoy’s versatility: “He’s not just a pure box player, and he’s not just a poacher. He’s all over the place and he’s very mobile, and he can always create something for whoever he’s going to play with up top with.”
The Union have announced number assignments for its new players: Gabriel Gomez – 6; Chandler Hoffman – 12; Josue Martinez – 17; Jimmy McLaughlin – 20; Nizar Khalfan – 22; Lionard Pajoy – 23; Porfirio Lopez – 24; Raymon Gaddis – 29.
The Union also announced the following changes: Carlos Vades goes from No. 5 to No. 2; Jack McInerney from No. 19 to No. 9; Keon Daniel from No. 17 to No. 26.
What’s the take on the Union’s offseason from the perspective of this Chicago Fire blog? “Talk about a team that has gone backwards during the off-season… it looks like Philadelphia will have a long season of adjusting and gelling ahead of them.”
Some twenty Union academy players have committed to colleges. So long as they meet MLS standards while in college, they are all eligible to sign Home Grown Player contracts with the Union.
A local who is a student at Maryland’s Washington College student describes the trek he and a friend made to see Manchester City play Tottenham. The advice given to them by a bartender should they run in to any trouble? “If anybody gives you a hard-time, just say you are from Philadelphia with American accents, and you’ll be fine.” It’s always worked for me. Well, except for that time back in 1984 when I was beaten up by three rockers in a pinball arcade in Perth, Western Australia for being a mod. Good times.
Villanova senior women’s soccer player Katie Ryan has been awarded the the BIG EAST Conference and American Eagle Outfitters scholarship to pursue graduate studies.
The acquisition of two former Union players, Sebastien Le Toux and Brad Knighton, are a big part of why Vancouver make this list of offseason winners.
The Throw-In examines the potential impact players from Panama could have on the league.
Thierry Henry’s stay with Arsenal is not being extended.
Dynamo fans are getting excited about their new stadium.
Goal.com asks if, because high profile targets like Nicolas Anelka and Luca Toni chose to go elsewhere, the league is “falling behind?” I ask Goal.com, “Are you serious?”
Soccer America says the success of Robbie Keane’s loan to Aston Villa strengthens the image of MLS in Europe.
Wesley Sneijder says of a move to MLS, “A spell in the USA? That is something I think about, but only in the future…We will surely discuss this in the future, but not now.”
While a new court filing from Dan Borislow on Monday threatens to ensure the ongoing legal battle that forced the cancellation of the 2012 season will not be going away any time soon, the 2012 plans of the WPS clubs are becoming clearer.
Boston Breakers and Western New York Flash have committed to join the WPSL Elite Division along with former WPS club Chicago Red Stars and FC Indiana. West Coast teams from San Diego, Los Angeles, Sacramento, the Bay Area and Seattle are expected to join the new league in 2013. While teams in the Elite Division will not officially be professional teams, professional and amateur players will be able rostered. WPSL president Jerry Zanelli says the new Elite Division both helps WPS players maintain fitness and form against quality opposition and lays the groundwork for an already planned semi pro WPSL league. “We already had plans for the semi-pro league in 2013 when this opportunity presented itself. We certainly feel it is a good idea. It fits into our plans and we feel it fits into the WPS’s plans as well by allowing their players to stay sharp.”
The new league is expected to have between eight and ten teams based in the East Coast and Midwest for the 2012 season, which should run from mid-April through August.
Boston Breakers president Michael Stoller says, “We are delighted that Jerry and the WPSL and current teams were able to accommodate both our desire to keep our team together and play in 2012 along with the Western New York Flash and that teams were able to so quickly step up and commit to an elite league. We continue to work hard toward a relaunch of the WPS in 2013.”
Sky Blue has announced that it will be traveling to Japan for a ten-day training tour that will include two exhibition games against Plenus Nadeshiko League club INAC Kobe Leonessa. Says Sky Blue president Thomas Hofstetter of the trip, ” “It demonstrates the role that WPS plays internationally in women’s professional soccer, and it serves in our continued effort to establish WPS as a well recognized brand.”
So far, the plans of the Philadelphia Independence include running clinics and camps in 2012. While this is surely important work both in terms of keeping the team’s name out there and in supporting youth soccer, Independence fans are certain to be disappointed that the team will not be joining other WPS teams in the WPSL Elite Division.
Here is an absolutely heartwarming story about the how one WPS player and a family developed a charity in which women athletes donate personally signed and decorated sports bras to raise money at auction for breast cancer research. It’s a brilliant idea and you can learn more about it at www.facebook.com/mzemmers .
The USMNT will host Brazil at FedEx Field in Landover, MD on Wednesday, May 29. Kickoff is at 8pm and the game will be broadcast on ESPN2, ESPN3 and Univision. Tickets go on sale on Friday, Feb. 17 at 10am.
Saturday’s USWNT friendly against New Zealand at 4pm will be streamed live at USSoccer.com. The match, which is taking place at FC Dallas Stadium, is practically a sellout.
Need an incentive to watch Saturday’s game? Take a look at this photo of Alex Morgan from the upcoming Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue. That’s right, that isn’t a bikini, it’s body paint. She’s as lovely a woman as she is a deadly finisher.
The USWNT will travel to Japan to face the 2011 World Cup winners and Brazil in the newly formed three-nation Women’s Kirin Challenge Cup tournament. The match against Japan (April 1, 6:30am) will be available live on ESPN2 and ESPN3. The April 3 match against Brazil will be live on ESPN3 at a time to be determined.
The US Soccer Development Academy is expected to announce this morning a new ten-month schedule that will prohibit players in elite clubs from participating in high school soccer. The schedule will run from September though June. I can’t help but think if youth soccer can align itself with the international calendar, why can’t MLS?
Tony Meola tweeted about the expected announcement, “The rule kills the kids HS social culture in sports.” He said his best friends today are still his high school teammates.
The FA have been forced to defend the appointment of Stuart Pearce as interim manager of England following Fabio Capello’s resignation. Pierce allegedly racially abused Paul Ince during a match in 1994 and his brother is a prominent member of the extreme right wing British Nationalist Party. Pearce long ago apologized to Ince and has repeatedly distanced himself from his brother’s political views. When his brother ran for the BNP in the European elections in 2009, Pearce said, “My brother’s political views are his own and are not in any way reflected in my own views.”
The favorite to take over the England job, Harry Redknapp, says he will not combine managing Tottenham with managing the England team. “I can’t take my eye off the ball at Tottenham at the moment because we’re looking to get Champions League football, we’re still in the FA Cup and I owe it to them to continue to keep completely focused on the job I’m doing here,” Redknapp said. “It wouldn’t be fair to anybody here if I started to let my thoughts wander elsewhere.”
Here’s a fascinating look at former USMNT coach Bob Bradley in Egypt as coach of that country’s national team in the wake of last week’s riot.
That’s right, he ate all the pies. Former Brazil star and current Corinthians player Adriano has been restricted to team’s hotel after ordering him to go on a strict diet to try to get the forward back in shape.
What to you get when you combine tazers and soccer? Ultimate Tazer Ball, of course. Whether it is real, or a hoax, it is really stupid.