Daily news roundups

Union sign Konopka, fracas in CR, new pro ref organization, more news

Philadelphia Union

The Union announced on Friday morning the signing of goalkeeper Chris Konopka.

From the Department of Is It March 12 Yet, handbags in Costa Rica between the Union and Belen resulted in the abandonment of team’s final scrimmage game with them down 2–0 in the first half. Here’s coverage from:

  • The Goalkeeper: “A spokesperson for the Union said that the team declined to comment on the matter.”
  • Brotherly Game: “There is little context for what actual caused the scuffle to occur.”
  • The  700 Level: “Overall, not the worst thing to happen in a preseason outing for a club that could probably benefit from some team-building.”
  • Deadspin: “Preseason friendly called after not-so-friendly fight”
  • Rant Sports: “Do you want to make your own Philadelphia joke or should I?”
  • The Original Winger: “it seems like things got a little out of hand.”
  • USA Today: “the Philadelphia Union’s exhibition match against A.D. Belen unraveled into fisticuffs following some rough play on and off the ball.”

The team is due to return to Philly on Saturday.

The authenticity of new footage from a group called the Batley Townswomen’s Guild could not be verified.

The Guardian previews the Eastern conference and sees the Union finishing fifth. The preview says “There’s been plenty of upheaval for Philadelphia in the off-season” (don’t we know it) and singles out Danny Mwanga: “now off the Generation Adidas list and onto the payroll proper, there’s a lot of pressure on the young striker to produce” (don’t he/we know it). In case you’re wondering, the Guardian has Kansas City finishing first, followed by Houston, New York and Chicago.

An Achilles injury makes it likely that Conor Casey will not be available when Colorado comes to town for the home opener on March 18.

Local

Starfinder Foundation has received a $50,000 grant from Walmart. I try not to give Walmart my money but I’m happy Starfinder is getting some of theirs.

Former Lower Dauphin High School star goalkeeper and Hummelstown, PA-native Bill Gaudette has signed with the LA Galaxy. Gaudette began his professional career with Columbus Crew before moving on to the Puerto Rico Islanders and Montreal Impact.

Midfielder Luke Mulholland was with Reading United in the PDL in 2010, the USL Pro’s Wilmington Hammerheads and the NASL’s Minnesota Stars in 2011, and has just signed with the NASL’s FC Tampa Bay. He talks about his journey on the Reading United site.

Ocean City Nor’easters coach Steve Thurlby was named Fall 2011 Sportsmanship Award by the South Jersey Soccer League for his work with the Mainland United Nor’easters U14 Boys team. The Nor’easters will be holding Super-Y League tryouts for 2012 summer teams on March 10 and March 24 for boys U-9 through U-14 and on March 11 and March 25 for girls U-9 through U-14.

The Eastern Pennsylvania Youth Soccer Workshop will be taking place at United Sports on Saturday, March  3 from 9am-12pm. Tickets will be available at the door and kids get in for free.

MLS

US Soccer, the Canadian Soccer Association and MLS will announce next week the formation of the Professional Referees Organization (PRO). Modeled on England’s Professional Game Match Officials Board (PGMOB), the new organization will be financially independent and aimed at improving the quality of professional refereeing. PRO will be led by Peter Walton, and English referee with 15 years experience officiating Premier League games.

Here’s a look at roster moves made around the league on Thursday, Roster Compliance deadline day. A notice on the MLS website notes, “While a club may continue to add or release players from its roster or training camp, the club’s official roster—players under contract—must remain within the MLS roster guidelines.”

The league will hold its waiver draft today at 3pm. In addition to Nizar Khalfan, who was recently released by the Union, Lee Nguyen, the US international released on Thursday by Vancouver after being picked up a few months ago via lottery, is among those available.

Houston Dynamo supporters group The Texian Army offers a very reasoned response to the recent sanctions placed on Dynamo supporters groups by MLS.

Don Garber was in Orlando on Thursday to discuss the possibility of the city becoming the league’s 20th franchise. “Orlando had never been on our list in the past,” he said. “It’s on our list now.” Garber also compared the fan rally he attended to the one he held with the Sons of Ben before Philadelphia was awarded a franchise. “This is an amazing statement about what is happening with soccer in America.”

The Minnesota Vikings have reached a $975 million deal with local and state officials to build a new stadium. Vikings owner Zygi Wilf told a news conference that the stadium could be the future home of a new MLS franchise.

Women’s Pro Soccer

Boston Breakers have signed Australian internationals Kyah Simon and Tameka Butt and U.S. U-23 defender Bianca D’Agostino. D’Agostino was selected by Philadelphia Independence in the 2011 WPS Draft but later signed with Atlanta Beat.

US

The USWNT faces Norway today at 10am in Algarve Cup play. You can follow the action with US Soccer’s Match Tracker.

Asked how excited fans should be about the new faces Jurgen Klinsmann is bringing into the US squad, Tim Howard responds, “Very. They’ve been fantastic. They’ve come in and been a breath of fresh air. We were a team that was getting older and we needed to freshen up. Jurgen has brought in some wonderful new faces. They’re hungry, eager and the best bunch of guys you could wish to be around. And they feel a sense of urgency to prove their worth. Jurgen has trusted them and they’d done well to take the bull by the horns and show him they’re ready.”

Soccer America says, “The bounce of beating Italy will resurface in a few months, when a run of three more friendlies leading into the June 8 start of qualifying rekindles those good feelings.”

The Guardian presents a list of the top five USA wins.

Player ratings from the Washington Post of the win over Mexico (you’ll need to scroll down the page a bit).

Sporting News says the U-23 win over Mexico makes them a favorite to advance out of the CONCACAF Olympic qualifying tournament, which begins for the US against Cuba on March 22.

U-23 coach Caleb Porter talks about trimming the roster down to 20 before the final camp starts on March 13. “We’ve been starting to trim the group down of course. The selections we’re making are based on our system and our style and executing the way we want to play. It’s not just the best players. It’s the best team we need to have balance at every position.”

Goal.com looks at the different Leap Day fortunes of the USA and Mexico teams.

Elsewhere

Soccer’s global rule making body, the International Football Association Board (IFAB), will decide on Saturday if teams can make a fourth substitution when games go into extra time after a tie in regulation time. Among other topics to be decided are the future of goal-line technology and the wearing of Islamic headscarves by women players.

FIFA processed international transfer deals worth $3 billion in 2011.

Following an announcement last week from the Trinidad & Tobago Football Federation that it plans to sue former CONCACAF president, FIFA executive committee and well known crook Jack Warner for millions of dollars in missing funds, FIFA is examining evidence related to missing funds that were controlled by Warner for earthquake relief in Haiti.

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