You will recall on Monday we linked to a story about plans to bring an MLS team to Jacksonville, Fla. Well, on Tuesday those plans were differently realized when it was announced that the Union will play a pre-season exhibition game at Jacksonville’s EverBank Field in each of the next three years. This year’s game is scheduled for Feb. 15 against an MLS opponent that will soon be announced. Some 44,000 people turned out to see the USMNT defeat Scotland 5–1 at EverBank Field last May.
The Union will be playing in the Walt Disney World Pro Soccer Classic on Feb. 9, 13, 16, and 23 so the addition of the exhibition game means the team will now have three games in four days. Hmm.
In further Florida pre-season news, the Daytona Beach News-Journal reports the Union and the city of Deltona “have cemented plans for a third consecutive spring training at the Dewey Boster Soccer Complex and are starting to look at a long-term relationship.” Danny Cruz and the Bimbo Bear will be grand marshals of Deltona’s Christmas parade on Saturday. The article refers to the Bimbo bear as “the team mascot” and says the Union “fan base” is “known as the Sons of Liberty.” Hilarious.
JP Dellacamera says the Le Toux and Parke signings are “a big step in the right direction.”
Many Union fans are wondering what will happen now that the team has four potential starting central defenders. Stressing the added flexibility this brings, John Hackworth says, “People are asking, ‘How are you going to play these guys?’ and ‘Who does that mean you play?’ From a coaching standpoint, we really don’t look at it like that and say, ‘OK, these are the only guys that are going to play.’ We have an extremely long season, with many ups and downs, and we need to have a very competitive choice in selecting the best players for a given game or any given stretch of games.”
Another piece on the Union website about how happy Le Toux is to be back with the Union. You’ve read all of the quotes from Friday’s press conference already.
LAG Confidential has a history piece on the Philadelphia Ukrainians’ US Open Cup series against the St. Andrew Scots of Detroit.
On Tuesday, some 54 college seniors were invited to the 2013 MLS Combine. Of the 54, eight—14 percent—are Reading United alumni, which, you must admit, is pretty fecking cool. They are Will Bates, Greg Cochrane, Ian Christianson, Ryan Finley, Jose Gomez, Scott Goodwin, Eric Schoenle, and Paul Wyatt.
The Eastern Pennsylvania US Open Cup qualification match between United German Hungarians and Predators has been rescheduled for Sunday, Dec. 16 at 2pm. UGH is the host.
La Salle’s Courtney Niemiec has been named the Eastern College Athletic Conference Defender of the Year. She has also been named, along with teammate Renee Washington, to the ECAC All-Star Team.
Danny Mwanga has signed a new contract with the Portland Timbers.
Benny Feilhaber will now be earning cards against the Union for Sporting Kansas City. In exchange, New England Revolution received allocation money and KC’s first round 2014 SuperDraft pick and 2015 SuperDraft second round pick.
At Goal.com, Kyle McCarthy says Kansas City will be a better fit for Feilhaber.
Speaking of Kansas City, 2012 MLS Defemder of the Year Matt Bessler has re-signed with the team.
Soccer America looks at some of the scheduling issues facing the league in 2013. Also of note is this line: “Most teams will start preseason camp on the same day or just after MLS conducts its annual SuperDraft.” That’s Jan. 17, people!
The New York Times has a very interesting article about how MLS has been keeping track of possible Central and South American transfer targets by recording video from games (Honduras, Costa Rica, Colombia and Ecuador, as well as the Copa Libertadores and Copa Sudaméricana are specifically mentioned). The league is in negotiations with Opta to provide player data from the games. Says MLS vice president of player relations and competition Lino DiCuollo , “The idea is to take the next step and combine data with the video.”
Las Vegas will host the Major League Soccer Challenge and International Classic featuring the Colorado Rapids on Feb. 15-17. Presumably other teams will be announced soon.
The New York Cosmos announced their first signing, defender Carlos Mendes, formerly of the MetroStars, Red Bulls, and most recently of Columbus Crew. The Crew aren’t surprised the 31-year-old Long Island native opted to sign with the Cosmos rather than re-sign with them.
VSI Flames, the group behind the proposed soccer specific stadium in Tampa, unveiled plans about the proposa at their annual meeting on Tuesday. The Tampa Bay Times says, “People attending the event said the presentation did not stray much from news media reports of grand plans that include a stadium somewhere near the heart of Tampa, a $250 million sports medicine center and a $50 million sports complex with practice fields and a mini-stadium. In other words, there was no great reveal of where the group would get its money.”
Nike is replacing Umbro as the new sponsor of the USL.
The Star-Ledger reports, the new professional league “likely to be called the Women’s Professional Soccer Association.”
The new Washington DC club in the WPSA has unveiled their new name, website, home field, and head coach. The Washington Spirit, which played as Washington Freedom in the WUSA and WPS and as DC United Women in the W-League, will continue to call Championship Stadium at the Maryland SoccerPlex in Germantown, Md. its home field. Mike Jordan, who led United Women to a W-League Eastern Conference title (with a regular season record of 11-0-1) and a third-place finish in the league championships last year, will continue as head coach.
The Portland Timbers-backed franchise in the new league will announce the name and logo of their team on Thursday.
The Philadelphia Fever of the WPSL have announced Seamus O’Connor as their new head coach.
The USWNT plays China tonight in the second leg of a three game series (8:30pm, FSC).
Here’s a look at how what Tom Sermanni is doing as he prepares to take over the USWNT.
The Zambia FA is planning to present evidence to FIFA that Godfrey Chitalu scored 107 goals in 1972, more than the officially recognized record of 85 set by Gerd Muller in that year and surpassed by Lionel Messi last weekend.