Photo: Earl Gardner
All of us at PSP wish you and yours a happy and safe New Year.
Well, we said the rumors weren’t over.
As reported by Deportes.terra.cl, and confirmed by the club, that Carlos Valdes will begin preseason training with Independiente Santa Fe on Jan. 3 while awaiting a decision from MLS about a six-month loan to the Colombian club (Crappy Google translation of terra.cl report here. Crappy Google translation of IndependienteSantaFe.co report here.)
You will recall that last year preseason training began for the Union on Jan. 25. With the 2013 season starting at home on March 2, a week and a half earlier than the March 12 start in Portland last year, we can reasonably expect that the Union’s preseason may begin closer to the 2013 SuperDraft on Jan. 17. So, if a loan deal does not happen, Valdes gets a couple weeks head start on his fitness.
ProSoccerTalk puts the Union at No. 3 in their assessment of which MLS teams have done the most to improve their prospects with December offseason moves.
Union academy goalkeeper Zack Steffen, who also has played with the US U-17 and U-20 teams, is profiled in this piece at MLSsoccer.com from Dave Zeitlin. A practical shoo-in for a Homegrown Player contract, Steffen would first like to continue his career at University of Maryland, where he will begin classes in the fall. “I just want to go to college first and see what leads from there. But it would be pretty sweet to play for the Union just because it’s your hometown and Philadelphia is close and all the fans love the team.”
In a review of the year’s soccer happenings at Sporting News, Brian Straus names Peter Nowak the Most Depressing Story of the Year. Straus writes,
“Accusations that Nowak forced injured players to train, that he was ‘orally berating and physically intimidating fellow employees’ and that he might even have improperly profited from player transactions emerged after he filed a lawsuit contesting his June dismissal.
“The truth still hasn’t been revealed, but where there’s smoke, there’s probably enough to ensure that Nowak never will coach again in MLS.”
Kensington-born National Soccer Hall of Famer Benny McLaughlin passed away last Thursday at the age of 84. A true Philly soccer legend.
SBI reports that Reading United alumni Ryan Finley “has signed a senior contract with MLS.” Fellow Reading United alumni Deshorn Brown “has been offered a contract, and is expected to sign, but sources tell SBI he has yet to reach an agreement.”
FIFA president Sepp Blatter made comments in an interview with Al Jazeera that resulted in more than a few raised eyebrows among US soccer fans.
Asked whether he is optimistic about the sport’s prospects in China and the US, Blatter said, “The problem in the United States is a little bit different. Soccer, as they call football there, is the most popular game in the youth. It’s not American football or baseball, it is soccer. But there is no very strong professional league, they have just the MLS. They have not professional leagues that are recognized by the American society. It is a question of time, I thought, when we had the World Cup in 1994, but now we are 18 years in and it should have been done now. They are still struggling.” (The video above is cued up to begin playing just before his response to the question.)
As Steve Davis writes at ProSoccerTalk, “At this point, does anyone take Sepp Blatter seriously?”
Could Tim Cahill be going on loan to Sunderland?
Could Richard Dunne soon be a Red Bull?
SBI has a video list of the Top 5 USMNT goals of 2012.
The Bolton News reports that Stuart Holden could be ready to return to first team action within a month.
The Guardian has a big list with video links of the best goals of the year from around the world. It’s the perfect way to waste time at work before you leave early ahead of tonight’s New Year’s Eve celebrations.
After a year-long suspension in the wake of the terrible events at a match in the city of Port Said that saw 74 dead on Feb. 1, the Egyptian Premier League will resume play on Feb. 2, 2013.