Daily news roundups / Featured

The letter, depth, new numbers & fonts, NWSL draft, more news

Photo: Daniel Gajdamowicz

Don’t forget, the Union are having an open training session today at YSC Sports in Wayne. Fans are invited to attend today from 9:30am – 1pm.

Philadelphia Union

In case you missed it last night, John Hackworth confirmed in a wide-ranging letter to season ticket holders on Sunday night that the Union are trying to loan or trade Freddy Adu. In addition to that “elephant in the room,” the letter touched on a number of issues, including the Valdes loan, questions of transparency, the SuperDraft selections and recent signings, and the team’s tactical style in 2013. It’s a must read.

SBI writes of the Adu situation,

Adu has played his last game with the Union. What remains now is just how the Union will ship off their most expensive player.

The Union pushed Adu to renegotiate his contract, but there was little motivation for Adu to change his deal considering he is on a guaranteed deal in 2013 at a salary between $600,000 and $800,000.

The Union have tried to shop Adu within MLS, but his salary made a deal within the league all but impossible. That leaves Philadelphia with the option of finding a foreign club to take Adu off their hands (or for Adu to find a foreign club that will be a good fit for him).

The club also announced the signings of left back Damani Richards and forward Aaron Wheeler on Saturday.

John Hackworth tells Dave Zeitlin that because the Union didn’t have a first round pick in Thursday’s SuperDraft, he didn’t approach the draft looking to fill immediate needs. Which begs the question: Will those needs be filled by new signings like those announced on Saturday?

Or is the question really already answered? For example, in Sunday’s letter to season ticket holders Hackworth calls new signing Damani Richards “a true left back” with more “potential to be developed than any left back we saw in the draft.” Tuesday’s Supplemental Draft could result in some fine picks. Today’s open training session could reveal some interesting trialists.  And with speculation that Don Anding might be converted into a left back come these words from fellow draftee Stephen Okai:

I play defensive midfielder. I’m a holding player, sort of like Michael Essien who was with Chelsea and plays for Real Madrid now. That’s the kind of style I play. I’m sort of a utility guy—it doesn’t really matter. I can play right back, left back, anywhere the coach needs me, I’ll do what he wants me to do.”

The quote comes from an interview that Kevin Kinkead did with Okai that’s on the Union website. Give it a read—Okai sounds like someone who could quickly become a fan favorite.

Roger Torres says that, while he received interest from other clubs in the offseason, he is “squarely” with the Union (crappy Google translation here). With Adu out, the prospect of Torres finding a place squarely in the Union’s starting line-up would seem to have dramatically improved.

With the announcement of the Aaron Wheeler and Damani Richards signings comes some jersey number news. Wheeler will take the No. 12 shirt worn in 2012 by Chandler Hoffman, who is now No. 17. Richards will be No. 22. Cristhian Hernandez will be No. 23 and Conor Casey will be No. 6. In case you are wondering—and this is no surprise given Hackworth’s letter—Freddy Adu is still listed without a number  on the team roster on the Union website.

Speaking of numbers, Here’s the new jersey number font for 2013. (H/t @DOOPist.)

At the Guardian, Graham Parker says, “Philadelphia have made some intriguing off-season changes. A lot hinges on an injury free Conor Casey and a revived Sebastien Le Toux, but Hackworth is beginning to get the side he wants rather than the one he inherited.”

MLS

Jonathan Tannenwald has an interesting piece on a seminar at last week’s NSCAA Convention about the league’s player personnel system.

Here’s some by-the-numbers trivia from the SuperDraft.

Brek Shea to Stoke?

The LA Galaxy says a Goal.com report that says a Frank Lampard deal is imminent is untrue.

Thierry Henry says he wants to play for another two years. He didn’t say if that meant with New York.

Chicago Fire midfielder Pavel Pardo has announced his retirement.

US Soccer Players looks at some of the challenges that MLS faces in its goal to become one of the world’s elite leagues by 2022.

More on the Cascadia Cup controversy from one of its founders.

At Goal.com, Seth Vertelney wonders if MLS will ever have major TV ratings.

NWSL

US Soccer recaps Friday’s college draft.

Three players from the Philadelphia region were selected in the draft, Penn State’s Christine Nairn and Maddy Evans and Princeton’s Jen Hoy.

The Equalizer talks to NWSL executive director Cheryl Bailey about what’s next for the teams in the league, namely a supplemental draft and free agent signings. The report says the 2013 schedule could be released as early as Feb. 1 with opening day expected to be April 13.

The Equalizer also talks to new USWNT coach Tom Sermanni about the new league and the national team. The guy has a good sense of humor, that’s for sure.

In case you missed it, Point Pleasant, NJ’s Christie Rampone was allocated to Sky Blue FC.

US

The USMNT will play Club Tijuana in a closed-door scrimmage on Tuesday.

In the upcoming Algarve Cup tournament (March 6-13), the USWNT will be in Group B along with Iceland, China and Sweden. Sweden is now coached by former USWNT head coach Pia Sundhage.

The press release on the Algarve Cup draw also includes information about how to view the games, which will be available online from Al Bann Media. You can purchase a package to see all three of the USWNT’s group stage games plus their placement match for $9.99 or purchase individual games for $3.49

The New York Times looks back to the failed experiment that was the NASL’s Team America.

At ESPN, Kristen Heneage recounts Stuart Holden’s return to first team action with Bolton.

Dempsey (and Altidore).

Elsewhere

At CNN, James Montague traces Fuad Ibrahim’s path from US national youth team phenomenon to MLS washout to playing for the Ethiopian national team in the Africa Cup of Nations.

11 Comments

  1. Money is money but I find it strange that a professional athlete would chose to further destroy his charred by sitting out an entire season. I don’t think that’s a good idea for him or the team.

  2. I still feel that Adu has something to offer the team. It is not his fault that the team brought in Billy King to negotiate contracts and agreed to pay him the salary that they did. That being said, if I’m the Union, I loan him outside of the country (even if they have to pay most of his salary). God forbid they give him to another MLS team and “light goes on” and he becomes productive.

  3. A couple of comments here. Do we really want the MLS to be an elite league by 2022? In order for that to happen, we would either need owners who are willing to take a loss or ticket prices would need to skyrocket in order to pay top tier salaries. I’m not sure I like the latter idea.

    Also, it is pretty clear that Roger Torres should be the next captain. After all, he’s the player with the best chance to be sent to Columbia next off season like we’ve seen the last two years :-)

  4. Gordon Strachan says:

    Yes and with about half the DP spots in the league filled we are lagging in this category

  5. If I am approaching this situation on behalf of Freddy, I advise him to sit tight and keep cashing his checks. He is young, has international experience and will be signed by somebody. Further, he has the ability to sell himself off of loan arrangements at a discount to the borrowing club by telling them that the Union will be happy to clear roster space, and pay a significant portion of his tab. If I am the borrowing club, I see no benefit to jumping in and working a trade for anything of any value. (If it was baseball, this might be the trade for a bag of balls that people joke about.) The Union has made it clear that he is not going to play here, and that they are willing to pay him to sit; why would I 1) help the Union management out of a mistake, if he is absolutely not useful, or 2) do anything but wait until the Union tries to get any kind of help whatsoever, and present a lowball offer? This is why I have been trying to figure my way through the public denigration of the asset; except for hurting the value of the asset that you are trying to move, there is really nothing except for personal insult to Freddy as a benefit to the public statements.

    • Maybe they see Freddy as the problem. Perhaps he is unwilling to move on without an equally lucrative deal. So they are trying to get him out the door and sending a clear message.

  6. Pingback: Presser video, draft reaction, trialists named, Parke scores, no Gold Cup games for Philly, more news

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