Photo: Earl Gardner
A report from the Daytona Beach News-Journal says it “appears likely” that the Union’s partnership with Deltona, home of the team’s preseason training for the past two years, is ending. The reason? “League rules preclude teams from training within 75 miles of another team’s home, and Orlando is planning to build a soccer stadium to accommodate an expansion club.”
A club spokesperson tells PSP, “We will be announcing our preseason plans this week.”
While the Union will be looking to add three or four new signings in the offseason to bolster the team for 2014, John Hackworth says the team’s young core will be the key to its future success. Hackworth tells Dave Zeitlin in an article at MLSsoccer.com, “We have to add the pieces that are essential for us to take the next step. But for the most part, our young core of players is going to lead the direction…If you look on the whole for the last two seasons, we’ve started a young roster and had a young team. And you add Antoine [Hoppenot], [Michael] Farfan, Danny Cruz – people don’t realize those guys are the same age or younger. We have a lot of those guys on our team. They all continue to do well and if we can keep that core together and make some adjustments here and there, we’re going to continue to grow.”
Zac MacMath says in the report, “The young guys that we have are all really good guys. We’re still inexperienced as players but we’ve taken a lot away from the last couple of years. If we can stick together, having that core group will definitely help the team in the future.”
Jack McInerney adds, “This team really works on youth and building it up. The first two years of the draft, we all came through and right now it’s kind of paying off for them. We’re getting better and better each year. The expectations weren’t that high this year, but I think we kind of made them seem higher than they should have been. So it’s a good sign, especially going into next year with all the experience we gained from his year.”
Sheanon Williams was named to Goal.com’s Best XI second team, Amobi Okugo to the third team.
In the Union Academy team’s games over the weekend, the U-14s drew 1-1 with the New York Red Bulls U-14s on Saturday. The team lost 2-0 to Florida’s Weston FC on Sunday. The U-16s and U-18s faced Maryland’s Bethesda SC on Saturday, the U-16s drawing 0-0 and the U-18s losing 2-0.
Former Union Academy goalkeeper Zach Steffens was in goal for the University of Maryland’s 1-0 win over Virginia to claim the Atlantic Coast Conference championship on Saturday. He had to make only one save in the game, and that came from a shot from fellow Academy alumni Darius Madison.
The Brotherly Game has a roundup of how other former Union Academy players have been doing in the college game.
The Brotherly Game reviews Sheanon Williams’ 2013 season.
Former Union midfielder Freddy Adu has been getting much press lately and what he has been getting hasn’t been exactly good. A week after the news that Bahai would not be bringing him back for another season, here’s the intro to an article at Grantland on the kind of work fringe players need to do to make the US World Cup squad:
In January 2006, Freddy Adu was 16 years old and training with the United States senior team for the first time. Head coach Bruce Arena called the starlet into the team’s January camp, a three-week training stint that played a massive role in determining who would make the roster for the upcoming summer’s World Cup in Germany. Adu’s youth and inexperience made him a long shot to earn a spot, but he had a chance to impress.
The talented teen did exactly the opposite.
On one of the first days, the coaching staff set up a course around three fields and told the players to run as far as they could in 20 minutes. It was a test of fitness, obviously, but also one of commitment. How much pain would individual players put themselves through? Landon Donovan and Frankie Hejduk, always the two most fit men in the player pool, easily outpaced their teammates. The rest of the group, a mixture of players with virtually assured spots and others who were desperate to impress Arena and his staff, extended in a long line around the green pathway.
And then there was Adu. He was dead last, even behind assistant coaches Glenn Myernick and Curt Onalfo, who were jogging.
“I was so pissed at him. I remember thinking, Just fucking put it in and you get to go to the biggest tournament in the world. You’ll remember it forever,” Jimmy Conrad, a former national teamer and current host on KICKTV who participated in the run, told me over the phone last week. “He was a guy who thought he was a shoo-in but didn’t put the work in. Thankfully, he got left off because that would have been disrespectful to guys who were working hard.”
The Drexel men’s team captured its first-ever Colonial Athletic Association title on Saturday with a 1-0 win over William & Mary. Freshmen defender Jason Detweiler scored the winner in the 26th minute. It was his first-ever collegiate goal.
The Penn men’s team defeated Harvard 2-0 on Saturday to claim its eighth Ivy League championship, its first since 2008. Duke Lacroix, who played for the Ocean City Nor’easters last season, scored the second goal.
With the wins, Drexel and Penn earn berths in the NCAA tournament, the draw for which will take place today at noon.
The La Salle women’s team is out of the NCAA tournament after falling 2-0 to Georgetown on Saturday. A press release from the school says, “The senior class will graduate as the most winning class in program history, having experienced three consecutive NCAA tournament appearances and back-to-back Atlantic 10 titles.”
The Cabrini College women’s team is out of the NCAA Division III tournament after falling 5-0 to William Smith College. This year the team was the Colonial States Athletic Conference champion for the third straight season.
Holy Ghost Prep defeated West Allegheny 1-0 in overtime to capture the PIAA Class AA boys’ soccer state championship.
The Neshaminy girls’ team defeated Spring-Ford 2-1 in overtime to win the PIAA Class AAA state championship on Saturday to finish the season undefeated at 25-0. Outstanding!
Lehigh County’s Central Valley High School girls’ team defeated Trinity 2-1 to claim the PIAA Class AA title.
Lancaster County’s Conestoga Valley fell 4-0 to Upper St. Clair in the PIAA Class AAA state championship final.
Chivas USA lost 1-0 to PDL-side FC Tucson in the opening game at the new Kino Sports Complex North Stadium with the winning goal coming from a 17-year-old high school player. Insert punchline here. Former Union man Gabriel Farfan came into the game as a substitute in the 58th minute and picked up a yellow card 14 minutes later.
New York plan to rest Thierry Henry more in 2014.
At ESPN, Jason Davis on the transition of CJ Sapong and Teal Bunbury from the next big thing to role players.
DC United and Philadelphia 76ers owner Erick Thohir has been appointed as chairman of Inter Milan.
The St. Petersburg Tribune reports that the NASL’s Tampa bay Rowdies want to make Al Lang Stadium “more soccer-friendly, with a new scoreboard and artificial turf.” How is artificial turf “more soccer friendly”?
Well, the US game against Scotland in Glasgow, a 0-0 draw, wasn’t much to get excited about, save for a nice save or two from Tim Howard and the injection of energy that followed the entrance of Aron Johansson and Brek Shea into the game.
Jurgen Klinsmann said, “Overall, a fair result. Scotland had a couple of good chances, and we had Tim Howard, especially on that free kick. We created enough chances, especially toward the end to score a goal and maybe get away with a win. I liked the improvement in the second half. I liked the higher tempo, the higher rhythm. First half, I didn’t like. We were too slow, not urgent enough, so we corrected a couple things at halftime, and it looked much better in the second half. ”
Klinsmann said of Johansson, “Aron is fresh to our team and is getting comfortable in the group. I think everyone sees the qualities that he has. So it’s good to see that process of development. Now if we want to field him with Jozy from the start we can. He has the confidence to carry out that role if we ask him to.” Please ask him.
ASN also has a tactical breakdown of the game.
At Goal.com, Ives Galarcep writes that the US still lacks options when it comes to a playmaker.
The USMNT has set up a scouting operation based in Vienna. Assistant USMNT coach and former Austrian international Andreas Herzog runs the operation with former Bundesliga player and manager Matthias Hamann working as the chief scout. Klinsmann told reporters before the Scotland game, “Our setup is a bit different to most other countries, and that presents a challenge. Our players are spread out across Europe – Italy, Germany, England, France, Scandinavia – so we decided it was worthwhile to build a European office.”
A report from the Tasmin News Agency has more details on the friendly between the US and Iran before the 2014 World Cup. Ali Kaffashian, the head of the Iranian Football Federation, said, “Playing that game will be finalized after the World Cup’s drawing lots.” The report says the the Iranian foreign ministry has issued a permit to allow th country’s U-20 team to play the US U-20 MNT in Italy this week.
Two weeks ago, Sepp Blatter met with the emir of Qatar about concerns over the exploitation of workers employed in the country’s construction of the infrastructure for the 2022 World Cup and said that Qatar was “on the right track.” On Sunday, Amnesty International released a report that said migrant workers there “are treated like cattle.” Amnesty International secretary general Salil Shetty said, “Our findings indicate an alarming level of exploitation in the construction sector in Qatar. FIFA has a duty to send a strong public message that it will not tolerate human rights abuses on construction projects related to the World Cup. It is simply inexcusable in one of the richest countries in the world, that so many migrant workers are being ruthlessly exploited, deprived of their pay and left struggling to survive.”
On Saturday, officials in Qatar unveiled the design of a new stadium with a cooled pitch inspired in appearance by a dhow, the traditional fishing boat of the region. Reuters reports the stadium “will have shaded spectator stands cooled between 24 and 28C and a natural grass pitch cooled to 26C. The design, topped with a structure resembling the sails of a dhow, also includes a spectator area outside the ground that will be temperature controlled at 30-32C.” The report notes, “The plan gave no specific details how the cooling system would work, other than saying it would incorporate ‘shading, aerodynamic and mechanical cooling components.’” UPDATE: From Buzzfeed comes the headline “The Design For Qatar’s First World Cup Stadium Looks Like A Vagina: It’s supposed to look like a boat.”
Brazil coach Luiz Felipe Scolari says he is “100 percent sure” the team will win the World Cup in 2014.
If you’re a fan of Italian soccer, this wire report from Reuters will make for some depressing reading.