Saturday, January 31, 2009

Razov Out 8-12 Weeks Following Ankle Surgery

Major League Soccer's Chivas USA announced Saturday forward Ante Razov, an MLS Original who just signed a new contract with the franchise, will miss eight to twelve weeks of action after undergoing successful arthroscopic surgery in Los Angeles to remove bone spurs from his right ankle.

Razov is the league's second-leading all-time scorer with 114 goals in 13 MLS seasons.

Ironmen, Storm Trade Forwards

The New Jersey Ironmen of the Xtreme Soccer League traded forward Frederico Moojen to the Chicago Storm for forward Randi Patterson Saturday.

Moojen was the Major Indoor Soccer League's final Rookie of the Year last season, scoring 52 points for the Ironmen on one three-point goal, 21 two-point goals and seven assists. This season, he had four two-point goals and an assist with the team.

Moojen will be eligible to play Sunday with the Storm when they travel to US Cellular Arena to play the Milwaukee Wave,

Patterson led the Charleston Battery of the United Soccer Leagues First Division in goals (10) and points (21) this past summer and has played in seven games for the Storm.

He was a two-time Southern Conference Player of the Year at North Carolina-Greensboro, where he scored 61 goals and 19 assists in four seasons.

AC Milan Head Coach Says Beckham Could Be On Team's UEFA Cup Roster

In a posting on the team's web site Friday, AC Milan head coach Carlo Ancelotti said David Beckham could be on the Italian Serie A franchise's 25-man roster for the upcoming UEFA Cup tournament.

Ancelotti says Beckham may fill a void left open when forward Marco Borriello suffered a knee injury this season and is currently out until April.

The deadline for teams to submit rosters is midnight Sunday.

1790 Cincinnati Gets Revenge On Spirits In Springfield

Matt Brienes had two goals and Sam Fiore added a goal and assisted on another as 1790 Cincinnati took revenge on potential expansion franchise Springfield Spirits, 5-1, in Professional Arena Soccer League play in Springfield, IL Friday.

The Spirits are the only team that has beaten Cincinnati this season and 1790's magic number to clinch the Eastern Division championship is now at three.

Cincinnati hosts the Stockton Cougars next Saturday while the Spirits next play on the road February 20 at the St. Louis Illusion.

Monterrey Declaws Cougars In Copa America Play

La Raza de Monterrey of the National Indoor Soccer League defeated a depleted Stockton Cougars of the Professional Arena Soccer League, 17-3, Friday in Copa America tournament play at Arena Monterrey.

The Cougars dressed only 12 players for the game, two of them being goalkeepers.

Matt McDougal was in goal for the first half for Stockton, who fell down, 6-1, at halftime before Jesus Molina took over the second half and surrendered all 11 goals in the half.

Both teams meet again Thursday night at Stockton Arena.

Seattle Times: Sounders Cut Five, Plan To Welcome Four

Major League Soccer's Seattle Sounders FC cut five players immediately after playing in a closed 11-on-11 scrimmage during the team's first training camp session -- midfielder Hugo Alcaraz-Cuellar, defender/midfielders Kenji Treschuk and Kevin Sakuda, defender John Fishbaugher and forward Youssof Kante, The Seattle Times reported Friday.

The team then announced four players would be added during next week's session: 2009 MLS SuperDraft third-round pick Jared Karkas, former Kansas City Wizards forward Ryan Pore, former DC United forward Quavas Kirk and forward Jeff Clark, who played collegiately at Concordia College in California.

Rapids Sign Clark, LaBrocca, Harvey, Kimura To Four-Year Contract Extensions

Major League Soccer's Colorado Rapids announced the signings of midfielders Colin Clark and Nick LaBrocca and defenders Jordan Harvey and Kosuke Kimura to four-year contract extensions Friday.

Clark set career highs in games played (29), games started (26), minutes played (2,325), goals (five) and assists (three) in 2008 and was nominated twice for MLS Goal of the Week honors. In 52 career games, he has started 45 and has seven goals and five assists.

LaBrocca was the only Rapids player to play in all 30 regular season games last season and led the team in starts with 28. He was named the team's Most Improved Player and has two goals in 32 career games, 29 of them starts, with Colorado.

Harvey was a member of Colorado's 2006 and 2007 MLS Reserve Division Championship teams, scoring three goals and three assists. He has one assist in 15 games with the senior team last season, starting 13.

Kimura had career highs in games played (18), games started (17) and minutes (1,458).

United Grants Gallardo's Request To Leave MLS

Major League Soccer's DC United announced Friday they were granting midfielder Marcelo Gallardo's request for a release so he can continue his playing career in his native Argentina.

Gallardo had an injury-plagued lone season with the Black and Red, scoring four goals and four assists in 20 games in all competitions. In MLS games, he started 14 of 15.

When he was signed January 29, 2008, he became the team's first Designated Player, but was sidelined for over two months during the summer with a sports hernia that required surgery. Following that, he missed an additional month of play due to a strained adductor muscle.

When he attempted a comeback October 4 in a game against Chivas USA, he suffered a knee injury, effectively ending his season.

FC Dallas Signs F Sean Buckner To Contract

Despite not playing in the 2008 season, Major League Soccer's FC Dallas Friday announced the signing of forward Sean Buckner to a contract.

Buckner spent his freshman and sophomore college seasons of 2006 and 2007 at Owens Community College in Findlay, OH, where he scored 28 goals each season and went on to set the school's all-time scoring record.

He transferred to the University of Tampa in 2008 but never played a game.

Born in Brooklyn, NY, he spent most of his life in Jamaica and played on their U-17 National Team.

Donovan Debuts In Bayern Munich Loss To Hamburg

After a six-week winter break, Landon Donovan made his debut for Bayern Munich in Germany's Bundesliga, substituting for Bastian Schweinsteiger in the 77th minute of a 1-0 loss to new league leader Hamburg Friday, snapping Munich's 11-game winning streak.

Hamburg has 36 points on an 11-4-3 record, with Bayern (10-3-5) tied with Hoffenheim (11-4-2) for second in the league standings at 34 points.

This is Donovan's third stint in Germany and the star of Major League Soccer's Los Angeles Galaxy is set to return to the States March 8 after his two-month loan to Munich ends, though there is speculation he may wish to stay with them.

At age 16 in 1999, Donovan was signed to a six-year deal with Bayern Leverkusen but, after not playing in his first two years there, was loaned to Major League Soccer's San Jose Earthquakes, where he played for four seasons.

In January 2005, he returned to the Bundesliga with Leverkusen and played in nine games -- seven league games and two in the European Champions League -- and started in two of them.

Three months later, in March 2005, he again was returned to MLS and signed with the Galaxy.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Revolution Sign Simmons To Developmental Deal, Promote Two To Senior Roster

Major League Soccer's New England Revolution announced Friday goalkeeper Zack Simmons was signed to a developmental contract and two current developmental players, goalkeeper Brad Knighton and defender Chris Tierney were promoted to the senior team.

Simmons graduated from the University of Massachusetts and has a 0.97 career goals against average in 84 starts for the Minutemen.

He also left the school as their all-time leader in wins (42), shutouts (30) and saves (386) and set single-season marks in 2007 in wins (17), shutouts (10) and GAA (0.79).

He became the Minutemen's first All-American player since 2002 and was named the 2008 ESPN The Magazine Academic All-American of the Year.

Knighton is in his third season with New England after signing as an undrafted free agent in March 2007. He was loaned to the United Soccer Leagues First Division's Portland Timbers last season and had a 1-3-4 record in eight games with a 1.25 GAA in eight games. The Timbers scored five goals during his eight games played.

Tierney, drafted 13th overall in the 2008 MLS SuperDraft, had one goals in six games for the Revolution last season.

Stovall Signs For Third Season With City Stars

The Cleveland City Stars, who have promoted themselves to the United Soccer Leagues First Division this season, re-signed Anthony Stovall for his third season with the team Friday.

Stovall played in 19 games in their USL Second Division Championship season last year, was second in minutes played with 1,678, and started every playoff match en route to their title.

In 2007, he played 1,212 minutes over 16 matches for Cleveland.

He played collegiately at the University of South Carolina, where he had 13 goals and 10 assists in 55 games for the Gamecocks and was named the school's Player of the Week seven times in his career.

In 2002, Stovall was the only sophomore to start all 20 games for the school and became team captain the next season.

He began his professional career in 2006 with the Charlotte Eagles of USL2, playing 83 minutes over four games.

Aztex Sign Tapp, Allen, Holmes To Contracts

Austin Aztex FC, an expansion team this season in the United Soccer Leagues First Division, announced the signings of Alex Tapp, Wes Allen and Jarius Holmes to contracts.

Tapp moved to the US seven months ago from England, where he played in the English Championship for Milton Keynes Dons, formerly Wimbledon.

Allen was a member of the Aztex's Premier Development League team last season. He was a Third Team All-American at Oakland University as a freshman before joining the club team at the University of Texas.

Holmes was born in Japan, but currently lives in Illinois. He played last season for the St. Louis Lions in the PDL and was a two-time junior college all-American at Southwestern Illinois College.

RailHawks Sign Former Battery F King

The Carolina RailHawks of the United Soccer Leagues First Division announced the signing of forward and former North Carolina State player Aaron King Friday.

King scored 44 goals in his college career with the Wolfpack, the most goals scored by a player there in the last 20 years.

He was a 2005 All-American and a three-time All-Atlantic Coast Conference and All-South First Team player from 2003 to 2005 and finished with 104 career points and 15 assists.

Drafted in 2006 by Major League Soccer's Los Angeles Galaxy, he was later traded to the Colorado Rapids.

He signed with the Charlotte Battery in USL1 in 2007 and had 11 goals and three assists in 51 career games.

Whitecaps Announce Signings To Senior, PDL Teams

The defending United Soccer Leagues First Division champion Vancouver Whitecaps announced Friday the signing of midfielder Tyrell Burgess to a two-year contract with an option year to the senior team and goalkeeper Diego to a one-year contract with an option year to their Premier Development League team, the Whitecaps Residency.

Burgess attended a joint player combine in December hosted by the Whitecaps and the USL Second Division's Harrisburg City Islanders.

He played his freshman collegiate season at NCAA Division III Rhode Island College, leading them to the Eastern College Athletic Conference New England title with four goals and five assists in 18 regular season games.

He then transferred to Lynn University in Boca Raton, FL, where he had 14 goals and 14 assists in 53 career games. Burgess was second on the team in scoring last season with 10 goals and 10 assists in 20 games and was named to the NCAA Division II All-Sunshine State Conference First Team.

Prior to his senior season, Burgess led the PDL's Reading Rage to the 2008 Mid-Atlantic Division regular season title and the Eastern Conference championship with five goals and three assists.

Burgess also has played nine times for Bermuda's national team.

Diego (full name: Diego Aparecido F. Oliveira) was on a three-month loan from Brazil First Division team ABC FC to fellow franchise AC Corintians and led ABC to back-to-back state titles in Brazil in 2007 and 2008.

He played three seasons with Villa Nova Atletico Clube before joining ABC and also played for a number of youth clubs, including Tombense, America, Botafogo de Futebol e Regatas and Santa Cruz FC.

WPS Announces Stepladder Format For Playoffs

Women's Professional Soccer Thursday announced the league's playoff format, a unique system that rewards regular season excellence.

The top four teams at the end of the regular season will qualify for the playoffs, with the top team being crowned the regular season champion and will automatically host the league's championship game August 22.

The second place team will earn a bye into the semifinal round of the playoffs August 18 or 19 and will face the winner of an August 15 game between the third and fourth place teams, hosted by the third place team.

Erikson, Splaine Named Player-Coaches For Boston Aztecs

The Boston Aztecs of the Women's Premier Soccer League announced Thursday Meotis Erikson and Rebekah Splaine will serve as player-coaches for the 2009 season.

Erikson, who played collegiately at Notre Dame, is seventh on the Fighting Irish's all-time women's soccer scoring list with 59 goals and 46 assists for 154 points.

A three-time high school All-American and a Parade magazine High School Player of the Year, she trained with the US U-16 and U-20 women's national teams and played for the Boston Breakers in the inaugural season of the Women's United Soccer Association.

Splaine was the leading goal scorer last season for the Aztecs and was named to the All-WPSL East Conference team.

She was signed by the WUSA's Breakers as a Developmental Player in 2003, but before that, led the Boston Renegades of the United Soccer Leagues W-League to back-to-back championship seasons in 2001 and 2002 and was one of the leading scorers for the Renegades in the 2004 season with eight goals and four assists in nine games.

She was an Ivy League Rookie of the Year at Brown and was named to the National Soccer Coaches Association of America's Northeast region team in her senior season of 2001.

PDL's Ventura County Fusion To Play Three Exhibition Games In February

The Ventura County Fusion of the United Soccer Leagues Premier Development League announced Thursday they will play three exhibition games in February at Buena High School in Ventura, CA against teams that will be holding training camps in the area.

The first game would be February 8 against Major League Soccer's Real Salt Lake, a semifinalist in the 2008 MLS Cup Playoffs and who will be holding a camp February 2-14.

Game two would be February 11 against the newest MLS franchise, Seattle Sounders FC, who will hold camp February 2-15.

The final game would be February 16 against GAIS, a four-time champion in Sweden who will hold camp February 6-19.

Arena Says Beckham Will Return To Galaxy

Los Angeles Galaxy head coach and general manager Bruce Arena told The Associated Press Thursday he does not believe reports from Italy that David Beckham does not want to return to the Major League Soccer franchise after his two-month loan to Italian Serie A team AC Milan ends March 8.

"He's going to be back (in Los Angeles) March 9," Arena said. "We've entered into a loan agreement with AC Milan (in which) the player, his agent, AC Milan, ourselves and Major League Soccer understand the guidelines."

Beckham, who signed a five-year, $32.5 million contract with MLS in 2007, told the Italian daily newspaper Corriere della Sera Wednesday he would like to stay with Milan and team vice president Adriano Galliani said they would be willing to offer MLS a $6.5 million transfer fee to keep him there.

Beckham, who joined Milan in December, has scored two goals and started four games for them.

To make matters worse for the Galaxy, another player, Landon Donovan, on loan to Bayern Munich at the same time for the same length of time, now says he might not want to return to the Galaxy March 8, either.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Dynamo Sign Ex-Laredo Heat Star Garcia To Contract

Major League Soccer's Houston Dynamo Thursday signed 18-year-old forward Felix Garcia, a star with the United Soccer Leagues Premier Development League's Laredo Heat, to a Generation adidas contract.

Signing a contract as a Generation adidas player counts as one of their development roster spots but his salary does not count against the team's salary cap, allowing him to continue to pursue an education.

The Dynamo gained Garcia by first trading an international roster spot and their 10th overall spot on the allocation list to Toronto FC for their number three spot, then they acquired the rights to Garcia from the Heat for an undisclosed transfer fee.

Garcia led the Heat to the 2007 PDL National Championship and advanced to the 2008 Championship Game, where they lost to the Thunder Bay Chill.

Wave To Retire Michael King's Number February 15

The Milwaukee Wave of the Xtreme Soccer League announced Thursday they will officially retire Michael King's number 13 jersey February 15 when they host the Detroit Ignition at US Cellular Arena.

King played 15 seasons in Milwaukee, led them to Major Indoor Soccer League titles in 2000, 2001 and 2005, owns nearly every offensive team record and served as captain every season there.

He also played with Cleveland, Dallas and Baltimore in his career, totalling 786 regular season games and 105 postseason games, both more than any player has reached in indoor soccer history.

King's number joins those of former Wave stars Pete Knezic (#5), Steve Morris (#11) and Victor Nogueira (#27).

Colorado Rapids Enter Partnership With USL2' Real Maryland FC

Major League Soccer's Colorado Rapids and Real Maryland FC of the United Soccer Leagues Second Division announced the formation of a strategic partnership Thursday.

Real Maryland will serve as a developmental team for the Rapids, allowing Maryland players the opportunity to play in MLS and vice versa.

The two teams have also agreed to play exhibition games against each other.

Real Maryland is the third team to align themselves with the Rapids; the others are Arsenal of the English Premier League and Pachuca of the Mexican Primera Division.

New Orleans Jesters Welcomed To PDL For 2009 Season

At a news conference Thursday at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel, the New Orleans Jesters were officially welcomed as a 2009 season expansion team to the United Soccer Leagues Premier Development League.

The Jesters will be part of the league's Southeast Division and will debut May 9 on the road against the Baton Rouge Capitals.

The team will play home games at a renovated Pan-American Stadium in City Park beginning May 16 against the Bradenton Academics.

Kenny Farrell, former head coach of New Orleans' previous PDL franchise, the New Orleans Shell Shockers, will serve as the Jesters head coach.

Lilavois Sets PASL Pro Record With Six Goals In Cougars Win

Player-head coach Bernie Lilavois set a Professional Arena Soccer League record Wednesday with six goals and an assist as the Stockton Cougars defeated the Wenatchee Fire, 13-6, at Stockton Arena and moved closer to clinching the league's first Western Division championship.

Aaron Susi added two goals in the victory with Brian Farber, Nelson Santana, Majell Aterado, Ato Leone and Renato Dos Rios each adding a goal.

The Cougars are now 7-3 on the season and have a two-game lead over the Denver Dynamite and a three-game lead over the Colorado Lightning in the standings. Stockton's magic number for clinching the division is four with six games remaining in the season.

Stockton steps away from league play in their next two games to face La Raza de Monterrey of the National Indoor Soccer League in Copa America play Friday in Stockton and February 5 in Monterrey, Mexico.

The Fire (1-9) next host the Lightning February 14 at the Wenatchee Valley Sportsplex.

Bradley Names 20-Man Roster For US-Mexico Tilt

US Men's National Team head coach Bob Bradley announced Thursday a 20-man roster for their February 11 match versus Mexico at Columbus Crew Stadium in Columbus, OH in the first match of the final round of CONCACAF qualifying for the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

Except for Columbus Crew defender Frankie Hedjuk, all the members on the roster were part of the team's last training camp January 4-23 at The Home Depot Center prior to their 2009 season-opening game against Sweden, which the US won, 3-0. 14 of the 20 players played in that game, including Chivas USA midfielder Sacha Kljestan, who scored all three goals.

All but forward Charlie Davies, who plays in Sweden for Hammarby IF, are on Major League Soccer rosters.

The 20 players will report to Carson, CA for nine days of training, then will head to Columbus February 7.

Here is the USMNT roster, by position and current team:

GOALKEEPERS
Jon Busch - Chicago Fire (MLS)
Will Hesmer - Columbus Crew (MLS)
Matt Pickens - Colorado Rapids (MLS)

DEFENDERS
Jonathan Bornstein - Chivas USA (MLS)
Frankie Hedjuk - Columbus Crew (MLS)
Ugo Ihemelu - Colorado Rapids (MLS)
Chris Wingert - Real Salt Lake (MLS)
Marvell Wynne - Toronto FC (MLS)

MIDFIELDERS
Brian Carroll - Columbus Crew (MLS)
Ricardo Clark - Houston Dynamo (MLS)
Eddie Gaven - Columbus Crew (MLS)
Stuart Holden - Houston Dynamo (MLS)
Jack Jewsbury - Kansas City Wizards (MLS)
Robbie Rogers - Columbus Crew (MLS)
John Thorrington - Chicago Fire (MLS)

FORWARDS
Brian Ching - Houston Dynamo (MLS)
Kenny Cooper - FC Dallas (MLS)
Charlie Davies - Hammarby IF (Sweden)
Chris Rolfe - Chicago Fire (MLS)

RadioShack Reacts To Mexican Voodoo Doll Promotion

RadioShack announced Wednesday it has refused to sanction a promotion being run by a newly-acquired store in Mexico City where people trade in a coupon from a local newspaper to receive a free voodoo doll dressed like a US Men's National Team player.

The Record in Mexico City worked with the store to boost enthusiasm over an upcoming US-Mexico match February 11 in Columbus, OH and help break a 10-year "curse" Mexico has of beating the US on American soil by offering the deal, but RadioShack officials, when made aware of the promotion, informed the store they would not approve the campaign.

Officials for the newspaper say they will talk to other local businesses and get someone else to take over the promotion.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

DC United Signs D Devon McTavish

Major League Soccer's DC United announced the signing Wednesday of defender Devon McTavish, who will enter his fourth season with the team in 2009.

McTavish had one goal and four assists in 26 games last season.

Llamosa Joins Coaching Staff Of Chivas USA

Major League Soccer's Chivas USA announced Wednesday former player Carlos Llamosa will join the team this season as an assistant coach.

Llamosa, Colombian-born but who immigrated to the US in 1991 and is now a citizen, played 10 seasons in the league from 1997 to 2007 with DC United, the defunct Miami Fusion, the New England Revolution and Chivas, where he played his final two seasons.

He was a part of two MLS Cup championship teams in 1997 and 1999 and was a three-time All-Star (1999, 2001 and 2002).

Llamosa also played in 29 games for the US Men's National Team from 1998 to 2002.

Kenny Bundy Returns To Hammerheads For 2009 Season

After playing for them previously from 2004-06, Kenny Bundy will again don a Wilmington Hammerheads jersey for the United Soccer Leagues Second Division team after signing a contract Wednesday.

Currently the director of coaching for the Cape Fear Soccer Association and a staff member with North Carolina's Olympic Development Program, Bundy played for North Carolina-Greensboro from 1999 to 2003, then played for the USL Premier Development League's Carolina Dynamo and the Major Indoor Soccer League's Dallas Sidekicks.

FC Atlanta Blackhawks Join PDL For 2009 Season

United Soccer Leagues Wednesday officially welcomed the FC Atlanta Blackhawks to the Premier Development League for the 2009 season.

The Blackhawks will join the PDL's Southeast Division along with another expansion team, the New Orleans Jesters, and the Baton Rouge Capitals, Bradenton Academics, Central Florida Kraze, Mississippi Brilla, Nashville Metros and Panama City Pirates.

Atlanta will be led by Massoud Roushandel, who will be their head coach and executive director. Roushandel is currently executive director of FC Atlanta's youth soccer club and served as head coach of the PDL's Augusta Fireballs in 2005 and their assistant coach in 2006.

RailHawks Sign Gilkerson, Kreamalmeyer, Plotkin

The Carolina RailHawks of the United Soccer Leagues First Division announced the signings Wednesday of defender John Gilkerson and midfielders Luke Kreamalmeyer and Brian Plotkin.

Gilkerson graduated from Winthrop University in 2008 and was drafted by Major League Soccer's New York Red Bulls, where he made his professional debut July 1 in a third round game of the 2008 Lamar Hunt US Open Cup tournament against Crystal Palace Baltimore of the USL Second Division.

Kreamalmeyer started all 30 games last season for the Rochester Rhinos and had 17 points on four goals and nine assists. Drafted by Real Salt Lake of MLS, he played in six games before being transferred to the Portland Timbers, where he had nine goals in two seasons before joining Rochester.

Platkin was part of two straight NCAA College Cup championship teams at Indiana and was a finalist for the Hermann Award, college soccer's highest honor. Drafted by the Chicago Fire in 2006, he had one goal and one assist in 23 games over two seasons before being traded to the defending MLS Cup champion Columbus Crew in 2008.

WPSL AGM Ends With Management Changes

The Women's Premier Soccer League held their Annual General Meeting last weekend in Las Vegas and announced major management changes for the 2009 season.

Joe Ferrera, owner of the New England Mutiny franchise and current associate league commissioner and East Conference commissioner, was elevated to the title of chief executive officer of the 50-team league. He will now be responsible for standardizing team operations, pursuing media/marketing partnerships, securing league sponsors as well as a television contract for the league, promoting the league brand, and maintaining the league's financial stability.

Andy Sones of the Milburn (NJ) Magic was named the league's new East Conference commissoner.

In other league news from the meeting:

- SoccerPlus CT Reds, the 2008 WPSL East Conference champion, was named the league's Organization of the Year.

- Head coach Brian Boswell of Ajax America Women was named Coach of the Year for the third straight season.

- The Long Island Fury will be the host franchise for the 2009 WPSL Final Four tournament, to be held August 1-2 at Adelphia University.

USL Announces 2009 PDL Schedule

United Soccer Leagues announced Wednesday the 2009 Premier Development League season will begin May 1 with three opening night matches -- the Bakersfield Brigade at the Ventura County Fusion, the Fresno Fuego at the San Fernando Valley Quakes, and the expansion Victoria Highlanders at the Spokane Spiders.

The defending league champion Thunder Bay Chill will begin defense of their crown May 29 at the Real Colorado Cougars.

Each PDL team will play a 16-game schedule in 2009 with the first four games for all US-based PDL teams serving as qualifying matches for the 2009 Lamar Hunt US Open Cup tournament.

The regular season ends July 19 with the playoffs beginning the following weekend with the return of the Division Championship round July 24-26. 12 teams will qualify for the playoffs, with the second and third seeded teams in each division playing against each other with the winner playing the top seeded team.

The eight division champions will move on to the PDL Elite Eight Weekend July 31-August 2, where the quarterfinals and semifinals will be held.

Semifinal winners will meet in the PDL Championship August 8 on Fox Soccer Channel.

For a complete 2009 PDL schedule, visit www.uslsoccer.com.

Beckham May Want To Stay At AC Milan

In the latest soap opera that is David Beckham's career, Beckham told Corriere della Sera in Italy Wednesday he is enjoying his time playing for AC Milan in Italy's Serie A and could conceivably want to stay there rather than return to Major League Soccer's Los Angeles Galaxy when his two-month loan expires March 8.

Beckham called the chance to play for AC Milan "the dream of every footballer" and "something special". "I knew I would enjoy it," he told the Italian daily newspaper, "but I didn't expect to enjoy it this much."

AC Milan vice president Adriano Galliani told reporters Tuesday the team wants to sit down with Beckham's agents to discuss him staying with them and are willing to pay a transfer fee to do so.

MLS Unveils 2009 Season Schedule

Major League Soccer's 2009 season schedule will kick off March 19 at Qwest Field in Seattle as the expansion Seattle Sounders FC host the New York Red Bulls in the first of 27 regular season games to air on ESPN2 and ESPN Deportes this season.

The league unveiled the complete 225-game regular season schedule Wednesday. Each franchise will play every other team twice for 28 games and two other games against conference opponents with an emphasis on promoting rivalries.

MLS will play 90% of their schedule on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays this season, compared to 84% in 2008 and 80% in 2007, as well as reduce the number of games played on key dates for 2010 FIFA World Cup qualifying games -- August 12, September 5 and October 10.

In the third year of an eight year deal, MLS games airing on ESPN will also air simultaneously on their Spanish language sister network, with 13 of 27 games airing on weekends and the other 14 on Thursdays.

TeleFutura will air 24 regular season games on Sunday afternoons and Fox Soccer Channel will air 33 regular season Saturday games.

The 2009 regular season ends October 25 with the MLS Cup playoffs beginning four days later. The 2009 MLS Cup championship game will take place the weekend of November 21-22 at a site to be announced later.

The schedule does not list a date, opponent or location for the annual Pepsi All-Star Game.

For a complete look at the schedule, visit www.mlsnet.com.

D Jazic Signs New Deal With Chivas USA

Defender Ante Jazic, who was traded by Major League Soccer's Los Angeles Galaxy at the 2008 MLS SuperDraft, signed a new contract Tuesday with the team who acquired his rights, crosstown rival Chivas USA.

Both teams share a home pitch at The Home Depot Center in Carson, CA.

In three seasons with the Galaxy (2006-2008), Jazic started 41 of 44 regular season games.

RailHawks Sign M Josh Gardner

The Carolina RailHawks of the United Soccer Leagues First Division announced the signing Tuesday of midfielder Josh Gardner.

Gardner comes to the RailHawks after spending the last two seasons with the Seattle Sounders, who now have joined Major League Soccer. He had seven goals and four assists in 52 career games and was on their 2007 USL1 Championship team.

Gardner was drafted in 2004 by the Los Angeles Galaxy and was part of the team's double-title team in 2005, winning the MLS Cup and the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup. In 21 games with the Galaxy, he had one goal and three assists.

Red Stars Sign England's Carney To Contract

The Chicago Red Stars of Women's Professional Soccer announced Tuesday their first player signing in England forward Karen Carney, the team's third selection in the September 2007 International Draft.

Carney will be reunited with Red Stars head coach Emma Hayes, who trained her as a member of Arsenal Ladies FC in the Football Association in the 2006-07 season. That team won four major trophies that season -- the FA Women's Premier League title, the FA Women's Cup, the FA Women's Premier League Cup and the UEFA Women's Cup.

Carney, a two-time FA National Player of the Year in 2005 and 2006, played 41 games for England's national women's team.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Rhinos Re-Sign D/M Danny Earls

The Rochester Rhinos of the United Soccer Leagues First Division announced the re-signing Tuesday of defender/midfielder Danny Earls.

Earls joined Rochester in May 2008 after playing in the English Premier League for Aston Villa.

Training camp for the Rhinos starts March 19 at Rochester Rhinos Stadium with their 2009 USL1 season beginning April 18 on the road against the Carolina RailHawks.

FC Dallas Signs Costa Rican Defender Torres

Major League Soccer's FC Dallas announced the signing Tuesday of Costa Rican-born defender Daniel Torres to a contract.

Torres, who played last season in Norway for Bryne FK of their second division, will be playing for his third MLS franchise after stints with the Columbus Crew (2001-03) and Real Salt Lake (2006-07).

He is currently playing for his national team at the UNCAF Nations Cup tournament through Sunday, but will join Dallas afterwards.

Torres played two stints with Deportivo Saprissa in Costa Rica (1996-2001, 2003-04), leading them to back-to-back championships in 1998 and 1999,

In 2005, he split the season between Tromso IL of Norway and Bodens BK of Sweden.

MLS Releasing 2009 Schedule Wednesday Online, Via E-Mail

The full Major League Soccer 2009 season schedule will be officially released at noon Eastern time Wednesday online at www.mlsnet.com, followed by a e-mail blitz to fans and the media at 12:30 p.m. Eastern time.

First Kick, the opening weekend of the MLS season sponsored by Dick's Sporting Goods, will take place March 19-21.

The league has previously announced the home openers for all 15 teams.

Earthquakes Sign Jersey Sponsorship Deal With Amway Global

Major League Soccer's San Jose Earthquakes signed a three-year jersey sponsorship deal Tuesday with Amway Global, allowing the company's logo to appear on their uniforms through the 2012 season.

The deal also includes in-stadium, community and grassroots elements for the company.

Kickers Sign Ex-Future Star, Re-Sign G Pascale

The Richmond Kickers of the United Soccer Leagues Second Division announced Tuesday they have signed midfielder Ross MacKenzie and re-signed goalkeeper Ronnie Pascale.

MacKenzie played for the Kickers Future on their 2005 Eastern Conference Championship team in the USL Premier Development League and had a goal and an assist in 12 games that season.

In 2006, he joined the PDL's Virginia Legacy, scoring three goals and three assists in 14 games.

He moved to USL Second Division play with the Wilmington Hammerheads in 2007 (four goals, four assists), then elevated himself to USL1 last season with the Carolina RailHawks.

A 2006 graduate of Old Dominion University, he led them to the Sweet 16 round of the NCAA College Cup that season and finished third on the team in points. He had 14 goals and 13 assists for 41 points in his collegiate career.

Pascale signed for his 10th season with the Kickers and has been their starting goalkeeper since the 2002 season.

He led Richmond to three consecutive USL Championship game appearances from 2005 to 2007 and was twice named the USL2 Goalkeeper of the Year in 2006 and 2007.

In 2008, Pascale had seven shutout wins, making him tied for second in the league in that category, and had an eighth during Lamar Hunt US Open Cup tournament play.

He allowed 17 goals last season, had a goals against average of 1.08, fourth-best in USL2, and was second in the league in overall wins with 12.

Chivas USA Opens Eight-Week-Long Training Camp Wednesday

Major League Soccer's Chivas USA announced Tuesday they will kick off their fifth training camp Wednesday at The Home Depot Center in Carson, CA for eight weeks.

The franchise will play not only MLS competition this coming season, but will also play in the SuperLiga and Lamar Hunt US Open Cup tournaments.

Chivas opens their 2009 MLS season at home March 21 against the Colorado Rapids.

Expansion Sounders FC Begin First Preseason

Major League Soccer's newest franchise, Seattle Sounders FC, began their inaugural training camp January 21 and now is readying themselves for their first preseason game schedule.

The Sounders will play two training camp games, which will closed to fans, February 9 at The Home Depot Center in Carson, CA against the Los Angeles Galaxy, then face the defending Chinese Super League champion, Shandong Luneng, in Oxnard, CA the next day.

Seattle then plays three games open to the public: February 11 at the Ventura County Fusion of the United Soccer Leagues Premier Development League, February 13 against the San Jose Earthquakes at San Luis Obispo, CA, and February 20 at the University of Portland.

After a closed game February 22 at Qwest Field in Seattle against the defending USL First Division champion Vancouver Whitecaps, the Sounders head to Argentina February 27-March 5.

When they return to the States, they will end preseason play March 12 with another closed game at Qwest Field against the Colorado Rapids.

USL1 Rookie Of The Year Heads To MLS' Sounders

Midfielder Osvaldo Alonso, the United Soccer Leagues First Division's 2008 Rookie of the Year and a First Team All-League selection, was acquired by Major League Soccer's Seattle Sounders FC from the USL1's Charleston Battery Tuesday.

He started 31 games for the Battery and had four goals and two assists in regular season play, two more goals in Lamar Hunt US Open Cup tournament play, and a goal in the USL1 playoffs.

Alonso defected to the US from his native Cuba during the 2007 CONCACAF Gold Cup. He played 17 times for his home country, scoring two goals.

He served as captain of the US U-23 National Team during qualifying for the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

In Cuba, he played three seasons for FC Pinar del Rio (2005-07), leading them to a Cuban championship in 2006.

City Stars Re-Sign Stewart, Sign Ex-Timber Oka

The Cleveland City Stars, playing their first season in the United Soccer Leagues First Division after starting their franchise as a USL Second Division team two seasons ago, announced Tuesday the re-signing of Ryan Stewart and the signing of former Portland Timbers player Arsene Oka.

Stewart scored nine points of four goals and an assist in the team's final nine games of the regular season and one postseason game against the Western Mass Pioneers.

A three-time National Association for Intercollegiate Athletics All-American selection and the 2007 NAIA Region XI Player of the Year while at Lindsay Wilson College, he scored 15 goals and five assists in his senior season and left as the school's fourth-highest all-time leading career goal scorer with 53.

Oka played a total of 225 minutes in seven games for the Timbers. He played for Major League Soccer's New England Revolution in the 2006-07 season.

USL W-League Releases 2009 Schedule

The United Soccer Leagues W-League announced Tuesday their 2009 season would begin May 8 when the Hampton Roads Piranhas host the Charlotte Lady Eagles.

The defending league and regular season champion Pali Blues open their season May 9 when they host the Los Angeles Legends in one of four games set for May 9.

2008 championship game finalist FC Indiana Lionesses will begin their season May 13 on the road against the Fort Wayne Fever.

Teams in the Great Lakes and Northeast division will play a 14-game schedule with all other divisions playing a 12-game schedule.

The 2009 season ends July 19 with 10 games, followed days later by the league's playoffs, as the Great Lakes Division plays a Divisional Round match between the second and third seeds to determine who become the second participant in the conference tournament.

As previously announced by the league, a week has been added to the playoff calendar with the league semifinals and championship game split into separate weekends.

11 teams will qualify for the playoffs with the league's regular season champion again receiving a bye to the league semifinals.

The remaining 10 teams will meet in three conference tournaments the weekend of July 24-26 with semifinal winners advancing to the next round the weekend of July 31-August 1 at two locations.

The regular season champion will meet the lowest seeded semifinalist, unless they have played each other during the regular season, which would result in the next lowest seed getting the opportunity.

The championship game will air on Fox Soccer Channel August 7 or 8.

To access the 2009 W-League schedule, visit www.uslsoccer.com.

Could Voodoo Help Mexico Beat The US In Columbus?

The US Men's National Team begins the final round of CONCACAF qualifying for the 2010 FIFA World Cup February 11 at Columbus Crew Stadium in Columbus, OH when they host Mexico, who has not won a game on American soil in a decade.

Now, a Mexico City sports newspaper, The Record, Tuesday asked readers to participate in an effort started by the headline "Help End The Losing Streak So Mexico Advances" by cutting out the page, taking it to a local electronics store and exchanging for a voodoo doll dressed as a US soccer player.

AC Milan May Make Offer To Galaxy To Keep Beckham

Officials with Italian soccer team AC Milan in Serie A plan to meet with agents for David Beckham to see if he can be released from his contract with Major League Soccer's Los Angeles Galaxy and can stay with them for good.

Beckham is on a two-month loan to the team through March 9 and, as much as he has contributed to Milan since joining them, Milan officials understand he was only loaned to them.

"If Beckham reaches an agreement with the Galaxy (to leave), we are prepared to pay a fee," Milan vice president Adriano Gallani told the website of the newspaper Gazzetta dello Sport Tuesday.

"On March 9, his contract (with AC Milan) is up and we don't want to slight anyone. (Beckham) wants to stay with us, but he also knows that he has to go back to America."

Milan is 3-0-0 since Beckham came, beating AS Roma, Fiorentina and Bologna, who Beckham scored his first goal for Milan against Sunday.

Beckham is also looking to gain a spot on England's national team in hopes of being able to play for his home country in the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa.

England is scheduled to play Spain February 11 and team head coach Fabio Capello will assess his playing form when he sees Milan play Genoa Wednesday.

Chivas USA Signs Swiss M Wicky For 2009 Season

Major League Soccer's Chivas USA announced the signing Monday of midfielder Raphael Wicky, who came to the franchise prior to the 2008 season from FC Sion in his native Switzerland.

He played in only five games last season due to an ankle injury. Wicky underwent surgery July 16 on the injury and wound up being placed on the team's Season Ending Injury List September 15.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Rapids Add Guppy, Keep Kramer On Coaching Staff

The Colorado Rapids of Major League Soccer announced the hiring of assistant coach Steve Guppy and the return of goalkeeping coach David Kramer for the 2009 season Monday.

Guppy was with the United Soccer Leagues First Division's Rochester Rhinos in 2008 as a player-assistant coach and has 15 years professional experience playing in North America and Europe.

Kramer has been with the team's coaching staff since June 2008. He also serves as Director of Coaching for the Colorado Edge Soccer Club.

He played eight seasons in MLS, including the 2000 through 2002 seasons with the Rapids, playing in 42 games.

Boswell Remains With Dynamo

Major League Soccer's Houston Dynamo announced the re-signing of defender Bobby Boswell Monday.

Acquired from DC United in December 2007, he started 43 of an all-competition total of 48 games since joining the Dynamo and scored three goals and assisted on a fourth last season.

He also was a part of a defensive unit that gave up the fewest goals in MLS last season -- 32.

Boswell was the team's Defender of the Year, Iron Man of the Year and Fan's Choice Most Valuable Player last season.

Sounders Get Ianni From Dynamo For 2010 Draft Pick

Seattle Sounders FC acquired defender Patrick Ianni from the Houston Dynamo Monday for a conditional 2010 Major League Soccer SuperDraft pick.

The pick starts as a third round pick but, if Ianni plays in 20 total games this season, including MLS Cup playoff games, the pick improves to a second round selection.

Ianni played three seasons with the Dynamo, who won back-to-back MLS Cups in 2006 and 2007, and had one goal in 35 career games, starting 19.

In 2008, he started 10 of 17 games and played nine more in a combination of SuperLiga, CONCACAF Champions Cup and CONCACAF Champions League play.

Whitecaps Name Nash Team Captain

Head coach Teitur Thordarson of the defending United Soccer Leagues First Division Vancouver Whitecaps named midfielder Martin Nash team captain for the 2009 season.

Nash has been with the Whitecaps for nine of his 15 seasons in the sport and has been on four USL1 Championship teams -- the 2006 and 2008 Whitecaps and the 2000 and 2001 Rochester Rhinos.

He started all 30 regular season games for Vancouver last season, scoring one goal and assisting on three others, in 2,626 minutes of play, fourth highest in USL1 in 2008.

Nash, who is the brother of Steve Nash of the NBA's Phoenix Suns, was named to his fourth USL1 All-League Team last season.

The Nash name can be found many times in Vancouver's all-time records.

He is tenth overall in games played (216), sixth in overall minutes (17,144), tied for 16th in goals (21), third in assists (37) and twelfth in points (78).

Real Salt Lake Opens 2009 Preseason With Media Day

The annual Media Day will kick off preseason plans for Major League Soccer's Real Salt Lake, the team announced Monday.

Media Day, set for Friday at Rio Tinto Stadium, will also be the day for team physicals.

RSL, who advanced to their first playoff run and made it to the MLS Western Conference Championship before losing to the New York Red Bulls, start training camp with a 12-day trip to Oxnard and Valencia, CA. They are set to play exhibition games against a team from the United Soccer Leagues Premier Development League, a Chinese team, and a NCAA Division I men's team during their trip.

After a three-day break at home, the franchise shifts to Tampa for 10 days (February 18-28) and will play games at the University of South Florida and the University of Tampa against yet-to-be-named opponents.

After another stop back home, RSL will head to Charleston, SC to compete in the sixth annual Carolina Challenge Cup tournament at Blackbaud Stadium, hosted by the USL First Division's Charleston Battery.

During the round-robin event, they will play DC United (March 7), the host team Battery (March 11) and Toronto FC (March 14).

RSL returns home for good March 15, then waits unti March 28 to kick off their 2009 MLS schedule on the road against a yet-to-be-named opponent.

Impact Set Single Game Ticket Sales Record

The Montreal Impact of the United Soccer Leagues First Division announced Monday they have set a new single-game ticket sales record of over 20,000 for their upcoming CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal round first leg match against Mexico's Santos Laguna February 25 at Olympic Stadium.

The Impact's previous record was 13,648 for the September 18, 2004 USL1 Championship Game against the Seattle Sounders at Swangard Stadium.

Game two of the aggregate-score quarterfinal round will be held March 3-5 in Mexico.

PDL Gets Fifth Washington State Based Team In Seattle Wolves

The Seattle Wolves Football Club were introduced Monday as the newest member of the United Soccer Leagues Premier Development League for the 2009 season, starting in May.

The team is a joint venture between the Wolves and the Redmond, WA-based Crossfire Premier Soccer Club, one of the top youth soccer organizations in the country.

The Wolves become the fifth Washington state-based soccer teams in the PDL and also has teams in the Pacific Coast Soccer League and the Starfire Premier Soccer League.

They will play home games at Starfire Sports Stadium in Tukwila, WA, the former home for the USL First Division's Seattle Sounders, who have become an expansion team in Major League Soccer.

Moriera Becomes First Two-Time NISL POW

For the second time this season and the first time in league history, Philadelphia Kixx forward Hewerton Moreira was named National Indoor Soccer League Player of the Week for scoring a season-high five two-point goals and 10 of his team's points in a 16-8 victory over La Raza de Monterrey Sunday at Wachovia Spectrum.

Moreira now leads the league in scoring with 41 points.

He was named the league's first Player of the Week after the opening weekend in mid-November after scoring a three-point goal and a two-point goal and assisting on another goal in a 34-11 win over the Massachusetts Twisters.

Ignition Win 14th Straight Regular Season Home Game; Fourth Straight Game

Vahid Assapour had a pair of two-point goals as he led the Detroit Ignition to a 16-11 victory over the New Jersey Ironmen in Xtreme Soccer League play Sunday at the Compuware Sports Arena for their 14th straight regular season home victory and fourth straight victory on the schedule.

The Ignition and Ironmen next play opponents February 8; the Ignition hosting the Milwaukee Wave, the Ironmen hosting the Chicago Storm.

Stars Enter Semis Of US Arena Soccer Open

Mark Lee had four goals and an assist, Amos Freiheit had a hat trick and player-head coach Greg Howes tallied a goal and assisted on two others as the Premier Arena Soccer League's Tacoma Stars defeated the Denver Dynamite of the Professional Arena Soccer League, 11-2, Sunday in the last quarterfinal match of the US Arena Soccer Open Championship tournament.

Pete Randall and James McMonigal scored goals for the Dynamite.

The Stars of the Premier League now join three Pro League teams in the semifinals -- the Detroit Waza Flo Pro, St. Louis Illusion and the Stockton Cougars.

Moreira Leads Kixx To Romp Over La Raza

Hewerton Moreira had single-game season-highs in two-point goals (five) and points (10) as the National Indoor Soccer League's Philadelphia Kixx defeated La Raza de Monterrey, 16-8, Sunday at Philadelphia's Wachovia Spectrum.

Ricardinho scored a two-point goal and assisted on two others and player-head coach Don D'Ambra added a standard goal and an assist in the win, improving Philly's record to 4-5.

Ivan Medina and Jose Luis Birche each had three-point goals and Joel Busti opened the game's scoring for Monterrey, who fell to 6-5.

Philadelphia heads to First Mariner Arena Saturday to face the league-leading Baltimore Blast while La Raza welcomes the league's cellar dweller, the Massachusetts Twisters, Sunday.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Detroit Waza Stun 1790 Cincinnati In Dual Purpose Game

When the inaugural season of the Professional Arena Soccer League began, the Detroit Waza Flo Pro couldn't seem to win a game, losing their first six games, all on the road.

Now, the team has won four of their last six games after stunning the previously undefeated 1790 Cincinnati (8-1), 6-1, Sunday at Compuware Sports Arena in a dual purpose game.

The win for the Waza (4-8) counts in the league standings, but also served as a quarterfinal game in the US Arena Soccer Open Championship tournament between teams in the pro league and their second division teams in the league's Premier Arena Soccer League.

It also was Detroit's first win of the season against a member of their own league.

Tommy Eller led the Waza with two goals in the victory.

Rampage Play Much Closer With Twisters Than Last Time

The last time the Rockford Rampage and Massachusetts Twisters met in a Professional Arena Soccer League game, it was December 27 in Rockford, IL and there was a power outage -- both in the city and with the Twisters.

Rockford won the game, 43-0, possibly the most lopsided victory in indoor soccer history.

Friday, the scene shifted to the Eastern States Coliseum in Springfield, MA and, while the Rampage won again, the final score of 22-17 was a bit more respectful.

Bato Radoncic led the Rampage (5-5) with a hat trick, Gary Brooks added two goals and Matthew Stewart had a goal and two assists.

The Twisters (1-7) were led by Jeff Dezen and Franco Cantierra, who each had a two-point and a three-point goal. Everson Maciel had a goal and an assist.

Both teams meet again Sunday in Rockford's MetroCentre.

This time, the Rampage promise the power won't go out.

We Just Decided To Start All Over Again!

To the faithful readers of this blog:

You may be a little surprised to see this blog a little cleaned up from the last time you visited.

Call it early spring cleaning, but after over 2,500 posts and about two years, it was time to thin things down some and give the site a fresh new look.

I hope you like the changes.

Joey Josephs
Soccer Scene USA