Thursday, March 31, 2011

Toronto FC Signs Jamaican Defender Williams

Major League Soccer's Toronto FC announced the signing of Jamaican defender Dicoy Williams, who last played for Harbour View in Jamaica's Digicel Premier League.

He also has played six times for Jamaica's senior national team, most recently October 10, 2010 against Trinidad & Tobago.

Revolution Sign Defender Lowey

Major League Soccer's New England Revolution announced the signing Thursday of defender Otto Lowey, who started all but one of 80 games at Winthrop and had five goals and 11 assists in his college career.

The native of Liberia who now holds a US Green Card, granting him permanent resident status, will count as domestic player on their roster.

A leg injury suffered in his final college game prevented him from participating in the 2011 MLS Combine in Fort Lauderdale, FL.

Strikers Add Defender Arrieta

The Fort Lauderdale Strikers of the North American Soccer League announced the signing of Orlando native and defender Cristian Arrieta Thursday.

Arrieta played 16 games last season for the Philadelphia Union in Major League Soccer before being released.

Before there, he played the 2008 and 2009 seasons with the Puerto Rico Islanders, then of the USL First Division.

He led them to the semifinals of the 2008-09 CONCACAF Champions League and the USL-1 Commissioner's Cup in 2008 for having the league's best regular season record.

In 2009, Arrieta had seven goals and two assists for the Islanders.

Arrieta also gained experience by playing in Italy.

Red Bulls, MSG Networks Agree To Multi-Year Broadcast Rights Extension

Major League Soccer's New York Red Bulls and Madison Square Garden Networks announced Thursday they have signed a multi-year extension of the team's broadcast rights over their networks.

The team has had games air since their inception in 1996 and will air 24 of their 32 regular season games this season, up from 22 telecasts over 30 regular season games, as well as air pregame and postgame shows for select broadcasts.

United Signs Hamid To New Deal

Major League Soccer's DC United announced Thursday they have signed goalkeeper Bill Hamid to a new contract where his salary will not count against the team's cap.

Hamid became the first member of the team's youth academy to sign with the senior team and, on May 5, 2010, becaome the youngest at his position to win a league game against Sporting Kansas City (then the Kansas City Wizards), a record previously held by current US Men's National Team and former New York Red Bulls player Tim Howard.

Hamid played in 10 games last season, pitched one shutout and had 20 saves before undergoing season-ending surgery to repair a torn labrum in his right shoulder.

Sky Blue Signs Spain's Adriana

Sky Blue FC of Women's Professional Soccer announced the signing Thursday of Spanish National Team forward Adriana Martina Santamaria, better known simply as Adriana.

At Reyo Vallecano in the UEFA Women's Champions League this season, she has scored 10 goals in 12 games, including three in her team's last four games.

She has also had three hat tricks, including two four-goal games, for her country's team.

Silverbacks Sign Sandoval, Cox, Maurer, Hunt

The Atlanta Silverbacks of the North American Soccer League announced the signings Thursday of forwards Junior Sandoval and Jon Cox, goalkeeper Jimmy Maurer and defender Willie Hunt.

Sandoval comes to Atlanta on loan from the Puerto Rico Islanders, but played in the city for the Silverbacks' reserve team and at Georgia Perimeter College.

Cox played two seasons for Atlanta's U-23 team in the USL Premier Development League and starred at Georgia Southern for four seasons.

Maurer was the fourth overall pick in the 2011 Major League Soccer SuperDraft and had spent some time with the New York Red Bulls. He will be reunited in Atlanta with current defender Tyler Ruthven and with Cox, who also played on the PDL team in 2009. From 2004 to 2006, Maurer was a member of the US U-17 National Team camp.

Hunt, who played collegiately at NCAA Division II Francis Marion University, will be reunited in Atlanta with midfielder Lucas Paulini, who played together at the PDL's Mississippi Brilla.

Islanders Re-Sign Original Player Rivera

The Puerto Rico Islanders of the North American Soccer League re-signed defender Alexis Rivera Thursday, the only player that has been on the roster every season since their inception in 2004.

He has been recovering in the offseason from an ankle injury.

FCTB Posts Third Shutout Of Preseason Versus St. Leo In Storm-Shortened Game

Pascal Millen scored a goal off a Frankie Sanfilippo assist in the 55th minute, then Tsuyoshi Yoshitake fired off an unassisted point in the 61st minute as FC Tampa Bay of the North American Soccer League beat St. Leo University 2-0 Wednesday at the Azalea Youth Soccer Club in a contest shortened by severe thunderstorms in the area.

It was Tampa Bay's third shutout of the preseason after doing so to Florida Gulf Coast University and the University of Central Florida.

Tampa Bay will end their preseason schedule Sunday at the University of South Florida in Tampa.

Whitecaps Welcome Back Defender Akloul

Major League Soccer's Vancouver Whitecaps announced Thursday they have re-signed defender Mouloud Akloul.

Akloul signed with them last April when they were part of the USSF Division 2 Pro League but, after breaking an ankle in the 19th minute of his debut game April 24 against AC St. Louis, he played little for the team.

W-League Whitecaps Sign Trio Of Talented Stars

The Vancouver Whitecaps of the USL W-League announced the signings Wednesday of defender Lexi Marton, goalkeeper Erin McNulty and forward Carrie Peterson.

Martin has played two seasons of college soccer at Penn State, starting all 27 of her appearances. She played for Vancouver in 2008, assisting on a goal over four games, and played four seasons with the Toronto Lady Lynx, assisting on three goals over 35 games.

With the Lynx in 2007 at age 17, Marton was team captain and was runner-up for the league's U-19 Player of the Year and named to the All-Eastern Conference team.

On March 7, 2008, she made her debut on Canada's senior women's team and has played in eight overall games, including serving as captain when they won the CONCACAF Women's U-20 Championship in Puebla, Mexico, along with McNulty.

McNulty will also have a second stint in Vancouver as she had three wins and a shutout in four games in the 2008 season. She spent the last two seasons at Hudson Valley Quickstrike Lady Blues, winning ten games and posting six shutouts, and also played three seasons for the Ottawa Fury, where she won five games, four by shutout.

She recently completed her senior season at Florida State University. As a Seminole freshman, she played in all 27 games, leading to the final of the 2007 NCAA College Cup, where they lost 2-0 to the University of Southern California, and was named to the Soccer America All-Freshman Team and the Soccer Buzz Freshman All-America Team.

McNulty is second on the school's all-time list for wins in her position with 36.

Patterson played for Women's Professional Soccer's Philadelphia Independence, where she was the 40th overall pick of the WPS Draft, but was later traded to the Atlanta Beat before rejoining Philadelphia later in the season.

She also played for the Atlanta Silverbacks in the USL W-League, making six appearances with two goals and an assist in 2009.

She is the University of Georgia's all-time leader in goals (44), assists (23) and points (111) and was named to the 2007 National Soccer Coaches Association of America's All-America Second Team and Soccer Buzz All-America Second Team.

Impact Adds Lowery To Roster

The Montreal Impact of the North American Soccer League announced the signing of American midfielder Amir Lowery, who spent the last two seasons with the Carolina RailHawks in the USL First Division (2009) and the USSF Division 2 Pro League (2010).

Lowery, who played collegiately at Wake Forest from 2001 to 2004, was a third round choice of the Colorado Rapids in the 2005 Major League Soccer, where he played in two games before being loaned to the Atlanta Silverbacks in USL-1. In 2007 and 2008, he played in MLS Reserve Division games for the Kansas City Wizards (now Sporting Kansas City) and the San Jose Earthquakes, respectively.

He recently played two games in League Cup February 5 and 12 for FC Honka on Finland before accepting the Impact's offer.

Fire Knock Rapids Out Of Lamar Hunt US Open Cup Shot

Jalil Anibaba hit the game-winning unassisted goal in the 61st minute as the Chicago Fire beat the defending Major League Soccer champion Colorado Rapids 2-1 Wednesday in a 2010 Lamar Hunt US Open Cup tournament play-in game at Shea Stadium on the campus of Bradley University in Peoria, IL.

Gaston Puerari was assisted by Diego Chaves on Chicago's opening goal.

Colorado's Andre Akpan tied the game at 1-1 in the 47th minute.

The Fire will next play either the Portland Timbers or the San Jose Earthquakes in the next round of field qualification games at a date and location to be announced.

Strikers Signs Otte, Lamarre

The Fort Lauderdale Strikers of the North American Soccer League announced the signings Wednesday of midfielder Patrick Otte and goalkeeper Phillip Lamarre.

Otte last played for the Ventura County Fusion of the USL Premier Development League and is a former member of the US U-18 Men's National Team. He also spent time in England at Middlesborough Academy.

Lamarre spent the 2010 season with FC Tampa Bay. He played first three seasons of collegiate soccer at Florida Atlantic University before transferring to Florida International University for his senior year.

At FAU in his junior year, he set school records for most shutouts, saves and wins.

Rapids Sign Earls, Janniere

The defending Major League Soccer champion Colorado Rapids announced the signings Wednesday of defender Danny Earls and midfielder Josh Janniere.

Earls played 10 games for the Rapids in the 2010 season, then was traded after the season to the Seattle Sounders, who cut him last month.

Janniere was traded to the Colorado by Toronto FC in the offseason for a natural third round Supplemental Draft pick.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Manchester United Announces US Tour

Set to take on the Major League Soccer All-Star team July 27 at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, NJ, English Premier League powerhouse Manchester United, who beat the All-Stars 5-2 last year at Houston's Reliant Stadium, will play three MLS teams in international friendlies two weeks before the game.

Man U will take part in two games of the new World Football Challenge, which has replaced the former SuperLiga tournament between MLS and Mexico's Primera Division, against the New England Revolution (July 13 at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, MA) and the Chicago Fire (July 23 at Soldier Field), as well as playing the Seattle Sounders July 20 at Xbox Pitch at Qwest Field.

Admiral Reunites With MN NASL Team As Official Apparel Supplier

Admiral, a United Kingdom supplier who are making a comeback in the world of soccer apparel, announced Wednesday they will serve as the official apparel supplier to the NSC Minnesota Stars of the North American Soccer League.

The company, who provided kits for many soccer teams in the US and abroad in the 1970's and 1980's, held a similar position with the Minnesota Kicks of the original NASL.

WPS Names Fukumoto LA-Based Communications & Social Media Specialist

Women's Professional Soccer announced Wednesday Crystal Fukumoto has become the league's new communications and social media specialist and will begin her duties based out of Los Angeles next week.

Fukumoto previously worked in the league as the director of communications for FC Gold Pride.

She will be responsible for all of the league's public and media relations efforts as well as their corporate communications and broadcast relations, and will work with WPS' web designer and digital media manager on social networking initiatives, the league website, and their digital platform.

Fukumoto previously worked in PR for Major League Baseball's Los Angeles Dodgers of the National League and as an account executive at Brener, Zwikel & Associates.

Nowak's Title Expanded At Union

Major League Soccer's Philadelphia Union announced Wednesday team manager Peter Nowak's title has been expanded to include becoming executive vice president of soccer operations.

He joined the team May 29, 2009.

Tim Named PR/Media Operations Director For Jersey Express

The Jersey Express of the USL Premier Development League announced Wednesday Gary Tim will become the new director of public relations and media operations effective Thursday, replacing Nick Guerrero.

Tim earned his degree in journalism for the University of South Carolina and has worked in the industry in his native Guyana as well as in South America and the US for over 20 years.

He was previously offered the position in 2009 but declined due to commitments elsewhere.

Battery, Islanders Close Out Preseason Schedule Next Tuesday

The Charleston Battery of USL PRO and the Puerto Rico Islanders of the North American Soccer League will close out their respective preseason schedules next Tuesday when they face off in a free exhibition game at Blackbaud Stadium in Charleston, SC.

The Battery were the last team to win the USL Second Division, as they and the USL First Division merged to become USL PRO.

Meanwhile, the Islanders, formerly in USL-1, were the champion of the 2010 US Soccer Federation's Division 2 Pro League, created by the federation when neither USL-1 nor the North American Soccer League met certification requirements to be stand-alone Second Division leagues for last season.

The last time these teams played each other was June 25, 2009 as Randi Patterson scored the lone goal in a Battery win.

DC United Women Replace Freedom Futures In USL W-League

The USL W-League announced Wednesday that, in a partnership with the Northern Virginia Majestics, Major League Soccer's DC United will field DC United Women, a franchise that will take over the home field and 2011 schedule of the Washington Freedom Futures, who have left the league as the team has moved operations to Fort Lauderdale, FL and become magicjack.com FC.

United Women will open their inaugural season on the road May 25 against the New Jersey Wildcats and will play them again June 9 for the home opener at the Maryland Soccerplex in Germantown.

Jewsbury Leads Timbers In LHUSOC Play-In Shutout Of Chivas USA

Jack Jewsbury had an unassisted goal in the 84th minute, then assisted on an Eric Brunner goal two minutes later as the Portland Timbers won their first Lamar Hunt US Open Cup play-in game for Major League Soccer teams Tuesday at Merlo Field on the University of Portland campus..

The win moves Portland into a match in April against the San Jose Earthquakes.

Sounders D Gonzales Gains Green Card

Major League Soccer's Seattle Sounders announced Tuesday defender Leo Gonzales, a native of Costa Rica, earned his US Green Card, granting him permanent resident status, effective immediately.

The move frees up an international player spot on the team's roster.

Since joining the Sounders midway through the 2009 season, Gonzales has a goal and an assist.

Kickers Sign Former Aztex Midfielder Callahan

The Richmond Kickers, set to open the 2011 USL PRO season at City Stadium Saturday against Orlando City Soccer Club, Tuesday signed midfielder Michael Callahan, who played in 47 games over the 2009 and 2010 seasons under Orlando City's former name, the Austin Aztex.

The native of Cary, NC started 79 of 82 games for North Carolina and was named to the National Soccer Coaches Association of America/adidas Men's Collegiate Scholar All-American and NSCAA/adidas All-American teams in his senior year. He finished his Tar Heel career with 10 goals and 13 assists.

FC Dallas Shut Out RSL In Reserve Division Opener For Both

Ruben Luna converted a penalty kick in the 52nd minute and Bryan Leyva had an unassisted goal in the 63rd minute as FC Dallas shut out Real Salt Lake 2-0 Tuesday in a Major League Soccer Reserve Division game at XanGo Field in Lehi, UT in the season opener for both teams.

Each team's next opponent will be the Colorado Rapids, with FC Dallas hosting them April 9 at Pizza Hut Park in Frisco, TX and RSL welcoming them to XanGo Field April 14.

Islanders Sign Goalkeeper Burse To Contract

The Puerto Rico Islanders of USL PRO signed goalkeeper Ray Burse to a contract for the 2011 season Tuesday after he spent time in preseason camp with Major League Soccer's Columbus Crew.

Drafted in the third round of the 2006 MLS SuperDraft by FC Dallas, he played mostly on their Reserve Division team before making his MLS debut in 2007 in a 1-0 win over the Colorado Rapids.

In 2008, Dallas loaned him for 10 games to the Portland Timbers of USL First Division, where he had six shutouts before being returned.

Cardozo Goal Gives Paraguay Shutout Over USMNT

Oscar Cardozo scored the lone goal of the game in the 18th minute as Paraguay shut out the US Men's National Team 1-0 in an international friendly game Tuesday at LP Field in Nashville.

The US played Paraguay three days after settling for a 1-1 draw against Argentina at New Meadowlands Stadium in East Rutherford, NJ.

The US, now 0-1-2, will play their final game before competing in the 2011 CONCACAF Gold Cup tournament, which they will host, June 4 at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, MA against Spain.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Sounders Hosting Man U A Week Before MLS All-Star Game

Major League Soccer's Seattle Sounders announced Tuesday they will play Manchester United of the English Premier League July 20 at Xbox Pitch at Qwest Field.

The game will take place a week before Man U faces the MLS All-Stars in a return match at the 2011 MLS All-Star Game from Red Bull Arena in Harrison, NJ.

Manchester United became the first international team to beat the MLS All-Stars in a 5-2 victory last year at Houston's Reliant Stadium.

Bengals WR Ochocinco Named Honorary SKC Player

After ending a six-day tryout, Chad Ochocinco, wide receiver for the NFL's Cincinnati Bengals, was named Tuesday a honorary player for Major League Soccer's Sporting Kansas City.

Ochocinco had been trying out for the team while the NFL owners have locked out players due to the fact they no longer have a Collective Bargaining Agreement.

Ochocinco had played soccer growing up in Miami before becoming a football player.

His honorary status with Sporting Kansas City will give him the ability to rejoin the team for the purpose of workouts and being able to train with the team's Reserve Division squad, but will be ineligible to play in MLS games.

Impact Announces Retirement Of Leduc After 11 Seasons In Montreal

The Montreal Impact of the North American Soccer League announced Tuesday midfielder Patrick Leduc ha retired after playing all 11 seasons of his professional career with them.

He is third in club history in regular season games played with 222, starting 163, and is fifth in minutes played with 15,166.

He also started 15 of 22 postseason games and led the Impact to USL First Division titles in 2004 and 2009, along with leading them to the 2008 Nutrilite Canadian Championship title, which earned them a berth representing Canada in the 2008-09 CONCACAF Champions League.

Leduc ends his career with the Impact with 10 goals and a sixth-all time best 16 assists.

He played collegiately for four seasons at Farleigh Dickinson University.

Riverhounds Sign Veris, Yeisley

The Pittsburgh Riverhounds of USL PRO announced the signings Tuesday of defender Kyle Veris and forward Jason Yeisley.

Veris was a third-round pick of the Los Angeles Galaxy in the 2006 Major League Soccer SuperDraft, then played one season in Norway with third division team IL Hodd.

In 2009, he returned to the States and played for the Puerto Rico Islanders, then of USL First Division, in 2009, and, in 2010, for Miami FC Blues of the US Soccer Federation's Division 2 Pro League (now the Fort Lauderdale Strikers of the North American Soccer League).

WLS Named McMahon Commissioner

Women's League Soccer, a new professional league, named former English player and executive Ian McMahon as their first Commissioner March 22.

He played in over 100 games in the 1980's for Oldham Athletic and Rochdale FC until injuries forced him to announce his retirement.

At age 26, he became the youngest person to ever serve as general manager and CEO of an English sports club. He later became managing director of England's Hull City FC and was a head coach for teams in the USL Premier Development League and the USL W-League.

McMahon currently serves as the assistant coach for the men's team at the University of Saint Francis in Fort Wayne, IN and also coaches teams within the community.

Virginia-Based PDL, W-League Teams To Vie For Commonwealth Cup

The Fredericksburg Hotspur (USL Premier Development League), Fredericksburg Impact (USL W-League, Virginia Beach Piranhas (both USL PDL and USL W-League), and the Northern Virginia Royals (USL PDL) and Northern Virginia Majestics (USL W-League) jointly announced Tuesday they will all vie for the Commonwealth Cup during their respective seasons.

On the PDL side, the winner of the cup will be the team who scores the most goals in the home and away games of their first season series.

With the W-League teams, the winner of the cup will be the team with the best record after all six home-and-away series are played.

LA Blues To Host Charity Match For Japan Victims

The Los Angeles Blues of USL PRO announced Tuesday they will play the Orange County All-Stars Saturday at 6 p.m. at Titan Stadium on the campus of Cal State Fullerton in a charity match.

All proceeds from the game will go to the Orange County chapter of the American Red Cross to assist with recovery efforts for victims of Japan's recent tsunami and earthquakes.

Tickets will be available on game day for a $10 donation.

Dutch Lions Sign DeLass To One-Year Deal

The Dayton Dutch Lions of USL PRO announced Tuesday they have signed midfielder Joel DeLass, who last played at Wheaton College and for the Charlotte Eagles, then part of the USL Second Division, but now in USL PRO, to a contract for the 2011 season.

Battery Adds Midfielders Caskey, Mack

The Charleston Battery of USL PRO announced Tuesday they have signed midfielders Alex Caskey and J.C. Mack, who both took part in the team's final player tryout in February and played in the preseason.

Caskey started all 76 games in his college career at Davidson and Mack previously played for the USL Premier Development League and Super-20 League affiliates of Major League Soccer's Chicago Fire.

Kickers Move Game Time So Fans Can See VCU's Final Four Game

Knowing that fans of Virginia Commonwealth University would want to be home in plenty of time to see their men's basketball team play in the NCAA Tournament's Final Four Saturday at 6:09 p.m. Eastern time against the Butler Bulldogs from Houston's Reliant Stadium, the Richmond Kickers of USL PRO announced Tuesday they have moved the start time of their season-opening game against Orlando City Soccer Club that day to 4 p.m. Eastern time.

Sporting Kansas City To Host Newcastle United July 20

Major League Soccer's Sporting Kansas City announced Tuesday they will play English Premier League team Newcastle United July 20 at their new stadium, LIVESTRONG Sporting Park in Kansas City, KS.

Newcastle is currently in 11th place in the league standings at 9-12-9 with 36 points.

Nominees Announced For MLS's Week 2 Save Of The Week Voting

Voting has opened for fans to select the second winner of Major League Soccer's Save of the Week contest for the 2011 season, which honors the goalkeeper who makes the most outstanding save.

Fans can go to www.mlssoccer.com to view the nominees and cast their vote before 11:59 p.m. Pacific time Thursday.

The nominees for Week 2 are Sean Johnson (Chicago Fire), Will Hesmer (Columbus Crew), Michael Lahoud (Chivas USA), Jake Gleeson (Portland Timbers) and Tally Hall (Houston Dynamo).

National Soccer Hall Of Fame Name Six Inductees For 2011 Class

The National Soccer Hall of Fame Tuesday announced six people have been selected for induction as part of the Class of 2011 -- former stars Cobi Jones, Eddie Pope and Earnie Stewart from the Player Ballot; former player Bruce Murray from the Veteran Ballot, and former coach Bob Gansler from the Builder Ballot.

No date or location has been announced for the ceremony, as the Hall no longer has its headquarters in Oneonta, NY.

Jones, who played for and coached Major League Soccer's Los Angeles Galaxy, is the US Men's National Team's all-time leader in appearances.

Pope, a three-time MLS Cup champion with DC United, played defender for nearly a decade with the USMNT.

Stewart was a member of three US World Cup teams.

Murray was a defender in the late 1980's and early 90's for the US.

Gansler was a former head coach of the USMNT and of the Kansas City Wizards (now Sporting Kansas City) in MLS.

Beat Signs Marquez To Deal

The Atlanta Beat of Women's Professional Soccer signed former Boston Breakers forward/defender Analisa Marquez to a contract Monday for the 2011 season.

Marquez came to the Beat after initially trying out for the expansion Western New York Flash, then signed a contract with Atlanta after auditioning her for four days.

The former University of Arizona student played soccer (2006-2009) and had five goals and an assist in her career.

MLS Names Agoos New Technical Director For Competition

Former Major League Soccer player, nine-time league All-Star, National Soccer Hall of Fame member and five-time MLS Cup champion Jeff Agoos returned to the league Monday as he was named by Commissioner Don Garber the new technical director for competition.

In his new role with MLS, he will report directly to Nelson Rodriguez, executive vice president of competition and game operations, to plan and implement on-and-off the field strategies.

MLS Releases Names Of Week 2's Team Of The Week

Major League Soccer announced Monday the members of the league's second Team of the Week for the 2011 season, which is compiled each week by staffers at MLSsoccer.com and will honor the outstanding players and performances of the previous week.

Here are the members of the newest Team of the Week:

MLS TEAM OF THE WEEK

GOALKEEPER
Tally Hall - Houston Dynamo

DEFENDERS
Chad Marshall - Columbus Crew
Drew Moor - Colorado Rapids
Alain Rochet - Vancouver Whitecaps

MIDFIELDERS
Javier Morales - Real Salt Lake (MLS Week 2 Player of the Week)
Osvaldo Alonso - Seattle Sounders
Brian Carroll - Philadelphia Union
Marco Pappa - Chicago Fire

FORWARDS
Paulo Araujo, Jr. - Real Salt Lake
Chris Wondolowski - San Jose Earthquakes
Javier Martina - Toronto FC

MANAGER
Hans Backer - New York Red Bulls 

HONORABLE MENTIONS
Jon Busch - San Jose Earthquakes
Josep Mikulic - Chicago Fire
Jason Hernandez - San Jose Earthquakes
Shalrie Joseph - New England Revolution
Gaston Puerari - Chicago Fire
Carlos Ruiz - Philadelphia Union
Steve Zakuani - Seattle Sounders

Monday, March 28, 2011

FC Tampa Bay Signs Jarun, Ukah, Claire To 2011 Deals With Club Options

FC Tampa Bay of the North American Soccer League announced the signings Monday of defender Omar Jarun and midfielders Warren Ukah and Matt Claire to 2011 season deals with club options for 2012, according to the St. Petersburg Times.

Jarun was a member of the Vancouver Whitecaps' 2008 USL First Division championship team and last played in Poland's First League.

Ukah was part of the 2010-11 Major Indoor Soccer League regular season champion Baltimore Blast, who lost the league championship to the Milwaukee Wave, He started 11 games last season for the NSC Minnesota Stars in the USSF Division 2 Pro League and, before that, played for the Rochester Rhinos in USL First Division, now called USL PRO.

Claire, a preseason trialist, scored the game-tying goal in the 86th minute of a 1-1 draw against Sweden First Division team BK Hacken.

Sounders Announce Retirement Of Nkufo

Major League Soccer's Seattle Sounders announced the retirement Monday of forward Blaise Nkufo after a 17-year professional career in which he scored 200 goals over 450 games.

He joined the Sounders July 15, 2010 after spending seven seasons in the Dutch Eredivisie with FC Twente, where he scored a club record 114 goals. With the Sounders, he had five goals in 11 MLS games and had Seattle's first hat trick in a 4-0 win over the Columbus Crew.

He also scored seven goals in 27 games for Switzerland's national team and appeared in the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa.

USL PDL's Highlanders Announce New Affiliate Franchise

The Victoria Highlanders of the USL Premier Development League, who already have an affiliate franchise in the team's U-20 Reserves, announced Monday they have formed an alliance with Mid Isle Highlanders FC of the Pacific Coast Soccer League for them to become a feeder team.

Owned by Bill and Cheryl Merriman, whose eldest son, James, will be the team's general manager, Mid Isle's roster will be older than Victoria's reserve team but younger than the roster of the USL PDL franchise.

Strikers Sign Midfielder Coudet; Beat Canadian U-20 Team In Exhibition

The Fort Lauderdale Strikers of the North American Soccer League announced the signing of Argentine midfielder Eduardo Coudet Monday.

Born in Buenos Aires, Coudet began his professional career in 1993 with Platense in his home country.

In 1999, he joined River Plate and led them to three championshp titles.

He signed a Major League Soccer contract last summer with the Philadelphia Union and earned a roster spot.

In related news...

- Abe Thompson scored goals in the 25th and 70th minute as the Strikers defeated Canada's U-20 National Team Saturday.

NASL Names Downs Commissioner

The North American Soccer League announced Monday David Downs will become the league's first Commissioner, effective next Monday, five days before their first season as a stand-alone US Soccer Federation Division 2 league opens.

The NASL was grouped with the former USL First Division in 2010 to create the USSF Division 2 Pro League after neither league was able to gain certification on their own for the season.

Downs comes to the NASL after serving as the executive director of the USSF's USA Bid Committee that attempted to win hosting rights to either the 2018 or 2022 FIFA World Cup.

He also serves on the board of directors for FC Westchester (NY) in the USSF Development Academy.

Downs was instrumental in successful negotiations with FIFA in his 30-year broadcasting career spent between ABC and Univision to gain North American broadcast rights to every FIFA World Cup from the last time the US hosted the quadrennial event to the 2014 World Cup, set for Rio de Janiero, Brazil.

MLS All-Stars To Get Revenge On Manchester United At All-Star Game July 27

After becoming the first international team to beat them in the annual competition, Major League Soccer announced Monday their All-Star team will once again face Manchester United of the English Premier League at the 2011 MLS All-Star Game July 27 at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, NJ.

Man U won the 2010 contest at Houston's Reliant Stadium 5-2.

MLS Announces Week 2 AT&T Goal Of The Week Nominees

Major League Soccer Monday announced the five nominees for the AT&T Goal of the Week award for Week 2 of the 2011 season.

Fans can view the scoring plays of the nominees by visiting www.mlssoccer.com/att-goal-week and can vote for their choice either online or via their cell phone by texting GOAL to 22442 and typing in the code for their particular favorite. Voting ends at 11:59 p.m. Pacific Time Thursday with the winner to be announced Friday.

The nominees are (with codes next to them) Javier Martina of Toronto FC (G1), Quincy Amarikwa of the defending MLS champion Colorado Rapids (G2), Javier Morales of Real Salt Lake (G3), Marco Poppa of the Chicago Fire (G4) and Chris Wondolowski of the San Jose Earthquakes (G5).

RSL's Morales Named MLS Player Of The Week

Real Salt Lake forward Javier Morales, who had two goals and an assist to lead them to a 3-0 first half advantage and an eventual 4-1 victory at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy, UT Saturday against the defending Supporters Shield champion Los Angeles Galaxy, was named Major League Soccer's Player of the Week for Week 2 of the 2011 season Monday.

FC Edmonton Beats USL PDL's WSA Winnipeg In Preseason Game

Conrad Smith, Chris Lemire, Alex Surprenant, Alex Sements and John Jenke scored goals as FC Edmonton of the North American Soccer League shut out WSA Winnipeg of the USL Premier Development League 5-0 Sunday in an exhibition game in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.

Sky Blue Shuts Out Virginia In WPS Preseason Game In NYC

Midfielder Allie Long (18th minute) and forward Casey Nogueira (22nd minute) scored goals in a four-minute, first half span as Sky Blue FC of Women's Professional Soccer shut out the University of Virginia 2-0 Sunday in an exhibition game at Asphalt Green in New York City.

Sky Blue will close out their preseason schedule with games Thursday at Rutgers University's Yurcak Field against the Scarlet Knights and Sunday against Penn State at Dideriksen Park in East Brunswick, NJ.

They will open their 2011 WPS season at home April 10 against the Philadelphia Independence at Yurcak Field.

FC Tampa Bay Shuts Out UCF Knights In Orlando

Pascal Millen had two goals and Chad Burt added another as FC Tampa Bay of the North American Soccer League shut out the University of Central Florida Knights 2-0 Sunday at the UCF Track & Soccer Complex on the Orlando campus.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Jorsling Assists Twice In Orlando City's Win Over USF Bulls

Devorn Jorsling assisted on goals by Yordany Alvarez and Jamie Watson in the half-hour and hour marks, respectively, of the USL PRO's Orlando City Soccer Club 2-0 preseason victory Saturday against the University of South Florida Bulls in Tampa.

Orlando City officially opens the first USL PRO season this Saturday against the Richmond Kickers at City Stadium in Richmond, VA.

Nyazamba Scores Last Kickers Goal Of Preseason

Stanley Nyazamba scored the final preseason goal for the host Richmond Kickers of USL PRO in a 1-0 shutout of the North American Soccer League's Carolina RailHawks at Richmond, VA's Sports Backers Stadium.

The Kickers open their home schedule this Saturday at City Stadium against Orlando City Soccer Club.

Brettschneider, Boskovic Lead United Reserves To 4-1 Win Over Revolution

Blake Brettschneider had two goals and an assist, while teammate Branko Boskovic had a goal and two assists as DC United beat the New England Revolution 4-1 Saturday in Major League Soccer Reserve Division play at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, MA.

Ilia Stolica scored for New England in the first minute off a Chris Tierney assist.

United's reservists next play at Toronto FC April 17, while the Revolution are idle until May 9 when they go to the Columbus Crew.

Amarikwa Goal Gives Rapids Win Over Chivas USA

Quincy Amarikwa scored the game's only goal in the 32nd minute as the defending Major League Soccer champion Colorado Rapids shut out host Chivas USA Saturday at The Home Depot Center in Carson, CA.

The Rapids are 2-0-0 with six points and will host DC United next Sunday.

Winless Chivas (0-2-0), meanwhile, will hope for a win next Saturday at Toronto FC.

Agudelo Goal Balances Scores For US, Argentina

New York Red Bulls forward Juan Agudelo, who earned Major League Soccer's first AT&T Goal of the Week award by online fan voting, would earn Goal of the Night honors as his 59th minute blast allowed the US Men's National Team to play Argentina to a 1-1 draw before a sold-out crowd at New Meadowlands Stadium in East Rutherford, NJ.

Argentina's goal came off Esteban Cambiasso three minutes before halftime.

The US now heads to Nashville and its LP Field Tuesday to face Paraguay.

Wondolowski's Boot Still Golden For Earthquakes Over FC Dallas

Reigning Major League Soccer Most Valuable Player and Budweiser Golden Boot winner Chris Wondolowski scored in the fifth and 23rd minute as his San Jose Earthquakes held off host FC Dallas 2-0 Saturday at Pizza Hut Park in Frisco, TX.

The Earthquakes improved to 1-1-0 with three points and they will host the Seattle Sounders next Saturday at Buck Shaw Stadium.

FC Dallas, meanwhile, are 0-1-1 with a point and go to the Columbus Crew for a Friday night game.

Morales Contributes Much To RSL Rout Of Galaxy

Javier Morales had two goals and teamed with Paulo Araujo, Jr. on Andy Williams' opening point in the second minute as Real Salt Lake defeated the defending Major League Soccer Supporters' Shield champion Los Angeles Galaxy 4-1 Saturday at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy, UT.

Following Williams' goal, Morales scored in the tenth minute on a penalty kick and later scored in the 41st minute off a Chris Wingert feed.

Araujo put RSL up 3-0 in the 68th minute with a goal assisted by Fabien Espindola.

The 2009 MLS champion Salt Lake are 2-0-0 with six points and have next weekend off before facing the New England Revolution on the road April 9.

Juan Pablo Angel scored Los Angeles' goal with an assist from David Beckham in the 80th minute and the Galaxy are now 1-1-1 with four points and host the Philadelphia Union this Saturday.

Revolution Storms To Early Lead, Beats DC United

Zach Schilawski had an unassisted goal in the eighth minute and Shalrie Joseph scored nine minutes later on a penalty kick as the host New England Revolution held off DC United 2-1 Saturday in Major League Soccer play at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, MA.

Former US Men's National Team member Charlie Davies scored his third goal of his comeback campsign for United in second-half stoppage time on a penalty kick.

The Revolution, 1-0-1 with four points, is off this coming weekend, but resumes play next Wednesday night at the Vancouver Whitecaps.

United is now 1-1-0 with three points and travels to face the defending MLS champion Colorado Rapids next Sunday.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Ruiz Scores Goal As Union Shuts Out Whitecaps

The Philadelphia Union opened their home schedule at PPL Park in Chester Saturday as Carlos Ruiz scored the game's only goal in the 77th minute in a 1-0 shutout of the Vancouver Whitecaps in Major League Soccer play.

The Union are now 2-2-0 with six points and face the defending Supporters Shield champion Los Angeles Galaxy next Saturday at The Home Depot Center.

Vancouver, at 1-1-0 with three points in their inaugural season, host Sporting Kansas City next Saturday at Empire Field.

Fire Gets Past Sporting Kansas City In Home Season Opener

Diego Chaves, Gaston Puerari and Marco Pappa scored goals as the Chicago Fire won their 2011 Major League Soccer season home opener 3-2 over Sporting Kansas City Saturday at Toyota Park in Bridgeview, IL.

The Fire improves to 1-0-1 with four points after two games and has next Saturday off before facing the Seattle Sounders April 9 at Qwest Field.

Matt Besler and Teal Bunbury had Kansas City's goals in the loss and they are now 1-1-0 with three points as they continue on a league-record 10-game road trip to start a season while they await the opening of LIVESTRONG Sporting Park June 9 in Kansas City, KS against the Fire.

Martina Brace Gives TFC Head Coach Winter First Win

Dutch star Javier Martina was assisted by Dwayne De Rosario and Stefan Frei on goals in the 14th and 70th minute, respectively, as Toronto FC shut out the visiting Portland Timbers 2-0 Saturday at BMO Field, handing new head coach Aron Winter his first Major League Soccer victory.

Toronto (1-1-0, three) will next host Chivas USA next Saturday. Portland, winless at 0-2-0, travels next week to the New England Revolution.

Earthquakes Sign Luzunaris To Deal

Major League Soccer's San Jose Earthquakes announced the signing of forward Matt Luzunaris to a contract Friday.

He joined the team during the preseason and was part of their travel squad that went to England. He scored the winning goal in a 2-1 victory Tuesday against the Vancouver Whitecaps in an MLS Reserve Division game.

Luzunaris, a two-sport athlete at West Boca Raton High School in Boca Raton, FL and a member of the prestigious Schulz Academy along with former New York Red Bulls and current US Men's National Team member Jozy Altidore, played one season of college soccer at the University of Central Florida, where he was a teammate of current Chicago Fire star Sean Johnson.

Luzunaris scored four goals that season and was invited to a training camp session with the US U-20 National Team.

He also spent time in Europe training with Manchester United and playing for two teams in Austria -- SC Magna Wiener Neustadt and, more recently, SK Rapid Wien.

During his time at Neustadt, he was loaned for six months to Botafogo of Brazil but visa issues kept him from playing there and he was returned to Neustadt.

Le Gall Brace Gives Impact Win Over College All-Star Team

Anthony Le Gall had a pair of goals and Reda Agourram and Ali Gerba added goals as the Montreal Impact of the North American Soccer League defeated a team of college all-stars 4-1 Friday in preseason play in Broussard, Quebec, Canada.

Mohamed Abong had the all-stars' only goal in their 100-minute exhibition game.

Montreal will close out their preseason schedule in Broussard with two games -- next Saturday against McGill University and April 3 against a team to be determined.

MLS Hands Down $1,000 Fines To Joseph, Percovich

Major League Soccer Commissioner Don Garber Friday issued $1,000 fines to New England Revolution midfielder Shalrie Joseph and Chicago Fire assistant coach Leo Percovich for actions committed during the league's preseason schedule -- Joseph for action at his team's hotel in Orlando February 20, Percovich for inappropriate sideline behavior while his team competed at the recent Carolina Challenge Cup tournament, hosted by the Charleston Battery of USL PRO March 5-12.

Rhinos Sign Defender Kirk

The Rochester Rhinos of USL PRO signed former Major League Soccer and USL First Division defender Quavas Kirk to a contract Friday.

Drafted 34th overall in the 2005 MLS SuperDraft by the Los Angeles Galaxy, he was later traded to DC United in 2009, where he was later waived, then signed with the Minnesota Thunder of USL-1, where he played 15 games before being released and later be signed by the Portland Timbers, also in USL-1.

Dynamo, Sounders Gain First Point Of Season In 1-1 Draw

Geoff Cameron scored a goal for the Houston Dynamo three minutes before halftime and Steve Zakuani ended the Seattle Sounders' 260-minute scoreless streak to start the season with an 80th minute goal, but both teams played to a 1-1 draw, gaining their first point of the Major League Soccer season Friday at Qwest Field in Seattle.

Both teams play again next Saturday -- Houston (0-1-1) at the New York Red Bulls, Seattle (0-2-1) at the San Jose Earthquakes.

Milwaukee Wave Are 2010-11 MISL Champions Over Baltimore Blast

Jonathan Greenfield had an unassisted goal in the first 58 seconds of the game, then assisted Marcio Leite on a three-point goal in the second quarter and on a Greg Howes goal at the start of the fourth quarter as the Milwaukee Wave defeated the Baltimore Blast 16-7 in the Major Indoor Soccer League Championship Game Friday at First Mariner Arena in Baltimore.

Howes also assisted on a two-point goal from Travis McKenzie, Guiliano Oliviero had a three-point shot and Evan McNeley posted a goal for the Wave, who had the six-game regular season series to the Blast 4-2.

Wave goalkeeper Marcel Feenstra was named the game's Most Valuable Player after stopping 11 of 14 shots.

Lucio Gonzaga and Mike Lookingland had two-point goals for the Blast and Pat Morris had a sixth-attacker three-point play in the loss.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Vancouver Re-Signs Defender/Midfielder Harmse

Major League Soccer's Vancouver Whitecaps announced the signing, for the second time, of defender/midfielder Kevin Harmse Friday.

Harmse, South African-born but also a Canadian, originally played for the Whitecaps in USL First Division in 2003 after being selected 10th overall in the 2003 USL-1 Draft.

Before playing the first time, he was with Tromsa Idrettslag of Norway's Premier League, where he played two games.

Harmse debuted for the Whitecaps in 2004 and had a goal and an assist in 12 appearances. In 2005, he played in 29 of the team's 32 regular season games and had an assist.

He then went to FC Nitra of Slovakia's Superliga, where he started 12 of 13 games.

In 2007, he joined MLS with the Los Angeles Galaxy, then played the 2008 and part of the 2009 season for Toronto FC, before he was traded to Chivas USA midway through the 2009 season. He was then traded to the Houston Dynamo, but left the team before the 2010 season began.

For Canada, Harmse has made nine appearances for his country, including leading them to the semifinals of the 2007 CONCACAF Gold Cup. He also has scored two goals in five games for the U-23 Olympic Team and led the U-20 team to the quarterfinals of the 2003 FIFA U-20 World Cup in the United Arab Emirates.

US U-20 National Team Shut Out FC Dallas Reserves

Bobby Ward, Sebastien Lletget and Kelyn Rowe scored goals as the US U-20 Men's National Team shut out the Major League Soccer Reserve Division's FC Dallas 3-0 Friday at Pizza Hut Park in Frisco, TX.

The US U-20 National Team is preparing to earn a spot in the field for the 2011 FIFA U-20 World Cup this summer in Colombia.

Dallas plays their second game of the 2011 MLSRD March 29 on the road against Real Salt Lake.

Red Bulls Sign Goalkeeper Horwath

Major League Soccer's New York Red Bulls announced the signing Friday of goalkeeper Alex Horwath, who previously was a pool player with the San Jose Earthquakes and Seattle Sounders over the last three seasons.

He played his freshman season of college soccer at Connecticut in 2005, then transferred to the University of Wisconsin for his final three seasons, posting 17 shutouts in 52 career starts.

FIFA Allows Salgado To Play For Whitecaps Before 18th Birthday

FIFA, the world governing body for soccer, announced Friday they have granted permission for Major League Soccer's Vancouver Whitecaps to allow overall number one and 2011 SuperDraft selection, forward Omar Salgado, to play for the team as soon as possible, rather than making them wait until after September 10, when he would turn 18.

FIFA bans players under 17 from playing on professional teams until they reach their 18th birthday as a way to prevent youth players from being signed with -- and never used by -- a club outside their home country.

However, Salgado currently plays for the US U-20 National Team, who are in qualifying play to earn a spot in the 2011 FIFA U-20 Men's World Cup in Colombia this summer.

Barklage Back With United; McTavish Placed On DL

Major League Soccer's DC United re-signed midfielder Brandon Barklage Friday for his third season with the team.

Barklage, the 36th overall pick in the 2009 MLS SuperDraft, suffered a second injury to an anterior cruciate ligament in 2010 and his contract was not initially renewed.

United also placed defender Devon McTavish on their disabled list following a concussion suffered during a recent friendly game against Florida International University in Fort Lauderdale.

Thompson Brace Gives Strikers 2-0 Win Over Canada's U-20 Team

Abe Thompson scored goals in the 25th and 76th minutes as the North American Soccer League's Fort Lauderdale Strikers shut out Canada's U-20 National Team in a 2-0 win Thursday.

Aguedelo Winner Of First AT&T Goal Of The Week Award

New York Red Bulls forward Juan Aguedelo, who scored the lone goal in the 70th minute of their 1-0 home win over the Seattle Sounders Saturday, was named the winner Friday of the AT&T Goal of the Week competition in online fan voting at Major League Soccer's website, earning 33.04 percent of the vote.

Kickers Beat Rams In Closed Scrimmage

Matthew Delicate had a goal and assisted Bobby Fogelsong on the team's first goal as the Richmond Kickers of USL PRO defeated the Virginia Commonwealth University Rans 4-1 Thursday in a closed scrimmage in Richmond.

Stanley Nyazamba assisted on Delicate's 75th minute score and on newcomer Ryan Heins' goal two minutes later.

Evan Harding had an unassisted goal for Richmond in the 87th minute.

Joey Haboush scored the Rams' only goal unassisted in the 63rd minute to tie the contest at 1-all.

The Kickers will hold their final closed door scrimmage Saturday at Ukrop Field against the North American Soccer League's Carolina RailHawks.

RSL Keeps Kreis As Head Coach Through 2013, Will Retire Jersey July 4

Former player-turned-Major League Soccer head coach Jason Kreis of Real Salt Lake will stay in his position through the 2013 season, according to a statement Thursday.

Kreis, who retired as a player in 2007 and took over as the team's coach, became the youngest in league history to win an MLS Cup in 2009, his second full season as their head coach, and is 51-42-34 in MLS regular season and CONCACAF Champions League games.

The team also announced earlier this week they will retire Kreis' #9 jersey during halftime of an ESPN-televised game July 4 at Rio Tinto Stadium against the New England Revolution.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Union Gambles With Harrah's Chester Casino

Major League Soccer's Philadelphia Union announced a multi-year partnership Thursday with Harrah's Chester casino, located two miles north of the Union's home pitch, PPL Park.

The casino will serve as the official location for all post-game parties and will enjoy promotional branding rights within the Union's stadium as well as in-game promotions, such as "Harrah's Lucky Row," where ticket holders seated in a randomly selected row of the stadium will win prizes, and Harrah's will also be featured prominently on the team's website.

Tide Strike Partnership With BrownPaperTickets.com

The Tacoma Tide of the USL Premier Development League announced a partnership Thursday with BrownPaperTickets.com that gives fans the opportunity to buy tickets for the 2011 season at the Stadium Bowl.

Fans can buy single game tickets, four-ticket Flex Passes or full season tickets through the site, then can decide how they wish to receive their tickets -- by mail, printed out from their home computer or downloaded to their smartphone and showing it at a home game.

West Texas United Re-Signs One, Adds Six Others

The West Texas United Sockers of the USL Premier Development League announced Thursday the return of midfielder Lukas Garcia and the signing of six newcomers -- midfielder Aiden Hamman, defender Dishon Isaac, goalkeeper Irvin Mendez, midfielder Mariano Sapien, midfielder/defender Tyler Tarango and forward Montiel "Monty" Urias.

Garcia earned numerous awards in high school for Odessa Permian and has been with the Sockers for all three seasons of their existence. In 2010, he had one goal in 14 games after taking seven shots but scoring no points in 2009.

Hamman was a three-time First Team All-District player at Lubbock High School and was named Newcomer of the Year last season at West Texas A&M, where he is majoring in sports and exercise studies with a minor in education.

Issac, a graduate of Pearland High School, is a junior at Southwestern University in Georgetown, TX and has played in 18 games in his first two seasons, starting one of those games. He is majoring in business and minoring in Spanish.

Mendez was a four-year letterman at Del Valle High School in El Paso and played in Mexico's third division at Real Magari.

Sapien had 30 goals and 13 assists in his collegiate career at Canisius in Buffalo and has prior PDL experience with the DFW Tornados (2009) and the El Paso Patriots (2010). He also played in Mexico with Indios of Cuidad Juarez.

Tarango is captain of the NCAA Division III McMurray University War Hawks in Abilene, TX and was a teammate of Isaac's at Pearland High School.

Urias was a four-year letterman at Midland Lee High School. In 2006, he was the Newcomer of the Year after leading the district in scoring. He followed that award with an All-Region pick in 2007, First Team All-District honors in 2008 and 2009, and was the team's MVP in 2009 after winning the district scoring title for the second time.

Hammerheads Sign Three More To Roster

The Wilmington Hammerheads of USL PRO announced Thursday the return of goalkeeper Kyle Polak for the 2011 season and the signings of midfielders Tanner Wolfe and Diego Barrera.

Polak played for head coach David Irving from 2007 to 2009 and had a 1.22 goals against average in 2009 when Wilmington won the USL Second Division championship.

He split his collegiate career between Cal State Fullerton and California State University-Dominguez Hills. In 2006, at CSU-DH, he had 24 career shutouts, was named the school's Male Athlete of the Year and was named First Team All-California Collegiate Athletic Association.

Wolfe played in 75 career games at Stetson University in DeLand, FL and had 33 career goals, 18 assists and 84 total points.

He played in 31 games between 2007 and 2008 for the Central Florida Kraze in the USL Premier Development League and scored nine goals and eight assists. He also led the franchise through qualfication for the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup.

Barrera becomes the fifth member of the USL PDL's Ventura County Fusion on the Hammerheads team.

He played for the Fusion in the 2007 and 2010 season, and with the league's San Fernando Valley Quakes in 2008 and the Hollywood United Hitmen in 2009.

Barrera played three seasons of college soccer at Loyola Marymount University, then transferred to the University of New Mexico for his final season and finished third on the team in scoring with 12 points and was a Second Team All-Mountain Pacific Sports Federation selection.

He also played for the U-18 National Team that won the first-ever Milk Cup tournament in Northern Ireland.

Armstrong Becoming Player/AC In Sixth Season With Battery

The Charleston Battery of USL PRO announced Thursday midfielder Stephen Armstrong will add the title of assistant coach to his playing skills for the 2011 season, his sixth with the franchise.

A member of the final USL Second Division championship team in 2010, the Cape Town, South Africa native is sixth all-time with the Battery in games played (113) and fifth-best in goals (24) and assists (five).

Armstrong played college soccer at Butler University, then spent four seasons in Major League Soccer between DC United, the Kansas City Wizards and the Columbus Crew.

Kickers Signs Youngest Player Ever To Roster

Goalkeeper Ryan Jones, at age 18, became the youngest player to sign a contract with the Richmond Kickers of USL PRO Thursday.

Jones played in his native England for Liverpool Academy (won the 2006 and 2007 FA Youth Cup), Leeds United (NPower Championship in 2008-09) and Rochdale AFC of NPower League 1 before making three appearances with Northwich Victoria of the Evo-Stik Premier League.

Dutch Lions Sign Shaffer To Two-Year Deal

The Dayton Dutch Lions of USL PRO announced the signing Thursday of Sam Shaffer to a two-year deal.

Shaffer played four seasons at Missouri University of Science and Technology in Rollo, MO.

Toronto FC Signs Stevanovic, Plata

Major League Soccer's Toronto FC Thursday signed midfielder Alen Stevanovic and forward Joao Plate.

Stevanovic was co-owned by Torno FC of Italy's Serie B and Inter Milan of Serie A before leaving Toronto in July 2010.

He debuted for his home country, Serbia, on the U-21 National Team against Macedonia and began his professional career for Serbia's Radnicki Obrenovac.

Plata was selected by Toronto with the 49th overall pick in the 2011 MLS SuperDraft and previously played at LDU Quito, Moreno, Barcelona and Guayaquil SC.

Fire Signs Former US U-20 Player Ferrari

Major League Soccer's Chicago Fire announced the signing Thursday of former US U-20 National Team forward Gabriel Ferrari, who scored three goals in four games with the team.

Ferrari played high school soccer at Saint Benedict's Preparatory School in Newark, NJ, then joined the youth system of MLS' New York Red Bulls until signing at age 19 with Sampdoria of Italy's Serie A.

He would then be loaned to Perugia of Italy's third division, Lega Prima Divisione, in July 2008, where we would play 14 games and scored a goal. After that, he played 14 games of the 2009-10 season with Italy's Foggia.

Ferrari also played in Switzerland for AC Bellinzona and FC Wohlen.

Alvarez Repeats As MISL's Most Valuable Player

Missouri Comets forward Byron Alvarez was named Thursday the Most Valuable Player of the 2010-11 Major Indoor Soccer League season, retaining the award he earned in the 2009-10 season with La RaZa de Monterrey.

Alvarez led the team and the league in scoring with 80 points, led the league in goals scored (33) and hat tricks (five), and tied for the league lead in game-winning goals with five.

He also scored at least a point in 17 games this season and had the league's longest goal scoring (nine games) and point scoring (15 games) streaks.

Alvarez was the league's Offensive Player of the Month in February and was the league's Player of the Week for the period that ended February 28.

Major Snowstorm Cancels Rhinos-St. Bonaventure Game

Due to a major snowstorm which has struck the Northeast, the Rochester Rhinos of USL PRO and St. Bonaventure announced Wednesday they were canceling their planned exhibition soccer game Saturday in Corning, NY.

The game will not be rescheduled and fans with tickets will be able to get refunds.

Silverbacks Women Retain Coaching Staff

The Atlanta Silverbacks Women of the USL W-League announced Wednesday they have retained Chris Adams as their head coach for a third season and assistant coach Greg Chevalier for a second season.

In 2010, the team finished 7-2-1, won their division for the fourth straight season, and advanced to the Final Four of the league's Championship Tournament.

Islanders Get Commitment From Delgado For Eighth Season

The Puerto Rico Islanders of the North American Soccer League announced Wednesday they have re-signed team captain Noah Delgado to his eighth consecutive season.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Blast Sweep Major Indoor Soccer League Postseason Awards

The Baltimore Blast, regular season champions of the Major Indoor Soccer League and set to face the Milwaukee Wave for the 2010-11 championship title Friday at First Mariner Arena, swept all three major postseason awards announced Wednesday -- Coach of the Year (Danny Kelly), Defender of the Year (Pat Morris), and Goalkeeper of the Year (Sagu).

Baltimore began the season 5-0, then had an eight-game winning streak from January 21, 2011 to February 27, 2011 to end the season 15-5, tied with the Wave, but Baltimore won the head-to-head seasonal matchup with Milwaukee four games to two to claim the regular season crown.

Kelly, a former Blast player who was named head coach in May 2006 after leading them to the 2006 MISL title as an interim head coach, led them to the 2008 and 2009 titles, and this is his second Coach of the Year award.

Morris finished second in the league in blocks with 36 and tied for tenth in points with 42 in his first season with Baltimore after playing the previous 11 with the Philadelphia Kixx. A three-time Defensive Player of the Month this season (November 2010, January and February 2011), he recorded at least one point in 13 games and had a nine-game goal-scoring streak from January 9 to February 20, 2011.

Sagu, who has won three indoor soccer championships with the Blast, won his third Goalkeeper of the Year award in his career and was a three-time Goalkeeper of the Month in 2010-11 (November and December 2010, February 2011). He led the league in minutes among fellow goalkeepers and was second in the league in points against average at 9.64 and fourth in save percentage at 74.7.

Kickers Re-Sign Harding; Sign Heins, Wallace

The Richmond Kickers of USL PRO announced Wednesday they have re-signed midfielder/defender Evan Harding for the 2011 season and added midfielder Ryan Heins and defender Jamel Wallace to the roster.

Harding has been with the team since attending the USL Pro Combine in 2007, playing in 63 games since then. In 2007, as a rookie, he was a four-time USL Second Division Team of the Week winner.

At UNC-Charlotte, he scored 11 goals and seven assists for 29 points after starting all but two of 75 career games and was the fourth player in the team's four-year history to earn all-state honors by the North Carolina Collegiate Sports Information Association.

Heins was the first round pick of the Major Indoor Soccer League's 2007 Expansion Draft of the Philadelphia Kixx, then made his USL-2 debut in 2008 with the Harrisburg City Islanders, where he led them with seven goals and an assist in 17 games, before being loaned to the Rochester Rhinos, where he played a combined 51 games between the USL First Division and the USSF Division 2 Pro League.

He had seven goals and 11 assists with the Temple University Owls over four seasons and was named to the All-Atlantic 10 Second Team his senior season.

Wallace comes to the Kickers after spending 2010 with the Kitsap Pumas of the USL Premier Development League.

Before joining Kitsap, he had seven goals and an assist in 69 appearances at San Diego State University, where he was a two-time All-Pac 10 Honorable Mention candidate (2007 and 2009) and was named to the conference's Second Team in 2008.

He was drafted in the fourth round of the 2010 MLS SuperDraft by the Portland Timbers.

LA Blues Get Two Players On Loan From MLS, USL PRO

The Los Angeles Blues of USL PRO announced the addition of two more players to their roster Wednesday, both coming via loans.

Forward Chukwudi Chijindu comes to the Blues from Major League Soccer's Chivas USA, where he had a goal and an assist in 11 games after signing with them in 2009. He was loaned last season to Miami FC Blues (now the Fort Lauderdale Strikers) of the USSF Division 2 Pro League, but now in the North American Soccer League.

Defender Leonard Griffin joins Los Angeles from fellow USL PRO rival Orlando City Soccer Club, where he played in 2010 for the former Austin Aztex of the USSF D-2. Drafted 11th overall by the Chicago Fire in the 2004 MLS SuperDraft, he also played for the league's Columbus Crew and the USL First Division's Portland Timbers during the 2007 and 2008 seasons. He was later loaned to the Hollywood United Hitmen of the USL Premier Development League in 2009 before joining the Aztex in 2010.

Battery Adds Dykstra, Dugoni, Bah To Roster

The Charleston Battery of USL PRO announced the signings Wednesday of three new players -- goalkeeper Andrew Dykstra, defender Graham Dugoni and forward Seedy Bah.

Dykstra joins the Battery after playing 17 times for the last two seasons for Major League Soccer's Chicago Fire. He reportedly impressed Battery officials while playing as a trialist during the recent Carolina Challenge Cup tournament. Dykstra played college soccer at Virginia Commonwealth University.

Dugoni attended the team's tryout in February, was invited to training camp, and performed well at the Carolina Challenge Cup. He won a USL Premier Development League championship in 2010 with the Portland Timbers U23s, then went to Norway to play for MjAndalen IF. He played collegiately at Duke.

Bah also was part of the trialists at the February combine after spending part of the 2011 preseason with the Seattle Sounders of Major League Soccer. Born in Bakau, Gambia in Africa, he played for their U-17 National Team.

Red Bulls Sign 2010 Draft Pick Lassiter

Major League Soccer's New York Red Bulls announced the signing Wednesday of defender Tyler Lassiter, a 2010 second round SuperDraft selection from North Carolina State.

Fire Heat Up The Trade Wires

Major League Soccer's Chicago Fire Wednesday completed two major trades.

In the first, the team acquired Colombian defender Yamith Cuesta from Chivas USA in return for a 2012 second round pick in the MLS Supplemental Draft.

Cuesta began his professional career in his native country with Santa Fe of their first division, scoring two goals in 24 matches.

He then went to second division's Expreso Rojo, where he played in 34 games in 2008 and 2009 before being loaned to Chivas in August 2009, where he played in 15 combined games from 2009 to 2010.

Cuesta also scored one goal in three games for Colombia's U-20 National Team.

In their second move, Chicago traded forward Calen Carr, who had nine goals and three assists in 82 career games between 2006, when he drafted by the Fire, and 2010, to the Houston Dynamo for forward Dominic Oduro.

Oduro, who also joined the league in 2006, also played at FC Dallas and the New York Red Bulls before settling in as a Dynamo, scoring six goals and four assists in 44 games between 2009 and 2011.

Last season, Oduro tied a career-high of five goals after appearing in 27 of 30 regular season games, starting 19.

Stars, Badgers Cancel Game...Due To SNOW?!

The NSC Minnesota Stars of the North American Soccer League and the University of Wisconsin Badgers jointly announced Wednesday they were canceling their planned Saturday exhibition game in St. Paul due to several inches of snow that has fallen due to one last gasp of winter weather coming over the Midwest.

Future weather forecasts for the area show little chance of enough snow thawing before the game would have taken place. It will not be rescheduled.

Orlando City Wins Third Staright Preseason Game, Beats Stetson On Road

The Orlando City Soccer Club of USL PRO won their third straight preseason game Tuesday night in DeLand, FL as they beat the Stetson University Hatters 5-3.

Ian Fuller, Devorn Jorsling, Dennis Chen, Max Griffin and Jamie Watson scored for the Lions, who end their preseason schedule Saturday in Tampa against the University of South Florida.

RSL Could Host Game Of CONCACAF Champions League Final

Should things fall into place the way we think they will, Major League Soccer's Real Salt Lake, should they win the second game of their semifinal match with Saprissa of Costa Rica April 5 on the road, would play host to the winner of the all-Mexican semifinal between Monterrey and Cruz Azul April 27 at Rio Tinto Stadium in the second game of the 2010-11 CONCACAF Champions League, according to CONCACAF Wednesday.

The federation announced the first leg of the two-leg, aggregate goal championship series will take place in Mexico April 20.

RSL beat Saprissa 2-0 in the first leg of their semifinal series last Wednesday at Rio Tinto Stadium and will now travel to Costa Rica April 5 for the second leg.

Meanwhile, Monterrey beat Cruz Azul in Monterrey 2-1 last Wednesday in Montreal and Cruz Azul hosts them April 6.

Cougars Names 2010-11 Season Award Winners

The California Cougars of the Professional Arena Soccer League announced the winners Tuesday of their team awards for the 2010-11 season.

Head coach/defender Antonio Sutton was named the team's Most Valuable Player after leading them in goals with 15. He was also named to the PASL All-League Second Team.

Clemente "Bo" Fonseca was named Rookie of the Year after scoring nine goals this season.

Defender Aria Berhane was the winner of the Community Service Award for his work with the team's "Health's A Kick" public school campaign, where he visited with over 3,000 area school children throughout the Stockton, CA area.

MLS Debuts Team Of The Week In 2011 Season

Major League Soccer announced Tuesday the members of the league's new Team of the Week, which will be compiled each week by staffers at MLSsoccer.com and will honor the outstanding players and performances of the previous week.

Here are the members of the inaugural Team of the Week:

MLS TEAM OF THE WEEK

GOALKEEPER
Nick Rimando - Real Salt Lake

DEFENDERS
Danny Califf - Philadelphia Union
Jeff Parke - Seattle Sounders
Zach Loyd - FC Dallas

MIDFIELDERS
Juninho - Los Angeles Galaxy
Teemu Tainio - New York Red Bulls
Kyle Beckerman - Real Salt Lake
Davide Chiumiento - Vancouver Whitecaps

FORWARDS
Eric Hassli - Vancouver Whitecaps
Omar Bravo - Sporting Kansas City (MLS Player of the Week)
Omar Cummings - Colorado Rapids

MANAGER
Ben Olsen - DC United


HONORABLE MENTIONS
Juan Agudelo - New York Red Bulls
Chris Birchall - Los Angeles Galaxy
Charlie Davies - DC United
Kevin Hartman - FC Dallas
Jeff Larentowicz - Colorado Rapids
Drew Moor - Colorado Rapids
Josh Saunders - Los Angeles Galaxy
Chris Schuler - Real Salt Lake
Jamie Smith - Colorado Rapids

Battery Scores Twice In Second Half Shutout Of College Of Charleston

Stephen Armstrong and J.C. Mack scored second half goals as the Charleston Battery of USL PRO shut out College of Charleston 2-0 Tuesday in an exhibition game at Blackbaud Stadium in Charleston, SC.

FC Edmonton Signs Parker, Smith

FC Edmonton of the North American Soccer League announced Tuesday they have signed goalkeeper Lance Parker and midfielder Conrad Smith to their now-22-player roster.

Parker last played for Miami FC Blues (now the Fort Lauderdale Strikers) and spent two seasons with Chivas USA in Major League Soccer. He was a First Team Academic All-American during his time at the University of Missouri.

Smith played 24 times for the Trinidad & Tobago National Team and professionally for Joe Public FC in their Pro League.

Islanders Sign Native Midfielder Wilson

The Puerto Rico Islanders of the North American Soccer League announced Tuesday they have signed native midfielder Tyler Wilson to a contract.

Wilson played four seasons at University of California-Riverside, where he was named the team's captain in his senior season. He started on his country's U-21 National Team heading into the Central American & Caribbean Games in July 2010, then was promoted to the senior team and had a game-winning assist against the Cayman Islands during the 2010 Digicel Caribbean Cup, where he played in five games.

MLS Announces Nominees For Week 1's Save Of The Week

Voting has opened for fans to select the first winner of Major League Soccer's Save of the Week contest for the 2011 season, which honors the goalkeeper who makes the most outstanding save.

Fans can go to www.mlssoccer.com to view the nominees and cast their vote before 11:59 p.m. Eastern time Thursday.

The nominees for Week 1 are Kasey Keller (Seattle Sounders), Pat Onstad (DC United), Greg Sutton (New York Red Bulls), Kevin Hartman (FC Dallas) and Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake).

Luzunaris Goal Gives Earthquakes Reserve Division Win Over Whitecaps

Matt Luzunaris was assisted by Ellis McLoughlin and Simon Dawkins on a game-winning goal in the 64th minute as the San Jose Earthquakes defeated the Vancouver Whitecaps 2-1 in a Major League Soccer Reserve Division game Tuesday at the Nutrilite Training Facility in San Jose, CA.

The Whitecaps opened the game with their lone goal in the eighth minute from Bedri Gashi off assists from Long Tan and Camilo Sanvezzo, then inadvertently tied the game in the 52nd minute on a own goal.

The Earthquakes will next host the Seattle Sounders April 3, while the Whitecaps will host Chivas USA April 17.

Dutch Lions USL PRO, W-League Teams To Kick Off Home Seasons With Doubleheader

The Dayton Dutch Lions, who will have franchises in USL PRO and USL W-League, announced Tuesday they will kick off their respective home seasons against the Charlotte Eagles May 28 with a doubleheader at Fifth Third Field, home to Minor League Baseball's Dayton Dragons of the Class AAA International League.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Stars Add Four New Players, Re-Sign Three From 2010 Team

The NSC Minnesota Stars of the North American Soccer League announced the signing Tuesday of four new players -- defender Cristiano Dias, midfielders Jeff Cosgriff and Andy Lorei, and forward Tino Nunez -- to the 2011 roster and re-signed Brian Kallman, Andrei Gotsmanov and Neil Hlavaty from the 2010 squad.

Dias comes to the Stars after four seasons with Miami FC, now rebranded as the Fort Lauderdale Strikers, where he played in 79 games. He also played in Brazil for Sao Carlos, Sao Bento, Osasco and Desportivo Brazil.

Cosgriff played in the USSF Division 2 Pro League, the predecessor of the NASL, in 2010 for AC St. Louis and had two goals and an assist.

Lorei was loaned to the Michigan Bucks of the USL Premier Development League in 2010 by the Real Maryland Monarchs of the USL Second Division. He began his career in the USL First Division with the Rochester Rhinos in 2008, but was hampered by a torn anterior cruciate ligament. At Real Maryland, he had one goal and three assists in 14 games.

Nunez played for the Rhinos in 2010 and the 2008 and 2009 seasons with Real Salt Lake in Major League Soccer, scoring one goal in 12 overall games. He was also loaned out to the Harrisburg City Islanders in USL-2 for five games in 2009. Nunez led the University of California-Santa Barbara to the 2006 NCAA College Cup title, their first national title in any sport, after taking them to the 2004 event.

Kallman played 16 games last season for Minnesota at either center or right back.

Gotsmanov dealt with injuries for much of last season, but did assist on three goals in 17 assists, two of the assists coming in a road game August 11 against the Portland Timbers.

Hlavaty had three goals in 22 games last season, including a game-winner at home May 29 against AC St. Louis.

Beattie Turns Down Toronto For Puerto Rico

Forward Stephen Beattie, the 13th overall pick of Toronto FC in Major League Soccer's 2011 Supplemental Draft, signed a contract Tuesday to play for the Puerto Rico Islanders in the North American Soccer League.

Beattie led North Kentucky University to the 2010 NCAA Division II Men's Soccer Championship and became the school's all-time leading goal scorer with 77 and their second-most assists leader with 30, along with becoming a two-time NCAA Division II Player of the Year.

DC United To Host Everton July 23 At RFK

Major League Soccer's DC United will host Everton of the English Premier League in an exhibition game July 23 at RFK Stadium, United announced Tuesday.

Everton is currently in eighth place in the EPL's table.

Comets' Rodriguez Names MISL ROTY; All-Rookie Team Named

The Major Indoor Soccer League Tuesday announced Missouri Comets midfielder Lucas Rodriguez was named the 2010-11 Rookie of the Year in voting by team head coaches and general managers and members of the media.

Rodriguez had 19 points this season on six goals and seven assists in 17 games played, though he scored all the points in the final 10 games of the season, with five of them coming in a February 16 win over the Chicago Riot.

He finished sixth on his team in scoring, but third in the league among rookies.

The league also announced the other players selected to the MISL All-Rookie Team.

GOALKEEPER
Josh Miller - Omaha Vipers
Had an 0-4 record, played 232 minutes, 14 seconds this season, had a 13.19 points against average and a 67.5 save percentage.

MIDFIELDER
Mauricio Curiel Hernandez - Omaha Vipers
Played in 20 games, scored 15 points on seven goals, had an assist and seven blocks.

FORWARD
Alex Megson - Chicago Riot
Played in 18 games, scored 20 points on nine goals, had two assists and seven blocks.

DEFENDERS
Brian Harris - Missouri Comets
Played in 20 games, scored seven points on two goals, had two assists and 20 blocks.

Ryan Junge - Omaha Vipers
Played in 20 games, had 21 points on eight goals, had three assists and nine blocks.

Timbers To Play Ajax In Exhibition Game May 25

Major League Soccer's Portland Timbers announced Tuesday they will host 29-time Dutch Eredivisie champion AFC Ajax in an exhibition game May 25 from JELD-WEN Park in Portland.

Ajax is currently in third place in the league, three points behind leader PSV Eindhoven.

Earthquakes Announce Sponsorships With 7up, Farmers Insurance

Major League Soccer's San Jose Earthquakes announced Monday they have reached corporate sponsorship deals for the 2011 season with 7up Bottling Company, a division of Dr. Pepper Snapple, and Farmers Insurance.

The bottline company's beverages, inclduing Snapple ice teas and Deja Blue Water, will be the official drinks at all Earthquakes home games at Buck Shaw Stadium at the University of Santa Clara. They will also be allowed to set up beverage sampling displays inside the stadium and will be part of the Epicenter Fan Zone at certain home game dates.

Earthquakes players, local celebrities and team staff will also take part in an A&W Root Beer float day to benefit a local charity at a date and time to be announced in which they will serve fans the tasty treats.

7up has also earned the right to use the team's trademark on promotional materials throughout the Bay Area and will be able to set up in-store promotions for fans to enter and win prizes such as signed jerseys or special seating at games.

Farmers will also have the same authority to use the team's trademark in their advertising efforts and will have signage at all home games, radio advertisements played during all 34 Spanish-language broadcasts this season and ad space in the team's program.

They will also offer a Team Magnet Schedule Night during the season, which will include exclusive advertising rights for the night and the placement of an interactive booth in their Fan Zone.

W-League Impact Signs Two Defenders

The Fredericksburg Impact of the USL W-League announced the signing Monday of two new defenders.

Samara Stephen-Dowd was born in St. Lucia, but played high school soccer in Virginia for Vienna's Oakton High School before attending Virginia Commonwealth University, where she won many all-tournament and second team all-conference honors.

Samantah Hodge graduated from Mercy Acdemy and played club soccer in Kentucky for Javanon SC. She is currently a junior at Western Carolina University.

Bimbo Bakeries Continues As Fuego Corporate Sponsor For 2011

The Fresno Fuego of the USL Premier Development League announced Monday Bimbo Bakeries will continue their corporate sponsorship of the team for the 2011 season.

They join Marquez Brothers and El Mexicano brand, Comcast, Supercuts, Little Caesars and Enterprise Rent-A-Car as the team's corporate sponsors.

Nominees For First AT&T Goal Of The Week Award Announced

Major League Soccer announced the five nominees for Week 1 of the AT&T Goal of the Week competition for the 2011 season.

Each week, from all the goals scored, five players will be selected as nominees for the outstanding goal of the week, with fans casting votes at www.mlssoccer.com to determine the winner, who moves into consideration for AT&T Goal of the Year honors, also selected by fans.

Voting for this week's award takes place through 11:59 p.m. Thursday.

Here are this week's nominees:

Juninho - Los Angeles Galaxy
Scored lone goal in the 58th minute of 1-0 win over the Seattle Sounders March 15.

Maicon Santos - Toronto FC
Scored unassisted goal in the 74th minute of 4-2 loss to the Vancouver Whitecaps Saturday

Juan Agudelo - New York Red Bulls
Scored lone goal in the 70th minute of 1-0 win over the Seattle Sounders Saturday.

Milton Rodriguez - FC Dallas
Scored game-tying goal in 18th minute as FC Dallas and Chicago Fire played to 1-1 draw Saturday.

Jamie Smith - Colorado Rapids
Scored unassisted goal in 30th minute of 3-1 victory over Portland Timbers Saturday.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Red Bulls Release Forward Salou Ibrahim

Major League Soccer's New York Red Bulls announced the release of forward Salou Ibrahim, who joined the team last April from Danish team Vejlie Boldkub.

With the Red Bulls in 2010, he scored three goals in 19 games, eight of which he started.

Beat Goes Unbeaten In Pair Of Weekend Preseason Games

The Atlanta Beat of Women's Professional Soccer won two preseason games this weekend via shutout.

Meghan Lenczyk had a goal in the 16th minute and Megan Jeselova scored in the 80th minute as the Beat shut out North Carolina 2-0 at Kennesaw State University Stadium in Kennesaw, GA Saturday.

Sunday, Kristina Larsen led the Beat to a 1-0 win over Columbus State University on their campus.

The Beat open their 2011 WPS season April 9 versus the Boston Breakers.

Orlando City Rewards Neal With Multi-Year Contract

USL PRO's Orlando City Soccer Club rewarded midfielder Lewis Neal Monday for leading the team in goals in preseason play with five by signing him to a multi-year contract.

Of his five goals, two came in a five-minute stretch during the Lions' 5-1 rout Saturday of the University of Central Florida.

Neal has 17 goals in over 150 appearances in England for Stoke City, Preston North End, Carlisle United and Shrewsbury Town.

Deighton Goal Leads Riverhounds Over Panthers In Exhibition

Jeremy Deighton scored the game's only goal off a Neil Schaffer assist in the 77th minute as the Pittsburgh Riverhounds of USL PRO shut out the University of Pittsburgh Panthers on their campus Sunday in preseason play.

The Riverhounds next face Robert Morris University Tuesday at Joe Walton Stadium.

Dutch Lions Ink Van Der Pluijm To Three-Year Deal

The Dayton Dutch Lions of USL PRO announced Monday they have signed veteran Dutch Eredivisie player Marvin van der Pluijm to a three-year deal.

He has played for Sparta Rotterdam, FC Den Bosch and Nac Breda in that league.

Strikers To Play Tennis Greats In Charity Soccer Game

The Fort Lauderdale Strikers of the North American Soccer League announced Monday they will play a team of internationally-recognized tennis stars Wednesday at Ransom Everglades High School with all donations made at the game going to the American Red Cross to assist in relief efforts following a devastating trio of a tsunami, earthquake and nuclear disaster in Japan.

Admission to the game is free.

Stars Win Two Preseason Games

The NSC Minnesota Stars of the North American Soccer League won two preseason games this weekend, defeating the Shattuck-St. Mary's U-18 US Soccer Development Academy 4-2 Saturday, then shutting out the Minnesota Thunder Academy's U-18 Development Academy 6-0 Sunday.

Devin Del Do led the Stars over the weekend with four goals, including a hat trick Sunday. Brian Cvilikas had a pair of goals Saturday and Jeff Cosgriff, Amani Walker and Tino Nunez also scored goals in the two games.

Minnesota will face the University of Wisconsin-Madison this Saturday in preseason play.

Timbers Give Up On Seeing Gilbert Play For Them After Visa Issues

Major League Soccer's Portland Timbers said Monday they have given up on seeing Arsenal defender Kerrea Gilbert join the team, despite signing him to a contract in December 2010.

Delays in getting his visa approved has caused the team problems during the offseason.

Holden Out Six Months After Surgery On Injured Left Knee

Former Houston Dynamo and current US Men's National Team midfielder Stuart Holden will be out for six months after undergoing surgery Monday on his left knee, which received 26 stitches following a collision with Manchester United's Jonny Evans during Saturday's 1-0 win against Holden's Bolton in English Premier League play.

The injury had initially forced USMNT head coach Bob Bradley to take Holden off the roster for this Saturday's exhibition against Argentina at New Meadowlands Stadium Saturday and against Paraguay March 29 at LP Field in Nashville, but he will now miss playing in the 2011 CONCACAF Gold Cup this summer.

Brava For Bravo -- SKC Forward Named MLS' First POTW

Sporting Kansas City forward and Designated Player Omar Bravo was named the first Player of the Week for Major League Soccer's 2011 season Monday.

Bravo scored two goals in the team's 3-2 win over Chivas USA Saturday at The Home Depot Cemter in Carson, CA, the first game of a league-record 10-game road trip before SKC christens their new stadium, LIVESTRONG Sporting Park in Kansas City, KS, June 9 against the Chicago Fire.

USL, Umbro Extend Sponsorship

United Soccer Leagues announced Monday an expansion of the relationship they have with Umbro, the world's leading supplier of soccer uniforms, footwear, equipment and apparel since 1924 and a league sponsor and former majority shareholder since the mid 1990's.

When Umbro's parent company, Nike, was acquired by NuRock Soccer Holdings, which now owns USL, in August 2009, a new partnership deal was formed.

Umbro will now serve as the Presenting Sponsor to all USL Championship games throughout their leagues (USL PRO, USL Premier Development League, USL W-League and USL I-League) with teams vying for the Umbro Cup.

They will also provide a comprehensive team kit package for all USL PRO teams and a sponsorship package to PDL and W-League Championship Weekend events.

Ex-Rapids Midfielder O'Brien Joins Silverbacks

Former Colorado Rapids midfielder Ciaran O'Brien, who has spent most of his three professional season loaned out to other teams, signed Monday to play for the Atlanta Silverbacks of the North American Soccer League.

In 2008, Colorado loaned O'Brien to the Seattle Sounders, then of the USL First Division, playing in five games before being returned to the Rapids.

2009 saw him loaned to two teams in USL-1 -- the Austin Aztex (now Orlando City Soccer Club), where he played three times, and the Montreal Impact, where he played 13 games and scored his first professional goal.

He played a season of collegiate soccer at the University of San Diego (2006) and University of California-Santa Barbara (2007) before choosing to sign and MLS contract and be part of their Generation adidas program.

At San Diego, he was the West Coast Conference's Freshman of the Year and a Second Team All-Conference selection and, at UCSB, was Big West Conference Midfielder of the Year and a First Team All-Conference pick.

His father, Fran, played for 16 years between Ireland, Canada and the US and made four appearances for the Irish national team, while his brother, Leighton, played for 10 years in Sweden, Canada and the US.

Anheuser-Busch, SUM Renew Partnership

Anheuser-Busch and the marketing division of Major League Soccer, Soccer United Marketing, announced Monday a multi-year renewal of several partnerships -- Budweiser and Budweiser Chelada as official beer sponsor of MLS, Budweiser as official sponsor of the US Men's National Team, and Bud Light as official sponsor of the US Women's National Team and the Federacion Mexicana de Futbol, including Mexican National Team games played in the US.

MISL Announces All-League Teams

The Major Indoor Soccer League announced Monday the members of their All-League First and Second Teams, voted on by members of the media and team head coaches and general managers, who chose one goalkeeper, two defenders and three midfielders/forwards for each team, with First Team votes counting for two points and a Second Team vote for one point.

ALL-MISL FIRST TEAM

GOALKEEPER
Sagu, Baltimore Blast
Played 18 games and led the league in minutes (1,077) and wins (14), was second in points against average (9.64) and fourth in save percentage (74.7).

DEFENDERS
Pat Morris, Baltimore Blast
Played 20 games, tied for tenth in league and third on team in points (42), was tenth in league in goals (16), second in blocks (36) and had six assists.

Leo Gibson, Missouri Comets
Played 20 games, eighth in league in points (45), tied for 11th in league in goals (14), tied for third in league in assists (13) and tied for eighth in league and led Comets in blocks (20).

FORWARDS
Byron Alvarez, Missouri Comets
Played 20 games, led league in points (80) and goals (33), tied for sixth in league in assists (12), had five blocks.

Marco Terminesi, Milwaukee Wave
Played 19 games, was second in league in points (72) and goals (25), led the league in assists (19), had 10 blocks.

Bato Radoncic, Chicago Riot
Played 18 games, tied for fourth in league in points (49), tied for third in league in goals (20) and tied for 12th in league in assists (nine), had eight assists.

ALL-MISL SECOND TEAM

GOALKEEPER
Nick Vorsberg, Milwaukee Wave
Played 13 games (9-4 record), fourth in league in minutes (768), third in points per average (9.92) and second in save percentage (78.1).

DEFENDERS
Mike Lookingland, Baltimore Blast
Played 19 games, had 16 points and four goals, was tied for 19th in league in assists (seven) and was third in league in blocks (35).

Josh Rife, Milwaukee Wave
Played 19 games, had 12 points, five goals and two assists, was tied for sixth in league in blocks with 20.

FORWARDS
Pat Healey, Baltimore Blast
Played 20 games, tied for sixth in league in points (48), tied for fifth in goals (17) and tied for third in assists (13), also had two blocks.

Jamar Beasley, Missouri Comets
Played 20 games, was third in league in points (54), tied for third in goals (20) and tied for sixth in assists (12), had three blocks.

Johnny Torres, Omaha Vipers
Played 17 games, was 13th in points (29), tied for fifth in league in goals (17), had four assists and three blocks.

Neal Brace Leads Orlando City Over UCF Knights

Lewis Neal had two goals and Max Griffin, Devorn Jorsling and Dennis Chen each added a goal as the USL PRO's Orlando City Soccer Club beat the University of Central Florida Knights 5-1 Sunday in preseason play from UCF's Track and Soccer Complex in Orlando.

The Lions are 4-2-0 in preseason play and travel to Deland, FL Tuesday to face the Stetson Hatters.

Lousy Weather, Lousy Officiating Cause 1-1 Draw With Galaxy, Revs

It was a dark and stormy night at The Home Depot Center...

The Los Angeles Galaxy opened defense of their Major League Soccer Supporters Shield and 2010 Western Conference champion Sunday in Carson, CA in a 1-1 draw with the New England Revolution that will be remembered for the lousy weather and the lousy officiating that stole three points from the Galaxy.

The Revolution wasted little time setting the pace of the game when captain Shalrie Joseph fired a Marko Perovic pass into the back of the net three minutes after kickoff.

The Galaxy valiantly tired to rally their troops in the first half, but a 17th minute equalizing goal by Juninho was wiped away due to goalkeeper interference from the Revs' Matt Reis and a game-leading goal from Mike Magee in the 23rd minute was disallowed due to offsides.

Juninho finally scored a goal that counted as he made an unassisted play in the 39th minute and neither team could come closer to a goal in the rainy second half.

The Galaxy next travel to Sandy, UT's Rio Tinto Stadium to face Real Salt Lake this Saturday and the Revolution will host DC United that afternoon at Gillette Stadium.

Wave To Face Blast One More Time...This Time, It's For The MISL Championship!

The Milwaukee Wave and the Balitmore Blast, who met six times during the 2010-11 Major Indoor Soccer League season, with the Blast winning four of those games to eventually become the league's regular season champion, will meet again Saturday at First Mariner Arena in Baltimore to decide who becomes the league's grand champion.

After losing Game 1 of the league's Semifinal Series to the Missouri Comets Wednesday 15-5 at the Independence Events Center in Independence, MO, the Wave won the second game of the series 20-18 Sunday at US Cellular Arena in Milwaukee, then won a 15-minute tiebreaking mini-game 5-2 to advance to the one-round championship game next weekend.

In the second game, Marco Terminesi led the Wave with four two-point goals and Jonathan Santos had a three-point goal. For the Comets, Byron Alvarez also had four two-pointers, Leo Gibson had a brace, Tigiunho had a three-pointer and Geison Moura had a two-point shot.

In the mini-game, Josh Rife had a three-pointer and Greg Howes had a two-pointer for the Wave, while Alvarez had a power play goal.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Holden Dropped From USMNT Roster After Injury

US Men's National Team head coach Bob Bradley dropped former Houston Dynamo star Stuart Holden, now playing at Bolton in the English Premier League, off his roster for the team's upcoming friendlies against Argentina this Saturday at New Meadowlands Stadium and Paraguay three days later at LP Field in Nashville due to an injury suffered in Bolton's 1-0 loss to Manchester United Saturday, according to The Houston Chronicle.

Holden collided with Man U player Jonny Evans and needed 26 stitches to close a gash he received on his left knee.

Bradley has replaced Holden on the roster with defender Eric Lichaj, who also plays in the EPL for Leeds, to keep his roster at 22 players for the trips.

Blanco Scores, Assists In Rhinos Win Over York University In Rochester

Nick Blanco scored a goal and assisted new signee Tony Donatelli on another as the USL PRO's Rochester Rhinos shut out York University of Ontario, Canada 2-1 in a preseason game Saturday at Sahlen Stadium in Rochester, NY.

Branko Majstorovic scored the lone goal for York.

The Rhinos, 1-0-1 in preseason play, will face St. Bonaventure University Saturday in Cortland, NY.

FC Tampa Bay Shuts Out Florida Gulf Coast University

Chad Burt assisted on goals by Frankie Sanfilippo and Aaron King as FC Tampa Bay of the North American Soccer League shut out Florida Gulf Coast University 2-0 Saturday.

United Gets First Team Win In Revived Reserve Division Over Crew

DC United won the first game of a revived MLS Reserve Division Saturday over the Columbus Crew 3-2 at DC United's Auxiliary Field.

The Reserve Division was brought back to life with the most recent Collective Bargaining Agreement between the league and the players union to give untested players to ability to gain game action to develop their skills. Team rosters were also increased to 30 players, so that teams could develop rosters for the division.

United struck first in the third minute as Brandon Barklage fed a pass to Rodrigo Brasesco, but Columbus evened the game five minutes later on an unassisted Bernardo Anor goal.

DC took a 2-1 lead into halftime on a 39th minute Blake Brettschneider goal, and upped the lead to 3-1 five minutes into the second half when Santino Quaranta connected with Branko Boskovic on a goal.

Cole Grossman scored an unassisted goal in the 63rd minute for the Crew.

Both reserve teams will play again Saturday -- United playing at Gillette Stadium versus the New England Revolution, Columbus hosting the New York Red Bulls at Crew Stadium -- after the completion of their respective franchise's senior team games.

FC Edmonton Ends AZ Training Camp Schedule With Shutout Of Monsoon

Dan Antoniuk and Alex Sements had two goals each and John Jonke added another as FC Edmonton of the North American Soccer League shut out the Phoenix Monsoon, approved last week by the Professional Arena Soccer League as a 2011-12 season expansion team, 5-0 in their final traning camp game in Casa Grande, AZ.

The Monsoon replaced the Arizona Sahuaros as Edmonton's opponent after plans fell through to play them.

Edmonton will head to Manitoba this weekend to face off against another expansion team, WSA Winnipeg of the USL Premier Development League.

Sockers Defends USOASC Title Over Kings

Kraig Chiles, the Professional Arena Soccer League's Most Valuable Player and Championship Game MVP in the 2010-11 season, picked up a third crown as Most Valuable Player in the championship game of the US Open Arena Soccer Championship with four goals in a 13-6 victory for the San Diego Sockers over the Cincinnati Kings at Del Mar Arena.

The Sockers have now retained both of the championships they won in their return season of 2010 -- the PASL North American Championship for a second year in a row against Guatemala in Cincinnati last Saturday and the USOASC title.

Bravo For Bravo As Newly-Named Wizards Win First Game

Omar Bravo had a pair of goals in the 48th and 74th minute after C.J. Sapong needed only two minutes to score the opening goal as Sporting Kansas City, formerly the Kansas City Wizards, won their first Major League Soccer game under their new name 3-2 over host Chivas USA at The Home Depot Center Saturday.

Former Wizards star Jimmy Conrad, now the captain at Chivas, scored the Red & White's first goal in the 56th minute and Ben Zemanski followed suit with an 84th minute strike.

Kansas City will travel to the Chicago Fire this coming Saturday, while Chivas welcomes the defending MLS champion Colorado Rapids to town the same day.

Beckerman Solo Shot Gives Real Salt Lake Jolt Over Earthquakes

Kyle Beckerman had a 64th minute unassisted goal as Real Salt Lake opened their 2011 Major League Soccer season on the road with a 1-0 victory over the San Jose Earthquakes at Buck Shaw Stadium Saturday.

RSL next faces the defending Western Conference and Supporters Shield champion Los Angeles Galaxy this Saturday at The Home Depot Center, while the Earthquakes attempt to shake up FC Dallas at Pizza Hut Park in Frisco, TX.

Cummings Leads Defending Champion Rapids Over Timbers

Omar Cummings assisted on Jeff Larentowicz's goal in the eighth minute, then had an unassisted goal in the 29th minute as the Colorado Rapids opened defense of their 2010 Major League Soccer championship with a 3-1 beating of the new Portland Timbers Saturday at Dick's Sporting Goods Park in Commerce City, CO.

After Cummings' second goal, Jamie Smith popped off another unassisted goal in the 30th minute.

Portland's first MLS goal came in the 80th minute from a Kenny Cooper unassisted play.

The Rapids meet Chivas USA this Saturday at The Home Depot Center, while the Timbers face Toronto FC at BMO Field in Toronto that day.

Whitecaps Wins MLS' First All-Canada Game Over Toronto FC

The expansion Vancouver Whitecaps opened their temporary home pitch of Empire Field with a pair of goals by Eric Hassli and a goal and an assist by Atiba Harris in a 4-2 victory over Toronto FC Saturday in the first all-Canada game in Major League Soccer history.

Toronto's Dwayne De Rosario, however, scored the league's 8,000th goal at the 20-minute mark, and Maicon Santos assisted on it, then was helped by Gianluca Zavarise in the 74th minute for their only goals.

The Whitecaps will travel to the Philadelphia Union this Saturday, while Toronto FC hosts MLS' other expansion franchise, the Portland Timbers, at BMO Field that day.

First Game Of Brimstone Cup Ends In A Draw With Dallas, Chicago

The first game of the 2011 Brimstone Cup series between Major League Soccer's FC Dallas and the Chicago Fire ended in a 1-1 draw Saturday at Pizza Hut Park in Frisco, TX.

Diego Chaves scored for Chivas in the 17th minute, but Dallas quickly countered with a Milton Rodriguez goal two minutes later and the draw held for the remainder of the game.

The second and final game of the series will be hosted by the Fire at Toyota Park in Bridgeview, IL October 12.

Next, however, both teams host games next Saturday -- Dallas welcoming the San Jose Earthquakes, Chicago facing Sporting Kansas City.

Union Doesn't Need 90 Minutes To Beat Dynamo...Just Five

Danny Califf knocked in a rebounded Sebastien Le Toux shot into the back of the net in the fifth minute and the Philadelphia Union's defense held firm for the remaining 85 minutes as they shut out the Houston Dynamo 1-0 Saturday in each team's Major League Soccer 2011 season opener at Robertson Stadium in Houston.

The Union were 2-12-1 in their inaugural season of 2010 on the road.

Philadelphia will open PPL Park up to the expansion Vancouver Whitecaps Saturday, while the Dyanmo face the Seattle Sounders at Qwest Field in Seattle.

USMNT Newcomer Agudelo Scores Game-Winning Goal For Red Bulls

Current US National Team player Juan Agudelo, before leaving the New York Red Bulls for upcoming games against Argentina and Paraguay, gave the Major League Soccer franchise their first win and goal of the season in a 1-0 victory over the Seattle Sounders Saturday at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, NJ.

Agudelo scored in the 70th minute and saw the Sounders become the first team to lose their first two games this season in shutouts after Seattle lost their MLS First Kick game at Qwest Field Tuesday 1-0 to the Los Angeles Galaxy.

The Red Bulls travel next Saturday to meet the Columbus Crew, while the Sounders host the Houston Dynamo that day.

Davies Dazzles In Debut For DC

Former US National Team member Charlie Davies, on a comeback after being involved in a horrific car accident in October 2009, had a brace to lead DC United, last year's worst team in Major League Soccer, to a 3-1 victory over the Columbus Crew Saturday at RFK Stadium.

United took a 3-0 lead on Josh Wolff's 51st minute score and Davies' goals in the 63rd and 77th minute.

Columbus' lone goal came two minutes after Davies' second point on a Robbie Rogers penalty kick.

United travels to Gillette Stadium next Saturday to face the New England Revolution, while the Crew takes on the New York Red Bulls in their home season opener from Crew Stadium next Sunday.

Bulow Brace Leads Kickers Over Old Dominion

David Bulow had a brace and Shaka Bangura and William Yomby added goals as the USL PRO's Richmond Kickers defeated Old Dominion University 4-1 Saturday in an exhibition game at Ukrop Park in Richmond, VA.

Yannick Smith had Old Dominion's lone goal.

The Kickers now prepare for closed-door scrimmages to come against Virginia Commonwealth, James Madison University, the University of Richmond and the Carolina RailHawks of the rival North American Soccer League.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Saiko Hat Trick Leads FC Edmonton Over FC Tucson

Shawn Saiko had a hat trick Friday to lead FC Edmonton of the North American Soccer League to a comfortable 6-1 victory over local team FC Tucson in an exhibition game in Casa Grande, AZ.

Edmonton next faces the Phoenix Monsoon, who will join the Professional Arena Soccer League in the 2011-12 season, Saturday in Casa Grande before returning to Canada.

Sky Blue Finishes Second In Turkish Women's Tournament

Sky Blue FC of Women's Professional Soccer finished second to Sweden's LdB FC Malmo in a 1-0 loss at the championship game of the Alanya International Women's Tournament Saturday in Alanya, Turkey Saturday after winning a semifinal game Thursday over Fortuna Hjorring of Denmark in a nine-round shootout.

Sarah Storck scored for Malmo in the 12th minute.

Sky Blues returns to the States Tuesday to begin preparing for the 2011 WPS season.