Soccer By Ives Archives for January 2010

Evening Ticker: Puyol injured in Catalonia friendly, Togo attacker sentenced and more

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Photo by ISIPhotos.com

By JOHN BOSCHINI

The Los Angeles Galaxy went into the off-season looking for defensive depth and took a good step toward that on Thursday by signing veteran fullback Frankie Hejduk.

Acquired in the Re-Entry Draft from Columbus, Hejduk should give the Galaxy the defensive leader the club has needed to help mold a strong, but young stable of defenders.

MLS Notes: Columbus signs defender, Mariner leaves Plymouth Argyle and more

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The rebuilding of the Columbus Crew roster took another step forward on Thursday with the club formally announcing the signing of Chilean defender Sebastian Miranda.

Miranda, 30, has played his entire professional career in Chile save for a stint in Austria with Red Bull Salzburg in 2005-2006.

Must-See Goal: Andrei Arshavin

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Arsenal wasted a chance to join Manchester United and Manchester City atop the Premier League standings by drawing Wigan Athletic on Wednesday, but Andrei Arshavin most definitely did not waste this chance in pulling the Gunners level in the first half:




Ljungberg signs with Celtic FC

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Freddie Ljungberg's stay in Major League Soccer is officially over.

After two up-and-down seasons in the United States, Ljungberg is headed back to the United Kingdom after signing with Scottish Premier League leaders Celtic FC. Terms of the deal were not announced, and Ljungberg is expected to be introduced at a press conference on Friday.

SBI's Top 5 USMNT Goals of 2010

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By FRANCO PANIZO

The year is nearing its end, and while most United States national teams are eagerly awaiting to see what the future holds, SBI is looking back at the memorable year that was for the Americans.

From a pair of drama-filled, late goals in the World Cup to a couple of finishes off of assists from players making their U.

UNC's Anibaba sets sights on MLS Draft

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Photo courtesy of Jeff Camarati/UNC Athletic Communications

By JOHN BOSCHINI

Life has gotten pretty surreal for former North Carolina defender Jalil Anibaba. Signing an agent, inking a contract with the Major League Soccer and a receiving an invitation to the MLS Combine are all indications that his dream of a professional career is finally transitioning into a reality.

Thursday Kickoff: Nilmar sidelined, Monchengladbach adds a pair and more

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By AVI CREDITOR

Villarreal striker Nilmar is set for an extended spell on the sidelines after returning to Brazil to have surgery to fix a cartilage problem in his right knee.

It is unclear exactly how much time Nilmar, who has led all Villarreal scorers in La Liga play with 10 goals, will have to miss.

SBI 2011 MLS Mock Draft (Version 1.0)

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The 2011 MLS Draft is two weeks away. That's right, just two weeks away, and the reality is that MLS teams are far from finished trying to figure out which players to move up and move down their draft lists.

Wondering who your team might take when the draft takes place?

Chelsea vs. Bolton: Your Running Commentary

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Stuart Holden and Bolton have a chance to move past Chelsea in the English Premier league standings with a win against the struggling blues today at Stamford Bridge (2:30pm, Fox Soccer Channel)

Chelsea is coming off a lethargic loss to Arsenal on Monday, while Bolton is fresh off a 2-0 win against West Bromwich Albion.

A closer look at SBI Readership

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If you have ever wondered where SBI readers check in from most often, you might be surprised at what the numbers reveal.

We started out as a New York/New Jersey-dominated website before re-launching as a nationally-focused soccer news site in 2008. In the three years since we have managed to develop a well-balanced readership that represents American soccer fans very evenly.

Sizing up the DeRosario-Celtic mess

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This what we do know at this point about Dwayne DeRosario's visit to Scotland to spend time with Celtic.

He went there for the purposes of a trial, only neither Toronto FC or Major League Soccer knew about it.

Whether it was simply a miscommunication, or a flagrant act by DeRosario, the whole thing became a mess when it became clear to the public that TFC had no idea hat was going on with its best player.

Kitchen signs deal to finalize 2011 Generation adidas class

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Akron freshman sensation Perry Kitchen has come to terms with Major League Soccer on a Generation adidas contract to solidify the 2011 MLS GA class.

Kitchen and Akron teammate Kofi Sarkodie were the final two targets to sign deals, joining Akron's Darlingon Nagbe, Zarek Valentin and Michael Nanchoff, Indiana's Will Bruin, Maryland's Zac MacMath and Penn State's Corey Hertzog.

Reports: Osorio to remain at Once Caldas

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                                                       Photo by ISIPHOTOS.COM

BY ADAM SERRANO

Juan Carlos Osorio may not be returning to MLS after all.

ESPN Los Angeles stated last week that Chivas USA were set to announce Osorio as their new head coach, but according to reports out of Colombia, Osorio has decided to stay at Once Caldas.

Soccer Tuesday: Match Day Commentary

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Tuesday's aren't normally a big day for live soccer, but thanks to the English Premier League and the holiday season, we've got a loaded slate of matches today.

Eric Lichaj, Brad Friedel and Aston Villa take on Manchester City while Clint Dempsey is back in the lineup for Fulham against Stoke City.

Lichaj seeing his stock rise

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Two days ago, Eric Lichaj faced the stiff test of matching up against Tottenham star Gareth Bale in one of his first Premier League starts for Aston Villa. Instead of crumbling, Lichaj stood firm and played well, adding momentum to a career on the way up.

Having just turned 22 last month, Lichaj has put his time in with Aston Villa since joining the club as an 18-year old from the University of North Carolina.

Cummings on verge of Aston Villa loan

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Colorado Rapids striker Omar Cummings is coming off the best season of his MLS career, just led his team to an MLS Cup title, and could be poised for a shot at the English Premier League.

Colorado managing director Jeff Plush told the Denver Post on Monday that the Rapids are in talks with Aston Villa about a potential short loan move for Cummings during the winter.

Monday Evening Ticker: Arsenal cruises, RSL keeps Paulo Jr and more

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Here are some news items to get you through Monday night, whether you're enjoying decent weather on the West Coast, or sitting stuck in multiple feet of snow on the East Coast:

Arsenal thrashes Chelsea. Theo Walcott torches Ashley Cole and Chelsea's woes continue.

Real Salt Lake extends loan of Paulo Jr.

Chelsea vs. Arsenal (Match Day Commentary)

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London rivals Arsenal and Chelsea square off today in a battle of English Premier League title contenders (3pm, ESPN2).

SBI will be providing live commentary on the match so please feel free to follow along here. As always, you are welcome to share your own thoughts, opinions and some play-by-play in the comments section below.

SBI Live Q&A (Dec. 27th Edition)

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It's that time again.

Time for us to discuss all things soccer (and pop culture) in the latest installment of the SBI Live Q&A.

Want to talk MLS? U.S. national team? Top albums of the year? Movies? Barcelona's greatness? We can touch on it over the course of the next hour or two.

Let's get started (Q&A is after the jump):

FC Barcelona sbi Pop Culture amp SBI Live Q&A SBI Live Q&A (Dec. 27th Edition)

Monday kickoff: Ibrahimovic eyes MLS, Baltimore stadium study released & more

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By JOHN BOSCHINI

Zlatan Ibrahimovic has expressed interest in finishing out his career in Major League Soccer, becoming the latest European superstar to contemplate a move across the Atlantic.

The AC Milan striker and Swedish international told Voetbal International "This is my last contract with a club in Europe.

Findley and Buddle eye European moves

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Photo by ISIPhotos.com

Robbie Findley and Edson Buddle have put their time in MLS and both are clearly ready to look at new opportunities.

The two U.S. World Cup forwards have spent the past few weeks testing the waters in England and both look ready to make the leap abroad.

SBI Live Q&A set for 1pm Today

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Considering the relatively light news day, and the fact it has snowed a ton all over the East Coast, I figure I'm not alone in needing something to do while waiting for a mountain of snow to melt.

So, with that in mind, I will be holding an SBI Live Q&A today at 1pm. We'll talk all things soccer.

Americans Abroad: Weekend Rewind

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By FRANCO PANIZO

Eric Lichaj and Aston Villa may have lost their match against Tottenham on Sunday, but the American put forth one of the most solid performances of his young career.

Starting at right back in the 2-1 loss to Tottenham on Boxing Day, Lichaj helped contain the dangerous Gareth Bale before Bale eventually moved over to the opposite flank.

Soares signs with MLS

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University of California defender A.J. Soares has signed a senior contract with Major League Soccer, Soares revealed on his Twitter account Sunday.

The No. 11 rated player on SBI's MLS Draft Big Board, Soares joined North Carolina teammates Michael Farfan, Jalil Anibaba and Stephen McCarthy as college seniors who have signed with MLS.

Ljungberg in talks with Celtic

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Freddie Ljungberg showed flashes of being the impact player the Chicago Fire needed after arriving from the Seattle Sounders last season, but he may not get a chance to build on that half season with the Fire.

Ljungberg is in talks with Scottish club Celtic, and could sign a deal this week.

Lichaj to start for Villa vs. Tottenham

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If you were planning to skip the Aston Villa-Tottenham match today on Fox Soccer Channel (12:30pm), you might want to reconsider.

U.S. national team defender Eric Lichaj is in the starting lineup for Aston Villa today against Tottenham, and will be matched up against standout Spurs winger Gareth Bale in a match-up that will give Lichaj a tremendous chance to impress.

Soccer Sunday: Your Running Commentary

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With Christmas in the rearview mirror, and a day without live soccer behind us, soccer fans hungry for some on-field action will get their gifts today as Boxing Day clashes make up today's light schedule.

Bad weather has already led to cancellations of two matches (Blackpool-Liverpool and Everton-Birmingham City), but there is still action to watch throughout the day.

(More of) Your December Questions Answered

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Good afternoon all. If you're looking for some Christmas day reading, here is the latest installment of the SBI Old School Q&A, with the second batch of answers.

I cover subjects ranging from what the best USA midfield is to what my own allegiances are as a soccer fan.

Check out some more answers to the December Q&A after the jump:

Brian - in the early days of most sports teams relocated all the time.

Must-See Fan Support

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I tweeted this video a few days ago but didn't get around to posting it on SBI until today.

Here's a Christmas treat for you, the most intense fans you'll ever see at a youth soccer tournament. EVER. The video comes from Poland, where Lech Poznan fans took fan support to another level (watch the whole video, guaranteed entertainment):


Merry Christmas from SBI

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Hello all. I want to wish a Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all of you SBI readers out there. Hope you enjoy some time off, quality family time and a few peeks at SBI in between your unwrapping of presents and celebrating.

We'll have a few presents for you in terms of posts today to help quench your thirst for soccer so keep an eye out for those.

This Weekend's Soccer on TV

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Photo by ISIPhotos.com

When Christmas falls on a Saturday it can often lead to a light weekend of soccer action, but there is plenty to watch for the soccer fans in need of their fix.

Christmas Day won't give you anything to watch in the way of live matches, but both Fox Soccer Channel and GolTV are breaking out replays of some of the best matches of the past few months.

Friday Ticker: Sir Alex shoots down Becks return, Revs re-sign Reis and more

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By JOHN BOSCHINI

David Beckham has stated repeatedly that the only English Premier League team he would play for is Manchester United. Sir Alex Ferguson made it clear that a return to Old Trafford isn't an option for the Los Angeles Galaxy star.

Ferguson shot down the possibility of a Beckham return, saying Beckham was too old to play for him.

Americans Abroad: A Look Ahead

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By FRANCO PANIZO

Maurice Edu looks set to give Rangers' fans a late Christmas present this weekend as he aims to make his return from an injury that's sidelined him since early November.

Having been knocked out of action since Nov. 10 with a knee injury, Edu could make his way back into Rangers' lineup on Boxing Day when the club faces Motherwell.

Mariner emerges as candidate for Toronto FC job

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Photo by ISIPhotos.com

 Paul Mariner has emerged as a candidate for the Toronto FC job, sources have told SBI.

A long-time New England assistant under Steve Nicol, Mariner had long been considered one of the top head coaching candidates in MLS before leaving New England to take over as Plymouth Argyle manager a year ago.

Chivas USA signs Conrad

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                                               Photo by ISIPhotos.com

BY ADAM SERRANO

It may be coming together for Chivas USA .Â

After reportedly reaching an agreement to have Juan Carlos Osorio to lead the Rojiblancos, on Thursday, Chivas USA signed veteran defender Jimmy Conrad.

FC Barcelona to tour the United States in the summer of 2011

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BY ADAM SERRANO

American soccer fans just got an early Holiday present.

FC Barcelona will make a three city tour of the United States in the summer of 2010. The club's preseason preparations will begin in Europe before the start of the American tour, which will begin in Washington, D.

Report: Osorio to be named Chivas USA head coach

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Photo by ISIPhotos.com

Juan Carlos Osorio left MLS 16 months ago having endured the worst run in league history. More than a year, and one Colombian League championship later, Osorio looks set to return to MLS again.

ESPNLosAngeles.com is reporting that Chivas USA is set to hire Osorio as the team's newest head coach.

Nottingham Forest signs Findley

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Robbie Findley played out his MLS contract in search of a European contract and appears to have secured one.

The U.S. national team striker and former Real Salt Lake forward has signed with English League Championship side Nottingham Forest, the club announced on Thursday.

SBI MLS Draft Big Board (Version 3.0)

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Photo by Tony Quinn/ISIPhotos.com

The countdown to the MLS Draft has reached three weeks and the crop of 2011 draft prospects is shaping up to be a strong one.

With MLS closing in on finalizing its Generation adidas class of standout underclassmen signings, we now have a better idea of just what the top end of the draft will look like.

SBI MLS Draft Big Board (Version 3.0)

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SBI MLS DRAFT BIG BOARD 3.0 (*-Underclassman)

1. *DARLINGTON NAGBE, Â Akron, Forward/Midfielder

Speedy and skillful, some think he can be better than Steve Zakuani and Teal Bunbury.

2. *PERRY KITCHEN, Akron, Defensive Midfielder

Just a freshman, and not a lock to leave school, Kitchen is regarded by some as Akron's best long-term pro prospect.

MLS signs seven to 2011 Generation adidas class

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Major League Soccer has signed most of its 2011 Generation adidas draft class, completing most of the deals by Wednesday.

According to multiple sources, MLS has secured the signings of Akron standouts Darlington Nagbe, Kofi Sarkodie, Zarek Valentin and Michael Nanchoff, as well as Indiana striker Will Bruin, Penn State striker Corey Hertzog and Maryland goalkeeper Zac MacMath.

Davies won't play today, Sochaux suggests loan

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American striker Charlie Davies is still working his way back from injuries suffered in a deadly car crash 14 months ago, and despite having been in uniform for Sochaux's recent match against Bordeaux, his future with the French club remains uncertain.

Davies will not be in uniform for the club's match today against AS Monaco, and Davies has been advised by his club to seek out loan opportunities.

MLS Ticker: Ferreira signs new deal, Philly inks first Homegrown Player

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FC Dallas fell short in its quest for an improbable MLS Cup title, but the club took a major step toward making more runs at a championship by signing MLS MVP David Ferreira to a new contract.

Dallas announced the signing of Ferreira's new multi-year deal on Wednesday, securing the services of the Colombian playmaker, who helped guy Dallas to the 2010 MLS Cup Final.

Mid-day Ticker: Anelka interested in MLS move, Blackburn sticks with Kean & more

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By JOHN BOSCHINI

According to his brother, Chelsea striker Nicolas Anelka is hoping to follow in the footsteps of David Beckham and French teammate Thierry Henry and join MLS after his Chelsea contract expires.

"There are more and more players who want to go and play there," Claude Anelka said.

U.S. Under-20s reveal January camp roster

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Photo by Tony Quinn/ISIPhotos.com

Juan Agudelo, Omar Salgado, Perry Kitchen and Joe Gyau were among the players called in by U.S. Under-20 head coach Thomas Rongen for the team's training camp in January in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida.

The Under-20 team will be in camp from Jan.

Wednesday Kickoff: Akron exodus looming, Friedel faces uncertain future and more

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Good morning folks. As we draw closer to Christmas, there is plenty of news on the American soccer front and plenty to discuss. Let's go over some of the items making the rounds, and some of the things I'm hearing.

The 2011 MLS Draft is shaping up to be a strong one, with sources telling me the mass exodus from Akron is set to take place.

Evening Ticker: Onstad retires to enter coaching, Najar inks new deal and more

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Goalkeeper Pat Onstad has enjoyed a long championship-winning career, but the 41-year-old Canadian net-minder has stopped his last shot.

Onstad retired on Tuesday, and immediately took a position as an assistant coach with D.C. United, joining the coaching staff of new head coach Ben Olsen.

Donovan will pass on loan move to stay with Galaxy

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Los Angeles Galaxy and U.S. men's national team star Landon Donovan will not be going on loan this winter, he and the Galaxy announced on Tuesday.

"While I enjoyed my time at Everton last season and still appreciate all the support their fans have given me, I feel that it is important to continue to rest and recover this offseason as opposed to going on loan," Donovan said.

Bradley calls 24 players to January USMNT camp

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U.S. men's national team head coach Bob Bradley has called in 24 players for the team's upcoming January camp in California and the squad is a young one.

Juan Agudelo, Teal Bunbury, Tim Ream, Eric Alexander, Zach Loyd and Sean Johnson are six of the young players called in to the January national team camp.

Some of Your December Questions Answered (Part 1)

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It's time to answer some of your questions from our recent Old School SBI Q&A, which was posted last week for those of you who missed it.

We have made the transition to Live Q&As on SBI, but once in while I will try to do an Old School Q&A, where readers can submit questions in the comments section for me to answer at a later date.

Tuesday Kickoff: Holden on EPL Best XI, Findley linked to Forest move and more

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Stuart Holden has enjoyed a strong season for Bolton, perhaps stronger than we realized.

Holden has been named to the Guardian's English Premier League Team of the Season at the halfway point after garnered the highest average rating among all EPL players. The Guardian's website has reader-generated player rankings for all Premier League matches and Holden scored the highest average of the season.

Donovan, Wambach named U.S. Soccer Athletes of the Year

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Landon Donovan was named U.S. Soccer Male Athlete of the Year on Monday, garnering the award for the fourth time in his career.

Donovan joined Female Athlete of the Year Abby Wambach, Young Male Athlete of the Year Gale Agbossoumonde and Young Female Athlete of the Year Bianca Henninger among those honored on Monday in contests voted on by fans, media and members of U.

Howard helps Everton knock off Manchester City

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Manchester City had a chance to grab first place in the English Premier League with a win on Monday, but Everton played the role of spoiler perfectly.

Led by a dominant performance from Tim Howard, and inspired effort by the Everton defense, the Toffees posted a 2-1 victory against Manchester City on Monday.

MLS announces home 2011 home openers

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The defending U.S. Open Cup champion Seattle Sounders will take on Supporters Shield holders Los Angeles Galaxy in the opening match of the 2011 MLS season on March 15th.

Major League Soccer announced the home openers for all 18 teams, including the home debuts of the Vancouver Whitecaps (vs.

Manchester City vs. Everton: Your Running Commentary

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Snowfall in England led to a plethora of match postponements in the Premier League last weekend, but today's Manchester City-Everton match has been spared and will offer us some entertainment this afternoon (3pm, ESPN2).

U.S. national team goalkeeper Tim Howard will be in net for Everton, but the story of the day will be Carlos Tevez, who will be in the spotlight after submitting a transfer request only to pull it back today.

Must-See Goal: Edinson Cavani

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Mid-Day Ticker: Tevez withdraws transfer request, Inter mum on Rafa & more

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By JOHN BOSCHINI

The long-enduring saga of Carlos Tevez at Manchester City took another turn over the weekend with word that Tevez has withdrawn his transfer request and has pledged his future to Manchester City.

Tevez and Manchester City faces Everton this afternoon (3pm, ESPN2).

European Weekend Rewind: Dortmund streak snapped, AC Milan slips and more

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By IAN HOLLIDAY

The weather was the big story in Europe this weekend, with snow postponing matches in England, France, and Italy. The Premier League was the hardest hit, losing all but two of its weekend matches to the weather.

In the matches that actually were played, late goals were the story of the weekend.

Monday Kickoff: USMNT & MLS news looms, Beckham wants loan, and more

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The new year is still more than a week away, but we will learn quiet about the new year for American soccer after a pair of announcements later today.

The U.S. Men's national team will unveil its roster for next month's training camp in Carson, California, a roster of close to 30 players made up mainly of MLS players and Scandinavian-based players.

Soccer By Ives wins 2010 Best Blog Award

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For those of you who may have missed the news last week, Soccer By Ives won U.S. Soccer's Best Soccer Blog Award. The award, voted on by fans on USSoccer.com, is SBI's third straight. Congratulations to the other finalists in a category that just keeps getting stronger and stronger.

I want to thank all of the SBI readers who helped make it happen, and also thank SBI staff members Avi Creditor, Adam Serrano, Gianfranco Panizo, Travis Clark, Michael Nastri, Jose Romero and Ian Holliday for helping SBI take its coverage of American and world soccer to a new level.

Americans Abroad: Weekend Rewind

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By FRANCO PANIZO

Inclement weather may have postponed a chunk of this weekend's matches in Europe, but that doesn't mean there were no Americans Abroad with noteworthy performances.

Ricardo Clark received his first start of the Bundesliga campaign, going the distance in Eintracht Frankfurt's 1-0 victory over Borussia Dortmund.

Gatt, Gyau spark U.S. Under-20s to 5-0 rout of Canada

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photo by John Dorton/ISIphotos.com

By FRANCO PANIZO

Two days after posting a 2-0 win over Canada, the U.S. U-20 national team finished its 2010 schedule by defeating its northern rival again. This time by a much larger margin.

A new set of starters took to the field for the Americans in Sunrise, Florida on Saturday afternoon as the United States defeated Canada, 5-0.

Soccer Sunday: Your Running Commentary

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Rivalries are the order of the day on today's soccer on TV calendar, even if the day's best match has already been postponed.

Chelsea-Manchester United has been called off due to snow, but there are still plenty of other good matches to watch. Sampdoria and Genoa clash in one of Italy's better derbies, while West Brom and Wolves face off in their own derby match.

Davies to dress for Sochaux on Sunday (match will air on Fox Soccer Channel)

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Charlie Davies will be in uniform for French club Sochaux for the first time since being badly injured in a deadly car accident 14 months ago when Sochaux takes on Bordeaux on Sunday.

The club announced the news on Saturday, and Fox Soccer Channel will air the match on Sunday (11am). FSC was originally airing Chelsea vs.

Soccer Saturday: Your Running Commentary

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AC Milan is cruising toward a Serie A title, but a stiff test from Francesco Totti and AS Roma awaits today.

Milan has a six-point lead atop Serie A, with three different teams tied for second, and if any of them are going to close the gap it will be up to the Romans, who are 5-1-2 in their past eight matches.

Sounders' Keller signs extension, will play one more year

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By JOSE M. ROMERO

Kasey Keller couldn't resist the urge to be a part of history, and besides that, his body and mind were in the right place.

So the 41-year-old veteran goalkeeper and his team, the Seattle Sounders, agreed to a one-year contract extension that keeps Keller, a U.

This Weekend's Soccer on TV (& SBI's Top Ten Matches to Watch)

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It may just be December, but Chelsea faces what amounts to a must-win match on Sunday.

The Blues take on first-place Manchester United at Stamford Bridge and a win could pull Chelsea a point ahead of the visitors. A Manchester United win would give the Red Devils a five-point cushion on Chelsea with a game in hand.

Americans Abroad: A Look Ahead

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By FRANCO PANIZO

The Clint Dempsey-to-Liverpool rumors just won't go away, and they will likely continue should he have a strong game against the club this weekend.

Dempsey and Fulham travel to take on Liverpool in a game that could help the Cottagers further themselves from the relegation zone or drop them into it.

D.C. United deals Perkins to Portland

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Photo by Tony Quinn/ISIphotos.com

The second go-around for Troy Perkins in Washington, D.C., ended up having a surprisingly short shelf life.

D.C. United traded the veteran goalkeeper to Portland on Friday in exchange for Timbers goalkeeper Steve Cronin and an undisclosed amount of allocation money.

SBI Live Q&A (Dec. 17th Edition)

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It's that time again. Time for you to send me your soccer-related questions and time for me to answer as many of them as I can.

Want to talk UEFA Champions League? U.S. men's national team? MLS? MLS Draft? If it's soccer-related, we can discuss it.

Let's get started (Q&A is after the jump):

UEFA Champions League amp SBI Live Q&A SBI Live Q&A (Dec. 17th Edition)

Special 1 TV: Christmas Special

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Fantasy Premier League: Matchweek 18

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By AVI CREDITOR

By now you should know if you've qualified for the Fantasy Cup, Fantasy Premier League's massive knockout-style tournament. If you were one of the top 2,097,152 scorers in the world last week, you qualified.

For those of you new to the game, in addition to your weekly battle to climb the SBI league table, you'll also have a head-to-head matchup against a random team every week until you lose.

Friday kickoff: FIFA eyes winter World Cup, Houston signs Freeman and more

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By JOHN BOSCHINI

In a move that threatens to drastically alter the international soccer calendar, FIFA President Sepp Blatter and General Secretary Jerome Valcke expressed interest in moving the 2022 World Cup to winter in order to avoid the sweltering summer months of Qatar.

Holden riding wave of success

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There may be no American soccer player enjoying a better run of form these days than Stuart Holden.

The U.S. national team midfielder has found a home at Bolton and has helped the club exceed expectations this season. Holden has also surpassed expectations, commanding a place in central midfield for a team currently sitting in sixth place in the Premier League.

Barcelona draws Arsenal, Tottenham to take on Milan in UCL Round of 16

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FC Barcelona will take on Arsenal and Tottenham will meet AC Milan in two of the most attractive match-ups produced by Friday's UEFA Champions League Round of 16 draw.

Inter Milan will take on Bayern Munich in a a rematch of last year's final, while Real Madrid will meet Lyon, the team that eliminated the Spanish powerhouse last season.

Europa League Round of 32 draw set

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Jozy Altidore and Villarreal will face Napoli while Sacha Kljestan and Anderlecht will take on Ajax in Europa League Round of 32 action.

The Round of 32 draw took place on Friday and American players drew some tough opponents. Midfielder Maurice Edu and Rangers will meet Portuguese power Sporting FC.

Saad, McInerney lead U.S. Under-20s past Canada

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photo by John Dorton/ISIphotos.com

By FRANCO PANIZO

BOCA RATON, Fla. - Soony Saad scored in the first half and Jack McInerney added a goal early in the second to give the United States U-20 national team a 2-0 victory over Canada in a friendly at Lynn University on Thursday.

Arizona's Grande Sports World finalizing plans to host MLS team training camps

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(photo courtesy of Brian Wendel)


By JOSE M. ROMERO

At least six MLS clubs are either locked in or have verbally committed to hold preseason training at Grande Sports World, a 45-acre, multi-field facility in Casa Grande, Ariz.

GSW will welcome Real Salt Lake to the facility from Jan.

2011 Gold Cup venues and dates announced

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The 2011 CONCACAF Gold Cup Final will take place at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena on June 25th, CONCACAF announced on Thursday.

The full schedule for venues and dates of matches has been released by FIFA and while the matches are well spread out throughout the country, the West Coast has just two matches (including the final) while the Pacific Northwest received no matches.

Thursday Kickoff: Davies says he's ready, Buddle's Birmingham trip and more

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It has taken longer than some would have first expected, but Charlie Davies believes he is ready to return to first team action with FC Sochaux.

Davies has stated that he is 90 percent recovered from injuries sustained in a deadly car crash more than a year ago, and he believes he will be ably to play for Sochaux against Bordeaux on Saturday.

SBI Live Q&A set for Friday at 1pm

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It is that time again. Time for us to talk soccer in the latest SBI Live Q&A.

I will be holding the latest SBI Live Q&A on Friday at 1pm so be sure to check in as we discuss all things soccer (and pop culture).

Want to talk MLS off-season? UEFA Champions League? The upcoming U.S. national team camp?

Timbers add four from USSF-2 club

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By JOSE M. ROMERO

The Portland Timbers must have really thought highly of their lower-division version.Â

Portland announced the signing of four players Wednesday, all who were members of the USSF-2 Timbers that made the playoffs. The Timbers added defenders Mamadou "Futty" Danso and Kevin Goldthwaite and midfielders James Marcelin and Khalif Alhassan.

Galaxy send Bowen to Chivas USA, acquire Hejduk rights from Sporting KC

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BY ADAM SERRANO

Today has been an active day for MLS teams in Los Angeles.

After selecting Juan Pablo Angel with their fourth selection in the MLS re-entry draft,the Los Angeles Galaxy have sent forward Tristan Bowen to archrival Chivas USA for allocation money.

MLS clears way for Cascadia clubs to allocate 500 tickets to supporters for away matches

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By JOSE M. ROMEROÂ

The supporters groups from the Seattle Sounders, Portland Timbers and Vancouver Whitecaps have spoken, and Major League Soccer apparently listened.

The league approved a plan for hardcore fans of the three Cascadia MLS clubs to purchase up to 500 tickets for away matches against each other in 2011, the three teams announced Wednesday.

Galaxy grabs Angel in busy MLS Re-Entry Draft

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If you thought Wednesday's MLS Re-Entry Draft would be boring, you thought wrong.

MLS teams were extremely busy in the second phase of the MLS Re-Entry Draft, with eight players being taken. Juan Pablo Angel was the biggest name among the selections, being taken by Bruce Arena and the Los Angeles Galaxy.

Agbossoumonde confident about his future

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photo by Max Becherer/ISIphotos.com

By FRANCO PANIZO

SUNRISE, Fla.-Â Gale Agbossoumonde is in a unique situation.

Fresh off of making his senior national team debut and going through a second U-20 cycle with the U.S. youth national team, Agbossoumounde is being looked at by U-20 head coach Thomas Rongen to provide leadership to the group despite having an unsettled and somewhat troubling club situation.

Wednesday Kickoff: USA finish year ranked 18th, Fire faces tough decision and more

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The U.S. men's national team finished the year ranked 18th in the world, according the latest FIFA World Rankings.

The United States moved up six spots to finish in a tie for 18th with France, one spot behind World Cup opponent Slovenia. Mexico finished the year ranked 27th.

World Cup winner Spain finished the year ranked No.

Big names poised to go in second MLS Re-Entry Draft

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The first MLS Re-Entry Draft was relatively uneventful last week, with just two players being taken. The second Re-Entry is scheduled for Wednesday and is promising to have at least a few big names taken.

So who might go? Established stars like Juan Pablo Angel and Guillermo Barros Schelotto stand a good chance of being selected by teams hoping to find the missing piece to their championship puzzles.

Mid-Day Ticker: Blatter condemned, TP Mazembe reaches final and more

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By AVI CREDITOR

FIFA president Sepp Blatter has come under fire recently, most notably for the decisions to award the 2018 and 2022 World Cups to Russia and Qatar, respectively. The latest incident involving Blatter won't help his image either.

Blatter had some off-color remarks about homosexuality and Qatar, and an international gay rights group has condemned his comments and demanded an apology.

D.C. United signs Maryland's White

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D.C. United's rebuilding project took another step forward on Tuesday with word that the club has signed Maryland defender Ethan White as a Homegrown Player.

A centerback/right back prospect, White had been regarded as one of the best defenders in the nation and a top MLS Draft prospect before signing with D.

Fulham joins Everton in chase for Donovan loan

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Just when you thought Everton was Landon Donovan's most likely destination for an English Premier League move, in steps a club all too familiar to American soccer fans.

Fulham is reportedly trying to make a bid for Donovan, a development that comes amid fresh reports that Everton is interested in bringing Donovan back for another loan stint.

SBI Reader Roll Call (2010 Edition)

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It is that time again. Time for all you SBI readers to take part in our annual SBI Reader Roll Call, a reader survey we use to help identify our demographics for advertisers and to see what areas of the sport we should be trying to cover more.

Thanks to you, the SBI readers, our third year in business has been another success, with more than 16 million pageviews and readers checking in from all over the world and in every corner of the United States.

Manchester United vs. Arsenal (Your Running Commentary)

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The two top teams in the English Premier League square off today as Arsenal faces Manchester United at Old Trafford (3pm, ESPN2).

The Gunners are riding the red-hot play of French midfielder Samir Nasri, but will face a United squad that has been enjoying its own run of good form, with Wayne Rooney rounding back into his top level.

Mid-Day Ticker: Mondragon set to join Union, Cervi goes on loan and more

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By AVI CREDITOR

For much of the Philadelphia Union's inaugural season, the goalkeeper situation was tenuous and uncertain. That doesn't figure to be the case in 2011.

According to the Philadelphia Daily News, Colombian international Faryd Mondragon is set to sign with the Union on a free transfer from FC Cologne.

USMNT announces Egypt friendly on Feb. 9th

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The U.S. men's national team has announced that it will play reigning African champion Egypt in Cairo on Feb. 9th.

The match-up will be a rematch of the memorable United States victory in the 2008 Confederations Cup. The Americans needed a three goal victory to advance to the knockout rounds of the tournament and managed a 3-0 result on its way to the Confederations Cup Final.

It's (Old School) Q&A Time

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It's SBI Q&A Time, though not like we've had in a long time.

If SBI Live Q&As have been tough to catch, or if you have found it tough to get your questions answered, now can be your chance to get your questions in. It's time for us to have an old-school Q&A session, meaning the old format we used to follow for Q&A sessions.

Timbers trade one defender, sign another

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By JOSE M. ROMERO

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The Portland Timbers continue to revamp their MLS roster, on Monday parting ways with yet another expansion draft pick and adding a former Arsenal system product.

Portland traded defender Jordan Graye, who spent his rookie MLS season with D.

European Weekend Rewind: AC Milan extends lead, Barca rolls again & more

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By IAN HOLLIDAY

AC Milan got goals from three of its biggest names en route to a comfortable 3-0 win over Bologna Saturday. Kevin-Prince Boateng got the opening goal in the ninth minute, and Robinho and Zlatan Ibrahimovic added strikes of their own in a match in which Milan controlled 63 percent of the possession.

Akron win their first national title in 1-0 victory over Louisville

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       Photo by Michael Janosz/ISIPhotos.net

BY ADAM SERRANO

SANTA BARBARA, CALIF -- The third time has proven the charm for the Akron Zips.

Akron has fallen in their last two appearances in the the final, but in Santa Barbara, the Zips could not be stopped.

Akron wins first NCAA title

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Photo by Michael Janosz/ISIPhotos.net

A year after falling short of winning a national title in penalty kicks, Akron made the successful climb back to the championship game and came through with the victory the second time around.

Midfielder Scott Caldwell scored a late game-winning goal to give the Zips a 1-0 victory against previously-unbeaten Louisville in Sunday's College Cup Final in Santa Barbara.

Americans Abroad: Weekend Rewind

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By FRANCO PANIZO

Trailing against 10-man Bolton, Blackburn scored a late equalizer that looked to have sealed a result for the Rovers.

No one told Stuart Holden that.

Just seconds after Blackburn had pulled level at 1-1Â through a Mame Biram Diouf finish, Holden got on the end of a headed pass, controlling the ball with his chest before smacking home a game-winning left-footed volley in the 88th minute.

NCAA College Cup Final: Match Day Commentary

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Unbeaten Louisville takes on highly-regarded Akron today in the NCAA Men's College Cup Final in Santa Barbara.

The Cardinals come in having posted a second straight last-minute victory, while the Zips enter having fought back from an early deficit to defeat Michigan in the national semifinal on Friday.

Soccer Sunday: Your Running Commentary

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It wasn't too long ago when Tottenham would have been considered an underdog against Chelsea, but things have changed a bit over the past month. Chelsea is mired in a slump that erased a once healthy lead atop the Premier League while Tottenham comes in having won its Champions League group and having pulled within four points of Chelsea.

College Cup Preview: Legacies on the line as Louisville face Akron in Final

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BY ADAM SERRANO

Though both teams have been favorites throughout the season, in the College Cup Final, immortality is at stake.

The No.1 and currently undefeated Louisville Cardinals will take on the No.3 Akron Zips (ESPN2, 4pm) in a match that pits against each other, two programs eager to cement their legacies.

Report: Tevez hands in transfer request, wants out of Manchester City

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BY ADAM SERRANO

Manchester City may be level with Arsenal on points at the top of the Premier league table, but the club is far from over the moon after a recent request from their star striker. The Guardian is reporting that Manchester City striker Carlos Tevez has handed in a transfer request to leave Manchester City.

Soccer Saturday: Your Running Commentary

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While we continue to wonder why on earth Newcastle fired manager Chris Hughton and replaced him with Alan Pardew, the Magpies are back in action today and will take on a club with its own shaky managerial situation in Liverpool.

The Reds are currently seven points out of a Champions League place and the pressure is on Roy Hodgson to get Liverpool climbing up the standings quickly.

Akron and Louisville advance to College Cup Final in impressive fashion

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BY ADAM SERRANO

After months of matches and hundreds of goals, the college soccer field has come down to just two teams.

The No. 3 Akron Zips and the undefeated and No. 1 Louisville Cardinals will face off in Sunday's College Cup Final match (4pm ESPN2) to decide which team will bring home their first National Title.

Late Horton winner leads Louisville past North Carolina into College Cup Final

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By JOHN BOSCHINI

Louisville showed why they are still undefeated with a last-minute victory over No. 4 North Carolina to book a place in the College Cup final. With 51 seconds left, Aaron Horton ran onto a Ryan Smith pass and chipped the ball over UNC goalkeeper Scott Goodwin from close range.

Whitecaps sign Janicki, Dunfield to MLS roster

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By JOSE M. ROMERO

The Vancouver Whitecaps' recently-completed six-week offseason training camp yielded a couple of new players, as the expansion MLS side has signed Greg Janicki, the 2010 USSF-2 Defender of the Year, and Canadian midfielder Terry Dunfield.

This Weekend's Soccer on TV (and SBI's Top 10 Matches to Watch)

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Manchester United and Arsenal will be battling for first place in the English Premier League and while Monday isn't exactly the weekend, we'll call it part of the upcoming weekend because that Premier League clash deserves top billing.

The Gunners are on a roll, and took advantage of Manchester United's cancelled match to vault past the Red Devils and into first place.

NCAA College Cup Semifinals (Match Night Commentary)

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The NCAA College Cup semifinals kick off tonight with Louisville taking on North Carolina (8:30pm, ESPN2) and Akron facing Michigan (11pm, ESPN2) in Santa Barbara, California.

Louisville enters the semifinals as the top seed, but will take on an experienced Tar Heels squad playing in their third straight national semifinal.

NCAA College Cup Semifinals set to kick tonight

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Two teams will move a major step closer to an NCAA title tonight when Louisville, Akron, North Carolina and Michigan play in the NCAA semifinals tonight in Santa Barbara, California.

Louisville enters as the top seed and only remaining undefeated team in the nation, but the Cardinals will face a stiff test from North Carolina (8:30pm, ESPN2), which is playing in its third straight College Cup semifinal.

Hermann Trophy finalists announced

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The 2010 Hermann Trophy finalists were announced on Friday and two of three finalists could be lifting an NCAA title this weekend.

Akron junior Darlington Nagbe and Louisville junior Colin Rolfe were both named as finalists, along with Ohio State junior striker Will Bruin. The award, given each year to the best player in college soccer, will be presented on Jan.

Pachuca comes up short against Mazembe

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And just like that, the Club World Cup is over for Pachuca. Unable to answer a first half TP Mazembe goal, the CONCACAF representative was ousted at the first obstacle, falling by a 1-0 scoreline.

Mbeza Beli scored for the African side in the 21st minute, just after Alejandro Manso nearly opened the scoring for the Mexican club.

Fantasy Premier League: Matchweek 17

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By AVI CREDITOR

Its fans likely have no more hair to pull out. Its new manager has been questioned since the first game of the season. Injuries and poor play had the club lingering around the drop zone for an unusual amount of time.

But is it finally time to put some faith in Liverpool?

Morning Ticker: Barcelona signs sponsor, Manchester United gets boost and more

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By TRAVIS CLARK

For the first time in Barcelona's history, the Catalan club's jerseys will bear a sponsor on its front.

Putting an end to 111 years without a sponsor, Barca announced an agreement with the Qatar Foundation in a deal valued at £125 million. Barcelona has previously paid to bear the logo of UNICEF in recent seasons, and will keep that logo as well.

The latest from Special1 TV

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Jose and the Special1 TV crew are back, with some revelations of the FIFA World Cup bids and what Wikileaks revealed about the show.

Enjoy:


Report: USA to play Egypt

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The U.S. national team might be heading to the Middle East in February. A report from Egypt suggests that both the USSF and Egypt's FA are in the final stages of negogiations to play a friendly in Cairo on February 9, the first FIFA friendly date of next year.

The game would be a rematch of the 2009 Confederations Cup group match that the U.

Americans Abroad: A Look Ahead

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By FRANCO PANIZO

Herculez Gomez and Jose Torres achieved their dreams of playing in a World Cup earlier this year, and now they'll get a chance to play in a different one.

Gomez, Torres and fellow American Marco Vidal all aim to get playing time on Friday as Pachuca begins its quest for the 2010 FIFA Club World Cup in the United Arab Emirates.

Portland Timbers make (fashion) statement with MLS jerseys

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By JOSE M. ROMERO

Not many MLS team jerseys look so distinctly different than the primary and secondary uniforms the expansion Portland Timbers unveiled Thursday afternoon at Portland International Airport.

Most figured green would be the primary color.

Club World Cup ready to hit full swing

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By TRAVIS CLARK

The tournament might technically have already started, but come tomorrow, some of the bigger clubs enter play in the FIFA Club World Cup.

Seven teams representing each continental confederation will be in action in the United Arab Emirates. Two smaller teams began the tournament Wednesday, with UAE side Al-Wahda defeating Hekari United, the Oceania representative from Papua New Guinea, 3-0.

Doyle, McInerney, Gyau among 24 called into U-20 December camp in Florida

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Photo courtesy of Derby County F.C.

Thomas Rongen has selected his 24-man roster for next week's United States Under-20 training camp, and it includes nine first-timers along with a number of players already established at that level.

Among the notable additions are Derby County's Conor Doyle, who will be making his first appearance at any level of the U.

U.S. U-18s heading to European tournament

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Photo by ISIphotos.com

The United States Under-18 men's team will square off with Germany, France and host Israel in a four-team tournament held in Tel Aviv next week.

Coach Mike Matkovich has assembled a 20-man roster, primarily of players from various development academies.

Should Donovan stay or should he go?

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Photo by ISIPhotos.com

Should he stay or should he go?

No, this isn't another Landon Donovan transfer question because, let's face it, the general consensus is that Donovan should move to Europe if a team is willing to pay the asking price.

No the question here is whether Donovan should really consider making another loan move this winter like he made last winter.

College Cup Preview: UNC's Farfan emerges as team leader

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By JOHN BOSCHINI

You won't hear stories about Michael Farfan giving impassioned halftime speeches. You won't see him talk trash on the field and you'll never, ever hear him talk about his individual talent.Â

"He's not outwardly like a cheerleader, like a pusher or a vocal person on the field" University of North Carolina head coach Elmar Bolowich said.

College Cup Preview: Michigan's Meram takes unique path to stardom

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Photo courtesy of University of Michigan

By AVI CREDITOR

Justin Meram hasn't been groomed by the United States Soccer youth program. Heck, he was only recruited out of high school by Bowling Green. To be a placekicker on the football team.

Yet now Meram, Michigan's prolific forward, is perhaps the most in-form college soccer player in the country, helping guide the Wolverines to the first Big Ten Tournament championship and College Cup in the program's 11-year history.

Must-See (Own) Goal: FC Twente

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Yes, it happened Tuesday, but we'd be remiss if we didn't share an all-time great own goal courtesy of FC Twente defender Peter Wisgerhof and keeper Sander Boschker. Enjoy:


Morning Ticker: Newcastle hires Pardew, USL PRO continues expansion and more

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By AVI CREDITOR

Alan Pardew has been hired to take the reins at Newcastle United, after Chris Hughton was let go as the club's manager on Monday.

Pardew, who has previously managed Reading, West Ham and Charlton and most recently led Southampton, signed a five-and-a-half year deal with the club and is owner Mike Ashley's fifth coaching hire in his three years with the club.

List of MLS Combine senior invitees revealed

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Major League Soccer has finalized its list of senior players to be invited to the 2011 MLS Combine and the teams in the upcoming NCAA Final Four are well represented.

A total of seven seniors who will take part in this weekend's national semifinals will play in the MLS Combine in Fort Lauderdale, Florida on January 8-11, where MLS coaches and scouts will evaluate the incoming talent ahead of the 2011 MLS Draft, on January 13th in Baltimore.

UCL Rewind: Arsenal and Roma advance, Shakhtar wins group H and more

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By IAN HOLLIDAY

For roughly 70 minutes on Wednesday, Arsenal looked like it might do the unthinkable: fail to qualify for the knockout stages of the UEFA Champions League.

The Gunners had taken a 1-0 lead over visiting Serbian club Partizan Belgrade on Robin Van Persie's 30th minute penalty kick, but they never looked comfortable against the group H cellar-dwellers.

College Cup Preview: Lolla's guidance lifts unbeaten Cardinals to Santa Barbara

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Photo by ISIPhotos.com

BY ADAM SERRANO

Growth. Development. Excellence.

As the Louisville Cardinals sit on the cusp of the College Cup, the team has been lifted by these three simple words en route to an 18-0-3 season.

College Cup Preview: Underdog Michigan a program on the rise

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Photo courtesy of University of Michigan

By AVI CREDITOR

Many view Michigan's run to the College Cup as somewhat of a Cinderella story.

Not Wolverines coach Steve Burns. He's seen this coming for quite some time.

"When I was interviewing for the job, I had a vision in my mind what I wanted to do given the chance with our program," said Burns, the only coach in Michigan soccer's 11-year existence as an NCAA Division I sport.

Ngwenya and Hohlbein selected in first round of MLS re-entry draft

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BY ADAM SERRANO

The first stage of the inaugural re-entry draft passed with little bang.

The draft ended in less than five minutes and only two players were selected as most teams decided to bypass the option to select one of the many players available. D.C.

UEFA Champions League: Your Running Commentary

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The final day of group play in the UEFA Champions League has arrived, though much has already been decided among the four groups in action on Wednesday.

Most eyes will be on the surprisingly tight Group H, where Arsenal could be in danger of being eliminated. Fortunately for the Gunners, who are tied for second place with Braga and trail Shakhtar Donetsk by three points, they face point-less Partizan at home.

SBI MLS Draft Big Board (Version 2.0)

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As we draw to within a month of the 2011 MLS Draft, the action behind the scenes that is shaping the 2011 draft class is getting hot and heavy.

Seniors are already getting their MLS Combine invites while the process to select the players chosen for Generation adidas is well underway.

College Cup Preview: UNC overcomes injuries to reach third straight semifinal

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Photo courtesy of Jeff Camarti/UNC Athletic Communications

By JOHN BOSCHINI

In a manner of speaking, North Carolina's quarterfinal penalty-kick victory over Southern Methodist was business as usual for a team who's road to its third-consecutive College Cup has been rocky to say the least.

SBI's NCAA College Cup coverage set to kick off

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The NCAA Men's College Cup will kick off on Friday with four teams vying for a national championship. Akron, North Carolina, Louisville and Michigan are all in contention in what should be an entertaining set of semifinal matches on Friday.

SBI will be providing in-depth coverage of the College Cup, beginning with team previews for all four semifinalists, and culminating with closer looks at the best players taking part in this year's College Cup.

College Cup Preview: Loaded Akron ready to take care of unfinished business

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Photo by ISIPhotos.com

By JOHN BOSCHINI

A single penalty kick shootout separated Akron from a national title last season and for Caleb Porter and the returning members of the Zips, the journey back to the College Cup started on Dec. 14, 2009, one day after the final.

MLS Generation adidas team trounces Atletico Madrid reserves

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The MLS Generation adidas squad completed an unbeaten tour of Spain on Wednesday by beating Atletico Madrid's reserves, 4-1, on the strength of two goals from Kansas City striker Teal Bunbury.

Just a day after beating Rayo Vallecano in a rain-soaked game, the Generation adidas squad rolled to its easiest win of the trip.

Timbers announce rest of coaching staff

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By JOSE M. ROMERO

The Portland Timbers are a busy bunch this week.Â

They're opening a downtown Portland team store on Friday morning, and select fans and media get to preview the new spot when the club formally introduces four of its new players on Wednesday -- defender Eric Brunner, midfielders Adam Moffat and Peter Lowry and defender-midfielder Rodney Wallace, all acquired on Nov.

SBI Live Q&A (Dec. 7th Edition)

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Good evening folks. It's that time again.

Time for us to talk all things soccer in the latest SBI Live Q&A.

I'm doing another night-time Q&A for those readers who can't take part in the regular mid-day Q&As, and those of you who take part any time we do them.

Want to talk MLS, USMNT or FIFA?

MLS Ticker: Dynamo unveils jersey deal, GA youngsters win friendly and more

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The Houston Dynamo unveiled a new jersey sponsor and a new-look uniform on Tuesday, announcing a five-year deal with Houston-based Greenstar Recycling.

The deal, reported to be worth $12.7 million, includes exclusive jersey naming rights and will make Greenstar Recycling the first founding partner in Houston's new stadium.

UCL Rewind: Tottenham tops group A, Inter Milan trounced and more

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By IAN HOLLIDAY

Tottenham Hotspur went into its final match of the group stage knowing that it needed a win to ensure a first-place finish. Though they played with the sense of urgency that comes from such a situation, taking the lead on three separate occasions against hosts Twente, Spurs were unable to secure the needed result, settling for a 3-3 draw.

UEFA Champions League: Your Running Commentary

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For half of the teams in the UEFA Champions league, the group stage ends Tuesday afternoon, and knockout-stage implications are still on the line.

Tottenham, tied atop Group A with defending champion Inter Milan, could secure first place in the group with a victory against FC Twente.

Torres and Gomez deny reports of imminent MLS moves

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Pachuca teammates and U.S. World Cup team members Jose Francisco Torres and Herculez Gomez have both been linked to moves to Major League Soccer in the Mexican media in recent days, reports both players are calling false and misleading.

Both players have just arrived in Dubai for the upcoming Club World Cup and both took the time out to clarify their situations.

Tuesday Kickoff: FIFA won't move World Cup calendar, Mourinho suspension dropped and more

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BY ADAM SERRANO

Despite the requests of Franz Beckenbauer, FIFA claims that there are no plans in the works to move World Cup 2022 to January.

Beckenbauer had requested that FIFA move the World Cup to January to avoid the midsummer temperatures in Qatar which can average 105-115 degrees, which FIFA labeled as potential health risk to those involved in the Cup.

SBI Live Q&A set for tonight at 8pm

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If you enjoyed the first Evening SBI Live Q&A we did last month, get ready for the next one.

The night-time edition of the SBI Live Q&A will be back up tonight at 8pm for those of you who can't get your questions in during our daytime Q&As, and for those of you who have just been waiting for the next Q&A.

Who should D.C. United take in the Re-Entry draft?

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Photo by Howard C. Smith/ISIphotos.com

Plenty of big names are available in Wednesday's Major League Soccer Re-Entry Draft, and D.C. United coach Ben Olsen has come forth and said that United plans to use its first overall selection in the draft.Â

While some teams may not use the re-entry draft to bolster their rosters because of the financial implications involved, it appears that United, coming off an historically bad season, will take advantage of the opportunity to add an impact player.

Who will get the USMNT January camp call?

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With Christmas around the corner it isn't just Santa Claus making a list of those who have been good this year.

Bob Bradley is making a list as well and in a few weeks we will find out which players he has selected for the annual January U.S. national team training camp.

Cast your votes in U.S. Soccer's 2010 'Best Of' Awards

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It is that time of year again. The time where American soccer fans get the chance to vote on the very best of 2010.

U.S. Soccer is once again running its Best Of Awards contests and you, the fans, are getting a chance to once again make your selections on more than a dozen categories, including everything from Best Soccer Bar to Best Soccer Bog.

Who is your World Player of the Year?

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As you heard this morning, the Barcelona trio of Xavi, Andres Iniesta and Lionel Messi were named the finalists for the prestigious Ballon d'Or given the World Player of the Year. As tough as it is to argue with any of those three selections, I can't help but wonder who most SBI readers would pick for 2010 World Player of the Year.

European Weekend Rewind: Arsenal goes top, Lille takes France lead and more

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By IAN HOLLIDAY

Chelsea's woes looked like they would end this weekend against Everton with the club doing what title contenders do: winning a match it probably deserved to lose. Instead, justice was served for the Toffees, who created chance after chance before Jermaine Beckford's 86th minute header finally extended the Blues' Premier League winless streak to four matches.

U.S. Under-17s lose to Turkey

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BY ODEEN DOMINGO

PHOENIX -- In the end, the U.S. U-17 boys national team just missed too much.

Composure, an injured Alejandro Guido (back), and opportunities.

The United States lost to Turkey, 2-0, in the Nike International Friendlies tournament final Sunday night at Reach 11 Sports Complex despite having a man advantage for the last 32 minutes of the match.

Americans Abroad: Weekend Rewind

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By FRANCO PANIZO

U.S. national team fans know all about Carlos Bocanegra's heading ability, and now St. Etienne fans do too.

Bocanegra scored his first goal for St. Etienne in the club's 2-2 draw with Bordeaux by losing his mark and heading home a free kick from close range.

Monday Kickoff: Barca trio vie for award, Friedel eyes MLS return and more

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When discussing the best players in the world, the conversation tends to drift toward Barcelona's star-studded squad. When selecting the best player in the world for 2010, the decision will also come down to one of the Spanish champion's many maestros.

Lionel Messi, Xavi and Andres Iniesta are the three finalists for the Ballon d'Or, the newly-revamped award which is a combination of the long-standing Ballon d'Or and FIFA World Player of the Year award.

Soccer Sunday: Your Running Commentary

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He may be overshadowed by the bigger stars in Spain, as well as being ignored (and in some cases loathed) by his countrymen in his native United States, but Giuseppe Rossi is still enjoying one of the best seasons of his career.

Rossi will lead Villarreal against Sevilla today in a match the 'Yellow Submarine' needs to maintain its hold on third place in La Liga.

Louisville, Akron, UNC and Michigan win to reach NCAA College Cup Final Four

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By JOHN BOSCHINI

Out of the four games played out this weekend in the Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament, only one ended in regulation. That game had nine goals.

On a snow-covered field in Kentucky, No. 1 Louisville kept its unbeaten season alive and advanced to its first-ever College Cup with a dramatic 5-4 victory over No.

A look ahead to tonight's USA-Turkey Under-17 friendly

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By JOSE M. ROMERO

The U.S. Under-17 national team takes on Turkey tonight for the championship of the U-17 Nike International Friendlies tournament at the Reach 11 Soccer Complex in Phoenix (7pm, Fox Soccer Channel).

The winner will take the title after third and final match of the round robin for both teams, each with four points.

Did CONCACAF betray the USA 2022 bid?

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The man in black is Jack Warner, the CONCACAF President and FIFA Executive Committee member who just finished voting on the selection of World Cup 2018 and 2022. A long-time target of corruption allegations, Warner is under fresh claims of shady behavior amid new reports suggesting that he did not vote for the United States in its bid to host the 2022 World Cup.

Did CONCACAF betray the USA 2022 bid?

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The man in black is Jack Warner, the CONCACAF President and FIFA Executive Committee member who just finished voting on the selection of World Cup 2018 and 2022. A long-time target of corruption allegations, Warner is under fresh claims of shady behavior amid new reports suggesting that he did not vote for the United States in its bid to host the 2022 World Cup.

Akron need penalties to squeak by Golden Bears to reach College Cup Semifinals

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BY ADAM SERRANO

Billed as the top quarterfinal match up, the match between the California Golden Bears and Akron Zips lived up to the hype.Â

The Zips defeated Cal in penalty kicks with MLS prospect Kofi Sarkodie slotting home the final goal to advance to the semifinals in Santa Barbara against Michigan on December 10th.

Soccer Saturday: Your Running Commentary

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FC Barcelona is still basking in the afterglow of its five-goal masterpiece against Real Madrid, but the Spanish champions will have to get back to work today.

Barcelona will be taking on Osasuna today and will be looking to avoid a letdown that could let Real Madrid close the gap atop the Spanish First Division.

NCAA Elite Eight: Michigan at Maryland (Match Day Commentary)

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The University of Maryland men's soccer team will try to become the second top-seed to advance to the College Cup as it welcomes the University of Michigan to Ludwig Field (1 p.m. first kick).

Michigan, the lowest-remaining seed in the NCAA men's soccer tournament, will try to spring the upset in College Park, Md.

U.S., Brazil U-17s play to scoreless draw

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Photo by ISIPhotos.com

By JOSE M. ROMERO


PHOENIX -- The U.S. U-17 mens national team had a two-man advantage, the result of two red cards shown to Brazilian players, over the final 15 minutes of Friday night's friendly.

NCAA Elite Eight: SMU vs. North Carolina (Match night commentary)

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By JOHN BOSCHINI

The first ticket to Santa Barbara will be punched tonight as No. 5 Southern Methodist takes on No. 4 North Carolina in Chapel Hill.

North Carolina (16-3-1) has had a rocky road to the Elite Eight, becoming only the third team in NCAA history to reach the fourth round by winning both of its games in penalty kicks.

Conrad, Schelotto and Angel highlight inaugural MLS re-entry draft list

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BY ADAM SERRANO

The list for the latest mechanism of MLS player movement has been made available. The re-entry draft, which was designed to disperse players out of contract or unwanted by their clubs to teams around the league. The draft will take place in two stages with the first stage starting next Wednesday at 2pm ET.

A look ahead to tonight's USA-Brazil Under-17 friendly

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(The Nike Friendlies are taking place in Phoenix this week and while the current members of the U.S. Under-17 national team are several steps away from being real targets for the senior team, that doesn't mean we can't keep a close eye on the young talent coming up the pipeline.

SBI is fortunate enough to have staff writer Jose Romero in Phoenix for tonight's USA-Brazil match, and we're also lucky enough to have guest contributions on the Nike Friendlies from long-time SBI Mafia member and occasional SBI writer Odeen Domingo (a sports writer for the Arizona Republic), who delivers this preview on tonight's USA-Brazil friendly.

Is it time for Torres to come home?

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Photo by ISIPhotos.com

Jose Francisco Torres has seen his playing time at Pachuca diminish and it appears the U.S. national team midfielder ready to look at new opportunities, including a potential move to Major League Soccer.

Torres told MLSSoccer.com that Pachuca has given him permission to find a move, and MLS is a definite possibility.

This Weekend's Soccer on TV (and SBI's Top 10 Matches to Watch)

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So what's the best team in Europe you may not know much about? Unless you're a fan of Serie A, that team could be Lazio.

The Roman club boasts some of the best young talent in Europe, with players such as Brazilian playmaker Hernanes (pictured above) leading Lazio into the race for the Scudetto.

Hermann Trophy semifinalists named

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The number of candidates for the MAC Hermann Trophy, college soccer's top individual award, has dwindled down to 15, as the semifinalists were announced ahead of this weekend's Elite Eight action.

The three finalists will be named next Friday, and the winner will be announced at the Missouri Athletic Club in St.

Mid-Day Ticker: England bid chief speaks out, Santos wins first leg and more

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By AVI CREDITOR

The adverse reactions to Thursday's decisions by FIFA haven't lost any steam a day later, with the chief of England's 2018 bid strongly speaking out against the world's governing body of soccer.

Andy Anson expressed his opinions of FIFA's decision-making process, calling for reform in the aftermath of England's first-round elimination in Thursday's vote during a press conference on Friday.

The latest from Special1 TV

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Is England missing out on hosting the 2018 World Cup the biggest story this week? Not a chance. The Special1 faces the music after Real Madrid's embarrassment in this week's Clasico. Enjoy:


NCAA Elite Eight preview

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By JOHN BOSCHINI

For the eight remaining teams in the 2010 NCAA Tournament, only one win seperates them from a berth in the College Cup in Santa Barbara, Calif, next weekend.

It's been a tournament relatively free surprises, as seven of the top eight seeds have advanced to the Elite Eight.

Fantasy Premier League: Matchweek 16

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By AVI CREDITOR

Kudos to you if you stuck with Dimitar Berbatov through his slump.

After going nine matches without scoring a goal, Berbatov put up an insane five-spot against Blackburn last weekend, tallying 25 fantasy points in the process (50 if he was somehow your captain).

Americans Abroad: A Look Ahead

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By FRANCO PANIZO

Playing time has been hard to come by this season for Jonathan Spector, but after his Carling Cup heroics, he might just see the field for West Ham for a second straight game.

Spector made a strong case for more minutes with his brace in the 4-0 win over Manchester United in the quarterfinals of the Carling Cup on Wednesday, and that performance could bear fruit when the Hammers visit Sunderland.

Europa League Rewind

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By IAN HOLLIDAY

The good news for Liverpool's Europa League campaign is that the club is undefeated in group play and has qualified for the knockout stage. The bad news for the Reds is that they've managed only two wins to go with three draws against less-than-stellar competition in Group K.

Rowe and UCLA young guns lift Bruins to NCAA Tournament success

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                                    Photo by Don Liebig, UCLA Photography

BY ADAM SERRANO

The 2010 season for the UCLA Bruins was supposed to be a season involving the most feared words for the storied program, a "rebuilding year.

Rodriguez leads U.S. U-17s to victory

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By ODEEN DOMINGO

PHOENIX -- He was a redwood among twigs. And at times, a jet among blimps.

Mario Rodriguez, the United States U-17 boys national team starting forward, used his unmatched strength and deceptive speed to give Korea Republic as much trouble as the realm of reality had in trying to contain him.

Generation adidas team defeats Real Madrid reserves 2-1

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Goals from Dilly Duka (Columbus Crew) and Teal Bunbury (Sporting Kansas City) led the way as the MLS Generation adidas side won 2-1 over Real Madrid's reserve side on Thursday.

Duka and Bunbury tallied in the first half to open up a 2-0 lead. Real Madrid Castilla then pulled a goal back in the 68th minute.

World Cup Voting Breakdown

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Shortly after both Russia and Qatar were announced as the 2018 and 2022 World Cup host nations, FIFA released how the vote for each event took place.

It was revealed that England didn't progress past the first round of voting for 2018, coming up with only two votes, while the likes of Netherlands/Belgium and Spain/Portugal progressed, only to be defeated by Russia in the second round of voting.

Qatar to host 2022 World Cup

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Qatar has been chosen to host the 2022 World Cup. The middle Eastern nation beat out the United States among others for the bid.

My early take on this decision? FIFA can't be serious can it? Qatar was favored for some time by bookmakers and it's clear they knew something. The USA bid for 2022 was the most viable and made the most sense, but FIFA voters went with the highest risk bid.

World Cup Decision Day

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FIFA is set to announce the two nations who will host the 2018 and 2022 World Cups, and the United States is one of the nations in the running for 2022.

As soon as the announcements are made, SBI will let you know who won right here so stay tuned.

What do you think of the process?

Russia to host 2018 World Cup

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Russia has been selected to host the 2018 World Cup.

What do you think of this choice? Happy with the pick? Who were you hoping for? Do you plan on attending?

Share your thoughts below.


Who should be next to get paid?

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With Alvaro Saborio and Fredy Montero getting their Designated Player paydays this week, the attention will turn to some other top players who could be candidates for big money upgrade.

Whether you're talking MLS Cup-winning striker Omar Cummings, or Toronto FC star Dwayne DeRosario, there are a a handful of MLS standouts who can make good cases for deserving the boost in pay.

Carling Cup Semifinals Set

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By IAN HOLLIDAY

Arsenal hasn't won a trophy since it hoisted FA Cup in 2005, but the Gunners have a golden opportunity to end their trophy drought in this season's Carling Cup. Arsenal will face Championship side Ipswitch Town in on of the competition's two-legged semifinals next month, with a berth in the Feb.

Montero signed as Seattle's third DP, who else will follow suit?

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The Seattle Sounders bought out the rights to Colombian striker Fredy Montero on Wednesday, and secured his services for the long term by making him the club's third Designated Player.

Montero joins Blaise NKufo and Alvaro Fernandez as Seattle DP players, and is the second MLS player in two days to have their contracts graduated to DP status (Real Salt Lake's Alvaro Saborio being the other).

SBI Live Q&A (Dec. 1 Edition)

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It's that time again people, time for you to send your soccer (and pop culture) questions my way and time for me to answer as many questions as I can over the next hour or two.

Want to talk World Cup bids, Barcelona-Real Madrid, the MLS off-season, Jonathan Spector's brace against Manchester United or new TV shows and albums?

State of the team: Vancouver Whitecaps

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By JOSE M. ROMERO

Want a sign that there could be some good will among soon-to-be Northwest MLS rivals Seattle and Vancouver: The Whitecaps are currently training at Oxnard College in Oxnard, Calif.Â

The Sounders' inaugural out-of-town camp was held at the same place in February 2009, though the club had to move from the school to a public park to nearby Ventura College to get in work because of inclement weather.

Real Salt Lake signs Saborio as Designated Player

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Heading into the offseason, one of the biggest items on Real Salt Lake's to do list was to retain the services of on loan striker and Costa Rican international Alvaro Saborio.

On Wednesday, that iten can now be checked off. The Salt Lake Tribune is reporting that RSL has come to an agreement with Saborio, and the clubs that formerly held his rights, Sion in Switzerland, and Sarpissa in Costa Rica, in order to sign Saborio and add him as the club's first Designated Player.

Morning Ticker: Donovan undecided, Putin skips presentation and more

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By TRAVIS CLARK

The offseason may have begun for Landon Donovan in November, but that doesn't mean the Los Angeles Galaxy attacker gets a break. After last week's friendly in Australia, Donovan is a part of the USA World Cup Bid presentation scheduled for today.

Rumors of another January loan move for Donovan also persist, with a return to Everton listed as a possibility.

SBI Live Q&A set for Today at 1pm

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It's almost that time again. Time for us to discuss all things soccer in the latest SBI Live Q&A.

Today, at 1pm, we will discuss all things soccer (and pop culture). Want to talk World Cup bids? The MLS off-season? The NCAA Tournament? New TV shows? Best new albums? We'll be discussing it all during Wednesday's Q&A.

Watch the World Cup bid presentations

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The bid representatives for all the nations bidding for either the 2018 or 2022 World Cup are presenting their bids today and if you regret not being able to be in Zurich for it all, you can see it as if you were there.

FIFA is providing a live streaming video of the bids. You can watch them here.