Charlie Davies' comeback in 2011 was one of the stories of the year in American soccer, as he
returned to the playing field less than two years removed from a horrifying car accident that
nearly took his life and did take the life of another passenger.
New Year's Day will usher in 2012 this weekend, but it will also provide us with a loaded menu
of English Premier League matches as most of the league pulls off a two-games-in-three-days
marathon over the next three days.
Brad Guzan will look to continue his stellar form for Aston Villa when his team travels to
London to take on Chelsea on Saturday.
Landon Donovan had his first training session with Everton on Friday, officially kicking off his
second loan spell with the club.
"We're delighted to have Landon back, he's trained today and it's easy for him to settle in with
a great group of boys here who will make it easy for him," Everton manager David Moyes said during
his Friday press conference.
When Aston Villa starting goalkeeper Shay Given went down with an injury in an early December
match against Manchester United, Alex McLeish was forced to turn to American backup Brad Guzan, who
has been patiently waiting for a starting role in the Premier League ever since joining Villa from
Chivas USA in 2008.
Most reports have been making David Beckham's signing with Paris-St. Germain a matter of "when"
and not "if," but PSG sporting director Leonardo offered a far less convincing take on the
potential signing on Friday.
At a press conference where the club introduced Carlo Ancelotti as the club's new coach,
Leonardo told reporters that Beckham's move to Paris was "not done yet, and it might not
After flirting with Arsenal and Chelsea during the summer transfer window, Gary Cahill will
likely be heading to Chelsea in January after a transfer fee was agreed upon with Bolton
The central defender has become an England national team regular and will look to stabilize a
defense that will lose Alex in January and could be without John Terry for an extended period
following a criminal racism charge.
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger had been coy in recent days when discussing a potential return to
Arsenal by legendary striker Thierry Henry, but on Friday Wenger acknowledged that a two-month loan
move is in the works and needs only some paperwork to be finalized.
"Normally it should happen," Wenger said in his Friday press conference ahead of Arsenal's match
against Queens Park Rangers.
The Seattle Sounders appear to be hitting the international market during transfer season yet
After officially announcing the acquisition of Swedish right back Adam Johannson on Thursday,
the Sounders are reportedly close to signing Danish winger Christian Sivebaek, a player general
manager Adrian Hanauer told the Seattle Times that the Sounders are "very interested" in
Some of the back-room workings between Jack Warner and FIFA are starting to come to the
Warner reportedly claimed that in exchange for drumming up support to get Sepp Blatter elected
in the 1998 FIFA presidential election, he secured the television rights to the World Cup for his
native Trinidad & Tobago for a single dollar.
As the calendar gets set to turn to 2012, it's an obvious time to reflect and look back at the
year that was for U.S. Soccer.
While the year provided the ushering in of a new coaching era, a 6-8-3 international record and
a breakout stage for a number of players, it also saw some of the more familiar names rise to the
occasion on both the club and international levels.
For a team coming off of a championship run, the Los Angeles Galaxy have had plenty of major
moving parts over recent weeks.
Between Landon Donovan going back to Everton on a short-term loan, Juninho returning to Sao
Paulo, Donovan Ricketts being dealt to the Montreal Impact, Sean Franklin re-signing and David
Beckham, well, still making a decision, the Galaxy remain the talk of MLS deep into the
Although Thierry Henry's recent stint at Arsenal was technically just for training, rumors
continue to swirl that Arsene Wenger is considering offering the former Arsenal striker aÂ
short-term contract. Some reports stipulate that a two-month loan has already been offered to the
New York Red Bulls forward.
With the 2012 MLS Draft just two weeks away, the 2012 MLS Generation adidas class took a step
closer to being completed after the signing of the highest-rated unsigned underclassman.
UCLA playmaker Kelyn Rowe has signed a Generation adidas deal, sources told SBI on Wednesday.
Rowe is the fifth player to sign a Generation adidas deal, joining Andrew Wenger, Darren Mattocks,
UCLA teammate Chandler Hoffman and Sam Garza.
One-time U.S. youth international Preston Zimmerman doesn't have a single cap for the senior
U.S. national team, and while it wasn't likely that he'd be receiving his first call-up sometime
soon anyway based on his current level of play and club standing, he didn't do himself any favors
by using social media to voice his opinion about the current U.
Luis Suarez might as well be on the FA's speed dial these days.
In the aftermath of receiving an eight-game ban and hefty fine from England's ruling body, the
Liverpool striker was given his second punishment after being found guilty of misconduct for
flipping the middle finger to Fulham fans at Craven Cottage following a match earlier in
It is no real surprise that the Scottish Premier League race already appears to be down to the
two usual suspects. How Rangers and Celtic have gotten to their current positions, though, is a
story in itself.
Heading into Wednesday's latest edition of the venomous Old Firm Derby (2:45 p.
With the MLS Eastern Conference as wide open as it was down the stretch last season, a roster
tweak in the right direction could be all it takes to separate certain clubs from the pack. Â
In the opening month of the offseason, no teams did more to augment their rosters than the
Philadelphia Union and Sporting Kansas City, two clubs that felt they had what it took to win the
conference crown last season before ultimately losing out to the Houston Dynamo.
FIFA has been ordered to release documents pertaining to its involvement with former marketing
partner ISL by the Swiss supreme court.
The documents contain information about several FIFA members who took millions of dollars in
kickbacks from ISL during the negotiation of television broadcast deals for the World Cup, with
former FIFA president Joao Havelange and 2014 World Cup organizer Ricardo Teixeira at the forefront
of the scandal.
While die-hard U.S. men's national team fans probably already have the lowdown on young West Ham
United defender Dan Potts, the reaction to some tweets about the 17-year-old left back suggests
that not everybody is aware of the story behind the latest promising foreign-born prospect eligible
to play for the United States.
The post-Boxing Day schedule is a light one, but Arsenal kicks things off today with a chance to
break into the Premier League Top Four with a victory against Wolverhampton (10am, Fox Soccer
Robin Van Persie will look to break the Arsenal club record for goals in a calendar year (he is
currently tied with Thierry Henry at 34 goals) and has two games to try and match Alan Shearer's
English Premier League record of 36.
Chelsea had championship aspirations heading into the season, but a few stumbles have left the
big-spending Blues trailing the Manchester clubs and now stand closer to falling out of top four
than challenging for the top spot.
If Chelsea is going to stay ahead of the likes of Arsenal and Liverpool, they will need to beat
London rival Fulham in today's Boxing Day clash.
Patrick Nyarko turned and pointed out the window of Palace Gate Restaurant on a chilly October
day in uptown Chicago, where he was having lunch with Fire teammate Dominic Oduro. He can't look at
an open space in a cramped city, like the small parking lot outside, without being reminded of his
childhood soccer games.
SARASOTA, Fla. --Â Sebastian Lletget hasn't had the easiest of times since signing with West Ham
United on his 18th birthday, but things are starting to look up for the U.S. Under-23 men's
national team midfielder.
Hello all. I want to wish a Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all of you SBI readers out
there. We hope you enjoy some time off, quality family time and a few peeks at SBI in between your
unwrapping of presents and celebrating.
We will 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, and feel free to throw some story suggestions our way today as
we make our way through a second straight day without soccer to watch (the good news is soccer is
on the way on Monday courtesy of the Premier League's Boxing Day schedule).
One of the more interesting rumors of the holiday season in Europe surrounds Thierry Henry's
potential return to Arsenal on a short-term loan in January. Nobody at Arsenal is publicly
admitting it is in the works (Arsene Wenger said he has yet decide whether to pursue it), and there
is no guarantee that the New York Red Bulls would be willing to let their star player go on a loan,
but the idea remains an intriguing one.
Barcelona beating up on small club like Hospitalet in the Round of 32 of the Copa Del Rey didn't
exactly come as a surprise, but when a Barca side with mostly reserves puts on a nine-goal
masterpiece, it still becomes beautiful soccer worth watching.
The reigning Club World Cup champions should face a much tougher test in the Copa Del Rey in the
quarters, where a likely meeting with Real Madrid awaits, but the 9-0 rout of L'Hospitalet serves
as a reminder of just how dangerous Barca can be.
While the retaining of David Beckham's services remains up in the air for the Los Angeles
Galaxy, five other players saw their contract situations get a lot clearer on Friday.
Sean Franklin and Bryan Jordan re-signed with Los Angeles, while Adam Cristman's option was
picked up, allowing Bruce Arena to keep key parts of the deep squad that won the 2011 MLS Cup and
Hammarby IF head coach Gregg Berhalter won't be the only one at the club with MLS experience
Hammarby signed midfielder Baggio Husidic on Friday morning, the club announced on its website.
Husidic, who has spent the past three seasons with the Chicago Fire, agreed to a two-year deal with
the Swedish club.
In a match where both teams needed three points, London rivals Tottenham and Chelsea each had to
settle for one as theyÂ played to a 1-1 draw. Emmanuel Adebayor scored to put Spurs up in the 8th
minute, only for Chelsea to equalize through Daniel Sturridge fifteen minutes later.
BRADENTON, Fla. -- As the U.S. Under-23 men's national team played anÂ intra-squad scrimmage on
Thursday afternoon, Eddie Johnson sat in the stands at IMG Soccer Academy making observations,
smiling and cracking jokes with U.
BRADENTON, Fla. -- The U.S. Under-23 men's national team wrapped up its December camp with a
second intra-squad scrimmage on Thursday afternoon, and the competition for roster spots set the
tone for a physical and fiery match.
Split up into white and blue teams, the 29 players in camp (Bill Hamid left camp earlier in the
week due to family reasons) took part in a windy match at IMG Soccer Academy that saw its share of
physical play and rough challenges.
There are only a handful of games across the soccer world on Thursday, but a pretty crucial one
is taking place at White Hart Lane, where Chelsea and Tottenham do battle in a London derby (3
p.m., ESPN2/ESPN3.com/ESPN Deportes).
Tottenham sits in third place in the Premier League, two points ahead of the Blues with a game
LAKEWOOD RANCH, Fla. - Prior to November, the last time Jared Jeffrey suited up for a U.S. youth
national team was in 2009, and much has changed for him since then.
Since representing the United States at the FIFA Under-20 World Cup three summers ago, Jeffrey
has switched clubs, learned a new language and overcome the nagging hip injury that put him on the
shelf for much of last season.
Jurgen Klinsmann has called in 20 players for the U.S. men's national team's January camp, and
the neglected ones from the past few months will finally get their chance to perform in front of
the U.S. coach.
Centerbacks Omar Gonzalez, George John and Geoff Cameron and attacking midfielder Benny
Feilhaber are all part of the crew that will train in Phoenix and at the Home Depot Center in
U.S. national team midfielder Jermaine Jones could be facing some disciplinary action in the
coming days. Â
Jones is reportedly under investigation by the German Football Federation for allegedly stepping
on an opposing player's injured foot on purpose during Schalke's 3-1 loss to Borussia
Monchengladbach in the German Cup Round of 16 on Wednesday.
Caleb Porter's first camp in charge of the U.S. Under-23 national team is well underway in the
Sarasota/Bradenton area of Florida, as some of the most talented young players in American soccer
do their best to try and impress the coach assigned the task of helping the United States qualify
for the 2012 Olympics.
With nearly full slates of action in the Premier League, Serie A and Ligue 1 and domestic cup
play on the docket as well, plenty is on the line across Europe today.
A number of Americans are in action across the continent, as Clint Dempsey looks to keep his
goal-scoring form going at Craven Cottage against Manchester United, while goalkeepers Tim Howard
and Brad Guzan aim for clean sheets against Swansea City and Arsenal, respectively.
England's Football Association has sent Liverpool striker Luis Suarez quite the message.
Suarez was handed an eight-game ban and fined Â£40,000 after the FA found him guilty of
misconduct for using racist remarks toward Manchester United fullback Patrice Evra when their two
clubs met on Oct.
One of college soccer's top attacking talents is headed overseas.
After not being offered a Generation adidas deal by MLS, University of Virginia winger Brian
"Cobi" SpanÂ signed with Swedish club Djurgarden on Tuesday. Djurgarden had also offered former
Akron and current GA striker Darren Mattocks a deal before he ultimately signed with MLS.
The 2012 MLS Draft is less than a month away and Major League Soccer has secured the services of
the two highest-rated prospects coming out of college this year.
Sources have told Fox Soccer that Duke standout Andrew Wenger and Akron star Darren Mattocks
have signed Generation adidas contracts, with MLS expected to announce the first of its Generation
adidas signings on Tuesday.
A coaching change at FC Ingolstadt led to an early winter break for Edson Buddle, who was sent
home until the new year. The U.S. national team striker isn't going to lay around doing nothing
during the German winter break though. He has headed to London, where he will spend a week training
with West Ham United.
The Montreal Impact continued to shape their roster on Monday, signing a player who is no
stranger to the club.
The Impact signed Canadian international Patrice Bernier, aÂ 32-year-old midfielder who
previously played for the club from 2000-2002. Bernier, who was born in Quebec and resides in
Montreal, will vie for a starting spot on the team.
Manchester City are back on track with as a 1-0 victory over Arsenal put the noisy neighbors
back atop the English Premier League. Mario Balotelli and David Silva combined for the only goal of
the contest and snapped Arsenal's eight-game unbeaten run in league play.
A week after enduring one of his worst performances of the season, Clint Dempsey responded in a
Dempsey lifted Fulham to victory over Bolton Wanderes on Saturday, scoring a goal and assisting
on another in the 2-0 affair. Dempsey found the back of the net with a well-placed header before
sending Costa Rican teammate Bryan Ruiz in on goal with a nifty pass.
FC Barcelona capped a dream year by winning a second Club World Cup title in three years, but
their performance in Sunday's 4-0 thrashing of Santos took the game of soccer to another level.
South American champions Santos didn't stand a chance as Barcelona dominated play from start to
finish, showing off their trademark passing attack and providing more evidence to the argument that
this Barcelona side might be the best club team ever.
As we draw closer to the 2012 MLS Draft, Major League Soccer is moving closer and closer to
trying to secure the services of the players who will make up its Generation adidas draft class,
and things are still very much in flux with less than a month to go before the draft.
MLS is expected to announce the first of its signings in the coming week, and offers have
already been sent out to most of the top targets.
Things just keep getting better for Clint Dempsey, and keep getting worse for Bolton.
The Cottagers posted a 2-0 victory on the Trotters to keep Bolton buried at the bottom of the
English Premier League standings. Clint Dempsey opened the scoring with his team-leading fifth goal
of the season to push Fulham to 11th in the Premier League standings.
With the word that Landon Donovan is heading to Everton in January, the Toffees are suddenly
feeling confident about their chances of climbing back into the top half of the English Premier
League standings. If they can make that move before the new year will depend largely on whether Tim
Howard and Co.
Not even one of the faces of African soccer is immune to punishment of the harshest kind.
The Cameroonian Football Federation banned captain and star forward Samuel Eto'o 15 matches for
his role in a players' strike last month.Â Eto'o can appeal the punishment over the course of the
next two weeks, but if it is upheld, the ban could signal the end of the 30-year-old Eto'o's
international career, considering the length of the ban and the bad blood between player and
With the 2012 MLS Draft now less than a month away, I have unveiled my first Fox Soccer 2012 MLS
Mock Draft in an attempt to give people a sense of how things just might shake out when teams start
making their selections in Kansas City four weeks from now.
The future remains bright for an up-and-coming U.S.-eligible defender.
Danny Potts, 17, put pen to paper Friday on a two-and-a-half year deal that will keep him at
West Ham through the 2013-2014 season. Potts, whose father was born in the United States and played
for West Ham, is eligible to play for both England and the United States.
The next step in selecting the team that will be charged with qualifying the United States for
the Olympics is underway, as United States Under-23 coach Caleb Porter holds his December training
camp in Lakewood Ranch, Fla. A group of 30 players has been called in for the next week, where
they'll aim to catch Porter's eye and build a foundation for the coming months.
Jozy Altidore and Sacha Kljestan have both enjoyed individual club success this season, which in
turn has led to their teams turning in strong results both domestically and in Europe. All of that
will come to a head in the UEFA Europa League Round of 32, when their two teams will square
Lee Nguyen's search for a stable club situation will be taking him to Vancouver.
The Vancouver Whitecaps acquired Nguyen via a weighted lottery on Thursday. The Whitecaps were
the odds-on favorite to acquire the 25-year-old attacker.Â The other teams who entered the lottery
were Real Salt Lake, Toronto FC, the Houston Dynamo, FC Dallas and the Los Angeles Galaxy.
Mario Balotelli and Micah Richards were anything but all smiles in Thursday's training
The two Manchester City regulars were involved in a scuffle near the end of practice following a
heated exchange of words. Richards had to be held back by fellow teammates when he attempted to
continue the argument.
The Philadelphia Union went into the offseason with a variety of needs, not the least of which
was some defensive depth. Their first step toward adding that depth has led to the signing of a
versatile player who should be familiar to U.S. national team fans.
The Union is set to sign Panamaian national team midfielder Gabriel Gomez, multiple reports in
Philadelphia revealed on Thursday morning.
Sacha Kljestan's run of form is turning out to be anything but temporary.
Kljestan continued his strong season for Anderlecht, scoring a goal in the club's 5-3 triumph
over Lokomotiv Moscow in their UEFA Europa League battle. His curling effort to the far cornerÂ dug
Anderlecht out of an early 1-0 deficit and helped the Belgian side win its group, which should make
for a more favorable result during Friday's knockout round draw.
It's do or die for a number of teams across Europe as the UEFA Europa League winds down.
Half of the teams in the field play their final group games of the tournament today, including
Clint Dempsey's Fulham, which can cement a place in the knockout round and set the tone for perhaps
another deep tournament run with a win or by getting some help.
The NCAA College Cup Final always has its share of scouts tracking the top talent, and last
weekend's matches in Hoover, Alabama drew extra attention from foreign clubs interested in the
handful of top pro prospects on display.
At the top of that list was North Carolina striker Billy Schuler, who helped lead the Tar Heels
to their second NCAA title after scoring the vital equalizer in the semifinal win against UCLA last
When Caleb Porter released his initial roster for the upcoming U.S. Under-23 training camp in
Florida, a few omissions raised some eyebrows.
A couple of those players in question are now included, as Borussia Dortmund striker Terrence
Boyd and UCLA playmaker Kelyn Rowe were added to the camp, during which Porter will get a look at
30 players eligible for Olympic qualifying.
French great Zinedine Zidane and Brazilian icon Ronaldo put on their annual Match Against
Poverty event Tuesday, taking on a team of Hamburg SV All-Stars in Germany, and the legend-laden
squad did not disappoint.
Ronaldo scored as part of his team's 5-4 victory, with proceeds from the event going toward
combating poverty in the Horn of Africa.
Tim Ream's training stints with West Brom and Bolton are just that and nothing more.
New York Red Bulls general manager Erik Soler made that much clear to reporters on Tuesday,
saying that Ream won't be transferred or loaned out despite what conflicting reports from overseas
The Los Angeles Galaxy may have won MLS Cup, but there is no restÂ for the defending champions.Â
Not with David Beckham being heavily sought after by Qatari-owned Paris St. Germain and numerous
key players out of contract as yet another busy schedule looms in 2012.
The opening acts at the FIFA Club World Cup were pretty entertaining. Now Lionel Messi and Neymar
are ready for center stage and perhaps a final duel that would pit South America's preeminent
attacking talents against each other.
The first few games at the tournament have provided some great theater, with host Kashiwa Reysol
stealing the show with two victories, including a penalty-kick triumph over CONCACAF champion
Omar Bravo is gone. David Beckham could be gone. Nicolas Anelka isn't coming.
The Designated Player landscape in MLS is changing and evolving, and even with teams having the
flexibility to go after younger DP options or giving players like league veteran Shalrie Joseph a
DP deal, the lure of landing a big-name, marketable superstar is still prevalent.
Having faced uncertainty about its future in recent weeks and months, WPS appears to have
avoided doomsday. At least for now.
WPS reportedly received conditional Division 1 sanctioning for 2012 from U.S. Soccer's board of
directors on Monday evening despite it only having five teams and the minimum for Division I status
typically being eight.
Sporting Kansas City and top-flight Mexican club Cruz Azul agreed to a deal that will see the
Designated PlayerÂ return to his native country after one season in MLS. No terms of the deal were
Chelsea breathed life into their faint title hopes, while also helping open up the English
Premier League title race after handing Manchester City their first loss of the season in a 2-1
victory at Stamford Bridge on Monday.
Frank Lampard came off the bench to convert the game-winning penalty as a Joleon Lescott
handball doomed City to their first defeat, which leaves the Premier League leaders just two points
ahead of Manchester United.
Swedish midfielder Erik Friberg became the latest Seattle Sounder to depart this off-season,
moving to Swedish club Malmo on Monday in a transfer announced by the Sounders.
Friberg played 26 matches for Seattle, recording a goal and assist for the Sounders.
The off-season has been a busy one for the Sounders, who had already lost goalkeeper Kasey
Keller to retirement, James Riley and Tyson Wahl in the expansion draft, as well as Nate Jaqua and
Pat Noonan in the re-entry draft.
Los Angeles Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena was busy adding to the defending MLS Cup champions
Monday, making four picks in the MLS Re-Entry Draft and hitting the international market as well.
Following the Re-Entry Draft, Arena announced the signing of former Alajuelense midfielder Marcelo
Sarvas on a conference call with reporters.
Although the majority of teams passed on the opportunity to add players in the second stage of
the MLS Re-Entry Draft, a few used Monday's exercise to stockpile depth ahead of the 2012
Three teams took multiple players, spearheaded by the defending champion Los Angeles Galaxy, who
made four selections: defenders Andrew Boyens and Chris Leitch, veteran forward Pat Noonan and
veteran goalkeeper Jon Conway.
There are just two games on the slate today, but when those two games are as good Manchester
City-Chelsea (3pm, ESPN2) and Roma-Juventus (2:30pm, Fox Soccer Channel), it makes for a special
Manchester City will look to keep their stranglehold on the Premier League lead with a win,
while Chelsea will look to hand the Citizens their first loss of the season as they try to maintain
a place in the Top Four of the Premier League.
The tradition of holding a January camp for mostly MLS players looking to break through into the
U.S. naitonal team is going to be maintained during the Jurgen Klinsmann era and the German manager
will be putting together his first January camp very shortly.
The 2012 MLS Draft is a month away, and the Montreal Impact's options with the No. 1 overall
pick are ready to get a lot weaker.
Akron University striker Darren Mattocks, a consensus pick to be among the first two players
selected in January's MLS Draft, is ready to pass on the Generation adidas contract offered to him
by MLS to sign in Europe.
FC Barcelona won the match-up of the weekend, if not the season to date, with a thrilling 3-1
victory against arch-rival Real Madrid. Goals from Alexis Sanchez, Xavi and Cesc Fabregas helped
the reigning champions erase Real Madrid's three-point hold on first place in La Liga (though Real
Madrid still has a game in hand).
Underdog Charlotte looked poised to pull another upset, and make North Carolina the latest
victim, but Tar Heels forward Ben Speas delivered a goal worthy of a championship to help UNC win
its first NCAA title in a decade.
Speas, who won a national title with Akron last season, produced the game's lone goal 24 minutes
from time with a fantastic strike.
No. 1 North Carolina and unseeded Charlotte share the same state geographically but that's about
all these two teams have in common.
The Tar Heels are a perennial power participating in their fourth-straight College Cup. It is a
team full of pro-ready talent, a team that has gelled remarkably fast under first-year head coach
Carlos Somoano, who spent the better part of the decade as an assistant with North Carolina.
While Santos Laguna is busy trying to climb out of a one-goal deficit in the Mexican Apertura
final, the club has an eye on sustaining its success during the Clausura campaign as well. A piece
of that puzzle involvesÂ Herculez Gomez.Â
Cash-strapped Estudiantes Tecos has sold Gomez to Santos Laguna, putting the U.
The National Championship is headed back to North Carolina in one way or another.
It was a long yet dramatic night in Hoover, Alabama as both UNC and Charlotte booked their place
in the final with the help of penalty kicks. Charlotte was never able to break down Creighton's
record-breaking defense but were vastly superior in the penalty kick shootout that followed a dull
Top prospects and college teams are on display at Regions Park in Hoover, Ala., as the NCAA College
Cup gets underway.
Creighton takes on surprising Charlotte (6 p.m., ESPNU/ESPN3.com) to kick off the Final Four.
The Bluejays have been one of the top teams in the country all season, relying on the play of
senior striker Ethan Finlay and sophomore left back Tyler Polak.
Messi and Ronaldo. Guardiola and Mourinho. Barcelona and Real Madrid.
Anyway you slice it, El Clasico is the marquee match of the weekend and will command the eyes of
soccer fans around the world. Real Madrid is currently in the driver's seat in La Liga, leading
Barcelona by three points, placing added significance on a match that doesn't need any extra
The quest for college soccer's top individual award has been narrowed to three competitors.
Duke's Andrew Wenger, North Carolina's Billy Schuler and Creighton's Ethan Finlay were named
finalists for the Hermann Trophy, emerging from a list of 15 semifinalists that was released
earlier in the week.
After three years as a backup, Brad Guzan will make his first Premier League start on Saturday
for Aston Villa, and the club is already in the process of trying to extend his stay at Villa Park
before his current deal expires this summer.
When U.S. Soccer sealed the deal to make Jurgen Klinsmann head coach of the men's national team,
it was evident that the federation was making a big investment in Klinsmann and his outlook for the
program. Now it's clear just how big that investment was.
Manchester United's week has gone from bad to worse.
After being eliminated from the UEFA Champions League in the group stage, United got word Friday
that centerback Nemanja Vidic will miss the remainder of the season after suffering ligament damage
in his right knee.
Vidic suffered the injury at the end of the first half of United's UCL finale against FC Basel
Wednesday while battling Marco Streller for the ball.
Brad Friedel made waves with his comments about Landon Donovan and Clint Dempsey this week, but
its his team that has been making waves in the Premier League recently. Friedel and Tottenham
Hotspur have not lost in the Premiership since the second week of the season, but they'll have to
see off tricky Stoke City this weekend if they are to continue their run of good form.
PHOENIX -- Four MLS teams have agreed to take part in the Desert Diamond Cup, a round-robin
tournament to be held at Kino Veterans Memorial Stadium in Tucson, Ariz., Feb. 22-March 3.
The defending MLS Cup champions Los Angeles Galaxy, the New York Red Bulls, the New England
Revolution and Real Salt Lake are the scheduled participants in a series of matches that span a
week and a half.
It's not uncommon for American soccer fans and pundits to debate on who is the better U.S. men's
national team player between Landon Donovan and Clint Dempsey, but one former U.S. international
has weighed in on the matter and has created quite the stir in doing so.
Phil Neville is in favor of manager David Moyes bringing in reinforcements to the club during
the winter transfer window in January, but one player the Everton captain doesn't see being brought
in is Landon Donovan.
Wayne Rooney will be able to play in group stage of Euro 2012 after all.
Accompanied by England head coach Fabio Capello,Â Rooney had his three-game ban reduced to two
after a successful appeal to UEFA on Thursday. The decision to shorten Rooney's ban, which came as
a result of Rooney receiving a red card against Montenegro in a Euro qualifier last month, means he
will be eligible to play in England's final group match against Ukraine.
Manchester United and Manchester City might be competing atop the Premier League standings, but
neither of them will be taking part in the UEFA Champions League group stage. Instead, it's off to
the Europa League.
Manchester United became the first finalist to be knocked out in the group stage the following
year after being shocked by FC Basel in Switzerland, 2-1, and relegated to the second tier
competition with a third-place group finish.
The MLS Combine is about a month away, but we already have a good idea of who will be trying to
wow scouts ahead of the MLS SuperDraft after MLS released a list of 52 players who will compete in
Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.
Among those included on the initial list are highly rated players such as South Florida standout
goalkeeper Chris Blais, North Carolina centerback Matt Hedges, Louisville attackers Nick DeLeon and
Colin Rolfe, Maryland forward Casey Townsend and Creighton striker Ethan Finlay.
In previous years, many viewed the FIFA Club World Cup as a minor tournament that was inevitably
going to be won by the European or South American teams. This time around, that could still happen,
but the 2011 edition is shaping up to be the most competitive yet.
The Philadelphia Union added a young, promising attacking piece on Wednesday by acquiring
21-year-old Costa Rican forward Josue Martinez from CD Saprissa.
Martinez brings a strong pedigree and attacking flair to the Union, where he joins a strikeforce
that boasts other up-and-comers Danny Mwanga and Jack McInerney in addition to stalwart Sebastien
After seeing Chelsea avoid embarrassment with a convincing UEFA Champions League victory on
Tuesday, Manchester United will hope to follow in its fellow English club's footsteps when it takes
on FC Basel in Switzerland (2:45 p.m., Fox Soccer Channel).
Both teams trail Benfica in Group C, and while either team could win the group with a result and
a Benfica loss to underdog Otelul Galati, the reality of the situation is that the game is a de
facto second-place match.
Carlos Tevez appears to be inching closer to resolution on his future.
The much-maligned Manchester City striker has a major suitor in AC Milan, which has reportedly
extended an offer to take the player on loan for the rest of the season before purchasing his
contract during the summer.
The United States drew a favorable path to the semifinals of CONCACAF Olympic qualifying on
Tuesday, getting put in Group A with Canada, Cuba and El Salvador. Group A's games will take place
at LP Field in Nashville, Tenn. The full schedule for the qualifying tournament will be released
later this week, according to CONCACAF.
It's do-or-die for Chelsea and manager Andres Villas-Boas, as the Premier League giants need to
secure a result against Valencia in order to avoid an embarrassing early exit from the UEFA
Even with that, Frank Lampard and Fernando Torres are starting the game on the bench, and Juan
Mata gets the start against his former club, which played Chelsea to a 1-1 draw in their previous
The opening weekend of the 2012 MLS season will feature a Canadian derby.
The Vancouver Whitecaps will host the Montreal Impact at BC Place on March 10 as part of MLS
First Kick, the league announced on Tuesday, as bits and pieces of next season's schedule begin to
The Vancouver Whitecaps added a veteran fullback with loads of World Cup experience to his name
by signing South Korean defender Lee Young-Pyo.
According to reports, the 34-year-old Lee is joining the club on a one-year deal with an option
for one more. It remains to be seen on which side of the field Lee will play for first-year manager
Martin Rennie, with left backs Jordan Harvey and Alain Rochat already in the fold.
The draw for 2012 CONCACAF Olympic qualifying is set for Tuesday, and one of the players who
could be starring for Mexico during qualifying is Carlos Vela, the perpetually on-loan Arsenal
forward who is currently at Real Sociedad. His late equalizer Sunday against Malaga was a thing of
It's a big day for Andre Villas-Boas' current team and his former one as well.
Chelsea's Portuguese manager is already on the hot seat just months into his first season at the
helm, and the questions about his future will only get louder if the Blues can't knock off Valencia
in Tuesday's UEFA Champions League group stage finale (Fox Soccer Channel, 2:45 p.
Another longtime MLS standout is hanging up his cleats.
Real Salt Lake's Andy Williams announced his retirement Monday night, ending a productive
14-year playing career. The skillful Jamaican midfielder won't be straying far from the game at
all, though, as he will join the Real Salt Lake techinical staff as a scout.
Clint Dempsey's legend at Fulham continues to grow with every goal he scores.
The Texas native did it again on Monday, scoring an 85th-minute winner for Fulham in a 1-0
victory over Liverpool. Minutes after hitting the crossbar with a bending effort from the top of
the area, Dempsey found himself in perfect position to slot home a spilled rebound by Pepe Reina
from close range.
The time for Brad Guzan to prove his worth at Aston Villa has finally come.
The American goalkeeper is slated to become the Villans' starter for the next month after scans
revealed that regular starter Shay Given has a hamstring tear. Guzan replaced Given in the first
half of Saturday's 1-0 loss to Manchester United and did not allow a goal.
Clint Dempsey and Fulham own the Monday Premier League spotlight, welcoming Liverpool to Craven
Cottage (3 p.m., ESPN2/ESPN3.com).
Fulham is in need of a result to get a bit more separation from the relegation zone and make its
way toward a mid-table standing. Liverpool, meanwhile, will take to the field without central
midfield stalwart Lucas for the first time since he suffered a season-ending knee injury.
Duke's Andrew Wenger and Creighton's Ethan Finlay have had standout seasons, and they headline
the list of Hermann Trophy semifinalists released by the NSCAA on Sunday.
The two strikers were the only repeat semifinalistsÂ from last year for the Hermann Trophy --
college soccer's top individual award -- out of a list of 15 players that also includes South
Florida forward Dom Dwyer, North Carolina forward Billy Schuler and Maryland striker Casey
Chivas USA made the biggest move in Monday's short first stage of the 2011 MLS Re-Entry Draft by
using its fourth overall selection to pick former Real Salt Lake midfielder Arturo Alvarez.
Two other teams made selections, as the New England Revolution used the second overall pick on
former Toronto FC fullback Danleigh Borman, and the Columbus Crew used the ninth overall pick to
add former New York Red Bulls defender Carlos Mendes.
We've seen the last of Santino Quaranta as a professional soccer player.
Quaranta has called it a career after 11 seasons in MLS, according to the Washington Post.
Feeling that there's nothing left to accomplish, Quaranta ends his time as a player with 27 goals
and 29 assists in 180 MLS matches and 15 caps and one goal for the U.
Don't expect to be wowed by the second edition of the MLS Re-Entry Draft now that most of the
big names initially available are off the table.
Between Bobby Convey being traded to Sporting Kansas City, Bobby Boswell re-signing with the
Houston Dynamo, Ante Jazic re-signing with Chivas USA and Santino Quaranta retiring, the quality of
the draft pool has dropped immensely.
The Montreal Impact have made quite the splash since kicking off their inaugural MLS preseason,
but the club reportedly has a potential move in the works that would top everything it's done thus
far in building its roster.
According to Fox Soccer, the Montreal Impact have had extensive talks with Nicolas AnelkaÂ about
bringing the Chelsea striker to MLS.
Plenty can change in terms of player development over the next number of years, but for the time
being, the United States Under-17 national team proved that there's much to be excited about when
it comes to the future of the U.S. program.
The Nike Friendlies conclude today with the marquee match we've been waiting for, the United
States taking on Brazil (5pm, Fox Soccer Channel).
We weren't originally going to post a live commentary on this game, in part because I've just
gone on vacation and nobody else is around, but with the United States up 3-1 at halftime and
putting on a show, I'm sure there are plenty of USA fans eager to talk about the next generation of
up and coming American stars.
The move to Holland has done wonders for Jozy Altidore's scoring touch.
The American forward scored the lone goal in AZ's 5-1 defeat to Heerenveen. Altidore leveled the
score in the 20th minute of the match, when he played a give-and-go with a teammate, the forward
cut through two defenders before firing in the goal.
Tim Howard and Everton find themselves in a logjam in the middle of the English Premier League
standings, but if the U.S. national team goalkeeper and his team want to make a run at the top
teams in England, they will need a win today against Stoke City to make that happen.
Everton is currently in a four-way tie in the middle of the Premier League table, but the
Toffees hold two games in hand on the pack, and wins in those two games could pull Everton within
range of arch-rival Liverpool, among others.
It wasn't exactly a beautiful game, but Manchester United's 1-0 victory against Aston Villa was
loaded with talking points.
The biggest storyline from the match wasn't United's victory, but the serious ankle injury
suffered by Javier "Chicharito" Hernandez, who rolled his ankle and appeared to suffer severe
Chelsea manager Andres Villas Boas is feeling the heat as his squad has delivered some
disappointing results this season, and if the Blues are going to turn things around, they'll have
to win in one of the tougher stadiums to visit in the English Premier League.
Newcastle has been one of the surprises of the season, and the Magpies won't be looking to do
Villas Boas any favors as they try to stay in the Top Four mix.
American soccer fans always love a chance to glimpse the future of the U.S. national team, and
this weekend will offer at least a few looks at some exciting prospects who could one day play a
role on the senior national team.
The United States Under-17 national team takes to the field at the Nike International Friendlies
in Lakewood Ranch, Fla., again, looking to build off its first performance of the tournament with a
matchup against Turkey (5 p.m., Fox Soccer Channel).
The United States Under-23 national team will find out its road to London soon enough.
CONCACAF announced that it will hold its draw for the Olympic qualifying tournament on Tuesday
at the organization's headquarters in New York.
The eight teams in the draw (United States, Canada, Cuba, El Salvador, Honduras, Mexico, Panama
and Trinidad & Tobago)Â will be split into two groups of four, with one group playing its games at
the Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif.
The latest Fox Soccer MLS Draft Big Board is out, and with six weeks to go, there have been
plenty of changes to the list of Top 25 prospects heading into Janaury's MLS Draft.
The very top of the Big Board is largely unchanged, with Duke's Andrew Wenger and Akron's Darren
Mattocks remaining at the top, with UCLA's Kelyn Rowe and North Carolina's Billy Schuler following
Sporting Kansas City's week of wheeling and dealing has ended with an exclamation point.
The club acquired Bobby Convey from the San Jose Earthquakes in exchange for an international
Convey, who did not have his contract option picked up by San Jose after this past season, was
part of the initial list of players available in the MLS Re-Entry Draft, but that is no longer the
case after Sporting KC stepped up to trade for the veteran left winger.
The draw for this upcoming summer's Euro 2012 tournament is set to go in Kiev, Ukraine, with 16
teams eager to find out who they'll be competing against for the continent's championship. With
co-hosts Poland and Ukraine placed in the first pot, there's bound to be some treacherous group
pairings for some of the world's top teams.
Last season, a staggering nine goals were produced in a snowy quarterfinal clash between
then-No. 1 Louisville and No. 8 UCLA, as the Cardinals squeaked out a 5-4 victory on their way to a
MLS announced the 18-man roster that will be making the trip to the Netherlands for the
Generation adidas tour, with four players from the Philadelphia Union, up-and-coming Real Salt Lake
midfielder Luis Gil and last year's No. 1 pick in the MLS SuperDraft, Omar Salgado, headlining the
The Montreal ImpactÂ unveiled their MLS jersey Thursday night, taking the latest step in the run up
to their expansion season.
The primary, blue kit comes with matching blue shorts and is a pretty typical MLS shirt --
sponsor across the front, team crest by the heart, three stripes down either sleeve and MLS and
country flag patches on the sleeves as well.
It remains to be seen whether the 2022 World Cup will be played in the summer or the winter, but
one high-ranking FIFA official has a solution to ensure a winter World Cup gets played without a
problem: Move the two biggest competitions in European club soccer.Â
Ahead of Friday's Euro 2012 draw in the Ukraine, UEFA president Michel Platini said that he is
open to moving the UEFA Champions League and Europa League competitions in order to accommodate a
winter World Cup in Qatar.
In a move that hardly came as a surprise, D.C. United has passed on the option to buy Charlie
Davies' contract from French club Sochaux.
The club announced the decision on Thursday, but it had been clear for months that Davies future
didn't lie with D.C. The team is still in talks with Davies about potential options, but if Davies
does return to MLS in 2012, it would be on loan to another team in the league and not D.
The biggest upset of the quarterfinal round of the Carling Cup quarterfinals took place on
Wednesday as Crystal Palace knocked off Manchester United, 2-1, with an overtime game-winning goal
at Old Trafford.