Friday, August 27, 2010
Wednesday, August 25, 2010
Javier Mascherano is another player that wants out of his current club Liverpool and has essentially gone on strike to force a move from Anfield. Liverpool have set a price of £25 million for Mascherano, which no one appears ready to offer.
It's interesting to me that Barcelona are making such a strong push for Mascherano. They must feel like they want a replacement for Yaya Toure, whom they sold to Manchester City earlier this summer. I've always thought Mascherano to be a little over-rated as well, but he certainly had an excellent World Cup.
Another misfit, Robinho, has wanted out of Manchester City for quite some time and has made himself quite clear first forcing the club to allow him to move back down to Santos on loan to end last season then demanding he be sold when City would not accept another loan from the Brazilian team.
To me Robinho's story is quite hilarious. The rumor goes that when he wanted to leave Real Madrid the team went to the Brazilian and told him Manchester City were interested in buying. Not paying any attention, Robinho thought Real Madrid meant the other team from Manchester as in Manchester United and accepted the move only to find out he would be dressing up in light blue instead red.
I've been on the record as stating I think Philipp Lahm is one of the two or three best outside backs in the world maybe even the best because he can handle either side of the pitch despite his short stature - he's only 5-7 - and his preference to play on the right side as he does now for both club and country.
"There will definitely be talks about my contract his season," he told the Bildnewspaper. "I assume that the club will approach me.
"I can imagine signing for the long term, because as a player in the coming years at Bayern you will play for international titles.
Monday, August 23, 2010
Sunday, August 22, 2010
Bob Bradley is a smart man: he did go to Princeton after all so he has to know that his time coaching the U.S. men's national team is running out.
This should help explain why he's making every effort to get his name out there for the Aston Villa job.
It's turning into a very bizarre situation and hopefully having a lame-duck coach doesn't happen or at least not for too long. Shimer and I both like Bradley but we agree that to take the U.S. to the next level, they'll need a coach with more star power and a more impressive resume than Bradley.
Seeing this set of musical chairs as Bradley likely pursues his next job is not a good look for any involved. The U.S. has to make a decision (and fast!) to figure out if they want Bradley or not. If they do, lock him up through the next World Cup. If not, get his diplomas off the wall and send him packing.
There are four years between World Cups but with qualifying, friendlies and countless other tournaments, the time goes by much faster than you'd expect.
United States coach Bob Bradley says he is keen to hold talks with Aston Villa owner Randy Lerner about being their next boss following Martin O'Neill's exit earlier this month.
Bradley, who led the USA to the last 16 of the World Cup, has had no formal talks with Villa's American owner but his representatives have made contact with the club.
"I think Aston Villa is a massive club with great history and a great following and those type of opportunities would of course be of interest," Bradley told BBC Radio Five Live. "I would certainly be honoured to have that conversation but I'm impressed with the way things have been handled so far and we'll see what the future holds."
Ironically, Newcastle (in its home opener since returning to the EPL) embarrassed Aston Villa earlier today 6-0. Villa has Kevin MacDonald as its interim manager; they won their first match but without a suitable replacement for Martin O'Neill, it's hard to see Villa having a good season.
But while Bradley, 52, has a contract with the United States which runs until the end of the year, he is ambitious to manage in Europe.
He said: "I've always been excited about being a manager in Europe but at the same time I'm proud of the work we've done with the US team over the last four years. It is important to consider that as a challenge as well. So we'll see what happens.
"There have been discussions with some of my representatives to at least find out the situation but Aston Villa seem to have taken a good stance where they have been patient.
"They have a very good man in Kevin MacDonald who is highly respected in the club so I think on the one hand they are probably putting a list together and on the other making sure Kevin has the time to consider his future as well. It has been handled very well.
"I had some people do some checking just to find out where things stood."
Reading the tea leaves, it's obvious that Bradley knows he's done with the U.S. and he's giving his due diligence to see what's available in Europe.
Like any U.S. player, we encourage our coaches to go abroad and coach at the highest level; it can only help the USMNT and soccer in our country to see more Americans succeed.
Thursday, August 19, 2010
Anyone with a pulse in the United States that likes soccer even a little bit would ace this exam: who is the highest paid player in Major League Soccer?
Answer: David Beckham. About as predictable as that, Thierry Henry and Rafael Marquez come in second and third respectively.
Henry and Marquez, who joined the New York Red Bulls from Barcelona following the World Cup, are the league's second- and third-highest paid players, according to the latest MLS Players Union salary list.
Henry, a World Cup and European champion with France and a Champions League winner with Barca, will earn $5.6 million in guaranteed compensation this year. Marquez, who captained Mexico in South Africa, will earn $5.54 million.
Marquez's Mexico teammate Nery Castillo, who joined the Chicago Fire last month on loan from Shakhtar Donetsk of Ukraine, will make $1.79 million.
Beckham, who hasn't played for the Los Angeles Galaxy this season because of a torn Achilles' tendon, tops the league at $6.5 million.
Beckham's signing has been mostly a nightmare as we all know but I'm more confident that Henry and Marquez (coupled with their sweet stadium and the fact that they're near a great sports city) have much more lasting power than Becks in the States.
Once upon a time, William Gallas was one of the top defenders in the world. He played for Chelsea then Arsenal domestically and was a stud for France.
Father time has caught up to the former Arsenal captain and that's why his free transfer move to Tottenham is hardly headline material anymore.
He will undergo a medical exam tomorrow at Tottenham and then he can move to White Hart Lane.
Gallas, 33, looks set to be added to Spurs' defensive ranks as Harry Redknapp looks to strengthen his squad before the end of the transfer window.
Spurs looked decidedly unconvincing at the back during their 3-2 Champions League qualifying play-off defeat to Young Boys, and the arrival of Gallas would offer them some much-needed top level experience.
Gallas has been available on a free transfer since June, having been released by Arsenal after being unable to agree a new contract at Emirates Stadium.
And the France international, who played for Les Bleus during their disastrous World Cup campaign, will become only the sixth player to have joined Spurs having played for their bitter north London rivals.
The last player to do so was David Bentley, while Rohan Ricketts, David Jenkins, Laurie Brown and Jimmy Brain are the others to have crossed the divide.
Gallas played for Arsenal for four years after moving from Chelsea in 2006, making 101 Premier League appearances for the Gunners.
Shimer said last week before he left that Chelsea was on the verge of signing Neymar. As you can imagine, I was pumped since the Blues need an infusion of young talent as my colleague pointed out and they don't get more tantalizing than the 18-year-old Brazilian.
Uh nevermind. Neymar signed a five-year deal to remain with Santos.
He has followed the advice of Pele and new national team coach Mano Menezes to stay in Brazil, at least for now.
Neymar, who scored on debut for Brazil against United States last month, said: "The final decision always rests with the player. My father always will want what is best for me. I talked to him and decided to stay. Money alone does not bring happiness. I'm happy here and I want to continue being so. It was a complicated decision, very difficult. But God gave us the wisdom and power to make the best decision. Now it's time to only think about Santos and winning more titles.''
Santos' president Luis Alvaro lauded Neymar for his "courageous decision'' to stay in Brazil and said he hoped the move would spark an end to the relentless talent drain to Europe.
"We've built a different possibility,'' Alvaro said. "We no longer accept the idea that we're an underdeveloped nation always at the mercy of the powerful European clubs.''
This is all well and good and I applaud Neymar for taking the road less traveled (ie. not following the money). However, I'd be shocked if he plays out the length of this contract with Santos. This guy is too good to not be playing in England, Spain, Italy or Germany.
Wednesday, August 18, 2010
If you're in the midwest, mark your calendars: the U.S. men's national team will play Poland in an exhibition on October 9 at Soldier Field, home of the NFL's Chicago Bears.
I've only been there for one short trip but Chicago is easily one of the best U.S. cities. The fact that there's such a big Polish population in the Chicago area made this matchup a no-brainer.
The United States has won seven of its 16 matches against Poland, including three of the past four. The previous time the teams met in the United States was in 2004, also in Chicago, when the Americans got an equalizer from Carlos Bocanegra in the 88th minute.
The game is on a FIFA fixture date, meaning clubs are required to release players to national teams.
"We know this is an important opportunity for Poland as they prepare for the 2012 European Championship, so we expect a challenging game," U.S. coach Bob Bradley said. "Chicago has a fantastic tradition of supporting soccer and the U.S. national team, and with the large Polish community in the area it should make for an exciting atmosphere."
Poland is co-host of the 2012 European Championships with Ukraine. Though it does not have to qualify for the continental tournament, it has exhibitions scheduled in September against Ukraine and Australia.
As of right now, this is the only U.S. match remaining in 2010. Their first game after the 2010 World Cup was the 2-0 pounding they received from Brazil on Aug. 10 at the New Meadowlands.
Tuesday, August 17, 2010
It was a move that was whispered for weeks and possibly months, now it's official: James Milner is done at Aston Villa and bound for Manchester City.
Milner, 24, will undergo a medical at Eastlands on Tuesday afternoon and City midfielder Stephen Ireland will move in the opposite direction to Villa Park.
City manager Roberto Mancini hopes to tie up all the loose ends by Wednesday at the latest.
"I hope we can close it between today and tomorrow,'' Mancini said. "I think that Milner is a good player, an English player which is important. I think that Milner can play in different positions.''
City have been pursuing the England international all summer and had an initial bid rejected before the start of the World Cup. The final fee is reported to be around £20 million.
Milner played his final game for Villa in their opening Premier League fixture on Saturday, starring and scoring in a 3-0 home win over West Ham. He received a standing ovation from the home fans.
The midfielder moved to Aston Villa in 2008 having enjoyed a successful loan spell at Villa Park during the 2005/2006 season. Last term he was named the PFA Young Player of the Year and was also selected in the Premier League's Team of the Year.
Aston Villa is good but Manchester City is better, expect them to finish in the top four in the EPL this season and qualify for the Champions League after they just missed out last season by finishing fifth. They lacked an English presence so Milner is a good choice since he's young and his best years should be ahead of him, particularly when you surround him with such talent.
For those of us who don't live and breath the German national team (cough, cough Shimer), Mesut Ozil was one of the breakout stars of the 2010 World Cup.
The silky smooth midfielder is only 21 but he was one of the top playmakers and offensive minds in the world. Therefore, it should be no surprise that he's taking his talents elsewhere: Real Madrid.
The former Werder Bremen star, reportedly signed with Real Madrid for around 15 million Euros.
Werder turned down an offer which was described as "risible" by general manager Klaus Allofs last week but have now reached an agreement for Ozil, who would have been available on a free transfer when his contract expired in 12 months.
The playmaker, who helped Germany reach the semi-finals of the World Cup in South Africa, will undergo a medical in Madrid on Wednesday. Allofs said: "We are respecting the player's wishes to take the next step in his career immediately.''
A statement on Madrid's official website read: "Mesut Ozil lands at Real Madrid after a standout performance at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. The midfielder earned a permanent spot on Germany's senior side by the age of 21 after winning the 2009 Under-21 European Championship.
"His unique touch, unmatched individual technique, excellent ball control and deadly last pass make the German midfielder one of the brightest up-and-coming stars in European football.''
Werder had opened up new contract talks with the Ozil a year ago, but the player officially rejected the club's final offer prior to the World Cup. From that moment, it was clear Bremen would be forced to sell the 21-year-old.
Earlier on Tuesday, Werder claimed they would play Ozil in the Champions League on Wednesday, leaving him cup-tied, unless a deal was agreed in the next 24 hours.
"If a club is looking to sign Mesut to play Champions League, then that club needs to make a decision before Wednesday," Allofs said. "If Mesut Ozil is a player of Werder Bremen on Wednesday, we are going to play him against Sampdoria."
However, Ozil did not take part in the club's final training session ahead of the clash as Real moved quickly to complete the deal.
Picturing Ozil dishing to Cristiano Ronaldo and Gonzalo Higuain, not to mention all the Spanish national team stars around him, is mouth-watering. Somebody give Ray Hudson a few moments alone.
In case you somehow forget about France's comedy of errors at the 2010 World Cup, today served as a beautiful reminder of what a mess that turned out to be: the France Football Federation suspended Nicolas Anelka (18 games), Patrice Evra (5 games), Franck Ribery (3 games) and Jeremy Toulilan (1 game).
The fifth player involved in the mutiny, Eric Abidal, didn't get suspended.
All 23 players on France's World Cup squad boycotted a training session in South Africa to protest Anelka's expulsion after he insulted then-coach Raymond Domenech during a 2-0 loss to Mexico.
But the French federation only summoned the five players who played a leading role in the mutiny. Ribery and Anelka -- whose dressing room rage triggered the strike -- sent lawyers. Ribery, who was vice captain at the World Cup, did not attend the hearing because Bayern Munich refused to release him ahead of its opening Bundesliga match on Friday against Wolfsburg.
Only Evra, Abidal and Toulalan showed up at the hearing, federation official Yann Le Guillard said.
"The players seemed sincerely sorry for what happened," said former France team director Jean-Louis Valentin, who resigned when the players refused to take part in a training session and, instead, sat in the team bus under the eye of cameras from around the world. "I felt they were very affected by that event.
"It's obvious that if they had to do it again, they wouldn't do it," Valentin said.
Domenech was among those who attended Tuesday's hearing, along with then-FFF president Jean-Pierre Escalettes and assistant coach Alain Boghossian.
Valentin, who attended the hearing as a witness and was the only one to comment later, expressed a clear measure of sympathy for what he said were chastened players. As far as he is concerned, he said, "everybody has the right to a second chance."
He said that dialogue within the group called to testify was "excellent" and that Domenech was "dignified."
"We talked again about the events. In some ways, there was a very good dialogue that was, at times, moving," Valentin said. "Everybody was aware that there was a collective mess-up, and now we have to turn the page and move on."
France was eliminated after the first round of the World Cup without winning a match. But it was the players' actions, including the squad's sit-in on the team bus, that drew condemnation from the French public, President Nicolas Sarkozy and other political leaders.
The players already have been punished financially, with the federation withholding their World Cup bonuses. Hardliners such as Lilian Thuram, a former international and a member of the FFF council, said Evra should never play for France again.
France coach Laurent Blanc dropped all 23 players for his first match in charge last week -- a 2-1 loss to Norway in an exhibition. He'll be without Anelka, Evra, Ribery and Toulalan for the 2012 European Championship qualifier in September against Belarus.
Blanc has done the right thing by trying to move on from this dark chapter in France soccer history but it's going to take a long time to erase the bitter taste of this group's pathetic actions.
There were few teams at the 2010 World Cup that were a bigger disappointment than Cameroon. The Indomitable Lions lost all three games and today they tried to wipe the slate clean from that debacle by hiring former Spain coach Javier Clemente.
Clemente succeeds Paul Le Guen, who resigned in June. Clemente was Spain's coach from 1992 to 1998 and guided the country on a 31-game unbeaten run. He also coached Serbia's national team.
The Cameroon soccer federation said Clemente agreed to a two-year contract that he will sign in the nation's capital no later than Sept. 28.
Clemente's first test with Cameroon will be to qualify the four-time African champion for the 2012 African Cup of Nations. The country's next international game is a Sept. 4 qualifier in Mauritius.
Former Cameroon players Francois Omam Biyik and Jacques Songo'o will be part of Clemente's coaching staff.
Clemente played for Athletic Bilbao and coached the team to Spanish league titles in 1983 and 1984 -- the first of three stints in charge of the club.
He has been a coach for 15 years and most recently coached Real Valladolid, where he replaced Onesimo Sanchez in April. He was unable in eight games to prevent the team from relegation from Spain's top division.
It was pointed out numerous times in South Africa that African teams are best served when they're coached by a fellow African. Clemente is most certainly an outsider but you can't argue with his coaching credentials. No doubt, his first order of business will be to kiss up to mercurial Cameroon star striker Samuel Eto'o.
Honduras named a new head coach today: Juan de Dios Castillo replaces Reinaldo Rueda, who brought the team to the 2010 World Cup.
Castillo's contract will run through December 31, 2011 according the Honduras soccer federation.
The 59-year-old Mexican will debut with the national team on Sept. 3 in a friendly against El Salvador in Los Angeles.
Castillo has won club championships in Honduras with Real Espana and Olimpia.
Saturday, August 14, 2010
Wednesday, August 11, 2010
Quick question: are you sick of Landon Donovan yet?
Me neither. After his great showing with Everton last winter and of course with the U.S. in South Africa for the 2010 World Cup, Donovan can do no wrong at the moment.
He used to be an all-around dud since he didn't have much personality and he always failed in big games. No longer, he's a new man and one of the best players (best ever?) that the United States has ever produced.
Most of his teammates last night looked overmatched vs. Brazil but Donovan played very well. This is all a long way to say that you should watch the Late Night with Jimmy Fallon tonight (12:30 a.m. on NBC) since Mr. USA is one of the guests.
Donovan is in New York since the Brazil friendly was in East Rutherford, NJ and the LA Galaxy play the New York New York Red Bulls on Saturday night at Red Bull Stadium in one of the marquee games of the MLS regular season.
More Premier League on ESPN family of networks, less filler garbage (Sportsnation, Cold Pizza, etc.)
Some nice news for fans of the English Premier League living in the U.S.: ESPN sublicenses more EPL games to its family of networks.
ESPN reached an agreement for multimedia rights to Barclay's Premier League Soccer for the next three seasons. Up to 74 matches the next three seasons will air in the United States on ESPN2, ESPN Deportes, ESPN3.com and ESPN Mobile TV.
Last season, ESPN televised 46 Premier League matches under a sublicense from Fox Soccer Channel, which has been broadcasting the EPL in the U.S. since 1998.
ESPN's U.S. coverage begins Saturday with the Premier League opener, which has Manchester City at Tottenham, starting at 7:45 a.m. ET.
This is clearly a sign that ESPN had good responses from last season's small dose of EPL. Coming off the very successful 2010 World Cup, this is smart business from a company that doesn't usually show this amount of common sense.
Getting older is a fact of life, it happens to everyone. What separates professional athletes from you or I is that they rapidly age in the public eye, while I can sit behind a computer and seemingly never age.
Random tangent aside, David Beckham found out today that he was "too old to play for England," at least according to head coach Fabio Capello. Last I checked, his opinion was somewhat important in those matters for the Three Lions.
Capello said the 35-year-old midfielder will have the chance to play in a friendly "farewell game" but will not be part of England's team in qualifying for the 2012 European Championship.
Beckham has played 115 times for England, second behind only goalkeeper Peter Shilton's 125 from 1970-90.
Beckham has repeatedly said he has no plans of retiring from playing for England. He went to the World Cup in South Africa in June as a member of Capello's off-field staff after being sidelined following Achilles' tendon surgery.
Appearing on ITV television in Britain, Capello was asked whether Beckham would be part of the England squad in the qualifying campaign for Euro 2012.
Capello laughed and said, "Thank you for helping me during the World Cup, but probably (he) is a little bit old."
Later, after England's 2-1 victory over Hungary in a friendly at Wembley, Capello said: "I hope he can play one more friendly game to say bye bye."
"I won't be picking him for any more competitive matches," Capello added. "David is a fantastic player, he was really important, but we have to see the new players for the future because the age is important for a lot of people, not only for David."
Seeing Beckham on the bench (in a suit) in South Africa was depressing enough and Beckham's ill-fated MLS tour has only gotten worse (he's out until at least Sept. 4 with that achilles injury).
We wish Becks the best but let's not make this a mockery Brett Favre style. Hold your stylish head up and retire Beckham after you play this one corny game. It's what England wants, not a soap oprea. Then again, nothing moves the dial in England like Beckham so maybe he will hang around forever.
If you've ever heard of German Holger Osieck, raise your hand. If you knew Australia was getting a new coach, raise your hand. Nobody?
Well that's why I'm here, Osieck was named Australia's coach today.
A former assistant to German legend Franz Beckenbauer, Osieck was officially announced as the new Socceroos boss by FFA chairman Frank Lowy on Wednesday.
The 61-year-old is a surprise choice, with the FFA having initially set its sights on South Africa coach Carlos Parreira and Cameroon boss Paul Le Guen as Pim Verbeek's successor.
Osieck enjoyed a modest playing career in Germany before coaching stints with Fenerbahce in Turkey and Urawa Red Diamonds in Japan's J-League.
He was an assistant to Beckenbauer when Germany won the 1990 World Cup and spent four years as Canada's national coach, guiding the team to success in the CONCACAF Gold Cup in 2000.
Tuesday, August 10, 2010
I had heard about Neymar before but I had never seen him (besides YouTube highlights) until tonight.
In his debut for the Brazilian national team, 18-year-old Neymar scored a goal as the Selecao defeated the U.S. 2-0 at New Meadowlands Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J.
This was Mano Manezes' first game as Brazil's coach and the team's first match since their quarterfinal loss in the 2010 World Cup to Netherlands.
It might have been because 14 of the 23 players that suited up for Brazil were making their first or second international appearance or because Dunga was sent packing with his ill-fated defensive style but for one night, Brazil looked like the fun-loving machine they always seem to be.
Neymar scored in the 28th minute with a header off a cross from Santos. I don't think Neymar could have done much more tonight, everything was perfect including his sweet mohawk.
In the 46th minute, Alexandre Pato, another guy that was left out of South Africa, showed why that was a terrible mistake. He scored after a defensive breakdown by the U.S.' central defense (sound familiar?) and a great through ball by Ramires.
Pato had an earlier goal waved off after he clearly ran over U.S. goalkeeper Tim Howard.
Brazil deserved to win by multiple goals but there were some near highlights and solid performances in the loss for the U.S.
Right off the bat, Landon Donovan sneaked through and should have scored in the second minute after a clever touch from Edison Buddle. Donovan was slowed up by a foul but there was no call for a PK.
The second half was even more wide open. Pato should have scored his second goal in the 46th minute after a sweet ball from Robinho. In the 53rd minute, Robinho hit a shot off the post and the U.S. looked to pull one back in the 57th minute when Michael Bradley headed in a cross from Sasha Kljestan.
Neymar got some time and space and nearly scored his second goal in the 61st minute. His stepovers froze the U.S. defender but his shot was stopped by Brad Guzan, who had a superb second half.
In the 70th minute, Neymar was sprung on a breakaway but Guzan came out to cut down the angle and stop it.
Brazil was unlucky, hitting the post once again in the 78th minute with Gonzo's long blast.
Guzan absolutely robbed Eduardo in the 83rd minute from a few feet away.
The U.S. almost snuck one in late when Jonathan Spector's cross was headed by Herculez Gomez. Brazil's goalkeeper Victor deflected it just wide.
Guzan had one more memorable save in the last minute of stoppage time and that was it.
Only time will tell if this was Bob Bradley's last game with the U.S.
For now, I will remember it for Neymar and Pato's brilliance. These guys are absolute studs that will be around for a long, long time.
It's probably a few years too late but Ricardo Carvalho and Jose Mourinho have reportedly been reunited once again: this time at Real Madrid where the former tries to keep his career going and the latter begins his latest coaching stint.
The pair were together at Porto in their native Portugal before Mourinho took over at Chelsea and brought in one of his favorite defenders.
Carvalho has agreed to a two-year deal worth approximately eight million pounds.
A club statement read: "Chelsea Football Club can confirm it has agreed terms with Real Madrid for the transfer of Ricardo Carvalho. The transfer is subject to a medical and the player agreeing personal terms. Chelsea would like to thank Riccy for his six years of service, and we wish him well in his future career."
At the weekend, Jose Mourinho suggested that Carvalho's advancing years meant he was unlikely to link up once again with the defender, who under the new Real coach won the 2004 Champions League with Porto and two Premier League titles with Chelsea.
However, Real saw their bid to sign Inter Milan right-back Maicon collapse and while Benfica's David Luiz and AC Milan's Thiago Silva were alternative targets, they have turned to Carvalho in an effort to improve their defence.
Carvalho, who joined Chelsea from Porto in the summer of 2004 for a fee of £19.85 million, recently claimed he has been given permission to leave Stamford Bridge and that he would go to Madrid "swimming or running", such is his desire to be reunited with Mourinho.
The Portugal international picked up a third Premier League title last season but has seen his first-team chances reduce in recent seasons, with Brazilian defender Alex finding favour under Guus Hiddink and then Carlo Ancelotti.
If Carvalho does complete his move to Real then he will join Joe Cole, Michael Ballack, Deco and Juliano Belletti in leaving Stamford Bridge this summer.
I'm Portuguese, Mourinho is my favorite manager in soccer and I was a big Carvalho fan when he was at Stamford Bridge. However, I'm a realist and I realize that he probably won't have much of a role at Real Madrid and therefore, this will not end well.
Tomorrow night when the U.S. men's national team takes on Brazil at the New Meadowlands, what happens on the field is quickly becoming a mere subplot to what will happen with U.S. head coach Bob Bradley.
Not only is he facing an uncertain future with the U.S. team, now there are plenty of rumors (coming out of England) that he might be in line for the vacated Aston Villa post.
His contract with the U.S. is up in December and he's supposed to have a converstation with the U.S. soccer federation after the Brazil exhibition.
"I think some general starting points were laid out and I think it was agreed at that time that with this game coming up so quickly that it just made sense to use the starting points," he said Monday. "Both sides, you know, could think a little it about what was laid on the table and then we could pick up following the game."
British media speculated Monday that Bradley would be considered for the Aston Villa job that opened when Martin O'Neill quit Monday, five days ahead of the club's opener.
"I've said over and over as well that [I'm] always excited about new and different challenges," Bradley said. "Certainly coaching in Europe at some point is something that I would love to do. At the same time I also consider it a challenge when you finish one cycle and begin the process of working on another one."
Bradley said he never made direct contract with Fulham about its job, another one British media had speculated he would be considered for. Mark Hughes was hired after Roy Hodgson quit the Cottagers to become Liverpool's manager.
"People spoke to Fulham on my behalf," Bradley said. "I did not actually speak to anyone at Fulham."
Bradley is still firmly entrenched on the job but this story also noted who might be waiting in the wings (fingers crossed) should he be replaced: Juergen Klinsmann.
Shimer and I talked about that dream scenario tonight and we both believe Klinsmann would take the U.S. to new levels by focusing on improving the U.S. youth programs and just the structure of soccer for our best and brightest.
Let's not get ahead of ourselves, Bradley is still the U.S. coach until further notice. Like we say with his players, we want to see them compete at the highest level (ie. abroad) so it would also be great to see a U.S. coach try his luck overseas in the best soccer league in the world: the EPL.
U.S. goalkeeper Brad Guzan thinks Bradley deserves a shot in England.
Guzan, the backup to Brad Friedel on Aston Villa, said O'Neill's decision was a surprise. Guzan thinks Bradley is up to managing in the Premier League.
"He's obviously a good manager," Guzan said. "When you're at that level and you've put in good performances, it's going to go noticed by big clubs all around the world. And so for him, obviously I'm sure he's honored by being put in the mix.
No professional sport in the world has quite the same dynamic as soccer in the sense that club teams hate seeing their players compete for their home country and vice versa. Players are investments and only bad things can happen (in the clubs' minds) when the players leave them.
Along those lines came news today that Bayern Munich won't release its star Franck Ribery for an upcoming hearing by the French soccer federation on the national team's disaster at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.
The club complained Monday that it "had to learn from the media" of plans by the federation to summon Ribery and others to Paris for a hearing Aug. 17.
The German champion said that FIFA rules oblige it only to release players for competitive matches on the international soccer calendar.
Chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge informed French federation president Fernand Duchaussoy of the decision in writing, Bayern said in a statement.
"It cannot be the case that the French federation arbitrarily hauls Franck Ribery out of his commitments at Bayern Munich," Rummenigge said. "The club's preparations for the new Bundesliga season now have priority over the French federation's processing of the World Cup."
The club said Ribery would be playing a German Cup match against Germania Windeck on Aug. 16 and would start preparing the following day for the season's first Bundesliga match, against 2009 champion Wolfsburg on Aug. 20.
The French federation opened a disciplinary case last Friday against Ribery and four others who went on strike at the World Cup -- Nicolas Anelka, Eric Abidal, Jeremy Toulalan and captain Patrice Evra.
Don't ask me why this hearing is happening so long after the World Cup, when clubs are clearly gearing up for their long campaigns. Then again, who else would this whole situation happen to but the French?
Iraq agreed to terms with a new coach today, German Wolfgang Sidka.
According to the Iraqi Olympic committee, he signed a one-year deal for $500,000.
Committee spokesman Mouanis Abdullah says Sidka will hold his first training session next month.
Iraq is the defending Asia Cup champion, but has struggled on and off the field recently. A dispute over who should run the soccer federation led to a missed deadline to elect new leaders. FIFA gave Iraqi officials an extra year in office to prepare for elections.
Monday, August 9, 2010
OK so I've been following Manchester United in a few of their preseason games because they made a nice little trip through the states playing MLS teams as well as the MLS All-Stars.
Sunday, August 8, 2010
Sometimes you have to step back and remember that Jozy Altidore is still only 20 years old (born Nov. 6, 1989).
He has all the potential to be one of the greatest players in U.S. men's national team history when it's all said and done so long as he continues to develop and gets meaningful minutes for good clubs.
The sunny news out of Spain today was that Altidore scored for Villareal in their 2-2 exhibition tie vs. Besiktas (a Turkish club).
Altidore scored with a right-footed volley from six yards out off a cross. It was in the 79th minute and it was the tying strike.
He'll be in the lineup for the U.S. on Tuesday when they play Brazil in the highly-anticipated friendly at the New Meadowlands Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J.
I think we can all agree that we'd like nothing more than to see this be the beginning of a beast mode season for Jozy with Villareal and the U.S.
Friday, August 6, 2010
Thursday, August 5, 2010
Strange stuff for the U.S. men's national team as they switched up two players for the roster against Brazil next week.
After being named to the initial 23-man roster yesterday, Jermaine Jones and Chad Marshall had the rug pulled out from under them with Jozy Altidore and Omar Gonzalez replacing them.
Jones had been set to make his U.S. debut after playing three exhibitions for Germany and being approved for a switch last year by FIFA. The U.S. Soccer Federation said Thursday that after accepting the invitation, he decided to remain with his club ahead of its opener at Hamburg on Aug. 21. Jones missed last season because of a shin injury.
"I would like to thank Bob Bradley and the U.S. federation greatly for my first official invitation," Jones said in a statement released by his agent. "It is an honor that I have been working towards for over a year, and while I initially felt like I was ready to make my first appearance, it is also extremely important to me that I am 100 percent fit for my first national team game and that I make a good impression on the manager and my teammates.
"I hope to receive another invitation and finally fulfill my goal of playing with the U.S. national team in the very near future."
Gonzalez, last year's Major League Soccer rookie of the year, could make his international debut.
Altidore, who has nine goals in 29 appearances, returned to Spain's Villarreal this week after being loaned to Hull last season.
Ticket sales for the match at the New Meadowlands Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J., have topped 58,000 for the match, the first for both nations on the road to the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
Personally, I am disappointed that we won't see Jones yet but if he thinks he's not ready, that's understandable. Chad Marshall doesn't do anything for me and while I love Jozy Altidore, it didn't break my heart to not see him on this roster since we'll get our fill of him for the next 10+ years.
Omar Gonzalez is an intriguing wild card and since I don't follow the MLS at all, I honestly had never heard of him before today. Sad, I know.
It has not been a good few months for Kaka and it just got even worse.
The Brazil and Real Madrid star midfielder will be out for the next 3-4 months following knee surgery.
The Spanish club said Thursday that Kaka left the team's camp in Los Angeles to have the operation on his meniscus in Antwerp, Belgium.
Madrid coach Jose Mourinho said "if we lose him for some time it's no drama, we have other players, but he's one of the best in the world."
The team said a routine medical exam performed on Kaka after the Brazil international returned from vacation revealed a problem with his left knee.
Hindsight being 20/20 as always, perhaps this is why he wasn't up to his usual sublime standards at the 2010 World Cup. Or maybe he just didn't play well, who knows? Regardless, hopefully he gets better and can go back to being himself, an out of this world talent for both his club and country.