U.S. Look to Top Group A
U.S. Look to Top Group A avatar

The U.S. finishes Group A in the CONCACAF Championship against Haiti on Monday at 7:30 PM in Washington, D.C. at RFK Stadium after a much-improved performance against Guatemala Friday night.

Tobin Heath put in a good performance against Guatemala. (ISI Photos/Robin Alam)

Tobin Heath put in a good performance against Guatemala. (ISI Photos/Robin Alam)

The U.S. sits atop the Group A standing with six points, while Haiti and Trinidad and Tobago are tied with three a piece and Guatemala languishes pointless at the bottom of the table.

Friday saw the U.S. recover from their poor opening game to defeat Guatemala 5-0. A flurry of four goals in twenty second-half minutes helped put a narrow 1-0 win over Trinidad and Tobago on Wednesday behind them.

It was not all smiles, however, as Alex Morgan will be sidelined for four-to-six weeks after being stretchered off with an ankle injury before halftime. The American forward, who has 49 goals in 77 appearances for the red, white, and blue, suffered an injury to the same ankle that kept her sidelined for nearly eight months.

Despite the injury, Morgan is confident that it will not hold her back nearly as long. “It really doesn’t feel that bad,” Morgan told FOX. “After doctors assessed it and it didn’t swell up too much, I felt a little relieved.”

The U.S. did not seem to be affected on the field after Morgan was removed, as Tobin Heath scored two goals, Leroux played provider twice, and Rapinoe excelled in the number 10 role with a goal and an assist.

Megan Rapinoe has been outstanding for the U.S. in both games. (ISI Photos/ Bill Barrett)

Megan Rapinoe has been outstanding for the U.S. in both games. (ISI Photos/ Bill Barrett)

“Things opened up and we converted our chances this time,” Rapinoe explained. Rapinoe will want to put in another man-of-the-match performance against a Haitian team that sits tied for second after their opening day victory over Guatemala, which was followed by a 1-0 loss to Trinidad and Tobago.

The U.S. are 3-0 all-time versus Haiti, boasting a record of 23 goals scored, while not conceding a single goal. Since goal difference should play a major factor in who advances along with the U.S., expect a similar defensive approach to the game by Haiti.

While a point guarantees the U.S. first place in the group and a place in the semi-finals, they will want to win by a large margin to show a signal of intent to their rivals that they will definitely be more lethal when next summer’s World Cup rolls around.

Posted in Blog | Leave a comment

U.S. WNT too strong for Guatemala
U.S. WNT too strong for Guatemala avatar

The U.S. WNT recovered from their lackluster performance Wednesday to dispatch Guatemala 5-0 at Toyota Park in Bridgeview, Illinois Friday night.

The U.S. got off to a flying start when Tobin Heath tapped the ball in after Sydney Leroux got to Ali Krieger’s cross in the 7th minute.

Morgan went off with a left ankle injury which previously kept her sidelined for 7 months. (Getty Images)

Morgan went off with a left ankle injury but was interviewed after the match and seemed upbeat. (Getty Images)

Leroux and Alex Morgan both missed chances to add on to the lead, before Morgan was stretchered off with a left ankle injury. Morgan sprained the same ankle in October 2013 and rushed back, only to suffer a stress fracture which saw her sidelined until June of this year.

Christen Press, Morgan’s replacement, had a goal controversially disallowed shortly before halftime.

The U.S. finally found their shooting boots and goals began pouring in as Carli Lloyd headed in Leroux’s cross one minute into the second half.

Heath's inclusion was justified and she brought a different diminution to the U.S. (Getty Images)

Heath’s inclusion was justified and she brought a different diminution to the U.S. (Getty Images)

Rapinoe’s sixth corner of the game led to the third goal as it was redirected towards goal by Lloyd and was diverted into the goal via the backheel of Heath for her second on the night.

Barely a minute later, Guatemala was picking the ball out of the net yet again after a Rapinoe free kick was headed in by defender Whitney Engen, who beat Guatemala’s offside-trap in the 58th minute.

Rapinoe, who thrived in the number 10 role, got a goal for herself as Lloyd’s blocked shot found its way to Rapinoe, who from the edge of the box, fired in a rocket passed the Guatemalan goalkeeper.

Despite not scoring again, the U.S. dictated play and had a few more chances to extend their lead.

The result leaves the U.S. WNT atop the Group A standings with a result against Haiti on Monday securing their spot in the semi-finals of the CONCACAF Championship.

Haiti, who lost to Trinidad and Tobago in the earlier match Friday, is tied for second with the Caribbean nation.

Scoring Summary:   1          2          F
USA                            1          4          5
GUA                            0          0          0

USA – Tobin Heath (Sydney Leroux)            7th minute
USA – Carli Lloyd (Sydney Leroux)   46
USA – Tobin Heath (Carli Lloyd)        57
USA – Whitney Engen (Megan Rapinoe)      58
USA – Megan Rapinoe           66

Lineups:
USA: 1-Hope Solo; 11-Ali Krieger (5-Kelley O’Hara, 46), 4-Becky Sauerbrunn, 6-Whitney Engen, 16-Meghan Klingenberg (8-Amy Rodriguez, 68), 12-Lauren Holiday, 10-Carli Lloyd (capt.), 15-Megan Rapinoe, 2-Sydney Leroux, 13-Alex Morgan (14-Christen Press, 42), 17-Tobin Heath
Subs Not Used: 3-Christie Rampone, 7-Morgan Brian, 9-Heather O’Reilly, 18-Ashlyn Harris, 19-Julie Johnston, 20-Abby Wambach
Head Coach: Jill Ellis

GUA: 12-Alicia Navas; 2-Daniela Andrade, 14-Coralia Monterroso, 5-Londy Barrios, 3-Marilyn Rivera; 10-Kimberly De León (7-Alida Argueta, 77), 15-Christian Recinos, 6-Gloria Aguilar, 4-Mia Espino; 8-María Monterroso (19-Diana Barrera, 77), 13-Aisha Solorzano (18-Kellin Mayen, 71)
Subs Not Used: 1-Yoselin Franco, 9-Ana Lucia Martínez, 11-Vilma López, 16-Cinthya Lopez, 17-Jennifer Barrios, 20-Melany Cayetano
Head Coach: Benjamin Monterroso                 

Stats Summary: USA / GUA
Shots: 21 / 0
Shots on Goal: 11 / 0
Saves: 0 / 6
Corner Kicks: 11 / 0
Fouls: 14 / 10
Offside: 7 / 0

Misconduct Summary:
USA – Sydney Leroux (caution)        49th minute

 

Posted in Blog | Leave a comment

EPL Week 8 – Match Tickets outstrip the Cost of Living
EPL Week 8 – Match Tickets outstrip the Cost of Living avatar

English soccer tickets outstrip cost of living

The average price of the cheapest soccer tickets in England has risen at almost twice the rate of the cost of living since 2011.

BBC Sport’s Price of Football study investigated how much fans were charged at 207 clubs across the country and found the average price of the cheapest ticket across England’s four professional divisions is $34.52, which constitutes an increase of 13% since 2011, compared to the cost of living that has only seen a 6.8% increase in England. The average price of the cheapest EPL season ticket has also increased 8.7% since 2012, from $792 to $817.24.

Arsenal's tickets are the most expensive the EPL. (Getty Images)

Arsenal’s tickets are the most expensive the EPL. (Getty Images)

The steep increases are surprising, especially given the recent record $4.98bn TV rights deal was expected to result in a fall in ticket prices. However, many clubs, especially EPL clubs, will point to the high demand for tickets. Indeed, despite the ticket price rises, Premier League attendances are on the increase. The average last season was 36,695.

It appears clubs are using the increases in revenue to attract and keep players—a study by Deloitte said Premier League clubs now spend 71p ($1.12) on wages for every £1 ($1.61) generated, the first time the 70p mark had been broken.

However, Justin King, former chief executive of UK supermarket Sainsbury’s, believes clubs need to ensure they are providing value for money to fans if they want to be sustainable.

“Any business that thinks it can simply rely upon the loyalty of its customers, regardless of how they treat them, in the end will fail. It’s an absolute fact,” he said.

“Therefore I would be asking clubs, ‘are your fans happier today than they were five years ago with the experience that they get, the value for money that they feel they’re getting?’”

The EPL certainly does not seem to be offering customer value when you compare it to the German Bundesliga, where big clubs Bayer Leverkusen, Bayern Munich, Borussia Dortmund and Schalke all charge less than $20 for their cheapest match-day ticket. Indeed, Borussia Dortmund, who have the average highest match day attendance in Europe, claim they are now attracting up to 1000 British fans to every home game.

Dortmund’s commercial director said some of the EPL club’s match-day revenues were impressive but insisted his club would not entertain the idea of charging such large amounts for tickets.

“If we were to ask for prices like this, we would lose the people,”

“The people are one of the most important assets for our club. We have to care for them.”

 

Linekar wants young stars at Euro U21

Former England striker and TV pundit Gary Linekar wants England’s young stars to feature at next summers European U21 Championship to gain experience.

Linekar, 53, tweeted: “Won’t happen, but I wish PL managers would support their young players’ international careers, not hinder them,”

Arsenal's starlet Oxlade-Chamberlain has come out and stated that he would play if selected. (Getty Images)

Arsenal’s starlet Oxlade-Chamberlain has come out and stated that he would play if selected. (Getty Images)

“All our star Under-21 players should go to the finals next summer if fit. Wonderful tournament experience. Other countries insist on it.”

“I get managers’ me, me, me attitude, but wouldn’t it be refreshing if, for once, they thought about the good of the national game?”

England U-21s secured their place in the Czech Republic with a 2-1 victory over Croatia on Tuesday to win the 4-2 on aggregate.

Everton manager Roberto Martinez has voiced concerns about fatigue of young players, especially in the case Ross Barkely, who has just returned from a knee ligament injury.

“If the tournament was now it would be a good opportunity for him to get some playing time, but if it is at the end of a season where he has played consistently for 10 months then he needs to have a break,” Martinez said.

Barkley is one of several young players in the senior England team- along with Liverpool’s Raheem Sterling and Arsenal trio Jack Wilshere, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Calum Chambers – who England U-21 coach Gareth Southgate is reportedly keen to call up next summer.

However, Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger feels the experience has no real benefits.

“Once a guy has moved up to the full national team and you put him down [again to the Under-21s] he is never good,” he said.

“Apart from on the selfish front for us when a guy has played 50 games, it is better a guy has a good rest during the summer. But most of the time, when they move down, they are not completely at their highest quality.”

Week 7

Result

Anthony

Mabs

SATURDAY
Hull v Crystal Palace 2-0 2-1 3-2
Leicester v Burnley 2-2 3-0 4-1
Liverpool v West Brom 2-1 2-1 2-2
Sunderland v Stoke 3-1 0-0 2-2
Swansea v Newcastle 2-2 2-1 3-1
Aston Villa v Man City 0-2 1-3 1-3
SUNDAY
Man Utd v Everton 2-1 3-2 2-1
Chelsea v Arsenal 2-0 3-1 3-0
Tottenham v Southampton 1-0 1-1 2-1
West Ham v QPR 2-0 2-0 2-0

A correct result (picking a win, draw or defeat) is worth ONE point. Getting the exact score correct earns THREE points.

Last week SIX correct results, including TWO perfect scores to give me a grand total of TEN-points. My Challenger Mabs got exactly the same scoring TEN-points, meaning I am still unbeaten so far this season.

Do you think you have what it takes to out predict me? If so, feel free to leave you predictions in the comment section below.

Week 8

Predictions

SATURDAY
Man City v Tottenham 3-0
Arsenal v Hull 2-0
Burnley v West Ham 2-2
Crystal Palace v Chelsea 0-2
Everton v Aston Villa 2-1
Newcastle v Leicester 2-1
Southampton v Sunderland 2-0
SUNDAY
QPR v Liverpool 0-1
Stoke v Swansea 1-1
MONDAY
West Brom v Man Utd 1-2

 

SATURDAY

Man City v Tottenham

Man City won 2-0 away at Aston Villa in their last game to maintain their chase of leaders Chelsea.  That win was their second on the trot and saw midfielder Yaya Toure bag his first goal, after a quiet start to the season.

City will have to start putting in convincing performances if they want any chance of catching Chelsea.(Getty Images)

City will have to start putting in convincing performances if they want any chance of catching Chelsea.(Getty Images)

Tottenham beat Southampton 1-0 at home to return to winning ways for the first time in four games.  A single goal from Christian Erikson was enough to see Spurs past the Saints and into sixth place in the EPL. However, the north Londoners still look shy up top and need to start scoring goals if they want to challenge for a Champions League spot.

Manchester City defender Eliaquim Mangala is set to miss out with a thigh injury, while Yaya Toure is likely to be rested as he is not due back from international duty until Friday.

Tottenham have injury concerns with Hugo Lloris and Nacer Chadli after both returned from international duty with injuries, while Emmanuel Adebayor and Nabil Bentaleb also need to be assessed.

Manchester City won this game 6-0 last season and have a good recent record against Spurs—City have won six of their last seven league meetings with Tottenham, scoring 22 goals in the process.

I think Spurs will approach the game in the same way they did at Arsenal recently, keeping things tight and trying to hit on the counter. However, City have too much fire power for the Londoners and I expect them to win this fairly comfortably.

Prediction: 3-0

 

Arsenal v Hull

Arsenal lost 2-0 away to Chelsea in their last outing, but won’t be too down, as they played fairly well and could have gotten more out of the game on another day. That defeat was Arsenal’s first of the season, but the Gunners have drawn too many games this season and that is why they currently sit 8th in the EPL.

Steve Bruce reverted Hull to a 3-5-2 formation in their last game and it appeared to work a treat with the Tigers winning 2-0. That win helped Hull out of a mini rut—the Tigers had not won in their previous four games, with their last win coming in a 1-0 win over QPR in mid-September.

Arsenal may struggle at the back without Koscielny(Getty Images)

Arsenal may struggle at the back without Koscielny(Getty Images)

Arsenal look set to welcome back captain Mikel Arteta with the midfielder overcoming a calf strain. But they face defensive headaches with Calum Chambers suspended and Laurent Koscielny out with an Achilles injury, meaning left-back Nacho Monreal could deputize at center-back.

Mesut Ozil faces two months out with knee injury after he was diagnosed while on international duty, while Saturday’s game is too early for Theo Walcott who is recovering from a similar injury.

Hull’s only concern is newly signed midfielder Mohamed Diame, who played late on Wednesday for Senegal meaning he may start from the bench.

Hull did tremendously in their first season back in the EPL last campaign and have started the new campaign in a similar vein, however, the Tigers have lost their last 5 EPL games against Arsenal and while I expect them to put up a good fight I think Saturday’s game will be their sixth defeat.

Prediction: 2-0

 

Crystal Palace v Chelsea

An EPL week just doesn’t feel the same without a Derby match of some sorts and this week’s derby see south London v west London for bragging rights, as Crystal Palace host Chelsea.

Crystal Palace’s good run came to an end with a 2-0 loss away to Hull—that defeat was their first since 23 August and ended a run of four without a defeat. Many thought Palace would struggle when manager Tony Pulis left just before the start of the season, but if anything Palace look better, especially going forward.

Chelsea and Costa have taken the league by storm thus far. (Getty Images)

Chelsea and Costa have taken the league by storm thus far. (Getty Images)

EPL leaders Chelsea continued their fine start to the season with a solid 2-0 victory over rivals Arsenal. The Blues were not at their best and conceded possession to Arsenal for long periods, but they did enough to win the game and never really looked in trouble. The win was Chelsea’s sixth of the season and their draw at Man City is the only time they have dropped points this season.

Crystal Palace defender Scott Dann is ruled out with the knee injury he suffered at Hull with Adrian Mariappa expected to fill in.

Chelsea striker Diego Costa is a doubt with a hamstring problem. Andre Schurrle is out with flu, while Didier Drogba, Ramires and John Mikel Obi are all nursing injuries.

Crystal Palace’s 1-0 win at Selhurst Park last season ended a 12-match winless run against Chelsea in the league dating back to 1990. The Eagles were good value for their win last season and will probably try to use the same in-your-face tactics again on Saturday. However, Chelsea is a much improved side from last season and I expect them to win this one.

Prediction: 0-2

 

SUNDAY

QPR v Liverpool

QPR’s poor start to the season continued with a 2-0 loss away to West Ham. The Hoops have lost five of their opening seven games this season—They did likewise in the 2012-13 and 1995-96 seasons, both of which ended in relegation.

Manager Harry Redknapp has complained his players lack fitness, but they seem to be lacking a lot more in desire. The Hoops have committed fewer fouls (60) and amassed fewer yellow cards (eight) than any other Premier Leagues side, which shows they are just too easy to play against.

Liverpool's Sterling made headlines due to his request not to start for England as he was suffering from fatigue. (Getty Images)

Liverpool’s Sterling made headlines due to his request not to start for England as he was suffering from fatigue. (Getty Images)

Liverpool returned to winning ways by edging out West Brom 2-1 at home. The Reds have really struggled up front this season and have looked one-dimensional since Daniel Sturridge got injured.

QPR remain without midfielders Joey Barton and Jordan Mutch, who both have hamstring problems. However, Niko Kranjcar could still feature despite breaking a toe in training, with the player reportedly prepared to have a pain-killing injection in order to play.

Liverpool look set to welcome back striker Daniel Sturridge after a six week absence, while midfielders Joe Allen and Emre Can are also fit again.

Liverpool have won nine out of 12 Premier League games against QPR (D1, L2), including five of their last six, so on paper this should be an easy Liverpool win. However, the Reds have not been the same free flowing attacking side they were last season and still seem shaky at the back—Liverpool has kept just one clean sheet in their last 16 matches in all competitions (including 13 Premier League games).

Nevertheless, I think Liverpool have the quality to just edge this one.

Prediction: 0-1

 

MONDAY

West Brom v Man Utd

West Brom took the game to Liverpool in their last outing and were unlucky to come away from Anfield with nothing. The Baggies have done well after a slow start to the season, with striker Saido Berahino being their outstanding performer—the England U-21 player has scored 5 goals in EPL games.

Falcao (L) looks to be finding his form. (Getty Images)

Falcao (L) looks to be finding his form. (Getty Images)

Manchester United recorded back-to-back wins for the first time this season with a 2-1 victory over Everton. The Red Devils played tremendously in the first-half and could have put the game out of sight, but in the second-half they were poor and had to thank goalkeeper David De Gea, who saved a penalty and made a series of world-class saves at the death, for their victory. Di Maria was once again United’s outfield star man, while new signing Radamel Falcao also opened his United account.

West Brom have been playing positive stuff and will certainly fancy their chances against United’s fragile back-line. However, I think the Red Devils have so many class players in attack that they will probably just get their team out of jail in this game.

Prediction: 1-2

 

 

Posted in Blog | 3 Comments

2015 World Cup Qualifier: U.S. WNT vs. Guatemala Preview
2015 World Cup Qualifier: U.S. WNT vs. Guatemala Preview avatar

After a sub-par performance on Wednesday against Trinidad and Tobago in the opening game of the CONCACAF Championship, the U.S. WNT turns their attention to Friday night’s matchup vs. Guatemala at Toyota Park in Bridgeview, Illinois.

Wambach expressed her disappointment with the teams performance against Trinidad and Tobago. (ISI Photos)

Wambach expressed her disappointment with the teams performance against Trinidad and Tobago. (ISI Photos)

The U.S. will try to improve upon their narrow 1-0 win over Trinidad and Tobago in Kansas City. While Abby Wambach scored the winner, she felt their performance left much to be desired.

“It was frustrating,” Wambach revealed. “We just couldn’t break them down. In this tournament, we knew that we were going to be up against teams bunkering back and making things difficult for us in the 18.”

The U.S. can expect more of the same against a Guatemala team that has conceded 22 goals across two games against the Americans.

Haiti players celebrate their goal midway through the second half of play. (Getty Images)

Haiti players celebrate their goal midway through the second half of play. (Getty Images)

Guatemala suffered an upset against 10-women Haiti in their first game, losing 1-0 after Haiti’s goalkeeper Cynthia Chery was sent off 17 minutes into the game.

With Wambach playing an unfamiliar #10 role in center-midfield and Sydney Leroux left on the bench, coach Jill Ellis is likely to change her lineup that, while not pretty, got the job done against Trinidad and Tobago.

“Right now, it’s about regrouping, getting ready and being happy that we have three points in the first match,” Ellis stated. “We created a lot of opportunities, but we should have done a better job finishing.”

The younger players will be the key to his style of play. (Getty Images)

Leroux (R) got five last time round against Guatemala. (Getty Images)

Leroux was a surprise exclusion from Wednesday’s match and history versus Guatemala warrants her inclusion in tomorrow’s game. The last meeting between the U.S. and Guatemala saw Leroux score five goals in a 13-0 blowout.

With frustration lingering and a convincing performance needed to boost confidence, expect a wider margin of victory against Guatemala tomorrow night to put them alone atop the Group A standings.

Posted in Blog | 2 Comments

2015 MSYSA Girls State Cup
2015 MSYSA Girls State Cup avatar

Plymouth, Michigan (October 7, 2014) – The Michigan State Youth Soccer Association will be returning to the Ultimate Soccer Arenas on October 18-19, 2014 for the MSYSA Fall State Cup Semifinal and Final Matches.

The MSYSA State Cup is the first level of competition in the US Youth Soccer National Championship Series, and is home to the highest level of club soccer in the State of Michigan. Winners from the MSYSA State Cup will advance to the US Youth Soccer Midwest Regional Championships in Fox Cities, Wisconsin in June, 2015. Winners of the Regional Championships will advance to the National Championships held in Tulsa, OK in July, 2015.

Match Schedules Taking Place at Ultimate Soccer Arenas in Pontiac, Michigan Saturday, October 18, 2014

  • U14 Girls l 10:30am l Grand Rapids Crew Juniors vs. Michigan Jaguars Green & Michigan Hawks vs. PSG Gators Orange
  • U15 Girls I 3:30pm l Grand Rapids Crew Juniors vs. Alliance FC PRO & Michigan Rush Northville vs. PSG Michigan Gators Orange
  • U16 Girls l 6:00pm l Alliance FC Academy Black vs. WAZA FC East Jrs. & Michigan Hawks vs. Michigan Jaguars
  • U17 Girls l 1:00pm l WAZA FC East Jrs. Vs. Chill SBC & Michigan Jaguars vs. Grand Rapids Crew Juniors
  • U18 Girls l 8:00am l PSG Michigan Gators Orange vs. Michigan Hawks & Force FC vs. Grand Rapids Crew Juniors

Sunday, October 19, 2014

  • U14 Girls l 10:30am l Semifinal A Winner vs. Semifinal B Winner
  • U15 Girls l 3:30am l Semifinal A Winner vs. Semifinal B Winner
  • U16 Girls l 6:00pm l Semifinal A Winner vs. Semifinal B Winner
  • U17 Girls l 1:00am l Semifinal A Winner vs. Semifinal B Winner
  • U18 Girls l 8:00am l Semifinal A Winner vs. Semifinal B Winner

Be sure to follow the moments on the MSYSA Facebook Page and Twitter Page. Facebook: Michigan State Youth Soccer Association
Twitter: @MSYSASoccer, #MiMoment & #MiStateCup

About Michigan State Youth Soccer Association

The Michigan State Youth Soccer Association, Inc. (MSYSA) is a nonprofit organization that represents over 89,000 youth soccer players, 12,000+ coaches, and 8,000+ referees throughout Michigan. MSYSA consists of a vast number of leagues that register players (boys and girls) from ages 4 through 19 throughout the state. MSYSA is a member of the United States Youth Soccer Association and the United States Soccer Federation. For more information on MSYSA, visit www.michiganyouthsoccer.org.

Posted in Blog | Leave a comment

Snack It Up Brings Healthy Foods to NHSA Youth Players
Snack It Up Brings Healthy Foods to NHSA Youth Players avatar

New Hampshire Soccer Association and Hannaford Supermarkets have teamed up to provide youth soccer players across the state with healthy snacks with the new Snack It Up program.

Thanks to Snack It Up, over 3,000 youth athletes will have access to affordable nutritious foods this fall. It will also provide 200 youth soccer coaches with discounts on produce to encourage healthy habits and better eating choices.

The Snack It Up program was created by Healthy Kids Out of School, an initiative of the ChildObesity180 at Tufts University Friedman School of Nutrition. It’s a great way to help sports teams and other after-school programs clear out junk food and make way for healthier options.

“We are thrilled to participate in Snack It Up so that our coaches can help youth athletes fuel up on healthier snacks more affordably,” NHSA technical director Eric Redder told BusinessNH Magazine. “We work hard to teach our players to lead healthy, active lives, and this initiative helps build healthy habits on, and off, the field.”

For the full Business NH Magazine article please visit the NHSA website.

Posted in Blog | Leave a comment

SNHU Hold 1st Annual Score Against Breast Cancer Clinic
SNHU Hold 1st Annual Score Against Breast Cancer Clinic avatar

The Southern New Hampshire University women’s soccer team is holding a soccer skills clinic this month to benefit breast cancer in the first annul Score Against Breast Cancer event.

All soccer players ages 8-12 years old are invited to attend with all proceeds going towards the Catholic Medical Center for the fight against breast cancer.

Players will spend vital time honing their soccer skills and having a ball with the SNHU women’s soccer team.

After the camp, players can stay and support the ladies as they host the American International College game later in the evening.

Check out the clinic details below and for more information, please visit the NHSA website.

  • When: Saturday, October 25, 2014
  • Time: 2:00pm – 4:00pm
  • Where: SNHU Larkin Field
  • Cost: $20 Pre-registration, $25 Day of Clinic

Payment Due: Day of Clinic (Cash or Check only)

 

Posted in Blog | Leave a comment

MYSA Players Named to Region II Team
MYSA Players Named to Region II Team avatar

Courtesy of MYSA

Courtesy of MYSA

Several boy and girl Missouri soccer players were named to the Region II team earlier this month, and will advance to participate in various inter-regional competitions held throughout the U.S. this fall.

It took hard work and dedication to get this point, and each player was selected from the 14 State ODP Regional teams that competed in the Region II Showcase last summer.

Congratulations to these talented athletes on their outstanding accomplishments! You can view the original story on the Missouri Youth Soccer website.

2014 Thanksgiving Interregional Event
Boca Raton, FL: November 21st – 27th (1999s-2000s) & November 22nd – 28th (1997s – 1998s)

1997 Girls

  • Charlotte Kennedy – Webster Groves, MO (Lou Fusz SC)

1998 Girls

  • Kirsten Davis – Chesterfield, MO (Lou Fusz SC)

1999 Girls

  • Brionna Halverson – Boliver, MO (Futura FC)

2000 Girls

  • Layne Thompson – Lee’s Summit, MO (Sporting Blue Valley)

2014 Boys Interregional IMG Event
Sarasota, FL: December 18th – 21st, 2014

1997 Boys

  • Nick Hibbeler – Lake Waukomis, MO
  • Chidera Ude – Independence, MO (Raytown SC)
  • Jacob Shireman (Alternate) – Lee’s Summit, MO (Sporting Blue Valley)

2014 Boys Interregional Thanksgiving Event
Casa Grande, AZ: November 27th – December 1st, 2014

2000 Boys

  • Mason Visconti – Kansas City, MO (KC Legends)

 

Posted in Blog | Leave a comment

MYSA is Hiring: Executive Director
MYSA is Hiring: Executive Director avatar

Missouri Youth Soccer Association (MYSA) is seeking a qualified Executive Director to lead the organization in support of our mission. MYSA is affiliated with United States Youth Soccer Association (USYSA) and the United States Soccer Federation (USSF).

MYSA has nearly 31,000 plus players and coaches participating in our state, regional and national leagues and competitions. MYSA currently employs a Director of Coaching and two office staff personnel.

Missouri Youth Soccer Association has a Board of Directors that sets policy, approves new member application, determines member services, establishes events, approves contracts and appoints committee members, etc.

For more information, please view the original job post on the MYSA website.

Overview:

  • Administer Directives from the MYSA Board of Directors.
  • Creates and oversees the MYSA Business Plan as approved by the MYSA Board of Directors.
  • Implements policies as directed by the MYSA Board of Directors.
  • Administers programs and tournament event development.
  • Responsible for creating budget with finance committee.
  • Handles all legal matters, grievances, mediations, leagues issues, insurance issues and regional/national matters on behalf of MYSA
  • Serves as a point of contact or ex officio on all MYSA Board appointed committees.
  • Serves as a point of contact at Regional and National events and meetings.
  • Manages the MYSA State Office, employess and contract labor individuals.
Posted in Blog | Leave a comment

U.S. WNT Scrape past Trinidad & Tobago
U.S. WNT Scrape past Trinidad & Tobago avatar

The U.S. WNT  opened their CONCACAF Championship and World Cup qualification with  a 1-0 victory over Trinidad and Tobago on Wednesday in front of a vocal crowd at Sporting Park in Kansas City, Kansas.

Wambach looked slow but showed her worth by scoring the goal. (Getty Images)

Wambach looked slow but showed her worth by scoring the goal. (Getty Images)

The U.S. WNT dominated proceedings throughout, but could only cash in on Abby Wambach’s header in the 55th minute.

Christen Press, Abby Wambach, and Megan Rapinoe were denied by in-form Trinidadian goalkeeper Kimika Forbes in the first half.

The U.S. finally broke through the Trinidad and Tobago defense when Alex Morgan dribbled around the goalkeeper and crossed the ball to Wambach, who had the easy task of heading the ball into the empty net.

Leroux did not start the match but came off the bench in the second half. (ISI Photos/Michael Janosz)

Leroux did not start the match but came off the bench in the second half. (ISI Photos/Michael Janosz)

The goal brought Wambach level with Sydney Leroux for most goals in 2014 (eight) and extended her all-time record to 171 goals.

The U.S. looked to build upon their lead, but chances went begging as Carli Lloyd and Wambach missed opportunities to capitalize on their possession.

The Trinidad and Tobago team, who are looking to become the first Caribbean nation to qualify for the Women’s World Cup, failed to take advantage of some slack defending by the U.S. defenders and some giveaways by Hope Solo.

Leroux came off the bench and had a chance late on to regain the lead as top goalscorer of 2014, but was denied by Kamika Forbes in a one-on-one chance.

Solo gets her third clean sheet in as many games to extend her record to 73 shutouts.

The U.S. are tied with Haiti at the top of Group A, who defeated Guatemala 1-0 in the earlier game Wednesday. Next up for the U.S. is Guatemala, who they play on Friday at 9 PM ET in Toyota Park, Bridgeview, Illinois.

Scoring Summary:   1          2          F
USA                            0          1          1
TRI                              0          0          0

USA – Abby Wambach (Alex Morgan)                      54th minute

Lineups:
USA: 1-Hope Solo; 11-Ali Krieger, 4-Becky Sauerbrunn, 3-Christie Rampone (capt.), 16-Meghan Klingenberg; 12-Lauren Holiday, 10-Carli Lloyd, 15-Megan Rapinoe (8-Amy Rodriguez, 87), 14-Christen Press (2-Sydney Leroux, 61); 20-Abby Wambach (9-Heather O’Reilly, 77), 13-Alex Morgan
Subs Not Used: 5-Kelley O’Hara, 6-Whitney Engen, 7-Morgan Brian, 17-Tobin Heath, 18-Ashlyn Harris, 19-Julie Johnston
Head Coach: Jill Ellis

TRI: 1-Kimika Forbes; 4-Rhea Belgrave, 5-Arin King, 15-Liana Hinds (18-Khadisha Debessette, 79), 16-Brianna Ryce; 20-Lauren Hutchinson, 9-Maylee Attin Johnson (capt.), 8-Patrice Superville (14-Karyn Forbes, 82), 10-Tasha St Louis (3-Mariah Shade, 46); 12-Ahkeela Mollon, 19-Kennya Cordner
Subs Not Used: 2-Ayanna Russell, 6-Khadidra Debessete, 7-Dernelle Mascall, 11-Janine Francois, 13-Anique Walker, 17-Tenesha Palmer
Head Coach: Randy Waldrum

Stats Summary: USA / TRI
Shots: 29 / 7
Shots on Goal: 9 / 1
Saves: 1 / 8
Corner Kicks: 10 / 1
Fouls: 7 / 6
Offside: 1 / 0

Misconduct Summary:
TRI – Maylee Attin Johnson (caution)             16th minute

 

Posted in Blog | 1 Comment

MLS – Big 5
MLS – Big 5 avatar

The MLS playoff race has taken somewhat of a backseat to the U.S. MNT and Landon Donovan’s retirement, but hey, it was their decision to continue play during the FIFA break.

1) Klinsmann Buries Bradley- and MLS

Other than Landon Donovan’s retirement, the biggest story to come out this week’s U.S. MNT friendlies has been U.S. coach and Technical Director Jurgen Klinsmann’s apparent disdain for Major League Soccer.

If you think that disdain is too strong a word, read Klinsmann’s comments regarding Michael Bradley’s move from Italy to MLS club Toronto FC.

Jurgen Klinsmann . (Getty Images)

Jurgen Klinsmann . (Getty Images)

“Making that decision going from Roma, a Champions League team, to Toronto that now seems like they are not even qualifying for the playoffs; it is a huge disappointment,” Klinsmann said. “That comes along with how you need to adjust yourself to whatever environment you are in. He has to adjust to the environment that he is in with Toronto, instead of maybe an environment that plays Champions League football.”

“He is going through that experience now and still coming in now, the first time since the World Cup. He has to prove that he hasn’t lost a bit.” “Obviously,” Klinsmann went on, “we will keep working and pushing, but it is down to him and his environment, what level he is capable to play.”

Does that sound as if the U.S. Soccer Technical Director respects its domestic league?

2) Cubo Torres Scores for Mexico

Meanwhile, who should be showing MLS some respect, but Mexico. I know, I’m surprised too. Let me explain.

Last Sunday night, El Tri beat Panama 1-0 in a home friendly. The only goal was scored by Erick “Cubo” Torres, who plays his club soccer for Chivas USA, of the aforementioned MLS. To make it even better, Torres had entered the match in place of Real Madrid’s  Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez.

Erick Torres celebrates his goal for Mexico. (Getty Images)

Erick Torres celebrates his goal for Mexico. (Getty Images)

Torres is on loan to Chivas USA from former home club, Chivas Guadalajara, and he will most likely return there as Chivas USA goes into hibernation, or on to whatever fate MLS has in store for the troubled club.

Just this summer at the World Cup, Mexico was the only one of CONCACAF’s four representatives not to include an MLS player on its roster. Since then Mexican national team coach Miguel Herrera has given Torres his chance, based solely on his play in MLS, where Cubo has tallied an impressive 15 times this season.

Sure, the U.S MNT is full of MLS players, it doesn’t mean that the coach has to like it.

3) Kinnear Goes Home – Replaces Watson at San Jose

If it seems to you that it was just yesterday that the San Jose Earthquakes were enthusiastically removing the interim tag from coach Mark Watson’s title, that’s understandable.

It wasn’t yesterday, in fact it was almost exactly one year to the day, that John Doyle signed Watson to a multi-year deal as Frank Yallop’s permanent replacement.

Then again, permanent is never a good word to throw around when it comes to professional coaches.

Head Coach Kinnear (Getty Images)

Houston’s Head Coach Kinnear (Getty Images)

Dominic Kinnear might have come pretty close to earning that tag with the Houston Dynamo, but then Kinnear agreed to be Watson’s replacement with the Quakes. Watson sparked San Jose to a furious finish to the 2013 season, coming from out of the picture to almost earn a playoff spot last year. That late surge earned Watson the full time job, but the longtime Canadian international was unable to build on that success this season.

Meanwhile, Houston missed the playoffs for just the second time since moving from San Jose and becoming the Dynamo in 2006.

The move is a homecoming for Kinnear, who although born in Scotland, was raised in the San Jose area. Kinnear was also an assistant, under Yallop, when the original San Jose franchise won the MLS Cup in 2001 and 2003, before taking over from Yallop for the original Quakes final season in 2005.

4) NYC FC Sell 10,000 Season Tix- Lampard and Villa Produce on Loan

With five months to go before they kick a ball in anger, New York City FC has announced that they have sold 10,000 tickets for their inaugural season at Yankee Stadium. The stadium will have an attendance of 33,444 when configured for soccer, so that leaves plenty of seats still to be filled, but it seems like a good start for NYC2.

Lampard has impressed many critics..(Getty Images)

Lampard has impressed many critics..(Getty Images)

And speaking of good starts, NYC FC star loanees Frank Lampard and David Villa are off to flyers. Lampard was just named Player of the Month by Manchester City’s fans, and Villa scored a goal in his debut for Melbourne City, a 1-1 draw with the Newcastle Jets.

5) Playoffs Just About Set

With two games to play, there remain just two playoff spots up for grabs, although seedings are still to be determined.

Michael Bradley and Toronto look set to miss out on a playoff spot. (ISI Photos/Brad Smith)

Michael Bradley and Toronto look set to miss out on a playoff spot. (ISI Photos/Brad Smith)

In the East, Toronto FC are hanging on to their playoff hopes by the thinnest of threads. The big spenders sit six points behind newly re-branded Columbus SC, and look set to miss out on the playoffs yet again. Toronto have never made the playoffs since joining the league in 2007.

Maybe year two of this latest TFC rebirth will go better.

Out West, just one point separates Vancouver from trailing Portland. The Timbers topped the Western Conference last season, so missing out on the playoffs entirely would be a huge disappointment for Caleb Porter’s side.

Vancouver are looking to qualify for the playoffs for the second time in its four year MLS history.

Finally, at the top of the league, the Seattle Sounders and the L.A. Galaxy faceoff in a dramatic two game home and away set that will decide the winner of the MLS Supporters Shield, and importantly home field advantage throughout the postseason.

Posted in Blog | Leave a comment

U.S. Give up Late Goal to Honduras
U.S. Give up Late Goal to Honduras avatar

Minus the emotion, nostalgia and drama of Friday night’s Landon Donovan farewell game in Connecticut, Tuesday’s 1-1 tie between the U.S. MNT and Honduras in Boca Raton was always likely to fall flat, and it did just that.

The game mirrored Friday’s U.S. result versus Ecuador, in that the home team conceded late both nights as the two games finished with the same score.

Altidore got the American's only goal of the evening. (ISI Photos/John Dorton)

Altidore got the American’s only goal of the evening. (ISI Photos/John Dorton)

Everything was coming up roses early for the U.S. Tuesday night when hometown boy Jozy Altidore opened the scoring in the 10th minute. Michael Bradley’s ball over the top of the Honduras defense was well controlled by Altidore, who beat Los Catrachos keeper Donis Escober at his near post to put the U.S. ahead.

The goal seemed to vindicate U.S. coach Jurgen Klinsmann’s somewhat surprising lineup choice, that saw Michael Bradley positioned further up the field than his central midfield partner Mikkel Diskerud. Diskerud, more known as an offensive player, set the goal scoring play in motion with an interception, before feeding Bradley, who then found Altidore.

Many will question Klinsmann's decision to play Jones in the defensive role. (ISI Photos/John Dorton)

Many will question Klinsmann’s decision to play Jones in the defensive role. (ISI Photos/John Dorton)

Klinsmann’s team sheet had already raised eyebrows when it came to light that Jermaine Jones would start at center back, rather than in his accustomed midfield berth.
Jones did well enough on the night, although it is fair to ask if a bigger, more traditional center back like Omar Gonzalez might have been able to outjump Maynor Figueroa on his 86th minute equalizer.

After a first half that mostly went their way, the Americans struggled in the second stanza. With the visitors dominating possession, as indicated by an 11 to four advantage on corner kicks, Figueroa’s late strike seemed almost inevitable.

Klinsmann can’t be happy to see his team surrender a late lead for the second time running, but it is important to remember that is still very early in the cycle, and friendlies are, well friendlies.

Altidore was selected as the Man of the the Match, although he did little following that early goal. Diskerud and Jones both were solid in their new roles, and Minnesota FC’s Miguel Ibarra made his mark when he became the first player from the league’s modern incarnation to represent the U.S. MNT when he checked in in the 90th minute.

Next up for the U.S. are games versus Croatia on November 12 at Craven Cottage, in London, England and November 18 versus Republic of Ireland, at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin, Ireland.

Scoring Summary: 1 2 F

USA 1 0 1
HON 0 1 1

USA – Jozy Altidore (Michael Bradley) 10th minute
HON – Maynor Figueroa (Mario Martinez) 86

Lineups:
USA: 22-Nick Rimando; 21-Timmy Chandler, 13-Jermaine Jones, 5-Matt Besler (16-Tim Ream, 64), 14-Greg Garza; 19-Graham Zusi (2-DeAndre Yedlin, 64), 10-Mix Diskerud (9-Miguel Ibarra, 90), 4-Michael Bradley (6-Alfredo Morales, 75), 11-Alejandro Bedoya (15-Joe Corona, 78); 8-Clint Dempsey (capt.) (23-Bobby Wood, 64), 17-Jozy Altidore
Subs Not Used: 3-Michael Orozco, 12-Bill Hamid, 18-Chris Wondolowski
Head coach: Jurgen Klinsmann

HON: 22-Donis Escober; 13-Wilmer Crisanto, 3-Maynor Figueroa (capt.), 5-Victor Bernárdez, 7-Emilio Izaguirre; 20-Jorge Claros (23-Edder Delgado, 46), 19-Luis Garrido, 14-Oscar Boniek García (8-Juan Josue Rodríguez, 69), 17-Andy Najar (10-Mario Martínez, 62); 9-Alberth Elis (12-Marvin Chávez, 75), 21-Roger Rojas (11-Romell Quioto, 46)
Subs Not Used: 1-Kevin Hernández, 4-Henry Figueroa, 6-Bryan Acosta, 15-Wilfredo Barahona, 16-Javier Portillo
Head Coach: Hernan Medford

Stats Summary: USA / HON
Shots: 8 / 11
Shots on Goal: 1 / 3
Saves: 2 / 0
Corner Kicks: 4 / 11
Fouls: 15 / 11
Offside: 2 / 3

Misconduct Summary:
HON – Jorge Claros (caution) 16th minute
USA – Matt Besler (caution) 22
HON – Romel Quioto (caution) 50
USA – Jermaine Jones (caution) 60
USA – Mix Diskerud (caution) 85
HON – Luis Garrido (caution) 89

 

Posted in Blog | Leave a comment

Landon Donovan Gets Fitting Farewell
Landon Donovan Gets Fitting Farewell avatar

East Hartford, Ct. – The U.S. MNT played to a 1-1 draw with Ecuador tonight in an international friendly, but make no mistake, Landon Donovan was the story in East Hartford. In fact, Donovan was such an attraction that the University of Connecticut Huskies American football stadium parking lot and entrances were simply overwhelmed. The situation was so bad that some fans were still attempting to enter the lots and park their cars for the the entirety of the first half. Imagine their disappointment when they finally arrived inside the stadium to find that Donovan had already made his exit.

Donovan leads the U.S. out for the last time. (ISI Photos/Brad Smith)

Donovan leads the U.S. out for the last time. (ISI Photos/Brad Smith)

The U.S. got off to a near perfect start when Mix Diskerud scored a fifth minute goal on a set up from newly minted midfielder DeAndre Yedlin. What would have made the start perfect? Donovan scoring the goal, of course.

Donovan did all that he could to give the fans the storybook finish they craved, and his teammates seemed to be in on the plot as well, passing to the retiring legend whenever possible. Donovan came close twice, his best chance hitting the post in the 24th minute on a nice set up from Jozy Altidore. Donovan had put an earlier header in Ecuador goalkeeper Maximino Banguera’s breadbasket.

Donovan leaving the field for the U.S. for the last time. (ISI Photos/Michael Janosz)

Donovan leaving the field for the U.S. for the last time. (ISI Photos/Michael Janosz)

U.S. coach Jurgen Klinsmann had made it known during the week that Donovan’s swansong would run approximately 30 minutes, but the coach showed that he understood the occasion and allowed his sometime sparring partner to play on.

That reprieve very nearly paid off when, with the crowd chanting “Thank you Landon,” Altidore teed up Donovan for a shot that he put just wide of Banguera’s post.

But that would be it as Donovan took his leave in the 41st minute. America’s all time leading goal scorer slowly thanked his teammates on the field, before walking off to a serenade from the fans. An embrace with Klinsmann was closely scrutinized, but it gave nothing away.

With the Donovan/Klinsmann relationship under so much scrutiny, Donovan was asked afterwards what the coach said to him. Donovan brought the house down with his response. “He told me he should have taken me to Brazil.”

Joe Corona took Landon Donovan’s place on the field, we won’t go so far as to say he replaced him. But, someone will, as is the nature of things.

Klinsmann put forward a few potential nominees versus Ecuador, starting Joe Gyau and DeAndre Yedlin at the outside midfield positions. It would prove to be a tough night for Gyau, with the Dortmund youngster leaving the match early with what U.S. Soccer diagnosed as a sprained left knee.

Yedlin looked good for the U.S. (ISI Photos/Andrew Katsampas)

Yedlin looked good for the U.S. and got an assist on the USA’s lone goal. (ISI Photos/Andrew Katsampas)

Yedlin fared much better, reprising his attacking role from the World Cup, this time from the start, and proving effective at times. Yedlin, looked comfortable going forward, and his distribution from advanced positions showed promise. Yedlin picked up an assist on Diskerud’s goal, still as comfortable as the 21 year old looks at the midfield position he didn’t cite a preference. “I think it is game by game, what the team gives you,” he said.

Bobby Wood took over for the injured Gyau in the 22nd minute, and the 1860 Munich attacker provided some menace going forward, although his final touch proved lacking. Never more so than in the final moments of the game when, after robbing an Ecuador defender, Wood chose to pass with the goal at his mercy. A noted striker in his own playing days, Klinsmann could be seen leaping in frustration when Wood squandered his last minute chance. The coach said of Wood, “his head is too full, he is thinking too much.”

As for the rest of the match, it looked like a friendly well removed from any real competitive games. For the Americans, Brad Guzan was alert in goal, laying down a marker for Nick Rimando to match, as the pair try to steal away Tim Howard’s job, while the longtime number one takes his international break. Left fullback Greg Garza was solid in his first U.S. start, although his right sided counterpart Tim Chandler had a few shaky moments.

Diskerud put in a good performance and got on the scoresheet for the U.S. (ISI Photos/Brad Smith)

Diskerud put in a good performance and got on the scoresheet for the U.S. (ISI Photos/Brad Smith)

Goal scorer Mix Diskerud had a productive night as he auditions for a position in the center of the park. And as time ticked down it looked as if Diskerud’s strike would stand up, but the U.S. were unable to hold out. While the crowd of 36,000 plus were enjoying the cool Connecticut air, and the prospect of a U.S. victory, Enner Valencia flipped the script with a long range knuckler that seemed to to clip substitute defender Tim Ream on the way to eluding Guzan.

It was tough luck on Ream, who had been solid since replacing John Brooks in the 67th minute, successfully blocking two Ecuador goal chances.

Wood had that added time chance to give the U.S. its second friendly win since the World Cup, but it was not to be. Once the final whistle blew there was a Landon Donovan send off, featuring a career highlights video. Donovan was clearly moved by the tribute, telling the press after the game, “the best part for me was watching the video.” “It was,” Donovan said, “beyond my wildest dreams.”

Scoring Summary:   1          2          F
USA                            1          0          1
ECU                            0          1          1

USA – Mix Diskerud (DeAndre Yedlin)          5th minute
ECU – Enner Valencia (Cristhian Noboa)      88

Lineups:
USA: 1-Brad Guzan; 21-Timmy Chandler, 4-Michael Orozco (3-Omar Gonzalez, 62), 6-John Brooks (5-Tim Ream, 62), 14-Greg Garza; 2-DeAndre Yedlin, 11-Alejandro Bedoya (19-Alfredo Morales, 62), 8-Mix Diskerud, 7-Joe Gyau (23-Bobby Wood, 22); 10-Landon Donovan (capt.) (15-Joe Corona, 41), 17-Jozy Altidore (18-Chris Wondolowski, 76)
Subs Not Used: 9-Miguel Ibarra, 20-Luis Gil, 22-Nick Rimando
Head coach: Jurgen Klinsmann

ECU: 1-Maximo Banguera; 4-Juan Carlos Paredes (16-Mario Pineida, 90+3), 20-Luis Canga, 3-Frickson Erazo (19-Luis Fernando Leon, 86), 10-Walter Ayovi (capt.); 6-Cristhian Noboa, 14-Segundo Castillo (8-Carlos Gruezo, 86), 5-Renato Ibarra (18-Jonathan Gonzalez, 44), 11-Juan Cazares (17-Junior Sornoza, 85), 9-Cristian Penilla (7-Joao Plata, 46), 13-Enner Valencia
Subs Not Used: 2-Arturo Mina, 12-Hamilton Piedra, 15-Cristian Ramirez, 21-Johnny Uchuari, 22-Alexander Dominguez
Head Coach: Sixto Vizuete Toapanta

Stats Summary: USA / ECU
Shots: 11 / 17
Shots on Goal: 4 / 7
Saves: 6 / 3
Corner Kicks: 2 / 5
Fouls: 10 / 9
Offside: 0 / 4

Misconduct Summary:
USA – Michael Orozco (caution)       32nd minute
ECU – Frickson Erazo (caution)        54
USA – Joe Corona (caution)              61

 

Posted in Blog | Leave a comment

Farewell to Soccer Legend Landon Donovan
Farewell to Soccer Legend Landon Donovan avatar

No player can be on the scene for as long as Landon Donovan without making a misstep or two along the way, but we won’t be dwelling on that here. No, even as Landon Donovan’s international career comes to a close this week amid talk of apologies, and whether they were e-mailed or not, here we seek to turn away from all of that.

So, with apologies to William Shakespeare, I come to praise Landon Donovan, not to bury him. Here, we will keep in mind, that the good that men do lives on after them.

Donovan burst on to the scene for the U.S. at the 1999 U-17 World Cup. (Getty Images)

Donovan burst on to the scene for the U.S. at the 1999 U-17 World Cup. (Getty Images)

And Donovan’s career has been filled with good. The numbers, in fact, tell a tale of greatness. We have seen all the statistics recounted in recent days.The data tells us that Donovan is unique in that he has scored more goals than any player in the history of both his league and his country, while also assisting on more goals than any other player in both league (MLS) and national team (U.S) play.

But, sabermetricians aside, numbers are not what keep us warm at night. No, when we try to parse the essence of Landon Donovan, it won’t require an act of statistical analysis, what will be needed will be more closely aligned with the study of poetry.

Donovan first appeared on the world scene at the 1999 FIFA U17 World Championships. It wasn’t called the U17 World Cup yet. Even if you were around then you probably never saw a minute of it, not in those pre-live streaming days. Still, if you had your ear to the ground, you might have heard rumblings about the young American named Donovan who was named the Golden Ball winner, as the best player in the tournament.

Donovan was part of a talented group of young American soccer players that included DaMarcus Beasley, Oguchi Onyewu, Bobby Convey, and Kyle Beckerman. They would all graduate to the full national team, but Donovan was already the star.

Soon the 17 year old signed with Bayer Leverkusen, where unfortunately it didn’t go well. But Major League Soccer was waiting to accept Donovan into its warm embrace, with the Californian flourishing from the start for his home state San Jose Earthquakes.

Donovan in action for the Earthquakes in 2003. (Getty Images)

Donovan in action for the Earthquakes in 2003. (Getty Images)

MLS was in its early stages then, and conventional wisdom said that talented Americans needed to get to Europe to hone their skills. But conventional wisdom didn’t apply to Landon Donovan.

Donovan was on loan to San Jose when he earned a spot on the 2002 World Cup team. He had already played a key role in the Quakes 2001 MLS Cup title. Leaving Germany raised questions about the young American. His performance in Japan/South Korea answered at least one, Donovan plainly had the talent to compete against the best.

Playing with verve and an absolute lack of fear of his opponents names and reputations, Donovan had a fantastic World Cup. His cross caused an own goal in the stunning 3-2 opening win for the U.S. against highly touted Portugal. He would score his first World Cup goal in a group stage loss to Poland, but Donovan’s second tally would be in happier circumstances. His header against Mexico helped the U.S. to a 2-0 win, as the U.S. advanced to the World Cup quarterfinal.

Donovan’s performance saw him named Best Young Player of the tournament, and that goal versus arch rivals Mexico became Donovan’s first iconic U.S. MNT moment.

There would be many more, right up to and including his goal and assist performance in the most recent Dos a Cero. That came on September 10, 2013, in Columbus, Ohio and it secured a spot in the 2014 World Cup for the United States.

Donovan and his teammates celebrating his goal against Bayern Munich, (ISI Photos/Michael Janosz)

Donovan and his teammates celebrating his goal against Bayern Munich, (ISI Photos/Michael Janosz)

Just this summer there was Donovan’s game winning goal in the 2014 All Star game against mighty Bayern Munich. Donovan entered the match in the 48th minute, scored the go ahead goal in the 70th, and took his leave almost immediately. His 23 minutes work were enough to score the winner and to secure MVP honors. The following day Donovan dramatically closed out the festivities with his surprise retirement announcement.

Donovan provided so many other memorable moments along the way, like his dominant performance at the 2013 Gold Cup. At the time, Donovan was trying to work his way back into Jurgen Klinsmann’s good graces, after his controversial sabbatical had earned him a spot in the coach’s doghouse.

Donovan celebrating the U.S. victory at the Gold Cup.(Getty Images)

Donovan celebrating the U.S. victory at the Gold Cup.(Getty Images)

Donovan was far and away the best player at the tournament, and rightly claimed the Golden Ball. He also shared the goal scoring title with Panama’s Gabriel Torres and U.S. teammate Chris Wondolowski.

Ironically, the seeds of Donovan’s eventual World Cup omission may have been planted during the Gold Cup, with Klinsmann unwisely inflating the importance of Wondolowski’s five goal performance. While Donovan spread his goals throughout the tournament, against several ifferent opponents, all of Wondo’s goals came in the first two group games against regional minnows Belize (3), and Cuba (2).

But any talk of what Donovan has meant to the sport of soccer in the United States inevitably leads to South Africa 2010, and his breathtaking stoppage time winner against Algeria.

Donovan will leave a legacy behind and will definitely be remembered as one of if not the best.(Getty Images)

Donovan will leave a legacy behind and will definitely be remembered as one of if not the best.(Getty Images)

If ever you are asked, “will soccer ever make it in the United States?” send your inquisitor straight to youtube and Donovan’s winning goal, and tell him that he is too late. Soccer has already made it. If that doesn’t quite convince, recommend the reaction video’s that proliferated after Donovan’s goal had kept American hopes alive in South Africa.

The tension in America’s bars and living rooms when Donovan took in Tim Howard’s throw was as real as in the fourth quarter of any Super Bowl, or ninth inning of any World Series.

When Donovan raced across the midfield stripe, straight at the heart of a backpedaling Algerian defense, America leaned forward. When he picked out Jozy Altidore, we stood up. When Altidore fed Clint Dempsey, we poised ourselves to leap in celebration, only to slump back down as Algerian keeper Rais M’Bolhi saved.

Then Donovan pounced. He’d kept on running, and in a flash the rebound was in the back of the net, as America exploded off their couches and bar stools.

It’s all there in the videos. This was not the 1999 U17’s. This time we all saw it, and damned if it still doesn’t raise goosebumps.

And so, with apologies once again to William Shakespeare, I have come to praise Landon Donovan, because the good that a man does lives on.

Posted in Blog | Leave a comment