Hope Solo suspended for DUI incident – World Cup spot in jeopardy
Hope Solo suspended for DUI incident – World Cup spot in jeopardy avatar

U.S. Women’s National Team goalkeeper Hope Solo has been suspended for one month by U.S. Soccer, following the recent arrest of her husband Jerramy Stevens for DUI.

Solo made an awful error in the second half and was fortunate not to concede. (Getty Images)

Solo has been involved in several incidences that have embarrassed US Soccer in recent months.  (Getty Images)

Solo was participating in U.S. WNT camp in Carson, California and was a passenger in the car early Monday morning when her husband was charged.

This incident comes just six days after domestic violence charges against Solo were dismissed, stemming from a fight between Solo and her sister and nephew. U.S. Soccer had taken heat from various quarters for allowing Solo to continue to play for the national team while those charges were pending. This latest incident was apparently too much for U.S. Soccer to overlook, leading to the suspension.

U.S. Women’s National Team coach Jill Ellis released this statement. “During our current National Team camp, Hope made a poor decision that has resulted in a negative impact on U.S. Soccer and her teammates.” “We feel at this time it is best for her to step away from the team.”

In a statement on her Facebook page, the often combative Solo took responsibility saying, “I accept and respect the Federation’s decision, and more importantly, I apologize for disappointing my teammates, coaches and the Federation who have always supported me.”  “I think it’s best for me to take a break, decompress from the stress of the last several months, and come back mentally and physically ready to positively contribute to the team.”

The suspension throws off U.S. World Cup preparation, forcing the team’s undisputed number one goalkeeper to miss the team’s European trip featuring games versus France (February 8), and England (February 13).

This is all an unwanted distraction for Ellis and a team that has struggled since coach Pia Sundhage stepped down after leading the U.S. to Olympic Gold in 2012.

Tom Sermanni was tapped to replace the popular Sundhage, but the former Australia coach was fired by U.S. Soccer last April. Since taking over Ellis has compiled an impressive-sounding 16-1-4 record, but the team’s performance was far from commanding in a year end tournament in Brazil.

The Americans lost to Brazil and drew with China, ending the event with a 0-0 final against Brazil. Solo wasn’t entirely blameless in the 3-2 loss to Brazil, a loss that saw the Americans blow a 2-0 lead as Marta scored a hat trick.

During the tournament in Brazil FIFA released its final rankings for the year, and for the first time since 2008 the U.S. were not number one. The Americans had fallen to second behind Germany, and no one who had been paying attention could have been surprised.

The rankings came out after the U.S. defeated Argentina 7-0 for its lone win in Brasilia. Coincidentally goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher made her full national team debut in that match.

Naeher had little to do versus Argentina, but it will be interesting to see who dons the gloves for the U.S. WNT next month in Europe. Would a good performance from the 26 year old Boston Breakers Naeher, or another keeper cause Ellis and U.S. Soccer to consider turning the page on troublesome Solo?

It is hard to deny Solo’s talent, and based strictly on that the 33 year old will be between the posts when the U.S. open World Cup play June 8 against Australia, in Winnipeg.

But as we have seen over the years with Solo, talent is only part of the equation.

 

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U.S. Soccer Release 2015 Schedule for U.S. WNT
U.S. Soccer Release 2015 Schedule for U.S. WNT avatar

The U.S. Women’s national team has released their schedule in preparation for this summer’s FIFA Women’s World Cup in Canada.

The U.S. Women will play a total of ten games, four of which will be played in the United States between April and May as they make their final preparations for the World Cup.

Hope Solo will miss big matches agains France and England. (ISI Photos/Brad Smith)

Hope Solo will miss big matches against France and England. (ISI Photos/Brad Smith)

Preparations for the World Cup kick-off in Europe, February 8, against France in the Stade du Moustoir; Lorient, France. The U.S. will then play a further five games in Europe against England, Norway, Switzerland, Iceland, and one other opponent that is yet to be decided before they head home to host four games in the States between April and May.

However, the Stars and Stripes will be without their star goalkeeper, Hope Solo, for the games against England and France after she was suspended by U.S. Soccer for being involved in a DUI incident whilst attending the U.S. WNT camp in Carson. Indeed, Solo, who has made a staggering 159 appearances for the U.S., could potentially miss more games with her suspension set to be reviewed again after 30-days.

The 2011 World Cup runners-up will then travel to Canada to face Mexico, Sweden and Nigeria before they bid to go one better and pick up their third Women’s World Cup.

Date Opponent Time TV Venue
Feb. 8 France 12 p.m. ET ESPN2 Stade du Moustoir; Lorient, France
Feb. 13 England 3 p.m. ET FOX Sports 1 stadiummk; Milton Keynes, England
March 4 Norway TBD FOX Sports 1 Vila Real de San Antonio, Portugal
March 6 Switzerland TBD FOX Sports 1 Vila Real de San Antonio, Portugal
March 9 Iceland TBD FOX Sports 1 Lagos, Portugal
March 11 TBD TBD FOX Sports 1 TBD, Portugal
April 4 New Zealand 2:30 p.m. CT FOX Sports 1 Busch Stadium; St. Louis, Mo.
May 10 Ireland 11:30 a.m. PT FOX Sports 1 Avaya Stadium; San Jose, Calif.
May 17 Mexico 6 p.m. PT FOX Sports 1 StubHub Center; Carson, Calif.
May 30 Korea Republic 4:30 p.m. ET ESPN, WatchESPN Red Bull Arena; Harrison, N.J.
June 8 Australia 6:30 p.m. CT FOX Winnipeg Stadium; Winnipeg, Canada
June 12 Sweden 7 p.m. CT FOX Winnipeg Stadium; Winnipeg, Canada
June 16 Nigeria 5 p.m. PT FOX BC Place Stadium; Vancouver, Canada
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Klinsmann Names 23 Roster for U.S. Friendlies
Klinsmann Names 23 Roster for U.S. Friendlies avatar

U.S. men’s national coach Jurgen Klinsmann has named his 23-player squad for the upcoming friendlies against Chile and Panama.

The squad contains nine players from last years World Cup in Brazil, where the U.S. was only narrowly defeated 2-1 by Belgium after extra-time in the round of 16.

EPL player Geoff Cameron has not been called up. (ISI Photos/John Todd)

EPL player Geoff Cameron has not been called up. (ISI Photos/John Todd)

The U.S. have chosen a young squad for the upcoming friendlies with big names players such as Aston Villa goalkeeper Brad Guzan, Stoke City defender Geoff Cameron and Nantes midfielder Alejandro Bedoya all being omitted, as Klinsmann aims to give his young players a chance to shine.

“These guys have put in a lot of work these past two weeks of training for what is essentially their preseason, and now it’s time to focus on getting a result against a difficult opponent in Chile,” said Klinsmann.

Despite the number of new faces in the squad Klinsmann is confident they can do well and believes it will aid their development. “We know it’s going to be a challenging situation, but these are the types of opportunities we need to keep growing.”

The squad first got together on January 12 at the National Training Center in Carson, California, and was initially composed of 28 players. Toronto striker Jozy Altidore and FC Dallas defender Matt Hedges were added to the group, though Seattle Sounders keeper Brad Evans had to depart due to tendinitis.

U-23 players Tesho Akindele (FC Dallas), Alex Bono (Toronto FC), Christian Dean (Vancouver Whitecaps FC), Dennis Flores (Club Leon) Julio Morales (Tepic) and Oscar Sorto (LA Galaxy) were all released back to their clubs, as the U.S. men’s national team reduced their squad to down 23, and while Klinsmann acknowledges they will be disappointed not to make the final squad, he feels the experience gained will in no doubt benefit them.

“This was a really important experience for these U-23 players,” Klinsmann said. “They got a great introduction into the senior National Team program, and had the opportunity to work with Andi Herzog and our staff as we build toward Olympic qualifying in the fall. They put in a tremendous amount of work and we learned a lot about them. We appreciate the effort and will continue to monitor them in their club situations.”

Diskerud wil be the first NYC FC player to represent the U.S. if he plays in any of these games. .(ISI Photos/Brad Smith)

Diskerud wil be the first NYC FC player to represent the U.S. if he plays in any of these games. .(ISI Photos/Brad Smith)

Brek Shea and Mix Diskerud could make a bit of history by becoming the first Orlando City and New York City players respectively to represent the US since the two sides became part of MLS.

The U.S. kick-off their first match of 2015 by travelling to Rancagua on Wednesday, January 28, to take on Chile with kickoff at Estadio El Teniente is set for 6 p.m. ET.

They then have over a weeks rest before hosting Panama in Carson on Sunday, February 8, with kickoff at StubHub Center is set for 1 p.m. PT.

U.S. ROSTER BY POSITION
GOALKEEPERS (3): Sean Johnson (Chicago Fire), Jon Kempin (Sporting Kansas City), Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake)
DEFENDERS (7): Matt Besler (Sporting Kansas City), Steve Birnbaum (D.C. United), Matt Hedges (FC Dallas), Jermaine Jones (New England Revolution), Perry Kitchen (D.C. United), Shane O’Neill (Colorado Rapids), DeAndre Yedlin (Tottenham Hotspur)
MIDFIELDERS (8): Michael Bradley (Toronto FC), Mix Diskerud (New York City FC), Luis Gil (Real Salt Lake), Miguel Ibarra (Minnesota United FC), Lee Nguyen (New England Revolution), Dillon Serna (Colorado Rapids), Brek Shea (Orlando City), Wil Trapp (Columbus Crew SC)
FORWARDS (5): Jozy Altidore (Toronto FC), Clint Dempsey (Seattle Sounders FC), Chris Wondolowski (San Jose Earthquakes), Bobby Wood (1860 Munich), Gyasi Zardes (LA Galaxy)

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U.S. Qualify for FIFA U-20 World Cup
U.S. Qualify for FIFA U-20 World Cup avatar

The U.S. MNT U20’s are heading to the U20 FIFA World Cup in New Zealand after a solid 2-0 win tonight in Jamaica over El Salvador.

The Americans came out flying against El Salvador, and came close to scoring just over one minute in when Tommy Thompson’s shot flashed past the upright.

That early flourish and miss seemed to set the tone for the match, with the U.S. dominating, but not capitalizing fully on that dominance.

Ben Spencer (ISI Photos/Stuart Browning)

Ben Spencer (ISI Photos/Stuart Browning)

Finally in the 37th minute, towering striker Ben Spencer gave the U.S. the lead off of a set piece. The 6’5” inch Spencer had been giving the El Salvador backline fits all game, and his double header broke the deadlock.

Emerson Hyndman sent in a nice free kick and Spencer won the header, which he hit off the crossbar. Spencer followed the shot, and scored on his own rebound.

El Salvador had a chance to level the match from the penalty spot early in the second half, but U.S. keeper Zack Steffen came up huge to preserve the lead.

Steffen had little to do most of the evening in Montego Bay, but when called upon the recent Freiburg signing dove right and made the save.

As the game continued and the U.S. failed to add a second goal to put El Salvador away, thoughts of the “Nightmare in Nashville” were impossible for U.S. supporters to ignore.

El Salvador was the opponent back on March 26, 2012 when Sean Johnson fumbled Jamie Alas’ long range bomb into his own net in the waning seconds of what became a 3-3 tie, a result that eliminated the Americans from the London Olympics.

The young Yanks finally added that all important second goal at the 68 minute mark, quieting U.S. nerves and erasing thoughts of Nashville. The goal wasn’t a thing of beauty, but it was well deserved nonetheless. After applying heavy pressure, substitute Junior Flores carved open the El Salvador defense with a decisive run.

Paul Arriola was on the scoresheet for the U.S.(ISI Photos/Michael Janosz)

Paul Arriola was on the scoresheet for the U.S.(ISI Photos/Michael Janosz)

Bradford Jamieson IV got a shot in and another sub, Paul Arriola’s scuffed shot found the net from a deflection for the 2-0 lead.

Defense minded El Salvador were unlikely to overturn that scoreline in the time remaining, and a straight red card in the 79th minute sealed it.

So, it is on to New Zealand for Tab Ramos and company. The U20 World Cup runs from May 30- June 20, and while it is easy to point out that the U.S. were unimpressive for much of this CONCACAF Championship, the goal is to qualify, and that goal has been met.

This group showed well defensively, indeed the back four outperformed the more highly touted U.S. attack over the course of the tournament. In the midfield Emerson Hyndman showed signs of emerging as a genuine number 10, a rare commodity in a U.S. MNT uniform. Hopefully Hyndman is not too seriously hurt after leaving this match with what looked like a shoulder injury.

Despite leading the tournament in shots the U.S. struggled to score. Utrecht striker Rubio Rubin, unavailable for this event, should be a big help come May and June.

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

USA – Ben Spencer   37th minute
USA – Paul Arriola    68

Lineups:
USA: 1-Zack Steffen, 2-Shaquell Moore, 3-John Requejo Jr., 4-Cameron Carter-Vickers, 5-Matt Miazga; 16-Russell Canouse (capt.), 8-Emerson Hyndman (18-Lynden Gooch, 70), 9-Romain Gall (10-Junior Flores, 62), 11-Tommy Thompson, 19-Bradford Jamieson IV, 20-Ben Spencer (7-Paul Arriola, 46)
Subs Not Used: 12-Ethan Horvath, 13-Tyler Turner, 14-Conor Donovan, 15-Fernando Arce, 17-Amando Moreno
Head coach: Tab Ramos

SLV: 1-Carlos Cañas; 2-Nelson Moreno, 4-Bryan Tamacas, 12-Cesar Flores (20-Romilio Hernandez, 46), 17-Juan Barahona; 6-Narciso Orellana (capt.), 8-Alvaro Guardado (16-Eduardo Merino, 65), 9-Byan Perez, 11-Jose Villavicencio (19-Julio Amaya, 85), 14-Andres Flores; 15-William Canales
Subs Not Used: 5-Edwin Cuellar, 10-Josue Martinez, 13-Jonathan Miranda, 18-Nicolas Pacheco
Head coach: Mauricio Alfaro

Stats Summary: USA / SLV
Shots: 9 / 5
Shots on Goal: 3 / 2
Saves: 2 / 1
Corner Kicks: 6 / 2
Fouls: 25 / 17
Offside: 2 / 0

Misconduct Summary:
USA – Ben Spencer (caution)                    38th minute
SLV – Narciso Orellana (caution)              38
SLV – Eduardo Merino (caution)               71
USA – Tommy Thompson (caution)          73
USA – Cameron Carter-Vickers (caution)  76
SLV – Andres Flores (sent off)                   79

 

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USMNT – U20′s Advance to World Cup Playoff
USMNT – U20′s Advance to World Cup Playoff avatar

A goal from a field long counter attack finished by Los Angeles Galaxy prospect Bradford Jamieson IV was all that the U.S. needed tonight in Jamaica to advance to Saturday’s playoff to qualify for the U20 World Cup in New Zealand.

The Americans will play Saturday at 5 pm ET against El Salvador for a chance to join the Big Dance that runs from May 30 – June 20.

Ramos named a strong squad. (ISI Photos/Tony Quinn)

Ramos team started off well. (ISI Photos/Tony Quinn)

The U.S. were the better team for most of the night, although the action was hardly all one way. Playing in the same 4-4-2 formation that they have favored in wins versus Aruba and Jamaica, Tab Ramos’ side had the better of the early exchanges in an opening 15 minutes that was played at breakneck speed by both teams.

Trinidad and Tobago came into this match knowing that only a win would see them move on to Saturday’s playoff, the U.S. needed just a draw or better.

The Americans leading scorer Romain Gall had two very scorable chances in the opening 45, but missed the target boh times. The young Yanks were bringing pressure from good overlapping runs by fullbacks Shaquell Moore and John Requejo, with playmaker Emerson Hyndman pulling the strings.

Hyndman also got the sparse Montego Bay crowd on its feet with a brilliant bit of dribbling that freed him for a blast at goal that Trinidad and Tobago keeper Johan Welch saved.

Zack Steffen(ISI Photos/Michael Janosz)

Zack Steffen had a quiet first half.(ISI Photos/Michael Janosz)

U.S keeper Zack Steffan was not forced into any dramatic saves in a first half that finished 0-0, but the Freiburg man saw T&T spurn a couple a decent opportunities in that opening stanza.

The American cause began to look a bit shaky on the resumption when the young Soca Warriors came out of the locker room like a team playing to save its World Cup dream, which of course it was.

The Americans settled in with a pair of second half subs doing their part. Junior Flores and Paul Arriola replaced Ben Spencer and Romain Gall, and the duo combined to set Jamieson IV up for the lone goal of the match.

LA Galaxy's Bradford Jamieson got the lone goal for the U20's. (ISI Photos/Michael Janosz)

LA Galaxy’s Bradford Jamieson got the lone goal for the U20′s. (ISI Photos/Michael Janosz)

Flores led the break from deep in the U.S. end, finding Arriola in space after a lung busting run. Arriola’s cut back across the bumpy Montego Bay pitch found Jamieson, and the lanky striker did the rest.

Jamieson had to be especially happy with his match winner, having been robbed on earlier chance with Welch beaten. T&T defender Neval Hackshaw played the hero in the 49th minute, saving Jamieson’s effort with his keeper beaten, but Jamieson would have the final say.

The Americans never looked like losing the match, even if playing for a tie is generally a dubious strategy. That is not to say that Tab Ramos was looking to back into Saturday’s playoff with a 0-0 result, it is just that as the clock ticked, that scoreline began to look more and more likely.

Once the U.S. broke the deadlock, Trinidad and Tobago’s spirit seemed broken too. With T&T needing two goals to overturn the result, an air inevitability set in.

Paul Arriola got the assist on the loan goal. (ISI Photos/Michael Janosz)

Paul Arriola got the assist on the loan goal. (ISI Photos/Michael Janosz)

Flores nearly extended the U.S. advantage late on, but it hardly mattered. Now the U.S. wait to find out Saturday’s opponent. A win would send the U.S. to New Zealand, and put to rest, at least for now, all the questions raised by the team’s poor start to this CONCACAF U20 Championships

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

USA – Bradford Jamieson IV (Paul Arriola) 79th minute

Lineups:
USA: 1-Zack Steffen, 2-Shaquell Moore, 3-John Requejo Jr., 4-Cameron Carter-Vickers, 5-Matt Miazga; 16-Russell Canouse, 8-Emerson Hyndman, 9-Romain Gall (10-Junior Flores, 69), 11-Tommy Thompson (14-Conor Donovan, 84), 19-Bradford Jamieson IV, 20-Ben Spencer (7-Paul Arriola, 60)
Subs Not Used: 12-Ethan Horvath, 13-Tyler Turner, 15-Fernando Arce, 17-Amando Moreno, 18-Lynden Gooch
Head coach: Tab Ramos

TRI: 1-Yohan Welch; 2-Shannon Gomez, 3-Martieon Watson, 4-Jesus Perez, 5-Leland Archer; 6-Duane Muckette (10-Jabari Mitchell, 76), 7-Akeem Garcia, 8-Neveal Hackshaw, 12-Kishun Seecharan; 14-Matthew Woo Ling (11-Levi Garcia, 65) 15-Aikim Andrews (16-Ricardo John, 70)
Substitutions Not Used: 21-Javon Sample, 13-Brendon Creed, 18-Kevon Goddard, 19-Maurice Ford
Head coach: Derek King

Stats Summary: USA / TRI
Shots: 19 / 8
Shots on Goal: 7 / 2
Saves: 2 / 6
Corner Kicks: 4 / 6
Fouls: 17 / 16
Offside: 1 / 0

Misconduct Summary:
USA – Russell Canouse (caution) 1st minute
TRI – Aikim Andrews (caution) 39
TRI – Kishun Seecharan (caution) 84

 

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MLS – Big 5
MLS – Big 5 avatar

It’s a January MLS – Big 5, and that can only mean one thing, player movement. So let’s get to it.

1) Jozy Altidore Comes Home – Well Sort of

Settle down, I know that Toronto is in Canada. I meant Major League Soccer, the league where Altidore got his professional start as a 16 year old with the New York/New Jersey MetroStars.

The U.S. number one striker will join fellow U.S. national teamer Michael Bradley in Canada, and no I can’t imagine coach Jurgen Klinsmann is feeling too good about it.

Jozy Altidore will be hoping he can get back to being a starting player and getting on the score sheet.  (ISI Photos/John Todd)

Jozy Altidore will be hoping he can get back to being a starting player and getting on the score sheet. (ISI Photos/John Todd)

Klinsmann previously made it clear that he was unhappy that Bradley and Clint Dempsey (Seattle) had brought their talents to MLS from Europe, and there is little reason to believe he feels differently about Altidore’s return.

Still, even Klinsmann would concede that the striker desperately needed out of Sunderland. Now it is up to Altidore to score goals, restore his reputation, and prove that his game will not be diminished by this career move.

2) Defoe Goes to Sunderland

One unusual aspect of the Altidore move is that it comes as part of a North American style trade, rather than as a traditional soccer transfer.

Defoe returns to.(ISI Photos/Nick Turchiaro)

Defoe returns to the EPL.(ISI Photos/Nick Turchiaro)

In essence Toronto and Sunderland traded strikers, with no money changing hands. It was this time last year that Defoe and Bradley were announced as the answers to TFC’s long running problems. A somewhat obnoxious PR campaign called the whole thing “A Bloody Big Deal.”

Well Defoe struggled with injury, Bradley struggled for form after the World Cup, and Toronto did what they have done in every other year of its existence to date. TFC missed the playoffs.

Have Toronto gotten it right this time?

3) TFC Add Giovinco From Juventus

It turns out that swapping Altidore for Defoe was not Toronto’s only big move of the off season. No, the aggressive Canadian franchise made another splash by signing Juventus and Italian national team attacker Sebastian Giovinco to a Designated Player contract.

With four DP’s on the books TFC will have to jettison one before opening day. The Brazilian Gilberto is the obvious favorite to be moved or un-DPed.

Sebastian Giovinco (L) has 21 caps for Italy. (Getty Images)

Sebastian Giovinco (L) has 21 caps for Italy. (Getty Images)

Known as La Formica Atomica, or the Atomic Ant, the 5’5” Giovinco immediately ups the league’s nickname game. If reports are to be believed, Giovinco also goes to the top of the league’s salary list, with a yearly salary of $7 million being quoted.

That figure has raised some hackles in Italy, but if TFC wants to pony up the big bucks for a 27 year old Italian international, well why not. Yes, Giovinco was spending time on the Juve bench, but he is a talented young veteran with offers across Europe.

Emphasizing his new signings age and resume, Toronto GM Tim Bezbatchenko called the move “a turning point for the league.”

The GM could be right, but only if players of similar age and pedigree follow Giovinco to our shores. If other MLS teams are willing to hand out $7 million a year salaries, I suspect that they might.

4) NYC FC in the Mix

In a move that preceded Toronto’s flurry of big money moves, New York City FC added U.S. international Mix Diskerud to its growing season one roster.

Diskerud  NYC FC.(ISI Photos/Brad Smith)

Diskerud has been added to NYC FC roster.(ISI Photos/Brad Smith)

Eager to make up for the Frank Lampard fiasco, the Big Apple expansion side brought in the stylish Norwegian-American on a non-DP contract. It looks like a good bit of business for the moneybags Manchester City owned club. As a player the creative midfielder should do well in MLS. And with his quirky personality Mix should be a hit in NYC.

5) SuperDraft – Part 2

Is it still a “Super” Draft if it is held via conference call days after the first two rounds were held live in Philadelphia? Who knows, but the league’s 20 clubs selected a total of 42 additional players in today’s sequel to Thursday’s main event.

MLS Coaches at the /(ISI Photos)

MLS Coaches at the SuperDraft (ISI Photos/Jose Argueta)

Many of these players will never play a minute in the league, although more than a few will be counted on to fill out rosters on MLS owned or affiliated teams in the USL Pro league.

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NJ Youth Soccer Honors Outstanding Players, Coaches and Volunteers
NJ Youth Soccer Honors Outstanding Players, Coaches and Volunteers avatar

The U12 NJ Rush 02 Hamilton Wildcats celebrated their Fall NCS State Cup championship victory with nearly 500 attendees at NJ Youth Soccer’s 27th annual awards dinner held in Edison.

The U12 NJ Rush 02 Hamilton Wildcats celebrated their Fall NCS State Cup championship victory with nearly 500 attendees at NJ Youth Soccer’s 27th annual awards dinner held in Edison.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Phone:  (609) 490-0725

Email: communications@njyouthsoccer.com

EDISON, NJ (January 12, 2015) ― NJ Youth Soccer hosted close to 500 attendees at its 27th annual awards dinner held at the Pines Manor in Edison where it honored New Jersey players, teams, coaches, referees and volunteers for outstanding performances and contributions in 2014.

“NJ Youth Soccer provides a platform for more than 150,000 children to play soccer in urban, suburban and rural locations throughout our state,” says Roy Squillario, president, NJ Youth Soccer. “The majority of our leadership ─ coaches, trainers, administrators ─ is comprised of volunteers who dedicate many hours of their time to make this huge organization a success.” Squillario says there are thousands of coaches and volunteers contributing throughout the year.

Nelson Rodríguez, U.S. Soccer’s managing director of National Team Advisory Services and former NJ Youth Soccer Olympic Development Program (ODP) coach, served as the keynote speaker where he discussed his New Jersey roots, his role at U.S. Soccer and keys to getting the most out of the game on and off the field.

Raul Donoso, longtime NJ Youth Soccer ODP coach, trainer and former Irvington High School varsity coach, was inducted into the 2014 Hall of Fame. He was recognized for his longtime contribution and dedication to helping inner city boys and girls learn and enjoy playing soccer.

The evening acknowledged many of the state’s boys and girls U.S. Youth Soccer National Championship Series (NCS) and State Cup team champions as well as players selected for the U.S. Youth Soccer Region 1 ODP pool team. The following honorees were presented with awards for their individual contributions:

BOB McNULTY COACH OF THE YEAR 

  • Lisa Milanese
  • Woodbridge Twp Youth SA
  • Tracey Grimaldi
  • Woodbridge Twp Youth Soccer SA

RECREATION COACH OF THE YEAR    

  • David Van Ginnekin
  • Walkill Valley Rec Soccer

TOPSOCCER BUDDY OF THE YEAR                            

  • Zach Saliterman
  • West Morris SC
  • Anne-Sophie Whitehead
  • West Orange United SC

LIESEL KREHAN VOLUNTEER OF THE YEAR            

  • Joe Robb
  • Former Executive Director, NJYS

YOUTH REFEREES OF THE YEAR 

  • Shehab Saad
  • Princeton
  • Cara Dalton
  • Vineland

ALLAN SINCLAIR MEM. SCHOLARSHIP                    

  • Samantha Green
  • Mount Laurel United
  • Austin Verissimo
  • Ironbound Soccer Club Elite

JEANINE WILLIS SCHOLARSHIP   

  • Annaliese Keimel
  • Highland Soccer Club
  • Michael Stakilinski
  • Manalapan Soccer Club

BRETT FENSTER MEM. SCHOLARSHIP

  • Adam Taylor
  • Walkill Valley Soccer Club

About NJ Youth Soccer Association

New Jersey Youth Soccer, a 501(c) (3) organization affiliated with U.S. Youth Soccer and the U.S. Soccer Federation, is comprised of more than 156,000 players from 5 to 19-years-old supported by thousands of coaches and volunteers. Members collectively support the sport of soccer through training, practice, competition and the spirit of good sportsmanship. The association features recreational, travel soccer programs at multiple skill levels; Olympic Development Programs (ODP); tournaments including the National Championship series; coach and referee training and certification programs; and TOPSoccer, a program for children with special needs.

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Brian, Western New York and UCLA Dominate the NWSL Draft
Brian, Western New York and UCLA Dominate the NWSL Draft avatar

Philadelphia, Pa. – There are few guarantees in sports, but that Morgan Brian would be the first player selected in today’s NWSL Draft was one. The Houston Dash did the expected, selecting the rising U.S. WNT star, then Western New York and the UCLA Bruins took over.

Brian was unable to attend the draft due to International commitment. (ISI Photos/Juan Argueta)

Brian was unable to attend the draft due to International commitment. (ISI Photos/JoseArgueta)

Houston coach Randy Waldron surely never had a doubt about the pick. “She’s one of the rising superstars,” the Dash coach said of Brian, “she’s special. I probably could have used a back or a forward more, but she’s such a special talent you can’t pass on her.”

With that inevitability aside, Sky Blue FC chose Sarah Killion the UCLA midfielder with the second pick in the draft, sparking a run of three straight Bruins being selected, the latter two going to Western New York.

With four picks in the first round, Flash coach Aaran Lines had a chance to significantly restock his team, and he did just that.

“We think we came up with something good,” Lines said afterwards. “We’re very happy. Those four picks went our way. We had a plan,” the coach said, “and we were able to execute that plan.”

WNY took defender Abby Dahlkemper third, and then added midfielder Sam Mewis at number four, a talented attacking midfielder who has earned caps with the U.S. WNT in the past year.

WNY added a forward with the sixth pick, opting for Pepperdine speedster Lynn Williams and then Jaelene Hinkle, a fullback from Texas Tech with its final selection of the first round.

Lines praised all of his new players, saying of Williams that, “she comes from a quieter school,” and “I think she’ll be eager to prove a point as well.”

Williams chatted briefly with GotSoccer, and she wasn’t the least bit concerned with joining the UCLA club up in Western New York. “No, I’ve played with a couple of them before, so I’m excited to play with them again,” she said. Neither was the Fresno, California native worried about the harsh weather Western New York is known for. No, Williams was already thinking about playing forward alongside U.S. WNT legend Abby Wambach.

Williams admitted that she was, “very excited, I can learn a lot, I am very excited to play with her.” Williams hasn’t met Wambach, “well maybe for a split second,” she said.

The young forward sounds like she plans on being an eager student at Wambach School for Strikers, telling GotSoccer, “She just has been in the game for so long.” “I think,” Williams said, “I can learn, one movement off the ball, finishing, pretty much everything,” from the veteran.

The speedster doesn’t plan on being idle while she waits for Flash training camp to open up. No, she will be running track at Pepperdine. “I ran track in high school,” Williams laughed when asked if she is a track star. A sprinter, “400 meters and down,” she may have ended up going to college for track, but ultimately chose soccer.

With college soccer behind her Williams figured, “hey why not give it one last go.” So, she must be pretty fast on the soccer field, right? “That’s what they tell me,” Williams laughed modestly.

The Chicago Red Stars did what they could to break up the UCLA/WNY stranglehold on the Draft’s opening round, owning two of the nine picks, and using neither on a UCLA player.

The Red Stars did make some news at the close of the first round, trading Stephanie McCaffrey, who they selected fifth to the Boston Breakers, for the ninth pick in the round and the second pick of the second round.

Danielle Colaprico (ISI Photos/Jose Argueta)

Danielle Colaprico was one of Chicago’s selection. (ISI Photos/Jose Argueta)

Chicago selected midfielder Danielle Colapricio from UVA with that ninth pick, and tabbed forward Sofia Huerta with the 11th pick. The Breakers landed the Boston College and U.S. WNT U23 forward McCaffrey, a Massachusetts native.

The draft takes on added importance for the nine NWSL clubs in a World Cup year, and the teams came in looking to strengthen squads that will lose top players to nations from all around the world to Canada 2015.

2015 NWSL College Draft from GotSoccer on Vimeo.

It usually takes a couple of years to rate a draft, this years NWSL crop may not have that much time to grow.

015 NWSL College Draft Results

– Round 1 –

No. 1 - Morgan Brian – UVA (Houston Dash)

No. 2 - Sarah Killion – UCLA (Sky Blue FC)

No. 3 - Abby Dahlkemper – UCLA (WNY Flash)

No. 4 - Samantha Mewis – UCLA (WNY Flash)

No. 5 - Stephanie McCaffrey – BC (Chicago Red Stars)

No. 6 - Lynn Williams – Pepperdine (WNY Flash)

No. 7 - Jaelene Hinkle – Texas Tech (WNY Flash)

No. 8 - Arin Gilliland – Kentucky (Chicago Red Stars)

No. 9 - Danielle Colaprico – UVA (Chicago Red Stars)*

 

– Round 2 –

No. 10 - Kristin Grubka – Florida State (Sky Blue FC)

No. 11 - Sofia Huerta – Santa Clara (Chicago Red Stars)

No. 12 - Shea Groom – Texas A&M (FC Kansas City)

No. 13 - Megan Oyster – UCLA (Washington Spirit) # $

No. 14 - Jamia Fields – Florida State (Boston Breakers)

No. 15 - Havana Solaun – Florida (Seattle Reign FC)

No. 16 - Meghan Streight – Texas A&M (FC Kansas City)

No. 17 - Katelyn Rowland – UCLA (FC Kansas City)

No. 18 - Tatiana Coleman – Central Florida (WNY Flash)

 

– Round 3 –

No. 19 - Caprice Dydasco – UCLA (Washington Spirit) %

No. 20 - Samantha Lofton – James Madison (Boston Breakers)

No. 21 - Sabrina D’Angelo – South Carolina (Boston Breakers)

No. 22 - Daphne Corboz – Georgetown (Sky Blue FC)

No. 23 - Cara Walls – Wisconsin (Chicago Red Stars)

No. 24 - Bianca Brinson – Texas A&M (Boston Breakers)

No. 25 - Shade Pratt – Maryland (Sky Blue FC)

No. 26 - Jessica Ayers – Colorado College (FC Kansas City)

No. 27 - Nicole Setterlund – Wash. State (Chicago Red Stars)

 

– Round 4 –

No. 28 - Chioma Ubogagu – Stanford (Sky Blue FC)

No. 29 - Stephanie Verdoia – Seattle Univ. (Boston Breakers)

No. 30 - Whitney Church – Penn State (Washington Spirit)

No. 31 - Carleigh Williams – Central Florida (Houston Dash)

No. 32 - Rachel Tejada – Illinois State (Chicago Red Stars)

No. 33 - Bianca Calderone – Northeastern (Boston Breakers)

No. 34 - Lo’eau LaBonta – Stanford (Sky Blue FC)

No. 35 - Kaysie Clark – Missouri (FC Kansas City)

No. 36 – Kendall Romine – Stanford (Seattle Reign FC)

 

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EPL Week 22 – Previews and Predictions
EPL Week 22 – Previews and Predictions avatar

News

Pellegrini and Austin pick up monthly awards

Manchester City manager Manuel Pellerini and Queens Park Rangers striker Charlie Austin have picked up the EPL manager and player awards for the month of December.

Pellegrini saw off competition from Jose Mourinho, Louis van Gaal and Arsene Wenger to pick up the manager of the month award for the third time. The Chilean manager guided his team to five successive victories and a draw in December to cut an eight-point gap on leaders Chelsea down to only a single point by the end of the month.

Charlie Austin has shone for a struggling QPR team. (Getty Images)

Charlie Austin has shone for a struggling QPR team. (Getty Images)

Austin picked up the award for the first time after scoring five of QPR’s 6 goals in December. The QPR forward is the top scoring Englishman in the EPL with 13 goals and is only two behind leading scorer Diego Costa.

“To win awards like this is very pleasing,” Austin told the club’s website. “I just try to work as hard as I can and score as many goals as I can for QPR.

“But it’s not all about me – it’s a team game – and my team-mates deserve as much credit as I do for this award. All I am focused on is helping QPR gain as many points as possible and if I’m scoring goals, that’s great.

“I’ve scored 13 so far in the Premier League and I’m really pleased with where I am. Hopefully it can continue and we can start climbing the table as quickly as possible.”

 

Man City sign Bony from Swansea

EPL champions Manchester City have signed Wilfred Bony from Swansea for a deal that could be worth up $42.6m.

Bony has agreed a four-and-a-half year deal at City, which ties him down to the club until 2019, and will don the number 14 shirt.

“It’s a great feeling for me, it’s a big honour to be here and it’s a great challenge,” the 26-year-old said.

The two clubs agreed the terms of the transfer at the weekend, with £38m cash up front and a further $4m in performance-related add-ons.

Wilfred Bony should add firing power up front for City. (Getty Images)

Wilfred Bony should add firing power up front for City. (Getty Images)

Bony is currently on duty with the Ivory Coast at the African Cup of Nations and may have to wait until mid-February to make his City debut depending on how well his country does at the competition.

“As a player it’s always good to be part of one of the biggest clubs in the world and it’s a good opportunity for me to be in that situation now – I’m really proud,” Bony told Manchester City’s website.

“I felt excited to wait for this moment and now it’s come, it’s fantastic.

“I think it’s a great decision for me – Manchester City are in the Champions League. It’s a motivation for me to give my maximum to be in that place.”

City boss Manuel Pellegrini added: “He is an intelligent footballer who has skill and power. His goals record has been excellent since he came to England.”

“He adapted very quickly to the game here and I think he will settle in at City quickly. We now have four top-class strikers and I am looking forward to seeing them work together.”

Bony signed for Swansea from Vitesse Arnhem for $18.26 in 2013, scoring 25 goals in 54 appearances.

 

Defoe signs for Sunderland

Sunderland have signed striker Jermain Defoe from MLS club Toronto on a three-and-a-year deal.

Defoe in action for Toronto F.C.(ISI Photos/Nick Turchiaro)

Defoe in action for Toronto F.C.(ISI Photos/Nick Turchiaro)

The deal sees Defoe, 32, reunite with Sunderland coach Gus Poyet who he played with at Tottenham.

Poyet said: “His exceptional goal-scoring record speaks for itself.”

United States international Jozy Altidore, 25, moves back to the MLS with Toronto as part of the deal.

Defoe could potentially make his debut against his former club Tottenham at White Hart Lane if international clearance is received by 13.45 GMT on Saturday.

“It is a great club and I’ve always enjoyed coming up here and playing against Sunderland because of the stadium and the supporters,” the striker said.

“It is a great place to play and I’m really looking forward to it.”

Defoe signed for MLS side Toronto FC last January and had an impressive first season scoring 11 goals in 16 appearances for the Canadian side.

 

Predictions

Week 21

Result

My Predictions

Luke

Neil

SATURDAY
Sunderland v Liverpool 0-1 1-1 0-2 1-2
Burnley v QPR 2-1 2-1 2-2 2-1
Chelsea v Newcastle 2-0 3-0 3-0 3-1
Everton v Man City 1-1 1-2 0-2 1-3
Leicester v Aston Villa 1-0 2-2 1-1 1-1
Swansea v West Ham 1-1 2-1 1-2 1-1
West Brom v Hull 1-0 2-1 1-1 2-1
Crystal Palace v Tottenham 2-1 0-2 1-2 1-2
SUNDAY
Arsenal v Stoke 3-0 3-1 3-1 2-0
Man Utd v Southampton 0-1 3-1 1-1 2-0
TOTAL SCORE   6-points 3-points 5-points

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

Last week I got FOUR correct results, including ONE perfect score to give me a TOTAL score of 6-points.

Week 22

My Predictions

 

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

 

Previews

SATURDAY

QPR v Man Utd

Both these sides lost last week and will be hoping to bounce back with a positive performance and result this week.

QPR lost away to Burnley last week to continue their dismal form away from home. The Hoops have failed to pick up a single point away from home this season and the only reason they are still within touching distance with other teams is because of their good home form—QPR have the eighth best home record in the EPL.

Falcao (L) did not feature int Man Utd's defeat to Southampton. (Getty Images)

Falcao (L) did not feature int Man Utd’s defeat to Southampton. (Getty Images)

Manchester United’s ten game unbeaten run came to an end with a 0-1 home defeat to Southampton. The Red Devils dominated possession, but were frustrated by a well organized Southampton team and in the end failed to muster a single attempt on target.

QPR defender Armand Traore is ruled out with a toe injury, while Sandro and Yun Suk-Young remain sidelined with injuries, but midfielder Niko Kranjcar has recovered from a thigh complaint.

Manchester United forward Robin van Persie is a doubt with an ankle injury, meaning on-loan striker Radamel Falcao could return to the starting line-up. Rafael and Marcos Rojo could also feature after recovering from injuries.

Manchester United will be favorites for this game, but QPR have shown they are a more than a match for anyone in their own backyard, so United will have to be wary. If Louis van Gaal continues with the 3-5-2 system I think United will struggle, but the Red Devils have never lost an EPL game to QPR (W11 D2) and with QPR’s defense still looking leaky I expect them to just edge this one.

Prediction: 2-3

 

Swansea v Chelsea

Swansea drew 1-1 at home to West Ham last week and are without a win in their last three EPL games. However, the Swans are playing relatively well and will feel a win is just around the corner. However, they will need to sign a striker after selling Wilfred Bony to Manchester City, because without his goals they could really begin to struggle.

Fabregas has been one of Chelsea's most offensive players this season. (Getty Images)

Fabregas has been one of Chelsea’s most offensive players this season. (Getty Images)

Chelsea bounced back from their defeat to Tottenham with a win at home Newcastle. The Blues scored either side of half-time to open a two-point gap at the top of the EPL.

Bafetimbi Gomis is likely to lead the frontline as Swansea begin life without Wilfred Bony. Jonjo Shelvey is suspended and Ki Sung-yueng on international duty, but Gylfi Sigurdsson and Jefferson Montero should both feature after retuning from injury.

Petr Cech is likely to start in goal for Chelsea, as Thibaut Courtois continues his recovery from a broken thumb. Meanwhile, Cesar Azpilicueta is definitely out with a groin strain picked up in last week’s win against Newcastle.

Swansea have never beaten Chelsea in the EPL (D2 L5) and you have to go back to 1981 for their last win in a league against the Blues. But the Swans are playing decent stuff at the moment and will give Chelsea a tough game. Nevertheless, without a top quality striker in their side I think they will struggle to trouble the EPL leaders and I expect the Blues to win this game relatively comfortably.

Prediction: 0-2

 

Tottenham v Sunderland

Tottenham’s eight game unbeaten run came to an end last weekend with a 2-1 loss away to London neighbors Crystal Palace. Spurs dominated and took the lead with Harry Kane once again the scorer, but they looked far from comfortable and in the end will be happy the game only ended up 2-1.

Harry Kane can't stop scoring. (Getty Images)

Harry Kane can’t stop scoring. (Getty Images)

Sunderland’s poor run of results continued with a 0-1 defeat at home to Liverpool. The Black Cats didn’t put up much of a fight and are now without a win in their last four games.

Tottenham will be without midfielders Erik Lamela and Ryan Mason who remain sidelined with injuries.

Sunderland new striker Jermaine Defoe does not appear to have signed in time to face his former side. Liam Bridcutt is suspended, but striker Stephan Fletcher is fit again and could return to the starting fold.

You are never quite sure which Tottenham side will turn up at the moment, but the north Londoners are unbeaten in their last nine meetings with the Black Cats, and with Harry Kane seemingly scoring every week I think Spurs will easily win this game.

Prediction: 2-0

 

SUNDAY

Man City v Arsenal 

Manchester City drew 1-1 away to Everton to fall two-points behind EPL leaders Chelsea. The Champions took the lead through midfielder Fernandinho, but were soon pegged back when keeper Joe Hart ventured into no man’s land, allowing Steven Naismith to head into an empty net.

Alexis Sanchez will need to be at his best if his side want to take anything from this game. (Getty Images)

Alexis Sanchez will need to be at his best if his side want to take anything from this game. (Getty Images)

Arsenal avenged their 3-2 defeat away to Stoke with a comprehensive 3-0 win at home against the Potters. The Gunners started brightly and took the lead early on when Alexis Sanchez crossed for Koscienly to head. The Chilean forward was at the heart of all of Arsenal’s good play and added two more himself to round off a good day at the office.

Manchester City midfielder Samir Nasri is unfit to face his former side, while forward Edin Dzeko is doubtful through injury. However, Sergio Aguero and club captain Vincent Kompany are both fit again and could return to the staring line-up.

Arsenal defender Mathieu Debuchy and midfielder Mikel Arteta have been ruled out for three months after surgery. Kieran Gibbs is doubtful with a heel problem, but Calum Chambers is expected to return following illness.

Both these sides are in good form and have an array of attacking talent, so we could be in for a blockbuster on Sunday. Man City are undefeated in their last five EPL meetings against Arsenal, and thumped them 6-3 at the Etihad last season. However, that defeat was the Gunners only defeat in six visits to the Etihad, so they won’t be shaking in their boots.

Neither of these sides are defending well so I think both teams will score, but I feel City have a bit more steel about them and that’s why I’ll back them to edge this one.

Prediction 2-1

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Larin Goes First in MLS SuperDraft
Larin Goes First in MLS SuperDraft avatar

Philadelphia, Pa. – After retired MLS legend Landon Donovan announced, “Orlando you are officially on the clock,” the expansion Lions SC did what most expected and selected UConn forward Cyle Larin with the first pick of the 2015 MLS SuperDraft.

Cyle Larin did not attend the draft as he was in Jamaica on international duty for Canada. (ISI Photos/Jose Argueta)

Cyle Larin did not attend the draft as he was in Jamaica on international duty for Canada. (ISI Photos/Jose Argueta)

Orlando have long been locked in on Larin, who is in Jamaica with the Canadian U20 National Team, and they confirmed that by resisting trade interest from the league’s Canadian clubs.

Up next Orlando’s fellow expansion team, New York FC, veered from the alleged script, first by taking a five minute time out, sparking trade rumors, and then when they kept the pick, but did not choose University of Washington midfielder Cristian Roldan.

Instead the Manchester City affiliated side selected Oregon State forward Khiry Shelton, precipitating a slide all the way to number 16 for Roldan, where Real Salt Lake traded the pick to Seattle, who snapped up the midfielder.

Seattle coach Sigi Schmidt sounded very happy to have the University of Washington midfielder fall into his lap. Schmid and his staff had the opportunity to see Roldan play often, and even had him in for training sessions with the Sounders, where they were clearly impressed.

The coach agrees that Roldan is versatile, but singled out his passing ability when he spoke to the press after selecting the midfielder. “I think,” said Schmid, “with Dempsey and Oba – they want good passers around them.” Anyone that watched Seattle come up short versus MLS Cup winning L.A. Galaxy saw what the coach saw. If Martins and Dempsey didn’t set each other up, no one else in Rave Green was capable of feeding the Sounders dynamic duo.

Is Roldan capable of providing at that level? We’ll have to wait and see, but Schmid certainly thinks highly of his new player.

Khiry Shelton was (ISI Photos/Jose Argueta)

Khiry Shelton had no idea the NYC FC were interested in him. (ISI Photos/Jose Argueta)

As for Shelton, the speedy young striker was as thrilled as he was surprised to land with the New York City newboys. “I had no idea,” Shelton told GotSoccer when we asked if he was aware of NYC FC’s interest. Shelton “has paid very close attention,” to NYC’s build up, and added, “I just can’t tell you how ready I am to to get started.”

When we asked the young striker if he looked forward to playing alongside City’s legendary Spanish striker David Villa, Shelton’s joy was palpable. “Oh yeah,” Shelton said with a wide smile. “Everybody there is going to be great, all the players are going to be great, and I’m just excited. I’m ready,” Shelton concluded, “I’m ready.”

Also ready in the SuperDraft’s first round? Toronto FC. The Canadian side picked three times in the opening round, plucking Syracuse goalkeeper, and Generation adidas prospect Alex Bono with the number six pick, North Carolina State defender Clement Simonin at number nine, and defender Skylar Thomas, a college teammate of Bono’s, two picks later.

Bono was unable to attend, he is with Jurgen Klinsmann and company at the U.S. MNT January camp.

New York Red Bulls made a splash late in the first round when they selected Hermann Trophy winner Leo Stolz with the 18th pick. The German born Stolz did not attend the just completed MLS Combine, instead traveling to his native Germany, where he hoped to secure a professional contract.

Despite the risk of ending up empty handed, New York took a chance on Stolz, and if things don’t work out in Europe, the Red Bulls may have landed a solid player with that 18th selection.

May have, being the key phrase in the Stolz pick, and indeed in all the days picks. A look back at the number one picks in each MLS SuperDraft since 1996 shows just how inexact a science the player procurement can be.

Columbus did well to snare national team legend Brian McBride in that inaugural talent auction, but since then only Maurice Edu, selected by Toronto in 2007 has approached stardom. And Edu spent most of his prime years playing in Europe.

Most had expected Dan Metzger to go earlier. (ISI Photos/Brad Smith)

Most had expected Dan Metzger to go earlier. (ISI Photos/Brad Smith)

With that in mind, it is quite possible that the final pick of the day, Dan Metzger had it right when he said, “they saved the best for last.” The University Maryland defensive midfielder drew laughs for his remark, but looking back at former number ones like Leo Cullen, Miami Fusion, Steve Shak, NY/NJ MetroStars, etc, etc. you realize that Metzger could well be right.

Metzger never expected to fall so far, and he says the snubs, “give me a lot of motivation going into pre-season.” Metzger added, “to be honest I’m happy, it gives me that extra motivation, that edge, to show everybody wrong.”

DC United coach Ben Olsen, “was very surprised when he dropped, but I’m sure he’ll use it as motivation, and hopefully he can make the team.”

And in the end that is what it is all about. How many of these first and second rounders will make the team, much less make an impact? 2013 number one Andrew Farrell (New England) has been solid, but before that we have to go back to 2009 and Chance Myers (Kansas City) to find a player selected with the very first pick in the draft that has been an unassailable success. It is too soon to judge recent picks like last year’s number one Andre Blake (Philadelphia), so who knows?

Is Metzger right, or will Larin be a breakout star? We will simply have to wait and see.

2015 MLS SuperDraft, Round 1


Team Player College
1. Orlando City SC Cyle Larin, F Connecticut
2. New York City FC Khiry Shelton, F Oregon State
3. Montreal Impact Romario Williams, F Central Florida
4. San Jose Earthquakes Fatai Alashe, M Michigan State
5. Portland Timbers (from COL) Nick Besler, M Notre Dame
6. Toronto FC (from CHV) Alex Bono, GK Syracuse
7. Chicago Fire Matt Polster, D SIU-Edwardsville
8. Houston Dynamo Zach Steinberger, M Butler
9. Toronto FC Clement Simonin, D NC State
10. Sporting Kansas City (from PHI) Conor Hallisey, M California
11. Toronto FC (from POR) Skylar Thomas, D Syracuse
12. Sporting Kansas City Saad Abdul-Salaam, D Akron
13. Vancouver Whitecaps Tim Parker, D St. John’s
14. Colorado Rapids (from CLB)* Axel Sjoberg, D Marquette
15. FC Dallas Otis Earle, D UC Riverside
16. Seattle Sounders FC (from RSL)* Cristian Roldan, M Washington
17. D.C. United Miguel Aguilar, F San Francisco
18. New York Red Bulls Leo Stolz, M UCLA
19. Columbus Crew SC (from COL/SEA)* Sergio Campbell, D Connecticut
20. Sporting Kansas City (from NE) Amadou Dia, M Clemson
21. LA Galaxy Ignacio Maganto, F Iona

2015 MLS SuperDraft, Round 2


Team Player College
1. Orlando City SC Conor Donovan, D NC State
2. New York City FC Connor Brandt, M San Diego
3. Portland Timbers (from MTL) Andy Thoma, D Washington
4. Orlando City SC (from SJ) Akeil Barrett, F Tulsa
5. Colorado Rapids Joseph Greenspan, D Navy
6. Real Salt Lake (from SEA/CHV)* Boyd Okwuonu, D North Carolina
7. Chicago Fire Kingsley Bryce, F Saint Louis
8. Toronto FC (from HOU) Wesley Charpie, D South Florida
9. Houston Dynamo (from SKC/TOR)* Oumar Ballo, D UMBC
10. Philadelphia Union Dzenan Catic, F Davenport
11. Portland Timbers Christian Volesky, F SIU-Edwardsville
12. Seattle Sounders FC (from NE/SKC)* Tyler Miller, GK Northwestern
13. Portland Timbers (from VAN) Kharlton Belmar, F VCU
14. Columbus Crew SC Sagi Lev-Ari, F CSU Northridge
15. Houston Dynamo (from DAL) Rob Lovejoy, M North Carolina
16. Toronto FC (from RSL) Edwin Rivas, F CSU Northridge
17. Vancouver Whitecaps (from DC) Kay Banjo, F UMBC
18. New York Red Bulls Stefano Bonomo, F California
19. Seattle Sounders FC Oniel Fisher, M New Mexico
20. Philadelphia Union (from NE) Eric Bird, M Virginia
21. D.C. United (from LA) Dan Metzger, M Maryland
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MLS Honors Donovan
MLS Honors Donovan avatar

Philadelphia, Pa. – Major League Soccer kicked off its 2015 SuperDraft with a tribute to Landon Donovan, highlighted by the league re-naming its MVP award the Landon Donovan MVP Award.

Donovan's name will live on for a long time.  (ISI Photos/John Todd)

Donovan’s name will live on for a long time. (ISI Photos/John Todd)

The tribute featured a video of career highlights and praise from family, teammates and Donovan’s former club and national team coach Bruce Arena.

Sitting in the front of the hotel meeting room, Donovan became emotional, in particular when his family spoke.

Commissioner Garber cited Donovan’s decision to return to the league with the San Jose Earthquakes in 2001 as a catalyst for MLS “becoming a league choice.”

Don Garber with Donovan at his tribute. (ISI Photos/Jose Argueta)

Don Garber with Donovan at his tribute. (ISI Photos/Jose Argueta)

Afterwards, Donovan spoke to a scrum of reporters remembering that he, “fell in love with it (soccer) the first day I started playing.” In an oft told story Donovan’s mother famously sent her hyperactive son out to the soccer fields to burn off some of his plentiful energy.

Now, in his first days of retirement Donovan spends his time, “relaxing. Playing tennis, golf, relaxing.” Asked if he is enjoying it, a smiling Donovan answered, “very much so, loving it.”

Major League Soccer’s all time leader in goals and assists said from the podium, “I love this league,” and commented on how MLS has changed the prospects for young American players.

“We didn’t watch soccer on TV,” it was, Donovan recalled, “just a fun game we played as much as we could.”

Now, all these years later Donovan, long the face of the league, has become the league’s symbol of excellence.

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U.S. MNT U20′s Crush Aruba
U.S. MNT U20′s Crush Aruba avatar

A first half hat trick from Romain Gall, half of an American total of six first half goals were enough for the the U.S. U20’s to finally get a win, as the Young Yanks battered defenseless Aruba 8-0 in CONCACAF play Wednesday in Jamaica.

Romain Gall scored a first half hattrick.(ISI Photos/Michael Janosz)

Romain Gall scored a first half hattrick.(ISI Photos/Michael Janosz)

Ben Spencer, Tommy Thompson, Emerson Hyndman, Bradford Jamieson IV and Amando Moreno each threw in a goal to make up the impressive, if somewhat hollow final scoreline.

Following a disappointing opening two games to this World Cup Qualifying tournament, coach Tab Ramos reshaped his lineup from the usual 4-3-3, to a 4-4-2.

It is always difficult to learn much from these type of one sided matches, but Ramos’ young side will at least be feeling better about themselves as the move on from Kingston, where the U.S. played its first three matches, to Montego Bay for its final two Group A games.

First up will be Jamaica on Sunday, January 18, at 8:00 pm Eastern Time. Then the Americans close out group play on Wednesday January 21 versus Trinidad and Tobago.

Jamaica should be a tougher test than Aruba, but home soil has hardly been a panacea for all that ails Jamaica. The Young Reggae Boyz sit fifth in six team Group A with just one point from three games, ahead of just Aruba, who have zero. Panama is alone on top of the group, with a perfect nine points, trailed by Guatemala who have seven points from two wins and a draw, and the third place U.S.

Trinidad and Tobago are in fourth, also with four points, then come Jamaica and Aruba.

The two group leaders go straight into the U20 World Cup in New Zealand, while the second and third finishers in each group qualify for a playoff for the final two CONCACAF places in the U20 World Cup.

Wednesday’s result helps the U.S. in the important tie breaker category, goal difference. The romp over Aruba gives the U.S. a plus 7, good for a five goal advantage over Trinidad and Tobago.

With all teams having played two games each, Mexico leads Group B, with six points. Honduras are next with four, Canada are third with three, El Salvador (2), Haiti (1), and Cuba (0) round out the group.

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Ronaldo and Kessler triumph at the Ballon d’Or
Ronaldo and Kessler triumph at the Ballon d’Or avatar

Portugal and Real Madrid superstar Cristiano Ronaldo has claimed the FIFA Ballon d’Or as the world’s best player for the second year running, defeating longtime rival Lionel Messi and Germany’s World Cup winning goalkeeper Manuel Neuer to win the honor.

Ronaldo has had an outstanding year and was favorite to win the trophy.Getty Images)

Ronaldo has had an outstanding year and was favorite to win the trophy.Getty Images)

Long cast as second best to the diminutive, if brilliant Argentine, Ronaldo will undoubtedly be very pleased that he more than doubled Messi’s vote total.

Messi, in fact, just held off the adventurous sweeper/keeper Neuer, to finish second behind Ronaldo.

Ronaldo also won this honor in 2008, before being forced to watch Messi claim the gong four consecutive times. Ronaldo turned the tables last year, and, with three Ballon d’Or wins, trails Messi by just one.

The Ballon d’Or is voted on by the managers and captains of every national team, as well as one journalist from each FIFA nation. The voters were likely swayed in Ronaldo’s direction by his dizzying goal totals compiled for Real Madrid and Portugal throughout 2014.

Ronaldo rang the bell 61 times for club and country, including 17 goals in Champions League play. Despite a so so World Cup, in which he was somewhat hampered by injury, Ronaldo is a deserving winner.

Nadine Kessler has shone for both club and country but was very surprized to win. (Getty Images)

Nadine Kessler has shone for both club and country but was very surprized to win. (Getty Images)

Nadine Kessler claimed the Women’s Award, impressively beating out five time winner Marta (Brazil), and 2012 winner Abby Wambach (USA). Germany goalkeeper Nadine Angerer claimed the prize last year.

Kessler, a 26 year old attacking midfielder, did it, and won it all in 2014. Individually Kessler also claimed UEFA Best Women’s Player in Europe honors, in large part for her role in leading Wolfsburg to victory in the Champions League Final for the second year in a row.

Ronaldo and Kessler showing off their trophies. (Getty Images)

Ronaldo and Kessler showing off their trophies. (Getty Images)

Awards were given out in several other categories, including FIFA’ Best XI. Here are all the winners.

Ballon d’Or: Cristiano Ronaldo

Women’s World Player of the Year: Nadine Kessler

Puskas award (Goal of the Year): James Rodriguez (Colombia)

World Coach of the Year for men’s football: Joachim Low (German National Team)

World Coach of the Year for women’s football: Ralf Kellermann (Wolfsburg)

World XI: Neuer; Lahm, Ramos, David Luiz, Thiago Silva; Di Maria, Iniesta, Kroos; Messi, Ronaldo, Robben

FIFA presidential award: Hiroshi Kagawa

FIFA fair play award: FIFA volunteers

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Brian and Stolz win the Hermann Trophy
Brian and Stolz win the Hermann Trophy avatar

Morgan Brian has had the an amazing year in soccer and was rewarded by winning the Hermann Trophy once again! (ISI Photos/Brad Smith)

Morgan Brian has had the an amazing year in soccer and was rewarded by winning the Hermann Trophy once again! (ISI Photos/Brad Smith)

University of Virginia’s midfield star Morgan Brian has successfully defended her MAC Hermann title, while UCLA’s German born while Leo Stolz has earned men’s award for 2014.

Brian became just the fifth woman to become a multiple winner of the most prestigious award in college soccer, joining an illustrious group led by U.S. WNT legend Mia Hamm.

Brian scored 10 goals and racked up 14 assists this year for the Cavaliers this season, all in just 18 games. And Brian came up big in the important matches for Virginia, contributing 4 goals and 9 assists in NCAA tournament play, as the Cavs made it to the NCAA Final before falling 1-0 to Florida State.

Brian missed several Virginia games while on international duty, where she is well on the way to establishing herself as a regular on a U.S. squad that seems in need of some freshening up.

UCLA's German Midfielder Leo Stolz ends his college career on a high. (ISI Photos/Steven Limentani)

UCLA’s German Midfielder Leo Stolz ends his college career on a high. (ISI Photos/Steven Limentani)

Florida State’s Icelandic midfielder Dagny Brynjarsdottir and UCLA midfielder Sam Mewis, were the other finalists. Like Brian, Mewis earned U.S. WNT caps in 2014.

UCLA midfielder Leo Stolz claimed the men’s honors for 2014, topping Syracuse goalkeeper Alex Bono and North Carolina forward Andy Craven in the balloting.

Born in Munich, Germany Stolz has enjoyed an excellent college career for the Bruins and was a finalist for this award last year when Maryland forward Patrick Mullins won for the second year running.

A playmaking midfielder, Stolz is expected to be a high draft choice in this week’s MLS SuperDraft, that is if he doesn’t sign with a German team first.

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