The Dog Days of Summer are upon us, witness New York City FC’s sluggish performance in a 3-1 loss at Kansas City on Sunday.
Which brings us to our first Big 5 topic:
1) Summertime and the Livin’ Ain’t Easy
Not when your team has to play midweek games in MLS, it isn’t. This is not to attack the league on its schedule, it is a challenge fitting in all of these matches around international games, the Open Cup, etc.
But that doesn’t make it any easier on the players. 12 clubs will be in action across the country tonight, Wednesday, July 12, with some having played as recently as three days ago and they are all back at it again on either July 16th or 17th.
Take NYC for instance. Patrick Vieira’s side came out after the Copa break with a four-game winning streak, the last three of which were shutouts. That run propelled the Bronx boys to the top of the Eastern Conference but with Vieira declining to rotate his veteran squad NYC were decidedly leggy as they fell to SKC on a mandatory water break night in Kansas.
NYC has played five games in 27 days, or a game almost every five days. That’s tough going in the July heat, and August is on deck.
2) Groundbreaking in Kansas
A plan to provide U.S. Soccer with a possible new home got underway yesterday when final approval was granted to build a soccer mega site on 174 acres in Kansas City, Kansas. The plan is for the facility to become the base of operations for U.S. Soccer and its national teams, although U.S. Soccer has given no indication that it plans to abandon its current HQ in Carson, California.
The project, slated to cost $62 million, will take shape just minutes from Sporting K.C.’s home stadium, Children’s Mercy Park, and would seem to have just about any amenity a team could need, including youth and senior U.S. national teams if and when they see fit to use the complex.
As reported in the Kansas City Star the project will include a training center, said to include the “equivalent” of 4 to 6 professional outdoor soccer fields, an indoor complex housing sports medicine and nutrition labs, training facilities and education spaces for coaches, as well as some other items that have not yet been finalized. There will also be at least one climate-controlled indoor field.
Youth soccer teams will benefit from 12 outdoor fields and 10 futsal courts will also be part of the facility.
According to Sporting KC CEO Rob Heineman U.S. Soccer has signed a 20-year lease, and the facility is set for completion in 2017.
3) Fields – But No Stadium News in New York
So this showed up in the inbox of New York soccer media types on Tuesday : MAYOR DE BLASIO, NEW YORK CITY FC, US SOCCER FOUNDATION AND ADIDAS TO MAKE ANNOUNCEMENT ON NEW COMMUNITY INITIATIVE.
It didn’t really sound like a stadium for the New York City Football Club, did it? Alas, it did not, and was not, but it did have to do with building soccer fields in New York City.
The quartet has formed a public-private partnership to build 50 soccer fields in underserved neighborhoods throughout the five boroughs over the next five years. And even though NYCFC Director of Football Operations Claudio Reyna had no news on a long-term home for the club, this new initiative can only be seen as a positive step for soccer in the Big Apple.
4) Homegrown Game Coach Landon Donovan Names His Team
As part of the festivities surrounding the MLS All-Star Game July 28, at Avaya Stadium in San Jose, the league’s Homegrown players will take on a Mexico U20 selection the night before the main attraction. The Homegrown Player Rule is an MLS program that allows clubs to sign local players from their own development academies directly to MLS first team rosters.
This is the third year that the homegrown side has competed during All-Star week and the second year in a row that Donovan has coached the up and comers. Seattle Sounders and U.S. MNT striker Jordan Morris is the standout in this group announced on Tuesday.
Here is the MLS Homegrown roster:
GK CREPEAU, Maxime Montreal Impact
GK GONZALEZ, Jesse FC Dallas
D ACOSTA, Danilo Real Salt Lake
D GLAD, Justen Real Salt Lake
D GUILLEN, Aaron FC Dallas
D KAVITA, Phanuel Real Salt Lake
D ROBINSON, Jalen D.C. United
D TURNER, Tyler Orlando City SC
M ADAMS, Tyler New York Red Bulls
M ALLEN, Jordan Real Salt Lake
M CHAPMAN, Jay Toronto FC
M CRAFT, Coy FC Dallas
M HEATH, Harrison Orlando City SC
M KOVAR, Aaron Seattle Sounders
M MENDIOLA, Raul LA Galaxy
M THOMPSON, Tommy San Jose Earthquakes
F CALISTRI, Joey Chicago Fire
F HAMILTON, Jordan Toronto FC
F MCBEAN, Jack LA Galaxy
F MORRIS, Jordan Seattle Sounders
5) Sacre Bleu! A French All Star Game!
Looking to capitalize on a successful Euro16 the French Football League (LFP), French soccer’s governing body is considering a number of moves to bolster the game’s popularity in France, among them an American style All-Star Game.
LFP Executive Director Didier Quillot confirmed to French publication L’Equipe that the league is moving ahead with plans for its own All-Star match. “The principle of a project such as an All-Star Game was adopted,” Quillot told L’Equipe. “The date, the place and the broadcaster are still to be clarified.”
The LFP boss added, “the LFP’s administrative council has given the go-ahead to look into launching two innovative projects: the French e-sport Championship and the All-Star game, intended to bring Ligue 1′s best players together, although a format has not been announced.