Get involved: Soccer for Peace and Understanding in Jordan
Get involved: Soccer for Peace and Understanding in Jordan avatar

Ball State University, in collaboration with Indiana Soccer, received a two-year grant from the U.S. State Department’s International Sports Programming Initiative (ISPI) to support “Soccer for Peace and Understanding in Jordan”.

Through the project, Ball State University and Indiana Soccer also partnered with Leaders of Tomorrow, Jordan Football Association, and Princess Basma Youth Resource Centre to teach citizenship and peaceful living skills through soccer clinics for youth coaches and athletes.

The program aims to promote empathetic on-going relations between Jordanian and U.S. youth soccer coaches, encourage youth soccer coaches’ effective citizenship behaviors with young athletes through soccer, advance Jordanians and U.S. youth soccer coaches’ knowledge about the technical aspects of coaching soccer effectively, and increase Jordanian and U.S. youth soccer players’ soccer skills while learning ways to peacefully interact with others of different cultures.

Want to get involved? Read the full story on the Indiana Soccer Association website.

Courtesy of Indiana Soccer Association

Courtesy of Indiana Soccer Association

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Indiana TOPSoccer course: Register now!
Indiana TOPSoccer course: Register now! avatar

Are you interested in acquiring the Indiana Soccer TOPSoccer certificate so you will be well educated in working with our exceptional athletes?

Indiana Soccer will hold a class on March 30 at Fort Wayne Sport Club from 9am-2pm. This course is FREE for all Indiana Soccer members! Click Here to register and visit the Indiana Soccer website for more details.

Courtesy of Indiana Soccer Association

Courtesy of Indiana Soccer Association

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MYSA announces results of President’s Cup draw
MYSA announces results of President’s Cup draw avatar

Check out the results for the 2013 Spring Missouri Presidents Cup below! This statewide tournament will take place April 6-7 at the Raytown Soccer Complex in Raytown, MO. For more information please visit the MYSA website: Click Here

U13 Girls – Five Teams

Bracket A

  • A1: KC Select Impact
  • A2: St. Louis Scott Gallagher SC Fenerbahce
  • A3: St. Louis Scott Gallagher SC PSG
  • A4: J. B. Marine SC Parton – Premier Gold
  • A5: J. B. Marine SC Kayser – Premier Green

U14 Girls – Six Teams

Bracket A

  • A1: St. Louis Scott Gallagher SC PSG
  • A2: Missouri Rush SC Menendez Swoosh
  • A3: St. Louis Scott Gallagher SC Juventus

Bracket B

  • B1: MYSASwarm
  • B2: Mamba Venom
  • B3: St. Louis Scott Gallagher SC Flamengo

U12 Boys- Four Teams

Bracket A

  • A1: Jefferson City Soccer Crew
  • A2: Nixa SC 00/01
  • A3: Ajax Elite FC Academy
  • A4: St. Louis Scott Gallagher SC Bayern Munich

U13 Boys- Three Teams

Bracket A

  • A1: St. Louis Scott Gallagher SC Premier Navy
  • A2: Missouri Rush SC-McCarthy
  • A3: St. Louis Scott Gallagher SC Premier Green

U14 Boys- Five Teams

Bracket A

  • A1: MAC United
  • A2: KC Blaze Strikeforce
  • A3: LSFC Adidas Elite
  • A4: KC Select Pumas
  • A5: St. Louis Scott Gallagher SC Norway

U15 Boys – Four Teams

Bracket A

  • A1: Lou Fusz SC Hawkins
  • A2: SSC Diablos 97-98
  • A3: Lou Fusaz SC Sanfilippo
  • A4: Missouri Rush SC Blue Puetz

U16 Boys- Four Teams

Bracket A

  • A1: Lou Fusz SC O’Keefe
  • A2: MAC United Phrenic
  • A3: Total Demize SC
  • A4: Missouri Rush SC-Swoosh

U17 Boys- Eight Teams

Bracket A

  • A1: Southwest United 95/96
  • A2: NORCO SC O’Neal
  • A3: Total Demize SC 95/96
  • A4: Missouri Rush SC- Swoosh

Bracket B

  • B1: KC Milan Red Devils
  • B2: Raytown SC Arsenal Gunners
  • B3: Missouri Rush SC Nike
  • B4: Lou Fusz SC Roeder
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Champions League Quarterfinals
Champions League Quarterfinals avatar

The dust has barely settled after the last round of games in the Champions League and already we have some tantalizing quarter-finals to look forward to.

 Champions League team quarterfinal draw(Getty Images)

Champions League team quarterfinal draw(Getty Images)

The quarters have an unusual look about them, as for the first time in 17 years no representatives from the EPL will be present in the last eight.

Nevertheless, the competition still has an exciting look about it, and with five different nations represented in quarter-finals it is hard to say which country will lay claim to the trophy with big ears come the end of may.

 

PSG Vs Barcelona

The quarter-finals kick off with perhaps the most alluring tie of the round, as the in vogue PSG take on the glamorous Barcelona.

PSG Ibrahimovic is suspended for the first match. (Getty Images)

PSG Ibrahimovic is suspended for the first match. (Getty Images)

PSG have never won Europe’s premier competition, but new owners The Qatar Investment Authority pledged to build a team capable of winning the Champions League when they bought the club and have now spent close to $215m in the last 18-months. The investment seems to have paid off with the Parisians reaching the knockout stages for the first time since 1995.

However, PSG now face their greatest test in the form of FC Barcalona. The Catalans have won Europe’s premier cup competition four times in total, three of which have come in the last seven years. Many questioned if Barcelona would be the same force when coach Pep Guardiola left, but if anything they have looked even more versatile and dangerous under new coach Tito Vilanova.

How they got here

PSG: The big spending Parisians topped their group in the first stage of the competition with five wins out of six, to give them a tally of 15-points—the highest of any team in the competition. However, they were made to work harder in the last round and just scraped past Valencia 3-2 on aggregate.

Barcelona: It is funny how much can change in the space of a game. Just over a week ago Barcelona were supposedly washed up and finished—It was the end of an era. They were seemly out of the Champions League having lost their first leg game 2-0 away to AC Milan. No team had ever recovered a two-goal deficit in the Champions League without scoring an away goal, and Barca would have to start the rebuilding process. But in the space of 90-minutes everything turned around, the mighty Barca made history blowing Milan aside 4-0 at the Camp Nou, and are once again favorites to lift the European Cup for the fourth time in eight years.

Key Players

PSG will be hoping they can knock out powerhouse Barcelona(Getty Images)

PSG will be hoping they can knock out powerhouse Barcelona(Getty Images)

Ezequiel Lavezzi: Under normal circumstances I may have chosen Zlatan Ibrahimovic, but the mercurial striker is suspended for the first-leg and will thus be unable to make an impact over the course of the two games. But the Parisians still have Ezequiel Lavezzi to call upon—the forward is PSG’s top scorer in the competition with five goals. Quick, strong, and skillful, the Argentine international will probably play on the wing against Barca, keeping tabs on Dani Alves when PSG do not have the ball and moving more central when they do.

 

Messi was outstanding in his previous Champions League match  (Getty Images)

Messi was outstanding in his previous Champions League match (Getty Images)

Lionel Messi: I said the only way Milan could stop Messi was if he had a bad day at the office, and he did in the first leg – though Milan also defended very well. However, within five minutes of the second leg Messi showed he was in the mood, scoring a magnificent goal to help Barcelona on their way to thrash Milan 4-0. La Pulga or the Flea as he is affectionately known, has already scored 55 goals this term and recently set a record of scoring in 18 consecutive La Liga games. I guess PSG’s only hope is that Messi has two bad days at the office.

Previous Meetings

These two clubs have only ever met twice in competitive competitions, with each club winning one a piece.

PSG beat Barcelona 3-2 on aggregate at the same stage of the Champions League back in 1995.

While Barcelona avenged that defeat with a 1-0 in the UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup final in 1997.

Tactical breakdown

David Beckham will be hoping to make an impact and lead his team to the next round. (Getty Images)

David Beckham will be hoping to make an impact and lead his team to the next round. (Getty Images)

This game has many sub plots with Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Thiago Motta both returning to face their former club, as well as David Beckham returning to Spain to face his old rivals, FC Barcelona, from his playing days at Real Madrid.

PSG coach Carlo Ancelotti will probably try to replicate the tactics Milan used in their first leg win over Barca, where they prevented Barca time and space to pass the ball in the final third. But Ancelotti’s team does not really possess the type of personnel suited for such a disciplined style of play.

What they do possess is pace and guile in attack, and fighting fire with fire may well be their best option. However, I envisage PSG struggling to compete with Barcelona in the middle of the park and this quarter-final should be a fairly straightforward game for this vastly skilled and experienced Barcelona team.

 

Bayern Munich Vs Juventus

Ribery will be hoping he will have the opportunity to show what he can do. (Getty Images)

Ribery will be hoping he will have the opportunity to show what he can do. (Getty Images)

This is unquestionably the tie of the quarter-finals, as two powerhouses of European soccer clash horns for the right to play in the semi-finals.

Bayern Munich has won the coveted trophy on four separate occasions. They won three consecutive European Cups between 1974 and 1976, and won their last title in 2001 in a penalty shootout win over Valencia. The Germans have finished runners-up in two of the last three finals, but are in superb form this season and have more or less already won the German Bundesliga. Bayern have finished runners-up a record five times, but will be hoping to win their fifth Champions League before coach Jupp Haynckes retires at the end of the season.

Along with Bayern Munich, Juventus hold the record for most losses in a European Cup final—The Old Lady of Italian soccer has lost in five of her seven finals. But there is much optimism about this new Juventus side, who went the whole of last season unbeaten and currently lead the way in Serie A with a nine-point lead.

How they got here

Bayern Munich: Last year’s runners-up won their group, but only just scraped through the last round via the away-goals rule. Bayern won the first leg 1-3 away to Arsenal to give them a comfortable lead, but were made to sweat in the second leg as Arsenal won 0-2.

Juventus: The Italians topped a tough group containing Chelsea and Shakhter Donetsk. They then easily dispatched of Celtic in the last round, winning 5-0 on aggregate. However, they were rather lucky to win the first leg in Scotland, which Celtic dominated, and could well have found themselves a goal or two down had a couple of clear penalties been awarded.

Key Players

Kroos is a gifted attacking player, but his ability negate Pirlo's influence on the game could be the key to victory for Bayern. (getty Images)

Kroos is a gifted attacking player, but his ability to negate Pirlo’s influence on the game could be the key to victory for Bayern. (getty Images)

Toni Kroos: The German playmaker was excellent in Bayern’s first leg win over Arsenal, scoring the opening goal after only seven minutes. The 23-year-old is strong, good on the ball, and has an eye for goal. But against Juve he will also need to pay attention to his defensive duties, pressuring and preventing Juve’s deep lying playmaker, Andrea Pirlo, from making his mark on the game.

 

 

 

 

 

Pirlo destroyed Germany at the Euros with his slick passing, and Juve will hope he can do the same again. (Getty Images)

Pirlo destroyed Germany at the Euros with his slick passing, and Juve will hope he can do the same again. (Getty Images)

Andrea Pirlo: The 33-year-old deep lying playmaker is enjoying another terrific season with Juventus. Nicknamed “l’architetto”or the architect, Pirlo likes to pick up the ball deep and construct forward plays with his vast array of accurate passes. Pirlo can be devastating if he is given too much space to operate in, as Toni Kroos and Germany found out to their expense during last summer’s Euros.

Previous Meetings

These two powerhouses of European soccer have only ever met in the group stages of the Champions Leagues. Juve edge the meetings with three wins to Bayern’s two. However, Bayern won the last meeting 1-4 back in 2009.

Tactical Breakdown

Juventus put in a very solid and professional performance in the previous round. (Getty Images)

Juventus put in a very solid and professional performance in the previous round. (Getty Images)

This is definitely a clash of style and tactics—Bayern play the popular modern formation of 4-2-3-1 with emphasis on central passing play with the ball, and compact high pressing without the ball. Juventus employ a formation that is currently the craze in Italy, the 3-5-2 formation with its rampaging wingbacks and traditional two-man duo upfront.

Bayern are flying this season and are many people’s pick for this year’s crown, but their loss to Arsenal has shown there are a few chinks in the armor. Juve are playing well and are unbeaten in this year’s competition. They convincingly beat Celtic in the last round, but looked far from comfortable during the first leg in Scotland – Pirlo and the entire Juve side struggled when Celtic pressed them high up the field, and I expect they will struggle again when Bayern do the same.

 

 

Malaga Vs Dortmund

Dortmund are still undefeated in the Champions League this season. (Getty Images)

Dortmund are still undefeated in the Champions League this season. (Getty Images)

This is probably the least glamorous of all the quarter-finals, but it should not be any less intriguing and could well turn out to be the most exciting and entertaining of all the quarter-finals.

Malaga have enjoyed extreme success in their maiden Champions League campaign, topping a group that contained AC Milan and Zenit St Petersburg. Qatari Sheikh Abdullah Al-Thani purchased the club in 2010 and invested large sums of money on players with the promise of making Malaga a European power. Despite this, Malaga have been beset with financial woes, and at the end of last year were handed a one-season ban from European soccer by UEFA.

Borussia Dortmund are one of only two teams yet to lose a match during this season’s Champions League. German Bundesliga champions for the last two years, Dortmund have European pedigree, having won the Champions league back in 1997, and are many people’s dark horses for this year’s title.

How they got here

Malaga: After selling a number of high profile players during the summer due to financial troubles, Malaga were predicted to struggle in a group that contained Zenit St Petersburg and AC Milan. However, The Andalucians not only qualified but also managed to top the group unbeaten. They then turned around a 1-0 first leg defeat against Porto, triumphing 2-0 in the return leg to advance to the quarter-finals in their maiden Champions League season.

Dortmund: The German champions lived up to their billing as dark horses topping and going unbeaten in a tough group containing Real Madrid, Manchester City, and Ajax. Die Schwarzgelben (The Black Yellows) then brushed aside the stylish Shakhtar Donetsk in the last round winning 5-2 on aggregate.

Key Players

Isco has been Malaga's danger player. (Getty Images)

Isco has been Malaga’s danger player. (Getty Images)

Isco: The 20-year-old Spaniard has been Malaga’s top performer this year, and has been linked with a $45m move to Arsenal next season. The stylish midfielder is quick, can pass and dribble the ball, and also possesses an eye for goal—He is Malaga’s top scorer in the Champions League with three goals.

 

 

 

 

 

20-year-old Gotze already looks like the finished article. (Getty Images)

20-year-old Gotze already looks like the finished article. (Getty Images)

Mario Gotze: Striker Robert Lewandowski may grab all the headlines, but Mario Gotze is definitely the key to Dortmund’s attack. The young 20-year-old playmaker usually plays just behind the striker, but has also played in the ‘false nine’ role when Lewandowski has been out. Quick and skillful, Gotze already has two goals and four assists in this year’s competition.

Previous Meetings

These two sides have never played one another before, but Dortmund will hope to maintain their good record against Spanish opposition—the German champions have won three of the five ties they have played against Spanish opposition in the knockout stages of tournaments.

Tactical Breakdown

Malaga has been this year's surprize package. (Getty Images)

Malaga has been this year’s surprize package. (Getty Images)

Dortmund will start this quarter-final as overwhelming favorites, but Malaga have already upset the odds to make it this far and should not be underestimated.

Formation and tactics wise, it is the old school verses the new school. Malaga coach Manuel Pellegrini is a fan of the old-fashioned 4-4-2, using wingers to exploit width and create chances. Borussia Dortmund favor the currently popular 4-2-3-1 formation, playing more centrally and using their advantage of numbers in the middle to press and dominate the opposition.

Dortmund have looked like the real deal so far in the Champions League, and should take this one. But they have shown they are vulnerable when attacked down the flanks, and with Malaga favoring such a style of attack this should be an intriguing battle.

 

Real Madrid Vs Galatasaray

Real Madrid will be full of confidence after knocking out Man Utd. (Getty Images)

Real Madrid will be full of confidence after knocking out Man Utd. (Getty Images)

Real Madrid have won Europe’s most coveted prize a record nine times and will fancy their chances of winning their tenth title after a favorable draw against Galatasaray.

However, the Turkish champions do possess some world-class players and will be hoping they can reach the semi-finals for the first time since 1989.

How they got here

Madrid: The record nine time European cup winners have not had an easy route to the quarters. First they had to negotiate a tough group containing Manchester City, Ajax, and Dortmund, and then they just squeezed past Manchester United in the last round.

Galatasaray: The Turkish champions have not done things the easy way. They just about sneaked out of the group stage after a poor start, and then drew 2-2 at home with Shalke in the last round, to leave the odds stacked against them. However, the Lions then put in a sensational performance away from home winning 2-3 in Germany to advance to the quarters.

Key Players

Ronaldo is joint top-scorer in the Champions League with 8 goals. (Getty Images)

Ronaldo is joint top-scorer in the Champions League with 8 goals. (Getty Images)

Ronaldo: The Portuguese superstar admitted he struggled with the occasion of playing his former side Manchester United. However, he still scored two vitals goals to help Real progress and is currently joint top-scorer in the Champions League with eight goals.

 

 

 

 

 

Drogba won the Champions League last season with Chelsea, and his experience could be vital to Galatasaray progressing. (Getty Images)

Drogba won the Champions League last season with Chelsea, and his experience could be vital to Galatasaray progressing. (Getty Images)

Didier Drogba: Fellow Galatasaray striker Burak Yilmaz is joint top-scorer in the Champions League with Ronaldo on eight goals, but the one player that will strike fear into the Real Madrid team is Didier Drogba. The big Ivorian has a tendency to play well and score in big games, but against Madrid his biggest job will be to hold the ball up and help alleviate the pressure on the Galatasaray defense whenever possible – much like he did for Chelsea in last year’s semi-final with Barcelona.

Previous Meetings

These two sides have only ever previously met twice in Europe, with each side winning one a piece. Galatasaray won the first encounter in 2000, beating Real Madrid 1-0 in the UEFA Super Cup final. However, Madrid enacted revenge a year later, winning a Champions League quarter-final clash 5-3 on aggregate.

Tactical breakdown

Galatasaray will be hoping to knock powerhouse Madrid of their podium. (Getty Images)

Galatasaray will be hoping to knock powerhouse Madrid of their podium. (Getty Images)

On paper this looks to be the most uneven match-up of the quarter-finals, and most people expect Madrid to comfortably progress through to the semis.

However, Galatasaray do possess a tactically brave coach and players that can hurt Madrid. The problem for the Turkish Champions is that if they get too adventurous, they could leave themselves open to being exploited by the best counter-attacking team in the business.

For that reason Galatasaray will probably try to sit back, keep things compact, and hit the ball to Didier Drogba whenever possible. But whether they will have the discipline and stamina required to keep Madrid at bay for 180 minutes remains to be seen, and in all honesty this should be a walk in the park for Spanish champions.

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Bradley Labels Klinsmann Criticism ‘Shameful’
Bradley Labels Klinsmann Criticism ‘Shameful’ avatar

“Commerce City, Co. – Yeah I saw it, I think it’s shameful.” That was Michael Bradley’s reaction when asked if he had read Tuesday’s controversial Sporting News article that cited anonymous sources in and around the United States national team, and was very critical towards coach Jurgen Klinsmann.

Bradley training ahead of the game against Antigua and Barbuda. (ISI Photos/John Todd)

Bradley stated that the anonymous comments about Klinsmann are shameful. (ISI Photos/John Todd)

Klinsmann’s strategy was called into question and the U.S. coach was said to regularly change tactics at the last minute, leaving his players ill prepared. Players were said to be shocked that Carlos Bocanegra was dropped from the starting lineup on the day of the Honduras match. It was also reported in the piece by Brian Strauss that some of the American born players felt that the German born contingent were preferred by Klinsmann, and sources suggested that the “Germericans,” are not as passionate about the U.S. team as native born players.

Speaking after a closed training session Wednesday evening at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park, as the American team prepared to face Costa Rica, Bradley was clearly angered that any player would break the sanctity of the locker room. “I think it’s embarrassing, Bradley said.” He spoke quietly, thoughtfully; forcefully making his point. “I think for every guy who has ever played on a team, you give everything you have,” Bradley explained.

Klinsmann's decisions have obviously left someone bitter. (ISI Photos/Brad Shea

Klinsmann’s decisions have obviously left someone bitter. (ISI Photos/Brad Shea

“At any team in the world,” Bradley went on, “not every guy is going to be happy, on every team in the world, there’s going to be guys that go back to their room and talk to their roommate about things that they wish could be different, about things that could be done in a different way.”

“But that’s normal,” Bradley added. “If that wasn’t going on, then something wouldn’t be right.” “But,” Bradley emphasized, “you cross a line when you take those thoughts and you take your disappointments, outside of the team.” He never raised his voice, but Bradley was clearly aggravated as he spoke.

“So for me,” Bradley said, getting to the crux of the matter, “it doesn’t help anybody, it doesn’t help anything that we are trying to do this week.” Then taking dead aim at the anonymous sources, Bradley said this. “When you play in a team you have a chance every day to give everything you have.” “And part of that means,” Bradley said, “having the balls to say things to guys to their face and having the balls to say things in front of the team.”

“In those ways,” the Roma man said, “it’s really disappointing.” But Bradley does not believe that this controversy will impact the team’s performance in these two crucial games. “The challenge of every guy in our team right now is to step on the field Friday night and to make sure that for every American watching, that there is no sign of anything that’s gone wrong this week.”

“It’s our job,” Bradley underlined, “to represent ourselves, to represent our country in a way that makes everyone proud.” Bradley didn’t attempt any spin on the controversy. “ I think we let ourselves down in that way, but like I said, the best part about sports is that when you step on the field you have a chance to put everything right, and so our chance is on Friday night.”

When Bradley and the U.S. team do step on that field on Friday night, they will be led out by acting captain Clint Dempsey. Bradley was one who many thought would get the armband, but Dempsey is certainly worthy.

Dempsey  (Getty Images)

Dempsey has been named as Captain for the upcoming game. (Getty Images)

“It’s an honor,” Dempsey said. Named as captain for the upcoming World Cup qualifiers against Costa Rica and Mexico, Dempsey continued, “You want to go out and represent your country, you have more pressure on your shoulders and you’ve got to step up to the task.” Dempsey explained his approach to the captaincy, “I’ll do my best to lead by example, and try to help this team get the right result.”

If the U.S. can get that,“right result,” they might find that winning games is the best way to kill a controversy.

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Lend a hand at The Ken Smith Memorial Scramble
Lend a hand at The Ken Smith Memorial Scramble avatar

Courtesy of NTSSA

Courtesy of NTSSA

The Ken Smith Memorial Scramble- the annual golf tournament held to raise funds for North Texas referees- is set to take off May 14 at the Canyon Creek Country Club in Richardson, TX.

Held each spring, this fun spirited competition provides the resources necessary for the Ken Smith Memorial Scholarship program. This is one of the few athletic scholarships offered for young refs.

The request for more financial assistance for referees has risen, prompting the need to offer more scholarships. That is where North Texas youth soccer members can help!

There are many ways to lend a helping hand! Check out some volunteer options below and for more details on the event, please visit the NTSSA Website.

  • Playing in the scramble can be the most exciting way to help — and no, you don’t need a single-digit handicap to have a great time or win one of our great prizes.
  • Volunteering the day of the scramble is great fun for those that choose not to play.
  • Making a direct cash donation
  • Becoming a sponsor
  • Making a donation for the raffle and/or auction
  • Helping find individuals and/or businesses for any of the above

 

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MLS – The Big 5
MLS – The Big 5 avatar

The Big 5 is a new weekly column from GotSoccer, where we will look around the league and select the top five talking points from around the league this week. Because this is our first one, we will include events from the opening three weeks of the the MLS season.

1) Klinsmann Names 9 MLS Players To U.S. Squad

Gonzalez in action for LA Galaxy. (ISI Photos/David Bernal)

Gonzalez in action for LA Galaxy. (ISI Photos/David Bernal)

With the USMNT in an injury crisis, coach Jurgen Klinsmann turned to the domestic league for nine of his 23 selections. Seven players from the league made the ill-fated trip to Honduras, so two additional players might not seem like much, until we take a look at the U.S. defense. In San Pedro Sula, three of the nine defenders for the Yanks were MLS players. In the roster for the upcoming matches versus Costa Rica and Mexico, Klinsmann selected just six defenders and four earn their paychecks in MLS.

Klinsmann has conceded that he may dip into his experienced midfield pool for some defensive help, and Omar Gonzalez could well be the only one of the four to see minutes in these two games. But, Klinsmann has been known to throw his young players into the deep end, see Gonzalez, Omar vs Honduras, so Matt Besler, Justin Morrow and Tony Beltran are advised to lace em up tight, just in case.

2) Concacaf Champions League

Robbie Keane will be looking lead the team to a successful tournament. (Getty Images)

Robbie Keane will be looking lead the team to a successful tournament. (Getty Images)

With the MLS season barely underway two of the leagues clubs, the defending champions Los Angeles Galaxy and the Seattle Sounders, have each earned their way into the Concacaf Champions League (CCL), and Don Garber has to be smiling. The Commissioner put the league in the spotlight recently when he reiterated remarks from last year, saying that MLS can and will be one of the top soccer leagues in the world by 2022.

The Galaxy face two time defending CCL champs Monterrey, while Seattle go against Santos Laguna and U.S. international Herculez Gomez. Can either MLS side not only get to the final, but win it? Maybe. Of the two, L.A. may be the more likely champ, despite playing the two time defenders. The Sounders benefitted from playing a Tigres B team in an exciting quarterfinal, and Santos are a good team. Monterrey are not having a great Liga MX campaign, and the Galaxy are deep and talented.

3) Obafemi Martins Really, Really Wanted To Play in the MLS

Martins will bring a lot of excitement to the MLS and should make an instant impact.

Martins will bring a lot of excitement to the MLS and should make an instant impact.

Seattle’s signing of Martins from Levante in Spain’s La Liga is a firm slap in the face to all those who persist in calling MLS a retirement league. The 28 year old Nigerian left Levante as the team’s leading scorer and is a member of the Nigerian national team.

Martins was so anxious to join the Sounders, that the former Internazionale and Newcastle striker paid his own $3.9 million buyout fee. Then Martins flew to Seattle played 20 minutes in a 1-1 draw with Portland, and jumped back on a flight to Nigeria, to prepare for the Super Eagles World Cup qualifier versus Kenya. In a purely soccer sense, signing Martins in what should be his prime years, could turn out to be one of the most significant moves in league history.

4) Montreal Are Making An Impact

Marco Di Viao has been impressive for Montreal. (ISI Photos/Nick Turchiaro)

Marco Di Viao has been impressive for Montreal. (ISI Photos/Nick Turchiaro)

Sorry, I couldn’t help myself. Off to a 3-0 start in just their second year in MLS, Montreal have been the surprise team of the early MLS season. After a controversy laden off-season, that saw Montreal fire coach Jesse Marsch after an impressive inaugural campaign, Montreal management are looking good. Bringing in Marco Schnallibaum, who had never coached outside his native Switzerland, seemed chancey, but Montreal have been solid defensively, and have shared the scoring load. Each of their five goals in their first three games has come from a different player.

Alessandro Nesta and Marco Di Vaio lead the Italian veteran brigade, and they are surrounded by talented players like Davey Arnaud, Felipe Martins, Patrice Bernier and goalkeeper Troy Perkins. With tough road wins against Seattle and Portland to start the season, Montreal has already equaled their total of away victories from 2012, and sit alone atop the Eastern Conference at a perfect 3-0-0. It’s a marathon not a sprint to the MLS playoffs, but at least Montreal are out of the blocks in good shape.

5) In MLS, U.S. Youth is Being Served

McInerney (R) celebrates his goal against Houston. (ISI Photos/ Howard C. Smith)

McInerney (R) celebrates his goal against Houston. (ISI Photos/ Howard C. Smith)

And not in a negative, “you’ve been served way.” More in a given a chance to shine way. The United States U20 team that qualified for the 2013 World Cup this summer in Turkey brought the American youth system into the spotlight, and for the first time in a good while, that glare revealed some positives.

U20 star Jose Villarreal has stepped into the early season L.A. Galaxy lineup and shown he is ready to play with the grown ups. The 19 year old scored a great goal in CCL play to help L.A. advance to the semifinals, and his 18 year old teammate Jack McBean also added a late goal in that match. McBean then notched the Galaxy’s lone goal in 1-1 draw with rival Chivas USA at the weekend.

CCL play also saw Seattle’s first ever Homegrown Player signing DeAndre Yedlin shine. The 19 year old right fullback loves to get forward and his long range blast put Seattle on the road to the Champions League semis. Look for Yedlin to play his way onto Ramos’ team for Turkey.

Finally, Philadelphia’s Jack McInerney scored his second game winner in as many weeks as the Union topped New England on Saturday. Still just 20 years old, the former U.S. youth star has flourished with increased playing time under coach John Hackworth. The opportunistic striker scored all eight of his 2012 goals after Hackworth took over from Peter Nowak last season. McInerney’s goal scoring touch has carried over to the 2013 season, he has half of Philly’s four goals so far.

These are just some of the young U.S. players earning their stripes early in this MLS season, an encouraging sign for the league and hopefully a trend that will continue.

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22 Academy Clubs added to U13/14 division
22 Academy Clubs added to U13/14 division avatar

USSoccer Development Academy announced this week that 22 new clubs will be added to a U13/14 division for the fall 2013 season.

The younger age group division will put an emphasis on the same concepts of existing academy clubs, such as more training, less games and challenging competition, but will specifically focus on local games and an added winter component.

“We feel that it is very important to spread the Academy philosophy to an expanded pool of players and clubs in this age group as we launch our first season of U-13/14 programming this fall,” Development Academy Director of Scouting Tony Lepore said in a press conference. “The new clubs have the qualities we look for in the areas of coaching, player pools, training programs, facilities, infrastructure and age-appropriate development philosophy.”

Get he latest Developmental Academy news updates on the USSoccer website. The following clubs have been accepted as part of the new U-13/14 program:

Los Angeles/San Diego Market (5 clubs):
Albion SC (San Diego, Calif.)
Central California Aztecs (Bakersfield, Calif.)
FC Golden State (Pasadena, Calif.)
Los Angeles Futbal Academy (Los Angeles, Calif.)
Santa Barbara Soccer Club (Santa Barbara, Calif.)

San Francisco Market (7 clubs):
Ballistic United Soccer Club (Pleasanton, Calif.)
Burlingame Soccer Club (Burlingame, Calif.)
Diablo Futbol Club (Concord, Calif.)
Juventus Sport Club (Redwood City, Calif.)
Marin FC Alliance (Greenbrae, Calif.)
Merced Atlas Soccer Academy (Merced, Calif.)
Placer United Soccer Club (Rocklin, Calif.)

New York/New England Market (3 clubs):
Beachside of Connecticut Soccer Club (Norwalk, Conn.)
New York Soccer Club (Chappaqua, N.Y.)
World Class FC (WCFC) (Orangeburg, N.Y.)

Washington, D.C. Market (2 clubs):
Bethesda Soccer Club/OBGC Soccer (Frederick, Md.)
Soccer Association of Columbia (Ellicott City, Md.)

Carolina Market (2 clubs):
Carolina Elite Soccer Academy (Greenville, S.C.)
North Carolina Alliance (Hillsborough, N.C.)

Florida Market (3 clubs):
Boca United Football Club (Boca Raton, Fla.)
Jacksonville FC (Jacksonville, Fla.)
Tampa Bay United (Tampa, Fla.)

 

 

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Klinsmann – A Must Game
Klinsmann – A Must Game avatar

United States coach Jurgen Klinsmann laid it on the line when spoke to the press via conference call a couple of hours after releasing the USMNT roster for the upcoming World Cup qualifiers against Costa Rica and Mexico, calling the game against the Ticos, “a must win.”

Klinsmann made it clear about his intent. (Getty Images)

Klinsmann made it clear about his intent. (Getty Images)

Speaking of Friday’s game in Colorado, Klinsmann admitted that, “every home game in a Hexagonal is a must win situation.” “You want to get all the points possible in your home games,” the coach added.

Klinsmann’s team will have to get those points with a makeshift and inexperienced defense, one that is missing leaders like goalkeeper Tim Howard, fullback Steve Cherundolo and captain and central defender Carlos Bocanegra.

Of the three, only Bocanegra’s omission came as a surprise at this point. Klinsmann said it was simply a matter of Bocanegra’s lack of playing time at Racing Santander. “He’s not getting any minutes with Racing Santander, a second division team in Spain,” Klinsmann pointed out. According to Klinsmann the veteran, “understands that situation.” “Carlos,” Klinsmann adds, “is still in our picture.” “This is not the end of his national team career,” Klinsmann said, adding that he expects Bocanegra to make a move from Santander when his loan ends in two months.

Klinsmann was upfront in saying that he will consider his options when it comes to picking his back four, praising Tony Beltran and Justin Morrow, while saying, “we also have other options coming out of midfield, so I’m comfortable that we are covered.”

“You can look at Mo in different ways,” Klinsmann said speaking of nominal midfielder Maurice Edu. Klinsmann called Edu’s central defense stint last August against Mexico very successful, saying, “it worked really well, we know he can play on the side as well.” So Edu sounds like a strong likelihood in a defensive role versus Costa Rica.

Bradley has seen limited play for his club side Roma. (Getty Images)

Bradley has seen limited play for his club side Roma. (Getty Images)

Klinsmann seems to harbor no doubts regarding center back Omar Gonzalez, who came in for heavy criticism for his performance in the U.S. loss to Honduras in February. “Overall he played an absolutely ok game.” Somewhat faint praise, but Klinsmann went on to say that, “we believe there is a real special player coming through the system.”

Two players that Klinsmann professed complete confidence in are Clint Dempsey and Michael Bradley. Bradley has seen his playing time reduced since Roma brought in a new coach and Dempsey has missed time recently with a calf strain.

“We are very confident,” Klinsmann said when asked if Dempsey could play two full games. The coach revealed that Dempsey missed the recent Europa League match with Inter because, “he stayed home because of the birth of his third child, which we are totally happy and thrilled for him and his family.” Klinsmann noted that Dempsey played the second half on Sunday against Fulham and said, “that we are confident that he can go the full distance in both games.”

Michael Bradley is another of his star players that Klinsmann feels good about. “Michael is the type of a player that even if he’s on the bench for one game or two games, he fights his way back into the team right away again and we’re confident that he’s doing that in Roma as well.”

Donovan - door still open says Klinsmann (ISI Photos/John Dorton)

Donovan – door still open says Klinsmann (ISI Photos/John Dorton)

Of course one player that won’t be available for these next two games, and not for reason of injury or illness, is Landon Donovan. “The door is always open,” Klinsmann said once again, but he added, “I will make decisions based on what I think is best for this team going forward.” “As of now,” Klinsmann concluded, “he is not part of the plans because quite simply he is not even playing or training.”

23 players named today will be in Dick’s Sporting Goods Park in Commerce City, Colorado on to face Costa Rica on Friday night. How important is this game to the U.S. chances of advancing to the 2014 World Cup? Like Klinsmann said, “a must game.”

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Klinsmann Leaves Out Bocanegra
Klinsmann Leaves Out Bocanegra avatar

Jurgen Klinsmann named an MLS heavy squad to take on Costa Rica and Mexico in World Qualifiers Friday in Commerce City, Colorado and next Tuesday in Mexico City. A spate of injuries over the weekend added to some existing knocks reduced Klinsmann’s options, particularly at the fullback position, where Tony Beltran, Real Salt Lake and San Jose Earthquakes Justin Morrow, were the only fullbacks named to a six man defense.

 A shock to many as Bocanegra finds himself excluded from the squad . (ISI Photos/Nick Turchiaro)

A shock to many as Bocanegra finds himself excluded from the squad . (ISI Photos/Nick Turchiaro)

Eight spots are normally allocated to defenders, but despite electing to carry just six, team captain Carlos Bocanegra was not included. Bocanegra has fallen out of favor with his club team, Racing Santander of the Spanish second flight, so Klinsmann decided not to bring in the experienced, versatile but rusty defender.

The injury list grew longer in weekend action around the world, with the U.S. defense astonishingly hard hit. A look at the fullback positions gives an idea of just how hard the injury bug bit. Timmy Chandler was expected to make his second straight WCQ start in place of Steve Cherundolo who remains unavailable with a knee problem. Chandler though, picked up a hamstring injury and can’t go. Jonathan Spector has been playing for Birmingham City and might have filled in, only he picked up an ankle knock. Regular left back Fabian Johnson has been battling a hip injury, but Klinsmann recently said that the Hoffenheim man would be good to go. Apparently not. Edgar Castillo has been getting raves for his play in Mexico, but his facial injuries will keep him out. It had been hoped that Castillo might beat the clock, and make it back for these two vital games. Klinsmann could have turned to Michael Parkhurst, but the versatile backliner hasn’t seen much action since his move to Bundesliga strugglers Augsburg.

Midfielder Danny Williams came up ill, Jose Torres has a hamstring issue and of course Tim Howard is out with a bad back. Klinsmann must be thanking his lucky stars that Clint Dempsey came through his 45 minute stint for Tottenham versus his old club Fulham on Sunday without any complaints. That we know of at least.

Brek Shea sees himself being called back to the squad - somewhat prematurely. (ISI Photos/John Todd)

Brek Shea sees himself being called back to the squad – somewhat prematurely. (ISI Photos/John Todd)

Old friend DaMarcus Beasley has been invited in from the cold after having fallen out the national team picture and Clarence Goodson’s play for Brondy earned the central defender a recall. Maurice Edu has been named at midfield but Klinsmann likes the Bursaspor loanee in central defense, so he could be an option for the stretched defense. Outside midfielder Brek Shea has convinced Klinsmann and his staff that he is recovered from his injury and is ready to play a role, so the Stoke newboy is on the roster.

Dempsey and co should definitely be a threat. (ISI Photos/Michael Janosz)

Dempsey and co should definitely be a threat. (ISI Photos/Michael Janosz)

The midfield and forward lines are relatively intact, in fact the five forwards may be the Americans strongest unit, unusual for the U.S. Dempsey leads the attacking group, but Jozy Altidore, Herculez Gomez, Eddie Johnson and Terrence Boyd, provide plenty of potential firepower.

Michael Bradley and Jermaine Jones will lead the midfield, but the backline, a question mark before the weekend, has become an absolute riddle. Leaving the Mexico match aside for a moment, will Kinsmann send Beltran and Morrow, two internationally untested fullbacks out against Costa Rica with so much on the line? Maybe the versatile Geoff Cameron will slide over from his center back spot. Beasley has played the fullback spot, or maybe Edu will be entrusted with the job.

Fascinating stuff, and so little margin for error.

U.S. ROSTER BY POSITION (World Cup qualifying Caps/Goals) – Detailed Roster
GOALKEEPERS (3) : Brad Guzan (Aston Villa – 5/3 SO), Sean Johnson (Chicago Fire – 0/0), Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake – 0/0)
DEFENDERS (6) : Tony Beltran (Real Salt Lake – 0/0), Matt Besler (Sporting Kansas City – 0/0), Geoff Cameron (Stoke City – 6/0), Omar Gonzalez (LA Galaxy – 1/0), Clarence Goodson (Brondby – 5/0), Justin Morrow (San Jose Earthquakes – 0/0)
MIDFIELDERS (9) : DaMarcus Beasley (Puebla – 26/6), Kyle Beckerman (Real Salt Lake – 2/0), Michael Bradley (Roma – 20/5), Joe Corona (Club Tijuana – 1/0), Maurice Edu (Bursaspor – 10/0), Jermaine Jones (Schalke 04 – 6/0), Sacha Kljestan (Anderlecht – 13/0), Brek Shea (Stoke City – 2/0), Graham Zusi (Sporting Kansas City – 4/0)
FORWARDS (5 ): Jozy Altidore (AZ Alkmaar – 18/6), Terrence Boyd (Rapid Vienna – 2/0), Clint Dempsey (Tottenham Hotspur – 27/11), Herculez Gomez (Santos – 6/2), Eddie Johnson (Seattle Sounders FC – 12/10)

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Fort Wayne Fever celebrate 10th anniversary with senior night
Fort Wayne Fever celebrate 10th anniversary with senior night avatar

Fort Wayne Fever celebrated their 10th year anniversary with a special senior night Feb. 22 to honor U18 club players that have been on the team since it’s start.

Congratulations to Maddie Messman, Danielle Cologne, Kaitlyn Hayes, Tyler VanCamp, Olivia Knispel, Lexi Kolar, Natalie Disher and Natalie Lebamof who will be leaving the club to start their college careers!

Fort Wayne Fever Director of Coaching, Bobby Poursanidis said, “We wish you the best of luck in whatever the future brings their way! We are so proud of what you have accomplished thus far, and hope that you will continue down the path of success, never forgetting where you came from. You will always remain a part of the Fever Family.”

Read the full story on the Indiana Soccer Association website: Click Here

 

Courtesy of Indiana Soccer

Courtesy of Indiana Soccer

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MYSA to hold live draw for 2013 President’s Cup
MYSA to hold live draw for 2013 President’s Cup avatar

The draw for the 2013 Spring Presidents Cup will take place live & online next Tuesday night at 7:00 PM.

The 2012-2013 Missouri Spring Presidents Cup will be held April 6-7th, 2013 at the Raytown Soccer Complex in Raytown, MO. The tournament is for U12-U14 girls and U12-U17 boys. Champions (U13-U17) from this event will advance to the Regional Presidents Cup Tournament next June in Overland Park, Kansas.

Get all of the details by visiting the MYSA Website: Click Here

Courtesy of MYSA

Courtesy of MYSA

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Lexington Legends to host Youth Soccer Night
Lexington Legends to host Youth Soccer Night avatar

Courtesy of KYSA

Courtesy of KYSA

Get your teammates, family and friends together for Youth Soccer Night hosted by the Lexington Legends at Whitaker Bank Ballpark April 27.

This fun filled night is open to all youth soccer programs, teams, leagues and their families for a night of soccer activities and fireworks!

Tickets are $7 for box level seats, and a discount will apply for ten or more tickets purchased.

Mark your calendars! For more information please visit the KYSA website: Click Here

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NJYS State Team Tryouts
NJYS State Team Tryouts avatar

Final State Team tryouts for the 2013 ODP season are being held at the College of New Jersey for all NJYS players ready to take their skills to the next level.

These tryouts are for players selected from the initial pool tryouts that were held in July/August 2012, and also for all returning Regional/National players selected at the July/August 2012 U.S. Youth Soccer camps.

For more information, please visit the NJYS website: Click Here

  • Boys tryouts: April 2 and April 9 from 5:30pm- dusk
  • Girls tryouts: April 3 and April 10 from 5:30pm- dusk

 

 

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