Indiana ODP Players Selected for Regional Camp
Indiana ODP Players Selected for Regional Camp avatar

Indiana Soccer ODP players from all age groups (except 2002) have been selected to attend the 2013 ODP Regional Camp! Click on the links below to see who the lucky players are and for more information please visit the Indiana Soccer website.

 2013 State Teams

2001 Girls (will be up next week and is a list of those attending camp)

2001 Boys (will be up next week and is a list of those attending camp)

Check out the dates, location and costs for the camps below.

Boys

  • 96/97/98: July 5-7, Rockford, $450
  • 99: July 7-10, Rockford, $700
  • 00: July 10-13, Rockford, $700
  • 01: July 13-16, Rockford, $575

Girls

  • 96/97/98: July 5-7, Rockford, $450
  • 99: July 7-10, DeKalb, $700
  • 00: July 10-13, DeKalb, $700
  • 01: July 13-16, DeKalb, $575

 

 

 

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UEFA Champions League Final
UEFA Champions League Final avatar

When England’s National stadium, Wembley, was confirmed as the host for the 2013 Champions League final I’m sure the FA was happy that football would be coming home during its 150th anniversary—instead, Fussball’s coming home as Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund meet in the first all-German European Cup final at the spiritual home of football.

Ariel view of England's Wembley Stadium - where the CL Final will take place on Saturday. (Getty Images)

Aerial view of England’s Wembley Stadium – where the CL Final will take place on Saturday. (Getty Images)

Despite being the home of English soccer, Wembley has actually been fairly kind to Germany down the years—Bert Trautmann won the FA Cup here with Manchester City back in 1956, in which the German keeper continued playing despite breaking his neck. Oliver Bierhoff scored the first ‘golden goal’ here to give Germany victory over the Czech Republic in the Euro 96 final. Dietmar Hamann scored a free-kick here to gift Germany a 1-0 victory over England in the last ever game at the old Wembley stadium. Heck, even Formula One driver Michael Schumacher has won here, with victories in 2007 and 2008 at the Race of Champions.

The famous stadium is set to once again bring smiles to German faces on Saturday May 25, though on this occasion half of the 50,000 strong German contingent that are expected to descend upon the hallowed turf will also leave with frowns.

Borussia Dortmund v Bayern Munich

Borussia Dortmund are appearing in the Champions League final for the first time in 16-years, when they won the Champions League with a 3-1 victory over Juventus in their only previous UEFA Champions League final appearance.

Dortmund's fans have created an electrifying atmosphere in previous games. (Getty Images)

Dortmund’s fans have created an electrifying atmosphere in previous games. (Getty Images)

After that triumph Dortmund went into decline both domestically and abroad, and were actually on the brink of bankruptcy back in 2005—needing a €2 million loan from their Champions League final opponents, Bayern Munich, to pay their players.

In 2008, Dortmund employed Jürgen Klopp to take over the reigns as manager, and have not looked back since, winning two Budesliga titles and a German Cup. Die Schwarzgelben (The Black Yellows) are now just one game away from completing the fairytale ending to their amazing story.

Bayern Munich have been the most outstanding team of the tournament thus far. (Getty Images)

Bayern Munich have been the most outstanding team of the tournament thus far. (Getty Images)

German Champions Bayern Munich arrive in London hoping to right the wrongs of last season, when they lost the final on their home patch to Chelsea. The Bavarians, who are appearing in their third final in four years, also lost the 2010 final, so will be hoping to make it third time lucky at Wembley.

Bayern will join Liverpool on five European Cup wins and become the joint-third most successful club in the competition’s history behind Real Madrid and AC Milan if they beat Dortmund in London. However, Bayern’s record in finals does not bode well for them—the Bavarians hold the record for most losses in finals, having lost five of the nine finals they have appeared in.

How they got here

Dortmund: Dortmund topped the “group of death” containing Real Madrid, Man City, and Ajax. Die Borussen (The Borussians) then eased past a tricky Shakhtar Donetsk 5-2 in the second round, and overcame Malaga 3-2 in the quarters with two dramatic stoppage-time goals, before surviving a late Real Madrid onslaught in the semi-final to progress to their first final since 1997.

Bayern: The German champions eased through their group unbeaten, but only just edged past Arsenal in the second round thanks to the ‘away goals’ rule. The Bavarians then brushed aside Juventus 4-0 on aggregate in the quarters, before blowing aside Barcelona in the semi-final with a record 7-0 aggregate win.

Key Players

Dortmund

Robert Lewandowski could be Dortmund's danger man (Getty Images)

Robert Lewandowski could be Dortmund’s danger man (Getty Images)

Robert Lewandowski: The Polish international demonstrated why he has been the center of transfer speculation all season with a breathtaking display against Real Madrid, where he became the first player to score four goals in a UEFA Champions League semi-final match. Quick, strong, and adept at finishing, Lewandowski has scored the baulk of Dortmund’s goals domestically (24 goals in 31 games) and in Europe (11 goals in 10 games) this season. Dortmund will need the striker to be at his best against a Bayern defense that has only conceded 18 goals domestically all season.

Marco Reus: Mario Gotze has grabbed most of the headlines recently—especially as he will move to Dortmund’s rivals Bayern Munich in the summer—but Marco Reus has shown he is every bit as good and perhaps more dangerous than his teammate. The 23-year-old can pass and finish, but it’s his ability to effortlessly glide past players at pace that really mark him out from the crowd. Finals are often decided by a moment of genius and Reus could be the player to produce that spark for Dortmund.

Ilkay Gündogan in action against Real Madrid (Getty Images)

Ilkay Gündogan in action against Real Madrid (Getty Images)

Ilkay Gündogan: The German international has been in sensational form for club and country this season. Lewandowski, Gotze and Rues may hog the headlines for Dortmund, but it is Gündogan that gets them playing. The 22-year-old works incredibly hard and rarely, if ever is wastes possession. Gündogan usually sets the tempo for Dortmund’s play and if he can get a foothold on the game the Borussians could be half-way to claiming their second Champions League trophy.

Lukasz Piszczek: The Polish right-back has been in inspirational form recently—especially considering he is nursing a hip injury that needs operating on in the summer. Piszczek is Dortmund’s equivalent of Dani Alves providing defensive cover at the back while offering width in attack. In the final his primary job will be to stop Bayern’s wide duo of Ribery and Alaba, who have been involved in five of Bayern’s last 11 goals in the Champions League.

Bayern Munich

Mario Mandžukić has outstanding for Bayern and helped them to the final. (Getty Images)

Mario Mandžukić has outstanding for Bayern and helped them to the final. (Getty Images)

Mario Mandžukić: The Croatian international has been a sensation since joining from Wolfsburg last summer, restricting Mario Gomez—Bayern’s top scorer for the last two seasons—to a place on the bench. Mandžukić is not an out-and-out goal scorer like Gomez, but his ability to tirelessly press and harry the opposition high up the field have been one of the cornerstones of Bayern’s success this season. In the quarters Mandžukić did a great job on Juventus’s Pirlo and in the final he will have the task of pressing and stopping Gündogan from dictating the pace of the game.

Javier Martinez: Martinez was excellent in Bayern’s destruction of Barcelona in the semis. Strong and powerful, Martinez is not your typical Spanish player, but he is more than just a bruiser, mixing physicality off the ball with poise on it. In the final his job will be to protect the backline and break-up the interplay between Dortmund’s holy trinity of Gotze, Reus and Lewandowski—who have arguably been Europe’s most exciting attacking force this season.

Robben was fantastic in the semis agains Barcelona. (Getty images)

Robben was fantastic in the semis agains Barcelona. (Getty images)

Arjen Robben: Robben has been a fringe player for most the season, but an injury to Toni Kroos allowed the Dutchman a chance to reestablish himself and boy has he taken it—Robben has notched three goals and three assists in his last four appearances for Bayern. The winger’s pace and skill mean he can create and scores goals all on his own. Robben has been guilty of playing selfishly in the past, but against Barca he showed he could also play for the team. Dortmund are a fantastic team, but they are vulnerable down the flacks—especially down their left side—and if Robben can isolate left-back Marcel Schmelzer they could be in trouble.

Dante: The Brazilian center back was brought in during the close season to challenge and keep the rest of the players on their toes, but he has since established himself as the club’s first choice defender. Dante is an elegant defender, who is graceful on the ball and in the tackle. In the final his job will be to shut out Dortmund’s Lewandowski who has scored 36 times in all competitions this season.

Previous Meetings

These two clubs only meeting in Europe came back in the 1997-1998 Champions League quarter-finals with Dortmund—then defending champions—coming out on top 1-0 on aggregate.

Bayern dominate domestic meetings with 45 wins compared to Dortmund’s 26, with 29 draws. However, Dortmund have not lost to their rivals in over three years in the Bundesliga—though Bayern have beaten Dortmund twice this season in cup competitions.

Tactical analysis

Many fans and pundits predicted a Barcelona and Real Madrid final, but Bayern and Dortmund have been the best and most consistent sides in the Champions League this year, and more than deserve their spots in the final.

Dortmund will be hoping that they can keep Bayern at bay (Getty Images)

Dortmund will be hoping that they can keep Bayern at bay (Getty Images)

Bayern will start as overwhelming favorites after destroying Barcelona in the semi-finals, but their games against Dortmund have been close this season and I expect this one will be too.

Bayern and Dortmund both employ a 4-2-3-1 formation but adopt different styles. Bayern play a system mixing discipline and strength in defense with pace and power in attack, while Dortmund mix intense pressing off the ball with fast interplays and transitions on it.

High pressing

One of the key battles will be offense versus deep-lying playmakers. Dortmund’s Ilkay Gündogan and Bayern’s Bastian Schweinsteiger have both had terrific seasons and are chiefly responsible for controlling the tempo and flow of their sides.

Bayern used a combination of Müller, Kroos and Mandzukic to press and stop Andrea Pirlo orchestrating Juve’s attacks in the quarters, while Dortmund’s trio of Lewandowski, Reus and Gotze did the same to Xabi Alonso in their 4-1 first leg victory over Real Madrid. So don’t expect Gündogan or Schweinsteiger to have lots of space or time on the ball in the final.

In the quarters, Malaga placed Duda on Gündogan and Dortmund failed to play with their usual fluidity and rhythm. But if the young 22-year-old can get a foothold on the game Dortmund will fancy their chances of springing an upset.

Wingers versus full-backs

Another area where this game could be won and lost is on the wings. Dortmund are a tremendous team, but if there is one area where they are vulnerable it is down the flanks, which is good news for Bayern who possess perhaps the most fearsome wide quartet in history, with Robben and Lahm on the right, and Ribery and Alaba on the left.

Ribery (L) and Alaba (R) celebrating the fastest goal in CL history. (Getty Images)

Ribery (L) and Alaba (R) celebrating the fastest goal in CL history. (Getty Images)

Frank Ribery has probably had the season of his life, and his partnership with David Alaba this season has been one of the reasons behind Bayern’s incredible success. However, Dortmund right-back Lukasz Piszczek is having an outstanding season and is as reliable as full-backs come. Meanwhile, ahead of him is fellow Pole Jakub Błaszczykowski who usually does a fine job of covering his compatriot.

Dortmund’s left-flank, however, is not so well protected, and I would not be surprised if Bayern focus their attacks down the right flank and try to create two-on-one situations for Robben and Lahm to attack left-back Marcel Schmelzer.

There has been a lot of fuss over whether Mario Gotze will be fit enough to play in the final—especially as he has already agreed to join Bayern in the summer—but the playmaker’s absence could prove to be a blessing in disguise for Dortmund, as Kevin Großkreutz—who will be come in and play on the left-wing—is likely to provide more defensive cover for Schmelzer than Marco Reus would, who will drop inside into Gotze’s positions.

Quick transitions and interplay

A lot of Dortmund’s game plan will revolve around whether Mario Gotze starts or not. The Borussians have arguably played the most attractive free flowing attacking soccer in this year’s competition, and that has largely been thanks to Dortmund’s attacking triangle of Lewandowski, Reus and Gotze.

The trio has been the focal point for Dortmund’s attack this season, and their fast passages of pass and movement interplays have unhinged and bamboozled a whole host of Europe’s best defenses. If Gotze does not play it will definitely be a blow for Dortmund, but they proved they could play without the German magician in the second-leg against Madrid and will be confident of their chances with or with out the mercurial young talent.

Too close to call

This is a final between two magnificent teams that know each other extremely well. Bayern are the overwhelming favorites, but I expect this game to be a lot closer and more competitive than many people are predicting.

Dortmund’s weakness is definitely down the flanks, and that could spell disaster against a Bayern side that scored all seven of their goals against Barca from wide positions. However, the difference here is Dortmund can defend crosses, while Barca could not.

Should be a very interesting final and who scores first could be crucial. (Getty images)

Should be a very interesting final and who scores first could be crucial. (Getty images)

Bayern are in the midst of an amazing season and still on course to complete an historic treble. The Bavarians are the epitome of German efficiency, looking strong and disciplined in every department—they have scored an amazing 98 goals and conceded only 18 in 34 domestic games this season—so on paper this should be a simple Bayern win.

But finals are not won on paper, they are won on the field, and Bayern have choked twice as favorites in the final in recent years.

Soccer is a simple game of defense versus attack. Bayern are undoubtedly the better team defensively, and are also terrific going forward. But Dortmund seem to have that spark of creativity and imagination about them, the ability to string a passage of play together and create a goal in an instant, and in a tight game this skill to think outside the box and conjure up a piece of magic could well prove to be the difference.

My heart says Dortmund, but my head says Bayern.

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NWSL Week 6 – Sky Blue Stun Thorns
NWSL Week 6 – Sky Blue Stun Thorns avatar

Rookie Taylor Lytle Puts a Stop to the Thorns Undefeated Reign

It was a battle of the best at JELD-WEN Field in Portland, as the Thorns took on Sky Blue FC last Thursday in a match that stunned fans on both sides when Sky Blue midfielder Taylor Lytle scored the golden goal that gave her team the big win and put an abrupt stop to the Thorns undefeated streak.

The match is best summed up by the fantastic goal from this first time scorer. It came in the 80th minute after a long game of Thorns constant attack on a resilient Sky Blue defense.

(ISI Photos/Howard C. Smith)

Lytle in action for Sky Blue.(ISI Photos/Howard C. Smith)

Lytle was put in as a substitute for just a few minutes before the end of the game. The ball found her feet after a corner kick and in a split second Lytle belted it in from 30 yards out, upsetting the Thorns and snatching the win for Sky Blue FC.

“To lose at home, it stings that much more, but it’s good to have it early in the season,” Thorns goalkeeper Karina LeBlanc said in a press conference. “There’s a lot of things we’re going to learn from it.”

Sky Blue goalkeeper Brittany Cameron had a nice shut out as well, keeping five Alex Morgan shots and four Christine Sinclair shots out of her team’s net.

Scoring Summary

  • SBFC- Lytle 80

Sky Blue is Unstoppable

The Sky Blue FC women continued to surge forward, defeating Seattle Reign FC 3-0 on Sunday in Tukwila, Wash, placing them right at the top of League Standings for Week 6.

It’s been a whirlwind of a week for this team, who started off the season quiet, but crept up and exploded these past two weeks in a huge way.

Sky Blue celebrate their goal. (ISI Photos/Howard C. Smith

Sky Blue celebrate their goal. (ISI Photos/Howard C. Smith

The scoreboard was rattled early on when Sky Blue forward Lisa De Vanna slammed one into Seattle’s net in the 9th minute. She couldn’t have done it without teammate, Caitlin Foord, who had a great run to get the ball where it needed to be, She shot the ball straight between two Seattle defenders to De Vanna’s ready feet, who finished things up with a 1-0 lead.

Sky Blue continued to feed their insatiable hunger for victory, giving Seattle little chance to snatch possession, although the home team’s backline managed to keep them at bay throughout the game until the 79th minute.

A free kick from 20 yards out was granted after an aggressive tussle landed forward Kelley O’Hara on the ground. It gave Sky Blue a shining moment, and they took it gladly. Midfielder Sophie Schmidt sent a bending blast straight into the net to cushion Sky Blue’s growing lead 2-0.

The final goal came from upcoming hero, Taylor Lytle, whose golden goal earlier in the week caused a huge upset for Portland and gave Sky Blue the points they needed to rise to the top. The young midfielder stepped up just three minutes before the final whistle, receiving a bouncing pass from O’Hara. Once again showing her remarkable directory precision, a one-touch shot was all that was needed to send the ball straight over Reign goalkeeper Haley Kopmeyer’s head and into the net for the third Sky Blue goal.

“She’s one of those players who can come in and help the team in a variety of ways, such as pressuring the ball and finding herself in good positions,” head coach Jim Gabarra told reporters. “She is definitely doing her job, and she is making it hard on us to keep her out of the starting lineup.”

Scoring Summary

  • SBFC- De Vanna (Foord) 9
  • SBFC- Schmidt 78
  • SBFC- Lytle (O’Hara) 86

Washington Spirit and Seattle Reign Battle for Points

The Spirit got their first win of the season against Seattle Reign FC last Thursday in Seattle after an extremely physical back and forth match that ended 4-2.

The star of the evening was young striker Tiffany McCarty, who’s goal in the 56th minute broke the stubborn 2-2 hold, allowing Spirit to move into the lead after both teams scored one after another leaving the outcome completely unpredictable.

Washington Spirit's McCarty (R) celebrating scoring (ISI Photos)0

Washington Spirit’s McCarty (R) celebrating scoring (ISI Photos)
0

The Reign was the first up on the scoreboard with an early goal from forward Lindsey Taylor in the 7th minute.

Spirit powered through, with midfielder Diana Matheson and U.S. National defender Ali Kreiger showering Seattle’s net right after with back to back goals that put them in the lead before the end of the first half.

Seattle’s Teresa Noyola kept Spirit in check, equalizing at the start of the 2nd half off of an assist from midfielder Christine Nairn.

That’s when McCarty scored the miracle goal that broke the tug of war battle. Just to be safe, midfielder Tori Huster added a fourth Spirit goal in the 84th minute, heading in a well-directed free kick from midfielder Lori Lindsey.

Scoring Summary

  • SEA- Taylor (Larsen) 7
  • WASH- Matheson 37
  • WASH- Kreiger 41
  • SEA- Noyola (Nairn) 47
  • WASH- McCarty 56
  • WASH- Huster (Lindsey) 84

Kansas City Comes Back from Week 5 Upset

The Boston Breakers became the last undefeated team to have their streak snuffed out, when Kansas City FC delivered the blow at the Verizon Wireless Stadium in Overland Park, KS last Saturday 2-0.

It was a clean sweep for Kansas City with forward Renae Cuellar scoring in the 17th minute, not unusual of her so far this season.

U.S. international Lauren Cheney got a goal and an assist on the day for Kansas(ISI Photos/Tracy Allen)

U.S. international Lauren Cheney (R) got a goal and an assist on the day for Kansas(ISI Photos/Tracy Allen)

U.S. National forward Lauren Cheney supplied the assist to make the first goal a reality. She then landed the second Kansas goal in the 64th minute, directing a cross from forward Casey Loyd with her upper body from the left side of the field into Boston’s waiting net.

Kansas moved up in league standings to third, while Boston still isn’t too far behind, staying snugly positioned in the top four.

Scoring Summary

  • KCFC- Cuellar (Cheney) 17
  • FCKC- Cheney (Loyd) 64

Dynamic Duo Helps Thorns Recover from Thursday’s Loss

You win some you lose some- that was Washington Spirit’s motto for week six as they came off a thrilling win against Seattle Reign FC earlier in the week to getting shut out by the Portland Thorns on Sunday 2-0 at JELD-Wen Field in Portland.

U.S. forward Morgan has been outstanding for Portland.(Getty Images)

U.S. forward Morgan has been outstanding for Portland.(Getty Images)

Thorns goalkeeper Karina LeBlanc kept the net clean, helping her team to their third shut out of the season. Meanwhile, the dynamic Christine Sinclair/Alex Morgan duo was at it again.

Sinclair notched her third goal of the season and cemented the Thorns initial lead in the 41st minute. Midfielder Allie Long grabbed a loose ball and crossed to Sinclair, who dribbled inside before bending the ball into the far post of the Spirit net.

In the 86th minute, it was Morgan with the winner- no big surprise there. Thorns midfielder Courtney Wetzel intercepted a pass from Spirit defender Robyn Gayle and quickly crossed to Morgan. It was all the decorated forward needed, pushing the ball into the penalty box and slamming it in easily. It was the fourth goal of the season for the U.S. National team forward.

Scoring Summary

  • POR- Sinclair (Long) 41
  • POR- Morgan (Wetzel) 86

Week 6 League Standings

# NWSL GP W L T PTS
1. Sky Blue FC 7 5 1 1 16
2. Portland Thorns FC 7 5 1 1 16
3. FC Kansas City 5 3 1 1 10
4. Boston Breakers 5 2 1 2 8
5. Western New York Flash 5 2 2 1 7
6. Washington Spirit 7 1 3 3 6
7. Chicago Red Stars 5 0 3 2 2
8. Seattle Reign FC 7 0 6 1 1
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MLS – Big 5
MLS – Big 5 avatar

1) On Any Given Sunday – DC Ties Sporting KC
An American Football expression, “On Any Given Sunday, tells us that any lowly team can rise up on a particular day and beat a superior side. This Sunday’s MLS entrant is DC United, and they only managed to tie Sporting KC 1-1.

Amazingly, DC have gone over two months without picking up a solitary point. SKC were coming off of breaking Houston’s 36 game home unbeaten streak, so not many saw this result coming. Sure, DC got a break when Ike Opara’s goal was wrongly ruled offside, but if anyone deserved a break, it was last place DC.

GK Bill Hamid (Getty Images)

GK Bill Hamid put in a solid performance.(Getty Images)

United keeper Bill Hamid, part of the four man tag team selected for USMNT training camp to back up Tim Howard and Brad Guzan, had a nice bounce back game after his recent benching.

DC veteran winger Chris Pontius returned in a substitutes role after missing two games and whipped in a wonderful cross that led to Kyle Porter’s first ever MLS goal. The quality of Pontius’ cross will have his national team supporters wondering if he will ever get a call from Jurgen Klinsmann.

Porter’s goal gave the entire DC United team six on the season, the same number as SKC’s Claudio Bieler, Montreal’s Marco Di Vaio and the Galaxy’s Mike Magee, but still two less than Philadelphia’s Jack McInerney.

2) Houston on Two Game Home Losing Streak!

After going 36 games without a home loss, Houston have now dropped two straight decisions at BBVA Compass Stadium. Last week’s loss to Kansas City was one thing, but losing 2-0 to New England is a tougher pill for the Dynamo to swallow.

Fagundez definitely looks like one to look out for in the future. (Getty Images)

Fagundez definitely looks like one to look out for in the future. (Getty Images)

18 year old homegrown product Diego Fagundez scored his third goal in five games. Born in Uruguay, Fagundez has been in the U.S. youth ranks, unfortunately the talented youngster is not eligible to play for the U.S.  Juan Agudelo made a lively Revs debut, it was his shot that went in off of a defender for New England’s second goal.

Even after Saturday’s result, Houston sit seven points and four places in the standings above the Revolution but hey, on any given Saturday, right.

3) Chivas USA: An Ongoing Disaster

Earlier in the week the rumor mill compelled Major League Soccer to issue a statement saying that the league is, “fully supportive of the current owners of Chivas USA and has never considered taking over the club or moving it.” Maybe they should give it some thought.

Mexican tycoon Carlos Slim

Mexican tycoon Carlos Slim. (Getty Images)

The other big rumor swirling around the Goats this week is that Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim, until last week labeled the world’s richest man, is buying Chivas Guadalajara, but wants no part of its American offshoot. Hey, you don’t get to be the second richest man in the world, Slim’s current ranking, by being stupid.

The week ended, as might be expected with another loss, 4-1 to Real Salt Lake. That makes five losses in the last six, and after solid start that fueled some optimism, the Goats have settled into last place in the Western Conference.

Chivas USA also are last in MLS in attendance, averaging just 8,045 per game. This a team that brought in a new coach, Jose Luis “Chelis” Sanchez Sola, to straighten out their mess and then traded perhaps his best player, Juan Agudelo, without telling, never mind consulting him.

With several cities allegedly lining up to buy into the league, maybe the time has come to pull the plug on the failed Chivas USA experiment, which will be deemed irrelevant in any case, if Carlos Slim buys the parent club and cuts the cord with Chivas USA.

4) Tim Cahill’s Head

Tim Cahill continues to defy the odds by scoring goals with his head. Sunday afternoon the 5’10” inch Aussie displayed his renowned heading ability to score the game’s only goal in stoppage time to beat the L.A. Galaxy.

Cahill has had a good season thus far.(ISI Photos/Andrew Katsampes)

Cahill has had a good season thus far.(ISI Photos/Andrew Katsampes)

So many times in a very successful career at Everton, Cahill rose highest among the forest of much taller players to score an important goal. He did it again Sunday, after the Galaxy’s exciting prospect Gyasi Zardes committed a rookie mistake, by conceding a late foul. Bruce Arena placed the blame firmly on his keeper Carlo Cudicini and Omar Gonzalez said he was fouled. Either way it was Cahill that got his head to the ball, and the the Red Bulls that picked up the three points.

5) MLS Salaries Not Major League

MLS Commissioner Don Garber has stated on more than one occasion that it is his goal that MLS be seen as one of the top soccer leagues in the world. A group called Sporting Intelligence recently released a report that buoyed Garber’s goal somewhat, ranking MLS as the seventh best soccer league in the world.

Thierry Henry tops the league in salaries.. (Getty Images)

Thierry Henry tops the league in salaries.. (Getty Images)

But a recent issue of Sports Illustrated that ranked the 50 highest paid athletes in U.S. sports showed that by one standard, at least, MLS continues to lag far behind. No MLS player comes close to making the list, based on 2012 salaries, which finds NFL cornerback Charles Woodson in 50th place with a salary over $15.5 million, plus endorsements.

Coincidentally perhaps, the MLS Players Union has recently released the salaries of all of its members. The four highest paid players in the league were all in action Sunday at Red Bull Arena. N.Y.’s Thierry Henry tops the list at $4.35 million, just ahead of the Galaxy’s Robbie Keane at $4.33 million. Tim Cahill, $3.625 million and Landon Donovan at $2.5 per round at the top four. All a long, long way from Woodson.

But let’s be fair to MLS, Don Garber himself hardly expects to dislodge the NFL or MLB. But what about hockey. Long thought of, when thought of at all, as the red headed stepchild of the American sports “Big 4”, the NHL just concluded a bitter lockout and played a truncated season. If MLS is to move up the ladder in the American sports market, surely hockey is the first rung to climb. MLS actually tops both the NHL and the NBA in attendance , although the league is far behind both in television money.

With the average NHL salary approximately $2.4 million as compared to about $160,000 in MLS, it puts the league at a disadvantage when competing for talented young athletes in the U.S. and Canada. MLS has certainly made strides in recent years, even in the salary department, but the recent salary information shows just how big a gap remains to be bridged for soccer to be truly major league in the United States.

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EPL Week 38 – Previews and Predictions
EPL Week 38 – Previews and Predictions avatar

It is finally here guys and gals, week 38, the curtain closer for the 2012/2013 season. Manchester United have been crowned champions for the 20th time, while Wigan, QPR and Reading have all been relegated to the Championship. Manchester City have confirmed a second place finish and an automatic spot in next years Champions League, though the positions of the next three teams behind them has yet to be decided with only three points separating Chelsea, Arsenal and Tottenham.

NEWS

Chelsea and Arsenal could fight it out in play-off

The Premier League has confirmed that there could be a third place play-off between Chelsea and Arsenal at the end of the season.

Arsenal will favor this more than Chelsea. (Getty Images)

Arsenal will favor this more than Chelsea. (Getty Images)

Chelsea currently sit just two points above Arsenal in the EPL in third place, but a 0-0 draw for the Blues on the last day of the season coupled with a 2-1 win for Arsenal would see both teams level on points, goal difference and goals scored.

The EPL is currently designated four champion League spots, but only the top three sides qualify automatically with fourth place facing European opposition in the third and final qualifying round.

Premier League rules state: “If at the end of the season… the question of qualification for other competitions cannot be determined because two or more clubs are equal on points, goal difference and goals scored, the clubs concerned shall play off one or more deciding league matches on neutral grounds, the format, timing and venue of which shall be determined by the board.”

Both Chelsea and Arsenal face tough games on the final day of the season, with Chelsea hosting Everton, and Arsenal traveling to Newcastle.

Asked about the prospect of playing Chelsea in a play-off, Wenger said: “I would fancy that, but a play-off only exists if we win at Newcastle, so we have to win the game and see what happens.”

Arsenal know a win will guarantee them a top four finish and Champions League qualification for the 16th consecutive season in the process. But anything less and Tottenham could snatch fourth place from their north London rivals with a win.

“The biggest task is to win the game and not speculate too much on what happens after,” said Wenger. “The first compulsory part is winning our game.”

 

Frank Lampard signs one-year extension

Frank Lampard has signed a one-year extension with Chelsea, a day after the Club won the Europa Cup.

Frank Lampard set a new all-time scoring record for a Chelsea player this season. (Getty Images)

Frank Lampard set a new all-time scoring record for a Chelsea player this season. (Getty Images)

Lampard, who’s contract had been due to expire in June, had been linked with a move away from the London Club with Manchester United, LA Galaxy, and a range of other clubs all mentioned as possible destinations.

However, the 34-year old midfielder put pen to paper just a day after captaining Chelsea to their second successive European trophy.

“I’m absolutely delighted. Everybody knows I always maintained the dream to stay,” the 34-year-old said.

“I want to thank Mr Abramovich for making the dream a reality. I love this club, the staff, the players and especially the supporters.”

Lampard joined Chelsea from West Ham in 2001 for £11m. He has made 607 appearances for the West London side and became the clubs all-time top scorer last week with a brace against Aston Villa, overtaking Bobby Tambling’s 202-goal record.

 

Stoke to investigate pig head prank

Stoke are to conduct an internal investigation after a pig’s head was apparently left in the locker of striker Kenwyne Jones at the club’s training ground.

Trinidad and Tobago International Jones was reported to be incensed by the prank, which comes just two days before the club’s final Premier League match of the season at Southampton.

“A full internal investigation will be carried out,” said a club statement.

“Those responsible for any unacceptable behavior will be dealt with by the club’s disciplinary procedures.”

Stoke players are making guilty of taking their pranks a tad too far. (Getty Images)

Stoke players are guilty of taking their pranks a tad too far. (Getty Images)

Stoke Manager Steve Pulis was quick to play down the incident though. Speaking to the BBC, Pulis said: “We have a smashing dressing room, and there are four or five lads who are always up to something,”

“There is always banter going on. I honestly don’t know what’s gone on this morning, I’ve missed all of what’s happened. I try to stay away from the home dressing room as much as I possibly can. I let the lads get on with it.”

“We will look at it tomorrow, I will have a chat with the lads and find out exactly what has happened. From that point onwards we’ll let everybody know exactly what the situation was.”

U.S. midfielder Brek Shea had earlier tweeted a picture of himself with the pig’s head and the words “locker room banter gone wild”.

While earlier this week, 28-year-old Jones tweeted a picture of Michael Owen’s car covered in eggs and flour by team-mates with the explanation that it was a “leaving present” for the former England star.

I guess what’s goes around comes around.

 

Predictions and Previews

Week 37

Score

Predictions

SATURDAY
Aston Villa v Chelsea   1-2 0-2
Man City v Wigan (FA Cup final)   0-1 2-1
SUNDAY
Stoke v Tottenham   1-2 0-1
Everton v West Ham   2-0 2-0
Fulham v Liverpool   1-3 0-1
Norwich v West Brom   4-0 2-2
QPR v Newcastle   1-2 1-2
Sunderland v Southampton   1-1 2-1
Man Utd v Swansea   2-1 4-0
TUESDAY
Arsenal v Wigan   4-1 3-1
Reading v Man City   0-2 0-2

A correct result is worth ONE point, while a perfect score earns THREE points.

Last week I got EIGHT correct results, including Three perfect scores, giving me a record breaking tally of 14-points.

Lets see if I can go out with a bang and beat that tally in the final weekend of EPL games. Just about everything has been decided, that is everything bar the last two Champions League spaces, so all eyes will be upon Chelsea, Arsenal and Tottenham as the 2012-2013 season draws to a close.

Week 38

My Predictions

SUNDAY
Chelsea v Everton  2-1
Liverpool v QPR  3-0
Man City v Norwich  3-0
Newcastle v Arsenal  1-2
Southampton v Stoke  1-1
Swansea v Fulham  2-1
Tottenham v Sunderland  2-0
West Brom v Man Utd  0-2
West Ham v Reading  2-0
Wigan v Aston Villa  2-1

 

 

SUNDAY

Chelsea v Everton

This is the last game of the season for both managers—Blues boss Rafael Benitez ends his interim period in charge, while Toffees Manager David Moyes leaves for Old Trafford after 11 years in charge of Everton—so they will both be desperate to leave on a high note.

Everton may spoil Chelsea's party after their midweek Europa League title. (Getty Images)

Everton may spoil Chelsea’s party after their midweek Europa League title. (Getty Images)

Chelsea may be guaranteed a top-four finish, but anything less than a win against Everton could see Arsenal leapfrog them into third—meaning Chelsea would have to enter the third qualifying round of the Champions League—so expect them to field a strong side.

The Blues are in good form and made history during the week, becoming the first side ever to hold the Champions League and Europa League trophies at the same time.

Everton gave David Moyes a great send-off last week in his last home game at Goodison Park beating West Ham 2-0. The Toffees have had one of their best seasons ever in the EPL and are just three points shy of their best tally of 66-points.

Chelsea will be without captain John Terry, who is out for the visit of Everton with an ankle injury. Brazilian midfielder Ramires will also miss out because of suspension.

Everton left back Leighton Baines looks set for another start, meaning he could feature in every minute of Everton’s entire EPL campaign.

Last games of the season have a tendency to be drab uncompetitive affairs, but I doubt that will be the case in this game, especially because there is not much love lost between these two managers – Benitez upset Everton fans back when he was in charge of Liverpool by describing the Toffees as one of the ‘smaller teams’.

Chelsea have an imperious record against Everton at Stamford Bridge losing just once during the EPL era (P20, W10, D9, L1). However, the Blues looked a bit leggy in Wednesday’s Europa final, so Everton will fancy their chances of getting a result.

But Chelsea need a win to guarantee a third place finish and I expect to just edge this one.

Prediction: 2-1

 

Manchester City v Norwich

Just over a year ago Roberto Mancini was celebrating a last minute winner from Sergio Aguero that brought City their first league title in over 40-years. Exactly a year later he was sacked.

City players have looked a tad disjointed this season and recent revelations have highlighted this. (Getty Images)

City players have looked a tad disjointed this season and recent revelations have highlighted this. (Getty Images)

Mancini’s dismissal is a tad surprising given he did bring City success, but there is no denying City have underachieved this season and Mancini’s poor man management seems to have been one of the reasons why.

Norwich have survived another year in the EPL, largely thanks to a strong first half of the season. But they were one of the poorest teams during the second half of the campaign and will need to reinforce if they don’t want to be relegated next season.

Manchester City striker Sergio Aguero is a doubt to play after picking up a knock midweek against Reading, though Vincent Kompany and Matija Nastasic could return after being rested midweek.

Norwich have no injury worries and are likely to field the same side that beat West Brom 4-0 last week.

City have under-performed and been inconsistent all season, nevertheless they are still by far one of the best sides in the EPL, and even if they play poorly tomorrow they should still win this.

Prediction: 3-0

 

Newcastle v Arsenal

Newcastle will be glad Wigan lost to Arsenal midweek, because they would not have fancied going into this game needing a win.

Arsenal know this is a must win game - so this should be one to watch. (Getty Images)

Arsenal know this is a must win game – so this should be one to watch. (Getty Images)

Arsenal have been fantastic since losing to Tottenham back in March, dropping just four points out of a possible 27. Newcastle on the other hand have been in free-fall and will need to reinforce their back-line over the summer if they want to avoid a relegation dog fight next season.

Newcastle winger Sylvain Marveaux and Cheick Tiote are back after over coming injury problems. While Steve Harper is likely to deputies for the Magpies in goal after Rob Elliot, who was replacing the injured Tim Krul, was sent off last week.

The Gunners look like they will be without Mikel Arteta after the midfielder strained his calf with Jack Wilshere likely to replace the Spaniard.

Arsenal are the inform team in the EPL at the moment, while Newcastle are one of the most out-of-form teams, so this should be a straightforward victory for the Gunners. But two seasons ago, the Magpies were 4-0 down to Arsenal after 26 minutes. They were still 4-0 down with 22 minutes left but then staged an incredible fightback to earn a 4-4 draw. So who knows?

I’ll stick my neck out though and go for an Arsenal win.

Prediction: 1-2

 

Tottenham vs Sunderland

When Tottenham beat Arsenal at White Hart Lane back in March they looked absolutely certain to finish above their north London neighbors in a Champions League spot.

Clint Dempsey has scored some crucial goals this season but their CL fate also lies with other results .(Getty Images)

Clint Dempsey has scored some crucial goals this season but their CL fate also lies with other results .(Getty Images)

But a dip in form along with a fantastic run by Arsenal has seen that opportunity slip through Spurs’ fingers, and the north Londoners now have to win and hope their neighbors slip up.

Sunderland’s decision to sack Martin O’Neal and employ Paolo Di Canio seems to have paid-off, as the Black Cats have stayed up – but I think they would have survived regardless. There are likely to be a few changes at Sunderland during the summer, as Di Canio tries to make his mark on the club, so many of the Sunderland’s players will be hoping to impress on Sunday.

Tottenham will welcome back left-back Benoit Assou-Ekotto who has recovered from a knee injury, though Midfielder Sandro and defensive duo Younes Kaboul and William Gallas are all still unavailable.

Sunderland will have to do without left-back Danny Rose as he is ineligible to play against his parent club. Stephane Sessegnon and Craig Gardner are also unavailable for the Black Cats through suspension but Connor Wickham is available.

Tottenham need a win and are likely to go all out to get it. The north Londoners have won nine of their 11 EPL matches against the Black Cats and I expect this to be another one.

Prediction: 3-0

 

West Brom vs Manchester United

Alex Ferguson will take charge of Manchester United for the 1500th and last time when the Red Devils take on West Brom on Sunday.

Manchester United won for Fergie in his last ever game at Old Trafford last weekend, beating Swansea 2-1, and will want to win in his last ever appearances as their manager.

Although the Red Devils clinched the league title on the 23 April, they have basically been playing for nothing since they were knocked out of the Champions League in February. But they have still played with vigor and passion, and I don’t image they will stop now in Fergie’s last ever game.

Van Persie is set to pick up the EPL golden boot as well as already picking up his firs EPL League title. (Getty Images)

Van Persie is set to pick up the EPL golden boot as well as already picking up his firs EPL League title. (Getty Images)

West Brom lost heavily 4-0 away to Norwich last week, but the Baggies have had a terrific season. They have spent most, if not all of the season in the top half of the table and amassed their best ever points tally (48) ever in the EPL.

West Brom midfielder Steven Reid could feature despite picking up a knock in last weekend’s loss at Norwich, while Marc-Antoine Fortune could also play after serving a suspension.

Alex Ferguson looks set to start Jonny Evans and Phil Jones in defense and Anders Lindegaard in Goal, though Wanye Rooney once again looks like being omitted from the squad.

Manchester United may already be crowned Champions, but expect them to put in a strong performance for the man they call “the Boss”. The game will also be Paul Scholes last game, who announced he would retire at the end of the season.

A win for United would see them equal their best ever points tall of 91 and set a club record of 29 wins in a season. The Red Devils have never lost to West Brom in the EPL, winning 11 of their 13 meetings, so the omens are good for Fergie.

Prediction: 0-2

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End It Like Beckham
End It Like Beckham avatar

Yesterday saw the curtains begin to close on one of the most outstanding careers soccer has ever known, as David Beckham announced his plans to retire at the end of the season.

Soccer has been graced with many phenomenal players over the years, many of which were more talented and achieved more than David Beckham. But no player before has transcended the sport and become a world icon the way Beckham did—and all this from a little boy who only wanted to ‘play football’.

Sunday league football (soccer) has been hosted on Hackney Marshes since 1947. (Getty Images)

Sunday league football (soccer) has been hosted on Hackney Marshes since 1947. (Getty Images)

Beckham was born and raised just a stones throw away from where I grew up in east London. Living next to the Hackney Marshes—a 136.01 hectare area of grassland with 88 full-size soccer fields, that is better known as ‘the spiritual home of grassroots football’—Beckham, like most of the local children, grew up eating, drinking, sleeping, and playing football.

If you pay a visit to the Marshes on any given Sunday, you will see over 100 matches being played by people of all ages who ‘only want to play football’, and it is here where Beckham’s work ethic and love of the game were carved out.

In a career spanning two decades Beckham played for Manchester United, Real Madrid, Los Angeles Galaxy, AC Milan and PSG, lifting 19 trophies, including 10 league titles and one Champions League. He captained England 58 times and made over 115 appearances for the ‘Three Lions’—which is a record for an outfield player.

Beckham was more than just a brand - he was an exceptional ambassador for the beautiful game. (Getty Images)

Beckham was more than just a brand – he was an exceptional ambassador for the beautiful game. (Getty Images)

Despite this, Beckham the brand has often surpassed and overshadowed Beckham the soccer player, which Beckham himself admits.

“I think sometimes that’s overshadowed what I’ve done on the pitch and what I’ve achieved on the pitch. As much as I say that doesn’t hurt me, of course it does. At the end of the day, I’m a footballer who has played at some of the biggest football clubs in the world.” Beckham told former teammate Gary Neville in an exclusive interview with Sky Sports News.

But no soccer player has profited more from the celebrity culture that engulfs today’s society than Beckham. Last year a study from France Football magazine declared him the world’s richest footballer, his estimated annual income of $43.2m more than that of Messi and Ronaldo, even as less than 5% was generated by his soccer salary—when you live by the sword you often die by it too.

The fact is a contradiction lies at the heart of who and what Beckham is—he is a kaleidoscope of juxtapositions, a hero in a traditionally macho and chauvinistic sport, yet the poster boy for metrosexuality at the same time. A one-man marketing phenomenon off the pitch, and a team player on it. He ironically epitomizes all that is wrong and right with modern soccer, being a super rich celebrity soccer player with an incredible work ethic and pure love for the game.

Cynics will say he was overpaid, overexposed, and overrated, but if anything Beckham has been underrated and misused within the soccer community.

He broke into the Manchester United team in 1995 replacing Andrei Kanchelskis, who was sold to Everton, on the right wing. But Beckham was not an orthodox right-winger, in fact, he was probably more suited to playing in the center midfield position he occupied later in career.

But Alex Ferguson recognized a quality in Beckham’s play—his unparalleled ability to deliver a ball at pace on a dime—and managed to get United playing in a way that would exploit those qualities to the maximum.

Professional athletes are often said to be gifted with talents that us other mere mortals lack, but the amount of practice, training, and effort they put into their work is often overlooked. Beckham is a shinning example of how far hard work and determination can take you.

“David Beckham is Britain’s finest striker of a football not because of God-given talent but because he practices with a relentless application that the vast majority of less gifted players wouldn’t contemplate.” said Alex Ferguson back in 1999.

Despite captaining England and having the honor of being their most capped outfield player, it is true Beckham never really enjoyed the same success he did at club level collectively or individually.

But his shortcomings on the internationally stage were due to coaches failing to utilize his talents in the same way Alex Ferguson did.

Beckham played on the right wing for Manchester United but he was not a winger in the true sense of the word, and was never expected to do a winger’s job for the Red Devils.

Traditionally wingers have been given the job at running down the flanks at getting crosses in, but at United Beckham did very little running with the ball, as United often gave him the ball high up the pitch in areas where he could hurt the opposition with his deadly crossing and passing.

Many felt this generation of players under-performed - many questioned the managerial skills. (Getty Images)

Many felt this generation of players under-performed – many questioned the managerial skills. (Getty Images)

With England Beckham seldom received the ball in such areas and was thus unable to influence the game in the same way he did at United.

Critics might say he was exposed at international level and that other players should not have to cover for his shortcomings. But soccer is a simple and pragmatic game, and a coach’s job is to utilize players and their skills for the benefit of the team.

Beckham may not have had fancy skills or electric pace, but he made goals—152 to be precise in 256 league matches for Manchester United—and goals win games.

England simply did not play a style of soccer that would accommodate Beckham as a right-winger and would have been much better served playing him in the center midfield position that he carved out for himself when he left United for Real Madrid.

It just goes to show how England’s biggest player was actually undervalued and underrated in his home country. While foreign deep lying playmakers like Xabi Alonso and Andrea Pirlo are adored by coaches and pundits in England, the same people failed to see Beckham had the same qualities to play in such a position.

Beckham battles to get the ball. (Getty Images)

Beckham battles for the Galaxy to get the ball. (Getty Images)

When asked how he would like people to remember him as a football player, Beckham said: “I just want people to see me as a hard-working footballer. Someone that’s passionate about the game. Someone that, every time I stepped on the pitch, I’ve given everything that I have, because that’s how I feel. Going into games at the end of my career, that’s how I look back on it and hope people will see me.”

Which is fitting, as his hard work and determination have been the story of a career that has seen more comebacks than a Rocky movie.

He was portrayed as England’s most wanted villain in 1998 when he was sent off for kicking out at Argentina’s Diego Simeone in the World Cup in France as Glenn Hoddle’s England lost on penalties in the last 16. But he worked his way back into England’s affections, becoming the national team’s captain just two years later.

While other players sustained mysterious last minute injuries or donned flip-flops whenever England had training camps or friendly games, Beckham always turned up and gave it his all for his country.

Beckham in action for Real Madrid in 2003. (Getty Images)

Beckham in action for Real Madrid in 2003. (Getty Images)

He was not your pampered, lazy, pretty boy stereotypical modern day soccer player. He fought, scraped, and worked his butt off, and it was this childlike enthusiasm and love of the game that endeared him to fans all over the world. They could relate to him.

However, Beckham’s celebrity status meant it was often he who was benched whenever a coach wanted to make a name for themselves or prove a point. In 2007, he was dropped by both by England and Real Madrid’s new incoming managers.

But Beckham never moaned or criticized his coaches, instead he demonstrated his unique desire and determination by regaining his place in both sides—his recall to the Madrid side actually coincided with an astonishing comeback that ended with a league title for the Spanish giants.

Last year Beckham was also omitted from the final selection of the British Olympic soccer team. Once again there were no complaints, but secretly Beckham was devastated, because all he has ever wanted is to just play soccer. Representing his nation in east London where it all began would have been a fairytale ending to his career, but it was not to be.

Instead, Beckham will end his career on May 26 as league and Cup champion with PSG in France.

“To come to the end of my career now and look back and say, I’ve achieved everything with every club that I’ve played for … I played for my country 115 times, been runner-up twice as World Player of the Year to two amazing footballers. I’m very proud of that.”

Not bad for a small boy from east London who only wanted to play football.

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Buy Tickets for OKC FC vs. El Paso Patriots
Buy Tickets for OKC FC vs. El Paso Patriots avatar

Oklahoma City FC will take on the El Paso Patriots at Oklahoma City University this Saturday.

Tickets are on sale now- come out and support your favorite team! The game starts at 7:30 PM. For information on tickets please visit the OSA Facebook page: Click Here

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Midwest Regional League Changes it Up for 2013-2014
Midwest Regional League Changes it Up for 2013-2014 avatar

MRL_logo_small1The U.S. Youth Soccer Midwest Regional League (MRL) announced this week that new changes are on the horizon for 2013-2014.

The league will be refining its levels of competition into a three tier structure of Premier I, Premier II and First Divisions. A revised Premier I Division qualification competition for U13-U14 age groups will be implemented as well. These modifications will be vital for U13 and U14 teams looking for meaningful and competitive league play.

“The U.S. Youth Soccer Midwest Regional League is evolving alongside its primary user group, the hundreds of premier youth soccer clubs in the Midwest,” U.S. Youth Soccer MRL Commissioner Paul Luchowski said in a press release. “Our changes for 2013-2014 are a result of listening to the youth club directors who seek meaningful and competitive matches for all levels of their teams. We know that we are an integral part of their soccer playing calendar of league, State Cup and tournament play.”

For the full story please visit the U.S. Youth Soccer website.

 

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Donovan Left Out
Donovan Left Out avatar

The U.S. roster is out for the May training camp, and Landon Donovan is not on the list. The camp precedes USMNT friendlies prior to three World Cup Qualifiers in June. 26 players, including six goalkeepers, have been invited to attend the camp in Cleveland, where the U.S. will take on the talented Belgian side on May 29.

Donovan will have to prove himself to get back into Klinsmann's squad(ISI Photos/John Todd)

World Soccer fans will be surprised by his exclusion.(ISI Photos/John Todd)

Donovan is not the only stalwart left of the U.S. team. Veterans Carlos Bocanegra and Steve Cherundolo have also been omitted, with Cherundolo not yet 100% after a knee injury, while former captain Bocanegra has clearly slipped down the depth chart.

“I’m disappointed that I’m not (selected) but I’ll keep going and I’ll keep working hard and I hope that I get the chance,” Donovan told Reuters in an interview on Thursday during his campaign with The Skin Cancer Foundation to promote awareness of the disease.

“But I certainly understand it, I’ve been gone for a long time. I basically excused myself from the first three so I understand the way the world works,” he said, speaking
“I would love to be in Brazil next year but I can’t completely control that my job is to make it as difficult as possible for the coach to leave me out.”

Donovan’s absence will clearly be the biggest talking point around the U.S. team in coming days. Klinsmann made it clear that Donovan will not play in the three June qualifiers, telling USSoccer.com, “maybe later on we’ll definitely expect him back in the team.”

Tomorrow (Friday) Klinsmann will speak to the American soccer press via conference call, and I expect that he will be given the opportunity to be a little clearer on when or if Donovan will be back in the United States soccer team.

May 29 : U.S. vs. Belgium. Cleveland, Ohio – friendly
June 2 : U.S. vs. Germany. Washington, D.C. – friendly
June 7: U.S. vs Jamaica. Kingston, Jamaica – World Cup Qualifier
June 11: U.S. vs. Panama. Seattle, Washington – World Cup Qualifier
June 18: U.S. vs. Honduras. Sandy, Utah – World Cup Qualifier

U.S. ROSTER BY POSITION

GOALKEEPERS (6) : Brad Guzan (Aston Villa), Tally Hall (Houston Dynamo), Bill Hamid (D.C. United), Tim Howard (Everton), Sean Johnson (Chicago Fire), Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake)
DEFENDERS (8) : DaMarcus Beasley (Puebla), Matt Besler (Sporting Kansas City), Geoff Cameron (Stoke City), Edgar Castillo (Club Tijuana), Omar Gonzalez (LA Galaxy), Clarence Goodson (Brondby), Fabian Johnson (Hoffenheim), Michael Parkhurst (Augsburg)
MIDFIELDERS (10) : Michael Bradley (Roma), Joe Corona (Club Tijuana), Brad Davis (Houston Dynamo), Maurice Edu (Bursaspor), Stuart Holden (Bolton), Jermaine Jones (Schalke), Sacha Kljestan (Anderlecht), Brek Shea (Stoke City), Danny Williams (Hoffenheim), Graham Zusi (Sporting Kansas City)
FORWARDS (5) : Jozy Altidore (AZ Alkmaar), Terrence Boyd (Rapid Vienna), Clint Dempsey (Tottenham Hotspur), Herculez Gomez (Santos), Eddie Johnson (Seattle Sounders FC)

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Beckham To Retire
Beckham To Retire avatar

David Beckham has announced he decision to retire at the end of the season, bringing an end to a glittering 20-year career in soccer where he has won titles in England, Spain, France and the United States.

Beckham playing for LA Galaxy- (ISI Photos/Don Feria(

Beckham playing for LA Galaxy- (ISI Photos/Don Feria)

The former LA Galaxy player moved to PSG in January, and only just helped the club win their first French title in 19-years last Sunday. There had been rumors he might stay on at PSG another season, but it appears Beckham felt the time was right to retire.

In a blockbuster announcement, Beckham said: ‘I’m thankful to PSG for giving me the opportunity to continue but I feel now is the right time to finish my career, playing at the highest level.’

England Captain David Beckham celebrating his winning goal against Argentina in the group stages or 2002 World Cup. (Getty Images)

England Captain David Beckham celebrating his winning goal against Argentina in the group stages or 2002 World Cup. (Getty Images)

The former England captain made his professional debut for Manchester United two-decades ago aged just 18, scoring in a 4-0 win over Galatasary in the Champions League. The east London born midfielder was part of a young group of players at United known as ‘Fergie’s fledglings’, who were famously criticized by ex Liverpool player Alan Hansen who said: ‘You can’t win anything with kids.’

Beckham went on to make 398 appearances for the Red Devils, winning six Premier League titles and the Champions League. In 2003 he moved to Real Madrid winning the La Liga title in 2007, before a switch to the United States with LA Galaxy.

Beckham in action in 2000 for Manchester United. (Getty Images)

Beckham in action in 2000 for Manchester United. (Getty Images)

“If you had told me as a young boy I would have played for and won trophies with my boyhood club Manchester United, proudly captained and played for my country over one hundred times and lined up for some of the biggest clubs in the world, I would have told you it was a fantasy. I’m fortunate to have realised those dreams,” he said.

Beckham made his international debut for England on September 1 1996, in a World Cup qualifying match against Moldova. He was famously sent off against Argentina at the 1998 World Cup, but achieved redemption four years later scoring a penalty in a 1-0 victory over Argentina during the group stage of the World Cup in Japan. He was made captain of the ‘three lions’ in 2000 and holds a record 115 appearances for an outfield player for England.

“To this day, one of my proudest achievements is captaining my country. I knew every time I wore the Three Lions shirt, I was not only following in a long line of great players, I was also representing every fan that cared passionately about their country. I’m honoured to represent England both on and off the pitch,” said Beckham.

Beckham is expected to return to London, where his wife Vitoria and children, Brooklyn, Romeo, Cruz and Harper all currently reside. He thanked them in his statement, saying: “I wouldn’t have achieved what I have done today without my family. I’m grateful for my parents’ sacrifice, which made me realise my dreams. I owe everything to Victoria and the kids, who have given me the inspiration and support to play at the highest level for such a long period.

Beckham with the team that so many doubted (Getty Images)

Beckham with the team that so many doubted (Getty Images)

“I want to thank all my team-mates, the great managers that I had the pleasure of learning from. I also want to thank the fans who have all supported me and given me the strength to succeed.”

“Nothing will ever completely replace playing the game I love, however I feel like I’m starting a new adventure and I’m genuinely excited about what lies ahead. I’m fortunate to have been given many opportunities throughout my career and now I feel it’s my time to give back.”

Beckham was and arguably still is the most iconic player in world soccer. His move to the Galaxy in 2007 was seen as a massive coup for the MLS, though his time there was not always smooth sailing—Beckham was famously criticized by teammate Landon Donovan and Galaxy fans when his loan to AC Milan forced him to miss the first half of the MLS season.

PSG have two more games before the end of the season, with Beckham’s last match of his career likely to be PSG’s match against FC Lorient on May 26.

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Volunteer for Natl. Championships in Kansas
Volunteer for Natl. Championships in Kansas avatar

KSYSA needs volunteers for the U.S. Youth Soccer National Championships July 22-28 to be held in Overland Park, KS.

Check out a list of open positions below- more than 1500 volunteer positions must be filled. For more information on how to get involved, please visit the KSYSA website: Click Here

Available positions:

SET UP- Saturday July 20th from 1pm to 5pm and Sunday, July 21st from 9am to 3pm

These volunteers will assist with hanging signs, setting up tents, sand bags, etc.

Supervisor:  Brad Delay, City of OP

TEAR DOWN - Saturday, July 27th Times TBD and Sunday, July 28th from 10am to 4pm

These volunteers will assist with tearing down of signage, tents, etc.

Supervisor: Brad Delay, City of OP

HYDRATION CREW - Tuesday, July 23rd THROUGH Sunday July 28th various time slots available.

These volunteers will be responsible for making sure water coolers throughout the complex are full and cups available for team personnel.  

Supervisor:  Ken Milburn, KSYSA & Brad Delay, City of OP

FIELD MARSHALS -  Tuesday, July 23rd THROUGH Sunday July 28th various time slots available.

These volunteers are responsible for overseeing field operations (keeping spectators on proper side of field, etc.) They will NOT be responsible for any type of game officiating or officiating decisions.

Supervisor: Ken Milburn, KSYSA & Gordon Crape, Heartland Soccer

STATISCIANS - Tuesday, July 23rd THROUGH Sunday, July 28th various time slots

These volunteers should be technically savy, preferably referee certified and between the ages of 16 and 40.  There will be additional training required for this position.

Supervisor:  Gordan Crape, Heartland Referee Assignor and Andrew Fletcher, State Youth Referee Assignor

PARKING LOT/TRAFFIC CONTROL - Tuesday, July 23rd THROUGH Sunday July 28th various time slots

These volunteers will monitor the team officials parking lot area for proper credentials and assist those spectators or players needing assistance to their team locations

Supervisor: Danita Hill, KSYSA & Pam Gnoza, Sporting BV 

HOSPITALITY SUITE(S) & INFORMATION BOOTH - Tuesday, July 23rd THROUGH Sunday July 28th Various time slots

These volunteers will assist with maintaining the hospitality suites for coaches, VIP’s and volunteers as well as serve as ambassadors in the information booth area

Supervisors: Danita Hill, KSYSA & Geoff Van Duessen, NSCAA

BALL KIDS -  Tuesday, July 23rd THROUGH Sunday, July 28th various time slots

Each game slot will require 4 ball kids (2 per side), to gather balls and assist the teams during the game.  We will also need alternates. These volunteers must be a minimum of age 10 to participate as ball kids. We will be working with clubs to organize a “little guys” event for the U19 Championship games so they too can play a part.  We would recommend ball kids bring their own water bottle and sunscreen and that they not work more than 2 games successively due to heat

Supervisors: Danita Hill, KSYSA & Various Club Members

Our clubs are “adopting” a field or fields throughout the week to cover the ball kids category.  If you are affiliated with a club please indicate that affiliation on your sign up we will alert your club as to your desire to participate as a ball kid.

GENERAL VOLUNTEER  Saturday, July 20th THROUGH Sunday, July 28th various time slots

We will need assistance in the “command center” area of the complex, runners, assistance with getting volunteers to their location,  in the way of general volunteers.  These volunteers must be age 16 or older.

 

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MSYSA to Host Coaching License Course Taught in Arabic
MSYSA to Host Coaching License Course Taught in Arabic avatar

The Michigan State Youth Soccer Association is pleased to host the first United States Soccer Federation ‘E’ Coaching Course taught in Arabic. The majority of the course will be taught in Arabic including translations of course materials, text, literature, and all lectures. Participants will receive a light breakfast as well as a lunch.

The course will be held at the HYPE Recreation Center. The cost of the MSYSA ‘E’ Coaching Course taught in Arabic is $160 for each participant. Please visit the MSYSA website for more information.

Translated Materials are available to download:

  • Team Management Assignment (Translated)
  • Concussion Reading (Translated)
  • Concussion Test (Translated)
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New Far West Regional League Announced
New Far West Regional League Announced avatar

Screen Shot 2013-05-08 at 3_03_27 PMIt’s official: Region IV announced last week the brand new format for the Far West Regional League (FWRL).

After an overwhelming amount of requests from elite teams and clubs, the FWRL will be divided into three divisions to provide more opportunities for the Far West Regional Championships.

The three divisions include:

1) California League: Cal South, Cal North and Reno (2 qualifying positions for FWR Championships)

2) Four Corners League: Utah, New Mexico , Colorado, Arizona and Las Vegas ( 1 qualifying position in FWR Championships)

3) Northern League: Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, Hawaii, Alaska and Wyoming (1 qualifying position in FWR Championships)

For more information Please visit the U.S. Youth Soccer website.

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$5,000 Scholarship Available for St. Louis Student Athletes
$5,000 Scholarship Available for St. Louis Student Athletes avatar

St. Louis Sports Associates is offering a $5,000 sportsmanship scholarship to a graduating high school student from the St. Louis, MO region.

This is your chance to nominate an athlete from your town that holds good sportsmanship to the highest degree in character and competition.

To nominate a student, a nomination packet must be completed and submitted. You can find a link for more information on the MYSA Facebook page.

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