LA Galaxy midfielder David Beckham was in Athens this week for the handover of the Olympic flame and helped fly it back to the UK as the build-up to the London Olympics cranks up a notch.
But he still doesn't know if he will be at the Olympics as a spectator or competitor, trying to bring home a gold medal for the host nation.
After much speculation and debate over his presence at the London 2012 Olympics, Beckham reiterated his strong hope that he will be wearing the Union Jack in his hometown this summer.
Beckham spoke openly in an exclusive interview with the BBC about his chances of making the final 18-man roster for Team GB’s Olympic soccer team. The man in charge of the Olympics in London, Lord Sebastian Coe, recently stated there is no pressure from his staff for Beckham to be selected for the games.
Beckham also agrees there should be no room for sentiment, stating he has never relied on sentiment in the past to make a squad or team:
"You don't play for a Manchester United team managed by Sir Alex Ferguson or an England or Real Madrid team managed by Fabio Capello and get picked on sentiment."
"I've been picked to play in many games over my career because of what I've achieved on the field and that doesn't change. I'm in good form, I've scored a couple of goals lately and I'm feeling fit and working hard. So yes, if I'm called upon of course I'm ready. I've always said I wanted to represent my country in any way, shape or form."
"I've done that for many years with England, and I hope to do that with the Great Britain team."
Team GB manager Stuart Pearce will be announcing his squad at the end of May, so Beckham has a few anxious days ahead of him.
We haven't heard much about Bobby Burling in recent months, not since the onetime San Jose Earthquakes defender was selected by the Montreal Impact in last fall's expansion draft and declined to join the new club.
The 27-year-old obviously has plenty of playing years left, but for now he's been doing some traveling, including stopping in to visit his friend Sacha Kljestan.
— Sacha Kljestan (@SachaKljestan) May 8, 2012
So is Kljestan -- or should we call him Superman? -- going to help Burling get a gig somewhere in Belgium?
As you can see above, Clint Dempsey is a company man, even if there is significant doubt as to his long-term future with Fulham.
Dempsey scored his 17th goal of the EPL campaign on Sunday – a total that trails only Robin van Persie, Wayne Rooney and Sergio Agüero – by curling a free kick into the top corner in the London club's 2-1 victory against Sunderland.
And with the silly season rapidly approaching, media on the other side of the pond are already rounding into mid-summer form, linking the American striker with a move to Arsenal – potentially as a replacement for van Persie should the lure of Manchester City or another big-money suitor draw the Dutchman away.
Should that come off, it's safe to say the Gunners are going to have a serious uptick in interest in the US. Then again, Arsenal's Champions League credentials aren't yet secured either, leaving some doubt about their summer strategy and their ability to attract the big names needed to return to the highest rung on the European ladder.
Personally, I'd love to see an American ply their trade in La Liga, and this article makes a pretty convincing argument that Malaga wouldn't be a bad destination for Deuce.
Where would you do if you were Dempsey? Let us know what you think in the comment section below.
The transfer window may be closed, but that doesn't apply to players who are out of contract.
One such player is someone most MLS fans will recognize. And he wants back in:
Very hopeful that my deal back to @MLS will happen in the next few days!! My times at @LAGalaxy were the best but time for a new challenge!!
— Chris Birchall (@chrisbirchall7) April 27, 2012
Know anyone with a need for midfield depth and an available international slot? Hello, New York?
Michael Ballack était l’invité de l’émission Das Aktuelle Sportstudio à la ZDF (chaîne publique allemande) où il a donné une longue entrevue d’un quart d’heure, ponctuée de nombreux témoignages. Il y a évoqué son parcours de ces dernières années en club et en équipe nationale, mais aussi la suite de la carrière.
L’ancien capitaine de la Mannschaft a confirmé que son avenir ne se situerait plus à Leverkusen, mais a rassuré : « Le feu brûle encore ». Sa motivation à jouer encore au plus haut niveau est intacte et il a été interrogé sur la possibilité de jouer en Major League Soccer.
Il n’a pas caché son intention de traverser l’Atlantique et a paru assez gêné quand on lui a demandé s’il y avait des offres concrètes. « Je ne peux rien révéler d’exclusif », a-t-il souri, confirmant quand même qu’il y avait eu des discussions et qu’il était intéressé.
Vous voulez l’entendre de sa bouche (en allemand) ? Voilà son passage complet à l’émission, et la vidéo démarre au moment où il est interrogé, de manière très précise, sur la MLS :
This week, we see the antics of two Sporting Kansas City youngsters on the golf course, two ex-MLS stars share a curry in England and Timbers rookie Andrew Jean-Baptiste shares his favorite movie quote.
So this is what Sporting's young strikers Soony Saad and Dominic Dwyer get up to in their spare time!? Will Tiger Woods start doing this soon?
big birdie putt, @SoonySaad checking his line haha #Clueless http://pic.twitter.com/UTQ9KlnG
— Dominic Dwyer (@Ddwyer14) April 11, 2012
US International Stuart Holden enjoys a "rubby murray" (slang for Indian food in England), with fellow US International Robbie Rogers and brother Euan Holden - who also plays professionally for Stockport County in England.
Knocked back a solid Indian for dinner with @EuanHolden and @robbierogers ! #spicy http://instagr.am/p/JSouFiLFo1/
— Stuart Holden (@stuholden) April 11, 2012
Many people complain about the view from their office window - too many pigeons, construction work, etc. But Real Salt Lake's captain Kyle Beckerman can have no such complaints about the view from his "office." Wow.
Soccer w/ view. http://instagr.am/p/JP_KBCwRdy/
— Kyle Beckerman (@KyleBeckerman) April 10, 2012
Portland Timbers rookie Andrew Jean-Baptiste was drafted with the 8th overall pick this year. The former UCONN standout spends most of his time on Twitter. Here he shares a classic movie quote....well, sort of.
"Back up, put the gun down and get me some Tropical Fruit Bubblelicious.............................and some Skittles!" - Bad Boys
— Andrew Jean-Baptiste (@ajeanbaptiste92) April 10, 2012
Liverpool striker and Welsh legend Craig Bellamy has always been a colorful character. Leander Schaerlaecken is eagerly anticipating a possible move to MLS.
Does anybody else think it would be really fun to see Craig Bellamy playing in MLS?
— Leander Schaerlaecken (@LeanderESPN) April 11, 2012
If you see a soccer tweet that should be included in our top five, be sure to send it to the @MLS_Insider!
With the Twitter world working overtime during the MLS season, every Friday we'll post five of the most inventive and interesting tweets from the North American soccer community from the previous week.
The best snippets of entertainment, knowledge and intrigue from inside the world of North American soccer will be displayed here, so be sure to keep up to date on what the players, coaches and journalists are tweeting about.
In our first week, we see how SI.com's Grant Wahl is having pet issues, USMNT coach Jurgen Klinsmann addresses his squad and an MLS star enjoys early morning word puzzles.
So here they are: our five favorites from soccer's Twitterati:
Well done to @clint_dempsey for scoring his 13th Premier League goal of season, extending his own American record. #USMNT.
— Jurgen Klinsmann (@J_Klinsmann) March 31, 2012
This man @BigAfrika88 wakes up at 6:40AM guess what's the 1st thing he did? No not brush his teeth, "Starts playing Scramble wit friends SMH
— Kei Kamara (@keikamara) April 2, 2012
Big last-second win for Dallas vs NE. In other news, my 5-pound poodle Coco tried to take on a 130-pound Bernese mountain dog.
— Grant Wahl (@GrantWahl) April 5, 2012
Nagbe is ballin, @MLS is on the rise! #MLS
— Jozy Altidore (@JozyAltidore) April 3, 2012
There's nothing quite like a feud between Marc Burch and Daniel Woolard to get the neutrals pumped for the weekend.
— Kyle McCarthy (@kylejmccarthy) April 6, 2012
This past winter, rumor had it that former D.C. United captain Ryan Nelsen might return to the nation's capital. The 34-year-old centerback had played out his contract for Premier League side Blackburn Rovers, and was looking to finish his career with the club that developed him from a good college player into a world-class professional.
But then Tottenham Hotspur manager Harry Redknapp offered him a six-month contract to move to White Hart Lane and provide depth and experience to a club that is this season challenging for cups and pushing for a UEFA Champions League spot. He couldn't say no.
He also has proven his worth to the gaffer. On Wednesday, Nelsen scored in Spurs' 3-1 win over Bolton in the FA Cup quarterfinals, and after the match, Redknapp clearly stated his intentions regarding the longtime New Zealand international.
"I had been chasing him for years and he's only on a six-month contract," Redknapp was quoted as saying in Thursday's New Zealand Herald, "so we'll have to give him a new one at the end of the season."
La MLS se germanise. Quelques jours après la signature d’Arne Friedrich à Chicago (il participe à son premier entraînement ce mardi), on annonce aujourd’hui que son compatriote Michael Ballack traversera l’Atlantique cet été.
Michael Becker, agent de l’ancien capitaine de l’équipe nationale allemande, a déclaré que son client « souhaitait évoluer en Major League Soccer » et a même pointé une destination de préférence : New York. Sauf que le club semble lui préférer Stephen Ireland (Aston Villa)… Des déclarations qui ne manquent pas d’animer les débats sur les réseaux sociaux.
Le milieu de terrain de Leverkusen intéresse d’autres clubs de MLS. Il y a quelques semaines, son nom revenait notamment parmi les sérieux prétendants à une place de joueur désigné à l’Impact de Montréal, qui n’est certainement pas seul sur les rangs.
Un autre Allemand fait déjà les beaux jours d’un club de MLS : Torsten Frings, à Toronto. Cependant, en sauvant ce qui ressemblait à un but tout fait ce samedi à Seattle, l’ancien joueur de la Mannschaft s’est blessé : il sera hors-circuit pour quatre à six semaines. Une absence qui risque de peser lourd en demi-finale de Ligue des champions contre Santos Laguna.
Frankie Hejduk is a legend in Columbus. His eight years playing for the Crew, including captaining them to the 2008 MLS Cup title, made him a fan favorite. (Drinking beers in the parking lot with the diehard supporters when he was suspended for a game didn't hurt his Q rating at Crew Stadium either.)
Now, after he finished his career with the LA Galaxy last year, it looks like the Crew might abide the dude again.
“There’s some Crew players that just resonate,” Crew President and GM Mark McCullers told The Columbus Dispatch recently. “Brian McBride still resonates. Frankie resonates and that certainly has value for us. I would love to have Frankie in the organization."