US National Team
Well, at least it’s something to take back from Mexico. The US U-17s topped El Tri 1-0 in the fifth-place match on Monday at the Mondial Minimes tournament in Montaigu, France.
New York Red Bulls Academy product Wesley Wade scored in the 59th minute for the decider, the forward’s second strike of the tournament for Richie Williams’ side.
The US U-17s finished 1-1-1 in Group B of the prestigious youth tournament, with a dominant 4-0 victory over the United Arab Emirates, a 1-0 loss to Portugal and a 1-1 draw with Japan (a 4-3 penalty-kick victory in the finale saw them advance to Monday’s fifth-place match).
Williams named seven MLS Academy products to the 18-man squad for his first tournament in charge of the team. Wade was one of three RBNY youngsters, and Chivas USA Academy forward Bradford Jamieson also scored a pair of goals in France.
Portugal won the 12-team tournament with a penalty-kick shootout victory over Russia in the final. England placed third while Japan came in fourth.
Looks like the injury bug in Real Salt Lake has — temproarily anyway — tied the hands of US Under-20 head coach Tab Ramos.
Ramos will be without his most experienced player, midfielder Luis Gil, who's been recalled by Jason Kreis in the wake of injuries to Javier Morales and Ned Grabavoy.
Good luck to the U20 @ussoccer_ynt out in Portland. Sorry I couldn't make it with you guys #UntilNextTime
— Luis Gil (@luisitogil21) April 9, 2012
Also missing the trip is Birmingham City-based defender Will Packwood. Javan Torre (LA Galaxy Academy) and Matt Wiesenfarth (California Davis) have been added as replacements.
The camp, which runs from April 9-16 in Portland, Ore., will feature an intrasquad scrimmage on April 12 and a friendly against the University of Washington on April 15.
Full roster and details at USsoccer.com.
If you're still surprised that Clint Dempsey is attracting interest from some of England's biggest clubs, you probably aren't paying attention.
With a year left on his contract after the end of this season – a record-breaking campaign for Duece and Americans abroad in general – the suitors are apparently lining up to give the 29-year-old veteran a chance to play in the Champions League should he decide to leave Fulham, the only club he's known outside of Major League Soccer.
After scoring two more goals against Bolton this weekend, a performance that gave Dempsey 21 strikes on the season in all competitions, reports in England are tossing around names such as Arsenal, Tottenham and Manchester United as potential summer destinations for the American midfielder.
Fulham manager Martin Jol is realistic about the fate of his star, admitting he could be facing life without Dempsey should the right offer come along. That shouldn't come as a shock considering Dempsey is third in the Premier League this season in goals scored in all competitions behind Robin van Persie (37) and Wayne Rooney (31). Even more impressive, Duece is behind only van Persie (44) and Rooney (32) in EPL goals since the start of the 2010-11 season, scoring 27 times for the Lily Whites, mostly from the midfield.
He has a chance to add to that total Monday when Fulham host Chelsea in a West London derby – a fixture that has treated Dempsey well in the past.
WATCH: Chris Coleman on Dempsey's next club
Behold: The jerseys for Euro 2012 have been released. And there are many sashes.
The US men's national team made waves before the 2010 World Cup by reintroducing a sash to their jerseys in homage to the 1950 team that famously beat England. And while it's not exactly unique – teams like Trinidad and Tobago and Peru have been rocking the sash for years – it's not exactly standard fare.
So from whence come the sashes? This is undoubtedly jingoistic, biased, and self-aggrandizing, but I tend to think that the US brought the design back into vogue.
Which would also mark the first time that Europeans have ever taken fashion advice from Americans. Give yourselves a pat on the back, readers.
I, for one, feel pretty good about it. I like the sash on the US jerseys. I think they'll look good at Euro 2012. Undoubtedly, you feel differently. And... discuss!
This ex-soccer player could perhaps rival the star of the cult Dos Equis commercials as the "most interesting man in the world."
German goalkeeper Lutz Pfannenstiel is now an international scout for Bundesliga side Hoffenheim, yet his playing career, which included a stint with current MLS outfit the Vancouver Whitecaps, wasn’t quite as conventional.
He was declared dead while on the pitch when playing for Bradford Park Avenue and was also locked up in a Singapore jail. He has spent five days in an igloo in a German ski resort, during which his antics were streamed live over the internet. He was also, believe it or not, a member of the "crazy gang" at Wimbledon and was stripped naked by Vinnie Jones and his teammates during a jog through London on a cold November morning in his first few days with the club.
Pfannenstiel spent time playing in North America with Vancouver in 2007, making four appearances, while also turning out for the Calgary Mustangs in 2004.
His title as an international scout for Hoffenheim means that current US national team players Danny Williams, Fabian Johnson and U-23 player Joe Gyau are all know to the eccentric German.
If those three have careers half as interesting as Pfannenstiel's, then we are all in for a real treat.
Stay thirsty my friends.
The nice thing about age-group soccer is that another chance to make good is always right around the corner.
For the US, that means shifting focus from the failure of the U-23s to the next crop of U-20s. Or as I'll be referring to them in my head, "Luis Gil's Group."
The Real Salt Lake youngster is by far the most experienced player in Tab Ramos' squad, announced by US Soccer on Monday, which also includes three other MLSers: Jack McBean of the LA Galaxy; Jonathan Top of FC Dallas; and Victor Pineda of the Chicago Fire.
Here's the whole squad, courtesy of US soccer:
GOALKEEPERS (2): Tomas Gomez (Georgetown; Webster Groves, Mo.), Jake McGuire (Chivas USA Academy; Pomona, Calif.)
DEFENDERS (9): Christian Dean (California; East Palo Alto, Calif.), Bryan Gallego (Akron; Kinnelon, N.J.), Jordan McCrary (North Carolina; Marietta, Ga.), Eric Miller (Creighton; Woodbury, Minn.), Juan Pablo Ocegueda (Tigres UANL; Riverside, Calif.), Boyd Okwuonu (North Carolina; Edmund, Okla.), William Packwood (Birmingham City; Concord, Mass.), Jeffrey Payeras (LA Galaxy Academy; Hawthorne, Calif.), Derek Vogel (Pateadores; Long Beach, Calif.)
MIDFIELDERS (7): Seth Casiple (California; Rocklin, Calif.), Luis Gil (Real Salt Lake; Garden Grove, Calif.), Benji Joya (Santos Laguna; San Jose, Calif.), Mikey Lopez (North Carolina; Mission, Texas), Collin Martin (D.C. United Academy; Chevy Chase, Md.), Victor Pineda (Chicago Fire; Bolingbrook, Ill.), Wil Trapp (Akron; Gahanna, Ohio)
FORWARDS (6): Daniel Cuevas (Santos Laguna; Sacramento, Calif.), Ethan Decker (New York Red Bulls Academy; Manahawkin, N.J.), Daniel Garcia (FC Dallas Academy; Dallas), Jack McBean (LA Galaxy; Newport Beach, Calif.), James Rogers (New Mexico; Salt Lake City), Jonathan Top (FC Dallas; Fort Worth, Texas)
One player not on the list? Charles Renken. The 18-year-old midfielder is still settling in with the Portland Timbers, seeing action in reserve games and regular run in practice. But apparently he's not ready for the U-20s quite yet.
The link between Fulham Football Club and the US soccer world over the years has become so strong that they are often colloquially referred to as “Team America” in the UK.
It’s hard to argue with that playful nickname and their long history of enticing players from the US to try their luck in the EPL is one Fulham are very proud of, according to the Cottagers website.
Several US national team stars such as Brian McBride, Carlos Bocanegra and now Clint Dempsey have turned out for the West London side at Craven Cottage, all earning high praise for their performances from fans and pundits alike.
On Fulham’s official club website on Thursday they highlighted an article coming up in the clubs Fulltime magazine. The EPL side, who are led this season by US superstar Dempsey with 18 goals, are quick to point out their strong links with MLS soccer in particular.
“While our Premier League rivals are only now just discovering the delights of America’s top league, it’s fair to say that we’ve been unearthing its hidden treasures for 13 years.”
So just like any good relationship, the benefits are reciprocal. Former Fulham and US national team captain Brian McBride explains.
“Fulham have been major players in increasing awareness of what American soccer players have to offer,” said McBride.
Well said Brian, long may the loving relationship continue.
US soccer announced on Wednesday that John "Clarkie" Souza had passed away over the weekend. The 91-year-old National Soccer Hall of Famer was a starter for the squad that famously beat England 1-0 at Belo Horizonte in the 1950 FIFA World Cup.
Souza is the second member of that famous team to pass away in recent months, as standout defender Harry Keough was laid to rest on Feb. 7.
Follow the US MNT Blog for confirmed funeral arrangements.
Photo Courtesy of ussoccerstore.com
I decided to look at the US Soccer online store today, and it had nothing to do with the e-mail blast they sent out telling me about their Spring collection. Cross my heart and hope to die.
And though it may not be particularly Spring-y, I found a hoodie that was well worth the price of admission.
The words on the back say, and I quote, "Haters Welcome."
I'm not really sure what that means. Is it a defiance thing a la "Don't Tread On Me?" Kind of a "hate us because we win?"
Is it an invitation to soccer "haters" to start watching? God knows I have enough friends who are haters, but I'm not sure that wearing this sweatshirt would convince them to start watching games with me.
Look, I'm all for helping the uninitiated get into soccer. Convincing – and I mean really convincing – someone to follow the beautiful game is unbelievably rewarding. Haters? Not sure if it's worth the fight. After all...
Thoughts, everyone? Smart? Silly? Would you wear it? Hit up that comment section and let us know.
TUCSON, Ariz. – Juan Agudelo returned to New York Red Bulls practice here on Friday, walking a little taller. Literally.
The 19-year-old striker scored the US Olympic team’s opener in their 2-0 win over their Mexican counterparts in Texas on Wednesday – his first goal in a US shirt since his strike against Argentina nearly a year ago.
And Agudelo gives full credit to the bleached mop rising off the center of his scalp.
“It was just a play that we drew up the day before at practice, actually,” he explained to MLSsoccer.com. “Just a near-post cross off a corner kick and I was able to get my head on it with the Mohawk.”
If that ‘hawk looks like an homage to a certain Wesley Snipes movie to you, you’re not alone. Apparently Agudelo’s ‘do immediately reminded US Under-23 head coach Caleb Porter of the Stallone/Snipes sci-fi action classic Demolition Man.
And right there, folks, is where the generation gap between the 37-year-old coach and the teenage striker becomes apparent.
“Caleb told me about that – I didn’t really know about Demolition Man,” Agudelo admitted.
Fair enough. He wasn’t even a year old when the movie came out in 1993.
“I searched on Google images and it was like I was staring at myself,” he continued. “It wasn’t what I was going for, but that’s the way it worked out.”
Maybe it's time to add "Simon Phoenix" and "Demolition Man" to Swagudelo's growing list of nicknames.
WATCH: Agudelo on his time with the US U-23s