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05 January 6:01 pm

A few weeks ago we told you how Houston Dynamo star Oscar Boniek Garcia was talking up MLS to his Honduran compatriot Alexander López. But it wasn't necessarily clear that he was trying to recruit him to BBVA Compass Stadium.

We have our confirmation, from the player himself.

López spilled the beans to the Saturday edition of Honduran outlet La Tribuna.

“Yes, it's true that I have an offer from the Houston Dynamo," he said. "I think it would be a nice experience to play in that league [MLS]. I'm not going to deny that in a way it excites me, but I'm not desperate to leave; I'm young with my future ahead of me. I've been calm about everything."

Boniek Garcia was a former Olimpia player and is very familiar with López's abilities. It helps that the Dynamo and Olimpia faced off in the group stage of the current edition of the CONCACAF Champions League.

“As a player you always look at things in the short-term and I'd like to consolidate my place on the team [Olimpia] this year, although the offer from the United States is tempting," López said. "The Houston Dynamo manager saw me when we played them in the United States. I think it would be a nice experience that other Honduran players are already living."

05 January 12:52 pm

So what do we make of this one?

There's a report that claims that Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger is mulling over a move for Sporting Kansas City forward C.J. Sapong. The Football Magazine goes as far as saying that a fee of nearly $5 million has been agreed upon with SKC with only personal terms left to be worked out.

When contacted by MLSsoccer.com, Sporting Kansas City had no comment on the report.

The news is so out-of-the-blue that many have already laughed it off. But work permit issues notwithstanding, why would it be considered so far-fetched? After all, the 24-year-old Sapong is one of the elite young players in MLS and captured the 2011 Rookie of the Year award. And Arsenal have made it a club policy to recruit young players.

Despite battling injury and losing his starting spot in 2012, Sapong still wound up with nine goals in 2012 MLS league action and now Sporting KC have what seemingly looks like a glut of forwards with new signing Claudio Bieler and the return of Teal Bunbury from a knee injury.

What do you make of the news? Comment below.

04 January 7:13 pm

You've probably read the rumors, and so have we: The New York Red Bulls are reportedly trading Joel Lindpere to the Chicago Fire in exchange for an international slot.

Steven Goff at The Washington Post had it first, and Soccer By Ives followed it up with further details.

But as of Friday evening, neither club was saying anything, as both RBNY and Chicago declined to comment to MLSsoccer.com.

But given the amount of salary the Red Bulls are likely taking on for Juninho Pernambucano — further crowding up an already crowded midfield — and their suddenly open Designated Player slot thanks to the sale of Rafa Márquez, this move isn't much of a surprise. (Lindpere signed a hefty contract extension a year ago.)

Even less of a shock considering the clear-out of Hans Backe products that began as soon as the 2012 season ended and will likely continue as new sporting director Andy Roxburgh puts his stamp on the club. All that cap space is going to go somewhere, and if you factor in the extra international slot into the equation, well, you can take a guess as to what kind of math the Red Bulls are banking on.

Still, it'd be a bit sad to see the Estonian midfielder make his exit from Red Bull Arena. After all, he bagged the first goal ever scored there and was a fan favorite. If he's gone, by the way, that would leave a single player left on the roster from that March 2010 friendly against Santos, the debut match at RBNY's new home:

Roy Miller.

The times have changed in Harrison, indeed.

04 January 5:58 pm

Uno de los problemas más graves de nuestra sociedad es la brecha que existe entre los ricos y pobres. La desigualdad económica provoca, entre otras cosas, que haya gente en el mundo sin hogar. El no tener un techo encima donde vivir, genera desolación, e impide que las personas tengan la posibilidad de comunicarse e interactuar con otros.

Con base en esto, los austríacos Mel Young, miembro del Foro Económico Mundial, y Harald Schmied, relacionista público, fundaron en 2001 la Homeless World Cup, una organización sin ánimo de lucro que busca empoderar a las personas sin hogar.

La organización realiza “el mundial para personas sin hogar”, y cuenta con 73 organizaciones afiliadas, que proveen educación y apoyo desde el fútbol a través de programas de desarrollo sostenible, generando un impacto positivo en la vida de sus participantes.

La Homeless World Cup se lleva a cabo anualmente, y cuenta con el respaldo entre otras organizaciones, de la UEFA.

El corresponsal del New York Times, Damien Cave, estuvo presente en la más reciente edición del evento que se llevó a cabo en Ciudad de México. Cave realizó un perfil de Ana Aguirre, jugadora de la selección de México, proveniente de Ciudad Juárez, quien participó en la Homeless WC. A continuación su historia:

La Homeless World Cup México 2012 fue la décima versión del evento anual que comenzó en 2003, en Bekasi, Indonesia, y que además del torneo principal, organiza varios alrededor del mismo, tanto para hombres como para mujeres. Personalidades del fútbol internacional como los mexicanos Jorge Campos, Hugo Sánchez, Jared Borguetti y el danés Petr Schmeichel, entre otros, han demostrado su apoyo con la organización.
 

04 January 5:11 pm

Les écoliers ne seront peut-être pas d’accord avec une telle affirmation. Je ne parle évidemment pas des vacances scolaires mais bien de la reprise en MLS. Les supporters l’attendent avec impatience. Les joueurs aussi ont hâte de s’y remettre… ce qui ne déplaira pas aux employés dans les bureaux des clubs. N’est-ce pas, Antoine Hoppenot ?

04 January 3:58 pm

The Portland Timbers certainly haven’t stood pat this offseason.

General manager Gavin Wilkinson and first-year coach Caleb Porter have already injected steel into the side – acquiring MLS vets such as midfielder Will Johnson from Real Salt Lake, versatile defender Michael Harrington from Sporting KC and Jamaican striker Ryan Johnson from Toronto FC – and now they could be poised to add some much-needed creativity.

If the rumors currently flying are true, the Timbers could have another midfield acquisition in the works: Argentinian Diego Valeri.

At only 26, Valeri is entering the prime of his career and would be a promising acquisition for a Timbers side in need of a bit more attacking oomph. It also helps he seems to be out of favor at his current club.

Valeri currently plays for Club Atlético Lanús in the Argentine Primera División, where he’s made 156 appearances since debuting in 2003 and captained the team in their 2011 Clausura runners-up campaign, but hasn’t seen much time since ex-Columbus Crew star Guillermo Barros Schelotto took over as manager. Of course, that’s where Portland come into play.

Should the Argentine make the move to the Pacific Northwest, the Timbers could have the type of creative midfield presence that would allow Darlington Nagbe to shift permanently to the withdrawn forward role many believe will bring out the best in Porter’s former Akron prodigy.

He’s no stranger to foreign adventures, either. In July 2009, Valeri was loaned to Portuguese champions Porto, where he played one season, then spent six months on loan with Spanish second-division side UD Almería.

What do you think? Is Valeri the answer in Portland? Will the Timbers’ offseason moves pay dividends in 2013?

04 January 1:08 pm

The Daily Mail – alarm bells already ringing! – reported Friday morning that current Queens Park Rangers vice-captain Ryan Nelsen was headed back to MLS as an assistant coach with former club D.C. United.

It didn't take long for The Washington Post's Steve Goff to get his journalistic biplane off the ground to effectively red baron those rumors.

Just as quickly, others chimed in with another possible landing spot for Nelsen: Toronto FC, where former D.C. president Kevin Payne is reshaping the club.

If Nelsen does land on an MLS staff, it would continue the ongoing trend of former players moving into assistant coaching roles. The New Zealander would certainly have plenty of experience to draw on, as well as an intimate understanding of the league and valuable contacts back in England.

What do you think? Would Nelsen be a good hire at TFC or D.C. United? For an MLS side in general?

04 January 1:04 pm

Have you entertained thoughts about switching careers as we pass into 2013? Ever thought it would be cool to have a job in MLS, helping to grow the game day-in, day-out? Yes?

Then listen up, your opportunity is here.

Major League Soccer's National Sales Center is currently conducting a search to find their newest crop of recruits for the spring semester. This time around, they're adding a little twist. 

On Twitter. 

Interested yet? Here's what you need to do to get your foot in the door: 

1. Follow @MLSNSC on Twitter.
2. Send a tweet to @MLSNSC along with the #MLSNSC hashtag about why you want to make a career in soccer and sales. 

The tweets that get the most RTs, favorites and replies will be considered for interviews, and potentially a spot in the program. Here's the full rundown of how the process works. 

You know what they say nowadays, you only get 140 characters to make a first impression. Good luck. 

04 January 12:40 pm

As we slowly build up to Major League Soccer's 18th season – a scary thought, especially since MLS Cup still feels like such a recent event, for me at least – it's worth taking a look back at how it all started. Rest assured, the goings-on weren't always quite so polished.

Take, for example, the first signing in league history. US Soccer is counting down its top 100 moments as part of the federation's centennial celebration and included an interesting anecdote from president Sunil Gulati about what it took to bring national team star Tab Ramos to MLS. The league and US Soccer wanted Ramos – an national team player with Hispanic heritage and attacking flare – to help give the league an initial foothold with fans as well as other Americans playing abroad.

He certainly helped with both those aims, but when he committed his future to MLS, there wasn't even contract to put pen to paper on. I'll let Gulati explain.

“He was going to sign with Tigres, and what we decided at the very last moment was why not have a handshake to sign with MLS, and we would loan him to Tigres,” Gulati told USsoccer.com. “The league wasn't far enough along to have a contract or a standard player agreement or any of that, so it was just a handshake.”

Just a handshake. Imagine suggesting that to the current crop of agents stocking teams these days. You'd get laughed out of the room.

But after a year-and-a-half with Tigres UANL, Ramos kept his end of the bargain, ending up with his hometown MetroStars for the next seven seasons. It wasn't always smooth sailing – cue Red Bulls fans simultaneously nodding their heads and silently weeping – but Ramos became a pioneer in a league that he helped put on the map.

To think, all it took was a handshake and the belief that professional soccer in the US was worth the commitment.

“I was excited to come home and start a new experience,” Ramos said. “It was coming home and there was the draw of playing at Giants Stadium, where I had watched the Cosmos play and where I practiced with the Cosmos 10 years before. All those things were really important to me. Obviously, having my family here as well.

“And it was fun. It was fun drawing the big crowds the first couple of years. It was fun driving to the stadium, just to be part of the whole thing. It really truly felt like we had a professional league at home and it was going to stick.”