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09 February 2:21 de la tarde

Unless you are a college soccer junkie or University of Pittsburgh diehard, the name Joe Prince-Wright probably doesn't mean a whole lot to you. Not yet, at least.

That's certainly not a knock against Joe. It's just the way the soccer landscape works here in the US. Hopefully, though, that will change for JPW – as he is known here at MLSsoccer.com – in the next few days.

Early this morning, Joe boarded a flight for Florida, where he will spend the weekend showcasing his abilities for NASL coaches and technical directors with the goal of earning a contract and continuing his soccer career here in the US. After completing a four-year career at Pitt last year, where he played against a laundry list of current MLS players and 2012 SuperDraft picks, he started as a freelance editor here at MLSsoccer.com. Between editing, providing insight on Big East prospects and generally entertaining us at the office, Joe has been busy training in preparation for this opportunity.

For the next few days, Joe has graciously agreed to provide brief video updates from Ft. Lauderdale as he attempts to latch on with an NASL franchise and prolong his playing career. You can also follow him on Twitter for tidbits and insight into the NASL Combine.

Check out the video for a quick introduction to the man, the myth and legend that is JPW and his thoughts on the combine. He may not look it in this video – the result of multiple takes as we switched between a cell phone camera and the real deal – but the guy is hilarious and should bring the heat in Florida.

Note: We take particular enjoyment from Joe's British euphemisms here at MLS Digital HQ. Perhaps the favorite, or at least the one most fit for print, is "diamond geezer," which is apparently a quintessentially English way of saying someone is a good guy. I was used to "geezer" from my time in Kansas City with Birmingham-born, play-by-play extraordinaire Callum Williams, but hadn't heard the diamond addition until I got to New York. Now if I could only imitate a British accent without sounding like a pirate, I'd be in business.

09 February 1:15 de la tarde

Looks like Kei Kamara has found a new way to scare defenders. It's a shame that the powers that be won't let him wear a gorilla suit on the field but on second thought he'd probably die of a heat stroke before halftime so perhaps it's for the best. Also, explaining to your kids why there is a dead gorilla with a man inside it on the pitch is a real bummer and puts a damper on the gameday experience.

Making Michael Harrington scream looks like fun though; can't imagine how he'd ever survive a trip to Six Flags or make it through a Saw movie without changing his shorts.

09 February 11:43 de la mañana

(Photo courtesy of dcunited.com)

So for about two hours last night, D.C. United U-18 Academy midfielder Patrick Foss was on the front page of nytimes.com.

Before everyone gets their panties in a bunch, this is one of those cases where it's not what it looks like. The US youth national teamer's soccer accumen wasn't actually the focus of the article. Rather, Foss seems to be in the middle of a fight in Virginia over whether or not home-schooled students should be allowed to play varsity sports for their local public schools.

This is more than a case of a jock trying to game the system, because apparently Foss is really smart (second paragraph). Other than that, though, I can't really offer an opinion because I know almost nothing about Virigina public schools, and it's an inherently complicated issue.

What piqued my interest was the fact that Foss wants to try out as a kicker for the local football team.

At 5-foot-10, 155 pounds, I have my doubts as to whether or not Foss has a career in football. As a player who has been to US Soccer's Residency Academy in Bradenton, Fla., and who is less than four months removed from a start with D.C. United's reserves, I'm going to go out on a limb and say that he'll have a career in professional soccer. I get that kickers don't get hit that much, but why take the chance of getting hurt?

That said, Foss is 17. He deserves to be able to have fun and be happy. If football can help that come to pass, more power to him.

08 February 7:54 de la tarde

 

En nuestra última edición del podcast Tiro Libre tuvimos el placer de platicar con el volante colombiano de San Jose Earthquakes Tressor Moreno, quien jugó para la selección Colombia como #10 entre el 2000 y 2008. El volante aseguró que aún espera con tener un llamado al seleccionado nacional y esto me puso a pensar: ¿será Tressor el mejor mediocampista colombiano que tiene la MLS actualmente?

ESCUCHA EL PODCAST TIRO LIBRE

Después miré los nombres y me di cuenta que la respuesta no tan simple. En 2011, Diego Chara brilló con los Portland Timbers y es el único jugador colombiano en la MLS en haber sido llamado a la selección de su país en los últimos años. Joven, fuerte y preciso. Puede que él sea el mejor...

Pero, ¿y David Ferreira?

El ‘torito’ de FC Dallas fue, indudablemente, el mejor jugador de la MLS en 2010. Una dura lesión lo marginó de las canchas en 2011, pero se espera que regrese este año. Seguro que este señor jugador tiene que ser el mejor… yo ya ni se. Eso sin contar la maestría del emblemático ex capitán del Millonarios Rafael Robayo (ahora con Chicago Fire) o el también seleccionado colombiano Jaime Castrillón, proveniente del Independiente Medellín (ahora con Colorado Rapids).

La pregunta es fácil, pero la respuesta no: ¿Quién creen que es el mejor actualmente? Al final de la temporada 2012 veremos si la mayoría tuvo la razón.

08 February 12:03 de la tarde

Most of us know Dwayne DeRosario as a playmaker and all-around MLS bad-man. We can now add "shake-maker" and "acquaintance of a Pussy Cat Doll" to his illustrious resume. I'm sure he's as proud of these accomplishments as he is of his 4 MLS Cup rings.

08 February 10:30 de la mañana

Guilty pleasure or not, I watch a lot of Law & Order. My addiction to the show even extends across the pond to the UK version.

This week, I learned that I'm not the only one afflicted with L&O fever. Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish appears to be quite a fan, too.

After the club's 0-0 draw with Tottenham on Monday, he was asked to respond to criticism of his controversial striker, Luis Suarez, from a pair of Manchester United stars, Gary Neville and Wayne Rooney. Neville called Suarez "lucky" not to see red for side-volleying Spurs midfielder Scott Parker, and Rooney took to Twitter to give his opinion.

Dalglish, ever the gentleman, decided it was best to hold his tongue. Somewhere in the back of his mind, he must have had an image of an angry Mariska Hargitay, because here's what he told the media:

"If Gary Neville or Wayne were standing there and asked me the question, I could answer them. But I don't think you can speak for them. I think I'll just plead the fifth amendment." 

Sorry, King Kenny, there is no fifth amendment in the UK. There are no amendments at all, in fact. There is a right to silence, stretching back to the Judges' Rules set down in 1912 and later adjusted by the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994, but the Fifth Amendment is a purely American thing. It's an integral part of the United States Constitution, which protects people from governmental abuse, including self-incrimination: "No person ... shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself."

One can only imagine that Dalglish is pleading the 5th because he agrees with the accusers and he doesn't want to slam his own player. Jack McCoy would appreciate the irony of it all, I'm sure.

07 February 7:17 de la tarde

 

Borrón y cuenta nueva.

Rafael Márquez lo dijo hace unas semanas: quiere dejar atrás un chocante 2011 para enfocarse en una buena temporada con los Red Bulls este año, y empezó con el pie derecho.

El Káiser salió como capitán en el primer juego de pretemporada de su equipo ante FC Dallas en Guadalajara, México. Los Red Bulls terminaron ganando el juego por 2-0 con goles por parte de la nueva adquisición Kenny Cooper y Corey Hertzog.

Mira más fotos AQUÍ

No existe mejor manera que comenzar el año que con un triunfo y para Márquez, en este caso, ese triunfo fue en casa. ¿Será esta la temporada donde Márquez se convertirá en el líder que todos esperamos que sea en la MLS?

07 February 6:34 de la tarde

Spotted in the hallways of the Home Depot Center ahead of the Timbers' preseason match vs. the LA Galaxy today: Portland head coach John Spencer with projected No. 1 NFL Draft pick Andrew Luck.

On the surface it may seem random but this certainly wasn't thier first meeting; Luck is the son of Oliver Luck, who was president of the Houston Dynamo while Spencer was an assistant there.

Photo courtesy of @TimbersFC.

 

07 February 4:09 de la tarde

Player interviews go up on our site and the team websites pretty much every day, but sometimes what you see on camera doesn't tell the whole story. After Monday's Seattle-Vancouver pre-season game, just such a situation arose. A couple of veterans, a rookie, and an impressive amount of focus ensue...

 

07 February 2:34 de la tarde

Cheerleaders: love 'em or hate 'em they are an inextricable part of the American sports landscape. But for many of the MLS fans that weighed in on the league's Facebook page yesterday they aren't part of one sport: soccer.

Or so they believe. Ask fans of England's Southend United or Mexico's Santos Laguna and they'll beg to differ. But what does the staff of MLSsoccer.com think of pitchside pom-poms? Here's a sampling.

"I don’t understand this notion that cheerleaders don’t belong in soccer. Cheerleaders have been around the game forever. Maybe not in Europe, but if you look at Mexico, Colombia and most of all the other Latin-American countries, you will see that many of those clubs have had cheerleaders for many years and the game didn’t get ruined. They get to cheer the crowd at halftime, when no one has anything to do other than eat, drink and wait for the second half.  Cheerleaders are not going to change what happens inside of the field, and that’s what I care about. So I say, sure, bring them on." - Edgar Acero

"When it comes to soccer, cheerleaders are nothing but a distraction. Then again, that's pretty much their purpose in just about any setting. But by that definition, so are concession stands, play areas that give parents a much-appreciated outlet for their offspring and just about anything that happens away from the field during the course of a match. Many people spend 90 minutes fixated on the play itself, but countless others scarf down giant, salted pretzels, play around on Twitter or ogle pretty girls with pom poms. Who am I to say any of those things don't belong? To each his own." - Andrew Wiebe

"I’m opposed to cheerleaders in MLS, but only because I’m opposed to cheerleaders in general. It adds nothing to the product on the field, and anyway, why would you spend money on tickets if your only goal is to see scantily-clad women? You could just as easily stay home and use man’s greatest invention: the interwebz." - Nate Sulat

"I'll admit that as a former Texas high school football player I have a strong association with cheerleaders & pointyball. So as much as I enjoy pretty women, team spirit and soccer it just seems a little odd --not to mention possibly degrading-- to me. Not because it's "Americanizing" the game, as some allege, but because they just remind me of autumn Friday nights in Anytown U.S.A. Also, rejection. - Shawn Francis

What's your take on cheerleaders in soccer? Let us know in the comments below.