Kick Off: Designated Player reportedly wants out of Toronto
Toronto FC are a busy club these days.
Not only do they hold two of the most important picks in Thursday's SuperDraft (No. 1 and No. 3), but they may also have a situation brewing with forward and Designated Player Eric Hassli. According to Soccer By Ives, the big Frenchman wants out, but TFC aren’t interested.
“Eric Hassli is under contract for 2013,” TFC president Kevin Payne said. “We’ll decide where Eric Hassli plays this year. Not Eric Hassli.”
Before they deal with Hassli, however, Toronto FC have to decide whether or not to trade one of those top two picks in tomorrow's SuperDraft (noon ET on MLSsoccer.com, ESPN3.com and YouTube.com). There look to be plenty of deals that may be going on behind closed doors already.
Soccer By Ives speculates about a few of the rumored moves, with some top MLS stars in the mix. Some players up for grabs may surprise you.
Meanwhile, the top SuperDraft prospects held their final audition in front of MLS coaches on Tuesday and there were some solid displays, with two games full of goals, including a screamer from Boston College’s Kyle Bekker.
We'll see how far Bekker has come during tonight's Google Hangout on MLSsoccer.com where we conduct a dress rehearsal of the real thing (8 pm ET). In the meantime check out the final Mock Drafts on MLSsoccer.com and compare it to the Soccer America version.
Thursday’s SuperDraft aside, this week is huge for soccer in Indianapolis. Later today, a press conference will take place to announce Indianapolis’ newest pro sports team, as the city will be home to an NASL franchise in 2014. Catch all the coverage on MLSsoccer.com.
No doubt plenty of locals will be celebrating and the March to the Match guys will have a special edition of the podcast today, featuring plenty of influential figures in the Indy soccer scene.
While the NASL grows by a team, rumors continue to rumble about the USL and MLS getting together to run a competitive reserve league. News is apparently expected next week.
But staying in Indy, the city’s impressive Lucas Oil Stadium was ranked the No. 1 arena by StadiumJourney.com, as the magazine looked at the top 101 venues worldwide for “the best stadium experience of 2012.”
Two MLS sides featured, with Seattle and Portland high up on the list. Who won the battle of Cascadia’s sporting venues? Find out here.
And while we are on the subject of MLS stadia, check out this very, very cool gallery from Soccer Lens. Aerial photos of every MLS stadium. Um, yes please.
One of those sites has a new name after Sporting KC ended their relationship with stadium partner Livestrong. More details here.
Wait, there's more stadium talk. There could there be a third soccer-specific stadium for a pro team in New York with the NASL's New York Cosmos announcing a proposed new home close to Belmont Park racetrack in Nassau County.
The Cosmos have apparently submitted planning application to build a $400 million site, which could be ready by 2016. A letter from State Senator Jack Martins on Jan.14 reveals the plans, as the Cosmos bid for a permanent home ahead of their return to the US soccer scene this summer.
Across the pond, on a chilly night on England’s South coast, former Sporting KC midfielder Roger Espinoza made his debut for Wigan in a 1-0 FA Cup third-round replay win over League One Bournemouth.
Espinoza impressed and was named Wigan’s man of the match on the EPL side's web chat. The chat wasn’t taken over with messages and votes from Sporting KC fans or anything….
Find out how other American Exports got on in the FA Cup replays, with Geoff Cameron and fit again Bolton midfielder Stuart Holden in action.
The big news out of the US camp yesterday was the announcement that the March 22 World Cup qualifier vs. Costa Rica will take place at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park. Many say the “mile high” altitude is the reason for staging the game in Commerce City, Colo. But USMNT head coach Jurgen Klinsmann thinks otherwise.
“It was a factor, but not a big factor,” Klinsmann told reporters at US national team camp on Tuesday. ”The most important thing for us is that we play in front of our home crowd, that we have total support by our fans, and we feel Denver is the right place.”
With the USMNT in camp right now, plenty of players are experiencing grueling fitness tests. RSL right back Tony Beltran is in a US squad for the first-time, as he talks VO2 max, Pilates and tuna sandwiches in his January camp journal at USsoccer.com.
Creative midfielder Graham Zusi has just joined up with the rest of the squad -- after a training stint with EPL side West Ham United -- and spoke about his MLS future.
“Each player has to go where's right for him,” Zusi said. “I'm not going to go over there just because of the name of the league. Right now, I think Sporting's a great match for me. Not so say I won't explore my options later, but right now I'm really happy where I am.”
While two players perhaps heading from England to MLS are ex-Columbus Crew attacker Robbie Rogers and Frenchman Pascal Chimbonda. Rogers mutually agreed to end his stay with Leeds United, with the Californian loaned out to Stevenage this season after few opportunities at Elland Road.
While former France national team and Spurs fullback Chimbonda has spoken to Eurosport.com about his interest in MLS.
“I would like to play in the USA, this is a dream,” Chimbonda said. “I feel close to this culture and I appreciate it.”
Another man (well, legend) hasn’t decided where he’ll be playing next. If you believe reports, AC Milan don’t want David Beckham to return to the San Siro. (ITALIAN)
While Beckham deliberates his future wearing a pair of slippers while sipping a hot cup of tea by a warm fireplace in his English country estate, former LA teammate Robbie Keane will be back in the UK for a while, too.
LA’s top goalscorer from the 2012 campaign is back at Tottenham Hotspur, but he’s only training with the squad to get fit for the start of camp at the end of January.
And finally, former Barcelona boss Pep Guardiola took time out of his sabbatical in New York City to talk to BBC Sport about the possibility of managing in England. Guardiola wants to manage in England, calling it a “dream.” Chelsea bound? (VIDEO)
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