Kick Off: Seattle Sounders back embattled head coach Sigi Schmid for 2014
Here are the top 15 soccer stories we’re following today...
1. SCHMID TO STAY
The Seattle Sounders didn’t keep their supporters waiting too long before making their decision on the future of head coach Sigi Schmid. It seems a two-hour meeting on Tuesday was all it took for the owners to be convinced Schmid was still their guy, with majority owner Joe Roth revealing the club hadn’t even started to consider replacements.
2. KEANE FOR A NEW DEAL
It will come as a relief to many LA Galaxy fans to hear the news that star striker Robbie Keane looks likely to stay put in Los Angeles, with the forward telling Sky Sports he has verbally agreed a two-year contract with the club with an option for a third. The Galaxy also formally announced Thursday they've re-signed defender Todd Dunivant and that they have signed former Chicago Fire midfielder Baggio Husidic.
3. CARIBBEAN COMBINE
MLS announced a new partnership with the Caribbean Football Union on Thursday that includes the first-ever Caribbean Combine in Antigua in January. For MLS, this is an opportunity to find and nurture some of the top talent from the Caribbean islands outside of regional giants Jamaica, Cuba and Trinidad and Tobago, with MLS executive vice president Todd Durbin stating, “We recognize that the CONCACAF region, especially the Caribbean, is rich with soccer talent.” For some perspective, check out the top five players to come from the smaller Caribbean nations.
4. SCOTS OUT FOR REVENGE
Friday sees the US national team take on Scotland at Hampden Park, the second meeting between the two teams in the past 16 months. The US have lost Clint Dempsey to injury this time around, a fact Jurgen Klinsmann calls “a real bummer.” However, for the most part, the rest of the squad is staying cheerful ahead of the friendly. NBC’s ProSoccer Talk caught up with some of the players to talk about a landmark year for the national side, while goalkeeper Tim Howard has been talking about he and Brad Guzan’s on-field rivalry, off-field friendship.
5. WHAT'S A GUY GOTTA DO TO GET NOTICED?
Mike Magee’s omission from the US squad for the upcoming friendlies is one that continues to puzzle many people, particularly in light of the recent withdrawals. However, while his absence is nothing new, could Magee be the best US player never to receive a cap? Plus, what happened to Timmy Chandler?
6. COUNTRY CONCERNS
Canada have a friendly against the Czech Republic on Friday, and ahead of that game, head coach Benito Floro has been talking about his plans for the upcoming matches. Over in Africa, Bob Bradley's Egypt beat Zambia in what could well prove to be his penultimate game in charge. And if Mexico qualify for the World Cup, which they pretty much already have, Rafa Márquez could be on the verge of history.
7. GONZO'S LIFE
It's been a great year for Omar Gonzalez. Not only has the defender become a regular for the USMNT, he also earned himself a large Designated Player contract with the LA Galaxy. So, how is Gonzalez dealing with all the changes? It seems the LA lifestyle suits him just fine. Gonzalez also reflected on three coaches who have had a huge impact upon his career so far.
8. SHOULD I STAY OR SHOULD I GO?
Good news Sporting Kansas City fans: Aurelien Collin has no interest in returning to Europe. After some confusion following quotes in a French outlet suggesting Collins was eyeing a move, the defender has come out and revealed, “Of course, me, all my life I would stay here in Kansas City.” However, it seems another big name is already getting restless, as Seattle Sounders DP Obafemi Martins has talked of his interest in going to play in Turkey.
9. ENTER THE BULLRING
This season the New York Red Bulls did more than they had ever done before, and managed to win their first-ever Supporters' Shield. However, they still fell short in the playoffs, so what does the team need to reach that next level? A third Designated Player? Mike Petke talks about what he might be looking for this offseason. And with Petke saying Thierry Henry will still be the main focal point of his team's attack, how can the club best preserve its 36-year-old striker?
10. CAROUSEL KEEPS TURNING
Jesse Marsch is the latest candidate to have been interviewed for the Vancouver Whitecaps vacancy, while FC Dallas have revealed that an extensive interview process is well underway as they seek a new head coach. A former Manchester City manager has also expressed some interest in coaching in MLS one day, while Chivas USA have said they will make a decision on their head coach in the coming weeks.
11. COMING HOME
Could Steve Cherundolo be in line for a return to the States? His contract with Hannover expires in the summer and the 34-year-old says he will make a decision in May. However, the US international, who has played for Hannover his whole career, has suggested he would be interested in joining MLS, saying, “It’s always something I am interested in. I follow the league, it’s a great little league.”
12. FOCUS ON THE SOCCER
It’s been an interesting year for Robbie Rogers, one in which he became the first openly gay professional male soccer player in the US. Speaking to The New York Times, Rogers reflects on how things have been going since his announcement. The midfielder also hopes he can now just focus on playing soccer.
13. STAYING AWAY
Carlos Valdés does not expect to return to the Philadelphia Union until after the World Cup next summer, with Union coach John Hackworth saying, “The reality is this is a good situation for Carlos right now.” Think you could be the one to replace him? Well, the Union are teaming up with the Harrisburg City Islanders to run open try-outs this December.
14. FEEL THE ENERGY
Oklahoma City has now settled on the details of its new USL PRO team. Revealing the name, kit and colors, Oklahoma City Energy FC will take to the field in 2014.
15. WALKING TOUR OF BUZZARD POINT
We haven't heard much in the way of news regarding D.C. United's new stadium recently, but The Washington Post takes us on a walking tour of the proposed site to see how things are coming along.
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