Kick Off: Report reveals disparity in Olympic prize money

A week after revealing the salaries of US national team coaches, Washington Post veteran soccer writer Steve Goff is not done digging through the US Soccer Federation finances.

He reports more details on the books, including the bonus set-up for the upcoming Olympics. In what may come as a surprise, the US women’s squad could win more than $1 million for a gold medal, while the US men’s team – an Under-23 selection, meaning it does not have a CBA in place – would not earn any monetary bonus for a medal.

You deserve a medal if you’ve been able to keep up with the MLS player transactions that have come down fast and furious over the last 24 hours. We start with Omar Bravo, who has left Sporting Kansas City for Cruz Azul in Mexico. “He basically said that he was interested in another challenge that was ahead of him, and this was a way to work things out,” says SKC manager Peter Vermes.

Vermes is currently in the Netherlands, where the MLS Generation adidas squad of top young stars faces Volendam today.

Erik Friberg’s move from the Seattle Sounders back home to Swedish power Malmö was a family move. The former MLS midfielder is starting one of his own: "This move enables the couple to be near their families and have the proper support," says Sounders GM Adrian Hanauer.

The reigning MLS Cup champion LA Galaxy made the biggest splash in Stage 2 of the Re-Entry Draft, picking up four new players with whom they can now negotiate contracts. Here’s what manager Bruce Arena thinks about Andrew Boyens, Jon Conway, Chris Leitch and Pat Noonan.

Meanwhile, they’re only getting younger in Philadelphia, where manager Peter Nowak signed 18-year-old Home Grown player Jimmy McLaughlin.

There are other players on the move. Ex-Chicago Fire defender Wilman Conde says he has played his last game for Atlas in Mexico after a long injury layoff and wants back in MLS. Also, Recreativo Huelva forward Kepa Blanco is waiting for firm offers before making a decision on his future, which could feature one of three MLS teams. (SPANISH)

Arguably the biggest news was seeing an American player become head coach of a European club. Former LA Galaxy defender Gregg Berhalter will now look to lead Swedish side Hammarby back to the top flight. But the club is getting a coach who is American only in nationality: “Most of my time was in Europe, in terms of my career and shaping my ideas about soccer. It's more European pedigree than the American kind of thing.”

Ex-Hammarby player Charlie Davies will not be heading to French club Bordeaux, according to Les Girondins manager Francis Gillot, who quashed those rumors. (FRENCH)

Did you realize that Real Salt Lake original Andy Williams was originally destined for D.C. United, who had the option on the Jamaican? The Crew apparently made enough noise to step in, according to the now-retired Williams who recounts many stories in this one-on-one interview. (VIDEO)

Staying with Real Salt Lake, there are reports that the club’s part-owner, Dave Checketts, is in the running to become the CEO of Legends Hospitality, the concessions and merchandising joint venture between the New York Yankees and the Dallas Cowboys.

The decision is in. US Soccer has granted Division I sanctioning to Women’s Professional Soccer despite the fact the league has only five teams. But there are conditions. Veteran soccer writer Beau Dure has more details.

The owners of the NBA’s San Antonio Spurs are playing a wait-and-see game as the San Antonio Independent School District decides whether to accommodate a professional soccer stadium. It would require getting rid of a track.

One of the more interesting people in the sport, Paolo Di Canio, was profiled by The Independent. The stories are rare and entertaining.

If you think Di Canio is far-fetched, try this on for size: a professional soccer club that institutes a “No Diving Policy” and has its players voluntarily admit to breaches of said policy. It’s happening in Australia.

Funny what a major signing can do for a country. This report puts the Nicolas Anelka signing into perspective as far as what it means for Chinese soccer. Turns out the soccer revolution started in earnest last year. And it involved government intervention, of course.

Back in England, Tottenham Hotspur fans have claimed the spotlight for their Twitter attack on Olympic cycling champion Sir Chris Hoy. They’ve confused him with Chris Foy, the referee they claim cost Brad Friedel & Co. in a 2-1 defeat over the weekend. If you’re late to this story, read some of the tweets, including Hoy’s responses, here.

And who knew that in addition to being an accomplished musician, Justin Bieber also has skills on the soccer field? Check out this video of his visit and kick-around with Chelsea FC’s Frank Lampard and Fernando Torres. You can guess what they’re listening to in the Chelsea locker. (VIDEO)

Chelsea are coming off a 2-1 win over EPL leaders Manchester City yesterday, thanks to a game-winning PK by an unhappy Lampard, rumored to be in the LA Galaxy’s crosshairs.

In today’s action from Serie A, Inter Milan face Genoa as they seek to climb back up the standings (2:30 p.m. ET, Fox Soccer and Fox Deportes). There are also Copa del Rey matches featuring Real Madrid vs. Ponferradina (2 p.m. ET, ESPN Deportes) and Club Deportivo San Roque de Lepe vs. Sevilla (4 p.m. ET, ESPN Deportes). Zinedine Zidane and Ronaldinho team up to battle poverty in a charity match that will air on Fox Deportes (1 p.m. ET).

Here’s a good offseason read that is sure to create debate: the 10 most devastating losses in US national team history. (SLIDESHOW)

Lastly, these don’t come around that often. A player in Germany is served a goal on a silver platter with nothing between him and the net … but he finds a way to flub the chance. (VIDEO)

MLSsoccer.com Must-Reads:

Sporting’s Peter Vermes explains Omar Bravo’s departure on ExtraTime Radio

LA’s Bruce Arena confirms signing of new Brazilian midfielder

Check the latest and greatest list of MLS team-by-team player transactions


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