Kick Off: LA aim to be greatest team in US history
On the day they welcomed back David Beckham to the LA Galaxy, club owners AEG took the occasion to make their ambitions clear to everyone.
"I want people 50 years from now, people to talk about the Los Angeles Galaxy as the greatest [soccer] team in the history of the United States,” said AEG chief Tim Leiweke. “There are not a lot of clubs that can have this conversation. People can say that it's hype, but it's not. We can do that. … There are people that argue the Cosmos are the greatest brand in soccer, ever. I want the Galaxy to be the greatest brand in soccer, ever.”
To show just how ambitious the Galaxy are, Leiweke also talked about how LA were already making plans for their next big Designated Player. He said the Galaxy have “about half-a-dozen guys we have a good relationship with.” Could one of those be Chelsea midfielder Frank Lampard?
"I am a fan of Frank's, I think he is a great player," Leiweke told Sky Sports. "When I think of Chelsea, I think of Frank Lampard."
It’s not just Leiweke and manager Bruce Arena chasing players overseas. Beckham is also on the phone seeking a replacement for injured center back Omar Gonzalez: “He's ferocious on recruiting,” Leiweke says about Beckham. “I've seen what he's been doing the last week. I saw what he did with Robbie Keane.”
The LA Daily News reports that Beckham actually has multiple contracts (“as many as six”) and the Los Angeles Times explains that the two-year deal contains a “mutual option” for the second season to allow the chance for Beckham to retire on his own terms after this season should he have the inclination.
The option to become an MLS owner is also part of the new Beckham deal: “He made it very clear to us we have to sort this through, that he’s going to exercise his option to be an owner in Major League Soccer,” Leiweke says.
Sporting Kansas City introduced three new players of their own yesterday, including Jacob Peterson, who has seen his career derailed by trades and position changes. Manager Peter Vermes has known Peterson since 2005, when he was a coach with US Under-20s: “If there’s anything I can do to help Jacob get back to the form that I know he has, that will be the most pleasing thing for me.”
In Vancouver, new manager Martin Rennie now has three of his former players on the Whitecaps with Jun Marques Davidson becoming the latest Carolina RailHawk to join the team. And Rennie had high praise for him: “Jun is one of the most technically gifted players that I have coached.”
Look who’s in Chivas USA training camp these days: former LA Galaxy midfield general Peter Vagenas.
The Montreal Impact are in Guadalajara, Mexico, and this report claims that they’ve picked up ex-Chivas USA winger Francisco Mendoza and two Colombian players who are trying to make the team. (SPANISH)
Read how D.C. United draftee Nick DeLeon reacted after he was told that his father played at RFK Stadium back in the NASL days. He didn’t know.
Rafael Márquez spoke to media at NYRB practice yesterday and indicated that he’s ready to start with a clean slate after ending the 2011 season in controversy: “It would have been easy for me to just call it quits and accept one of the offers [to leave in the offseason]. But I’m here and I’m part of this team and I’m very ingrained with what’s going to happen in the future.”
The Seattle Sounders were forced to push the start of training camp to today due to hazardous travel conditions in the city yesterday.
Top executives from Seattle and New York took part in extensive interviews. NYRB president of business operations Chris Heck was on the Seeing Red show, while Seattle GM and part owner Adrian Hanauer made an appearance on the Nos Audietis podcast.
Staying in the Northwest, the Portland Timbers will begin training at JELD-WEN Field but in April they expect to move to their brand new training facility that will also feature a grass field. “And it will make us attractive to players who we want to come here. It makes us a complete soccer club,” says Gavin Wilkinson.
The New England Revolution have opened camp but right winger Moncef Zerka is still in France training with Nancy. “I could join another league,” Zerka told the club’s web site. (FRENCH)
RSL fans can catch up with the club’s new head scout, which is actually an old face – Andy Williams. Find out what he does for the team in this one-on-one interview.
Remember those DaMarcus Beasley tweets explaining how he was extorted by police in Mexico? SI.com’s Grant Wahl follows that up with an excellent report about what life is like for American players plying their trade in Mexico, where violence continues to escalate. One player gives a detailed account about getting carjacked.
In case you missed it from yesterday, ESPN.com ran a front-page soccer story by Leander Schaerlaeckens about the changes that are necessary before the USA produces the next Lionel Messi. What these prominent coaches say may surprise you. Also, ESPN.com’s Jeff Carlisle gives his Top 10 US Under-21 players with some names you wouldn’t expect on the list.
Ahead of Saturday night’s USA vs. Venezuela exhibition match, the Tucson Citizen profiles US assistant coach Martin Vasquez, who reveals how his parents feared deportation when he was a kid. He also explains why he refused to make changes in his coaching staff while at Chivas USA, a decision which ultimately resulted in his firing: “At the end of the day, I can look at myself in the mirror and say I did the right thing.”
Speaking of the USMNT, they will host an open practice this afternoon at University of Phoenix Stadium with gates opening at 4:30 pm MT.
Former New England Revolution defender Michael Parkhurst hopes these next two friendlies represent a breakthrough for him to become a regular with the national team: "I think the way I play fits into Jurgen's system. I'm just trying to show Jurgen I'm capable of doing that."
Houston Dynamo defender Geoff Cameron also aims to impress and he hopes to bring the Dynamo’s “Alcatraz” to the USMNT: “We called it our ‘Alcatraz,’ we don’t want people coming in and trying to beat our back four, kind of hold it down like a prison,” Cameron says about Houston’s defensive unit.
In international news, long-time rumored MLS target David Trezeguet made his first appearance for Argentine side River Plate in a friendly match and scored minutes after coming into the match. Watch the goal here. (VIDEO)
Crazy to hear that former Club América striker Salvador Cabañas, who took a bullet to the head while playing in Mexico, is set to be introduced as the newest acquisition of Paraguayan second-division club 12 de Octubre. (SPANISH)
The Friday TV lineup has the traditional Bundesliga afternoon match and a Mexican nightcap. GolTV has Borussia Mönchengladbach vs. Bayern Munich (2:30 pm ET), while Galavisión will bring you Estudiantes Tecos vs. Club América (9 pm ET).
The US women’s national team are in action in CONCACAF Olympic qualifying from Vancouver when they open against the Dominican Republic (10:30 pm ET, Universal Sports Network and CONCACAF.com).
One of the USWNT stars, Alex Morgan, will join MLS players Juan Pablo Ángel and Frankie Hejduk in an appearance on ABC Sports on Saturday, Jan. 28. They’ll be giving advice to wanna-be soccer players in “The Big Time: Soccer.” Find out more here.
When they’re not working hard under Jurgen Klinsmann, USMNT players Juan Agudelo, Brek Shea and Heath Pearce stay competitive during some epic table tennis duels, a few of which were caught on camera here. Find out who finished first, second and third. (VIDEO)
Did you see the American Idol participant who was decked out in a Columbus Crew jersey? (PHOTO)
Who knew that the singer of the Colorado Rapids team anthem “Burgundy Sky” is midfielder Jamie Smith’s brother? Find out more here. They’ll be playing at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park later this year. Meanwhile, the team opens training camp today.
Lastly, here’s one of the worst instances of simulation you’ll ever see on a soccer field and it’s making the rounds because it’s so blatant. It comes from Saudi Arabia. (VIDEO)
The Throw-In: Freddy Adu takes on next chapter as leader of Olympic team
Grant Wahl analyzes David Beckham’s re-signing on the latest edition of ExtraTime Radio
David Beckham’s Top 10 most memorable moments in MLS
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