Kick Off: British Olympic coach to watch Galaxy's Beckham
Nothing is set in stone just yet, but with each passing day, David Beckham appears to be closer and closer to being named to Team GB for this summer’s London Olympics.
After Great Britain yesterday drew Senegal, Uruguay and United Arab Emirates in the group stage of this summer’s tournament, Team GB manager Stuart Pearce announced he would travel to the United States to see Beckham play, insisting that the midfielder – widely considered the favorite to captain the side – will have to earn a place on the team.
"[I will pick] solely on merit. It's the only way any manager picks a squad or a team and I will do exactly the same,” Stuart told BBC Sport. “I will know a bit more when I go to the States to see what form [Beckham] is in. He's made the shortlist and he has been a great ambassador for this country and the Olympics, but that's no recommendation that he will get in the squad and that's fair and square across the board for all players."
Of course, Beckham’s potential inclusion has supporters and detractors. The LA Galaxy veteran has already made his desire to pull on the armband in London well known, while other notable figures have said there are better options for Team GB’s three over-age spots.
Speaking of Beckham, he made a few young Colorado fans' day this weekend during a chance meeting.
The top-seeded US women’s national team learned their Olympic fate as well. The Americans, currently ranked No. 1 in FIFA’s rankings, will play their group games at Glasgow’s Hampden Park (two games) and Manchester’s Old Trafford. They will face Colombia, France and North Korea in the tournament’s opening round.
On the men’s side, Russian television is reporting that the United States is in negotiations to play Russia in November, with stadium selection the final hurdle to overcome. The US has already has friendlies scheduled against Scotland, Brazil and Canada before beginning World Cup qualifying in June against Antigua and Barbuda and Guatemala.
One player who could feature for Jurgen Klinsmann throughout the year is Jermaine Jones, who was involved in a high-profile dust up with Schalke’s leading scorer, Klaas-Jan Huntelaar, on Saturday. According to reports, the combative midfielder traded blows with Huntelaar in training and teammates had to separate the two, prompting an extra bit of running for the pair.
Another American in Europe, although not a US national teamer, received bad news recently, as Villarreal and Italy striker Giuseppe Rossi found out he will need two further operations on the right knee that has kept him out of action for most of 2012. His club reports he will have surgery on Friday then undergo another procedure four months later, targeting February 2013 as a potential return date.
While Rossi eyes even more time on the sidelines, Houston's Brad Davis hopes his layoff is nearly over. Speaking to the Houston Chronicle on Monday, Davis said he’s been slowly recovering from the left calf strain and hopes to be ready for this weekend’s game against D.C. United: “I’ll do as much as possible tomorrow and push it as hard as I possibly can,” he said. “We’re off on Wednesday, do some treatment and hopefully try to get back in on Thursday and be ready for the weekend.”
Davis will be desperate to return in time for the opening of the Dynamo’s long-awaited soccer-specific stadium, BBVA Compass Stadium. Local reporters were given a tour yesterday of the 22,000-seat venue, which cost $60 million and was designed by Populous. Only the final details remain as crews begin to apply the finishing touches and ready BBVA for opening day.
Up the road in Dallas, FCD manager Schellas Hyndman is hoping to have Brazilian Jackson Goncalves back from his loan spell later this week. Jackson received his visa late last week, but is still waiting on his passport according to Hyndman: “They usually say two days, but we’re not sure if they mailed it out on Friday or if they waited until Monday to mail it out. That we don’t have the inside scoop on, but he’s ready. He’s right now just in a hotel in São Paolo waiting for the visa to show up and he can go.”
Chivas USA face a decision regarding the fate of a player that's been off the MLS radar for nearly a year. Tristan Bowen has been on loan with Belgian second-division side KSV Roselare since last August and Chivas must decide soon whether to bring the 21-year-old striker back to LA, sell him or loan him again: “We have a plan to go see him, to see whether he makes sense for us come back or if we want him back,” general manager Jose Domene told ESPN. “We'll see. [Roselare do not] have an option to buy him, it's just whether he comes back or we loan him again.”
Mike Fucito was on ExtraTime Radio yesterday to discuss his trade to the Portland Timbers, but that wasn’t the only news floating around about the former Sounder. The most interesting comments came out of Seattle, where manager Sigi Schmid said the club had tried to reacquire the striker: "We had talked to [Montreal] about it but we couldn't come to an agreement."
For his part, Fucito said he was ready to show Portland fans why John Spencer traded for him, even if there might be a warming period considering he was a fan favorite for the Timbers’ biggest rivals: "It may take some time for some of the fans to warm up to me," Fucito said. "Hopefully through my play and effort, I can win them over."
Former NYRB defender Tim Ream and Bolton Wanderers are in action later today in their desperate fight to avoid relegation from the EPL. They face Americans Eric Lichaj, Brad Guzan and Aston Villa today (2:30 pm ET, Fox Soccer Plus).
Can they pull it off? Chelsea travel to face Barcelona clinging to a 1-0 first-leg lead in the UEFA Champions League semifinals (2:30 pm ET). The winner of the Real Madrid vs. Bayern Munich semifinal awaits.
One MLSer will be at Camp Nou to watch what promises to be an epic clash. New York's Thierry Henry flew to Barcelona to bring a dose of good luck to his former teammates. (PHOTOS)
Portland's Mike Fucito and San Jose's Frank Yallop on the latest edition of ExtraTime Radio
The Opta Spotlight: A closer look at TFC's defensive woes
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