Kick Off: Shea flies to Europe as EPL interest heats up

While most of the US national team is preparing for tonight’s friendly with Canada, (9 pm ET, live chat on MLSsoccer.com, ESPN2/Sportsnet/Univision Deportes) one international is somewhere in the skies over Europe. The big question remains, where will FC Dallas star Brek Shea be landing?

FCD announced in a short press statement on Monday evening that Shea was leaving for Europe to discuss a potential transfer.

"We have received interest from a number of European clubs regarding Brek Shea," the statement read. "Brek is traveling there this evening. Currently, there is no deal in place with any club and we have no further details at this time."

So is the deal to Stoke City back on? That seems to be Shea’s most likely destination and we’ll find out for sure by 7 pm ET on Thursday, when the European transfer window slams shut.

Soccer By Ives is reporting Shea will become the third US international to sign for the Potters this season, as long as he passes a medical.

As another USMNT starlet flocks to Europe, Jurgen Klinsmann may have a wry smile on his face. After all, we all know Klinsi is a huge advocate of USMNT stars plying their trade in the top European leagues.

But Klinsmann has had plenty on his mind this week -- besides flying his helicopter to and from his Southern California house and US camp -- as his side kicks off USSF's centenary celebrations with a friendly vs. Canada.

The team has been in camp for some time, with Klinsmann naming his 23-man squad yesterday. And the former German international has been impressed with what he’s seen from plenty of newcomers.

“The last three weeks showed us that we maybe have a deeper pool than we thought,” Klinsmann told reporters. “We have a lot of good players coming through, and their job is to challenge whoever’s in front of them. It was great to see there’s a next generation of players that are eager and hungry to get to the next level."

And Klinsi reserved plenty of kind words for Omar Gonzalez when talking to The New York Times: “So far in these few weeks now, I read him, I read him in training sessions, his body language, the way he walks up to the training field, the way he walks through the hotel, and I see a very focused and driven Omar Gonzalez, which is for us wonderful to see.”

Check out interviews with Gonzalez and Alejandro Bedoya, as they’ve been enjoying life back with the USMNT. [VIDEO]

And in case you missed it, Bedoya also spoke at length with The New York Times about free agency and the many problems it producing.

From the Canadian camp, interim head coach Colin Miller is aiming for defensive solidity after his young side were beaten 4-0 by the Danish national team this past Saturday.

“We have the approach that we have to be off to a good start,” Miller said. "The longer it goes on without conceding a goal, there’s a bit more confidence in the camp so we’re well aware of how we’ll have to start.”

If you want to do a bit of scouting on Canada’s youngsters, KICKTV aired the defeat to Denmark in its entirety. Watch it back here.

On the topic of airing live games over the Internet, hands up if you want to watch 26 live MLS preseason games. We've got you covered, because from today until Feb. 20, MLSsoccer.com is streaming 26 games from the Desert Friendlies, Disney Pro Soccer Classic and Desert Diamond Cup.

Find out the schedule here, as the coverage kicks off at 1 pm ET today, with the Desert friendly opener between the Portland Timbers and the Colorado Rapids.

Lets head off around the league now, with some of the biggest news coming from LA, where the Galaxy announced former player Chris Klein is the new club president.

Klein had this to say: "I am thrilled with this opportunity and excited to continue working with the great group of individuals we have on our staff. The Galaxy's best days are ahead of us and I am thankful that Tim and his team at AEG have the confidence in me to help lead us into the future."

Meanwhile up in Seattle, defender Patrick Ianni could be out for some time after he added his name to the list of bizarre injury folklore. 

“That's a first. That's a history maker,” head coach Sigi Schmid said. “I don't know how anybody injures himself on the jump test, but he did. Landed funny, I guess.”

Up the road in Vancouver, Japanese playmaker Daigo Kobayashi is officially a Whitecap. The 29-year-old joins Martin Rennie’s side from J-League outfit Shimizu S-Pulse.

And the Columbus Crew added to their ranks, with the signing of American born Uruguayan midfielder/defender Agustín Viana. See who else is on trial with the Crew.

Ex-Peruvian international Walter Vílchez is rumored to be signing with Chivas USA after playing 45 minutes for the Goats against UC Irvine on Saturday. He formerly played for José Luis Sánchez Solá in Mexico with Puebla.

And a Honduran international striker has turned up for preseason with the Colorado Rapids. Find out who. 

Speaking of Honduras, they named five MLSers in their squad to face the US in WC qualifying on Feb. 6. Check out the full list.

In Houston a former Portland Timber is making waves with a sharp trial period so far. Franck Songo’o is travelling with the Dynamo to Arizona to continue his trial before a final decision is made.

Back to the Northwest, the Seattle Times revealed just how large their MLS fan base has become and how it compares to the number of fans of other sports in the Emerald City. Check out which US city holds the largest percentage of MLS fans. You may be surprised.

And one area earmarked to grow in the future is attendance at college soccer venues across the US. Look at these awesome plans for a new stadium at a top college program. Impressive. [VIDEO]

New England and Rochester announced a formal partnership yesterday, as the Revs’ become the latest MLS side to link up with a USL Pro franchise. Peruse all the details here.

Across the pond, David Beckham is back in training for the first time since leaving the LA Galaxy in December. But who is Becks training with? We will give you three clues: 1) It’s in his home country; 2) They play in red jerseys; 3) It’s not Manchester United.

Speaking of United, they were announced as the most valuable sports team in the world with their value exceeding $3.3 billion. Second on that list is the Dallas Cowboys, with a measly value of $2.1 billion.

But it wasn’t all good news for the Red Devils. See which star player had his car stolen in bizarre circumstances.

There is plenty of EPL action available on the tube today, with a huge relegation scrap taking place between Brad Guzan’s Aston Villa and Newcastle United. (2:30 pm ET, Fox Soccer) While over on Fox Soccer Plus, Geoff Cameron’s Stoke City take on Wigan at 2:45 pm ET. Will Brek Shea be looking on at the Britannia Stadium?

Finally, this has to be goal of the season. Watch Ricardo Fernandes’ incredible scorpion-kick finish. Remarkable. VIDEO

MLSsoccer.com Musts

ExtraTime Radio: Bedoya on his next move, Mike Petke on RBNY and the Adu dilemma

Commentary: Now Klinsmann must back up his big talk

What Ever Happened To ... Marco Etcheverry


Get the Kick-Off delivered to you!

Enter your email address and favorite team below to sign up for The Kick-Off mailing list and get it delivered to your inbox every morning.