Kick Off: Robbie Rogers' return sparks scramble for his signature

Here are the Top 15 soccer stories we’re following today.

1. ROGERS RETURNS

Good news. Robbie Rogers is back in training. The 25-year-old midfielder looks to have taken the first step in coming out of retirement, after announcing he was gay two months ago. Rogers hasn’t been involved in soccer since, but yesterday afternoon he trained with the LA Galaxy, sparking hope that he’s set to revive his career on the pitch.

2. DONOVAN: “MY PERSONAL HOPE IS THAT WE SIGN HIM”

One man is delighted to see Rogers back in the game and that’s former US teammate Landon Donovan. "My personal hope is that we'll sign him and that they can find out a way to work a trade with Chicago," Donovan said. “We're all hopeful that he'll get fit and play well and that Bruce [Arena] wants to sign him.”

3. CHICAGO, SEATTLE CHASE ROGERS

But hold on there, Landon. The Chicago Fire might not want to trade Rogers to his hometown team in LA. “For us, he's a very good player, so we'd like to have him here with us,” Fire head coach Frank Klopas said. "The first option is always to bring him to our team." But then an ex-coach of Rogers and someone he has worked with for most of his career waded in: “I hope his comeback goes well,” Seattle head coach Sigi Schmid said. “I hope he doesn’t play for the Galaxy. I’d rather see him play for us.” Decisions, decisions.

4. CCL CHAMPS CROWNED TONIGHT

Elsewhere, a huge game takes place down in Monterrey tonight (10 pm ET, Fox Soccer) as the CONCACAF Champions League title will go to either Santos Laguna or Monterrey. The second leg of the final is evenly poised after the 0-0 draw between the two Liga MX sides in Torreón last week. Who will prevail? Monterrey defender Hiram Mier believes his side will lift the CCL trophy: “We know that this is a final, and that in finals mistakes are simply not permitted,” he said. “This trophy is a goal that we set ourselves at the beginning of the season and now we’re ready to take that last step.” It would be Monterrey's third straight trophy.

5. GET READY FOR INTENSE CANADIAN CHAMPIONSHIP CLASHES

As we found out Monday, the Amway Canadian Championship will be expanding in the future. But as for this season, fierce MLS rivals Toronto and Montreal square off tonight (7:30 pm ET, Sportsnet/TVA Sports) with TFC ravaged by the sickness bug. Montreal are hoping to overturn the 2-0 first-leg deficit and Evan Bush is ready for a battle. If you haven’t already seen it, the inspiring, artsy, promo video from Montreal is a must. Out West, Vancouver hold a slender 3-2 advantage over NASL side FC Edmonton (10 pm ET, Sportsnet) with the ‘Caps missing Kenny Miller ahead of the clash at BC Place. Staying in Canada, Hassoun Camara spoke in-depth to FIFA.com on his time with Montreal. Good read.

6. SABORÍO OUT, LOCAL REF ATTACKED IN UTAH

A huge blow for Jason Kreis and Real Salt Lake came down yesterday, as he told The Deseret News that Costa Rican forward Álvaro Saborío will be out for “several weeks” with a quad injury. Elsewhere in Utah, appalling scenes broke out at a local soccer match as a 17-year-old player allegedly punched a referee in the face for not agreeing with the call he had made. The official remains in a critical condition in hospital after suffering serious internal head injuries.

7. KLINSMANN ATTENDS LIBERTADORES GAME

US national team manager Jurgen Klinsmann traveled to watch Club Tijuana in their Copa Libertadores Round of 16 first leg against Brazilian side Palmeiras last night. But both of Tijuana's USMNT representatives, Joe Corona and Edgar Castillo, were guilty of giving the ball away and probably failed to impress the onlooking Klinsmann at Estadio Caliente during the 0-0 draw. Xolos now face a tough task heading to Brazil for the second leg of their last 16 tie, with the Mexican outfit hoping to further extend their first-ever run in the storied competition.

8. MAN. CITY STARS TO PLAY FOR POTENTIAL NYC2 FRANCHISE?

As we mentioned yesterday, the British press have been churning out multiple angles regarding Manchester City owner Sheikh Mansour and his reported interest in a proposed NYC2 expansion franchise. The Daily Mail believes City will use the team “to develop academy players” while the business expert at the Manchester Evening News gives an interesting assessment of soccer in the US

9. NELSEN “WOULD LOVE TO HAVE” PARK, PENNANT & GOMEZ

With Toronto FC and a number of other MLS clubs linked with potential moves for Herculez Gomez, Jermaine Pennant and Park Ji-Sung in recent days, TFC boss Ryan Nelsen would welcome all three at Toronto. “I can call up Ji right now if you want and see if he wants to come. I speak to Ji all the time and he has me on his speed dial if he ever wants to come to MLS.” But on a serious note, Nelsen stated that Toronto “only want players who really want to win.”

10. CAMERON HEADING BACK TO HOUSTON … WITH STOKE CITY

Geoff Cameron will get a chance to catch up with old friends this summer, as he and Brek Shea head back to Texas to take on Houston in the BBVA Compass Dynamo Charities Cup on July 24. "When we transferred Geoff to Stoke City last year, we had a handshake agreement to make the match happen,” president Chris Canetti said. “When we made this move for Geoff, we said, ‘Wouldn’t it be great if you guys came to Houston next year?’” Stoke will also be playing against Shea’s old team in Dallas a few days later on July 27.

11. LAMPARD SET FOR NEW CHELSEA DEAL?

This one just keeps rumbling on: Will Frank Lampard join MLS and the LA Galaxy? Will he join a European side or will Lampard be offered a new deal at Chelsea? But The Independent believes Chelsea are set to offer the England midfielder a new deal. Lampard currently has 201 career goals for the Blues, one away from equaling Bobby Tambling’s club record of 202. With José Mourinho’s possible return to West London, who knows?

12. MADRID WIN, MISS OUT ON FINAL AFTER MORE MOURINHO CONTROVERSY

Last night in a postmatch interview following his side's Champions League exit, Mourinho once again threw his future with Real Madrid into doubt. Asked by UK station ITV whether he will be with Madrid next season, he replied, “Maybe not. I don't know, but I want to be where people love me." Then he was rudely and abruptly cut off by the station. Later Mourinho stated “some people in Spain hate me” and spoke of how fans in England “loved him.”

13. SUBOTIC’S FANS CELEBRATE IN SALT LAKE CITY

A former US youth international reached the UEFA Champions League final with Borussia Dortmund. Neven Subotic, who since chose to play for Serbia, still has plenty of fans back in Utah, where he moved with his family at a young age before heading down to Bradenton and ending up at the US national team residency. Now he’s a star in Europe with Dortmund and The Salt Lake Tribune spoke with Subotic’s old coach, as he watched his former player conquer Madrid to reach one of world soccer’s biggest games.

14. BARÇA AIM FOR IMPROBABLE COMEBACK

Barcelona face Bayern Munich this afternoon, looking to overcome a four-goal deficit from the first leg of the semifinal. You can watch that at 2:30 pm LIVE on FX this afternoon. And ICYMI, a former Sueño MLS winner is reportedly being chased by Barça. Remember Gabriel Funes Mori? The striker raised in Texas currently plays for Argentine giants River Plate and is eligible for the US national team.

15. TIMBERS, MAKE-A-WISH TEAM UP FOR YOUNG FANS ULTIMATE DREAM

JELD-WEN Field will see a new team take to the pitch this afternoon, as eight-year-old Atticus and his soccer team, The Green Machine, will be the Timbers' opponents. The youngster hasn’t been able to play soccer since he was diagnosed with cancer and when asked his one wish, Atticus wanted his side to play against Portland. Several first-team Timbers stars will be playing this afternoon at 2:30 pm ET. “[I’m] wearing multiple pairs of shin guards,” said Portland midfielder Jack Jewsbury, “I have heard The Green Machine tackle extremely hard.” It promises to be a wonderful occasion.

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