Kick Off: Toronto FC set to unveil English int'l Jermain Defoe at press conference Monday
Here are the top 15 soccer stories we’re following today.
1. DEFOE'S DEBUT
Tottenham Hotspur and Toronto FC revealed on Friday that the long-rumored deal to bring Jermain Defoe to TFC is done, with a press conference on Monday set to mark Defoe's official arrival. The English international actually arrived in Toronto on Sunday with these encouraging words for the TFC faithful: "I feel like a kid again." Now that Defoe's on board, TFC head coach Ryan Nelsen is discussing how he plans to use his new striker. With Defoe in tow with Michael Bradley also potentially on the way, do all these TFC moves put pressure on the Montreal Impact to up their game?
2. WELCOME BACK, OSCAR
FC Dallas finally got their man on Friday. Oscar Pareja will indeed be returning to his former club after Dallas were able to secure Pareja from the Colorado Rapids in exchange for allocation money and a 2015 draft pick. Speaking about his difficult choice to leave the Rapids, Pareja explained, “I spent 14 years in Dallas and both the club and the Hunt family hold a special place in my heart.”
3. COLORADO COACH CLOSE AT HAND?
The Colorado Rapids are now on the hunt for a new head coach, but the club has hired Pablo Mastroeni as a special advisor to technical director Paul Bravo, although could his role soon become something more than that? Meanwhile, Rapids midfielder Jamie Smith has announced his retirement, but the 33-year-old isn’t finished with Colorado just yet, as he will now be coaching the Rapids U-18s.
4. ”FRANKLY, WE WILL WIN”
Major League Soccer’s 20th club, New York City FC, held a press conference on Friday to formally introduce new head coach Jason Kreis. Kreis in turn then revealed a couple of new additions to his staff, both with connections to MLS’ other New York team, before going on to talk about what we can expect from the side, including style of play and how many DPs they’re likely to sign. CEO Ferran Soriano was also on hand to share some interesting information on the club's search for both a new stadium and training facility.
5. ORLANDO MAKE FIRST MLS SIGNING
While New York City FC’s press conference was going on, Orlando City SC took the opportunity to unveil the first player the club has signed to an MLS contract. Midfielder Kevin Molino, who has played for the club since its relocation in 2011, has signed a new contract that will take him through the 2014 USL PRO season and Orlando’s 2015 inaugural MLS season. According to the teams head coach Adrian Heath, the Trinidad and Tobago international had turned down offers from several existing MLS sides in order to remain with Orlando. So, with the first signing complete and stadium plans coming together, Orlando City SC president Phil Rawlins is delighted by how things are progressing.
6. PLAYERS ON THE MOVE
There's been plenty of other player movement recently, as two clubs both signed goalkeepers. The Chicago Fire brought in Kyle Reynish from the New York Cosmos while the Portland Timbers have acquired Andrew Weber, who previously played for D.C. United, the San Jose Earthquakes and, yes, the Seattle Sounders. Just up the road in Seattle, it looks as though the Sounders may have officially signed Tristan Bowen. With talk of three DPs for New York City FC, are the Red Bulls looking to add some new stars of their own? Either that or they've just started taking players to dinner for fun.
7. COMING HOME
US national team defender Michael Parkhurst appears set for a return to Major League Soccer, but he's not headed back to New England. The Columbus Crew traded for his rights on Monday morning. And first it was Brian Span, now it seems another American is set to return from Scandinavia. Billy Schuler has signed a deal with MLS and will be entered into a weighted lottery on Tuesday. However, one American who doesn’t seem to be coming home anytime soon is Oguchi Onyewu, who has signed a deal with another English Championship club.
8. THE MAN FROM TALLAHASSEE
David Beckham may still be trying to finalize a venue for his proposed MLS franchise, but he took a big step towards his goal when it was revealed on Friday that the former LA Galaxy star and his fellow investors have hired a lobbyist in their quest to secure state funds for the new venue.
9. SPLASH A NAME ON THE FRONT
The Houston Dynamo were one of only three teams without a shirt sponsor last season and, according to the team's president, Chris Canetti, remedying that has become a top priority. One player who won’t be putting on an Orange jersey this season though is Sebastian Ibeagha, as the player has apparently rejected a Homegrown player contract In favor of taking his chance in Europe.
10. WHO’S COMING AND GOING IN VANCOUVER?
The Vancouver Whitecaps have a new assistant coach. Gordon Forrest, formerly the club's head of high performance, has been promoted to Carl Robinson's No. 2 in a shake-up of the Canadian side's technical staff. “This will greatly enhance our ability to better integrate our residency program and our first team,” said Robinson, who also had an update on the status of Jay DeMerit and Nigel Reo-Coker. It also seems the Camilo Sanvezzo saga is approaching its inevitable conclusion.
11. COACHING ADDITIONS
Two more coaching changes announced before the SuperDraft takes place this week: The Columbus Crew have added former MLS goalkeeping great Pat Onstad to the staff, and the New England Revolution have picked up an MLS coaching veteran in Tommy Soehn.
12. PAJOY HEADS HOME
After having his contract option declined by D.C. United, it seems that Lionard Pajoy has found himself a new club, with the forward heading back to his native Colombia. Meanwhile, Pajoy’s former club has hit another potential road block in its quest for a new stadium, as one politician is now making a play for affordable housing to be included in the deal.
13. WE ARE GOING TO BRAZIL
Despite initially saying that the US national team’s roster would be cut down from 26 to 23 ahead of the camp's second leg in São Paulo, head coach Jurgen Klinsmann has instead decided to take the whole assortment, claiming, “We believe they have all earned a chance to go to Brazil for the next 12 days.” For those that eventually make it into the World Cup squad, could this be what they’re wearing in the summer tournament?
14. CAMP CANADA
While the US national team prepares for the second phase of its January training, the Canadian Soccer Association team has announced the roster for its own Canadian national team January training camp. It’s a young squad and one which draws heavily on MLS talent, as the 23 players gathered in Florida on Sunday to begin a week-and-a-half of training in the Sunshine State.
15. COMPLETE COMBINE COVERAGE
The MLS Player Combine is underway down in Florida, and MLSsoccer.com has you covered. Here's a look at who played their up in the pecking order on Sunday, and here's some insight into the young man most people consider will be the top pick overall this week. For complete coverage, click here.
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