Kick Off: All the latest headlines wrapping up the MLS SuperDraft
Here are the top 15 soccer stories we’re following today.
1. DIAMONDS IN THE ROUGH?
The 2014 MLS SuperDraft is now complete, with 38 more players selected in Rounds 3 and 4 on Tuesday. Included in that group was Stefano Rijssel, the first player to be selected from the league’s innaugural Caribbean Combine. But did anyone pick up an undiscovered gem? According to MLSsoccer.com's Armchair Analyst, it’s not likely, but who were the best pickups on the day?
2. HOME AGAIN
FC Dallas officially introduced their new head coach to the media on Tuesday, but Oscar Pareja didn’t allow himself much time to get caught up in grand sweeping statements or the usual clichés. Instead he said simply: “We need to start training on Friday and start making things happen.”
3. KEEPING IT IN THE FAMILY
On Monday, FC Dallas officially unveiled Dan Hunt as the club's new president. It’s a decision that very much keeps the club in the family, and now that the Hunts own just one MLS club what might that mean for fans in Dallas?
4. TRADING PLACES
History was made on Monday as the Colorado Rapids and Houston Dynamo completed the first MLS intra-league loan move, which saw Tony Cascio go to the Dynamo for the 2014 season. In exchange, the Rapids received an international roster spot from Houston for one year. Rapids technical director Paul Bravo sees the positives for everyone: “It gives Tony more of an opportunity for playing time ... we will also be able to strengthen other areas of our roster for this season.” As for the Dynamo, they believe Cascio will be “a good fit” in their system, especially come World Cup time.
5. LOAN SHARKS
What’s going on with Andre Lewis? According to the New York Cosmos COO Erik Stover, it seems the player has indeed signed a contract with the Cosmos and the NASL club intend to keep it that way. They have worked out a deal with MLS, although Lewis will not be transferred to Vancouver, as Stover explains: “If the Whitecaps want to keep him after March 1, then we will finalize the arrangement as a loan with MLS.”
6. VALDÉS DEAL DEAD?
Just as it seemed the Carlos Valdés to San Lorenzo deal was starting to pick up some steam, could it now actually be dead in the water? According to a report from ESPNDeportes.com, the Argentine club has called off the deal following a medical and concerns over Valdés’ knees, with the Colombian having already suffered torn ligaments in both over his career.
7. LONG WAIT OVER FOR ELOUNDOU
After an extremely long and patient wait, the Colorado Rapids have finally landed their man. It's not a new head coach, but promising forward Charles Eloundou. With his paperwork problems seemingly behind him, the 19-year-old Cameroonian has signed a permanent contract and believes “It is a new adventure and I look forward to improving as a player, continuing my development and hopefully doing very well.”
8. MULHOLLAND DRIVE
Following two great years with the Tampa Bay Rowdies, Real Salt Lake have signed NASL standout midfielder Luke Mulholland. The 25-year-old English native has had quite the career so far, winning USL PRO rookie of the year in 2011 before winning the NASL championship in 2012, and Mulholland will now be looking for similar success with RSL.
9. THE PRICE IS RIGHT
“We want [MLS] to be the league of choice for people who grew up in the game here.” Those were the words of MLS Commissioner Don Garber during a short interview with SI.com's Grant Wahl published last week. Now, in the full extended interview, Garber talks about the league’s new TV deal, soccer in Miami, long term sustainability and, in reference to Maurice Edu, bringing players home -- but only at the right price: “DaMarcus Beasley has wanted to come back for a long time and we just could not make that make economic sense."
10. HARD WORK JUST BEGINNING FOR TFC
Toronto FC have undergone a dramatic overhaul this winter and, in their words of their captain Steven Caldwell, “It’s never been this spectacular.” However, despite the string of new signings, the 33-year-old defender understands what's at stake: “Now it’s up to us to come together and work very, very hard to achieve our goals.”
11. TIMBERS READY FOR 2014?
Following the Portland Timbers' acquisition of Generation adidas product Schillo Tshuma in last Thursday's SuperDraft, head coach Caleb Porter now feels his side is “…pretty close to being the team we’re going to have.”
12. BRINGING BACK BROWN
Former Chicago Fire favorite C.J. Brown returned to the team earlier this offseason as an assistant coach, and the fans are just as happy to have him back just as much as he is happy to be home. But how did Brown’s move from Real Salt Lake to the Fire come about in the first place?
13. FLATTERY WILL GET YOU EVERYWHERE
Juan Agudelo has just joined Dutch Side FC Utrecht on loan until the end of the season and, according to the player himself, it was a conversation with Jozy Altidore which helped steer him towards the Dutch side. Agudelo also reveals that there was an offer on the table from the New England Revolution for the 2014 season but, “It wasn’t flattering.”
14. CANADIAN KIDS IMPRESSED
The Canadian national team has been holding its own January training camp down in Florida and, while the squad is obviously there to try and win over head coach Benito Floro, it seems the young team has in turn been impressed by the Spaniard and his new style of play. Tuesday ended with a scrimmage against the Ft. Lauderdale Strikers, and not only have Canada finally scored another goal, they've won a game as well.
15. BBQ WITH KLINSMANN
Tuesday marked a day off for the US national team, and while many of the players took the opportunity to unwind during their gruelling schedule, what did head coach Jurgen Klinsmann get up to? He held a barbeque for the Brazilian media, of course. What else would he do?
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