Kick Off: Zakuani's US hopes, Sporting signing

US national-team fans get a dose of positive news this morning. Seattle winger Steve Zakuani says he is not tied down to play for Congo on the international level and that the USA is still an option for him.

USMNT star Landon Donovan, currently in training camp with the LA Galaxy, is not sure that he will be part of the next US national team match in Egypt on Feb. 9.

Speaking of the US national team, MLSsoccer.com and SI.com writer Steve Davis makes the argument that it’s time for Bob Bradley and the USA to use a new tactical system, which he proposes based on available talent.

Back in MLS, the last line of this report indicates that the Houston Dynamo may sign another Jamaican in addition to the young Brazilian midfielder they are chasing.

The Dynamo may need the extra help with forward Dominic Oduro, who is reportedly heading to work out with Israeli club Maccabi Haifa. (HEBREW)

The San Jose Earthquakes opened training camp on Thursday and the club is focused on being less dependent on Golden Boot winner Chris Wondolowski for goals. Their latest signing expects to help in that department.

As Vancouver’s training camp moves to Arizona, there is one player who has stood above the rest as the fittest Whitecap of them all.

In this Q&A with new Sporting Kansas City forward Omar Bravo, the former Guadalajara star says that he hopes his performances in MLS will lead to another opportunity with the Mexican national team.

Bravo will have even more competition in Kansas City at forward. A report from Ecuador confirms that another Liga Deportiva Universitaria de Quito player is coming into the league after signing with Sporting. (SPANISH) Sporting Kansas City officials, meanwhile, have indicated the player is only on trial.

The Chicago Fire have a player in camp who has played in Israel, Ireland, Sweden, Serbia, Spain and Latvia. By the way, he’s only 22 years old.

Trialists have already begun leaving camp at Chivas USA, including one who used to be a big name in the Mexican league.

The MLS preseason will welcome a new tradition this year as the United States will finally get a taste of the traditional Super Cup, or Community Shield, as it is called in England. It will be the MLS Cup champion Colorado Rapids facing the US Open Cup title holders Seattle Sounders. Find out more details here.

In the lower divisions, the NASL is facing some deadlines and a lot of work to regain sanctioning as the country’s Division 2 league. Here are the challenges that lie ahead of the NASL chief.

It wouldn’t seem to be a good sign that the Carolina Railhawks are selling their trademarks, desks and the mascot’s uniform on eBay.

It’s a big day for the LA Galaxy’s Bryan Jordan, who will be racing in the Millrose Games at world famous Madison Square Garden in New York City. Here’s how he got involved in the event to begin with.

The Philadelphia Union’s new home grown signing, Zach Pfeffer, says he wants to blaze a new trail … for more Jewish soccer players in the pro ranks.

Another promising American youngster, one of the US Under-20 forwards who plays in England could very well switch to play for Ireland. He’s even planning on joining them for training.

An American who also has been in Under-20 camp is leaving college to test the waters overseas. He was the Gatorade High School Player of the Year last year.

Today fans have the opportunity to watch Steve Cherundolo and DaMarcus Beasley in the German Bundesliga as Hannover visits high-flying Bayer Leverkusen (2:30 p.m. ET, ESPN Deportes). The other highlight of the day is the Guadalajara derby between Estudiantes Tecos and Chivas de Guadalajara in the Mexican league (9 p.m. ET, Galavisión).

That injury that took big US defender Oguchi Onyewu out of Twente’s midweek cup match during the first half? Rib cage muscle.

Meanwhile, AC Milan snatch up another defender, which puts Onyewu’s future at the Italian club in doubt when his Twente loan expires.

In England’s Premier League, American goalkeeper Brad Friedel says he has not yet made up his mind on whether he will retire at the end of the current season when his contract runs out with Aston Villa.

Friedel has set the standard for American goalkeepers. But when it comes to the perfect goalkeeper, the Vancouver Whitecaps feel they have him and he’s only 18.

There are two MLS players among the 100 most powerful athletes in the United States as published by BusinessWeek.

Finally, after Ulysses Gomez – brother of Herculez – here’s another soccer connection to MMA. There’s a former indoor soccer player who will be participating in the Bellator Fighting Championship.

MLSsoccer.com Must-Reads:

Toronto’s Paul Mariner addresses De Rosario drama on Thursday’s ExtraTime Radio

Four Bundesliga clubs eyeing a move for American midfielder Michael Bradley

Catching up with former Chicago Fire captain Chris Armas


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