Here are the Top 15 soccer stories we’re following today:
1. ROGERS GIVES LENGTHY INTERVIEW ON COMING OUT
It’s been some time now since Robbie Rogers came out to the world, and it seems the former US national teamer and MLS star is ready to return talk publicly about the process. Rogers gave an extensive interview to The Guardian, from his East London home, and revealed plenty about his past and what lies ahead. “I realized I was gay when I was 14 or 15,” Rogers said. “I was like, 'I want to play football. But there are no gay footballers. What am I going to do?'”
The New York Times has a Google Hangout with Rogers, and another lengthy piece on his incredible story.
2. ROGERS’ FUTURE: FASHION SCHOOL, CLOTHING LINES, LA GALAXY?
Rogers’ future seems open-ended and full of opportunities. This weekend he’s flying to New York City to talk about fashion opportunities, he’s also secured a place at the London Fashion School and will be focusing on his own clothing line in LA. But fans of US soccer may yet see the talented winger take to the field once again. “I don't know if I'm done playing yet,” Rogers said. “I might ask [the coach] Bruce Arena if I can train with LA Galaxy – we'll see. I miss it and think about it a lot.”
3. DONOVAN BACK FOR CCL SEMIS?
So Rogers may be training alongside Landon Donovan sometime soon, as the Galaxy star returned for his first session on Thursday after a break from soccer. This Saturday’s match against Toronto FC (2 pm ET, TSN/RDS in Canada, watch on MLS Live in US) will come too soon for Donovan, but he didn’t rule out playing against Monterrey in the CONCACAF Champions League semis. “Obviously, I understand the importance of this tournament to our club,” Donovan said. “And if I can contribute and I feel good, then I want to contribute.”
4. LANDON ON USMNT FUTURE: “I HAVE A LONG WAY TO GO”
With Donovan back in training with LA, the next step will be working his way back into Jurgen Klinsmann’s plans. But is that something the all-time leading US goalscorer wants? You bet. “If that's something that presents itself, then that's something I want to do,” Donovan said. “I miss being a part of that and I want to represent my country again.” Donovan also praised new LA captain Robbie Keane and spoke about his potential to skipper LA again: “My actions as of late, could be perceived as not captain-like by some.”
5. MANCHESTER CITY, CHELSEA HEADING TO ST. LOUIS IN MAY
The St. Louis Cardinals are set to announce later today that EPL powerhouses Chelsea and Manchester City will play an exhibition match at Busch Stadium on May 23, just four days after the EPL season finishes. “We hope at minimum this will be an annual event, that we can bring two great international teams or the US national team and play here in Busch Stadium,” said a Cardinals spokeswoman. Watch out for those curve balls, Peter Cech.
6. BESLER TALKS TO ET RADIO ABOUT AZTECA EXPERIENCE
One of the USMNT’s heroes from the Estadio Azteca caught up with the ExtraTime Radio guys on Thursday, as Sporting KC’s Matt Besler talked about the confusion created his nickname and how he found out he was making his World Cup qualifying debut on the morning of the game. “My first reaction was that I was very excited,” Besler said. “But I was nervous. This was the biggest game I had ever played in. It was a huge game.” John Hackworth also joined the guys to talk Fredy Adu, new DP Kléberson and more.
7. MLS STREAM OF THE WEEK DEBUTS
While we’re on the topic of SKC, MLSsoccer.com is proud to announce the first “MLS Stream of the Week,” presented by el Jimador. It's free and exclusive to anyone with an MLSsoccer.com account. The first game will see Sporting KC host Montreal on Saturday (8:30 pm ET) as the Impact look to stay perfect against a powerhouse from the East. The Scouting Report takes a look at this intriguing matchup.
8. CD9 GETS START IN DENMARK, HOLDEN TO WEDNESDAY
Charlie Davies made his first start of the Danish league season for Randers on Thursday. Davies put in a typical display of tireless running in the 0-0 tie with Odense BK. While Sheffield Wednesday have secured the loan signing of USMNT midfielder Stuart Holden from Bolton until the end of the season.
9. PALENCIA TO FOCUS ON USA … CHIVAS, THAT IS
El Chelís is calling in the cavalry. Mexican legend Francisco “Paco” Palencia is heading to LA. Hired as director of soccer for Chivas — both Chivas de Guadalajara and Chivas USA — Palencia will be focusing on their side in the US. "For now, I’ll be supporting Chelís to make sure that the good results continue,” Palencia said. “The priority in the US will be to increase attendance at the stadium.” The Goats will look to stay towards the summit of the West when they host Vancouver on Saturday. (10:30 pm ET, MLS Live)
10. MONTREAL ROOKIE CHOSE SOCCER OVER HOCKEY, ITALIAN FORWARD ON TRIAL
Stepping in for the injured Alessandro Nesta is not an easy thing to do. But Karl Ouimette could’ve easily not played soccer at all. The rookie impressed in his first start for Montreal in a shutout win over New York last weekend, but Ouimette revealed life on the ice was his passion as a kid in Quebec: “I loved hockey as well, but I had to choose with the schedules and everything. I was a forward in hockey.” Which other MLS players have excelled in other sports? Answers on a postcard, please. Or Twitter. In other Impact news, an Italian forward with Serie A experience is on trial.
11. AKPAN IN AT RBNY AHEAD OF I-95 CLASH
The New York Red Bulls will have some fresh talent on hand for Saturday’s nationally televised battle with I-95 rivals Philadelphia Union. (3:30 pm ET, NBCSN, live chat on MLSsoccer.com) The Red Bulls have acquired Colorado Rapids forward Andre Akpan for a conditional draft pick. While the Union won’t have new DP Kléberson available for the clash as he will only arrive a matter of hours before kickoff.
12. SOUNDERS SEEKING FIRST WIN
Heading into the season's fourth game, the Seattle Sounders wouldn’t have expected to still be searching for their first win at Real Salt Lake on Saturday. (9 pm ET, MLS Live) But there’s been extenuating circumstances according to head coach Sigi Schmid: “At the moment we got to get everything sorted away and then give that group a little time to play together.” Schmid will finally have Eddie Johnson, Obafemi Martins and Mario Martínez back from international duty. EJ caught up with the Seattle Times to chat USMNT.
13. MOOR GETS EXTRA GAME, RAPIDS HOST EVOLVING TIMBERS
The MLS Disciplinary Committee banned Colorado’s captain Drew Moor for an extra game, after his red card against LA last time out. The Rapids are extremely short at the back ahead of the visit of the Portland Timbers on Saturday. (6 pm ET, Univision Deportes) While Goal.com analyzes how Caleb Porter has fared in the Rose City so far. “I am very encouraged by a lot of the things I have seen out of this group,” Porter said. “It is important to have a perspective on what we are building here.”
14. MLS FANTASY: INTERNATIONALS BACK IN BUSINESS?
Make sure you shuffle your pack in MLS Fantasy: Soccer Manager ahead of this weekends games. Plenty of MLS stars will be returning from international duty across the globe, so will they start or will they sit? You decide. Our resident Fantasy experts, Andrew Wiebe and Jason Saghini, talk you through the top tips in Week 5.
15. BIG WEEKEND OF EASTER EPL ACTION
After his heroics in the Azteca on Tuesday night, can Brad Guzan help Aston Villa to a much needed win on Sunday over Liverpool (8:30 am ET, Fox Soccer)? Elsewhere, Geoff Cameron and Brek Shea, who both appeared against Mexico, will be aiming to help Stoke City stave off the lingering threat of relegation against Everton (Saturday, 1:30 pm ET, Fox Soccer). Those are just two of plenty of great matchups, including Sunderland hosting Manchester United on Saturday (8:30 am ET, ESPN2)
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.