Here are the top 15 soccer stories we’re following today...
1. HERE WE GO AGAIN
Guess we didn't see the last of those Frank Lampard-to-MLS rumors. ESPNFC.com is reporting that the English international and teammate Ashley Cole could be facing the exit at Chelsea at the end of the season, with MLS apparently very much still a target for the two. While the New York Red Bulls are linked with Cole, it seems the New York Cosmos are dreaming of a transfer target who is the same size in scope.
2. TALKING TERMS OR TAKING A TRIP?
Moving the rumor mill over to a US international, Is Aron Johannsson about to join Scottish side Celtic FC? The player himself isn’t exactly stopping the rumors when he tweets out pictures at Glasgow airport. But was he there to talk business or just passing through?
3. RIGHT SAID FRED
Former MLS midfielder Fred is hoping for a return to the league. Out of contract with the Melbourne Heart of Australia's A-League, the 34-year-old, who played for both the Philadelphia Union and D.C. United, is currently in search of a new club and says, “I’m looking anywhere, but I will be happy if I can play here for another team in MLS."
4. UNION ON THE VERGE
Fred or not, according to Philadelphia Union head coach John Hackworth, the club could be unveiling some new players sooner than you might think. However, it doesn’t seem as though Pablo Pérez will be one of them.
5. SKC GOOD ENOUGH FOR THE EPL?
Oriol Rosell has been talking up Sporting Kansas City and the Catalonian believes his side is good enough to cut it in the English Premier League. We might get an opportunity to see how true that is in the summer if Rosell's claim is true that Manchester City are coming to town.
6. COMPLETING THE COMEBACK
The New England Revolution got straight back to work after Christmas by announcing on Thursday that they have re-signed three players, including 2013 Comeback Player of the Year Kevin Alston. Fellow defender Darrius Barnes and goalkeeper Luis Soffner round out the trio and provide the Revs with some added depth in defense. With three goalkeepers on the books now, who will get the start in net next season?
7. EMERALD CITY YOUTH
"Every single day – every single minute of every day – we work to get better at what we do in our own academy systems.” Those are the words of the Seattle Sounders director of youth development Darren Sawatzky. With the emergence of DeAndre Yedlin, the Sounders can already point to one success story, but what comes next?
8. THE PRICE IS STILL RIGHT
He bleeds Cleveland Browns, but Drew Carey also owns part of the Seattle Sounders, which puts him in a position to comment on some of the differences between MLS and other American sports, as he explains in this Q&A with his hometown magazine Cleveland Scene. He also has a nice story about David Beckham.
9. WARREN WEEK
The Houston Dynamo have declared this week Warren Week in recognition of hardworking midfielder Warren Creavalle. After securing a starting spot in the team and being voted Young Player of the Year in his second term with the Dynamo, the club's website sat down with Creavalle to find out what he hopes to achieve in Year 3.
10. CHIVAS MAKE A HIRE
With Dennis te Kloese relieved of his duties as sporting director at both CD Guadalajara and Chivas USA, the organization has wasted no time appointing a successor, naming Juan Manuel Herrero as the Dutchman’s successor in Mexico. However, there’s no word yet on whether he will perform the same function for Chivas USA.
11. RICHMOND’S READY
This past year was a good one for the Richmond Kickers, D.C. United's USL PRO affiliate. They finished at the top of the table during the regular season but were beaten by the Charlotte Eagles in the playoff semifinals. While much of the squad made a postseason trip to Indonesia along with D.C. United, what does 2014 have in store for the team?
12. NOT SO MERRY IN ENGLAND
Thursday was not a good day for Americans in the EPL: Tim Howard got sent off, Brad Guzan conceded a late winner, Geoff Cameron was on the wrong side of a 5-1 thumping and, although Sunderland managed to win, by the time Jozy Altidore was introduced, the game was already over.
13. PRESEASON PROVING GROUND
It wasn't a terrific year for some Americans based in Mexico, either, at least at the international level. Goal.com's Ives Galarcep puts Club Tijuana duo Herculez Gomez and Edgar Castillo among the US national teamers who saw their stock fall in 2013. Both players will have a big chance to end the year on an up note, however, as they're among the five Yanks on Tijuana's roster as Xolos face Liga MX runners-up Club América in a friendly on Saturday at StubHub Center.
14. SHAPING THE FUTURE
Troy Dayak was part of the San Jose Earthquakes side that won two MLS Cups. But this year, he won a very different type of prize, as the former MLS Comeback Player of the Year was voted National Coach of the Year for Youth girls by the NSCAA – recognition for the hard work Dayak is putting in to help grow the girls' game.
15. THE SHOE MUST GO ON
Sticking with the Quakes ... It’s always difficult playing against a team who outnumber you, but what happens when you’re in that situation because two of your players walk off the field to swap their shoes? It’s San Jose vs. Vancouver, it's 9-v-11, it’s the MLS Gaffe of the Year.
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.