Here are the top 15 soccer stories we’re following today.
1. PAREJA OUT IN COLORADO?
According to a Goal.com report on Saturday, Oscar Pareja has stepped down as head coach of the Colorado Rapids. While there has been no official word from the club yet, this news would certainly clear the way for Pareja to become the new head coach of FC Dallas, and the same story suggests that Colorado have already focused on two possible replacements for the Colombian coach. The folks at SB Nation's Burgundy Wave blog, however, think there are plenty of options for the Rapids, including Panamanian national team coach Julio Dely Valdés.
2. CHIVAS SET FOR DECISION
It seems that Chivas USA may be closing in on their new head coach. The club has been without a man in charge since Nov. 25, when José Luis Real left to take the same position at parent club CD Guadalajara, but now a spokesperson insists the club should soon have a new coach in place, suggesting “we are looking to finalize the candidate in the next week or two.”
3. THE BRAND
This year marks the 40th anniversary of the San Jose Earthquakes, and the club is using this opportunity to have something of a rebrand. According to Quakes president Dave Kaval, it’s been a long but necessary process: “The current mark and team brand identity did not properly reflect the values and heritage that the San Jose Earthquakes have here in our community dating back 40 years.”
4. 40 MORE
The Earthquakes aren’t the only club celebrating 40 years in 2014. The Seattle Sounders are also set to mark their ruby anniversary and, with that in mind, here’s a short look back at the club's history. And while the Sounders have a strong past, their future looks even brighter, with three more academy players being offered Homegrown contracts.
5. RED BULLS PRESEASON PLANS
It seems the Disney World Pro Soccer Classic preseason tournament is set to feature another MLS team, with sources confirming that the New York Red Bulls will also be taking part. Meanwhile, could the Red Bulls still be pursuing former transfer target Paul Connolly?
6. PAPPA COMING BACK?
Marco Pappa spent five seasons with the Chicago Fire before leaving to join Dutch club Heerenveen. However, after having his contract terminated by the Eredivision side, it seems the Guatemalan international could be looking to rejoin MLS. But his rights no longer owned by the Fire, could D.C. United be a good destination?
7. FOOT IN THE DOOR
Bob Bradley officially became the first American to coach in a European first division Friday when he became manager of Norwegian side Stabæk. Speaking at his unveiling, Bradley talked about the opportunity to “get a foot in the door in Europe” and the challenges ahead of him.
8. “CAMP CUPCAKE” GETS SERIOUS
The US national team's January camp will convene on Monday in Southern California, and it's a group loaded with MLS talent. Reigning league MVP Mike Magee is on the list and doesn’t intend to waste the opportunity. Some of the other interesting, but equally justified, call-ups included Dax McCarty and DeAndre Yedlin. Yet, while Shane O’Neill was shocked by his own call up, the Colorado Rapids defender isn’t ruling out playing for Ireland just yet.
9. ALL THE CALLS
It wasn’t just the senior national team whose January training camp roster was unveiled on Friday. The US Under-20 roster also was released, with 10 players attached to MLS clubs as well as a first call-up for Ian Harkes, son of former USMNT captain John Harkes. The US U-18 roster features 24 players, 12 of whom come from MLS academies. The US women's national team roster was also announced, with the majority of the squad currently playing in the NWSL.
10. EXPORTS ON THE MOVE
One notable absence from the USMNT January camp is Clint Dempsey, after the US captain made his 2014 debut for English side Fulham this weekend as part of his two-month loan. With other US internationals on the move as well, Jurgen Klinsmann backs the changes, so long as it means more playing time. Although it seems Oguchi Onyewu is in need of a new club again and you wonder what Klinsmann would make of the Aron Jóhannsson to Stoke City rumors.
11. CAMP CANADA
It’s not just US exports on the move this winter, as Canadian international Lucas Cavallini looks set to move from Uruguayan side Nacional to a currently unnamed Spanish club. While Cavallini’s name could well be in the mix, if Canada held their own January training camp, just who would make the squad?
12. SKC IN THE COMMUNITY
There was a lot to celebrate for Sporting Kansas City in 2013. The club played host to a World Cup qualifier for the US national team, the MLS All-Star Game and the MLS Cup final, a match where SKC ran out as MLS Cup champions. However, it’s not just on the pitch where the club has been getting it right, as their efforts in the community are also drawing praise.
13. NIELSEN'S STAFF TAKING SHAPE
While Jimmy Nielsen has already been unveiled as new USL PRO side Oklahoma City Energy’s head coach, the Sporting Kansas City affiliate has started to reveal some of the other people who will join him in running the club.
14. THE RIGHT BALANCE
While a number of clubs have sent players overseas for training this winter, the Philadelphia Union have kept their squad at home. According to head coach John Hackworth, “It’s really important in the balance of making sure players are fully prepared and are able to have proper regeneration and recovery.” It seems the Union also want some help from their fans as the club is looking into choosing a new mascot.
15. REMEMBERING ONE OF THE BEST
The soccer world lost one of its all-time greats this weekend after it was revealed that Eusébio had passed away early Sunday morning at the age of 71. Born in Mozambique, Eusébio became a legend for both Benfica and the Portuguese national team, guiding the latter to third place in the 1966 World Cup. The "Black Panther" ended his career in North America, playing for Boston, Toronto and Las Vegas in the NASL before playing his final season with the New Jersey Americans in the ASL.
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