Here are the top 14 soccer stories we’re following today:
1. BECKHAM’S MIAMI
Now it’s official. At a press conference on Wednesday, David Beckham revealed that he has decided to exercise his option to purchase an MLS franchise and will base that franchise in Miami. There weren’t many more details given out in the announcement itself, but Marcelo Claure, another partner in the venture, revealed a few more details such as the fact the team is looking to begin play in 2017. MLS Commissioner Don Garber also offered his own take on the news.
2. DAVID BRICKHAM
Following Beckham's announcement on Wednesday, the team still needs a name, but it seems we can rule out at least one. Also, now looks like a pretty good time to revisit some of Beckham’s career highlights, re-enacted through the magic of Lego.
3. JUMP FOR JOYA
With several MLS sides in the running, US U-20 international Benji Joya signed a contract with MLS and entered a weighted lottery to see which side he would join. Holding a 68 percent chance of winning, the Chicago Fire came away with Joya, who joins on loan from Santos Laguna with an option to buy.
4. ALL A LOAN
As New York City FC begin the process of putting their roster together, it looks like we know where at least a few of their players are going to come from, as Jason Kreis revealed that his new side can take up to four players on loan from parent club Manchester City FC. Don’t expect players like Sergio Agüero or Edin Dzeko, though, with Kreis explaining: “I’m looking a lot at the U-21s and the U-18s at the moment...”
5. BRAND NEW WHITECAPS
Frank Klopas revealed the Montreal Impact were pursuing a Uruguayan forward, but they clearly weren’t the only ones as the Vancouver Whitecaps announced on Wednesday that they have signed two new players from the South American country. Also, Daigo Kobayashi explains exactly why he’s chosen to return as a trialist.
6. SAME AS IT EVER WAS FOR RSL
Despite the departure of Kreis, Real Salt Lake believe they’re entering the new season with continuity thanks to the presence of Jeff Cassar as the new head coach. It looks like Cassar will also have the majority of his team fit and ready before too long, with Robbie Findley eying an April return following his offseason surgery. Meanwhile, RSL general manager Garth Lagerway offers his opinion on the NASL talent pool.
7. SAKIEWICZ GOING NOWHERE
Philadelphia Union CEO Nick Sakiewicz held a conference call on Wednesday where he discussed a lot of the issues, both good and bad, surrounding the Union at the moment. Top of that list was the development of a dedicated training facility, which Sakiewicz identified as “our single top priority right now.” The Union boss has also been explaining why there is absolutely no chance he is going anywhere.
8. GALAXY PROSPECTS
2014 will mark Jack McBean’s fourth season with the LA Galaxy and it could well be the year that sees McBean, still only 19 years old, accrue plenty more minutes, either with the first team or the USL PRO LA Galaxy II squad. Another player looking to make a mark is recently signed forward Rob Friend, who believes, “I’m a different type of player than I think the team has had in a while.”
9. ARENA SET TO STAY
One of the most distinguished coaches in US history, Bruce Arena, has won two MLS cups in the last three years with the LA Galaxy. Entering his seventh year with the club, it looks as though the four-time MLS Cup champs are set to offer Arena a new multi-year contract. Arena is also well acquainted with David Beckham and believes his involvement with the new Miami franchise “will make it a legitimate product and give it the best chance to succeed.”
10. BROTHERS IN ARMS
While the Farfan brothers may have departed for Mexico, could MLS be set for another set of siblings to play either alongside or against each other? According to a report out of England, Shaun Wright-Phillips, brother of New York Red Bulls striker Bradley Wright-Phillips, would like to join the league at some point, stating, “I’d definitely love to go to MLS at some point and it’d be great to play alongside my brother again.”
11. NEW FOCUS FOR RAWLINS
Orlando City SC president Phil Rawlins has long been a director at English side Stoke City but no more. With the added responsibility following Orlando’s elevation to MLS, Rawlins has chosen to focus solely on his US side and sell his shares in Stoke City.
12. THE DOOR ISN’T SHUT
While some players have a fairly good idea of whether they will or won’t make the US national team's World Cup squad, head coach Jurgen Klinsmann refuses to rule anyone out just yet: “The door is still open until May, it’s about what happens in the next few months.”
13. AGUDELO AIMS HIGH
Juan Agudelo’s time in the Netherlands is off to a good start and the young American is hoping a good run with Utrecht will allow him to advance not only his domestic career but his international one as well. “I have 17 caps, and my goal is to get my 18th.”
14. AMERICAN ABROAD - THE BRAVE & THE BOLD
There are plenty of US soccer players playing the game in a number of different countries all over the world, but be sure to catch SportsCenter this weekend for their piece on Nick Pugliese, the American making his way in Afghanistan’s pro league.
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