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Kick Off: George John

Kick Off: What comes next for Gonzalez and John?

American soccer fans may have been stunned last night to read news about defenders George John and Omar Gonzalez leaving US national team camp when they had finally secured an opportunity to impress US boss Jurgen Klinsmann.

It turns out that Gonzalez is the latest in the line of LA Galaxy players to secure an offseason loan deal. The MLS Defender of the Year will be go on loan to FC Nürnberg until the middle of February.

No word yet on what the situation looks like for John, who came close to making the switch to EPL side Blackburn Rovers last summer. Speculation is already running rampant that this time a transfer may be imminent.

The MLS story lines continue to abound … in the EPL. The latest could feature two LA Galaxy teammates facing off in an EPL match. Aston Villa are reportedly “optimistic” they will complete a loan deal for LA forward Robbie Keane in time for a match against Landon Donovan and Everton.

Speaking of Donovan, he made his grand return for Everton yesterday but it was American goalkeeper Tim Howard who stole the show. If you haven’t seen it yet, check out the goal scored by Howard. He was not celebrating afterward. (VIDEO)

There is ironic twist to the story surrounding David Beckham’s possible re-signing with the MLS Cup champion LA Galaxy. Club owners AEG confirm that if an agreement on a deal is not reached, there is a long list of soccer stars waiting to be signed: “We have players knocking at our door, world-class players, some of them pretty shocking," says Tim Leiweke. "The guys that want to come to L.A. now. They're chasing us. We're not chasing them."

Why not me? New York Red Bulls midfielder Rafa Márquez is also in Europe these days training with Barcelona’s reserve side. Here’s the photo to prove it. (SPANISH)

Let’s play the game: Which Arsenal player took his turn today to say he was head over heels that Red Bulls star Thierry Henry is rejoining the club on a loan that hasn’t even been made official? Wrong. It’s Francis Coquelin. Who?

But enough about loans and training stints. A Toronto FC blog has spotted an image of the club’s 2012 away kit and claims: “Again we should have one of the most appealing kits in the league.”

Another Canadian side, the expansion Montreal Impact, seem like they have a pretty good handle on what they’re doing with the No. 1 pick in the 2012 SuperDraft that will be held on Jan. 12: "We're not planning on trading the first pick at this point. …. We have a good idea of how we want to use that first pick," said the club’s director of soccer operations.

The SuperDraft and MLS adidas Player Combine will take center stage beginning with the first Combine doubleheader from Fort Lauderdale, Fla., on Friday afternoon. You can catch live streams of the matches and wall-to-wall coverage on MLSsoccer.com.

There may be another Generation adidas prospect to be added to the list as MLS reportedly seeks to sign USA Under-17 midfielder Junior Flores. He’s 15 years old.

There are more additions being made to the Generation adidas class of players this year. University of South Florida forward Dom Dwyer, who scored 16 goals last season, is also flying to the Combine with his college teammates after tweeting that he was leaving school to go pro.

In other MLS player news, the Columbus Crew are not done adding international players to their squad even after the signing of Chilean Milovan Mirosevic. Reports indicate that Costa Rican forward Osman Vargas has signed on with the Crew as well, while manager Robert Warzycha says the team hopes to add a DP.

Here’s another name to throw into the offseason hot stove: St. Johnstone forward Francisco Sandaza claims he has offers from clubs in MLS.

His name is Kendall Watson and he’s Costa Rican. He says that he’s waiting for Real Salt Lake to speak to his agent regarding a possible transfer. (SPANISH)

Also, Mexican playmaker Adolfo “Bofo” Bautista is still holding out hope that an MLS team comes calling for his services. (SPANISH)

Is Houston Dynamo defender Eddie Robinson moving toward retirement? If he does, he’s fortunate enough to have a job waiting for him.

Staying in Texas, the man who tried to bring MLS to San Antonio in 2005 is back at it again, but former mayor Ed Garza admits he’s up “against a tidal wave” to construct a FIFA regulation size field at the Alamodome.

Meanwhile, former MLS star Hristo Stoitchkov is managing again in his native Bulgaria with Litex Lovech. He spells his name differently these days, too. (PHOTO)

In other international news, US national team midfielder Jermaine Jones of German club Schalke 04 has been slapped with a six-match ban for stomping on the broken toe of Borussia Mönchengladbach’s Marco Reus. An appeal is likely on its way. “It is clear that there must be some punishment. … But eight weeks compared to other cases is not proportionate,” said Schalke 04’s manager. (GERMAN)

The live TV action today is limited to a Copa del Rey match as Valencia host Sevilla (4 pm ET, GolTV).

Lastly, maybe Fort Lauderdale, Fla., is not the capital of MLS this week after all. Las Vegas is making a good run. Check out how many players are already there or making their way.

MLSsoccer.com Must-Reads:

Has Gregg Berhalter lured a Generation adidas prospect to his club team in Hammarby?

Dallas teen on the path to first team in Serbia, possible Europa League berth

Portland Timbers make first Home Grown player signing

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