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Kick Off - Don Garber (September 2011)
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Kick Off: Garber's State of the League kicks off Cup week

Happy Cyber Monday!

The crazy jersey deals at MLSGear.com are just one highlight of the Monday after Thanksgiving. The centerpiece of attention in the MLS world today will surely be Commissioner Don Garber’s annual State of the League conference call with national media at 4 pm ET.

The 2012 MLS Best XI will be revealed on the call and we can perhaps expect some mention of LA Galaxy superstar David Beckham, who plays his final match in a Galaxy uniform on Saturday at MLS Cup 2012 (4:30 pm ET on ESPN, TeleFutura, TSN/RDS in Canada).

The Beckham speculation didn’t take a break over the recent Thanksgiving weekend: According to a report Beckham is in discussions to join the New York Cosmos ownership group with the possibility of playing for the team.

Of course, you can pile that rumor on top of the talk about Beckham potentially joining Queens Park Rangers, the bottom club in the English Premier League, after they hired Harry Redknapp as their new boss.

In addition to Beckham, US star Landon Donovan continues to reiterate that he very well might also be playing his last match … ever. “If I wake up and I say 'you know what? That's enough,' then I'll let the people know who need to know and I'll get on with my life," he told the Los Angeles Times.

But before Beckham and Donovan leave, there’s the minor detail of an offseason tour and reports say that it could include a trip to South Africa to face Ajax Cape Town on Dec. 12.

Pro Soccer Talk wonders whether the LA Galaxy might be better off replacing Beckham’s Designated Player slot in 2013 with a DP contract for defender Omar Gonzalez.

Make it three-for-three as far as LA Galaxy DPs in the news. Reports from Europe say that Aston Villa are looking ahead at another loan deal for in-form Galaxy forward Robbie Keane.

Since we’re on the subject of loans, Scottish side Hibernian would love to welcome Vancouver DP Kenny Miller for an offseason stint: “If Kenny's an option, then great. I don't know if we could afford him,” said the club’s manager.

Also, apparently Colorado Rapids goalkeeper Steward Ceus is in training with English Premier League club Sunderland, per a tweet from the player himself.

MLS Cup 2012 will only be the start of a very busy and memorable week for Houston Dynamo central defender Jermaine Taylor, who apparently will be getting married less than a week later. It’s in the news because he will be skipping the Caribbean Cup with Jamaica.

You assume that Jamaicans will be pulling for the Houston Dynamo. And likely so will Canadians. Here’s one Sportsnet columnist: “From a Canadian standpoint, having [Andre] Hainault and the Dynamo emerge victorious as MLS Cup winners would be a much sweeter story.”

The English media have their way of sweetening their stories all the time. Check this article in the Mirror, where they say that Beckham will return as an MLS owner after 2015 and that “there are two strong possibilities of taking charge of a new franchise at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena or the proposed new NFL stadium Farmers Field in downtown LA.” Wait a minute. Three teams in LA?

Two teams in NYC. An expansion team in Queens is high on the priority list for MLS executives and that prospect of a derby with the New York Red Bulls even earns mention in a New York Times article about the New York Knicks vs. Brooklyn Nets NBA rivalry which plays out tonight.

Today is also the day that Caleb Porter can perhaps focus on the task at hand as new manager of the Portland Timbers. That’s because his Akron Zips were bounced from the NCAA Tournament on penalty kicks against Creighton. Here’s the complete look at the updated Elite Eight bracket.

Cascadia is well represented in the Final Round of Goal of the Year voting which runs through Tuesday. Vote now.

Here’s an offseason story that involves the Philadelphia Union: Is former striker Carlos Ruiz contemplating a return to PPL Park?

Which MLS club could attacker Marama Vahirua be referencing in a recent tweet? The Nancy player, on loan at Panthrakikos Komotini in Greece, says “MLS was not far off in the summer, but why not a next time?”

In the category of “things that happen over Thanksgiving weekend”: Real Salt Lake manager Jason Kreis signs up for Twitter.

The biggest news surrounding Americans abroad comes from Mexico, where midfielder Jose Francisco Torres moves from Pachuca to Tigres UANL and Tijuana’s Americans advance to the Mexican league final where they’ll face Toluca.

But what may be most alarming for US fans is the claim by Everton manager David Moyes that a lack of competition for Tim Howard’s starting spot is affecting the form of the USMNT No. 1 ‘keeper.

Meanwhile, Clint Dempsey admits to a rough start to his spell at Tottenham Hotspur: “I've been frustrated with not really getting on the ball, getting into the game and impacting games,” he told London24.

No Monday EPL action today, but there are two live Serie A matches on beIN Sport this afternoon. It starts with Cagliari vs. Napoli (1 pm ET) and that’s followed by Parma vs. Inter (3 pm ET).

I’m sure you’re all curious to know what a handful of NBA stars think of the FIFA Golden Ball race. FIFA.com talked to them here.

FIFA.com was also busy revealing the name of the 2014 World Cup mascot. The armadillo will be called “Fuleco” although the other alternatives voted on by fans weren’t half bad.

Bad was the reception that new Chelsea manager Rafa Benítez faced yesterday. Fans booed him and chanted “you’re not welcome here.” See how he responded here.

Lastly, who says that the Football Manager game is merely simulation? It could actually get you a head coaching job. Find out which first division European team hired a 21-year-old as their manager with his Football Manager experience proving the highlight of his resume.

MLSsoccer.com Musts

PRO names Petrescu head referee at MLS Cup

RSL’s Nick Rimando with 75 percent chance to win Save of the Year

The Sideline: All 30 goals from the MLS Cup Playoffs


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