Here are the top 15 soccer stories we’re following today.
1. DO DALLAS WANT PAREJA?
It seems that, after all this time, FC Dallas are back where they started in their search for a new head coach. According to Jeff Carlisle at ESPNFC.com, the club has once again set its sights on former assisant coach and current Colorado Rapids head coach Oscar Pareja, who apparently is willing to listen. Despite the fact that Pareja is under contract with the Rapids through 2015, Carlisle's article cites sources who say "Colorado seem resigned to the possibility of losing Pareja." Here's the Rapids' take.
2. KING COOPER
Former FC Dallas man Kenny Cooper officially signed a contract with the Seattle Sounders on Thursday. The 29-year-old will be called upon to help fill the gap left by the departure of Eddie Johnson ,and the veteran striker understands the expectation is to score goals and help create them, as well as “put in an honest effort every day and in every game.” Cooper’s rights were initially traded from FC Dallas in exchange for Adam Moffat, the defensive midfielder who described the surprise transfer as “a horrible position, and it’s one I’d never wish on anyone else.”
3. MONTREAL MOVES
With a new head coach finally in place, the Montreal Impact also confirmed that 21 players from their current roster will be returning next season. However, one player who won’t be back is Zarek Valentin, the defender who is returning to Norway and to sign a new contract with FK Bodø/Glimt. Still, sporting director Nick De Santis described the current squad as “…a very good core of players that will give us stability next season.” De Santis was speaking at the official unveiling of new manager Frank Klopas, whose previous experience in both Europe and MLS make him "the best of both worlds.”
4. ROBINSON MAKING HIS MARK
Carl Robinson was only officially appointed the new Vancouver Whitecaps head coach on Monday, but already the Welshman has started to put his own mark on the club. Robinson has decided to part ways with assistant coach Paul Ritchie, a Scotsman who arrived with Martin Rennie and was viewed by many as Rennie’s right hand man.
5. RSL’S NEW ERA UNDER WAY
Real Salt Lake held a press conference to unveil Jeff Cassar as their new head coach on Thursday and speaking at the event, owner Dell Roy Hansen said that he spoke with the players on who they wanted as their new coach: “It was unanimous they wanted Jeff to be their leader.” So, with Cassar replacing Jason Kreis, who will replace Cassar as an assistant? The answer seems to be current RSL scout Andy Williams.
6. THE MAN BEHIND THE CURTAIN
When Gavin Wilkinson took temporary charge of the Portland Timbers during their woeful 2012 season, a number of fans called for him to be sacked. Now however, back behind the scenes, Wilkinson works tirelessly overseeing not one, but two successful soccer teams, rarely with any praise from those outside the club.
7. GOING DUTCH
The Columbus Crew have announced a USL Pro affiliation with the Dayton Dutch Lions. With either a partner club or a reserve team in the USL Pro an MLS requirement from 2015 on, the Crew become the sixth MLS team to hold such an affiliation. Crew head coach Gregg Berhalter is happy with the move and also to be keeping striker Jairo Arrieta, who he believes now just needs a confidence boost.
8. GOOGLE SEARCH
Could Google be looking to get into the sports broadcasting market? According to a recent report they might be looking to do just that and, with MLS’ TV rights expiring in 2014, could they be snapped up by the computer giant?
9. EASTERN PROMISES
MLS has officially selected the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla., as the eastern hub for preseason training. It will feature six MLS teams, five from the Eastern Conference plus FC Dallas, with a schedule that will see them train and play a series of friendlies in January and February.
10. VISITING THE OLD WORLD
There are a few notable MLS figures in London this week: First we have the New York Red Bulls head coach Mike Petke and sporting director Andy Roxburgh observing some of the top managers in the EPL, then there's 2013 USL PRO and MLS Champion Dom Dwyer training with Charlton Athletic. Is it with a view to a more permanent move?
11. UNDEFINED BY INJURY
It wasn’t too long ago that Josh Gatt was one of the next big things in American soccer. However, that tag faded in June when, just before the player was schedule to meet up with the US’ Gold Cup squad, Gatt suffered a knee injury, later diagnosed as an ACL tear. However, the 22-year-old won’t let this setback stop him, insisting “this isn’t going to define me”
12. THE EARL OF CANADA
Earl Cochrane has been named acting deputy general secretary of the Canadian Soccer Association, effective Jan. 1. Cochrane had previously served as Toronto FC’s director of team and player operations until being released in September and before that had also worked for D.C. United..
13. BEWARE OF GHANA
Bob Bradley is seemingly a man in demand, but the former US head coach admits in an interview with ESPNFC.com that “of the different discussions going on right now, the one with Stabaek is the furthest along.” Bradley who recently led Egypt to the verge of the World Cup also had a warning for the US about World Cup opponents Ghana, the team that ended the Pharaohs' campaign.
14. AWARDS AT ALL LEVELS
The NCSAA have announced their Player of the Year awards for both men and women throughout their system, including a college Player of the Year award for Harrison Shipp, expected to sign a Homegrown player contract with the Chicago Fire during this offseason.
15. BOSWELL HAS GUTS
Did you know that,on top of being a pro soccer player, Bobby Boswell made an appearance on 90’s kids TV show GUTS? Check out Boswell explaining why he didn’t win and trying to justify losing to a girl (There’s no shame it in Bobby).