Here are the top 15 soccer stories we’re following today...
1. WINTER WORLD CUP? SO SAYS FIFA OFFICIAL
If FIFA general secretary Jerome Valcke is to be believed, the 2022 World Cup in Qatar won't be played in the summer after all. Valcke told Radio France that the tournament would likely be played between November 15 and January 15 to mitigate weather concerns. Before booking that vacation time, though, remember that the decision can only be made by the FIFA executive committee, with FIFA vice president Jim Boyce saying the decision won't be made until "at the very earliest, the end of 2014."
2. FORMER GERMAN INTERNATIONAL REVEALS HE IS GAY
Former Aston Villa and Stuttgart player Thomas Hitzlsperger is walking the same path Robbie Rogers did earlier this year after announcing he is gay in an interview with German newspaper Die Zeit. The 31-year-old retired in 2013 due to injury and said he was speaking out about his sexuality "to further the debate about homosexuality among sports professionals."
3. GALAXY ADD FIREPOWER
On Thursday, the LA Galaxy revealed they have signed promising young Brazilian Samuel on loan from Fluminense. The 22-year-old striker has been described by Bruce Arena as “a young, talented forward, with both size and skill.” However, even with the addition of Samuel, it seems Arena might not be done shopping for strikers just yet.
4. QUAKES SHAKE THINGS UP
The San Jose Earthquakes had a busy day on Thursday, not only did they finalize the deal to bring in Jean-Baptiste Pierazzi, the club also traded Marvin Chavez to the Colorado Rapids in exchange for Atiba Harris. Apparently the Quakes aren’t finished adding players either, with general manager John Doyle revealing the club hopes to add another attacking player. It certainly seems San Jose have their finances in order and Doyle stated, “We’ve got our cap under control.”
5. REHEARSING FOR BRAZIL
As part of the US national team’s January camp, the squad will be flying to Brazil for two weeks and Jurgen Klinsmann intends to use the trip as a dress rehearsal for the World Cup. Klinsmann has also spoken about the recent supposed interest from EPL side Tottenham Hotspur, reaffirming his commitment to the USMNT by saying, “I didn’t give any consideration. … I’m committed to this federation and this program over the long run.”
6. DEFOE DEAL NEARING THE END
How close are Toronto FC to landing Jermain Defoe? According to SI.com, the deal is not quite done yet but it’s getting close, with only Defoe’s uncertain international future holding the striker back.
7. TIMBERS FORWARD SET TO RETURN
The Portland Timbers have opted to re-sign Frederic Piquionne. Injuries limited the forward to just 21 appearances and one goal in MLS last season, although the 35-year-old did score five goals in five games during the Timbers' US Open Cup run.
8. RED BULLS LOOKING TO ADD PLAYERS
In 2013, the New York Red Bulls picked up the Supporters' Shield, ending the club's long wait for a trophy. This season, the club will try and go one better and, in part two of his chat with the club's official website, sporting director Andy Roxburgh says, “We’re trying to add one or two other dimensions.”
9. CATCHING FIRE
It seems the Chicago Fire have added another goalkeeper to their books by bringing in Kyle Reynish as a backup for Sean Johnson. After being released by Real Salt Lake following the 2012 season, Reynish spent the second half of 2013 with the New York Cosmos, helping them capture the NASL Soccer Bowl Championship on their first try.
The life of a professional soccer player may seem a glamorous one, but what do players do when that time is over? According to well-traveled former MLS player Carey Talley, players could benefit from greater financial advice during their careers. Talley also explains some of the opportunities that exist for players to earn extra income during their short careers.
11. STADIUMS ISSUES
Another deadline has been missed in D.C. United’s quest to build a new stadium, and while, according to the term sheet, this one allows the team to walk away from the deal, D.C. aren’t backing out on their potential new home. Meanwhile, could the fate of New York City FC’s possible Bronx stadium rest in the hands of two people?
12. O’NEILL CATCHES IRISH ATTENTION
While Shane O’Neill recently got his call up to the USMNT's January camp, the young Colorado defender isn’t ruling out playing for Ireland one day. With that in mind, it seems the Irish press have started to take note of O’Neill’s accomplishments.
13. IN IT TO WIN IT?
While the USMNT certainly drew one of the toughest groups at the World Cup, being placed with France, Switzerland and Ecuador meant that Honduras didn’t exactly get off easy. However, the Houston Dynamo's Boniek Garcia isn’t too worried: “Many think that France and Switzerland will be first, but I am convinced that we can also reach the next round," he said. “We’re not there to be tourists.”
14. DOING THINGS DIFFERENTLY
As of Tuesday, Eric Wynalda is officially in charge of the Atlanta Silverbacks. However, it’s not what you might call a traditional role, as the club has done away with the head coaching position altogether. Staying with the NASL, it seems there may be calls for a salary cap, with at least one club unhappy with the New York Cosmos' big spending. Then there’s this.
15. BATTLE FOR MINNESOTA
It seems that Minnesota’s quest for an MLS team could become a battle between Major League Baseball and the National Football League. A report circulating on Tuesday suggests that NASL side Minnesota United are teaming up with MLB’s Minnesota Twins to explore the possibility of moving up to MLS, pitting them directly against the plans of the NFL’s Minnesota Vikings.
Get the Kick-Off delivered to you!
Enter your email address and favorite team below to sign up for The Kick-Off mailing list and get it delivered to your inbox every morning.