Archive | December, 2009

Happy Holidays from ASN Philly and the Union

Posted on 23 December 2009 by Breton Bonnette

Tom Veit and the Union have the right idea, dropping a personal letter to Union founding members that reads something like this…

 Dear Founding Members,

 On behalf of the entire Philadelphia Union organization, I’d like to wish you a very happy and healthy holiday season!

 What a year 2009 has been. We began the year without an identity, technical staff, players and many of you who are now part of our extended Philadelphia Union family. If you think 2009 was exciting though, just wait until 2010. The culmination of years of hard work will finally bring us to our inaugural season in just a few short months, including First Kick on March 25th against Seattle, our Home Opener on April 10th against D.C. and our stadium opening along the banks of the Delaware River in Chester, PA.

 With the first step of the expansion draft completed, the final pieces will quickly come together between now and First Kick. The January transfer window should bring quite a bit of excitement and the MLS SuperDraft on January 14th will be a great opportunity for everyone to come together to welcome our new draftees. Before we know it, we’ll be into our first season standing behind our Team Manager Peter Nowak and his squad as they take the field.

 Our players really enjoyed meeting many of you at our Player Welcome Party and now they’ve created a holiday greeting for your viewing pleasure. Please CLICK HERE to watch it.

 We look forward to seeing you in 2010 – a historic year that we’re all sure remember for a very long time! JUNGITE aut PERITE,
tom signature
Tom Veit
President
Philadelphia Union
Keystone Sports and Entertainment LLC

If you missed the link above…go here for a personal Happy Holidays! from your Philadelphia Union players.

From ASN Philly, have a safe, relaxing, and happy Holiday season! We’ll be here quite a bit over the “break” so don’t stop checking back.

What are you most excited for in 2010?

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Luke Sassano gets involved in a good cause

Posted on 21 December 2009 by ASN Staff

‘Twas the week before Christmas,
And all through the house
Not a creature was stirring
Not even a mouse…

Luke Sassano ©ASN/Julia Harper

…or (red) bull for that matter. Since Erik Soler was introduced as New York Red Bulls general manager a few weeks ago, there has been nary a peep from the team. Its coaching search, presumably, remains ongoing, with little chance one will be announced before new year’s.

This would be a good a time as any to inform you about some good works a member of the team is doing this holiday season. Midfielder Luke Sassano has taken it on himself to work with CHF International, the international development and humanitarian assistance organization. The partnership is part of Athletes for Hope’s First Annual Who Gives! Racing for a Cause campaign, which began last Thursday and runs through early January 2010.

Sassano will help to raise support for one of CHF’s many programs in Rwanda, specifically focused on providing educational support for more than 45,000 orphaned and vulnerable children.

“I am very excited and honored to be working with CHF International and Athletes for Hope on the Racing for a Cause campaign,” Sassano said. “Working with CHF really appealed to me personally because of the many youth projects they have around the world. The initiative to get Rwandan child-headed households and orphans into local schools can help to ensure that their lives, which have been affected by genocide and HIV, can turn in a positive direction.”

It’s a great program and obviously Sassano can use all the help he can get. To donate even a small amount head to his GlobalGiving.org page. It only takes a minute but as the page demonstrates, even a small donation can make a very large difference.

Happy holidays from ASN.

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MLS Combine: Penn State’s Yeisley to continue making a difference

Posted on 21 December 2009 by Breton Bonnette

ASN Philly is going to be at the MLS SuperDraft in mid-January so we figured we’d begin our coverage with several informal “sit-downs” with local MLS combine participants.

Penn State’s Jason Yeisley has overcome and learned a lot in his years as a Nittany Lion. Now, only three weeks away, he looks to take on the Combine and segue into a professional career.

ASN’s Philadelphia Union page has the full interview.

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Union news: Colombian defenders are all the ‘Rage’

Posted on 21 December 2009 by Breton Bonnette

As a Major League Soccer fan, you most definitely have noticed the success Colombian players seem to have in this league. Start things out with Carlos Valdarrama in the late 1990s and work your way up to Seattle’s Fredy Montero and Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, Chivas USA’s youngster Yamith Questa or Real Salt Lake’s defensive stalwart Jamison Olave. It’s tough not to admit they’ve all been pretty influential in just a short time in the league.

Soccer by Ives has come up once again with some MLS transaction chatter and, normally, when Ives says it, it tends to come true. We only bring this to you because the Union looks to be a part of it.

Major League Soccer has apparently signed three Colombian youngsters to contracts and discovery claims have since been filed, the Union being one of them. The three players are America de Cali’s Edward Zea (19), Deportivo Cali’s Pablo Escobar (22), and Deportes Quindio’s Hanyer Mosquera (22). All three happen to be central defenders. There is no word on which one or how many the Union have put discovery claims on. As far as experience, Mosquera has scored for the senior squad in a Copa Mustang match vs. Deportivo Cali. Mosquera’s signature with league must be on loan – as are probably the other two – according to this from La Cronica del Quindio. Escobar has seen time with the Deportivo Cali first team in Copa Sudamericana action though not much at all. Regardless, the track record of Major League Soccer with Colombian prospects seems to ensure a talent.  

What we can take from this, if true, is that taking Ike Opara first in the draft might not be a foregone conclusion (assuming Opara even signs with Major League Soccer). Could we trade up for allocation money to sign an established attacker or do we go after a player like Toni Stahl, a holding midfielder is widely seen as a guy who could step in and be 2010’s version of Toronto FC’s Sam Cronin? The possibilities are endless but every little bit of information helps us take a stab at Piotr Nowak and John Hackworth’s thought process. What do you think?

Add this to a day where the Union have signed on a minor-league affiliate in the PDL’s Reading Rage (now re-branded as Reading United AC) and you’re starting to see what each day could be like over the next three months news-wise. As a Professional Development League squad, teams are comprised mostly of amateur youngsters looking for offseason training and guidance, some of which eventually move up to the professional ranks. The Reading Rage has helped nurture a host of area talent many of which will take part in this year’s MLS Combine (Penn State’s Jason Yeisley, Lehigh’s Adam Welch). Others like Akron’s Zarek Valentin (a Lancaster, PA native), Penn State’s Corey Hertzog, Lehigh’s Adam Gazda could be next on that Combine list. A good pipeline to have for the Union, even better if they sign up the area’s second PDL squad – Neil Holloway’s Ocean City Barons.

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MLS Combine: Penn State’s Yeisley set to continue making a difference

Posted on 21 December 2009 by Breton Bonnette

ASN Philly is going to be at the MLS SuperDraft in mid-January so we figured we’d begin our coverage with several informal “sit-downs” with local MLS combine participants.

Jason Yeisley is probably one of the most under the radar players taking part in the Combine having struggled with injuries during his years at Penn State in Happy Valley. He stayed the course and excelled in his last season, however, winning the honor of Big Ten’s Offensive Player of the Year as well as a nod as candidate for Soccer America’s Player of the Year award. His injury, however, helped open other doors to help complement his soccer career. In 2005, he met a person that would make him realize that his status as a national caliber soccer player was more than just goals and assists. Adam Recke, 9-years old from Allentown, PA (Jason’s hometown), was diagnosed with Niemann-Pick disease, a terminal and extremely rare disease that affects metabolism, and Jason met him shortly thereafter. And so began their alliance, one in which both Jason and Adam became very close and the Allentown native was able to use his position as an elite NCAA Division I athlete for the benefit of the newly-formed Race for Adam Foundation. On the field, his 2009 season wound up his best yet and Yeisley was recognized for his commitment on every front when he was honored with the Lowes Senior CLASS Award. Now, all that’s left to close out a topsy-turvy but incredibly brilliant college career, is a good showing at the MLS Combine and a chance to stand at that podium on January 14th to accept his welcoming into Major League Soccer. Former Reading Rage player here (with the Union expected to make Reading its’ PDL affiliate today), could the Union take notice?

Can you tell us what it has been like the past few injury-riddled seasons? And how did the 2009 season feel after all that time off?

It was tough to deal without playing the past few seasons. I had never experienced a serious injury until my sophomore year of college so I was not familiar with the rehab involved or how hard it would be to stay mentally focused. I found ways to stay involved with the team, most of which involved mentoring the younger players and helping them adapt to the college game, but it was still hard to feel part of the team when I was not contributing on the field. This past season was very rewarding coming back from a significant amount of time off.  Luckily I had great trainers and doctors at Penn State that helped me recover to full strength. When I was playing this season, I felt no different than I did before I was injured and I could just focus on playing.  

How do you feel your chances are heading into the combine? Your expectations?

I am looking forward to going to the combine.  Since the season has ended, I have been working out and preparing for it.  

With such a rigorous schedule at Penn State and plans to go to dental school post-graduation, where does possibly playing pro soccer fit in?

I am hoping to continue my soccer career for as long as possible and continue on with dental school afterwards. 

Congratulations on the Lowe’s senior award! What has kept you so grounded?

The Lowes’ award is a nice honor and I am humbled just be mentioned in the list of players who were up for the award. I have always taken academics very seriously and I try to stay active in the community.  Spending time with Adam and his family have helped me realize the important things in life.  

How do you feel the season ended up?

Well we came up short in the last minutes of the Big Ten tournament, but in any case, I felt this season was very successful.  For the first time since 2005, we returned to the Big Ten finals and the NCAA tournament.  In my opinion, this is something our program should achieve every year and I feel this is a good precedent and building block for the upcoming seasons.  

Please tell us a bit about the Race for Adam Foundation and your role it in all.

I met Adam shortly after he was diagnosed with Niemann-Pick disease in September of 2005.  Since then Adam has been our honorary captain 3 or 4 times and we see each other when I return home to Allentown during breaks.  The goal of the Race For Adam Foundation is to raise money in search for a cure and to promote awareness of the disease.  Niemann-Pick is very rare with only 500 diagnosed cases worldwide; so creating awareness of the disease is a very important step in reaching potential donors.  Through my connection with Penn State soccer, I have tried to help spread awareness of the disease and the Race For Adam Foundation.  We have also contributed Penn State items gathered from various Penn State teams to be used in fundraiser raffles at their events.  Our relationship has grown significantly over my time at Penn State and they are like family to me. They are an amazing family and we will always be close. 

Jason and Adam

So what happens between now and when you head to Florida for the combine?

Lots of training and working out. I have been keeping my fitness up from the season and continuously working on getting better everyday so I can have my best showing at the combine.  

Have you paid attention to the development of the Philadelphia Union franchise? Initial thoughts?

Yes, I have.  I am from Allentown and I always wanted to have an MLS team nearby in Philadelphia. I think the fan support of soccer in Philadelphia is incredible and it will be one of the best atmospheres to play in.  

Quickfire:

Best player in the world at your position?

Ruud van Nistelrooy, he might be coming off of injury now but he’ll be back

Favorite club team?

Tottenham Spurs

Next Penn State soccer star?

Corey Hertzog [leading scorer this year for PSU, 11 goals as a sophomore]

Favorite thing about Philadelphia that doesn’t rhyme with ‘squeezemakes’? 

What is better than a Philly cheesesteak? 

Favorite PSU memory?

Winning the Big Ten my freshman year.

World Cup favorites? And where do you think the USMNT will end up?

I have faith in the USMNT, they can go get the job done like they showed against Spain in the Confederations Cup.

There’s a good chance Jason will be providing us with his Combine experiences sometime in January. We’ll check in with him soon. Thanks for the time and enjoy the Holidays!

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Should the Red Stars kiss Cristiane good-bye?

Posted on 20 December 2009 by mwkajdas

Cristiane © David Durochik – Chicago Red Stars

It has now been 12 weeks since the free-agency deadline for WPS kicked in and its collective general managers booted half their players to the curb. Included among them was Chicago Red Stars forward Cristiane, one of this year’s finalists for the FIFA Women’s World Player of the Year Award. And while the Red Stars and Cristiane both profess a burning desire to be reunited for the 2010 season, it appears evident that Cristiane’s agent has yet to receive the memo.

Read the story at ASN’s WPS site.

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Should the Red Stars kiss Cristiane good-bye?

Posted on 20 December 2009 by mwkajdas

It has now been 12 weeks since the free-agency deadline for WPS kicked in and its collective general managers booted half their players to the curb. Included among them was Chicago Red Stars forward Cristiane, one of this year’s finalists for the FIFA Women’s World Player of the Year Award. And while the Red Stars and Cristiane both profess a burning desire to be reunited for the 2010 season, it appears evident that Cristiane’s agent has yet to receive the memo.

Cristiane © David Durochik – Chicago Red Stars

Of course, financial negotiations can take quite some time, especially when multiple teams are involved in the bidding process, both here and abroad. But when Peter Wilt, then Red Stars CEO, sat down to discuss a contract extension with Caroline Jönsson on Sept. 18, she understood the financial pressures on the new league and purportedly proclaimed the interests of the team foremost when she agreed to new terms. When some players say they want to play for you, it’s easy to believe them.

Now with less than a month to go until the WPS draft and the Red Stars still waiting for Cristiane to put pen to paper—on either their contract or someone else’s—has the time come to write her off as just a passing summer romance?

The Red Stars have not exactly been idly pining away all this time either. They made two major international signings: English midfielder Katie Chapman, late of Arsenal Ladies FC, and Swedish forward Kosovare Asllani from Swedish club Linköpings FC. The acquisition of Chapman should clear up that bottleneck the Red Stars experienced at central midfield last season. With Chapman and Klein now sitting at the helm, balls should finally find their way up to the Red Stars’ front attackers. And adding Asllani to the mix with Tarpley and Masar, we should see more of those balls finding the back of the net.

The Red Stars still need to add one more striker to complete their fearsome foursome and there is still one more international slot available on their roster should Cristiane decide she really wants it. But there are also three top-rated forwards coming out in the WPS draft next month: Stanford’s Kelly O’Hara, UCLA’s Lauren Cheney, and UNC’s Casey Nogueira. With Tobin Heath a sure bet to go to Atlanta with the first pick, one of those three will certainly be available for the Red Stars’ fourth pick. A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush and the Red Stars need to get their hands on somebody soon.

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Twenty Questions with Dax McCarty

Posted on 19 December 2009 by pwoodruff

Dax 'The Red Arrow' McCarty ©ASN/Julia Harper

In the second annual installment of an interview with three FC Dallas players, I (with the help of my two kids) came up with 20 questions not really related to soccer to get to know them a little better. It seems to be fun for them and is certainly a blast for me. This version was done back on July 3 year but I decided to wait until the off season started for FCD to keep the north Texas boys in the news a little longer. I picked three of more popular ones at the time in Dax McCarty, Dave van den Bergh and Drew Moor. The Moor interview was posted last month. Here is the second installment, with Dax McCarty:

1. What is must see tv for you?
“CSI, Around the Horn and Entourage”.

2. Your favorite non-sports video game?
“Mario Kart for Nintendo 64”.

3. A chick flick you hate to admit you actually like?
“How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days”.

4. Hollywood makes a movie about you, who stars as you?
“Conan O’Brien”.

5. Hollywood picks you to star in a romantic comedy, who do you pick as your leading lady?
“Kate Hudson”.

6. Dogs or cats and why?
“Dogs, ‘cause they are a lot more fun loving in my opinion”.

7. What’s you hidden talent?
“I’m a pretty good ping pong player”.

8. You get a free dinner and 4 guests anywhere you want, where do you pick and who do you pick?
“I’ll pick Mi Cocina and Michael Jordan, Steven Gerrard and Will Ferrell”.
Note: he named only 3 as he said Steven Gerrard twice accidently.

9. You have to get a real job, in the real world and can not be sports related, what kind of job is it?
“News anchorman”.

10. One question you’ve never been asked but always wanted to be asked and what is the answer?
“Your favorite beach leisure activity and I’d say body surfing. I like that over all the other ones”.

11. Of the following four magazines, which one are you most likely to be on the cover of, GQ, Men’s Health, Time or The National Enquirer?
“GQ, definitely”.

12. If you could pick any soccer team overseas to play for, who would it be?
“Manchester United”.

13. If you were a pro wrestler what would your name be?
“The Red Arrow”.

14. An ex-teammate at any level you miss the most?
“One of my buddies Adam Sloustcher, he played with me at North Carolina”.

15. The weirdest autograph request you’ve ever had?
“Forehead”.

16. 20 years from now you would make a better ref, coach or general manager?
“Coach definitely, not a ref that’s for sure”.

17. Before a big game you have to choose one of the following, a Mohawk or dye your hair pink?
“Mohawk hands down. I’ve done the Mohawk before”.

18. Your favorite non-soccer team of all-time?
“Orlando Magic”.

19. When did you know you were going to be a pro athlete?
“When I was probably 15 or 16”.

20. Five minutes before the game, an alien spaceship kidnaps all the keepers, coach makes you the keeper, how good do you do? “I get a shutout”.

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Chicago Fire search does extend past Soehn, Marsch

Posted on 18 December 2009 by jtobin

It has been nearly a month since the Chicago Fire parted ways with Denis Hamlett, but the Fire are in no rush to fill his vacancy until they find the right candidate.

Tom Soehn is just one of the names under consideration

Those with knowledge of the Fire’s search for the new head coach confirmed today that the team is not down to only two candidates which were previously reported by Soccer America as former Fire players Tom Soehn and Jesse Marsch. Although specific names were not disclosed, candidates within and outside of Major League Soccer are being considered.

Full article at ASN’s Chicago Fire page
.

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Landon Donovan re-ups with Galaxy

Posted on 17 December 2009 by ASN Staff

Donovan will remain in Galaxy colors

Major League Soccer and the LA Galaxy will retain Landon Donovan‘s rights for four more years. The club and player announced the deal at a press conference in Los Angeles Wednesday, Dec. 16. Terms of the contract were per usual not disclosed, but Sports Illustrated writer Grant Wahl reported on Twitterthat Donovan would receive a base salary of $2.05 million.

The deal does not mean Donovan will stay with the Galaxy for the remainder of his contract, of course. Terms permit him to join other clubs on loan spells during MLS’ off season and the league could still decide to sell his rights outright. But MLS is said to demand $10 million for Donovan, a sum few teams will be willing to entertain for a player who has not proven he can play in Europe. Then again, maybe one of these loan deals–the first of which, to Everton, is said to be all but agreed upon–will change that perception. Or perhaps the World Cup will.

Either way, there is a lot here to discuss. For starters, is this the best move for Donovan as a player? Will playing in MLS prevent him from honing the skills necessary to compete at the highest level? Vote in the poll and defend your choice in the comment field below it. Other discussion topics (and polls) will follow.

[polldaddy poll=2398329]

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