Amidst the frenzy that has been Sporting KC’s off-season, it is easy to overlook the acquisition of Paulo Nagamura. He’s 28, coming off an injury, and isn’t on track to crack the starting XI anytime soon. Besides, it’s so much more fun to talk about potential jersey sponsors and the forthcoming “mystery” designated player. But one thing we want to do with this blog is to enrich the Sporting KC fan experience. Part of that experience is loving the players for the cartoon characters they are. So where does Nagamura fit?
So the offseason has calmed down just a little bit, and while there will be the occasional rumor that pops up, there is unlikely to be a ton of movement until the draft in January and preseason beginning. Until then and with less than 100 days until the home opener on March 17th, what can you do? Well here's a list of some things that I've put together that you could look to do during the rest of the MLS offseason.
But enough about me, as they say, and on to an introduction of who will take over The Star’s Missouri coverage. That will be Terez Paylor, a 27-year-old member of The Star’s sports staff who currently has a toe in a lot of coverage camps: Sporting KC, our city’s pro soccer team; the Royals; and high schools.
Sporting Kansas City will hold open tryouts for players 18 years of age and older in early-to-mid-June 2012 (not in March as in past years). The tryouts will be on a Saturday and Sunday with cuts made after the first day. No one is guaranteed a spot at the second day of tryouts. The tryouts will be held at the Sporting Club Training Center in Swope Park and are open to the first 300 registrants. Finalists will be given the chance to train with the Sporting KC first team.
Sporting Kansas City concluded their three-match schedule of the US Soccer Development Academy Winter Showcase on Tuesday. Like Saturday and Sunday, both sides faced the same opposition. Tuesday brought another opponent from the eastern seaboard, Oakwood SC of Connecticut.
It was a moment that even moved the usually stoic Thierry Henry to tears. English side Arsenal FC unveiled bronze statues for three club legends outside the club’s home at Emirates Stadium in London on Friday, including one of the New York Red Bulls forward, who scored a club-record 226 career goals for the Gunners. "I never thought in my wildest dreams that I would have a statue like this in front of the stadium of the team I love and support,” he told reporters. The statue immortalizes Henry’s now famous celebration after a dramatic goal against London rivals Tottenham Hotspur in November 2002.
Yesterday in the Friday Free Kicks, I essentially lambasted Brad Friedel for his comments regarding Landon Donovan. Along with other journalists, I was under the impression that Brad Friedel was stating that Donovan took the easy road and my quarrel with this was large. Apparently though, he was misquoted and I misunderstood. That's a good thing. According to MLSSoccer.com, Friedel reached out to them after hearing the way his comments were misinterpreted. Friedel states: "Not even in a million years would I disparage an American player."
Earlier this week, MLS held the Re-Entry Stage 1 Draft. On that day, only three players were selected. On Friday, the league announced the players who will be available for selection in the Stage 2 Draft, which will take place at 2 pm ET, on Monday, December 19. Most observers expect a little more action in the Stage 2 Draft, and you can follow along live with MLSsoccer.com's draft tracker.
If you haven’t read George Vecsey’s tribute to Socrates, the elegant, bright-minded Brazilian who taught Vecsey to love the game, it’s worth a few minutes. It’s an eloquent testimonial to one of soccer’s giant figures. (Socrates died earlier this week.) And just today, I read about Creighton’s soccer program. I knew a little bit about coach Elmar Bolowich and the unorthodox career move that took him to Omaha, Nebraska: he traded the post at perennial power North Carolina to be a bigger fish in a smaller athletic pond at Creighton.
The road will be long and difficult but the Montreal are putting all the chances on their side by going for experience with a mix of youth to compete as fast as possible without forgetting to develop the soccer in the city of Montreal and in the province of Quebec. I cannot stress enough the importance of developing a soccer project in a soccer city like Montreal. A big challenge of Montreal will be to sell a north-american version of soccer with fans that have a strong European/African/South American influence but the fans will be at the rendez-vous for a historical MLS season.