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The Daily Links- December 21, 2011 Edition

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Anyone who says they saw Graham Zusi’s breakout season coming in 2011 is either a liar or their last name is almost certainly Zusi or Vermes. Not that Zusi’s previous MLS anonymity matters much now. Sporting Kansas City’s dynamic, box-to-box midfielder with a Sampson-like mane of curly hair and blistering shot from distance simply played his way into the collective consciousness of MLS fans, players and pundits in 2011.

Best of 2011: Zusi the Breakout Player of the Year | MLSsoccer.com

With the expanded schedule to 34 games for the first time, CJ Sapong takes the top spot on the list appearing in every league game this year. The rest of the top 10 are mainly made up of guys who appeared in every game in their respective season. Except for Matt Besler and Graham Zusi who missed 2 games this past year leaving them with 32.

Down the Byline: Single Season Appearances and Starts

When the 2012 MLS Draft kicks off in Kansas City next month, the first two players chosen won’t be much of a mystery - not after MLS succeeded in signing the two most highly-coveted players in the draft pool. Duke University standout Andrew Wenger and star Akron striker Darren Mattocks have signed Generation adidas contracts, multiple sources told FOX Soccer on Monday.

Mattocks, Wenger to sign with Major League Soccer - MLS News | FOX Sports on MSN

The Los Angeles Galaxy appear to be on the verge of losing one of the key pieces to their championship squad. According to multiple reports out of Brazil, midfielder Juninho is signing a three-year contract with Sao Paulo and rejoining the club after two seasons on loan with the Galaxy. For the Galaxy to have retained Juninho, they would have had to pay a transfer fee to Sao Paulo. "Juninho has an offer. He knows where we stand," Galaxy coach Bruce Arena told reporters last week. "[Sao Paulo] knows that, his agent knows that. They just have to make a decision as to what they want to do."

Soccer By Ives: Report: Juninho going back to Sao Paulo

It's really about motivating young talent to burrow further into the game, about investing more of themselves by accessing a deeper level of commitment. It's about challenging their training conventions and breaking free from their individual comfort zones. It's about wading waist-deep rather than just ankle-deep into all the little tributaries that feed the game's main reservoir, such as nutrition or daily mental preparation. It's about gaining a broader appreciation of soccer as life, which the coach sees as essential to any young talent's professional pilgrimage.

Jurgen Klinsmann encourages players to push their limits abroad - Steve Davis - SI.com

Reports out of Paris today–that’s Le Parisien’s (a Paris daily) on the left–that David Beckham will–at long last–make his way to Paris Saint-Germain for the tidy fee of $18.7M over 18-months. Ligue1 will represent the fourth league that Beckham will attempt to win a championship in (The Premiership, La Liga, MLS); his legacy of a nomadic footballer championship-seeking footballer will be cemented with a win in Paris.

Report: David Beckham Gonzo, Headed To PSG For Hefty Price Tag « The Shin Guardian

During his two years at Akron, Mattocks scored an impressive 39 goals in 47 games. Starting all but one game his college career, his two-year total eclipses the production of current MLS players Steve Zakuani (26),Teal Bunbury (23) and Darlington Nagbe (19) when they were at Akron.

Generation adidas: 5 things to know about Darren Mattocks | MLSsoccer.com

There’s a lot of talent on this team,” said Sporting Kansas City striker Teal Bunbury, who also played for Porter at Akron. “Everyone’s looking sharp. You can tell a lot of these guys are very talented and it’s going to be tough decisions for the coaches as to who’s going to be in the final group.”

Galarcep: Porter gets first chance to instill new approach - News | FOX Sports on MSN