It's been a little while since I've posted The Daily Links. Part of that was due to the fact that I've been beyond busy as of late. The other part of it was that I'm just not sure what to think of The Daily Links.
In all honesty, I'm still shaping this blog, and The Daily Links is one section in which I'm not sure if I will continue doing or not. But then again, I might just be a tad bit burnt out on them because it's the off season, and for the majority of the past couple of months, things have been relatively quiet. Well, that was until the past couple of days. We've seen Sporting go on quite a run of roster moves preparing for the 2012 season.
The latest move was the club signing former San Jose Earthquake Jacob Peterson. Some fans weren't too happy about the acquisition, but I think some people misunderstand what his role will most likely be with the team, which is merely that of a depth player. I know the signing isn't anywhere near the "big " acquisition some fans have been craving, but the signing of Peterson is the kind of move that can pay dividends if one of the starters misses an extended period of time in 2012. Keep telling yourself the following: "You can never have enough forwards in a 4-3-3 system."
On the topic of "big" acquisitions, does the Bobby Convey trade count? After all, the guy has made the past two MLS All-Star rosters, and he'll more than likely be replacing Omar Bravo on the left side. I actually think Convey will fair better in Kansas City's system than Bravo did. He might not score as many goals, but I think he'll make Sporting more dangerous.
So Beckham is staying in LA. I must say I'm a little bit surprised. I really thought Beckham had accomplished all that he could after the Galaxy won the MLS Cup in 2011, and the club might find the going just a bit harder in 2012 with the loss of Juninho (who returned back to Brazil), and Omar Gonzalez (who suffered an ACL injury and will be out for 6 to 8 months). Still, in all likelihood, I think LA made the most sense for Beckham, as it's one of the few places that he will be assured starter's minutes (From my understanding, PSG manager Carlo Ancelloti saw Beckham as more of a part-time player). The amount of minutes he plays are crucial to Beckham at this point if he wants to have a chance to make Britian's squad for the Olympic qualifiers.
I say good for Beckham, and good for Major League Soccer.
Over at The Oz Blog, Brian McBeth gives a recap of the NSCAA Convention that was held in Kansas City last week. Lots of interesting stuff over there. Make sure you check it out.
Finally, be sure you read Grant Wahl's latest piece for Sports Illustrated, where he takes an inside look on what it's like being an American soccer player playing in Mexico. There are some pretty crazy stories in his piece (just read the excerpt below that I attached to this post).
Sporting Kansas City announced Thursday that the club has signed 25-year-old forward Jacob Peterson. Per club policy, terms of the agreement will not be disclosed. "It's an exciting time here," Peterson said. "I want to increase the overall depth of the team. I think we're all going in the right direction and together we can achieve a lot this year." "Jacob is a player that we feel is going to fit in very well with our team right away," Sporting Kansas City Manager Peter Vermes said. "He’s a player that I’ve worked with, and we feel his experience from playing a number of seasons in the League will be valuable for us."
Bobby Convey is back in his old position, playing for a new team and perfectly fine with the idea of staying put in both spots until he hangs up his boots. "I don’t plan on moving again after this," Sporting Kansas City’s new left winger said Thursday during a news conference at Livestrong Sporting Park. "I plan on staying here until my career’s over." At 28 years old, Convey, a pro since his mid-teens and a veteran of two US World Cup teams, should be around for a while – at least long enough to deliver some damage from SKC's left side. "Looking at Bobby, he’s a great player that we can add on the left-hand side – on the attacking side, not the left back," Sporting KC manager Peter Vermes made clear. "I won’t say ‘never,’ but he’s an attacking player."
There is another, more subtle benefit as well. Beckham re-signing with the league marks a validation of sorts. The Englishman hasn't always treated MLS with the respect it deserved considering it forked out $32.5 million over five years for his services in 2007. Beckham's Ahab-like pursuit of England caps oftentimes wasn't in the best interests of his employer, and it nearly ended his career when a loan move to AC Milan, done for the express purpose of preparing Beckham for one last shot at World Cup glory, ended with him tearing his Achilles tendon. So when his contract expired late last year, Beckham was free to play anywhere, and it was presumed that his future wouldn't include MLS. Paris St. Germain batted its eyes at the midfielder to the tune of $12 million per year. Yet Beckham declined, and instead returned to the league and club that stood by him during some difficult moments. Now he has the chance to help the league grow further, while also burnishing his MLS reputation, one largely restored by his leading the Galaxy to last year's MLS Cup.
It was only the latest example that life as a U.S. player in Mexico isn't always the same as it is in, say, Western Europe or the United States. On Wednesday, Beasley, 29, revealed on Twitter that twice in the past week Mexican police had stopped his car and demanded bribes, threatening to confiscate his driver's license. (According to Beasley, he paid $225 and $45, respectively.) Then there's the issue of his own paycheck. "We haven't gotten paid for December," he tells SI.com. "We don't know when that's going to happen, don't know if it's going to happen."
This past weekend I was privileged enough to be able to go to the 2012 National Soccer Coaches Association of America convention which was held right in my neighborhood of the Kansas City area. I must admit that I went as a media member, but also had intentions of taking it in like a coach. I did just that and my only regret is that I didn't have enough time to go to even more classes and I was pretty busy the entire three days that I went. The reason why I also wanted to go as a media member was so that I could do a post much like what I am getting ready to do and that is review everything that I did check out while I was there to hopefully encourage other coaches to attend the convention each year because I know several coaches that would of really benefited from going to the convention, and more so then just for the exhibitions which I also really enjoyed and talked to several vendors about their great products. My goal is to some what break this down day by day, but hopefully not go too much into depth and make this blog post go too long.
Graham Zusi enjoyed a career year in 2011 with Sporting Kansas City, hammering home five goals and contributing nine assists en route to being named MLSSoccer.com's Breakout Player of the Year. And now, just two weeks into his 2012 campaign, Sporting's playmaker is already off to an equally impressive start. Called into his first training camp with the United States Men's National Team as one of only three players chosen to make their debut, the 25-year-old Zusi has wasted little time in making an impression on attacking-minded Manager Jurgen Klinsmann.