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Blue Notes: Sporting KC Trade, New Preseason Trialist, More FIFA Bribes

Plus, SKC II add another signing, Felipe Gutierrez is without a club and a funny Johnny Russell interview.

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Germany - Police raid German Football Association (DFB) headquarters in Frankfurt
Not related to this story, but a good bribery story can call back and old one. — “A sculpture commemorating 2006 World Cup, outside the German Football Association (DFB) headquarters, in Frankfurt, Germany, 03 November 2015, on the day Police raided the premises over allegations of tax evasion linked to the 2006 Fifa World Cup. The action is linked to reports that a secret 6.7 million euros fund was set up to secure votes for Germany to host the 2006 World Cup. Prosecutors are probing DFB’s president, Wolfgang Niersbach, as well as its leader in 2006, Theo Zwanziger.”
Photo by Horacio Villalobos/Corbis via Getty Images

Another day, another handful of moves around Kansas City soccer. Let’s get to it!

SKC Make a Trade

Sporting Kansas City apparently wanted to assure us their international roster spots are more than fine in a “peak MLS” style trade. Sporting KC have sent a 2023 international spot to the Columbus Crew in exchange for $190,000 in General Allocation Money (GAM). If you are unfamiliar with GAM, the five-second version is it’s money that can be used to buy down salary budget charges of players since teams only get $5,210,000 to allocate after all GAM/TAM credits in 2023.

This trade backs up what Peter Vermes told The Blue Testament last week when he said, “we’ll have quite a few guys that’ll have green cards.”

This move leaves the team with seven international spots while they currently show nine players on their roster that require the use of a slot (Andreu Fontas, Gadi Kinda, Logan Ndenbe, Robert Voloder, Marinos Tzionis, Willy Agada, Erik Thommy, Nemanja Radoja and Tim Leibold).

I would suspect we’ll hear about a handful of green cards at or around roster compliance date, just before the season starts on February 25th. If the team is making a trade, I suspect they have quite a surplus going because it’s not uncommon to save one last spot in case moves are needed or to swing another trade when other teams are out of slots.

New Sporting KC Trialist

Snuck into a preseason roster update from Sporting KC was that a new trialists has joined the team (and that one Academy keeper — Carlito Saylon — went home and was replaced by another — Jacob Molinaro).

The new player on trial is forward Shaun Joash. He formerly played for Grand Canyon University and before that Furman University. He actually went to high school and is from Hampton Hill, England. GCU’s website just shows through his junior year, where he led the team in scoring with nine goals and added four assists. He was WAC all first team in that season.

The 22-year-old was eligible for the MLS SuperDraft but didn’t get selected. I suspect this is more of a trial for SKC II than the first team. Also, with Pulido not yet in practice, the news Shelton is dealing with something minor and that Stephen Afrifa went back to college, there just aren’t a lot of CFs on the roster. It seems it’s just Willy Agada and Ozzie Cisneros (if he still plays there, and he looked like he did Saturday).

Another Trialist Signs with Sporting KC II

Speaking of trialists landing on the second team, a trialist we had told you about previously, just signed with SKC II. Nassim Mekideche inked a second team contract on Monday. The team added a little bio to him that goes slightly beyond what we told you previously.

SKC II preseason starts in February with second-year coach Benny Feilhaber.

Apologies to Nassim for mispronouncing his last name on my podcast (For the Glory KC), I’ll work on it. Here is the pronunciation guide per the team: nah-SEEM MEH-kee-desh.

More FIFA Bribes

The NY Times are reporting that a FOX official bribed a FIFA official for inside information to help them win the bid for the World Cup. It was supposed to be a blind bid and other networks, like ESPN, didn’t have access to the info that FOX bribed out of FIFA.

The article is behind the paywall at the Times, so I’m relying on others who cited that article for any information. But I’m not the least bit surprised that corruption is around FIFA again.

Felipe Gutierrez Released

Former SKC midfielder Felipe Gutierrez had his contract terminated and is available on a free transfer. For the right price, he’d make a great defensive midfielder with that deep-lying playmaker role. That said, this roster feels pretty set in the midfield. Also, with his injury history, who knows what he brings anymore. I will admit I didn’t watch him for the Colorado Rapids last year at all.

I still find it interesting when we say Felipe, most of us just assume Felipe Hernandez but it wasn’t that long ago we all thought Gutierrez.

Johnny Russell Interview

Sometimes Shades of Blue contributor and full-time streaming personality, Kevin Lopez, snagged an interview with Johnny Russell. I will profess I don’t understand watching other people watch soccer (or play video games, etc.) but Kevin does a fun interview here with Johnny. I’m looking forward to more of this content.

Lots of good quotes in here from Johnny, but this one stood out to me.

I want to stay here [in Kansas City] as long as I can. I know that there’s going to come a point where I can’t do the same things. I’ll know myself that it’s time for me. When my body can’t keep up with my mind, the things I want it to do, then I know that (trails off...) I don’t want to be one of those guys just hanging on. People start looking at you like ‘bro, you should have went...’ I still feel good right now. I know I don’t have the craziest amount of time left, but I still feel like I’ve got a lot of life left in me yet.”

It doesn’t sound like Johnny is going anywhere, anytime soon (he’s signed through 2023 with a team option for 2024). He also spoke with former The Blue Testament contributor Aly Trost Martin on her Soccer Talks podcast and they addressed his longevity as well.

Back to Kevin, they have a funny conversation about their joint Scottish heritage, Lionel Messi and Argentina, video game playing (Johnny throwing shade at Jake Davis) and much more. Check it out!

Quick Notes

  • Tim Melia got inducted into the Suffolk Sports Hall of Fame. Congrats Timmy!
  • Fantasy SKC CB target (that was likely never a reality), Alexander Callens, moved to La Liga side Girona. They are another City Football Group club and currently have Taty Castellanos as well. New York City FC have to take a step back this year, right?
  • Here is just the smallest glimpse of the USWNT jersey for 2023 Women’s World Cup. I guess it’s better than plain white with that weird collar. The bar is quite low.
  • There was a big trade in the NWSL as Racing Louisville dealt USWNT left back Emily Fox to the North Carolina Courage in exchange for Carson Pickett and Abby Erceg. Two starters for one. The Courage are going to be an entirely different team it feels like.
  • This is less of a “Blue Note” and more of a “Blue Testament Note.” Sounder at Heart, our frenemies who cover the Seattle Sounders for SB Nation, confirmed they are one of two MLS sites (Atlanta United’s Dirty South Soccer being the other) that survived the massive cuts from Vox last week, in terms of still being “supported.”
  • Speaking of Vox, they are apparently raising $200 million as they consider selling off assets. My sweet $50/month stipend must have been breaking their backs.
  • One last Vox item, our sister site Dynamo Theory are moving over to Bayou City Soccer. I can’t imagine there are a ton of Houston Dynamo fans coming here, but let’s all support independent MLS coverage as much as we can.