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Wednesday kickoff: Luis Figo running for FIFA president; Cristiano Ronaldo gets two-game suspension; and more

Portuguese legend Luis Figo announced his candidacy for FIFA president, while current Portuguese star Cristiano Ronaldo has earned a two game suspension.

Dempsey Jones USMNT (USA TODAY Sports)

USMNT set for tough test in 2015 opener vs. Chile

The U.S. Men’s National Team opens a busy 2015 with trip to South America to take on Chile on Wednesday evening in a match that could see the U.S. sporting a new tactical look.

Jurgen Klinsmann USA 10082014

The SBI Show: Episode 189 (Previewing USMNT-Chile, talking MLS deals, and more)

Episode 189 of The SBI Show previews the U.S. Men’s National Team’s 2015 opener vs. Chile, breaks down the big Red Bulls-Impact trade, and more.

Wednesday kickoff: Luis Figo running for FIFA president; Cristiano Ronaldo gets two-game suspension; and more

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By RYAN TOLMICH

A new candidate has entered the race to challenge Sepp Blatter for the role of FIFA president and it is none other than the legendary Luis Figo.

Figo announced his intentions Wednesday, as the former Real Madrid and Barcelona star is hoping to change an organization that he believes is overshadowed by constant scandal.

“I care about football, so what I’m seeing regarding the image of FIFA — not only now but in the past years — I don’t like it,” Figo said. “If you search FIFA on the internet you see the first word that comes out: scandal — not positive words. It’s that we have to change first and try to improve the image of FIFA. Football deserves much better than this.

“I’ve been talking with so many important people in football — players, managers, president of federations — and they all think that something has to be done. Last year was the World Cup, I was in Brazil and I saw the reaction of all the fans regarding the image of FIFA and I think something has to be changed. Change in leadership, governance, transparency and solidarity, so I think it’s the moment for that.”

Figo, who says he has secured the support of the five member nations required to run, will be joined in the race by former player David Ginola, independent candidate Jerome Champagne, Asian Football Confederation vice-president Prince Ali and Dutch FA head Michael van Praag.

Here are some more news and notes to kickoff your Wednesday morning: Continue reading »

Posted in European Soccer, Featured, FIFA | Leave a comment

Tuesday Evening Ticker: Chelsea reaches League Cup final; Ghana advances from AFCON group; and more

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By ADAM TROXTELL

Chelsea’s goal of winning four trophies this season may have died, but the dream of three remains alive.

The Blues beat Liverpool, 1-0, in extra time of their League Cup semifinal second leg to book a spot in the final. In a back-and-forth game, Branislav Ivanovic headed in the winning goal in the 94th minute for a 2-1 Chelsea victory on aggregate.

Thibault Courtois was called into action a few times in the first half as Liverpool searched for an immediate advantage. Two saves in the space of four minutes from both short and long range kept the heated encounter dead even.

Chelsea looked to have had an opportunity to score in the 22nd minute when it appeared Diego Costa was brought down by Martin Skrtel in the box. Much to the home fans’ surprise, the referee gave a foul the other way and Costa was cautioned for diving.

All was forgotten just four minutes into the extra period when Willian’s curling free kick was headed in powerfully by Ivanovic. It also served as at least a partial remedy to being knocked out of the FA Cup by Bradford on Saturday.

Here is some more news from Tuesday:

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Posted in European Soccer | 4 Comments

Red Bulls Notes: No Tim Cahill move yet; Matt Miazga injury not serious; and more

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By FRANCO PANIZO

There have been plenty of rumors swirling about Tim Cahill’s future as a New York Red Bull, including a recent report suggesting a deal to move Cahill was already in place. Red Bulls head coach Jesse Marsch made it clear on Tuesday Cahill’s future with the team has yet to be resolved.

Cahill has been rumored in recent days to be nearing the completion of a move to United Arab Emirates club Al Wahda FC, but Marsch said via a conference call on Tuesday that is not the case.

“It really hasn’t changed much in the last two weeks,” Marsch said of Cahill’s status with the Red Bulls. “There’s been some dialogue in terms of potentially what the future could look like, but I don’t think there has been a concrete agreement as to what the future will hold. There’s been some good dialogue, Tim’s been nothing but professional, so I think everybody is open-minded and pursuing the best-case scenario for both parts.”

The 35-year-old midfielder is currently representing Australia at the Asian Cup, and has helped lead the Socceroos to the tournament final. A decision on the Designated Player’s future is expected after the tournament, but the Red Bulls could use a resolution as soon as possible in order to better prepare for the upcoming MLS campaign.

“It’s not just the finances. It’s the position and the player and everything,” said Marsch. “If this is the right place for him and he’s committed to be here, then certainly having him here in a way that makes us better would be important. If in the end the relationship doesn’t work out, then we use the ability and flexibility within our roster to go out and bring out what’s next.

“We’re handcuffed just a little bit, but, again, we’ll see what happens and then we’ll move forward.”

Here are some more Red Bulls notes from Tuesday:

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Posted in MLS- New York Red Bulls | 9 Comments

Joe Gallardo, Josh Perez headline U.S. Under-17 spring residency roster

USMNT U-17 Starting eleven

Photo by ISIPhotos.com

By RYAN TOLMICH

U.S. Under-17 Men’s National Team head coach Richie Williams is looking at a familiar roster as the team heads into the spring.

Williams has called in a roster of 28 players, 24 being carryovers from the fall semester. The U-17 Men’s National Team will enter the 2015 CONCACAF U-17 Championship, which is set for late February, in hopes of qualifying for the 2015 FIFA U-17 World Cup.

“This is an important semester for us and an important year for this cycle,” Williams said. “With World Cup qualifying at the beginning of March, it will be important for us to continue training well and performing well.

“We also need to find a balance with this group and some of the players who are not with us on a regular basis to form a 20-man roster that will head to qualifying to compete and get results.”

The four new faces to the group are defender Matthew Constant, midfielder Giuseppe Barone and forwards Elvir Ibisevic and Josh Perez. Of the 28 players, 25 are currently registered with development academy clubs.

Here is the full U.S. Under-17 residency camp roster: Continue reading »

Posted in U.S. Under-17 National Team, Under-17 World Cup | 3 Comments

Javier Perez names U.S. U-18 squad for tournament in Guadalajara

USSoccerCentennialLogo1 (USSoccer)

By ADAM TROXTELL

Shortly after the U.S. U-20 Men’s National Team qualified for the World Cup, the next crop of young stars are lining up.

U.S. Soccer announced a 20-player U.S. Under-18 Men’s National Team squad for the Copa Chivas Internacional that begins Friday. The team opens their group stage schedule against Morelia on Jan. 30, before playing Cruzeiro the following day and Club Tijuana on Feb. 2.

Included in the squad are regular recent call-ups such as Jonathan Klinsmann, Chicago Fire academy’s Mauricio Pineda, Seattle Sounders Homegrown signing Victor Mansaray, and LA Galaxy academy defender Malcolm Jones. In all, ten players come from MLS academies.

The 19th edition of the Copa Chivas Internacional, which takes place in Guadalajara, Mexico, starts with three groups of five teams, and quarterfinals, semifinals, and the final will take place Feb. 5-7. The Mexico U-17 Men’s National Team and FC Dallas Development Academy will also play in the tournament.

Here’s a closer look at the U.S. Under-18 Men’s National Team roster:

Continue reading »

Posted in U.S. Soccer, U.S. Under-18 National Team, U.S. Youth National Teams | 2 Comments

Quest for top allocation spot helps Red Bulls land Felipe

Felipe Montreal Impact 2

Photo by Eric Bolte/USA Today Sports

By FRANCO PANIZO

When the New York Red Bulls reached out to the Montreal Impact a couple of weeks ago to begin trade negotiations, they did not do so with the intention of landing Felipe.

They wanted a different asset instead, but still wound up acquiring the Brazilian playmaker as part of bigger deal that they believe helps set them up for short and long-term success.

Felipe became the newest member of the Red Bulls on Tuesday after they traded Eric Alexander, Ambroise Oyongo, allocation money and an international roster slot for the 2015 season to the Impact. New York received in return what they had wanted all along, the top spot in the allocation order, but also a young attacking midfielder capable of filling in at a number of positions.

“We think that Felipe adds to our group from a soccer perspective and he can play anywhere in the midfield,” Red Bulls head coach Jesse Marsch told reporters via a conference call on Tuesday. “He’s obviously good in the No. 10 spot, but I think he’s good at certain deeper positions as well, and the intangibles that Felipe brings, he’s one of the strongest competitors that I’ve ever been around.”

Continue reading »

Posted in MLS- New York Red Bulls | 9 Comments