By RYAN TOLMICH
In the wake of the federation’s latest scandal, FIFA president Sepp Blatter is looking for the organization to better police itself, with Blatter personally leading the charge.
In his first public comments since Wednesday morning’s arrest of numerous FIFA officials, Blatter told FIFA’s annual congress that the organization must repair its reputation.
“I know a lot of people hold me responsible for the actions and reputations of the global football community,” Blatter said, “whether it is the decision of hosting a World Cup or a corruption scandal.”
“We, or I, cannot monitor everyone all of the time. If people want to do wrong, they will also try to hide it. But it must also fall to me to be responsible for the reputation of our entire organization, and to find a way to fix things.
“I will not allow the actions of a few to damage the reputation of FIFA.” Continue reading
By FRANCO PANIZO
Tab Ramos has touted the current U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team as the most experienced and talented one that he has ever coached, but now the Americans will have to live up to the hype and deliver in order to prove they are deserving of such superlatives.
The U.S. Under-20s will begin their much-anticipated World Cup qualifying campaign on Saturday morning (12:01 am ET, Fox Sports 1) with a match against relatively unknown Myanmar. The Americans enter the showdown at Northland Events Center as the favorites, but that’s a role they are expected to carry throughout the opening rounds of the competition after also being paired with New Zealand and Ukraine in a favorable Group A.
Apart from having landed a kinder draw, this group of U.S. U-20s is also much more seasoned than the one that went three and out in Turkey two years ago. Players like captain Emerson Hyndman (Fulham), Rubio Rubin (FC Utrecht) and Kellyn Acosta (FC Dallas) have begun to break through at the club level, making for increased expectations and pressure in this World Cup.
The Americans are aware of that, and of the fact that failing to get out of the group will be deemed as a huge failure. Still, the U.S. is not thinking that far ahead. The sole focus right now is on starting the tournament with a win.
“Our goal right now is to beat Myanmar the first game, so if we can get the three points the first game then the next challenge will come along,” Ramos said earlier this month. “One of the things that the team knows – and it’s no secret because I think every team in the world will tell you – that the team that we have can beat any team in any one given day.
By RYAN TOLMICH
For the first time ever, players such as Abby Wambach, Alex Morgan and Sydney Leroux will be in the game.
EA Sports announced Thursday that the U.S. Women’s National Team will be among 12 women’s national teams included in the upcoming FIFA 16 video game. The USWNT will be joined by Germany, France, Sweden, England, Brazil, Canada, Australia, Spain, China, Italy and Mexico as playable teams, marking the first time that gamers will be able to use women’s teams in the popular FIFA series.
Each team will be playable in both online and offline gameplay, but will only be playable against other women’s teams.
The announcement comes just over a week before the kick off of the Women’s World Cup, which is set to run from June 6 to July 5.
Have a look at a trailer for the new feature below:
By IVES GALARCEP
The game of soccer has made major headlines for the wrong reasons this week, with federal corruption charges snagging FIFA officials and threatening to lead to a long-awaited cleaning house in the sport’s governing body.
Episode 208 of The SBI Show takes a look at the FIFA scandal, and what it could mean going forward. We talk about the impact on CONCACAF, and whether Sepp Blatter is really ready to face justice.
Co-host Garrett Cleverly and I also discuss the U.S. Open Cup, which saw USL teams sweep NASL teams in all seven match-ups on Wednesday night.
Give Episode 208 of The SBI Show a listen after the jump:
photo by Jeff Curry/USA Today Sports
By FRANCO PANIZO
NEW YORK — Alex Morgan is still battling a knee injury, but the star U.S. Women’s National Team forward insists she will be ready for the start of the World Cup.
Morgan has been recovering from a bone bruise in her left knee in recent weeks, and missed both of the U.S.’s wins against the Republic of Ireland and Mexico earlier this month because of the injury. Her status for Saturday’s send-off series finale vs. Korea Republic is unclear, but Morgan believes she will be fully healthy and ready to go when the Americans open up their World Cup campaign against Australia in about a week-and-a-half.
“I’ve been doing a lot better and I’m still day-to-day,” said Morgan. “Once June 8 comes, there’s no question in my mind that my knee will not be bothering me. I’m going to be 100 percent and I’m looking forward to the World Cup and knowing that won’t set me back at all.”
By DAN KARELL
Sepp Blatter and FIFA are feeling the heat, a little more than 24 hours after the U.S. Department of Justice and their Switzerland counterparts raided FIFA’s personnel and offices.
Blatter held an emergency meeting with the leaders of all six FIFA confederations, a FIFA spokesperson confirmed, while reports are growing that Blatter has rejected calls for him to stand down or even move Friday’s FIFA presidential election.
“There was a meeting today with the president [Blatter] with the representatives from the confederations to discuss the current situation,” FIFA spokeswoman Delia Fischer told reporters.
In the early hours of Wednesday morning, Swiss police officers arrested seven individuals in cooperation with the U.S. DoJ, and at the same time, police officers raided the offices of FIFA for information surrounding the 2018/2022 World Cup bidding process.
Since then, UEFA has called for a postponement of the presidential election, but FIFA has reiterated its desire to hold the election as scheduled, as well as to hold the 2018 World Cup in Russia and 2022 World Cup in Qatar.
Here are some more stories to start your Thursday:
By MATT STYPULKOSKI
After the conclusion of the U.S. Open Cup’s third round on Wednesday, the competition heats up as MLS teams enter the fold.
The fourth round, scheduled for June 16 and 17, includes a slew of MLS vs. USL matchups, with NASL teams New York Cosmos and Atlanta Silverbacks also thrown into the mix.
PSA Elite, a squad from the USASA, is the only non-professional team still standing in the competition. As a reward, the Irvine, Calif.-based club has earned a trip to the StubHub Center and a date with the Los Angeles Galaxy.
There is also one all-MLS matchup in the fourth round, as Cascadia rivals Seattle Sounders and Portland Timbers square off in Tukwila, Wash.
Here is a complete list of the U.S. Open Cup’s fourth round matchups (after the jump): Continue reading
By CAITLIN MURRAY
PORTLAND, Ore. — After a seven-week long wait, Portland Timbers fans were reminded what it feels like to win at home.
An early goal from Maximiliano Urruti lifted the Timbers past D.C. United, 1-0, at Providence Park on Wednesday to end a two-game losing run and give the Timbers their first home win since April 4.
“You can lose energy when you’re not getting results, and when you do that, you’re dead in the water,” Timbers coach Caleb Porter said. “That’s not going to happen here. You’ll always see a good response out of these guys and our goal was to come in aggressive.”
In the fifth minute, Gaston Fernandez sent a skidding cross into the box for Urruti, who ran onto it for the one-time tap in. It was the first time this season the Timbers have scored an early goal and continues their streak of not losing when leading at the half.