By RYAN TOLMICH
FIFA president Sepp Blatter wanted someone to step up and challenge him in the upcoming presidential elections and Michael van Praag has answered the call.
Van Praag announced Monday that he has the support of five national federations, a requirement for running for FIFA president. The Dutchman is the current president of Netherlands football federation (KNVB) and was highly critical of Blatter during last year’s World Cup.
“I’m very worried about the deteriorating situation at FIFA. The public opinion, the trustworthiness, is very bad, and with me a lot of people in the world believe so,” Van Praag said, who added that Blatter was “ultimately responsible” for FIFA’s poor image. “I was hoping a credible new fresh face would stand up to do it, but unfortunately that is not the case, so that is why I decided to take my own responsibility, especially after what I said in Sao Paulo, and therefore I’ll go for it.”
Here are some more of Monday evening’s news and notes: Continue reading
Photo by Denny Medley/USA Today Sports
By RYAN TOLMICH
Tim Cahill is currently representing Australia on the international stage, but the New York Red Bulls Designated Player is reportedly close to making a change on the club level.
The National reported on Monday that the Australian forward has agreed to a tentative deal with United Arab Emirates club Al Wahda, with the two sides hoping to reach a formal agreement at the conclusion of the Asia Cup.
Cahill made 29 total appearances in 2014 for the Red Bulls, although the 35-year-old was used mostly as a substitute toward the end of the season. Currently in Australia for the Asia Cup, Cahill, who has scored three goals in the competition, is set to lead the Socceroos against UAE on Monday in the competition’s second semifinal matchup.
Here are some more of of Monday’s MLS news and notes: Continue reading
Photo by Geoff Burke/USA Today Sports
By CAITLIN MURRAY
It seemed that Plan A was always for Hope Solo to be starting in goal for the U.S. Women’s National Team.
The USWNT played 24 matches in 2014. Solo started in 21 of them. She voluntarily missed one in June for what U.S. Soccer called a “family commitment” and was arrested for allegedly assaulting two family members the following night.
As Solo went through her legal troubles – which could’ve resulted in jail time and force her to miss this summer’s World Cup – coach Jill Ellis started No. 2 goalkeeper Ashlyn Harris just once when Solo was available. It was at World Cup qualifying against Haiti, a low-tier team that recorded a single shot against the U.S. in 90 minutes, which wasn’t even on goal.
Solo’s criminal case was later dismissed but it appeared unlikely to result in a conviction from the start. The alleged victims had reportedly changed their stories and were uncooperative. If those around Solo and the USWNT thought she would be around for the long haul, to Canada 2015 and beyond, they weren’t alone.
“When I decide to walk away, it will be my decision and it will be because I’m not having fun anymore,” Solo told SBI before World Cup qualifying when asked if she planned to retire after Canada 2015. “Do I expect to go another cycle after this cycle? Absolutely, if that’s what I set out to do and if I’m fully committed 110 percent.”
“I’m tired of all these questions about, is this my last cycle? I told Jill, I was like, ‘Jill, I’ll be around. You’re going to have to kick me out of this team before I leave.’ ”
By MIKE GRAMAJO
LAKE MARY, Fla. — Adrian Heath’s squad may be relatively young, but that isn’t stopping the Orlando City head coach from setting lofty goals ahead of the team’s first MLS campaign.
“We have a tremendous batch of young players,” Heath told reporters during the club’s media day on Friday. “We’ve got nothing to fear. We can go out and play aggressive and positive, and make a stamp in this league.
“Nobody puts more pressure on themselves than I do. We want to get in the forefront of everything. There is no reason why we can’t be a major team in North America. We think we’re going to be competitive. The more I see the group, the more convinced I can be.”
With more high-profile players making their way to large MLS markets in 2015, Heath said that he isn’t afraid to build with younger players. The former Everton striker emphasized building around Kaka while planting the seeds for long-term success.
Photo by Steven Bisig/USA Today Sports
By MIKE DONOVAN
Just 90 days after the 2014 season ended just one point short of the postseason, the Portland Timbers kicked off preseason training Friday at Providence Park.
After starting last season without a win in the club’s first eight league matches, head coach Caleb Porter wants to make sure he does all he can to prevent the same slow start in 2015.
One way he hopes to do that was by having an offseason fitness plan for each and every returning Timber. For the first time since joining MLS, the club will have the same strength and conditioning coach for consecutive seasons.
“I’ll give credit to (Director of Sports Science) Nick Milonas,” Porter said, “because we had, for the first time, an offseason training program in place that was given at the end of the year and that was followed through every single day and it was monitored and the compliance was good. That will allow us to start in a better position than we did last year.” Continue reading
By DAN KARELL
The U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team is headed for New Zealand this May, but it wasn’t always an assured result.
Tab Ramos’ squad had to grind out a couple of wins against host Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago on a rough pitch at the CONCACAF U-20 Championship before facing El Salvador, and winning the elimination game, 2-0, on Saturday evening. There were some memorable performances, like those from Zack Steffan and Emerson Hyndman, while others had a more forgettable time in the Caribbean.
As the U.S. now prepares for the FIFA Under-20 World Cup, let’s take a look back at how each player performed during the tournament.