Good morning all. There have been a bunch of news nuggets in MLS and American soccer and SBI hasn’t been able to get to all of them, so here is a rundown of some of the better tidbits to emerge in recent days:
Friedel signs extension- Blackburn goalkeeper Brad Friedel will have a little more time to hone that British accent. The former U.S. national team star has signed a contract extension that will keep him at Blackburn through the 2009/2010 season. At that rate, Friedel would leave England at age 38. Yes Crew fans, you can start the countdown now.
Pickens joins QPR. My boy Luis Arroyave reported on Monday that former Chicago Fire goalkeeper Matt Pickens has signed with English First Division club Queens Park Rangers. The move was a case of one keeper’s misfortune turning into another’s opportunitity. Queens Park Rangers had lined up a bid for Jamaican international goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts but Ricketts was denied a work permit. Wondering how Pickens secured a work permit? More on that later today.
U.S. to play qualifier at Home Depot Center. The U.S. national team will play its first World Cup qualifier this year at Home Depot Center in Carson, California on June 15 against the winner of the Barbados/Dominica series. The Americans will face the Barbados/Dominica winner in a home-and-home series, with the winner set to play in a group that should include Cuba, Guatemala and Trinidad & Tobago.
Babayaro trains with LA. The long-rumored Celestine Babayaro to LA move is a done deal and the only thing holding up a formal announcement is Babayaro receiving his work permit. The former Newcastle defender trained with the Galaxy on Monday. There’s no word on just how much he will make.
Chivas USA signs Wicky. Chivas USA landed veteran Swiss midfielder Raphael Wicky, a World Cup veteran with 70 appearances for Switzerland. Capable of playing in central midfield and on the left flank, Wicky joins Alecko Eskandarian and Jim Curtin among the Goats’ off-season acquisitions.
Crew eyeing Ricken. The Columbus Dispatch’s Shawn Mitchell reported that German World Cup veteran Lars Ricken is set to join Columbus in pre-season training in Florida.