Photo by ISIPhotos.com
By DAN KARELL
Major League Soccer Commissioner Don Garber was in Columbus on Thursday to announce the next host of the MLS Business Summit.
At a press conference held at Crew Stadium, Garber and Columbus Crew President and G.M. Marc McCullers jointly announced that Ohio’s capital city would be hosting this year’s business summit from September 10-12. That is the same weekend as the U.S. National Team World Cup qualifying match against Mexico, which will be taking place at Crew Stadium.
Garber said that they expected about 250-300 people to attend the event to discuss the best ways to improve the league.
“We’ll go through all of our business agenda items,” Garber said. “How do we continue to grow out league, how do we share best practices, how do we get in front of all the exciting trends that are taking place in the sports marketing and media industry, particularly focused in digital media and social media.”
Here are some more stories to catch up on around the league:
NORWICH CITY TO TOUR U.S., PLAY TIMBERS AND EARTHQUAKES
Another Premier League side will be starting their 2013-2014 pre-season in the United States.
Norwich City FC announced on Thursday that they would be spending 11 days on a tour of the U.S. west coast and will be playing friendly matches against the San Jose Earthquakes on July 20 and Portland Timbers on July 24. The opponent for a friendly match scheduled for July 18 in Sacramento has yet to be announced. All three teams involved confirmed the news.
“We’re delighted to have made arrangements for a summer tour to America where we will play two games against MLS sides and another side to be confirmed,” Norwich manager Chris Houghton told the team’s website. “The games will provide an important part of our pre-season build-up for the 2013-14 domestic campaign and of course it’s a great opportunity for the Club to engage with football fans in the United States.”
Norwich are currently in 14th place in the EPL standings. The friendly match on against Norwich will be the Timbers’ second in July, after they face Monarcas Morelia on July 3 in the Copa Verde. Though San Jose and Norwich have never played, they have common ground, as former Norwich midfielder and current coach in their academy Darren Huckerby spent 2008-2009 with the Earthquakes.
RAPIDS’ THOMAS SIDELINED FOR “A FEW WEEKS”
Just as the Colorado Rapids began to get some injured players back on the field, yet another started was forced from a match early and will have to sit on the sidelines.
Midfielder Hendry Thomas went off with a left hamstring strain in the 52nd minute of Sunday’s draw with the Houston Dynamo, but fortunately for Rapids manager Oscar Pareja, the injury is not as bad as initially feared.
“At this point, it seems like Hendry’s going to be a few weeks out,” Pareja told MLSSoccer.com. “We’re going to be evaluating him every day to see how is his progress.”
Thomas, a Honduran international, becomes the eighth player on the Rapids to go down with injury this season. The 28-year-old started in all nine of the Rapids matches this season, scoring one goal. Early estimates for a return could be a home match against Chivas USA on May 25.
WHITECAPS ADD GHANIAN MIDFIELDER ABDALLAH
The Vancouver Whitecaps solidified their midfield on Thursday, officially adding defensive midfielder Aminu Abdallah to the roster.
The 19-year-old Ghanian has been trailing with the Whitecaps since February, and after six reserve appearances with one goal and an assist, the team decided to hand Abdallah a contract. Prior to Vancouver, Abdallah trialed with a number of teams in Europe including Juventus, PSV Eindhoven, and CSKA Moscow, where he nearly signed.
Before the trials, Abdallah was a teammate of fellow Ghanian and Whitecaps midfielder Gershon Koffie at International Allies FC in Ghana’s second division.
“Aminu is a big, young, powerful player with huge potential,” Whitecaps manager Martin Rennie said on the club’s website. “He is a left-footed box-to-box player who can bring a lot to the team with his ability to win balls in the air and connect passes.”
Abdallah has been assigned the number 20 shirt. He’s currently a member of Ghana’s U-20 player pool.
IMPACT LOSE PAPONI FOR FOUR TO SIX WEEKS
If there was anything bad to come out of the Montreal Impact’s 6-0 victory over rivals Toronto FC in the Canadian Championship on Wednesday, it was that the Impact will be without new signing Daniele Paponi for a considerable time.
The on-loan forward from Bologna in Italy went off with a hamstring injury after just 38 minutes played, and just five minutes after scoring his first goal for the club. Following the match, the Impact confirmed that Paponi would be set to spend the next four to six weeks on the sidelines.
The 25-year-old joined the Impact on April 19 and made his debut in the first-leg of the Canadian Championship as a 60th minute substitute in the 2-0 defeat to TFC. Previously, Paponi had played with Impact teammates Andrea Pisanu and Marco Di Vaio for Bologna.
What do you make of this news? What did you think of Garber’s comments? Do you expect to see more Premier League teams coming to the U.S. for pre-season tours? How big of a loss is Thomas from the Impact lineup?
Share your thoughts below.