Bryan Namoff

Former MLS man sues for negligence; this could get real ugly

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Former MLS Bryan Namoff is suing D.C. United (and therefore MLS), and this is not good news for anybody.

The Washington Post reported today a $12 million lawsuit filed against the MLS club and Tom Soehn, who coached the team in 2009 during the time in question.

Points to consider here as this one begins to wind through the legal system – slowly, I’m sure, since these things can take years to fully unfold.

  • This is a potential precedent setter. There are other, similar cases out there – some we know about and others we may not know about.
  • Soehn remains in MLS; he is now director of soccer operations for the Vancouver Whitecaps. So, who knows how this might affect him personally? Suffice to say, it will be an unpleasant distraction at very best, with depositions, potential legal fees, etc.
  • ESPN analyst Taylor Twellman, who has done fantastic work in raising awareness of concussion-related problems in athletics and in MLS in particular, will surely have strong thoughts on this one. Whether he can share them all – that’s a delicate issue. We’ll have to see how that plays out.
  • Protocol for dealing with concussions and head injury is much more thoughtful today, but certainly was not always so thorough. Steven Goff’s Washington Post blog entry has more detail.

The last one is tough, personally.

I was at an MLS match a few years ago. A public relations person told me that a certain player was scratched from the lineup, still suffering from the effects of a concussion. He would not play.

Except that he was on the bench, which was odd – and that came as a big surprise to the person who discussed with me the player’s head injury from a previous match.

And in the second half, on that player trotted into the game.

I never got a full explanation of how that happened. Since it wasn’t a team I covered regularly, I never followed up aggressively. In my position at the time, that just wasn’t my job.

But I always wondered was I somehow remiss? Should I have asked more questions about that one?  The fact is, I was a freelance journalist then, and the economics work like this: if someone isn’t paying you to perform a certain task, you simply cannot devote lots of time going down potential rabbit holes.

And yet … I wonder to this day if I contributed somehow to a larger epidemic (or to that player’s potential personal health) by not pressing the issue.

When I see what Namoff is alleging, I wonder if I (and probably some other journalists) fumbled this one along the way. Goff’s story from The Post says Namoff alleges that he “suffered brain damage and cognitive, memory and sensory loss. He also has permanent headaches and fatigue, sleep problems and hypersensitivity to motion, the lawsuit says.”

Southampton: Van Dijk won’t leave, selling days likely done

SOUTHAMPTON, ENGLAND - MARCH 29:  Ralph Krueger the Southampton Chairman looks on during the Barclays Premier League match between Southampton and Newcastle United at St Mary's Stadium on March 29, 2014 in Southampton, England.  (Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)
Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images
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Ralph Krueger doesn’t plan on selling any more big Southampton stars, and there’s none brighter than Virgil Van Dijk.

The Dutchman is perhaps the best center back in the Premier League, regularly linked with transfers to anywhere from Manchester City to Liverpool.

[ MORE: Liverpool hires new CEO ]

But Krueger says Saints have had enough of selling big assets. Southampton has sold Adam Lallana, Dejan Lovren, Sadio Mane, and Nathaniel Clyne in the past three seasons, and those are just the names to go to Liverpool. Morgan Schneiderlin and Victor Wanyama have also moved on from St. Mary’s.

From Sky Sports:

“We would like to move away from that and we feel confident this summer will be a lot quieter in Southampton and we can keep the core of this team moving forward for a few years.

“That is going to be important when you see how excellent the group is right now and how exciting the football is. The game we are playing is a pleasure to watch and a pleasure to be part of.”

Saints were the more effective side in a 3-2 EFL Cup Final loss to Manchester United this weekend, but are well off the pace in the race to make back-to-back trips into Europe.

It will be hard to hold onto Van Dijk and even new bright light Manolo Gabbiadini without Europe, but Krueger is a strong leader with the ability to convince almost anyone to buy into a plan.

Real Salt Lake signs Plata to multi-year DP deal

Real Salt Lake forward Joao Plata (8) gestures while walking during an MLS soccer game against New York City FC Saturday, May 23, 2015, in Sandy, Utah. (Leah Hogsten/The Salt Lake Tribune via AP) DESERET NEWS OUT; LOCAL TELEVISION OUT; MAGS OUT
Leah Hogsten/The Salt Lake Tribune via AP
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SANDY, Utah (AP) Real Salt Lake has re-signed forward Joao Plata to a multi-year contract and he will continue to hold a designated-player spot.

The 24-year-old was acquired from Toronto FC before the 2013 season and he has 30 goals and 30 assists in regular-season play with RSL.

[ MORE: Liverpool flops vs LCFC ]

Plata ranks No. 3 on the team’s all-time assists list and No. 5 in goals. He has 33 goals and 35 assists during his MLS career.

Real Salt Lake begins the season Saturday when it hosts Toronto FC.

Gotze out indefinitely with metabolism disorder

ROTTERDAM, NETHERLANDS - NOVEMBER 06:  Mario Goetze (R) and Ann-Kathrin Broemmel attend the MTV Europe Music Awards 2016 on November 6, 2016 in Rotterdam, Netherlands.  (Photo by Andreas Rentz/Getty Images for MTV)
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Mario Gotze’s last few seasons have not fulfilled the expectations thrust about the World Cup-winning attacker.

Gotze, 24, scored the 113th minute goal that lifted Germany past Argentina in the 2014 World Cup, but has endured successive disappointing seasons between Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund.

[ MORE: Liverpool hires new CEO ]

With just two goals this season, Gotze has played just 24 minutes since BVB came back from winter break. On Monday, the club revealed why: a metabolism disorder that will keep him out for an indefinite period of time. From Sky Sports:

“We are glad to know the reasons for Mario’s complaints and we are convinced that after recovering he will give us extra quality with his exceptional abilities,” said Dortmund’s director of sport Michael Zorc.

“Mario gets the full backing and maximum support from all of us at Borussia Dortmund on his way back.”

It’s been a while since we’ve seen Gotze at his best, and here’s hoping this problem is both curable and the reason for his struggles.

Liverpool hires EA Sports executive as new CEO

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Liverpool has named Peter Moore as the successor to chief executive office Ian Ayre.

Ayre, 53, is off to 1860 Munich this summer, and has stepped down early to allow Moore to take over.

[ MORE: Liverpool flops vs LCFC ]

A Liverpool-born executive, Moore was the chief operating officer at EA Sports and has also worked with Microsoft and SEGA.

The move “completes a transitional phase” which saw several new names join the fray. From The Liverpool Echo:

The appointment completes a transition plan by FSG which included appointing Michael Edwards as sporting director while Billy Hogan was promoted to the role of managing director and chief commercial officer.