Andrew Farrell

Considering rookies, and a pair of impressive ones in New England Revolution camp

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Every year at this time, across many MLS preseason camps, some coach or staff member is raving about this rookie or that rookie.

This kid is absolutely killing it!

I say, I’ll get excited about it when the games are real, when it’s time to really put money on the table. Because the ability to impress in preseason training frequently fails to translate into regular season success.

In fairness, it’s easy to fall into this trap. I watched New England rookie Andrew Farrell (pictured) last week in Arizona. The guy does have a presence and maturity about him (which I suppose we should be saying about the league’s No. 1 overall selection.)

Revolution coach Jay Heaps has also been impressed with midfielder Scott Caldwell. So I watched the homegrown signing closely and must say, the kid barely had a bad touch all practice. He’s a two-way midfielder who can track and tackle, but the guy can sure finish, too!

See how that happens? How you can talk yourself this thing?

Still, the bottom line in this business is getting it done on match day.

Heaps said both players are adapting quicker than he expected to professional pace. “They didn’t lose anything even though they’ve jumped up to another level. That comes from the great coaching they’ve had in college, but it also comes from their mental approach, learning quickly when they come in here how we want to play, and translating that to the games and the [practice] sessions.”

I asked Heaps if he was any close than a month ago to determining Farrell’s position this year? Heaps remains reluctant to “commit” any one spot in the field just yet.

“I see him and say, he could be  a center back easily in this league, he could be a defensive midfielder easily in this  league, or he could be a right back.”

As Heaps and I spoke, we were on the exact same field where Sporting Kansas City staff had raved one year ago about rookie striker Dom Dwyer. They really thought the kid might make a big imprint in 2012.

He played just four minutes in league matches all year.

Sunderland confirm resignation of manager Dick Advocaat

SUNDERLAND, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 03:  Dick Advocaat manager of Sunderland looks on prior to the Barclays Premier League match between Sunderland and West Ham United at the Stadium of Light in Sunderland, United Kingdom.  (Photo by Steve Welsh/Getty Images)
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With rumors swirling of his resignation, Sunderland have confirmed this morning that Dick Advocaat has left his post as Sunderland manager with zero financial compensation despite the protests of the chairman.

Advocaat came on in March as an emergency signing, successfully saving Sunderland from relegation with a solid run of form to finish the season. The 68-year-old Dutchman pondered at length this summer if he wished to continue on, with his wife reportedly urging him to step down, but he chose to continue on with the new season after successful persuasion from the front office.

Unfortunately, things have not gone as planned, with Sunderland sitting 19th in the table, only above Newcastle on goal differential and without a single win on the season. They’ve conceded a whopping 18 goals so far this season through eight league matches.

“I have made the decision to go after only eight games as I felt it was important to give everyone time turn things around – like we did last year,” Advocaat said upon his departure. “I am thankful to the chairman for understanding my feelings and I remain on good terms with everyone at the club.

“I wish Ellis [Short], Lee [Congerton], all of the staff, players and of course the supporters, who made me feel so welcome here, the very best of luck for the rest of the season. I have some wonderful memories to take with me and I hope I will return to see everybody again in the future.”

“I am truly saddened by Dick’s decision,” chairman Ellis Short said, “but I respect him for his honesty and for doing what he feels is right for the club. He is a man of integrity and a true football person. He was hugely respectful of the club in taking this decision and he acted 100% in our best interests. It is also testament to his character that he has forgone any kind of a financial settlement, something which is very unusual in football.”

Meanwhile, the Black Cats have dipped into what is becoming a perennial cycle, making a managerial change for the fourth time in the last four seasons.

Rumors are swirling that a host of experienced Premier League managers could be up for the job, including the currently unemployed Sam Allardyce and Harry Redknapp. Other linked names include former Leicester manager Nigel Pearson and current Burnley boss Sean Dyche.

Sepp Blatter’s daughter slams media for ruining her father’s reputation

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Sepp Blatter’s daughter blames the media, not her father, for Sepp’s downfall as the head of FIFA and believes he will not step down until the February congress as he initially announced.

“The media has ruined his reputation,” Corinne Blatter told Swiss newspaper Blick. “Why are they picking on him? What did he do to them? … It’s not just envy. It’s hatred.”

A host of major sponsors, including Coca-Cola, McDonalds and Visa called for Blatter’s immediate resignation as president of FIFA, to which the 79-year-old swiftly rejected. This all came after Blatter was called in by Swiss authorities for questioning after the opening of an investigation surrounding corporate mismanagement charges.

“I was afraid that they now take him away in handcuffs,” Corinne said. “He told me, ‘I must be dreaming.’ A federal policeman assured me that he could after hearing home.”

Blick pressed Corinne on many issues, all of which she defender her father. She refused to comment on many that had to do with the investigation, but did give us this gem when asked how Sepp likes to spend his money.

“He buys shoes and travel bags. He has worked 40 years. His life is modest, without any extravagance. He doesn’t play golf or go sailing.”

Shoes and handbags. What an image.