David Beckham, Don Garber

Beckham as MLS owner; Did that moment just inch closer?

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Long ago, David Beckham knew he would remain in the game at a high-level past his days of performance on the field. I mean, really, what else was the guy going to do? Crafts, maybe? Build a really kick-ass iTunes library?

The one-time England captain even had the foresight, for instance, to sew that MLS ownership option clause into his original league contract back in 2007.

So, might Thursday’s newsy announcement expedite Beckham’s second spin of the Major League Soccer wheel, only this time from a corner office rather than while taking corner kicks? That is, will Brand Beckham soon be an MLS owner, sidling up to league commish Don Garber (pictured, with the former Galaxy midfielder) and the suited ones quite soon?

Perhaps today’s events walk us one step closer. But in all honesty, that eventuality still has the feel of “years” more than “months.”

I talked to MLS vice president of communications Dan Courtemanche on Thursday. He reiterated that MLS remains committed to getting a second club up and running in New York. Any and all discussions on Beckham remain quite preliminary, he assured me.

And by the sound of it, even “preliminary” might be stretching it.

So much for the breathless reports out of England in December that Beckham was on a fast track for MLS ownership in South Florida.

(MORE: PHOTOS –The life and times of David Beckham)

That’s not to say negotiations for Miami or somewhere else could not begin this summer. That original clause gave Beckham the option of buying an MLS franchise for $25 million, a pretty dandy little bargain now. The price tag for New York has long been around $100 million, for instance. (Beckham’s option does not include New York.)

And while market value for Miami, Orlando or Minnesota or wherever would surely be less than NYC2, perhaps by half, $25 million is a heck of a price just the same.

The issue is that these things take time. Major League Soccer’s board of directors would want to see a complete ownership plan and a stadium plan (already in place, at least in part, in some of the leading markets). And then there are the complexities of timing; when does it makes sense to add No. 21 – always keeping in mind that New York as No. 20 cannot happen before 2015 at earliest?

Looks like 2016 at very earliest – and once you start piecing things together, even that looks like a stretch.

(MORE: Bigger impact on game’s growth here, Beckham or Pele?)

(MORE: Beckham’s most memorable moments on the world stage)

(MORE: Emotional Beckham says now is the time to retire)

USC wins NCAA women’s soccer national championship

Southern California's Morgan Andrews celebrates after scoring a goal against West Virginia during the first half in the NCAA Women's College Cup soccer final, Sunday, Dec. 4, 2016 in San Jose, Calif. (AP Photo/Tony Avelar)
AP Photo/Tony Avelar
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SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) Katie Johnson broke a tie in the 75th minute and Southern California won the NCAA women’s soccer title Sunday, beating top-ranked West Virginia 3-1 at Avaya Stadium on Sunday.

The second-seeded Trojans (19-4-2) also won the College Cup in 2007.

The Mountaineers (23-2-2) lost for the first time since a 1-0 setback to Georgetown on Sept. 18. West Virginia had a 17-game unbeaten streak snapped, and allowed three goals for the first all season.

Johnson, who also had the winning goal in USC’s 1-0 semifinal victory over Georgetown on Friday, was wide open in front of the net when Leah Pruitt took a pass up the left sideline, beat defender Easther Mayi Kith, and delivered a perfect cross. Johnson simply rolled the ball into the goal to the right of goalkeeper Rylee Foster.

Johnson scored again off an assist from Nicole Molen in the 87th minute.

The Trojans got on the board just 1:22 into play after Julia Bingham directed a corner kick to the top of the penalty box, where Savannah Levin headed the ball forward to Morgan Andrews, whose header from 5 yards eluded Foster.

West Virginia’s Ashley Lawrence, a member of the 2016 Canadian Olympic team, tied it in the 66th minute when she ripped a shot from the top left corner of the penalty box just inside the near post.

After USC took the 2-1 lead, the Mountaineers nearly drew even in the 81st minute on a shot by Heather Kaleiohi that was stopped on a diving save by goalkeeper Sammy Prudhomme.

The Mountaineers outshot USC 21-8 and held a 9-1 edge in corner kicks.

The Trojans joined North Carolina (21 titles), Notre Dame (3) and Portland (3) as the only multiple winners of the College Cup.

USC won its 126th national team title on the same day its men’s water polo team lost 10-8 to Cal in the NCAA final just 45 miles away in Berkeley.

West Virginia, in its first College Cup final, was hoping to claim its first NCAA title in any sport besides its co-ed rifle team, which has won 18 national titles.

VIDEO: 70-yard volley from Chile is nearly impossible to believe

Alejandro Camargo, Universidad de Concepcion
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His name is Alejandro Camargo, and he scored what might just go down as the best goal of 2016 on Sunday: an impossibly perfect volley from well beyond the halfway line.

[ MORE: PL roundup — Chelsea top Man City; Arsenal, Spurs win big ]

Miguel Pinto is the opposing goalkeeper whose long-range clearance, which covered about 50 yards during the final seconds of Universidad de Concepcion’s clash with O’Higgins in the Chilean first division, was taken off the fly, first-time, by the Argentine midfielder to seal a 3-1 victory for the home side.

[ MORE: Serie A roundup — Roma, AC Milan win, still tied for 2nd ]

“The coach told us Pinto was always playing in advance of his goal, so I closed my eyes and hit it,” Camargo said after the game.

“Hit it and hope” has never looked so good.

Roma fans stay away from derby to protest new security barriers

A view of a huge section of empty seats as Roma fans desert derby in protest over security barriers, during a Serie A soccer match between Lazio and Roma, at the Rome Olympic stadium Sunday, Dec. 4, 2016. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)
AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia
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ROME (AP) Roma’s most ardent supporters stayed away from the derby match against Lazio in protest at barriers introduced at the start of last season in their area.

Normally filled with supporters waving huge banners, lighting flares and singing, half of the “curva sud” — southern end — of the Stadio Olimpico was left empty for Sunday’s match.

[ MORE: Serie A roundup — Roma, AC Milan win, still tied for 2nd ]

Three of Roma’s locally born standouts held a meeting with the “ultra” fans during the week. Captain Francesco Totti, Daniele De Rossi and Alessandro Florenzi asked the supporters to return, and the club itself has also tried to resolve the matter.

But the appeals had no effect.

In contrast, Lazio fans filled the northern end of the stadium as usual.

The plexiglass barriers were put in place by city officials for security reasons.

VIDEO: “Behind The Badge: Watford FC” — Episode 2

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In Episode 2 of Behind the Badge: Watford FC, watch the players’ recovery after a win against Leicester, a look at the club’s one-of-a-kind internship program and a flashback to a memorable moment in Watford’s history.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s PL coverage ]

To watch past episodes of Behind The Badge, including last season’s edition featuring a look inside Crystal Palace, head over to the full archive by clicking here.

[ MORE: PL roundup — Chelsea top Man City; Arsenal, Spurs win big ]

First episode: Watch full episode, here
Second episode: Above video
Third episode: Sunday, Dec. 11, 2 p.m. ET – NBCSN
Fourth episode: Sunday, Dec. 18, 2 p.m. ET – NBCSN