German boss Joachim Löw weighs in on Soccer in the U.S.A.

4 Comments

For whatever reason, we love to hear what the big voices in the game say about soccer in our part of the world.

Never mind that guys like Sir Alex Ferguson or Jose Mourinho or even the clownish Sepp Blatter cannot possible know much about soccer in our part of the world. After all, why should they? They’ve got more than enough on their soccer plate without paying attention to what most of the world still sees as an outlier in the game. Well, maybe not Ferguson anymore … but you get the point.

Still, it’s part of the American soccer condition. We are constantly on the lookout for affirmation or validation. That spirited quarterfinal dash at World Cup 2002, easily U.S. Soccer’s high-water mark on the men’s side, only goes so far.

(MORE: Everyone take a breath; the US soccer team has been here before)

So when guys like Joachim Löw, manager of a ridiculously talented German side, one that will be among the favorites for World Cup 2014, speak on soccer here, fans and members of the fourth estate lean in.

Here’s what Löw said about the game here in a bigger, historical and cultural context:

Soccer here in the USA is still somewhat lagging behind what it is in Germany, not necessarily in terms of quality but in terms of tradition. Soccer in Germany is enjoying much higher status than over here, where the other sports, the famous ‘Big Four,’ are ruling the roost.”

He also talked about Klinsmann’s novel managerial approaches. Here, the current German boss does have a unique perspective worth hearing. Remember, all this novelty was not well received as Klinsmann sought to wrest Germany from too many of its former (and quite stodgy) ways. Löw was his top assistant in building that fashionable, younger Germany side that finished as such high-fliers, third place as hosts at World Cup 2006.

What Klinsmann will do, what he has done, is introduce new ideas and fresh approaches to the game. He’s been privileged to train under a whole array of coaches, and he was coach himself with Germany national team and Bayern Munich. So he has accumulated immense wealth of experience and knowhow. Couple this with the courage he has to effect change, and I think he will introduce a whole lot of new things that will do a load of good for the future of US soccer.”

Löw did get one part wrong, saying that Klinsmann’s final objective at U.S. boss was to “qualify for the 2014 World Cup.”

On that account, the current German coach could not be more incorrect. Steve Sampson, Bruce Arena and Bob Bradley all qualified U.S. teams for the World Cup. If we’re being honest, the “getting there” isn’t such a fancy trick out of this CONCACAF region.

Klinsmann was hired to move the United States off its sticking point, which has been second-round elimination at the last two World Cups. It was especially painful three summers ago in South Africa, where there was such a feeling of “opportunity lost.”

A lot of managers could get the United States to Brazil, and perhaps a few could successfully navigate the opening round.

Klinsmann needs to drive the bus a little further. Not that Löw needs to concern himself too much over that.

(MORE on USMNT: Talking about “venerable” old RFK)

(MORE on USMNT: Notes on the preliminary Gold Cup roster)

Vancouver adds versatile Juarez, formerly of Monterrey, Celtic

Photo by Lars Baron/Getty Images
1 Comment

Efrain Juarez is bringing his game to Major League Soccer.

[ MLS: 2018 Mock SuperDraft ]

The 39-times capped Mexico veteran has inked a deal with the Vancouver Whitecaps, joining a strengthened unit which came within a point of winning the West last season.

Juarez, 29, was unveiled as a midfielder by the ‘Caps, though he’s primarily played right back in his club career. He’s played at Celtic, Real Zaragoza, Club America, Monterrey, and Pumas.

Last capped by El Tri in 2012, Juarez has played every position except goal, center attacking mid, and center forward in his career (picture a ‘U’ on the pitch).

“I’m so happy and excited for this new stage in my career,” Juarez said. “It’s an opportunity for me to keep growing in a new league and to be a part of an amazing club in Vancouver. From the moment they showed interest me, Carl Robinson and the Whitecaps staff have made me feel very important. I promise to put all my effort into this club and do my best to help us achieve our goals.”

VIDEO: Asensio goal ends Real Madrid’s winless run

AP Photo/Francisco Seco
Leave a comment

Marco Asensio’s eighth goal of the season and second of this Copa del Rey put an end to an unlikely Real Madrid winless run in a 1-0 victory at Leganes.

[ MLS: 2018 Mock SuperDraft ]

The 21-year-old darted in front of a defender to volley home from in-tight, giving Real Madrid a first leg lead in the tournament quarterfinals.

More importantly, perhaps, it gives struggling Real a boost in morale after draws with Celta Vigo and Numancia, and a loss to Villarreal.

Real is home to Deportivo de la Coruna in La Liga before hosting Leganes in the second leg.

Hopeful Newcastle buyer Staveley: Offer still on the table

Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images
2 Comments

Newcastle United owner Mike Ashley is probably happy that his for-sale club is away this weekend, even though his side’s up against Manchester City.

[ MORE: Top PL storylines — Week 24  ]

That’s because hopeful buyer Amanda Staveley has responded to claims that her hopeful takeover of the team won’t be happening any time soon.

Talks had stalled, said Tuesday reports, much to the chagrin of an #AshleyOut brigade that at times can make Arsenal’s #WengerOut brigade look like a yard full of happy puppies.

A “source” had said, “Attempts to reach a deal have proved to be exhaustive, frustrating and a complete waste of time,” but Staveley shot back on Thursday to reignite the fire. From the BBC, taken from The Times:

“Our bid remains on the table. This is an investment, but it has to be a long-term investment. Newcastle would be run as a business, but we want it to be a successful, thriving business that is an absolutely integral part of the city.”

She also said that popular manager Rafa Benitez is integral to her interest in the team, and that fact combined with her insistence that an offer remains on the table will have many Newcastle fans seething with current ownership (and there have been protests for years). It’s Ashley’s move now.

2018 MLS Mock Draft: LAFC, Galaxy hold the keys

@MLS
Leave a comment

Major League Soccer’s latest batch of hopeful rookies learn the next steps of their professional careers beginning Friday with the first two rounds of the MLS SuperDraft.

There are several intriguing prospects, including accomplished Stanford center back Tomas Hilliard-Arce and dangerous Michigan winger Francis Atuahene.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s MLS coverage ]

An MLS mock draft is always tricky given the wildly varying opinions on players from the college game. This year, it’s even trickier as clubs without picks and some with multiple first round picks may be looking to move up and down even more than the norm.

Here’s how we think the draft could play out:

  1. LAFC – Tomas Hilliard-Arce, CB, Stanford
  2. LA Galaxy – Jon Bakero, FW, Wake Forest
  3. DC United – Francis Atuahene, FW, Michigan
  4. Montreal – Joao Moutinho, LB, Akron
  5. Minnesota – Wyatt Omsberg, CB, Dartmouth
  6. Orlando City – Ema Twumasi, FW, Wake Forest
  7. Montreal – Chris Mueller, FW, Wisconsin
  8. New England – Mo Adams, MF, Syracuse
  9. New England – Chris Lema, MF, Georgetown
  10. Real Salt Lake – Justin Fiddes, LB, Washington
  11. FC Dallas – Marcelo Acuna, FW, Virginia Tech
  12. San Jose – Brandon Bye, RB, Western Michigan
  13. Sporting KC – Ed Opoku, FW, Virginia
  14. Atlanta – Alex Roldan, MF, Seattle
  15. Chicago – Mason Toye, FW, Indiana
  16. New York Red Bulls – Alan Winn, MF, North Carolina
  17. Vancouver – Tristan Blackmon, RB, Pacific
  18. Sporting KC – Jon Gallagher, FW, Notre Dame
  19. New York City FC – Daniel Musovski, FW, UNLV
  20. Houston – Mo Thiaw, FW, Louisville
  21. Columbus – Brian White, FW, Duke
  22. Seattle – Tim Kubel, MF, Louisville
  23. Toronto FC – Oliver Shannon, MF, Clemson

There are a few players to keep an eye on for the later rounds that I won’t project for the first round due almost exclusively to first person bias (Some I’ve seen play in college, others at other levels). Afonso Pinheiro from Albany produced like crazy until this season, and Bowling Green defender Alexis Souahy has a skill set that could really transmit to the MLS level.

Mac Steeves (Providence) is a prototypical big body scorer, while Evansville’s heady Ian McGrath has a flair for the absurd and can play almost every position up the center of the pitch. Charleston’s Thomas Vancaeyezeele was a D-2 monster and is probably worth a shot earlier than people suspect.