During the 2012-13 Premier League Season, Stoke City looked to be wrestling the title of “America’s Premier League” team away from Craven Cottage.
The balances could tip back to Fulham now that Shahid Khan, Pakistani by birth but owner of the very-American Jacksonville Jaguars of the National Football League, has assumed control of the little West London team on the Thames.
Geoff Cameron, Maurice Edu and Brek Shea remain at the Britannia for Stoke City, while Fulham is fresh out of Americans. (On the senior team at least. Don’t forget, Emerson Hyndman, grandson of FC Dallas manager Schellas Hyndman, is a valued midfielder in Fulham’s youth development system.)
But Stoke has some catching up in order to match the historic rate of import of American who have come and gone at Craven Cottage. The quick rundown:
- Marcus Hahnemann, 1999-02: Coming over from the Colorado Rapids, Hahnemann played just two matches in goal for Fulham. But the time there did help create a career in England, one spent mostly in the land’s second tier.
- Eddie Lewis, 2000-02: Playing time was similarly sparse for the midfielder, although he did see action a little more frequently over the first two seasons, before Fulham gained promotion into England’s top tier.
- Carlos Bocanegra, 2004-2008: Playing at center back and left back, Bocanegra was the first American to truly establish himself as a Craven Cottage fixture, playing 116 games there over four seasons.
- Brian McBride, 2004-2008: The same time Bocanegra was patrolling the back, Brian McBride was ensconcing himself as a legend up front. So beloved was the man who hit 33 times for Fulham over four seasons that they later named a lounge at the ground after him.
- Kasey Keller, 2007-2008: Unlike the others, Keller was an established figure in European soccer when he arrived into West London. The longtime U.S. international took over as starter from the injured Antti Niemi, but was soon injured himself and eventually spent just one season at Fulham.
- Clint Dempsey, 2007 – 2012: Clearly the star of the “Fulhamerica” show. “Deuce” punctuated five highly successful seasons at Fulham with that amazing campaign of 2011-12, after which he finished fourth in FWA Footballer of the Year balloting behind Robin van Persie, Wayne Rooney and Paul Scholes.
- Eddie Johnson, 2008-2009: Johnson never quite caught on, playing out his original contract on a series of loans spells to three other clubs.
Last summer’s drama surrounding Neymar could be nothing compared to what is in store for the Brazilian in 2018.
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Diario Gol is reporting that Manchester United is exploring the possibility of making a bid for Neymar this summer, which would come at a record fee for the Premier League side.
The report suggests United would be willing to pay over $367 million for the Paris Saint-Germain star, while possibly sending Paul Pogba to the French giants in the swap.
Neymar, who joined PSG in 2017 after a messy ending at Barcelona, has been heavily linked to his former’s side bitter rival Real Madrid
Man United boss Jose Mourinho is reportedly keen on the move for Neymar after the club’s signing of Alexis Sanchez didn’t live up to the billing.
The Chilean international has scored just once in 10 appearances for the Red Devils, and Mourinho has let it be known that he wasn’t pleased with the player after United crashed out of the UEFA Champions League against Sevilla.
Meanwhile, Pogba’s relationship with the Portuguese manager has been anything but steady in their time together at Old Trafford, making the reality of the French midfielder leaving Manchester a strong one.
Nothing has been indicated for certain that Neymar will leave PSG following the World Cup in Russia, but all signs are pointing to the currently-injured attacker moving from the Parc des Princes.
Various nations are still mourning their failure of missing out on the 2018 World Cup, but arguably none bigger than powerhouse Italy.
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The Azzurri, who lost to Sweden in a UEFA playoff series in 2017, will not take part in soccer’s most-prestigious competition in Russia for the first time since 1958.
Former manager Gian Piero Ventura has received heavy criticism for the nation’s failure, and stepped down from his role as head coach immediately after Italy’s dismissal from World Cup qualifying.
A familiar face could now be in line to replace Ventura though, as Football Italia reports that Chelsea manager Antonio Conte could make a return to the Azzurri.
Conte remains under contract at Stamford Bridge, however, Chelsea’s dip in form this season after winning the title in 2016/17 has many speculating that the Italian won’t survive to coach the Blues next year.
Meanwhile, Italian legend Andrea Pirlo has also expressed his interest in joining the technical staff if Conte is appointed.
The two have a close history together from their days with the national team and at Juventus.
In addition to Conte, Carlo Ancelotti is reportedly being considered for the job as well, and Pirlo is believed to be willing to join the managerial staff is the former Bayern Munich coach is hired.
A former Sevilla star is training in MLS, as the veteran midfielder looks to continue his career stateside.
Diego Capel was spotted training with the Seattle Sounders on Thursday, despite club manager Brian Schmetzer initially playing coy on who the player was.
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“We have a player that’s in camp,” Schmetzer said. “He’s a good player. He’s probably worn the number 10 in his career. Maybe as a youth player. Maybe it’s just a player borrowing Nico’s jersey.”
The Sounders have suffered several major injuries in their attack to start the 2018 MLS season, which also contributed to the team’s derailment in the CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinals.
While Capel traditionally has played on the wing throughout his career, the Sounders could use all the help they can get in the attacking third.
Jordan Morris has already been ruled out for the season with an ACL tear, while Nicolas Lodeiro and Will Bruin are currently sidelined for the club with respective injuries.
Capel came up through the ranks of Sevilla, while also playing for notable European sides such as Sporting Lisbon and Anderlecht.
The 30-year-old last played for the Belgian side in 2017, but has been a free agent since.
A roundup of Friday’s international friendlies….
England suffered an early setback in Holland after Joe Gomez limped off the pitch with an injury. However, the Three Lions bounced back with a 1-0 victory when Jesse Lingard struck after halftime.
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A drastic second-half turnaround for Colombia gave the South American side a 3-2 victory over France. Olivier Giroud and Thomas Lemar had Les Bleus out in front in the first half with a 2-0 lead, but the Colombians responded with three unanswered finishes to grab the win.
Mohamed Salah‘s second-half strike wasn’t enough to pace Egypt due to Cristiano Ronaldo’s late brace for Portugal (his 80th and 81st international goals), while Victor Moses‘ penalty kick helped Nigeria top Poland.
Meanwhile, Brazil picked up a convincing 3-0 win over this summer’s hosts Russia. Barcelona teammates Philippe Coutinho and Paulinho each scored in the second half, after Miranda opened the scoring for the Selecao.
Germany and Spain settled for an exciting 1-1 draw, while Argentina topped Italy, 2-0, without Lionel Messi or Sergio Aguero in the lineup.
Below are all the scores from today’s friendlies involving teams that will play in Russia this summer.
Portugal 2-1 Egypt
Argentina 2-0 Italy
Germany 1-1 Spain
Netherlands 0-1 England
Poland 0-1 Nigeria
Scotland 0-1 Costa Rica
France 2-3 Colombia
Uruguay 2-0 Czech Republic
Japan 1-1 Mali
Russia 0-3 Brazil
Saudi Arabia 1-1 Ukraine
Greece 0-1 Switzerland
Tunisia 1-0 Iran
Serbia 1-2 Morocco
Peru vs. Croatia — 8:30 p.m. ET
Mexico vs. Iceland — 10 p.m. ET