The North American Soccer League Board of Governors has OK’d expansion to both Jacksonville, FL and Oklahoma City, OK as the NASL continues to grow along with MLS.
The two cities beat out two other unnamed cities for the bids, and will join the NASL for the start of the 2015 season.
The Sunshine Soccer Group led the Jacksonville bid as the city becomes the third to house a team within the state of Florida. SSG is led by Mark Frisch and former FC Dallas goalkeeper Dario Sala.
Frish said after hearing of their successful bid, “I am very grateful for all the support from the city and the fans leading up to this day. I know the fans out there have been waiting for this moment for a long time. I cannot wait to go out and meet them all personally and talk the beautiful game of soccer in Jacksonville.”
“I have seen first hand the desire the Jacksonville community has for a professional soccer team to call its own and believe this is a great move for soccer in Florida” added NASL commissioner Bill Peterson.
The addition of an NASL team in Jacksonville is the second boost for the sport in the city in the last month. Two weeks ago Jaguars owner purchased Premier League side Fulham and announced they will play at least one friendly at EverBank Stadium within the next year.
OKC Pro Soccer LLC, led by businessman Tim McLaughlin, ran the Oklahoma City bid. McLaughlin announced the group will refurbish Taft Stadium to play in, where Northwest Classen High School and John Marshall High School both play.
Commissioner Peterson commended the patience the city showed in developing their bid. “The Board of Governors has recognized a carefully crafted bid from OKC Pro Soccer LLC, who waited patiently to build a strong platform that will ensure NASL soccer thrives in Oklahoma City.”
The NASL has gone all-in on expansion recently. The New York Cosmos will return for the second half of this season as the league returns to eight teams, while three more will be added for next year (Ottawa, Virginia, Indianapolis) before these two join in 2015.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic has announced his arrival in Major League Soccer in a typically understated fashion…
The big question surrounding Zlatan’s arrival at the LA GAlaxy on a two-year deal is if he can still produce goals on a regular basis following his serious knee injury last year which kept him out for eight months and continued to hamper him this season at Manchester United.
Yet another question is intriguing to many: where does the 36-year-old stack up in terms of the biggest signings in MLS’ 23-year history?
It’s an intriguing question to ponder and despite Zlatan’s status as one of the most recognizable players on the planet, the impact he will have on MLS will be determined on what he produces on the pitch. Some of the other star names who previously arrived haven’t produced star moments, even if they remained stars after their retirement.
With the Designated Player era ushered in by David Beckham in 2007 (Zlatan reportedly won’t be a DP and will received close to $3 million per year via TAM) many stars have come and gone in MLS with varying degrees of success. It isn’t an exact science as you need big name players to buy into the different challenges MLS brings up and, in essence, almost adapt their own games and reinvent themselves a little.
Some of the biggest names have struggled massively, while others have excelled and even elevated their previous status among the U.S. and global soccer community due to their play in MLS.
Below is a look where Zlatan’s arrival currently ranks in terms of the superstars to come to the U.S., with his ranking no doubt set to rise if he bangs in goals and keeps up his impressive artistry of the English language off the pitch.
Remember: below is a ranking of the top overseas stars to arrive in MLS during the DP era, so there are no U.S. national team or Canadian national team players because Michael Bradley, Clint Dempsey, Jozy Altidore, Landon Donovan and others would all be in this list otherwise.
Let’s be clear, we are talking about big-name overseas stars who have arrived as much for their superstar status off the pitch as well as their obvious playing talent to help the status of the league grow. We are focusing on the star power in the list below, with current MLS players in bold.
- David Beckham (LA Galaxy)
- Sebastian Giovinco (Toronto FC)
- Zlatan Ibrahimovic (LA Galaxy)
- Robbie Keane (LA Galaxy)
- David Villa (New York City FC)
- Thierry Henry (New York Red Bulls)
- Bradley Wright-Phillips (New York Red Bulls)
- Diego Valeri (Portland Timbers)
- Tim Cahill (New York Red Bulls)
- Didier Drogba (Montreal Impact)
- Juan Pablo Angel (New York Red Bulls, Chivas USA, LA Galaxy)
- Nemanja Nikolic (Chicago Fire)
- Miguel Almiron (Atlanta United)
- Carlos Vela (LAFC)
- Bastian Schweinsteiger (Chicago Fire)
- Federico Higuain (Columbus Crew SC)
- Ignacio Piatti (Montreal Impact)
- Frank Lampard (New York City FC)
- Fredy Montero (Seattle Sounders, Vancouver Whitecaps)
- Kaka (Orlando City SC)
- Jermain Defoe (Toronto FC)
- Steven Gerrard (LA Galaxy)
- Giovani dos Santos (LA Galaxy)
- Andrea Pirlo (New York City FC)
- Rafael Marquez (New York Red Bulls)
ZURICH (AP) The United States remains at the top of the FIFA women’s rankings after winning the SheBelieves Cup, and England moved ahead of Germany into second.
The Americans went unbeaten in the four-team round-robin tournament they hosted this month.
England, which lost the final game 1-0 to the Americans, finished runner-up and climbed one ranking place Friday.
Germany dropped to No. 3 after a last-place finish that cost coach Steffi Jones her job. The Germans were ranked in the top two for almost 10 years.
Canada and 2019 World Cup host France each rose one place to Nos. 4 and 5, respectively. Australia fell two to No. 6.
North Korea climbed one place to No. 10, and No. 11 Japan fell out of the top 10 for the first time since 2007.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic has arrived in Major League Soccer.
The veteran striker terminated his contract at Manchester United earlier this week and the 36-year-old Swede will reportedly signed a two-year deal worth over $3 million per season with the LA Galaxy.
He confirmed that the Galaxy will be his club on Friday by taking out a full page advert in the LA Times in typically sarcastic fashion.
Zlatan kept it short and sweet, as the Galaxy’s new No. 9 will certainly be a blast in MLS, just for his off-the-field antics alone.
Usain Bolt has taken part in his first proper training session with Borussia Dortmund’s first team as he continues to chase his dream of being a professional soccer player.
The eight-time Olympic champion, who retired as a sprinter earlier in 2017 after the World Championships, is on a two-day tryout with Dortmund which many are merely saying is a publicly stunt.
Yet with Dortmund allowing Bolt, 31, the chance to train with first team stars on Friday it may be a little more than just a chance for media members to flock to watch Dortmund in an open training session. Given the fact that Dortmund are sponsored by Puma, the same sponsor Bolt has, many are connecting the dots and it was a laid back training session on Friday as Bolt spent plenty of time signing autographs after scoring a header and a penalty kick.
Remember: Bolt is a lifelong Manchester United and has mentioned many times over the years that he would like to turn to professional soccer.
Earlier this month he announced he will captain a World XI at Old Trafford in a UNICEF charity game in June 2018, with Bolt teasing the planet on social media by saying he had signed for a soccer team. With his speed, power and size, is it really that far-fetched to think he could be a good targetman if he can sort out his hold up play and work on his endurance to last 90 minutes?
Watch the videos below as the Jamaican superstar scored a pretty solid PK, took part in training and obviously had most of Dortmund’s star players, such as Mario Gotze and Nuri Sahin, in awe.
Let’s see what the future holds for Bolt, but this is probably little more than Peter Stoeger and Dortmund having a longstanding offer accepted by Bolt to train with them. Maybe he could turn out for Dortmund’s reserve squad in a scrimmage and go from there?