King Conrad

King Conrad, and other funny or meaningful moments from MLS All-Star’s morning practice

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KANSAS CITY – Happily, Major League Soccer’s top performers don’t take themselves too seriously when it comes to the All-Star happenings. MLS manager Peter Vermes put his team through a short workout at Sporting Park. Here were some of the light-moment highlights:

  • MLS men were taking the field as Roma was finishing its workout. When it comes to the U.S. press and Roma, it’s all about Michael Bradley, naturally. Only about three or four other Roma men are comfortable with interviews in English, so the U.S. midfielder has been extra accommodating. Even Landon Donovan had a nice little chat with Bradley, off to the side as reporters finished up with other Roma men.
  • KICK TV’s Jimmy Conrad, who spent eight years in this city, has declared himself the King of Kansas City. So he donned the king’s cape and asked a few players, well, some kingly questions, I suppose. (That’s the photo above right; but you probably had that sorted out already.)
  • Former U.S. international Desmond Armstrong was at the workout, and even got a little stadium walkthrough from Vermes. Armstrong is doing a documentary on the United States team in qualifying for World Cup 1990 in Italy.
  • Matt Besler was a good sport when one camera crew asked the Sporting KC man to read aloud a few Italian phrases written on large pieces of paper. I mean, sure! What could possibly go wrong with something like that?

(MORE: Vermes and the headache of with managing All-Star minutes)


  • Will Johnson, among the league MVP candidates for all he means to first-place Portland, must be one of the nicest men in the league. As he spoke to a few reporters, Chris Wondolowski was doing the same about five steps away. He’s another captain in this ship of mostly very nice guys.
  • Just getting the practice in registered as a meaningful moment following Monday’s cancelled sessions. Rain on Tuesday threatened the workouts, as stadium officials were understandably concerned about the field. The rain had mostly passed by the practice time, and forecasts call for a nicer day on Wednesday.
  • I’m not sure how, but Sporting KC man Aurelien Collin manages to keep his shorts hiked up in that silly way, even while he plays. Must be a French fashion secret or something.
  • Marco Di Viao absolutely blistered a one-time volley off a long cross (that’s not easy, of course), about three minutes into the 10-v-10 scrimmage to finish Tuesday’s short practice. It flew past Nick Rimando, drawing a few celebratory oohs and aws from impressed teammates.

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.