Pablo Mastroeni announces retirement from professional soccer

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LA Galaxy and former US Men’s National Team midfielder Pablo Mastroeni announced today that he is retiring from the game.

The 37-year-old leaves a legacy that includes a Supporters Shield in 2001, a MLS Cup championship in 2010 with the Colorado Rapids, nine MLS All-Star appearances and two World Cups.

In his 16 year career, Mastroeni appeared in 334 regular season games and started 316 of them.

“After spending the last 16 years playing in Major League Soccer and with the U.S. National Team, I have decided that this is the appropriate time to retire from the game,” Mastroeni said. “I am honored to have spent my entire professional club career playing in MLS and I now look forward to watching this league continue to grow as I begin the next stage of my life.”

Mastroeni ended his career with the LA Galaxy, to whom he was traded in mid June and went on to play nine regular season matches and three CONCACAF Champions League games. Prior to that he spent 11 years with the Rapids, where he went in 2001 after the Miami Fusion were contracted.

Mastroeni spent four years with the Fusion, where he was drafted 2nd overall following a successful college career at North Carolina State. In Miami he appeared in 100 regular season games while in 2001 he earned a spot on the MLS Best XI while helping the Fusion claim the Supporters’ Shield.

He will be best known for the contributions he made at Colorado and the USMNT. At the Rapids, he set club records in games played (225), minutes played (18,669) and was selected the club’s Most Valuable Player in 2007, 2008 and 2010. For the US, he collected 65 caps, 50 of which came under Bruce Arena, playing in three games at the 2002 World Cup in Japan/Korea and two games at the 2006 World Cup in Germany.

“We’d like to congratulate Pablo on his 16-year professional career,” said LA Galaxy General Manager and Head Coach Bruce Arena. “Pablo is a special player who made every team he was on better. His presence, work ethic and enthusiasm for the game made him a successful player on both the club and National Team level. We wish Pablo well in the next step of his career.”

Mastroeni is the latest in a string of iconic MLS players who have announced their retirement this year, joining Houston Dynamo striker Brian Ching, San Jose Earthquakes defender Ramiro Corrales, former Galaxy keeper Kevin Hartman and  Sporting KC keeper Jimmy Nielsen.

Where Mastroeni chooses to go from here has yet to be determined but given his leadership skills, a future in coaching would seem a strong possibility.

 

Rashford’s childhood hero played for USMNT (Take one guess)

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But can he grow a beard?

Manchester United attacker Marcus Rashford is known for his darting runs and clever finishes, but he grew up begging to get between the sticks with a lot of love for an American.

“Howard was my idol. I used to have a little Tim Howard shirt.”

[ MORE: Dempsey still wants USMNT role ]

Rashford said he’d ask his youth coach to allow him to play goal so he could mimic his hero, who at the time was the Manchester United backstop and now USMNT legend.

The 20-year-old was nine when Howard left Old Trafford, but it hasn’t changed his enjoyment for tending goal. Rashford joked that he’s got to be the choice to replace David De Gea in case of a post-sub emergency.

Watch Live: Watford vs. West Ham United

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David Moyes‘ first match in charge of West Ham United sees a striker change at Vicarage Road against testy Watford (Watch live at 11 a.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com).

WATCH LIVE, ONLINE, HERE

Andy Carroll will be up top, and Andre Ayew is hurt to boot.

Marco Silva leads Watford’s hosts with Adrian Mariappa, Christian Kabasele, and Miguel Britos at the back of a 3-5-2.

LINEUPS

Watford: Gomes; Mariappa, Kabasele, Britos; Femenía, Cleverley, Doucouré, Zeegelaar; Hughes, Richarlison; Gray. Subs: Karnezis, Prödl, Holebas, Capoue, Pereyra, Carrillo, Okaka.

West Ham United: Hart, Zabaleta, Reid, Ogbonna, Cresswell, Noble, Kouyate, Obiang, Arnautovic, Lanzini, Carroll. Subs: Adrian, Masuaku, Rice, Fernandes, Quina, Sakho, Martinez.

Dempsey still happy to accept USMNT role (which is good)

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Clint Dempsey is tied with Landon Donovan for the most goals in USMNT history, and seems set to continue with the side in some capacity as he threatens to stand alone in American history.

[ MLS: Steve Bruce to Miami? ]

The 34-year-old striker spoke with Steve Zakuani on the Sounders’ web site (video below) and said he’s happy to accept continued call-ups should they arrive from USSF headquarters.

From SoundersFC.com:

“We’ll see what happens,” Dempsey said.” I mean, in terms of what I’ve been able to accomplish with the national team, I’m at peace with it. It’s not really about me. It’s about a group of guys that want to be moving forward.

“If there’s an opportunity that comes where you get to play a role and try to help and I’m feeling good and I’m playing well, then yeah, you’ll never say no. But you know, if the call never comes I’m still happy, still at peace, and focused on being here and trying to make the most of the time I have left.”

There are a number of players whose national team futures should be in question, but Dempsey is in a different class. No one has debated his motor or fuel, and his engine is still there (to complete the Springsteen-esque car comparisons, he remains one of the only things that qualifiers as chrome-wheeled, fuel-injected, and steppin’ out over the line).

If anything, he plays too close to the edge. That’s not something I see as one of the Yanks’ problems right now, so perhaps Dempsey needs to be viewed like Cuauhtemoc Blanco or Carlos Ruiz as a CONCACAF guy who’s around as long as he wants to be a part of it.

I mean, shoot, if Dempsey wants to keep passing the fire to Christian Pulisic and now Weston McKennie, there are far worse ambassadors for the program. He’s the most accomplished field player in recent history, and will be able to share so much when it comes to balancing club and country.

Heck, maybe he needs to be the late era Ryan Giggs of the 2018-2022 USMNT.

Beckham reportedly wants Steve Bruce in Miami

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He’s got the same initials as South Beach, you know?

Steve Bruce is being tipped to be the first manager of David Beckham’s Miami MLS outfit, according to The Sun.

[ MORE: Saturday’s PL roundup ]

It’s going to be some time before Bruce would have the opportunity. The 56-year-old former Manchester United star has Aston Villa in a Football League Championship promotion push, and Miami does not even have a start date for life on an MLS pitch.

Of course, managerial life tends to be short, so there’s no guarantee Bruce will have a job at any point during the build-up to Miami in MLS. And several expansion clubs have named their coach very early in the team building process (Jason Kreis and Bob Bradley amongst others).

Bruce on MLS’ parity-driven playing field, if not as one of the big spenders, would be intriguing to watch. He’s a terrific man motivator and has the connections to combine with Beckham to make something special happen in terms of personnel.