On the importance of Houston Dynamo contract talks with a couple of workaday types

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While we all keep close tabs on Thierry Henry’s retirement plans, on the U.S. national team big-timers and how much time they might miss in upcoming MLS matters, on the high-profile D.C. United rebuild, on Jermain Defoe and other namey name scorers … the Houston Dynamo will quietly go about its humble business.

And in October, playoff previews will once again include the Houston Dynamo.

The club never seems to make terribly big personnel news. Rather, it makes personnel news in smaller, more modest increments.

They add a quality player – but maybe not one that’s going to make the average soccer fan run to tell the neighbors about. They draft and develop, as well, as a season or two of practices under Dominic Kinnear drives home the good tenets of smart, team play.

So we should be smart about it and take note when spotting a story like this, one alerting that talks are ongoing on contract extensions for forward Will Bruin and right back Kofi Sarkodie. That’s according to Dynamo president Chris Canetti.

No, Bruin (pictured) won’t make the United States national team’s World Cup roster, although he has spent some time in Jurgen Klinsmann’s national team camps over the last two years. But at the end of 2014, barring injuries, he’ll have 10-12 goals, not bad at all for a fourth year striker of relatively modest wages.

Sarkodie keeps getting better and better, now into the top half of MLS right backs. And with a full season of starts behind him (in 2013), he should have the confidence and the ability to begin merging into the top five at his position.

We talk a lot about the Tim Cahills and Robbie Keanes and such. And we should. But in terms of building a quality, balanced team, figures like Bruin and Sarkodi are quite important, too.

 

FIFA fines Qatar after players’ political support for Emir

Photo by Philipp Schmidli/Getty Images
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ZURICH (AP) FIFA has fined Qatar’s soccer federation after national team players breached rules against political statements by displaying T-shirts of the country’s Emir at a World Cup qualifier.

FIFA says its disciplinary panel imposed a 50,000 Swiss francs ($51,800) fine and reprimanded Qatar, the 2022 World Cup host.

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The incident happened in Doha on June 13, amid a dispute with regional rivals Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates.

Qatar’s players warmed up for a 3-2 win over South Korea wearing white T-shirts with an image of Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani to show their support for him.

FIFA says the charges related to “displaying a political image” and “political displays” by spectators.

Report: USMNT’s Arriola drawing transfer interest abroad, in MLS

AP Photo/LM Otero
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Paul Arriola’s motor was constantly running as the United States men’s national team claimed its sixth Gold Cup title, and it could drive him all the way from Club Tijuana to Europe or a prime spot on an MLS roster.

There’s a snag, though.

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Arriola is reportedly wanted by Real Salt Lake and clubs in both the Netherlands and Portugal, but the LA Galaxy has what Goal.com describes a “dubious homegrown player” claim on Arriola, who participated in a minimal of practices with the Galaxy when he was younger.

As you’ll see below, there isn’t much “homegrown” about it and, to its critics, it is peak MLS monopolized tomfoolery. Here’s how Goal describes it:

“He was already a U.S. youth national team player when he traveled the 120 miles from Chula Vista to take part in a handful of training sessions with the LA Galaxy academy and eventually the Galaxy first team.

“The Galaxy are believed to hold a homegrown player claim on Arriola, and would have the right of first refusal on making Arriola an offer if he comes to MLS. The Galaxy’s current salary-cap situation might not allow them to make a serious bid for Arriola.”

But… here’s how the Galaxy described his choosing to sign for TJ instead of a pro deal from LA in 2013:

“It’s a little disappointing,” Galaxy technical director Jovan Kirovski told MLSsoccer.com by phone on Friday. “He went through our system, we offered him a contract and he decided to move on and go somewhere else. But that’s going to happen. It’s something that has happened before, and it’s something that will happen again.”

Arriola’s response in the same article? “I thank the Galaxy for giving me a wonderful opportunity to train with their first team and be a part of their first team which really taught me a lot.” That doesn’t read as much like he “went through their system.” He played in at least one U-18 game, debuting in October 2012, did more training with TJ in December 2012, and signed for the Mexican side in May 2013.

Should that qualify him as Homegrown?

https://www.transfermarkt.com/paul-arriola/leistungsdaten/spieler/189876

Did Arriola spent significant time with LA, or is it possible the Galaxy might reap rewards from having an already established youth national teamer to practice when he was a kid? Whether you’re okay with that or not, consider that it encourages clubs to pilfer rights without actually registering or training the player.

Not to mention there is no guarantee that playing in the Netherlands or Portugal will be better for his development than MLS. Benfica or Ajax and potential action in European tournaments? Maybe. NAC Breda or Tondela? Maybe not.

Nevermind the quagmire that is American youth soccer clubs’ not earning money from transfer fees, the Arriola drama seems baseless. We don’t know the Galaxy will hold the player hostage, but they would actually be depriving MLS of a talent, as LA would theoretically get nothing should TJ sell him to a European club.

In any event, check out Arriola’s use chart from Tijuana and you’ll see why he’s valued by Bruce Arena as well as his suitors. He’s a Swiss Army Knife. Here’s hoping Tinseltown doesn’t stop him from a proper next step (assuming he’s ready to leave Liga MX).