San Jose Earthquakes hire Jesse Fioranelli as new general manager

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The San Jose Earthquakes have announced their new GM, and it’s a surprising one.

Jesse Fioranelli, who has most recently served as an executive at AS Roma, was announced as the new general manager on Thursday. According to a report by ESPN, Fioranelli beat out a litany of other candidates, including US U-20 manager Tab Ramos and current Earthquakes interim GM Chris Leitch.

Fioranelli, who was born in Maryland and went to college in Switzerland, has an analytics background, serving on the analytics and recruitment staff of Serie A club Lazio for three years prior to joining Roma in 2015. He has also spent time on the analytics staff of Turkish club Samsunspor. Fioranelli has also worked a number of years as an agent.

The club also announced that Leitch will remain on the staff as technical director, transitioning back to the role he held before being tabbed as interim general manager.

This hire is surprising not only given Fioranelli’s inexperience in the coaching/managerial realm, but also given the other candidates. Ramos is thought of as a rising talent in the managerial and personnel world, and according to the ESPN report, the other finalists included former Sunderland sporting director Lee Congerton and current Mexico Football Federation director of youth national teams Dennis te Kloese.

“We are excited to welcome Jesse to the Quakes family,” Earthquakes president Dave Kaval said in the release. “He has a tremendous, well-rounded resume that immediately impressed us and we believe the team’s technical side is in excellent hands moving forward. The search to find a general manager proved to be lengthy, but we’re happy that the thorough process has led us to a candidate of Jesse’s quality.”

France veteran Malouda loses appeal in Gold Cup case

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LAUSANNE, Switzerland (AP) Former France winger Florent Malouda has lost his appeal against being ruled ineligible to play for French Guiana at the 2017 Gold Cup.

The Court of Arbitration for Sport says its judges dismissed Malouda’s appeal against North American soccer body CONCACAF.

French Guiana fielded Malouda in a 0-0 draw against Honduras last July despite being told he was not eligible. CONCACAF awarded a 3-0 win to Honduras and suspended Malouda.

The Gold Cup uses FIFA eligibility rules which bar players from transferring allegiance after playing a competitive game for one country.

Malouda played 80 times for France including a 2006 World Cup final loss against Italy.

The French Guiana soccer federation hoped Malouda, now aged 37, could play in the Gold Cup because it is not a FIFA member.

Report: Bobby Wood unlikely to come to MLS this summer

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A U.S. Men’s National Team forward will probably have to wait a bit longer to come to Major League Soccer if that is the path that he chooses.

Reports have recently surfaced linking Bobby Wood to MLS at the conclusion of the Bundesliga season, however, MLSSoccer.com is reporting that a move for the American likely won’t come in 2018.

Wood, who remains under contract for three more seasons at Hamburg, is currently fighting relegation in Germany with his club side.

Hamburg currently sits 17th in the German top flight, eight points buried in the relegation zone with four matches remaining.

The MLSSoccer.com report suggests that MLS clubs aren’t willing to compensate Wood at the current rate of his contract in Germany.

Currently, Wood is making “several million dollars” per season, and even if Hamburg is relegated in 2017/18 Wood’s contract wouldn’t decrease to a number that clubs are comfortable paying.

If Wood was to join MLS, he would be considered a Discovery signing as he is not currently on the MLS player allocation list. The Washington Post previously reported that an MLS club has Wood included on their Discovery list, although the team’s identity isn’t known.

Report: Fellaini eyes MLS, China after shooting down Man United terms

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Marouane Fellaini‘s time in Manchester looks to be numbered, and a move abroad could have the Belgian in line for one last payday during his career.

The Manchester United midfielder has rejected multiple offers to stay on at Old Trafford ahead of his contract expiring this summer, which would allow Fellaini to pursue other opportunities come June.

Fellaini is being linked to moves to Major League Soccer and the Chinese Super League, as the veteran aims to secure a sizable contract upon leaving the Red Devils after over five-and-a-half years with the club.

The Daily Mail is also reporting that Fellaini would be open to hearing options that could keep him in the Premier League, although it is unclear if there is any serious interest from English sides at this time.

Since the arrivals of Paul Pogba and Nemanja Matic, Fellaini has struggled to find playing time under manager Jose Mourinho.

This season, the Belgium international has appeared in just 14 PL matches and 19 in all competitions. Fellaini has scored four goals in that span.

Chicago Fire venue to be renamed SeatGeek Stadium

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The Chicago Fire won’t be moving into a new stadium 2019, however, their venue will have a new name donned on the side of it.

For years, the Eastern Conference side has played its home matches at Toyota Park in Bridgeview, Illinois, but starting next season the Fire’s home turf will be called SeatGeek Stadium as part of a rebrand.

SeatGeek is one of the largest online after-market ticket distributors, and was created back in 2009.

Toyota Park will undergo its transformation at the conclusion of the 2018 MLS season.

The venue is also home to the NWSL’s Chicago Red Stars.