The North American Soccer League may be on the verge of collapse, but it’s sticking with it’s M.O. to be different than Major League Soccer and the United Soccer League.
The NASL announced on Monday morning that it would be adopting the “international calendar,” with a league season running from August 11, 2018 through June 1, 2019, while at the same time stating that the upcoming NASL spring season was cancelled, due to ongoing litigation between the league and the U.S. Soccer Federation over U.S. Soccer Division 2 sanctioning.
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The NASL’s announcement is short on details, other than the start and close dates of the season, about whether (surely) there’d be a winter break and how the season would be formatted, with a fall and spring season again or not. While one can imagine soccer being played through the winter in California and Florida, it would be hard to imagine fans in New York or Indiana attending soccer matches outdoors between late November and March.
One long-time complaint from American soccer fans is that for the league to be truly competitive, it needs to adopt the international calendar, so that players in Europe won’t have to leave their clubs in the middle of the season or join an American club in the middle of its season. Brazil has similar issues, though most of South America operates like the NASL, with a opening and closed season and breaks in between both.
It appears that this is a big public relations statement. With the NASL teetering on collapse after the departures of North Carolina both San Francisco and FC Edmonton folding, the league is on its last legs. Even one of the league’s most ardent supporters, Indy Eleven, appears ready to move to MLS based on recent reports.
It remains to be seen whether the NASL will make it to August. With no spring season, many of the team’s players will start to look for new homes, as MLS and USL teams now get to pick from the best of a large pool of players available.
GENEVA (AP) FIFA is forcing the pace on talks over a $25 billion offer to revamp the Club World Cup and create a global national team competition.
FIFA says President Gianni Infantino hosted a meeting last Friday with invited officials from some top European clubs.
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The European Club Association has strongly opposed FIFA’s hope for a four-yearly club tournament starting in 2021, which could rival the UEFA-organized Champions League.
UEFA has also proposed a Global Nations League. A similar project is tied to the FIFA-controlled $25 billion, 12-year offer from a consortium including investors from Saudi Arabia and China.
FIFA says it’s holding “informal ongoing discussions with different stakeholders on the topic of the future Club World Cups.”
Infantino is set to meet confederation presidents and general secretaries “in the near future,” FIFA says.
On many occasions there are instances where teams and individuals exemplify the fact that real-life occurrences are more meaningful than sports.
Ahead of Tuesday’s UEFA Champions League meeting, Italian giants AS Roma visited Anfield –where they will face Liverpool in the competition’s semifinals.
After walking around the venue where the two sides will compete in less than 24 hours, Roma captain Daniele de Rossi and the rest of the Roma squad visited the Hillsborough memorial at Anfield to pay tribute to the 96 victims lost in the 1989 event that rocked the entire country.
De Rossi was seen laying a floral arrangement on the site, along with a note from the club that read, “In memoria delle vittime di Hillsborough AS Rome.”
Four clubs remain in this season’s UEFA Champions League competition, and while two of the teams have been considered heavy dogs in the fight all year long the other two sides look to continue on their storybook run.
Liverpool, Roma, Bayern Munich and Real Madrid have found themselves in the semifinals of this season’s UCL, creating a strong mix of storylines as the tournament heads towards its most critical point.
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Anfield will be the site for Tuesday’s first leg between Liverpool and Roma, with both sides still riding major highs from their victories in the last round.
The Reds enter the final four after having disposed of fellow Premier League side Manchester City in relatively dominating fashion. Meanwhile, Roma completed a seemingly impossible comeback against Barcelona to progress in the competition.
Liverpool is led by three of the year’s top goalscorers, including Mohamed Salah — who has scored eight goals in the UCL and 41 across all competitions.
For Roma, much of the side’s success has been predicated on finding defensive strength at the right moments throughout the tournament.
Despite falling behind 4-1 in their first leg defeat to Barca in the previous round, Edin Dzeko and Co. rallied for a 3-0 win at the Stade Olimpico to stun the Catalan club by holding Lionel Messi and his side in check.
Manager Eusebio Di Francesco will have to find creative ways to halt the Liverpool attack though over the course of two legs, with the Reds boasting the top attack in this year’s UCL.
Liverpool has scored 33 goals in 10 UCL matches, while only conceding seven in the process.
The prospects for a goalkeeper scoring during a match are usually uncommon, but that hasn’t halted Manchester City’s number one choice from aiming to break the trend this season.
Ederson — who has moved into the starting role at the Etihad Stadium with relative ease in 2017/18 — has dreamt of scoring a goal of his own for the Premier League champions in waiting.
“I heard the fans chanting my name, asking me to take the penalty but Gabriel went there,” Ederson said. “Unfortunately he missed it and Bernardo happily scored. But if the manager have asked me to go there, definitely I’d score.
“I’m not sure if I would be able to do set-pieces, but I’m good at penalties, either using power or technique on shooting it. But City have [their] regular penalty-takers and we are well-served.
Citizen supporters chanted for the goalkeeper to take a penalty kick over the weekend in the team’s 5-0 win over Swansea City.
However, Gabriel Jesus was the man selected for the opportunity, but had his attempt saved by Lukasz Fabianski before Bernardo Silva was in the right spot to score the game’s fifth goal.
“If Pep asks me to take it, I’m there,” Ederson said of the penalty kick. “Hopefully it will happen [before the end of the season], I’d like to score.”
This isn’t the first time Ederson has discussed exploring opportunities outside of the net, though.
The Brazilian shot-stopper has long been a fan of former Brazil international goalkeeper Rogero Ceni — who scored 65 goals for club side Sao Paolo.
Earlier this season, the 24-year-old joked around with the media, saying that he’d be more than happy to fill a role in the midfield when City was experiencing some injury issues within the squad.