U.S. Soccer

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NASL reportedly declined Division II status by USSF

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The North American Soccer League (NASL) has been hanging by a thread for some time now, and the latest news regarding the league could be far worse for it’s short-term future.

According to FiftyFive.One, the U.S. Soccer Federation has declined NASL’s bid to remain at Division II status in the U.S. Soccer pyramid, meaning that the league would have to drop down to D III or possibly fold completely.

[ MORE: USMNT faces a must-win against Honduras ]

The reported decision isn’t completely surprising given NASL’s poor attendance numbers and overall lack of league growth, however, nothing has been made clear yet as to why it wouldn’t be granted D II status for another year.

If NASL does in fact have to drop down to D III, it would likely join USL Division III, which is tabbed to begin its venture in the North American soccer pyramid in 2019.

Heading into 2017, NASL lost five clubs prior to the start of the Spring Season. The Fort Lauderdale Strikers and Rayo OKC folded completely, while Minnesota United (MLS), the Tampa Bay Rowdies (USL) and Ottawa Fury (USL) each moved on to new leagues.

The San Francisco Deltas were the league’s lone addition for 2017, although NASL is set to add two more California-based club’s next year with the arrivals of California United FC and an unnamed San Diego team owned by Eden Hazard, Demba Ba and others.

FiftyFive.One is also reporting that North Carolina FC, Indy Eleven and the two new California sides are all considering the possibility of joining USL next season with NASL’s future very uncertain.

VIDEO: Giovanni Reyna stars for USYNT with goal, assists

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Seldom is a U-15 match truly worth national attention, but it certainly deserves eyes when the player who stars in the Stars and Stripes happens to be the son of USMNT royalty.

Giovanni Reyna is going to be known as Claudio Reyna’s son for some time, but if he keeps up starring roles like his goal and two assist performance against Panama in the CONCACAF U-15 Championship, Claudio will move into “Giovanni Reyna’s dad” status at some point.

[ MORE: Another American teen making Bundesliga name ]

That’s way down the line considering “Dad” is an American pioneer with 112 caps, eight goals and a career with Manchester City, Rangers, Sunderland, Bayer Leverkusen, Wolfsburg, and New York Red Bulls, but worth noting nonetheless.

Reyna’s goal was an absolute stunner:

And here are his two assists, putting Mexico on notice for Saturday morning’s final.

USWNT to host South Korea twice in October exhibitions

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CHICAGO (AP) The U.S. women’s soccer team will host South Korea in a pair of exhibitions in October.

The teams will play Oct. 19 in New Orleans and meet three days later in Cary, North Carolina, the U.S. Soccer Federation said Monday.

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The U.S. previously announced friendlies against New Zealand on Sept. 15 at Commerce City, Colorado, and Sept. 19 at Cincinnati. There also are home-and-home exhibitions against Canada, on Nov. 9 at Vancouver, British Columbia, and Nov. 12 at a U.S. site not yet announced.

American goalkeeper Hope Solo looks to revive career abroad

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AMSTERDAM (AP) American goalkeeper Hope Solo is looking to resume playing and says she had had offers to play overseas.

[ MORE: Carli Lloyd talks time at Man City, USWNT plans and more ]

Solo was handed a six-month suspension and her contract with U.S. Soccer was terminated last year following the Rio de Janeiro Olympics after she called Sweden’s team “cowards” for their defensive style of play against the Americans.

Since the abrupt break in her career, the 36-year-old Solo has focused on recovering from shoulder replacement surgery.

“Let’s be clear, a goalkeeper peaks a little bit later in their career, so I feel like I have many years ahead of me if that opportunity arises,” Solo said in an interview Monday. “I’m very happy with my career should I walk away from the game today, but I’m not one to retire. I have not retired.”

Even before her Olympic outburst, Solo was at odds with American soccer leadership as she lobbied for women’s players to earn equitable salaries to the male national team players.

“My contract got terminated because of my fight for equal pay with the United States Soccer Federation,” Solo said. “I’m not sure until the lawsuit is over, that anything will change that. In the meantime I’ve had great opportunities and great contract offers to go back overseas and play. Possibly you’ll see me overseas next year.”

Especially as Solo, who played in Sweden and France in 2004 and 2005, said her “shoulder is doing great.”

“I have a completely metal arm now – I’m bionic,” she said. “I’m better now than I have been in the last 10 years so I’m pain free and I have more range of motion. I’m very happy with my health right now and I’m very happy with my fitness. I’m ready to get back.”

Solo, who was voted into the World XI team by fellow players in March, still hopes to be back in the United States side for the World Cup title defense in France.

“I’ve always wanted to play in the 2019 World Cup,” Solo said. “I’m in the best shape of my life in terms of my shoulder. I feel great. Should they (the United States) welcome me back then I will be in the goal competing and hopefully bringing back another World Cup trophy, but it’s highly unlikely they are going to ask for me to come back. But I’m here guys.”

More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/tag/apf-Soccer

Kristick hired to run North American World Cup bid

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CHICAGO (AP) John Kristick, a managing director of the failed U.S. bid to host the 2022 World Cup and a former executive of FIFA marketing partner Infront Sports & Media, has been hired as executive director for the United Bid Committee of the U.S., Mexico and Canada to host the 2026 tournament.

Kristik was executive director at Infront, where he worked from 2001-08, then was managing director of bid planning and operations for the USA Bid Committee from 2009-11. He has worked in recent years for ESP Properties, an advisory company.

Jim Brown was hired as the United Bid Committee’s managing director of technical operations, the U.S. Soccer Federation said Thursday. Canada Soccer General Secretary Peter Montopoli has been appointed Canada bid director and Televisa vice president Yon De Luisa as Mexico bid director.

The UBC’s 10-member board includes CONCACAF President Victor Montagliani, who is from Canada, and Sunil Gulati, Don Garber, Dan Flynn, Carlos Cordeiro and Donna Shalala (U.S.); Peter Montopoli and Steven Reed (Canada); and Decio De Maria and Guillermo Cantu (Mexico). Gulati, the USSF president and a FIFA executive council member, is the chairman.

The formal bid was announced in April and is to be submitted to FIFA by March 16. The bid proposes that the expanded 48-nation tournament have 60 games in the U.S., including all from the quarterfinals on, and 10 each in Mexico and Canada. FIFA is set to make the decision in May 2020.

Nations must indicate an intent to bid to FIFA by Aug. 11.