On Thursday Jurgen Klinsmann announced a big surprise as he included a college soccer player on the USA’s national team roster for a friendly against the Czech Republic next week.
Jordan Morris is a Sophomore at Stanford University and if he gets on the field in Prague next week, he will become the first collegiate player to play for the USA since Ante Razov in 1995.
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Morris could become the first collegian to play for the U.S. since MLS came into existence, as Chris Albright made a national team camp back, but didn’t feature in a match, back in 1999 while he was still playing at the University of Virginia. Morris’ selection is significant in that respect.
We are going to hear a lot more about the Seattle, Wash. native in the coming days and weeks, so let’s try and find out some more information on him…
In his first year at Stanford in 2013, the lively forward he scored six goals and bagged seven assists en-route to making the All Pac-12 first team. Morris is also a product of the Seattle Sounders academy and represented the U.S. U-20 side in all three games at the Toulon tournament in France last year.
Here are some more highlights on Morris’ career so far, as the pacey striker certainly seems to have a bright future ahead of him with Klinsmann giving him a chance to impress for the national team.
- Named U.S. Developmental Academy National Player of the Year and Western Conference Player of the Year in 2013
- U.S. Youth Soccer National Championships Golden Ball winner – 2012
- Named to U.S. Youth Soccer National Championships Best XI in 2011 and 2012
- Named Gatorade-ESPN Washington State Player of the Year, NSCAA Washington State Player of the Year and NSCAA High School All-American in 2012
- Captained Eastside FC (2009-12) and the Seattle Sounders FC U18 Academy Team (2013)
- Led all Pac-12 freshmen in assists (7) and points (19) and tied for lead in goals (6)
Alongside the likes of Rubio Rubin, Joe Gyau, Alfredo Morales and Bobby Wood, there will plenty of youngsters looking to impress against the Czech Republic in the September friendly. The cycle towards the 2018 World Cup has already begun.
The “FIFA virus” is hitting Liverpool hard this month.
Sadio Mane, who reportedly broke his left thumb on international duty for Senegal, underwent surgery on Wednesday, Liverpool confirmed. The club did not include a timetable for Mane’s return in its press release, only saying, “Mane’s recovery will be monitored over the next couple of days ahead of the Reds’ return to action at Huddersfield Town on Saturday.”
With the injury, Mane joins Mo Salah, Naby Keita and Virgil Van Dijk as Reds to be injured during the international break.
As an attacker, it’s unlikely Mane really needs the use of his left hand other than to protect himself on aerial challenges on bumps from defenders, but depending on the recovery, it may just be a decision of how much pain Mane could tolerate. With matches against Huddersfield, Red Star Belgrade and Cardiff City to come, maybe this is a good time for Jurgen Klopp to rest some of his starters, including the walking wounded like Mane.
Wembley Stadium is set to stay in the FA’s hands.
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The FA announced in a press release Wednesday that Fulham owner Shahid Kahn had withdrawn his offer of $790 million to purchase Wembley Stadium. Kahn first became interested in buying the stadium in February 2017, when he and FA CEO Martin Glenn met at the Superbowl. What followed was an informal offer to the FA Board of Directors before a formal offer was made.
The offer has been valued at anywhere from nearly $800 million to nearly $1.2 billion. In a statement, Kahn said that his goal to purchase the stadium was to provide the FA with a large amount of capital which it could use to improve grassroots soccer around the country.
“The intent of my efforts was, and is, to do right by everyone in a manner that strengthens the English game and brings people together, not divides them,” Khan said. “Unfortunately, given where we are today, I’ve concluded that the outcome of a vote next week would be far from sufficient in expressing the broad support favored by the FA chairman to sell Wembley Stadium.”
The FA council was set to vote on the sale next week.
Although it cost the FA and British government more than $1.4 billion (adjusted for inflation) to renovate and rebuild Wembley Stadium, the arena hosted 33 events between July 2016 and June 2017 and in its latest published financial records, the FA recorded an after-tax profit of $21 million. So it seems that along with the sponsorships and broadcast deals, Wembley Stadium is a money maker, which makes it important for the FA to hold on to.
That being said, it’s hard to turn down a deal worth close to $1 billion, even if that’s a lump sum and they won’t receive further investments from stadium revenues in the future. In the future, maybe Kahn or another owner may make another offer, one that the FA council could accept.
The head of La Liga is considering taking extraordinary action to ensure that a planned match this year in the U.S. goes off as expected.
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According to Spanish radio station Cadena Cope, La Liga president Javier Tebas is set to bring a lawsuit against the Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) and its chief, Luis Rubiales to compel the federation to approve Barcelona’s match against Girona on January 26, which has been scheduled to be moved to Miami, Fla.’s Hard Rock Stadium.
In a way, it makes sense that Tebas and the Spanish league is considering every possible avenue to ensure that their 15-year marketing rights agreement with Relevant Sports, including league matches played abroad, can move forward as expected. However, it was clear after the announcement in August that all parties involved – especially La Liga, had not thought this through. FIFA, the RFEF, local fans and the Spanish league’s player’s union have all opposed the news, and on Wednesday Real Madrid formally sent a letter of it’s disapproval in moving La Liga matches abroad.
Tebas and La Liga would prefer for this to be resolved legally sooner rather than later, so they can market the Barcelona match in Miami and begin negotiating with the other federations that need to approve. But there’s a decent chance that the other parties – FIFA, and U.S. Soccer – could fail to rubber stamp what would be a first-of-its-kind event. In any case, watch this space.
The U.S. Men’s National Team finished the October FIFA international slate with a somewhat demoralizing loss and an uplifting draw, if there is such a thing.
The young U.S. core continues to show flashes of great talent, but overall the team still seems to be stuttering along under caretaker manager Dave Sarachan, who just managed his 10th game and could likely finish out the calendar year as USMNT boss.
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Below is a look at the key takeaways from the USMNT’s October friendlies: