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Jason Kreis hired as United States U-23 head coach

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The United States youth national team announced on Tuesday that it has hired Jason Kreis as head coach, with the former Major League Soccer boss taking charge ahead of the run towards qualifying for the 2020 Olympics.

Considered a candidate for the senior national team job before Gregg Berhalter was hired, Kreis spent 11 years as a head coach in MLS in charge of Real Salt Lake, NYCFC, and Orlando City.

“Jason’s qualities and experience made him stand out as the best candidate to lead our U-23 Men’s National Team in this important cycle towards the 2020 Olympics,” said USMNT general manager Earnie Stewart. “The U-23s are a significant part of our program, and Jason is an experienced head coach with significant success both in league and Concacaf competitions. His knowledge of the player pool is impressive, and we are confident in his ability to implement the style of play we are building with the senior MNT and throughout our national teams. We appreciate the willingness of Inter Miami CF to allow us the opportunity to take advantage of Jason’s abilities to guide this group.”

According to ESPN soccer journalist Doug McIntyre, Kreis was not Stewart’s first choice for the position, but did not mention who was.

Kreis will take charge with the team ramping up its preparation for Olympic qualification. He has already selected a squad for training camp this week in Spain, with friendlies against Egypt and the Netherlands to come on March 22 and 24. The tournament to decide CONCACAF qualifiers will take place in October. The United States has not made an Olympics since 2008.

The U-23 squad for training camp this week features Josh Sargent, Timothy Weah, Antonee Robinson, Cameron Carter-Vickers, and Djordje Mihailovic.

UCL draw: Man City, Liverpool off to Madrid

Guardiola Zidane UEFA Champions League
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The UEFA Champions League draw sends two Premier League sides to Madrid and another two to Germany.

Pep Guardiola will get another chance to meet his longtime El Clasico rivals as the longtime Barcelona boss leads Manchester City against Real Madrid in the UEFA Champions League this season.

The Round of 16 draw also saw Premier League leaders Liverpool draw a Madrid side, with Atletico Madrid on the docket for Jurgen Klopp‘s Reds.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ]

Bayern Munich will face a London side for the second-straight round as Chelsea meets the German champions, while Tottenham Hotspur gets a German opponent as well in the form of RB Leipzig.

Full UEFA Champions League draw

Bayern Munich v. Chelsea — Feb. 25 and March 18

Juventus v. Lyon — Feb. 26 and March 17

Paris Saint-Germain v. Borussia Dortmund — Feb. 18 and March 11

Valencia v. Atalanta — Feb. 19 and March 10

Barcelona v. Napoli — Feb. 25 and March 18

Manchester City v. Real Madrid — Feb. 26 and March 17

Liverpool v. Atletico Madrid — Feb. 18 and March 11

RB Leipzig v. Tottenham Hotspur — Feb. 19 and March 10

Europa League draw: Arsenal, Man Utd, Wolves learn fate

Europa League Manchester United Club Brugge
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Premier League sides learned their fate in the UEFA Europa League, and not one of them were handed an easy path to the Round of 16.

Manchester United drew Club Brugge, who transferred from the Champions League after a third place finish. The sides met in UCL qualifying back in 2015, the Red Devils cruising past the Belgians.

[ MORE: Champions League draw ]

Arsenal tangles with stingy Greek side Olympiacos, having met in four Champions League group stages between 2009-15.

Wolves draw a side its never faced: La Liga mainstay Espanyol.

The notable matches don’t stop there.

American coach Jesse Marsch will lead Red Bull Salzburg against the Bundesliga’s Eintracht Frankfurt.

Old Firm rivals Celtic and Rangers both learned their fates, the Bhoys will meet Danish powers Copenhagen and Steven Gerrard‘s Rangers clash with Braga.

The Round of 32 matches will be staged Feb. 20 and 27.

Europa League Round of 32
Wolves v. Espanyol
Sporting Lisbon v. Istanbul Basaksehir
Getafe v. Ajax
Bayer Leverkusen v. Porto
Copenhagen v. Celtic
APOEL Nicosia v. Basel
CFR Cluj v. Sevilla
Olympiacos v. Arsenal
AZ Alkmaar v. LASK
Club Brugge v. Manchester United
Ludogorets Razgrad v. Inter Milan
Eintracht Frankfurt v. Red Bull Salzburg
Shakhtar Donetsk v. Benfica
Wolfsburg v. Malmo
Roma v. Gent
Rangers v. Braga

Americans Abroad: Chandler earns start after lengthy absence; McKennie leaves injured

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On a relatively quiet weekend for Americans abroad, Timothy Chandler started for Eintracht Frankfurt for the first time since mid-September.

In England, Christian Pulisic made another start for Chelsea, while Lynden Gooch returned to action with Sunderland after a few months of inactivity.

But while some came back from inactivity, Weston McKennie was stretched off the field on Sunday after landing on his shoulder in Schalke’s 1-0 win over Frankfurt.

Here is a list of several other USMNT affiliates making a name for themselves (or not) abroad this weekend.

Premier League

Christian Pulisic, Chelsea — Pulisic started and played 65 minutes in Chelsea’s 1-0 loss to Bournemouth on Saturday. The attacker failed to record a single shot.

DeAndre Yedlin, Newcastle — The fullback watched the Magpies’ 1-0 loss to Burnley from the bench on Saturday.

EFL Championship

Antonee Robinson, Wigan Athletic — Robinson continues to rack up the minutes at Wigan. The young left back started and played the full 90 minutes as Wigan picked up a point against struggling Huddersfield Town on Saturday.

Matt Miazga, Reading (loan from Chelsea) — The 24-year-old didn’t dress in Reading’s 0-0 draw with Stoke City.

Eric Lichaj, Hull City — The Tigers captain started and played the full 90 minutes in Hull City’s 2-2 draw with Charlton Athletic on Friday.

Geoff Cameron, QPR — The 34-year-old defender started at centerback and played 67 minutes in QPR’s 5-3 loss to Barnsley.

Tim Ream, Fulham — Ream started and played 90 minutes in Fulham’s 1-1 draw at Sheffield Wednesday.

Cameron Carter-Vickers, Stoke City (loan Tottenham Hotspur) — Like Miazga, Carter-Vickers, too, was absent during Saturday’s bout.

Duane Holmes, Derby County — Holmes started and played 88 minutes in Derby’s 1-0 loss to Millwall.

EFL League One

Lynden Gooch, Sunderland – Gooch came off the bench and played 18 minutes in Sunderland’s 1-1 draw with Blackpool – the first minutes for the Californian since mid-October.

Bundesliga

Weston McKennie, Schalke —  13 minutes into the game on Sunday, McKennie was stretched off the field after he suffered an apparent shoulder injury.

Zack Steffen and Alfredo Morales, Fortuna Dusseldorf Despite making four saves, Steffen allowed three goals in Fortuna Dusseldorf’s 3-0 loss to RB Leipzig on Saturday. Morales did not dress.

Josh Sargent, Werder Bremen  Sargent is out with an injury for the remainder of the calendar year.

Tyler Adams, RB Leipzig — Adams didn’t dress for RB Leipzig.

Fabian Johnson, Borussia Mönchengladbach — Johnson didn’t dress for Borussia Monchengladbach.

Timmy Chandler, Eintracht Frankfurt — The veteran defender started and played 90 minutes for the first time since mid-September.

2. Bundesliga

Julian Green, Greuther Furth – The 24-year-old midfielder is out with an injury.

Bobby Wood, Hamburg – Wood dressed but didn’t play in Hamburg’s 1-1 draw on Sunday.

Eredivisie

Sergino Dest, Ajax — Dest didn’t dress for Ajax on Sunday.

Haji Wright, VVV-Venlo — The 21-year-old striker started and played 45 minutes in VVV Venlo’s 2-1 loss to PEC Zwolle.

Desevio Payne, FC Emmen — The U-23 MNT fullback didn’t dress for FC Emmen on Sunday.

Ligue 1

Timothy Weah, Lille — Weah didn’t dress for Lille on Friday.

Theoson Jordan-Siebatcheu, Rennes — Siebatcheu didn’t dress for Rennes on Sunday.

Honorable mentions:

Giovanni Reyna, Borussia Dortmund U-19 —  Reyna’s praiseworthy campaign in Germany continues, scoring a goal in Borussia Dortmund’s 6-1 win over Alemannia Aachen on Sunday.

Georgetown wins NCAA title by beating Virginia on penalty kick

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CARY, N.C. — Georgetown goalkeeper Tomas Romero stopped Virginia’s Axel Gunnarsson in the seventh round of penalty kicks to give the Hoyas their first NCAA men’s soccer championship Sunday night.

The teams fought through two scoreless 10-minute overtime periods after finishing regulation tied at 3, leaving penalty kicks to decide the game. Both teams made their first six penalty kicks, and Aidan Rocha made the seventh for Georgetown, forcing Gunnarsson to attempt to match it.

Romero moved to his right to thwart the shot and give the Hoyas (20-1-3) the victory.

Derek Dodson, Paul Rothrock and Daniel Wu scored in regulation for the Hoyas.

Virginia (21-2-1) countered with goals by Joe Bell, Daniel Steedman and Daryl Dike.

Georgetown appeared on the verge of winning regulation when Dodson broke a 2-2 tie with 9:37 left in the second half. But Dike forced overtime when he booted a rebound of his own miss into the top of the net with 4:58 remaining in regulation.

Virginia was bidding for its eighth national championship and third since 2009. Georgetown was playing in its second NCAA final.It lost 1-0 to Indiana in the 2012 championship game.