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USMNT’s Boyd signs with Besiktas

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Add another American to the list of players who will be playing in UEFA competitions this fall.

Turkish giant Besiktas announced on Monday that it had signed winger Tyler Boyd to a four-year contract in a transfer from Portuguese side Vitoria Guimaraes. Boyd has had a pretty impressive last six months, from scoring six goals in 14 games with Ankaragücü in the Turkish Superlig on loan, to scoring goals and making the Gold Cup roster for the U.S. Men’s National Team.

[READ: Transfer Rumor Roundup]

The New Zealand-born pacey winger completed a one-time switch to play for the USMNT in May, and he went on to score a brace in the USMNT’s Gold Cup opener against Guyana. While Boyd made five appearances for the U.S. this summer, he was left on the bench as the U.S. bowed out to Mexico, suddenly appearing out of Berhalter’s plans as quickly as he entered them.

Regardless, this is a great move for Boyd, assuming he can get some first team minutes. It’s a big step up from Ankaragücü to play for Besiktas, which not only includes the heated Istanbul derbies against Fenerbahce and Galatasaray, but next season will also include at least six matches in the UEFA Europa League. By finishing third in the Turkish league, Besiktas earned a place direct in the Europa League group stage.

Of course, like we saw this summer with the USMNT, Boyd has to break into a more talented group of players and earn minutes, both for league and European matches. If he’s not playing much, it’s possible we won’t see much of him with the national team, as Jordan Morris gets regular playing time as well as others in that position like Timothy Weah, Corey Baird and possibly Kenny Saief, now that he’s back with Anderlecht.

Boyd is undoubtedly a talented player. Hopefully, this move up in stature and pressure can help the 24-year-old take his game to a new level.

Fulham brings revitalized Babel back to the Premier League

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Ryan Babel is back in the Premier League, at least for the next few months, after spending the better of the decade away from English football.

The ex-Liverpool winger, 32, will wear the white of Fulham for the rest of the season, heading to Craven Cottage from Besiktas for the rest of his contract.

[ MORE: Morata to Atleti? ]

The deal runs through the season, which has seen Babel score six goals in 19 matches.

From FulhamFC.com:

“My first impressions are good and I’m very excited. I definitely have faith that Fulham can stay up. That’s one of the reasons that I’m here, to try and help that to happen. I’m ready to go, I’m excited and I can’t wait.”

Capped 54 times by the Netherlands, Babel has traveled a lot since leaving Liverpool in 2011. He made stops at Hoffenheim, Ajax, Kasimpasa, Al Ain, and Deportivo la Coruna before heading to Besiktas in 2017.

He scored a career-best 15 goals in all competitions for Besiktas last season, his top campaign since bagging 10 for Liverpool in 2007-08.

Longtime USMNT player Jermaine Jones announces retirement

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Longtime Bundesliga and USMNT player Jermaine Jones announced his retirement from soccer on Friday, 11 months after last taking the pitch.

Jones, 36, spent last season captaining the ill-fated LA Galaxy season.

[ MORE: PST’s one-on-one with Jones in 2016 ]

A colorful and outspoken character, Jones made his senior debut for Eintracht Frankfurt in 2000. He won the German Cup in 2011 with Schalke.

He spent 13 seasons in Germany, playing for Schalke and Bayer Leverkusen aside from a loan to Blackburn Rovers in 2011 — 15 appearances with eight yellow cards! — before moving to Besiktas in 2014.

[ MORE: Who is on Stewart’s USMNT list? ]

Jones earned his first USMNT cap in 2010 under Bob Bradley, and scored four goals, none more memorable than the rocket to level a World Cup match against Portugal in 2014.

Moving to MLS, Jones helped spearhead turnarounds at New England and Colorado, leading the former to the MLS Cup Final.

Besiktas seems to accidentally announce Karius signing

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Reports across Europe have claimed that Liverpool goalkeeper Loris Karius is on his way to Turkish club Besiktas, and that seems to have been accidentally confirmed on Friday.

ESPN reported earlier this week that Beskitas had signed Karius on a two-year loan deal. On Friday, the club’s Twitter account was caught posting a graphic on their profile header with the announcement before it was taken down soon after.

According to the ESPN report, there is a $2.9 million loan fee with another $10 million at stake in performance bonuses. Liverpool reportedly has a 20% future sell-on fee should Besiktas make the loan deal permanent at the end of the two years.

Karius’s Liverpool downfall has been highly public. His disastrous performance in the Champions League final was the beginning of the end, followed by Liverpool’s acquisition of Brazilian goalkeeper Alisson. Karius was reportedly caught off guard by the club’s acquisition of a big-money signing at his position, and was put off by the move.

The 25-year-old German will now compete with Besiktas captain Tolga Zengin for the starting goalkeeper spot.

Europa League: Burnley, Rangers, Leipzig all advance

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Burnely advanced in Europa League in extra time thanks to a bullet header from former Swansea and Southampton midfielder Jack Cork.

The 29-year-old put Burnley 2-1 over Scottish club Aberdeen up on the day in the 101st minute, and Ashley Barnes finished it off from the penalty spot in the 114th minute. Cork’s goal gave the Clarets a 3-2 advantage on aggregate, and the Barnes spot-kick rounded out the final aggregate scoreline at 4-2, enough to send the side through after a 1-1 draw on the road in the first leg. Chris Wood had put Burnley up in the sixth minute of the match, but Aberdeen equalized Lewis Ferguson in the 27th minute.

The victory moves Burnley on to the Third Qualifying round of the Europa League, where they will face Turkish club Istanbul Basaksehir on August 9 and 16.

Fellow Scottish club Rangers held on for a 2-1 aggregate victory over Croatian club NK Osijek, with a 1-1 draw on the day. Rangers ironically went in front through Croatian defender Nikola Katic in the 53rd minute, and it looked like they would go through easily before Borna Barisic equalized in the 89th minute.

Notably, Scottish police confirmed two people were stabbed before the game near Ibrox.

RB Leipzig also advanced after a 1-1 draw with BK Hacken, but did so more comfortably after a 4-0 win in the first leg, giving them a 5-1 aggregate victory.

Turkish club Besiktas steamrolled Faroe Islands semi-pro side B36 Torshavn by a 6-0 final on the day, securing an 8-0 aggregate win. Former Orlando City striker Cyle Larin grabbed a hat-trick in the match, scoring the first three goals of the game, finishing it off with a pinpoint header off a great cross from deep in the left corner.

La Liga side Sevilla completed a 7-1 aggregate destruction of Hungarian club Ujpesti with a 3-1 away win capped by a Pablo Sarabia brace. Meanwhile, Dutch club AZ Alkmaar was upset by Kazakhstani side Kairat Almaty, unable to overcome a shock 2-0 first leg road loss despite a 2-1 win in the second leg, succumbing to a 3-2 aggregate defeat.

Here’s a complete list of notable scores, with the bolded club advancing:

Burnley 3-1 Aberdeen
Rangers 1-1 Osijek
BK Hacken 1-1 RB Leipzig
Ujpesti 1-3 Sevilla
Besiktas 6-0 B39 Torshavn
FC Copenhagen 5-0 Stjarnan
Vitesse Arnham 3-1 Viitorul Constanta
FK Sarajevo 0-8 Atalanta
NK Maribor 2-0 Chikhura Sachkhere
AZ Alkmaar 2-1 Kairat Almaty
Bordeaux 2-1 FK Ventspils
Radnicki Nis 2-2 Maccabi Tel Aviv
Asteras Tripoli 1-1 Hibernian
Trakai 1-1 Partizan Belgrade
Slavia Sofia 2-3 Hajduk Split
Flora 2-0 Apoel Nicosia
KF Laci 0-2 Molde
Lech Poznan 3-1 Shakhter Soligorsk