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U.S. soccer world mourns Hall of Fame defender Clavijo

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USMNT World Cup defender and former MLS coach Fernando Clavijo passed away Friday at the age of 63, his family announced through U.S. Soccer on Saturday.

Clavijo battled multiple myeloma for a half-decade following a decorated playing and coaching career which saw him inducted into the U.S. Soccer Hall of Fame in 2005.

“It is with deep sadness that we share the news of Fernando Clavijo’s passing on February 8 after a courageous battle with cancer,” his family said in a release. “The support and encouragement he received from friends and the entire soccer community throughout his fight will always be appreciated. At this time the Clavjio family requests privacy as we mourn the loss of a great man and no additional statements will be made. Further details on remembrances and a celebration of his life will be shared in the near future.”

The Uruguay-born defender was capped 61 times by the USMNT, and played in the ASL, NASL, and MISL (indoor). He also played eight times for the U.S. futsal team.

Clavijo started two of the three USMNT matches in the 1994 World Cup: The 2-1 defeat of Colombia and 1-0 loss to Romania.

He went on to coach both club and international soccer, assisting Nigeria before running the Haitian national team from 2003-05. He was the head coach of the New England Revolution and Colorado Rapids before leading then-USL side Miami FC in 2009.

He was hired as FC Dallas’ technical director in 2012.

 

MLS Roundup: Richards completes move to Bayern, Kaku drama continues

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Whether for marketing reasons or footballing ones, Bayern Munich and FC Dallas cemented a transfer that could begin a new pathway to Europe for MLS youngsters.

After spending the last seven months on loan with Bayern Munich’s academy, Bayern and FC Dallas made official the news that centerbach Chris Richards has completed a permanent transfer to the German giants. Goal.com reported two weeks ago that Bayern and MLS had agreed on a $1.5 million transfer fee for the 19-year-old American, with a 40 percent sell-on fee that would go back to FC Dallas.

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News of the transfer is the latest in the meteoric rise of the Alabama native, who was once rejected from the FC Dallas academy as a 16-year-old. Two years later, including after beating FC Dallas with the Texans in Houston in the U.S. Soccer Development Academy playoffs, Dallas brought him back and quickly signed him as a Homegrown player. Richards has since also cemented his place with the U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team, leading the U.S. to the CONCACAF U-20 Championship title last November. He’s in line to start at the 2009 Under-20 World Cup in Poland.

However, due to MLS rules, Richards never got a chance to play for the MLS first team. Instead, he and the club took advantage of a new partnership between FC Dallas and Bayern, and he reportedly impressed enough to make the deal permanent. Richards is the second player from MLS signed to Bayern in the past six months, after the club inked a transfer for Vancouver Whitecaps youngster Alphonso Davies.

Here’s more news from around MLS:

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Luchi Gonzalez named new FC Dallas head coach

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FC Dallas announced on Sunday that 38-year-old Luchi Gonzalez, the second-youngest head coach in MLS, has been chosen to replace the recently departed Oscar Pareja as head coach.

[ MORE: Report: Chrstiain Pulisic agrees Premier League transfer ]

Gonzalez, who was seen as the favorite to succeed Pareja since the day the job came open, has been director of the FCD academy, and head coach of the program’s hugely successful U-16 team, for the last three years. Prior to that, he served as a coach on the academy’s U-18 staff.

Pareja recently resigned from his post at FCD as he sought a new challenge. He was named the new boss at Liga MX side Club Tijuana last month.

Given Gonzalez’s appointment, and his intimate knowledge of an academy system bursting at the seams with elite prospects — not to mention the payroll which FCD has managed to shed already this offseason — it seems likely that the 2019 team skew extremely young. While Pareja was always painted as a champion of academy products, an uncomfortably large number of graduates were unable to establish themselves as members of the first team during his tenure.

Report: Bayern Munich to buy American teen from FC Dallas

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FC Dallas teen Chris Richards’ loan to Bayern Munich is going very well.

The 18-year-old American center back has impressed the Bundesliga giants and is set for a $1.25 million move overseas, according to Goal.com’s Ives Galarcep.

[ MORE: PST chats with Zack Steffen ]

Richards has made 19 appearances in the Bayern system, including five in the UEFA Youth League, and has two goals and an assist.

The Alabama-born Homegrown defender would be the second FC Dallas prospect to move abroad, joining Weston McKennie.

FC Dallas confirm departure of Tijuana-bound Oscar Pareja

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After nearly two decades of service to the club (in a variety of roles, from player to head coach), Oscar Pareja has officially left his post as FC Dallas’ leading man.

[ PREVIEW: USMNT face Italy in 2018 finale | Should Pulisic move to PL? ]

The club confirmed Pareja’s departure on Monday, just days after it was reported that Pareja would be named the next manager at Liga MX side Club Tijuana, that FCD and Pareja “have mutually agreed to part ways.”

Pareja had the following to say in the club’s official release:

“This was a difficult decision for me and my family. FC Dallas has been our home for many years, but we felt it would be best for us to seek a different challenge which enables me to keep growing as a coach. This club and its players are heading on the right path and I have no doubt they will get there. I would like to thank the Hunt family, Clark and Dan, for their support throughout my time here. The memories I have made with this club will stay with me and my family for a lifetime.”

Pareja was once thought to be one of a handful of candidates for the still-vacant U.S. men’s national team job, but Columbus Crew SC head coach Gregg Berhalter is expected to be begin his tenure any minute hour day week month now.