Saturday, January 13, 2007

European Football : The Rough Guide

One of my first soccer books was The Rough Guide's European Football : A Fan's Handbook. It was the 98/99 edition and I read it all the time. Outside of England and Italy I didn't know very much about clubs around Europe. And even though it was a travel guide it has a lot of great tid bits in there. It's even more fun these days when they mention some old players like Wim Jonk or Ronaldo at PSV. If you're looking for a unique gift for someone who's a fan, give something like a try.

Friday, January 12, 2007

MLS Draft - First Round

The first round of the MLS draft : First Round 1) FC Toronto - Maurice Edu (M) 2) Chicago Fire - Bakary Soumare (D) 3) Kansas City Wizards - Michael Harrington (D) 4) Real Salt Lake- Chris Seitz (GK) 5) New England Revolution - Wells Thompson (M) 6) Colorado Rapids - Nico Colaluca (M) 7) Chivas USA - John Cunliffe (F) 8) Chicago Fire - Jerson Monteiro (F) 9) FC Dallas - Anthony Wallace (D-M) 10) FC Toronto - Andrew Boyens (D) 11) DC United - Bryan Arguez (D-M) 12) New England Revolution - Amaechi Igwe (D) 13) Houston Dynamo - John Hayden (M) I'm not too surprised overall. I didn't think RSL needed or would take a GK. Are they looking to trade Seitz? Does this mean Garlick's going to be gone? Colorado Rapids traded away the 18th pick in this years draft plus a pick for the 2008 draft for FC Dallas' Greg Vanney. And again several players taken in the first round were not at the MLS player combine earlier this week.

Quotes On Beckham

FC Rocky did a great job of pulling together quotes from different people in soccer about David Beckhams' move to the MLS. Check it out!

Vine Leaves Luton

Luton's one of those teams that's punching above their weight right now. They're in the lower half of England's second division the Championship. I was a bit bummed today that they sold their top scorer Vine to Birmingham. He's netted 14 goals for them this year. I hope this doesn't result in them slipping into a relegation battle. More so, I hope they come away from The Hawthorns today with all 3 points from their match with W.B.A.

First Beckham, Now Edgar Davids

3rd degree is reporting that FC Dallas is in talks with Edgar Davids. 3rd degree points out that if FCD signed Davids, they'd have to make some roster moves to free up a bit of cap space and to free up an S-I. Does this mean Ruiz is on his way out? Or is FCD looking for a one year deal? If not, they'll have to do something after the 2007 season since Carlos Ruiz will then take up a DP-slot (he's grandfathered in for 07).

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Beckham To MLS :: Official

That didn't take long. It's as thought the MLS new some folks were questioning if it would happen and decided to put that to rest. Major League Soccer has officially signed David Beckham. The question now is for how much. Some rumors have been $9 million a year. Others have it as being a 5 year, $250 million deal. Either way it's a huge deal considering the salary cap is less than $1.5 million for an entire squad.

The Times On Beckham's Move

The Times seems to think Beckham's next move will be to L.A. They report that Beckham will be rejecting Real Madrid's latest offer today as he believe they're offering it to him not because they want him to play but they want his image associated with Real Madrid. That academy that Beckham set up in LA? The one that's functioned since it's founding without him living there? Apparently that is part of the lure for David to head to city that gave us Hollywood and the live radio traffic report. Why not other clubs? The Times says that after playing for Manchester United, Mr. Posh has no interest in playing for other English clubs. Unfortunately they don't cite anything for that point. And I don't recall Mr. Beckham saying he would never play for another club in England other than ManUtd. If memory serves me right, he hasn't ruled it out. he's only made comments alluding to not playign for a club other than ManU. But we've seen plenty of players change their tune after sayig those sort of things. Why would Beckham be different? As Soccer Lens points out, a couple big Italian clubs such as Inter and AC Milan are interested in Beckham. More so, they seem to see a move to the Los Angeles Galaxy as being a move into obscurity. Why wouldn't it be? Part of Mr. Posh's appeal has been his good looks. But the other part has been a world class right foot and astute tactical understanding of the game displayed at two of the biggest clubs in the world, Real Madrid and Manchester United. Once he moves to the MLS, Beckham's appeal will drop. Many fans will view that as proof that he's on the decline. Remember when Michael Jordan played minor league baseball? How much attention did that get? A decent amount. But how did people talk about? It was Michael Jordan, the once great basketball player playing baseball. They didn't rush out and buy Birmingham Barons jersey. It's the perception of Beckham's decline that should have us questioning what actual value he holds for the MLS and the Los Angeles Galaxy. How much attention would they get and how much of that would actually translate into dollars? Why would that 14 year old in Japan buy a Beckham jersey once Beckham's no longer at a big club? Once people perceive Beckham as preparing for retirement, what kind of viewership can the the TV companies get if they buy broadcast rights? It's not to say Beckham loses all value once he moves. The question is how much value he keeps. More so, how much of these new revenues for the Galaxy would be going into Beckham's pocket instead of their due to his image rights clause? One of the sticking points in his negotiations with Real Madrid was getting more than 50% of these. The other question I haven't seen addressed is how AEG comes up with the money. Uncle Phil, the owner of AEG, has deep pockets. But he didn't get their splashing his cash on assets that quickly lose their value such as players. And for all the talk about how Beckham will grow the Galaxy's income, I have yet to see anyone address what the current income of the Galaxy is at this time. For example, if the Galaxy brought in $9 million in revenue last year that would mean the rumored $9million contract they offered him is the equivalent of an entire years income. It's been said that to be profitable, a club should spend no more than 50% - 60% of it's wages on players. More so, one of the MLS's strengths has been that they are thought to be spending on 30-40% of their revenues on players. Even if the Galaxy had $15m or even $20m in revenues last year, this represents one single player taking up a major portion of that. And no matter what it represents for the Galaxy, bringing Beckham into the league is a major departure from their previous cost structure. This rumored offer is the equivalent of 4-6 teams, nearly half the teams in the league, total wages. It begs the question of how big of a gamble this really is for the Galaxy and the MLS.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

New York Red Bull Signing Keeper

Soccer By Ives is reporting that Ronald Waterreus is set to sign with New York Red Bull (NYRB) as a discovery player. Unlike most leagues, Major League Soccer (MLS) has a set of rules governing the type of player signings teams can make. NYRB fans are surely relieved that it's only as discovery player and not as a major allocation or under the new designated player (DP) rule (aka the Beckham Rule). NYRB looks to still have 2 unused DP slots. At this point it looks better than 50-50 that Reyna will be signing with them. Assuming Claudio's a DP, who will their other DP be? Luis Figio looks to be tied up with Inter Milan and his new Saudi club Al-Ittihad. Ronaldo seems to have plenty of interested teams in Europe to keep him from hoping over to this side of the pond. Could it possibly be Andrei Shevchenko?

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Reporter Taken Out

On a lighter note, have a chuckle at the expense of this poor lady in this video clip.

Germans, Austrians Rigged The World Cup?

One of the things that doesn't happen enough in the blogging world is talking about history. Too much of blogging is still focused on current events. That's why it's nice to see blogs like Soccer Mad In America take the time to look back at the 1982 World Cup and the issue of whether or not Austria and West Germany had an agreement on how their final game of group play should end. It does make you wonder what the connections may be between that and the modern German match fixing scandal.

Reyna To New York Red Bull

I thought about this possibility the other day. I had seen the rumor before. But I hadn't seen anything indicating Claudio was interested in leaving Manchester City. Nor did I see anything saying that Citeh was willing to let him go. In fact, I didn't think Reyna would be let go because of this plus Citeh doesn't have money to spend on replacement. But the other day Manchester City Manager Stuart Pearce said he was looking to trim some marginal players from the squad. And now Pearce is saying "For his [Reyna] personal reasons, we are in talks with him and his representatives due to that he might want to go back to the States." Then again, the same press release by the club states that Claudio will only leave if it's in the best interest of the club. It doesn't look like they're in a hurry to let him go.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Bale To ManUtd or Arsenal

I've seen a lot of these rumors. But I've seen little if any evidence at all showing that Gareth Bale has any interest in leaving Southampton. And the Saints are in the middle of a promotion battle and are not in desperate need of cash. More so, Bale still needs to work on his defensive side quite a bit. The big clubs may be interested but I don't they're serious about putting up big money for Bale at this point. And even if they were, there are no concrete signs that Burley wants to sell him nor that Bale wants to leave. Is this another example of rumors having legs simply because they would catch the attention of all those fans at those big clubs?

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Figo : Should I Stay Or Should I Go

Once it happened, I couldn't get rid of it. I have The Clash's cover of "Should I Stay Or Should I Go" stuck in my head. It's not about David Beckham's drama at Real Madrid but the Portugese winger Luis Figo. There's been more details but in short Figo has rumored to be leaving Inter Milan, then he was seen and photographed at a news conference as having signed with Saudi Arabian club Al-Ittihad. Then Inter announced that he had not been sold. And now Al-Ittihad have announced that they have indeed signed Figo, only that it's for the summer transfer window. whew That is why I have "Should I Stay Or Should I Go" stuck in my head.

InterLiga Play

If you're looking for info on InterLiga or just a good look at soccer in the US, check out the Houston Chronicle's Soccer y FĂștbol.

MLS Combine

If you're curious how things are going at the MLS player combine, keep your eye on College To Pros. They have day two coverage here.