Steven Goff is reporting that US U-20 goalkeeper Zack Steffen is close to signing with Freiburg in Germany. Freiburg currently have Caleb Stanko on their roster and used to have Eric Lickert until this past season.
Tim Howard was named Fútbol de Primera Player of the Year last week. The award is given to the top USMNT player each year and voted on by various journalists. This was Howard’s first year winning the award.
» As expected, Jurgen Klinsmann sent home Jermaine Jones, Lee Nguyen and DeAndre Yedlin due to the MLS playoffs. He also sent home DaMarcus Beasley so he could deal with some personal matters in Mexico. And on Ireland’s side, Robbie Keane was sent back to the LA Galaxy due to the MLS playoffs.
I am guessing players like Aron Johannsson, Terrence Boyd and Danny Williams were left off due to just returning back from injury, while we did get confirmation last night that Clint Dempsey was left off to give him some rest during the MLS playoffs. Some other players still in the playoffs, like Jermaine Jones and Lee Nguyen, will be headed back to the US after the Colombia friendly.
Tesho Akindele was not on the roster despite various reports saying he had a good chance of making it last week, but it looks like he made the initial provisional roster. I am wondering if he might get called in for the Ireland friendly if some of those MLS players return to their clubs, especially with FC Dallas no longer in the MLS playoffs.
The US U-20 team is currently Spain for a mini-tournament against Russia’s U-21s, Ireland’s U-20s, and Canada’s U-20s. Here is that roster. And here are some photos from their training session yesterday. It looks like Tab Ramos is working with Brad Friedel to try and get Cameron Carter-Vickers’ release from Tottenham for the U-20 World Cup.
A couple dual nationals that the US can probably cross off their list: Columbus Crew’s Justin Meram and Stjarnan’s Pablo Punyed.
Still haven’t learned anything new, but one report out of the UK claims DeAndre Yedlin is close to getting his Latvian passport, which means he could join Tottenham in January.
We had some goals this past weekend. The Joker, Cesar Romero, notched a hat trick in Armenia (highlights). Andrew Wooten assisted on the game-tying goal and scored the winner in Sandhausen’s victory over Nurnberg (highlights). That performance by Wooten earned him OT’s Player of the Week honors by Howie and myself. Read this and you will see that Wooten’s goals have come up big for Sandhausen this season. Bobby Warshaw scored a goal (highlights) as Bærum advanced in the Norwegian promotion playoffs and will next play Rhett Bernstein and Mjøndalen. And finally, Devann Yao got another start and scored another goal in German Regionalliga action (highlights).
Heading back to Norway for a second. This past weekend was the last game of the season. The Fighting Bob Bradleys had a 2-0 win over Sogndal and finished ninth in the 16-team Tippeligaen. Not bad for a newly promoted team.
There is a chance that Mix Diskerud played his last game for Rosenborg, a 4-1 win over Strømsgodset, giving them a second place finish and a spot in next year’s Europa League in the event he stays at the club. It looks like Mix is also participating in Movember.
And down in the Adeccoligaen, it was good to see Zarek Valentin return to the field after missing most of the season with an ankle injury.
Tim Howard was trying to be sneaky sneaky in Everton’s 1-1 draw to Sunderland.
Leeds United has decided on Mike Grella’s fate for the rest of this season, sending him out on loan to Motherwell in the Scottish Premier League for the rest of the 2010-11 season. Grella scored three goals in 11 appearances with Carlisle United, his last loan deal, but only has two appearances with Leeds this season.
Motherwell currently sit in sixth place of the 12-team Scottish Premier League with 25 points out of 20 games played.
Arch Bell caught up with Ryan Guy to discuss his decision to leave St. Patrick’s Athletic in Ireland. He is hoping that a MLS team is looking for a wide midfielder.
Jonah Freedman talked to Lee Nguyen about his decision to obtain a Vietnamese passport. The passport would allow his team to count him as a domestic player and enable the club to seek more foreign talent. Plus, as we have discussed before, it would allow him to switch to the Vietnamese national team over the USMNT if Vietnam comes calling.
And finally, here is the latest installment of US Soccer’s “Inside the Lines”.
As we reported earlier today, US U-20 midfielder Josh Gatt is headed to Norway to play for Molde FK after a deal between Molde and his former club, SC Rheindorf Altach, became official. Greg Seltzer gets a couple quotes from one of Molde’s sports director right here.
Seltzer also talks to Stuart Holden about Bolton’s current season over at MLSsoccer.com.
As for stories on a couple players in camp, Brian Sciaretta (Yanks Abroad) has one on Sean Franklin and Jack Bell (New York Times) has one on Teal Bunbury.
The US U-20 team ended its January camp with a 3-1 victory over Miami FC. Gale Agbossoumonde, Kelyn Rowe and Omar Salgado supplied the goals for the U-20 team.
The latest FIFA World Rankings came out today, but there are hardly any changes since December since there were hardly any games over the last month. The US are still sitting in 18th while their next opponent, Chile, are in 15th.
Matthew over at The Shin Guardian has some fun interviews with Eric Lichaj and Herculez Gomez. Lichaj seems like a “lunch pail” type of guy (very Bob Bradley-like).
Sky Sports has learned that Jonathan Spector is now open to a possible transfer away from West Ham United. His contract with West Ham is up after this season and it doesn’t look like West Ham is interested in extending his contract.
As for the latest in the Mike Grella playing time “saga”, Leeds manager Simon Grayson claims that Grella is in the team’s long term plans, but is currently their fifth choice in the striker pecking order. And it looks like Leeds is looking for another possible loan deal for Grella for the time being.
And finally, we have Lee Nguyen news in back-to-back days after not talking about him for many months. It appears that he is applying for Vietnamese citizenship in order to be eligible to play with the Vietnamese national team. Nguyen has made three appearances with the USMNT team (two at the 2007 Copa America and one in a friendly against China in 2007). So if he does make the switch, we might be done talking about him on the site (we try to focus only on American players eligible for the USMNT).
Starting in England, Wycombe Wanderers manager Gary Waddock says Jon-Paul Pittman is not fully ready to return to first-team action. Sounds like Wycombe’s reserve match on February 8 against Crawley Town is the new target date for his return to the field for some actual game action.
Mike Grella has returned from his loan spell at Carlisle United and is now playing with Leeds United’s reserve squad. Grella scored a goal in Leeds’ 3-0 victory over Scunthorpe United’s reserve team on Tuesday.
Forward-turned-defender Sebastian Harris is at the end of his loan deal to Stafford Rangers and should be returning to Northampton Town, although it sounds like he could be going out on loan again, but to another English Conference North team Nuneaton Town.
It seems like a million years ago since Clarence Goodson signed with Brøndby IF, but he finally trained with the team for the first time this week. Here is a quick recap of that with some comments made by his new coach Henrik Jensen.
And it seems like a trillion years ago since we last talked about Lee Nguyen. The Vietnamese V-League starts up soon and here is a little story on Nguyen’s current team Binh Duong.
Lee Nguyen decided to sign a 18-month contract with an undisclosed fee for V-League 2009 runner-up Becamex Binh Duong yesterday. His monthly salary will stand at US$ 10,000, making him the best-paid player in V-League alongside Hai Phong’s Leandro. Since the register window was closed, Lee will make his debut for Binh Duong in the second phase of V-League which will start in June.
Binh Duong’s decision to approach Lee Nguyen was considered a reasonable one as the club is currently suffering lack of depth and creativity in the midfield. Moreover, Binh Duong needs new addition to its squad to gear up to challenges in V-League, AFC Cup and National Cup
Interesting that he is the highest-paid player in the V-League. Not that $10K/month is a huge salary for professional soccer (it would not even be big in Major League Soccer), but apparently he is fairly well-regarded if they are compensating him as such. Of course, having experience in the Eredivisie is probably a rare quality in the V-League.
The V-League runs January-August, so I’m not sure exactly how the different sessions (which the next one starting in June) works.