Sacir Hot has a blog entry up over at Big Apple Soccer about his move to Germany.
It was first reported that Columbus Crew forward Aaron Horton was being loaned out to Bosnia’s FK Sarajevo, but now it looks like he just went there for some training and is now headed to Hammarby in Sweden for a week before returning to the US.
And finally, I was sad when Aaron Wheeler left Finland as I wasn’t going to be able to post about FC KooTeePee (Greatest. Name. Ever.). But we don’t have to worry anymore as American Kevin Sawchak has signed a one-year deal with an option for a second year with the team.
It was noted last week that Bill Hamid, one of two goalkeepers likely to be on the Olympic squad, was going to spend some of his winter training with West Bromwich Albion. Now, it appears that Sean Johnson, his rival to start for Caleb Porter’s U-23 team, may also be training in England with Manchester United. The value of these training stints is certainly debatable (Teal Bunbury trained with Stoke City last offseason and wound up on Sporting Kansas City’s bench for half the season), but I don’t think it hurts.
KCKRS reports on a historic moment: someone in the United Kingdom realizes that Carlos Bocanegra, not Landon Donovan, has been Captain America for the last four years.
Many Americans are excited to see Josh Gatt, Sean Cunningham, and Molde FK win their first-ever Eliteserien title in its one hundred years of play. Elsewhere in Norway, Olympic prospect Mikkel Diskerud and Stabæk are hoping to make a late run out of the middle of the table. In other words, there’s some young America talent in Norway. That’s why you should find this piece on the struggles of Norwegian club football from In Bed With Maradona interesting. The issue? A love affair with England. (Does that sound familiar?)
Finally, domestically, the MLS playoffs are at the mid-point of the quarterfinal round. Much attention has gone to the post-match fracas between New York and Los Angeles (which saw Mexico captain Rafa Marquez throw a ball at Landon Donovan). Other notables from the opening legs: Juan Agudelo was an unused substitute for the second consecutive playoff match, Bunbury had a brace, Jason Kreis showed why he’s a future Nats coach, and Brad Davis solidified his MVP candidacy despite a Nigel de Jong impression from Gabriel Farfan.
And finally, this one is going to be a little be longer than a sentence. Most of you are probably aware of Rise and Shine: The Jay DeMerit Story. You are also probably aware they on Kickstarter trying to get the final funding so the movie can be released to the public. That said, they are in the final stretch (11 days left) and they still need some help, so go pledge some money if you have anything extra laying around. It is a great story and the guys making the movie are some good dudes (yes, I said dudes).
I tweeted this earlier today, but the documentary on Jay DeMerit (Rise and Shine: The Jay DeMerit Story) is now Kickstarter for those that can help out financially. For those three people that have no clue what I am talking about, I reviewed the documentary right here.
Also, they released another sneak peek of the film on MLSsoccer.com earlier today. Here is the short clip.
Like I mentioned in the other post about it, it would be cool to see this come out to the masses somehow. I plan on pledging a few dollars to the cause.
Thanks to one of the filmmakers, Ranko Tutulugdzija, I was able to sit down and watch a rough draft version of Rise and Shine: The Jay DeMerit Story this past weekend. I linked to the trailer a couple weeks ago, but Ranko (a former college teammate of Jay DeMerit’s), Zachary Salsman and Nick Lewis have created a documentary on Jay DeMerit’s career path.
For those few people out of the loop on DeMerit’s career path, he basically took the instruction manual on how to become a captain for an English Premier League club for American players from Wisconsin, threw it out and somehow ended up at the end despite skipping a couple steps, having a few extras screws leftover and using some duct tape.
While there has been an influx of sports documentaries as of late (as a fan of documentaries, thank you ESPN for your 30 For 30 series), there are only a few good soccer ones. And no, I am not talking about Victory.
The movie I watched was not a finished product (it was missing some interviews and some game footage), but was still fun and interesting to a person that already knew most of DeMerit’s story, plus I learned a few things along the way.
One of the best qualities about the film was the access that the guys had to Jay and other influential people in his life. There is commentary from Jay, his parents, his high school/college coaches, friends, his “family” over in England, his managers at his various “pub” teams, his managers at Watford, Bob Bradley and a few USMNT teammates just to name a few people.
I hate when you watch a documentary where they have tons of interviews, yet are missing a key person from the story. With the recent ESPN Fab Five doc, I know he had his reasons why, but that film was missing something without commentary from Chris Webber. It just didn’t seem right not to hear from him. But you won’t have this problem with Rise and Shine.
There are also tons of pictures and other videos of Jay playing throughout his career, including some personal videos from the 2010 World Cup. It is fun to see some of the behind the scenes stuff like the USMNT celebrating in the locker room after the win over Algeria.
At the end of the day, we (Americans) love us a good story about how hard work and sweat can get you far in life if you keep at it and these guys did a good job of capturing this story and putting it on film. This movie should appeal to all kinds of people, including non-soccer fans, and I can’t wait to see the final product.
I know I am not great with words or expressing my thoughts clearly (anyone who reads this site on a regular basis is already shaking their head up and down), but here is a good story on the film from The Guardian.
I know when I posted the trailer a couple weeks ago, the guys were lacking the licensing rights (if I remember correctly, FIFA charges a lot of loot even if you only show game footage for like 10 seconds) to take it to theatre or DVD. So for now, you will only find this film in festival showings (I think they recently had a showing in Vancouver). But if you can help out or know anyone that could possibly help these guys expand this documentary to a final product that could be shown in theatres across the US, contact them at firstname.lastname@example.org. It would be cool to see this come out to the masses somehow.
For those that missed the trailer the first time, here you go:
Tons of stuff to check out as the USMNT begins its camp this week for the upcoming friendlies against Argentina and Paraguay.
Lets start off with ticket sales. According to Steven Goff, 60,000 tickets have been sold for the Argentina match, while 17,000 have been sold so far for the Paraguay game.
As always, US Soccer’s website has a ton of goodies to check out. They have the USMNT blog, which has little facts and other tidbits. They posted a few photos from Monday’s and Tuesday’s training sessions (I am really digging the new gray training tops, might have to pick one up from the online store). And they had a Q & A session with both newcomers David Yelldell and Timothy Chandler.
Now for some news coming out of camp. There was some talk that Carlos Bocanegra picked up an injury during his game on Saturday, and that is true, but it looks like it was just a calf contusion and he should be good to go for this week.
Brian Sciaretta got a few quotes from Bob Bradley on a wide variety of topics like Timothy Chandler’s inclusion into the camp, Stuart Holden’s injury and Juan Agudelo playing with the senior team over the U-20 team this month.
Speaking of videos, here is a trailer for a documentary on Jay DeMerit’s rise from Wisconsin to the English Premier League. The guys that made the film are friends of Jay, but lack the licensing rights to take it to theatre or dvd. So if you can help out in partnering for finance or distribution, please contact email@example.com. It would be cool to see this come out somehow.
And finally, if you can’t read the entry below, here are some leaked photos of what the red/third jersey that the USMNT are supposed to be wearing this weekend.
Some new faces, including Timothy Chandler, Zak Whitbread (yay!) and David Yelldell.
GOALKEEPERS (3): Marcus Hahnemann (Wolverhampton Wanderers), Tim Howard (Everton), David Yelldell (MSV Duisburg)
DEFENDERS (9): Carlos Bocanegra (Saint-Etienne), Jonathan Bornstein (UANL Tigres), Timothy Chandler (FC Nürnberg), Steve Cherundolo (Hannover 96), Jay DeMerit (Vancouver Whitecaps), Oguchi Onyewu (FC Twente), Tim Ream (New York Red Bulls), Jonathan Spector (West Ham United), Zak Whitbread (Norwich City)
MIDFIELDERS (9): Michael Bradley (Aston Villa), Clint Dempsey (Fulham), Mikkel Diskeruud (Stabaek), Landon Donovan (Los Angeles Galaxy), Maurice Edu (Rangers), Benny Feilhaber (AGF Aarhus), Stuart Holden (Bolton Wanderers), Jermaine Jones (Blackburn Rovers), Sacha Kljestan (Anderlecht)
FORWARDS (3): Juan Agudelo (New York Red Bulls), Jozy Altidore (Bursaspor), Edson Buddle (FC Ingolstadt)
I am also a little surprised to see Juan Agudelo’s name since the CONCACAF U-20 Championships basically overlap with these friendlies.
Argentina’s roster is out, notably missing Carlos Tevez and Sergio Aguero. Lionel Messi is on it for now, although that is also probably in doubt after he suffered an injury in Barcelona’s 1-1 draw with Sevilla yesterday. Of course, even if those three don’t play Argentina’s roster is still stacked.
But what about the home side? What players will Bob Bradley call in for these two matches. Both are FIFA dates, so anyone will be available, but who will he pull away from their clubs? It’s a particularly tough call in this case because Bradley has to juggle preparations for the Gold Cup— the next international date isn’t until June 1, at which point Gold Cup rosters might need to have been set— while trying to maintain good relationships with MLS clubs whose seasons have just begun. In that regard, I could see a somewhat staggered roster with some of the European veterans being released for the Paraguay match.
Goalkeepers: Tim Howard (Everton, England), Brad Guzan (Hull City, England-2), David Yelldell (MSV Duisburg, Germany-2)
Isn’t it weird to see Brad Guzan getting regular matches? He’s doing pretty well, too. Having previously been the number 2 keeper by default, he’s actually making a pretty good case for himself at the position again. Yelldell has been playing lights out at Duisburg. The Zebras probably aren’t going to get promoted— they’re in 7th, nine points behind VfL Bochum with just eight matches remaining— but they very well might be in Europa League next year, with a DFB-Pokal finale against Schalke 04 looming on May 21. I think Yelldell’s play, combined with Guzan’s potential issues this summer (as I understand it, he’s getting married) make him a strong candidate for the #2 spot in June, and this would be a great spot to start.
Defenders: Steve Cherundolo (Hanover 96, Germany), Carlos Bocanegra (St. Etteiene, France), Oguchi Onyweu (FC Twente, Netherlands), Michael Parkhurst (Nordsjælland, Denmark), Eric Lichaj (Leeds United, England-2), Timothy Chandler (FC Nurnberg- Germany), Tim Ream (New York- MLS), Zach Loyd (FC Dallas, MLS), Zak Whitbread (Norwich City, England-2)
With Clarence Goodson’s injury in Denmark, the door is opened to guys like Whitbread or Parkhurst. I think both make it, although I could see Jonathan Bornstein or the MLS flavor of the week getting a shot instead. Parkhurst has been playing well for some time in Denmark, and in terms of looking at a Gold Cup roster is useful because he can play right back in a pinch. Chandler may have some clearance issues, but I think that Bradley would be crazy to not call him if there weren’t any issues, and I don’t think Bob is crazy. The rest of the group is pretty predictable— Ream’s ball skills make him more useful than George John, Omar Gonzalez, etc. in the immediate; Zach Loyd seems to be the next great hope at LB.
Midfielders: Landon Donovan (Los Angeles, MLS), Michael Bradley (Aston Villa, England), Stuart Holden (Bolton Wanderers, England), Jermaine Jones (Blackburn Rovers, England), Maurice Edu (Rangers, Scotland), Mikkel Diskerud (Stabæk, Norway), Benny Feilhaber (AFG, Denmark-2), Alejandro Bedoya (Örebro, Sweden), Jonathan Spector (West Ham United, England)
The more interesting thing here will be how Bob plays the unit: if he goes with a 4-2-3-1, who is sitting in the AM spot? Does he try the inverted triangle 4-3-3 again (more likely against Paraguay)? Who are the 2 CM in a 4-4-2/4-2-2-2?
A position that isn’t exactly deep for the US goes back to being rather shallow with Teal Bunbury of Sporting Kansas City out with an elbow injury and Juan Agudelo likely with the U-20s for qualifying.
The club has called a 10 a.m. press conference for Thursday morning to announce a “USA World Cup star.”
DeMerit, a starter for the U.S. in all of their World Cup games in South Africa, has been on the Caps’ radar for some time.
The two sides were close on terms two months ago but MLS is a single-entity league and officially negotiates contracts.
Wednesday afternoon, DeMerit’s World Cup teammate, Jozy Altidore, congratulated the defender on signing with Vancouver.
DeMerit is a 30-year-old from Wisconsin who has been playing in England. His six-year stint with Watford came to an end when his contract expired in June, so he is on a free transfer.
As part of the expansion process, the Whitecaps have priority among MLS clubs to sign a U.S. international player returning to MLS.
While the club is calling this its first MLS signing, it’s likely that a handful of current players already have deals for next season.
This ends a lengthy stretch of limbo for Demerit who was not re-signed by his previous club Watford due to the club’s shaky financial position.
Vancouver begins its MLS season in March (supposedly against Seattle, according to a tweet I saw), so that would put Demerit in a fairly long stretch without any matches. But it’s good to see him find a spot at last after a solid World Cup.