Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: Claudio Reyna, Clint Dempsey, Danny Murphy, Denis Stracqualusi, Deuce, English F.A. Cup, Everton, Fulham, Goodison Park, Hugo Perez, Landon Donovan, Landycakes, Marouane Fellaini, Rick Davis, Tab Ramos
Landon Donovan out-shined Clint Dempsey in an unusual showdown of American stars as Donovan’s Everton came back to defeat Dempsey’s Fulham, 2-1, in an English F.A. Cup fourth-round match at Goodison Park.
After Danny Murphy converted a penalty kick for Fulham in the 14th-minute following a handball in the box, Everton answered with headed goals by Denis Stracqualusi in the 27th and Marouane Fellaini in the 73rd–both set up by sharp crosses by Donovan from the right wing. [January 27]
Comment: The performances by U.S. teammates Donovan and Dempsey probably only intensified the raging online debate among some American fans as to who is the better player. Doesn’t matter.
It beats the bad old days, when the discussion began and ended with one player–a Rick Davis, followed years later by a Hugo Perez, then a Tab Ramos, then a Claudio Reyna. And with the possible exception of Reyna (Glasgow Rangers), none of them made a real dent overseas.
So enjoy the debate. And perhaps someday the argument will involve–dare it be said– three U.S. players.
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: Alejandro Bedoya, Alexi Lalas, Brek Shea, Carlos Bocanegra, Chris Wondolowski, Clarence Goodson, Claudio Reyna, Clint Dempsey, Cobi Jones, Earnie Stewart, Eddie Pope, Eric Lichaj, Eric Wynalda, Futbol de Primera Player of the Year, Hugo Perez, Jermaine Jones, Jonathan Spector, Jose Torres, Jozy Altidore, Juan Agudelo, Kasey Keller, Kyle Beckerman, Landon Donovan, Marcelo Balboa, Maurice Edu, Michael Bradley, Michael Orozco Fiscal, Oguchi Onyewu, Robbie Rogers, Sacha Kljestan, Steve Cherundolo, Thomas Dooley, Tim Howard, Tim Ream, Timmy Chandler, U.S. National Team
Some 200 journalists from across the nation are submitting ballots to decide which U.S. National Team member will be the 2011 Futbol de Primera Player of the Year.
Sponsored by FDP, the exclusive radio broadcaster of the 2014 World Cup in the United States, the award–the most prestigious annual honor in American soccer–goes to the best player who appeared in at least three matches for the U.S. in the calendar year. Those who qualified are Juan Agudelo, Jozy Altidore, Kyle Beckerman, Alejandro Bedoya, Carlos Bocanegra, Michael Bradley, Timmy Chandler, Steve Cherundolo, Clint Dempsey, Landon Donovan, Maurice Edu, Clarence Goodson, Tim Howard, Jermaine Jones, Sacha Kljestan, Eric Lichaj, Oguchi Onyewu, Michael Orozco Fiscal, Tim Ream, Robbie Rogers, Brek Shea, Jonathan Spector, Jose Torres and Chris Wondolowski.
First place selections receive three points, second place two points and third place one.
Past winners of the award, until recently known as the Honda Player of the Year: Hugo Perez, 1991; Eric Wynalda, 1992; Thomas Dooley, 1993; Marcelo Balboa, 1994; Alexi Lalas, 1995; Wynalda, 1996; Eddie Pope, 1997; Cobi Jones, 1998; Kasey Keller, 1999; Claudio Reyna, 2000; Earnie Stewart, 2001; Landon Donovan, 2002; Donovan, 2003; Donovan, 2004; Keller, 2005; Clint Dempsey, 2006; Donovan, 2007; Donovan, 2008; Donovan, 2009; Donovan, 2010. [October 21]
Comment: Who would you vote for? Let us know.
Last year’s vote from here got it wrong. Donovan won, with Bradley the runner-up and Dempsey the third-place finisher. Our ballot went to Donovan, Bradley and Cherundolo. So we need your help before our ballot is submitted in the middle of next week.
Give us a post and list your three top choices, in order. And feel free to do some lobbying if you so choose. Bear in mind that the award is for a player’s body of work for the year, so take into account a candidate’s performance for his club as well as his contributions to the U.S. team.
Update: Dempsey won the award for the second time after being named first choice on nearly half of the ballots submitted by the 202 U.S. journalists who took part. Howard was second and seven-time winner Donovan was third. [November 2]
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: Abby Wambach, Beaverton OR, Claudio Reyna, Landon Donovan, Nike International Headquarters, U.S. Soccer Federation, Xavi
Youth Technical Director Claudio Reyna recently unveiled the U.S. Soccer Federation’s new coaching curriculum for coaches of players ages 5 through 12 during a meeting of youth coaches and directors at the Nike International Headquarters in Beaverton, Oregon.
The key principals of the curriculum:
1. Development over winning.
2. Quality training (arrive prepared, keep players focused and active).
3. Age-appropriate training .
4. Have fun and inspire your players.
To download the curriculum, go to http://www.ussoccer.com/Coaches/Coaching-Education/Zone-1.aspx [April 21]
Comment: Development over winning. What a concept.
Said Reyna, the long-time U.S. captain who made 112 international appearances from 1994 to 2006, “Our players are naturally competitive–we don’t need to ramp that up anymore. The whistle blows, our kids want to win. That’s one of our strengths and we’re proud of that. But if we’re manipulating and thinking winning over development, we’re making a huge mistake. We’re shortcutting the development of players. Our aim is to produce skillful, creative, confident players.”
Reyna also made reference to FC Barcelona’s youth program, quoting one of its most illustrious graduates, Spain and Barca playmaker Xavi: “Some youth academies worry about winning. We worry about education.”
No. 1 is required reading for any coach of U-13s, especially those who are being paid to do so. While youth sports in America is plagued with a win-at-all-costs mentality, soccer here needs to be the one that recognizes that any trophy awarded for a youth championship is nothing more than a tin pot. Kids aren’t paid to win, the professionals are. And really, what would any youth coach in this country prefer to have: a collection of those tin pots or to say that he helped develop the next Claudio Reyna, or Landon Donovan, or Abby Wambach, or … Xavi?
Players like that are the ultimate trophy, and they’re on display for years after they’ve parted ways with that coach.
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: Alexi Lalas, Algeria, American Soccer League, Archie Stark, Babe Ruth of Soccer, Billy Gonsalves, Cantona, Claudio Reyna, Clint Dempsey, Cobi Jones, Ed Sullivan, Eric Wynalda, Everton, Futbol de Primera, Hannover 96, Honda, Hugo Perez, Kasey Keller, Kyle Rote Jr., Landon Donovan, Los Angeles Galaxy, Los Angeles Times, Maldini, Michael Bradley, MLS, New York Cosmos, Rick Davis, Steve Cherundolo, Tab Ramos, U.S. Player of the Year, World Cup, Xavi, Zidane
Landon Donovan won an unprecedented seventh U.S. Player of the Year award in a landslide over runner-up Michael Bradley and Clint Dempsey in balloting involving nearly 200 journalists nationwide.
Donovan, who first won the honor in 2002, attracted 403 points based on three for a first-place vote, two for second and one for third. Bradley picked up 169 points and Dempsey 157. The only other multiple winners in the 20-year history of the award– organized by the national radio show Futbol de Primera and until recently sponsored by Honda–are goalkeeper Kasey Keller (1999 and 2005) and striker Eric Wynalda (1992 and 1996).
The speedy attacking midfielder-withdrawn forward probably became a favorite for the 2010 award with his stellar play early in the year for Everton, but he cinched it by scoring in three of the USA’s four games at the World Cup, including the dramatic winner against Algeria in added-on time that put the Americans into the second round. He then returned home and helped the Los Angeles Galaxy finish the MLS regular season with the league’s best record. [January 5]
Comment: Once dismissed by the Los Angeles Times as ”the overrated Landon Donovan” following the first of his two attempts to make an impact in Europe with Bayer Leverkusen, later criticized for disappearing in this match and that, the USA’s all-time scoring leader in 2010 cemented his status as not only the face of the sport in this country but a face that some average Americans actually recognize.
This country’s first notable soccer player was, probably, Archie Stark, a Scottish-born center forward who dominated the original American Soccer League in the 1920s and was dubbed “The Babe Ruth of Soccer” by a young newspaper columnist named Ed Sullivan. From the early ’30s, oldtimers fondly recall a ball artiste named Billy Gonsalves. Fast-forward to the 1970s, when the NASL tried but failed to make league scoring leader Kyle Rote Jr. its All-American Boy, and the 1980s, when it succeeded, somewhat, in planting that title on New York Cosmos midfielder Rick Davis. Since then, the country has produced several outstanding players, like Hugo Perez, Tab Ramos and Claudio Reyna, as well as personalities like bohemian gladfly defender Alexi Lalas, the fiery goal-scorer Wynalda and teen-idol Cobi Jones.
It has been said repeatedly that what American soccer needs is a superstar–whatever that means. It is doubtful, however, that the general American public would appreciate the subtle skills of a Xavi, a Zidane, a Cantona, a Maldini. An incisive pass, a simple swerve, a change of direction, an immaculate take-away: all would be lost on a viewership peering in on soccer only occasionally. Donovan, however, does what Americans understand, has a track record of doing so, and is comfortable before cameras and facing a horde of reporters in front of his locker.
Donovan has asked for a respite after several months of play, so it’s unlikely that he will return to Europe any time soon and add to his credentials this winter. As such, enjoy his reign as “That American Soccer Player.” Certainly, no successor is on the horizon, and that puts the sport’s longterm future on the fickle U.S. pop culture front in doubt.
[Full disclosure: One ballot went to Donovan, Bradley and Steve Cherundolo, who served the role of grown-up on the USA back line in South Africa. At 31 and playing for the obscure Hannover 96, it's doubtful that the smart, energenic Cherundolo will ever get the credit he deserves.]