Archive for the ‘World Cup 2014’ Category

Cupcakes? Check. Who’s Camping In January?

Camp cupcake invites are supposedly out…tomorrow. We know one guy already gearing up to cascade past the San Fernando Valley into LAX.

Who's cupcaking in January?

Also, we’ll be making the short hop on Virgin down from SFO to take in a practice at some point and talk to the guys. We’ll be at the Chile game as well.

Here’s a revised look–our best stab–at whose name makes tomorrow’s announcement tomorrow:

GOALIES: Kevin Hartman, Nick Rimando, Sean Johnson, Bill Hamid

The skinny: No change from our list below. Sean Johnson was solid over in Europe for Generation Adidas. We still think Bradley takes a look under the hood of Hamid.

Also in contention: Will Hesmer, Matt Pickens.

———-

DEFENDERS: Kevin Alston, Omar Gonzalez, Clarence Goodson, Chad Marshall, Heath Pearce*, Marvell Wynne, Tim Ream, Sean Franklin, Michael Parkhurst

The skinny: Removed Ike Opara who didn’t have a stellar Generation Adidas campaign we’re told. Gale Agbossoumounde is supposed to head out on loan to Sweden I believe.

Don’t see a call-in for Nat Borchers–just can’t see him cracking the central defense. Jay DeMerit…could be call-in.

AJ De La Garza just misses out from our original list and Bobby Convey…flat out, no idea?

I remember watching Jeff Cunningham last year at January camp and with his age and demeanor he really looked like an interloper. I just don’t see Convey going to a Jan Camp…maybe if he continues his form a friendly camp next year.

———

Cameron will be there, Bornstein's gone fi$hing in Monterey, Mex...

TWEENERS: Geoff Cameron, Brek Shea

The skinny: Because we can, we introduce a new position here. The Tweener today….only temporary. The following two guys could play pretty much anywhere, but striker and goalie and your guess is as good as mine.

We learned that Geoff Cameron is on the radar of some teams overseas for his size and ability to play across the backline. Coach Bradley played him primarily at right mid last year in camp. Brek Shea just got lauded by Atletico Madrid…for his central defense play.

———-

MIDFIELDERS: Alejandro Bedoya, Benny Feilhaber, Eddie Gaven, Jeff Larentowicz, Dax McCarty, Robbie Rogers, Mikkel Diskerud, Collen Warner

The skinny: Dropped Tristan Bowen as he now deals with a transfer crosstown and I just don’t see. Free Benny Feilhaber plays the midfield quarterback again for Bradley. Remember, Feilhaber attended nearby Northwood High School in Irvine…only makes sense to get him in there.

And even money says the pairing in central midfield against Chile is Feilhaber and Larentowicz. Just smells right there.

Logan Pause may, just may slip in there as Coach Sweats needs a little steel in the middle.

Possible sleeper: Dilly Duka.

———-

FORWARDS: Justin Braun, Juan Agudelo, Teal Bunbury, Chris Wondolowski

The skinny: We drop Jack Mac from Philly…though he may slip in and toss in Chris Wondolowski in his place. I’d like to see Jack Mac get a spot though. Edson Buddle may get the call as well, but I kind of feel that with Bradley not playing him when he was in amazing form for the World Cup, he’s not going to select him in a little lower value January camp.

From December 6th, 2010:

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Brazil 2014: Soccerex & World Cup 2014

Professor Christopher Gaffney checks in again from Brazil…

The Soccerex Global Convention was held last week in the Copacabana Fort, attached to the Sofitel in Rio de Janeiro. The title of the convention, Uniting the Football World, made as much sense as FIFA’s slogan, For the Good of the Game. The world of football is huge, as big as the world itself, but we know what they meant: Bringing together people who are in the business of football.

Get ready for World Cup 2014.

Soccerex is the biggest football business event of the year, dwarfing Expo Estádio, which has also been held in Rio the past two years. The entry fee to Soccerex was a tidy ₤800. It will be held in Rio every November through 2013.

I’m writing about Soccerex because it gives deep insight into the precarious and bordering-on corrupt state of Brazilian football, the preparedness of Rio for mega-events, and the general absurdities that are pertaining in the run up to 2014.

Let’s begin with the World Cup.

Only five of the twelve host cities were represented at Soccerex: Rio de Janiero, Belo Horizonte. São Paulo, Porto Alegre, and Salvador da Bahia. Of the five, only Belo Horizonte had a thoroughly professional team in place to answer questions about the Minerão stadium project. (A project that, surprisingly, is not being financed by the city government but rather by a Public-Private-Partnership).

The Minerão project is not without its problems, but the team they sent to attend media inquiries were willing and able to respond to some difficult questions and have sent along information regarding the project.

São Paulo’s booth was lovely, but as we know, there is currently no stadium project underway for Brazil’s biggest city and main point of entry.

Let me repeat that. São Paulo, Brazil’s biggest city, does not have a stadium project for 2014….yet.

The idea is that Corinthians are going to build a new stadium, but ground is closer to exploding than breaking, literally.

Well, there is a Petrobras gas pipeline that runs through the site. Surely São Paulo will have a stadium for the World Cup. Raquel Rolink, a well-known Brazilian urbanist and UN delegate, has suggested that São Paulo’s Morumbi project was not sufficiently expensive to allow for FIFA to gain monies from and thus was dropped from consideration.

There is also the likelihood that Ricardo Teixeira, head of the Brazilian Football Confederation is working with his longtime confidante Andre Sanchez, president of Corinthans, who is assumed to be next in line for the CBf presidency should Teixeira head for Switzerland and FIFA House to escape the recent corruption claims.

Salvador had a touching video of the Novo Fonte Nova, some Bahianas dressed up in traditional garb, but nothing concrete to offer.

Porto Alegre had set up a small room that looked like place to open a bank account: not very inviting and clearly targeting a limited audience. The Beira-Rio project is one of the few that is being financed by a private entity (Internacional F.C.) and as a result is the stadium project with the lowest cost and perhaps greatest post-Cup use value.

The big show, of course, was reserved for Rio and the Novo Maracanã project. The show was led by the mono-lingual state secretary for tourism and leisure, Marcia Lins, who stood proudly over the stadium model showing the unquestioning media all of the “improvements” that would be made to the no-longer-so-colossal stadium.

Let’s remember that the Maracanã underwent hundreds of millions of dollars of reforms from 2005-2007 to “prepare” it for the Pan American games. All of those reforms have just been blasted through to get started on the “facelift” the 60-year-old ground will get for 2014. It’s an expensive lift. A project that was projected to cost R$500 million in May of 2009, jumped to R$709 million one year later – without actually doing any work!

Imagine how much it is going to cost by the time 2013 and the Confederation Cup rolls around. There is no justification for this kind of expenditure of public money on stadiums that will be handed over to FIFA and the IOC for private profit.

Soccerex was a relatively small event in a small space. That doesn’t explain why there was almost no information about what was happening on a daily basis. The only way to get a schedule of events and talks was to download it to an ipad or iphone. There was nothing available in paper on the day of the event. Speakers changed rooms and times without warning. The press conference rooms were small and ill-prepared. The bathrooms were port-a-potties with no paper towels. Sure it’s a fort, but come on! For 800 pounds I would have expected more.

As I commented in my previous article, the 2014 Local Organizing Committee is headed by five people.

Ricardo Teixeira and the head and the other departments (as I was informed by the LOC press secretary) are: Strategic Planning and Operations Support (Joana Havelange), Operations (Ricardo Trade) and Communications (Rodrigo Paiva). What are the qualifications of these people to do what they do? Ms. Havelange is 33 years old. She will only report to her father. Let’s talk about him.

Ricardo Teixeira: Questionable

Ricardo Teixeira was named in the Andrew Jenning’s BBC report as a recipient of bribes paid out during the long running ISL – FIFA scandal.

The media in Brazil did some much-delayed back flips when it was revealed last week that it will be possible for Teixeira to direct all of the profits of the 2014 LOC to himself.

How? In order to register as a corporation, the 2014 LOC needed to have a real person as a partner (apparently). Teixeira was made a .01% owner of the World Cup yet was given the power to direct profits where he sees fit. This is already the first time that the head of the national football federation will be heading up the LOC. Now the head of both of those organizations has been accused (and not for the first time) of being on the happy end of bribery schemes and has put himself in a position to make hundreds of millions off of the World Cup that is being constructed and financed with pubic money.

The stadium projects will forcibly dislocate people from their homes. They will all be way over budget. The majority will be mono-functional structures that have no articulation with their urban environments. Transportation infrastructures will not attend to the demands and needs of the local context but will ram through neighborhoods to link the stadiums to tourist areas. Everything associated with the World Cup will be exempt from taxation, visas procedures, and regular fiscalization by any level of government. The documents and legal exemptions that Andrew Jennings highlights in his videos are already reality in Brazil.

Brazil 2014: Proposing Alternatives

Read the first part on “The Bastardization of Brazil 2014″ here.

The arguments for hosting the World Cup are as thin as the evidence used to support them. The idea that the World Cup brings necessary infrastructure improvements that would not have happened without the mega-event is spurious.

BRT Jo-burg: A success? Depends who you ask...

In the case of Johannesburg, the Bus Rapid Transit line that now links the main tourist area with the World Cup stadium not only eliminated thousands of informal transportation jobs, but cut a swath through the city, and created an efficient link between two places that no longer have anyone going between them.

While there are, undoubtedly, improvements made to airports and ports, in general the time pressures of mega-events force through projects without due attention to the normal (and slower) functioning of democracy. This inevitably prejudices lower-income communities who have less access to media and spend their time working, having to militate for their rights in their “leisure” time.

Here are some alternatives:

♦ FIFA should pay for at least 75% of all stadium renovation and construction projects undertaken for the World Cup. Infrastructure projects related to the World Cup cannot take form unless they were already indicated as part of a city’s master plan. If improvements in access and transportation to stadiums need to be made, they need to go through the same democratic planning procedures as other urban infrastructure projects.

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Brazil 2014: About Our Next Column & Author

The United States is set to learn in just over a month–December 2nd–whether it will be awarded the World Cup in 2022. A huge expected boon for both the economy and soccer adoption in the United States.

However, the same may not be able to be said for South Africa which seems to be suffering under the weight of how to sluff off the World Cup hangover and what to do with those pesky multi-millionaire dollar stadium creations that appear to have no use.

Just over a month ago, Green Point Stadium in Capetown, RSA failed to find a manager for their stadium and now the city is set to incur the enormous expenses of maintaining the behemoth. Talk of knocking down the stadium, erected specifically for World Cup 2010, has been uttered and the initiative appears to have some support.

With South African struggles to host the World Cup (and now flourish in its absence) still fresh in our mind and the United States eager to punch their bid ticket in 2022, TSG thought the next best place to look would be Brazil, where preparations to host World Cup 2014 are in full swing.

Professor Christopher Gaffney

The author of our piece on Brazil 2014 is a good one: Professor Christopher Gaffney.

Professor Gaffney is a visiting professor at the Universidade Federal Fluminese in the Department of Architecture and Urbanism. His research and teaching at the university are focused on the urban and social impacts of the 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Summer Olympics.

Gaffney, also, is the author of “Temples of the Earthbound Gods” an annal that explores the history, geography and culture of stadiums in Rio de Janeiro and Buenos Aires.

Finally, Professor Gaffney currently serves as the Vice President of the National Fans Association (ANT – Associação Nacional dos Torcedores, torcedores.org).

TSG was introduced to Chris through a mutual friend and as it turns out, oddly, we’ve shared the same pitch with his brother.

Next up, Professor Chris Gaffney with a perhaps shocking look at Brazil 2014 and how those who do not heed history may be doomed to repeat it again….right before the world’s eyes.

Op-Ed: Has 2006 Fallout Warped 2010 Expectations

This is an op-ed by frequent contributor Jay Bell

 

2006 was not pretty...

 

In 2006 U.S. Soccer fans did not know what to believe. The team had just disappointed in another World Cup on European soil after going into the tournament highly ranked. Following the tournament the team was in flux. Bruce Arena left the team, multiple players retired, and others were fading fast.

In came Bob Bradley.

He was not hired as the permanent manager at the time, but he was completely rebuilding the U.S. Men’s National Team whether we knew it or not.  Bradley had to deal with losing a leader in each area of the field.

Brian McBride, Claudio Reyna, and Eddie Pope all voluntarily ended their international careers, retiring at ages at 33, 32, and 32 respectively. The blow was softened most at goalkeeper where Tim Howard had been waiting in the wings to take over for Kasey Keller who did not retire.

The U.S. lost all of its leaders. That may not have been much of an issue had the rest of the team looked like it was ready to step up.

Many of the players on the 2006 World Cup roster were headed downward in their careers. Josh Wolff attempted to sign for Derby County following the World Cup, but was denied a work permit. He then signed with TSV 1860 in Munich of the 2nd Bundesliga in December, going on to score only 2 goals in 34 matches. Wolff was joined by Gregg Berhalter who dropped down from Energie Cottbus in the Bundesliga. At 29, both Pablo Mastoeni and Ben Olsen were fading, though both made a few more appearances. An injury in 2006 and subsequent poor form took Bobby Convey out of the national team picture.  At age 32, Eddie Lewis was losing to younger competition on the left side of the field. Chris Albright has dropped off the map since the 2006 World Cup.

 

What have you gone Jo(hn) O'Brien-oh...

 

The worst exit was that of John O’Brien. Many felt that that O’Brien was the most talented U.S. Soccer player ever. Chronic injury issues claimed his career at a young age though. Fans still lament what could have been had McBride, Mathis, Donovan, Beasley, Reyna, and O’Brien all peaked mentally and physically at the same time, but that’s another story.

Bob Bradley was left to try and build from what was left on that roster. Landon Donovan was not a star player in Germany and fans wondered if he would ever become the star they wanted him to be. Bradley was left with some strength in the back. Tim Howard was on a career upswing with Everton, while Cherundolo, Onyewu, and Bocanegra provided stability in defense. Clint Dempsey, Damarcus Beasley, and Eddie Johnson appeared to be dynamic attacking options for the future.

Overall, Bradley was left with nine experienced players to build around. The previous eight mentioned, along with Brian Ching, would become the foundation of the team based on ability and experience. The squad lacked depth and had a gaping hole in central midfield. Bradley set out to solve those two issues.

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Five To Confront For Sweats II

With the October friendlies just one block over, it’s time to kickoff discussion on what challenges await the U.S.S. Bradley as it commences maneuvers for its 2014 assault on Brazil.

The U.S.S. Bradley commences it's 2014 Brazil voyage...now.

Some of these are specific to Bradley’s style or coaching; others are about getting more out of talented players.

This is by no means a comprehensive list as new issues will begin rearing their heads once friendlies, camps and Gold Cups get going, but it’s where the team left off at the end of June in South Africa.

Go:

5. Once a striker himself, can Bob Bradley cultivate Jozy Altidore or, if not, locate at least one man up top that finishes for the Yanks?

Conor Doyle, Justin Braun, Herculez Gomez. These all may be options up top (along with Charlie Davies or Robbie Finldey). So may those further from seeing the pitch for the Yanks, like a David Estrada or Pippo Inzaghi II (Jack McInerney).

In Altidore, however, the U.S. has a 20-year old striker with a world of physical talent that has only been exhibited in flashes. Let’s repeat that. He’s 20-years-old (with one World Cup as a starter under his belt).

With what is looking like little club time this year, can Coach Sweats wring more effort, more consistency and more importantly more scoring from the talented Jozy in his brief exposure in U.S. camp? A major and daunting task, but doable as well.

A quite note, I’m sick of hearing that U.S. strikers didn’t score for the U.S. in the last two World Cups. In 2006, the hottest striker (Taylor Twellman) was left home. In 2010, the hottest striker Edson Buddle got two sips of coffee on the pitch. Anyway…

Dempsey will be a club force for four more years...but on the Natties?

4. Can Coach Bob get more out of a now-aging Clint Dempsey? Will he even try?

Bob Bradley’s challenge in locating Deuce on the pitch in the first go around was easily apparent. Dempsey’s style didn’t subscribe to Bradley’s frantic pressing and defensive posture, meaning Coach Sweats’ game plan seemed to account for Dempsey as a cog in the system with misunderstood talent, less as a star.

Dempsey will be 32-years-old when Brazil 2014 comes around. He’s already prone to fatigue and disappearing during games (as we’ve mentioned before, 85% of Dempsey’s career club goals have come in the 1st 20 minutes or last 20 minutes of a match).

Further, the nature of his game isn’t what one would call “career-prolonging.”

How does Bradley keep the oft-maligned Dempsey involved over the next four years? Is it as a point forward? Is in his customary wing role? Is it even up top where fewer options are apparent here in 2010?

Deuce is looked upon as a leader on the team and Bob’s treatment of the quiet, but intense ball wizard will speak volumes in the locker room. Aging veterans will take note of the Bradley-Deuce interplay.

3. Developing a centerback partnership that: (a) picks the right pieces, (b) gains valuable repetitions,  and (c) is not often prone to youthful mistakes.

You might suggest that managing the central two of the back four was Bob Bradley’s biggest shortcoming during his first term as president of the USMNT pitch. That’s my belief.

Bradley mismanagement started with Califf...but didn't end there...

Whether it was force-feeding Danny Califf (or Michael Parkhurst or Michael Orozco) into the picture early in qualifying before each player was seasoned or…

That nasty string of giving up set piece aerial strikes to the opponents during the 2009 Gold Cup or…

Failing to develop a capable central defender-in-waiting beyond the elder statesmen of DeMerit, Bocanegra or Onyewu or…

Continually playing and attempting to ready Chad Marshall for the World Cup despite obvious fitness concerns or…

Playing Oguchi Onyewu against England (and Slovenia) when it was clear he was not sharp and helping the team or…

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Breaking Up Is Hard To Do

A rocky relationship

It was announced yesterday afternoon that U.S. Soccer signed Bob Bradley to a four year extension, thus stating he will be coaching the USMNT through the World Cup in Brazil in 2014.

Over the next few days or weeks, I’m sure we will hear the various reasons or rumors as to why they signed Bradley, and why he decided to sign on. Was it because they couldn’t find someone else? Were his options of coaching for a club team abroad just rumors? A combination of both? Who knows. This is not the point of this article.

This is a lose-lose situation for both parties.

The USMNT
Sunil Gulati was on record post-World Cup saying that he felt the USMNT was capable of more, and whereas they did progress to the group stages, that everyone felt disappointed in the end result and hoped the USMNT would have gone further. Certainly not a ringing endorsement.

Very few national team coaches coach for two World Cup cycles. Those that do typically do not very well on their second go-round. Bruce Arena and Marcelo Lippi spring to mind as recent second cycle failures.

Bradley's finest moment as a coach?

Bob Bradley has done a good job so far. He won the Gold Cup in 07, got second at the Confederations Cup in 09 and led the USMNT out of the group stages this summer, winning the group in the process. He’s put together a good core of players who are very industrious hard workers, and installed a brilliant never-say-die attitude that ensures their opponents can never let up for a second.

The problem is that he’s now fresh out of ideas. Bradley’s loyalty to players (e.g., Clark, Bornstein) cost them many a goal and game. Their inconsistency game to game was due to him not always getting the tactics right, but also due to who was available to him. How is any of this going to change in the next four years?

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