Archive for December, 2009

Do We Have Some More Insight on Clint?

Not sure how I missed this.

According to the Daily Mirror this past Monday (a 5 out of 10 on the quality newspaper scale), Fulham manager Roy Hodgson and USMNT cap Bob Bradley are working together to ensure that Clint remains fresh and fit for both Fulham and the States.

Dempsey....getting warn out....

Say what?! This is like a scene out of bizarro Seinfeld–usually all you hear about are clubs and countries fighting like kids in the schoolyard over player usage. Arsenal wants reparations for Robin Van Persie. Harry Rednapp expresses exasperation at Fabio Capello calling up injured players. Even Hodgson himself is in a row with Ghana over the use of John Paintsil this December.

The record speaks for itself, it’s never cordial….except as it would appear here.

A few months ago, TSG did a piece on Clint invoking the velvety tone of Marvin Gaye. The theme of our tune? Asking Clint, “What’s Going On?”

Do we have our answer now? Is Clint merely burnt out from over usage?

Players like David Beckham, Robinho, etc are known for not having a full tank to go a full 90….is Demps any different….should he be treated different?

Doesn’t sound like Clint’s getting burned out from this, very reputable, blog evaluating his EPL campaign thus far. (Note, the Brian McBride Award here as well.)

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TSG Exec Plan: World Cup Coverage Schematic

Prodded on by some reader comments yesterday, TSG wanted to run our proposed World Cup coverage planning by our esteemed community. Pretty simple stuff and obviously skip to the soccer columns right now if you like….

Here you go: The completely non-top secret schematic to World Cup coverage….highly, uh, confidential.

A simple diagram below: Basically an inverse pyramid whereby the quality and quantity is obviously focused on the USMNT.

As you move down the pyramid the depth and quantity of the coverage reduces. The circle just represents writing on whatever the author feels like. Whereas coverage within the pyramid has to be somewhat structurally similar–previews should follow a similar format from one group to the next–the circle denotes just writing whatever the heck you feel like.

Thoughts? Other features you like? Some other ideas as well:

• A sidebar that has links on a game by game basis so readers can comment as the game is in action.

• Features on jerseys, kits, and country soccer histories.

• Guest commentary from our readers or other selected writers….

TSG (Confidential)...completely not confidential mind you....

Questioned: Jeremiah White & Player Review

The “buzz” was palpable at TSG headquarters over the past month….about a rather obscure US player named Jeremiah White who I doubt many have seen play more than 90 minutes since his college days.

Raise your hand if this is the first time you've seen Jeremiah White "in action" since university

For background, Jeremiah White attended Wake Forest college as Coach Jay Vidovich was just getting that program up to the level of super power that it is now. If you’ve read TSG before, you know we’re a fan of Vidovich’s coaching.

After graduating, White headed to Europe to make his name and has since bounced around leagues in Serbia, Greece, France and most recently Denmark. White currently shares a locker room with USMNTer Benny Feilhaber at Aarhus, but shares less pitch time having been relegated this season to a sporadic sub role.

With fans, and quite arguably the USMNT, in need of more attacking options, calls for White–both to factor during the Denmark friendly this past November 18th and in January’s annual national team cam–have, by this writer’s account, gotten audibly loud enough to pay attention to you. TSG thought it rather bizarre that a  player of White’s relatively average resume would command such attention and our first thought in stepping back was, “What are we missing?”

Further, other impassioned prose around the web-o-sphere, have been downright stern in their calls for Jeremiah White, suggesting that lack of inclusion in the November friendly series was even a bush league move.

After our Camp Cupcake piece, earlier this week, two more commenters either asked about White or recommended him for roster inclusion. TSG hasn’t seen him…we were definitely missing something.

So we approached sources within USSF with a simple question: Is Jeremiah White still in the player pool? Yes or no.

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Wow! Lando Signs A 4-Year Deal to Stay in MLS

In somewhat shocking news, the diminutive scoring machine has reached agreement with the league and the Galaxy to keep his future bound to the MLS for the foreseeable future.

Thanks for staying big guy....

It’s a 4-year contract that ends in 2013 that allows Landon to take loan opportunities. Further terms of the deal were not released.

A loan deal as of yet has not been finalized, but it likely occur with Everton according to Bruce Arena. However, currently it is not completed.

Landon’s main comment: He wouldn’t have made this decision last year. Landon–paraphrasing–says that he would not have made this deal without the turnaround under Bruce and the ability to go out on loan.

How will this news reverberate around MLS, global soccer and the USMNT?

• Piggybacking off our column yesterday, what type of message does this send to Stu Holden? Does it impact his near term (or even long term decision at all)?

• What does this say to the average player in MLS? Fighting for wage concessions going forward, does the average player see the deal as a sign of things to come for the minimum pay rate or as a slap in the face to current negotiating?

• With Blanco gone, who steps up from Mexico to earn a big contract to represent Mexican interest in the league? England (Beckham) and even Sweden (Ljundberg) are making beaucoup dollars….

• Does this inhibit or further Landon Donovan’s development as a player–only being loaned out on 3-month stints?

• Might this mean that Beckham is hanging them up after World Cup 2010 and the Galaxy needed to insure at least a little star power at one of MLS’s marquee franchises?

• Is the timing of this not a bit odd with the World Cup 2010 and a grander stage–as we discussed in our Stu article–around the corner? What if someone like a Valencia or an Aston Villa want Donovan after South Africa? Is there an out in the contract? Is this just a smokescreen by the MLS to up his value in the transfer market of 2010-2011? (Maybe…..)

• Will this create any more positive buzz about MLS being a stronger league? Or does the fact that Donovan not plied his trade overseas impact the weight of the announcement abroad?

Good American soccer news and considerations for a December Wednesday…..

Our comments last week when the move was rumored.

Should Lando loan out to Everton–it seems like it is in the bag–mark your calendars: January 9th Everton travel to the Emirates to take on Arsene Wenger and Arsenal, likely to be Donovan’s first game as a Toffee.

Congrats to Soccer By Ives; Thanks To Our Fans

TSG congratulates Soccer By Ives who won the Best U.S. soccer blog for the 2nd year in a row at with 33% of the vote.

TSG would like to profusely thank all our fans, readers, and contributors who helped us achieve nomination in our first year and those that voted upon that nomination.

Thank you kindly for taking the time.

Our “future-award-winning” coverage will continue…..

A little fun. Our very first piece….yowsers….I cautiously say we’ve improved….

P.S. A big thank you to Shaun for contributing unique opinion and his World Cup draw….killer stuff Shaun.

The Opposition: The Case for Becks

The grinch in me is really coming out over the holiday season. Not sure why that is.

My leading thought coming into this column: 73% of me thinks that the complete about-face in David Beckham’s play for the Galaxy this past season–once rumored loan agreements weren’t reached–was motivated from a desire to show Fabio Capello he’s still a player and still a team player.

I wonder, actually, how Galaxy fans feel about that statement.

Nevertheless, Mr. Spice certainly showed that he can still play this year. Not only play, but impact a game (albeit in the MLS) and impact a game even when hurt. Now if Becks is hurt, he’s not going to make South Africa, but any coach wants to know if a contributing team member can still make it happen under duress.

The case for me though is clear. David Beckham’s position for the England national team should already be solidified.

Let’s consider why:

Pitch skills: Primarily, David Beckham is still one of the world’s best “special teams” players. My first recollection of England’s 2006 WC campaign is Wayne Rooney exiting the pitch due to immaturity (on his part and Ronaldo’s part). My second memory: England’s one dimensional attack of Aaron Lennon and Aaron Lennon alone when they couldn’t get the ball successfully to Shrekman Rooney. My third memory, Beckham coming in for a few late game cameos and immediately changing the complexion of the game.

Beckham is still a difference maker. He can’t do it for nearly as long as he used too and his percentage of execution is lower, but he’s still a difference maker. He’s also still up there with the best free kickers in the world (Ronaldo, Danny Alves).

Will Beckham be fit, loan and contribute at Milan in '10?

You don’t need Becks for back-up duty. You need him for an acute skillset that no one else gives you on that team besides maybe Gerrard. And we all know Gerrard’s international record.

Player knowledge: In the past decade, David Beckham has played in the EPL, La Liga, MLS and Serie A. He’s played with the likes of Ronaldinho, Kaka, Sergio Ramos and a host of other players that will factor for their national teams. TSG is not running the math here, but we’re guessing that for club and country, Beckham’s played against at least 50% of the UEFA-representing World Cup starters.

Acutely in the group stage, Beckham would and should be there in the ear of Glen Johnson, as England takes on the States communicating attacking tendencies of one Landon Donovan.

Media Deflection: Next, bringing Beckham deflects attention from your team’s play. With Beckham in the mix, you know that every reporter is going be clamoring for his take on England’s progression. Having Beckham in the locker room to absorb the barrage of press inquiries will be good for the other players and the team.

Imagine if Becks doesn’t come for the home side. Who answers the hard questions after an England loss or draw in the group stage? Wayne Rooney, John Terry. And doesn’t then all of the reporting on England focus squarely on their game performance alone, not the global magnetism of Beckham’s take on the situation?

Further David Beckham beyond deflecting and navigating the media will arguably be treated less harshly should England falter in the early going–not least because he won’t be playing a bulk of the minutes. That shelters the team as well.

The case against Beckham? We can’t think of it.

We made it until the end without even mentioning 2018.

Counterpoint: Why Holden Should Stay?

Holden: Trying not to trip up on his big decision...

Have you seen TSG’s interview with Stu Holden earlier this year?

If not, definitely check it out.


For those who have been Christmas shopping, rumors are swirling that the MLS is going to the most extreme lengths to retain Stu Holden with further rumors suggesting that Holden has been offered a salary “bump” or more than 10x on his current wages, resulting in about $350 annually. This information appeared in Scotland’s premier rag however.

Let’s use this space today to consider the contrarian arguments for Stu Holden to remain in Dynamo orange to initiate the commentary and dialogue. Four positive points arise.

(First, a caveat in that we’ll assume that Stu can negotiate a one-year deal, or two max, with the MLS. Big caveat.)

First, Mr. Holden pockets a new paycheck.

Everyone reading this column is now wondering how I did on the math SATs.

While Holden can earn a significant chunk of peanuts in the MLS, he can virtually buy the whole peanut farm if he ships out.

Why, then,  does an MLS paycheck matter? For further leverage in negotiations overseas.

Right now Holden is coming from a position where he made slightly more (or less in some cases) than a starting journalist who does fact checking all day. If he’s considering negotiating abroad, he can’t very well say, “Well, I like your offer, but it’s not a huge premium on what I’m making now….” because it is. Pocketing an MLS paycheck at the rate rumored only enhances Holden’s leverage in a contract situation and gives him an out (next year) if he doesn’t like how negotiations are going with a prospective club.

World Cup 2010 Pitch Time

Holden is on record as saying inclusion and participation in the USMNT squad weighs heavily on both him and on this specific decision.

One of the larger factors facing the Iceman immediately overseas, is playing time. Will he walk right into a line-up or will he be relegated to the bench? Is there a predisposition to play locals?

Looking at Glasgow Rangers–one club he’s linked with–they’ve got Steve Davis, a former Villa young player of the year, on the right flank and a bevy of other players in the middle including the returning Maurice Edu. Rangers are also top of the table–would they risk upset their starting team balance?
Does Stu step in as an immediate starter there? Likely not. Maybe he gets there quickly, but at the very least it’s still an unknown.

If Stu stays MLS, he’s assured of both playing time and his captaincy. Further Holden in States leaves him available for critical friendlies whereas making his mark overseas he might not have that luxury of coming back for one (like in February against World Cup caliber Mexico) or there could be some tension around making that trip from his new club.

√ World Cup 2010 Exposure

This is probably the biggest positive.

Assuming Stu solves 2a above, exposure in South Africa (and a positive performance) is sure to have other clubs stand up and take interest in securing his services. Right now, there is handful of clubs that are looking at Holden as the solution to their problem. However, hocking his wares on the world stage come next June? Well, pretty much everyone is going to be watching.

Clint Dempsey and DaMarcus Beasley certainly drew more collective interest after their Cup performances, in 2006 and 2002 respectively, with a good performance Holden is sure to as well.

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