« February 2009 | Main | April 2009 »

52 posts from March 2009

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Miami FC has first practice since team's salvage

Miami FC finally began assembling the on-field product Wednesday with the club's first practice of the year. Dozens took the field in cleats at Tropical Park, but only three players were actually under contract: Jarryd Goldberg, Cristiano Dias and Walter Ramirez.

The Blues also will hold an open tryout April 4 at Tropical Park. Registration is $50 and will be available on MiamiFC.com.

The complete story is available here.

 

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Miami FC opens camp Wednesday

We still don't know who will be playing for the Blues when they open the season in just under four weeks, but we'll get a good idea Wednesday.

Miami FC return to the practice field Wednesday for the start of camp. Practice will be held at Tropical Park.

A handful of undisclosed players from last season will be back under multiyear contracts, while Traffic Sports is expected to bolster the lineup from other teams around the hemisphere.

Also in Miami FC news, Marketing, Media and PR Director Marcos Ommati announced in an email Monday that he was "sorry to inform that today is my last day with Traffic/Miami FC." Ommati spent nearly three years with the club.

Tuesday's Need To Know

After a four-day recharge in the Caribbean, it's great to get back to work -- especially with the U.S. MNT in our backyard. The Americans are training in town before leaving for Saturday's qualifying match against El Salvador. Today: Landon Donovan speaks.

The headlines:

U.S. expects hostile crowd for qualifier in El Salvador

Adriano Galliani Plays Down Napoli Attack Terror

Gazza Explains His Fall Into Psychotic Paranoia

Marquez Breaks Silence, Speaks About Red Card, State Of El Tri

US U-17s Bowl Over Bolivia In Friendly

Man U in a fight now

Wenger: I'm 'Crazy'; Arsenal Can Win Premier League

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Here Comes Liverpool....

Don't look now, Manchester United fans, but Liverpool is right on your tail...just one point back from the league lead after a 5-0 thrashing of Aston Villa. Can Sir Alex Ferguson and his boys hang on? Stay tuned!

Meanwhile, Champions League quarterfinals are: ManU vs. Porto, Chelsea vs. Liverpool, Arsenal vs. Villarreal and Barcelona vs. Bayern Munich. Which four teams will advance? Make your picks.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Now THAT'S an MLS town...

Seattle Sounders won their MLS debut 3-0 over the visiting New York Red Bulls in front of a very spirited crowd of 32,523 at Qwest Field. Club sold 22,000 season tickets, more than any other MLS team.

South Florida fans, take note.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Sounders FC set to kick off 2009 season

Major League Soccer is back. The league's First Kick is Thursday night, pitting the expansion Seattle Sounders FC against last year's Cinderella team, the New York Red Bulls. The game is 9 p.m. ET on ESPN2.

The headlines:

MLS Preview: Sounders FC host Red Bulls in debut

What to expect from Sounders FC

MLS' future is in the Northwest

Osorio confident Red Bulls have improved

MLS gears up for action

The Prince talks media, megastars

Enzoinside 

 

Enzo Francescoli’s 72 caps for the Uruguayan national team are the most in his country’s history. The Prince, as he was known as a player, chats with Total Futbol about his career, his international project – GolTV – and the state of soccer in the U.S. and beyond.

 

When you started GolTV, what was your vision? How close was the vision to the reality?

 

“The vision and the goals have already been reached. We are where we wanted to be. Now, it’s getting even bigger and more important than we ever thought it would be. The basic idea was to be a reference for soccer in the U.S. We felt that there was not a destination for soccer fans in the U.S. We wanted to create a network where fans knew they could find good quality soccer all over the world.”

 

How has the dramatic shift in both the media business model and the world economy changed your focus?

 

“The first reaction to the economic situation is, of course, to worry about it, but entertainment – and sports inside of entertainment – is very resilient to crisis because people are always looking for this kind of programming, and sometimes it can be even better in a crisis. People watch more TV and maybe want to watch fun [programming]. Our business depends a lot on subscribers, and we haven’t seen any impact at all. Advertising has been impacted some by the crisis, but it’s not the most important thing to GolTV.”

 

Why has professional soccer failed in Miami when it has the demographics to succeed?

 

“First of all, the MLS is taking very long to develop and grow and bring fans to the sport. It looks like it’s going take a long time for them to do it. Miami’s kind of an ideal place for soccer because of the demographics. The investment necessary to have an MLS team here, it’s a very important one. The whole business model of the MLS is not what a typical model. You saw what happened with Barcelona. It was close, but they didn’t feel comfortable enough to make this kind of investment here.”

 

What is the future of soccer in the United States?

 

“The future depends a lot on how MLS evolves, especially on the specifics of controlling the soccer players that teams and clubs can bring to the U.S. Unless it becomes more open, to allow each team to make its own decisions, in bringing in good soccer players. This could change the game. But if the MLS is insisting on this tight kind of control, I don’t see a bright future.”

 

Who is the world’s best soccer player? Why?

 

“That’s difficult, but for me, Messi. He’s young, he’s very fast player, very technical player, he’s the most complete player. He’s scoring 15, 20 goals a season. If you take the other ones, like Cristiano Ronaldo, [Messi] is the one who has the potential to be even better.”

 

If you had one moment you’d want the world to remember you for, what would it be?

 

“I would like people to remember me for the person that I am, and not one specific moment.”

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

It's official: MLS comes to Vancouver

From the league:

Vancouver, British Columbia, will be the home of Major League Soccer’s 17th team, MLS Commissioner Don Garber announced today. The Vancouver MLS team will begin play in 2011 at the newly-renovated BC Place Stadium in the city’s downtown entertainment district. The venue will undergo approximately $365 million CDN in improvements before the new MLS team takes to the field, and will have a seamless 20,000-seat soccer-specific configuration.

The Vancouver ownership group consists of Greg Kerfoot, Steve Luczo, Jeff Mallett, and Steve Nash. Kerfoot is the owner of Vancouver Whitecaps FC and former CEO of Crystal Decisions Software. Luczo is president, CEO, and chairman of the board for Seagate Technology and part owner of the National Basketball Association’s Boston Celtics. Mallett is part owner of Major League Baseball’s San Francisco Giants and is the former president and COO of Yahoo! Nash – a guard for the NBAs Phoenix Suns – is a two-time NBA MVP, and along with Mallett, is an investor in Women’s Professional Soccer.

“We are thrilled to welcome Vancouver into Major League Soccer for the 2011 season,” Garber said. “The ownership team of Greg Kerfoot, Steve Luczo, Jeff Mallett, and Steve Nash love the game and represent a new breed of ownership group. Our new Vancouver team also provides an attractive stadium plan and a market with a rich soccer tradition.”

Tomorrow marks the start of the 2009 MLS season and the long-awaited inaugural game for Seattle Sounders FC, who are a geographic rival for Vancouver. More than 32,000 fans will witness the historic match against the New York Red Bulls at 9 p.m. EDT on ESPN2.

Vancouver will have the second MLS team in Canada following the successful launch of Toronto FC in 2007. Toronto FC has sold out every home game, capped season tickets at 16,000, and has a season-ticket waiting list of over 14,000. Vancouver also has a proven track record of supporting soccer. In November 2007, the Whitecaps United Soccer Leagues First Division team played in front of over 48,000 fans at BC Place when they hosted the Los Angeles Galaxy.

”British Columbians are excited about hosting a Major League Soccer team in a newly-renovated BC Place Stadium beginning in 2011,” said Premier Gordon Campbell. “The Vancouver Whitecaps have been a part of our province’s history for more than three decades. As an MLS team, the Whitecaps organization will carry on that incredible tradition, as well as generate economic benefits of up to $25 million each season.”

The renovations to BC Place include new seating, concessions, washrooms, hospitality areas, field surface, improved access for persons with disabilities, the redevelopment of all common spaces, and a significant reduction in the building’s energy consumption. The defining features will include the first centrally-hung electronic scoreboard and retractable roof in MLS - an engineering marvel that uses the same technology found at Commerzbank Arena in Frankfurt, Germany, which is the home of Eintracht Frankfurt of the German Bundesliga.

“This is a great win for the province of British Columbia and the city of Vancouver,” said Mallett. “Major League Soccer is North America’s premier soccer league and offers exceptional skill and entertainment. We have a world-class stadium that will be packed with cheering, singing, and chanting Vancouver supporters.”

Vancouver Whitecaps FC will continue to field a USL-1 team during the 2009 and 2010 seasons. MLS plans to announce another expansion team, its 18th, in the near future.

“The city of Vancouver and the Whitecaps have a rich and storied soccer history, which includes long-standing rivalries with Toronto and Seattle,” said Vancouver Whitecaps FC president Bob Lenarduzzi. “The successful bid for a Major League Soccer franchise offers a whole new level of opportunity for our organization, and by extension, for our city and our province.”

Five thousand $50 deposits for Vancouver Major League Soccer 2011 season tickets go on sale this Saturday, March 21, at 10 a.m. Current Whitecaps ticket holders receive priority purchase rights for 2011 season tickets.

Exclusive: Miami FC to play in 2009

Pro soccer will remain in Miami in 2009 … and in most likelihood, beyond.

Traffic Sports will announce Wednesday that the Brazilian-based company will allow Miami FC to participate in the 2009 United Soccer Leagues First Division season, preventing a Miami from all but officially becoming a professional soccer wasteland.

Despite an at-times lagging fan base and an uncertain stadium situation, Traffic Sports President Julio Mariz decided double down the company's bet on the team after visiting the region last weekend.

"Right now, it's one day at a time, it's one year at a time,'' said team president Aaron Davidson. "But we're committed to this season, and the likelihood of us staying here is greater than ever.''

More details to come.

Wednesday's Need To Know

Miami's loss is Vancouver's gain? Certainly seems that way, with MLS set to award the Canadian city a franchise in 2011. That, and more, in NTK.

The headlines:

Whitecaps to announce MLS franchise secured

Islanders shock Cruz Azul 2-0

Women’s Professional Soccer to add Philadelphia team

Galliani: This Summer's Transfer Market Will Be Very Different

FIFA Slaps Mexico's Marquez With Two-Match Ban