By Michelle Kaufman
It's possible James Rodriguez will be at Marlins Park Sunday for Colombia's friendly vs. Haiti, but he is not expected to play, as the Real Madrid playmaker will be flying to Miami from Milan, Italy, where Real Madrid plays Atletico Madrid Saturday in the Champions League final.
According to organizers of Sunday's match, Rodriguez -- the Golden Boot winner at the 2014 World Cup -- said he plans to attend and watch from the bench. Even without James, Colombian fans will see plenty of stars up close. Among the players on the "Cafeteros'' roster: Carlos Bacca (AC Milan), David Ospina (Arsenal), Jeison Murilla (Inter), Christian Zapata (AC Milan), and Juan Cuadrado (Juventus).
The Colombians and Haitians are using the friendly as a warmup for the Copa America Centenario, which begins June 3 in Santa Clara, Calif., with the opener between the USA and Colombia.
Here is the full Colombian roster for Copa America...
GOALKEEPERS: David Ospina (Arsenal), Robinson Zapata (Santa Fe), Cristian Bonilla (Atletico Nacional)
DEFENDERS: Felipe Aguilar (Atletico Nacional), Santiago Arias (PSV), Farid Diaz (Atletico Nacional), Frank Fabra (Boca Juniors), Oscar Murillo (Pachuca), Cristian Zapata (AC Milan), Jeison Murillo (Inter Milan), Stefan Medina (Pachuca)
MIDFIELDERS: James Rodriguez (Real Madrid), Juan Cuadrado (Juventus), Carlos Sanchez (Aston Villa), Guillermo Celis (Junior FC), Daniel Torres (Independiente Medellin), Andres Roa (Deportivo Cali), Sebastian Perez (Atletico Nacional), Edwin Cardona (Monterrey)
FORWARDS: Carlos Bacca (AC Milan), Dayro Moreno (Tijuana), Roger Martinez (Racing Club), Marlos Moreno (Atletico Nacional)
And here is Haiti's roster, which includes one MLS player and five from NASL.
GOALKEEPERS: Johnny Placide (Reims), Steward Ceus (Minnesota United), Luis Valendi Odelus (Aigle Noir)
DEFENDERS: Jean Sony Alcenat (Voluntari), Judelin Aveska (Atletico Uruguay), Reginal Goreaux (Standard Liege), Kim Jaggy (Aarau), Alex Junior Christian (Vila Real), Mechak Jerome (Jacksonville Armada), Romain Genevois (Nice), Stephane Lambese (PSG)
MIDFIELDERS: Jean Alexandre (Fort Lauderdale Strikers), Max Hilaire (Cholet), Soni Mustivar (Sporting Kansas City), James Marcelin (Carlona Railhawks), Pascal Millien (Jacksonville Armada), Sony Norde (Mohun Bagan), Kevin Lafrance (Chrobry Glogow)
FORWARDS: Kervens Belfort (1461 Trabzon), Duckens Nazon (Laval), Jeff Louis (Caen), Jean-Eudes Maurice (Sai Gon), Wilde-Donald Guerrier (Wisla Krakow)
By Michelle Kaufman
U.S. national coach Jurgen Klinsmann invited 22 players to Miami this week for a training camp as the team begins to prepare for the Copa America Centenario in June. The players chosen for this camp are based in Europe and Mexico, and just completed their club seasons. Major League Soccer players will join the group at a later date.
At the end of the week, the team will fly to Puerto Rico for a May 22 friendly in Bayamon, the first-ever between the two teams. The match will be at noon, and shown on FS1 and UniMas.
After Puerto Rico, the U.S. team plays Ecuador on May 25 in Frisco, Texas (7 p.m. CT; ESPN2 and UniMas) and Bolivia on May 28 in Kansas City, Kansas (7 p.m. CT; FS1 and Univision).
Fifteen of the players in camp -- including Weston's Alejandro Bedoya (FC Nantes) -- are eligible for the Copa America 23-man roster, as they were included in a 40-man provisional roster that was due at the end of April. The final roster for Copa America must be submitted by May 20. MLS players who make the final roster will be released by their clubs on May 23 and join the team that day in Dallas.
Among the players invited were veteran goalkeeper Tim Howard, who is headed to the Colorado Rapids after a 10-year career at Everton in England, and Bobby Wood, who just set a scoring record for American players in Germany with 17 goals for Union Berlin of the 2 Bundesliga. Wood was so impressive that on Sunday he was transferred to Hamburg of the Bundesliga.
The Mexican club most represented is Club Tijuana, with Michael Orozco and national-team rookies Paul Arriola and Amando Moreno.
"We are doing this week in Miami and finishing off the week with a game in Puerto Rico because it's really important in terms of transitioning our players coming in from Europe and some who are already done in Mexico to keep them in a flow, to keep them in a rhythm," said Klinsmann. "One of our lessons from last year's Gold Cup was because the tournament was pushed into July, we couldn't transition our European-based players and some of the Mexican players perfectly."
"We added some players coming from the younger side to look at them and to get a roster together, but the main purpose of this camp is to keep the rhythm, keep going and to transition perfectly into the preparation for the Copa America Centenario."
All the U.S. practices are closed to the public.
The Miami camp roster....
GOALKEEPERS (3) : Brad Guzan (Aston Villa), Tim Howard (Colorado Rapids), Zach Steffen (SC Freiburg)
DEFENDERS (7) : John Brooks (Hertha Berlin), Geoff Cameron (Stoke City), Eric Lichaj (Nottingham Forest), Matt Miazga (Chelsea), Michael Orozco (Club Tijuana), Tim Ream (Fulham), DeAndre Yedlin (Tottenham)
MIDFIELDERS (7) : Alejandro Bedoya (Nantes), Emerson Hyndman (Fulham), Fabian Johnson (Borussia Monchengladbach), Perry Kitchen (Heart of Midlothian), Alfredo Morales (Ingolstadt), Caleb Stanko (SC Freiburg), Danny Williams (Reading)
FORWARDS (5) : Paul Arriola (Club Tijuana), Julian Green (Bayern Munich), Fabrice Picault (FC St. Pauli), Amando Moreno (Club Tijuana), Bobby Wood (Hamburg)
They did it. They really did it.
Leicester City, a team that a year ago languished in last place in the English Premier League, a team that faced 5,000-to-1 odds at the start of this season, a team whose payroll ranks 17th of the 20 EPL clubs, just clinched its first EPL title in the club's 132 year history.
From near-relegation to complete euphoria. Worst to First.
It is, arguably, the most improbable championship run in any team sport anywhere in the world.
And, it was a victory for underdogs everywhere. If Leicester can win the English Premier League, ANYTHING is truly possible.
They had to wait a day to clinch the title after settling for a 1-1 tie with Manchester United on Sunday. And they did it with the help of Chelsea, which rallied from a 2-0 deficit to tie Tottenham 2-2 on Monday afternoon. Fans all over the world (including my 16-year-old soccer-playing daughter and her friends) watched the end of that Chelsea-Tottenham game and then Tweeted about Leicester's miracle championship.
And fans the world over rejoiced, as Leicester had become -- at worst -- everyone's second-favorite team. The biggest celebrations, of course, were in the East Midlands, in Leicester, where fans spilled onto the streets, roared and popped open champagne and beer bottles. And nobody was happier than the Foxes themselves. Check out this video from defender Christian Fuchs' phone, shot the moment they realized their fairy tale had come true.
CHAMPIONS!!!! pic.twitter.com/pFtvo5XUNx— Christian Fuchs (@FuchsOfficial) May 2, 2016
Friday Futbol Notes...
Miami FC signed former Cuban national team defender Jorge Luis Corrales.
The 24-year-old joined Pinar del Rio in 2009 and spent six years with the team. He was team MVP in 2012, 2013, 2014. He played for Cuba's U17, U20, U23 teams and the national team.
"Corrales is one of the most driven players I've had the opportunity of working with,'' said Miami FC coach Alessandro Nesta. "He impressed me in the open and invitational tryouts, so it's a pleasure to bring him on board. He has such a passion for the sport, and it's always refreshing to see someone with so much dedication take their talents to the field.''
Miami FC, the city's new NASL team, opens its inaugural season in April.
Also this week, the Fort Lauderdale Strikers signed Trinidad and Tobago national team defender Julius James. The 31-yea-old impressed Strikers coaches during the recent Florida Cup. He started and played full matches at center back against FC Schalke 04 and Independiente Santa Fe. In 2014, he played for the San Antonio Scorpions. He played college at the University of Connecticut, and was picked by Toronto in the 2008 MLS Draft. He went on to play for Houston, D.C. and Columbus.
"We are delighted to sign an experienced defender like Julius,'' said coach Caio Zanardi. "He has made tremendous progress to overcome injury and is an example for many of the younger guys in the locker room.''
Local Haitian soccer legend Nono Jean-Baptiste is throwing his hat into the ring for the FIFA President's job. Here's why, and his vision for the future of the world soccer governing body...