Sylvae MLS News

30Jan/110

Los Angeles Galaxy Ins and Outs, Jan. 30, 2011

 Green Card for Ricketts Los Angeles Galaxy goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts earned his US Green Card this past week.  As a result, Ricketts will no longer occupy one of the international slots on the club's roster. The 2010 Major League Soccer Goalkeeper of the Year and a two-time MLS All-Star, Ricketts has a 28-12-14 record in his two seasons with the Galaxy, keeping 20 clean sheets in 55 regular season appearances.  His 0.96 goals against average is the best in MLS history amongst goalkeepers that have played in more than one game, while his 0.90 GAA in 2010 was the best single season mark in Galaxy history. In two seasons with Ricketts on the roster, the Galaxy have allowed 57 goals in 60 regular season games after surrendering 62 goals in 30 games in 2008.  A Jamaican international, Ricketts has collected 76 caps for his country and was a member of Jamaica’s team at the 1998 FIFA World Cup.  Makes you wonder if Mr. Beckham is also considering getting his green card, if he hasn't already...   Miguel Lopez Signs With the G's Also announced this past week was the signing of midfielder Miguel Lopez of Quilmes AC. Lopez played for Quilmes in Argentina’s Primera B Nacional (Second ...
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30Jan/110

Adding “Sabor Latino” To MLS Marketing

In the last post, I sifted through an interesting interview with MLS EVP Dan Courtemanche (Part One and Part Two) and worked through some of the marketing-oriented commentary. However, while I called out a mention of the league’s continuing interest in the Hispanic audience, I didn’t delve into the topic. So here are a few tidbits from the interview and elsewhere, along with a reasonably crazy and unrealistic idea to go with them. The interview offers hints that the SuperLiga competition’s days may be over, though that decision hasn’t been made public at this point.  The SuperLiga was (or is?) an odd competition in many ways: a marketing invention between MLS and its Mexican counterpart.  There are other regional competitions that MLS and Mexican league clubs play each other in, namely CONCACAF Champions League, that had much more tangible international relevance and for SuperLiga, the Mexican clubs were only in their pre-season, so MLS victories were somewhat tainted (and with non-matching calendars, that may always be a challenge with any regional competition). All that negativity aside, the games were entertaining and typically had a better level of intensity than nearly any regular season MLS game. That aside, for a New England Revolution fan, it offered what MLS could ...
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29Jan/110

MLS Cup Playoffs: Why MLS Still Has Conferences

The chance that Major League Soccer would dock the Eastern and Western Conferences were practically equivalent to the league's receiving any praise for the retaining of conferences.Well, as unnecessary they may seem, MLS is going to have conferences at least through the end of this year. Knowing that we may only have 19 clubs in MLS for 2012, it's likely (and unfortunate) that we can say bye to the balanced schedule and not bye to the conferences. Needless to say, MLS' announcement that the Houston Dynamo were transferring from the West to East, unsurprisingly, failed to receive any joy amongst the fans. If anything, it simply reignited the same topics that have been hot topics of debate for the past few years now: conference vs. single table, open league vs. closed league model and MLS Cup vs. Supporters Shield. There was minor praise, in very short doses. Most of it was claiming that MLS would expand to around 30 clubs in the future, and would need as much conference emphasis as possible. While I cannot see that happening anytime soon, nor do I see FIFA allowing that happen ever, their reasons are not valid presently. Especially in a league playing a balanced schedule.Right now, with no ...
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28Jan/110

Los Angeles Galaxy Ins and Outs, Jan. 28, 2011

Who is the fastest? A huge question will be asked at the 104th Millrose Games in New York City: Which sport has the strongest combination of power, speed and acceleration? Is it American football? Is it bobsleigh? Is it baseball? Is it basketball? Or is it world football? Los Angeles Galaxy midfielder Bryan Jordan will investigate the question when he participates in the Super 60 II event at the Millrose Games on Friday. Others participating in the event include NFL star Jacoby Jones, a wide receiver with the Houston Texans, former NBA star Jay Williams, former MLB All-Star Junior Spivey, Olympic bobsled gold medalist Steve Mesler and defending champion/former NFL star Tony Dorsett.   McBean, USA U-17s on assignment in Jamaica As mentioned in the previous Ins and Outs, Galaxy Youth Academy product Jack McBean is training with the USA Under-17 men's national team ahead of the CONCACAF U-17 Championship in Montego Bay, Jamaica. Among the team members in the lineup, center backs Andrew Souders and Mobi Fehr possess a strong presence the back line, while Matt Dunn, Esteban Rodriguez and Tarik Salkicic will figure prominently in the midfield. Look for Mario Rodriguez, one of the Americans' most impressive performers during the Nike International Friendlies, to provide the goal-scoring ...
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27Jan/110

MLS Marketing and the New England Revolution

I’ve talked before about being a marketer by trade, so my intrigue about a number of recent MLS marketing related news items should come of no real surprise.  What was a bit more surprising was my inability to immediately tie them into a neat and tidy theme, with the exception of the inevitable thoughts about how these items affect, or compare to, our local New England Revolution. What prompted these thoughts was L.E. Eisenmenger‘s interview with MLS EVP Dan Courtemanche on the marketing of MLS (if any of this is interesting to you, go read Part One and Part Two), which included a number of interesting tidbits, only a few of which I’ll cover here. Courtemanche made it clear that the MLS marketing is targeting the “core soccer fan in the 18 to 34-year-old age group,” and his belief that marketing messages to that core group will resonate reasonably well with older and younger audiences, who all seek to emulate that group anyway.   Key to winning over this group will be a focus on “authenticity and the Hispanic audience.”  (I’ll cover some thoughts on attracting the Hispanic audience in my next post.) The interview spent a fair amount of time focused on “game presentation,” which ...
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27Jan/110

Los Angeles Galaxy Ins and Outs, Jan. 27, 2011

Cristman, Leonardo poised for big year After performance relatively well in their endurance and strength tests yesterday, the Los Angeles Galaxy's Adam Cristman and Leonardo feel that they are ready for a big year in 2011. “It’s been a rough two years,” said Cristman, acquired two weeks ago in a trade with D.C. United. “My first year and a half in the league were great. I was making great strides in my professional career and I’ve hit a skid. “For me, [the strength and endurance test results] was positive reinforcement for all the work I’ve put in the last few weeks. I’m happy to put all of that behind me and it’s nice to be here and have a fresh start.” “I think the first day was good,” Leonardo added. “I’m going to take it day to day, little by little, but I’m going to get better. “It was exciting to see the guys, I’m happy to be back here. It’s a new year, a lot of new people as well and we want to win titles. That will take time and a lot of hard work. But it all starts today.”   MLSSoccer.com places Galaxy #1 in Power Rankings Well, isn't this flattering. The editors at MLSSoccer.com ...
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27Jan/110

Landon Donovan: ‘I Want to Be More Dangerous in Front of Goal’

(Carson, CA)—Landon Donovan spoke to members of the press at the LA Galaxy's preseason training camp at the Home Depot Center in Carson on Wednesday. Despite widespread speculation about him joining an EPL club, the Team USA player had foregone his usual training loan in Europe to rest after a busy 2010. “This is the first time I can remember where I had enough time to really get antsy to play again. I’m excited to be back and see new faces and to start up again, and that hasn’t happened in a while.” Donovan spoke about the turnover in the Galaxy’s attack during the offseason, specifically the departure of the Galaxy’s leading goal scorer last season, Edson Buddle, and the arrival of former Aston Villa striker Juan Pablo Angel from the New York Red Bulls. “There’s no question that losing Edson hurts. We’re obviously very happy for him and to see him score in his first game was great. As people who are distributing the ball to your attacking players, you want the guy who always wants the ball and wants the ball in a good position and puts himself in a good position so he can be dangerous, and Edson became very good ...
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25Jan/110

Los Angeles Galaxy Ins and Outs, Jan. 25, 2011

Gonzalez and Franklin at the front for the States Defenders Omar Gonzalez and Sean Franklin played a key role in the USA's 1-1 draw with Chile at the Home Depot Center last Saturday. Franklin earned his first-ever cap as a member of the national team in the draw. “It was definitely an honor to be playing with the national team,” Gonzalez said. “It was a fun game. The first half was so much fun and getting to see all the new guys out there was fun.” “Nothing’s final until it’s written down,” Franklin said. “I was excited to get the start. I wanted to just calm down, not freak out too much.” Gonzalez was quick to note that working with fellow defender and New York Red Bull Tim Ream, who had a fantastic outing for the USA, was key. “We worked together the last week and I like playing with him next to me,” he said. “Hopefully that’s one relationship I would like to see again.” For Franklin, it was a case of "so far, so good," but there's room for improvement. “I think I did OK," he said. "I wish I would have done better attacking-wise, as far as some better balls being crossed, but I ...
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24Jan/110

New York Red Bulls Have Two of the Brightest Young Stars in the United States

The New York Red Bulls have had success developing superb talents that become big contributors for the United States Men’s National Team. USMNT first-team regulars Tim Howard, Michael Bradley and Jozy Altidore all spent the entirety of their MLS careers with the franchise, before moving on to bigger things in Europe. The team may have two more names to add to that list. After Saturday night’s friendly against Chile, current Red Bulls Tim Ream and Juan Agudelo continued their sharp form and further established themselves on the international stage. Both players earned their second cap for the USMNT and impressed many. Ream, who started and played every single minute for the Red Bulls in his rookie season, went the full 90 for the Americans. His composure and communication skills, for the most part, were good. What was best though, and what drew a lot of attention during the MLS season, was his passing ability from the back. Ream does a good job seeing the field and getting the ball out cleanly. The good attack in the run of play that led to the penalty kick started with a Ream pass up the field. There is a strong group of center backs ahead of Ream on the ...
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24Jan/110

Balls Without Borders: Helping the Youth in War-Torn Regions and Refugee Camps

“We cannot seek achievement for ourselves and forget about progress and prosperity for our community...Our ambitions must be broad enough to include the aspirations and needs of others, for their sakes and for our own.” —Cesar Chavez Sometimes a brief exchange of dialogue with an individual may be an educational one. A few weeks ago, I had finished covering Major League Soccer's SuperDraft in Baltimore, Maryland. As soon as the draft was officially over, I made my way down to the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) Convention, because I had agreed to be interviewed for a radio show based in Philadelphia.  As I waited to be interviewed, Viva Ann Guerrero approached me and introduced herself. She informed me that she was the President and CEO of her nonprofit, Ball Without Borders. As she was explaining to me the purpose of her organization, I had to cut our conversation short, because I was informed that I was next to be interviewed. Following my radio interview, I had to catch my bus back to New York City. Nevertheless, I asked Viva for any information that she has about Balls Without Borders and assured her that I will contact her within ...
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