Friday, August 05, 2011

Good Day!

Loads today as the Bundesliga gets underway and Raphael Honigstein gives us his preview, the Championship kicks off in England (will West Ham win it?), Sid Lowe in Spain, Champions League draw pits Arsenal and Udinese, the Community Shield is a Manchester Derby on Sunday, The Joy of Six looks back at six good Shields, Klinsmann picks his roster for next week's Mexico friendly in Philly, Americans Abroad checks in, What's up with the New York Cosmos?, Grant Wahl on Kansas City, season previews for Manchester City, Manchester United, Liverpool and much more!!


England: 2011 Community Shield Preview

Who: Manchester United vs. Manchester City

Where: Wembley Stadium, London, England
When: Sunday, August 7, 10:00am EDT
U.S. TV: Fox Soccer Channel
Preview I
Preview II

The Mill +

Friday's Rumours


The Joy of Six: Charity Shield Matches

Scott Murray charts the history of the Charity Shield and its most interesting games.

EPL Season Previews: Liverpool, Manchester City & Manchester United


Manchester City

Manchester United

Sid Lowe in Spain

If he fulfils his rich promise, Barcelona B's 19-year-old midfielder could turn out to be the bargain of the season for Chelsea.

Chelsea's new signing Oriol Romeu has 'the greatest potential'.

Americans Abroad 2011-12

Check in on the top U.S. players in leagues around the world with's running coverage of Americans abroad.

Klinsmann names 22-man U.S. roster to face Mexico on Aug. 10

Klinsmann left no doubt this is a new era Thursday when he announced the roster for his first game as head coach, mixing veterans such as Landon Donovan, Tim Howard and captain Carlos Bocanegra with up-and-comers Brek Shea, Edgar Castillo, Michael Orozco Fiscal and Bill Hamid. He also brought back DaMarcus Beasley for the first time since last year's World Cup in South Africa, and gave another shot to Freddy Adu, the onetime phenom whose slumping career was rejuvenated with his stellar play at the Gold Cup.

GOALKEEPERS (2): Bill Hamid (D.C.United), Tim Howard (Everton).

DEFENDERS (8): Carlos Bocanegra (Saint-Etienne), Edgar Castillo (Club America), Timmy Chandler (FC Nürnberg), Steve Cherundolo (Hannover 96), Clarence Goodson (Brondby), Michael Orozco Fiscal (San Luis), Heath Pearce (Chivas USA), Tim Ream (New York Red Bulls).

MIDFIELDERS (7): Kyle Beckerman (Real Salt Lake), Michael Bradley (Borussia Mönchengladbach), Ricardo Clark (Eintracht Frankfurt), Maurice Edu (Rangers), Jermaine Jones (Schalke 04), Brek Shea (FC Dallas), José Torres (Pachuca).

FORWARDS (5): Freddy Adu (Benfica), Juan Agudelo (New York Red Bulls), DaMarcus Beasley (Puebla), Edson Buddle (FC Ingolstadt), Landon Donovan (Los Angeles Galaxy).

Grant Wahl: Sporting Kansas City riding unbeaten streak and new stadium

On a glorious summer day not long ago, Sporting Kansas City president Robb Heineman stopped the tour he was giving me of his jaw-dropping new soccer stadium, Livestrong Sporting Park, and picked up his handheld radio.

"Can I get my Hotel California test?" he said to the person on the other end. "Crank it up, too."

Within seconds we were hearing in remarkable booming, bass-lined clarity what seemed like a live performance of the Eagles. The 37-year-old Heineman, one of the cutting-edge 30-something owners in MLS -- Portland's Merritt Paulson is another --flashed a proud smile. "We were out here a couple nights before the opening with a few friends," he said, "just sitting here drinking a couple beers with nobody in the stadium, listening to this and saying, 'Wow, this is awesome.'

Or incredibly lame...

What's going on with the New York Cosmos?

In an exclusive sit down with, Terry Byrne reveals that the stadium is the crucial element of the team's MLS bid and says it has narrowed four areas where it will play.

Raphael Honigstein in Germany: Bundesliga 2011-12 Season Preview

Most German teams are following Dortmund's lead and putting their faith in youth, but can anyone stop big-spending Bayern?


England: Championship 2011-12 Season Preview

West Ham should bounce straight back to the Premier League, but Birmingham and Blackpool may struggle to joint them.


UEFA Europa League Playoff Draw

Tottenham have landed Scottish side Hearts in the play-off round of the Europa League, while Fulham's Martin Jol will take on the man who replaced him at Spurs, Juande Ramos, who is now in charge of Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk.

UEFA Champions League Playoff Draw

Arsenal's testing summer took another bad turn on Friday morning when the draw was made for the final round of Champions League qualifying and they landed Udinese. Progress from the qualifying round would bring in as much as £17.4 million to the Arsenal coffers, but it is not assured against an Udinese side who came fourth in Italy's Serie A and sold three of their star players - Alexis Sanchez, Cristian Zapata and Gokhan Inler this summer.

James Dall: Off the Ball

Off The Ball never rests in its mission to scratch around the underbelly of professional football to find the most bizarre, humorous and inexplicable stories.

This week, a Sheffield Wednesday XI are spanked 14-0, Mario Balotelli is on the receiving end of a rotten prank, Joey Barton keeps us entertained on Twitter while Rio Ferdinand gets a dose of his own merking medicine.

Thursday, August 04, 2011

Steve Davis: U.S. players that may be helped, and hurt, by Klinsmann's hiring

Jürgen Klinsmann's introduction as new national team coach lands as better news for some than others. Here's an early analysis of who stands to benefit most from this week's huge news -- along with a shortlist of those who might not fare as well -- as the freethinking German innovator prepares for his first match on the U.S. sidelines.

We can only hope this spells the end for Bornstein...

The Mill +

Thursday's Rumours


The Big Interview: Roberto Di Matteo

One of Chelsea's favourite sons talks about the pleasure of his return to Stamford Bridge after the traumatic end to his playing career.

1987 Arsenal Football Club ad for Ariel Automatic

EPL Season Previews: Chelsea, Everton & Fulham




Jon Carter: Rewind to 1968

In the days before it was named the FA Community Shield, the FA Charity Shield was the first chance to pick up silverware in the English leagues. In 1968, reigning First Division champions Manchester City played host to FA Challenge Cup winners West Brom at Maine Road and it proved to be one of the highest scoring games in the competition's history.

France: Qatari takeover heralds new dawn for Paris Saint-Germain

Historically Paris has experienced its fair share of revolutions and this summer it witnessed another - the takeover of perennial underachievers Paris Saint-Germain by Qatari investors.

Qatar Sports Investments - established in 2005 by son of the Emir and heir to the Qatari throne, Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al Thani - bought a 70% stake in PSG on 30 June and quickly installed former Inter Milan coach Leonardo as general manager.

Now PSG are threatening to do in France what Manchester City have been doing over the last couple of seasons in England - blow all and sundry out of the water when it comes to the transfer market.

UEFA Champions League: Malmo 1 - 1 Rangers (agg 2 - 1)

Nine-man Rangers were dumped out of the Champions League by Malmo in a bad-tempered encounter in Sweden.

Nikica Jelavic's goal had levelled the tie in the 23rd minute, but red cards for Steven Whittaker and Madjid Bougherra hit Ally McCoist's side. The Swedes were reduced to 10 men when Ferreira Ricardinho saw red, but an 80th minute goal from Jiloan Hamad put the tie out of reach.

Rangers now drop into the final round of Europa League qualifying.

UEFA Champions League: Arsenal, Bayern Confirmed as Seeds

Arsenal and Bayern Munich will be among the five seeded teams for the 'best placed' draw in the final round of Champions League qualifying.

The 20 teams who go into the play-off round hat in Nyon on Friday are split based upon how they earned the right to play in the 2011-12 competition, with the champions of the smaller leagues separated from the major nations' teams who did not win their domestic competition.

UEFA announced on Thursday that Benfica, Lyon and Villarreal will join Bayern and the Gunners in the lead pot of teams, who will be drawn to face one of FC Twente, Rubin Kazan, Udinese, FC Zurich and Odense.

Ann Killion: Klinsmann needs to overhaul U.S. soccer's grassroots development

Just moments after he was officially announced as the new head coach of the U.S. men's national team this week, Jurgen Klinsmann told a lie.

When asked how he would fix the American team, he answered: "I don't think there's anything wrong with the team. They lost a Gold Cup final against a very, very good Mexico team that over the last couple of years became one of the top 10 teams in the world."

You'll have to forgive Klinsmann for being disingenuous. If there wasn't something wrong with the U.S. team he wouldn't have been sitting at the Nike store in midtown Manhattan answering questions.

And his answer to that particular question was proof and declaration of what's wrong with the U.S. team. While Mexico -- a team that could reasonably be called the United States' equal a few years back -- has quickly evolved into one of the globe's top teams, the Americans have become stagnant. The Mexican resurgence has been fueled by dazzling young players.

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

The Education of an American Soccer Player: Year 2

Hey, Tim Ream, you’ve played against two of the biggest and best teams — Manchester United and Arsenal — in English and world soccer in the past week. What do you do for an encore?

“You go to Salt Lake.”

Jonathan Wilson: Grondona backs down amid outcry over combining top divisions

There was always a suspicion that River Plate's relegation was going to prompt radical changes in Argentinian soccer. There was a hope that it would lead clubs to accept that sensible financial management is a must and a recognition that places in the top flight must be earned. But no. The Argentinian Football Association -- at least initially -- did what it did last time one of the Big Five was relegated (San Lorenzo in 1981) and decided that the system of relegation itself must be at fault. Yesterday, though, the president of AFA, Julio Grondona, in the face of mounting public pressure, backtracked.

Germany: Bundesliga Season Preview

Let’s start off with a piece of history. The only team that denied Bayern from winning at least one Bundesliga shield in two consecutive seasons was Borussia Dortmund. Does Dortmund have enough to beat Bayern this season? We will find out.

Sam Wallace: Trouble in Paradise as Spanish league turns into two-horse race, just like the Old Firm

Over the 2009-10 Spanish season, Barcelona earned £139m and Real Madrid £119m from TV deals that they negotiated individually. Getafe, who finished 16th, earned £5m from their deal. In November, a group of clubs put a proposal to Barcelona and Madrid that instead of taking 48 per cent of TV revenues, they accept 34 per cent. It was rejected. No agreement has since been reached.

AFC Wimbledon's journey continues with League Two chapter

Almost a decade on, it is easy to forget the raw, seething anger that ultimately gave birth to AFC Wimbledon. Since the scars are still yet to heal, the facts are worth revisiting. In 2002, a three-man FA commission voted two to one to allow the owners of Wimbledon FC to wrench the club out of south London and slap it down 60 miles away in Milton Keynes. Fans of the original club forlornly and impotently howled their outrage the club they had grown up supporting morphed into MK Dons. There was nothing else for it. They would have to start again.

Mario Balotelli subjected to rotting fish in Maserati prank by Man City boys

His City team-mates have got their own back on the 20-year-old before they headed across the Atlantic on a two-week tour, with the kippers creating a right stench in his plush set of wheels.

'The smell really made him sick. It was revolting,' said the source.

'There were flies in the car and the leather seats in the back had rotting fish all over them.'

The Mill +

Wednesday's Rumours


Steve Davis: Easy qualifying draw gives Klinsmann breathing room

Even with the tonnage of analysis on how Jurgen Klinsmann might spice up the U.S. national team stew, the rest of the soccer world just keeps on spinning.

Thus, something fairly important slipped below radar over the weekend when FIFA drew up groups for World Cup qualifying around the globe -- a process that landed about as sweetly for the U.S. as anyone could have hoped.

Is the "Klinsi" magic at work already? The bottom line for the U.S. is the Road to Brazil is wide open, and something will have to go horribly askew if the U.S. stumbles fails to qualify for World Cup 2014.

But we pretty much knew that anyway; the CONCACAF region is a cuddly little kitten for the United States compared to what most teams in Europe and South America face.

U.S. defender Spector joins Birmingham

U.S. defender Jonathan Spector has joined Birmingham City on a two-year contract.

EPL Season Previews: Blackburn & Bolton



The Legend That is Lee

"I remember when this was football fields," says Lee Young-Pyo, as he looks out at the crowded streets of eastern Seoul."Where we sit now," he adds referring to the coffee shop situated on the ground floor of one of a number of high-rise office/apartment blocks that tower above a large shopping mall called Star City,"is exactly where I played football for Konkuk University for four years. This is where the pitch was."

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Martin Rogers: U.S., Klinsmann aided by fortunate draw

The marriage between Juergen Klinsmann and the United States national team began with a perfect slice of good fortune, but the new head coach should not expect his honeymoon period to last long.

Klinsmann and the USA were handed a dream run through qualifying last weekend, when the World Cup draw in Rio de Janeiro gave the Americans what would appear to be a trouble-free passage toward the finals in 2014.

Instead of being pitched into a semifinal group including the likes of Costa Rica or Panama (which beat them in the recent CONCACAF Gold Cup), the Americans’ presumed list of opponents is Jamaica, Guatemala and Haiti. If Klinsmann could have hand-picked a set of foes for his first competitive round, it would probably have looked something like that.

Kevin McCarra: Mood swing at Arsenal leaves Arsène Wenger needing silverware

Arsenal fans cannot nourish themselves so easily on memories now they have been starved of a trophy for six years.

Joey Barton quotes George Orwell on Twitter before revealing Newcastle are making him train alone

A George Orwell quoting Joey Barton has been made to train alone this morning following his bust up with manager Alan Pardew and subsequent transfer listing.

Down but not out: Will Yorkshire and Lincolnshire clubs bounce back?

The new football season is normally a time for optimism, hope and dreams of silverware.

Yet, for one part of the country, supporting your local team has largely become a labour of love with little to cheer.

The majority of clubs in Yorkshire and neighbouring Lincolnshire have lurched from well-publicised financial disaster to despair in recent years, tumbling down the divisions and, in several cases, out of the Football League altogether.

It's not always been this way, though.

The Mill +

Tuesday's Rumours


France: Ligue 1 Season Previews

Paul Marshall: A new era for Ligue 1

Ben Lyttleton: Ten storylines to follow entering the French Ligue 1 season

FIFA 2014 World Cup: Qualifying Groups Set

World champion Spain was drawn on Saturday with 1998 winner France, Georgia, Belarus and Finland in a qualifying group for the 2014 tournament -- the first World Cup in Brazil in 64 years.

The United States, featuring new coach Juergen Klinsmann, was drawn with Jamaica in a qualifying group from North and Central America and the Caribbean.

England was placed with 2012 European Championship co-hosts Ukraine and Poland in Group H. Montenegro, Moldova and San Marino also are in the group.

Clubs reveal all in BBC Sport Price of Football survey

Only 11 out of 104 clubs in England and Scotland will offer adults the chance to enjoy a day at the football for less than £20 during the new season.

A survey by the BBC Sport website of every club in the four English divisions and Scottish Premier League showed that fans in the north west have some of the cheapest deals available for matchday tickets.

The most expensive pie in English football...


Iron Maiden at the MEN Arena: £43.10
Hull FC Super League match: £27
England v India at Trent Bridge: £41.10
Nottinghamshire CCC: £21.60
Mamma Mia, Prince of Wales Theatre: £29

Tim Vickery in South America

Essentially, Batista has been sacked because Carlos Tevez had his penalty saved in the shoot-out - but more fundamentally, he has gone because it is electoral year in the Argentine FA. This is the factor that forced the change. Julio Grondona, president for 32 years, is hungry for more, which means that he has to play to the gallery. His constituency is the club presidents. This is a moment where Grondona is careful to give them what they want. They wanted Batista out, and so out he goes.

But a switch of national team coach is far from being the most significant change taking place in Argentine football as a result of the fact that Grondona is seeking another term. Electoral year also provides the backdrop for the plan to merge Argentina's first and second divisions into a giant 38-team structure in a new-look league to kick off in a year's time. The immediate suspicion raised was that this is a manoeuvre to reinstate River Plate in the first division.

EPL Season Previews: Arsenal & Aston Villa


Aston Villa

Monday, August 01, 2011

EPL News

Maybe it's the enthralling cricket series against India, with yesterday's piece of sportsmanship, or the impending world doom, but no one in England seems to have any really interest in the start of the new EPL season. So it's hard to believe anyone outside the country will care either. Today's headlines certainly aren't going to stir much interest. Balotelli is now homesick, Barton rants on twitter, Spurs may actually sell Modric, Sneijder could go to ManU, Arsenal throw away a lead - not exactly shocking infomation. There was one piece of really revelatory news though, and it comes from Frank Lampard: England will struggle at the world cup.

Balotelli: I'm not happy in Manchester
Modric has his price says Spurs' Bond
Gunners throw away another lead as Henry lifts Cup
Barton's Twitter tirade
Barton free to leave
United move a possibility, says Sneijder
Lampard: England will struggle in 2014

Monday MLS Breakdown

LIVESTRONG Sporting Park serves as the perfect recruiting tool for rebranded Sporting Kansas City

Klinsmann: More than Just a Coach

Jurgen Klinsmann has been given sweeping powers to remake the face of soccer in America at all levels, washing away bad memories of Bradley's regressive regime.

Reyna: US must play one style at all levels

Jurgen swoops to the rescue...

Bumbling Yank Owners Turn Up Pressure on Liverpool

Henry Demands Top Four Finish
Gerrard Out Until September

Manchester City In the News

Super Mario Hates Manchester
Kun can Charm City's Fanbase
City Have Too Many Strikers
But not enough holding midfielders?

Kun on Diego

"I'm the not the new Maradona"

Monday's Rumor Mill

Barca to Cesc: Pay Your Own Fee
Thiago's emergence moots Cesc to Barca?
Chelsea still chasing Modric
United still chasing Sneijder
The Mill