With the USMNT’s March friendlies against Denmark (March 25, ESPN2, WatchESPN, UniMás, UDN) and Switzerland (March 31, FOX Sports 1, UniMás, UDN) quickly approaching, time is running out for the players to convince the coaching staff they should be included for the matches that start the honing process for the all-important 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup this summer. The staff will have plenty of opportunity to watch the player pool in action this weekend – and so will fans!
Check out all the MNT players in action with their clubs across the globe (All TV times ET):
The spotlight is on the kickoff of the 20th season of Major League Soccer when the 2014 defending champion LA Galaxy hosts the Chicago Fire. World Cup vet Omar Gonzalez stands at one end with MNT neophyte Gyassi Zardes as the pair stare down Fire ‘keeper Sean Johnson at the other. (10 p.m., UniMas)
The FA Cup quarterfinals kick off with a trip to famed Wembley Stadium on offer in one of the oldest and most prestigious cup competitions in the world. Brad Guzan and Aston Villa host West Bromwich Albion in the first leg (12:30 p.m., FOX Soccer Plus). In another final eight matchup, Reading midfielder Danny Williams continues his resurgence as the Royals head to League One side Bradford City (7:45 a.m., FS1). In the only Premier League match of the weekend, DeAndre Yedlin’s Spurs travel to QPR with a huge opportunity to pick up points in the race to reach European competition next season (10 a.m., NBCSN).
In Germany, Fabian Johnson is fresh off scoring his first goal of the campaign and Borussia Moenchengladbach travel to Mainz looking to keep their hold on third place in the Bundesliga table (12:30 p.m., GolTV).
South of the border, Club Tijuana look to maintain their lead at the top of the Liga MX Torneo Clausura after going 6-1-1 in the first eight matches. Joe Corona hopes to continue to earn minutes after recovering from injury, while Greg Garza will be kept out as a precaution after a minor hip injury on the weekend. Meantime, defender Michael Orozco has started all eight games for Puebla and has helped his side to fourth place as they travel to Chiapas (10 p.m., UDN).
MLS has a host of matches available on DIRECT KICK/MLS LIVE, led by the debut of Jozy Altidore alongside MNT compatriot Michael Bradley at Toronto FC when they square off against cross-coast Canadian rivals Vancouver Whitecaps (6 p.m.). Check local listings for the full MLS schedule.
Last things first – the U.S. Under-17 MNT has a chance to book their ticket to the 2015 FIFA U-17 World Cup. Currently sporting a 3-0-0 record at the top of Group A in CONCACAF Qualifying, a win against host Honduras would guarantee advancement to this fall’s tournament in Chile (FOX Soccer Plus, 10 p.m.).
The big draw will be the debut of the newest additions to MLS, with 60,000 plus packing the Citrus Bowl to watch Orlando City FC hosts NYCFC. Brek Shea is hoping for a jumpstart to his career wearing the purple of the Lions, while Mix Diskerud kicks off his domestic professional career with the Big Apple’s newest MLS entrant NYCFC (ESPN2, ESPN Deportes, 5 p.m.). Matt Besler will marshal the backline and Graham Zusi appears to be ready to go when Sporting Kansas City hosts the new look New York Red Bulls (FS1, 7 p.m.), while MLS Cup finalists New England Revolution will be without their MNT contingent in Seattle as Jermaine Jones and Lee Nguyen are still sidelined for the opener against U.S. captain Clint Dempsey, MNT defender Brad Evans and Sounders FC (FS1, FOX Deportes, 9:30 p.m.).
WHAT ELSE TO CHECK OUT …
Alejandro Bedoya returns from the infirmary to join his Nantes teammates when they meet Stade de Reims, who hover three points above the relegation zone … Jonathan Spector’s Birmingham City side have surpassed their point total from last season, and hope to climb into the top half of the table against Midlands rival Derby … It could be young versus younger in Holland when Aron Johannsson and AZ Alkmaar travel to face Rubio Rubin and FC Utrecht on Sunday … Finally, Eintracht Frankfurt’s starting right back Timmy Chandler gets an early look at the RheinEnergieSTADION in Cologne, which will host USA-Germany on June 5.
CHICAGO (Feb. 26, 2015) – Ballots have been finalized for the National Soccer Hall of Fame Class of 2015 elections, and voting will begin immediately for the Player, Veteran Player and Builder categories. Voting will continue through Friday, March 20, and the election results will be announced shortly after. Induction ceremony details for the Class of 2015 will be announced at a later date.
Players in their first year of eligibility include the following: two-time FIFA World Cup participant and current Columbus Crew head coach Gregg Berhalter; 13-year MLS veteran Jimmy Conrad; 13-year MNT fixture and MLS Cup champion Frankie Hejduk; 2008 Olympic gold medalist Natasha Kai; four-time FIFA World Cup participant and three-time CONCACAF Gold Cup Champion Kasey Keller; 10-year MNT veteran and current LA Galaxy technical director Jovan Kirovski; 1996 Olympic gold medalist and 1999 FIFA Women’s World Cup champion Tiffeny Milbrett; two-time MLS Goalkeeper of the Year Pat Onstad; three-time MLS Cup champion Eddie Robinson; Colombian MLS star Diego Serna; two-time Olympic gold medalist Lindsay Tarpley; 15-year veteran and two-time MLS Goalkeeper of the Year Zach Thornton; and six-year WNT forward Christie Welsh.
Of the 31 players on the Player ballot, Robin Fraser and Shannon MacMillan are in their final year of eligibility.
In order to be eligible for election as a Player, an individual must be retired for at least three years, but for no more than 10 years, and have either: 1) Played in at least 20 international games for the U.S., or 2) Played at least five seasons in an American first-division professional league and named to a postseason All-League or All-Star team at least once.
The voting pool includes all past and present full Men's and Women's National Team coaches, all active MLS and NWSL head coaches with a minimum of four years of experience as a head coach at the highest level in the United States, MLS and NWSL management representatives, the MLS and NWSL Commissioners, U.S. Soccer CEO/Secretary General, U.S. Soccer President, designated media members, and all Hall of Famers.
Each voter can list up to 10 candidates per ballot. Any player appearing on at least 66.7 percent of ballots will earn election, while any player who does not appear on at least five percent of ballots will be removed from voting contention until they qualify for the Veteran ballot.
2015 National Soccer Hall of Fame Player BallotChris Armas
* First year of eligibility
** Final year of eligibility; moves to Veteran ballot in 2016
In addition to the Player ballot, voting is also set to begin for the Veteran Player and Builder ballots. Nine players are up for selection on the Veteran ballot, which is voted on only by current Hall of Famers after the list has been narrowed down by a screening committee.
Voters can name up to five Veteran candidates, and the top vote-getter will be elected as long as he or she appears on a minimum of 50 percent of the ballots. If no individual appears on 50 percent of the ballots, then no Veteran will be elected to the 2015 Class. More than one candidate may be elected in the event of a tie.
In order to be eligible for election as a Veteran, an individual must be retired for more than 10 years, and have either: 1) Played in at least 20 international games for the U.S. This requirement is reduced to 10 games if the games were prior to 1990, or 2) Played at least five seasons in an American first-division professional league and named to a postseason All-League or All-Star team at least once. or 3) Played at least five seasons in the MISL between 1984 and the end of the league in 1992, and been selected as a first-team postseason All-Star in at least one of those seasons.
2015 National Soccer Hall of Fame Veteran Ballot
The 2015 Builder ballot includes nine individuals selected by a screening committee and follows the same procedures for election as the Veteran ballot, although the voting pool is expanded to also include select soccer administrators.
Builders must be at least 50 years old and are eligible by making their mark in the soccer community in a non-playing capacity while sustaining a major and positive impact on American Soccer at the national federation or first-division level for at least 10 years. Referees must serve as a FIFA referee for at least seven years to be eligible (although a referee who has less than seven years as a FIFA international referee still can qualify for the list via 10 or more years as a United States first-division referee).
2015 National Soccer Hall of Fame Builder Ballot
Complete information about the election and eligibility procedures is available online at ussoccer.com.
The National Soccer Hall of Fame closed its Oneonta, N.Y., facility in 2010. The election process is being administered by U.S. Soccer Federation staff under election and eligibility guidelines established by the Hall of Fame Board of Directors.
Established in 1950, the National Soccer Hall of Fame is dedicated to the sport of soccer in America by celebrating its history, preserving its legacy, inspiring its youth and honoring its heroes for generations to come.
CHICAGO (Feb. 16, 2015) – The U.S. Men’s and Women’s National Teams have unveiled a bold new away Nike kit that features a stylish gradient design.
The WNT will introduce the kit when it travels to Portugal for the 2015 Algarve Cup from March 4-11, and the MNT will wear the kit for the first time on March 25 against Denmark.
Photos from the induction ceremony honoring the 2014 National Soccer Hall of Fame Class of 2014 that included former National Team players Kristine Lilly and Brian McBride as well as former Men's National Team head coach Bob Bradley. The ceremony took place in San Francisco on Feb. 14, 2015.
The National Soccer Hall of Fame embraced three more inductees with the inclusion of Players Kristine Lilly and Brian McBride and Builder Bob Bradley during a ceremony Saturday, Feb. 14, at the U.S. Soccer Federation Annual General Meeting in San Francisco. Bradley was unavailable due to his coaching commitments in Norway.
Lilly and McBride credited their coaches, family and more who helped guide their legendary careers and impact in the sport. Here are a few highlights of their induction speeches:
On achieving dreams:
Brian McBride: “There’s always going to be something you want to achieve. Make sure you don’t come up short because you didn’t put in the effort to reach that achievement. We can always improve, and we can always learn.”
On lasting relationships:
Kristine Lilly: “What I’m most grateful for was not just the soccer part, but that I met so many people and built lasting relationships with those people. That’s what I’m really grateful for. Thank you for opening the door for me, for believing in me, for having high expectations in me, for being there for me, and also for letting me go home in college when I was homesick, which was a lot. Anson [Dorrance], you set the standard and you set it high. We all benefited from your ambition to be the best.
KL: “I’d like to thank my teammates. You taught me how to push myself, celebrate, laugh, cry, stay together and strive to be the best. But more importantly, you taught me what it means to be a friend.”
On their coaching influences:
KL: “When I was 16 years old, you (Anson Dorrance) changed my life. You opened the door to a career that I never thought in a million years would lead me to this moment and so many other great moments. You took a chance on me, Julie [Foudy], Mia [Hamm] and Joy [Fawcett], four young kids, and you gave us a chance to see the world, work to be the best and show young girls that they can be the best at something.”
BM: “The coaches that have influenced me are vast. I don’t think it’s fair to really talk about all of them because I’ve thanked a lot and have talked long. My high school coach, John Erford, was a huge influence on me. All you coaches out there, know that what you do is important. It doesn’t matter if it’s at a professional level, if it’s at a youth level, if it’s at an adult level. He’s taught me a lot of things, and one of the things he taught me is soccer is exactly what Kasey was saying – it’s a moment. Try being the person that you want to be. That meant making sure I was studying, making sure I was doing school work. When I met him, and my mom would tell you, I couldn’t be interested in doing homework. I couldn’t be interested in anything. He set me straight, and I’ll forever be grateful. I talked a little bit about Bruce [Arena]. He’s a special guy. Not only special for the field but the lasting impression on me and the lasting impression on my family. And that doesn’t happen very much. I’d like to thank David Moyes and Chris Coleman, who both gave me the opportunity to play in Europe. And Joe Clarke – when I went to St. Louis, I thought soccer was all about attacking. Growing up in Arlington Heights, we would do 45 minutes of shooting and 45 minutes of playing. When I got to St. Louis, that wasn’t the way soccer was played. Training was about understanding, small games, movement off the ball, and I had a little bit of that from the youth side, with ODP and some of the U-20 experience, but Joe always wanted you to know why you were doing things, and that is so important. On top of that, Joe is an amazing person.”
McBride on Lilly’s ‘first-class’ career:
BM: “Kristine, I actually got to know well, even though our paths didn’t cross very much. When they did, I had some time to spend with her. What everybody says about her is she’s first-class – and it’s true. She always worked extremely hard, but she also looked out for everybody else. We got to spend some time in Austin, a little bit in Arlington Heights, and she deserves everything and more with where she has gotten.”
McBride on Bob Bradley:
BM: “Bob led a legacy of true commitment, and his record shows for itself. He’s someone that has been so influential in so many of the players, having the chance to spend a little bit of the end of my career in Chicago and being there and seeing the tradition and honor – that’s him. He not only did that for the Fire but for the United States National Team.”
Lilly’s thanks to her husband, David:
KL: “I want to thank my husband, David. In 2004, we won the gold medal, and if we didn’t win, I would never have been able to show my face at the fire station. Thank you for supporting me, for loving me and for getting me back on the field after we had Sidney.”
McBride’s thanks for his wife Dina’s support over his career:
BM: “I met my wife when I was on loan at Preston in England, and I thought I was going to be Mr. Tough Guy. So the first game we were in an FA Cup game and I wanted to show the fans that I’ll go into any challenge. I went into this challenge and ended up not losing this challenge – of course I didn’t win the ball. I didn’t get knocked down, but people saw that I wasn’t afraid. From that one challenge, about three days later we played another game – 90 minutes. It was Sheffield Wednesday, we won the game, I come off the field, I pull off my shirt and my teammates go ‘woh.’ I go, ‘What’s wrong?’ I look down and my [right] arm is twice the size of this [left] arm. That led to me flying back for angioplasty, getting a blood clot out. I’m put on blood thinners. You can’t do any type of contact for the next three months. You can run, you can lift, do all that, but you’re going to be on blood thinners. You can go home. It just happened to be two days before Thanksgiving, and that time at home the next day I met my future wife. We were able to spend a whole month together. I’m sure all of us can look at how our relationships started in life, and this is not high school. This is 27, 28 years old, and you get to spend a whole month, every day, with that person. Thankfully, I met the most amazing woman who is an amazing mother who always supported me and I’m forever grateful.”
Lilly on her brother Scott:
KL: “To my brother, Scott, you didn’t teach me everything, but what you did teach me was more than that – you let me play. Whenever you were with your friends playing sports, you always let your little sister tag along. It showed me that I could do anything, so thank you for being the best role model.”
McBride on his brother Matt:
BM: “There was a period when he was my agent, when I called him from that Confederations Cup when Kasey [Keller] and I were first roommates. I had a scenario go down where I was offered a large sum of money – almost double what I was making in MLS, cash – to basically have a pre-contract, and I get on the phone, and here is this amazing offer. [Matt is] like, ‘What are you doing? That’s not you. You have to remember who you are and who you want to be.’ If you don’t think that that team is going to want you three years from now, why would they give you this money? That’s a tough thing. When you’re a player and you’re making $50,000 a year and you have this opportunity, it’s a tough thing to turn down. The advice that my brother gave me, not only there, but throughout my career, is indelible in who I am and who I present to you.”
Lilly’s message to her daughters, Sidney and Jordan:
KL: “Maybe one day you will believe that Mommy actually was a decent soccer player. We have it on video now. I hope you know and believe that you can do anything that you want. Playing soccer and putting that No. 13 jersey on made me feel at home. It’s something I will always be grateful for. Thank you very much.”
CHICAGO (Feb. 14, 2015) – The U.S. Men’s National Team will be playing in front of a sold-out crowd on April 15 for USA vs. Mexico, Presented by AT&T at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas.
The match at the Alamodome has reached the capacity of 65,000 tickets sold. That number surpasses the previous San Antonio record crowd of 54,313 who watched Mexico defeat Korea Republic 4-0 on Jan. 29, 2014. Fans from 43 states and the District of Columbia will be in attendance, along with supporters from Mexico, Germany and the United Kingdom.
While regular seating has sold out, a limited number of suites are still available. Those interested should write to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The game in San Antonio marks the first time that that USA and Mexico have met on the soccer field in the River City. The most recent friendly between the U.S. and Mexico was a 2-2 draw in front of 59,066 fans on April 2, 2014, at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona.
From his role as the U.S. Men’s National Team coach to his ongoing success in Major League Soccer, Bruce Arena has created a winning environment and influence.
Arena is the 2015 recipient of the Werner Fricker Builder Award, and naturally he has impacted a number of players, teams and organizations along the way.
Among those to provide their perspective on Arena were former MNT players Gregg Berhalter, Ben Olsen, Kasey Keller and Josh Wolff, former Virginia defender and longtime coach and assistant Curt Onalfo, and former U.S. MNT assistant coach Dave Sarachan.
On Arena’s Coaching Style and Strengths:
- Ben Olsen: “I think he was a different type of coach to different players, and I think that’s what made him the best coach that I’ve ever been around. He knew what each individual needed to be at its best. He certainly knew how to pull at my strings and get the most out of me. He understood the pulse of a team; he understood that it was easier to complicate the game than make it simple. His ability to relay what he wanted out of each individual and simplify that is one of his greatest strengths.”
- Kasey Keller: “Bruce was kind of what you call a player’s coach. He gave us a lot of freedom when we were in camp, but I think the players appreciated that. You would come in, have the opportunity after training to have a lot of personal time. You’d have dinners on your own, and at the same time, the guys really responded to that. I think that’s why Bruce was really able to achieve results and maybe surprise some people.”
- Josh Wolff: “He was able to able to find what worked for each player: How he delivered those messages, managing the players, but also educating and coaching. His ability to do that over the course of time has been tremendous.”
- Gregg Berhalter: “You always want to perform for Bruce. He demands excellence and he’s a guy that wants to win and he drives his players in a positive way to be successful and want success.”
On Building Teams and Success:
- Dave Sarachan: “Everywhere Bruce has been, he’s won. He’s succeeded and taken those programs to another level, and specifically with U.S. Soccer. Back in the day when he was involved in the Olympic Team and carrying through with the National Team, it’s been a process of improvement from year to year and advancement, and obviously, culminating when we were together in 2002, in Japan and Korea in going through the great run that U.S. Soccer and our team did then. He’s set the bar for managers from here on end to create a culture of winning and development where he brings teams and players along to a level that coaches haven’t.”
- Curt Onalfo: “I’ve known Bruce since I was 17 years old and I remember being a junior in college, and I wrote him a letter and I was telling him how impressed I was with how each year he built on his foundation. Bruce always gets better at what he does. He self-reflects and looks back at what he’s done and he tries to make it better because he’s a perfectionist, and he’s got a great work ethic and he’s very intelligent. When you have all of those qualities, you’re building something – building a foundation to get better and better. He builds things and you can see it.”
On Receiving the Werner Fricker Award:
- Dave Sarachan: “I couldn’t think of a more deserving recipient to the Werner Fricker Builder Award. I think ‘builder’ is a key word in this whole process because when you look back at the body of work that Bruce has had, going back to Virginia and then D.C. United and all the way through the National Team and here in L.A., he’s always been a builder. He’s always built teams and franchises, and to receive this honor, I think it’s a real credit to him for his entire body of work and where he’s built success everywhere he’s been.”
- Curt Onalfo: “At the end of the day, think about what this man has accomplished. There isn’t an individual in my mind, and especially on the coaching side, that has accomplished the things he has done; that has brought every team that he’s been part of to a winning/championship level and helped in the process bring our National Teams to a different level. He was our National Team coach for eight years and did an amazing job to put U.S. Soccer on the map. Then look at his early days at the University of Virginia and winning championships and creating the powerhouse club that he built there, then going to D.C. United and building the dynasty of D.C. United in those years and then the National Team, and now for what has accomplished with the LA Galaxy. This is a man at the top of his profession. He’s shown he’s the best at what he does for two decades. I think this is something that is very, very warranted.”
Arena’s Ongoing Legacy:
- Curt Onalfo: “He’s won championships and built great organizations and does it the right way. He does things with a lot of integrity. I think he believes that he always wants to leave things better than when he took over. In all the situations and institutions he’s been a part of, that’s been the case. He’s going to be remembered as a champion, a winner and a hard worker. He’s a man with a lot of integrity and a great person.”
- Dave Sarachan: “Legacy is an interesting word to define because when you think about coaches, your legacy is success and wins versus losses. But I look at a guy like Bruce and his legacy as just setting the bar very high and continually achieving and pushing programs along to a level that they’ve never reached. I think when people look back at the development of soccer at the pro level here in this country, way past the NASL days, but MLS at the start and where MNT was and where it is, I think his legacy is going to read that he’s brought and developed programs and players to a level very few have.”
- Ben Olsen: “He’s not done yet. His legacy is influencing soccer in this country at so many different levels. Whether it was college, the influential early days and parts of our league, and obviously what he did on the global stage for the United States. It’s been such a pleasure to be a very small part of that. I feel very lucky to have crossed paths with him and I draw on some of the coaching philosophies that he had. I draw on them quite a bit. Congratulations, Bruce on this wonderful award. There is not one out there more deserving of it.”
- Kasey Keller: “His legacy is the most winningest coach in U.S. Soccer history, along not only with what he’s done with MLS, but what he had done with the National Team – it’s unprecedented.”