Corrie Hirokawa, Short-Timer

Torrance’s Corrie Hirokawa, Cal State Dominguez Hills’ top scorer with nine goals and seven assists, sees her college soccer career coming to an end in her third post for 100 Percent Soccer:

The season has gone by quickly leaving me only two more regular season games.

These next two games are important, because it’s coming down to the wire for CCAA playoff bids. We only need one win to guarantee our spot in the CCAA tournament, which we are hosting.

With this being my last year, Ive already realized how important this season is, but as we have just two games left and need one to win to make the conference tournament, I know how important it is for all of us to give it our all this weekend.

There is no “next year” for me.

There is only “right now” and right now I have an opportunity to take my team to playoffs and I am ready to shed blood, sweat and tears.

When you have been a part of a team for four years it is hard to accept that it is coming to an end.

I have made many life-long friendships and have created memories that I will never forget. Now I want to add to those memories as much as I can with these last few games.

I love playing soccer and I love the team I play for. I couldn’t have asked for a better season thus far and I am anxious to see how my season will end. Wish us luck!


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Thursday Lunch: Chivas USA & Galaxy, Becks and Pecs

Imploding Galaxy

ESPN color analyst Eric Wynalda, holding court in the press box before the last Galaxy home game, joked that the initials of Galaxy owner AEG actually stood for Auditioning Executives Group rather than Anschutz Entertainment Group.

Wynalda’s acronym makes even more sense when you learn that the suits at AEG apparently believe Coach Frank Yallop has more to do with the Galaxy’s ghastly season than their greedy marketing decisions that sapped the team of any vitality.

Incidentally, Wynalda observed that after he made the AEG crack to GM Alexi Lalas, his former U.S. international teammate didn’t talk to him for five days.

Lalas isn’t talking to beat writer Billy Witz about Yallop either.

I wouldn’t put it past the Auditioning Executives Group to fire Yallop though; after all this is the same company that fired Sigi schmid with the Galaxy in first place in MLS.

Chivas USA Flees Fires

It wasn’t a mandatory evacuation, but with health concerns rising in Los Angeles because of the ash and smoke in the air Chivas USA decided to head to Kansas City a day early ahead of Saturday’s playoff game.

Crummy air quality has physicians advising even elite athletes not to exercise.

Chivas USA will fly out this afternoon after a light training session.

After training (Wednesday) morning at The Home Depot Center we decided that it is in the best interest of our players for us to depart a day early for Kansas City ahead our crucial playoff game on Saturday, said Chivas USA Head Coach Preki. At the same time, as residents of Southern California, I want to say that our hearts go out to the thousands of families who have lost their homes, as well as to the brave men and women who are fighting on the front lines to help contain the fires.

Who’s The Biggest Hunk

This is terribly tabloid, but try as I might I just can’t resist. readers have just voted David Beckham as their No. 1 choice in the Web site’s annual survey of the year’s 49 top men. Allegedly the voters were mostly male.

Meanwhile, trashy NBC celebrity gossip show Extra has pronounced Chivas USA’s (injured) striker Ante Razov a “soccer hottie” “with gorgeous green eyes.”

He also has a reputation as being a generally moody type (team officials recently tried to convince me Razov is just terribly shy, but on this video evidence I’m not buying that).

Oh, and because enquiring minds will want to know, Torrance’s Jack Stewart (latterly of Real Salt Lake) did not win Cosmo’s Bachelor of the Year contest.

College Shorts

A 51st minute goal by Rafael Garcia was enough to give Cal State Northridge (5-3-5) a 1-0 win and their first victory of the Big West Conference season Wednesday over visiting Cal State Fullerton (5-8-2).

Northridge returns to action at 7 p.m. Saturday when they travel to UC Santa Barbara, in what many consider the most heated rivalry in the Big West.

The NCAA Division II Mens Soccer Committee has released its first soccer regional rankings of the season and Cal State Dominguez Hills, ranked No. 16 by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA), finds itself 3rd in the NCAA Far West Region poll.

From the (edited) CSUDH press release:

The Toros, winners of five straight and seven of their last eight, boast a 14-3 overall and 10-2 CCAA record, and sit eight points ahead of Cal State L.A. in the CCAAs south division.

CSUDH is led by a potent 1-2-3 offensive punch in seniors Sammy Rivas (Long Beach, CA/CS Fullerton) and Jose Serpas (Costa Mesa, CA/Orange Coast College), and sophomore Mario Guerrero (Riverside, CA/La Sierra HS), who have combined for 20 goals, 11 assists and 9 game-winning scores, a stellar defensive line in senior Devin Toohey (Santa Paula, CA/Ventura College) and sophomore Kevin Gallaugher (Walnut, CA/Rio Hondo JC) that has blanked opponents in eight contests and has allowed just 13 goals all season, and stellar play in net by sophomore Derby Carrillo (La Mirada, CA/St. John Bosco HS), who recently picked up his second Brine/CCAA Player of the Week Award and leads the conference in shutouts, save percentage and goals against average.

Seattle University, which the Toros bested 2-0 on September 2, sits atop the NCAA Far West poll with a No. 6 ranking in the NSCAA, and is followed by Sonoma State, ranked No. 11 by the NSCAA.

The Toros conclude their regular season with two home games this weekend, hosting Cal Poly Pomona at 7:00 pm on Friday, followed by a 5:00 pm match-up against Cal State San Bernardino two days later, which will also mark the final regular season home game for eight Toro seniors.

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Brian Boswell, U.S. Women’s National Team Coaching Candidates


Guest-blogger Brian Boswell, coach of Rolling Hills Estates-based Ajax America Women of the Women’s Premier Soccer League, a team that is usually a contender for the national championship, is familiar with many of the prospective candidates for the U.S. Women’s National Team coaching job.

For instance, he coached Carin Gabarra (Jennings) when she was growing up on the Palos Verdes Peninsula. In a recent e-mail to me she cited him as one of two local youth coaches (Bill Merrill was the other) who helped provide a solid foundation to her career.

Here, he handicaps the field of potential successors to Greg Ryan, who was fired Monday:

There are two main female candidates, UCLA and Under-20 U.S. Womens National Team coach Jill Ellis and Navys Carin Gabarra Jennings, a former U.S. National Team star who grew up on the Palos Verdes Peninsula.

Under Ellis, UCLA is a perennial NCAA championship contender.

As coach of the U.S. U-20 team, she has the twin advantages of access to the inner workings of the U.S. Soccer Federation and knowledge of up and coming young players.

I have always found her to easy to talk to and a good person to coach against.

Would Jill give up the security of UCLA for the national team job? Her ego may say yes, but I dont know. She would do a good job if it was offered to her.

Gabarra has done a great job at Navy; military academies are difficult places to recruit players.

One of the original greats of U.S. soccer, she was MVP of the 1991 Womens World Cup and an Olympic gold medal winner.

Her husband, Jim, who coaches the Washington Freedom, is another candidate for the job. While she would have no problem commanding the respect of the U.S. team, shes had great offers before. Would she leave Jim in Washington D.C.? I dont think so.

The male candidates are former U.S. National Team Coach Tony DiCicco, Santa Clara University Coach Jerry Smith, the aforementioned Jim Gabarra, former coach of the WUSAs San Jose CyberRays Ian Sawyers and Australian National Team Coach Tom Sermanni.

DiCicco, coach of Soccer Plus Connecticut in the WPSL, has also just accepted the position of coach of the Boston franchise in the new womens professional league.

If the U.S. are looking for a coach just through next years Olympics, DiCicco, the highest profile candidate is the man.

Advantage: he knows the players and more importantly the inner workings of the U.S. Soccer Federation.

Disadvantage: he isnt the coach now, so something was wrong for Tony and the job to part company previously.

I have coached against Tony, who is courteous, professional, knows the game and a competitor. The post for the short term would still leave Tony available for Boston.

Smith has created a soccer dynasty at Santa Clara, the little Catholic school near San Jose.

He has the knowledge and ability to do a great job with the U.S. and has interviewed before for the job.

The husband of outspoken former U.S. national team star Brandi Chastain, he is open and honest and likely told the U.S. Soccer Federation things that at the time they did not want to hear.

Now its time for them to listen.

Jim Gabarra, coached the Washington Freedom to the 2007 W-League championship and also coached the club in the WUSA when the roster included Mia Hamm (a member of the three-person U.S. Soccer coach search committee).

He has coached at the highest level with the best players, has great knowledge of the womens game and has accepted a position to coach in the new womens professional league with the Washington franchise.

But I dont think he would leave Washington, Carin and their three kids to spend a lot of time in California.

Brit Sawyers, who has the instant credibility that comes from being married to former U.S. National Team star Julie Foudy, has been out of coaching at the top level for some time developing his wifes camps. Still, that would not stop him doing a good job with the U.S.

Sermanni, whose Australian team has put in some good World Cup performances, is surely worth a look. A Scot with a great sense of humor, he was coach of the New York Power in the WUSA, so knows the womens game on the national level and has great club experience.

If the U.S. Soccer Federation decide they need a quick fix, DiCicco has the inside track.

If its someone for the Olympics it could be Smith or Sermanni, although any of the others are capable of getting the U.S. back on top.

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Wednesday Chivas USA Playoff Update & More

Of Razov and Playoffs

Injured Chivas USA striker Ante Razov insists he will return for the playoffs at some stage.

Just don’t expect to see him in Kansas City Saturday night for Chivas USA’s opening game. The game is live at 5 p.m. on Prime.

The MLS playoffs start Thursday, by the way, when D.C. United plays the Chicago Fire live at 5:30 p.m. on ESPN2. Details on all the playoff series are here.

FIFA Rankings Released

I’m not big on the monthly FIFA world rankings released today, but then I’m not from Argentina (the country reclaimed the top spot from Italy, which dropped to third behind Brazil).

The World Cup winners got knocked off the top, despite playing just one game – and winning it. That sort of thing just increases the irrelevance of the ranking system.

Still, for what it’s worth the U.S. stayed in 18th spot, Croatia was unchanged at 10th, England dropped two places to 11th, Scotland rose one place to 13th and Mexico dropped two places to 15th, after losing to Guatemala at the Coliseum.

The entire list is here.

Soccer and Fire

Not surprisingly, the catastrophic wildfires sweeping through Southern California are beginning to take their toll on local soccer games. Doctors are advising athletes to avoid physical exertion in some spots because of the smoke and ash that’s seemingly everywhere.

Loyola Marymount’s men’s team have been forced to move Friday’s game in San Diego to Sullivan Field.

Here’s the full release from LMU:

LMU’s men’s soccer games versus the University of San Diego have been rescheduled and moved due to the wildfires and smoke in San Diego County.

The Lions and USD will now play at LMU on Friday at noon and on Monday night at 7 p.m. in San Diego.

The women’s soccer games against St. Mary’s and San Francisco will go ahead as planned.

LMU will play St. Mary’s at 3 p.m. on Friday following the men’s match.

Sunday’s game against USF that was originally part of a doubleheader will now be a single game at 11 a.m.

Pepperdine’s women’s team have also been dealing with the fires in Malibu.

Still, the fires didn’t stop Cal State Dominguez Hills from snagging the right to host the CCAA men’s and women’s championship games next week.

Here’s the full press release:

Cal State Dominguez Hills has been selected to host the 2007 California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) Mens and Womens Soccer Championships, commissioner Robert J. Hiegert announced on Tuesday.

The CCAA Championships are scheduled for Nov. 2-4 at 8,000-seat Toro Stadium in Carson, Calif. The event will feature four mens and four womens teams competing over three days with the winners claiming the conference title.

Cal State Dominguez Hills will be hosting the championships for the fourth time and first since 2004 when its womens team captured the conference title and them men lost in the title match.

Heading into the final weekend of the regular-season, Cal State Dominguez Hills mens squad has secured a postseason berth while its womens team remains in contention.

The CCAA consists of a North and South Division and each division winner advances to postseason play along with the next two teams with the highest point totals.

Currently on the mens side, Sonoma State, which leads the North Division with a 13-0 conference mark, has clinched a berth along with Cal State Dominguez Hills (14-3, 10-2). Cal State L.A., Cal Poly Pomona and Cal State Monterey Bay are still in contention.

On the womens side, Chico State (11-5-1, 9-3-1) and UC San Diego (12-2-1, 9-2-1) lead their respective divisions and have clinched spots in the championships. Cal State Stanislaus (9-8-2, 7-4-2), Cal State Dominguez Hills (12-3-3, 7-3-2) and Cal State L.A. (9-5-1, 6-4-1) remain in contention.

The complete bracket for both tournaments will be announced late Sunday, following the completion of the regular season. The tournament format will have the women playing during Fridays first session with match times scheduled for 11 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. The men will play at 4:30 p.m. and 7 p.m. on Friday.

The womens championship match is slated for 11:30 a.m. on Sunday and the mens title match will kickoff at 2 p.m.

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Tuesday’s Column: Ryan’s Run Done & More

As many expected it would after the conclusion of the three-match post-World Cup series between the U.S. and Mexico, the ax fell Monday on Women’s National Team Coach Greg Ryan.

On a personal and professional level, I enjoyed dealing with the soft-spoken Ryan.

He was always accommodating and happy to give reporters the time they needed.

That was the case again Monday when Ryan returned my phone calls so I could include comments from him in today’s column, while Torrance’s Shannon Boxx also took the time to give her reaction. Read it here.

And Daily Breeze columnist John Bogert received a flood of e-mails from readers happy to see him call out a boorish AYSO parent in his column last week.

Here’s the reader reaction.

Finally this morning, after the Galaxy season ended Sunday, the team wasted no time in rescheduling exhibition games in Vancouver, B.C. Nov. 7 and Minneapolis Nov. 11.

That’s two games in five days for Beck’s. Hope the ankle holds up.

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Greg Ryan Fired as U.S. Women’s National Team Coach

U.S. Soccer President Sunil Gulati announced the firing Monday of U.S. Women’s National Team Coach Greg Ryan.

Ryan was informed of the move Sunday morning by U.S. Soccer Executive Director Dan Flynn, the day after the last game of a three-match series against Mexico.

“We want to move in a different direction,” Gulati said, adding that Ryan’s player management in relation to the Hope Solo debacle played a role in the move. “I’m not going to point to any one factor or any one individual decision. Obviously, coach’s decisions impact games and all of that was weighed in.”

Gulati said a three-person search committee – consisting of himself, Flynn and soccer great Mia Hamm – would make a decision on a new coach within 30-45 days.

The new coach could be American or foreign, male or female, but must have experience at the highest level of the game and familiarity with the U.S. team given that Olympic qualifying begins in February, Gulati said.

In addition, Solo remains part of the national team pool and is not suspended, Gulati said.

“My guess is a number of participants … if they could do it all over again would do it differently,” he said of that situation. “I’m not sure the decision was made to ostracize (Solo).”

Ryan was appointed national team coach in January 2005 and led the U.S. to unprecedented success before the World Cup, but the team’s humiliating performance in China convinced Gulati to oust Ryan.

Ryan finished with a 45-1-9 record.

I’ll have more on Ryan’s firing in Tuesday’s column in the Daily News and Daily Breeze.

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Monday Morning Buzz: Ryan Done & More

Ryan Out

At least that’s the supposition after you receive an e-mail from U.S. Soccer calling a 1 p.m. news conference today with President Sunil Gulati “to address the status of U.S. Womens National Team Head Coach Greg Ryan.”

No mention of Ryan being on the call, so whether he resigned or was fired you gotta figure he’s gone.

The Washington Post’s Steven Goff is already speculating about Ryan’s successor here.

College Roundup

A summary of Sunday’s women’s college action is here.

Not mentioned in the roundup: The Cal State Northridge womens (3-10-1) lost 3-1 to Cal State Fullerton (9-6-1) Sunday night at Titan Stadium, the Matadors’ seventh consecutive loss to the Titans.

As for the men, Palos Verdes Estates’ Kyle Nakazawa scored the game-winning goal in the last minute of the game to lead UCLA to a 3-2 win Sunday over Washington and lift them to first place in the Pac-10.

Nakazawa’s clutch goal was his first of the season and the sophomore midfielder also had an assist in the game, which saw UCLA extend its unbeaten streak to four games.

The Bruins win, coupled with San Diego States 2-0 loss at Oregon State, gave UCLA (7-5-2) the Pac-10 lead with 10 points at the season’s halfway mark.

Despite a Michael Clegg goal after just 62 seconds Sunday, Northridge and Maryland tied 1-1. Northridge dropped to 4-3-5 and Maryland to 6-4-4.

Cal State Dominguez Hills won 2-0 over visiting Chico State Sunday to improve to 14-3, 10-2 CCAA.

Sophomore forward Mario Guerrero out of Riverside’s La Serra High scored the game-winner, while sophomore goalkeeper Derby Carrillo of La Mirada got his eighth shutout as CSUDH posted its fourth-consecutive win.

Loyola Marymount (2-9-1, 0-5-0 WCC) out-shot Saint Mary’s 17-9, but still lost their fifth-straight game in a 1-0 defeat Sunday in a West Coast Conference game at Sullivan Field.

Chivas USA Playoff Tickets on Sale

Game 1 of the Chivas USA-Kansas City Wizards playoff series kicks off at 5:30 p.m. Saturday, while game 2 of the aggregate-goals series is set for 7:30 p.m. Nov. 3 at Home Depot Center.

Tickets start at $14 and fans who purchase them by calling (1-877) CHIVAS-1 receive a limited-edition Chivas USA Road to Glory Playoffs T-shirt.

Rogers Rips D.C.

Finally, we should belatedly acknowledge Rolling Hills Estates’ Robbie Rogers, who scored two goals Saturday in the Columbus Crew’s road win over D.C. United. The Crew also beat the New England Revolution in their previous game, meaning they ended the season with victories against the top two teams in the Eastern Conference.

“Two really big wins,” Rogers said to The Columbus Dispatch. “So now it’s, ‘Gee, if we just could have got that other point here or that one there…”

Incidentally, in contrast Lawndale’s Kei Kamara ended the season on a down note, reportedly getting dropped for the game by Crew Coach Sigi Schmid

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Galaxy Season Over as Fire Win on Thorrington Goal

At the start of this season former Chadwick School star John Thorrington, waived by the Chicago Fire, failed to hook on with either the Galaxy or Chivas USA.

But he stayed fit playing with his brother’s Palos Verdes Peninsula club team, Fram, and after re-signing with Chicago and playing just two minutes for the Fire before Sunday, delivered a dramatic goal in second half stoppage time with a calmly taken chip over Joe Cannon that killed off the Galaxy’s season and sent the Fire into the playoffs.

The Fire’s 1-0 win means Chivas USA begins the playoffs Thursday in Kansas City.

Updated: Game story is here.

And with the end of the Galaxy’s season, this column was inevitable.

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Galaxy Sunday Brunch & More

Chivas USA’s Western Conference decider Saturday with the Houston Dynamo was so dull, the biggest talking point came after the final whistle when the opposing coaches exchanged words and shoves.

Still, Chivas USA got the point they needed to clinch the top seed in the West.

The Galaxy’s playoff hopes are still alive too after Real Salt Lake remarkably actually won a game and L.A. will set up a pulsating first-round series with Chivas USA with a win over the Fire at noon today on FSN. Lose or tie and the Galaxy are out and Chivas USA plays Chicago instead.

Despite the fact we’re unlikely to see much of Beckham Sunday, there was the inevitable Blanco-Beck’s news conference Saturday in Chicago and the equally inevitable story on the “meeting” of the two superstars.

Meanwhile, Briana Scurry played in goal as the U.S. women tied Mexico 1-1 Saturday.

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Chivas USA Saturday Gameday & More

MLS Down To The Wire

In contrast to the Galaxy’s muddled playoff picture, Chivas USA must simply avoid losing tonight to the Houston Dyanamo at Home Depot Center.

Chivas USA beat writer Ivan Orozco has more on Chivas USA’s motivation.

I have another commitment tonight so Ivan will guest-blog from the HDC.

The game kicks off at 7:30 p.m.

Meanwhile, the Galaxy doesn’t play today, but it’s still the most important day of their season, too. Galaxy beat writer Billy Witz will spend the day following the Galaxy’s playoff fate on

He breaks down what needs to happen (and what doesn’t) here.

Ryan’s Hope


The U.S. plays the final game of its post-World Cup three-match series against Mexico today in Albuquerque, N.M.

Estranged former first-choice goalkeeper Hope Solo didn’t dress for the first game (in a supposed gesture of reconciliation), and third-choice Nicole Barnhart got the start in the second, so it will be interesting to see what happens today.

Cynical observers might say Coach Greg Ryan will get fired after the final whistle no matter who plays in goal, but U.S. Soccer President Sunil Gulati isn’t known for pulling the trigger quickly.

Still, the soap opera gives extra resonance to the accompanying magazine cover as well as the fact that before the tournament Ryan told me he thought Solo would be the most likely player on the U.S. team to emerge from the tournament as a star. I’m guessing he didn’t mean like this.

The USA has outscored Mexico, 9-1, in the previous two games so there’s unlikely to be much suspense about the outcome.

Still, since there’s no TV, the curious can check out the MatchTracker at

Kick off is at 3:30 p.m.

College Update

A summary of Friday’s local college action is here.

In another college game, the Cal State Northridge womens team (3-9-1) defeated UC Riverside (8-6-1), 3-1, Friday afternoon at the UCR Soccer Stadium in Riverside.

A frightening collision between Northridge goalkeeper Ivette Esqueda and Riversides Jill Del Rosario delayed the final 12 minutes of the game for nearly half an hour.

Esqueda, making her fourth start of the season for the Matadors, left the field under her own power; Del Rosario had to be carted off the field by ambulance.

The win snapped the Matadors five-game losing streak and was their first win in 2007 on the road and in the Big West Conference.

The Matadors wrap up the road portion of their 2007 schedule at 6 p.m. Sunday against Cal State Fullerton.

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