Grand Slam Sunday: Robbie Rogers Scores (and so does Posh)

Rolling Hills Estates’ Robbie Rogers scored for the U.S. Under-23 Men’s National Team today in a 3-3 draw with China. See the previous post for more on Rogers.

Today’s prep soccer stories from the Daily Breeze are here and here.

Daily News prep action is here.

If you missed the Manchester United-Liverpool or Arsenal-Chelsea game this morning, you can check out the action in the best hour of soccer on TV at 7 tonight on Fox Soccer Channel during the EPL highlights show.

Finally, Mrs. Beckham gives new meaning to the phrase grand slam Sunday

Facebook Twitter Plusone Digg Reddit Stumbleupon Tumblr Email

SoCal Pros No. 1: Robbie Rogers

First in a series highlighting the careers of Southern Californians who play professional soccer.

Robbie Rogers, who grew up in Rolling Hills Estates, just completed his first MLS season with the Columbus Crew

Currently on tour in China with the U.S. Under-23 Men’s National Team, Rogers came on strong in the latter half of the season. (He didn’t see much playing time early on, although Rogers told me he didn’t know why at the recent U-23 camp at Home Depot Center, but hoped he’d proved a point. Crew Coach Sigi Schmid, a long-time South Bay resident who has known Rogers since he played youth soccer, is scouting in Europe and was unavailable for comment).

Rogers showed he has an eye for goal and displayed some deft touches in midfield, drawing praise from the likes of Argentine star Guillermo Barros Schelotto with whom he combined well in midfield and credits with helping him become a better player.

Check out the highlights of Rogers season and career in this compilation of clips:

Fans are discussing Robbie and the video here.

Facebook Twitter Plusone Digg Reddit Stumbleupon Tumblr Email

Cheney First Bruin Ever Named Finalist For Top Women’s College Soccer Award

From the (edited) UCLA press release:

Striker Lauren Cheney became the first women’s soccer player in UCLA history to be named a finalist for college soccer’s most prestigious honor today, one of three contending for the Missouri Athletic Club’s Hermann Trophy.

The other two finalists for the national player of the year award are Ashlee Pistorius of Texas A&M and Mami Yamaguchi of Florida State.

Cheney, a sophomore from Indianapolis, Ind., led UCLA to its fifth straight NCAA College Cup in 2007. She ended the season ranked second nationally in points per game (2.48) and third nationally in goals per game (1.0). She was named the 2007 Pac-10 Player of the Year after leading the conference in points (57), goals (23) and game-winning goals (9). She also ranked second overall in assists (11).

Cheney’s 57 points and 23 goals on the year were both single-season school records.

“I’m obviously extremely happy for Lauren because it’s a wonderful honor to be named a finalist for this award,” said UCLA head coach Jillian Ellis. “She’s a tremendous player who has had an exceptional year so I think it is fitting that she is being recognized in this manner. It’s a reflection of the type of season she has had.”

The winner will be announced live on ESPNews at 4 p.m. Jan. 11 at the Missouri Athletic Club in downtown St. Louis.

Facebook Twitter Plusone Digg Reddit Stumbleupon Tumblr Email

Football Friday: Becks, Capello & More

Fabio Capello has yet to sign on the dotted line as the new England coach and already there’s speculation he has made up with a certain player the then Real Madrid coach once vowed would never play for him again (although he did anyway with Real’s season going south last season). Yup, David Beckham, it’s said, will captain England on Feb. 6 against Switzerland and earn his century of caps. But will he make it to 101 England appearances?

Local Manchester United fans hoping to see former Red Devils midfielder Juan Sebastian Veron grace the Home Depot Center field (albeit playing for D.C. United) are apparently out of luck. Or maybe not.

At the other end of the soccer spectrum, here are today’s prep soccer stories ripped from the pages, um, Web sites of the Daily Breeze, Daily News and Long Beach Press-Telegram.

Finally, while no local schools are involved, the NCAA Men’s Soccer Tournament has come down to the final four. Wake Forest plays Virginia Tech at 2 p.m. today on ESPN2, while the Ohio State-Massachusetts game follows at 4:30 p.m. on ESPNU.

Still, if you can only see one game this weekend on television make it Arsenal against Chelsea at 8 a.m. Sunday on Fox Soccer Channel. Manchester United take on Liverpool the same day, but that 5:25 a.m. game is on the more expensive Setanta. Here’s a preview of the match-ups between the big four of the EPL.

Facebook Twitter Plusone Digg Reddit Stumbleupon Tumblr Email

U.S. Olympic Team Held to Scoreless Draw in China Thursday and More

The U.S. Under-23 Men’s National Team tied China 0-0 today with all but three members of the squad getting some playing time.

Meanwhile, it seems all but certain that the Galaxy’s David Beckham will be reunited with his former Real Madrid coach Fabio Capello, who is expected to become the next Engand manager.

Incidentally, fellow blogger Scott Wolf is reporting that the USC pointy-ball team will practice Dec. 20-22 on the lush soccer fields of Home Depot Center ahead of the Rose Bowl game. “They wanted a different venue to shake up the routine since this is the third straight Rose Bowl,” Scott told me in an e-mail.

Here’s a look at Wednesday’s prep action with stories from the Daily Breeze here and here as well as the Daily News.

A photo gallery of the Banning-San Pedro game is here

Finally, some of you may have noticed the Daily Breeze Web site has a new look, including a page devoted to soccer.

Facebook Twitter Plusone Digg Reddit Stumbleupon Tumblr Email

Two Bruins, One Matador to Attend MLS Combine & No Zurawski for Galaxy

Bruins defenders Brandon Owens of Murietta and Mike Zaher, as well as Cal State Northridge U.S. Under-23 international Sean Franklin of Palmdale were named today to the initial list of 54 college players invited to attend the annual MLS Combine.

Other college players will be named later. The combine takes place Jan. 11-15 in Florida, just before the Jan. 18 MLS Superdraft.

Other players invited, according to the MLS press release, include:

“seven seniors who are semifinalists for the 2007 Missouri Athletic Club Hermann Trophy, NCAA soccers equivalent of the Heisman Trophy. Leading the way is the 2006 award winner Joseph Lapira (Notre Dame), and Andy Iro (UC Santa Barbara), Julius James (University of Connecticut), Stephen King (University of Maryland), Peter Lowry (Santa Clara), Julian Valentin (Wake Forest University) and Michael Videira (Duke University). The 2007 MAC Hermann Trophy finalists will be announced on Dec. 14, 2007 and the winner is announced on Jan. 11, 2008.

Also, Galaxy spokesman Patrick Donnelly confirmed today that reports linking Celtic striker Maciej Zurawski with LA are false.

Two lessons here: never believe the agent of a player (the source of the “story” in this case), who desperately wants to improve his situation. And don’t believe an English tabloid desperate for a story (especially one that if memory serves claimed then England Coach Steve McClaren was trying to line up a job with the Galaxy).

Facebook Twitter Plusone Digg Reddit Stumbleupon Tumblr Email

Cannon Deal to DC Reportedly Collapses & More

The Washington Post’s Steven Goff follows up his Tuesday blog report with a story today that the previously mentioned trade of Galaxy goalkeeper Joe Cannon for D.C. United’s Troy Perkins has fallen through. The same deal would have seen FC Dallas striker Carlos Ruiz return to the Galaxy.

Don’t be surprised if this isn’t the last we hear of a Cannon trade or Ruiz return.

Cannon’s almost $200,000 a year contract is a salary cap burden for the Galaxy, especially since he is error-prone, while LA has lacked a consistent attacking threat since Ruiz departed. Ruiz has plenty of baggage – he’s moody and previous Galaxy Coach Sigi Schmid had trouble keeping the Guatemalan tucked up in bed at night and out of nightclubs – but at least Ruiz is capable of getting on the end of David Beckham free kicks.

Meanwhile, the U-23 Men’s National Team, with a sizable Southern California contingent is in China preparing for two games.

Lastly, the prep previews keep coming.

On Tuesday, it was the Bay League boys, today it’s the girls.

There’s also previews of the girls LA section, the girls Pioneer League and the girls Ocean League.

The small schools get their due here.

The Daily Breeze girls top ten rankings are here.

Tuesday’s prep action is here.

Facebook Twitter Plusone Digg Reddit Stumbleupon Tumblr Email

Tuesday’s Column & More

I Want To Go To Rehab, Yes, Yes, Yes

With apologies to the (apparently) aptly-named Amy Winehouse, the U.S. Women’s National Team is holding its first camp under new Coach Pia Sundhage.

The mini-camp, essentially a get acquainted session, ends Wednesday for the 16 players on the World Cup squad and handful of collegians taking part.

The camp was hastily convened so nothing should be read into the absences of the likes of Kristine Lilly, although the veteran striker is still deciding whether to keep playing until the Olympics or retire.

Hopefully, we’ll have some pictures from camp later today, but you can read all about it here.

A couple of things left out of the column for space reasons: Markgraf especially sounded pleased to be reunited with her former WUSA coach who has more creative and attacking expectations than former Coach Greg Ryan did.

“I shoot more with Pia than I ever did with Greg,” Markgraf said after Monday’s practice. “She emphasizes making the right decision. That’s what soccer is all about.”

There was no major team meeting to discuss goalkeeper Hope Solo’s outburst, although Sundhage referred obliquely to the melt down.

“I have addressed the fact that the U.S. Women’s National Team is a team with different individuals, but no one player is bigger than the team,” she said.

Sundhage said this team has the capability to do for the attacking game in women’s soccer what the Germans did for defense: take the offense to a dominating, withering next level.

Striker Abby Wambach is certainly looking to receive more support up front.

“You’re going to see players play differently than they’ve ever played,” she said. “It will be a lot more entertaining to watch and a lot more fun to play.”

Meanwhile, Markgraf acknowledges this is a team whose PR image also needs a bit of rehab.

“I’m just happy people are still watching us and hopefully we can win them back,” she said.

Mia Hamm to Play at the HDC

Retired great Mia Hamm and baseball-playing hubby Nomar Garciaparra play in a charity game Jan. 26 at Home Depot Center.

The celebrity challenge game includes Landon Donovan, Cobi Jones, Julie Foudy, Brad Guzan, Brandi Chastain and others.

More details are here and on MySpace.

Also, Hamm will appear from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Jan. 5 at the upcoming Cal South Soccer Nation Expo at the LA Convention Center.

From the (edited) press release:

Hamm will have two appearances on the Expos central pitch. One will be a 15-minute question-and-answer session, answering questions submitted by Soccer Nation Expo attendees. In the second, Hamm will participate in a 4-on-4 kids game as Kingman, in which she will switch sides with each possession. When not on the pitch, Hamm will be available to sign autographs and meet and greet Soccer Nation Expo attendees at the Nike exhibition booth.

During both pitch times, Hamm will promote the Mia Hamm & Nomar Garciaparra Celebrity Soccer Challenge, January 26, 2008 at the Home Depot Center, an event that benefits Childrens Hospital Los Angeles bone marrow patients and their families. A bone marrow typing demonstration will be part of this segment. Bone marrow typing is used to find possible matches for patients needing marrow transplants. Representatives from the National Bone Marrow Donor Program at the City of Hope will be at the Expo to type attendees interested in becoming part of the program.

More than 125 exhibitors and 30,000 people are expected to attend Soccer Nation Expo.

More details are here.

Prep Previews

Offseason, what offseason?

High school soccer is gearing up and here are previews from the Pioneer League and Marine League.

A Bay League preview is here.

Prep scores from the South Bay are here and from the Long Beach Press-Telegram here.

Finally, the Daily News checks in with news from a tournament in La Canada Flintridge.

Facebook Twitter Plusone Digg Reddit Stumbleupon Tumblr Email

Monday Morning Buzz: EPL on ESPN & More

A couple of quick notes before I head off to the U.S. Women’s National Team camp at Home Depot Center:

ESPN has belatedly realised what’s missing from its schedule. No mention of the U.S. broadcast rights, but can it be far behind?

The Cerritos College women also won a championship Sunday.

The U.S. Under-17 92 Mens National Team fell 2-0 to Turkey Sunday in its third and final international match of the Development Academy Nike Friendlies in Bradenton, Fla.

From the (edited) U.S. Soccer press release –

The U.S. finished the weekend with two wins and a loss, taking 2-0 wins over Russia on Thursday and Brazil on Saturday. Carlos Martinez and Stefan Jerome each scored two goals on the weekend, while Earl Edwards added two shutouts in Wilmer Cabreras international coaching debut.

It’s getting to be that time of year when everyone makes a list. There’s two soccer names on this one.

Finally, the Santa Monica Orthopaedic and Sports Medicine Group will be inaugurated today as the first-ever accredited FIFA Medical Center of Excellence in the U.S.

From the (edited) U.S. Soccer press release:

The vision behind creating a community of medical centers across the world is to ensure that players on all continents know where to go for expert care in football medical care, such as the prevention of injuries, early detection of risk factors for sudden cardiac death, as well as state-of-the-art diagnosis and therapy services.

FIFA is committed to protecting and improving the health of football players worldwide, said FIFA Sports Medical Committee chair Michel DHooghe. We consider effective prevention and accurate diagnosis as top priorities and make a strong commitment by offering the football community Centers of Excellence. What is more, these centers will also be generally open to every player looking for therapy or a second opinion on a specific illness or injury.

Building on the success of the first FIFA Medical Centre of Excellence opened at the Schulthess Clinic in Zurich in May 2005, the Santa Monica Orthopaedic and Sports Medicine Group will be the first of five medical centers to receive accreditation as an official medical center in the coming months. The St Marianna University School of Medicine in Kawasaki, Japan, will be inaugurated next on Dec. 14, followed by three more in New Zealand, South Africa and Germany in early 2008.

“This is an incredible honor for our multidisciplinary center to be recognized as a FIFA Medical Center of Excellence, said Dr. Bert Mandelbaum. Having the opportunity to be a part of the FIFAs focus on research and education for prevention, injury care and rehabilitation, and performance optimization in soccer players here in the U.S. is a mission we are excited to be involved in.

Mandelbaum has been a part of U.S. Soccer’s Sports Medicine initiatives since 1990, working with thousands of athletes and virtually every U.S. National Team in that time. He has worked four World Cups for the men’s and two for the women in that time.

Facebook Twitter Plusone Digg Reddit Stumbleupon Tumblr Email