Galaxy Icon Cobi Jones Joins Torrance’s Soccer City as Investor

i-143d5c8f6bf2d4e5c87759656f0bfc0b-Cobi stylin'.jpgJones is described as an owner, advisor and promoter in the company by Socal Soccer City Holdings President Kevin Gilmore, a partner in the proposed indoor Futsal facility on Maple Avenue that will occupy a former shipping facility.

Jones, now an assistant coach with the Galaxy after a glittering 12-season career with the MLS club, grew up in Westlake Village.

“Cobi brings a wealth of experience, knowledge and passion, not only to the game itself, but also how it relates to the Southern California youth players as they develop into future generations of professional players,” said Paul Higgins, president of South Coast Soccer City, the first in what’s envisioned as a chain of similar state of the art indoor soccer facilities in the region. “His passion for the game is unparalleled and his excitement for our concept was evident the first time we walked him through the building and described our plans. Cobi made it clear from the start that he had no interest in being a passive investor – he wanted to be actively involved in not only this first location, but also the growth of Soccer City in California and beyond.

Jones will host camps and clinics at the facility and help develop the programming and curriculum for youth programs.

“Futsal allows young players to learn soccer skills that include finesse, creativity, ball control and so much more – all elements of the game that would greatly impact their success in the outdoor game,” Jones said. “I strongly believe that developing a network of facilities that promote small five-a-side soccer will revolutionize the way young soccer players develop in the U.S.”

Soccer City expects to open in December.

To learn more, check out previous posts about South Coast Soccer City by clicking here.

Facebook Twitter Plusone Digg Reddit Stumbleupon Tumblr Email

Loyola Marymount Crashes Out of NCAA Tournament at First Hurdle

The 2-1 overtime loss this afternoon means victor Sacramento State, making their first tournament appearance, plays UCLA at 5 p.m. Sunday at Drake Stadium (in a game masterfully scheduled against the Galaxy’s MLS Cup appearance).

In a good omen for next season, however, LMU will return 14 of the 19 players who suited up in the NCAA Tournament game.

Game details here.

From the Sac State press release:

Sacramento State heads into the match with the Bruins, who are 10-3-4 and ranked No. 8 in the latest NSCAA/Adidas coaches poll, riding a 10 match unbeaten streak. Sacramento State is 8-0-2 since a 2-1 loss at San Jose State on October 8. In the last NSCAA Far West region poll, published Nov. 10, UCLA was ranked third, while the Hornets were ranked eighth.

Winners of the Pac-10 title for the second straight year, UCLA is making its 27th consecutive appearance in the NCAA Tournament, having won the national title four times (1985, 1990, 1997, and 2002). They have advanced to the College Cup 12 times, with their most recent trip coming in 2006. The Bruins were members of the MPSF along with the Hornets from 1992-1999, and posted a perfect 4-0-0 record against Sacramento State. The last meeting between the two clubs came in 1998 at Hornet Soccer Field, a 3-0 victory for UCLA.

Facebook Twitter Plusone Digg Reddit Stumbleupon Tumblr Email

Galaxy’s Donovan Wins MLS MVP

i-943878ca675fb645386eb75226384359-MLSMVP.jpg

Not much of a surprise there. It was just announced on ESPNews.

Perhaps the biggest surprise is this is the first time that Landon Donovan, a five-time Honda Player of the Year and two-time U.S. Soccer Athlete of the Year, has won the MLS award.

Said Donovan:

“Well, from a statistical standpoint it wasn’t my best year, but what is important to me, and I think the reason we’re being recognized, is that our team was very good this year. You see with Bruce winning Coach of the Year and Omar winning Rookie of the Year, and I think Donovan should have won Goalkeeper of the Year, we’re being recognized for what we’ve done this year. I think this is especially nice because it’s not only the media or the fans, it’s also your peers, and when your peers vote for you that means a little bit extra.”

He beat out Dallas’ Jeff Cunningham and the Revs’ Shalrie Joseph, BTW.

He’s the second Galaxy player to win the award; Carlos Ruiz was the first in 2002.

Updated – here’s more:

SEATTLE (AP) — Long considered the best player in the U.S., Landon Donovan is now the best player in Major League Soccer.

The Los Angeles Galaxy forward and six-time national player of the year was named the MLS most valuable player on Thursday for the first time in his career.

Despite all his accolades as the leader of the U.S. national team, Donovan had yet to be
recognized by his own league until this season when he helped the Galaxy race to the MLS Cup final and overcome some of his own off-the-field distractions.

Los Angeles will face Real Salt Lake for the MLS title on Sunday night in Seattle. Donovan beat out FC Dallas’ Jeff Cunningham, the league’s goal scoring leader with a career-best 17 goals, and New England midfielder Shalrie Joseph for the award.

It’s already been the longest and most trying year of Donovan’s career.

Donovan, 27, was instrumental in the Americans’ successful qualifying campaign for the 2010 World Cup and its trek to the Confederations Cup championship match, large factors in him winning an unprecedented sixth Honda Player of the Year Award last month.

He scored 12 goals in the regular season and added six assists for the Galaxy, despite missing a month of the season in helping lead the U.S. to the Confederations Cup final. That total followed up on last season when Donovan scored a league-high 20 goals, but missed out on the MVP award as Los Angeles finished last in the Western Conference.

This year, Donovan was the leader. Los Angeles was the best team in the West, overcoming a remarkable 11 ties in its first 13 games to take the top spot and qualify for the playoffs for the first time since its run to the title in 2005 as the No. 8 seed.

“He’s grown on the field as a player. He’s a more mature consistent player, but his role off the field with this team has been perhaps even better, remarkable,” Galaxy coach Bruce Arena said recently. “The things he did to help build this team to have the right kind of team chemistry, to be a leader … Landon was consistently here every day and taking the responsibility of a captain. He’s been doing a fantastic job.”

And it wasn’t just the regular season where Donovan excelled.

Donovan scored in the opener of the Galaxy’s first-round series against rival Chivas USA, then added a penalty kick goal versus Chivas to help clinch the playoff victory in the second-leg.

In the conference final last Friday against Houston, Donovan’s overtime penalty kick goal cemented the 2-0 victory and a spot in the league championship game. He now has 17 career playoff goals, most in league history.

Donovan’s 2009 season grabbed plenty of attention for what happened away from his time on the field with the Galaxy.

He spent three months on loan to German powerhouse Bayern Munich and was not offered a full contract. His marriage, to actress Bianca Kajlich, dissolved. And he was a major figure in Grant Wahl’s “The Beckham Experiment,” a book chronicling and critical of David Beckham’s first two seasons with the Galaxy. Donovan criticized Beckham’s leadership and effort in the book, and he apologized to the English star for airing his thoughts in public.

Since Beckham returned to the Galaxy from a loan deal to Italy’s AC Milan, he and Donovan developed a strong partnership that has helped fuel their run to the league championship game.

Facebook Twitter Plusone Digg Reddit Stumbleupon Tumblr Email

Thursday Kicks: MLS Cup Edition

i-dee715966b6b92f05857872fd0522dcb-mlslogo20002.jpg

Briefly:

*In praise of Galaxy GM and Coach Bruce Arena.

*For Real Salt Lake MLS Cup equals redemption.

* Former Chivas USA Coach Preki was officially unveiled as Toronto’s new coach today. Wonder how much longer Amado Guevara will be around?

*Want to party like it’s 1989? Former UCLA and Galaxy defender Paul Caligiuri will be honored tonight at Original Mike’s in Orange County on the 20th anniversary of the “shot heard ’round the world.” The event begins at 7 p.m.

*MLS has set the expansion draft for the new Philadelphia Union for Wednesday afternoon. From the MLS press release:

Philadelphia will select the core of their inaugural squad in a 10-round draft next Wednesday. Teams can participate in a half-day trade window on Monday until Noon ET. All 15 MLS teams are required to submit their lists of protected players to the League by 3 p.m. ET on Monday, Nov. 23. … Philadelphia Union may not claim more than one player from any given team in MLS – five teams will not have a player taken in the expansion draft.

* The U.S. fell 3-1 to Denmark Wednesday.

*France is in the World Cup helped by a disputed missed hand ball; the Irish want a replay.

Facebook Twitter Plusone Digg Reddit Stumbleupon Tumblr Email

Galaxy Cancel Postseason Tour

From the Galaxy press release:

“As part of the tour, the Galaxy were scheduled to face FC Kaiserslautern on Thursday, November 26, and a second opponent on Tuesday, December 1 in Germany .

“We are very disappointed to announce the cancellation of our 2009 Postseason Tour due to a lack of communication and performance by the tour’s organizer and promoter IMC Group, Inc,” said President of Business Operations Tom Payne. “Unfortunately, IMC Group Inc has not performed their obligations of the agreement thus far, nor do we have faith that they will be able to do so in the future.

“With MLS Cup 2009 this weekend in Seattle, we feel that it is important to make this decision now and remove the potential distractions to our team, rather than continue to hold out hope that the tour will indeed take place.”

Facebook Twitter Plusone Digg Reddit Stumbleupon Tumblr Email

MLS Cup Preview Wednesday

i-1d5e455d0b8e0295998d125af380744c-quest20002.jpgWith a soggy forecast in Seattle for MLS Cup Sunday the Galaxy’s thoughts have turned to the one drawback to Qwest Field – the artificial turf.

Meanwhile, former Galaxy striker Robbie Findley is looking forward to a championship clash against his former club.

Notable: This is David Beckham’s first game in Seattle since joining MLS (although he played there in 2006 with Real Madrid).

BTW, fans attending the game should note the traditional (can I use that word in a team’s first season?) “March to the Match” from the Pioneer Square area that’s performed before every Sounders game will also be done Sunday at 4 p.m. Beginning at Occidental Park, a few blocks north of the stadium, MLS Commissioner Don Garber and members of the Sounders FC ownership, management and playing roster will join the supporters from all teams in the short trek to the stadium.

i-dee715966b6b92f05857872fd0522dcb-mlslogo20002.jpg

Finally, here’s a game preview from the Associated Press:

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The only obstacle between David Beckham’s Los Angeles Galaxy and a Major League Soccer championship is an MLS Cup opponent that barely made the playoffs after finishing the regular season with a losing record.

Sure, it might sound like a simple Sunday in Seattle for Beckham, Landon Donovan and the star-studded Galaxy. Yet Los Angeles coach Bruce Arena is certain it’ll be anything but easy to finish off Real Salt Lake in the league final.

“I don’t think any of us focus on who are the underdogs or anything like that,” Arena said
Tuesday. “Very little separates one team from the other. … Let me tell you, Salt Lake was
not a team with a record of six more losses than wins this year or something. They were a team that was right up there. They’ve been a competitive team throughout the season.”

The Galaxy and Real will travel to the Pacific Northwest later in the week for the one-game
culmination of the MLS season, with Los Angeles looking to win its third league title in its
record sixth appearance in the championship. Salt Lake squeaked into the playoffs’ eighth seed at 11-12-7 before winning three straight postseason games to make its first final.

“Wow, it sounds like we better not even go,” said Real Salt Lake coach Jason Kreis, his voice dripping with sarcasm. “We don’t even have a chance, do we?”

Nobody in either locker room expects a coronation for the Galaxy, even after they finally
meshed their star talent with outstanding results. Los Angeles finished with the Western
Conference’s best record despite a rocky start to the season during which Beckham was booed by the home crowd during a friendly against AC Milan for his elongated dalliance with that Italian team.

“We’ve been growing as a team all year, and this is definitely the culmination of that
effort,” said defender Gregg Berhalter, who scored the extra-time winner — his first goal all
season — in last Friday’s Western Conference final against Houston. “We haven’t given up on ourselves, and we’ve been plugging away when a lot of people were saying we weren’t that good of a team.”

With Beckham playing the best soccer of his U.S. career while Donovan rose to the top of the MLS playoff scoring charts, both stars happily missed national team assignments this fall to pursue the league title. Since that rocky homecoming in July, Beckham has reclaimed most of the fan support he lost during his elongated stint in Italy — even though he’s headed back to AC Milan in January.

“I think the reason (fans staying angry with Beckham) didn’t happen was because of the way David played and demonstrated he cares about the LA Galaxy,” said Arena, who will go for his third league title after winning two with DC United in the 1990s.

“His performance has quieted his detractors,” Arena said. “I think that day against AC Milan in the exhibition, obviously there were some frustrated fans, and things weren’t perfect, but I never felt David wouldn’t be able to handle it. He’s played with the biggest clubs in the world. I thought he was able to handle anything, and he’s done that.”

Real Salt Lake also opened the season under a spotlight.

They were a popular preseason pick to contend for the league title after reaching the conference championship game last season, but an early seven-match winless skid suggested Real was overrated — even to Kreis, who blamed himself for his club’s early struggles with poor motivational ploys and faulty lineups.

“It was dire, and I think I contributed to that because I was very overconfident,” Kreis said.
“I think I added to what was a little bit of an underlying thing on the team that we were a
bit overconfident going into this season. We had been reading a bit too much about how we would compete for a championship this year, and we forgot the little things that got us here. We don’t have stars on our team, and we had got away from that a little bit.”

Salt Lake was the last side to make the eight-team MLS playoff field, winning the tiebreaker with DC United and Colorado after all three finished with 40 points apiece. Real’s 11-12-7 record wasn’t spectacular, but it was good enough to get in — and since then, they’ve won three straight matches to advance to their first league final.

While European observers might scoff at the idea of crowning a champion that couldn’t even win more than it lost during league play, the system works for Arena and MLS.

“No one cares what the rest of the world thinks,” Arena said. “We have a system here that’s really an American sports tradition here: playoffs. It’s not that unique.”

Facebook Twitter Plusone Digg Reddit Stumbleupon Tumblr Email

Galaxy-Dynamo Game Friday Was Highest-Rated MLS ESPN2 Telecast Ever

From the ESPN press release:

ESPN2′s live coverage of the 2009 MLS Western Conference Finals Friday, Nov. 13, a 2 – 0 extra time victory by the Los Angeles Galaxy over the Houston Dynamo, was seen in an average of 538,000 television homes (700,000 people 2+), based on a 0.5 rating, making it the most-watched MLS telecast ever on the network.

The previous record was on Thurs., Aug. 23, 2007, in a regular-season match between Chivas USA and Los Angeles, seen in an average of 532,000 television homes (658,000 P2+), a 0.6 rating.

Additionally on ESPN Deportes, the match was seen in an average of 73,000 Hispanic television homes (121,000 Hispanic P2+), a 1.6 Hispanic coverage rating.

Hmm. How much higher would the ratings have been if the game hadn’t ended at 2:30 a.m. or so back on the East Coast?

Facebook Twitter Plusone Digg Reddit Stumbleupon Tumblr Email