Becks Gunning For Title With Milan

i-2f53ad2c91f2d1dcaed481ebabcd836d-milanacbecks.jpgDavid Beckham is back with AC Milan (AP Photo).

MILAN (AP) — David Beckham hopes his second stint with AC Milan will be as good as the five months he spent on loan with the Italian club in 2009.

The England and Galaxy midfielder passed a physical Tuesday and has spent the past two days training with his teammates.

AC Milan resumes play Jan. 6 against Genoa.

“My experience with the club was so special,” Beckham said Wednesday. “I missed the club. I missed playing for it; I missed the players and everybody associated with the club. It was a very special experience. It was good last time and I hope it will be as good this time.”

Beckham scored twice in 18 games for Milan from January to May 2009 while on loan from the Galaxy. He has repeated the move in a bid to secure his place at the 2010 World Cup.

After a slow start, new Milan coach Leonardo has been praised for an attacking philosophy that has taken his team into second place, eight points behind Inter Milan but with a game in hand.

“Milan can certainly win the title,” Beckham said. “It will be difficult because Inter and Juventus are great teams, but we have a good squad. All I am thinking about is the next six months here. I want to enjoy myself and help Milan win the championship.”

Beckham will return to Old Trafford in February for the first time since leaving Manchester United in 2003, after Milan was drawn against Manchester United in the Champions League.

It will be the first time he has played in the competition since 2007, when Real Madrid lost to Bayern Munich in the second round.

“When I found about the draw, I was nearly in tears,” he said. “It is a special place for me and I haven’t played there for nearly seven years. I have a lot of friends at the club and a great rapport with the fans. It will be a special evening, but we will be trying to win the match.”

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No column Tuesday.

I took Monday off.

And although the result of the poll asking readers to pick the year’s most influential soccer figure in Southern California seems a foregone conclusion, I’m extending the voting period through New Year’s Day to give those preoccupied with the holidays an opportunity to vote.

Cast your vote here.

To make up for the lack of a column check out this YouTube video of some of soccer’s silliest moments of 2009 (viewer discretion advised due to the nature of some songs on the soundtrack, BTW):

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Galaxy Sign Young Brazilian Trio on Loan From Sao Paulo

The club announced the signings today.

The three are:

*21-year-old left back Alex (full name (Alex dos Santos Cazumba)
*20-year-old central midfielder Juninho (Vitor Gomes Pereira Junior)
*21-year-old central defender Leonardo (Ajose Leonardo Ribeiro da Silva)

The three apparently stick together.

They were on the Sao Paulo team that won a trophy at the 2007 Dallas Cup, defeating Real Madrid and Chelsea en route to the title. They were also all on loan earlier this year with Toledo in the First Division of the Brazilian Paran Championship.

They all trained with the Galaxy for two weeks in October.

Here’s more on each of them from the Galaxy press release:

Juninho is the youngest of the three players joining the Galaxy, not turning 21 until early next month. A quick and creative central midfielder, he has been at Sao Paulo since March 2004. Good with the ball at his feet and capable of striking the ball from set pieces, he was a member of Sao Paulo ‘s U-17 Paulista Championship side in 2006.

A big, quick and athletic left-sided player, Alex joined Sao Paulo in December 2005 after beginning his career with Mirassol FC. Capable of playing at left back or in the midfield, he helped Sao Paulo finish second in the Brazilian Under-20 league in 2007 before making his debut with the Brazilian Under-20 National Team in June 2009.

Rounding out the group is Leonardo, a central defender who has been with Sao Paulo since the age of 13. A former member of the Brazilian Under-16 and Under-17 National Teams, Leonardo is a tall, physical presence who is good with the ball at his feet and strong in the air, thanks in large part to his 6-foot-2 stature. He has won U-15, U-17 and U-20 Paulista Championships with Sao Paulo and was a part of the club’s Campeonato title in 2008.

The three will be added to the Galaxy roster once they receive their visas and other paperwork.

Products of Sao Paulo’s youth system have included Adriano, Denilson, and Kaka.

Good to see the Galaxy not only getting younger, but perhaps introducing a little flair.

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Galaxy’s Donovan Gets Brit Work Permit

i-d67061d2061b52fbaefb757ce08ba057-LDsuit.jpgAP Photo

LIVERPOOL, England (AP) — Landon Donovan has been given the work permit he needs to play in Britain during his loan at Premier League club Everton.

The Los Angeles Galaxy star easily met the criteria for the permit because he has played 120 times for the United States and has captained his country.

The permit was granted at a hearing Tuesday, freeing the midfielder to begin his 2-month loan from Major League Soccer as planned on Jan. 2.

It has been a busy week or so for LD.

Check out earlier posts here, here, here and here.

Everton has a half dozen games scheduled in January, BTW.

Here are the upcoming fixtures for Everton.

Finally, Donovan is one of five nominees for this year’s ultra prestigious (ahem) 100 Percent Soccer blog award.

Vote here.

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Rolling Hills Estates’ Engen Named Top Collegiate Female Soccer Player

i-b02dc50eaa466a67d3f906845b29018b-engen0002.jpgPhoto courtesy UNC

No, this isn’t the Hermann Trophy (that will be awarded Jan. 8 in case you were wondering and Whitney Engen isn’t one of the three finalists).

This is the Honda Sports Award in soccer. The awards are given annually to the top women athletes in 12 NCAA-sanctioned sports based on the results of national balloting among 1,000 member schools.

The UNC defender beat out fellow Tar Heel Tobin Heath, UCLA’s Lauren Cheney and Stanford striker Kelley O’Hara, all of whom are finalists for the Hermann.


“To end our season with a (national) championship and then win the Honda Sports Award is beyond my wildest dreams. I was really shocked when I heard the news, especially being up against my teammate Tobin whom I admire greatly, as well as the other phenomenal nominees.”

Engen is a converted striker who UNC Coach Anson Dorrance now uses in his flat back three defensive scheme.

From the Honda press release:

She was named this year’s NCAA Women’s College Cup MVP on Defense after helping her team to its third national championship in the past four years. She was also named Atlantic Coast Conference Defensive Player of the Year on a team that allowed just 12 goals and had 19 shutouts.

Past award recipients include Kristine Lilly and Mia Hamm.

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January USMNT HDC Camp Roster Includes Chivas USA’s Thornton, Braun, Former Galaxy Goalkeeper Hartman

Bob Bradley casts his net wide to bring in 30 players for this one with an interesting collection of names announced this morning to say the least.

Former Galaxy reserve Brandon McDonald?

Here’s the squad:

goalkeepers – Kevin Hartman (Kansas City), Troy Perkins (Valerenga), Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake), Zach Thornton (Chivas USA)

defenders – Kevin Alston (New England Revolution), Jonathan Bornstein (Chivas USA), Jimmy Conrad (Kansas City Wizards), Omar Gonzalez (Los Angeles Galaxy), Clarence Goodson (IK Start), Chad Marshall (Columbus Crew), Heath Pearce (FC Dallas), Marvell Wynne (Toronto FC)

midfielders – Kyle Beckerman (Real Salt Lake), Alejandro Bedoya (rebro), Geoff Cameron (Houston Dynamo), Brad Davis (Houston Dynamo), Brad Evans (Seattle Sounders), Benny Feilhaber (Aarhus), Eddie Gaven (Columbus Crew), Sacha Kljestan (Chivas USA), Jeff Larentowicz (New England Revolution), Dax McCarty (FC Dallas), Chris Pontius (D.C. United), Robbie Rogers (Columbus Crew)

forwards – Justin Braun (Chivas USA), Conor Casey (Colorado Rapids), Jeff Cunningham (FC Dallas), Robbie Findley (Real Salt Lake), Brandon McDonald (San Jose Earthquakes), Marcus Tracy (Aalborg)

Trivia time: Who is the leading cap winner on this squad? (Answer below).

Camp opens Jan. 4 and culminates with the Jan. 23 game at Home Depot Center against Honduras (tickets on sale now, BTW).


“This is the start of six months of preparations for the World Cup, and it is important that we get started off heading in the right direction,” said U.S. coach Bob Bradley, who led the U.S. to first place in CONCACAF qualifying. “We have had the chance to work with many of these players through their time with the national team, while others performed well for their clubs throughout last season and have earned this opportunity. We are continuing to evaluate the player pool as we move towards finalizing our roster for this summer.”

Just to underline the nature of this squad, exactly half the roster – 15 players – didn’t earn a cap this year.

And the leading cap-winner – Benny Feilhaber (30).

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Sol’s Marta Named FIFA World Player of Year (Again)

i-88f5da16c1623e4172fa1c52edb2125f-marta messi.jpg AP Photo

It’s the fourth straight award for the Brazilian.

Domestically Marta led Women’s Professional Soccer in scoring with 10 goals and 3 assists during the year, was named league MVP and led the Los Angeles Sol to the regular season title and a spot in the title game.

FIFA announced the two winners – that’s Barcelona’s Lionel Messi, above, with the men’s award – today at the annual gala in Zurich, Switzerland

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