Wednesday Kicks: UEFA Champions League Final on Network TV, MLS Labor Negotiations Update & more

It’s a fair and balanced Wednesday for soccer including –

*A milestone development for soccer on television:

NEW YORK (AP) – The European Champions League final will be televised on a U.S. network for the first time when the May 22 match in Madrid airs on Fox.

The game at Santiago Bernabeu Stadium will be broadcast live starting at 11:45 a.m. It will be the first soccer match televised by Fox.

The Champions League final is shifting to Saturday for the first time this year. It had been a Wednesday fixture since the tournament began as the Champions Clubs Cup in the 1955-56 season.

ESPN and ESPN2 had televised the Champions League from 1994-95 through last season, when Barcelona’s 2-0 victory over Manchester United in the May 27 final was seen by more than a million U.S. households.

This season, the games shifted to Fox’s cable networks, primarily the Fox Soccer Channel, under a three-year deal. The final originally had been scheduled to air on FX, which is available in about 95 million homes – about 20 million fewer than Fox.

The round of 16 begins play Tuesday, BTW.

*I’m guessing MLS Commish Don Garber and player union reps aren’t out making snow angels today:

NEW YORK (AP) – Major League Soccer’s labor negotiations have been postponed because of the snowstorm in the Northeast.

MLS commissioner Don Garber, president Mark Abbott and other management representatives had been scheduled to travel to Washington, D.C., on Wednesday to meet with union officials.

The league’s five-year labor contract expired Jan. 31, but the sides announced three days earlier that they were extending bargaining through Feb. 12 in an effort to avoid a work stoppage. Players fear a management lockout.

*Chivas USA’s veteran defender Claudio Suarez wants to play one more year.

*The Galaxy will hold open tryouts at Home Depot Center March 6-7 for “male soccer players ages 18 and older who feel they can succeed at the Major League Soccer level.” The cost of pursuing a long-shot dream? $150. Details here.

*Former Galaxy defender Ty Harden has joined Toronto FC from the Colorado Rapids in exchange for a third round MLS SuperDraft pick in 2011.

“We are excited to have him on board with us,” said Coach Preki. “He’s a good quality, young defender and there are many things I like about him. He showed a lot of promise in his rookie season with the Galaxy and we hope he can add some toughness to our back line.”

Harden, 25, was a second round pick in the 2007 MLS SuperDraft for the Galaxy, started 24 games that season and was named the club’s 2007 Defender of the Year.

He retired from soccer in 2008 and moved to Kenya where he worked as a volunteer at a children’s center and set up a soccer school.

He returned to MLS last year with the Rapids, but only played in seven games.

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About Nick Green

South Bay-based Los Angeles News Group soccer columnist and blogger Nick Green writes at the 100 Percent Soccer blog at and craft beer at the Beer Goggles blog at Cheers!