Torrance honors AYSO pioneer

i-2145a6b487771e4a6a0bcfebfc789d0f-olds.jpgTorrance Mayor Frank Scotto, a long-time AYSO coach and official, and A.Y. Olds pose with a municipal proclamation issued at a recent City Council meeting (Photo courtesy city of Torrance).

Here’s the text of the proclamation:

WHEREAS, the City of Torrance recognizes with great pride, A. Y. Olds, who was one of the first managers working in Torrance to build the American Youth Soccer Organization (AYSO); and

WHEREAS, in 1964, AYSO began operations with nine teams – four teams in Torrance and five teams in Culver City. Under the guidance and vision of A. Y. Olds, the second Region 12 Commissioner from 1970-1975, AYSO rapidly grew throughout Torrance and the South Bay; and

WHEREAS, A. Y. Olds was an assistant coach for his son’s team, the Riviera Vultures, coached by Jim Colby in 1969. They were the first Torrance team to win the AYSO State
Championship, after playing games at EI Camino College and the Los Angeles Memorial
Coliseum; and

WHEREAS, A.Y. worked for many years with Ron Littlefair and Hans Stierle, the founder of AYSO, enlisting the aid of local first-generation immigrant volunteers to help him in Region 12, all from countries with strong soccer heritages, including Larry Cook (England),
Paul Adamson (Germany), Andy Keir Sr. and Jr. (Scotland), and Paul Dietaker (Germany).
It is interesting to note that Andy Keir Jr. played on the U. S. Olympic soccer team in Helsinki, Finland in 1952. It must be remembered that back in the early to mid 1960′s soccer was an unknown sport and it took years to build its current reputation; and

WHEREAS, A. Y. Olds adopted regional budgets and worked tirelessly in public relations and development to obtain sponsorships to support the local teams and events. In 1970, he and his team raised $1,000, a large sum for those days. They also established game
schedules and started the coaches’ draft, much like those used in professional sports
today. A. Y. also established the Region 12 scholarship program to support local student
athletes going to college; and

WHEREAS, A. Y. Olds invited girls to also play AYSO soccer in the South Bay, and this spurred more growth in youth soccer. By 1975, Region 12 enrollment had climbed to 1,500 players, second only to Palos Verdes, the perennial #1 enrollment area. South and West Torrance competed for the best players and highest enrollments, as they still do today. In fact, AYSO provided the fertile training ground to develop young players in the community and the two High Schools played each other several times for the State championship. A. Y. is proud that his son, Jim, played for another State championship in 1978, this time for the California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) game between South High and West High; and

WHEREAS, the South Torrance Lions Club, of which A. Y. was a member, hosted one of the first exhibition soccer games between Torrance players and European players at EI Camino College in 1972. The Lions assembled an All-Star team of AYSO players to play the Hanover 96 semi-professional team from Germany. The stadium was filled to capacity with 12,000 people in attendance, who saw the Germans barely beat our local stars by a 5-3 score; and

WHEREAS, thanks to its Pioneers, AYSO has more than 50,000 teams, more than 650,000 players and is supported by more than 250,000 parents across the nation, who passionately dedicate their time and talents as coaches, referees, team parents, administrators and sponsors.

Now, therefore, I, Frank Scotto, as Mayor of the City of Torrance, California, do hereby
honor, commend and express sincere appreciation to A.Y. Olds for his outstanding contributions and dedicated service to the youth of the community. Mr. “A.Y.S.O.”, A. Y. Olds has made a positive and lasting impact on many lives and serves as an inspiration for all citizens.

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Thursday Kicks: Galaxy re-sign Kirovski & more

*The Galaxy announced today they have re-upped midfielder Jovan Kirovski, 34, on a new one-year deal.

His option was initially declined by the club and he has presumably re-signed with a cut in pay, although terms were not announced.

The Escondido native is in his second stint with the club and scored four goals last season in a reserve role.

*Chivas USA announced today they have declined the contract option on striker Giancarlo Maldonado, 28, who joined the club on loan last summer from Mexican First Division club Atlante. The Venezuelan forward found the net just twice in MLS.

*Carson’s Home Depot Center will host a Monday, June 6 Gold Cup game, CONCACF announced today in naming the venues and schedule for next summer’s regional championship.

The confederation had announced previously that the Gold Cup final will be played at Pasadena’s Rose Bowl, which will undergo a major renovation in the new year, before the tournament is held.

*Upland resident Lauren Barnes of UCLA has been ranked as the second-ranked defender available in the WPS draft set for Jan. 14.

Updated

*From ESPN:

Last Monday’s Barclays Premier League match, a 1-0 home win for Manchester United over Arsenal, was seen on ESPN2 by an average of 438,000 homes (570,000 viewers) making it the most-watched Premiership telecast on U.S. cable television, according to Nielsen. The telecast outdelivered the previous high – 420,000 homes (526,000 viewers) for Manchester United vs. Chelsea on Saturday, April 3, 2010.

The game had a 0.4 rating. ESPN averages a 0.3 rating for EPL games.

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Galaxy’s Buddle a Brummie?

i-575f9c86767300020b137233904cb596-buddleflies.jpgThe goal scoring exploits of the Galaxy’s U.S. international forward Edson Buddle have caught the attention of EPL club Birmingham City (AFP/Getty Images).

Maybe there’s more to the Galaxy’s selection of Juan Pablo Angel than meets the eye:

BIRMINGHAM, England (AP) — Galaxy striker Edson Buddle is trying out with Premier League club Birmingham during the Major League Soccer offseason.

Birmingham manager Alex McLeish is searching for a new forward. The central England club is two points above the three-team relegation zone after scoring just 17 goals in 17 matches.

The 29-year-old Buddle was the leading scorer in the MLS for most of the 2010 season despite missing more than a month for the World Cup. He ended the regular season as the second-highest scorer with 17 goals in 25 matches.

“He’s been training with us this week and he’s done OK, but we’re not at a stage yet where we’re going to make any commitment,” McLeish told the BBC on Thursday.

Named after Pele — Edson Arantes do Nascimento — Buddle has played for the Galaxy since 2007.

His Galaxy teammate Landon Donovan came to England on loan this year, spending January to March at Everton before returning for the MLS season.

However, the Galaxy were frustrated that midfielder David Beckham was injured in March during a second stint on loan at AC Milan.

In case you’re wondering, a Brummie is slang for someone from Birmingham, a city in England’s Midlands.

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Wednesday Kicks: Driving & rapping & more

*Thanks to those of you who participated in the annual Daily Breeze ball drive.

*If you’re expecting to attend the annual Soccer Expo in Southern California here’s a reminder it has undergone a time and place change.

*Chivas USA’s Michael Lahoud, Chucky Chijindu and token white guy (from Utah!) Justin Braun venture into historically dangerous territory: soccer players recording rap songs (John Barnes & New Order are you listening?).

Amazingly, it’s not bad:

*Notable: Former South (Torrance) High goalkeeper Tim Maggard went 10-4 for Central College of Pella, Iowa last season, his .80 GAA good for second all-time at the small Christian school.

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Galaxy striker Bowen of Van Nuys traded to Chivas USA

The Galaxy concluded a busy day by trading promising young striker Tristan Bowen to their intrastadium rivals today in exchange for an unspecified amount of allocation money.

“Tristan is a talented, explosive player, and we’re excited to bring him to the club,” said Chivas USA Interim General Manager Jose Domene. “He’s has a lot of experience at this level for a player of his age. We look forward to helping him develop into a top player alongside many of the other young, local players we have on our roster.”

From the Galaxy press release:

If Bowen is transferred outside of MLS, the Galaxy and Chivas USA would split all club revenue from transfer fees evenly.

Bowen, 19, became the club’s first-ever player to graduate from the LA Galaxy Youth Academy to the first team when he signed a professional contract on November 12, 2008. Officially added to the club’s roster ahead of the 2009 season as a Generation adidas player, he made his MLS debut on June 20, 2009 at San Jose while also making loan stops with Hollywood United of the PDL and Miami FC of the USL First Division.

In 2010, Bowen played in 17 regular season games for the Galaxy, making 10 starts and scoring two goals and two assists.

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Galaxy select striker Angel in MLS Re-Entry Draft

i-5af576f9a25f7c5e002cbc07efb4e8d6-Angelsalute.jpgHave the Galaxy given up their pursuit of Ronaldinho?

That would appear to be the case after Coach Bruce Arena, who has a penchant for picking up known quantities, selected veteran striker Juan Pablo Angel, right, who Arena formerly coached at Red Bull New York, in today’s MLS Re-Entry Draft.

Angel will apparently provide the striking partner for Edson Buddle the Galaxy have clearly lacked the past couple of years, assuming the Galaxy can come to contract terms with the former Aston Villa frontman.

Regular readers of this blog will know it’s a move I have lobbied for and a big majority of you agreed with in a recent poll conducted here.

The Galaxy also picked up New York utility man Luke Sassano, who made just three MLS apperances last season after undergoing surgery to reconstruct his right ankle.

Chivas USA, its defensive failings in central defense all too apparent last season, will give veteran Jimmy Conrad a chance to make the position his own. It’s a risk, though: Conrad has lost more than a step or two, which cost him his place in the U.S. defense during World Cup qualifying.

Incidentally, the Galaxy just announced that Arena will host a conference call with reporters in a few minutes to discuss Angel’s selection, so check back for updates.

Updated

“We think he’s a very fine forward,” Arena said, adding he believed Angel would become the Galaxy’s next designated player. “I was part of bringing him to the league in 2006 in New York. We’re hopeful we can reach an agreement and he can become a member of the LA Galaxy. We’re not going to be acquiring Juan to play five years for the LA Galaxy, but Juan has two or three good years left in him. … He’s very interested in coming to LA.”

Arena said Angel would provide an appropriate foil for Edson Buddle:

“I do believe the two of those forwards could play well together. Juan has proved in his last four years in MLS he can score goals. He’s very good in front of goal, he can hold the ball up. Although Edson’s similar (in playing style) I think they will be a good duo if we can get them on the field together.”

Arena said the move for Angel is no indication other big-name players – such as Landon Donovan – could depart the club.

And he declined to comment whether this meant the Galaxy’s rumored interest in Ronaldinho is over:

“I don’t believe we’ve stated publicly anything about this player,” he said. “I don’t think it’s professional or ethically correct to state we’re in pursuit of another player who is under contract to another club.”

Updated: Sassano’s rights traded for Hejduk’s

Sassano wasn’t a Galaxy player long and now LA has the rights to another veteran MLS defender. Here’s an update:

Following the completion of the Re-Entry Process, the Galaxy traded the rights to Sassano to Sporting Kansas City in exchange for the rights to Frankie Hejduk, who Sporting had selected with the #8 pick in the first round of the Re-Entry Process from Columbus.

The club now has seven days to extend contract offers with the two players. If the Galaxy cannot reach an agreement with either player in that time, the club will hold the right of first refusal for that player in MLS.

Hejduk, 36, an MLS original drafted in 1996, has played made more than 200 league appearances for Tampa Bay and the Columbus Crew and won 85 U.S. caps.

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Chivas USA’s Hamilton steps down

The management purge is complete at Chivas USA.

Vice President of Soccer Operations Stephen Hamilton tendered his resignation this afternoon after a woeful three-year spell in charge that saw any on-field advances Chivas USA had made after bottoming out in their debut season reverse course in dramatic fashion.

Chivas USA finished dead last in the Western Conference last season, winning just eight games, the second fewest in MLS.

He follows the likes of former Coach Martin Vasquez and ex-President Shawn Hunter out the door of a club struggling to capture legitimacy on the field and the imagination of fans off of it.

Fans had made no secret of the fact they had held Hamilton, brother of late Galaxy GM Doug Hamilton, largely responsible for a series of sub-par player acquisitions.

Here’s more from the club’s official website, which was posted before any news release was issued (why bother, I guess, when you can spin things yourself and cut out that messy media middleman).

Meanwhile, Chivas USA confirmed today they have pared the list of possible new coaches to three finalists with an announcement expected this week or next, according to a club spokesman.

Former Red Bull coach Juan Carlos Osorio, now back in his native Colombia with Once Caldas, is the latest name to emerge as a possible replacement for Vasquez.

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Wednesday Kicks: New Blues, Galaxy trade talk & more

*The new LA Blues USL Pro club (equivalent to the third tier of American soccer) unveiled its first three players this morning including Mexican league veteran goalkeeper Oscar Dautt and former Galaxy midfielder Josh Tudela. The team will play most of its games in the OC.

*The Galaxy’s Landon Donovan is allegedly attracting attention from Newcastle United and Fulham, although you’ll notice the stories contain no attribution and no sources. In my book that equates to no journalism either, but maybe that’s just me.

*Meanwhile, could Galaxy Coach Bruce Arena be serious about skipping finding another striker to play alongside Edson Buddle next season and instead stick with LD up front? Let’s hope not since we’ve tried that before with mixed results. Or maybe he’s just sending a message to Ronaldinho’s agent.

*And will Jovan Kirovski play another season with the Galaxy if he agrees to take a pay cut? Maybe.

*Finally, Los Angeles-based Fox Soccer Channel and its related networks announced today a three-year extension to their rights deal to show the UEFA Champions League through 2014-2015.

From the Fox press release:

FOX is currently in the second of a three-season partnership with UEFA through 2011/12, delivering for the first time ever all 146 UEFA Champions League matches from the Play-off Round onward to U.S. viewers.

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Tuesday’s column: Press more of a sure thing than women’s game?

i-6d1c85ad0620851291378131feb5c882-pressmug.jpgIt’s that time of year.

It’s time to look back and reassess; it’s time to look forward and plan.

It’s not always easy – even if you’re one of the best female soccer players in the nation like two-time Daily Breeze Player of the Year Christen Press, right, of Palos Verdes Estates.

As if to confirm the uncertainty of women’s soccer in this country, as I wrote this week’s column Monday the Chicago Red Stars of WPS folded citing a lack of investment related to the demise of other teams such as FC Gold Pride. It’s hard not to conclude the WPS dominoes are falling, one by one.

It was against this backdrop that I spoke to Press Monday at the opening of the U.S. Women’s Under-23 national Team about her career so far and her future pro prospects.

Press said that absent a California WPS team she’d like to play in Washington with the Freedom to be near her two sisters next year. The Freedom nearly folded this year. I hope she gets her wish.

Read the column here.

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