The boy from Brazil is out of Italy: Ronaldinho is heading home, he announced today at a news conference (AP Photo).
*Sounds like the Galaxy’s interest in Ronaldinho is pretty much done at least for the forseeable future:
SAO PAULO (AP) — Ronaldinho reached an agreement with AC Milan on Thursday to end his contract, clearing the way to return to Brazil soccer.
Three Brazilian clubs remain in contention to sign the 2004 and 2005 FIFA player of the year: Palmeiras, Flamengo and his former team, Gremio.
“We reached an agreement with Milan and now I’m free to continue my life here in Brazil,” Ronaldinho said.
The 30-year-old Ronaldinho wants to play in the 2014 World Cup in Brazil and hopes that a successful return to Brazilian soccer will help him reach that goal. After leaving Barcelona to join AC Milan in 2008, Ronaldinho struggled to establish himself at the Italian club.
Ronaldinho has been playing in Europe since he joined France’s Paris-Saint Germain in 2001, where he stayed for two years before making the move to Barcelona.
*Which brings us to the Galaxy’s David Beckham and his on off, maybe maybe not loan move back to England.
I was on the radio in England Monday insisting the Galaxy aren’t stupid enough to pull this little move yet again, insulting their own fans. But, frankly, I don’t really care that much anyway and this blog post perfectly sums up why.
*U.S. Soccer has appointed former U.S. Women’s National Team Coach April Heinrichs as technical director and UCLA women’s coach Jill Ellis as development director for the U.S. Women’s National Teams. It’s the first time U.S. Soccer has appointed full-time staffers to oversee the women’s youth national team program and the programs’ overall development.
Ellis has also coached the U.S. U-20 and U-21 women’s teams. She spent a dozen years at UCLA including leading the program to the NCAA Tournament final four on eight occasions.
From the U.S. Soccer press release:
Heinrichs will provide technical direction for women’s soccer in the United States as it relates to the U.S. Women’s National Teams with a focus on the Under-20s and younger, while overseeing the U.S. Under-20 and U.S. U-18 Women’s National Teams. Ellis will be taking the lead on interacting directly with key coaches within the youth club environment while also guiding and directing the U.S. U-17s, U-15s and U-14s.
Heinrichs and Ellis will work together to integrate all of the youth women’s and girls’ national teams, helping players and systems connect from one team to the next. They will also play major roles in leading the discussion on connecting the philosophies of the WNT head coach through all the youth national teams and especially to the massive amount of girls’ youth clubs in the United States. Ellis especially will focus on the grassroots within the youth club environment to convey the goals and philosophies of player development in order to help produce quality players for the national team level.
*UCLA responded to the appointment today by announcing assistant head coach B.J. Snow will replace Ellis in the top coaching job. Snow becomes the fourth head coach in program history, following Joy Fawcett (1993-97), Todd Saldana (1998) and Ellis (1999-2010).
Snow started at UCLA in 2006 as a volunteer assistant coach and won a paid position within a year.
*Lastly, The Blues Soccer Club, which includes the W-League Pali Blues and the recently launched Los Angeles Blues of USL Pro (which will play most of its games in the OC) will merge its youth club program with Corona United, the clubs announced today. The goal is to “establish a true pyramid structure for its teams from top to bottom across age groups.”
From the press release:
Corona United was established in 1992 and features anywhere from 21-25 teams each season and over 300 players from the Los Angeles area playing in the Coast Soccer League. The club is led by President & Director of Coaching Shayon Jalayer, who now has the title of Associate Head Coach & Director of Youth Operations, Blues Soccer Club. Jalayer is also an assistant with the Los Angeles Blues USL PRO team.