Still in catch-up mode as the blog returns:
*Mexico will play their Olympic qualifiers in March in Carson at Home Depot Center. I bet they will draw better than the U.S. would have done. Full details here.
*Four UCLA players – Eder Arreola, Andy Rose, Brian Rowe and Shawn Singh – were invited today to the MLS Combine set to begin Jan. 6 in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. Also among the 52 invited players (so far): Cal State Northridge midfielder Rafael Garcia.
*Thirteenth-seeded UCLA (18-4-1), the Pac-12 champions, will make a 13th NCAA College Cup appearance at 5:30 p.m. Friday live on ESPNU in Birmingham, Ala., against top-seeded North Carolina (20-2-2). The other semifinal between Creighton-Charlotte will precede the game at 3 p.m.
*Former Galaxy midfielder Santino Quaranta has announced his retirement at the tender age of just
29 27 after D.C. United declined to pick up his option. Quaranta, who was the youngest player ever to sign with MLS in 2001 at age 16, played 18 times and scored three goals with the Galaxy in 2006, a period of his life that he later admitted was consumed with an addiction to prescription drugs.
The former U.S. international – he collected 15 caps and played for the USMNT as recently as 2009 – said he intends to help recovering addicts in retirement and coach youth soccer. It must be a bittersweet ending to a career that never quite lived up to its youthful potential.
*Palos Verdes Peninsula’s John Thorrington (Chadwick School) has re-signed with the Vancouver Whitecaps, extending what has largely been an injury-prone MLS career.