Wednesday Catchup Kicks: AYSO unveils soccer website aimed at kids & more

Back from a week-long vacation and not much has changed in the world of soccer.

The Galaxy were turfed from the U.S. Cup (again), likely much to the relief of coach Bruce Arena, who has much bigger issues to deal with considering the team still has holes in the middle of its defense and now Edson Buddle, who wasn’t scoring anyway, is sidelined with injury.

Chivas USA, meanwhile, continue on their winning way raising the possibility that the U.S. Open Cup trophy could find its way to Southern California.

And Euro 2008 looms Friday on one side of the pond while the U.S. begins World Cup qualifying Friday (let’s hope that’s more gripping than a scoreless tie with Canada).

So what did I miss?

Not much.

Check out:

*The Galaxy have been drawn into Group 5 of the 2012-13 CONCACAF Champions League. They will be joined by Isidro Metapan of El Salvador, the Salvadorian 2011 Apertura Champion, and the third place team from the upcoming Caribbean Football Union Club Championship.

That’s either the the Puerto Rico Islanders, Antigua Barracuda FC, Caledonia AIA of Trinidad & Tobago or W Connection of Trinidad & Tobago. Three of those four teams will qualify for the Group Stage, with the Galaxy taking on the club that finishes in third place.

The group stage begins July 31. More here.

*A new soccer website unveiled this week by the Harbor Gateway-based AYSO aimed at kids. Click here.

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Money-spinning Euro 2012 begins Friday


Soccer pride: Polish lawmaker Robert Biedron holds Euro 2012 soccer championships mascots during a gay rights parade last weekend in the Euro 2012 cohost nation (AP Photo).


I have returned from vacation (thanks to those of you who noticed the lack of blogging) just in time for my favorite soccer tournament, Euro 2012

Eurosnobs will tell you this ESPN-televised tournament is the best on the planet involving national teams generally of higher quality across the board than the World Cup.

And they’d be right.

What’s more, the tournament is rivaling the World Cup when it comes to money, too.

How big is it? Associated Press sports writer Graham Dunbar breaks down the numbers (and I wonder what the Galaxy’s cut is for Irish striker Robbie Keane):

WARSAW, Poland (AP) — The European Championship begins Friday boasting the numbers to back its reputation as one of world sports’ elite events.

UEFA will earn commercial revenues of at least $1.6 billion for the 16-team tournament in Poland and Ukraine, rivaling FIFA’s 32-nation World Cup for average match value.

With each match slot expected to draw an average television audience of 150 million fans
worldwide, Euro 2012 will bring a near-daily diet of ratings bigger than the Super Bowl.

A 237 million audience for the Euro 2008 final was worthy of a Summer Olympics opening

“You can see it is mega,” said David Taylor, chief executive of UEFA Events, which has contracts with 203 broadcasters. “Certainly, when we are talking to sponsors and others, they are interested in the wider global impact.”

Such global popularity allows UEFA to be a generous host and budget to earn a nine-figure profit. Teams get a bigger participation fee than at the World Cup and clubs get a bigger share than FIFA gives from World Cup revenues.

It also helps explain why six of FIFA’s major sponsors team with UEFA for the quadrennial

“We would never claim to be bigger than the World Cup,” Taylor told The Associated Press in a recent interview. “But you can see in certain territories, if your own national team is doing well you get some very good numbers.”

When champion Spain and semifinalist Russia starred four years ago, the national ratings set records.

UEFA’s financial figures for Euro 2012 also stack up well despite a global downturn and doubts lingering over the co-hosts.

The 31-match tournament is set to reap $51.6 million a game, compared with FIFA’s average earnings of $56.7 million from the 2010 World Cup. In South Africa, FIFA banked $3.6 billion in commercial revenue tied to its 64-match prize asset.

“It’s very robust and a good performance commercially to come up with these numbers,” Taylor said. “Particularly given the environment in which we were working and the countries concerned. At the outset we were unsure how our sponsors would react to go to eastern Europe, and going to these countries in particular, but the reaction has been positive.”

UEFA gambled going behind the old Iron Curtain, even as its Champions League becomes a popular and commercial juggernaut which could ultimately undermine national team soccer.

A fashionable view values the Champions League above the World Cup, and its commercial revenues will top $1.6 billion for each of the next three seasons.

Fans’ appetite for week-in, week-out drama has also made England’s Premier League a cash cow with 20 clubs sharing almost $1.54 billion in prize money last season.

Still, UEFA will profit from Euro 2012, though short of the $394 million banked last time in
risk-free Austria and Switzerland.

“The actual net left for UEFA will be less than Euro 2008, but the actual operational
performance in terms of revenue will be at or about the same level,” Taylor said.

UEFA spent more than expected helping Poland and Ukraine authorities manage the Euro 2012 project. A $49,750 payment per match was also added for teams who must fly between the neighbors to games.

UEFA also chose to spread $124 million among clubs worldwide as daily-rate compensation for releasing their players to take part. FIFA will pay just $70 million to bring twice as many players to the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

UEFA will pay a further $244 million in participation and prize money to the 16 national
associations. A team can earn a maximum $23 million for lifting the trophy having won all three group games. Spain got $30 million from FIFA for its 2010 World Cup title.

And UEFA gives FIFA its taste of Euro 2012 revenues — a 1 percent levy on total sales of the 1.4 million tickets available. That’s estimated to be worth $1.43 million for soccer’s world governing body, UEFA said Tuesday.

Yet for all the outlay, there’s more money looming in UEFA’s near future.
Euro 2016 in France will have 24 teams and 51 matches. At today’s rate, that’s a $2.6 billion tournament.

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U.S. Open Cup Round-up: Sounders break Cinderella Cal FC’s slipper & more


Massive match: Cal FC coach Eric Wynalda greets fellow Southern California resident Sigi Schmid of the Sounders before tonight’s Seattle-Cal FC U.S. Open Cup game (AP Photo).

*Ventura County-based Cal FC held off the Seattle Sounders for the first 45 minutes then caved as the hosts scored five unanswered second half goals in just 20 minutes. The Seattle Times has more.

*Chivas USA beat the Carolina Railhawks 2-1, setting up a June 26 quarterfinal game at Home Depot Center’s Track & Field Stadium.

Chivas USA lineup – Timothy Melia; James Riley, Danny Califf , Rauwshan McKenzie, Scott Gordon; Peter Vagenas, Laurent Courtois (Ben Zemanski 63), Blair Gavin (Ryan Smith 83), Peter Vagenas, Jose Correa (Juan Pablo Angel 70) Juan Agudelo.

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Galaxy’s Buddle, Keat out up to six weeks after knee surgeries

Galaxy striker Edson Buddle, who fans might suggest has missed much of the season so far anyway given his performances, will miss the next three to six weeks after right knee surgery, the club announced today.

Buddle’s operation occurred Monday; midfielder-defender Dan Keat underwent the exact same procedure last Thursday on his right knee, too.

Buddle has scored just twice in a dozen games since returning from Germany; Keat has played in two Galaxy games including an outing at the problematic heart of the Galaxy defense.

In other knee-related, Galaxy defender-related news, an MRI on the right knee of Brazilian center back Leonardo Monday revealed no structural damage in his right knee.

That’s the same knee Leonardo tore the anterior cruciate and lateral collateral ligaments on last year that forced him to miss most of the season.

Leonardo left Saturday’s reserve league win in Portland over the Timbers in the 10th minute because of the knee issue, seven minutes after giving the Galaxy a 1-0 lead. The Galaxy eventually prevailed 2-1 in the contest, which also featured the return to action of goalkeeper Josh Saunders.

Leonardo was playing in his second reserve team game of the year and also went the full 90 May 29 in the Galaxy’s 2-1 U.S. Open Cup loss.

The club has listed him as “questionable” on its current injury report with right knee inflammation; it’s unknown when he will resume full training.

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