Friday Name Dropping: Galaxy’s Noonan, Inglewood’s Villarreal & More

  • Seldom-used Galaxy veteran Pat Noonan (10 appearances last year) has officially retired after 10 MLS seasons and was named assistant coach. He won two MLS Cups with the Galaxy and Columbus and made 14 U.S. appearances, all but one coming under then U.S. coach Bruce Arena. He scored 42 goals in 183 regular season games, finishing as the joint top MLS goal scorer in 2004 with 11 goals.
  • That follows on the heels of former midfielder Jovan Kirovski moving from an assistant coach role to become the club’s first-ever technical director, although it sounds a lot like Paul Bravo’s former director of soccer position to me. The Escondido native will also scout for and evaluate Academy players and coaches.
  • A second White House visit is always better with Kings.
  • Homegrown Galaxy youngsters Jose Villarreal and Oscar Sorto as well as Academy player Javan Torre were named to the U.S. Under-20 squad again for two games against Panama in Puebla, Mexico, site of next month’s CONCACAF U-20 Championships. Inglewood’s Villarreal appeared 14 times for the Galaxy last seasopn quickly earning a reputation as an inventive and tricky striker, while Sorto signed professional terms last month.
  • The new National Women’s Soccer League allocated 55 players to its eight clubs including Torrance’s Shannon Boxx to the Chicago Red Stars along with Mexico’s Maribel Dominguez. Diamond Bar’s Alex Morgan will play for the Portland Thorns, while I’m guessing Hope Solo will choose to live in Seattle after all since she will play for the aptly named Reign. Rochester native Abby Wambach will play for her hometown Western New York Flash. Pepperdine’s Mexican international Anisa Guajardo will join the Boston Breakers.
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Former Galaxy coach and Torrance resident Sigi Schmid Uncensored

It’s a trailer for an unfinished documentary on Sigi Schmid’s current club, the Seattle Sounders, called “American Football” that provides a, shall we say, unvarnished profile of the long-time Torrance resident who still owns a place in Manhattan Beach.

Now Schmid is one of the class acts of MLS, but I wouldn’t like to be in his locker room when things aren’t going right. This guy kicks verbal butt.

Check out the clip here for what looks like an honest look at the behind the scenes atmosphere of an MLS club. And I can’t wait for this movie.

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MLS Releases 2013 Schedule

The complete league schedule is here.

The Galaxy schedule is here.

The Chivas USA schedule is here.

The national television schedule is here. A total of 17 Galaxy games will be televised nationally including the previously announced 2 p.m. March 3 opener in Carson against the Chicago Fire, which Univision will televise exclusively.

It’s the same 34-game format as last year.

Here’s more from MLS:

More than 90 percent of this year’s regular-season games are on weekends or holidays, and none will overlap directly with FIFA World Cup qualifying matches. During the summer months, most games will kick off no earlier than 4 pm local time in an effort to reduce the impact of hot weather.


All 323 matches will be televised live – 87 via national network partners ESPN, ESPN2, ESPN Deportes, NBC, NBC Sports Network, Univision and UniMás in the United States.


NBC will broadcast three regular season games nationally: New York vs. D.C. United (March 16), Portland vs. Galaxy (Sept. 29) and D.C. United vs. Houston Dynamo, on the final day of the regular season (Oct. 27).

There is one new feature called Rivalry Week, which will see regional rivals face off in eight of the nine matches in week 3 of the 35-week season.

The Galaxy host Chivas USA that week at 2 p.m. Chivas USA hosts the next encounter at 2 p.m. June 23 with the final SuperClasico set for 2 p.m. Oct. 6.

Galaxy fans can pick out their seats at an open house Saturday.

MLS has given struggling Chivas USA an early season boost with four of their first five games at home.


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Weekly Soccer Column: LA Galaxy, U.S. National Team Issues Collide in Carson

Happy New Year.

The Galaxy’s Landon Donovan (who was in Newton, Conn., Monday) and Omar Gonzalez are the major talking points as the U.S. Men’s National Team opens its annual camp in Carson, as I write in the return of the weekly soccer column today.

Media availability is limited this week and the players are mainly doing fitness work in the gym before hitting the fields at Home Depot Center next week.

There’s other Galaxy news not associated with the camp, too, with word over the weekend that striker Robbie Keane has signed a contract extension, but goalkeeper Josh Saunders apparently won’t put pen to paper for LA.

And Frank Lampard? Who knows?


The Galaxy also announced today it has agreed contract terms with backup goalkeeper Brian Perk and midfielders Mike Magee and Colin Clark, the former Houston and Colorado player picked up in the Re-Entry Process last month.

Do you need reminding how important Magee is to the club? From the Galaxy:

Since joining the Galaxy ahead of the start of the 2009 season, Magee has scored 13 goals and added 11 assists in 95 regular season games, but his impact has been felt that much more in the postseason. In 17 postseason games with the Galaxy, Magee has eight goals and an assist, helping LA reach MLS Cup in three of the last four years, winning a pair of championships. Now entering his 11th MLS season, the 28-year-old has appeared in 225 regular season games during his career, scoring 36 goals and adding 24 assists. He tied a career-high with 29 regular season appearances in 2012 and set a career-high by starting 24 games for LA. He finished the year with nine goals and five assists in 39 games in all competitions, including three goals and an assist in the MLS Cup Playoffs.

Meanwhile, transplanted Hermosa Beach resident Abby Wambach finally won FIFA’s top individual honor for women and  former U.S. coach Pia Sundhage was recognized, too.

Wambach’s honor is overdue and probably comes as recognition of her play over the last few years because as she graciously pointed out Diamond Bar’s Alex Morgan may well have been more deserving based on her performance in 2012 alone:

“I think it was so overwhelming in the moment because I really had no idea that I would win. I really thought Alex was going to win. I’m not even kidding. She not only statistically but I think singlehandedly allowed us to win so many games and score so many goals. She probably assisted over half of my goals. The fact that I was sitting next to Alex and the fact that we were there together is the most important part. This is a direct reflection of my teammates, both present and past, my coaching staff, medical staff, press officer – it’s been a long time that I’ve been playing on this team, and I couldn’t appreciate all that everybody has done for me.



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No Donovan on USMNT Camp Roster, but Galaxy’s Gonzalez, DeLaGarza and Chivas USA’s Agudelo Make Squad

There’s no Landon Donovan on the roster for the annual U.S. Men’s National Team camp that opens Monday in Carson — and even coach Jurgen Klinsmann doesn’t know whether the Galaxy playmaker will return — but the club’s defensive pairing of A.J. DeLaGarza and Omar Gonzalez get an opportunity to add to their combined four caps, with the latter being issued a challenge by Klinsmann.

Also, Chivas USA’s Juan Agudelo, who has been attracting interest from Celtic — and other foreign clubs this offseason –was called up for the camp, which ends with a Jan. 29 game against Canada in Houston.

“There is a tremendous amount of talent in the player pool. We follow these players very carefully, and the group coming in is the next line to challenge the players ahead of them in the National Team,” said Klinsmann. “This is absolutely a huge opportunity, and we’re looking forward to working with them. We are getting ready for the friendly against Canada, and also the big World Cup qualifier in Honduras, so these are going to be an important few weeks of preparation.”



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Diamond Bar’s Morgan, Hermosa Beach’s Wambach Discuss their FIFA World Player of the Year Nominations

AP Sports Writer Graham Dunbar has more:

GENEVA (AP) — Lionel Messi can break another soccer record on Monday by being  selected the world’s best player for an unprecedented fourth time.

The Barcelona and Argentina forward, who scored 91 goals in 2012, is the favorite to win the FIFA Ballon d’Or prize ahead of club teammate Andres Iniesta and rival Cristiano Ronaldo of Real Madrid.

A fourth straight title would lift Messi above FIFA World Player of the Year three-time winners Zinedine Zidane and Ronaldo of Brazil.

Since the original Ballon d’Or was launched in 1956 as a European award, Michel Platini, Johan Cruyff and Marco van Basten also earned a hat trick of titles.

The U.S. gold medal-winning team at the London Olympics could dominate the women’s awards at FIFA’s annual gala ceremony.

Forwards Abby Wambach and Alex Morgan are competing with five-time winner Marta of Brazil for best player, and former coach Pia Sundhage is favored to be selected best coach of a women’s team ahead of two male rivals: Norio Sasaki of silver-medalist Japan and Bruno Bini of France.

Wambach, who finished third in the FIFA voting last year, and Morgan seek to become the first American winner since Mia Hamm got the 2002 award. Wambach scored five goals at the Olympics and Morgan got three as the U.S. took its third straight gold medal. Marta’s Brazil was eliminated in the quarterfinals by Japan.

Sundhage, who has since returned home to coach Sweden’s women’s national team, is favored after losing out on the award last year to Sasaki after Japan won the World Cup.

Victory for Messi would fuel renewed debate over how his talent compares with Pele and Diego Maradona, whose careers were over or peaked before FIFA started its award in 1991. The South American greats were never eligible for the old Ballon d’Or run by France Football magazine. The awards merged in 2010.

“(Michael) Jordan dominated his sport and Messi dominates this one,” former Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola said last year, in comparing his protege to the basketball icon.

Iniesta starred at the European Championship last summer as Spain’s relentless passing game won a third straight major tournament title.

Ronaldo, the 2008 FIFA award winner and twice runner-up to Messi, impressed with prolific scoring to help Madrid take away Barcelona’s Spanish league title, then carried Portugal to the Euro 2012 semifinals.

Spain coach Vicente del Bosque is a candidate for the men’s coaching award, along with the Madrid-Barcelona duo of Jose Mourinho and Guardiola, who left the Catalan club in May.

The four main awards were voted on by coaches and captains of national teams worldwide, plus invited journalists. The votes were filed in November before Messi gained yet more praise in his successful pursuit of Gerd Mueller’s milestone of 85 goals in a calendar year.

Messi’s total included 79 for Barcelona and 12 for Argentina, to overtake Mueller’s tally for Bayern Munich and West Germany in 1972.

“I’m delighted for him,” Mueller said. “He is an incredible player, gigantic. He’s such a nice and modest professional.”

Messi also answered criticism that he underachieves for Argentina with five goals in five World Cup qualifiers and impressive hat-tricks in exhibitions against Brazil and Switzerland.

Ronaldo scored 46 goals in Madrid’s title march and would have boosted his Ballon d’Or claim by leading Portugal to win Euro 2012, where opposing fans often taunted him by chanting Messi’s name.

Iniesta excelled in the final as Spain silenced critics of its possession play to beat Italy 4-0 in the most lop-sided result of any World Cup or European Championship final.

All three Ballon d’Or nominees will likely be named in a World XI lineup chosen by the FIFPro group of players’ unions comprising around 50,000 members worldwide.

Brazil star Neymar seeks a repeat victory in the Puskas Award given to the best goal of the year, offering consolation for again missing out on the Ballon d’Or shortlist. FIFA President Sepp Blatter acknowledged that it is difficult for players based outside Europe to attract voters’ attention.

Neymar is nominated on a three-goal shortlist for a spectacular solo effort for Santos, dribbling past several Internacional opponents in March.

Radamel Falcao scored an acrobatic volley for Atletico Madrid against America de Cali in an exhibition in May, and Miroslav Stoch of Fenerbahce struck with a volley in a Turkish league game against Genclerbirligi in March. Fans voted online from 10 candidates proposed by FIFA.

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Thursday Kicks: Brand Beckham heading to China?

  • You didn’t believe that claim by David Beckham he was in search of one last soccer challenge after leaving the Galaxy did you? Let’s face it, if he goes to China as rumored until the end of the season his biggest challenge will be selling enough replica jerseys regardless of what he does on the field.
  • In more modest transfer news, another former Galaxy midfielder has rejoined a former club.
  • Meanwhile, a slice of U.S. soccer history plays out on live on television this weekend, when for the first time ever Fox (the main network, not the soccer channel) airs a 9 a.m. Saturday third round FA Cup tie between Manchester United and West Ham United. From Fox: Over the last two seasons, FOX Sports has aired a combination of nine live and encore world-class matches from the English Premier League and UEFA Champions League in the U.S, averaging 1.5 million viewers each. The match on Jan. 5 marks the sixth time Manchester United and its star-studded offense, anchored by Wayne Rooney and Robin van Persie, have played on FOX in the last two years. Throughout the 2012-13 season, FOX Soccer and its premium network, FOX Soccer Plus, are home to more than 50 FA Cup matches as the exclusive U.S. rights holders.
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