Thursday Kicks: U.S. schedules friendly in Mexico & more


*U.S. Soccer has scheduled an Aug. 15 exhibition game against Mexico at Estadio Azteca in Mexico City, the first friendly between the two nations south of the border since 1984.

“Mexico has proven to be one of the top teams in the world in the moment, so for us this is a huge opportunity,” said U.S. coach Jurgen Klinsmann. “The U.S. and Mexico have a very special rivalry, and the chance to be challenged in an environment like Estadio Azteca in Mexico City will be another important experience for the development of our players.”

The game is a designated FIFA fixture date, which means the U.S. should have its top players available in an effort to beat Mexico for the first time ever on its own soil. The U.S. record in Mexico: 0-23-1.

*In other local, yet internationally-oriented soccer news, Zachary DeVille, a sophomore forward from San Diego who made nine appearances for Cal State Northridge last season, is spending his summer with Team Guam in a series of international matches in the Philippines in preparation for the East Asian Football Championships in July.

*The new Pac-12 network means 58 live televised soccer games from the conference are on tap later this year, brinding unprecedented visibility to college soccer. The USC women’s program, for instance, will have nine games on TV, five at home and four on the road.

“It’s really exciting to see that our sport and our conference will be on TV for all to see this season,” USC head coach Ali Khosroshahin. “It’s an opportunity for our athletes to get exposure, so we can really show the strength of our programs and the Pac-12 as a whole.”

The UCLA men’s program will have a dozen games televised on the new channel.

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MLS SuperDraft Update: UCLA’s Rowe goes third, Chivas USA pick Maryland striker Townsend *

*Post updated


MLS Commish Don Garber welcomes Chivas USA SuperDraft pick Casey Townsend out of Maryland to MLS today at the SuperDraft in Kansas City, Mo (AP Photo).

You can follow the MLS SuperDraft here.

The highlights so far:

*Chivas USA, picking fifth, need a goalscorer or two in addition to Juan Pablo Angel, so they picked up a striker who had 17 goals in 22 games last year, Casey Townsend. That’s the entire draft for the Goats – they’re done.

“The kid is unbelievably competitive,” said Chivas USA Coach Robin Fraser in a club stattement. “We watched him in the combine, we watched him in college, he’s the kind of kid who wins literally every challenge he has, and it’s all about his attitude. He is a very good finisher, has a good nose for the goal and he completely fits into what it is we are trying to do here. We want to get winners here and we got ourselves a winner today.”

The Terrapin product reports to Carson for his physical this weekend and will start preseason camp Monday with the club at Home Depot Center.

*New England took UCLA’s Kelyn Rowe, who is currently training with the U.S. Under-23 team in Carson, with the third pick.

From UCLA:

Rowe, a midfielder from Federal Way, Wash., had six goals and a Pac-12 leading 10 assists during his sophomore campaign and is the highest UCLA draft pick since Tony Beltran was taken third overall by Real Salt Lake in 2008. Rowe was also named Pac-12 Player of the Year for 2011.

*Los Angeles’ Luis Silva of UCSB went fourth to Toronto FC.

*The Montreal Impact chose Hermann Trophy winner Andrew Wenger with the first pick.


Chandler Hoffman of UCLA will join former Bruin Kyle Nakazawa at the Philadelphia Union, which held the 13th overall pick.


The Galaxy take Indiana’s Tommy Meyer with the 19th and final pick of the first round; they need depth on defense, as Coach Bruce Arena said earlier this week.

“He’s a player that has a good profile to be a center back in this league,” Arena said today in a statement released by the Galaxy. “He has physical size. He’s a good header of the ball. A good defender and a decent passer out of the back. Once we get him into our setting we can learn a little bit more and work with him and try to make him better.”

The Galaxy also have the last pick of the draft today.


And with that pick the club took Louisville’s Kenney Walker.

“I thought that he had a very good Combine,” Arena said. “He is a defensive midfielder, a holding midfielder, an aggressive type of player and a good passer of the ball. I felt over the three days of the Combine he may have been a first round pick so when he was available in the second round we jumped on it and we’re hopeful that he will turn into a good player.”


Here’s a summary of today’s MLS SuperDraft from the Associated Press:

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Andrew Wenger looked a bit sheepish the moment he was asked what teams and players he followed growing up. He knew his reply wasn’t all that daring.

“Well, Manchester United,” he said. “And, of course, David Beckham.”

Now, Wenger may have a chance to play against him.

The expansion Montreal Impact selected the Duke forward with the first overall pick in the MLS SuperDraft on Thursday, choosing the most complete player available in the two-round draft.

The Hermann Trophy winner as the top NCAA player, Wenger was the ACC defensive player of the year last season and offensive player of the year this season, finishing with 17 goals and eight assists.

“We have a lot of potential,” said Wenger, who plans to join the new MLS club in a couple weeks, once his responsibilities with the U.S. men’s national under-23 team in Carson are through. “It’s exciting.”

Just as exciting is the chance to potentially play against Beckham. The midfielder’s contract with the Galaxy has expired, but negotiations are ongoing and Beckham reportedly has said he’d rather remain in Los Angeles than return to playing in Europe.

Montreal plays the MLS champion Galaxy May 12.

Akron forward Darren Mattocks was selected second by the Vancouver Whitecaps. UCLA midfielder Kelyn Rowe went third to New England, followed by UC Santa Barbara’s Luis Silva to Toronto FC and Maryland forward Casey Townsend to Chivas USA.

The Impact were expected to choose between Wenger and Mattocks, who many believe has greater long-term potential. Club officials wavered between the two until a couple days ago, ultimately going with Wenger’s versatility over Mattocks’ scoring punch.

“It’s going to be awesome,” Wenger said. “I’ve never lived in a big city. I’ve been watching a lot of the Travel Channel lately, so at least I know of some nice places to eat.”

Montreal coach Jesse Marsch, a longtime MLS star, said he doesn’t know where Wenger will fit on the field. He’s shown ability at forward and midfielder and as a lockdown defender.

“I think he was the best soccer player available,” Marsch said. “We followed him very closely, and we just felt he had the best future, short term and long term, in the draft.”

Mattocks is a speedy Jamaican who wound up at powerhouse Akron because he wanted to acclimate himself to playing in colder weather. He’ll certainly get that opportunity in Vancouver.

“I knew from the get-go that it would be between me and Wenger. They picked Wenger first and that’s OK with me,” said Mattocks, a Hermann Trophy semifinalist and Mid-American Conference player of the year, who scored 39 goals in 47 games during his two years with the Zips.

Vancouver President Bob Lenarduzzi said his decision was easy once Montreal made its pick.

“It’s been the consensus that the top two were Wenger and Mattocks,” Lenarduzzi said. “We just needed Montreal to make up their minds. All along you sort of jokingly ask what they’re going to do, but they never were going to tell me anything.”

Sam Garza became the second player from UC Santa Barbara to be drafted when he went sixth to San Jose. Garza began his career at Denver before scoring 17 goals in two seasons for the Gauchos, helping them to a 15-7-1 record and the third round of the NCAA tournament this season.

Garza’s grandfather, Bill Cross, was a running back for the Chicago Cardinals in the NFL.

Louisville midfielder Nick DeLeon was drafted seventh by D.C. United. His teammate, Austin Berry, went two spots later to Chicago. Connecticut defender Andrew Jean-Baptiste went eighth to Portland and Ethan Finlay of Creighton was chosen by Columbus with the 10th overall pick.

North Carolina’s Matt Hedges went 11th to FC Dallas. Notre Dame defender Aaron Maund went next to Toronto FC, followed by UCLA’s Chandler Hoffman to Philadelphia, UConn’s Tony Cascio to Colorado and Creighton defender Andrew Duran to Seattle.

The biggest roar at the Kansas City Convention Center came when hometown club Sporting Kansas City made South Florida forward Dom Dwyer the No. 16 overall pick. Several hundred fans dressed in blue that had congregated to the side of the expansive ballroom burst into applause.

Dwyer, who is originally from London, began his career at Tyler Junior College in Texas. He was the Big East offensive player of the year after scoring 16 goals in 21 games for the Bulls.

“You hear rumors about teams and where you might go, but I didn’t know anything about Kansas City,” Dwyer said. “I’m excited to be here.”

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Saturday Soccer: UCLA’s NCAA Tournament run ends & more


Blushing Rose: UCLA midfielder Andy Rose missed UCLA’s first penalty kick in a shootout Friday and North Carolina marched into the College Cup final Sunday (AP Photo).

*It was a noble effort, but after twice taking the lead against top-ranked North Carolina Friday UCLA lost their nerve and the semifinal, yielding to the Tar Heels in the crap shoot of penalty kicks and denying them the chance to meet similar underdogs Charlotte Sunday in the championship game.

UCLA never really gave themselves a chance in the shootout, missing their first two PK’s and sealing their fate.

I watched the game in my local watering hole with a couple of fellow soccer fans (there’s something to be said for sitting there watching a game with an excellent porter in your hand rather than a laptop in a press box) and I’ll say this much: I agree with UCLA Coach Jorge Salcedo that it was an fun game to see, even if the result wasn’t what he wanted.

And I very much doubt we’ve seen the last of UCLA goalkeeper Brian Rowe who kept the Bruins in the game on several occasions with supurb stops. He was credited with nine saves.

*The other must-see game this weekend is the biggest one of the European season so far: Real Madrid-Barcelona at 1 p.m. on ESPND, ESPN Deportes and GolTV. There’s a nasty subtext to this game.

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Thursday Kicks: College soccer update & more

Continuing to get caught up on things:

*INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — The NCAA will keep the men’s and women’s soccer College Cups at separate sites and on separate weekends.

The decision comes after two years of debating whether to combine the events.

Proponents contended it would cost less money to combine the championships.

Opponents argued that field conditions would be problematic and that it would could cause scheduling conflicts for conference tourneys and NCAA preliminary round games.

This year’s men’s College Cup will be held Dec. 9-11 in Hoover, Ala. The women’s College Cup is Dec. 2-4 at Kennesaw State, north of Atlanta.

*Loyola Marymount has announced it has signed nine male high school seniors to letters of intent including locals Juan De Rada, a midfielder from Canyon Country (Golden Valley High); Ryan Felix, a defensive midfielder from Corona (Santiago High); Jack McCracken, a midfielder from Manhattan Beach (Mira Costa High); Vince Paldino, a 6’2″ goalkeeper from Torrance (North High); and Dylan Seedman, a forward from Laguna Niguel (JSerra High) who plays with Paldino on the Los Angeles Galaxy Academy U-18 team.

*Lastly, the fifth annual Croatian Small Goals Tournament will be held once again on the Memorial Day weekend in San Pedro. Entries are now being accepted in competitive and recreational divisions. Info:

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LMU defender Kucera dies of natural causes

More on the Cupertino native from the school’s web site is here.

Friday Update

The Westchester school has issued this notification:

A memorial service honoring the life of men’s soccer player David Kucera will be held at Loyola Marymount’s Sacred Heart Chapel at 12:30 p.m. on Tuesday, January 18. The service is open to the public.

David was due to begin the spring semester of his sophomore year at LMU when he passed away on Sunday, January 9 at his off-campus apartment in Marina del Rey. At this time, the cause of death is believed to be due to natural causes.

Kucera had recently completed his sophomore season as a member of LMU’s WCC-champion men’s soccer team. Named the team’s co-Most Improved Player in 2010, Kucera made eight appearances in the Lion uniform and was integral in LMU’s championship run by scoring his first career goal as the Lions rallied from a two-goal deficit to defeat Gonzaga 3-2 on November 7.

A native of Cupertino, California, Kucera was a four-year letterwinner at Monta Vista High School. He was born on April 2, 1991 and was a Dean’s List student majoring in Entrepreneurship. He is survived by his parents, Jan Kucera and Tara Jolley.

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Palos Verdes Estates’ Press named female college player of the year

i-d7341cf79f8bbf3fa1849c09ae4b7337-pressmug2.jpgIt’s a dream come true for the former two-time winner of the Daily Breeze player of the year award. Here’s more from the Associated Press:

ST. LOUIS (AP) — Stanford’s Christen Press, a former Chadwick School standout, won the Hermann Trophy on Friday as the nation’s top women’s college soccer player.

Akron’s Darlington Nagbe won the men’s honor.

Press, a senior forward, scored 26 goals last season, the most in the nation and tying the Stanford record as the Cardinal reached the NCAA final, where it lost to Notre Dame. She will attend the U.S. Under-23 Women’s National Team camp that opens this weekend at Home Depot Center.

Nagbe, a junior forward and midfielder, helped the Zips win the NCAA title, the school’s first in NCAA competition in any sport. He had seven goals and 13 assists last season, and is among the top prospects in next week’s Major League Soccer draft.

For the first time in the history of the award, given by the Missouri Athletic Club, both winners were from the same schools as the previous year. Teal Bunbury, who went on to an excellent rookie season with the Kansas City Wizards, and Kelley O’Hara won last year.

The previous back-to-back winners of the men’s award from the same school were Duke’s Thomas Kain and John Kerr in 1985-86. The men’s award began in 1967 and the women’s award in 1988.

Notre Dame junior forward Melissa Henderson was second, followed by California senior forward Alex Morgan of Diamond Bar, whose goal in the first leg of a playoff gave the U.S. a 1-0 victory at Italy that helped the Americans qualify for his year’s Women’s World Cup.

Voting is done by NCAA Division I soccer coaches.

Press is the most prolific scorer in Stanford history, establishing the career record in goals (71), assists (41) and points (183), according to a press release from the college.

Stanford had an 67-0-1 record when Press had a goal or assist during her collegiate career.

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Press-ganged at College Cup

Notre Dame 1 Stanford

i-9cb0813ff7324e2b74a64ea350a8625b-NDstanfordsoccer.jpgShutout: This was about as close as Christen Press, left, got to the Notre Dame goal and any chance of scoring on goalkeeper Nikki Weiss Sunday at the NCAA championship (AP Photo).

Palos Verdes Estates’ Christen Press, the nation’s leading scorer, was held to just one shot on goal by a dominating Notre Dame midfield and defense and Stanford lost for the first time this season in the College Cup Sunday in North Carolina.

It’s the second consecutive College Cup final loss for Stanford and the second time in a row Stanford had gone through the season unbeaten only to fall at the final hurdle

Stanford was fortunate Notre Dame didn’t add one or two more, an excellent performance by freshman goalkeeper Emily Oliver keeping them in the game.

Press, Stanford’s all-time leading scorer, is a candidate for the Hermann Trophy, given to the nation’s best female college player; Stanford’s Kelley O’Hara won last year.

Game story

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