UCLA midfielder Leo Stoltz named nation’s best college soccer player

The UCLA Leo Stolz was named the winner of the 2014 Missouri Athletic Club’s Hermann Trophy today after winning the most votes cast by the nation’s college coaches. He joins former Galaxy player Sasha Victorine and U.S. national team goalkeeper Brad Friedel as UCLA winners of the trophy.

Next up: a trip to the MLS College Combine.

Here’s more from the UCLA press release:

The two-year team captain started all 24 games for the Bruins, leading the team in goals (9) and points (24), while tying for the lead in assists (6). A native of Munich, Germany, Stolz logged 2,054 minutes and recorded points in 11 of his 24 matches.

Stolz finishes his three-year UCLA career with 20 goals, 22 assists and 62 points in 63 appearances (60 starts). The senior led the Bruins to three-straight NCAA Tournament appearances, including a trip to the College Cup Finals in 2014.

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Video: Remembering the Christmas football truce of WWI exactly 100 years ago

Torrance Councilman Tim Goodrich certainly did on Tuesday in his invocation:

As Christmas draws nearer, let our thoughts draw closer to the things that matter most; our families and our friends.
And as we are in the midst of the 100th anniversary of the famous “Christmas Truce” in which the British and German fighters of World War 1 laid down their arms, let us remember “Peace On Earth, and Good Will to Others.”

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Weekend Soccer TV Preview: MLS Cup, EPL and Women’s World Cup Draw

Saturday’s televised EPL games include Newcastle United-Chelsea at 4:45 a.m. on NBCSN, Liverpool-Sunderland at 7 a.m. on NBCSN and Machester City-Everton at 9:30 a.m. on NBC.

The draw is live at 9 a.m. Saturday on Fox Sports 1

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MLS Commissioner Don Garber hopes to keep Erick ‘Cubo’ Torres in MLS

Will MLS exercise the option it has on forward Erick “Cubo” Torres to keep him in MLS? Torres, of course, was the leading scorer for the now-disbanded Chivas USA but clearly will have opportunities to continue his career in Mexico or elsewhere.

“It’s a great question. Let’s say we’d like to,” Garber said. “We haven’t been able to make that decision yet. We think Cubo’s been a great player in our league and certainly he deserves to be in a position where he can thrive in a new team setting from one that he was in.
“We’re going to go through that process as you know that we extracted him from the way we went about a process for the other players that were on Chivas USA. A decision hasn’t been made yet but I’ll tell you we’d love to have him continue with the league.”

The other now-former Chivas players will be placed in a dispersal draft for the rest of the league to choose from next week.
Yes, expansion arrives next year with two more teams. With the league then at 20 teams (with plans to be at 24 before the end of the decade), the playoff format could be expanded to 12 teams instead of 10. The league’s ownership will decide on that.
Currently, of the five playoff teams in each conference, the top three teams in each bracket don’t play in a first-round game. In the proposed format, only the top two in each conference would be off for the first round.
And, by the way, the weighted away goal in the home-and-home playoff series will be continue to be implemented.

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Landon Donovan, Robbie Keane and Omar Gonzalez of Galaxy named to MLS Best XI

MLS Commissioner Don Garber gave his state of the league address today via roundtable and the biggest news that was announced was the MLS Best XI.
Defender Omar Gonzalez, midfielder Landon Donovan and forward Robbie Keane of the Galaxy were named to the squad. You can’t argue with the selections of the team’s three designated players unless the cynics point out that A.J. DeLaGarza was named the Galaxy’s defender of the year ahead of his longtime teammate.
For Donovan, it was his seventh selection to the team to establish an MLS record.
Keane is also up for the league MVP award, which will be announced in downtown L.A. on Wednesday. With 19 goals and 14 assists this season and earned his third consecutive Best XI honor.

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Landon Donovan and Galaxy trip through Seattle on the way to MLS Cup

Landon Donovan was the last Galaxy player off CenturyLink Field after the Galaxy eliminated rival Seattle in the MLS Western Conference finals to reach the MLS Cup.
He was, per custom, trailed by a number of media. But before he ducked into the tunnel to head to the locker room and celebrate with teammates, he took some time to soak in the admiration from fans. Even Sounders fans who understood this was the last time they would see him play in their stadium. Actually, it seemed like Donovan was taking it in far more than the fans were.
In an apparently impromptu gesture, he took the shirt off his back and gave it to a fan and didn’t hesitate to sign autographs.
He wasn’t done and headed toward another group to sign autographs and shake hands.
Oh, and endure the wrath of a different kind of fan.
Warning. Adult language here. Or as they say, NSFW.

Donovan will play his last game on Sunday at StubHub Center when the Galaxy take on New England for the MLS Cup title.
Just a guess, but that’s a part of the game he might not miss so much.

Moments later:

“I can’t believe it. Actually, I can believe it.”

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Captain Robbie Keane makes a decision to change Galaxy fortunes

In the latter part of the season, the Galaxy turned to Stefan Ishizaki more and more to take the Galaxy’s free kicks and corner kicks.
For the most part, the midfielder had been effective. But when the Galaxy earned a corner kick early in the second half Sunday in Seattle, captain Robbie Keane told Landon Donovan to return to his role as the team’s corner kick man.
Donovan produced.

“Stefan was struggling with it,” Donovan said. “He had some really good free kicks but he was struggling with his service from the corner. I just wanted to try to put it in a good position and we’ve been waiting for Juni all year to get one of those good strikes on target in a good spot and he made a great shot and a great goal.”

Donovan’s corner kick was headed in the direction of a natural target, the 6-foot-5 Omar Gonzalez, but Gonzalez wasn’t in position to head the ball. Instead, he clipped it to Juninho and the Brazilian midfielder sent a low shot just inside left post for the goal that sends the Galaxy into next Sunday’s MLS Cup at home against New England.
It was the first goal for Juninho since Sept. 21, 2013.

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Video: Stage is set for Galaxy, Seattle Sounders

A clear day in Seattle greeted the Galaxy, who will face the Sounders this evening with a trip to the MLS Cup on the line. Game time temperature is forecast at 34 degrees, dropping to 32 about the time the game ends. All the snow that was on the field for the Galaxy’s practice Saturday has miraculously disappeared.
Also on the line? For the second time in three weeks, Landon Donovan faces the prospect of playing his last game before retirement.
The lineups will be out soon. It remains to be seen if the Galaxy’s Leonardo, Marcelo Sarvas or A.J. DeLaGarza will be involved. From Seattle’s standpoint, the word is Lamar Neagle and Osvaldo Alonso will return to the Sounders lineup after missing Game 1 last week.

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