New USL Pro team to play in Fullerton in 2011

The yet to be named team will play “most” of its games at Titan Stadium on the campus of Cal State Fullerton in Orange County, sources affiliated with the team told 100 Percent Soccer.

USL Pro is the new designation for what is essentially the third level of soccer in the U.S. The North American Soccer League, which expects to be an eight-team league in 2011, has applied for Division 2 status.

USL Pro has so far announced 13 of an expected 16 teams with the Orange County club expected to be formally announced next month.

It’s an offshoot of the W-League’s Pali Blues and the President of Operations/coach of that club, Charlie Naimo, will serve as the coach of the new USL Pro club he announced in a blog post last month:

The addition to the Blues organization and my personal career is the arrival of the USL PRO men’s team. Our ownership has had the dream of rolling out a professional men’s team for a while, and now is the time. I was asked to take on the challenge of building the team on and off the field and so far, so good. We identified and hired a GM, Director of Operations and a VP of Sales and Marketing, and we have already begun working. Also in place is our coaching staff. Yours truly will be Manager (Head Coach) while Shayon Jalayer will serve as first team coach and director of youth development. We have already begun the process of fielding two academy sides with very aggressive plans attached. We have also brought on a very successful player personnel liaison. There are a few roles yet to fill, but we are in a great place.

Naimo was also GM of the WPS LA Sol, which won the inaugural league title before going belly up.

The general manager is David Adams who played collegiately in the LA area and spent some time on MLS reserve squads

More details on the USL PRO league including what’s expected to be a 24-game schedule and conference alignment are also expected in December.

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Saturday Soccer: Fusion, Blues, Galaxy & More

I’m heading out to the PDL title game in Ventura tonight, so I’ll keep this brief:

* Here’s a game preview.

*Congrats to Coach Charlie Naimo and his Pali Blues on their W-League title victory Friday.

*MLS announced today that New England Revolution Coach Steve Nichol was fined $1,000 and will miss today’s 3 p.m. clash (Fox Soccer Channel) against the Galaxy after he was red-carded Aug. 1 against Toronto. That’s in addition to the automatic $500 fine and one-game suspension previously announced bringing the total to two games and $1,500. Nicol will also miss the Revs’ Aug. 20 game against the Seattle Sounders.

The Galaxy haven’t lost in five games, the Revs haven’t tasted defeat in four games.

The New England perspective.

Becks is still babbling about owning an MLS team.

*With Zach Thornton out injured, backup goalkeeper Lance Parker will make his first career MLS start against the Rapids in Colorado (6:30 p.m. FSN).

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Recruits Needed For Soccer Ball Juggling World Record Attempt May 9

Defending W-League champion Pali Blues, now a feeder team for the WPS L.A. Sol, will attempt to set a new world record for most people juggling a soccer ball at one time at its May 9 season opener.

The current record, according to the club, was set by 627 people in 2007 in Vienna, Austria.

The idea, naturally, is to raise the club’s profile, said Pali Blues General Manager Jason Lemire.

“Most people don’t realize it, but amateur teams like the Pali Blues are a lot like public radio – we only exist with the support of our community,” he said. “This is a chance for the soccer world to show that they support grass root organizations like the Pali Blues.”

The second-year term plays at Pacific Palisades High School. To register for the record attempt scheduled for half time, call Lemire at (310) 264-4649. More about the club is here.

Wonder if this guy will be there?

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Thursday Kicks: U.S. to Bid For 2018 or 2022 World Cup & More

U.S. Soccer President Sunil Gulati will unveil all at a noon Monday conference call and will also introduce the executive director of the USA Bid Committee.

From today’s (edited) U.S. Soccer press release:

FIFA set Monday as the deadline for federations to submit the official paperwork expressing their interest to bid for either or both of the competitions. FIFA emphasized that at this initial stage in the bidding process, the only requirement is for countries to be able to demonstrate their ability to host a sporting event as large as the FIFA World Cup.

In related news, on the same day that tickets to the Feb. 11 Mexico-U.S. World Cup qualifier in Columbus sold out in just 90 minutes, Mexico lost 1-0 in Oakland to essentially the same young Swedish team the U.S. beat at Home Depot Center.

Meanwhile, Sigi Schmid’s Seattle Sounders will reportedly train in Ventura Monday and will play the Galaxy in a closed-door scrimmage Feb. 9 at the HDC. Former Galaxy midfielder Pete Vagenas won’t participate though reportedly because of a bone bruise on his knee that requires surgery. He’s expected to be on the sidelines for quite a while.

Lastly, Pepperdine associate women’s soccer coach Twila Kaufman was recently announced as the new head coach for the Los Angeles Legends of the W-League. The Legends play at Citrus College Stadium in Glendora.

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Thursday Kicks: USWNT to Play China in Carson & More

Tickets to a Dec. 13 game between the U.S. Women’s National Team and China at the Home Depot Center in Carson go on sale Friday priced between $18 and $150.

The game is part of a post-Olympics “Achieve Your Gold Tour,” which continued Wednesday night in Cincinnati with a 0-0 tie against South Korea before 5,877.

U.S. lineup: 18-Nicole Barnhart (22-Briana Scurry, 46); 2-Heather Mitts, 3-Christie Rampone (capt.) (4-Rachel Buehler, 60), 15-Kate Markgraf, 17-Lori Chalupny (19-Marian Dalmy, 66); 9-Heather O’Reilly (21-Kacey White, 46), 7-Shannon Boxx (14-Stephanie Cox, 33), 10-Aly Wagner, 16-Angela Hucles; 5-Lindsay Tarpley, 6-Natasha Kai.

Incidentally, Torrance’s Shannon Boxx, named a finalist for the FIFA Women’s Player of the Year Award last week, e-mailed me her thoughts on that:

“It is an honor to be named as one of the top 10 for the FIFA Player of the Year Award. To be considered with this group is quite amazing. I believe that you need great people around you to perform your best and I’ve been very lucky to be surrounded by great teammates.”

In other women’s soccer news:
*Long Beach State plays a 2 p.m. Big West Conference Tournament semifinal game against Pacific at George Allen Field today.

*Ventura County Fusion General Manager Ranbir Shergill will take over as coach of the Fusion’s W-league team for the 2009 season. Shergill was with the Cal South Olympic Development Program in 2008 and won a national championship as coach of the Cal South Under-16 girls team. Incidentally, the Fusion’s men’s and women’s teams have open tryouts Dec. 13. More info here.

*Named to the California Collegiate Athletic Association first team were Cal State Dominguez Hills junior forward Melanie DeSalvo (Chula Vista) and former West (Torrance) High star Jessica Murphy.

In other college soccer news:
*Cal State Northridge men’s team Coach Terry Davila notched his 100th collegiate victory Wednesday as the Matadors came from two goals down to beat Cal State Fullerton, 3-2. With the win, the Matadors keep pace with fourth-place UC Irvine in the Big West standings; the teams meet Saturday in Northridge in the final game of the season with the winner earning the fourth and final spot in the inaugural Big West Men’s Soccer Postseason Tournament.

*Former Galaxy defender Paul Caligiuri has resigned as men’s soccer coach at Cal Poly. The team’s record this season: 4-11-3.

*Cal State Dominguez Hills junior defender Kevin Gallaugher (Walnut, Calif) and Kyle Holland (Anchorage, Alaska) were named CCAA first-team selections.

Lastly:
*Former Galaxy forward Clint Mathis is profiled here ahead of Saturday’s Real Salt Lake-Chivas USA clash in Carson.

*In Utah, they’re thinking skiing not soccer.

*David Beckham clears up just when he’s leaving for Italy here.

*The MLS playoffs resume tonight with the Palos Verdes Peninsula’s John Thorrington and his Chicago Fire taking on the New England Revolution. Kickoff is at 5:30 p.m. on ESPN2.

*And Columbus Crew’s Chad Marshall was today named MLS Defender of the Year.

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Ajax America Women: WPSL Champions

Southern California now has two women’s soccer national champions.

A day after Pali Blues won the W-League title, Rolling Hills Estates-based Ajax America Women took their first Women’s Premier Soccer League crown Sunday night with a 3-1 come-from-behind victory over the Arizona Rush.

It was the team’s first WPSL title since 2001.

“Its been a long time coming,” said Coach Brian Boswell, who saw his team make three straight trips to the Final Four (2006-08). “We’re real happy with this one. Over the last couple of [Final Fours], we’ve been the bridesmaid and it feels good to be the winner. We’re just a great team… it doesn’t matter who’s out there. We just play very well as a team. We play well for each other – more than any superstars.”

Game details and video.

The Arizona perspective.

Earlier: more on the Pali Blues’ title.

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A Second Women’s League Championship for Southern California Today?

The day after the Pacific Palisades-based Pali Blues won the W-League title Rolling Hills Estates-based Ajax America Women will attempt to repeat the feat tonight in the Women’s Premier Soccer League championship game in Sacramento.

Ajax America crushed the Madison (Wisconsin) Lady Blues Saturday to advance to tonight’s final against the Arizona Rush.

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Pali Blues: W-League Champions

First-year W-League franchise Pali Blues capped a perfect 14-0 season with a come from behind 2-1 win in Virginia Beach, Va., that required two goals in the last seven minutes of the game to clinch the title.

It wasn’t the Blues’ best game, observed Coach Charlie Naimo, but it was enough:

“I have to give credit to FC Indiana for taking us out of our game. Their players were fantastic, and all the credit in the world goes to them for such a class match.”

Game story.

Here’s Naimo on the turning point of the game:

“When we scored that first goal, it was like an elephant just got knocked off my back. Amy LePeilbet has been a class defender all year, and it was great to see her get on the score sheet.”

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Chivas USA Goalkeeper Brad Guzan Gets UK Work Permit, England Vs. Scotland & More

Brad Guzan finally secured the work permit he needed today to join Aston Villa of the EPL.

Chivas USA this morning posted a tribute video to Guzan:

“Brad was the first goalkeeper to defend the colors of Chivas USA in Major League Soccer. This organization has seen him grow from a 20-year-old rookie to a U.S. Olympian, the reigning MLS Goalkeeper of the Year and now a member of one of England’s great clubs,” said Chivas USA President and CEO Shawn Hunter. “We trust that Villa supporters will soon see what Chivas USA fans have known for some time: that this is a very special young man with the potential of becoming one of the great goalkeepers in the international game.”

With all the money flowing into the game in England these days, Guzan has hit the proverbial jackpot, although he won’t make as much as the 25 richest young footballers in England.

Closer to home, with the Galaxy and Chivas USA on the road there’s no live local top-class soccer (I’ll have a best of what’s on the box below), but this is always a fun event:

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And yeah, Rod will really be there this year.

Nansen Field is a gorgeous little private facility where you can sip a beer on the sidelines while watching the games (bring a blanket or lawn chairs and a picnic lunch).

I wrote about this event three years ago and it’s pretty much the same. Here’s a reprint of the story from the Daily Breeze archives:

Pop star Rod Stewart performs in concert in Manchester, England, tonight, but his heart will be in Rolling Hills Estates.

A group of English expatriates take on their Scottish counterparts today in a fifth annual soccer game at Nansen Field with the Bob Stewart Caledonian Trophy at stake. Bob Stewart, Rod’s father, died in 1990.

His singer son customarily plays in the game — for Scotland against the nation known as the “auld enemy”– and his picture usually adorns posters advertising the game. As many as 800 people have watched the game in past years.

“The majority of people do come out to see him and take pictures,” said Keith Wales, the event’s chief organizer for Brits at Nansen, one of several groups of various nationalities who share the venue. “It’s a tradition now and he wouldn’t want us to not have it.”

Stewart has played at Nansen, a secluded, superbly maintained field with a clubhouse on aptly named Hidden Valley Road, for about four years, his touring schedule and 60-year-old legs permitting.

Stewart has contributed several signed items, including a soccer ball, hat and T-shirt, that will be sold at a silent auction.

Proceeds from the auction and event itself go to pay off legal bills incurred when in 1989 the Norwegian government, which contended it owned the 9.5-acre property, moved to sell it.

Locals balked and Norway sued. A judge eventually ruled that the true owner was a nonprofit group founded in 1952 so taxes didn’t have to be paid on the property.

But the group was left with a $320,000 legal bill; that’s now down to about $121,000.

To compensate for Stewart’s absence, organizers have made the event a doubleheader.

A U.S. team will take on a team of German expatriates in the opening match.

Several well-known former soccer players have been invited to take part in both games, including former English international Gary Mabbutt.

Thomas Dooley, a German native who made 81 appearances for the U.S. National Team, will line up for the Germans against Hall of Famer Paul Caligiuri.

“What a little traitor, huh,” laughed Dooley’s former national team teammate who coaches at Cal Poly Pomona. “It’s going to be a nice reunion with some of the guys.”

But it’s the world’s oldest international rivalry between England and Scotland, which dates back to 1872, that is the main draw.

A piper leads the teams onto the field, British food is the order of the day and spectators are encouraged to wear their national colors.

“At the moment (the series) is tied at two apiece,” Wales said. “People like to come to this game whether (Rod) is there or not. Families come with kids.”

The trickiest thing about the event for newcomers is finding the field. You basically just head out of Torrance and up the hill to the Palos Verdes Peninsula.

Here’s a Google map:
View Larger Map

Finally, here’s the highlights of the weekend TV schedule:
Today – CD Guadalajara-Tecos (delayed) 9 p.m. KAZA

Saturday- Chivas USA-Chicago Fire 5:30 p.m. FSN
W-League Championship Pali Blues-FC Indiana 8 p.m. Fox Soccer Channel (delayed)

Sunday – Galaxy-San Jose Noon FSN
4 p.m. Chivas Guadalajara- Barcelona 4 p.m. Fox Soccer Channel

Have a great weekend and I’ll let Rod serenade us toward quitting time today.

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The Week Ahead

*The alleged MLS All-Star game is 4 p.m. Thursday on ESPN2. I’ll have more on that in Tuesday’s column.

*The Galaxy play at 4 p.m. Sunday in Dallas (live on Prime).

*Chivas USA plays next Aug. 2 in Chicago.

*From the Women’s Premier Soccer League:

Saturday at Esperanza High (Anaheim):
5:30 p.m. – South champion West Coast F.C. (7-2-1) plays Sonoma County F.C. Sol (6-3-1).
7:30 p.m. – North Division winner California (10-0-0) plays second-place south side, 2007 U.S. Open Cup champion Ajax America (6-3-1).

The winners of the Pacific Semifinals face off the next day in the conference final at 6:30 p.m. for the final berth in the WPSL Championship.

*From the USL:

United Soccer Leagues announced Monday the Premier Development League and W-League playoff schedules set to begin midweek with the Divisional Rounds and continue with the Conference Championship tournaments on the weekend. The 19-team PDL playoff field begins play today with the W-League’s 13-team postseason field starting Wednesday.

PDL:
Conference Semifinal Saturday – Vancouver vs San Fernando Valley Quakes – 4:30 p.m. Fresno.

The Pali Blues won the W-League regular season title and a berth in the league semifinals in Virginia Beach.

*Noted: The U.S. Under-23 Women’s National Team beat Germany 3-0 today to win the Nordic Cup. Bruins Valerie Henderson and Tina DiMartino played the entire game.

*Also, from the Galaxy press release:

The Galaxy Rios U-20′s clinched the USL Super-20 League Pacific Southern California League title Saturday with a 6-0 win over Riverside MGFM. The Rios finished the season with a league best 22 points from a 7-2-1 record, while outscoring opponents 41-7 en route to the title.

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