Ronaldo scores unreal highlight reel goal as Real rolls over Galaxy

i-6a53bc07106e176fc06be476c563539e-beckskaka.jpgFun and games: Kaka and David Beckham share a moment Saturday at the Coliseum (AP Photo).

While I was in Carson watching former Barcelona striker Thierry Henry and the Red Bulls play Chivas USA, Staff Writer Phil Collin watched Real Madrid toy with the Galaxy.

The Cristiano Ronaldo goal was the highlight.


Senior moments?

There’s hope for the future.

The Galaxy U-16 team won the youth program’s first national title today.

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Pateadores/South Bay Force U-17/U-18 team wins national U.S. Soccer Development Academy championship

It’s quite an accomplishment for the club, which is based in Orange County, but joined forces with the South Bay Force last summer so that all but a couple of players on the team are from the South Bay.

The team was seeded 31st out of 32 teams who made the playoffs after having a 16 point deduction for fielding two ineligible players earlier in the season. The club also needed to score two goals in the final three minutes of regulation in their previous game to qualify for the final on goal difference.

“It was reminiscent of the Women’s World Cup game Sunday except they needed two goals, not just one,” said Greg Yorke, president of the Force. “They went from being out of it to going to the final in that short a time.

“It’s certainly an exciting season for them, an exciting run,” he added, in something of an understatement.

Read the game story.

Jose Villareal, who had the two goals, attends Leuzinger High and Yorke said he was a late replacement on the U-18 National Team today for a prestigious tournament in Northern Ireland. It’s unclear whether Villareal even knew he made the national team, since Coach Todd Saldaa only learned of his inclusion early today and may not have informed the player ahead of the game.

Teammate Javan Torre also made the national team squad.

Saldaa must be out celebrating with his team; he hasn’t yet returned a couple of calls I made seeking comment.

I’ll update the blog post if I hear from him.

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Thursday Kicks: Fight night in Carson & more

*Some Mexican soccer fans made the wrong sort of impression at the Club America-Atlas game Wednesday night in Carson.

Operations Sgt. Josh Stahl of the Carson station said this morning that the incident involved about 200 people outside the stadium watching fights involving “several” people.

“You had Club America fans and you had Atlas fans,” Stahl said. “It was the end of the game – Club America won (2-1).”

A reported crowd of 16,241 watched Club America’s come from behind victory.

*Club America’s next opponent on its U.S. summer tour, Manchester City, is blogging all about their training sessions at Home Depot Center.

City faces the Mexican club Saturday in the Bay Area and will play the Galaxy July 24 in Carson.

*The large contingent of Turkish fans planning to attend Saturday’s Galaxy-Real Madrid game at the Coliseum won’t see newly-signed midfielder Nuri Sahin, who was injured while the club trained at UCLA.

The 22-year-old German-born Turkish international signed from Borussia Dortmund for $14 million this summer.

*Local soccer club Doxa Italian of Manhattan Beach is emerging as one of the nation’s top amateur teams.

The women’s soccer program at Loyola Marymount University has announced the team’s schedule in the new look West Coast Conference.

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Tuesday Kicks: Chivas USA beat Galaxy & more

*Well, it was only in a reserve league game, but this is another sign of progress under Coach Robin Fraser.

Notable: The Chivas USA team featured seven Chivas USA Youth Academy products.

Galaxy officials will also undoubtedly be happy to see veteran central defender Gregg Berhalter, yet to play a game for the senior squad this season, get some valuable minutes, especially with the recent injury to Leonardo.

The relevant date to circle on the calendar: May 21 when the Galaxy “visit” Chivas USA.

*Speaking of youngsters, new Galaxy Academy director Chris Klein talks about some of the changes he has instituted since he began heading up the program.

*Tottenham Hotspur fans will be especially happy to hear FIFA is still committed to goal-line technology before the next World Cup (even if Chelsea’s Frank Lampard won’t be):

ZURICH (AP) — FIFA has set a target date of July 2012 to approve goal-line technology systems that could be introduced before the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

Soccer’s governing organization said Tuesday that candidates must pass two more rounds of tests at a stadium of their choice. FIFA said the results will be presented to its
rules-making body in July 2012.

The goal-line debate reignited days earlier with another major error by match officials.
Chelsea’s Frank Lampard scored against Tottenham on Saturday, with replays showing the ball had not completely crossed the line. Chelsea won 2-1 to keep alive its Premier League title hopes.

It was Lampard’s “ghost goal” against Germany at the 2010 World Cup — his shot not counting for England despite bouncing down off the cross bar beyond the goal line — that persuaded FIFA President Sepp Blatter to end his long-standing opposition to technology. Blatter apologized to English officials after watching Germany’s 4-1 win in South Africa.

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Tuesday Kicks: Bored by Beckham & more

i-285808acc2349a2d950fad401565fa99-poshpants.jpgSeattle fans aren’t the only ones tired of David Beckham (AP Photo).

*Press box colleague Joseph D’Hippolito talks to members of Galaxy supporters groups about the Galaxy midfielder in this piece for The New York Times here. Not much of a surprise. What would more casual fans of the Galaxy say, I wonder?

*Speaking of karma, take that former Galaxy coach (I use the term loosely) Ruud Gullit. Loser here, loser there. And the quote in the story sounded familiar, too, to those of us who covered the Galaxy during the Dutchman’s ill-fated tenure.

*Among the items up for bid as MLS seeks to raise money for Japanese earthquake relief is a ball autographed by the 2010 Chivas USA squad. Bid here.

*Good riddance FIFA President Sepp Blatter?

PARIS (AP) — FIFA President Sepp Blatter says his next term will be his last if he is re-elected in June.

The 75-year-old Blatter is seeking a fourth term, running against Qatar’s Mohamed bin Hammam. Blatter has led soccer’s governing body since 1998 and faces his first challenge since 2002 by Issa Hayatou.

“Those will be the last four years I aspire to,” Blatter said Tuesday at the UEFA Congress at the Grand Palais.

Of course, that depends on whether Sports Illustrated soccer writer Grant Wahl doesn’t oust Blatter in his previously announced tongue in cheek campaign for the FIFA presidency.

*The Cal State Northridge men’s soccer program will host a free youth clinic at 1:30 p.m. Sunday at Matador Soccer Field following a free 11 a.m. exhibition game with Loyola Marymount University. Full details here.

*Lastly, President Obama wisely engaged in a little soccer diplomacy while in Brazil. He needs to work on that first touch, though:

Related: The U.S. Export-Import Bank, the U.S. government’s lending agency, has announced it will establish a $1 billion line of credit for infrastructure work in Brazil for the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Olympics.

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Monday Kicks: Mourinho & more

*The Special One says he eventually wants to coach in MLS – and the Galaxy are one of his top two choices. Good luck with that commute from Malibu to the South Bay though, Jose.

*Former Chivas USA defender Jonny Bornstein got his first assist with Tigres, supplying the cross that led to their opening goal in a 2-0 win Sunday over Santos Laguna.

*Youth club LAFC, formerly associated with England’s Chelsea, cut ties over the weekend with the New York Cosmos. More details here.


The USWNT will play its first-ever game in England on April 2.

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Monday Kicks: Galaxy close to signing OC 16-year-old to pro contract & more

*Just a month after turning 16, Newport Beach Galaxy Youth Academy product Jack McBean, currently in his first semester at the U.S. U-17 academy in Bradenton, Fl., is reportedly
poised to sign a professional contract with the Galaxy.

McBean scored nine goals in 10 games for the Galaxy’s U-15/U-16 team last season, which is coached by Kenny Arena, son of Galaxy coach and GM Bruce Arena.

Signing a pro contract with the Galaxy would put McBean in the same company as Van Nuys striker Tristan Bowen (now with Chivas USA, of course), who became the first academy product to sign a pro contract with the team in November 2008 and midfielder Memo Gonzalez, who became one of the youngest players in MLS history when the Galaxy drafted him in 2003 at age 16 to a lucrative contract. Gonzalez is now out of the pro game at age 25, a cautionary tale if there ever was one.

*Chivas USA, meanwhile, will soon find out how much former player Panchito Mendoza has left in the tank after a couple of years in Mexico.

*Lastly, the U.S. women have everything to play for Tuesday against China at the Four Nations Tournament after beating Canada 1-0 Sunday. Coach Pia Sundhage swung the axe after the opening U.S. loss to Sweden Friday with Torrance’s Shannon Boxx, virtually an ever-present at defensive midfielder since 2003, one of the victims. In contrast, Diamond Bar’s Alex Morgan was a beneficiary, getting her first international start.

The U.S. lineup: Nicole Barnhart, Brittany Taylor, Becky Sauerbrunn, Christie Rampone (capt.), (Rachel Buehler, 46), Stephanie Cox; Kelley O’Hara (Meghan Klingenberg, 78) Lori Lindsey, Carli Lloyd (Yael Averbuch, 66), Megan Rapinoe (Lindsay Tarpley, 31); Amy Rodriguez (Lauren Cheney, 46), Alex Morgan

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Cosmos Cobi speaks


Three days after Galaxy icon Cobi Jones announced he was leaving the club where he had spent virtually his entire career, the new employee of the New York Cosmos spoke with journalists today about his role with the club.

For now he plans to remain in Los Angeles, albeit doing plenty of traveling between the youth academies the Cosmos, who have ambitions of entering MLS as early as 2013, have established on each coast.

He said the opportunity to join a nascent organization was what attracted him most:

“It was a storied franchise in the past and plans to be a storied franchise in the future and it’s something I wanted to be a part of.

“It was about being part of something starting out that’s doing something in the right ways,” he added. “It allows me to advance my position in the soccer world and the soccer community.

“I would (eventually) love to be involved in the general manager type of role where you’re helping to make the decisions for an entire club.”

No Cobi the coach then, apparently

Incidentally, Terry Byrne, the Cosmos director of soccer and the former personal manager of Galaxy star David Beckham, with whom he has a close friendship, reiterated he has not spoken to his former client about buying an ownership interest in any Cosmos MLS franchise and perhaps playing for the club after his contract with the Galaxy expires this year:

“There has genuinely been no conversations with David about the Cosmos,” he said. “I totally respect (AEG President) Tim Leiweke’s position – I would not undermine that. (David) is obviously aware of what we’re doing because we speak all the time, but there are no conversations in regard to David joining the Cosmos.”

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Wednesday Kicks: MLS SuperDraft Thursday & more

*Chivas USA striker Justin Braun and former Galaxy defender Ugo Ihemelu have been released from the U.S. Men’s National Team in Carson because of injuries, officials announced today.

Braun sustained a laceration in the region of his left Achilles Tuesday during the morning training session. The injury required four stitches and will sideline the forward for seven days.

Ihemelu is bothered by hip and groin injuries he had rested following the 2010 MLS season.

U.S. Soccer doesn’t plan to add players to what is now a 23-player roster ahead of the Jan. 22 game against Chile at Home Depot Center.

*The over-hyped MLS not so SuperDraft is set for 9 a.m. Thursday. ESPN2 will air the first hour of the three-round, 54-pick event.

If past history is any guide fans shouldn’t expect teams to find players who will immediately have a huge impact in an ever-improving league like MLS, which, frankly, is how it should be.

*Rumored Galaxy target Ronaldinho was unveiled today as a new signing for Brazilian club Flamengo, as expected.

*The second stop on the Mexican National Team’s 2011 U.S. Tour will be in Oakland when it plays a March 26 game against Paraguay. Tickets go on sale to the general public Jan. 21.

*Josh Gatt, a former midfielder with the PDL Orange County Blue Star, has signed with Norway’s Molde, now coached by former Manchester United midfielder Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. The Michigan native and member of the U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team previously played for Austrian club Rheindorf Altach.

*Galaxy youth striker Jack McBean of Newport Beach is one of eight new players selected to join the famed U.S. Under-17 residential academy in Bradenton, Fla., this spring. A total of 40 players will attend the academy, where players receive daily top-class training, while attending a local high school.

Local holdovers in the group include goalkeepers Wade Hamilton (Arsenal FC; Murietta) and Jake McGuire (Chivas USA Academy; Chino); defender Luis Martir (Chivas Guadalajara; Los Angeles); midfielders Marco Delgado (Cosmo Academy West; Glendora), Esteban Rodriguez (Cosmos Academy West; Palmdale); forwards Kevin De La Torre (Chivas USA Academy; Winchester, CA).

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Friday Football: Camping with Beckham & more

*The EPL’s Tottenham Hotspur hopes/believes/is trying to convince themselves (take your pick, one is as good as another at this point since the Galaxy never confirm any deal until every “i” is dotted) that David Beckham could be on loan to them by Sunday. Details here. And don’t you just love those vague comments from Spurs boss Harry Rednapp. Personally I’d rather hear what Landon Donovan has to say about Beckham’s loan.

*Meanwhile, with Beckham possibly off to what amounts to a (high-profile) London training camp, the Home Depot Center fields are getting busier and busier as various U.S. national teams crank up their activity another notch.

*Zenit St. Petersburg striker Eugene Starikov arrived in the South Bay Thursday, bringing to 25 the number of mostly young players in the U.S. Men’s National Team camp in Carson. Born in Odessa, Ukraine, Starikov grew up in Florida and attended Stetson University.

*The U.S. women open a six-day camp in Carson Saturday with 26 players in attendance including UCLA’s Sydney Leroux, Diamond Bar’s Alex Morgan, USC product Amy Rodriguez and Rolling Hills Estates’ Whitney Engen.

*A 24-player women’s U-23 contingent starts practicing at the HDC Sunday and includes the likes of striker Christen Press of Palos Verdes Estates and midfielder Megan Jesolva of La Mirada.

Incidentally, I’m often asked whether practices are open to the public, what time they are, where players are staying, etc. The short answers are no, it varies and U.S. Soccer officials don’t want fans knowing.

But the USMNT usually practices around 10 a.m. daily (although there are unannounced off days) and fans can peer over a fence, while the team itself usually stays in hotels in either Manhattan Beach or Hermosa Beach (in truth I don’t know exactly where for this camp). And you didn’t read that here.

Finally, those of us disinclined to take afternoon/early evenings strolls along The Strand or staking out hotel lobbies in order to get a glimpse of players have plenty of footie to choose from on TV this weekend.

The Mexican league starts up again with Monterrey hosting San Luis (3 p.m. Saturday on KVEA) and Tigres at Queretaro at the same time on KFTR (although now former Chivas USA defender Jonny Bornstein is out injured and won’t play for UANL).

My pick of the weekend? Liverpool visiting Manchester United at 5:30 a.m. Sunday on Fox Soccer Channel. Will the under-fire Roy Hodgson still be on Merseyside come Monday?

Click on the Live TV link at top right for a complete run-down of all games on TV and online and enjoy the weekend.

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