RYAN NOEL - Thursday, November 26, 2009
Word is getting out that the United States will be taking on Holland in Amsterdam on March 3rd.
The Americans will be up against one of the early World Cup favorites, stocked with international stars like Wesley Sneijder, Robin van Persie, Dirk Kuyt, and Arjen Robben.
The Dutch, one of the seeded teams heading to South Africa, waltzed through their UEFA World Cup Qualifying group to the tune of eight straight wins in a group with Norway and Scotland - only Spain was also able to win all of their qualifying matches.
It's been a long time (six years by the time we face them in March) since we've met Holland. Bruce Arena took the team to Amsterdam back in February 2004, losing 1-0 thanks to a then-20-year old Arjen Robben goal.
How long ago was that? Well, only four players from that roster will even be part of the upcoming World Cup preparations: then-starters Carlos Bocanegra and Landon Donovan, substitute Steve Cherundolo, and unused goalkeeper Tim Howard.
Frankie Hejduk and DaMarcus Beasley, both possibilities to see time this coming year under Bob Bradley, were also a part of that game.
Don't be too shocked if rumors of an MLS labor strike start gaining steam.
On Tuesday, FIFA issued a brief statement saying that they refuse to get involved in the ongoing negotiations over the MLS collective bargaining agreement, which expires January 31, 2010.
The MLS Players Association, which is at odds with MLS over the upcoming agreement, sent a letter to FIFPro, the global soccer union, and FIFA, asking for help in the negotiations. The Players Association is contending that MLS' contract policies are a violation of FIFA's regulations.
While none is imminent, a labor strike would certainly send some of our yanks abroad.
United States Soccer has announced the candidates for "Athlete of the Year", which is given in four categories: Male, Female, Young Male, and Young Female. Fans can vote for their favorite athletes at www.ussoccer.com.
For the men's categories...
Male Athlete of the Year
Young Male Athlete of the Year