September 24, 2009

Yanks Abroad
With the USA's first game in the Under-20 World Cup now less than three days away, I had the chance to talk to former US National team player and MLS coach, Fernando Clavijo.

Also once the head coach of Haiti, Clavijo is quickly becoming a significant figure in USA youth soccer as a director at Traffic Sports.
September 22, 2009

Yanks Abroad
The United States is in the Land of the Sphinx for the Under-20 World Cup
Greetings from Cairo. I've just touched down and am ready to kick off nearly two months following the American youth teams on their adventures through the African continent. In about a month, the U-17 team that has everyone excited at the chance for a FIFA World Cup title for the US will kick off against Spain in Nigeria, and we'll (vaccinations and visas pending) be there.

But the first stop on this tour is alongside the River Nile, where the Under-20 tournament is about to kick off, on Thursday, with the fanfare you would expect for small country. In the US, where we host mega-events on an almost daily basis, it's easy to underestimate the importance to a small country of hosting an event like this. But make no mistake, this event is a milestone for Egypt and Egyptian soccer, and they're pulling out all the stops, from a receiving committee and red carpet at the airport for anyone that can show they have anything to do with FIFA, to the best hotels in the country for the numerous FIFA staff in attendance here, including CONCACAF President Jack Warner and FIFA Chair Sepp Blatter. (YA stays in more pedestrian lodging, preferring to brush elbows with the real fans of the game.)
July 21, 2009

Yanks Abroad
Gold Cup Switch-a-roo

The days since his team's overtime win over Panama has seen Bob Bradley further juggle around his available roster thanks to injuries and pre-season club commitments.
July 17, 2009

Yanks Abroad
Bob Bradley's squad faces testy Panama on Saturday night short three of its key players, as Steve Cherundolo, Michael Parkhurst and Charlie Davies have all returned to their respective clubs earlier in the week.

Dolo trains in Austria
July 16, 2009

Yanks Abroad
Eddie Johnson was on the verge of dropping off the map, but a strong preseason tour of Australia may have been just what the doctor ordered.

Johnson had a less than impressive 08/09 campaign with Cardiff City, which led him to fall off the international radar. No one was quite sure what was going to happen with the former Kansas City Wizards star until he showed up for preseason training.
July 13, 2009

Yanks Abroad
The weekend comes a few hours too early

Few will argue that perhaps the best part of the weekend is starting it early. This is especially true in Europe during the summer months, where people jump at any opportunity to get out of their offices on Friday while the afternoon is still young. Coincidentally, this usually makes getting information from clubs in the old country about breaking announcements past lunchtime an exercise in futility. Naturally, there are always some Friday afternoons when club press agents seemingly hit the "send" button on major or simply curious news as a last act before ducking out for the weekend, leaving those of us in the media either digging deep into our black books or left stewing till Monday morning in the search of more information.
July 7, 2009

Yanks Abroad
The summer silly season is underway and hardly a week into it we've already had indications that we'll get our money's worth. The surprising move of Gooch to Italian giants AC Milan, the supposed loan of still-promising Sal Zizzo to Fortuna Düsseldorf (although we're still awaiting the official announcement from Fortuna) and the signing of young speedster Johann Smith to Croatia's Rijeka (which actually happened a few days before July 1, but who's counting?) are likely just the tip of the iceberg. Another move which shouldn't go unmentioned despite falling in a sort of gray area for our website is the summer's first departure - or rather promised departure - of an MLS player heading to territories unknown.

As announced on Monday, Real Salt Lake forward Yura Movsisyan has penned a three-year contract with Randers FC of the Danish Superliga from the beginning of January 2010. Since the middle of the 2008 MLS season, Movsisyan has developed into one of the league's more notable attackers, leading his team in goals scored last season with seven and currently standing as the team's second-leading scorer in the 2009 term with four scores (coincidentally two behind teammate Robby Findley, a recent trainee with Danish rivals Brøndby).
July 3, 2009

Yanks Abroad
Edgar Castillo's recent, open declaration that he is ready to switch federations came as a surprise to just about everyone in the North American soccer world. It was not so shocking that a player who is out of form and seemingly out of contention for the Mexican national team would look to make a change to a team where he could possibly play as soon as next year's World Cup.

What was surprising was the way Castillo went about announcing his intentions. His open declaration was a huge tactical mistake. Certainly his agent should have done a better job of handling this. Castillo backed himself into a corner, and the response from the FMF was predictable. Castillo will never wear the Tricolor again, and he'll be lucky if he can remain in Mexico playing professionally at this point.
June 28, 2009

Yanks Abroad
We're just hours from kickoff at Ellis Park Stadium, where the US is preparing for its first full international final at a FIFA event. The task looks huge, but perhaps not as monumental as making it here in the first place.

June 26, 2009

Yanks Abroad
A sight that you never thought you'd see
Well, I owe everyone on the US team an apology. In no way, at least on this night, were they outclassed by their Spanish opponents, as I said they would be.

Last night was an amazing evening in the history of US soccer, without a doubt. The discussion of what this victory means to the game in America will go on for a while, and I'll have my chance to chime in I'm sure. For the time being, sufficed to say that the way the US played was even more impressive than the final scoreline. Spain, characteristically, had more of the possession, but the US dominated the game, and can be said to have deserved the victory. There was little luck involved, and that in itself is an amazing thing.
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