Sunday, December 30, 2012

Re-Post: January 2011: 2011 MLS Draft Profile: Notre Dame midfielder/forward Jeb Brovsky

Heralded by the pundits in attendance at the recent Major League Soccer Player Combine as of the event's more capable participants, former Notre Dame midfielder/forward Jeb Brovsky deserves to hear his name called at today's 2011 Major League Soccer SuperDraft.

Soccer By Ives has Brovsky listed as a second-round selection in the web site's final 2011 MLS mock draft.

Draft analyst Joe Mauceri who operates Pro Player Pipeline noted that Brovsky had a good game in both defense as well as in the attack in the final game at the Combine.

Brovsky, prior to the Combine, commented on his discussions with former Notre Dame teammates who previously attended the event. Players such as Ryan Miller, Matt Besler, Justin Morrow and Bright Dike discussed with Brovsky the interactions and expectations that transpire at the Combine in Florida.

"All of them had good showings at the combine and simply told me to play like I know how to and enjoy it," Brovsky said via email.

Brovsky played left back during the final game in Florida but is versatile enough to play in the midfield and in the attack if needed at the pro level as he did during his collegiate career.

"I definitely think that is one of my greatest assets as a player and hopefully will play to my advantage in the future," he said.

One advantage that Brovsky came into the combine with was that he trained in Colorado before the event in stark contrast of those who chose to train closer to sea level.

"Colorado is great because it makes me train at a higher altitude and really opens up the lungs."

With the Combine complete, Brovsky will make the jump to the professional ranks as a 2011 MLS SuperDraft selection. Only one question remains. What franchise will select the former Notre Dame standout?

"I have aspired to play at the next level since as early as I can remember and look forward to getting the opportunity."

Saturday, December 29, 2012

MLS Combine 2013: Dylan Tucker-Gangnes Helped Return UW Men's Soccer to the National Stage


Photo credit: Stephen Brashear via University of Washington Athletics

The recent history of the University of Washington men’s soccer program includes several players who jumped from the collegiate to the professional game. Former Los Angeles Galaxy midfielder Ely Allen scored off a Dave Beckham assist, FC Dallas defender George John continued to showcase his defensive skills and this past season center back Taylor Mueller earned first-team minutes with the Charleston Battery.

Now, two more former Huskies look to translate collegiate success into a Major League Soccer roster spot as center back Dylan Tucker-Gangnes (6-3/190) and midfielder Ben Fisk recently received invitations to the 2013 MLS Combine. Tucker-Gangnes and Fisk both landed a spot on the 2012 NCAA Division I Men’s All-Far West Region team; for Tucker-Gangnes, it was as a member of the All-Far West Region's First Team.

And unlike John's squad in 2008 and Mueller's in 2010, the 2012 senior co-captains finally guided the team to the NCAA Division I Men’s Soccer Tournament as the Huskies returned to the 48-team playoff, the first appearance since back-to-back runs in 2006 and ‘07.

“It was satisfying to get back into the tournament; winning the first-round match was big,” Tucker-Gangnes said via phone.

After a 1-0 NCAA First-Round victory over Air Force in Seattle, the Huskies traveled to Omaha, Nebraska succumbing 4-2 to a spirited Creighton squad. “Of course, I am bitter about the Second-Round loss, but you have to give Creighton credit, they won,” the standout from Bainbridge Island, Washington said.

Tucker-Gangnes, critical to UW’s return to the national stage, combined physical attributes with a new-found offensive confidence taken from his trainings with assistant coach Craig Waibel. A 12-year professional for a host of Major League Soccer teams, Waibel, a UW soccer alum, joined the Huskies staff in 2012 after a stop at the University of Michigan.

“I approached my off-season before the 2012 collegiate year a little differently as I was nursing an injury,” Tucker-Gangnes said before remarking, “Coach Waibel and I worked on adding to my toolbox as I wanted to take my game to the next level.”

Player and coach focused on the center back’s offensive game, especially with regards to maximizing his abilities in the box on set pieces.

“Our team lacked some offensive prowess up front so we played for set pieces,” the defender said. With tutelage from Waibel, the Huskies co-captain added knowledge around timing his runs more effectively, losing his mark and finding the ball in the air; the defender ended with eight goals, two of which were game winners.

After a successful collegiate career, Tucker-Gangnes looks now to his professional prospects. The center back, excited to hear of his invitation to the 2013 Major League Soccer Combine, currently is down in Oregon training for the event. “I’m fine tuning everything,” Tucker-Gangnes said.



Video via Jeff Rowland YouTube Channel

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

My favorite stat from Lionel Messi's 91 goals in 2012


Have to say it's the nine hat tricks in 2012; seven for Barcelona and two for Argentina. When you score 91 goals from 69 matches played, you put yourself on the level of the greatest ever to play the game, but when you score nine hat tricks in the calendar year, you take things to a whole new level.

Bravo, Messi!



Manchester United's South American Pipeline

Brazil Soccer team

Since 2008, Manchester United and Desportivo Brasil have enjoyed a mutual exchange where players, coaches and football knowledge have traveled between the two sides.

Desportivo Brasil was founded in 2005 by the Traffic Group, a vast sporting company in Brazil, with the sole purpose of utilizing the club to send players abroad to greener -- in terms of pitch and pound -- pastures. Desportivo's multi-million pound training centre is one of the finest in all of South America. In this new age of football, the first-rate facilities are not utilized for trophy acquisition but for financial gains.

Desportivo's location in Porto Feliz, only 90 minutes ride to Sao Paulo, is critical to the club's vision of moving players to Europe for financial gain. Sao Paulo is the largest city in South America, in terms of population. The mega-city boasts a modern airport with frequent incoming flights completed by American Airlines, Air Canada, Delta, Iberia, Lufthansa, British Airways and Air France.

The proximity lends to cheaper costs when players are sent out on trial to clubs on the European continent or to North America.

Manchester United gained a foothold early at Desportivo and the relationships remains strong today.

In March of 2012, the Old Trafford machine added 17-year-old midfielder Lucas Evangelista. The teenager, capable of playing in an attacking or defensive role, impressed the United scouting machine with his work-rate and dribbling skills. In 2013, he will sign a professional contract after his 18th birthday joining Anderson, Rafael and Fabio da Silva as Brazilian Reds.

In yet another savvy move United is utilizing FC Twente to essentially host the Brazilian wunderkinds until the Samba stars-in-training can gain valuable first-team experience and more importantly the credentials needed for EU status.

In the past, Traffic's president of international business Jochen Losch noted the relationship between United and Twente.

Losch stated to Sportsmail:

"Twente are a partner, helping United to resolve the problem of their EU passports. For two reasons it's good that a player goes first to Holland. First, after two or three years he's considered to be European. And of course it's easier to play in the Dutch league than the Premier League."

If the player succeeds in Europe, Desportivo and its owner Traffic succeed as well. For example, United pays a fee to Traffic for players such as Evangelista. The Brazilian company then retains a fifty-percent share of any future profits from the sale of the player.

In addition to Evangelista, striker Aguilar and midfielder Agnaldo are two more Desportivo prodigies who could prove critical to future United title teams. And now comes word this December that United will add yet another Desportivo youngster when Bruno Gomes joins United in 2014.

So in a full-circle kind of way, Desportivo is about trophy acquisition after all.

Source notes

Links via TribalFootball.com and FiestaFootball.com

Information sources: Manchester Evening News and Man Utd's Brazil Project

Photo via Hanumann at Flickr's Creative Commons

International Friendly 19 January 2013 Chile versus Haiti

When: 19 January 2013

Who: Chile (Ranked 26th*) vs. Haiti (Ranked 39th*)
*FIFA rankings as of December 19, 2012

Where: Concepción, Chile

+ Haiti climbed 18 spots from the last FIFA ranking; if the squad is to sustain its high perch, a solid performance is needed in Chile.

+ How many members of of the Baltimore Sportif Club will feature in Haiti's first team? Apparently the club was named after the successful Baltimore Colts of the National Football League in 1974. Now the club, named for an American football team, is one of the country's most successful.

+ Will Felipe Gutiérrez earn a call up now that he is in Europe with FC Twente? The 22-year-old attacking midfielder enjoyed a so-so first half of the campaign in the Eredivisie.

International Friendly 15 January 2013 Chile versus Senegal

When: 15 January 2013

Who: Chile (Ranked 26th*) vs. Senegal (Ranked 77th*)
*FIFA rankings as of December 19, 2012

Where: La Serena, Chile

+ What will 18-year-old Ángelo Henríquez do for an encore with La Roja? In his first match for the senior team, the Manchester United forward scored a debut goal against Serbia in 3-1 friendly loss on November 14, 2012.

+ Newcastle United's attacking duo of Demba Ba and Papiss Cissé, fresh off a failed 2013 African Cup of Nations qualification, will look to return respect to the Lions of Teranga.

International Friendly 6 February 2013 Colombia versus Australia


[Editor's note (28 January 2013):] The below match no longer is taking place as Colombia will now face off against Guatemala and Australia will play Romania. For previews of several of tomorrow's matches check out our selection here; thank you.

Also, for a list of tomorrow's matches, view the full schedule at ESPN FC. [End of note.]

When: 6 February 2013

Who: Colombia (Ranked 5th*) vs. Australia (Ranked 36th*)
*FIFA rankings as of December 19, 2012

Where: Bogota, Colombia

+ Los Cafeteros finished 2011 in 36th but climbed up the ladder to 5th due to six impressive wins during the year coupled with only one draw and one defeat. (Link via FIFA.com)

+ Superstar Radamel Falcao continues to receive daily transfer rumour posts throughout the Internet as a host of English clubs are linked to the Atlético Madrid forward. Will he be in England with Chelsea, Manchester City or another club when this friendly sets off?

+ Australia would be best served to continue to run out the youth as 20-year-old Eli Babalj, 19-year-old Terry Antonis and 19-year-old Adam Taggart have all recently impressed in attacking roles at the 2013 EAFF East Asian Cup.

Denmark international Jores Okore eyed by Manchester United?

The 20-year-old centre back garnered praise during his sides UEFA Champions League run. In addition, he earned a call-up to the Danish national team in November 2011.

Now Europe's elite clubs are taking note.

Jores Okore's agent Nicola Juric recently reported to international media including Sky Sports' Ejder Akbal that a host of clubs are tracking the Ivorian-born defender.

"There is interest from Russia, England, Germany, France and the two big clubs in Ukraine, Shakhtar Donetsk and Dinamo Kiev and Jores is open for anything. The most important thing for him is that any potential suitor really believes in him."

United's speculative rumour mill is in full force after Juric noted that Old Trafford legend Peter Schmeichel recommended Okore to Sir Alex Ferguson; Juric is quick to point out that no one from the club has contacted him about the FC Nordsjaelland defender.

Northern Ireland's Billy McKay heading south in transfer rumour speculation

Sky Sports' Pete O'Rourke reporting yesterday that Championship sides Leicester and Nottingham Forest potentially watched Northern Ireland under-21 international Billy McKay this past Saturday as the Inverness striker bagged two more goals in his squad's 4-1 demolition of Dundee.

The 24-year-old, formerly of Northampton Town, looks primed for another call up to Northern Ireland's senior side thanks to his in-form play. With 18 goals this season, he should earn some time on the pitch as the Green and White Army is eager to see if his club success can translate to country.

Scouting the 2013 Football Friendly Scene - Christian Atsu

Scouting the 2013 Football Friendly Scene searches throughout the world for the next wave of talented players who now are just debuting with their national teams.

Up first, it's Christian Atsu Twasam.

Known as: Atsu

Country: Ghana

Club: Porto

Age: 20-years-old

Top Skill: Pace

Foot: Left

Atsu, discovered as a youth by Feyenoord's Football Academy in Gomoah Fetteh, looks primed for a breakout performance at the 2013 African Cup of Nations. Pitted in Group B with Mail, Niger and Congo DR, Atsu and his teammates should have an easy journey progressing to the knockout stage of the tournament.

Picked up by Porto's Academy as a 17-year-old, Atsu was called up for first-team action by Andre Villas-Boas on May 14, 2011 but did not factor in the match. The winger earned time on the pitch through a loan to Rio Ave for the 2011-12 season where he scored six times. The Ghana football federation was tracking Atsu and called him into the national team for the 2012 summer season where he scored twice.

Now back at the Estadio do Dragao for the 2012-13 season, the Ghanaian footballer is one to watch in 2013.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

SBI launches second version of 2013 MLS Mock Draft

On Friday, Soccer By Ives, one of the world's top soccer destinations, published the second version of its 2013 Major League Soccer mock draft.

Ives Galarcep's top five includes 2013 Generation adidas members Mikey Lopez (North Carolina), Walker Zimmerman (Furman), J.J. Johnson (VCU), Eriq Zavaleta (Indiana) and expected top-overall pick Andrew Farrell (Louisville).

Keep tuned in for additional combine and draft updates.

Manchester City talent searching in South America

Manchester City's Txiki Begiristain, keenly aware of the club's South American stars, traveled to the continent to seek out the next wave of prospects.

A recent report in the Sunday Mirror noted the Premier League champions wasting no time in undertaking a scouting mission to South America now that Begiristain is in charge.

The club is determined to recruit players and develop them into first-team stalwarts versus the current model that finds Manchester City seeking in-form twenty-somethings who command top dollar.

With the likes of Carlos Tevez, Sergio Aguero and Pablo Zableta on the squad, the groundwork now exists to utilize these big names to attract the continent's top young talent thus ensuring financial savings in the tens of millions.

City's current Academy and Elite Development Squad contains few South Americans, but City insiders believe an influx of Argentine and Brazilian prospects at the Academy is paramount to future success. The Academy, slated to become on of the world's finest, opens its doors in 2014.

The transfer rumour mill has followed City's director of football to South America proclaiming a host of likely targets ready to make the move to the Etihad Stadium.

In addition to the teenage-prospect chatter, City is believed to be targeting several in-form South American twenty-somethings including 20-year-old Argentine Ezequiel Cirigliano via tribalfootball.com and 24-year-old Brazilian Paulinho also via tribalfootball.com.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Brazil coach Luiz Felipe Scolari wants more competitive friendlies


New Brazil national team coach Luiz Felipe Scolari noted recently that the CBF, Brazil's football confederation, needs to take a critical look at future friendly matches. Tougher, mentally challenging contests against the world's best are needed as the South American squad preps to host the 2014 World Cup.

"I am going to request that, where possible, we play against the toughest opposition possible," Scolari said.

Brazil's last six opponents include: Sweden, South Africa, China, Columbia, Iraq and Japan. Only Columbia could be considered an upper echelon FIFA member.

Upcoming matches with England (February 2013) and France (June 2013) coupled with the Confederations Cup in June will boost the level of play.

Monday, December 17, 2012

2013 MLS Combine and SuperDraft Coverage Center

Check back often for articles, interviews and player profiles as the march towards the 2013 Major League Soccer SuperDraft begins.

Combine and SuperDraft Schedules

+ Friday, Jan. 11
2 p.m. -- adiPower vs. Prime
3:45 p.m -- adiZero vs. adiPure

+ Sunday, Jan. 13
1:30 p.m. -- adiPower vs. adiZero
3:30 p.m. -- Prime vs. adiPure

+ Tuesday, Jan. 15
10 a.m. -- adiZero vs. Prime
11:55 a.m. -- adiPower vs. adiPure

+ Thursday, Jan. 17
The Major League Soccer SuperDraft begins at noon at the Indiana Convention Center in Indianapolis, Indiana. The draft comprises of two rounds totaling 38 overall selections. A four-round supplemental draft will take place via conference call on Tuesday, Jan. 22.

Player Interviews and Profiles

+ Dylan Tucker-Gangnes - Washington Huskies

+ Luke Spencer - Xavier Musketeers

Articles of Note

+ 2013 Mock Draft Version 2.0 via Soccer By Ives

+ Generation adidas-splosion via No Short Corners

+ 2013 MLS SuperDraft Big Board (Version 3.0) via Soccer By Ives

+ 2013 MLS SuperDraft Coverage via SBNATION.com

+ Ten MLS Combine snubs worth a look ~ Written by J.R. Eskilson & Travis Clark at TopDrawerSoccer.com

2013 MLS Combine: Luke Spencer Xavier Forward Player Profile

Xavier's Luke Spencer (6-2/195) ended his four-year career with the Musketeers as one of the program's most accomplished attackers.

The Cincinnati native finished with 29-career goals coupled with 21-career assists.

In 2012, the forward paced the Atlantic 10 with 14 goals; the play-maker notched eight assists on the season as well. The Musketeers fell to eventual national champion Indiana in the second round of the NCAA Tournament.

Here's Spencer's late goal that lifted the Musketeers to the program's first ever NCAA tournament win, followed by a highlight video.





Videos via Xavier Musketeers YouTube Channel

2013 MLS Combine Forward Invitees List

Bates, Finley, Bennett, Hurtado and Welshman lead this talented group.

+ Will Bates (UVA)
+ Luke Spencer (Xavier) Player Profile
+ Ryan Finley (Notre Dame)
+ Ashton Bennett (Coastal Carolina)
+ Don Anding (Northeastern)
+ Yannick Smith (ODU)
+ Devon Sandoval (New Mexico)
+ Emery Welshman (Oregon State)
+ Coleton Henning (Furman)
+ Chris Thomas (Elon)
+ Erik Hurtado (Santa Clara)

2013 MLS Combine Midfielder Invitees List

Powers, Alvarez and Stertzer highlight a strong senior midfield list.

+ Kyle Bekker (Boston College)
+ John Stertzer (Maryland)
+ Colin Murphy (Boston College)
+ Jonathan Mendoza (Stetson)
+ Donald Smith (Charlotte)
+ Paolo DelPiccolo (Louisville)
+ Greg Cochrane (Louisville)
+ Leston Paul (USF)
+ Ian Christianson (Georgetown)
+ Carlos Alvarez (UConn)
+ Dillon Powers (Notre Dame)
+ Marc Cintron (Providence)
+ Machael David (UCSB)
+ Paul Wyatt (James Madison)
+ Tommy Nelson (SMU)
+ Uwem Etuk (West Virginia)
+ Jose Gomez (Creighton)
+ Blake Smith (New Mexico)
+ Ryan Hollingshead (UCLA)
+ Fernando Monge (UCLA)
+ Ben Fisk (Washington)
+ Dan Delgado (San Diego)

2013 MLS Combine Defender Invitees List

Impressive senior list includes Muller, Schoenle and Tucker-Gangnes.

+ Taylor Kemp (Maryland)
+ Danny Wenzel (Wake Forest)
+ Jordan Gafa (North Carolina)
+ Brenton Griffiths (USF)
+ Jimmy Nealis (Georgetown)
+ Tommy Muller (Georgetown)
+ Eric Schoenle (West Virginia)
+ John Gallagher (Penn State)
+ Kofi Opare (Michigan)
+ Joe Franco (CSU-Northridge)
+ Shaun Foster (Hofstra)
+ Andrew Ribeiro (Creighton)
+ Kory Kindle (CSU-Bakersfield)
+ Dylan Tucker-Gangnes (Washington)

2013 MLS Combine Goalkeeper Invitees List

A strong group of invitees headlined by Jackson, Withrow, Soffner and Belshaw.

+ James Belshaw (Duke)
+ Scott Goodwin (North Carolina)
+ Luis Soffner (Indiana)
+ Daniel Withrow (Marshall)
+ Brad Stuver (Cleveland State)
+ David Meves (Akron)
+ Larry Jackson (Santa Clara)