ARENA FACES TOUGH TEST IN CHARGE OF US SOCCER TEAM

Bruce Arena’s second spell in charge of the US men’s national team is not going to be an easy ride for the tactician.

Not that his first spell was but this time there are unique challenges he must conquer. The coach has had his first training camp with the players but the first months of 2017 will be a real test.

There are two upcoming matches that can make or break his second spell as he prepares a team that can make the 2018 World Cup despite a poor start in the qualifying campaign.

The match against Honduras on March 24 is the first of the early tests. Arena is poised to visit players and continue his watch in the MLS whilst preparing strategies.

For the Honduras test, Jermaine Jones and Timmy Chandler are set to miss the game. Mostly players from the domestic league are expected to feature.

Tim Howard is injured, Brad Guzan might not be available meaning Real Salt Lake keeper Nick Rimando, who impressed at the winter camp, might be starting the much-anticipated match.

At the backline, Newcastle United player DeAndre Yedlin would have been a partner to Chandler. There is Jorge Villafana, Graham Zusi and Walker Zimmerman – who impressed at the winter camp. It remains unknown if Stoke City Geoff Cameron can beat fitness concerns ahead of the date.

At the middle, Michael Bradley would anchor. 2010 World Cup team player Benny Feilhaber – who decent against Jamaica – and Sacha Kljestan, with decent qualifying experience, are likely starters in the middle. There is the option of Alejandro Bedoya, Dax McCarty, Darlington Nagbe, Christian Pulisic, Julain Green and Perry Kitchen as well.

Jozy Altidore, Bobby Wood and Jordan Morris are likely forwards but there are rumours that Clint Dempsey – who returned from a six-month absence – could be an option in the must-win match.

Arena has his work clearly cut out.

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CARLI LLOYD WINS FIFA BEST FEMALE PLAYER AWARD

United States of America forward Carli Lloyd was awarded the Best FIFA Player Award in the female category. This makes the second straight time the player has won the award.

The 34-year old star was voted ahead of German Olympic Gold medalist Melanie Behringer and multiple time winner from Brazil Marta.

Lloyd was voted winner after compilation of results from captains and head coaches of national teams, online public ballot and a select list of reputable sport journalists. Lloyd was the obvious choice last year after her hat trick in the final against Japan at the Women’s World Cup.

“I’m very honoured to win this award again. I play on the best team in the world and this award would not be possible without my extraordinary teammates, who are fantastic competitors. We push each other to be better everyday,” she said.

Lloyd has been exceptional for club and country, helping Houston Dash and USA despite failing to lift the Gold medal in Olympics for the first time. She admitted that her competitor Behringer was exceptional as well, saying: “I honestly was not expecting this. I know Melanie did fantastic in the 2016 Olympics.”

She claimed 20.68% of votes while Behringer had 16.6%, leaving Martha with 12.34%.

In the coaching category, this did not repeat itself as Jill Ellis of the United States – who won last year’s edition – placed third. Germany coach Silvia Neid won the award, with Pia Sundhage taking second place after supervising Sweden to the Olympic Silver spot in Rio. This is Nied’s second as she won the award in 2010.

Leicester City manager Clauido Ranieri won the men’s coaching category after overcoming an odds of 5000-1 to lift the English Premier League in a fairy tale season last year. He has also led the side to the round of 16 of the Champions League this year.

In the Male category, Cristiano Ronaldo won the Best FIFA Award as expected, ahead of Lionel Messi and Antoine Griezmann.

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Jurgen Klinsmann is being viewed as a candidate for coaching England

The England national football team have been going through various changes in their managerial position with Roy Hodgson being removed from his coaching role back on June after losing in the round of 16 of the 2016 Euro’s.

England lost in that competition due to their defeat against Iceland and following this surprising loss, Roy Hodgson endured a string of criticism from the media and Hodgson was eventually replayed by Sam Allardyce.

Sam Allardyce only lasted 67 days in charge of England and the main reason of why he stayed for such a short period of time was due to allegations of malpractice which forced Allardyce on having to make his way out of the England national side.

Gareth Southgate is currently the caretaker of England but the English Football Association are in search of a permanent coach, probably somebody that can stay for a long period of time in charge of the English national side and maybe even win some major international trophies which is something that they have not been able to do for the past years and rumors have been linking Jurgen Klinsmann with this position.

The former England defender Jamie Carragher believes that Jurgen Klinsmann has what it takes to take over the English national side as the retiree said: “Klinsmann’s my pick to take over. He has been to a World Cup semifinal with Germany, a Copa America semifinal with the USA and knows our game.”

Whether or not Jurgen Klinsmann decides to accept the challenge of taking charge the English national side is something that entirely depends on himself as he is currently managing the USA national team and he has a number of things to accomplish with the American nation as he aiming to push the USA national squad to the 2018 FIFA World Cup and lost their opening qualifying match after facing off with Mexico and losing 1-2.

For now, Klinsmann just wants to focus on doing the best that he can with the USA national side but he is currently being taken into consideration as a realistic candidate to take over England in the near future.

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HOPE GETS SHOULDER REPLACEMENT SURGERY

United States female soccer team goalie Hope Solo has taken advantage of a suspension she is serving to undergo a shoulder replacement surgery.

Hope was suspended for six months due to her behaviour when the USA were knocked out of the 2016 Olympics in Rio. She started the surgery this week at the University of Washington Medical Centre.

USA Today report that the surgeon, Dr. Frederick Matsen, who developed and performed the procedure said the recovery would be “long and difficult.” Solo shared pictures of the happenings on her social media handle. She seems to be recovering fine as she was pictured in one of the posts standing, after four hours of waking up.

“Yesterday, I underwent shoulder replacement surgery to address an injury I’ve been dealing with for some time. An opportunity presented itself after my contract was terminated and while difficult, it opened the door to take care of a long overdue surgery,” Hope captioned her post.

She thanked the doctors at the University of Washington Medical Centre, claiming she had a brand new shoulder for the first time in years. “I can raise my right arm above my head,” she claimed. “I’m filled with excitement knowing how life-changing this is and I look forward to coming back healthier and stronger than ever,” she added.

She has had numerous concerns with her right shoulder for years. She had reconstructive surgery back in 2010. This time, the procedure was done to replace the head of her humerus bone with a metal ball. The doctor smoothed down the socket rather covering it in plastic. It remains unclear the next step for Solo’s career as she remains suspended for referring to Sweden as “a bunch of cowards.”

She broke down when her contract was terminated and she suspended.

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Jurgen Klinsmann is certain that Clint Dempsey will be fine

Clint Dempsey has recently missed out from the qualifying matches of United States during the 2018 FIFA World Cup campaign of his national side.

Jurgen Klinsmann had to play against St. Vincent and the Grenadines and Trinidad and Tobago without the services of Clint Dempsey as he was recently diagnosed with an unexpected heart condition.

It’s because of this heart condition that Clint Dempsey had to miss out from those qualifying matches of United States but he has also had to stay on the sidelines and not being able to play for his club Seattle Sounders.

The 33 year old American striker has already taken medical evaluations and tests, as further information is expected to be announced in relation to what is going on involving the experienced attacker.

Jurgen Klinsmann does not appear to be worried about Clint Dempsey’s condition as the German coach recently said: “Well, if there’s news it’s not on us to communicate it, it’s on the Sounders, the Seattle Sounders will do that but obviously our thoughts are always with Clint. We think that things will work out fine and within hopefully a couple weeks he’ll be back on the field.”

“Every time one of your leader players is missing, it’s a bummer. In Clint's case we wish him only the best. He has to go through these testing now and, hopefully, he gets cleared as soon as possible. Not having Clint is not good.”

Not being able to utilize the services of a player like Clint Dempsey is a huge blow for Jurgen Klinsmann as Dempsey is a veteran player who plays a huge role for the United States national side.

At the age of 33, Dempsey has scored 52 international goals for United States which is a big amount of goals that only a few amount of players have managed with their national sides to do including: Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi, Carlos Ruiz and Wayne Rooney, so not having such an influential player for United States but Klinsmann is optimistic that Dempsey will be back in the pitch soon.

USA FOOTBALL ORGANIZE COACHES CLINIC

United States of America Football is set to organize a coaching clinic for youth coaches on Saturday, August 20 this year at New Orleans Saints’ training facility, based on news from the facility’s website.

Interested coaches in the Gulf South community would have the privilege of receiving the training. USA Football is a member of the US Olympic Committee focused on training high school and youth football coaches. So far, they have excelled in training more than any organization in the country combined.

The New Orleans Saints Youth Programme department ensure that the Gulf South community is active in the programme all year round. The Saints as an organization set up programs to promote football, and support may youth and high school programmes. Over fifty thousand youths have been affected by the Saints Youth Programme. There are 700 instructors acting as liaisons in the Saints programmes to help reach out to young people in their different areas.

USA Football is focused on developing sports and best standards to ensure increased participation and development of players and their coaches. This year they would partner with ESPN to ensure they reach out to as much as possible. The ESPN is set to stream 28 conference games this year, despite the loss in subscribers. College football programmes are still charging high from the television networks, the loss in subscribers keeps increasing. Since 2013, about ten million subscribers have pulled the plug, with 1.5 million from February to May alone.

This has led to a renegotiation of TV contracts as consumers keep up with cancelling their cable subscriptions at an alarming rate. The schools had their revenue slashed, forcing ESPN to consider live streaming of the games to reach out to more millennials. The games will be broadcast digitally for a subscription fee in order to generate more revenue. Other sports like basketball, baseball and softball would gradually be added with time.

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Seattle Sounders is ready for playoffs despite being at the bottom

The MLS side Seattle Sounders are currently positioned in the bottom spots of the American League in the Western Conference and this was due to the consistent string of negative results that they experienced under the guidance of Sigi Schmid.

Sigi Schmid and his team sustained 12 defeats in 20 matches and after having lost so many matches, on July 26 it was officially confirmed that the 63 year old manager left the club on mutual terms and replaced by the assistant coach Brian Schmetzer.

Seattle Sounders is a club that is used to securing a playoff spot of the Western Conference as they have never missed out from doing it but things might change this time around as Brian Schmetzer will have to somehow spark life into a squad which has consistently been dropping points and losing matches due to underwhelming performances.

There are more than 10 league matches remaining before the season will reach it’s end, which is plenty of time for Seattle Sounders to begin their revival and according to the captain of the team, Brad Evans stated that they are ready to start climbing spots in the league by winning matches at a consistent basis.

“This is a group that is together and ready to push for the playoffs. You’ve seen every single day guys come out here and bust their ass in training. There isn’t anybody here that’s taking breaks during training. Any time we talk, I’m impressed by everybody coming out with a level head after a loss. Guys are hungry, hungry to get results. They know what’s at stake. You guys can see that.” Brad Evans of Seattle Sounders said.

Brian Schmetzer is the man that was tasked with the role of replacing Sigi Schmid and depending on the results that Seattle Sounders secure in the upcoming few weeks, it will determine as to whether or not he is selected as a permanent coach instead of just having an interim managerial position.

LA Galaxy learns to win ugly

LA Galaxy coach Bruce Arena has stated that his team needs to win ugly if they want to progress. And this is what the team achieved in the match against Portland Timbers.

They opened the score early in the game and managed to survive a late rally from the home side and win the game in an unconvincing fashion.

LA Galaxy managed to score in quick succession thanks to Robbie Keane and Gyasi Zardes. They deserved the lead as they have been the dominant side from the kick-off. Many pundits argue that LA Galaxy produced their best football of the season in the opening stage of the season, and this is no surprise that they managed to open the scoring.

Portland Timbers struggled to cope with LA Galaxy in the opening stage and conceded two goals in close succession. But they will manage to score a late goal in the first half that will give them hope for the remaining of the game. Motivated by this goal they will put the LA Galaxy team under pressure during the whole of the second half.

LA Galaxy will hold on during the second half despite Portland Timbers applying pressure to their defence. They will manage to hold on despite playing ugly at some times. Bruce Arena admitted that they game was quite tough at times, but it is important that the team learn to win such games. He said that they were the culprit by giving Portland an easy goal at the end of the first half, and this is what make the game difficult for them.

Bruce Arena said that LA Galaxy should learn how to win games even when they do not have the majority of possession. He said that his players should be ready to fight in every game.

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SEATTLE SOUNDERS TROUNCE DC UNITED 2-0

Major League Soccer outfit Seattle Sounders defeated DC United by 2-0to end their recent poor run in the league.

Jordan Morris and Joevin Jones scored four minutes apart in the second half to end the losing streak of the club.

Morris scored his fifth goal in the 79th minute after Jones fed with the ball. Jones fed him in the middle, and Morris returned the ball. Jones took a well placed attempt at goal but DC goal stopper in Bill Hamid got his hand in the way. One of the DC defenders tried pulling out nut Morris sent the ball swiftly to the back of the net before Hamid could get a hold of himself.

Just minutes later, Osvaldo Alonso sent a pass to Jones on the left wing. Jones who actually is a defender but played as a forward when he came on the game, slotted the ball pass Hamid from the Alonso pass. Hamid made several other saves during the game unlike Sounder goal keeper who was only tested once out of 15 shots played.

Both of the teams were without key players were on national team duty at the Copa America. This includes Seattle Sounders’ Clint Dempsey and DC’s Steve Birnbaum with the United States national team.

Seattle Sounders’ last victory was against SJ Earthquakes early in May where they won on a 2-0 margin. They lost three straight games in an astounding way. First to Dallas by two goals to nothing, then they played hosts to Colorado Rapids. The game was keenly contested but ended in a loss all the same. They were poised to pick up form against New England but fell again by a 2-1 score-line. The victory against DC United takes them to ninth position with just 16 points from 13 games played.

ORLANDO CITY AND STOKE CITY ENTER PARTNERSHIP

Major League Soccer outfits Orlando City and Stoke City have announced a major strategic partnership, according to reports by Sky Sports.

The developmental partnership will see the two sides share knowledge, players, coaches and facilities when required. Both clubs will also promote the other's brands at their home grounds, and work closely with one another's commercial partners, as well as trying to get new ones together - there are already rumours that gambling firm betfaircasino.com could be amongst a number of new companies looking to tap into hte fans of both clubs.

A joint marketing campaign will also be released at a later date. The Potters’ chief executive Tony Scholes told the club’s official website of the thinking behind the deal.

“It’s an opportunity for us to share best practice with Orlando in a variety of areas, primarily in player recruitment, marketing and development, but also to give both clubs chance to grow in each other’s markets.”

The clubs have considerable links; with Orlando City founder Phil Rawlins previously spending 15 years as owner and director of Stoke City.

Additionally, Orlando head coach Adrian Heath, left-back Brek Shea, 'B' team head coach Anthony Pulis and Captain Lewis Neal have all previously played for the Staffordshire-based team.

“It was always clear that we could have a great relationship," said Rawlins, who also serves as Orlando City president.

“It came down to us wanting to reignite that synergy and bring our clubs closer together. This will be our partnership in England, and we hope to ignite passions for both our clubs in each other's markets.”

Orlando City SC have a similar deal in place with Portuguese team SL Benfica, which sees both players and scouting networks shared. Stoke City have enjoyed a decent season in the Premier League as they currently sit in 10th position. The club still hopes to achieve more next season and they hope the new venture will assist in their efforts next season. The slumped to a defeat to crystal palace but still hope to finish on a high.

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