Tuesday, December 15, 2009

SBI sez: MLS has offered Holden BIG contract

Soccer by Ives correspondent Franco Panizo is reporting that MLS has offered our man Stuart a big contract to keep him from moving to Europe, reportedly "ten times his current salary."

Check out the story here: http://www.soccerbyives.net/soccer_by_ives/2009/12/holden-offered-big-mls-contract.html#more (from whence comes that photo above), or read it here:

After enjoying a dream year for club and country, Houston Dynamo midfielder Stuart Holden is largely considered to be the next player in the U.S. pipeline to make the jump from MLS to Europe during the upcoming winter transfer window. But that potential move seems to be in jeopardy after MLS made an unexpected move.

According to reports out of Europe, Holden has been offered ten times his current salary by MLS, and could snub a move abroad to stay in the U.S. This report claims MLS commisioner Don Garber held talks with Holden last week in an effort to keep him from going to Europe.

"I was pretty flattered," Holden told the Evening Times. "It shows the commitment the MLS has in keeping me in the league. I know this decision is going to impact my career."

Holden has not ruled out a move abroad, stating he is considering overseas offers. Scottish Premier League clubs Rangers and Aberdeen have been linked with the U.S. national team midfielder.

Holden enjoyed a career season with the Houston Dynamo in 2009, scoring six goals and assisting on three others in 26 league games. Holden also made his national team debut this year, playing in 12 games.

What do you think of Holden possibly staying in MLS? Surprised by MLS's offer? Think Holden will decide to play abroad anyway?

Personally, I could not be happier with this news. I still think Holden will stay for at least one more year. In any event, I'm not sure a move to the SPL, especially to financially-uncertain Rangers, would be a good move. As an ardent Celtic supporter, I'm biased against the Strangers to begin with. However, assuming he makes the game day roster at Ibrox or in Aberdeen, I just don't think his game shows off its best qualities there. France would be a far better location.

That is, assuming he plays. I think that regular first team, starring duty on one of the elite teams in MLS positions him far better to make the South Africa roster than taking a gamble on landing first team, starring roles anywhere in Europe. Take this deal. Take the money. Stay in the States. Play in South Africa for the US. And then next year or the year after at this time, take the flyer and go.

I know that 10x his current deal still only puts him in the 300-400K range, which is less than what he could make in Europe right now. But money is money and playing and progressing while seeing regular first team action is playing and progressing while seeing regular first team action. If this wasn't a World Cup year, then maybe now would be more attractive. But as it is, and with his position on the US squad not 100 percent assured, then play it safe and take a very good deal.

What do you think? Read more!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Haiku d'Group C: Belo H as long as we've got it

Time to break out the haiku-ometer

Back in the 5-0
B'Belo Horizonte
1 to nil, you lose

Twas a cock you say
As Gaetjens had no passport,
But still, the goal stands.

Revenge on the veldt,
As Three Lions surround US,
No hope for escape.

But with one Jersey
boy, our hearts beat, since all you
Have is David James.

So bring on your best
John Bull, and as the game goes
on, we will hold true.

A hearty hurrah
as all that's red, white and blue
makes the English fears

Come true with a pain
In the gut as they see that
Belo was Act One. Read more!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Back, Belo the H, Group C and World Cup 2010

After a couple of weeks off to R&R and get this holiday madness under way, I am back on the blogging scene.

I thoroughly enjoyed the World Cup draw last week, and for once as a US supporter, I can finally say, "Hey, at least we're not in that group over there."

And by "that group" I mean Group G, as in Golgotha. Brazil, Cote D'Ivoire, Portugal and the North Korean Little Sisters of the Poor. My favorite Tweet after that lineup was decided was (and I don't remember who this was) "What kind of coverage are THOSE games going to get in the North Korean media next June?" That is a brutal group and will easily yield some of the most amazing games. My early pick to get through from there: Brazil and Cote D'Ivoire. See ya Christiano, and try to keep your shirt on next time.

That's not to say that the US' path to the knock-out stages is secure. Slovenia did knock out Russia after all, which is a better team than the US. I'm not that worried about Algeria because, after all, we're not the Egyptians. Still, I don't dismiss them either. Only Arab nation in the tournament, playing on African soil.

I still think the US is the second best team in that group. I like starting off with England because you don't want to play them needing a victory later in the round. And Holy Belo Horizonte Batman, if the Snakes DO start with a draw, it would be epic to say the least. Easily, it will be one of the most-watched soccer matches in US history. That is still a mighty big if, win against Spain last year or no. But hey, that's what makes this tourney so fun year in and year out: Improbable victories, catastrophic English failures and, my early pick, a Brazilian run to the championship.

Fun fact, courtesy of Beau Dure, Tim Howard's amazing spot kick save against Jermaine Defoe yesterday has the English media already getting all weak in the knees about a possible Belo Horizonte repeat. Read this report here and see if you can spot the fear and nervousness. I love it!

That being said, anyone who thinks the US is suddenly a World Cup contender needs to have their head examined. My expectations remain low, though my hopes of getting through the group stage are high. Right now it wouldn't surprise me if the Americans finished second or third in that group, though first or fourth would. I do expect our first victory since 2002 and would hope that at least one commentator would point out that the US was the only team to get a point off the Italians in 2006. Party poopers may justifiably point out that it was via an own goal from the Azurri, but we takes what we can gets around here. And we also got the iconic image of Brian McBride's bloody face in that game, so we'll take it as a marketing win at the very least!

Ah moral victories, the Laffy Taffy of sport!

Some people making great points about this draw that I will not bother to plagiarize because you should read/hear the whole thing:

Jamie Trecker and Kartik Kirshnayer on the US' precarious position on the MLS Talk podcast. Click here.

The inimitable Dan Loney. Click here. My favorite part of that great post from Dan:

10:16. What is this Eng...land of which you speak?

10:17. Yeah, our draw is pretty much over, now. BECKHAMLAND and two other countries, here's some college football.

10:18. Per comment, yeah, Grant Wahl's book just went into another printing.

Simply put, if you don't read Loney regularly, well then I don't know what to call you, but I do pity you.

The indomitable Bill Archer. Click here. If you don't read Loney AND Archer regularly, then take one of those classes at Kumon or somewhere and get your literacy skills up to snuff podnah.

Here's some trademark Archer genius:

As noted a couple weeks ago, CONCACAF Supremo Jack Warner has pledged the full support of the Confederation - and all three of it's votes - to the USA World Cup bid.

then about ten days ago Warner left a meeting with British PM Gordon Brown SAYING THAT "IT'S ENGLAND'S TIME and apparently promising to back that bid as well.

Of course he got what he has been lobbying for, a private meeting with the Queen, although Warner said afterward that the meetings were "not for (his) ego". My guess is that Her majesty was touting the quality of the hotel food or possibly Londons' nightlife. Hopefully that drooling dolt of a son of hers was someplace else at the time.

So it would appear that Jack is done and done, his ballots practially cast, right? I mean Jacks' word is his bond, right?


Last week, after attending a cocktail party thrown by Australia for him and three other FIFA VPs PRESS REPORTS ANNOUNCED HE IS BACKING AUSTRALIA

"If there is a country that truly deserves to host the FIFA World Cup, then it is the island continent of Australia".

Of course there are only two World Cups being awarded, and to a lesser man this might seem to be a roadblock to endorsing three bids, but for jack Warner it's all in a day's work.

And, oh yes, last week he told reporters that he felt Spain/Portugal was "in the lead" for securing a World Cup.

He's scheduled to visit Russia next month. Good thing they're well known for open and above-board dealing.

I stand in awe (and doubled over in laughter). Read more!