Dec 31, 2015 -Soccer Year in Review – upcoming games


So we have arrived at the end of 2015 and boy what a year in Soccer both locally and around the world.  Starting at home Carmel FC added a new Director of Coaching as former EPL standout Paul Telfer came over from the Indy 11 to take over our club and lead it into the new year.  We have already seen some good changes and look forward to the future. A new board is taking over at the club as former Director Andy Fray is handing over the reigns after guiding the club thru our huge growth stages.  A million thanks Andy – folks have no idea the time and effort you put in at this VOLUNTEER Position as Director and sometimes Coach and Asst Coach since 2010 at Carmel FC.  As one of the founding coaches of our club way back in 2009 – I have seen the time, the organization, the endless

Andy Fray


hours of work, and effort he put forth in making this club what it is today.  I think it’s a testament to him that his role will be filled by no fewer than 5 people as they move the club forward into 2016.  If you see Andy on the fields – give him a smile and a huge THANKS, he deserves it.

A huge step for Carmel FC this year was the advancement of our U14 and U13 Gold Girls teams to the Regional Finals of President’s Cup this past summer.  Coaches Cecilia Lacerda (U14G) and Ray Benton (U13G), did a great job of leading this great group of players to the highest level any Carmel FC team has ever advanced.  Ray’s now U14 girls won the Premier Division in the fall and is on track to be our first team to play in MRL. (3rd team to be invited – Lacerda’s now U15s and founding coach Will Ellery’s U14 girls a couple of years back qualified).

U13 and 14 Girls Advanced to President’s Cup Regional Finals in St. Louis.

Locally, the Carmel High School Boys soccer team advanced to the Semi-State Championship game (FINAL 4), dropping a heart breaker to eventual state champion Center Grove 2-1. The Hounds ended the year with a 17-3-1 record.  Senior Andreas Roslender was named 2015 Indiana High School

CHSboysBoys State Player of the Year. This amazing accomplishment marks only the fourth time in Greyhound Soccer history that a player has been named the Indiana Player of the year. Andreas was also named to the All-State 1st Team along with Senior Goalkeeper Justin Faas. Senior Defender Michael Hargis was named 2nd Team All-State and Senior Midfielder/Forward Evan Shaw was named 3rd Team All-State.

On the professional side – the Indy 11 struggled through their second season and finished 9th overall – the same as their inaugural  year in the league (maybe it was more lack of funds for players than coaching).  They have hired new head coach – Tim Hankinson to lead them into their 3rd season, while Tim Regan stays on as an assistant.

Indy native Lauren “Cheney” Holiday retired after helping the US Women Win their 2nd World Cup this summer in Canada. Also retiring just this past week was former Florida Gator and the all Time leading scorer in International Soccer US Forward Abby Wambach.

Ok I will have to move my Around the World Year in Review to Next Week. Happy New Year to your and yours!  The Ole Ballcoach – Shane Best

Around the World

Toe Poke Awards of the Year  – ESPNFC

Football New Year’s Resolutions – ESPN FC

Social Media Awards ESPN FC

EPL Season Review in 90 seconds

Jolly ESPN FC – United should keep Van Gaal

Brewin – ESPN Pep’s Arrival will make 2016 Yr of the Manager in the EPL

Liverpool takes down Leicester City

Leicester City is Forrest Gump

Top Saves of Week 19

Heroes and Villains: Ozil

shines, Matic flames out
– Miller: Missed chances rule day for Man City-Leicester
– Mitten: Man Utd fans torn over Van Gaal | Player Ratings

Top 5 Prem keepers | Ozil a master

Chicharito in Top Form


McIntyre: 2015 one to forget for Klinsmann, United States

US Year in Review – Jason Davis – was it really that bad?  ESPN FC

Top 10 Soccer Stories of 2015 – Grant Wahl – SI

Year in Review – US Women Win the WC – Avi Creditor SI

USWNT take spotlight as US Men Struggle in 2015 – Peter Nolan Got Soccer

Planet Football – Avi Creditor Podcast

Former Gator and Alltime Leading International Scorer Abby Wambach at Peace after Walking Away from US Ladies – SI

Indiana Star Lauren Holiday Retires –Indy Star

Indiana’s own Lauren Cheney Holiday retires after a decade on US Women’s World Cup Winning team SI Grant Wahl

The Lauren Cheney Story  – Indiana Soccer

Former Gator and All Time International High Scorer- US Forward Abby Wambach retires at Right Time –Grant Wahl SI


3 things about MLS End of 2015  Armchair Analyst -MLS

NYRB Mat Miazga was Young player of the Year –MLS

Top MLS Bloopers

MLS 1st Weekend and US Soccer Games in Feb/Mar/April

Indy 11

Best of the Indy 11 2015

Indy 11 add experienced Players

Indy 11 Add New Head Coach Tim Hankinson

Indy 11 New Hire –Bloody Shambles

Bloody Shambles Squad comments

Bloody Shambles 2015 review and analysis

Target Man Soccer Impressed with Tim Hankinson Tim Hankinson Appointed Head Coach of Indy Eleven (official press release)

Indianapolis Star: Indy Eleven’s new coach says roster changes on the way (AUDIO): Meet the new head coach of the Indy Eleven (AUDIO): Tony Katz Introduces the New Indy Eleven Manager (with VIDEO): Hankinson brings 36 years of coaching experience as new Indy Eleven head coach

Bloody Shambles Soccer: It’s Tim Squared for 2016

Bloody Shamles Soccer: A Conversation With Tim Hankinson

Midfield Press: Indy Eleven announce Tim Hankinson as new manager

Target Man Soccer: Hankinson makes good first impression ahead of busy offseason

RabbleTV (AUDIO): Indy Eleven name Tim Hankinson head coach

INside Indiana Business: Indy Eleven Names Well-Traveled Head Coach

Soccer America: Indy Eleven hires globetrotter Hankinson

Big Apple Soccer: New Man in Charge

Indy 11 bring back Keller and Goalie Cardona

Brad Ring Returns in midfield

Kravitz on Indy 11


Sun Jan 3 -11:00 a.m., NBCSN: Everton vs. Tottenham

Tues, Jan 5  3 pm beIn Sport Cap1 Cup Semis Stoke vs Liverpool

Wed, Jan 6   3 pm beIn Sport – Cap 1 Cup  Everton vs Man City  –


 Saturday, January 2

7:45 a.m., NBCSN:        West Ham United vs. Liverpool

10:00 a.m., TV TBD:      Arsenal vs. Newcastle, Leicester City vs. Bournemouth, Manchester United vs. Swansea, Norwich vs. Southampton, Sunderland vs. Aston Villa, West Bromwich vs. Stoke City

12:30 p.m., NBC:           Watford vs. Manchester City

Sunday, January 3

8:30 a.m., NBCSN:        Crystal Palace vs. Chelsea

11:00 a.m., NBCSN:      Everton vs. Tottenham

Tues, Jan 5

3 pm beIn Sport Cap1 Cup Semis Stoke vs Liverpool

Wed, Jan 6

3 pm beIn Sport – Cap 1 Cup  Everton vs Man City  –

Sat, Jan 9


7:45 am  Fox Sports 1   Wycomb Wanderers vs Aston Villa

10 am  Fox Sports 1      Arsenal vs Sunderland

10 am FS2                    Doncaster Rovers vs Stoke City

12:30 pm beIn Sports    Barcelona vs Granada

12:30 pm FS 2                          Man United vs Sheffield United

Sun, Jan 10


11 am Fox sports 1       Tottenham vs  Leicester City

Tues, Jan 12

2:45 pm  NBCSN           Newcastle United vs Man U

Wed, Jan 13

2:45 pm NBCSN            Man City vs Everton

3 pm                             Liverpool vs Arsenal

3 pm                             Tottenham vs Leicester City

Sat, Jan 16 

7:45 am  NBCSN           Tottenham vs Sunderland

10 am  NBCSN              Man City vs Crystal Palace

10 am USA?                  Chelsea vs Everton

Sun, Jan 17

9 am  NBCSN                Liverpool vs Man U

11:15 am NBCSN          Stoke City vs Arsenal

Sat, Jan 23

7:45 am NBCSN            Norwich vs Liverpool

9:30 am Fox Sports 1    Hoffenhiem vs Bayern Leverkusen

10 am NBCSN               Man City vs Southampton, Leicester City vs Stoke, Crystal Palace vs Tottenham,

12:30 NBC                    West Ham vs Man City

5 pm espn2?                USWNT vs Ireland

Sun, Jan 24

8:30 am NBCSN            Everton vs Swansea

11 am NCBSN               Arsenal vs Chelsea

Sun, Jan 31

3:45 pm                        US Men vs Iceland

Fri, Feb 5

10:15 pm                      US Men vs Canada

Tues, Feb 16

Champions League

2;45 pm  FS 1               PSG vs Chelsea

2:45 pm FS2                 Benefica vs Zenit St. Pete

Wed, Feb 17

2:45 pm FS1                 Roma vs Real Madrid

2:45 pm FS2                 Gent vs Wolfsburg

Thurs, Feb 18

Europa League

1 pm Anderlecht vs Olympiachos, Dortman vs Porto, Fioreentina vs Tottehman, Midtiland vs Man U, Villarreal vs Napoli

3 pm Ausburg vs Liverpool, Sporting Portugal vs Bayern Leverkusen, Valencia vs Rapid Vienna, Galatasaray vs Lazio

 Tues, Feb 23

Champ League

2:45 pm FS 1 Arsenal vs Barcelona

2:45 pm FS 2 Juventus vs Bayern Munich

8 pm  FS1? Queretaro vs DC United

10 pm FS2? Seattle Sounders vs Club America

Wed, Feb 24

2:45 pm  FS1 Dynamo Kiev vs Man City

2:45 pm  FS 2 Eindhoven vs Atletico Madrid

8 pm Tigres UNAL vs Real Salt Lake

10 pm LA Galaxy vs Santos Laguna

Tuesday, March 1:

D.C. United vs. Querétaro, CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal second leg, 8:00 p.m. (TV TBD)

Santos Laguna vs. Los Angeles Galaxy, CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal first leg, 10:00 p.m. (TV TBD)

Wednesday, March 2: 

Club América vs. Seattle Sounders, CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal first leg, 8:00 p.m. (TV TBD)

Real Salt Lake vs. Tigres UANL, CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal first leg, 8:00 p.m. (TV TBD)

Sunday, March 6: 

Portland Timbers vs. Columbus Crew, 4:30 p.m. (ESPN, ESPN Deportes)

Seattle Sounders vs. Sporting Kansas City, 7:00 p.m. (Fox Sports 1, Fox Deportes)

Los Angeles Galaxy vs. D.C. United, 10:00 p.m. (UniMás, Univision Deportes)]

Friday, March 25: 

Guatemala vs. United States men, WC qualifier, time TBD (beIN Sports,)

Tuesday, March 28:

United States men vs. Guatemala, WC qualifier, time TBD (ESPN2,-Columbus, OH)

Top 10 soccer stories of 2015

BY GRANT WAHL SI EmailPosted: Tue Dec. 29, 2015

Soccer never stops. Even now, when most of the world’s leagues are dormant at New Year’s, the English Premier League is powering through one of its busiest stretches of the season. Soccer’s continuously spinning wheel is one thing that makes the sport great, but the end of the calendar year is always a good time to look back and look forward.I’ll have my predictions for 2016 later in the week, but for now, here are my top 10 soccer stories of 2015:
1. U.S. Women Win World Cup
For the first time since 1999, the U.S. raised the Women’s World Cup trophy, and it happened in an astonishing way: A four-goal barrage against Japan in the first 16 minutes of the World Cup final, with Carli Lloyd capping her first-half hat trick with a goal from midfield.The 5-2 triumph captivated an average U.S. TV audience of 27 million, the most ever to watch a soccer game in the U.S., and set off a nationwide celebration that included a ticker-tape parade in New York City. My favorite WWC story was sitting down with Lloyd in Los Angeles two days later and hearing her talk about her truly hardcore training methods—and even practicing shots from midfield more than a decade earlier.

2. Loretta Lynch Nails FIFA
Corruption allegations have dogged FIFA for years, but everything changed May 27 when Swiss agents (working with the U.S. Department of Justice and its attorney general, Lynch) raided the fancy Zurich hotel housing FIFA honchos and made a series of arrests connected to racketeering, wire fraud and money laundering conspiracy. Within days FIFA president Sepp Blatter announced he would be leaving his post—FIFA would ban Blatter and UEFA president Michel Platini, the two most powerful people in world soccer, for eight years—and by the end of the year more than 40 soccer officials and marketers had been charged in the U.S. investigation. It’s hard to think of many situations in which far-reaching U.S. power would be embraced by the rest of the world, but this was one of them.

3. U.S. Men Fall Flat
After a 2014 in which the U.S. men exceeded expectations at the World Cup, 2015 was an annus horribilis by just about every measure. Jurgen Klinsmann’s team finished fourth in the CONCACAF Gold Cup, including a stunning semifinal loss to Jamaica, and squandered its chance at redemption with a 3-2 extra-time loss to Mexico in the playoff for a Confederations Cup spot. Even the Under-23 Olympic team disappointed, losing to Honduras with a Rio 2016 berth on the line and forcing the U.S. into a playoff with Colombia in March. None of those failures impacts qualifying for World Cup 2018, which got off to a decent start, and the year did include road friendly wins at Germany and the Netherlands. But the aura surrounding Klinsmann dimmed considerably in 2015, and his U.S. team lost much of its identity. •​​ WAHL: USMNT must regain its identity in 2016 as disappointing year ends

4. Barcelona Rises to New Heights
The best club team in the world resides once again in Catalonia. Barcelona’s titles in 2015 included the UEFA Champions League, the Spanish league, the Copa del Rey and the FIFA Club World Cup. Lionel Messi returned to being the premier player on the planet, and his trident with Neymar and Luis Suárez produced some of the most sublime soccer we have ever seen. It’s one thing to have tremendous talent on your team (see: Real Madrid), but it’s another thing to achieve chemistry with that talent, and Barcelona has found a way to do it.
5. Mourinho Wins Premier League, Fired Seven Months Later
Rarely have we ever seen a team fall from champion to also-ran as quickly as Chelsea did in 2015. Mourinho’s team won the Premier League title by eight points in May, and even if the Blues didn’t play their best soccer last spring, nobody would have predicted they’d be just above the relegation zone in late December—and without Mourinho, who was fired December 17. What went wrong? Plenty. Several players stopped performing at a high level. Mourinho appeared to lose the locker room. And Chelsea lost its famous balance as the defense began conceding goals left and right. It was a reminder that at the highest level things can go off the rails with alarming speed, even for the best teams.

6. Surprise: Portland Timbers Rule MLS
This was one of the most parity-filled years in the history of MLS, and if a team got hot at the end of the season you figured it might have a chance at winning the MLS Cup title. That’s exactly what happened with Portland. The Timbers beefed up their defense before the season by acquiring Nat Borchers, and coach Caleb Porter made a major tactical change late in the season to move Darlington Nagbe centrally. It worked like a charm. Portland (the West’s No. 3 seed) survived the craziest penalty-kick shootout in MLS history in the knockout round against Kansas City (which hit three posts on two spot kicks which could have eliminated the Timbers), and Portland was solid the rest of the way, including on the road. The giant fan reception and parade from the rabid Portland fans back home was a cool moment to witness.

7. Abby Wambach Retires
The greatest goal-scorer in the history of international soccer decided to hang up her cleats after raising her long-awaited first World Cup trophy, finishing her career with a World Cup and two Olympic gold medals. Wambach didn’t have the starring role for the U.S. at Canada 2015 the way she had in previous tournaments, but she was still a driving vocal force for the team, and she handled her diminished playing role with dignity throughout. Wambach also continued to speak her mind, sometimes eloquently (as when she talked about the importance of the Supreme Court’s gay marriage decision on the day of the World Cup quarterfinals) and sometimes much less so (as when she criticized Klinsmann’s use of dual nationals she called “foreign”). But that’s all part of it with Wambach, who will always let you know what she thinks.

2015 a year to forget for the United States national team

There was a palpable sense of relief around the U.S. national team following last month’s scoreless tie in Port of Spain, Trinidad, in the Americans’ second World Cup qualifier of the 2018 cycle.Most of this was down to the valuable point that the sputtering U.S. squad had just managed to secure on the road. But at least some of it may have been because when the final whistle sounded at Hasely Crawford Stadium on Nov. 17, it officially marked the end of 2015 for Jurgen Klinsmann’s team.This has been a long 12 months for the coach and his players, no question about it. And while it wasn’t all doom and gloom, you can be sure than Klinsmann and squad are happy to put it behind them.We’re looking forward to 2016, too. But before the calendar flips, let’s reflect on the five biggest moments of this year.

January camp spat

The national team’s annual year-opening training camp in California is usually low on drama, but things got interesting in a hurry in 2015. U.S. Soccer scheduled a friendly in Chile just two weeks after the MLS-heavy group convened in the Los Angeles area, and after the Americans lost 3-2 to extend its winless run to five games, Klinsmann called out unnamed playersfor arriving to Los Angeles in what he said was less than optimal shape.That led to a near-revolt in the locker room, multiple sources told ESPNFC, and it turned the squad’s second and final match of the camp — in early February against Panama — into what USSF president Sunil Gulati later described as feeling like a must-win. The Americans did, comfortably, on goals by veterans Michael Bradley and Clint Dempsey. Dempsey’s strike was set up by newcomer Gyasi Zardes, who would go on to lead the team with 19 appearances (along with DeAndre Yedlin), tying Claudio Reyna’s two decade-old mark for a first-year player. The victory eased any lingering tension within the squad, but the early controversy proved to be a sign of things to come.

Historic wins against global titans

The U.S. went 1-1-1 in its next three games, beating Mexico 2-0 in San Antonio on April 15 after a loss at Denmark and a tie in Switzerland in late March. When the Americans returned to Europe in early June, they pulled off two of the most impressive results in the program’s 102-year history.First, the U.S. beat the Netherlands for the first time in five tries, winning 4-3 in Amsterdam. Then Klinsmann’s current team shocked his former one, as the Americans defeated world champion Germany in Cologne. Never before had the Yanks topped Die Mannschaft on its own turf. The visitors came from behind in both games (they trailed twice against the Dutch) and both unlikely wins came late, with then-22-year-old striker Bobby Wood notching the decisive goals in each match.However notable, those wins came in friendlies that took place after the long European club seasons were over, and they proved to give the fans watching back home false hope about the state of the team, as the U.S. — without Wood (club commitments) and fellow young frontrunner Jordan Morris (injury) — went on to disappoint at the CONCACAF Gold Cup the following month.

The Gold Cup debacle

At his pre-match press conference in Trinidad, Klinsmann again brought up the Gold Cup without being asked about it, and again he suggested that calls that went against the U.S. during the July tournament were the reason for its fourth-place finish. That’s not true.The U.S. was atrocious throughout the regional championship before going out to a quick, athletic, opportunistic Jamaican team in the semifinals. The hosts created the fewest chances of any team in the first round, including Canada, the only participant that didn’t score a single goal.In the third place match against Panama, the Americans were outshot 25-5 overall (and 12-2 on goal). Defensively, they appeared incapable of avoiding simple breakdowns, like this one in the opener against Honduras. There were some questionable referee decisions, to be sure. But none were truly game-changing, unlike the ones that went against Panama and Costa Rica in knockout games against eventual champion Mexico.The U.S. got exactly what it deserved at the Gold Cup, a competition it was favored to win beforehand. Instead, El Tri took the title, setting up an intriguing one-game playoff in October for a spot in the 2017 Confederations Cup in Russia a year before the main event.

CONCACAF Cup loss to El Tri

This edition of North America’s Clasico was billed as the biggest since the U.S. upset its border rival in the second round of the 2002 World Cup, and it was. But while the U.S. and Mexico have mostly met on even terms this millennium, El Tri had all the momentum heading into the match at the Rose Bowl.The U.S. came in off an ugly 4-1 spanking versus Brazil a month prior and was the home team in name only, with the vast majority of the 93,723 who showed up in Pasadena wearing green. The U.S. showed plenty of its trademark fight when the game began, defending like their lives were at stake and equalizing twice before losing, 3-2, on Paul Aguilar’s spectacular volley with two minutes to go in extra time.The result was a just one, however, as interim Mexico manager Ricardo “Tuca” Ferretti outcoached Klinsmann by using a three-man forward line that pinned the Americans into their own half for long stretches..The defeat was the national team’s most bitter since Klinsmann replaced Bob Bradley four years ago, and it rightly left the U.S. coach under more pressure than at any time during his tenure. The scrutiny only intensified in the days that followed, as Klinsmann sent star defender/midfielder Fabian Johnson back to his German club, Borussia Monchengladbach, and publicly chastised him for substituting himself late against Mexico.

Some bright spots along the way

A lopsided win against tiny St. Vincent and the Grenadines and the point in Port of Spain helped the Americans end the year on an acceptable note, but there’s no avoiding the fact that the Americans failed their two biggest tests of 2015.Although the Gold Cup and CONCACAF Cup losses will understandably linger in the memory, the truth is that the national team is primarily judged only at World Cups. With an aging core — World Cup vets Dempsey, Kyle Beckerman, Jermaine Jones and Tim Howard (who retuned to the squad in September after a year-long hiatus) are all 32 or older — this was always going to be a transitional year for the national team.And there were bright spots in 2015 that bode well for the future. Attackers Morris, Wood and Zardes established themselves as regular contributors. For all the talk about an impotent offense, the U.S. actually scored plenty; their average of 2.1 per game was the second-highest since the modern era began in 1990.Yedlin compiled more assists (five) by a player 22 or younger since Landon Donovan had that many in 2004. And the U.S. quietly cap-tied five dual-nationals, with Ventura Alvarado, Greg Garza, Matt Miazga, Alfredo Morales and Darlington Nagbe all appearing in a competitive match for the first time. Bank on the new generation playing an even bigger role in 2016.Doug McIntyre is a staff writer for ESPN The Magazine and ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter @DougMacESPN.

U.S. team year in review — it wasn’t really that bad, was it?

Noah Davis, ESPNFC

Was 2015 really that bad for the United States men’s national team?

In 2015, they went on the road and defeated Germany and the Netherlands, teams that sat first and sixth, respectively, in FIFA’s world rankings at the time. Coach Jurgen Klinsmann’s squad finished the year on top of their World Cup qualifying group, set up to qualify easily for the Hexagonal round.The Americans integrated a few talented new faces like Gyasi Zardes, Darlington Nagbe and Matt Miazga, players who can make a significant impact on the road to Russia and beyond. Near the end of the year, the head coach seemed to (finally) learn from past mistakes, deploying sensible lineups that put players in familiar positions where they could succeed.So why are many men’s national team supporters calling 2015 a failure?”I think that the negative probably overshadowed [the positive] a little bit,” former national team forward Brian McBride said in looking back at the year. On one hand, this is an understandable perspective. The Americans failed to win the Gold Cup, finishing a disappointing fourth, and then lost the CONCACAF Cup against Mexico, a defeat that means they won’t play in the 2017 Confederations Cup. There were other low points as well, notably a 4-1 thrashing at the hands of Brazil, a game in which the U.S. never had a chance. On the field, the Stars and Stripes looked stagnant at times and lost in others.But on the other, let’s maintain perspective. While losing the Gold Cup hurts — and finishing fourth is an embarrassment — the defeat isn’t a large setback in the grand scheme. Not reaching the Confederations Cup means the U.S. misses out on some experience playing in Russia, but there’s no proven connection between competing in that tournament and success at the following year’s World Cup, which is the only thing that really matters. At least some of the on-field inconsistency is the byproduct of trying to install new players within the team.Was it ugly? Yes. Did Klinsmann find some answers or some way to succeed in the future? Perhaps.One key is Nagbe, a promising player who donned the red, white and blue for the first time. “I think that he’s a player who we haven’t seen come through our national team in a very long time,” McBride says. “He’ll continue to grow. He’s a very young player who keeps getting better and better.”Former national teamer and current ESPN color man Taylor Twellman agrees. “Nagbe has the tools to be a special player, especially now with his confidence in the central midfield spot. He looks to be a true No. 8 who doesn’t lose possession and, more importantly, he puts in work defensively. His inclusion will no doubt help Michael Bradley.”Nagbe, who earned eligibility late in the year and still hasn’t started a game for the U.S., was a bright spot, but his eventual impact remains unknown. In fact, none of what happened in 2015 means much now. “I think this year was not so much a progression as it was a fact-finding for Jurgen and everybody to start to figure out how the team is going to shape up,” McBride said.By definition, the year was a time to experiment, a period in which Klinsmann and his staff have the luxury of time. If a team is going to have a down year, the one following the World Cup is the best time to do so. The question now is whether the troubles in 2015 were simply small missteps or indicative of larger issues.Before the final two matches of the year, I would have been inclined to worry that they were the latter, that Klinsmann and his staff (but mostly Klinsmann, who is absolutely the leader and final decision-maker) were following the wrong path. Those thoughts changed during the games against St. Vincent and the Grenadines and Trinidad and Tobago. And really, it was about one player specifically.Fabian Johnson, one of the most talented (if not the most talented) members of the U.S. squad, usually plays left midfield for Borussia Monchengladbach. For the United States, however, he had been playing everywhere: right-back, left-back, right midfield, left midfield. Switching positions constantly is a difficult thing to do, especially at the international level, where players have little time to train together, and Johnson, who had an October blowout with Klinsmann, was tired of being shuffled around.In the two World Cup qualifiers, the coach deployed his skilled charge at left midfield and left him there. Johnson looked comfortable and played well. The decision to listen to his player and take Johnson’s wishes into account is something Klinsmann hasn’t done in the past. It’s a small thing but perhaps a sign that he’s willing to learn.”I don’t think Klinsmann went through this year and didn’t learn anything,” Twellman said. “Now, in saying that, will we see those signs when 2016 comes around?”That is the big question. How much did Klinsmann learn from the struggles of 2015 and how much will he apply those lessons going forward? We won’t know until the Americans take the field again — they play Iceland in a friendly on Jan. 31 — but the last two matches of the year were encouraging.Looking ahead, the U.S. has more World Cup qualifying followed by the Copa America Centenario in the next six months. They should defeat Guatemala, winning a home-and-home series that would qualify them for the final round of 2018 qualifying. As for the Copa America, which sees the best in CONMEBOL come to the U.S., it will be a huge test for Klinsmann, the type of tournament that can show signs of progress. If the Americans do well, they’ll quiet the critics. But even if they don’t, it’s still a team trending in the right direction.If Nagbe gets integrated more fully into the starting XI, if Johnson plays well on the left wing, if Zardes scores a goal or two and if the team continues to find its way into becoming a cohesive unit, the stumbles of 2015 look more palatable, like successful experiments rather than abject failures.Noah Davis is a Brooklyn-based correspondent for ESPN FC and deputy editor at American Soccer Now. Twitter: @Noahedavis.

2015 Year in Review: World-Cup winning U.S. women’s national team

BY AVI CREDITOREmail  SI Posted: Updated: Thu Dec. 24, 2015

The U.S. women’s national team had one objective in 2015 and it was met in entertaining fashion in Canada.The USA’s return to the winner’s podium at the World Cup restored the Americans’ place back atop the world, following a 5-2 win over Japan at Vancouver’s B.C. Place. The result exacted revenge for the 2011 final (although the USA did beat Japan in the Olympic gold medal game in London as well), and it cemented the ’15ers’ place in history. While 2015 spelled the end for the USA’s 16-year World Cup title drought, it also spelled the end for four veterans’ careers. Abby Wambach, Lauren Holiday, Shannon Boxx and Lori Chalupny all retired, going out on top.

Here is the year in review for the USWNT:


It doesn’t get much higher (actually, it doesn’t at all) than winning the World Cup. The U.S. women returned to greatness in Canada, winning a tough group, getting a favorable path in the early knockout rounds, surviving Germany and then overwhelming Japan to win a third World Cup title.Jill Ellis’s squad endured somewhat of an uneven, rocky road in the group stage, but insertion of Morgan Brian into the central midfield helped other dominoes fall into place. It took a couple of moments of good fortune in the semifinals against the Germans to help the USA reach the peak. Celia Sasic’s missed penalty was followed by a foul on Germany that looked to have taken place outside the box but was called as a penalty for the U.S. Carli Lloyd calmly dispatched it, and the U.S. never looked back.WAHL: USWNT turns in final performance for the ages   The championship was met with quite the reaction at home, as the U.S. left Vancouver for a victory rally in Los Angeles and then headed across the country for a parade down the Canyon of Heroes in downtown Manhattan. It all culminated with a trip to the White House to visit President Barack Obama in late October amid the team’s victory tour of friendlies.Prior to the World Cup, the U.S. captured the Algarve Cup, beating France in the final and returning to form after some early wobbles.  SI’s BEST PHOTOS: World Cup final | NYC victory parade | Cover outtakes


It wasn’t all trophies and victory laps for the U.S. women. Hope Solo remains involved in a domestic abuse case with her nephew and half-sister, the facts of which are still in dispute. She was suspended early in the year for 30 days for her role (missing a pair of games), and the case could cloud her 2016 after the lower court’s decision to throw it out was reversed by the Washington state appeals court.The turf-equality dispute was thrust back into the spotlight after U.S. Soccer was forced to cancel its friendly in Hawaii because of unplayable field conditions. The trip was even more costly, as Megan Rapinoe tore her ACL in training for that match, and her availability for they Olympics is up in the air.On the field, Holiday’s retirement is hardly a lowlight by definition, but the fact that the USA is losing a 28-year-old star midfielder in what could be a continuation of her prime can’t be seen as a plus. And whilethe fanfare and and tribute to Wambach in New Orleansprovided a fitting farewell for the world’s all-time leading international goal scorer, the U.S. wound up losing to China 1-0, snapping a 104-game unbeaten streak on home soil.  WAHL: Holiday retires a champion after decade of dedication


Lloyd’s dominant World Cup knockout stage was one for the ages and has been well documented. Goals in every knockout match. A hat trick in 16 minutes in the final. A goal from the center circle in the final. It was stunning to behold, and its legend will only grow with time.Lloyd is a finalist for FIFA Women’s World Player of the Year, an award she’s likely to claim in Zurich next month to pair with her U.S. Soccer Female Player of the Year honors, which she won last week (and her SI Sportsperson of the Year finalist nomination!). Her play didn’t relent when she returned to NWSL either, as she was voted the league’s Player of the Month for July. Lloyd has prided herself on rising to become the world’s best, and in 2015 she did just that. A strong second place goes to Becky Sauerbrunn, the stalwart center back who was overlooked by FIFA in just about every way on its World Cup player shortlists and World Player of the Year shortlist. As great as Lloyd was, it was the USA’s stout defense that carried the team through the group stage, and Sauerbrunn (along with Julie Johnston, Ali Krieger and Meghan Klingenberg) was at the center of it all. Sauerbrunn also won a second straight NWSL title, helping FC Kansas City to a repeat while sending Holiday out with a second trophy in about three months.

GOAL OF THE YEAR: Lloyd’s third vs. Japan

Like it was even a question. From the center circle, in the final, for the hat trick:​There’s little time for the U.S. to rest on its laurels. Olympic qualifying takes place in February, and if all goes according to plan, the U.S. will be defending its Olympic gold in Rio against some motivated competitors. The nucleus of the team and its backbone–the defense–remains intact, but with Wambach, Holiday, Boxx and Chalupny gone (and it’s yet to be determined what the future holds for 40-year-old captain Christie Rampone), there’s a bit of a changing of the guard.While Wambach’s minutes and production can be replaced, there will be a leadership void that she leaves behind. The likes of Crystal Dunn, Lindsey Horan, Emily Sonnet and Stephanie McCaffrey were integrated into the squad during the victory tour, and they’ll all be looking to cement their places for the future. Should the U.S. qualify for the Olympics, as expected, Ellis will be taking an 18-player roster with her to Brazil, and she’ll have some tough personnel calls to make. If Rapinoe’s injury keeps her from Brazil, that’s a huge blow in the quest for a fourth straight gold medal.After Olympic qualifying, the U.S. will reportedly be tested in a four-team friendly tournament that includes world powers Germany, France and England. That will provide an ample barometer for where the defending world champions stand ahead of their next major tournament.

U.S. WNT Claim the Spotlight as U.S. Men Struggle in 2015

Posted on December 30, 2015 by Peter Nolan  Got Soccer

As we look back on the year 2015 in American soccer the spotlight shines brightest on the World Cup winning U.S. WNT and most harshly on their male counterparts.The women’s national team added a third star to its jersey, with Carli Lloyd, Abby Wambach, Hope Solo and company finally taking their place alongside the legendary 99ers led by Mia Hamm, Julie Foudy, and Michelle Akers as World Champions.The men were always going to come in a poor second to the women’s nats, and while Jill Ellis and her squad set an unreachable bar for Jurgen Klinsmann’s crew, the men fell far below even Klinsmann’s own targets.Coming off of a Round of 16 exit at the 2014 World Cup that was considered a success by most, if a step forward by only some, the U.S. MNT failed dismally as the host nation at this summer’s Gold Cup.As defending CONCACAF Champions, the Yanks would have advanced to the 2017 Confederations Cup if they could match 2013’s Gold Cup victory.Klinsmann had repeatedly spoken of how important it was to qualify for the World Cup walkthrough in Russia and had named winning the Gold Cup alongside Olympic qualification as his program’s top priorities for 2015.But the U.S. played like a team that hadn’t gotten the memo, advancing from Group play without impressing before hammering a weak Cuban side 6-0 in a match that inspired false hope that all was well.That all was not well was made abundantly clear when Jamaica eliminated the U.S. 2-1 in the semifinal. That loss was then compounded when a disinterested home team dropped the third place game on penalty kicks to Panama.At the time, U.S. coach and Technical Director Klinsmann made much of Jamaica’s improvement, of the region’s improvement, but we must go back to 2000 when the U.S. were eliminated by guest competitor Colombia to find a worse finish in the Gold Cup for the Americans.Klinsmann’s job security was called into question by many in the media, but USSoccer President Sunil Gulati stood by his man, claiming, “there are no parallels at all,” to Bob Bradley who was fired to make way for Klinsmann after losing the 2011 Gold Cup final to Mexico.Never mind that Klinsmann’s World Cup ended at the exact same stage as Bradley’s had, in extra time in the round of 16, Gulati was right. Elimination in the semifinals to Jamaica, followed by a poor performance versus Panama was not a parallel performance to elimination by Mexico in the 2011 final, it was clearly worse.Regardless, the coach was safe, and the U.S. had one remaining route to Russia 2017, a showdown with Mexico in the first ever CONCACAF Cup.The U.S. showed heart in losing in front of huge, mostly pro-Mexico crowd at the Rose Bowl but despite forcing overtime the Americans were badly outplayed before falling 3-2 and missing out on the Confederations Cup.So how are things looking for that other U.S. MNT goal, qualifying for the Olympics? Not great, frankly. A 2-0 loss to Honduras on the same day the senior side lost the CONCACAF Cup to Mexico makes October 10, 2015, a day to forget in U.S. MNT soccer, and it leaves the Americans facing a two-game set in March versus Colombia for one last shot to make it to Rio.Should the U23 team fail to get past Colombia, and the Americans will be underdogs, they would join the 2012 team, that missed out on the London Olympics as the second group on Klinsmann’s watch to fail to qualify for the Olympic games.Klinsmann labelled that group “a lost generation.” Will this generation be lost too?The U17 side offered little encouragement when it was unable to get out of group play in the U17 World Cup in Chile. That result, coupled with a failure to even qualify in 2013, saw coach Richie William replaced by former Philadelphia Union manager John Hackworth.The one ray of light in the youth set up on the men’s side came from a talented U20 squad. The Young Yanks were eliminated on pk’s by eventual champions Serbia, but the talent at this age group appears abundant and several of the U20’s will be in the reckoning for the March showdown with Colombia.Then there was the U.S. WNT. With the World Cup memories so vivid for U.S. soccer fans it might surprise some to remember the struggles the team endured in the run-up to World Cup glory.Although English born, Jill Ellis has long been a servant of the U.S. Women’s soccer program and so it was no huge surprise when Ellis moved up from assistant to interim to full-fledged head coach after Tom Sermanni’s dismissal in 2014.It was not all smooth sailing for Ellis and a loss and drw to Brazil in December. followed by a distressing 2-0 loss to France in February, caused alarm in many quarters.Ellis seemed unsure of her best formation and players as Alex Morgan struggled to regain fitness and then form and age and a certain staleness began to set in.The U.S. were still the U.S. but teams like Germany and France seemed more likely champions when the Women’s 2015 World Cup kicked off in Canada last June.Lineup problems persisted as Morgan never quite hit stride and all-time leading international goal scorer Abby Wambach seemed to age before our very eyes.Group play proved a chore for the Americans who advanced with two unimpressive wins and a draw. A scrappy 2-0 win over Colombia saw the Yanks move on to the quarterfinals with Morgan and Lloyd providing the goals.That Lloyd scored from a penalty hardly mattered, the midfield marksman was on the scoresheet and she was just getting started. Lloyd had been shackled with a defensive midfield role early in the Cup, and the U.S. attack suffered.While the U.S. defense in front of Hope Solo had been rock solid it had been left to winger Megan Rapinoe to provide what little spark and creativity the Americans could muster in the early going.Now Lloyd approached Ellis and asked for the freedom to do her thing and to Ellis’ everlasting credit she turned Lloyd loose.The effect was immediate and the 99ers, and the 91 team too, were about to get some company. Lloyd would score six goals in the final four matches including a brilliant hat-trick that finished off Japan before they ever got started in the World Cup Final.Lloyd had plenty of help as Ellis finally hit on the right combination, a combination that saw off China and Germany before felling Japan.Things were fairly quiet on the Women’s side of the youth competitions, although we did get a glimpse of the future when Mallory Pugh led the way as the U.S. advanced to the U20 Women’s World Cup by winning the CONCACAF U20 Championship.Pugh was brilliant and will be worth watching when she goes up against the best at the U20 WWC in November and December in the somewhat unlikely locale of Papua New Guinea.The U17 Women’s World Cup will also be up for grabs in 2016, with CONCACAF Qualification this March in Grenada.

So there it is, 2015. The WNT started in turmoil and went on to win the ultimate prize, the Word Cup. The Olympics are next and the U.S. will be expected to at least finish among the medals, as it seeks to defend the title it won four years ago in London.And the men. 2015 was a bad year but the soccer calendar always seems to provide another chance at redemption and 2016 is no exception.World Cup Qualification got underway early this year with a facile 6-1 win over St. Vincent and the Grenadines followed by a 0-0 tie at Trinidad and Tobago.After the draw with T&T, we were greeted with the by now expected justifications. We were told how good Trinidad and Tobago is, how tough it is to qualify from CONCACAF, etc, etc.

Clint Dempsey’s bewildering omission was explained away and four points happily collected. We move on.  2016 also brings Copa America Centenario to our shores. The United States, Mexico, Costa Rica, Trinidad and Tobago, Jamaica, and Panama will compete alongside the giants of South America in the 100th year of the CONMEBOL Championship all across the U.S.A.  It is a historic moment for soccer in the United States and a good showing offers Jurgen Klinsmann and the U.S. MNT a chance at redemption. Can they take it?

Manchester United should stick with Louis van Gaal – David Moyes

Louis van Gaal should be given more time to succeed as Manchester United manager — according to his sacked predecessor, David Moyes.Moyes was given a six-year contract when he succeeded Sir Alex Ferguson at Old Trafford in 2013 but lasted less than 10 months before he was fired with United in seventh place.Van Gaal’s team are now sixth after going out of the Champions League, going eight games without a win and losing four of their last five matches.But while the Dutchman is under pressure, Moyes believes that he has a huge rebuilding job as United adjust to life without Ferguson and former chief executive David Gill and urged executive vice-president Ed Woodward to keep faith with the 64-year-old.”After Sir Alex the job was always going to be very difficult. It was going to take time. It was a rebuilding job at Manchester United,” Moyes told the Clare Balding Show on BT Sport 1.”And you have to remember that David Gill left who was a big influence at Manchester United. And I think even what Manchester United stand for is that they keep their managers. They have always supported their managers who have been before.”So I hope they stick with Louis van Gaal. He deserves more time. It is still a work in progress for him. He has made some signings and from my experience in Spain it will take time for players from abroad to settle in.”So I think they should stick with it. They don’t want to become a club which continuously changes their manager.”Moyes had a better win percentage as United manager than Van Gaal, but the former Ajax, Barcelona and Bayern Munich head coach achieved a fourth-placed finish last season.Van Gaal, who has been in charge for 17 months, insisted after Monday’s 0-0 draw with Chelsea that he will not resign and said he has the backing of his players and the United board.

Pep Guardiola’s arrival will make 2016 the year of the manager in England

ESPN FC’s Gab Marcotti responds to reports suggesting Pep Guardiola’s possible move to Manchester City next season.It took less than 48 hours for Jose Mourinho’s intentions to be revealed after he was jettisoned by Chelsea. “He will not be taking a sabbatical, he isn’t tired, he doesn’t need it, he is very positive, and is already looking forward,”read a statement from representatives Creative Artists Agency last Saturday lunchtime. “Jose will remain living in London.”No return to Portugal for anything other than a family break, no lobbying for a lucrative contract in Turkey at Christmas and only the faintest whisper of a return to Real Madrid to succeed favourite foe Rafa Benitez.Instead, Mourinho will remain in the country that, in the age of the superstar coach, has become the place to be. If he is to prove that the last four months, where Chelsea slid from champions to relegation battlers, were but a blip, then England — the place that during his six-year absence at Inter Milan and Real Madrid he would regularly describe as his “natural habitat” — is where he would like to show it.The English Premier League’s pretensions of being the best league in the world are being ruined by its clubs’ performances in the Champions and Europa Leagues, and the absence of the likes of Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and Neymar. Still, 2016 looks like being a year where the management game’s elite make their homes in England.The money is good, as a multi-billion-pound TV deals flow in, and the competition is stronger than anywhere else. No English champion has defended their title since Sir Alex Ferguson’s Manchester United made it three in a row in 2009. Winning a title in England is a much-desired addition to a football manager’s resume.Pep Guardiola, his departure from Bayern Munich confirmed for the summer, holds the key. At Manchester City, clear favourites to land Guardiola’s signature, even current incumbent Manuel Pellegrini has admitted that he wants the former Barcelona coach to succeed him “because I love this club.”And Guardiola’s potential availability may well have slowed United’s haste in sacking the struggling Louis Van Gaal and turning to a freely available Mourinho. ESPN FC sources suggested that United officials have “upgraded” their contact with the Guardiola camp.Down in London, football’s rumour-mongers have increased the chatter thatArsenal are considering joining the chase if either Arsene Wenger decides to step aside this summer or Guardiola takes a sabbatical, as he did after leaving Barcelona in 2012 before heading to Germany the next year. That timeline would fit in with Wenger’s retirement schedule.Though Wenger has been critical of the Guardiola announcement and its possible side effects on his fellow managers, he did not spare his admiration for the Catalan’s genius capabilities. “He wants his team to play football in a positive way,” Wenger said. “I respect that highly.”Meanwhile, Chelsea have Guus Hiddink temporarily in charge as options are considered. Owner Roman Abramovich has tried to lure Guardiola to Stamford Bridge before. The club’s transfer business of the summer of 2012, in which ball players like Eden Hazard and Oscar were added to lighten the touch of a previously muscular team, looked like an act of attempted seduction, as did the employment of two stop-gaps in Roberto Di Matteo and Rafa Benitez, yet Guardiola chose Bavaria. The newspaper talk is of a “money is no object” bid from Abramovich this time.Guardiola will end up disappointing three such suitors, perhaps all four should he instead look to recharge his batteries. Whatever his choice, the big names see England as the promised land. “The important managers always want to work here in the Premier League,” Pellegrini said this month. “It is impossible not to want to work here — especially if you have experience of working in other leagues.”Setting aside triple Champions League winner Carlo Ancelotti — Guardiola’s replacement at Bayern who did a two-year stint at Chelsea from 2009 to 2011, it is possible that the jigsaw puzzle could place big-name coaches at each major English club. Jurgen Klopp is already at Liverpool. His October appointment had the look of pre-emptive opportunism, as Liverpool shunted aside Brendan Rodgers to make sure that they got to the two-time Bundesliga champion first.Mourinho’s refusal to dig out Manchester United in the fashion he has derided other opponents has long pointed to a reluctance to offend the brass at Old Trafford. Should Louis van Gaal’s collapse in credibility force the club to make a decision, then the Portuguese looks in pole position, Pep permitting. The chance of Mourinho and Guardiola rivalling each other in one city looks like box-office gold.”We don’t know what will happen in the future, but now there is no agreement,” said Mourinho’s agent Jorge Mendes this week, hardly quelling speculation by doing so. There have been revived links with Paris Saint-Germain since Mourinho’s sacking, but the French capital has the look of a fall-back.For Mourinho’s former post at Chelsea, another Mendes associate is widely rumoured to be on the shortlist. Diego Simeone’s links with Atletico Madrid, a club where plenty of Mendes clients play, are strong and may take considerable persuasion to be broken. But the Argentinian’s aggressive philosophy and rebel stance rather reminds of the first iteration of Mourinho at Chelsea from 2004 to 2007.Should Simeone stay on in Spain, Antonio Conte, currently managing Italy and holder of three Serie A titles with Juventus, is another possible candidate. He, like Simeone, does not speak fluent English, but the lucrative lure of English football might soon change that.With or without them, 2016 looks like being the year when England becomes home to the football world’s coaching A-list.John Brewin is a staff writer for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter@JohnBrewinESPN.

Armchair Analyst: Three Things about … MLS at the end of 2015

December 30, 20151:02 PM ESTMatthew

  1. The formation of a shift

The funny thing is: It didn’t happen overnight. It never does. But it still feels like it because of who took home the silverware.

What I’m talking about is, of course, MLS teams shifting away from the classic 4-4-2 as a default formation. In 2014, the Montreal Impact won the Canadian Championship playing in a 4-4-2; the Seattle Sounders won the Supporters’ Shield and US Open Cup double in the 4-4-2; and the LA Galaxy polished off a run of three MLS Cups in four years playing yet another variation of the 4-4-2.

It didn’t matter that most of the league had edged away from that formation, because the teams that dominated it were lining up with two forwards.Fast forward a year, and here’s how it went: The Vancouver Whitecaps won the Canadian Championship playing a 4-2-3-1; Sporting KC won the US Open Cup playing a 4-3-3; the New York Red Bulls played a 4-2-3-1 en route to their second Shield in three years; and the Portland Timbers morphed from a 4-2-3-1 to a 4-3-3 down the strech, riding a solidification of the midfield and flank penetration to the franchise’s first piece of significant hardware: the 2015 MLS Cup.In all, 16 MLS teams played either the 4-2-3-1 or 4-3-3 as their standard formation, and a tactical shift naturally followed. More creative input came from the central midfield, as the league’s list of top chance creators shows:


Chances Created (inc. assists)/Chances Created from Open Play/Big Chance Created

Javier Morales




Sacha Kljestan




Cristian Maidana




Matias Perez Garcia




Federico Higuaín




Benny Feilhaber




Brad Davis




Darlington Nagbe




Diego Valeri




Sebastian Giovinco




Davis is the last of a hibernating breed, the playmaking wide midfielder. Giovinco is a pure second forward – not a midfielder nor a winger – and no one else at that spot even cracked the top 30 in chance creation.

A year ago, various attackers like Landon Donovan, Thierry Henry, Davis, Lloyd Sam, Robbie Keane and Obafemi Martins were all near the top of that list. This year, it’s almost all No. 10s.

  • MORE ANALYST: On-field evolution and the role of the No. 10

They’re No. 10s of a different stripe, to be fair: Kljestan excels in the final third with his misdirect passes while Feilhaber sits deeper, sending in through balls; Maidana drifts wide to bend in crosses and Morales is a warlock who will not age until people start destroying horcruxes – new formation, new teammates, new defensive responsibilities? Doesn’t matter, the dude’s still gonna be among the league leaders in chances created. (I’m saving that as a macro for next year’s article, and 2017’s, and 2018’s, etc. etc. ad infinitum.)Simply put: If you didn’t have some sort of a classic No. 10, one able to take strings of possession and develop creativity out of midfield, then you probably weren’t going to compete with the league’s best.A year ago that wasn’t true.

 Shining the Shield

Kljestan was at the heart of the Red Bulls’ run to the Supporters’ Shield, their second such trophy in the last three years. He finished with 8 goals and 14 assists, leading the league in passes both attempted and completed in the final third.Why does that matter? Because it explains how the Red Bulls played: pressing high and hard, relying upon the brains and fitness of their central midfield (Kljestan, Dax McCarty and Felipe) to smother opposing teams, refusing to let them build directly out of the back. That, in turn, allowed the backline to compress the field, which led to sequences of play like this:

Kljestan buried a goal moments later, capping a six-minute stretch during which Orlando City weren’t able to cross the midfield stripe. New York got goals from everyone in their front four, including 17 from forward Bradley Wright-Phillips.The No. 2 team in the East, Columbus Crew SC, vanquished RBNY in the Audi 2015 MLS Cup Playoffs behind their own 4-2-3-1 and balanced attack. Led by Kei Kamara at center forward and wingers Ethan Finlay and Justin Meram, Crew SC gave No. 10 Federico Higuain free rein, with their fullbacks encouraged to overlap higher and harder than any pair in the league.

Out West, another 4-2-3-1 team, FC Dallas, posed the stiffest competition in the Shield hunt. Led by their own magical No. 10, Mauro Diaz, Dallas equaled New York’s 60 points, but came up just short on goal differential.

The lack of an elite, BWP-class finisher was one of the big reasons for that. Another was that while Kljestan, Feilhaber and Higuain each logged over 2,700 minutes, Diaz was on the field for just under 2,000. When he played FCD were 14-5-5, and when he didn’t they were 4-5-1.Those types of margins are how trophies are won or lost.

  1. To The Cup!

The team that beat Dallas in the playoffs were the West’s No. 3 seeded team, the Portland Timbers. And as is customary in Portland, 2015 was weird.How weird? Their 41 goals scored were the lowest total of any playoff team, and their +2 goal differential was worst in the conference. That number actually lived in the negative until a 4-1 victory over Colorado in the regular season finale – a win that broke a two-month-long home scoreless drought.In the midst of that home streak, Portland naturally became a road juggernaut, going 4-0-1 in their final five away from Providence Park. They carried that form into the postseason, stomping Vancouver 2-0 at BC Place in the Western Conference Semifinals before taking a 2-2 draw out of Dallas in the second leg of the Conference Championship.nd then came the coup de grace: A 2-1 victory at MAPFRE Stadium over Columbus, making Portland the first team since the 2002 Galaxy to win the Cup in their opponent’s house. The Timbers took a page out of New York’s book, with high pressure leading to the first goal and a midfield turnover leading to the second.

What’s Next?

I expect at least a couple of teams to experiment with variations on the 3-5-2 next year. Toronto FC in particular seem to have the personnel for it, and I could convince myself a reconstructed LA Galaxy might be headed in that direction as well. Bruce Arena’s been married to the 4-4-2 for a long time, but he’s been willing to play the 3-5-2 when necessary – such as during the 2002 World Cup knockout rounds against Mexico and Germany.And let’s remember that the 3-5-2 basically exists in order to swamp opposing No. 10s. In a league that’s basically built around that position, it makes sense for someone to run against the grain, right?

We’ll see if any brave souls among the ranks of MLS coaches feel the same way. We’re putting a cap on the 2015 season here, but players report to training camp for 2016 in less than three weeks. The planning has, most certainly, already begun.

Best of MLS 2015: New York Red Bulls’ Matt Miazga was our Breakout Player of the Year

December 29, 20156:00 PM EST

First, a few ground rules. Having a breakout year is not the same as making a first impression. For example, Orlando City rookie forward Cyle Larin made a first impression with his 17 goals. But he didn’t have a breakout year because he wasn’t in MLS the year before. Having a breakout year is also not the same as extending an upward trajectory. For example, Crew SC’s Ethan Finlay extended his upward trajectory with his 12-goal, 13-assist season in 2015, which came on the heels of an 11-goal, 7-assist season in 2014. But he didn’t have a breakout year because he had already broken out.To have a breakout year, you had to be on the scene last year but not really make much of an impact until this year. It’s kind of a backhanded compliment. Here is our breakout player of the year in MLS, as voted by the editorial staff.’s Breakout Player of the Year: Matt Miazga, NY Red Bulls

What a year Matt Miazga had in 2015. After making just seven appearances in 2014, the tall center back became a mainstay on the Red Bulls back line in 2015, playing in 30 games (regular season and playoffs) and finishing second among defenders in minutes played. He also scored his first goal (see video above) and proved to be one of the top aerial defenders in the league.He also rose quickly through the ranks of the US national team. He started for the U-20 US teamthat reached the quarterfinals of the U-20 World Cup in May. Then he was one of the few bright spots for the Olympic qualifying team that failed to earn an automatic berth to Rio 2016. Finally, in November, he made his full USMNT debut in a World Cup qualifier against St. Vincent & the Grenadines. This month, he was named U.S. Soccer’s Young Male Player of the Year.  Recently, there have been reports that Miazga could go abroad next year, and given his success in 2015, you can understand why the likes of EPL giants Chelsea and current EPL leaders Leicester City have been mentioned as possible suitors. But nothing is done, and we certainly look forward to seeing if he can extend his upward trajectory next year.

Honorable Mention

Kellyn Acosta, FC Dallas — The smooth, 20-year-old box-to-box midfielder saw his minutes double in 2015, plus he scored his first MLS goal (and his second and third) and added a couple of assists. A favorite of our analyst Matt Doyle, Acosta also captained the US at the U-20 World Cup.

Tim Melia, Sporting KC — Through his first five seasons, the 29-year-old goalkeeper played in six MLS games. In 2015, he started 23, solving SKC’s frustrating goalkeeper issues. Along the way, he posted eight shutouts and was fourth in the league in save percentage.


Proud Member of the Brick Yard Battalion –, Sam’s Army- ,  American Outlaws

The Ole Ballcoach – Coach Shane Best

Dec 16, 2015  US Abby Wambach Retires Tonight 8 pm-FS1, Champions League and Euro Cup Sweet 16 set, EPL News

So the big news in Europe as the Champions League Sweet 16 (the knockout stages) and the European Cup Draws were done over the weekend.  Champions League finds some interesting match-ups on Feb 16/17 + Feb 23/24 as last season’s finalist Juve face Bayern Munich, PSG matches Chelsea again, and Arsenal is again placed against 5-time and defending Champion Barcelona.  Full Analysis Below.

Turning to US Soccer – the Leading Scorer in World Soccer history –both men’s and women with 184 goals – Abby Wambach (a former Florida Gator) retires tonight as the US Women’s team WC Victory Tour continues with the USA facing China on Fox Sports 1 at 8 pm. Gotta See this Commercial.

MLS has announced increased payroll for new players which can only be good for the league in the long haul, that and of course 2 new teams join the league next spring.  Be sure to scroll all the down for the MLS Cup Final Recap – it really captures what was a fantastic MLS Cup final – made so by the traveling whord of Timbers Army.  Other news has US and Stanford forward Jordan Morris scoring 2 goals in the NCAA final as he led the Cardinal to their first NCAA Championship-you have to assume he will now turn pro either with MLS’ Seattle Sounders or perhaps overseas.

The EPL has some intriguing story lines as the coaches at Chelsea and Manchester United are both on the hot seat.  Leicester City – Amazingly sits atop the EPL as we near Boxing Day and Chelsea is in the relegation zone. BREAKING MOURINO IS FIRED AT CHELSEA 

Mourino is Sacked by Chelsea – Marcotti ESPN FC

#s behind Special One’s Exit ESPN FC

5 Turning Pts in 2nd Tenure at Chelsea – John Brewin – ESPN FC

Champions League –Draw Sweet 16

Teams will play home and away with aggregate high scorer advancing to Quarterfinals. First legs February 16-17 and February 23-24 and conclude with the return legs on March 8-9 and March 15-16

KAA Gent vs. Wolfsburg
AS Roma vs. Real Madrid
Paris Saint-Germain vs. Chelsea
Arsenal vs. Barcelona
Juventus vs. Bayern Munich
PSV Eindhoven vs. Atlético Madrid
Benfica vs. Zenit St. Petersburg
Dynamo Kiev vs. Manchester City


Copa America Announces Seeded Groups and US Locations – 3 games in Chicago including US + Semi’s !

Gotta See this Commercial on Abby

Abby Hangs up the boots – Grant Wahl SI

Abby Retires at Proper Time and Place – Grant Wahl SI

Abby Wambach Retires tonight –Mia Hamm’s thoughts

Jordan Morris Wins NC at Stanford

What Should Stanford Star and USMNT Forward Jordan Morris  do next

Gent Forward Kenny Saief sheds light on possible switch from Isreal to US National Team

Kenny Saief from Champions League Sweet 16 to US Team?

MLS – Increases payrole ESPNFC

MLS Cup Final – Recap

Trimming of Portand’s Borchers infamous Huge Red beard post game

 Champions League – Sweet 16 Draw

Sweet 16 Draw results

Quick Analysis of the Champs League Draw – SB Nation

UCL draw | Delaney: Predicting the games | Predictor

Juve Punished for losing last game face Bayern Munich

Bayern eye classic vs Juve in Sweet 16

Gunners draw Barcelona again

Renaldo should score lots vs Roma

Chelsea and PSG go At it Again

Man City should Roll Kiev – but gonna freeze

European Championships Draw and Analysis

 Marcotti on Euro 2016 | A | B | C | D | E | F | Euro ’16 Express

 EPL + world

Can LVG and Mourino Save their Jobs?  ESPN FC

Marcottis Musings – ESPN FC

– Brewin: Leicester add to Chelsea’s crisis | Player Ratings

How has Leicester City overtaken the EPL  ESPN FC

Chelsea’s Special One on the Cusp –EPSN FC

Chelsea Board discussing Mourinho Future

Klopp Stunt could Backfire

Liverpool in Striking Distance


 Wed, December 16

8 p.m., Fox Sports 1  USA WNT vs China – Abby’s Last Game

 Thur, December 17

5:30 am – Fox Sports 1, Fifa World Club Cup–Evergrande vs Barcelona  

 Saturday, December 19

9:30 a.m., Fox Sports 1 German – Bayern Munich vs Hannover 96
9:30 a.m., Fox Sports 2: German -Koln vs Dortmund
10:00 a.m., NBCSN and NBC Universo: Chelsea vs. Sunderland

10:00 am., USA Network: Manchester United vs. Norwich City
10:00 a.m., Extra Time: Everton vs. Leicester City, Southampton vs. Tottenham, Stoke CIty vs. Crystal Palace, West Bromwich vs. Bournemouth
11 Am , beIn Sports : France – Caen vs PSG

12:30 p.m., NBC: Newcastle United vs. Aston Villa

Sunday, December 20

5:30 am – Fox Sports 1, Fifa World Club Cup Final – River Plate vs Barcelona ??  

6:30 am, beIn Sport  – Italy  – Carpi vs Juve

8:30 a.m., NBCSN: Watford vs. Liverpool

9:30 a.m., Fox Sports 1 German – Hertha BSC (John Brooks) vs Mainz 05
11:00 a.m., NBCSN: Swansea City vs. West Ham United

11:30 am, fox sports 2, German – Borussia MGladbach (Johnson) vs Darmstadt 98

2:45 pm, Bein Sport, Inter vs Lazio

Monday, December 21

3:00 p.m., NBCSN and NBC Universo: Arsenal vs. Manchester City

Saturday, December 26

7:45 a.m., NBCSN: Stoke City vs. West Ham United
10:00 a.m., TV TBD: Aston Villa vs. West Ham, Bournemouth vs. Crystal Palace, Chelsea vs. Watford, Liverpool vs. Leicester City, Man City vs. Sunderland, Swansea vs. West Bromwich, Tottenham vs. Norwich

12:30 p.m., NBC: Newcastle United vs. Everton
2:45 p.m., NBC: Southampton vs. Arsenal

 Sun, Dec 27

9 am, Fox Soccer Plus, Scotland -Midlothian vs Celtic

11 am, beIn Sport, England Champ – Nottingham Forest vs Leeds United

Monday, December 28

10:00 a.m., NBCSN: Premier League Breakway, featuring whip-around coverage of all concurrent games
10:00 a.m., Extra Time: Crystal Palace vs. Swansea,, Everton vs. Stoke City, Norwich vs. Aston Villa, Watford vs. Tottenham, West Bromiwich  vs. Newcastle
12:30 p.m., NBCSN: Manchester United vs. Chelsea
12:30 p.m., Extra Time: Arsenal vs. Bournemouth, West Ham United vs. Southampton

Tuesday, December 29

2:45 p.m., NBCSN: Leicester City vs. Manchester City

Wednesday, December 30

2:45 p.m., NBCSN: Sunderland vs. Liverpool

Saturday, January 2

7:45 a.m., NBCSN: West Ham United vs. Liverpool
10:00 a.m., TV TBD: Arsenal vs. Newcastle, Leicester City vs. Bournemouth, Manchester United vs. Swansea, Norwich vs. Southampton, Sunderland vs. Aston Villa, West Bromwich vs. Stoke City
12:30 p.m., NBC: Watford vs. Manchester City

Sunday, January 3

8:30 a.m., NBCSN: Crystal Palace vs. Chelsea
11:00 a.m., NBCSN: Everton vs. Tottenham

Mailbag: Abby Wambach’s finale

Y GRANT WAHLPosted: Tue Dec. 15, 2015

The road ends on Wednesday for Abby Wambach. After 254 caps, after an all-time record 184 international goals, after one World Cup title and two Olympic gold medals, Wambach will call it a career when the U.S. meets China in a friendly in New Orleans (8 p.m. ET, FS1).And yet a few things came in loud and clear in the far-ranging conversation I had with Wambach for the new SI Planet Fútbol podcast. One of them is that she thinks her road is only beginning. Wambach does not plan to disappear from the public discussion after the final whistle blows in New Orleans. In fact, she’s making it her mission to fight for equality in a way that she did not during her playing career.“I want to be passionate about what I do next,” Wambach says in the interview, which will be released in full Wednesday (we played a portion of the interview last week, and you can listen to that here). “Since I retired I’ve felt the inequalities that I allowed to happen to me throughout my career—and when you’re in it, it’s harder to see and feel the disparity, and there’s a lot of fear that goes on, which is probably why you can’t see it so clearly. I think stepping away and getting more perspective has allowed me to see more clearly what really needs to happen.”“To be quite honest, I’ve been getting a little bit mad at myself for not fighting more while I was in it,” she continues. “I kind of promised myself I’d do whatever I can at this point to make sure this next generation of studs that hangs their cleats up is going to feel differently about their retirement than I do. I want them to have more choices and options than I do.WAHL: Wambach retires at appropriate place, time

“When I look across the aisle, I’m pretty sure Landon Donovan isn’t stressing or worrying about his financial position. For me, not to sound crazy or egocentric, but to have the resume I have and because I’m a female changes completely the landscape of the opportunities of what I’ll be able to do when I’m done playing, quite frankly I’m going to make it my mission: I’m going to change the world so that no woman who has done the things I’ve been able to do or have the course of the career I’ve had will have to make the same decisions.“Somebody has to make equality real and happen. I know it’s a huge undertaking. And I know saying the words changing the world is such an arbitrary thing. How are you going to do that? I know all these questions will come. But I’m just going to do it.”  OUTTAKES: Best unused shots from SI’s USWNT cover shoot

This isn’t your typical “walk off into the sunset” retirement talk. And that’s refreshing, even if it makes some people feel a little uncomfortable. In fact, that’s precisely the point. Wambach says she’s looking forward to ending her playing career on a high note Wednesday before adoring fans and teammates, but she also has reached a point where she believes she can help create the change she wants to see for women, both inside and outside the sports world.I’m fired up to see what she can do with her bully pulpit.

Abby Wambach retires at appropriate time, place to cap iconic career

U.S. women’s national team forward Abby Wambach announces retirement

BY GRANT WAHLTwitter EmailPosted: Tue Oct. 27, 2015

In the end, Abby Wambach came full circle.On Tuesday, October 27, 2015, the most prolific goal-scorer in the history of international soccer began her day at the White House, where President Barack Obama honored Wambach and the U.S. women’s national team for winning this year’s Women’s World Cup.Thirteen years ago, in 2002, Wambach started her professional career in the same city, Washington D.C., where she arrived as a talented yet uncommitted forward with the Washington Freedom and became something else entirely: A relentless force of nature who would go on to score 184 goals for the U.S. on her way to winning a World Cup, two Olympic gold medals and six U.S. Soccer Athlete of the Year awards.The nation’s capital is where Wambach toughened up while playing alongside the legendary Mia Hamm, who helped unlock Wambach’s potential and release the beast that she knew Wambach could become.On Tuesday, in a city dear to her heart, the 35-year-old Wambach announced she will retire from soccer at the end of this year, after her final U.S. game on Dec. 16 in New Orleans against China. The timing was typical Wambach, which is to say it was nearly as good as it was on her most famous goal, the 122nd-minute Hail Mary equalizer against Brazil in the 2011 World Cup quarterfinals.  MOST SIGNIFICANT U.S. GOALS: Wambach stuns Brazil, 2011

As she contemplated her future in recent weeks, Wambach did not want her decision to take away from anything else connected to the team. Not their visit to the White House, where President Obama said “this team taught all of America’s children that playing like a girl means you’re a badass.” And not theplanned retirement farewells for teammates Shannon Boxx, Lori Chalupny and Lauren Holiday.Wambach has always been a team player that way. In fact, at one point Wambach had told her friends that she just wanted to quietly fade away, avoiding any big celebration for her career in the final games of this year’s Victory Tour. She reconsidered, thankfully, after realizing that properly celebrating her accomplishments would also be a good thing for her sport, which has come so far, and for showing a 10-year-old girl in the stadium on Dec. 16 that you, too, can do this with your career—and perhaps even surpass it.Video  The timing was good in another way, too. Wambach can go out having just won the World Cup, the trophy that had eluded her for so long, the one she said her career would not be complete without. She could have tried to hang on for next year’s Olympics, a tournament she has already won twice, but there might have been more costs than benefits in doing so, both for her and for the U.S. team, and no guarantees she would have made the roster.And so, even though we will still see plenty of Wambach in the public sphere, our lasting final images of her as a competitive player will be from that magical time in Canada this summer, when she finally raised the World Cup trophy and when, in a remarkable seven-minute monologue on Fox Sports, she spoke directly to her teammates on the eve of the World Cup final.Wambach’s finest moments have always been unscripted. That’s what we love about her. That’s what we love about sports.

Proud Member of the Brick Yard Battalion –, Sam’s Army- ,  American Outlaws

CHAMPIONS LEAGUE SWEET 16, US News, College Cup Tonight


So the we are down to 16 teams in Champions League after a fantastic midweek of play as the EPL loses Man United but Arsenal climbs back in to join Chelsea and Man City in advancing to the Knockout Rounds.  Portland is still celebrating their MLS Cup Championship with parades and parties galore as we the boys at ESPN FC look at the season wrap up and what’s coming next season.

On the US front Fabian Johnson continues his tear for Borussia M in the German Bundesliga – as he had  2 assist in their loss on Tuesday in Champions League .  Be on the lookout as the US will play host to Guatamala on March 29th in World Cup qualifying just 3 hours away in Columbus.  Anytime the US really needs a win they come home to the US friendly confines of MLS oldest and most comfy stadium in Columbus. You should make plans to go catch a bit of history.  Not many good games this weekend – Tim Howard and Everton do host Norwich City, while Man City hosts Swansea on Sat. on NBCSN at 10 am.

Tonite you can catch Men’s College Soccer and US budding star Jordan Morris for Stanford as they play Akron at 8 pm on ESPNU., right after the Syracuse vs Clemson game at 6 pm.


Fabian Johnson playing Best of All US players overseas?

US to play Qualifier in March vs Guatamala in Columbus, OH

Hertha wants US John Brooks to Stay ]

College Cup Tonite- 6 pm on ESPN Stanford’s USA Player Jordan Morris looks to Excel

US to Play Iceland in Jan

US Exports Play Well in Europa League

US to call up 21 year old Isralie American – Kenny Sief from Gent I

US Women Cancel Game in Hawaii due to Turf Issues


Walcott Says we can beat anyone in  UCL

Giroud Scores Hat Trick to Help Arsenal Advance to Sweet 16

Chelsea Advances vs Porto

Man U Excuses for Not Advancing This Time ? Marcotti ESPN FC

Sterling Stars as Man City Comes back to Shock Gladbach 6-2

Man United’s Van Gaal Side Deserved to Exit – Mitten – ESPN FC


Season in Review

Portland Victory Parade

MLS to Pile $37 Million into Player Salary

What to Look 4 in 2016 – Carlisle – SPEN FC

 The best and worst of MLS’s 20th season
– Davis: ESPN FC’s 2015 MLS Best XI

MLS year in TV Coverage – Philly Goalkeeper



Friday, Dec 11

United States – College Soccer 

Live 6:00pm Syracuse vs Clemson ESPNU,
Live 8:30pm Stanford vs Akron ESPNU,

Sat, Dec 12

England – Premier League 
Live 7:45am Norwich City vs Everton NBCSN,
Live 10:00am Crystal Pala vs Southampton NBC Sports Live Extra,
Live 10:00am West Ham vs Stoke City NBC Sports Live Extra,
Live 10:00am Man City vs Swansea Nbcsn
Live 12:30pm Bournemouth vs Man United NBC,
  Live 12:30pm Bayer Leverkusen vs Borussia M’gladbach Fox Sports 2…  

 Sun, Dec 13

Live 8:30am Aston Villa vs Arsenal NBCSN,
Live 11:00am Tottenham vs Newcastle NBCSN,
Live 11:00am Liverpool vs West Brom NBC Sports Live Extra,
  9:00am Milan vs Hellas Verona beIN Sports U…
  12:00pm Napoli vs Roma beIN Sports U…
  2:45pm Juventus vs Fiorentina ESPN3,

Women’s Friendly 

Live 7:00pm USA vs China ESPN2Watch ESPN
North America – CONCACAF Women’s U-20 Championship 
Live 6:00pm Third Place:CONCACAF Women U20 Championship Fox Sports 2 USAFox Sports GO
Live 9:00pm Final:CONCACAF Women U20 Championship Fox Sports 2 USAFox Sports GO

Monday, December 14

3:00 p.m., NBCSN: Leicester City vs. Chelsea

Sat, Dec 19

Live 10:00am Everton vs Leicester City NBC Sports Live Extra,
Live 10:00am Manchester United vs Norwich City NBCSNNBC Sports Live Extra
Live 10:00am Chelsea vs Sunderland NBC Sports Live Extra,
Live 10:00am Southampton vs Tottenham Hotspur NBC Sports Live Extra,
Live 12:30pm Newcastle United vs Aston Villa NBC,

Sunday, Dec 20

NBCSNNBC Sports Live ExtraSir…
Live 11:00am Swansea City vs West Ham United NBCSNNBC Sports Live ExtraSir…

12/07/15 Champions League Tues/Wed as EPL tries to Survive, Portland Wins MLS Cup at Columbus 2-1

The Portland Timbers Outlasted the Columbus Crew as a Timbers Army crowd of 4K Traveled Across the Country to watch their Timbers beat Columbus 2-1 in the 20th MLS Cup Final at the Columbus Crew Stadium.  The atmosphere was electric – mainly due to the Portland Crowd behind the goal – but everyone stood the entire game despite the home team giving up 2 goals in the first 10 minutes of the ballgame.  Tyler and I had a blast – watching my Timbers pull off the improbable win – Portland’s first Championship in over 40 years as an organization.  Watch as they arrive home to Portland.   I do have to say however the organization of the Cup by MLS was spotty at best.  Tshirts, hats, scarves were impossible to come by and only available in the stadium after waiting for hours and they sold out of everything a full hour BEFORE gametime. The Exclusion of Timber Joey – the log cutting Timber man – after Portland had the log and huge chainsaw trucked across the country was an opportunity loss by ESPN, MLS and anyone who knows anything about Soccer in the US. It would be like saying the Dallas Cowboys cheerleaders can’t come to the SuperBowl. (the decision by Columbus to disallow the chainsaw wielding Joey and MLS/ESPN not stepping in to overrule was an opportunity loss by the league and show’s just how STUPID the big brass and decision makers at MLS are!!  It was all ok in the 80th minute however when I got to sing You Are My Sunshine (in honor of former Timber Jim’s- daughter who died ).

So its matchday 6 of Champions League with lots of different scenarios that can see teams thru this Tues/Wednesday.  The English teams with their backs to wall as Man United, Chelsea and Arsenal all need wins for a chance to advance to the knockout round of 16.  The Gunners need a 2 goal victory on the road at Greek Champ Olympiacos in fact, while Chelsea just needs a draw to advance.  (see the entire breakdown below)

Shane and Tyler at the MLS Cup in Columbus  12/5/15

Champions League

Who will Make it Thru – Video

How Teams Can Qualify from Matchday 6

Man U’s day of Reconing – UCL Matchday 6

Van Gaal says Goals Will Come

Roma hopes that Victory won’t be Necessary vs Bate

Marcottio – ESPNFC – Europe and more

MLS Cup –

Portland/Crew Hilights

Portland Timbers End Trophy Drought in Cup

Grant Wahl SI – MLS Cup won by Timbers

Timbers win 2-1 Wahl

Portland Timbers MLS Cup Win shows Porters Evolution

MLS Cup Photos

Columbus Rue missed Opportunity ESPN FC

Fans greet Timbers at Airport

Must See Games

 Tues Champ League  Man U @ Wolfsburg ,      Fox Sports 1 2:45 pm

Wed UCL  Barcelona @ Bayer Leverkusen       Fox sports 1  2:45 pm

Wed UCL  Bate @ Roma                            ESPN 2         2:45 pm

Wed UCL  Arsenal @ Olympiakos                        Fox Sports 2  2:45 pm

Sun USA Women vs China                                   ESPN             7 pm

Sun USA Women U20 Concacaf Semi-Finals Fox Sports 2  5 + 7 pm

Games This Week

Tues, Dec 8

Europe – UEFA Champions League 
Live 2:45pm PSG vs Shakhtar Donetsk ESPN3,
Live 2:45pm Real Madrid vs Malmö FF Fox Soccer 2Go USA,
Live 2:45pm Wolfsburg vs Manchester United Fox Sports 1…
Live 2:45pm PSV vs CSKA Moskva ESPN3T…
Live 2:45pm Benfica vs Atlético Madrid ESPN2
Live 2:45pm Galatasaray vs Astana ESPN3T…
Live 2:45pm Man City vs Borussia M’gladbach ESPN3
Live 2:45pm Sevilla vs Juventus ESPN3T…

Wed, Dec 9

Live 2:45pm Bayer Leverkusen vs Barcelona Fox Sports 1…
Live 2:45pm Roma vs BATE ESPN2
Live 2:45pm Dinamo Zagreb vs Bayern München ESPN3,
Live 2:45pm Olympiakos Piraeus vs Arsenal  Fox Sports 2…
Live 2:45pm Dynamo Kyiv vs Maccabi Tel Aviv ESPN3,
Live 2:45pm Chelsea vs Porto ESPN De…
Live 2:45pm Valencia vs Olympique Lyonnais ESPN3S…
Live 2:45pm Gent vs Zenit ESPN3T…

Thurs, Dec 10

Europe – UEFA Europa League 
Live 1:00pm Fenerbahçe vs Celtic Fox Soccer 2Go USACeltic TVSeta…
Live 1:00pm Ajax vs Molde Fox Soccer 2Go USAESPN3Sk…
Live 1:00pm Bordeaux vs Rubin Kazan’ Fox Soccer 2Go USARing.bgbeIN S…
Live 1:00pm Sion vs Liverpool Fox Soccer 2Go USAESPN3
Live 1:00pm Borussia Dortmund vs PAOK Fox Soccer 2Go USAFox Sports 2…

Full Europa League Schedule Thurs

Fri, Dec 11

North America – CONCACAF Women’s U-20 Championship 
Live 6:00pm Semi Final 1:CONCACAF Women U20 Fox Sports 2 USA,

Live,  9pm  Semi #2  Fox Sports 2

Sat, Dec 12

England – Premier League 
Live 7:45am Norwich City vs Everton NBCSN,
Live 10:00am Crystal Palace vs Southampton NBC Sports Live Extra,
Live 10:00am West Ham United vs Stoke City NBC Sports Live Extra,
Live 10:00am Manchester City vs Swansea City Nbcsn
Live 12:30pm AFC Bournemouth vs Man United NBCNBC Sports Live ExtraSirius…

 Sun, Dec 13

Live 8:30am Aston Villa vs Arsenal NBCSN,
Live 11:00am Tottenham vs Newcastle United NBCSN,
Live 11:00am Liverpool vs West Bromwich Albion NBC Sports Live Extra,
Women’s Friendly 
Live 7:00pm USA vs China ESPN2Watch ESPN
North America – CONCACAF Women’s U-20 Championship 
Live 6:00pm Third Place:CONCACAF Women U20 Championship Fox Sports 2 USAFox Sports GO
Live 9:00pm Final:CONCACAF Women U20 Championship Fox Sports 2 USAFox Sports GO

Champions League: How teams can qualify from each group


Real Madrid: Have qualified as group winners.

Paris Saint-Germain: Have qualified as group runners-up.

Shakhtar Donetsk: Will qualify for the Europa League if they at least match Malmo’s result. They go to PSG on the final matchday.

Malmo: Must better Shakhtar’s result to qualify for the Europa League. They are away to Real Madrid.


Wolfsburg: Need a point at home to Manchester United to qualify. Will also go through with a loss against United if PSV fail to beat CSKA.

Manchester United: Must win at Wolfsburg to guarantee their place. If United draw with Wolfsburg, then they will be eliminated if PSV beat CSKA. If United lose to Wolfsburg, they will be eliminated if PSV get a point against CSKA.

PSV Eindhoven: Guaranteed to progress if they win at home to CSKA Moscow, at the expense of either Wolfsburg or Man United. They can also go through with a draw on head to head if Man United lose to Wolfsburg,

CSKA Moscow: Will qualify for the Europa League on head to head if they beat PSV.


Benfica: Have qualified, and will finish top of the group if they at least draw at home to Atletico Madrid.

Atletico Madrid: Have qualified, and will finish top of the group if they win at Benfica.

Galatasaray: Need a draw at home to Astana to qualify for the Europa League.

Astana: Must win at Galatasaray to qualify for the Europa League.


Juventus: Have qualified and need a point at Sevilla to top the group.

Manchester City: Have qualified and must win at home to Borussia Monchengladbach and hope Juve lose to top the group.

Borussia Monchengladbach: Must win at Man City to be guaranteed a place in the Europa League.

Sevilla: Must win at home to Juventus and hope Gladbach fail to beat Man City to qualify for the Europa League. If Sevilla and Gladbach finish level on points, then Sevilla hold the head to head.


Barcelona: Qualified as group winners.

AS Roma: Will qualify with a win at home to BATE as they hold the head to head over Bayer Leverkusen. A draw will also be enough if Leverkusen fail to win.

Bayer Leverkusen: Must win at home to Barcelona to stand any hope of qualifying. If they do win, they have to hope Roma fail to win at home to BATE.

BATE Borisov: Must win at Roma and hope Leverkusen fail to beat Barcelona.


Bayern Munich: Qualified as group winners.

Olympiakos: Need a point at home to Arsenal to qualify. A defeat of 1-0 or 2-1 would also see them finish ahead of the Gunners on head to head away goals.

Arsenal: Must win at Olympiakos. Arsenal would need to win by two goals, or a one-goal victory margin of 4-3 or higher, to climb above the Greek club on head to head points. If Arsenal were to win 3-2, then head to head would be level and it would go down to overall group goal difference — which is guaranteed to send the Gunners through.

Arsenal will need to:
– Beat Olympiakos by two or more goals
– Or by a one-goal margin of 3-2 or higher

Dinamo Zagreb: Have been eliminated from the competition completely.


Each team has quite a simple task, although the explanation is quite complicated. We’ll go in reverse for this group as Dynamo Kiev are key here to there being three teams level on points.

What is important to note is that if more than two teams are level on points there is no consideration given to 1 vs. 1 results. A head to head mini-league is created using only the results involving those three sides. And as Maccabi would have lost all their games, the group will come down purely to goal difference in games involving Dynamo Kiev, Chelsea and Porto.

– Chelsea need a draw to qualify
– Porto must win at Chelsea to definitely qualify, a draw is not enough if Dynamo win
– Dynamo are guaranteed to qualify by beating Maccabi

Dynamo Kiev: Victory at home to Maccabi Tel-Aviv will guarantee their qualification, which will be as group winners if there is no winner in Chelsea vs. Porto. The two-goal win over Porto has been key. With all three teams on 11 points, Dynamo have a goal difference of +1.

Chelsea: Only need a point at home to Porto, and will also qualify if Dynamo fail to beat Maccabi. With all three teams on 11 points, Chelsea have a goal difference of 0.

Porto: Must win at Chelsea, or hope Dynamo fail to beat Maccabi. No other result will do. With all three teams on 11 points, Porto have a goal difference of -1.

If all three teams finish on 11 points, the head to head minileague is guaranteed to finish as:
1 – Dynamo Kiev, 5pts, GD: +1
2 – Chelsea, 5pts, GD: =
3 – FC Porto, 5pts, GD: -1


Zenit St Petersburg: Qualified as group winners.

Gent: A victory at home to Zenit will guarantee their place. They would also be guaranteed to qualify if Valenica fail to beat Lyon, as they hold the head to head over Valencia on away goals.

Valencia: Must win at home to Lyon and hope Gent fail to beat Zenit.

Lyon: Have been eliminated from the competition completely.



11/12/15 US Soccer Fri Nite 7 pm, Euros this week/end, MLS Final 4 Sun on ESPN

Sorry I have been remiss in my soccer updates but we have a huge soccer week/weekend in store with the European Qualification Playoffs, the start of World Cup Qualifications the US Men’s National Team , the MLS Conference Finals (read final 4) and recaps of Champions League from last week.

Lets start with the US Soccer team as Klinsmann (read the German from here on out) has assembled a young team that includes so exciting new players we haven’t yet seen in a US jersey.  The most intriguing to me in Nagbe from the Portland Timbers- he just recently became a US Citizen and might just be an answer at forward moving forward along with the likes of Jordan Morris and Bobby Wood.  Interesting to see Dempsey off the roster – but after the absolute zero he laid against Mexico – I am not surprised to see the move here by the German.  The US kickoff is Friday night at 7:10 pm on ESPN 2 from St. Louis.

European Qualifying playoffs start Thursday and last thru the weekend as 8 teams battle for 4 spots in a home and away UCL set up.  Sweden’s Zlatan Ibrahimovic could be playing in his last Euro’s but they have to beat Denmark to qualify this Sat at 2:45 pm on Fox Sports 2.  Ireland is hoping to join Wales, England and Northern Ireland as representatives from the UK if they can beat Boznia/Hertz on Monday at 2:45 pm on Fox Sports 1.  Lots of good friendlies on Friday 2:45 pm Belgium vs Italy, England vs Spain.  Also South American qualifiers play this weekend on beIn Sport with Argentina facing Brazil Thursday night at 7 pm.

Finally the MLS Playoffs have been pretty spectacular with 3 of last weekend’s games going to extra time and the Seattle vs Dallas game going to a shootout.  Carmel High grad Matt Hodges was fantastic for Dallas as he thwarted Clint Dempsey on numerous occasions during the up and down action of 123 minutes played in Frisco, Texas.  I will be excited to follow Hedges and Dallas and the Timbers of Portland (my 2nd favorite US home crowd to Seattle) on Sunday at 7:30 pm on ESPN.  While our closest MLS neighbor the Columbus Crew will host the top seed NY Red Bulls on Sunday at 5 pm.

European Qualification Playoffs

Top European Qualifiers Ever


4 Big Questions Euro Qualifying Playoffs

Irelands big chance

Last time they met


US WCQ Brian Straus SI

US Youth Issues

Davis: Altidore out, Wood in | McIntyre: Klinsmann scrutiny

New Players Get a chance

Grant Wahl Mailbag 

Klinsmann accepts blame  SI

Meet Matt Miazga – new US Defender

US Mid Fabian Johnson scores wondergoal in Champions League

Report has Lazio showing interest in US Mid Perry Kitchen

Former US coach Bob Bradley works miracle leading former last place Stabaek to Europa Qual

Bob Bradley off to France after miracle in Norway as coach

US striker Eddie Johnson retiring


A Quick Look at Final Four – SI

MLS Conference Finals – SI – Luvi Bird

Champions – Matches

Quick UCL Roundup – day 2 Matchday 4

Champions League Round up Matchday 4

Champions League = Bayern Impresses

Full standingsAll groups

 3 November 2015

C Astana  0-0 Atlético
A Shakhtar Donetsk  4-0 Malmö
B Man. United  1-0 CSKA Moskva
C Benfica  2-1 Galatasaray
A Real Madrid  1-0 Paris
B PSV  2-0 Wolfsburg
D Mönchengladbach  1-1 Juventus
D Sevilla  1-3 Man. City

Thur, Nov 12

Europe – UEFA Euro Qualifying 
Live 2:45pm Norway vs Hungary Fox Sports 1 USAFox Sports GO
Live 3:00pm Bolivia vs Venezuela beIN Sports USAbeIN S…
Live 4:00pm Ecuador vs Uruguay beIN Sports USA,
Live 6:30pm Chile vs Colombia beIN Sports en Español
Live 7:00pm Argentina vs Brazil beIN Sports USA,

Fri, Nov 13

Friendlies –

Live 2:30pm Czech Republic vs Serbia ESPN3ESPN Deportes+W…
Live 2:45pm Spain vs England ESPN3ESPN Deportes+W…
Live 2:45pm Poland vs Iceland beIN SPORTS CONNECTTVP Sp…
Live 2:45pm Belgium vs Italy ESPN3ESPN Deportes+W…
Europe – UEFA Euro Qualifying 
Live 2:45pm Bosnia and Herzegovina vs Ireland Republic ESPN2ESPN Deportes TV


7:10pm USA vs St. Vin/ Grenadines ESPN2,

Sat, Nov 14 

Europe – UEFA Euro Qualifying 
Live 12:00pm Ukraine vs Slovenia ESPN Deportes TVESPN3
Live 2:45pm Sweden vs Denmark Fox Sports 2 USA,

Sun, Nov 15

Europe – UEFA Euro Qualifying 
Live 2:45pm Hungary vs Norway ESPNESPN Deportes TV
Live 5:00pm Columbus Crew SC vs New York RB

*MLS Conference Final 1

Live 7:30pm Portland Timbers vs Dallas            ESPN

*MLS Conference Final 2

Mon, Nov 16

Europe – UEFA Euro Qualifying 

Live 2:45pm Ireland vs Bos/Herzegovina Fox Sports 1 USA,
Tues,  Nov 17

Europe – UEFA Euro Qualifying 
Live 2:45pm Slovenia vs Ukraine Fox Sports 2 USAFox Sports GO
Live 2:45pm Denmark vs Sweden ESPN2

Fri, Nov 22

2:30pm Hamburger SV vs Borussia Dortmund Fox Sports 2 USA,

Sat, Nov 21

Live 12:15pm Real Madrid vs Barcelona

*El Clasico 2015

beIN Sports USA,

Sun, Nov 22

Live 12:30pm Manchester City vs Liverpool NBCTelemundo,
Live 5:00pm Dallas vs Portland Timbers

*MLS Conference Final 1

Live 7:30pm New York RB vs Columbus Crew SC

*MLS Conference Final 2

Fox Sports 1 USA

Road to Russia begins early: In-flux USA begins World Cup qualifying

Brian Straus SI – It’s been less than a year and a half since Philipp Lahm raised the trophy at the Estádio do Maracanã, yet for much of the planet, the 21st World Cup is well underway. In fact, close to a quarter of the 209 national teams eligible to qualify for the 2018 finals already have been eliminated. And nearly 200 games have taken place. The U.S. typically has been one of the last countries to enter the fray. CONCACAF, which includes 35 FIFA-affiliated nations from Canada down to Suriname, opts to weed out most of its minnows before admitting the more powerful contenders. Since embarking on its return to the world stage in July 1988, the U.S.—along with regional heavyweights like Mexico and Costa Rica—has played its first qualifier around two years before the start of the quadrennial finals. For the Americans, an Olympic/European Championship summer typically coincided with the initial step down the World Cup road. That gave coaches a solid two years between the conclusion of a World Cup and the start of the next one to find their footing, integrate new players and develop the sort of chemistry and consistency that qualification demands. This time around, however, Jurgen Klinsmann will have no such luxury. FIFA’s 2012 removal of a summer international date and the addition of the 2016 Copa América Centenario highlight an increasingly congested international calendar, which prompted CONCACAF to bring World Cup qualifying forward.More

Fourteen teams kicked off the knockout rounds in March, just eight months after Germany won it all in Rio de Janeiro. And the U.S. will launch its attempt to qualify for an eighth straight World Cup on Friday in St. Louis. There, at the Cardinals’ Busch Stadium, the Americans will meet St. Vincent and The Grenadines, the world’s 129th-ranked team.It’s by far the earliest start to qualifying in U.S. history.The curious scheduling and curious site comes at a curious time for Klinsmann and the U.S. The manager’s transition from the 2014 World Cup hasn’t gone well.The U.S. is 9-6-2 this year and just 1-4-1 in its past six games, all of which were at home. Among the defeats were the Gold Cup semifinal loss to Jamaica, which helped send the U.S. to its worst continental championship finish in 15 years, and last month’s Confederations Cup playoff defeat to Mexico. LA Galaxy forward Gyasi Zardes arguably is the only “new” player to establish himself in the regular U.S. rotation, and criticisms of Klinsmann’s performance have reached an all-time high.

It isn’t an ideal time to start qualifying for the biggest competition of all. But Klinsmann, ever the optimist, said he’s excited by the start of a new cycle and eager to re-ignite the transition to a younger generation of players that was put on hold by the Gold Cup and the ensuing playoff.“We start that process now. We’re all excited because we talk World Cup. We talk Russia 2018. That’s what you want to do and that’s what inspires you, what motivates you, and the players know that,” he told reporters Monday in Miami, where the U.S. is training ahead of Friday’s game and then the Nov. 17 qualifier in Trinidad and Tobago.The 23-man team gathered in Florida includes a core of veteran names like captain Michael Bradley; midfielders Kyle Beckerman and Jermaine Jones; goalkeepers Tim Howard and Brad Guzan; defenders Fabian Johnson, Geoff Cameron and Matt Besler and forward Jozy Altidore. The program’s leading active goal scorer, Clint Dempsey, is not in camp. More

But they’re joined by 10 players without World Cup qualifying experience, 11 who are 25 or younger and one, Stanford University forward Jordan Morris, who isn’t even a professional. The U.S. was an older team last year and again at this summer’s Gold Cup, where it struggled. Klinsmann said he is starting to address that issue while keeping an eye on the importance of getting good results against St. Vincent and Trinidad.“It’s part of that phase between two World Cups. You obviously want younger players to come through. You want to help younger players, and the only way you can help them is giving them minutes,” Klinsmann said. “And that’s at the expense of more experienced ones. You can’t do both. You can only have 11 on the field at the end of the day. So here and there you have to make compromises.”But not at the expense of the final score, he added.“When you go into a process like World Cup qualifying, you have to get results. This is about getting the points.. You’ve got to win your games at home and you have to get points also on the away side,” he said. “We want [younger players] to come out of their shell a bit more and more and make a point … We also have to have a longer, kind of a bigger picture towards Russia 2018. So we need the Bobby Woods, the Jordan Morrises, the Gyasi Zardeses out there to make an impression, to fight their way though and prove it also in World Cup qualifying. We cannot start that process two years from now.”This semifinal round of qualifying features lighter opposition but reduced margin for error. The Americans’ quartet, which also features Guatemala, is the easiest of the three on paper (the others are Mexico-Honduras-El Salvador-Canada and Costa Rica-Panama-Haiti-Jamaica). But with only six games to play, things can get stressful quickly. In 2012, the U.S. lost at Jamaica during the same stage and actually needed at least a draw in the finale against Guatemala to ensure advancement to the Hexagonal. In 2000, the U.S., at 3-1-2, made it through the semifinal round by a single point, thanks to a win in Barbados.“Automatically, you’re among the favorites in CONCACAF. You fight for spot No. 1 with Mexico for years. Yes, you’re the favorite in [the current] group,” Klinsmann said. “But it’s not an easy group at all. I think Trinidad and Tobago showed in the Gold Cup how capable they are to make it very, very difficult to Mexico, to other teams as well. You look at their players, where they play, a lot of them play in Europe in different leagues … and are proven players. You expect a very, very tough and difficult game. But at the end of the day, you’re expected to go through.”More

Friday’s opponent, St. Vincent, isn’t expected to go through. It’s a country of only 103,000 people whose national team has qualified for just one Gold Cup. That came in 1996, when the Vincy Heat lost its two games by a combined 8-0 tally. Its most famous player, the retired Ezra Hendrickson, won MLS championships with D.C. United, the Columbus Crew and LA Galaxy and now coaches USL side Seattle Sounders 2.A pair of his Sounders charges, 22-year-old forward Myron Samuel and 19-year-old Oalex Anderson, play for St. Vincent. The leading goal scorer in CONCACAF qualifying so far, with five in four matches, is St. Vincent striker Tevin Slater. He plays for a club called Camdonia Chelsea in the domestic NLA Premier League and makes extra money as a fisherman.WATCH: Fabian Johnson scores in Champions League  Trinidad, as Klinsmann said, has a much more professional pedigree. It gave Mexico fits at the Gold Cup, won its group and fell to Panama on penalty kicks in the quarterfinals. T&T is 2-5-2 all-time against the U.S. at home in Port of Spain, with wins in 1994 and 2008.Elsewhere on Friday, Juan Carlos Osorio will make his managerial debut for Mexico as the Gold Cup champions host El Salvador. Group A could be tough. Canada entertains Honduras in the other matchup. In Group B, 2014 World Cup quarterfinalist Costa Rica hosts Haiti and Jamaica hosts Panama in a meeting between the Gold Cup silver and bronze medalists.Following next week’s Trinidad game, the U.S. will continue Group C play in Guatemala on March 25, 2016 and home to Los Chapines four days later. The semifinal stage will conclude Sept 2 and 6 at St. Vincent and home to Trinidad. The top two finishers will advance to the Hex, which is scheduled to start earlier than ever—in November 2016.

Jozy Altidore’s time should be over with USMNT, so bring on Bobby Wood

As Jurgen Klinsmann looks toward the 2018 World Cup, he’s clearly rethinking his forward line.”At this point in time, I want to give the younger strikers a chance to prove themselves and this is a good stage to do it,” the United States national team head coach said in an attempt to explain why he left Clint Dempsey off the roster for upcoming qualification matches against St. Vincent & the Grenadines and Trinidad & Tobago. (The manager’s words do nothing to justify the inclusion of 34-year-old Alan Gordon, but that’s a different column.)The choice to start qualifying without the former captain and Gold Cup bright spot is at once confusing and also classic Klinsmann, the decision of a coach who never wants his players to feel comfortable. It was the hallmark of a manager searching for answers, desperate to find a player or two from the so-far underwhelming next generation who can contribute at the international level. It was the latest — and most obvious — move in a series of signs that the American team will change dramatically between now and Russia.But if Klinsmann really wants to make a statement, he should look to the other forward position. When the Stars and Stripes take the field on Friday evening in St. Louis’ Busch Stadium, Jozy Altidore should not be starting at target forward. Bobby Wood should be.For the past half dozen years, Altidore has served as the primary target striker in part because of his skill but also because no one else managed to grab the role. Dempsey, who’s better running at defenders, isn’t a prototypical player in that spot. Terrence Boyd never showed more than flashes of skill with his back to goal, failing to find any consistency. A few years ago, Teal Bunbury had a couple nice moments but nothing more. Juan Agudelo hasn’t put a run together. Chris Wondolowski works hard but is always going to be limited at the highest level.We’ve seen other options come and go — Gordon, Eddie Johnson — but nothing stuck, so Altidore got the call time and time again.And he hasn’t been a bad choice, having shown he can score, especially when he’s feeling confident. He tallied 13 goals in 26 appearances for Toronto FC this season and found four goals in 11 matches for the U.S. in 2015, albeit only two since March 25. In CONCACAF competition, Altidore can overpower defenders and, on his good nights, deliver smart passes, creative options and deft first touches.But there are too many off-nights. Klinsmann also knows what he has in the 26-year-old forward. His ceiling isn’t as high as it once appeared, and he too infrequently approaches that level. Altidore has struggled with injuries and fitness, and has rarely looked as sharp as one would hope. He suffers setbacks at the most inopportune times, like a hamstring injury midway through the first match of the 2014 World Cup. (One of Klinsmann’s biggest failings as a coach was not having a second target striker on that roster and no Plan B after Altidore went down.)Wood came off the bench in the CONCACAF Cup in Oct., for Jozy Altidore and scored in extra time.In Wood, however, the American coach has a player in the ascendency. The 22-year-old finally found a stable spot with 2.Bundesliga’s Union Berlin, where he has scored five goals in 14 games, including one over the weekend. For the U.S., he has three goals in seven matches — June winners against The Netherlands and Germany, and a smart finish against the run of play in October’s CONCACAF Cup vs. Mexico, a match to which he was a late addition.These are important moments, especially the left-footed blast to beat Klinsmann’s native country, but it was Wood’s performance in the match with Costa Rica that was the most instructive. He came on for Altidore to start the second half and immediately made an impact on the proceedings. During a fixture in which most members of the U.S. vacillated between shell-shocked and disinterested, Wood cared.He went into challenges hard. He fought for balls. He yelled. He pushed. He was strong enough to hold off Jonny Acosta and quick enough to maneuver around the enormous Kendall Waston. Wood refused to back down, displaying an ability to hold up the ball with effortless chest traps and impressive first touches, and also the willingness to make something happen on his own.In short, Wood looked like a man who belonged, and one who desperately wanted to be on the field.Rocked by multiple knee injuries that required surgery earlier in his career, Wood fought hard to get back to this point. He nearly derailed his promise after playing through pain during the 2011 Under-20 CONCACAF Championship. He faced setback after setback, and struggled through a difficult 2014 where he couldn’t get on the field at 1860 Munich.The attacker credits the U.S. coach, who gave him time against Colombia and Ireland, for keeping his faith intact. “If Klinsmann didn’t support me, I think I’d be somewhere else right now,” he said earlier this fall. “He was the only one who had my back at the time, aside from my family and friends.”Wood is only now beginning to realize his promise with the help of a stable club career. Becoming a fixture on the U.S. national team is the next step. Wood’s rapid growth is nicely timed with Klinsmann’s desire to get younger before the most difficult stages of World Cup qualifying begin in earnest.The coach called in players such as Jordan Morris, Darlington Nagbe and Matt Miazga to the latest camp. Nearly half the roster is under 25 years-old, and the coach will throw many of them into the fire at some point as he has with others like DeAndre Yedlin.With Klinsmann, it’s always sink or swim. With his performances this year, Wood has shown he can thrive in international waters.Six years ago, a 19-year-old Altidore scored three times in a World Cup qualifier against Trinidad & Tobago. Today, the U.S. team finds itself in the middle of another youth movement. It’s time for players like Wood to lead the way, not just in terms of making the roster but by doing so on the field.Noah Davis is a Brooklyn-based correspondent for ESPN FC

10/23/15 MLS Decision Day Sunday/Indy 11 Final home game Sat/Champ League MD3 Results/HS Semi-States

So the Indy 11 wrap up their 2nd home season on Saturday night at “The Mike” – A free team photo will be given out to the first 5000 fans with tickets starting at just $10 for Fan Appreciation Night, also enjoy $5 ft long hot dogs and soda specials.

So Sunday is decision Day in the MLS – as the last 3 spots in the Western Conference and the last spot in the East is up for grabs along with who will win the Supporter’s Shield (best regular season record) the New York Redbulls or FC Dallas with former Carmel High star Matt Hedges.  All games Sunday will be on either Fox Sports 1 or Online on ESPN 3.  Also Sunday the US Ladies face Brazil at 2:30 on FS1, followed by our nearest MLS Team – the Columbus Crew vs DC United at 5 on Fox Sports 1 in the battle for 2nd in the East, and Sporting KC vs LA Galaxy at 7 pm on ESPN as Sporting KC and US Internationals Graham Zuzi and Matt Beasler try to hold on to the final playoff spot in the West.

Also Sunday the Manchester Darby matches #2 Man U vs #1 Man City at 10 am on NBC sports Network as the Red Devils look to jump to the top of the table with a win. The darby is followed by Liverpool hosting Southampton in Jurgen Klopp’s first home game at Anfield at 12:15 pm on NBC.  The first EPL match Saturday has US international Deandre Yedlin and Sunderland vs New Castle on NBCSN, while USGK Timmy Howard the EPL’s 2nd rated keeper helps #9 Everton as they travel to the Emmirates to take on Arsenal.

Former Carmel FC’er Charles Price scored 2 goals over the weekend to help the # 6 Ranked Carmel High Boys advance to Semi-State this Saturday in Evansville where they will face (17-2-1) East Central at noon.  Also alive #3 Ft Wayne Canterbury vs #17 Penn, #7 Center Grove vs #13 Blooming South and #9 Lake Central vs #8 Harrison.  The winners will advance to the state final 4 at The Indy 11 Stadium Oct 31st.  On the girl’s side Brebeuf will play Center Grove while Fishers faces Muster in Semi-States

CFCU13_ boys gold champions 2015 socctoberfest

Congrats to the U13 Carmel FC Boys and coaches Cecilia Lacerda and John Leonard for their win in Soctoberfest last weekend.  And a huge congrats to all the Teams that won or advanced to the finals.

MLS – Decision Day this Weekend to Playoffs

Playoff Scenarios – MLS – on Decision Day

Top MLS Teams heading into Decision Day   NY RedBulls/FC Dallas battle for Supporter Shield – Sebastian Giovincho has the Golden Boot about wrapped up.

Which Team in under most Pressure ESPN FC

MLS Decision Day Looms – Jason Davis ESPN FC

Top Selling MLS Jerseys – Dempsey is #1

Power Rankings ESPN FC

Kreis out at NYCFC?

Vote for Save of the Week MLS  Wk 22

Portland Timbers Statement win over LA Galaxy at Home

MLS Salary Data – Goalkeeper


Homecoming for former Carmel Player – Daniel Keller

Hi Lights – Indy 11 3-1 win over Minn United

Fan Appreciation Night Indy 11 vs 3rd Place – Ft. Lauderdale – Tickets just $10  Free Team Poster to first 5K fans, $5 Ft Long Hot dog and Soda Special

NASL Plays of the Week

NASL Standings


Monday Morning Manager

Manchester Darby Who Wins?

Man Derby – Key Points ESPN FC

Derby Quiz?  ESPN FC

Klopp Excited for Anfield Welcome

EPL Table

Top Goalkeepers in the EPL

Stadium Tours in the EPL

Premier League Clubs overtake NFL for TV Earnings

Champions League

Champions League Wrap up SI

Petre Cech the Difference for Arsenal in win over Bayern

Porto’s GK Casillas breaks Champs League Clean Sheet Record

Neymar’s Artful Form Praised in Win

Could England Lose a UCL Spot to Italy?  

Juve Ties Again  

Eufa Wrap-Up


U17s World Cup Round-up

Klinnsman right to send Johnson Home

US Ladies Shannon Boxx Retires in 1-1 Brazil Tie

WAHL: Source: Alex Morgan heading to Orlando in NWSL blockbuster

5 Points for US ahead of WC Quals Fox soccer

Fabian Johnson keeps playing while Alejandro is out

US DA expands to U12/U13+14 split

Americans Abroad Weekend Preview

Klinsmann asks about Portland’s Dalington Nagbe possible Call Up


Manual Nuerer with Save of Season vs Arsenal Yesterday

Petre Cech Saved Arsenal vs Bayern in Champions League Play yesterday

Top Saves of the Week – EPL

Vote for Save of the Week MLS  Wk 22


Friday – 7 pm            USA vs Chile (U17 WC)                             Fox sports 2

This will be a must win game for the US U17s to Advance out of Group Play

Sat – 12:30 pm                     Arsenal vs Everton                                      NBC

A Must win game for US Keeper Tim Howard and the Toffees if they want to keep their hopes alive for a top 4 Finish – the Gunners look to hold Serve at home.

Sat  7:30 pm                         Indy 11 (H)  vs Ft. Lauderdale                  Ch 8 and ESPN 3

It’s the last home game for Indy as they look to fight their way out of the seller in the NASL with 1 road game left after this.

Sun  10 am                               Man United vs Man City            NBCSN

The Manchester Darby is always a battle royale – with the winner moving to the top of the table after the tie at Old Trafford.

Sun 12:15                                 Liverpool vs Southampton        NBC

The Reds and Canaries are tied at 8th in the table as Liverpools new manager Juergan Klopp manages his first game at the Ansfield on NBC.

Sun 2:30 p.m.           United States women vs. Brazil, friendly, (Fox Sports 1)

Anytime the US and Brazil + Marta go head to head its worth tuning in.

Sun 5:00 p.m.           Columbus Crew vs. D.C. United,               (Fox Sports 1,)

As the MLS Playoffs get ready to start next week – this is a great time to watch your local Columbus Crew battle for 2nd in the East.


Fri, October 23: 

4 pm,        Korea vs England (U17 WC)                         Fox Sports 1

7 pm         USA vs Chile (U17 WC)                                             Fox sports 2

Sat, October 24: 

7:30 am         Blackburn vs Burnley  (Eng Champ)                                beIN Sports

9:30 am         Bayern Munich vs Koln                                                     Fox Sports 2

10 am             Leicester vs Crystal Palace                                               USA

10 am             Chelsea vs Westham                                                         NBCSN

10 am             Stoke City vs Watford                                                        NBC  Live Extra

10 am             Celtic vs Real Madrid (Sp)                                                 beIn Sports

12:30 pm      Arsenal vs Everton                                                              NBC

12:30 pm      Ingolstadt vs Hertha BSC                           Fox Sports 2  US John Brooks for Hertha

3 pm               Ecuador vs Belgium  (U17 WC)                                        Fox Sports 2

6 pm               Germany vs Mexico (U17 WC)                                        Fox Sports 2

7:30 pm         Indy 11 (H)  vs Ft. Lauderdale                                          Ch 8 and ESPN 3

 Sunday, October 25: 

8 am         Sunderland vs Newcastle United                   NBCSN

10 am       Man United vs Man City                              NBCSN

10 am       Juve vs Atalanta (ITA)                                 beIn Sports

10:30 am   Borussian Dortmund vs Augsburg                 Fox Sports 2

12:15        Liverpool vs Southampton                            NBC

12:30        Borussia MGB vs Schalke 04                       Fox Sports 1

2:30 p.m. United States women vs. Brazil, friendly, (Fox Sports 1)

4 pm         PSG vs Saint Enienne (FR)                          beIn Sports
5:00 p.m.   Columbus Crew vs. D.C. United,                  (Fox Sports 1,) Battle for 2nd in the East
7:00 p.m    Sporting Kansas City vs. LA  Galaxy,.        (ESPN)  SKC fending off San Jose for the last playoff spot in the West
7:00 p.m      FC Dallas vs. San Jose Earthquakes,. (ESPN3) San Jose battling for last spot in West –Dallas Supporter Shield
7:00 p.m    Portland Timbers vs. Colorado Rapids,.         (ESPN3) Portland holding off Seattle for 4th spot
7:00 p.m      Seattle Sounders vs. Real Salt Lake           (ESPN3) Seattle trying for 3rd place or 4th in West.
7:00 p.m.   Vancouver Whitecaps vs. Houston Dynamo, (ESPN3)
Tues, October 27:  Cap 1 Cup

3:45 pm         stoke City vs Chelsea                                                         beIn Sports

Weds, October 28: Cap 1 Cup

3:45 pm         Man U vs Middlesborough                                              beIn Sports

 Sat, October 31: 

8:45 am         Chelsea vs Liverpool                                                          NBCSN

11 am             Swansea vs Arsenal                                                            NBCSN or USA

11 am             Crystal Palace vs Man United                                          USA or NBCSN

11 am             Man City vs Norwich                                                          NBC Live Extra?

11 am             Newcastle vs Stoke City                            NBC Live Extra?

Sun, Nov 1: 

8:45 am         Everton vs Sunderland                                                      NBCSN

11 am             Southhampton vs Bournemouth                                    NBC Live Extra

MLS Playoffs

3 pm        Semi-finals Leg 1   East Conf               ESPN

5 pm        Semi-finals Leg 1                                   ESPN

7 pm        Semi-finals Leg 1   West Conf              Fox Sports 1

9 pm        Semi-finals Leg 1                                   Fox Sports 1

Mon, Nov 2: 

8:45 am         Tottenham vs Aston Villa                          NBCSN

Sunday, Nov 8 

MLS Playoffs

3 pm        Semi-finals Leg 1   East Conf               ESPN

5 pm        Semi-finals Leg 1                                   ESPN

7 pm        Semi-finals Leg 1   West Conf              Fox Sports 1

9 pm        Semi-finals Leg 1                                   Fox Sports 1

Fri, Nov 13

6:30 pm   USA vs St Vincent and Grenadines    ESPN  St. Louis

Scenarios: Who needs what in the push to the Audi 2015 MLS Cup Playoffs

October 20, 20153:00 AM EDTMLSsoccer   RELATED: Playoff matchups if the season ended today

Eastern Conference

 Playoff spot clinched

New York Red Bulls clinched this season’s first playoff spot on Sept. 20, later avoiding the Knockout Round with a bye and clinching first place in the East. They lead FC Dallas for the Supporters’ Shield, and will win the trophy with a victory at Chicago on Sunday and any FC Dallas result, assuming FCD doesn’t match a win or loss while also making up six goals relative to the Red Bulls’ outcome. 

No. 1, East – 57 PTS | Schedule: 10/25 at CHI

 Playoff spot clinched

D.C. United clinched a playoff spot on Oct. 2. They remain in contention for an automatic berth in the Eastern Conference Semifinals. A win at Columbus on Sunday puts them in strong position to secure the bye. 

No. 2, East – 51 PTS | Schedule: 10/25 at CLB

 Playoff spot clinched

Crew SC locked up their spot on Oct. 17 with a road win in Toronto and theycan clinch an automatic berth in the Eastern Conference Semifinals with a win against D.C. on Sunday. 

No. 3, East – 50 PTS | Schedule: 10/25 vs DC

 Playoff spot clinched

Toronto FC clinched a playoff spot on Oct. 14. They remain in contention for an automatic berth in the Eastern Conference Semifinals, and can clinch said berth with a victory against Montreal AND a draw between D.C. and Columbus.

No. 4, East – 49 PTS | Schedule: 10/25 at MTL

Playoff spot clinched

Montreal clinched a playoff spot on Oct. 17 with their 1-0 road win against New England. They remain in contention for an automatic berth in the Eastern Conference Semifinals, though it would take a victory against Toronto AND a D.C. victory against Columbus AND a win or tie by New England.

No. 5, East – 48 PTS | Schedule: 10/25 vs TOR

 The Revs will be in a battle with Orlando City on #DecisionDay for the sixth and final playoff spot in the East. But they know they currently have a hefty lead (+8) on the goal differential tiebreaker should they slip up on the final day. They can clinch a playoff spot with a win/draw Sunday vs. NYCFC OR a Orlando draw/loss at Philadelphia. 

No. 6, East – 47 PTS | Schedule: 10/25 at NYC

Orlando City’s only chance to make the playoffs is to beat the Philadelphia Union by a large margin on #DecisionDay and hope New York City FC can do the same to the New England Revolution. They would need to make up 8 goals on the Revs to offset the goal differential tiebreaker.

No. 7, East – 44 PTS | Schedule: 10/25 at PHI

 Eliminated from playoff contention

NYCFC were eliminated from playoff contention on Oct. 10.

 Eliminated from playoff contention

Philadelphia Union were eliminated from playoff contention on Oct. 3.

 Eliminated from playoff contention

Chicago Fire were eliminated from playoff contention on Sept. 26.

Western Conference

 Playoff spot clinched

FC  Dallas clinched the West’s first playoff spot on Oct. 4, followed by first place and a Knockout Round bye on Oct. 17. They also remain in contention for the Supporters’ Shield, but likely won’t be able to claim the trophy if the New York Red Bulls win at Chicago on Sunday. Goal differential serves as the first tiebreaker, and RBNY enter #DecisionDay with a six-goal margin separating them and Dallas.

No. 1, West – 57 PTS | Schedule: 10/25 vs SJ

 Playoff spot clinched

LA Galaxy clinched a playoff spot on Oct. 4. They can clinch an automatic berth in the Western Conference Semifinals with a win at Sporting Kansas City on Sunday. 

No. 2, West – 51 PTS | 10/25 at SKC

 Playoff spot clinched

The Vancouver Whitecaps clinched a playoff spot on Oct. 8. They remain in contention for an automatic berth in the Western Conference Semifinals.

No. 3, West – 50 PTS | Schedule: 10/25 vs HOU

Portland can clinch a playoff spot with a win or tie against Colorado on Sunday.

No. 4, West – 50 points | Schedule: 10/25 vs COL

Seattle can clinch a playoff spot with a win against Real Salt Lake on Sunday. They would also clinch a playoff spot with a tie vs. RSL AND EITHER a Earthquakes loss/draw at FC Dallas OR an SKC loss/tie vs. Colorado AND an SKC loss+tie combination in their double-game week.

No. 5, West – 48 points | Schedule: 10/25 vs RSL

Sporting KC can clinch a playoff spot with a win against Colorado on Wednesday OR a win against LA on Sunday. A tie in either spot gets them in IF EITHER Seattle or San Jose lose on Sunday. Sporting can clinch an automatic berth in the Western Conference Semifinals with wins against both Colorado and LA. 

No. 6, West – 48 PTS | Schedule: 10/21 vs COL, 10/25 vs LA

 San Jose can clinch a playoff spot this weekend with a win at FC Dallas AND ONE OF the following:

  1. A Portland loss vs. Colorado on Sunday;
  2. A Seattle loss/tie vs. RSL on Sunday;
  3. An SKC loss/tie vs. Colorado on Wednesday AND SKC loss or tie vs. LA on Sunday
  4. A tie vs. FC Dallas if Sporting loses against BOTH Colorado and LA. 

No. 7, West – 47 PTS | Schedule: 10/25 at FCD

 Eliminated from playoff contention

Houston Dynamo were eliminated from playoff contention on Oct. 18.

No. 8, West – 42 points | 10/25 at VAN

Eliminated from playoff contention

Real Salt Lake were eliminated from playoff contention on Oct. 17.

No. 9, West – 41 points | Schedule: 10/25 at SEA

 Eliminated from playoff contention

Colorado Rapids were eliminated from playoff contention on Oct. 4.

MLS Decision Day: Which club faces the most pressure?

Sunday is Decision Day in Major League Soccer, as the league’s 20 clubs finish their regular-season campaigns. The Eastern Conference games take place at 5 p.m. ET, followed by the West at 7 p.m. ET.Playoff spots and positions are on the line for several clubs, but which are under the most pressure? We asked our writers for their views.

Seattle Sounders

The Seattle Sounders control their own destiny this weekend, but the club’s nightmare scenario remains very much in play. A failure to win at home against Real Salt Lake could allow both the San Jose Earthquakes and Sporting Kansas City to leap over Seattle in the Western Conference standings, thus leaving the Sounders outside the playoffs for the first time in its MLS history.Seattle clearly has the most to lose during this weekend’s Decision Day, as missing out on the postseason would cut deep on many levels. The Sounders have as talented a roster as any in MLS, and per the most recent numbers from the MLS Players Union, they have the league’s fourth-highest payroll at $13.28 million. Only the LA Galaxy, New York City FC, and Toronto FC have spent more.Seattle also won the Supporters’ Shield in 2014, and nothing less than a trip to the MLS Cup final was expected this season. While it’s true that the Sounders have suffered a fair number of injuries and games missed because of international commitments, missing out on the postseason would amount to a shockingly poor return on its investment.Such a failure would no doubt jeopardize the tenure of manager Sigi Schmid, though he signed a multiyear contract extension after the end of the 2014 campaign. But regardless of Schmid’s status, Seattle is a team that, given its advanced age, is seeing its championship window closing fast. Seven of the 10 field players from last weekend’s starting lineup are at least 30 years old, with another two checking in at 29. It seems inevitable that significant changes will take place this offseason. All the more reason for the Sounders to get the job done this weekend.– Jeff Carlisle (@JeffreyCarlisle)

LA Galaxy

Any other year, the final week of the MLS regular season might not be such a big deal for the LA Galaxy.They’ve been here before, rolling into the postseason on something short of full momentum, but they never seem to have a problem turning it on when they get there. It’s the savvy of manager Bruce Arena, an adept master of the quick-turning MLS postseason. He has big-name talents that have experienced winning in the competition before and has instilled resolute defending, which has long been the underrated springboard from which the Galaxy launch themselves to championships.But this year, there’s a difference. If the last week of the 2015 MLS season doesn’t go their way, which would mean the Galaxy stumble in Kansas City and a few other results push teams ahead of them, LA will be forced to go on the road in a one-off playoff game. That’s trouble because this Galaxy team’s one major flaw is its inability to find form on the road.Only two teams in MLS have the same number or fewer wins away from home than the Galaxy do in 2015, and neither of those teams (the Chicago Fire and the Houston Dynamo) made the playoffs. At the StubHub Center (aside from Sunday’s humbling defeat at the hands of the Timbers), the Galaxy look unstoppable; on the road, it’s an entirely different story. The club’s goal differential at home is a robust plus-25. On the road, it’s a horrifying minus-14. The reasons remain a mystery.It’s too late to fix whatever the problem might be, so if the Galaxy are going to repeat as champions and win an unprecedented fourth title in five years, finishing no lower than fourth is imperative. Seeding matters to no team more than it does the Galaxy, and Decision Day isn’t about getting in — they’ve already done that — it’s about making sure they get to play at home.– Jason Davis (@davisjsn)

Sporting Kansas City

As the lone Western Conference playoff contender with two games remaining on its 2015 slate, Sporting Kansas City has everything to gain heading into the final four days of the MLS regular season.They also have everything to lose.While a pair of wins would guarantee that SKC finishes in second place in the West behind newly minted conference champ FC Dallas, securing Sporting a first-round playoff bye, a loss at home against the already-eliminated Colorado Rapids on Wednesday night would leave Peter Vermes’ men in the unenviable position of having to beat defending MLS Cup holder LA Galaxy in Sunday’s finale (7 p.m. ET, ESPN/WatchESPN) just to guarantee a postseason berth.And the midweek match has trap game written all over it for Sporting. Sure the Rapids are the West’s worst side and losers of four straight and are also buoyed by the fact that they can play with the freedom of a team that has nothing to lose.With the rested Galaxy awaiting Sporting KC (Wednesday’s game was originally scheduled in May but moved for inclement weather), getting three points against Colorado is imperative for SKC.Their playoff lives could depend on it.– Doug McIntyre

Major League Soccer still unpredictable as Decision Day loomsWhoa, Canada

Canada’s trio of MLS teams are all playoff-bound in 2015. The Vancouver Whitecaps secured their place in the postseason on Oct. 8, making them the first of the Canadian clubs to do so. Toronto FC then celebrated making their first-ever playoff tournament in fine style six days later, when a stunning goal by Sebastian Giovinco lifted them to a victory over the first-place Red Bulls. On Saturday, it was the Montreal Impact’s turn. The arrival of Didier Drogba in Quebec turned the season for the club, who rode their famous signing to a six-game unbeaten streak through September that pushed them into contention for a postseason berth in the wide-open Eastern Conference. A pair of losses in October created some doubt, but the fact that the Impact had several games in hand on their rivals for a spot gave them a bit of breathing room.

But the schedule wasn’t easy, and there was plenty of reason to think that Montreal might run out of gas in the end. Sunday’s trip to New England was the kind of game the Impact team of three months ago would have lost in ugly fashion. The team of today put together a strong performance, got a pretty goal from Ignacio Piatti and locked up their playoff spot with one week to spare.With no team setting themselves apart in either conference, every one of the Canadian teams has a chance to make some noise in the postseason.

Leaving it late

While not yet official, it appears we know the playoff field for the Eastern Conference. Though Orlando City is mathematically still in the hunt headed into Decision Day, their hopes rest on overturning a nearly impossible gap in goal differential with the New England Revolution.Out west, it’s a different story. Dallas, LA and Vancouver have earned their way into the playoffs, but three spots remain unclaimed. The caveat is that only one team currently below the red line, the San Jose Earthquakes, can still sneak into the field.The final day of the season will sort out which three teams secure their places, thanks in part to the failure of a couple of highly rated teams in Week 33. Both Kansas City (1-0 losers in San Jose) and Seattle (who played Houston to a 1-1 draw on Sunday) had the playoffs in their sights and came up short.The idea that either could miss out is stunning on its own. The fact that they each have so much to play for on the last day of the regular season guarantees that Decision Day will be dramatic.Even for the teams already able to dream about making a postseason run to an MLS Cup title, there’s much to play for in Week 34. A combination of surprising results over the past week means seeding is up in the air in both conferences.Even at the top of the respective conference standings there’s intrigue. Dallas and the Red Bulls are set at the top seeds, but the fate of the Supporters’ Shield remains in play. With the two teams tied on points and wins, New York has the advantage thanks to a six-goal lead in the third tiebreaker, goal differential.Dallas closes at home against the Quakes, while New York must travel to Chicago. Dallas is dominant at home, where they’ve lost just twice all year, while the Red Bulls have never won at Toyota Park. Don’t etch New York’s name on the Shield just yet!Seeding is crucial, and not just because the team with the highest point total come the MLS Cup will host the title game. The top two teams in each conference get byes into the semifinals, while teams seeded three to six must battle it out in one-game playoffs to make the final eight.Of the teams already in or still alive for a playoff spot, only Montreal and San Jose are unable to climb into a top-two seed. That sets the table for an incredible last day.

Strange days

At halftime of the Galaxy’s home date with the Timbers on Sunday, the defending MLS Cup champs held a 1-0 lead thanks to a goal from defending league MVP Robbie Keane.Forty-five minutes later, when the referee blew the whistle for full time, the Timbers were the ones celebrating a 5-2 win. In a league known for throwing up surprises, Portland’s dismantling of LA was one of the more stunning results in recent memory.If it wasn’t shock enough that the Timbers won at the StubHub Center, where the Galaxy had lost just once all year, the attacking explosion from Caleb Porter’s team added an extra dose. For a team that has struggled all year to find a clinical touch in front of goal and isn’t known for closing games out on the front foot, the win might be a launching pad into the playoffs.For the Galaxy, the loss is disheartening, though it would be folly to imagine they’re not championship-caliber. Defensive issues persist for Bruce Arena’s team, but with the firepower available and their knack for navigating the postseason tournament, no one should write them off quite yet.

Like Mike

It’s very possible that an ever-changing MLS might not have room for a player like Mike Grella one day. Rather, it’s very possible that an ever-changing MLS may not be the type of league that gives a player like Grella a chance to resurrect his career.The former Duke Blue Devil, who bounced around the lower leagues of England, was on the verge of retirement when the Red Bulls signed him for 2015. All he’s done to reward them is score nine goals and star on the attacking end of the field for a team that finished first in the East and could secure a Supporters’ Shield next weekend. On Sunday, he was in record-breaking form as he netted the fastest goal in league history. Maybe an MLS that doesn’t give a Mike Grella a chance is a better MLS. That doesn’t mean it would be a more fun MLS.  Jason Davis ESPJ FC

Proud Member of the Brick Yard Battalion –, Sam’s Army- ,  American Outlaws  • Earn Your Degree or Lean 6 Sigma Certificate from Purdue U Online  –

10/19/2015 Carmel Boys Advance to Semi-State, Champions League Tues/Wed, Indy 11 Win

So Champions League Matchday 3 kicks-off Tues/Wed of this week with some solid match-ups including Arsenal hosting Bayern Munchen on Tuesday and a whole host of good games on Wednesday with PSG hosting Real Madrid on Fox Soccer Plus, Man City hosting Sevilla and Juventus hosting Borussia Monchengladbach on ESPN2 at 2:45 pm.  The Indy 11 took a marvelous 3-1 win at home on Saturday vs Minn and return to the Mike for the final game of the season this Saturday night at 7:30 pm vs Ft. Lauderdale.  A free team photo will be given out to the first 500 fans with tickets starting at just $10 for Fan Appreciation Night.


Congrats to # 6 Ranked – Carmel High School Men’s Soccer (16-2-1) who won Regional’s this past week with a 2-0 win over #18 Brebeuf Jesuit and a 1-0 Win over Lawrence Central.  Former Carmel FC’er Charles Price scored 2 goals over the weekend to help Carmel advance to Semi-State this Saturday in Evansville where they will face (17-2-1) East Central at noon.  Also alive #3 Ft Wayne Canterbury vs #17 Penn, #7 Center Grove vs #13 Blooming South and #9 Lake Central vs #8 Harrison.  The winners will advance to the state final 4 at The Indy 11 Stadium Oct 31st.  On the girl’s side Brebeuf will play Center Grove while Fishers faces Muster in Semi-States.

Around Europe Update – BEN LYTTLETON SI

MLS All You Need to Know Luviu Bird SI

American’s Abroad this Weekend

US Players overseas – AmericanSoccer Now

Champions League- Matchday 3  

BR – Champs League Predictions

Arsenal vs Bayern Preview – Sky Sports

Arsenal vs Bayern Prewiew

Pep expects fight vs Arsenal

Cech set to return for Arsenal

Match Facts – Bayern vs Gunners

Bayern Lewandowski on Goal Scoring Streak and Champions League

Borussian Monchengladbach has nothing to lose vs Juve

Chelsea vs Dynamo Keiv Preview

Leverkusen vs Porto Preview

Man City hosting Sevilla Preview

Indy 11

Vote Indy 11 Awards

Indy 11 recap 3-1 win over Minn

Fan Appreciation Night.


Friday – 7 pm            USA vs Chile (U17 WC)                             Fox sports 2

This will be a must win game for the US U17s to Advance out of Group Play

Sat – 12:30 pm           Arsenal vs Everton                    NBC

A Must win game for US Keeper Tim Howard and the Toffees if they want to keep their hopes alive for a top 4 Finish – the Gunners look to hold Serve at home.

Sat  7:30 pm              Indy 11 (H)  vs Ft. Lauderdale   Ch 8 and ESPN 3

It’s the last home game for Indy as they look to fight their way out of the seller in the NASL with 1 road game left after this.

Sun  10 am                               Man United vs Man City            NBCSN

The Manchester Darby is always a battle royale – with the winner moving to the top of the table after the tie at Old Trafford.

Sun 12:15                                 Liverpool vs Southampton        NBC

The Reds and Canaries are tied at 8th in the table as Liverpools new manager Juergan Klopp manages his first game at the Ansfield on NBC.

Sun 5:00 p.m.           Columbus Crew vs. D.C. United,               (Fox Sports 1,)

As the MLS Playoffs get ready to start next week – this is a great time to watch your local Columbus Crew battle for 2nd in the East.


Tuesday, October 20

UEFA Champions League (Group stage)

2:30 p.m., ESPN2: Bayer Leverkusen vs. AS Roma
2:30 p.m. Fox Sports 2 and Fox Deportes: Arsenal vs. Bayern Munich
2:30 p.m., Fox Sports Net affiliates and ESPN Deportes: BATE Borisov vs. Barcelona
2:30 p.m., Fox Soccer Plus and ESPN3: Dynamo Kiev vs. Chelsea
2:35 p.m., ESPN3: Dinamo Z vs. Olympiakos, Porto vs. Maccabi Tel Aviv, Valencia vs. Gent, Zenit St. Pete vs. Lyon

 CONCACAF Champions League (Group stage)

10:00 p.m., Fox Sports 2: Real Salt Lake vs. Municipal

Wednesday, October 21

UEFA Champions League (Group stage)

2:45 p.m., ESPN2:                     Juventus vs. Borussia Mönchengladbach
2:45 p.m., Fox Sports 2:            CSKA Moscow vs. Manchester United
2:45 p.m., Fox Sports Net          Manchester City vs. Sevilla
2:45 p.m., Fox Soccer Plus        Paris Saint-Germain vs. Real Madrid
2:45 p.m., ESPN3:     Atlético Madrid vs. Astana, Galatasaray vs. Benfica, Malmö vs. Shakhtar Don, VfL Wolfsburg vs. PSV

4 pm Fox Soccer to Go                             US vs Croatia  (U17 WC)

7 pm Fox Sports 2                      Argentina vs Germany (U17 WC)

10:00 p.m., ESPN2:                    United States women vs. Brazil (Seattle, Wash.)

CONCACAF Champions League (Group stage)

8:00 p.m., Univision Deportes: Tigres UANL vs. Herediano
10:00 p.m., Fox Soccer Plus and Univision Deportes: Comunicaciones vs. Los Angeles Galaxy

Thursday, October 22

CONCACAF Champions League (Group stage)

10:00 p.m., Univision Deportes: Olimpia vs. Vancouver Whitecaps
10:00 p.m., Fox Soccer 2 Go: San Francisco vs. Verdes (tape-delayed on Univision Deportes at 12:30 a.m.)

UEFA Europa League (Group stage)

11:00 a.m., Fox Sports 1 and ESPN3: Qabala vs. Borussia Dortmund

1:00 p.m., Fox Sports 1: Anderlecht vs. Tottenham Hotspur
1:00 p.m., Fox Sports 2: Schalke 04 vs. Sparta Prague
1:00 p.m., Fox Soccer Plus and ESPN3: Fiorentina vs. Lech Poznań
1:00 p.m., ESPN Deportes: Partizan Belgrade vs. Athletic Bilbao
1:00 p.m., ESPN3: APOEL vs. Asteras Tripolis, Sporting Clube de Portugal vs. Skënderbeu Korçë
3:00 p.m., Fox Sports 1 and ESPN3: Liverpool vs. Rubin Kazan
3:00 p.m., Fox Sports 2 and ESPN Deportes: Villarreal vs. Dinamo Minsk
3:00 p.m., Fox Soccer Plus and ESPN3: Molde FK vs. Celtic
3:00 p.m., ESPN3: Fenerbahçe vs. Ajax

Fri, October 23: 

4 pm,        Korea vs England (U17 WC)                         Fox Sports 1

7 pm         USA vs Chile (U17 WC)                                             Fox sports 2

Sat, October 24: 

7:30 am     Blackburn vs Burnley  (Eng Champ)                              beIN Sports

9:30 am     Bayern Munich vs Koln                                                Fox Sports 2

10 am       Chelsea vs Westham                                  NBC Live Extra?

10 am       Stoke City vs Watford                                                 NBC  Live Extra?

10 am       Celtic vs Real Madrid (Sp)                           beIn Sports

12:30 pm   Arsenal vs Everton                                      NBC

12:30 pm   Ingolstadt vs Hertha BSC                            Fox Sports 2  US John Brooks for Hertha

3 pm         Ecuador vs Belgium  (U17 WC)                    Fox Sports 2

6 pm         Germany vs Mexico (U17 WC)                     Fox Sports 2

7:30 pm     Indy 11 (H)  vs Ft. Lauderdale                      Ch 8 and ESPN 3

 Sunday, October 25: 

8 am         Sunderland vs Newcastle United                   NBCSN  (US Deandre Yedlin for Sunderland)

10 am       Man United vs Man City                              NBCSN

10 am       Juve vs Atalanta (ITA)                                 beIn Sports

10:30 am   Borussian Dortmund vs Augsburg                 Fox Sports 2

11:15 am   Liverpool vs Southampton                            NBC Live Extra

12:30        Borussiam MGB vs Schalke 04                     Fox Sports 1

2:30 p.m.   United States women vs. Brazil, friendly,       (Fox Sports 1)

4 pm         PSG vs Saint Enienne (FR)                          beIn Sports
5:00 p.m.   Columbus Crew vs. D.C. United,                  (Fox Sports 1, Fox Deportes)

7:00 p.m    Sporting Kansas City vs. Los Angeles Galaxy,.    (ESPN, ESPN Deportes)
7:00 p.m    FC Dallas vs. San Jose Earthquakes,.          (ESPN3)
7:00 p.m    Portland Timbers vs. Colorado Rapids,.         (ESPN3)
7:00 p.m    Seattle Sounders vs. Real Salt Lake           (ESPN3)
7:00 p.m.   Vancouver Whitecaps vs. Houston Dynamo, (ESPN3)
Sunday, Nov 1 + Nov 8 

MLS Playoffs

3 pm        Semi-finals Leg 1   East Conf               ESPN

5 pm        Semi-finals Leg 1                                   ESPN

7 pm        Semi-finals Leg 1   West Conf              Fox Sports 1

9 pm        Semi-finals Leg 1                                   Fox Sports 1

Fri, Nov 13

6:30 pm   USA vs St Vincent and Grenadines    ESPN  St. Louis

Scenarios: Who needs what in the push to the Audi 2015 MLS Cup Playoffs

October 20, 20153:00 AM EDTMLSsoccer staff   RELATED: Playoff matchups if the season ended today

Eastern Conference

Playoff spot clinched

New York Red Bulls clinched this season’s first playoff spot on Sept. 20, later avoiding the Knockout Round with a bye and clinching first place in the East. They lead FC Dallas for the Supporters’ Shield, and will win the trophy with a victory at Chicago on Sunday and any FC Dallas result, assuming FCD doesn’t match a win or loss while also making up six goals relative to the Red Bulls’ outcome.

No. 1, East – 57 PTS | Schedule: 10/25 at CHI

Playoff spot clinched

D.C. United clinched a playoff spot on Oct. 2. They remain in contention for an automatic berth in the Eastern Conference Semifinals. A win at Columbus on Sunday puts them in strong position to secure the bye.

No. 2, East – 51 PTS | Schedule: 10/25 at CLB

Playoff spot clinched

Crew SC locked up their spot on Oct. 17 with a road win in Toronto and theycan clinch an automatic berth in the Eastern Conference Semifinals with a win against D.C. on Sunday.

No. 3, East – 50 PTS | Schedule: 10/25 vs DC

Playoff spot clinched

Toronto FC clinched a playoff spot on Oct. 14. They remain in contention for an automatic berth in the Eastern Conference Semifinals, and can clinch said berth with a victory against Montreal AND a draw between D.C. and Columbus.

No. 4, East – 49 PTS | Schedule: 10/25 at MTL

Playoff spot clinched

Montreal clinched a playoff spot on Oct. 17 with their 1-0 road win against New England. They remain in contention for an automatic berth in the Eastern Conference Semifinals, though it would take a victory against Toronto AND a D.C. victory against Columbus AND a win or tie by New England.

No. 5, East – 48 PTS | Schedule: 10/25 vs TOR

The Revs will be in a battle with Orlando City on #DecisionDay for the sixth and final playoff spot in the East. But they know they currently have a hefty lead (+8) on the goal differential tiebreaker should they slip up on the final day. They can clinch a playoff spot with a win/draw Sunday vs. NYCFC OR a Orlando draw/loss at Philadelphia.

No. 6, East – 47 PTS | Schedule: 10/25 at NYC

Orlando City’s only chance to make the playoffs is to beat the Philadelphia Union by a large margin on #DecisionDay and hope New York City FC can do the same to the New England Revolution. They would need to make up 8 goals on the Revs to offset the goal differential tiebreaker.

No. 7, East – 44 PTS | Schedule: 10/25 at PHI

Eliminated from playoff contention

NYCFC were eliminated from playoff contention on Oct. 10.

Eliminated from playoff contention

Philadelphia Union were eliminated from playoff contention on Oct. 3.

Eliminated from playoff contention

Chicago Fire were eliminated from playoff contention on Sept. 26.

Western Conference

Playoff spot clinched

FC  Dallas clinched the West’s first playoff spot on Oct. 4, followed by first place and a Knockout Round bye on Oct. 17. They also remain in contention for the Supporters’ Shield, but likely won’t be able to claim the trophy if the New York Red Bulls win at Chicago on Sunday. Goal differential serves as the first tiebreaker, and RBNY enter #DecisionDay with a six-goal margin separating them and Dallas.

No. 1, West – 57 PTS | Schedule: 10/25 vs SJ

Playoff spot clinched

LA Galaxy clinched a playoff spot on Oct. 4. They can clinch an automatic berth in the Western Conference Semifinals with a win at Sporting Kansas City on Sunday.

No. 2, West – 51 PTS | 10/25 at SKC

Playoff spot clinched

The Vancouver Whitecaps clinched a playoff spot on Oct. 8. They remain in contention for an automatic berth in the Western Conference Semifinals.

No. 3, West – 50 PTS | Schedule: 10/25 vs HOU

Portland can clinch a playoff spot with a win or tie against Colorado on Sunday.

No. 4, West – 50 points | Schedule: 10/25 vs COL

Seattle can clinch a playoff spot with a win against Real Salt Lake on Sunday. They would also clinch a playoff spot with a tie vs. RSL AND EITHER a Earthquakes loss/draw at FC Dallas OR an SKC loss/tie vs. Colorado AND an SKC loss+tie combination in their double-game week.

No. 5, West – 48 points | Schedule: 10/25 vs RSL

Sporting KC can clinch a playoff spot with a win against Colorado on Wednesday OR a win against LA on Sunday. A tie in either spot gets them in IF EITHER Seattle or San Jose lose on Sunday. Sporting can clinch an automatic berth in the Western Conference Semifinals with wins against both Colorado and LA.

No. 6, West – 48 PTS | Schedule: 10/21 vs COL, 10/25 vs LA

San Jose can clinch a playoff spot this weekend with a win at FC Dallas AND ONE OF the following:

  1. A Portland loss vs. Colorado on Sunday;
  2. A Seattle loss/tie vs. RSL on Sunday;
  3. An SKC loss/tie vs. Colorado on Wednesday AND SKC loss or tie vs. LA on Sunday
  4. A tie vs. FC Dallas if Sporting loses against BOTH Colorado and LA.

No. 7, West – 47 PTS | Schedule: 10/25 at FCD

Eliminated from playoff contention

Houston Dynamo were eliminated from playoff contention on Oct. 18.

No. 8, West – 42 points | 10/25 at VAN

Eliminated from playoff contention

Real Salt Lake were eliminated from playoff contention on Oct. 17.

No. 9, West – 41 points | Schedule: 10/25 at SEA

Eliminated from playoff contention

Colorado Rapids were eliminated from playoff contention on Oct. 4.

10/14/15 Celebrating the Original -Ole Ballcoach

So those who know me well know Tuesday was a tough day for me.  First My Gator starting QB Grier fails a drug test and tests positive for PEDs and then the Lord Who is Our God – Steve Spurrier (still the Best Coach Florida or the SEC has ever known) goes up and Retires – right dab in the middle of the season. So realize first that when Steve came into our lives in late 1989 – we didn’t know much about this offensive mastermind – but we knew he was a Gator. Listen Florida was consistent in one thing BS (Before Spurrier) they were consistent in almost getting over the hump.  In 56 years as a member of the SEC UF had NEVER won the conference and kept the title.  Heck in 1984 when the Great Wall of Florida and that powerhouse team finally went 9-1-1 and won the SEC – the title was stripped when they caught us cheating)  the average record for UF BS was 8-4, a decent bowl game (rarely on New Year’s Day) and a just Wait till Next Year Cry that was heard for  – well 56 years.

Then came Steve Orr Spurrier – the Head/Ole Ballcoach – And boy did he turn the SEC and the nation upside down with his revolutionary offense in those first 6 years in the SEC.  Five SEC titles in 6 years and man was it fun being a Gator.  Spurrier was cocky and obnoxious and competitive as hell – he was good, his team’s were good and he knew it. He pounded just about every team in the SEC – especially the one’s he held a grudge against (11-1 vs GA). He averaged 10 wins a year at Florida, named one of the iconic Stadiums in all of College Football THE SWAMP (where only Gators get out Alive), and turned the University of Florida Gators into a household name for College Football that can mentioned in the same breath as USC, Alabama, Notre Dame, and Michigan. Spurrier was the kind of coach you loved if he was your ballcoach and hated if he was on the other sideline. He had a way of needling the other coaches and teams in the conference and seldom did he not speak his mind.  In this world of PC and coaches playing it close to the vest – Steve Spurrier was must see TV – every interview, sideline report and coaches show became man what is he going to say now.  And no matter what –  it was always what he was feeling right then – no sensor – just the truth. And speaking of truth – Steve Spurrier NEVER cheated – he ran clean programs, recruited good kids and kicked their butts off the team if they did something really wrong. Spurrier will leave the game as the winningest coach at 2 SEC Schools (both schools that had never sustained winning before his arrival), he’s 2nd to just the Great Bear Bryant in total Wins in the SEC.  To win at Florida was one thing – we had always had the facilities, players, money to succeed.  But to win at South Carolina – a school that had only once had a 10 win season in a no nothing league – and to win 11 games in back to back to back seasons in the SEC?- Well that was Truly amazing.   There are those that will argue the modern game had passed him by.  And in retrospect he probably should have hung up the ole visor at 70, after a very frustrating last 7-6 season.  By retiring mid season he will leave having only had 1 losing season in all his years as a head coach – his first full season at Duke. Again to win at Duke – when he won was also unbelievable.But that is always what Old Spur Dawg, The Ole Ballcoach, The Head Ballcoach was –  unbelievable.   Rest up your weary bones at Crescent Beach and Recharge that battery Ole Ballcoach – you deserve it.  Then come home to the Promise land and the SWAMP that you named and take your place in the Ring of Honor as Florida’s favorite son, Player, QB, Heisman Winner, and the Best Ballcoach the Gators or the SEC has ever seen oh and thanks for the memories.

Its why I named this blog the Ole Ballcoach !!

A saddened Gator Shane  –Missing the Ole Ballcoach already

Florida Tribute stick around and watch the the James Bates interview – it will make you cry its so funny.

Tweets from Across the Web – 

Gators AD Foley on Spurrier with Paul Feinbaum – 

The Visor in the Wind Tribute – cute –

Be Sure to Catch the SEC Film The Believer

Steve Spurrier was a college football coach you could dance to, Bianchi says

Mike Bianchi  Orlando Sentinel  Steve Spurrier was the SEC Network before the SEC Networkl

It was nearly two decades ago when Steve Spurrier told me to get in his car because he wanted me to hear this song he really liked.It was near the end of his coaching heyday at the University of Florida when he plugged in the Lee Ann Womack tape and began to mouth the words to himself.

“I hope you still feel small when you stand beside the ocean,

Whenever one door closes, I hope one more opens,

Promise me that you’ll give faith a fighting chance,

And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance.

“I hope you dance … I hope you dance!”

Steve Spurrier officially announced Tuesday he is stepping down as the Head Ball Coach, and I believe it’s because the music stopped playing and he stopped dancing. Which is to say, he stopped winning. Which is to say, he stopped having fun.As someone who covered Spurrier from the moment he became the head coach at UF in 1990, fun was what he was all about – on and off the field. When he brought his space-age offense to the stone-age Southeastern Conference and began “pitching it around the ballpark” to wide open receivers who literally did back flips in the end zone after catching all those TD passes, I wrote that a revolutionary new offense — “the Fun ‘N’ Gun” — had been born. Coining the name of Spurrier’s trail-blazing offense is still perhaps the highlight of my sportswriting career.I could get all deep and philosophical about Spurrier’s multi-faceted legacy; I could tell you about how he did something nobody else has ever done by becoming the greatest player and greatest coach in his school’s history; I could chronicle how many games and championships he won and how many offensive records his teams set. But why? To me, his legacy is simple. It comes down to one word — “fun.” And this is how he should be remembered.He made football a blast for everybody involved: The players who played for him; the fans who rooted for him; the media who covered him; the TV audience who watched him.More than any other coach, the Spur-Dog is responsible for college football and the SEC becoming the TV cash cow it has become today. Spurrier’s arrival at UF in 1990 coincided with college football exploding on television. And Spurrier was the fuse.Gator Nation adored him; everyone else abhorred him. His “enemies” mocked him with nicknames like “Steve Superior” or “Stevie Wonder” or “The Mouth of the South” or “Darth Visor.” His supreme confidence in a fraternity filled with cliché-spewing, cookie-cutter coaches amped up rival SEC stadiums to ear-splitting, tobacco-spitting levels. His pizzazz and panache; his color and candor made him a rock star in a profession filled with lounge singers. He was a young, charismatic Elvis; everyone else was Burl Ives.He surprised us by quoting Sun Tzu and Attila the Hun; he shocked us by benching Heisman-contending quarterback Terry Dean and replacing him with freshman Danny Wuerffel. His emotional sideline antics and epic visor tosses became SportsCenter staples. His quips and cracks about his opponents — “Free Shoes University” and “You can’t spell Citrus with UT” — made us laugh. And his offenses — his amazing, wide-open, “we don’t need a good punter cuz we don’t plan on punting much” offenses — made us marvel.Spurrier didn’t coach like, act like or talk like anybody else in the profession. He was the opposite of Bear Bryant, the only SEC coach with more victories than him. The Bear once said, “I ain’t never had much fun. I ain’t never been two inches away from a football. Other guys go fishing or hunting or golfing, and all I want to do is be alone, studying how not to lose.”For some reason, I just can’t picture the Bear soaking up the sun, suds and surf on the weekend before a big game against Auburn. But Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops has often told the story about when he was Spurrier’s young defensive coordinator at UF two decades ago. It was an open weekend before the mega-matchup against Tennessee, and Spurrier and Stoops were frolicking in the waves at the HBC’s favorite place in the world — Crescent Beach.”Stoopsy, you think those Tennessee boys are body-surfing right now?” Spurrier said gleefully.Two years ago on the weekend before South Carolina came down to play UCF in Orlando, Spurrier again was at Crescent Beach with his wife and family. When I reached him on the phone and asked him what he was doing, he replied with a chuckle: “Me and my grandkids are going to take the boogie boards out and catch some waves.”But, sadly, it was another game against UCF earlier this season when Spurrier first started to sense it. When his Gamecocks trailed the winless Knights 14-8 at halftime, Spurrier admitted Monday that he knew his team and his time were done.Even his final act as coach on Tuesday was refreshingly different than that of his peers. I’ve heard critics say Spurrier “quit” on his team by resigning midseason, but I say he’s actually helping his program. Spurrier, who called himself a “recruiting liability” on Tuesday, is doing South Carolina a favor by not hanging on until the bitter end. He doesn’t want airplanes flying over the stadium with “Fire Spurrier” banners; fans calling for his ouster on message boards; recruits flocking to rival schools.He’s always taken great pride in the fact he’s never been fired as a head coach, and he never wanted to get forced out like his old rivals Bobby Bowden and Phil Fulmer. He wanted to walk out the door, not get shoved through it.”It’s time for me to get out of the way and give somebody else a go at it,” Spurrier said Tuesday.Added his daughter Amy Moody as she fought back tears: “There’s no exit strategy in coaching. You either get fired or you have a heart attack. My dad didn’t want to go out like that.”Instead, he goes out like this.Fun and done.A national treasure riding his golf cart into the sunset at Crescent Beach.Bye, bye, Mr. American Pie.Is this the day the music died?Or can you still hear Lee Ann coming from the car speakers of the coach who taught us to get out there on that floor and boogie your butt off.

Don’t let some hell bent heart leave you bitter,

When you come close to sellin’ out reconsider,

Give the heavens above more than just a passing glance,

And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance.

I hope you dance.

I hope you dance.” Follow him on Twitter @BianchiWrites. Listen to his radio show every weekday from 6 to 9 a.m. on FM 96.9 The Game.

Steve Spurrier’s Fun ‘n’ Gun brought football evolution to the SEC

Ivan Maisel, ESPN Senior Writer

To understand the effect that Steve Spurrier had on Southeastern Conference football, you have to go back to 1989, the year before he arrived. LSU led the league in passing offense, averaging 258.1 yards per game.

LSU finished 4-7.For all of the 1980s, Vanderbilt led the league in passing offense, averaging 228 yards per game. Vandy won 33 games in the entire decade.Passing was what you did because you couldn’t run. It was an admission of weakness in an old-school league. We can’t control the line of scrimmage, so we’re reduced to throwing over it.And then the 44-year-old Spurrier returned to his alma mater, where he had won the 1966 Heisman Trophy as a quarterback (he threw for 2,012 yards that season, by the way). He took over a Florida team that had been wracked not by losing, but by scandal. Coach Galen Hall had paid a player and a few assistants money that the NCAA manual said he shouldn’t. Spurrier returned and wasted no time.”If you want to be successful,” Spurrier told S.L. Price of Sports Illustrated in 1995, “you have to do it the way everybody does it and do it a lot better — or you have to do it differently. I can’t outwork anybody and I can’t coach the off-tackle play better than anybody else. So I figured I’d try to coach some different ball plays, and instead of poor-mouthing my team, I’d try to build it up to the point where the players think, Coach believes we’re pretty good; by golly, let’s go prove it.”Five quarterbacks competed for the starting job in Spurrier’s first spring. Writer Buddy Martin recalled that Spurrier said he didn’t know who would run the offense, but “whoever it is will lead the SEC in passing next year.” On the first play of the spring game, the Gators’ offense lined up three receivers wide left, and quarterback Shane Matthews threw a 35-yard completion.The Fun ‘n’ Gun had arrived. The Gators not only went 9-2 in 1990, but they did it while throwing for 290.6 yards per game. Only the NCAA probation that Hall left behind kept Florida from winning the SEC. The next season, Florida threw for 308.5 yards per game and won its first conference championship. Ever.Spurrier, the son of a Tennessee minister, was committing football heresy. This was football evolution. The running game, and stopping the run, were no longer enough to win championships, as God or Gen. Robert Neyland had written on stone tablets.Alabama staved off Spurrier in 1992 with a defense for the ages. But the Gators won the next four SEC titles, beating the Crimson Tide in the league championship game in three of those seasons.Spurrier won the league playing one quarterback; he won it playing two. He won it with straight-up better athletes — speedy receivers and tough running backs — and he won it, most memorably, with trick plays. Florida’s winning touchdown drive in its 24-23 defeat of Alabama in the 1994 SEC championship game featured three of them: a fake injury, a double pass and the Emory & Henry formation.After 1996, when the Gators won their first national championship, and quarterback Danny Wuerffel won the school’s second Heisman Trophy, Spurrier would win only one more SEC title, in 2000.He resigned from Florida after the 2001 season, tired of being a megawatt celebrity and interested in the NFL. His Gators led the nation that season with 405.2 passing yards per game. Four other SEC teams threw for at least 270 yards per game.Yes, there had been other influences on the passing game in the SEC during the Spurrier era. Hal Mumme brought the Air Raid no-huddle spread to Kentucky with a coaching staff that included Mike Leach. Tennessee coach Phillip Fulmer and offensive coordinator David Cutcliffe developed quarterback Peyton Manning and won a national championship with Tee Martin.But Spurrier opened the door when he introduced the SEC to the forward pass. In his first game when he returned to the league in 2005 at South Carolina, Spurrier’s quarterback, Blake Mitchell, completed his first seven passes. His Gamecocks offenses never had as much fun or gun as those Gators teams, but they had enough to win 11 games for the first time in school history. That was in 2011. South Carolina did it again the next two seasons.

Spurrier is one of last true originals

TAMPA — Martin Fennelly Columns Tampa Tribune-

Maybe he stayed too long. Don’t they all? Or maybe he didn’t. He’d surely make that point with you, probably mentioning in there how many times his South Carolina teams have beaten Clemson lately. But his departure was predictably unpredictable, like the man himself. At the news conference, he insisted he was resigning, not retiring. No tears. Not even close. Not his deal. He’ll never give an inch.But Steve Spurrier, now 70 (hard to believe), decided to quit (is there another word?) in the middle of a season and a four-game losing streak. He leaves the game and conference he changed forever. I don’t really like how he left. But what I truly hate is seeing him go.Has anyone ever been more fun?There are so few originals left in college football or anywhere else. Stephen Orr Spurrier, the son of a preacher man, was one of them. He did it his way the whole way, forever young, eternally brash.He’ll go down as one of the icons in college history, certainly at the top of the Southeastern Conference with Bear Bryant and now Nick Saban. But what fun is Nick Saban? For that matter, what kind of entertainment are today’s dull, homogenized workaholics next to the Head Ball Coach?The Spur Dog was always fun. He despised boring nearly as much as losing. Forever young, eternally brash.Spurrier is the winningest coach in Florida football history. The Flying Visor could have been named state bird at one point. Yes, he made mistakes, like his short-lived NFL money grab. Then he went back to being Head Ball Coach at college, where he belonged. In his 60s, he became the winningest coach in South Carolina football history, too.There’s so much Spurrier history that we sometimes have to strain to remember that he was voted the best college ball player in America in 1966 to win the Heisman Trophy. Oh, yeah. That.He returned to Gainesville in 1990, full of ideas from USFL Bandit Ball in Tampa and a warm-up act at Duke. Most of the ideas were vertical in nature.

Spurrier changed the SEC as if his game plans were plates shifting deep under the earth. His offense was an earthquake. Look around the country today, at all the pass-happy teams. You’re staring at part of Spurrier’s legacy.Urban Meyer won two national titles at Gainesville to Spurrier’s one, but it was Spurrier who first ignited the Florida boiler, who made greatness the standard. And he was a million times more fun than the gaunt, grim Meyer.As Gators coach, kicking field goals became a form of pestilence. The Dog was unrepentant after hanging half a hundred on the other guys — that’s what the scoreboard was for, wasn’t it?But the Spurrier code didn’t allow for flinching when someone ran it up on him. Like when Nebraska scored 62 points and crushed Florida’s perfect season in the Fiesta Bowl. The morning after, Spurrier came off a hotel elevator and spotted some “writer boys” (media). “The old aftermath story,” he said, adding that if he’d been Nebraska, he’d have tried to score again. We believed him.I don’t think the man knew how to cheat. In his world, everything came from beating the other guy straight up. I don’t think Spurrier’s pride, or ego, could have stood winning by any means other than his mastermind designs.But for all his cutting-edge offenses, there was something old-fashioned, so Be True To Your School about Spurrier. It was as genuine as his competitiveness. He always mentioned his college coach, Ray Graves, Coach Graves. Mr. Heisman married his college sweetheart, Jerri. They’re still going strong. Spurrier would make his Florida teams stand with him after games to sing the alma mater, though he was the only one who knew the words. After he left Gainesville, he’d sometimes slip and refer to the Gators as “We.” Everyone understood.Spurrier possessed one of the all-time needles. He was as good at getting under people’s skin as he was throwing over their defenses. Men like Tennessee’s Phil Fulmer, Georgia’s Ray “Goof” (Spurrier’s word) and, of course, Bobby Bowden, fumed at Spurrier’s barbs. Free Shoes University. You can’t spell Citrus without U-T. And all the rest. What a boxed set. Back to Spurrier-Bowden, one of the great rivalries. Bobby beat the Dog more than the Dog beat Bobby, though Spurrier won the national title showdown that night in New Orleans. The rest of us never lost when those two got together. It was glorious. Spurrier never knew why Bowden let someone else call the ball plays. Bowden never knew why Spurrier made it so dadgum personal. We’ll never know how lucky we were to have them around at the same time.My boss made a great point: Spurrier and Bowden are among the last links to a different time, when college football coaches weren’t cardboard cut-outs or control freaks. Spurrier and Bowden had a blast even as they won tons of games. I can remember Spurrier enjoying media lunches during the week, or breakfast with Bobby after FSU home games. Really, lunches and breakfasts instead of streamed-live coaches’ information obligations.There was a time when we assumed Spurrier would be on the golf course by age 60. He always said he didn’t want to be one of those sad cases. Who knew then that 70 was his new 40. Tuesday, he left the door open as he went out it, saying he could turn up again. Predictably unpredictable. Sounds crazy. But I bet it would be fun.I mean, when wasn’t Steve Spurrier fun? Martin Fennelly Columns Tampa Tribune

Gene Frenette: No hesitation by Head Ball Coach, even in departing

By Gene Frenette Jax Times Uniion — Tue, Oct 13, 2015 @ 9:09 pm | updated Wed, Oct 14, 2015 @ 6:42 am

For the majority of his coaching career, Steve Spurrier’s ball plays often worked exactly the way he drew them up.

Unfortunately, the final chapter looked nothing like he designed it, so the Head Ball Coach called it quits. Not wanting to endure what was shaping up to be his worst season ever, Spurrier resigned Tuesday at South Carolina rather than go on acting like he was going to stick around beyond this year.

Spurrier, the ultimate competitor in any game he played or coached, can’t stand to lose. So at 70 years old, with the Gamecocks struggling at 2-4, it wasn’t a complete shock that a man who scaled the college football mountaintop at Florida decided it was time to ride off into the coaching sunset.

Slideshow: Say what? Looking back at Steve Spurrier’s best quotes

“There comes a time when you have to say, ‘What direction is our football program going?’ ” Spurrier said at his farewell news conference. “It wasn’t going in the direction I hoped, so it was time to step aside.“When something is inevitable, I believe you do it right then. You don’t wait a week or two weeks. Let’s start in a new direction today.”

Though some might question the timing, there’s no denying Spurrier provided college football with possibly the most entertaining, successful joy ride in history. Nobody had more fun winning championships on the field and trading jabs with rivals off the field.Spurrier was hell-bent on doing things his way, and never did that come across more than during his 12-year run (1990-2001) at Florida, where he captured six SEC championships and one national title. His “Fun ‘N’ Gun” offense, particularly with Gator quarterbacks Shane Matthews and Heisman Trophy winner Danny Wuerffel setting prolific records, overwhelmed many opponents not used to such an unconventional style of attack.But what made Spurrier so riveting to watch is that he was just as bold in his press conferences as in his play-calling. He often said things or made jokes that many coaches might be thinking, but never had the gumption to say publicly.He needled everybody, though many of his barbs were planned or thought of in advance. Whether it was referring to Florida State as “Free Shoes University” after the 1994 Foot Locker scandal, or jabbing Tennessee fans by saying, “You can’t spell Citrus Bowl without U-T,” the Spurrier wit was a staple of his personality.Obviously, jokes from a coach are funnier when he’s winning, and Spurrier won big and often. His overall coaching mark of 228-89-2 (.717) was remarkable enough, but the more telling part is he was the winningest coach at Florida (122-27-1) and South Carolina (86-49), the only coach besides Paul “Bear” Bryant to achieve that at two different SEC schools.In 26 seasons at Duke, UF and with the Gamecocks, the innovative Spurrier left an indelible mark at every stop. He won an ACC championship (1989) in his third and final season at Duke. He made the Florida Gators a national phenomenon. He took a mediocre South Carolina program within one victory of its first SEC title in 2010, then followed with three consecutive 11-win seasons.Had Spurrier been able to sustain success in Columbia, he’d still be coaching.But after avoiding his first losing season in college last year by winning a bowl game against Miami, things quickly unraveled this year. Spurrier’s team lost to Kentucky at home and when his porous defense was the culprit in blowout losses to Georgia and LSU, he knew where this train was headed and decided to get off.Spurrier, in addition to being blunt in his public remarks, has always been brutally honest with himself.He saw his program “going south,” which is why he was ready to immediately turn the Gamecocks over to Shawn Elliott, his offensive line coach, on an interim basis.“I didn’t plan on going out this way,” Spurrier said. “I planned on going out up on the players’ shoulders in the Georgia Dome [with an SEC Championship].”In the end, one of college football’s ultimate gamblers knew when to fold ’em. He had a phenomenal college coaching ride – and he didn’t rule out a future coaching in high school or being a football consultant somewhere — but it was time to move on from being the Head Ball Coach.“Nothing goes on forever,” said Spurrier. “I’ve gone on longer than most people [in coaching]. I’ve been blessed way beyond my wildest expectations. It’s time to take on this adventure of the next part of my life.”Fun ‘N’ Done. College football won’t be the same without him.

Take a look back at Spurrier’s Gator years

By Joey Johnston | Tampa Tribune Staff Published: October 13, 2015   |   Updated: October 14, 2015 at 07:49 AM

Early in his University of Florida football head-coaching career, Steve Spurrier was dissecting a victory during a postgame news conference. One writer asked him about a fourth-down call. Why did he go for it instead of settling for a field goal?  Spurrier cocked his head quizzically.“Where you from?”  Spurrier, who resigned Tuesday as South Carolina’s head coach, was a Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback and a 10-year NFL player. He recycled plenty of hilarious banquet material from his season with the 0-14 expansion Bucs of 1976.  He created “Bandit Ball” in the USFL and guided Duke — Duke! — to an ACC championship. In the last 11 seasons, he never won a championship with the Gamecocks, but he gave the program a measure of respectability and feistiness that had never existed. Make no mistake, though: There’s only one true place Spurrier is from, one period of time that defined him as a coach and a man. His dozen seasons (1990-2001) as UF’s head coach — chock full of memorable quips, unforgettable victories and reams of yardage — will live forever in college football lore.



“When you say something’s a problem, it is. When you say something’s not, a lot of times it isn’t. The Gators were always real good about finding excuses for not being successful.”

— New Florida coach Steve Spurrier in 1990, on changing the mentality of UF’s program

“He just flat out told us there was no reason we should lose to Georgia every year. The teams were always about even, but we had a built-in advantage. We were going to Jacksonville, Florida, to a stadium called the Gator Bowl. This was a place where we were meant to win.”

— Florida LB Jerry Odom, in 1990, talking about UF’s annual game with Georgia

“The swamp is where Gators live. We feel comfortable there. And we hope our opponents feel tentative. A swamp is hot and sticky and can be dangerous.”

— Spurrier in 1991, while declaring Florida Field would be known as “The Swamp”

“How is it when they sign people they get the best players, but when we play, we have the best players? Something just happens to them when they get to Georgia, I guess.”

— Spurrier in 1991, after a 45-13 win against Georgia

“The way I see it, we all screw up. Sportswriters correct and criticize. Fine. But if something happens the other way around, you have to say, ‘Hey, that’s not right.’ We’re all correctable. I get mad, but I don’t stay mad.”

— Spurrier in 1993, on his sometimes fiery relationship with the media

“My self-motivation is just hating — despising — to lose. I don’t like to shake hands with the other coach after losing. To me, it’s a little bit of an embarrassment. That coach has beaten you, and in his mind he’s saying, ‘I’m tougher than Spurrier. I had my team better prepared than Spurrier.’ That’s all the motivation I need.”

— Spurrier in 1993, on his game-day focus

“We’ve always heard rumors about them. We’ve always suspected. They’ve beaten us four out of five years in recruiting. Heck, maybe they’re the greatest recruiters in the world. But maybe there are other reasons those guys go there. Those guys always say they feel ‘more comfortable’ going to FSU. Well, maybe we’re starting to realize what that ‘more comfortable’ means.”

— Spurrier in 1994, after describing Florida State University as “Free Shoes University” in light of reports that Seminoles players had received free merchandise at a Tallahassee Foot Locker

“You can’t spell Citrus without U-T.”

— Spurrier in 1997, on Tennessee’s penchant for failing to win the SEC and settling for the Citrus Bowl

“It would probably be good if somebody just spanked (Spurrier) and put him to bed.”

— FSU athletic director Dave Hart in 2001, responding to Spurrier’s accusations that Seminoles DL Darnell Dockett intentionally tried to injure Gators RB Earnest Graham

“The truth hurts, doesn’t it? What did Sun Tzu say? ‘Better your enemy talk evil of you, than not at all?’ ”

— Spurrier in 2001, responding to Hart


  1. QUARTERBACKS: Spurrier’s demanding expectations made All-Americans out of Danny Wuerffel, Shane Matthews and Rex Grossman. However, when Terry Dean and Doug Johnson bucked the coach’s wishes or questioned him publicly, it often got ugly.
  2. THE FSU RIVALRY: The Florida-FSU rivalry hit its apex during the Spurrier era. Twice, the Gators and Seminoles staged rematches in the Sugar Bowl, once with a national title on the line. A nice little regional game became an annual national showcase.
  3. SEC-OND TO NONE: His presence in the SEC changed the stodgy, run-oriented league forever. He handed each conference school the worst loss in its history, so opponents had to change just to keep up. Spurrier finished 11-1 against Georgia, formerly UF’s nemesis.
  4. THE QUOTES: Name your poison. Free Shoes University? The public gigging of Ray Goff, Phillip Fulmer or (insert coach here)? Accusations of late hits by FSU? Dockett-gate? Open mocking of the BCS? Can’t spell Citrus without U-T? Spurrier took on all comers, fanning the flames of controversy without batting an eye.
  5. LOYALTY: Spurrier was a Gator, through and through. UF was his school. He required his players to sing the alma mater. He thought Gainesville was the best place on earth. He bled orange and blue. You were either with him or against him.



  1. Florida 52, FSU 20 Jan. 2, 1997 How Sweet It Was: UF’s first national title in the Sugar Bowl.
  2. Florida 35, FSU 24 Nov. 25, 1995 Gators move to 11-0, setting up SEC title and Fiesta Bowl bid.
  3. Florida 35, Kentucky 26 Nov. 16, 1991 Gators hang on to clinch UF’s first official SEC championship.
  4. Florida 17, Alabama 13 Sept. 15, 1990 Gators make statement, rally from 13-0 deficit in Spurrier’s second game.
  5. Florida 62, Tennessee 37 Sept. 16, 1995 An NBA-like run: Gators rout Volunteers with 48 unanswered points.
  6. Florida 24, Alabama 23 Dec. 3, 1994 Spurrier’s final-drive trickery pulls off SEC championship game win.
  7. Florida 32, FSU 29 Nov. 22, 1997 Gators strike late, ruin season for unbeaten and No. 1-ranked Seminoles.
  8. Florida 14, FSU 9 Nov. 30, 1991 Memorable defensive effort spotlights Spurrier’s first win against FSU.
  9. Florida 41, West Virginia 7 Jan. 1, 1994 Sugar Bowl rout clinches the first 11-victory season in UF history.
  10. Florida 35, Tennessee 29 Sept. 21, 1996 Gators roll in Knoxville with 35-0 lead against Vols and Peyton Manning.


  1. Nebraska 62, Florida 24 Jan. 2, 1996 Cornhuskers rush for 524 yards in Fiesta Bowl’s national title game.
  2. Tennessee 34, Florida 32 Dec. 1, 2001 Gators lose Rose Bowl opportunity, fail on late two-point conversion.
  3. LSU 28, Florida 21 Oct. 11, 1997 No. 1 Gators go down in flames before Saturday night Cajun crowd.
  4. Auburn 36, Florida 33 Oct. 15, 1994 Frankie Sanders scores late TD to deflate top-ranked Gators at home.
  5. FSU 31, Florida 31 Nov. 26, 1994 OK, it’s a tie; but surrendering 28-3 fourth-quarter lead made it a loss.
  6. FSU 24, Florida 21 Nov. 30, 1996 No. 1 Gators go down, but get Sugar Bowl rematch and win national title.
  7. Tennessee 45, Florida 3 Oct. 13, 1990 Rocky Top still ringing in the ears of Spurrier’s first UF team.
  8. Alabama 34, Florida 7 Dec. 4, 1999 SEC title on line; Gators were rarely this flat in such a big game.
  9. Tennessee 20, Florida 17 Sept. 9, 1998 Gators miss field goal in OT; Volunteers go on to win national title.
  10. Alabama 40, Florida 39 Oct. 2, 1999 Fumbled punt, missed PAT open door and ends 30-game home win streak.

Rivals respected Spurrier, despite his constant digs


COLUMBIA, S.C. — After Florida State beat Florida 24-21 and replaced the Gators as the No. 1 team in the country in the final regular-season game in 1996, then-Gators coach Steve Spurrier opened fire on the Seminoles and coach Bobby Bowden.After it was announced that the Gators and Seminoles would play again for the national championship in the Sugar Bowl, Spurrier accused FSU’s menacing defense of hitting quarterback Danny Wuerffel late on several occasions during their earlier meeting. Spurrier went as far as to suggest that Bowden coached his team to play dirty.”After we beat them, the next morning I was on a national TV hookup and Steve is on there, too,” Bowden said. “He starts accusing me of playing dirty football. I was shocked because I wasn’t ready for it. We kind of fussed about it for awhile.”For more than a month, Spurrier accused the Seminoles of taking cheap shots on Wuerffel, his Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback. In the first meeting, the Seminoles hit Wuerffel on 32 of 76 plays. They sacked him six times and were penalized twice for late hits.”Danny Wuerffel should not be treated like a tackling dummy because he plays quarterback against FSU,” Spurrier told reporters when the Gators arrived in New Orleans for the game. “He took some hits he shouldn’t have taken, and I spoke out and hope it’s not going to happen again.”A couple of nights before the Sugar Bowl, Bowden and Spurrier were alone together during a bowl banquet.”We were behind the curtain fixing to go do something, and he said, ‘Hey, look, I didn’t mean any personal feelings about that. I was only trying to fire up my ball club.'” Bowden said. “Probably a lot of it was true. He was trying to motivate his team.”The Gators were certainly motivated, as they routed the Seminoles 52-20 in the Sugar Bowl to win the first national championship in school history. In an old-school league where passing had been an admission of weakness, Steve Spurrier brought Florida to prominence with a new attack.It wasn’t the first time Spurrier took verbal jabs at his in-state rival while coaching the Gators. Two years earlier, when the NCAA was investigating whether eight FSU players received $6,000 worth of merchandise paid for by an unregistered agent during an after-hours shopping spree at a Foot Locker store in Tallahassee, Florida, Spurrier referred to FSU as “Free Shoes U.”

“Our recruiting, we had another solid year,” Spurrier told a group of Florida boosters in 1994. “We didn’t get as many blue-chip players as FSU got, but I’m starting to understand why they’re getting so many of those guys now.”FSU was placed on NCAA probation in 1996 for failing to monitor agent activity, including the infamous shopping spree.”He’s a natural-born needler,” Bowden said. “He’s the needler champion of the world. I don’t care who he played, he was going to needle them. He needled me, but I thought it was funny. The ‘Free Shoes University,’ I thought was very clever. I never took it personally because I always respected him.”At least Bowden wasn’t Spurrier’s only target during his 25 years as a head coach. Former Tennessee coach Phillip Fulmer, whose teams battled the Gators for SEC supremacy during much of the 1990s, was one of Spurrier’s favorite punching bags. After the Vols finished second behind Florida in the SEC East in four straight seasons from 1993-96, Spurrier quipped that “you can’t spell Citrus without UT.” About UT quarterback Peyton Manning returning to school for his senior season in 1997, Spurrier said, “I know why Peyton came back for his senior year. He wanted to be a three-time star of the Citrus Bowl.””I absolutely wanted to ring his neck,” Fulmer said. “I shot back at him one time with something about him playing golf all the time. It was irritating. It was off subject because it was supposed to be about the teams and the kids. He [needled] the teams he respected or the teams he had to beat, whether it was Tennessee, Florida State, Georgia or whoever. It was his style.”Fulmer said he never took the shades personally.”His style and personality were important for the conference,” Fulmer said. “A lot of people think Steve and I don’t like each other, but we’re great friends. He was great to be around if we were at the conference spring meetings or a golf tournament. He was a fun guy, but if you put a microphone in front of him he can be a jerk.”Spurrier wasn’t afraid to poke at a rival about anything — even astronomy. When Clemson coach Dabo Swinney was asked about his relationship with Spurrier in 2014, he told USA Today, “He’s from Pluto, I’m from Mars.”It wasn’t long before Spurrier pounced on Swinney’s mistake.”I just said that we get along, we’re fine, we’re just different,” Swinney told reporters Tuesday. “He’s from Mars, I’m from Pluto. You know, we’re just different in ways. The next thing you know, it’s all over ESPN that he’s from Mars and I’m from Pluto. Then he comes back and says, ‘I don’t think Dabo knows Pluto ain’t a planet anymore.'”I’m like, ‘Dadgum, Pluto was a planet when I was at Alabama,” Swinney said. “I missed that news flash along the way. Then lo and behold we finally beat them suckers last year and guess what has happened? Pluto has made a comeback. Pluto is now a planet once again. He’s just one of the best at picking up on what somebody says and having some fun with it.”Former Georgia coach Ray Goff, who coached the Bulldogs from 1989 to 1995 and never beat the Gators, was on the wrong end of several of Spurrier’s jokes.After the Gators clinched their first SEC championship with a 45-13 win over Georgia in 1991, Spurrier told reporters, “How is it when [Georgia] signs people, they get the ‘best,’ but when we play, we’ve got the best players? Georgia has signed a lot of good players. Something just happens to them at Georgia, I guess.”When the Georgia-Florida game moved to the schools’ campuses for two years during the mid-1990s because of construction at Jacksonville’s stadium, which has traditionally hosted the annual border war, the Gators beat the Bulldogs 52-17 in Athens. At the time, Florida was the only opponent to score more than 50 points in Sanford Stadium.Florida backup quarterback Eric Kresser threw a touchdown pass with about one minute to go in the game. As Spurrier left the field, a Georgia fan doused him with a cup of tobacco spit.”A lot of our coaches have mentioned to me that no one had scored 50 points in here before, so we wanted to do that,” Spurrier said at the time. “We wanted to try to make it a memorable game for the Gators, and it was.”That wasn’t the only time the Gators scored late in a lopsided win over Georgia. In 1998, Florida handed the ball to a wide receiver to score the final touchdown with 38 seconds left.”Oh, I can’t worry about what the other coach thinks when we run a play to a seventh-team wide receiver,” Spurrier joked.Spurrier even referred to Goff as “Ray Goof.”It still seems to be an open wound.”It didn’t bother me at all,” Goff said. “That’s just Steve. It was his personality. Steve is very outspoken and he speaks his mind. I think he’s very open and very honest and he was a great football coach.”I’m not going to get into it. It’s not about him and me. It’s about him retiring. I’m not going to get into all that crap. That’s all it is — crap.”Current Georgia coach Mark Richt said he never took Spurrier’s verbal jabs personally. When the annual Georgia-South Carolina game was moved from Week 2 to Week 6 in 2012, Spurrier told, “I sort of always liked playing them that second game because you could always count on them having two or three key players suspended.”Richt said, “He was fun to compete against because you just never know what was going to happen or you never knew what he might say. Some people got real bent out of shape with a lot of things he said. I never really did.”The thing I liked the most about Coach Spurrier is that he was always just honest about everything. What he was saying is what he was thinking, and he wasn’t going to pull any punches one way or another. I appreciated that about him. I didn’t always agree with everything he said, but I never really took anything too personally if he was trying to have little fun here and there.”

Linda Robertson: Saturdays won’t be the same without great innovator Steve Spurrier

By Linda

Steve Spurrier resigned Monday. Typically he would insert a punch line here, but he didn’t have one for the occasion of his own farewell.The head ball coach decided to step down rather than fade away. He decided to get out before he found himself no longer the provocateur but the object of clever barbs.A humbled Steve Superior? What an unappealing picture that would be. Unless you’re a Tennessee, Georgia, Auburn, Alabama or Florida State fan who could take some revenge with a Spurrier-like zinger: “You can’t spell ‘losers quit’ without two S’s, a U and an R.”It was a sad day for college football. The irreverent, innovative coach who freed the game from its numbing earnestness and hidebound playbook will no longer be on the sideline. Spurrier announced he is resigning immediately at South Carolina, where the Gamecocks fell to 2-4 overall and 0-4 in the SEC after a 45-24 loss to LSU. Saturdays won’t be the same without Spurrier throwing his visor and instructing his quarterback to throw the football until the cows come home or Bear Bryant flips in his grave, whichever happens first. Spurrier, who led Florida to its first national title 30 years after winning the Heisman Trophy as a Gator, warned that he is not retiring. But he emphasized it was time for change after 11 years at South Carolina, the third moribund program he had raised to prominence following three years at Duke and 12 at UF. The team’s record is 9-10 since the start of 2014. He said he sensed “this is about it for me,” especially after a painful struggle to beat 0-6 Central Florida.Spurrier, 70, said he always had the same answer when asked how much longer he planned to coach.“As long as we keep winning, winning these bowl games, everybody’s happy, we’re ranked, life is pretty good, I guess I can coach several more years,” he said. “But if it starts going south, starts going bad, then I need to get out. You can’t keep a coach that’s done it as long as I have when it’s moving in the wrong direction.”He worried that he was becoming a “recruiting liability” because of questions about his longevity and believed that players needed to hear “a new message and a new voice.”“Only two years ago we were fourth in the nation,” said Spurrier, who was replaced by assistant Shawn Elliott. “Somehow or other we’ve slid. I’m responsible. I’m the head coach. It’s time for me to sort of get out of the way and let somebody else have a go at it.”His revolutionary spirit will be missed, but his influence will be everlasting. He applied his imagination to football, which is why the college game today is more entertaining than the pro version. He shook things up with his wide-open offensive schemes, such as the Fun ‘n’ Gun. He’d brainstorm plays while eating, and scribble them down on napkins. He gave quarterbacks wide latitude to play like he played. Danny Wuerffel said Spurrier could make up a play in six seconds and was a master of improvisation and capitalizing on opponents’ weaknesses (although such “pitching the ball around” didn’t work in two years with the Redskins against NFL defenses). Plenty of coaches have copied Spurrier, and transformed programs in the process, but he was the original.Spurrier worked his magic in the conservative SEC, where he won six conference titles and scored at least 500 points per season for six seasons in a row. He gave the Gators a true home field advantage by imbuing Ben Hill Griffin Stadium with a foreboding sense of place.“The swamp is where the Gators live,” he said. “A swamp is hot and sticky and can be dangerous.”He refused to read from the standard coaching script. He said FSU stood for “Free Shoes University.” He said, “You can’t spell Citrus without UT,” and claimed he knew the real reason Peyton Manning returned for his senior year: “He wanted to be three-time Citrus MVP.”After a dorm fire at Auburn destroyed 20 books, Spurrier quipped: “The real tragedy was that 15 hadn’t been colored yet.”What a concept: Comic relief from a head ball coach rather than the usual fake respect for opponents or praise for crummy bowl games. Spurrier was the anti-Nick Saban.“In 12 years at Florida, I don’t think we ever signed a kid from the state of Alabama. Of course we found out later that the scholarships they were giving out were worth a whole lot more than ours,” was another classic.He preferred to play Georgia early in the season “because you could always count on them having two or three key players suspended.”Spurrier’s trash talk went over the line sometimes. Even his wife described him as a “brat.” Florida State athletic director Dave Hart once said, “It probably would be good if somebody would just spank [Spurrier] and put him to bed and hope that he wakes up all grown up.”Spurrier could be a petulant bully, and those who don’t like him will say his ego is telling him to cut and run at South Carolina before the slide turns into a blemish on his coaching genius.But love or hate the head ball coach, he put on a compelling show. College football will be less electric – and caustic – without him.Linda Robertson:

Waylp, bye: Steve Spurrier up and left

By Spencer Hall  @edsbs on Oct 13, 2015, 12:09p 29 

Most coaches get fired. Some retire. The man who won at three schools where he wasn’t supposed to win is just gone.

If Steve Spurrier had a speech for his team Monday night, you didn’t want to hear it. When he left Florida in 2002 for Washington’s NFL team, his press conference was short, unsentimental and unpolished. When he left that job two years later, he left millions of dollars on the table and did it quickly. In his own words, his “give-a-damn was busted.” When that happened, in Spurrier’s eyes, it was time to go, and immediately. He quit. You could ask him to explain it, but it wouldn’t go well. Spurrier is not Lou Holtz or Bobby Bowden. He really isn’t Bowden, who even in losses would ride a West Virginia twang over the thorniest questions. Spurrier’s best locker room speeches were accidental, like one prior to a 1996 drubbing of the Tennessee Volunteers in Neyland Stadium. He was just launching into it when an assistant bumped the light switch and sent the locker room into darkness. The players thought it was a motivational tactic, went nuts and stormed out to the field. Anyone who hired him for a corporate speaking junket knew they were getting someone who would reheat John Wooden, talk about winners and losers in a meandering way and then drink a few beers before disappearing into the night. Spurrier is fine one-on-one, and a great chatter with reporters, but podium oratory was never one of his strengths. This is a way of getting to the point that Spurrier is stepping down, and that the last person you want to ask about it is Spurrier. For all the one-liners and whiplash halftime interviews and sometimes bracing candor, the Head Ball Coach has been notoriously bad at explaining himself or his motivations. That is, unless he had an enemy to work against, in which case his motivations became crystalline.At Duke, his first head job, that oppositional other was Mack Brown at North Carolina. Spurrier called the eventual Texas CEO “Mr. Football” while taking pictures of the scoreboard after the Blue Devils humiliated the Tar Heels at Chapel Hill. While he didn’t have to say it in so many words, the implications about someone else said as much about Spurrier as anything. Brown represented the glad-handing booster with a football hobby, the politician who loitered by the whiteboard waiting for a real coach to show up and teach him how to score a few touchdowns on game day.At Florida, it would be Georgia head coach Ray Goff, a coach he almost single-handedly humiliated out of the profession and into the fried chicken business. After him, it was Phil Fulmer at Tennessee or Bowden at Florida State, depending on the year and how confident he felt about his team.Later, in the NFL, he’d cite the ruined careers of lesser coaches as justification for his methods.”Some coaches who spent a lot of hours had a lot of success,” he said. “Some got fired quickly. I know Brad Scott had a cot at South Carolina.”Spurrier took that South Carolina job and won, a transaction that implies two parties: the loser, who did losing things and lost all the time, and the other guy, the winner.That guy, it was strongly implied in any of these relationships, was always Spurrier.In a goodbye speech, there’s no opponent, so why would he have anything to do with it in the first place? He is bad at pitching, bad at explaining, but pretty good at the doing of the thing. When athletic director Jeremy Foley asked him to submit a resume for the Florida job in 2004, Spurrier reportedly told him to go look in the trophy case. He was insulted to point out something with words, like some endlessly lobbying huckster of a coach. That was beneath him, unclean, something only losers did. There were trophies, and a scoreboard. Read them for yourself.Things always seemed obvious to him. If he quit and walked out of the South Carolina building, his only explanation would be pointing to the scoreboard. That decided things. The rest was just speechifying.

Another coach Spurrier liked to tweak later in his career was Nick Saban, someone Spurrier would point out had taken the Alabama and LSU jobs.”If he wants to be the greatest coach or one of the greatest coaches in college football, to me, he has to go somewhere besides Alabama and win, because they’ve always won there at Alabama.You could take favorable jobs as a bad coach and look okay, or take great jobs as a good coach and look orders of magnitude better than you might actually be.Spurrier, in contrast, took the Duke, Florida and South Carolina jobs, jobs that were garbage scows before he arrived. He won at all three, in biblical fashion — the Old Testament Bible, where locusts ate your crops, lightning blew up your houses, and your village was flattened by a tidal wave before your rescue boat was swallowed by a whale. He drew the ire of illiterate nanny-take pissmerchants like New York columnist Mike Lupica, who accused Spurrier of running up the score, whatever that means.The Old Testament thing ran a little deeper than mere cruelty. Spurrier had and still has an intense sense of fairness, at least by the judgment of his own rules. When Nebraska decimated Florida 62-24 in the 1996 Fiesta Bowl, Spurrier was visibly enraged when the Cornhuskers spent most of the fourth quarter running the clock out rather than scoring as many points as they could. He strained his relationship with Alabama coach Mike DuBose by asking him, point-blank in a letter, if Alabama was committing recruiting violations. Spurrier allegedly disliked Bill Clinton for one reason: he cheated at golf, and if he’d cheat at golf, he’d cheat at anything.That ledger of grievances and judgments ran long. Sometimes the turnaround on vengeance could be short, like when Mississippi State beat Florida in 2000 in Starkville and a Florida student manager was knocked out on the sidelines by a cowbell thrown from the stands. The following year, Spurrier put in Brock Berlin in relief in a blowout, then called a deep pass that went for a touchdown, admitting in the postgame that he’d scored a TD for the trainer in a 52-0 blowout. One reporter mentioned Mississippi State having the best pass defense in the nation going into the game. “Won’t be coming out, though” was Spurrier’s response.

Sometimes that long arc of account-settling ran very long. When Bill Curry came to Georgia Tech in 1980, he didn’t retain Spurrier or the rest of Pepper Rodgers’ staff. Spurrier retaliated by going 6-0 as an assistant and head coach against Curry in the ACC and 7-0 in the SEC, including a 73-7 game against Curry’s Kentucky I watched in person in 1994. If it sounds like three and a half hours of pure savagery, there is a very good reason for that: it was. Spurrier football at its most complete felt like uneven, sustained retaliation for an endless list of real and sometimes imagined offenses.

He retires as a singular presence in every sense. While he single-handedly changed the way the SEC plays football by winning with a pass-first offense, he has no great coaching tree or organizational legacy. While other playcallers bit his concepts, there is no philosophical heir, no real system like the air raid or the West Coast offense. There are concepts, and a loose playbook, sure, but most of Spurrier’s offense walks in the door when he arrives, and leaves with him when he goes. He called plays largely by feel, and always standing on the sidelines.

He also stands alone institutionally. He just walked out of the South Carolina job, a job he clearly regarded as a job and not a family, or a kind of personal mafia he could in retirement work for connections or a partnership in a car dealership. Imagine Swinney doing the same thing; you can’t, because Dabo sees Clemson as a place he’s a part of, not a place that is a part of him. Part of their rivalry came from this stark difference, sure, but that’s part of the story. Swinney will coach his last season to the final whistle and take a final lap around the stadium. Spurrier just skipped town like a drifter headed for the train tracks.Failure and rejection forged a lot of that singularity. His father was an exacting minister who would remind him, even in his best efforts on the basketball court or football field, of the mistake he’d made in the game, the bad pass, the shot he’d missed. Despite him growing up just down the road, Tennessee barely recruited him at quarterback because they ran the Wing-T. He went to Florida, where his success at an underachieving program was undermined (at least in his mind) by losing to Georgia in his Heisman season of 1966.He entered the NFL and eventually became the starting quarterback for the worst team to ever play the game, the winless 1976 Tampa Bay Buccaneers. (Players had beers at his house after games, mostly to avoid going out in public.) After washing out of the league, he caught on as a quarterbacks coach at Florida and Georgia Tech, then as offensive coordinator at Duke. He became the youngest pro coach in history at 37 in the USFL, but went 1-1 against Lee Corso.He had a losing record against Bowden, lost one of the most lopsided games in national championship history and never won an SEC title at South Carolina. Spurrier would be the first to remind you of all this, too.Spurrier will also remind you that he won a lot of games, games those teams would have never dreamt of winning without his assistance. He did not belong to you, or the school or the fans. He did not belong to Dan Snyder, even after the owner tried to pay him for another season of toil in the NFL. You could buy someone like Jim Haslett, another lesser Spurrier enjoyed needling during his brief tenure in the NFL. At any level, you could only rent Spurrier, and only then with terms he could change at any second. He was the first coach to make $2 million dollars a year in college, and maybe one of the first to openly admit his careerism. He was, to some degree, a pioneering forefather of the modern bastard coaching model.To wit: Spurrier just ditched the team full of players who committed to play an entire season for the man. Then again, most of the people making that accusation would also have to admit that most players at South Carolina have barely had contact with Spurrier, who’s happily let his assistants run the program for the past few years. Spurrier’s public indecision on retirement was a chewtoy for both offseason column-raking and opponents recruiting against South Carolina. When Spurrier put a number on exactly how many years he had left, there was an uproar. When he changed course and said he’d stay for longer, he came off as unstable.

Leaving now probably doesn’t change much. It’s shocking, but it inadvertently lets South Carolina get a jump on hiring his replacement and answers the longer-term questions about recruiting sooner, rather than later. That replacement will walk into a much, much better situation than Spurrier walked into, and with better facilities and higher expectations than Spurrier had when taking over a program Lou Holtz left in the recycling bin.*

*Let’s be honest: the garbage pile, because Holtz probably believes recycling is a Communist plot.

Leaving now is awkward and unsentimental and selfish, but again: this is Steve Spurrier. You didn’t pay him to cuddle, though he was affectionate enough. You paid him to not only win, but to pick rivals out of a crowd, fixate on them and beat them until their teeth rattled. You paid him. It was a job, one where he showed up to thank the band each year and do all the delightfully antiquated things college football coaches do, sure.But in the end it was a job, and one that had devoured peers and mentors of his in ghastly ways. Bowden spent the better part of five years fighting the inevitable at Florida State, capitulating to a humiliating coach-in-waiting arrangement. Fulmer was flat fired at Tennessee, while a coach Spurrier admired, Joe Paterno, fell into abominable scandal in his old age at Penn State. Even his original Most Despised Rival, Mack Brown, could not politick or manage his way out of a grisly demise at Texas. (And if that’s what it came to in the end, the politically limited Spurrier was done before he even started that fight.)He’d leave the job to someone else and go do something else. That’s an unemotional way to look at it, but it’s part of a system. There are rules, and you should follow them. The defense never backs up if you don’t throw it deep. The game’s based on points, so you better be able to score more than the other team. If you make money, you pay the coach, and if you make some more, you pay the players. If someone cusses at you, well, you cuss back, provided you don’t use the f-word, ’cause that’s a rule Spurrier had, too. No f-words, but sure: drop a dammit or a hell or even a shit, if you had to in the heat of a fight.Don’t work too much. No really, don’t work too much, or at least not all year long, if you can help it. He’d grind during the season and in recruiting, sure, but he’d also show up at Daytona shirtless and drinking a banquet beer. There might be something to that: Spurrier outlasted one generation of coaches, and then outlasted most of another while happily admitting to extensive time spent on the back nine. It helps to have a singular genius for your job, sure, but with all that dark, sleepless misery, Saban still only managed a head-to-head record of 1-3 against the Head Ball Coach. There’s probably a lot of make-busy waste work done in the name of looking like you’re working hard in coaching. You might, for longevity’s sake, want to avoid it.Oh, and if there’s time on the clock, you do your best to score, because that’s the whole point of the game. If there’s no time left on the clock, well, you have a beer, go home and figure out what do next. Maybe cry a little or celebrate, if you’re the kind of person who needs to do that.

The 14 best Steve Spurrier quotes of now and then

By Chris Fuhrmeister  @ccfuhr on Oct 18, 2013, 2:23p 11 Spurrier has provided plenty of classic comments over the years.

South Carolina head coach Steve Spurrier is one of college football’s all-time quotable figures. When a Spurrier-coached team is facing a chief rival, the Head Ball Coach almost always provides at least one quip that’s worth remembering, and his SEC Media Days press conferences are must-see events.

With all this in mind, 14 of the best Spurrier quotes from over the years:

This season

On South Carolina’s 52-7 win over the Razorbacks: “I do feel badly for Arkansas. That’s no fun getting your butt beat at home, homecoming and all that.”

On the Gamecocks’ matchup at Tennessee “Will be the 14th time I’ve coached in Neyland Stadium. … I’ve coached there more than some of their head coaches.”

On his age: “The Pope is 77 years old and he’s in charge of a billion people. All I have to do is put 11 on the field.”

Classic Spurrier


On playing the Dawgs early: “I don’t know. I sort of always liked playing them that second game because you could always count on them having two or three key players suspended.”

On Georgia recruiting: “Why is it that during recruiting season they sign all the great players, but when it comes time to play the game, we have all the great players? I don’t understand that. What happens to them?”


On the Vols missing out on the Sugar Bowl during his Florida years: “You can’t spell Citrus without U-T.”

On Peyton Manning: “I know why Peyton came back for his senior year. He wanted to be a three-time star of the Citrus Bowl.”


On recruiting: “In 12 years at Florida, I don’t think we ever signed a kid from the state of Alabama … Of course, we found out later that the scholarships they were giving out at Alabama were worth a whole lot more than ours.”

Florida State

On scandal in Tallahassee: “You know what FSU stands for, don’t you? Free Shoes University.”

On illegal hits against Danny Wuerffel: “He’s like a New Testament person. He gets slapped up side the face, and turns the other cheek and says, ‘Lord, forgive them for they know not what they’re doing.’ I’m probably more of an Old Testament guy. You spear our guy in the earhole, we think we’re supposed to spear you in the earhole. That’s kind of where we’re a little different.”


On a fire at the football dorm that destroyed 20 books: “But the real tragedy was that 15 hadn’t been colored yet.”


On the Death Valley nickname: “Most of our guys have never been to Death Valley. (LSU’s stadium) is the Death Valley, isn’t it? Or is there another one? There’s two of them. That’s right. There’s two Death Valleys.”

On the state of the South Carolina program (widely attributed, but probably not an original): “We aren’t LSU and we aren’t Alabama. But we sure ain’t Clemson.”

On Dabo Swinney’s anger over the above quote: “I said, ‘Well, what do you want me to do? I didn’t say it.’ Smart people don’t believe everything they read, and they don’t believe hearsay. … I guess Dabo believed it.”

When Steve Spurrier spoke, we all listened.

Steve Spurrier on playing Georgia: “I don’t know. I sort of always liked playing them that second game because you could always count on them having two or three key players suspended.”

On coaching for so long …

  • “People ask, ‘Why are you still coaching?’ I forgot to get fired and I’m not going to cheat.”
  • “I’m smart enough to know when it’s time to let somebody else come in and do this, but I’m also smart enough to know that we’ve beaten Georgia four of the last five years, beaten Florida four of the last five years and beaten Clemson five of the last six years. We’re only 3-2 against Tennessee the last five years, and they won a couple of close ones against us, but they’ve lost 10 in a row to Florida. So I’d say we’ve done OK and have a lot more we’re going to do.”
  • “Well, like I told people, I breezed right through age 60, breezed right through 65, and I’m going to try my best to breeze right on through 70. I can still remember just about everything. So mentally, I think I’m the same as I was. We got two people running for president, I think Hillary and Donald Trump are both 69, I believe. Coach K at Duke, he’s still doing pretty good at, I think 69 also. So the age really doesn’t mean a lot.”

Jabbing at Florida State …

  • “You know what FSU stands for, don’t you? Free Shoes University.”
  • On FSU players hitting Danny Wuerffel late: “He’s like a New Testament person. He gets slapped up side the face, and turns the other cheek and says, ‘Lord, forgive them for they know not what they’re doing.’ I’m probably more of an Old Testament guy. You spear our guy in the earhole, we think we’re supposed to spear you in the earhole. That’s kind of where we’re a little different.”
  • On Jadeveon Clowney getting a speeding ticket: “I didn’t know Jadeveon’s car that could go that fast. He doesn’t have a pretty car like those FSU guys used to drive.”

Jabbing at Clemson and Dabo Swinney …

  • Swinney was asked about his relationship with Spurrier and said, “He’s from Pluto, and I’m from Mars.” Spurrier responded: “Dabo probably thinks there’s only, what, nine planets out there? I think I read where Pluto may not be considered one now.”
  • On winning an SEC title compared to beating Clemson: “What I’ve also learned at South Carolina, our fans realize there’s more to life than winning the SEC championship. They really do. We’re in a state with Clemson. Clemson used to pretty much own South Carolina in football, no question about it. We have a state championship trophy. If you ask our fans at South Carolina, I can assure you a majority would say, ‘We would rather beat Clemson than win the SEC.’ That is how big it is to them, that one game. Personally, I’d rather win the SEC. I don’t mind saying that. Personally, that’s the bigger trophy.”
  • On LSU having the real Death Valley: “Most of our guys have never been to Death Valley. [LSU’s stadium] is the Death Valley, isn’t it? Or is there another one? There’s two of them. That’s right. There’s two Death Valleys.”

Jabbing at everyone else …

  • On a fire at the Auburn library that destroyed 20 books: “The real tragedy was that 15 hadn’t been colored yet.”
  • On Tennessee and Arkansas having the same record as South Carolina in 2014: “We were 7-6. Same as Tennessee, same as Arkansas. I think they’re sorta celebratin’ big seasons last year. … There are people in Knoxville and Fayetteville still doing cartwheels over going 7-6.”
  • On Nick Saban: “He’s got a nice little gig going, a little bit like [John] Calipari. He tells guys, ‘Hey, three years from now, you’re going to be a first-round pick and go.’ If he wants to be the greatest coach or one of the greatest coaches in college football, to me, he has to go somewhere besides Alabama and win, because they’ve always won there at Alabama.”

Steve Spurrier’s career: By the numbers

South Carolina head coach Steve Spurrier announced Monday night that he is retiring, effective immediately.

We took a look back at Spurrier’s career, by the numbers:

1: Number of active college coaches who are ahead of Spurrier on the all-time wins list. Spurrier resigns with 228 wins, good for 13th on the overall list. The only coach ahead of Spurrier who is still active is Frank Beamer of Virginia Tech. Beamer has 234 wins and is tied for 10th overall.

2: Number of quarterbacks that Spurrier coached at both Florida and with theWashington Redskins

. Shane Matthews and Danny Wuerffel both followed Spurrier to Washington with mixed results, and another former Gator whom Spurrier coached, Rex Grossman, would soon follow to the Redskins, but not during Spurrier’s tenure.

3: Selection number in the first round of the NFL draft that the San Francisco 49ers chose Spurrier in 1967. He finished his NFL career with a 13-24-1 record, throwing for 6,878 yards across 10 seasons.

7: Times Spurrier was named Coach of the Year in his respective conference. He was honored by the ACC in 1988 and 1989 while at Duke, and in 1990, 1995, 1996, 2005 and 2010 by the SEC. The latter two were while at South Carolina.

8: Losses that Spurrier suffered to Bobby Bowden and Florida State, during his 12-year run at Florida. In fact, the Gators went just 5-8-1 vs. the Seminoles under the “Head Ball Coach,” but in winning the 1996 national championship, Spurrier and Florida crushed Florida State 52-20 in the Sugar Bowl.

11: Seasons in which Spurrier coached at South Carolina, registering three 11-win campaigns along the way. Prior to his arrival in 2005, South Carolina never won more than 10 games in a single season.

12: Total amount of wins Spurrier achieved while as a head coach in the NFL. In 2002 and 2003, he led the Washington Redskins to a 12-20 record and never finished higher than third place in the NFC East.

21: Bowl appearances made by Spurrier-coached teams. Eleven of those came at Florida, where the Gators went 6-5. One — the 1989 All-American Bowl — came at Duke.

35: Wins that Spurrier registered while as a head coach in the USFL with the Tampa Bay Bandits. Spurrier coached Tampa Bay from 1983-85, two years before heading to Duke. The Bandits made two postseason appearances during his tenure, but lost them both.

228: All-time wins as a college head coach, in stops at Duke, Florida and South Carolina.

1966: The year in which Spurrier won the Heisman Trophy, while a quarterback at Florida. He was also named a first-team All-American, the UPI Player of the Year and the SEC Player of the Year that season.

3,625: Passing yards that Florida quarterback Danny Wuerffel compiled in his 1996 Heisman Trophy-winning season, while leading Spurrier’s offense.

Coaching Record

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Yr School G W L T Pct SRS SOS AP Pre AP High AP Post Bowl Notes
1987 Duke 11 5 6 0 .455 1.91 -0.46
1988 Duke 11 7 3 1 .682 1.47 -0.26
1989 Duke 12 8 4 0 .667 5.87 3.20 20 All-American Bowl-L
1990 Florida 11 9 2 0 .818 13.95 0.40 5 13
1991 Florida 12 10 2 0 .833 19.24 5.91 5 3 7 Sugar Bowl-L
1992 Florida 13 9 4 0 .692 9.18 6.02 4 4 10 Gator Bowl-W
1993 Florida 13 11 2 0 .846 17.53 5.07 9 4 5 Sugar Bowl-W
1994 Florida 13 10 2 1 .808 21.79 6.25 1 1 7 Sugar Bowl-L
1995 Florida 13 12 1 0 .923 22.59 5.20 5 2 2 Fiesta Bowl-L
1996 Florida 13 12 1 0 .923 23.60 5.30 4 1 1 Sugar Bowl-W
1997 Florida 12 10 2 0 .833 21.07 8.90 2 1 4 Citrus Bowl-W
1998 Florida 12 10 2 0 .833 17.02 2.52 3 2 5 Orange Bowl-W
1999 Florida 13 9 4 0 .692 15.55 6.86 5 3 12 Citrus Bowl-L
2000 Florida 13 10 3 0 .769 17.61 6.23 9 3 10 Sugar Bowl-L
2001 Florida 12 10 2 0 .833 23.38 5.38 1 1 3 Orange Bowl-W
2005 South Carolina 12 7 5 0 .583 5.24 3.74 19 Independence Bowl-L
2006 South Carolina 13 8 5 0 .615 9.67 4.75 Liberty Bowl-W
2007 South Carolina 12 6 6 0 .500 7.15 5.90 6
2008 South Carolina 13 7 6 0 .538 5.21 4.28 24 Outback Bowl-L
2009 South Carolina 13 7 6 0 .538 7.10 6.17 21 Bowl-L
2010 South Carolina 14 9 5 0 .643 12.97 6.18 10 22 Chick-fil-A Bowl-L
2011 South Carolina 13 11 2 0 .846 13.56 3.10 12 9 9 Capital One Bowl-W
2012 South Carolina 13 11 2 0 .846 15.97 4.51 9 3 8 Outback Bowl-W
2013 South Carolina 13 11 2 0 .846 16.06 6.29 6 4 4 Capital One Bowl-W
2014 South Carolina 13 7 6 0 .538 6.70 4.93 9 9 Independence Bowl-W
2015 South Carolina 6 2 4 0 .333 -3.10 3.91
Overall 319 228 89 2 .718 12.63 4.63
Duke 34 20 13 1 .603 3.08 0.83
Florida 150 122 27 1 .817 18.54 5.34
South Carolina 135 86 49 0 .637 8.78 4.89


10/15/15 US U23s Advance to Playoff, USMNT loses again, Carmel Regionals Tonite, MLS Playoff Picture, Champions League Next Tues/Wed.

So you can tell since I am leading off with the U23’s that I don’t have much to say about the USMNT performance vs Costa Rica after the huge loss to Mexico. My mom taught me long ago if you don’t have something good to say – don’t say anything.  Listen at this point the way this USMNT team is playing – we might not even qualify for the World Cup with the German in charge.  Great to hear the U23s beat Canada to advance to a 2 game playoff with Colombia for an Olympic birth.  I would think the US will call back U23 players like John Brooks, Deandre Yedlin and of course Morris to help in those games vs Colombia next March but we’ll see.  Meanwhile the US men need to figure out something before WC qualifiers begin next month as we look ahead to the Copa America (lets hope in the US next summer).

League play returns in Europe this weekend with a new boss in charge at Liverpool as they face Tottenham Sat 7:45 pm, a matchup for Tim Howard and Everton at Man U @ 10 am both on NBCSN Sat AM. Sunday has Inter @ Juve at 2:45 pm on beIn Sport ahead of a pair of solid MLS matchups with Houston vs Seattle at 5 pm on ESPN and LA @ Portland @ 7 pm on Fox Sports 1 – both these games with huge playoff implications in MLS.  Closer to home the Indy 11 are home again this weekend and next for their last 2 games this year.  Its Christian Nicht bobblehead night this Sat night – 7:30 pm at the Mike – also on Ch 8 and ESPN3.

So Euro Qualifying became quite exciting on the last 2 days and teams jockeyed and battled for those last coveted spots along with the playoff slots for the Euro 2016 in France next summer.  The Netherlands losing and being knocked out was quite a shock at the Finalist and Semi-finalist for the last 2 world cups faltered without Arien Robben-who was hurt. Great to see newcomers like Iceland, Northern Ireland and Wales make the finals – while the playoffs for the final 4 slots – next month continue with four seeded teams (Bosnia & Herzegovina, Hungary, Ukraine and Sweden), against Ireland, Norway, Denmark and Slovenia.


Locally the Carmel High Men’s Soccer team took the Sectional Championship for the 3rd straight year and head to Regionals at North Central vs Brebeuf tonight at 7 pm.  Brownsburg plays Lawrence North at 5 pm with the Regional Championship Sat at 2 pm.  In girls play Zionsville (who beat Avon in OT) will host Brebeuf on Sat at 10 am in the Sectional Finals while Fishers faces Marion at 1 pm at Logansport.  Mt Vernon will host Centergrove in 1A.

Congrats to the Carmel FC U11 Girl’s Teams under the overall direction of Coach Mark Stumpf won all 3 Division Championships at Zionsville’s Socctoberfest this past weekend.


Carmel FC U11 Gold Team won the 2nd division. Coach’s Mark Stumpf on left and Scott Prince on right.


Carmel FC U11 Blue Team won the 3rd Division – coaches Erik Barrett and Matt Uber on left and Mike Upton on the right. The Blue team also went undefeated in ISL League play this fall.


Carmel FC U11 Girls White Team won the 4th division, coach Rene Moyer on the left and Beth Leffler on the right.

US Soccer

US U23s Advance to 3rd Place Playoff with Colombia for Olympics Spot –SI

US beats Canada to advance to playoff Luviu Bird – SI

USA lays an Egg vs Costa Rica ESPN FC

How to Fix US Soccer- Grant Wahl SI

US loses to Costa Rica too – SI

How US lost to Mexico – Liviu Bird SI

US at Crossroads with the German  Fabian Johnson club says he’s injured

Mexico Player Ratings –American Soccer Now

Why Bobby Wood Deserves to Start for US

Thoughts after US loss to Costa Rica

Time to Bring In New Players

More Problems Armchair Analyst

MLS + Indy 11

This Magical play by Giovinco puts Toronto in Playoffs for 1st Time EVER – SI

Playoff Picture MLSPlayoff Picture in the MLS \

How Teams Qualify for 16/17 Champ League

MLS Table

Musings after Indy 11 lost to San Antonio -1-2.

Fall Festival and bobblehead night – Oct 17th vs Minn United @ the Mike Kristian Nicht bobblehead dol

Cory Miller on Team of Week NASL

EUR0 2016 Qualifications

Teams qualified for Euro 2016
France (host) Spain
Italy England
Czech Republic Austria
Iceland Portugal
Wales Switzerland
Romania Albania
Germany Poland
Russia Slovakia
Croatia Turkey
Northern Ireland Belgium

Have the Dutch forgotten how to play soccer?  Open Letter to the Dutch – Marcotti ESPN FC

Dutch must start over

Wales Gets in dispite loss

Zlatan – Euro2016 without Me Unimaginable

Lewandowski and Poland end Scotland Dreams

Night to Remember as Ireland stuns Germany



Chelsea’s Mourinho suspended 1 match

Man City needs New players to step up

6 EPL Starters on all Euro Qualifying Team

Liverpool Ings out 6 months with ACL

Champions League

Bayern Fans complain about high prices at Emirates

Casillas wants Porto to Draw Real Madrid

Man U Martial thinks Man can win EPL and UCL


Saturday, 10/17

7:45am                    Tottenham Hotspur vs Liverpool                                          NBCSN,

9:30 am                   Schalke 04 vs Hertha BSC                                                     Fox Sports 2 USA,

9:30 am                   Werder Bremen vs Bayern München                            Fox Sports 1

10 am          Chelsea vs Aston Villa                                                             USA Network

10 am                      Everton vs Manchester United                                                NBCSN

10 am                      Real Madrid vs Levante                                                           beIN Sports USA,

12:30 pm                Watford vs Arsenal                                                                  NBC

2:30 pm                  Barcelona vs Rayo Vallecano                                                  beIN Sports USA,

7:30 pm                  Indy 11 vs Min United                                                            Ch 8, ESPN3

Sunday, 10/18

9:30 am                   Köln vs Hannover 96                        Fox Sports 2

11 am                      Newcastle vs Norwich                                                              NBCSN

2:45 pm                   Internazionale vs Juventus                                                     beIN Sports USA,

5 pm                        Houston vs Seattle Sounders                                                  ESPN

7 pm                        LA Galaxy vs Portland Timbers                                   fox Sports 1

Monday, 10/19

3 pm                        Swansea vs Stoke City                                                             NBCSN

TUESDAY, 10/20

2:45pm BATE vs Barcelona ESPN Deportes TV, Fox Sports 2
2:45pm Bayer Leverkusen vs Roma ESPN2, ESPN3, Fox Socce…
2:45pm Arsenal vs Bayern München Fox Sports 1 USA,
2:45pm Dinamo Zagreb vs Olympiakos Piraeus ESPN3,
2:45pm Porto vs Maccabi Tel Aviv ESPN3,
2:45pm Dynamo Kyiv vs Chelsea ESPN3
2:45pm Zenit vs Olympique Lyonnais ESPN3,
2:45pm Valencia vs Gent ESPN3
10:00 p.m., Real Salt Lake vs. Municipal   Fox Sports 2:
UEFA Champions League
Wed, Oct 21
2:45pm Juventus vs Borussia M’gladbach ESPN2,
2:45pm PSG vs Real Madrid Fox Soccer Plus, Fox Deportes
2:45pm CSKA Moskva vs Manchester United Fox Sports 2 USA,
2:45pm Manchester City vs Sevilla Fox Sports Net
2:45pm Malmö FF vs Shakhtar Donetsk ESPN3,
2:45pm Wolfsburg vs PSV ESPN3,
2:45pm Atlético Madrid vs Astana ESPN3,
2:45pm Galatasaray vs Benfica ESPN3,
10:00 p.m., Comunicaciones vs. Los Angeles Galaxy Fox Soccer Plus/ Univision Deportes:
10:00 p.m., ESPN2: United States women vs. Brazil (at CenturyLink Field, Seattle, Wash.)

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10/13 US Soccer tonite vs Costa Rica – 7 pm ESPN

So the US Men played hard but were totally out played and outclasses by a Mexican team that should be in disarray with an interim coach, their 4th coach in 2 years and another on the way.  Unfortunately the German continues to mystify and the US put together another less than stellar performance.  I thought on the night at while the center of the defense was better than it has been with Cameron and Beezler in their – that this time Beasley at left back absolutely killed us.  All 3 goals came from services or crosses from his side usually from guys he was supposed to be marking. Furthermore using Jones in left wing role not only left Beasley out to dry but he Jones did very little offensively as well.  Dempsey disappeared up front and over the US was manhandled with 70% Mexican possession.  At least with Bradley in charge we knew we were bunkering in and counterattacking.  Anyway it’s a huge step back for US Soccer- that combined with the absolute mauling we took at the hands of FRIGGING Honduras in the Semi’s of Qualifying for the Olympics – marks on of the WORSE DAYS Ever for the US Men’s Soccer Program.  While I will admit that I think that Juergan Klinsmann (referred to from now on as merely the GERMAN) might have some good ideas on technical development – I think its plain to see that his National Team Management is lagging behind even his predecessors at this point.  That aren’t going to fire him – but I am not sure he’s the long term solution as our Head Coach.  Hopefully there will be a Copa America in the USA Next Summer and perhaps that’s where the US will flame out and The German will meet his proper fate.  In the meantime its USA vs Costa Rica tonite – 7 pm on ESPN. The US U23s will also be playing trying to win the 3rd place game vs Canada which would give them a playoff chance vs Columbia later in Nov to see who goes to the Olympics.  A long shot but still a sliver of Hope for the U23s.

The Euro Qualifications Wrap up this afternoon with still over 10 slots available to fill and Champions League gets back underway next Tues/Wed.  League play returns in Europe this weekend with a new boss in charge at Liverpool as they face Tottenham Sat 7:45 pm, a matchup for Tim Howard and Everton at Man U @ 10 am both on NBCSN Sat AM. Sunday has Inter @ Juve at 2:45 pm on beIn Sport ahead of a pair of solid MLS matchups with Houston vs Seattle at 5 pm on ESPN and LA @ Portland @ 7 pm  on Fox Sports 1.

Locally the Carmel High Men’s Soccer team took the Sectional Championship for the 3rd straight year and head to Regionals at North Central on Thurs at 7 pm.  The 2 time defending 1A Champs Guerin High lost to Carmel in their first tourney as a 2A school last week, while the 2014 State Finalist and former #1 Ranked in the Nation Carmel High Girls lost their match with Zionsville last Sat 1-0 to get knocked out of the state tourney.  Congrats on a great season for both sides – that featured numerous former Carmel FC players.

 U12 boys White-Zville

The Carmel FC U12 Boys White Team won their division in the Zionsville Socctoberfest this Weekend. Congrats

US Men’s Soccer

Fabian Johnson sent home after fallout with the German Coach  Is the German the right Answer at Head Coach – Grant Wahl – SI

Questions on the German’s Future – NBC

How will the US Line Up tonite

Who should be sent packing from US over 30 club – ESPN FC

We get it if they fire Klinsmann NBC

The German is under Scrutiny EPSN FC

3 Things we learned

Player Ratings

Dempsey a No Factor /Beasley Burned  – Player Ratings – ESPNFC

Klinsmann can’t lose locker room – EPSN FC – VIDEO

US wants to have skills Mexican’s displayed – ESPN FC

3 Thoughts on the Game SI

U23s – Olympic Qualifying

 US 23s need win tonite 7 pm with slim chance of making Olympics

Going to be Tough for U23s to Qualify


Who is in

How the remaining teams can Qualify


GOALKEEPERS (3): Brad Guzan (Aston Villa/ENG), Bill Hamid (D.C. United), Tim Howard(Everton/ENG)

DEFENDERS (7): Ventura Alvarado (Club America/MEX), Geoff Cameron (Stoke City/ENG), Brad Evans (Seattle Sounders FC), Fabian Johnson (Borussia Monchenglandbach/GER), Michael Orozco (Club Tijuana/MEX), Tim Ream (Fulham FC/ENG), Jonathan Spector (Birmingham City FC/ENG)

MIDFIELDERS (7): Alejandro Bedoya (Nantes/FRA), Mix Diskerud (New York City FC), Jermaine Jones (New England Revolution), Lee Nguyen (New England Revolution), Brek Shea (Orlando City SC), Danny Williams (Reading FC/ENG), DeAndre Yedlin (Sunderland AFC/ENG)

FORWARDS (4): Jozy Altidore (Toronto FC), Bobby Wood (Union Berlin/GER), Andrew Wooten (FC Sandhausen/GER), Gyasi Zardes (LA Galaxy)


Tuesday, Oct 13

2:45pm Netherlands vs Czech Republic ESPN2, ESPN Deportes TV,
2:45pm Turkey vs Iceland Fox Soccer Plus,
Live 2:45pm Belgium vs Israel Fox Sports 2 USA,
2:45pm Cyprus vs Bosnia and Herzegovina ESPN3,
Live 2:45pm Wales vs Andorra ESPN3,
Live 2:45pm Bulgaria vs Azerbaijan Fox Soccer 2Go USA,
Live 2:45pm Italy vs Norway Fox Sports 1 USA,
Live 2:45pm Malta vs Croatia ESPN3,

6:55  pm  ESPN             United States men vs. Costa Rica, friendly

Olympic Games Qualifying 
7 USA vs Canada

*Third Place Match

Live 10:00pm Honduras vs Mexico

*Championship Final


Saturday, 10/17

7:45am            Tottenham Hotspur vs Liverpool                          NBCSN,

9:30 am           Schalke 04 vs Hertha BSC                             Fox Sports 2 USA,

9:30 am           Werder Bremen vs Bayern München                    Fox Sports 1

10 am              Chelsea vs Aston Villa                             USA Network

10 am              Everton vs Manchester United                                NBCSN

10 am              Real Madrid vs Levante                           beIN Sports USA,

12:30 pm        Watford vs Arsenal                                  NBC

2:30 pm          Barcelona vs Rayo Vallecano                          beIN Sports USA,

7:30 pm          Indy 11 vs Min United                            Ch 8, ESPN3

Sunday, 10/18

9:30 am           Köln vs Hannover 96            Fox Sports 2

11 am              Newcastle vs Norwich                              NBCSN

2:45 pm           Internazionale vs Juventus                             beIN Sports USA,

5 pm                Houston vs Seattle Sounders                          ESPN

7 pm                LA Galaxy vs Portland Timbers                                fox Sports 1

Monday, 10/19

3 pm                Swansea vs Stoke City                             NBCSN

TUESDAY, 10/20

Europe – UEFA Champions League 
Live 2:45pm BATE vs Barcelona Fox Sports 2 U…
Live 2:45pm Bayer Leverkusen vs Roma ESPN2Fox Socce…
Live 2:45pm Arsenal vs Bayern München Fox Sports 1 USA,
Live 2:45pm Dynamo Kyiv vs Chelsea ESPN3, Fox SportsNet
Live 2:45pm Valencia vs Gent ESPN3,

WED, 10/21

Europe – UEFA Champions League 
Live 2:45pm Manchester City vs Sevilla ESPN Deportes TV,
Live 2:45pm Atlético Madrid vs Astana ESPN3,
Live 2:45pm PSG vs Real Madrid Fox Soccer PlusFox Deportes,
Live 2:45pm Juventus vs Borussia M’gladbach ESPN2,
Live 2:45pm CSKA Moskva vs Manchester United Fox Sports 2 USA,
Live 2:45pm Malmö FF vs Shakhtar Donetsk ESPN3,

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