1/12/18  Its Official – Indy 11 USL Bound at The Mike, Carmel FC Welcomes Juergen Sommer, US Mens & Women’s Camps Start, Liverpool vs Man City leads games on TV

So its Official – our Indy 11 are headed for the USL – D2 United Soccer League for the 2018 season.  I am excited because of the more Regional Feel it will provide.  Instead of Ottawa or Jacksonville – we’ll have games against the likes of Cincinatti, Louisville, Nashville, St Louis and maybe someday Chicago.  Road games might become a realistic concept and having legit crowds come from Cincy or Louisville could give us some Real Rivalries we can sink our teeth into.  We’ll see about the stadium situation as no mention was made of moving to Lucas Oil away from The Jake.  I for one would love to see a handful of game at Lucas Oil just to see what the experience would be like (maybe opening game and Louisville or Cincy games?)  But I would have to think the Jake is a more realistic size for our current fan base on a normal game day.  Either way I sure am glad the Indy 11 are not going anywhere – now we’ll have to see who they get as a coach and which players might return for the USL Spring Season which starts March 16 or so.

Fantastic story on new Carmel FC’s Director of Soccer Operations Juergen Sommer in the Current in Carmel in December.  Having worked with Juergen some in training our Goalkeeper’s I can tell you I am excited to have Juergen on board.  The former US National Team Goalkeeper, who was the first American GK to play in the Premier League, also won a National Championship at Indiana University.  He also served at the first coach of the Indy 11.   “My kids all participated in soccer, baseball, basketball and football,” said Sommer, who moved to Carmel in 2002 after retiring from pro soccer. “We’ve been around the organization for quite a while. I’m just excited to be inside now and overseeing the vibrant and growing soccer program they have.” Sommer said he hopes the CDC recreation program, the recreation-plus program and travel team can form one comprehensive platform.

The US Men have invited a very young team to the January Camp of mainly MLS and US based players.  It will be interesting to see who excels when they face Bosnia & Herzegovina on Jan 28th on FS1.   The US Ladies have invited a much more experienced team as they get ready for the She Believes Cup in the US in March.  (Including a match on Thurs, March 1 vs  in Columbus at MAPFREE Stadium.   They do play Denmark first next Sun, Jan 21st at 7:30 pm on ESPN.

So as we look ahead to the weekend on TV – a huge match as Liverpool will host Man City looking to break that Man City unbeaten streak on Sunday at 11 am on NBCSN.  I was sad to see Coutino leaving Liverpool for Barcelona – but I think that was the one team he would leave Liverpool for.  I would love to see US Superstar Christian Pulisic take that midfield spot that Coutino is leaving but I think Pulisic is smart to continue his learning at Dortmund where he starts and is still a key cog (see story below).  When he makes the move to a bigger club – and it will happen eventually – he needs to be sure he’s going to be not only a starter – but a key cog for the team.  Sat at 10 AM Chelsea will host Leicester City on NBCSN fresh off tying Man United this week in League Cup play.  Tottenham and the world’s top scorer Harry Kane will host Everton and Wayne Rooney on Saturday at 12:30 pm on NBC I think – if not NBCSN.  Dortmund and Christian Pulisic will host Wolfsburg on Sunday at 12:30 on Fox Sports 2 and they play again next Friday at 2:30 on FS1.

INDY 11

Indy 11 moves to USL – Stay at the Mike

Its Official Indy 11 Joins USL – Nuevo

Indy 11 to Join USL – Soc Takes

Indy 11 to Join USL in 2018 play games at Lucus Oil – Indy Star – Matt Glenesk

Indy 11 Joins USL in 2018  -Indy 11 site

$50 Deposit gets you a Season Ticket start for the 2018 Season

USA

US Invites 30 Youngsters to Camp – ESPNFC – Jeff Carlisle

US  Men 30 Players Invited to Jan Camp

EPL will have to Wait for Pulisic – eSPNFC

Bayern’s U-20 Tim Tillmen Switches from Germany to US Team – ESPNFC

How Mexico Wooed US National Jonathan Gonzales – ESPNFC

Mexico coming after US Nats with Mexican Heritage

Getting to Know the New US Players in Camp – US Soccer

USA Ladies Called to Jan Camp – US Soccer

Eric Lichaj Scores 2 Goals vs Arsenal for Nottingham Forest in win over Arsenal

World

EPL What to Watch For this Weekend

Power Rankings World – Man City on top

Sanchez Fee Might kill the Man City deal

Renaldo from Brazil says PSG is Step Back for Neymar

Liverpool Had No Choice but to Sell Coutinho

GAMES ON TV 

Fri, Jan 12

2:30 pm FS1                   Bayern Leverkusen vs Bayern Munich 

Sat, Jan 13 

10 am NBCSN                Chelsea vs Leicester City

10 am beIN Sport       Real Madrid vs Villareal

12:30 pm NBCSN        Tottenham vs Everton

12:30 FS2                                                 RB Leipzig vs Schalke

Sun, Jan 14 

8:30 am NBCSN            Bournemouth vs Arsenal

11 am NBCSN       Liverpool vs Man City

12:30 FS2                                                 Borussian Dortmund (Pulisic) vs Wolfsburg

2:45 pm beIN Sport                          real Sociadad vs Barcelona

3 pm beIN Sport         Nantes vs PSG

Mon, Jan 15 

3 pm NBCSN                   Man United vs Stoke City (Cameron)

Fri, Jan 19

2:30 pm Fox Sports 1                      Herta BSC vs Borussia Dortund (Pulisic)

Sat, Jan 20 

7:30 am NBCSN            Brighton vs Chelsea

9:30 am FS 1                  Hoffenhiem vs Bayer Leverkusen

10 am beIN Sport       Real Madrid vs La Coruna

10 am NBCSN                 Arsenal vs Crystal Palace

12:30 pm NBCSN        Man City vs New Castle (Yedlin)

12:30 FS2                                                 RB Leipzig vs Schalke

Sun, Jan 21 

9:30 am FS1                   Bayern Munich vs Werder Bremen

11 am NBCSN                Southampton vs Tottenham

12:30 FS2                                                 schalke vs hannover

2:45 pm beIN Sport                          real Betis vs Barcelona

7:30 pm ESPN      US LADIES vs DENMARK

Mon, Jan 22 

3 pm NBCSN                   Swansea City vs Liverpool

Wed, Jan 24

3 pm EsPN2 ?                 Chelsea vs Arsenal League Cup

Sat, Jan 27 

9:30 am FS 1                  Hoffenhiem vs Bayer Munich

9:30 am FS2>                Borussia Dortmund (Pulisic) vs Freiburg

10 am beIN Sport       Valencia cs Real Madrid

Sun, Jan 28 

9:30 am FS1                   Bayern Leverkusen vs Mainz

2:45 pm beIN Sport                          Barcelona vs Deportivo Alaves

9:30 pm FS1         USA Men vs Bosnia & Herzegovina

Tues, Jan 30

2:45 pm NBCSN           Swansea vs Arsenal

3 pm NBCSN??              Huddersfield Town vs Liverpool?

Weds, Jan 31

2:45 pm NBCSN   Tottenham vs Manchester United 

Fri, Feb 1

2:30 pm FS1                   Kiohl vs Dortmund (Pulisic)

Sat, Feb 2 

7:30 am NBCSN            Burnley vs Man City

9:30 am FS 1                  Mainz vs Bayer Munich

10 am NBCSN                 Man United vs Huddersfield (Williams)

12:30 pm NBCSN        Aresnal vs Everton

12:30 FS2                      RB Leipzig vs Borussia Mgladbach (Johnson)

2:45 pm beIN Sport  Real Madrid vs Lavente

Sun, Feb 4  

9:15 am NBcSN            Crystal Palace vs New Castle (Yedlin)

9:30 am FS1                   Franfurt vs Augsburg

11 am NBCSN       Liverpool vs Tottenham 

2:45 pm beIN Sport                          Atletico Madrid vs Valencia

Thurs, Mar 1

7 pm  ESPN2         US Ladies vs Germany (She Believes Cup @ MAPFREE Stadium Columbus, OH)

EPL 2018 Schedule  

Read All the stories online – at www.theoleballcoach.com

 Indy Eleven (officially) announces move to USL, plans to remain at Carroll Stadium

Dakota Crawford, dakota.crawford@indystar.comPublished 3:32 p.m. ET Jan. 10, 2018

The Indy Eleven announced it will join the United Soccer League on Wednesday following several days of speculation and reports surrounding the club’s move away from the North American Soccer League.”We enjoyed our run in the NASL, and we want to wish them the best,” team president Jeff Belskus told IndyStar after announcement. “But we’re very excited about being in the USL. It’s a very stable, growing league. This is very positive for Indy Eleven.”The Indy Eleven’s future has been up in the air since U.S. Soccer didn’t grant the NASL Division II status in September. The league lost a lawsuit against the U.S. Soccer Federation and is currently awaiting word on its appeal.The Eleven didn’t wait around. Indy joins Fresno FC, Las Vegas Lights FC, Nashville SC, North Carolina FC and ATL UTD 2 as new additions to the USL. This league has a strong relationship with Major League Soccer, Belskus said, which could help the Eleven in its long-term goal of bringing a top-tier expansion to Indianapolis.As for current season ticket holders, this doesn’t change much. They will get first priority on seats for the upcoming season with renewal information to be distributed in the coming days. Despite a report that the Eleven could play at Lucas Oil Stadium, the team, for now,  plans to remain at Carroll Stadium on IUPUI’s campus. Belskus said they’re asking around the city and “exploring other options,” but has no timetable for picking somewhere new. Efforts to build a publicly-funded stadium have previously failed.  The team is searching for a head coach, and Belskus said an announcement could come within the next week. Current players could sign agreements to keep playing for the Eleven in the USL, but Belskus said that is yet to be decided in many cases.

NOTE FROM THE BYB – January 11, 2018

 

Today, the Indy Eleven announced that they will become a new member of the United Soccer League (USL) for the 2018 season.

Our viewpoint has always been that we are supporters of the Indy Eleven first and foremost. This move changes nothing. The Brickyard Battalion supports our Boys in Blue no matter the league or opponent.
This news certainly brings mixed emotions for all members of the Brickyard Battalion. We have enjoyed playing in the NASL where we’ve seen some great rivalries develop. The independent and, at times, rebellious nature of the NASL was something we supported and were excited to be a part of. We celebrated our first match and first piece of hardware in this league. Nothing will taint those memories, but there is sadness to see all of that come to a close. We are hopeful that all of the supporters of our former opponents see their teams continue either in the NASL or another league. Nobody deserves to lose their team no matter how much we hate them on gameday. At the same time, there is excitement in joining the USL. The USL is a stable D2 league with 34 teams playing in 2018 and more on the way. We will renew rivalries with San Antonio, North Carolina, Ottawa and Tampa Bay. We will also see real local rivalries for the first time with Louisville, Cincinnati, St. Louis, and Nashville–all within 5 hours of Indianapolis. Plus, teams in Memphis, and possibly Chicago, will be joining in future seasons. And of course, North Carolina is still only 10 hours away. Plans for road trips are already in the works!Another positive, in 2017 all USL games were available in HD on YouTube, as well as select games on ESPN3 and the final on ESPN U. Even if these agreements only maintain this coverage in 2018, that’s certainly an improvement over what we had last season in terms of broadcasts.We are actively preparing for the 2018 season. Watch for announcements about tailgating, merchandise, new board members, road trips, and much more in the coming weeks!Kickoff is less than 3 months away! We can’t wait!  The BYB Board

 

W2W4: Van Dijk set for Man City test, Tosun to solve Everton’s scoring woes?

After a week break for the FA Cup, the Premier league returns this weeked. Here’s what to watch for…

How will Liverpool’s new-look defence fare against Man City?

Virgil van Dijk passed his first test at Liverpool with flying colours last week, scoring the winning goal in the Reds’ FA Cup tie against Everton. It was a debut to savour for the Dutchman in front of the Anfield crowd, but the visit of Manchester City on Sunday will offer a much more thorough examination of his credentials.With 64 goals already this season — 10 more than Manchester United managed in the entirety of the previous campaign — City’s runaway lead at the top of the Premier League has been powered by Pep Guardiola’s devastating attacking style. Liverpool will be keenly aware of that fact, having been thrashed 5-0 at the Etihad Stadium in September at the start of a run that saw them pick up just one win in eight matches over all competitions.Gabriel Jesus scored a brace that afternoon, but in the Brazilian’s injury absence much of the burden this weekend will fall on Sergio Aguero, who opened the scoring at the Etihad before Sadio Mane’s controversial red card. Although the Argentine is no longer guaranteed a starting spot under Guardiola, 19 goals in 25 matches suggests he remains as potent as ever and the greatest threat to Jurgen Klopp’s side avenging September’s heavy defeat on Sunday.While most defenders would have sleepless nights preparing to face Aguero, Van Dijk commands an impressive record against the City striker. In three previous meetings, Aguero hasn’t found the net once, failing to muster a single attempt on target in 90 minutes against Southampton earlier in the season. With Van Dijk marshalling the defence, the Saints were a competitive prospect against the top six, and it required a 96th-minute winner from Raheem Sterling to eventually get the better of them in November.Van Dijk’s performances against imposing opposition undoubtedly played a part in Liverpool’s decision to spend £75 million on his services, and Sunday’s clash against City is a chance for the centre-back to build on a solid start against Everton. If he can keep Aguero quiet once more, it may hint that Liverpool finally have the foundation on which to mount their own title challenge next season.

Can Tosun solve Everton’s scoring woes?

It is now five games without a victory for Everton in all competitions as Sam Allardyce’s honeymoon spell on Merseyside grinds to an abrupt halt. Of all the mistakes in a haphazard approach to the summer transfer window — which ultimately cost Ronald Koeman his job — failing to sign a striker to replace Romelu Lukaku was the least forgivable. Having scored just two goals in their winless run, it was little surprise to see the Toffees’ hierarchy hastily sanction a £27m move for Turkish striker Cenk Tosun.It is likely Tosun will be thrown straight in against Tottenham on Saturday, and Allardyce needs his new man to adapt quickly to the Premier League to avoid a seven-point gap to the bottom three from shrinking any further. While Wayne Rooney has performed better than many anticipated on his return to Everton, scoring 11 goals so far, his recent displays — particularly in the 2-0 defeat to Manchester United — have reinforced the view that he is no longer capable of leading the line. That responsibility now falls to Tosun.The striker has an impressive pedigree, helping fire Besiktas to back-to-back Turkish Super Lig titles with his direct style and lethal eye for goal. Displaying excellent movement off the ball, Tosun is strong in the air and makes well-timed runs into the box. That is exactly what Everton have been lacking and, with Yannick Bolasie and Gylfi Sigurdsson providing the ammunition, they will head to Wembley to take on Spurs with renewed confidence.

Stoke must stop Lingard

Everton may have been sorely missing Lukaku this season, but the Manchester United striker arguably isn’t the biggest concern for managerless Stoke when they travel to Old Trafford on Monday night. Instead, Jesse Lingard is the player they should fear most, with the midfielder cementing his status as the clutch individual for Jose Mourinho’s side in recent weeks.The 25-year-old has scored seven times in his last nine Premier League appearances, compared to five top-flight strikes in the rest of his career as a whole (60 appearances). A brace against Arsenal earned a vital victory at the start of December, while Lingard also bagged the winner at West Brom, rescued a point against Burnley and helped secure all three at Everton — not to mention his late goal in a 2-0 win over Derby in the FA Cup to ensure United avoided a replay in an already packed fixture list.There are few players in better form in the Premier League at present, and Gareth Southgate will be paying close attention as he ponders his England World Cup squad. Stoke would also do well to keep a careful eye on Lingard — otherwise his penchant for late goals could punish yet another opponent.

Is Sanchez close to the exit door at Arsenal?

Arsene Wenger’s team selection for Sunday’s trip to Bournemouth could reveal whether Alexis Sanchez will be staying at Arsenal this month or finally completing a protracted move to Manchester City. The forward only appeared as a second-half substitute in Wednesday’s League Cup semi-final against Chelsea, hinting that Wenger is planning for a future without one of his star players.

West Brom in the last chance saloon

It is 20 matches since West Brom last won in the Premier League and eight since Alan Pardew replaced Tony Pulis in the hot seat. For the manager and his players, time is quickly running out — even Championship side Bristol City boast more wins (4) against top-flight opposition than the Baggies this season.Perhaps a 2-0 victory over Exeter in the FA Cup — a first in any competition since August — will serve as the springboard for a renewed shot at survival when Brighton travel to The Hawthorns on Saturday.

U.S. Soccer calls in youthful squad for January national team camp

Jan 8, 2018 Jeff Carlisle Soccer

Acting United States men’s national team manager Dave Sarachan has called in a youthful 30-man squad for the team’s annual January camp, the U.S. Soccer Federation announced on Monday.The camp, which starts on Jan. 10, will conclude with a match against Bosnia and Herzegovina on Jan. 28 at StubHub Center in Carson, California.The roster includes 21 players aged 24 and under, while half the group is comprised of uncapped players. A conscious decision was also made to leave out more veteran players such as the Toronto FC duo of captain Michael Bradley and forward Jozy Altidore.”Obviously, this is a unique January camp in that we’re solely preparing for the future and to give opportunity to players that have a future in the program. We didn’t bring in a lot of the veteran players for that reason,” Sarachan said.Only four of the players on the roster have more than 10 appearances with the U.S., led by LA Galaxy attacker Gyasi Zardes (37 caps), New England Revolution forward Juan Agudelo (27), Seattle Sounders forward Jordan Morris (24) and D.C. United midfielder Paul Arriola (15).With the Bosnia match taking place outside a FIFA international window, the USSF needed the permission of clubs for players to be released. Among overseas players, only FC Midtjylland goalkeeper Bill Hamid was released by his club.Conversely, FC Dallas denied the USSF permission to include any of its players, including midfielder Kellyn Acosta. FCD is one of five Major League Soccer teams that will play in the CONCACAF Champions League before the start of the MLS season, but it was the only to take this approach.All but two players come from MLS clubs, and now the chance for those players to make an impression awaits.”The message to this group is, ‘You belong here, and always take advantage of any opportunities that you have with the national team,'” Sarachan said. “We have 18 days before we play our game against Bosnia.”The whole idea for this group of players is to take advantage of the training, take advantage of getting to know one another and take advantage of the opportunity that presents itself because this is going to be part of our future going forward.”The roster announcement comes on a day on which sources confirmed to ESPN FC that Monterrey and U.S. youth international midfielder Jonathan Gonzalez plans to file a one-time switch with FIFA to represent Mexico.  Sources told ESPN FC that over the last month both Sarachan and U.S. Under-20 manager Tab Ramos tried to reach out to Gonzalez, and that he was among the list of call-ups for the January camp.While it seemed nearly impossible that Monterrey would release him during its season, it was a way of letting the player know he was in the U.S. team’s thoughts. However, sources said Gonzalez never responded to Sarachan or Ramos.

The full U.S. squad (club and caps):

Goalkeepers: Alex Bono (Toronto FC, 0), Bill Hamid (Midtjylland, 4), Cody Cropper (New England Revolution, 0), Zack Steffen (Columbus Crew SC, 0)

Defenders: Danny Acosta (Real Salt Lake, 0), Justen Glad (Real Salt Lake, 0), Nick Lima (San Jose Earthquakes, 0), Justin Morrow (Toronto FC, 3), Ike Opara (Sporting Kansas City, 0), Tim Parker (Vancouver Whitecaps, 0), Matt Polster (Chicago Fire, 0), Brandon Vincent (Chicago Fire,1), Walker Zimmerman (LAFC, 1)

Midfielders: Tyler Adams (New York Red Bulls, 1), Paul Arriola (D.C. United, 15), Russell Canouse (D.C. United, 0), Marky Delgado (Toronto FC, 0), Marlon Hairston (Colorado Rapids, 0), Ian Harkes (D.C. United, 0), Brooks Lennon (Real Salt Lake, 0), Cristian Roldan (Seattle Sounders, 1), Kelyn Rowe (New England Revolution, 3), Wil Trapp (Columbus Crew SC, 2), Gyasi Zardes (LA Galaxy, 37)

Forwards: Juan Agudelo (New England Revolution, 27), Dom Dwyer (Orlando City, 4), Jordan Morris (Seattle Sounders, 24), Christian Ramirez (Minnesota United, 0), Rubio Rubin (Unattached, 4), C.J. Sapong (Philadelphia Union, 3)

SARACHAN CALLS 30 PLAYER ROSTER TO NATIONAL TRAINING CENTER FOR 2018 JANUARY CAMP

HEAVY YOUTH NATIONAL TEAM AND U.S. SOCCER DEVELOPMENT ACADEMY EXPERIENCE IN GROUP TO FACE BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA ON JAN. 28 AT STUBHUB CENTER

U.S. ROSTER BY POSITION (Club; Caps/Goals):
GOALKEEPERS (4): Alex Bono (Toronto FC/CAN; 0/0), Bill Hamid (Midtjylland/DEN; 4/0), Cody Cropper (New England Revolution; 0/0), Zack Steffen (Columbus Crew SC; 0/0)

DEFENDERS (9): Danny Acosta (Real Salt Lake; 0/0), Justen Glad (Real Salt Lake; 0/0), Nick Lima (San Jose Earthquakes; 0/0), Justin Morrow (Toronto FC/CAN; 3/0), Ike Opara (Sporting Kansas City; 0/0), Tim Parker (Vancouver Whitecaps FC/CAN; 0/0), Matt Polster (Chicago Fire; 0/0), Brandon Vincent (Chicago Fire; 1/0), Walker Zimmerman (Los Angeles Football Club; 1/0)

MIDFIELDERS (11): Tyler Adams (New York Red Bulls; 1/0), Paul Arriola (D.C. United; 15/2), Russell Canouse (D.C. United; 0/0), Marky Delgado (Toronto FC/CAN; 0/0), Marlon Hairston (Colorado Rapids; 0/0), Ian Harkes (D.C. United; 0/0), Brooks Lennon (Real Salt Lake; 0/0), Cristian Roldan (Seattle Sounders FC; 1/0), Kelyn Rowe (New England Revolution; 3/1), Wil Trapp (Columbus Crew SC; 2/0), Gyasi Zardes (LA Galaxy; 37/6)

FORWARDS (6): Juan Agudelo (New England Revolution; 27/3), Dom Dwyer (Orlando City SC; 4/2), Jordan Morris (Seattle Sounders FC; 24/5), Christian Ramirez (Minnesota United FC; 0/0), Rubio Rubin (Unattached; 4/0), CJ Sapong (Philadelphia Union; 3/0)

Bayern’s Timothy Tillman to switch from Germany to U.S.

3:16 PM ETESPN staff

Bayern Munich prospect Timothy Tillman will switch to the United States after playing for Germany youth teams, U.S. under-20 coach Tab Ramos has told Goal.

Tillman, 19, last played for Germany’s under-19 team in European Championship qualifiers in October, but rather than rejoin them in March, he will join up with the U.S. under-20s instead.”He told me he’s ready to go and ready to join us and I’m excited to have him in the group because we haven’t had him in before,” Ramos told Goal.Born in Germany to a U.S. serviceman, Tillman will need to file a one-time switch with FIFA in order to play for the U.S. ahead of the 2019 Under-20 World Cup.Tillman plays for Bayern’s reserves but has appeared with the first team in a smattering of preseason friendlies including the Audi Cup.After playing from Germany’s youth international teams since the under-15 level, he moved to Bayern from SpVgg Greuther Furth for €500,000 in 2015.Furth president Helmut Hack said at the time: “Timothy Tillman is the biggest talent we have had for 30 years. His departure is a catastrophe for our club.”Last year, Bayern president Uli Hoeness personally vetoed Tillman’s potential move to Barcelona, his agent told Sport Bild.The news will come as a welcome boost to U.S. Soccer, which recently lost out on another highly rated teenager, Jonathan Gonzalez, who switched to Mexicoafter playing for U.S. youth teams.Tillman’s younger brother, Malik, has already played for the U.S. under-15 team.

Pulisic’s comfort in Dortmund means Premier League will have to wait

10:00 AM ETRaphael Honigstein

MARBELLA, Spain — As he breaks away from a gaggle of Borussia Dortmund players flooding out of a post-dinner team meeting, Christian Pulisic looks almost a little embarrassed by the prospect of being put under the spotlight. Listening to the the 19-year-old contrast the incredible amount of attention and hope heaped upon him in the States with being “just a good team player, a piece of the puzzle” in one of the Bundesliga’s leading clubs, it’s clear where his preference lies.”I’ve come into a bigger role with the national team, but the environment here [with Dortmund] definitely helps,” he says. “I’m still trying to figure it all out.”In northwest Germany, Pulisic is still just a kid, a foreign teenage recruit with a slightly exotic background working hard on turning regular game time — he’s played 16 out of 17 league games and started four of out of six Champions League matches — into consistent end product in the shape of goals and assists.Away from the hype that rages back home, he can concentrate on growing, safe in the knowledge that coach Peter Stoger and the club will evaluate his progress on its own terms. There’s no team to be carried all by himself, no hero status to live up to, no premature comparisons with the game’s superstars to be met. As a relatively small name, he’s still allowed to worry about the small things at Signal Iduna Park. Wisely, that’s exactly what he does. – WATCH: How good is Christian Pulisic’s German?

“I set [myself] the huge goal of being a professional soccer player,” he says. “Now that I’ve kind of got there, I try to set smaller, short-term goals for myself. I look at certain things within in the game, certain points where could have I done better. I try to work on them throughout the week. I think about them, and I think what I want to do, how I can play my best game.”Pulisic adds that he always watches game footage of himself to learn from his mistakes, and after some gentle prodding, he also reveals that he’s benefitted from watching how teammate Marco Reus makes his runs beyond the defence.”I was running but I didn’t get the timing right. So I looked at players, looked at Marco, at how he would time his runs. I showed it in the last game [before the winter break] against Hoffenheim with a perfectly timed run and Shinji [Kagawa] played the ball through perfectly.” Pulisic scored his third goal of the season to complete the move and secure Dortmund’s second consecutive win under new coach Stoger, who was brought in to relieve Peter Bosz.Pulisic jokes that Stoger’s Austrian dialect is hard to understand — “I have to concentrate really hard” — but there’s little doubt that the 51-year-old’s more pragmatic defensive setup has yielded some instant stability. Third-place Dortmund start the second half of the Bundesliga campaign at home to Wolfsburg on Sunday, confident that they will make the Champions League again next season and provide a serious challenge in the Europa League.”It’s early, obviously,” Pulisic says. “We just got a new coach. But [the winter break] has given us good time in the training camp to learn some things and see how we want to play and figure things out. I think the start’s been good, and we want to continue to learn his style. I think the team is going to be ready however we want to play.”Despite BVB’s failure to qualify for the knockout stages of this year’s Champions League and their disappointing run of results domestically, Pulisic’s form hasn’t really suffered. Gradually, his decision-making process is improving as maturity refines his youthful fearlessness. “Routine, experience: it all comes with the territory once you get older,” he says.No wonder those close to him believe Dortmund, a medium-sized city with fanatical but also forgiving and realistic supporters, provides the ideal place to further his career. Pulisic himself seems too level-headed to eye up a move to bigger, more pressurised clubs before he’s fully formed as one of those rare attacking midfielders who can make the difference every single time they touch the ball.”Of course I always dream big, but I don’t put a plan out for myself,” he says, deflecting talk of a move. “I try to focus on the next week and the next game every time, focus on what I’m doing right now and just to continue to improve every single day. If I do that, I should have a good future.”Time is on Pulisic’s side. Reading between the lines of his thoughts on the U.S. national team after its World Cup failure, he seems to believe that “a new kind of player,” perhaps on a similar level to his own, for the game make a giant leap forward in his native land. Even if that were to happen, however, Pulisic will still be burdened by being the outstanding talent of his generation, the man destined to smash through U.S. soccer’s glass ceiling.His unique combination of skill and marketability in the world’s biggest economy have established him as a key strategic talent for the biggest clubs. Liverpool, who already tried in in vain to sign him in 2016, and Manchester United are particularly keen to acquire his services in light of their American owners. Dortmund are certainly braced for more forceful attempts to lure Pulisic to the Premier League next summer.His emergence as arguably the best-ever U.S. player will see him outgrow the confines in northwest Germany some time in his early 20s, at the latest. Right now, however, the time seems not yet ripe to trade in the comparative anonymity of being a bright puzzle piece with the Black and Yellow for the big-money, big-expectations frenzy of wearing a red shirt in the northwest of England.When you’re 19 years old, you want the world at your feet, not its weight on your shoulders.

GALLERY: GET TO KNOW THE 10 MNT DEBUTANTES AT 2018 JANUARY CAMP

MNT Jan 8, 2018The MNT’s annual January Camp always serves up new opportunity for a crop of rising players, and this year’s gathering will be no different. Fifteen of the 30 players summoned to Carson, California are looking for their first MNT cap, while 10 of those are making their debut in senior team camp.Get to know the 10 taking their first strides with the MNT:

Danny Acosta | Defender | Real Salt Lake
One of three RSL products from the U.S. Soccer Development Academy coming to January Camp, the left back arrives at his first MNT gathering on the heels of a great calendar year for club and country. The Salt Lake City native was a key piece for the U-20 MNT throughout 2017, appearing in 11 of 12 matches in helping the USA to its first CONCACAF U-20 Championship title and a quarterfinal finish at the FIFA U-20 World Cup in Korea Republic. On the club front, RSL went 9-5-3 in matches Acosta appeared in, with the defender aiding in the side’s late-season resurgence along the way.

Russell Canouse | Midfielder | D.C. United
At just 22, Canouse already has a ton of club experience thanks to seven years in Germany with Hoffenheim and later VfL Bochum. During his time abroad the central midfielder was an integral part in Tab Ramos’ U-20 MNT side during the 2015 cycle, captaining the team at that year’s CONCACAF Championship and making the World Cup roster before having to pull out due to injury. A product of U.S. Soccer Development Academy sides PA Classics and New York Red Bulls, Canouse, who pronounces his last name as though is rhymes with “house,” returned stateside this past August when he signed for D.C. United alongside fellow January Camp attendees Paul Arriola and Ian Harkes as part of a youth resurgence at a D.C. United team that moves into its new home at Audi Field this summer. 

Marky Delgado | Midfielder | Toronto FC
One of three members of MLS Cup winners Toronto FC called up by Dave Sarachan, Delgado has been rewarded for his workman-like performances in leading the Reds to the unprecedented treble this past season. A simple and efficient box-to-box midfielder, the 22-year-old has teamed with and learned from MNT captain Michael Bradley the past three years in doing much of the dirty work that has allowed the TFC attack to flourish. While it’s his first appearance in MNT camp, Delgado is no stranger to the U.S. setup, having come through the U-17, U-18 and U-20 levels. Most recently, he started all five matches during the USA’s run to the quarterfinals of the 2015 FIFA U-20 World Cup. With his arrival in Carson, he’ll be come the eighth member of that side to be part of an MNT camp. Delgado’s other contemporaries from that group are Kellyn Acosta, Paul Arriola, CameronCarter-Vickers, Emerson Hyndman, Matt Miazga, Rubio Rubin and Zack Steffen.

Justen Glad | Defender | Real Salt Lake
RSL Academy experience? Check. RSL First Team? Check. U-20 MNT World Cup Alum? Check.

A physical center back with good vision, Glad is the third player on this list to tick all the above boxes and has become a mainstay in the middle of the RSL backline the past two seasons. His club play carried over to Tab Ramos’ U-20 MNT side for which he earned tournament Best XI honors at the CONCACAF U-20 Championship. An injury coming out of that tournament hampered his ability to fully contribute at the U-20 World Cup, but Glad still took part in three matches and returned to RSL to aid in their late-season push for the playoffs.

Marlon Hairston | Midfielder | Colorado Rapids
One of the more enigmatic new-comers to MNT camp, Hairston is the only player on this list to play in each of his club’s 34 regular season games last season. Early on, those appearances were necessitated at right back, but Hairston later moved into a more natural attacking position further up the wing and finished the campaign with three goals and four assists. Now going into his fifth season with the Rapids, the pacey attacker could become the first Mississippi-born player since Justin Mapp in 2007 to earn a cap for the MNT. 

Ian Harkes | Midfielder | D.C. United
If that name looks familiar to long-time MNT fans, that’s because it is! The son of former MNT captain and two-time World Cup veteran John Harkes, Ian takes his first step in senior team camp following a promising rookie season with D.C. United. After winning the 2016 MAC Hermann Trophy following his senior season with Wake Forest, Harkes followed in his father’s footsteps by joining United on a Homegrown contract where he performed admirably, logging 25 appearances, two goals and an assist mostly in a central midfield role. Should he take the field on Jan. 28 vs. Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Harkes family would become the sixth father/son tandem to make an appearance for the U.S. Men’s National Team.

Q: Can you name the others? 

A: (fathers listed first) James and George Brown; Phillip and Joe Gyau; Harry and Ty Keough; Joe and Alain Maca; Tim and Taylor Twellman

Brooks Lennon | Midfielder | Real Salt Lake
One of three MNT camp debutants from Real Salt Lake, Lennon comes to Carson fresh off a fantastic year in 2017. The crafty winger was vital in leading the USA to its first CONCACAF U-20 Championship, scoring four goals on the way to collecting a spot on the tournament’s Best XI. He continued his run by adding two goals and two assists as the MNT drove to the Quarterfinals of the 2017 FIFA U-20 World Cup. On the club front, following a stint with the Liverpool Academy, Lennon returned stateside to join Real Salt Lake on loan where he recorded three goals and four assists across 24 games before making his stay permanent at the club in December 2017. 

Nick Lima | Defender | San Jose Earthquakes
Just a shade more than 12 months ago, Lima was putting pen to paper on his first professional contract when he signed a Homegrown deal with San Jose Earthquakes. Flash-forward and the dependable right back has been summoned for his first MNT camp. Thrust into the starting lineup during MLS Opening Weekend last season, Lima was given the tough task of marking venerable Montreal Impact attacker Ignacio Piatti and performed splendidly in the Quakes’ 1-0 win. Though he would see his season end early due to injury, Lima contributed 22 appearances during his rookie season, helping push the club to its first U.S. Open Cup Semifinal appearance since 2004 and first postseason berth since 2012. 

Ike Opara | Defender; Sporting Kansas City
At 28, Opara is the oldest of the first-timers, but he likely would have been here sooner if not for injuries. The 6-2 center back was actually tapped for January Camp back in 2011, but ended up withdrawing as he was just coming back from a foot injury. A member of the U.S. side at the 2009 FIFA U-20 World Cup and in 2012 for Olympic Qualifying, Opara makes his long-awaited MNT camp debut after being crowned 2017 MLS Defender of the Year, a season that saw him record a career-high 30 appearances, three goals and also help Sporting KC to a fourth U.S. Open Cup title.

Christian Ramirez | Forward | Minnesota United FC
A prolific goalscorer during Minnesota United FC’s NASL days, Ramirez continued to find the back of the net during his debut MLS season, leading the line with 14 goals and three assists in 30 games for the expansion club. Another first-timer who’s on the older end of the spectrum, the 6-2 forward’s January call is well-deserved after finishing third among U.S.-eligible players on the MLS goalscoring chart behind fellow camp attendee CJ Sapong (16 goals) and veteran MNT striker Jozy Altidore (15).

Liverpool had ‘no option’ but to sell Philippe Coutinho to Barcelona – Klopp

9:25 AM ETGlenn PriceLiverpool Correspondent

LIVERPOOL — Jurgen Klopp says Liverpool had “no other option” but to sell Philippe Coutinho to Barcelona after it became clear there was “no chance” the Brazilian could play for the Reds in the second half of the season.Coutinho left Liverpool for the Nou Camp earlier this month in a £142 million deal (after add-ons) that makes him the second-most expensive footballer of all time.Liverpool had resisted three offers from Barcelona in the summer, with the 25-year-old eventually returning to the squad after missing the entire month of August as he attempted to push through a move to Spain.When asked at his pre-Manchester City news conference on Friday why Liverpool sold Coutinho, Klopp replied: “Because there was no other option. That’s, I would say, a pretty easy answer.”If there’s somebody, maybe, who should be angry or massively disappointed — or whatever in this case — then it could be the manager of the club, but I’m not. Because I know we tried absolutely everything. The club tried everything to convince Phil to stay here and carry on going the way together with us.”It was his dream and it’s the truth when I say he left Liverpool only for one club — and it was Barcelona. That was the moment when we really had to accept that. The club was fighting until the last second, if you want, and really tried everything. That’s the case.”I knew when it will come up again in this transfer window. It came up massively that it would be very difficult if we say: ‘Here’s your contract, you have to stay here’ and to use him as a player in the second part of the season. That’s the decision I have to make — does it make sense? Do I think I can use him still and help us?”To be honest, it was 100 percent clear [there was] no chance. He was not ready to do that anymore.”He did fantastic in the first part of the season after the thing we had to deal with in the summer. The team did really brilliant with that — how the whole club did, Anfield itself. But it was clear that’s over now and we cannot do anymore. We made that decision.”

Klopp has vast experience of losing key players during his managerial career, having seen the likes of Mario Gotze, Robert Lewandowski and Nuri Sahin leave Borussia Dortmund during his seven years in charge there.”It’s normal in this business — you lose players, you buy players, you bring players through,” he added. “You always need to react. It’s all about the atmosphere in the club. On Sunday, for example, if there’s a free kick in the stadium from 18 or 20 yards and everyone is thinking: ‘ah, Phil’. That would be not too cool. It’s how it always is with the past — use it, but don’t suffer because of it.”In terms of replacing Coutinho, Klopp admits Liverpool will explore the transfer market for potential new signings, but will not be rushed into reinvesting the £142m. A source has told ESPN FC that Liverpool are in dialogue with RB Leipzig about the possibility of bringing forward Naby Keita’s move to Merseyside this month.”If we do something then it needs to be the right decision. We don’t have to replace him, we have to step up,” Klopp said.”We will have 11 players and we played fantastic football with Phil. I don’t want to sound disrespectful because I really liked him. He was five years here and was here since I came in. You miss a person and I’m sure he’s missing us — maybe he doesn’t realise in the moment when everything is new there!”And replacements, first of all, we have to replace him internally, but we go through with open eyes in this transfer window, as you can imagine. But we will not make crazy things. That’s how it is. ‘Right’ before ‘expensive’.”On Keita, the Liverpool manager continued: “There’s nothing to say about it. When we had this conversation around Phil Coutinho, I said the same — nothing to say — and I won’t change that. He is a player of Leipzig, that’s what I know and will be here in the summer, that’s what I know as well. All the rest, nothing to say about it.”Meanwhile, Mohamed Salah will be fit for Liverpool’s encounter with Premier League leaders Manchester City on Sunday after missing the last two matches with a groin injury. Alberto Moreno (ankle) and Daniel Sturridge (muscular) are back in full training, while Jordan Henderson continues with his recovery from a hamstring issue.”If nothing happens in this moment, Mo is back, he is training completely normally,” Klopp concluded. “[Sturridge] is back in training, healthy and on the way to be fit again. Hendo is in this moment out on the pitch and is training. It looks good — he wears football boots, that is always a good sign. He was not in team training so far.”Alberto Moreno was in team training yesterday, the first full session. He is a little bit early but after that he should be ready. He needs time for proper training of course.”The boys really do a lot in their rehab situation and, if we have time, we bring them a little bit later into team training so that they can do a little bit more specific physical work. But still they need time to adapt to the intensity of a football game. It looks really good, cool.”

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