9/25/20 – EPL Week 3, MLS schedules released, Indy 11 tie St. Louis – play Wed vs KC in must Win, Former CFC on All American Watchlist

EPL

Ok after bitching last week I gave up signed up for the free week on the Peacock – and while I could see the game on my phone and computer only no TV – man it was not good quality?  After watching German games this weekend on ESPN+, and Champ League/SuperCup on CBS all Access Thurs – seriously the peacock stinks.  Replays are immediately available on most streaming but not on Peacock.  If you miss the game live – tough crap you have to wait until 9 pm to see a replay.  Heck – you can’t even re-wind if say you miss the first few minutes of the game – login late.  And the quality is questionable at best oh and it can’t be seen on your TV though I hear they made a deal with Roku sticks finally which kicks in this weekend I guess.  Again – the whole thing makes me sick – the money grabbing to watch these games will not help grow the game of soccer in this country.  Oh well – of course the biggest game of the weekend was on Peacock as defending champs Liverpool beat Chelsea 2-0 after Chelsea went down to 10 men on a questionable red card call just after half of a 0-0 game.  This weeks games offer a little more on NBCSN as Everton vs Crystal Palace at 10 am on NBCSN Sat and Man City vs Leicester City on Sunday at 11:30 am.  NBC gives us Chelsea vs West Brom – not sure yet if Pulisic will play.  Of course the best game is Monday’s Liverpool vs Arsenal on the Peacock of course at 3 pm after Fulham vs Aston Villa at 12:45. Interesting story reputation in Soccer regarding Kepa at Chelsea.  Also huge news that Garreth Bale is returning to Spurs on a season long loan from Real Madrid where they are paying more than half his wages – still I suspect he’ll do fine when he finally gets on the field from injuries. 

Indy 11 Tie

Frustrating night for our Indy 11 once again as they needed 2 sending offs to rally and tie St. Louis 1-1 late on Wednesday night at the Luke.  As a result, Indy Eleven (7W-5L-2D, 23 pts.) kept its grip on second place in Group E, with Saint Louis FC (6W-4L-4D, 22 pts.) remaining right on its heels one point behind. With Louisville City FC (9W-3L-2D, 29 pts.) all but clinching the top spot with tonight’s deadlock, Indy and Saint Louis can now focus solely on claiming the group’s other USL Championship Playoffs spot via favorable results in their final two games over the next 10 days – including next Saturday’s finale in Missouri. Prior to that ultimate showdown, STL will host Louisville this Saturday evening, followed by Indy Eleven welcoming Sporting Kansas City next Wednesday at 7:00 p.m. kickoff at Lucas Oil Stadium, tickets are available at www.indyeleven.com/tickets.  Oh and we all need to root for Louisville Sat. night game 8 pm on ESPN+ vs St. Louis.

Bayern Munich Wins Super Cup

After winning the Champions League in dominating fashion this summer – Bayern followed that up with a hard fought 2-1 win over Sevilla in the EUFA Supercup on Thurs.  It went to extra-time before Germany won on a corner header into the backpost –where no defender was of course!  I have to say I was a bit disappointed to see American outside defender Sergino Dest choose Barcelona this week over Bayern.  I have always respected Bayern but hate the way they buy all the good players in Germany – much like the Yankees in baseball.  But having Dest would have me tuning in more to watch.  Oh well – we do get the Bayern vs Dortmund German Supercup this Wednesday at 2:30 pm on ESPN+.  Saturday at 9:30 am on ESPN+ both American’s play as Tyler Adams of RB Leipzig vs Leverkusen and Gio Reyna of Dortmund (fresh of his first goal last weekend at just 17) will face Ausberg.

MLS Announces Rest of Schedule

MLS is moving from regional pod play to full country travel now as they try to get the remainder of the season in as safely as possible.  Attempting to limit hotel stays and fly only on gamedays while the Canadian teams hunker down in the US with no ability to return home for the next 3 months.  Lots of Wednesday night games on ESPN+ and Sat and Sun nights mainly.  Not sure yet on TV games as FS1 seems to have slowed down MLS coverage?  I see nothing on network TV this week?  Lots of games on ESPN+ see schedule below including league leaders Seattle traveling to LA Galaxy Sunday at 10:30 pm on ESPN+. 

Games to Watch

CBS has NWSL on Saturday at 1 pm with the Chicago Red Stars hosting the Washington Spirit– the game last week had ½ million in viewership – better each week.  Juve and American midfielder Weston McKinney host Roma on Sunday at 2:45 pm on ESPN+, right before Barcelona faces Villarreal at 3 pm on beIN Sport.  US Players games wrap up here

Congrats CHS MIC Champs

Congrats to the both the Men’s and Women’s CHS Soccer teams for winning the MIC Conference this week.  The #2 ranked ladies lost a close one 2-0 at #1 Noblesville Monday – they return to action Sat at home 11 am vs Zionsville.   The 4th ranked boys fresh off a 1-1 tie with Pike to secure the MIC title play home to Guerin Sat at 2 pm.  Lots of former Carmel FC players on the teams – especially on the girls side might be worth checking out.  Also Huge Congrats to home grown former Carmel FCers CHS Seniors Brooke Bailey and GK Erin Baker for making the 2020 All-American Watchlist

GAMES ON TV 

Sat, Sept 26 

7:30 am Peacock                            Brighton vs Man United  

9:30 am ESPN+                               RB Leipzig (Adams) vs Bayer Levekusen

9:30 am ESPN+                              Dortmund (Gio Reyna) vs Ausburg

10 am NBCSN                                    Crystal Palace vs Everton

11 am bein Sport                                 St Etienne vs Rennes  France  

12:30 pm ESPN+                                Schalke vs Werder Bremen (Stuart)

12:30 pm NBC                  West Brom vs Chelsea (Pulisic)

1 pm CBS                                 Chicago Red Stars vs Washington NWSL

3  pm bein Sport                                  Real Betis vs Real Madrid Spain 

3 pm Peacock                                      Burnely vs Southampton

3:30 pm Univision                              Nashville vs Houston Dynamo

7 pm ESPN+                                       Cincy vs NYCFC            

Sun, Sept 27 

9am NBCSN                                       Tottenham vs New Castle United

9:30 am ESPN+                                  Hoffenhiem vs Bayern Munich

10 am beiN  port                                 Atletico Madrid vs Grenada

11:30 am NBCSN                             Man City vs Leicester City  

2 pm Peacock                                      West Ham vs Wolverhampton           

2:45 pm ESPN+                                Juventus (McKinney) vs Roma

3 pm beIN Sport                                 Barcelona vs Villarreal

1 pm Peacock                                      Aston Villa vs Sheffield United

3:15 pm Man City                               Wolverhampton vs Man City 

9:45 pm Univsion                               Cruz Azul vs America  (Mex)

10:30 pm ESPN+                                LA Galaxy vs Seattle Sounders

Mon, Sept 28 

12:45 pm Peacock                               Fulham (Tim Ream) vs Aston Villa

3 pm Peacock                       Liverpool vs Arsenal   

Wed, Sept 30   

12 pm ESPN+                                     Benevento vs Inter

2:30 pm ESPN+                   Bayern Munich vs Dortmund (Reyna) – SuperCup

3:30 pm beIN Sport                            Real Madrid vs Real Valladolid  

7 pm My Indy TV 23, ESPN+    Indy 11 vs KC 2 at Lucus Oil

USA

Reyna scores his first Goal in Bundesliga Play for Dortmunddea

Where the USMNT stars are playing across Europe   Jeff Carlisle, Tom Hamilton
Top 25 players in the USMNT pool right now

Reports: Ajax, Barcelona reach agreement over USMNT’s Dest

USA GK Steffen on Life at Man City
USMNT GK Steffen Makes His Man City Debut BY AVI CREDITOR SI

How 7 Americans fared in Bundesliga Wk 1

Why is soccer a White Only Sport in America?   – yahoo Soccer

EPL

Mendy to Chelsea analysis
Edouard Mendy to Chelsea: What does it mean for Kepa, Blues’ defense?
Kepa – Issues lie with Reputation and Price Tag more than Regression  – Leander Schaerlaeckens yahoo soccer  
English lower leagues face £200m loss from empty stadiums

 WORLD

Chelsea’s changes, Madrid’s malaise, Bayern’s challengers: way-too-early analysis from Europe’s big leagues  7hBill Connelly

Chelsea’s changes and more way-too-early analysis from Europe’s big leagues 4hBill Connelly
Morata returns to Juventus on loan from Atletico Madrid
UEFA allows five substitutes in Champions League and international matches
Derek Rae: How I fell in love with German soccer, culture and the Bundesliga
  Derek Rae
Zlatan Ibrahimovic Tests Positive for CoronavirusBY AVI CREDITOR
 

USMNT weekend viewing guide: relegation thoughts already?

Schalke and Werder face off in an early season disaster waiting to happen among other action

By jcksnftsn  Sep 25, 2020, 9:00am PDT

It could be a quiet weekend for those still holding out on getting ESPN+ and without access to beIN Sports as there are just a couple of alternatives and one of those looks to be ruined by Christian Pulisic’s unavailability this weekend. But enough about what we can’t have here’s what you can watch this weekend.

Friday

Lille v Nantes – 3p on beIN Sports

Timothy Weah has consistently appeared off the bench for Lille as he continues to work his way back into the team following a long struggle with hamstring injuries. The team has collected eight points through their first four matches but have scored just one goal in each game so there may be a need for an offensive spark that Weah could provide. This weekend Lille will be facing a Nantes side coming off a 2-2 draw and currently sitting in 14th place.

Looking through the paywall:

  • Timothy Chandler’s Eintracht Frankfurt face Hertha Berlin at 2:30p on ESPN+. Chandler has seen just 19 minutes combined across all competitions early in the season.

Saturday

West Bromwich Albion v Chelsea – 12:30p

What would be the match of the weekend for mainstream USMNT fans is unfortunately ruined by Christian Pulisic being unavailable due to ongoing recovery. Pulisic is reportedly unavailable this weekend but could be back in action next week.

https://platform.twitter.com/embed/index.html?dnt=false&embedId=twitter-widget-0&frame=false&hideCard=false&hideThread=false&id=1309492350570299395&lang=en&origin=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.starsandstripesfc.com%2F2020%2F9%2F25%2F21455776%2Fusmnt-weekend-viewing-guide-relegation-thoughts-already-budesliga-chelsea-epl-ajax&siteScreenName=StarsStripesFC&theme=light&widgetsVersion=219d021%3A1598982042171&width=550px Chelsea are coming off a 2-0 loss to Liverpool and will be looking to bounce back against a West Brom team that has given up eight goals in their first two matches.

Other Notes:

  • The Chicago Red Stars face the Washington Spirit at 1p on CBS in NWSL action. The NWSL has been a but gutted by major stars heading overseas for the next several months but Alyssa Naeher remains in goal for the Red Stars and Kealia Watt scored a brace in the teams last match.
  • Nashville and Houston face off in MLS action on Univision Saturday afternoon at 3:30p. Honestly, there’s not much in this match that most USMNT fans want to claim with even Walker Zimmerman falling out of favor in many circles.

Looking through the paywall:

  • Tyler Adams and RB Leipzig face Bayer Leverkusen at 9:30a on ESPN+ in an early season matchup of potential top-four competitors.
  • Giovanni Reyna and the Borussia Dortmund youngster’s face Augsburg at 9:30 a on EPSN+.
  • An early season relegation face-off as Schalke and Werder Bremen meet at 12:30p on ESPN+? Both teams have looked pretty poor early on this season but at least Josh Sargent is seeing some good minutes (IN THE MIDFIELD!?!)
  • Ajax play Vitesse at 3p on ESPN+. The Sergino Dest tug of war that most would have never imagined for a USMNT player just a couple years ago continues to swing wildly back and forth between Bayern and Barcelona but for the moment Dest remains with Ajax.

Sunday

Tottenham Hotspur v Newcastle United – 9a on NBCSN

Another American that seems likely to be on the move is DeAndre Yedlin who has yet to see any minutes in league play for Newcastle this season. In fact the RB who is reportedly receiving interest from MLS and Besiktas has not even made the bench in the teams first two matches. Yedlin did have a very generous assist in the teams 7-0 thumping of League Two side Morecambe FC in EFL Cup action but it seems he’ll be unlikely to feature as the team faces Tottenham on Sunday morning.

Looking through the paywall:

  • John Anthony Brooks and Wolfsburg face Freiburg at Noon on ESPN+. Wolfsburg drew their opening match with Bayer Leverkusen 0-0.
  •  

USMNT learns Nations League dates, says no October friendlies

Nicholas MendolaNBC Sports•September 22, 2020CONCACAF’s summer is going to be red-hot as its top sides will scrap multiple times on the road to World Cup qualifying.In other words, we might see the USMNT meet Mexico twice in a month.The USMNT, Mexico, Honduras, and Costa Rica are among the group of sides waiting to see who advances from the postponed first stage of CONCACAF World Cup qualifying. The final round of World Cup qualifying had already been postponed.It was revealed Tuesday that the quartet will now play the first ever CONCACAF Nations League Finals in June, three months behind schedule and just before the 2021 Gold Cup.The Gold Cup was previously postponed to June 10 – July 1 and the draw is set for Monday.The Nations League semifinals see No. 1 seed Mexico against No. 4 Costa Rica and the No. 2 Catrachos of Honduras meeting the third-seeded USMNT.A U.S. Soccer Federation release said the move is to put the focus on first stage of qualifying (It also gives all of the participants more time to figure out the pandemic atmosphere if it, as anticipated, reaches into a second year dramatically affecting sporting competitions):

This official competition Finals event will take place in a centralized location in the United States in June 2021. Concacaf will now work with our stakeholders to finalize the location and specific dates for this competition.

Playing this competition in June 2021 will enable the First Round of the Concacaf Qualifiers for the FIFA World Cup, which involve 30 Concacaf Member Associations, to take center stage in March 2021.

Concacaf remains in discussions with FIFA to agree a new schedule for the Concacaf Qualifiers which retains the current format.

[ WATCH: Gooch’s solo goal for Sunderland ]

U.S. Soccer also announced that it will not play any matches or train in the October international break, aiming for a November return. That means Christian Pulisic will have even more time to find top form for Chelsea.General manager Brian McBride says Gregg Berhalter’s group may have an additional December camp with its January camp, which is great news for MLS players hoping to cement their statuses in Berhalter’s mind while the European talent continues to play overseas.“After extensive conversations about holding a men’s national team camp in October, we ultimately determined the unique challenges created by COVID-19 as it relates to hosting international opponents and getting our players together wouldn’t allow us to move forward,” men’s team general manager Brian McBride said, via the Associated Press. “While we won’t have the team together in this upcoming window, we are making considerable progress for November.”

Matt Doyle’s best hypothetical US men’s national team starting XI

September 24, 20209:26AM EDT  MLSsoccer staff

Here’s the hypothetical. The US men’s national team has a critical 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifier coming up in November. What would be your starting XI?It’s a question posed to Matt Doyle on Extratime presented by Continental. Watch the video and check out the breakdown by position after the video below.

In goal, Doyle would go with New England Revolution backstop Matt Turner over Zack Steffen.

Defenders

Doyle had no doubts about his backline: Sergiño Dest, John Brooks, Aaron Long and Reggie Cannon.

Midfielders

The fixtures for Doyle are MLS academy products Tyler Adams and Weston McKennie partnering in central midfield. Also, ex-NYCFC academy player Gio Reyna would occupy the string-pulling No. 10 in midfield, with a caveat:

“Although Sebastian Lletget has been great for the US national team every time he’s played for the US national team and he has been great recently for the Galaxy, one of the best players in the league, Reyna is probably a different level,” Doyle said.A healthy Christian Pulisic mans the left wing spot, while Jordan Morris is on the right ahead of Tim Weah, who isn’t at full fitness yet.However, if this important match were to be held in March 2021, Doyle would consider one potential change.“I would put Reyna as that right side pinched-in winger and [Paxton] Pomykal in the central midfield,” he said. “But Pomykal hasn’t been healthy at all this year, but when he has played, he has been one of the very best players in the league.”

Forward

Up front, Doyle picks Josh Sargent over Jozy Altidore.“Jozy does not look like the Jozy of even last year so far in 2020 and we have to recognize that,” he said.In fact, the Toronto FC striker wouldn’t even be his No. 2 choice.“I’m considering Gyasi [Zardes] because Gyasi’s been incredible,” Doyle said, calling the Columbus Crew SC forward “the MVP of MLS at this point,” while touting Portland Timbers forward Jeremy Ebobisse as one to watch eventually.“I love Ebobisse, it’s not at the point where I’m thinking of starting him in a World Cup qualifier,” Doyle said. “Not quite yet.”

Top 25 players in the USMNT pool right now

Nicholas MendolaNBC SportsSep 22, 2020, 10:10 PM

View photos

The European season is back in full flow, Major League Soccer is hitting its stretch run, and we have USMNT calendar news.Yet it’s the transfer market that’s inspired us to revisit our periodic ranking of the top 25 players in the USMNT player pool.Sergino Dest looks destined for either Barcelona or Bayern Munich, while Weston McKennie is off to Juventus and is currently learning midfield next to Adrien Rabiot, behind Aaron Ramsey, over Arthur, and under the watchful eye of Andrea Pirlo.If you’re the swooning type, here’s where you swoon.It’s been 10 months and 10 days since our first rankings hit ProSoccerTalk and there’s been a pandemic pause, restart of one season, and beginning of another since our second.Where is the player pool now? As a reminder, here are some ground rules:

  • The ranking is meant to illustrate who would be most likely to positively affect a USMNT match, regardless of manager or teammates, right now.
  • Health doesn’t matter to our rankings if a current injury isn’t one that could drastically alter the player’s skill set moving forward.
  • Age/potential/experience doesn’t matter either, at least not much; It’s how likely you are to contribute to the team if put on the field right now. Obviously Konrad de la Fuente is a better long-term prospect than 30-year-old Jozy Altidore, but most would rather have the Toronto FC man in a big spot right now.

Obviously there’s been plenty of movement.

Top 25 USMNT players – September 2020 

1. Christian Pulisic, Chelsea (1)

2. Tyler Adams, RB Leizpig (4) — Just out here scoring UCL tie-deciding goals

3. Weston McKennie, Juventus (2) — Oh, hi there. This is cool.

4. John Brooks, Wolfsburg (3)

5. Giovanni Reyna, Borussia Dortmund (13) — This is 17 years old? Come on.

6. Jordan Morris, Seattle Sounders (8)

7. Sergino Dest, Ajax (5) — Barcelona or Bayern Munich?

8. Josh Sargent, Werder Bremen (18) — Midfield?

9. Zack Steffen, Manchester City (9) — First Man City start probably comes Thursday.

10. Antonee Robinson, Fulham (10) — Come on, Scott Parker. Put him in there.

11. Timothy Weah, Lille (14) — Working back to fitness and form. Came off the bench in first three Ligue 1 games.12. Tyler Boyd, Besiktas (21) — Looking good in second full season with the Turkish giants

13. Julian Green, Greuther Furth (12)

14. Sebastian Lletget, LA Galaxy (25)

15. Alfredo Morales, Fortuna Dusseldorf (7)

16. Gyasi Zardes, Columbus Crew (NR) — If you’re yelling at this, I get it, but you’re not watching MLS. He’s been wonderful.

https://platform.twitter.com/embed/index.html?dnt=true&embedId=twitter-widget-1&frame=false&hideCard=false&hideThread=false&id=1307492707313606657&lang=en&origin=https%3A%2F%2Fsports.yahoo.com%2Ftop-25-players-usmnt-pool-021055892.html&siteScreenName=YahooSports&theme=light&widgetsVersion=219d021%3A1598982042171&width=550px 17. Matt Miazga, Chelsea (17) — Rumors of a Trabzonspor loan are interesting.

18. Cameron Carter-Vickers, Spurs (20) — Crushed it at Luton Town. Is Bournemouth next?

19. Darlington Nagbe, Columbus Crew (NR)

20. Reggie Cannon, Boavista (NR)

21. Brendan Aaronson, Philadelphia Union (NR) — Credit to Gregg Berhalter, who saw it before any of us.

22. Matt Turner, New England (NR) — Incredible season alert.

23. Aaron Long, New York Red Bulls (NR)

24. Tim Ream, Fulham (13)

25. Henry Wingo, Molde (NR) — Unsure where the Norwegian league rates in relation to MLS, but Wingo’s moved from non-regular with Seattle to starting right back on a team knocking on the door of the UEFA Champions League group stage. Plus I had like nine names I liked for spots 23, 24, and 25.

() last ranking

Notes

  • Columbus’ resurgence this season has seen Zardes and Nagbe shine. It’s difficult not to place them higher than we initially planned.
  • Judging the center back pool has become fraught. Chelsea’s Matt Miazga and Tottenham’s Cameron Carter-Vickers are on a loan recycling program and have done well but we haven’t really seen them outside of the Championship. MLS regulars Walker Zimmerman, Miles Robinson, and Aaron Long are good on inconsistent teams. After John Brooks, who knows?
  • Dropping out are DeAndre Yedlin, Jozy Altidore, Cristian Roldan, Ike Opara, Michael Bradley, Fabian Johnson, Cameron Carter-Vickers, Miles Robinson, Paul Arriola, and Jackson Yueill.
  • Small sample size, but if you’re the top rated player on Besiktas then you’re Tyler Boyd and you’re getting a higher spot than we anticipated when we started the post.

Last five out: Chris Richards, Bayern Munich; Duane Holmes, Derby County; DeAndre Yedlin, Newcastle United; Timothy Chandler, Eintracht Frankfurt; Frankie Amaya, FC Cincinnati.

Keep an eye on: Ulysses Llanez, Heerenveen (loan from Wolfsburg); Cole Bassett, Colorado Rapids; Julian Araujo, LA Galaxy; Chris Mueller, Orlando City; Konrad de la Fuente, Barcelona; Indiana Vassilev, Burton Albion (loan from Aston Villa); Paxton Pomykal, FC Dallas; Jozy Altidore, Toronto FC; Cristian Roldan, Seattle Sounders; Walker Zimmerman, Nashville SC.

McKennie, Pulisic, Reyna and more: Breaking down a big season for USMNT stars across Europe

14, 2020Jeff CarlisleTom Hamilton ESPN FC

The 2020-21 soccer season is kicking off all over Europe, with the English Premier League and Spanish Primera Divisions beginning this past weekend, and the German Bundesliga and Italian Serie A (both leagues available LIVE all season long on ESPN+ in the United States) starting on Sept. 18 and Sept. 19 respectively. In addition to the usual talking points and discussions over title favorites and relegation threats, it’s indirectly a big season for the U.S. national team, who boast several of their stars in top European leagues along with several prospects beyond the 2022 World Cup cycle.With so many USMNT stars dotted around Europe and gearing up for a long campaign, ESPN’s Jeff Carlisle and Tom Hamilton broke down where they all are, and what their prospects are for the new season.

Christian PulisicChelsea (English Premier League)

Overall, Pulisic’s first year in the Premier League was a success, as he tallied nine goals and four assists in 34 league and cup appearances. In the process he put to rest any doubts about whether he could hack it skill-wise in the EPL, as he often dazzled on the left wing while also drifting inside.

This season, Pulisic will be hoping to build on what he achieved in 2019-20, but with an added challenge: staying healthy. The U.S. international suffered two muscle injuries — a hip ailment at the start of the year and a hamstring issue in the FA Cup final — and that continued a trend from his time at Borussia Dortmund. The competition for places is still there with the likes of Kai Havertz and Hakim Ziyech arriving to replace William and Pedro, along with Callum Hudson-OdoiMason Mount, and Ruben Loftus-Cheek to contend with. But there seems to be a bit more faith in Pulisic heading into the season, as witnessed by him being given the No. 10 shirt. — Carlisle

John Brooks, DF, VfL Wolfsburg (German Bundesliga)

As has been a recurring theme throughout his career, Brooks endured an inconsistent season for the Wolves. He made 31 appearances in all competitions in helping Wolfsburg to a seventh-place finish and qualification for the Europa League. But he also endured a hamstring injury that sidelined him for a month, and he was even benched for a time by manager Oliver Glasner in February. To his credit he reclaimed his spot shortly thereafter, but then faded a bit after the return from the COVID-19 shutdown.Brooks is likely to continue to be a mainstay for Wolfsburg this season, even if his start — he was red-carded in a Europa League defeat to Shaktar Donetsk — was auspicious. That only highlights the need for more consistency. Can he achieve it? At age 27, Brooks is basically fully formed as a player, but one can still hope that his accumulated experience will see him raise his level during the current campaign. — Carlisle

Weston McKennie, MF, Juventus (Italian Serie A)

All summer, as McKennie trained at Schalke waiting for his move, it looked like the USMNT star centre midfielder would be off to the Premier League. McKennie, 22, was being chased hard by Southampton and Leicester; then, as Andrea Pirlo settled into the hottest of seats at Juventus, in came the Serie A giants and in the blink of an eye McKennie was on a private jet to Turin.McKennie is a brilliant box-to-box midfielder. Throughout Schalke’s tough campaign, in which they finished 12th in the Bundesliga, McKennie’s energy was infectious and he was a rare ray of light in a dismal campaign in Gelsenkirchen. He led from the front and was also one of the early voices in football’s messages of anti-racism and support for the Black Lives Matter movement.This season, McKennie will not have it easy at Juventus. At Schalke he was one of the first names on the team sheet, but this term he has the likes of Arthur (arriving from Barcelona for £66m), Sami KhediraAdrien RabiotRodrigo Bentancur and Aaron Ramsey to contend with for a spot in the starting XI. Still, expect him to thrive. He has signed for Juventus on a loan deal with the option to make this a permanent stay, and we predict this will become a formality as he slots right into life at the Serie A champions. — Hamilton

Tyler Adams, MF, RB Leipzig (German Bundesliga)

The versatile 21-year-old scored the winning goal for RB Leipzig in their Champions League quarterfinal win over Atletico Madrid in the 2019-20 campaign and has established himself as a key cog in the Julian Nagelsmann machine. Having signed for the Bundesliga high-flyers from New York Red Bulls in January 2019 for a bargain £2.37m, Adams’ versatility means he can cover any position across the back four and happily slot in along the midfield. For a manager who doesn’t believe in formations and values pressing, Adams is a dream of a player.

Having played 18 times for Leipzig last campaign, Adams’ goals for this term will be to start more matches for the Bundesliga side. With a relentless campaign facing Nagelsmann’s squad as they battle on three fronts, with the Champions League also on their radar, his versatility and work rate will be key. The goal for Leipzig is a top-four finish in the German league, and Adams will be doing everything to ensure they reach and, ideally, surpass expectations like they did last season. — Hamilton

Zack Steffen, GK, Manchester City (English Premier League)

Having signed for Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City from Columbus Crew in July 2019 for £6.14m, the goalkeeper is still waiting for his first-team debut as he spent last term out on loan at Bundesliga side Fortuna Dusseldorf. He made 18 appearances in Germany until injury cut short his season in December. Having suffered from a problem with his knee, he battled back to full fitness only to sustain MCL damage in April that saw him play no further part in the 2019-20 campaign.

Carlisle: Why are US clubs not getting paid for developing talent?

Now back at Manchester City, Steffen is seen by Guardiola as a key part of their squad. With Claudio Bravo having left City at the end of last term on a free transfer and now between the pots at Real Betis, Steffen will vie with the world-class Ederson for a spot in City’s first team. He will likely clock up a number of starts in cup competitions and will add to his 17 caps for the USMNT. — Hamilton

Sergino Dest, DF, Ajax (Dutch Eredivisie)

The young right back enjoyed a breakthrough season in 2019-20 and went from the fringes of the senior squad to being one of the most sought-after fullbacks in Europe. Dest, 19, signed his first professional contract with Ajax in December 2018 and made his first-team debut in August 2019. His impressive form for Ajax started turning heads at the Netherlands and then-boss Ronald Koeman was keen for Dest to declare for the Oranje. But Dest, who played youth-level football for the U.S., took his time to shore up his decision and opted for the USMNT.

Exclusive: Why Dest chose U.S. over Netherlands

His trajectory has been rapid, like his darts down the right flank, and he was crowned U.S. Soccer’s Young Male Player of the Year for 2019. But there’s still a chance he has a new club by the end of the transfer window on Oct. 5 as he’s getting plenty of interest. Ajax have a practise of eking out one final season from their ridiculous list of prodigious young talents before they secure a move to one of Europe’s bigger fish. Bayern Munich are still being heavily linked with Dest, and if he moves there he’ll have Benjamin Pavard and Joshua Kimmich as rivals for a spot. But if he does stay put he’ll still be front and centre of Ajax’s Eredivisie and Champions League campaigns. He will look to another season of starting week-in-week-out for the Dutch giants and continuing to develop his game. — Hamilton

Gio Reyna, MF/FW, Borussia Dortmund (German Bundesliga)

The sky’s the limit for the 17-year-old forward. Having joined Borussia Dortmund from MLS side NYCFC in July 2019, Reyna made his debut for the Bundesliga giants in January 2020 and scored a memorable first goal in their DFB-Pokal defeat to Werder Bremen in February. But it was enough to make people sit up and take notice, while those who had followed his promising career — including father Claudio, who won 112 caps for the USMNT, and mother Danielle Egan, who won six caps for the USWNT — knew it was a matter of ‘when’ not ‘if’ Reyna would start making his mark for Europe’s elite.

– Borden: Gio Reyna is USMNT’s next Captain America

It is easy to forget he has played just 18 first-team matches for Dortmund. But in a team that boasts all-world young talent like Jadon Sancho and Erling Haaland, Reyna has the perfect role models around him to take his game to the next level. He is still waiting to make his USMNT debut — his first chance was delayed in the spring due to the coronavirus outbreak — but expect that to come sooner rather than later. He has all the ability and application to be a USMNT mainstay for the next 15 years, but his goals this season will be to get as much first-team football as possible for Dortmund and continue to develop. — Hamilton

Antonee Robinson, DF, Fulham (English Premier League)

Robinson’s 2019-20 campaign was a veritable roller-coaster. He was one of the few standouts on a Wigan team that ended up being relegated from the English Championship, with his runs forward offering a threat in attack. He nearly parlayed that into a dream move to AC Milan, only to have it scuttled by a heart condition that showed up during his medical. He eventually made a move to Fulham, freshly promoted back to the English top flight.

Robinson’s goal this season will be to force his way into the first team, no easy task at a Premier League club, especially with playoff final hero Joe Bryan ensconced at left-back. Robinson didn’t make the subs bench in the Cottagers’ 3-0 opening-day defeat to Arsenal, but given the investment Fulham have made in him, he’ll be given time to acclimate. — Carlisle

Tim Weah, FW, Lille (French Ligue 1)

Injuries — in particular a recurring hamstring ailment — have so curtailed Weah’s playing time that he’s almost the forgotten man of the U.S. player pool. In his first season with Lille, Weah made just three appearances totaling 84 minutes. Given the time lost, this is very much a critical season for the New York City-born attacker. The early returns on the 2020-21 campaign are that Weah is still in the thoughts of Lille management, making two substitute appearances. Given the difficulty Weah has had staying healthy, it amounts to a promising start that he hopefully can parlay into additional minutes. — Carlisle

Reggie Cannon, DF, Boavista (Portugal Primeira Liga)

Patience paid off for Cannon, who, after two years in FC Dallas‘ academy, a brief stop in college soccer at UCLA and then three-plus seasons with FCD, made the move to Europe with Portuguese side Boavista in September. Since the start of the 2018 season, Cannon was a consistent presence at right back and while his numbers didn’t necessarily catch the eye — he had three goals and five assists in 68 league and playoff appearances — his attacking instincts impressed U.S. national team manager Gregg Berhalter.

At Boavista, Cannon will be making his initial foray into European soccer and he’s already made a positive impression, scoring the opening goal in the club’s 4-1 friendly win over CD Tondela last weekend. The right-back spot for the U.S. is there for the taking, so he’ll need to adapt quickly if he is to grab that position at the international level. — Carlisle

DeAndre Yedlin, DF, Newcastle United (English Premier League)

The big question for Yedlin is simple: Will he even be in Newcastle much longer? Yedlin was a peripheral figure last season, making 20 league and cup appearances, but just 10 starts in league play. (The majority of those came in the front half of the season, too.) Hip and hand injuries also made it difficult for Yedlin to remain in the lineup and he ultimately lost his starting spot to Javier Manquillo.

A change of scenery might do Yedlin good. One would expect that at age 27, and given his Premier League experience, Yedlin would be a shoe-in to be the right back for the U.S. men’s national team, but he seems far from first-choice there. If he can establish himself at a new club — Turkish side Besiktas is among the sides interested in Yedlin — then that might revitalize his career and allow him to reclaim his spot with the U.S. national team. — Carlisle

Tim Ream, DF, Fulham (English Premier League)

The center-back has been a mainstay with Cottagers for the last five seasons, making his 200th appearance for the club in the season-opening 3-0 defeat at Arsenal. In last season’s promotion push, Ream made a staggering 47 league and playoff appearances, testament to his consistency and durability. His passing ability out of the back remains a strength, though as U.S. fans can attest he is guilty of the occasional gaffe.

This season will mark Ream’s third foray into the Premier League, having had previous campaigns with Bolton Wanderers in 2011-12 as well as Fulham’s previous season in the top flight in 2018-19. If Fulham are to avoid relegation this time around, Ream will certainly need to be at his best on both sides of the ball. Fulham can only hope that Ream’s consistency comes to the fore over the course of the campaign. — Carlisle

Matt Miazga, DF, Chelsea (English Premier League)

The 25-year-old centre-back signed for Chelsea in 2016, but has made two Premier League appearances in four years having spent much of that span out on loan. It’s long been Chelsea’s policy to buy promising talent and develop them by sending them out to trusted teams to aid their development. Miazga spent two seasons with Vitesse Arnhem in the Eredivisie and six months at Nantes before arriving at Reading in the Championship. He has played there for the past 18 months.

Miazga made 24 appearances for Reading last term, in a campaign disrupted by a hamstring injury at the start of the season and an ankle injury in January. He picked up a red card in their defeat at Derby in June, following an altercation with Tom Lawrence after the final whistle, and would play one further match for the Royals. This term Miazga will likely spend another season out on loan and is not short of suitors, though his destination is at yet unknown. — Hamilton

Josh Sargent, FW, Werder Bremen (German Bundesliga)

Mark 2019-20 as a season that tested the hugely promising 20-year-old, though one that would have taught him a huge amount. Having been left out of the USMNT Gold Cup squad in the 2019-20 preseason, he had to battle with oscillating between starting for Werder Bremen and finding his role reduced to that of an impact substitute. He picked up an untimely hamstring muscle tear in December that kept him out for six weeks, but as Werder Bremen battled to avoid the drop in the latter part of the Bundesliga campaign, Sargent was instrumental in the German side keeping their spot in the top flight as they won their relegation playoff against Heidenheim.

Hamilton: Talking tattoos and challenges with Josh Sargent

The signs in 2020-21 are promising for Sargent, who played across the front line last term. He carried his impressive preseason form into Bremen’s opening match of the 2020-21 season proper, starting and scoring in Bremen’s 2-0 win at FC Carl Zeiss in the first round of the DFB-Pokal. — Hamilton

Alfredo Morales, MF Fortuna Dusseldorf (German 2. Bundesliga)

Morales shook off an early hamstring injury to be a steady presence for Dusseldorf last season in the center of midfield, making 31 league and cup appearances. But despite his ball-winning and prowess in the air, it wasn’t enough to prevent the Rhinelanders from avoiding the drop.Now Morales will play in the 2. Bundesliga. It’s a league with which he is familiar, having spent a total of five seasons in Germany’s second tier with the likes of Hertha Berlin and Ingolstadt. The challenge this time around will be to return Dusseldorf immediately back to the top flight, and Morales appears to be very much in his team’s plans. He logged 78 minutes in a two-way midfield role in Dusseldorf’s 1-0 German Cup road win over Ingolstadt, the kind of result that Morales and Dusseldorf will need more of as the season progresses. — Carlisle

Tyler Boyd, Besiktas (Turkish Super Lig)

Boyd spent the 2019-20 campaign adjusting to the pressure and expectations of playing for Besiktas, one of Turkey‘s biggest clubs, and it proved to be an up-and-down campaign. The good news is that Boyd made 28 league and cup appearances, but he scored just three goals along with one assist. That level of offensive production was far below what he achieved during a loan stint the previous season with Ankaragucu, when he tallied six goals and four assists in 14 matches.

This season, matters are already looking up for Boyd, with Besiktas showing continued faith in the winger. That was repaid in part when he scored the opener in Beşiktaş’ 3-1 win over Trabzonspor to start the Turkish Super Lig campaign, cutting in from the left wing to fire inside the far post with the help of a slight deflection. Boyd and Besiktas will no doubt be hoping that this is a sign of things to come. — Carlisle

OTHER PLAYERS TO WATCH

Christian Cappis: The midfielder established himself at Danish Superliga side Hobro last season, making 30 league appearances and scoring one goal while filling a variety of central midfield roles. Cappis even secured an invite to the annual January camp for the U.S. men’s national team, though he was an unused substitute in a 1-0 friendly win over Costa Rica. Those performances were such that there was talk of Cappis moving on, but now he finds himself in an unusual situation. Cappis has two years left on his contract, but his work permit to play in Denmark wasn’t renewed and he had to leave the country. Reports out of Denmark say that Hobro’s owner, Lars Kühnel, believes that Cappis will be back some time in the autumn, assuming the player isn’t transferred. In the meantime, all Cappis can do is wait to see how the situation plays out. — Carlisle

Chris Richards: The 20-year-old centre-back is yet to make his USMNT debut, but is on Berhalter’s radar. He is at Europe’s reigning Champions League holders, Bayern Munich, and made his debut in June. This season he will either be in the first-team mix or leave on loan. — Hamilton

Nick Taitague: The 21-year-old attacking midfielder was promoted to Schalke’s first team ahead of this season. He arrived at Schalke in 2017 from the Carolina RailHawks and has played for Schalke II but has the number 29 to his name and will want to make his mark in the Bundesliga this term. — Hamilton

Matthew Hoppe: The Schalke forward has his sights set on breaking into the Bundesliga side’s first team this season and following in the footsteps of the departed McKennie. He is performing well for Schalke’s Under 19s and will look to put forward his case for senior recognition this term. — Hamilton

Ulysses Llanez: The 19-year-old signed for Wolfsburg from LA Galaxy in April 2019 and was promoted to the Bundesliga side’s first team a year later. He scored on his full USMNT debut in February, too, but he’ll spend the season on loan in the Dutch Eredivisie with SC Heerenveen after signing his first professional contract with Wolfsburg this week, a deal that connects him to the club through 2024. — Hamilton

FIFA 21 goalkeepers: Who are the best-rated GK players on the game?

Mon, September 21, 2020, 1:37 AM EDT

While now sometimes powerless to stop a perfectly timed finish in recent FIFA games, a strong goalkeeper remains a huge asset to any side.

Ahead of FIFA 21’s release, EA Sports has released the ratings for the best 20 shot-stoppers in the upcoming game with Atletico Madrid’s number one Jan Oblak coming out on top.

The Slovenia international is only just heading into his prime at 27 years of age but has been a consistent performed for Diego Simeone’s side in both La Liga and European competitions.

Oblak’s one weakness in FIFA 21 is a kicking rating of 78, but 92-rated handling and 90-rated reflexes more than make up for any shortcomings with his boots.

Liverpool’s Alisson has taken out second spot this year with his saves helping guide the Reds to the Premier League title across the 2019-20 season.

Marc-Andre ter Stegen then rounds out the podium, with the Barcelona shot-stopper one of the most well-rounded keepers in the game.

The Premier League has seven representatives in the top 20 this year with Wolves’ Rui Patricio the surprise packet and boasting an overall rating of 84.

Other lesser known names that could be worth scouting out on FIFA 21 include RB Leipzig’s Peter Gulacsi and Torino’s Salvatore Sirigu.

AC Milan prodigy Gianluigi Donnarumma remains the best young goalkeeper in the game and is an ideal long-term signing for any side.

Best goalkeepers on FIFA 21

PlayerClubOverall ratingHandling
Jan OblakAtletico Madrid9192
AlissonLiverpool9088
Marc-Andre ter StegenBarcelona9085
Thibaut CourtoisReal Madrid8989
Manuel NeuerBayern Munich8987
EdersonManchester City8882
Samir HandanovicInter8885
Keylor NavasParis Saint-Germain8781
Hugo LlorisTottenham8782
Wojciech SzczesnyJuventus8782
David De GeaManchester United8681
Yann SommerBorussia Monchengladbach8686
Gianluigi DonnarummaAC Milan8581
Bernd LenoArsenal8583
Peter GulacsiRB Leipzig8585
Roman BurkiBorussia Dortmund8482
Kasper SchmeichelLeicester City8477
Rui PatricioWolverhampton Wanderers8480

The Privilege of Play: Why the world’s game is a white game in the U.S.

Henry BushnellSeptember 22, 2020, 11:00 AM

This is a story about opportunity.It begins in Columbia Heights, a gentrifying neighborhood in Washington D.C., where elite soccer opportunities barely exist. But several years ago, on a lively field behind a public charter school, Precious Ogu clearly deserved one.She glided past helpless middle schoolers that afternoon, unaware of where the sport she loved could take her. She didn’t know much about high-level youth soccer; didn’t know how to progress beyond after-school games. Fortunately, an onlooker did. Amir Lowery, executive director of the Open Goal Project, connected her with a travel program. Precious, the Black daughter of a Nigerian mother, showed up to try out. And she remembers being “shocked.”She’d grown up surrounded by people of all hues, including many who looked like her. Soccer, she’d soon find, looked different.“It was pretty much all white girls,” she says.Soccer, in its purest form, is the most accessible and racially diverse team sport in the world. But American soccer, as Precious realized, is not. It’s disproportionately white and upper-middle-class. Doug Andreassen, the former chair of a U.S. Soccer diversity task force, recognized this decades ago. He’d look around a country home to tens of millions of non-white people. Then he’d look around soccer boardrooms, and out onto fields, and wonder: “Why doesn’t soccer in America look like America?”The superficial answer is obvious. Participation, in most cases, requires money. Soccer’s diversity problem, at its core, is a socioeconomic problem. And in America, after centuries of racial oppression – of slavery, Jim Crow lawsredliningongoing mass incarceration, and so much more – socioeconomic problems are race problems. In 2017, the median non-Hispanic white household owned $171,700 in net wealth; the median Black household owned $9,567. White America controls soccer, just as it controls so much else.But the full answer is more complex. It’s rooted in a uniquely American youth sports industry built around economic and social capital. The industry fuels a sprawling soccer network that excludes minorities and perpetuates the power of those white men in charge.“This,” Lowery says, “is systemic racism in soccer.”

‘The hidden soccer economy’

Once upon a time, soccer was a working-class sport. It still is in many countries. A century ago, it was in the United States. Early amateur teams sprung out of ethnically diverse urban areas. Semi-pro leagues came and went.In the 1960s and 70s, however, soccer’s tectonic plates began to shift. Universities developed programs. The North American Soccer League formed and wooed foreign stars. Pelé arrived. George Best and Johan Cruyff followed. Mainstream interest in the sport percolated. Demand for youth soccer soared. But there was no infrastructure. No supply to readily meet demand.Elsewhere around the world, supply comes from professional clubs. Most youth soccer systems exist to develop professional players. In the U.S., the NASL wasn’t financially stable enough, so a youth system had to fund itself. The burden fell to parents.“Pay-to-play” clubs proliferated. The American system burgeoned around those who could afford it. It became an unchecked industry that exists less to develop players and more to make money for anybody who can get in on the scheme.“The way the model is right now, the consumer seeks out soccer and buys it,” says Ed Foster-Simeon, CEO of the U.S. Soccer Foundation. And consumers who can afford it, the ones with generational wealth and disposable income, are largely white.

(Amber Matsumoto/Yahoo Sports)

(Amber Matsumoto/Yahoo Sports)

Cost, first and foremost, is the sturdiest barrier that can make soccer inaccessible. Registration fees at many top youth clubs are four figures. They’re also merely a fraction of the necessary investment. Uniforms, tournaments, equipment, transportation, camps and specialized trainers all comprise what Lowery calls “the hidden soccer economy.” Some parents report paying five figures annually. A 2019 Aspen Institute study found that youth soccer participation costs more on average than youth tackle football participation, and more than twice as much as youth flag football participation. For many Black families, who on average make $26,416 less than non-Hispanic white families, those prices can be prohibitive.“There’s so much untapped potential in these communities. But if it costs $1,500, 2-grand a year for a 12-year-old to play soccer, well that’s just not feasible for a large number of people,” says Brandon Miller, a goalkeeper for the United Soccer League’s Charlotte Independence who co-founded the USL Black Players Alliance.Adds Hugh Roberts, a Charlotte defender and fellow co-founder: “If you don’t have any money, from the start, as a youth, then your opportunities are slim to none.”The increasingly common solution has been scholarships. Many elite clubs now waive fees for underprivileged kids, or fully fund their eldest teams. But “scholarships are not the answer,” Andreassen says. Others agree. Former U.S. Soccer president Sunil Gulati points out that some clubs essentially subsidize scholarships by charging more in younger age groups.“It’s a taxation of a broad base,” he explains.And while it chips away at one barrier, it neglects many others.

Soccer is geographically inaccessible

The parents who could pay lived in suburbs. The industry, therefore, grew in suburbia. And for talented teens like Precious Ogu, that’s problematic. The nearest elite club is 45 minutes away. Practices begin at 8:30 p.m. on weekdays. Her single mother works nights and doesn’t drive. No teammates live nearby.The pipeline isn’t just economically inaccessible. It’s geographically inaccessible as well. Yahoo Sports analyzed the locations of 161 elite youth clubs that comprised U.S. Soccer’s Development Academy. In 2010, the average median household income of the ZIP codes in which those 161 clubs are based was $80,950 – more than $30,000 above the nationwide median at the time, and the equivalent of around $96,400 today. Some of the best American soccer players ever grew up hours away from a club that could offer valuable coaching and access to showcase events. Their parents shuttled them to and fro. But for every parent that could, there are many that can’t. Time is a resource. Schedule flexibility is an offshoot of socioeconomic class. “I think about when I was the president of a [Virginia youth] club in the ‘90s,” Foster-Simeon says. Parents who volunteered were “white-collar workers who could say to their boss, ‘I’m leaving early on Tuesday and Thursday ’cause I’m coaching my kid’s team.’ If you’re an hourly wage worker, you don’t have that kind of flexibility.”For Precious, the only solution is Uber. Open Goal, a non-profit aiming to bring soccer to underserved communities, funds her travels. Many kids without similar support simply can’t play.“These are the invisible barriers that have taken too long for us to recognize and address,” Foster-Simeon says. “There are structural and historical barriers to participation.”They largely affect poor families in inner cities. And poor families in inner cities are disproportionately families of color.Reciprocally, Black people are underrepresented in 132 of those 161 ZIP codes housing Academy clubs. Those who do grow up in suburbs, like USWNT star Crystal Dunn, are often the only Black players on youth teams. Those raised in cities often aren’t able to latch onto the game.“If I had stayed actually in the city,” Dunn said on a recent panel, “there’s a good chance I wouldn’t even be playing this sport.”

Cultural barriers: ‘I felt like I just didn’t fit in’

Precious sometimes returns home from practice after 11 p.m., with homework still to do. She wakes up the next morning before 7 a.m. She still maintains straight-As. And she’s excelling on the soccer pitch. Division I colleges have been in touch. She initially worried she couldn’t compete with the suburban girls, then quickly realized she absolutely could.But along the way, she encountered another type of barrier. On the field, she adapted quickly. Off it, she wondered: “How am I gonna make friends?” Most of her new teammates went to private school. They were nice, but talked about private school things. About lake houses, fancy restaurants.

“I would be scared to approach any of them, or try to start a conversation,” Precious says. “I didn’t really know how. Like, what are we gonna talk about?“At first, I was kind of uncomfortable, because I felt like an outcast in some way. I felt like I just didn’t fit in.”This, to Foster-Simeon, is the “overlooked” puzzle piece. “You can create a great opportunity for a kid in a middle-class, suburban club,” he says. “But if you’ve not spent any time thinking about what that means to that child culturally, coming from a community where they don’t have many resources,” then the child can struggle. They experience microaggressions. They can’t partake in conversations about iPads and exotic vacation spots. Elite clubs, in this sense, can be culturally inaccessible too.

Especially, players of color say, because many white coaches don’t understand this cultural divide. They can’t understand poverty and the mental challenges that accompany it. Roberts, the USL defender, grew up with Black and Latino teammates. He remembers a coach benching a few “because of their attitude.”“But he’s not understanding that my friends are struggling at home, because they’re not getting enough food,” Roberts says. “They’re frustrated with school and stuff. And yes, we take it to the field, but it’s never us disrespecting a coach. But sometimes coaches just don’t understand us – because they’re not us.”So barriers beget more barriers, and keep one another in place. A predominantly white system produced overwhelmingly white leaders. A recent FARE report found that across Major League Soccer, out of 229 head coaches, assistant coaches, majority owners and top club executives, 7.4% are Black; 5% are Latinx; and 87.6% are white. In the National Women’s Soccer League, the corresponding numbers are 0%; 1.1%; and 98.9%. The report’s authors called the findings “alarming.” Black players’ coalitions have formed in MLS and the USL to, among many other things, correct the imbalance.Representation is often valued for its inspirational faculties, and with good reason. Humans gravitate toward role models who look like themselves.“I played basketball [growing up], all my friends played other sports,” Roberts says. “Subconsciously, you don’t even give soccer the attention, because there’s no people who look like you.”But representation is also about diversity of perspectives.“The people that are making the power decisions,” Miller says, “don’t have diverse views, and therefore don’t make diverse decisions.”The people in charge of fixing flawed systems are the very people whom those systems benefit.

What’s being done to address soccer’s inequities

When Lowery and Simon Landau, the Open Goal Project’s founders, first set out to address soccer’s inequities, they attacked from within. They raised money. They covered club fees and arranged transportation. They took kids from underserved communities out into the ’burbs, to the preeminent travel teams, to play for respected coaches and in front of college recruiters. They filled any gaps that arose.But if you mention that strategy to Lowery now, having seen the industry’s underbelly, and having seen all the concealed barriers it presents, he might cut you off.“No! Nooo! Noooo, nooo, nooo,” he says. “It’s so wrong.”Many who’ve confronted these issues, who’ve gone into neglected communities, who’ve analyzed the barriers first-hand, now advocate for a fresh approach. Rather than jam underprivileged kids into the pipeline, their solution is to create a different pipeline. Rather than bring the kids to soccer resources, the solution is to bring soccer resources to them.

It starts on ground floors. Soccer, Foster-Simeon points out, “is a relatively low-cost sport when you pare it back to its basics.” But so often, even some basics aren’t present. An early-2000s NIH study found that 69.6% of Black neighborhoods and 81.4% of Hispanic neighborhoods didn’t have a single recreational facilitySo Foster-Simeon’s U.S. Soccer Foundation decided to build some. They’ve committed to funding 1,000 “mini-pitches,” or inner-city courts that serve as soccer havens. They offer kids an introduction to the game that’s so often elusive.And rather than swoop in or dictate from afar, Foster-Simeon says, “it’s sort of like a collaborative effort.” The Foundation doesn’t solve problems for inner-city kids. It works with people who already know the inner-cities, who intimately understand their challenges. It leverages existing infrastructure and trust. “We identify community-based organizations,” Foster-Simeon says. “And we provide them with the curriculum and training and other supports that they need to be able to offer programming to the kids. [We] give them the tools that they need to create access and opportunity.”Open Goal, meanwhile, brought all its efforts in-house. It launched its own inner-city club, which is completely free for players. It runs its own camps, and clinics, and nutrition programs, and fitness training. The plan requires aggressive fundraising and networking. It may or may not be replicable across the country, at scale. Lowery and Landau feel it’s the only sustainable way forward. “The system has to be there in their communities,” Lowery says of underserved kids. “Just like it’s in everyone else’s community.”Over time, more and more Black and brown players will push through the system, or earn their way in from outside. More and more will attempt to reform it. “I made it all the way to the other side,” says MLS veteran Quincy Amarikwa, a co-founder of the Black Players for Change coalition. “I understand how I was perceived the entire way, I understand how people spoke about me as I went through, I understand why they did the things they did, and how they went about doing it. Because that’s how they maintain the system. So now that I have that understanding, I can now relay the message back to those who may be in the middle of it, who might be going into it, or who actually have the best intentions to address and fix it, and update it, for the betterment of everybody else.”

But widespread reform is a gargantuan task. Barriers are fortified. “The system, thus far, has been monopolized by entities who say that we can only do it one way,” Lowery says. “You can only get to college one way, you can only be a professional one way, and it has to be through the academy system, and you have to do X, Y, Z. That’s all entrenched in the system. It’s systemic racism, right?”Precious understood very little about it when she first trekked out to suburbia for practices a few years ago. The cultural and socioeconomic divides, she remembers, sparked an awakening. She’s realized, in years since, that “where a kid grew up, and their financial situation, can be a huge barrier on their sports career.”But why? Precious wondered. Now a senior, her high school tasked her with finding a topic for her senior project. A research prompt to investigate throughout the year.Hers, she says, will be “about why sports aren’t diverse, and how it affects people of color like me.”

RECAP | INDY ELEVEN SECURES CRUCIAL POINT IN 1-1 DRAW AGAINST SAINT LOUIS FC

By Indy Eleven Communications, 09/23/20, 10:30PM EDT

Neveal Hackshaw’s Second-half Header Keeps Indiana’s Team in Playoff Position

https://www.youtube.com/embed/HInpe4kMe5s #INDvSTL Post-Game Quotes – September 23, 2020

#INDVSTL STATS VIA USLCHAMPIONSHIP.COM MATCH CENTER

An eventful 90 minutes – and then some – saw Indy Eleven eventually end its duel with Saint Louis FC up two men and even in goals via a 1-1 draw at Lucas Oil Stadium. Neveal Hackshaw’s 72nd minute header countered Russell Cicerone’s early second-half score to force a share of the spoils.“I’m happy overall with that performance; the one disappointing moment was losing that goal on the counterattack,” said Indy Eleven Head Coach Martin Rennie. “There were a few things there that we should’ve done better and we just lost a little bit of concentration. I think we deserved to get a little bit more out of it, but it’s an important point.”As a result, ndy Eleven (7W-5L-2D, 23 pts.) kept its grip on second place in Group E, with Saint Louis FC (6W-4L-4D, 22 pts.) remaining right on its heels one point behind. With Louisville City FC (9W-3L-2D, 29 pts.) all but clinching the top spot with tonight’s deadlock, Indy and Saint Louis can now focus solely on claiming the group’s other USL Championship Playoffs spot via favorable results in their final two games over the next 10 days – including next Saturday’s finale in Missouri. Prior to that ultimate showdown, STL will host Louisville this Saturday evening, followed by Indy Eleven welcoming Sporting Kansas City next Wednesday.

With pole position for the coveted second place spot on the line, it was Indy that looked the more likely to claim an early advantage. Following a 4th minute yellow card given to Saint Louis’ Todd Wharton, Carl Haworth’s shot off the restart and another blast from distance by Ayoze 30 seconds later required STL goalkeeper Kyle Morton into tough saves to keep scoreboard clean.  In the 18th minute, forward Tyler Pasher’s centering pass to the six found a streaking Nick Moon, who couldn’t keep his first-touch shot on frame.Indy would collect the better chances throughout the rest of the first 45 minutes, but it was Morton coming up big at his right post on the two most dangerous opportunities in the final five minutes, thwarting near-angle efforts by Cam Lindley and Pasher to ensure the teams heading in the locker room even.After a first half that saw zero shots on target for the visitors, Saint Louis changed that statistic – and the scoreboard – early on a counterattack chance. In the 50th minute, Tyler Blackwood found a cutting Cicerone with space in front of him, and his running strike into the lower-left corner of the net resulted in the Missouri club taking the lead.The continued energy from Saint Louis would prove to be hurtful, however. A challenge from defender Sam Fink in the 61st minute missed the ball completely, his collision with Pasher resulting in a second yellow card on the evening and an ejection that forced Saint Louis to play a man down.   Indy would take advantage soon after. Looking to catch the defense off guard, Haworth played a quick corner to Ayoze, who crossed into traffic at the top of the six the ball. It was there where Hackshaw beat the masses to the punch, a header by the Tobago & Trinidad international finding its way to the right side of goal to equalize, giving him his second goal of the season – both coming against Saint Louis at home.Frustrations would continue rise for the visitors after another subtraction in the 75th minute. This time it was Wharton heading to the locker room early after seeing his second yellow of the night for a challenge from behind on Drew Conner, forcing Saint Louis to play down two men for a frantic finish.Indy Eleven would make a late push in hopes of taking the full three points, but a defensive stand from Saint Louis that pushed past the eight minutes of original added time would be enough to earn a draw for both sides.  Indy Eleven ends its September homestand – and its 2020 home slate – next Wednesday, September 30, when it welcomes Sporting Kansas City II (4W-9L-1D, 13 pts.) to Lucas Oil Stadium for the fourth and final time this season. Tickets for the 7:00 p.m. kickoff on Fan Appreciation Night are available at indyeleven.com/tickets, and fans who can’t make the match can follow live on MyINDY-TV 23, ESPN+, Exitos Radio 94.3 FM/exitos943.com, and the @IndyElevenLive Twitter feed, presented by Central Indiana Honda Dealers.

 USL Championship Regular Season – #INDvSTL

Indy Eleven  1 : 1  Saint Louis FC

Wednesday, September 23, 2020 – 7:00 p.m. ET

Lucas Oil Stadium – Indianapolis, Ind.

Attendance: 5,664

 2020 USL Championship records

Indy Eleven (7W-5L-2D, 23 pts., 2nd in Group E)

Saint Louis FC (6W-4L-4D, 22 pts., 3rd in Group E)

 Scoring Summary:

STL – Russell Cicerone (Tyler Blackwood) 50’

IND– Neveal Hackshaw (Ayoze) 72’


Disciplinary Summary:

STL – Todd Wharton (yellow card) 4’

STL – Kyle Grieg (yellow card) 45’

STL – Tobi Adewole (yellow card) 45+2’

STL – Sam Fink (yellow card) 45+4

IND – Drew Conner (yellow card) 55’

STL – Sam Fink (second yellow/red card) 61’

IND – Neveal Hackshaw (yellow card) 64’

STL – Todd Wharton (second yellow/red card) 75’

IND – Paddy Barret (yellow card) 85’

IND – Andrew Carleton (yellow card) 89’

 
Indy Eleven lineup (3-4-3, L–>R): Evan Newton; Neveal Hackshaw, Paddy Barrett (captain), Karl Ouimette; Ayoze (Andrew Carleton 88’), Drew Connor (Matt Watson 87’), Tyler Gibson (Ilija Ilic 61’), Carl Haworth; Tyler Pasher, Cam Lindley, Nick Moon (Jeremy Rafanello 79’)

IND substitutes: Jordan Farr (GK), Mitch Osmond, Conner Antley

Saint Louis FC (4-3-3, L–>R): Kyle Morton; Phanuel Kavita (captain), Sam Fink, Tobi Adewole; Todd Wharton, Guy Abend (Richard Bryan 90+6’), Wal Fall, Paris Gee; Kyle Grieg (Kadeem Dacres 79’), Tyler Blackwood (Daniel Fischer 65’), Russell Cicerone

STL substitutes: John Berner (GK), Mour Samb, Nikiphoros Vlastos, Joaquin R

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.