5/12/23 Champions League Semi’s Man City/Real Madrid Tues/Wed 3 pm CBS, U20 US Boys team announced, Onyweu named VP of US Sporting

Games to Watch

Of course Champions League Semi-Final 2nd round action on Tues/Wed leads the list of huge games this week.  Its Real Madrid traveling to Man City on Weds 3 pm on CBS tied at 1, on Tues Inter will have a 2-0 lead over AC Milan at 3 pm on CBS. (Coverage starts at 2 pm).  (tons of stories below).  Europa League play has Juventus traveling to Sevilla tied at 1 after the dramatic game tying goal in ET, and Roma took a 2-1 lead at home over Leverkusen with Carmel FC Coach Baco Benton and his daughter Caroline (CFC 2002 now in college) on hand here’s some cool videoBoth will play Thur at 3 pm on Paramount plus.    Weekend games have Leeds United with American’s McKinney and Arronson playing for their EPL lives against a New Castle team at 9 am on Sat on USA, followed by Dortmund hosting MGladbach as Reyna could see time vs US teammate Joe Scally in a must win for Dortmund if they want to win the league title over Bayern Munich with a just a few games left. Finally American backup GK’s Ethan Horvath of Luton Town and Zach Steffan of Middlesborough are both in English Championship Playoff games this weekend and again Tues/Wed (leg 2) as they battle to see who else will advance with Burnley to the EPL next year.    


Cool HBO Series Coming up on LA’s NWSL team Angel City FC starts Tues on HBO MaxCute from this weekend.  Bacelona great Sergio Busquets  has announced he is leaving Barcelona.  Indy 11 has a brother/sister combo playing this year as former Carmel Dad’s club players Cam and Cassidy Lindley play for the Women’s Indy 11 and the Boys in Blue – here’s a cool interview with them. Cool story about the Real We Are Wrexham and how they aren’t Ted Lasso as the very bottom of the stories.                                                  

U-20 USMNT World Cup Team Named & Oguchi Onyweu named US VP

The FIFA U-20 World Cup begins this month in Argentina, and the United States finally has their roster. Today, U.S. Soccer and U-20 head coach Mikey Varas named the 21-man roster who will compete for the USMNT U-20s in the tournament. The U-20s will compete in the group stage beginning on May 20th with a match against Ecuador. They continue by facing off against Fiji on May 23rd and then complete the group stage against Slovakia on May 26th. The matches will be shown on Fox Sports and Telemundo platforms, with each match slated for a 2:00pm ET kickoff. The U-20s have advanced to the quarterfinals in the past 3 U-20 World Cups and are looking to go even further this year. 11 players on the roster were on the roster that dominated at the 2022 Concacaf U-20 Championship, and 6 players have senior USMNT experience. In other news just weeks after naming a Sporting Director Matt Coker – US soccer has announced the hiring of former US international Oguchi Onyweu – I love it!

The 21-man U-20 roster:

GOALKEEPERS (3): 21-Alex Borto (Fulham FC), 12-Antonio Carrera (FC Dallas), 1-Gaga Slonina (Chelsea FC)

DEFENDERS (7): 17-Justin Che (Hoffenheim), 5-Brandan Craig (Philadelphia Union), 2-Mauricio Cuevas (LA Galaxy), 14-Marcus Ferkranus (LA Galaxy), 13-Jonathan Gomez (Real Sociedad), 3-Caleb Wiley (Atlanta United), 4-Joshua Wynder (Louisville City)

MIDFIELDERS (7): 6-Daniel Edelman (New York Red Bulls), 10-Diego Luna (Real Salt Lake), 8-Jack McGlynn (Philadelphia Union), 20-Rokas Pukstas (Hajduk Split), 15-Niko Tsakiris (San Jose Earthquakes), 18-Obed Vargas (Seattle Sounders FC), 16-Owen Wolff (Austin FC)

FORWARDS (4): 9-Cade Cowell (San Jose Earthquakes), 11-Kevin Paredes (Wolfsburg), 7-Quinn Sullivan (Philadelphia Union), 19-Darren Yapi (Colorado Rapids)

ALTERNATES (3): Moses Nyeman (Midfield – Real Salt Lake), Korede Osundina (Forward – Orange County SC), Thomas Williams (Defender – Orlando City SC)

Congrats to the Carmel FC 2009 Gold Girls who won the Great Lakes Region Premier League 2 Division. Coaches (L) Paul Cullington and (R) Doug Latham.

Sports allow us the opportunity to be part of something bigger than ourselves, of something special, of something meaningful. On Sunday, we (Carmel FC 09 Girls Gold) used that platform, together with the team we were about to play, to honor Westfield’s #12, Tucker Swain with green pre-wrap and 12 on the legs at our Challenge Cup Match. While we didn’t know him and no words can comprehend or heal the loss his family and friends are experiencing, if our thoughts and support can provide comfort, we will keep them coming.  Thanks Coach Abigail Donofrio (far left).  
💚 Carmel FC 2008 Girls Gold
💚 Indiana Fire Juniors 2008 Girls Navy
#CarmelFC #CarmelFCLove

2023 Alumni Co-Ed Summer Soccer

Location: Shelborne Fields – CCCSC – 3451 W. 126th St., Carmel  (Ages: 18 – 35)  $105  Sign Up

Grab your friends and make your own team or sign up and we’ll place you on a team, you don’t have to live in Carmel.
Games will take place on Wednesday and Sunday evenings. Dates: June 18, 21, 25, 28 & July 9, 12, 16, 19, 23, 26 Sign Up


Sat, May 13

7:30 am USA                       Leeds United (Mckinney, Aaronson) vs New Castle

9:30 am ESPN+                  Union Berlin (Pfok) vs Frieberg

9:30 am ESPN+                  Bayern Munich vs Schalke

9:30 AM ESPN+ Sunderland vs Luton Town (Ethan Horvath GK) EFL Playoff

10 am USA                          Chelsea vs Nottingham Forest 

10 am Peacock                  Aston Villa vs  Tottenham

12:30 pm ESPN+               Dortmund (Reyna) vs MGladbach (Scally)

1 pm Apple TV Chicago vs St Louis

3 pm ESPN+                        Real Madrid vs Getafe

7:30 pm Apple TV       Atlanta vs Charlotte 

9:30 pm Apple TV       Real Salt Lake vs LAFC

10 pm ESPN+              Sacramento vs Indy 11

10 pm Para+               Angel City (Ertz)  vs Washington Spirit (Rodman, Hatch, Sanchez) NWSL

10:30 pm Apple+        Portland Timbers vs Vancouver

Sun, May 14                      

9 am USA                    Everton vs Man City 

9 am Peacock              West Ham vs Brentford

10 am Para+              Lady Chelsea vs  Man United  Women’s FA Cup Final

11:30 am USA             Arsenal vs Brighton

4 pm ESPN+ Middlesborough (Zack Stefan) vs Coventry City EFL Playoff

5:30 pm  Para+           NY Gotham FC (Williams) vs Orlando (Marta) NWSL

6 pm  Para+                KC Current (Franch) vsHouston Dash (Campbell) NWSL

9:30 pm FS1                 LA Galaxy vs SJ Earthquakes  

Tues, May 16     Champions League Quarterfinals

12 noon ESPN+ Luton Town 1 (Ethan Horvath)vs Sunderland 2 EFL Playoff

3 pm CBS                   AC Milan 0 vs Inter Milan 2

Weds, May 17

12noon ESPN+ Middlesborough 0 (Zack Stefan) vs Coventry City 0 EFL Playoff

3 pm CBS                     Man City  1 vs Real Madrid 1

Thur, May 18       Europa League

3 pm Paramount+            Roma 2 vs Leverkusen 1

3 pm Para+                         Juventus 1 vs Sevilla 1

3 pm Para+                        AZ 1 vs West Ham 2

Sat, June 10                       

2 pm CBS                             Champions League Final

Thurs, June 15

10 pm                                    USMNT vs Mexico  Nations League Semi’s

Sat, June 24

9:30 pm                                USMNT vs Jamaica (Soldier Field) Gold Cup

July 21                                  USWNT vs Vietnam Women’s World Cup

Indy 11 Schedule

NWSL Schedule

Soccer Saturday’s are every Sat 9-10 am on 93.5 and 107.5 FM with Greg Rakestraw

Carmel Dad’s Indy 11 Soccer Camp 6/12-6/15 Registration


Slonina, Cowell lead U.S. U20 World Cup roster  ESPN FC Jeff Carlisle
Christian Pulisic linked with Napoli swap deal, Juventus – Reports

US Soccer hires Onyewu as VP of sporting
US captain Tyler Adams set to miss rest of season for Leeds

Will Christen Press Make the USWNT Roster?

The case for the most essential USWNT player: Naomi Girma

Champions League

Inter Milan in great position to make Champions League final
‘One small step’ left for Inzaghi’s Champions League final dream

Inter Milan ease past AC Milan in Champions League semifinal first leg

Premier League old boys put Inter Milan in commanding position

Antonio Rudiger silenced Erling Haaland… without even making a tackle

Who are the favorites to win the Champions League?

Man City stare down era-defining second leg against Europe’s dizzying shapeshifters

Superstar Vinicius shows range in UCL performance and will Man United fold in top-four race? 

Europa League

Gatti snatches Juve late draw against Sevilla in Europa League semi

Bove hands Roma small lead in Europa League semi with Leverkusen

West Ham, FC Basel take control of Europa Conference League semis

Michail Antonio puts West Ham on course to end 47-year wait for European final


Arsenal title hopes hit as Oleksandr Zinchenko ruled out of run-in

Which club will sign Declan Rice? Arsenal fearful of being priced out as Premier League giants join transfer race

Allardyce hopes ‘fear factor’ powers Leeds survival bid


Unlawful gambling’ scandal hits MLS
Colorado Rapids suspend Max Alves after match-fixing allegations; MLS investigating

MLS player Alves suspended as part of Brazil gambling probe

New York Red Bulls up next for FC Cincinnati in U.S. Open Cup: What to know

New kings of Queens: NYCFC unveils spectacular images of planned stadium
Chris Wright

NWSL plans to expand to 16 teams in 2026

Angel City has upcycled an old tifo into a one-of-a-kind line of merch NWSL Standings


‘It has been an honour’ — Barcelona legend Busquets to leave club

How Napoli Finally Won Serie A

Dortmund turn to bitter rivals Schalke to keep title dream alive

As Bayern Munich fights Borussia Dortmund, Schalke aims to play the spoiler

Messi set for return as PSG farewell looms

‘Modric, Benzema and Messi’: The Saudi Pro League are dreaming beyond Cristiano Ronaldo

Indy 11



Boudadi Named to USL Championship Team of the Week

Recap – IND 1:1 PIT

Diz Pe Named to USL Championship Team of the Week

Indy Falls 1-0 to Columbus in US Open Cup Play

Season tickets

Full Schedule   Promotions 

new stadium

Indy 11 Ladies Win their first road game 8-0. They return home on Friday night, June 2nd at the Grand Park Events Center.


Champions League Great Saves Semi Finals

Europa League Great Saves

Great PK Save MLS Game
De Gea blunder against West Ham costs Man Utd dear

It’s time for Man United to move on from De Gea after yet another error
Mark Ogden
Sources: De Gea’s No. 1 spot at Utd up for grabs
Rob Dawson


Premier League to play VAR audio for first time
Dale Johnson

Man in the Middle – Champions League Reffing Documentary on Paramount +   

Become a Referee Must be 13

Shane (right) reffing Challenge Cup last weekend with
Order with this Link Fri/Saturdays May 19 – June 10th

U.S. Soccer hires Oguchi Onyewu as Vice President of Sporting

He will report to newly hired sporting director Matt Crocker. By Donald Wine II@blazindw  May 10, 2023, 8:32am PDT  

U.S. Soccer has added to its sporting department, and another World Cup veteran is stepping up. Today, U.S. Soccer announced that Oguchi Onyweu will be the federation’s vice president of sporting.

The 2-time World Cup veteran will work under U.S. Soccer sporting director Matt Crocker, who was hired a couple weeks ago, in supporting all sporting initiatives. That would include the USMNT and USWNT. He will also be responsible for maintaining relationships with clubs and leagues around the world. Onyewu will also help with fundraising for youth and extended national teams.

It’s a newly created role for the 40-year-old Onyewu, who will assist Crocker with the hiring of the next USMNT coach. A member of the 2006 and 2010 World Cup teams, Gooch became the Orlando City B sporting director in 2018 after his playing days ended. He then became the secretary general of Belgian club Royal Excelsior Virton in 2020. He current is an analyst for CBS Sports and represented the Athletes’ Council on the U.S. Soccer Board of Directors. He stepped down from that role last week to take the VP of Sport position.

“We are thrilled to welcome Oguchi Onyewu to our team at U.S. Soccer,” said Matt Crocker in a statement. “His experience as a player and sports executive, coupled with his deep understanding of U.S. Soccer, Oguchi will be invaluable as we continue to strengthen our sporting initiatives. We all look forward to working closely with him.”

“I am incredibly excited to take on this new challenge and work with Matt and the rest of the U.S. Soccer team to help shape the future of soccer in this country,” added Onyewu. “As a former player, I understand firsthand the importance of investing in our youth and building a strong foundation for the future. I look forward to working with the Men’s and Women’s Senior Teams, Youth National Teams and Extended National Teams to help support and grow our talented pool of players and identify and develop the next generation.”

JJ Watt exclusive: Learning from Ryan Reynolds – and how he’ll make Burnley big in the U.S.

Andy JonesMay 11, 202337

Wearing a Burnley FC-branded hat and jacket, JJ Watt strides into the boardroom at Burnley’s training ground.It is only his second visit to the town and his first as an official investor in its football club, but as he leans back in his chair, he already feels like part of the furniture.English football is not short of transatlantic influences at the moment — from the fictional (AFC Richmond and Ted Lasso) to the multitude of American owners already ensconced in the Premier League (seven clubs in the top flight are majority-owned by US companies or individuals).



However, it is in another small town — 87 miles to the south west — where obvious comparisons can be drawn. Wrexham, like Burnley, is a community which has seen hard times economically; it, too, bonds around its local football club and, of course, there is a high-profile American influence now bringing that club to the world’s attention in the form of Hollywood actors Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney.

There is a difference both in playing level and investment stake, but Watt freely admits that Reynolds and McElhenney’s achievements were inspirational. A chat with Reynolds also provided some invaluable insights into how to tackle his new project, which he is undertaking alongside his wife Kealia, a former USWNT player.

“The number one thing Ryan said was recognising the tribalism in football,” says Watt, in an exclusive interview with The Athletic. “It’s different from American sports. It is a tribal loyalty that is rarely found in other sports or supporter bases. He told me I had to respect and honour that history and tradition and do right by that group otherwise you will lose them before you start.

“It’s been fun to watch him and Rob do it so well and that’s what we’re trying to do here. I’m trying to get so deep into the community so they know I understand this club. It has been here long before I was here and will be long after I’m gone; all I’m trying to do is respect and elevate what you have.”

Rob McElhenney and Ryan Reynolds (Photo: Jan Kruger/Getty Images)

Like the Wrexham project, this is no passing fancy or a celebrity spying an easy PR win. Watt, one of the biggest stars of the NFL from his time with the Houston Texans and Arizona Cardinals, is all-in on his new project having become a minority investor in Burnley at the start of May.The 34-year-old is in town for the club’s final Championship game of a triumphant title-winning season and the trophy parade around Burnley. “People keep telling me not everyday is like this, but we’re trying to make every day like this,” he says with a smile.

Watt could not have timed his investment better. Not only were he and Kealia able to be part of the party as Vincent Kompany and his squad celebrated their return to the Premier League, he had the honour of walking out with the Championship trophy onto the Turf Moor pitch.“I kind of feel like the kid in class who didn’t do any of the work in the group project but got an A anyway,” Watt says. “I don’t feel worthy of being part of all the celebrations. When Alan (Pace) asked me to walk the trophy out onto the pitch I said no, I didn’t feel I had earned it; everybody else earned it, I shouldn’t be the first person to touch it. They insisted, so I did it.”

JJ Watt with Burnley chairman Alan Pace (Photo: Alex Dodd – CameraSport via Getty Images)

The fans and the town have immediately taken the family to their hearts and Watt has been eager to spend as much time as possible with the community. He has visited the Royal Dyche pub — a local landmark, renamed in honour of former manager Sean Dyche — multiple times; the second time, it was part of a pub crawl. All for research purposes, you understand.

“Everyone has been so welcoming and gracious,” he says. “The reason I’m going about it the way I am is because I know how sceptical they must be because if I was in their shoes, I would be. What I’m trying to do is alleviate their concerns and let them know I am trying as hard as I can to learn about their history and culture and gain their trust.”

He will not be moving to East Lancashire like Burnley’s majority American owners, ALK Capital, but visits will be fairly frequent and he has been engaging with supporters on social media. His GIF game is particularly strong, courtesy of his affection for The U.S. version of The Office, although he admits he is “on the verge of doing it too much”.

So, why Burnley?

The process of investing in the club has taken months, but Watt’s ambition to invest in football ignited three years ago. He considered plenty of clubs across the globe, but none felt the perfect fit. “We knew that whenever we did find the right fit we would be going all in,” Watt says.

Deep down, Watt wanted to be involved in English football. After he became aware of a potential investment opportunity in Burnley in January, the following month he and Kealia had a meeting with deal-maker Damien O’Donohoe of IKON Capital at his home during Super Bowl week. O’Donohoe is a friend of chairman Alan Pace and has been advising him and Burnley FC.



It piqued Watt’s interest further and he began to research the club, watching every match since and researching the history through the official website and YouTube videos. Prior to this interview, Watt had been watching a documentary about the 1987 game against Leyton Orient, a significant day in the club’s history as Burnley came perilously close to being relegated from the Football League and financial oblivion.He spent time looking at fan accounts to see the team through their eyes and he spoke to people he knew within the game to gain as much insight as possible.“I started to look at the boxes and every single one was checked. Unbelievable history, great town. I’m from a small town in Wisconsin. It’s all about hard-working people. There is a Premier League pedigree, a manager who has a pedigree of his own and a vision of the future and a style of football that’s beautiful and the ownership is incredible,” says Watt.The ability to be involved and make a difference was key. Watt acknowledges that he was a Chelsea fan — although he insists he is now Burnley through and through — but investing in that type of “$6billion club” would not allow him to make a significant impact.“I can come into a club and a town like Burnley and do that. That was a really big thing for us and I can go on a journey with this club and try to do my little part in elevating us,” he says.ALK Capital have been open to outside investment since they arrived at the club in December 2020. Another former NFL player, Malcolm Jenkins, became a minority investor in 2021 and the hope is the Watt family will not be the last.Questions have been raised surrounding their ownership since they purchased Burnley with the help of a £65million ($81.8m) loan. Following relegation last summer, doomsday predictions were made with a “significant portion” of the debt required to be repaid.



But promotion back to the Premier League and the money that comes with it, alongside Watt’s investment and the club’s latest accounts, point to a healthy future.

Burnley’s title winners (Photo: Gareth Copley/Getty Images)

“I’m well versed on those questions because I had to ask a lot of them myself before putting my money in. I better know what he’s (Pace) thinking about debt-wise before I put a bunch of money into the club,” says Watt, smiling again.

Following initial Zoom conversations with Pace — who was unaware of who Watt was — and after taking a closer look at the finances, Watt had no doubts about coming on board.

Kompany penning a new five-year deal to allay any concerns about his future has only added to the feel-good factor surrounding the club. He and Watt had met in 2017 during Manchester City’s pre-season tour of America. Watt struck up a friendship with Kompany’s former team-mate Sergio Aguero and contacted the striker to learn more about the four-time Premier League winner.

“We all know Vince had multiple opportunities to go to massive clubs. There is a reason he chose to stay and build something special because he believes in what we are doing and that it can be done,” says Watt.


Kompany and Watt have shared ideas and compared experiences of coaches, team-mates and methods from playing sport at an elite level. The Belgian is keen to spend a week with an NFL team, which Watt hopes to facilitate, and Kompany has extended the same invitation to the American.

“I love it when me and Vince just talk ball, those are my favourite conversations. He asks about what our meetings are like, what kind of film study we do, the recovery process. He wants to know everything and that’s what is so great about him, he is always trying to find an edge.”

As an athlete, the training ground is Watt’s favourite place; watching the players, meeting and spending time with staff and observing Kompany go about his work.



“One of the best things we have going here is the camaraderie between the players. They are so tight-knit. I was speaking to a few of the guys on Monday night who carpool, a 50-minute drive every day. That type of bond doesn’t happen in every team. Talking about ball and life, you’re going to work and try harder for your team-mates.”

Watt chatting to Vincent Kompany (Photo: Gareth Copley/Getty Images)

The big question has been what his role will involve and discussions are continuing over specifics. Being a minority owner means he does not have the final say, but Watt is keen to ingrain himself in the club, provide ideas and use his strengths to help influence the direction of the club.

“I’m never going to come into a meeting and say we need to sign this player because Vince knows a hell of a lot more about that than me. Equally, I’m not going to come in and talk to Alan about refinancing debt,” he says.

“What I am going to do is help with marketing, with brand recognition, commercial aspects, the entire American audience, both fans and investors to try to do my part to grow the Burnley brand and bring global eyes to help tell their story because this place is incredible. I’ve only been here twice but the people, the town, the tradition, the history; the world should know about Burnley.”

Watt was part of a meeting last weekend where transfers and summer plans were discussed. Burnley have wasted no time, activating the option-to-buy clause inserted into Jordan Beyer’s loan deal from Borussia Monchengladbach already.

He smiles when The Athletic brings up Nathan Tella, who Watt named as his favourite Burnley player. He is on loan from Southampton and will return to his parent club — although Burnley are keen to sign their top scorer permanently. Will he be making a trip to Southampton before he returns home?

“I might have to go and be an enforcer to help them make some decisions,” Watt says, chuckling. “I love Nathan, it’s his smile, his infectious attitude and he’s a great player. I’m hopeful we can get something done but it’s kind of up in the air at the moment.”



Rebuilt, refreshed and rampant – how Vincent Kompany’s Burnley have stormed to promotion

The last week has been another part of an emotional nine months for Watt and his family, which began when he revealed his heart had gone into atrial fibrillation – an irregular heart rhythm – in September.

He underwent a procedure to have his heart shocked and reset and three days later, he was playing for the Arizona Cardinals.

“It’s been crazy,” Watt says. “It changes the way you look at everything. Looking back it was more routine than I thought but at the time you consider that there is life and death. Once you see your life in such finite terms, you come to grips with your mortality and it changes everything. I do have a much bigger appreciation for every day I have.”

That appreciation only grew a month later with the birth of his son, Koa. The plan had been for him to be part of the trip to Lancashire but the new arrival had other plans.

“We took a five-day vacation to Cabo a month ago and he didn’t handle it well and wasn’t sleeping so he lost his privileges,” Watt laughs. “He will be over here at some point.”

The future Hall of Famer announced the end of his playing career in December 2022, competing in his final game the following month. Retirement, which led to a lot of time spent on the golf course, did not last long. “I need a break,” Watt jokes. “Kealia said: ‘I thought you retired’ because it has been non-stop. Luckily we’ve got a holiday planned at the end of May.

“Retirement means I don’t have to get hit all the time and it has opened new doors and new opportunities. It’s exciting, a new world I’m navigating.”

Watt at the Annexus Pro-Am (Photo: Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

Watt describes two categories of American fans of European football. Those who have been following it for a long time and the larger group whose interest is growing off the back of Wrexham and Ted Lasso.

“That’s the group we are speaking to primarily because there’s a lot of people trying to figure out who to support and why they should. We want to tie a story to our club and help those people understand and care deeply about Burnley,” says Watt.

During his first visit, Watt spent time at Burnley College and Burnley FC in the Community’s food bank as well as the club’s charitable foundation. Watt is experienced in the field, raising millions for Houston following the devastation left by Hurricane Harvey in 2017, which earned him the co-Sports Illustrated Sportsperson of the Year and Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year awards. He also donated $350,000 to the Houston FoodBank during COVID-19 and has his own foundation focused on providing funding for athletic opportunities for middle-school-aged children.

“I’m very impressed with how integrated into the community the club is,” he says. “Working with them to advance that even further is a big aim. There’s no denying it is a poverty-stricken area, so we want to help these people who give so much to the club.”

Watt accepts the growth and interest he has seen is easier to generate initially but will only get harder with time. Winning is his automatic response to how he plans to tackle that, as naturally that makes you more attractive, but he is full of ideas. One example is working out how to get merchandise into the hands of Americans more easily than having to ship it over from the UK.

The excitement of seeing Burnley back in the Premier League is clear and games being shown on NBC and Peacock means Watt will no longer have to struggle to find a stream on his laptop.

Watt and Kealia watch Burnley play Cardiff (Photo: Martin Rickett/PA Images via Getty Images)

“It’s so cool the way NBC does it with Premier League mornings; they have fan zones and fan fests. You see LiverpoolManchester United, Chelsea kits; I want to see more Burnley. It’s not an easy task but neither was getting 100 points in the Championship. We’re all here to do our jobs and that’s mine so bring it on.”

All eyes are on the future, both short and long-term. Asked where Watt hopes Burnley will be in five years, the answer is simple – further along the path of Pace and Kompany’s vision. He believes the club has the potential to achieve “great things” and a good plan is in place. That has already been demonstrated by the foundations built on and off the pitch in this new era.

“We’re also extremely realistic about how difficult it is to win in the Premier League, but we’re not scared by having big goals and ambitions,“ Watt says.

“I love what Vince said after the final game. Nobody believed in us before this year and we’re the best. Nobody believes in us going into the Premier League and all we can do is go at it again. I believe in Alan, I believe in Vincent and I believe in Burnley.”

Vinicius Jr, De Bruyne and the visceral thrill of kicking a football really hard

Vinicius Jr, De Bruyne and the visceral thrill of kicking a football really hard

By Nick Miller May 10, 2023

“Football is so complicated at the highest level.”Pep Guardiola was trying to make a point. It was after Manchester City had just lost to Manchester United in 2018 and had thus blown the chance to secure the Premier League title against their biggest rivals. Fabian Delph launched into his speech about “the basics of football” and was promptly shushed by his manager, who went on to explain that actually it was about more than the basics of football and that football was incredibly un-basic.Guardiola is usually right and has a stuffed trophy cabinet to prove it. But sometimes he’s wrong. Sometimes football is not complicated. It can be incredibly uncomplicated, basic, completely stripped back, but still extremely enjoyable.Take the first leg of the Champions League semi-final on Tuesday, when Guardiola’s side drew 1-1 with Real Madrid. Here we have probably the best team in the world against the most decorated team in the world. Two gleaming football clubs, two astonishing sets of players, two of this generation’s great managers.

Guardiola’s football, as it so often is, was intricate and carefully structured, designed to probe at the weak spots of the opposition and methodically take them apart. And Real’s tactical plan was finely tuned, too, staying deep to prevent Erling Haaland from getting too much space and attacking with pace and purpose when they did get up the field. It was fascinating to watch two completely different approaches to the same game, two schools of tactical thought coming up against each other.And yet, the two goals came from two players just kicking the ball really, really hard.Firstly, Vinicius Junior, collecting the ball in the inside left channel and thinking “fuck it” before launching a tracer bullet that had flown past Ederson before he really had the chance to react. Bang. Have that.Then, in the second half, Kevin De Bruyne receives the ball just to the right of centre.

There are two defenders in his immediate path, but he can see that Thibaut Courtois is maybe positioned a little bit too far to his left and there is a bigger space near the bottom corner than there should be.

He puts his foot through it, Thor’s hammer striking the ball and sending it goalwards. Courtois still hasn’t reacted as the ball goes past those defenders. He knows it’s too late even before he’s been able to move.

He eventually does move because you’ve got to do something, haven’t you? But he never stood a chance, even if his positioning had been better and he had reacted a little quicker. The ferocity of the shot, combined with a hint of swerve from the slight angle of De Bruyne’s strike, meant he would’ve had to brick up the goalmouth to stop it. And even then…

There’s something viscerally thrilling about goals like that, when a player just pulls their foot back and lets one fly. It’s the same animal part of your brain that would enjoy watching a Formula 1 car flying past at 190mph or a cheetah chase down its prey. It’s satisfying to the senses, giving you a physical thrill before your brain has had chance to process it.Maybe it’s because it reduces the game to its most elemental form. We all like to analyse and over-analyse and look at the new tactical innovations and talk about hybrid positions and fluid systems. Then Vinicius Jr and De Bruyne show up with their traction-engine feet and just batter the thing and, for a moment, you realise that’s all that’s important really.But there’s also the tiniest, most remote and most delusional part of your brain that very briefly thinks… I could do that. It’s just kicking the football. Kicking it, like… hard. Surely it wouldn’t be that difficult? I’ve kicked balls hard before. Really hard. I broke a (flimsy, rusting) goalpost that time at five-a-side. Yeah, I could do that.You snap out of it because you’re not an idiot and you realise kicking a ball that hard isn’t just about taking a big run up and swinging your leg, but down to years of practice and hours of physical fine-tuning and mountains upon mountains of natural ability.But it’s sort of relatable. You watch Lionel Messi dribble or De Bruyne hit a 50-yard pass or Cristiano Ronaldo jump 10 feet in the air for a header and you know these are the actions of freaks, untouchable geniuses that exist on a different plane of reality. But when someone just leathers the ball… it’s closer, in its most basic elements, to something you or I might be able to do.This is football at its most primal, animalistic, simple. We can enjoy the complicated, the intricate and the involved, but when football is stripped back to its raw elements, you feel it in your body rather than your mind. Neither is necessarily better than the other, but it’s great to feel them both.Guardiola was right. But maybe so was Delph. The basics of football. Bang. Have that.

Real Madrid 1-1 Manchester City: Vinicius and De Bruyne strike but Haaland was kept quiet

MADRID, SPAIN - MAY 09: Kevin De Bruyne of Manchester City celebrates after scoring the team's first goal during the UEFA Champions League semi-final first leg match between Real Madrid and Manchester City FC at Estadio Santiago Bernabeu on May 09, 2023 in Madrid, Spain. (Photo by Tom Flathers/Manchester City FC via Getty Images)

By Dermot CorriganDan Sheldon and more May 9, 2023

A stunning strike from Kevin De Bruyne earned Manchester City a 1-1 draw against Real Madrid in the Champions League semi-final first leg, after Vinicius Junior had scored from nearly the exact same spot on the Bernabeu pitch before the break.City dominated possession in the first half but it was Real who went in ahead after Vinicius linked well with Eduardo Camavinga and Luka Modric.Pep Guardiola’s side stayed patient though, and got their reward when De Bruyne struck a rasping shot past Thibaut Courtois to make it 1-1 in the 67th minute.Dermot Corrigan, Dan Sheldon and Thom Harris analyse the key talking points at the Bernabeu, ahead of the second leg at the Etihad next week…

De Bruyne strikes in the Champions League — again

Four minutes before De Bruyne’s brilliant equaliser against Real Madrid, the Belgium international crossed the ball towards Bernardo Silva and it went straight out of play.Instead of throwing his arms away in anger or looking frustrated, Guardiola enthusiastically applauded his talismanic midfielder for attempting to make something happen.And moments later, the encouragement paid off as De Bruyne struck his 10th goal of the season. Ilkay Gundogan rolled the ball towards him on the edge of the box, in an almost identical spot to where Vinicius Jr scored from in the first half.

While the Brazilian opted to strike his effort into the top right-hand corner, De Bruyne directed his shot towards the bottom right-hand corner instead.All the talk ahead of the semi-final centred on Erling Haaland and Karim Benzema, but City were again bailed out by De Bruyne’s brilliance.In the Champions League alone, De Bruyne’s last nine goals have come in the knockout stages and his finish against Real Madrid was the third-straight year he has scored in the first leg of a European semi-final.

Dan Sheldon and Thom Harris

But did the ball go out in the build-up to De Bruyne goal?

The Real Madrid manager Carlo Ancelotti was furious with the fourth official after De Bruyne made it 1-1 at the Bernabeu, gesturing that the ball had gone out of play before Bernardo Silva hooked it back into a central area in the build-up to the goal.

Not long after that intervention City were level — and Ancelotti was shown a yellow card for his complaints.



Speaking on beIN Sports, the former Arsenal manager and now FIFA’s chief of global football development Arsene Wenger suggested that, if it were possible, UEFA should have checked if the ball crossed the line.

“The VAR should normally check if a goal is regular or not. In a situation like that they have to intervene. They did not go far enough back to check if the ball was out or not, or they had not the potential to check if the ball was out or not. I think I would go for the second because normally the VAR cannot check on the sideline, only on the baseline, the goal-line.”

The Athletic has contacted UEFA for comment.

City had a plan for Vinicius, but big-game players find a way

For Guardiola, keeping Kyle Walker close to an explosive opposition winger usually does the trick.

For 36 minutes at the Santiago Bernabeu, it largely worked.

Dropping into a 4-4-2 when Real looked to build up, City made sure to block the diagonal switch – a ball that consistently isolated Vinicius against Osasuna in the Spanish Cup final at the weekend.

Shifting over quickly as a team, with Walker and Bernardo Silva both keeping watch, the crossfield ball was rarely on. Receiving just 11 passes and taking seven touches in the opposition half, Vinicius hadn’t been so quiet in an opening half all season.

Ultimately, that didn’t matter.

As Real gained momentum in the second half, more sustained possession allowed the Brazilian to face up to his full-back more often, but there was still considerable rotation with both Karim Benzema and Rodrygo as the half went on.

Twenty of his 34 carries were in the second half, twisting and turning inside challenges, and even drawing a yellow card from Silva, left snapping at his heels.

City had a plan for Vinicius, but big-game players find a way.

Thom Harris

Real did a good job of keeping Haaland quiet

Madrid were without their top centre-back Eder Militao through suspension, so the pairing of Rudiger and Alaba were given the task of dealing with Haaland. Rudiger showed he was up for a battle in the opening minutes, snapping intensely at Haaland’s heels the first time the ball was played up to the Norway striker’s feet.



Ancelotti had said pre-game that dealing with Haaland was about the whole team defending compactly, and Madrid did drop deeper than they usually do, not giving any room to run in behind them. He still had plenty of early touches around the Madrid box though as City dominated possession, but two early half-chances were hit straight at Courtois.

As the game wore on, Haaland became more and more a spectator at the stadium where many believe he will one day play. Near the hour-mark, when did get the ball into his stride where he loves it most in the penalty area, David Alaba was across to block. Madrid reached 400 minutes without conceding in the competition before De Bruyne slammed in the equaliser on the night.

Dermot Corrigan

How Camavinga, Modric and Vinicius combined to break the deadlock

Ancelotti’s side saw far less of the ball than City in the first half but made the possession they did have count with a blistering goal from Vinicius — his seventh in Champions League knockout games against English sides.

Real’s impressive makeshift left-back Eduardo Camavinga started the move with a pass into Luka Modric, who was under pressure from Rodri

The Croatian produced a perfect flick round the corner that span the ball into the path of Camavinga, who had continued his run and got the wrong side of Bernardo Silva…

And the Frenchman drove into the City half, with support from Vinicius and Benzema inside him…

Camavinga slid the ball to his right to Vinicius, who allowed the ball to run across him, into a central area…

And just when Ruben Dias was blocking his goalkeeper’s sight, Vinicius curled a fine finish past a flat-footed Ederson to make it advantage Real…

Carvajal stepping out of the shadow of Ramos and Casemiro

Dani Carvajal’s first half included an early subtle nudge to make sure Erling Haaland did not meet Bernardo Silva’s cross in the Madrid box, then a trip near halfway to stop Jack Grealish countering dangerously.



At 1-0 up, there was a more obvious shove on Grealish into the hoardings, then an overreaction to the Englishman’s angry response. He even got away with another tap on Grealish’s ankles, somehow reaching half-time without a yellow card.

It was a virtuoso performance of the defensive dark arts from Carvajal, stepping up now that former team-mates Sergio Ramos and Casemiro are no longer around. The homegrown defender is often seen by some as a weak link in the Madrid squad, and has had some very ropey performances in other games over the last few years.

But the Madrid hierarchy like having him around, as someone who brings the competitive edge that all champion teams need. City and Grealish did not enjoy his performance, but nobody at the Bernabeu cared.

Dermot Corrigan

Guardiola goes for tried and tested with oldest XI since 2019

We are used to Guardiola tinkering in the Champions League and devising a game plan that often works to the detriment of his team.

Against Real Madrid, however, he did the opposite.

According to Opta, Guardiola named the club’s oldest starting XI in a Champions League tie since their 1-0 defeat to Tottenham in April 2019 (28 years and 360 days).

The average age of City’s starting team at the Bernabeu was 28 years and 262 days, with only Haaland (22) and Dias (25) aged 25 or under.

Guardiola’s decision to go with an experienced team paid off as they remained composed after falling behind in the game and worked their way back into the tie.

Despite the inevitability that embodies Real Madrid in the Champions League, the draw should leave City in the driving seat ahead of next week’s second leg at the Etihad Stadium.

Dan Sheldon

Who will be happier: Pep or Carlo?

Harris: City saw the threat of Vinicius, but taking a 1-1 draw back to the Etihad, where they are unbeaten in 25 Champions League games – scoring 79 along the way – means that Guardiola will surely fancy his chances. 

Sheldon: Guardiola should be happier because his side were able to leave the Bernabeu with the game finely poised. And if you would back a team to win at home, it would be Manchester City.

Corrigan: Pep will be happier having come back from behind, but he’ll be wrong as Madrid have City right where they want them.

Sam Lee: Guardiola will be the happier with that because City have survived the Bernabeu experience and can be buoyed by their own raucous fans at the Etihad next week.

Ed Mackey: The answer should be Guardiola but Ancelotti seems to do his best work in Europe when the odds are stacked against him. Real Madrid will go into the second legs as underdogs, and that will suit them perfectly.

Sam Allardyce: Leeds have to get something against Newcastle, we can’t lose

By Phil Hay May 11, 2023

Sam Allardyce has told his Leeds United players they cannot afford to lose against Newcastle United on Saturday.

Leeds are 19th in the Premier League on 30 points, two points from safety with three matches left to play and Allardyce, who lost his first match as head coach against Manchester City last weekend, sees the game against Newcastle as crucial to their survival chances.



“I have said to the players and I’ll say it now, when we come off the field on Saturday, we can’t afford to lose. We must get something,” the 68-year-old said in his pre-match press conference on Friday.“We won’t stay up with 30 points. Nobody’s ever going to do that. We’ve got nine points to go for, we know if we get nine points, which is a massive ask, we’ll stay up. If we get six we might do. I have to say this at this moment in time – I want to be still in it when we play Tottenham (on the last day of the season). That’s what I want. I’ll be very satisfied if when we play Tottenham we’re still in it.”

Allardyce has also made clear the importance of taking the lead against Newcastle and to avoid defensive collapses — Leeds conceded 23 goals during the month of April before Javi Gracia was dismissed.“I’d like to score the first goal if possible. That’s very important for us on Saturday. Getting the first goal would be a big lift.“It would help us win the game, I’m not saying we would win the game, but going a goal down would be a very difficult job I think mentally for the players to come back from. If that’s the case, they’ll have to try and do it — but not go daft like they have done before, leave the back door open and concede two, three or four again.”Allardyce also said gave an injury update on midfielder Tyler Adams. When asked his the USMNT midfielder would play again this season, Allardyce said: “Not that I believe, sadly.”Adams was forced to undergo surgery on a hamstring injury in March. The 24-year-old damaged a muscle during a training session ahead of Leeds’ 4-2 win over Wolverhampton Wanderers on March 18 and was forced to pull out of international duty with the USMNT, remaining in England where he went under the knife.Leeds face Newcastle on Saturday before their final two games of the season against West Ham United (away) on May 21 and at home to Tottenham on May 28.

Premier League permutations: Title, Champions League, Europe and relegation battles for the run-in

Ed Mackey May 9, 2023 137

The 2022-23 Premier League season is into its business end.During this week’s round of fixtures, there were changes in the battle for Europe and the fight for survival, while Manchester City and Arsenal kept pace with one another at the Premier League summit.The Athletic breaks down all three of those, exploring what each side needs in the final weeks of the campaign.This article will be updated after each round of matches.

The title race

It’s as it was at the Premier League summit after the latest round of fixtures. Leaders Manchester City made it 10 league wins in succession against Leeds United before Arsenal ensured the gap at the top remained one point with a 2-0 victory over Newcastle United.City still have have a game in hand to install a more significant buffer.City’s dominant victory at the Etihad Stadium against Arsenal in April helped put them in such a strong position and they are now overwhelming favourites to retain their crown for the third consecutive season.

Backing that up with less glamorous, but equally effective, wins against FulhamWest Ham and Leeds has only helped their pursuit of a treble.Regardless of Arsenal’s success in what remains of the season, City need three wins from their remaining four games to confirm a fifth title in six years.Although, title races are seldom as straightforward as they seem and, as long as Arsenal are within touching distance, they will be a key player.

Martin Odegaard’s brace led Arsenal past Chelsea (Photo: Alex Pantling/Getty Images)

For them, the possibility of ending a 19-year title drought relies on them capitalising on any slip ups which, despite the relentless schedule, look increasingly unlikely every week.

That said, City’s hopes of becoming the first English team since 1999 to complete the treble could benefit Arsenal. Guardiola’s calendar has four more games on it than Arteta’s between now and the end of the season — that will become five more games if City make it past Real Madrid in the Champions League semi-final.

Remaining fixtures

PL: Brighton (H) – May 14
PL: Nottingham Forest (A) – May 20
PL: Wolves (H) – May 28

Manchester City
UCL SF: Real Madrid (A) – May 9
PL: Everton (A) – May 14
UCL SF: Real Madrid (H) – May 17
PL: Chelsea (H) – May 21
PL: Brighton (A) – May 24
PL: Brentford (A) – May 28
FA Cup Final: Manchester United (N) – June 3

The title race

1Manchester City348258

The Champions League & Europa League battle

Champions League hopefuls Newcastle and Manchester United both slipped up over the weekend, with Eddie Howe’s side beaten by Arsenal and Erik ten Hag’s side losing to West Ham United. The pair remain in pole position to finish in the top four but have in-form Liverpool hot on their heels.


From their four remaining games, Newcastle need seven points to guarantee a place at European football’s top table.

Despite Manchester United’s back-to-back defeats to Brighton and West Ham, they are favourites to join Eddie Howe’s side in the Champions League next season. They need nine points from their last four games to make absolute sure of a top-four place.

Liverpool sit just a point behind fourth-place Manchester United after recording their sixth successive win with a 1-0 victory over Brentford. Jurgen Klopp’s side have played a game more than Manchester United and Newcastle but have put themselves into a position to take advantage of any further slip ups.

Then comes the intriguing battle for the Europa League places — likely to be fifth and sixth — where Liverpool, Brighton, Tottenham Hotspur and Aston Villa are scrapping it out.

Liverpool celebrate

Liverpool have pulled away from the chasing pack after their recent run of good form and now have a five-point buffer between themselves and Tottenham. Spurs secured their first victory since the re-appointment of interim manager Ryan Mason with a 1-0 win over Crystal Palace to leave them ahead of Brighton and Aston Villa, who both lost.

Aston Villa’s defeat to Wolverhampton Wanderers — their second defeat in a row — leaves them perhaps hoping for a place in the Europa Conference League, although Unai Emery and his players will still harbour ambitions of a place in the Spaniard’s favourite competition.

That largely relies on the performances of Brighton, who suffered a 5-1 loss to relegation-threatened Everton in their last outing. Brighton sit seventh but have more games left than any other Premier League side. Roberto De Zerbi’s side have played two fewer games than those around them but still have to play Arsenal, Manchester City and Newcastle before the season is out.

Four wins from their five remaining games would guarantee Brighton a sixth-placed finish and Europa League football.


Liverpool, meanwhile, need five points from their last three games to secure Europa League football for next season.

Tottenham sit two points ahead of Brighton and are in prime position to capitalise if De Zerbi’s side do not win their games in hand.

For Tottenham and Aston Villa, it is now all about maximising their own points return while hoping Brighton slip up.

Battle for Europe

4Manchester United34638
8Aston Villa35543

How does European qualification work in the Premier League?

Champions League

The top four teams in the Premier League qualify for the group stage of the Champions League. The top four currently includes Arsenal, Manchester City, Newcastle United and Manchester United.

Europa League

The team that finishes fifth in the Premier League — Liverpool currently occupy that spot — will earn one of the two Europa League places, with the other given to the FA Cup winners.

Because Manchester City and Manchester United are contesting the FA Cup final and are both expected to finish inside the top five, then the team that finishes in sixth will likely get the second Europa League place — that is Tottenham at present.

The winners of the Europa Conference League earn a place in the Europa League. West Ham are the only English team left in this season’s competition, with David Moyes’ side through to a semi-final against AZ Alkmaar following their 5-2 aggregate win over Gent.

Europa Conference League

The only Europa Conference League place is given to the winners of the Carabao Cup. If the Carabao Cup winners finish inside either the Premier League’s Champions League or Europa League places, the place is deferred to the next highest-finishing team.

As Manchester United won this season’s Carabao Cup and look set to finish in the top five, the next-highest team in the Premier League that has not qualified for Europe will play in the Europa Conference League play-offs.


The Europa League place for the FA Cup winners looks set to be deferred to the league table, which would mean the seventh-place team will qualify for the Europa Conference League.

Currently, that is Brighton.

The battle for survival

Arguably the most intriguing of all the Premier League battles is the one to avoid relegation.

The teams in the drop zone rotated again on Monday following a trio of high-scoring fixtures.

For a long time, Southampton have been widely considered as too far back to survive. A 4-3 loss to relegation rivals Nottingham Forest left them eight points from safety with three games remaining and needing a minor miracle to survive. If Southampton fail to beat Fulham on Saturday, their relegation to the Championship will be confirmed.

Southampton’s survival hopes hang by a thread (Photo: Matt McNulty/Getty Images)

The win lifted Nottingham Forest out of the drop zone and into 16th, with Steve Cooper’s side in a relegation mini-league alongside Leicester City, Leeds United and Everton. The teams from 16th to 19th are separated by three points.

Seven points from Forest’s final three games will guarantee their top flight status for next season — the likelihood is fewer points will be required.

Everton were also big winners on Monday as they recorded an emphatic 5-1 victory over Brighton to move two points clear of the relegation places.

Leicester and Leeds occupy the final two relegation spots and both sit on 30 points. Leeds’ fixtures are the toughest of all the relegation-threatened sides — newly-appointed Sam Allardyce will have to do a stellar job to keep their heads above water.

The relegation run in

Brentford (A)Chelsea (A)Manchester City (H)Liverpool (H)Newcastle (H)Fulham (H)
Leeds (H)Arsenal (H)Wolves (A)Newcastle (A)West Ham (A)Brighton (A)
Leicester (A)Crystal Palace (A)Bournemouth (H)West Ham (H)Tottenham (H)Liverpool (H)

To stay in the Premier League, in their final three games Leeds and Leicester must better the returns of Everton by at least two points or the returns of Forest by at least three points. Leicester have a superior goal difference than those around them, while Leeds’ is better than Forest’s and marginally worse than Everton’s.


West Ham, meanwhile, are all but mathematically safe after their victory over Manchester United. David Moyes’ side sit seven points clear of the drop zone and have a superior goal difference. Three points from their remaining three games will mathematically guarantee survival, but the likelihood is fewer points, if any, will be required. Equal the results of Leeds and Leicester during the next round of fixtures and West Ham are mathematically safe.

The survival battle

15West Ham3537-12
16Nottingham Forest3533-31
18Leicester City3530-15
19Leeds United3530-25

Forty points is often touted as the target for managers in charge of sides fighting towards the bottom but, based on the points-per-game so far, 34 points looks like the all-important target.

What do the stats predict?

Between now and the end of the season, there will be plenty of changes to the Premier League table, especially at the bottom where every point matters.

FiveThirtyEight has crunched the numbers: here is its prediction for how the table will look once the final ball of the season has been kicked.

1Manchester City291
4Manchester United471
8Aston Villa858
12Crystal Palace1245
15West Ham1541
17Nottingham Forest1635

(Top photo: Craig Mercer/MB Media/Getty Images)

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Jesse Marsch declines comment on open USMNT coaching position, next job is about ‘best fit possible’

ACCRINGTON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 28: Jesse Marsch, manager of Leeds United, during the Emirates FA Cup Fourth Round match between Accrington Stanley and Leeds United at Wham Stadium on January 28, 2023 in Accrington, England. (Photo by James Gill - Danehouse/Getty Images)

By Paul Tenorio May 10, 2023

Former Leeds manager Jesse Marsch declined to comment on the open U.S. men’s national team job this week and said his next job, “will be all about finding the best fit possible.”Marsch was in Chicago on Tuesday to be honored on the 20th anniversary of the Chicago Fire’s 2003 U.S. Open Cup team on which he played. The 49-year-old declined to comment on his exit at Leeds or the team’s current situation. He also declined to comment on the USMT job and said his visit to Chicago was strictly for the Fire’s ceremony.



Marsch, who was fired by Leeds in February, is a top candidate to take over as USMNT coach ahead of the 2026 World Cup, which will be co-hosted by the U.S., Mexico and Canada. The job has been vacant since Gregg Berhalter’s contract expired at the end of 2022.

Marsch was non-committal when asked about what his next job could be and whether there are other opportunities in Europe.

“There have been a lot of little discussions about potential opportunities, which I always love those discussions because it’s important to get to the bottom of understanding what the vision is, from my perspective and from different clubs’ perspective,” Marsch said. “I’m fortunate that there’s still people that are interested in what I do. I still love coaching and my next job will be all about finding the best fit possible.”

Marsch was fired in February after nearly a year in charge at Leeds. The team was in 17th place in the Premier League table at the time, but had failed to win in seven consecutive league games despite advancing in the FA Cup. Leeds sits in 19th place in the Premier League table with three games remaining. The club parted ways with director of football Victor Orta on May 2 and hired Sam Allardyce as manager last week in an attempt to avoid relegation.

Marsch said he looked at his time in the Premier League as a valuable lesson in managing pressures that are “different than anywhere else” and that he was “proud” of the way the staff worked during his time there.“Learning different languages, learning different cultures, learning different styles of football has been really valuable in terms of my education and development and in terms of the coach that I want to be,” Marsch said. “What you realize is that the attention from every perspective, the magnifying glass on what happens in the Premier League is different than anywhere else. And how to manage that internally often will dictate your ability to create success.ADVERTISEMENThttps://6f6769af05dbed466742fb629dfc2fa5.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-40/html/container.html

“So, I think at our best moments, we did a really good job of that and we had internally a really good feeling of what we were trying to achieve and togetherness and belief at Leeds United, and that part I miss, And I was really proud of the way that we all worked together.”Marsch had discussions to take over as coach with two teams in the Premier League, Southampton and Leicester, after being fired at Leeds, but ultimately did not land with either team.

“I would say that both clubs were amazing and the people were fantastic, but the timing wasn’t right,” Marsch said.

U.S. Soccer recently hired Southampton director of football operations Matt Crocker as its sporting director. The connection between Southampton wooing Marsch and Crocker’s hire has many drawing a line to Marsch as the next U.S. men’s manager.

Marsch was an assistant on Bob Bradley’s USMNT staff at the World Cup in 2010 and has familiarity with several USMNT players, including Tyler Adams, Weston McKennie and Brenden Aaronson, all of whom he coached at Leeds and elsewhere.

U.S. Soccer leaders have said they hope to have a coach in place by the end of the summer.

Afternoon kickaround: Onyewu takes big U.S. Soccer role, Open Cup talk, betting scandal its MLS

ASN’s Brian Sciaretta offers up thoughts on Oguchi Onyewu’s new job within U.S. Soccer, the Open Cup, the big Brazil betting scandal hits MLS, and more



WEDNESDAY BROUGHT a lot of news into the American soccer world. Separately, we covered the release of the U.S. U-20 World Cup roster, but there is a lot of other news to break down and offer up some thoughts.Some of it was big, some of it was ugly, but let’s start with U.S. Soccer.



Former U.S. national team defender Oguchi Onyewu was hired to be the Vice President of Sporting for U.S. Soccer. It’s a newly created position that does not replace the USMNT GM position that is vacant and most recently held by Brian McBride, but it does have some overlap.For example, Onyewu will have a prominent role in managing relationships with clubs/leagues in both the USA & across the world.He will also assist new Sporting Director Matt Crocker in the hiring of the next U.S. national team coach. According to the press release, Onyewu will play a big part of that hire.

“With a wealth of international experience and a deep understanding of U.S. Soccer, Onyewu will be an instrumental part of the hiring process.”Finally, Onyewu will have responsibilities in the funding of youth and extended national teams.“Onyewu will also work closely with U.S. Soccer’s Development Department to help drive increased funding for Youth and Extended National Teams. A 501(c)(3) nonprofit, U.S. Soccer receives no federal government funding to manage its National Teams programs, support hundreds of thousands of coaches and referees, and impact millions of players.”While U.S. Soccer made it clear that this does not replace the GM position and whether that position will continue to exist is still being reviewed.In his introductory interviews, Crocker did not come across as a revolutionary. The two previous Sporting Directors – Jurgen Klinsmann and Earnie Stewart – both came in to the job looking to make a lot of changes. Crocker seemed to express satisfaction with the status quo and was looking to build off that as opposed to knock down and rebuild from scratch.But Crocker also came across that he saw the value in American talent and the federation’s recent direction. But he is not American and perhaps the next USMNT coach won’t be either. But having a popular former U.S. national team player who has been gaining front office experience is a way to keep an American presence on the program in an important role. The image of a new sporting director coming into a foreign federation and making foreign hires could be a tough sell to those inside the program, outside the program, and to many fans. If the program continues to have success in the coming cycle, Onyewu would then have a very strong resume to be the next Sporting Director. He was reportedly in contention this time but U.S. Soccer instead went with Crocker. If Crocker returns to England after his contract runs out and the federation is in a good spot, Onyewu would be a very strong candidate.


The 2023 U.S. Open Cup concluded its Round of 32 on Wednesday night.MLS teams have had a very good tournament against lower-level opponents. Fans of “cupsets” have not been as thrilled with this year’s edition, so far, as MLS teams have a 22-3 record against teams from other domestic leagues.The only teams that remain from outside MLS are the Pittsburgh Riverhounds, who defeated the New England Revolution on Tuesday night, and the Birmingham Legion who posted a 3-0 win over fellow USL Championship team Memphis 905 on Wednesday night. The remaining 14 teams come from MLS.The highlight on Wedesday was the Columbus Crew convincing 5-1 road win over Loudoun United behind a goal and two assists from American forward Christian Ramirez.U.S. national team forward Brandon Vazquez scored the only goal for Cincinnati’s 1-0 over NYCFC. He is looking more and more dangerous as we enter the summer months.As for the upcoming Round of 16, we get El Traffico which is always exciting. The Pittsburgh Riverhounds host Columbus while Biringham Legion host Charlotte in what is probably the most likely matchup for a USL team to make the quarterfinal.

ROUND OF 16: MAY 23-24
  • Austin FC vs. Chicago Fire FC
  • Birmingham Legion FC vs. Charlotte FC
  • Colorado Rapids vs. Real Salt Lake
  • Inter Miami CF vs. Nashville SC
  • Houston Dynamo FC vs. Minnesota United FC
  • Los Angeles FC vs. LA Galaxy
  • New York Red Bulls vs. FC Cincinnati
  • Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC vs. Columbus Crew SC


The big story on Wednesday was a how the investigation of an unlawful betting scandal that originated in Brazil has spread to MLS.Brazil’s publication O Globo said one of the culprits was Colorado’s Max Alves who was signed by the Rapids as part of an U-22 initiative. The investigation is largely based in Brazil and Alaves is currently the only player outside of Brazil who is implicated. But Globo also indicated that Alaves referred former Houston Dynamo player Zeca to those who controlled the ring.

Alaves was shown to have been rewarded for picking up a yellow card minutes after being subbed into Colorado’s game against September 17, 2022.  Alaves has been removed by Colorado for all activities pending the investigation by the league.
It’s impossible to offer up any thoughts until the investigation is complete. But the league is taking immediate action and if it is shown that they acted swiftly and never tried to cover anything up, they should be fine. Hopefully, for all parties, it was limited strictly to Alaves and no other results or moments were compromised.

U-20 World Cup: Gaga Slonina, Cade Cowell highlight U.S. roster; Paxten Aaronson not released

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - JANUARY 25: Veljko Simic #10 of Serbia scores a goal against Gaga Slonina #24 of the United States during the second half in the International Friendly match at BMO Stadium on January 25, 2023 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

By Tom Bogert May 10, 2023

Gaga Slonina, Cade Cowell and Kevin Paredes highlight the U.S. roster for this month’s U-20 World Cup, kicking off on May 20 in Argentina. Here’s what you need to know:

  • The roster, released Wednesday by U.S. Soccer, includes 11 players from the U-20 CONCACAF Championship-winning squad.
  • Paxten Aaronson, who won the Golden Boot and Golden Ball at the U-20 CONCACAF Championships, and Ricardo Pepi are among age-eligible players not on the roster.
  • The U.S. faces Ecuador (May 20), Fiji (May 23) and Slovakia (May 26) in Group B play.

U.S. U-20 World Cup roster

GK: Alexander Borto (Fulham/ENG), Antonio Carrera (FC Dallas), Gaga Slonina (Chelsea)


DEF: Justin Che (Hoffenheim/GER), Brandan Craig (Philadelphia Union), Mauricio Cuevas (LA Galaxy), Marcus Ferkranus (LA Galaxy), Jonathan Gómez (Real Sociedad/ESP), Caleb Wiley (Atlanta United), Joshua Wynder (Louisville City)

MID: Daniel Edelman (New York Red Bulls), Diego Luna (Real Salt Lake), Jack McGlynn (Philadelphia Union), Rokas Pukštas (Hajduk Split/CRO), Niko Tsakiris (San Jose Earthquakes), Obed Vargas (Seattle Sounders), Owen Wolff (Austin FC)

FWD: Cade Cowell (San Jose Earthquakes), Kevin Paredes (Wolfsburg/GER), Quinn Sullivan (Philadelphia Union), Darren Yapi (Colorado Rapids)

The Athletic’s instant analysis:

Key players selected

Gaga Slonina: Perhaps the best-known player in the squad, Slonina will be the No. 1 goalkeeper. He made a huge winter transfer from the Chicago Fire to Chelsea for an up-front fee of $10 million with another $5 million in add-ons, potentially making him one of the most expensive teenage goalkeepers of all time.

Slonina, turning 19 next week, chose to represent the United States over Poland. He has already made his senior USMNT debut.

Kevin Paredes: Wolfsburg winger Paredes is among the most high-profile players in the group and was on the most recent U-20 roster in March. It was up in the air whether or not he would be released for the tournament. Paredes, 19, has made 20 Bundesliga appearances this season, 19 of which from the bench. He joined Wolfsburg from D.C. United for a $7 million fee in 2022.

Cade Cowell: Cowell, though suspended for the first group stage game for his role in a dustup at the U-20 CONCACAF Championships, will be relied upon in attack. The dynamic winger was released by the San Jose Earthquakes despite having started all 11 of their MLS matches so far. He already has made 92 MLS appearances (44 starts) in his teenage years.



Caleb Wiley: Atlanta United rising star Wiley broke into the club’s starting XI, but the club released him for the tournament even though he started 10 of its 11 games thus far. Wiley has played both left wing and left back for Atlanta but is expected to be at left back for this group, which is his long-term position. European clubs have already contacted Atlanta about him, and he’ll likely be among the next big-money transfers to come from MLS.

Who wasn’t released?

The United States will have to make do without Aaronson, as Eintracht Frankfurt declined to release the young attacker.

Aaronson led the group to a title at the U-20 CONCACAF Championships, winning the Golden Boot with seven goals as well as the Golden Ball, an award given to the tournament’s best player. The 19-year-old has already made his senior national team debut.

Aaronson transferred to Eintracht Frankfurt from the Philadelphia Union this winter, and the idea was he would be released for the World Cup. Well, those plans changed as he integrated into the first team quicker than expected — he appeared off the bench in each of the club’s last four matches — while Frankfurt made an unexpected run to the German Cup final.

Center back Jalen Neal wasn’t released by the L.A. Galaxy. Neal, 19, has become an integral starter for the struggling Galaxy, who are dealing with a couple of injuries to fellow center backs Séga Coulibaly and Chris Mavinga, further complicating a potential release for Neal.

Forward Ricardo Pepi isn’t on the squad, though his possible inclusion seemed more hopeful than anything. He is excelling on loan at Groningen from FC Augsburg and is a crucial cog in their fight against relegation, which would have ruled him out of contention for the U-20 World Cup. The Dutch club has now been mathematically relegated, which offered slight hope that Pepi may have been released. Alas, he was not.



The Chicago Fire had previously announced goalkeeper Chris Brady and midfielder Brian Gutiérrez wouldn’t be released due to their roles in the first team.

Hajduk Split had announced midfielder Rokas Pukštas wasn’t going to be released, but he was named to the squad.

U.S.’s outlook, history at the U-20 World Cup

The United States was placed in pot one for the group stage draw and headline group B, followed by Ecuador, Fiji and Slovakia. They kick off the group stage on May 20, and the tournament ends with the final (and third-place match) on June 11.

They earned their pot one status thanks in part to winning the U-20 CONCACAF Championship as well as results in previous U-20 World Cups.

The United States has consistently qualified for this tournament — failing to qualify for just one of the last 13 editions — and has started to have consistent results as well, for better and worse, being eliminated in the quarterfinal in each of the last three tournaments. Their best-ever finish was in the 1989 tournament, finishing fourth.

The most recent tournament was in 2019 after the planned 2021 edition was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The United States got out of the group stage with two wins (over Nigeria and Qatar after losing to Ukraine) then upset high-powered France in the round of 16. The Americans were eliminated by Ecuador in the quarterfinals, with numerous players graduating from that group to lead Ecuador to qualify for the senior World Cup last winter.

What they’re saying

“We’re really excited for this group to compete against the world’s best in Argentina,” coach Mikey Varas said in a news release. “To represent your country at a World Cup is a tremendous honor. We embrace the responsibility that comes with this opportunity.”

-and-white answer,” Vanney said, “but there’s a gray answer in there somewhere that makes sense for everybody.”

Analysis: Varas names U-20 World Cup roster, taking risks with eyes towards knockouts

U.S. U-20 head coach Mikey Varas announced his World Cup roster and, in addition to the troubles of securing releases for top players, the big story is that he is taking a risk for the group stages that he hopes will payoff in the knockouts. ASN’s Brian Sciaretta breaks it down.



UNITED STATES U-20 head coach Mikey Varas unveiled his roster for the 2023 U-20 World Cup. This will be the first World Cup tournament for the U-20 team under Varas and putting together the team was difficult given that most clubs are still in season and player releases are non-mandatory.

In the end, Varas struggled for player releases, but he still got most of what he wanted. The biggest absence was Paxten Aaronson who was the Golden Boot winner last year at the CONCACAF Championships. Then Aaronson’s top backup in Brian Gutierrez was also not released by Chicago and the team’s top central defender all cycle, Jalen Neal, was also not released by the Galaxy.

The U.S. team was drawn into Group B and will begin play on Saturday, May 20 against Ecuador. Then the team will play Fiji on May 23, and finally will conclude group play against Slovakia on Friday, May 26. All games will be at 2pm EST.

Here is the roster along with some thoughts.



GOALKEEPERS (3): 21-Alexander Borto (Fulham/ENG; South Plainfield, N.J.; 2/0), 12-Antonio Carrera (FC Dallas; Frisco, Texas; 4/0), 1-Gaga Slonina (Chelsea/ENG; Addison, Ill.; 5/0)

DEFENDERS (7): 17-Justin Che (Hoffenheim/GER; Dallas, Texas; 6/0), 5-Brandan Craig (Philadelphia Union; Philadelphia, Pa.; 10/1), 2-Mauricio Cuevas (LA Galaxy; Los Angeles, Calif.; 13/1), 14-Marcus Ferkranus (LA Galaxy; Santa Clarita, Calif.; 11/0), 13-Jonathan Gomez (Real Sociedad/ESP; Keller, Texas; 6/0), 3-Caleb Wiley (Atlanta United FC; Atlanta, Ga.; 5/0), 4-Joshua Wynder (Louisville City FC; Louisville, Ky.; 2/0)

MIDFIELDERS (7): 6-Daniel Edelman (New York Red Bulls; Warren, N.J.; 10/0), 10-Diego Luna (Real Salt Lake; Sunnyvale, Calif.; 16/4), 8-Jack McGlynn (Philadelphia Union; Middle Village, N.Y.; 16/2), 20-Rokas Pukstas (Hajduk Split/CRO; Stillwater, Okla.; 12/1), 15-Niko Tsakiris (San Jose Earthquakes; Saratoga, Calif.; 5/3), 18-Obed Vargas (Seattle Sounders FC; Anchorage, Alaska; 4/0), 16-Owen Wolff (Austin FC; Austin, Texas; 3/1)

FORWARDS (4): 9-Cade Cowell (San Jose Earthquakes; Ceres, Calif.; 7/2), 11-Kevin Paredes (Wolfsburg/GER; South Riding, Va.; 6/2), 7-Quinn Sullivan (Philadelphia Union; Philadelphia, Pa.; 15/7), 19-Darren Yapi (Colorado Rapids; Denver, Colo.; 3/0)



The big takeaway from this roster announcement is that Mikey Varas is taking calculated gamble with the roster. His initial requests for players to be released the entire tournament saw a lot of denials. In fact, Hajduk Split even went so far as to announce on their official twitter feed that they denied the release of Rokas Pukstas on May 4. Pukstas has become a regular starter for Hajduk Split and that club as the Croatian Cup final on May 24.


Then the Chicago Fire announced that Brian Gutierrez was not released. There were also reports about Noel Buck being denied. On top of that, it was always dicey that star winger Kevin Paredes would be released as he had been a regular with Wolfsburg this season as an offensive substitute. Then there was the Paxten Aaronson news on Tuesday that he was not being released.

As opposed to simply taking the next best player available, Varas decided to take some risks and keep spots on the roster open for the group stages and allow some players just to join for the knockouts. There are only so many spots a manager can afford to keep open for a group stage, but Varas has opted to hold open spots for Paredes and Pukstas.  

Combined with the fact that the team was already shorthanded in the opening game against Ecuador before the late arrivals given Cade Cowell’s suspension (due to the postgame brawl with Costa Rica last year in qualifying) and that Niko Tsakiris has been injured since February and hasn’t played a game since then, this is a gamble.

Against Ecuador in the opening game, the U.S. team will have just 15 field players – including the only recently recovered Tsakiris.

What Varas wants is the best possible team he could get for the knockouts. He could have just taken the best available team right now, but he decided to go for it. Iinstead, he is opting to go shorthanded in the group stage to have the best team possible in the knockouts.

Of course, he must get to the knockouts to get these players and going shorthanded in the group stage puts the team at a disadvantage. But with four of the six third place teams advancing and the U.S. team drawing a minnow in Fiji into its group, it doesn’t seem like a reckless gamble. Three points with a decent goal differential could potentially be enough to advance. If the U.S. pounds Fiji and takes close losses to Ecuador and Slovakia, there is a good chance it goes through.

It’s a gamble early with the hopes that the team will get a big boost in the knockouts.



The key to the U.S. team advancing is likely on the defensive side. Team captain and defensive midfielder Daniel Edelman is very important to the team’s success. A big reason for this is that there is a big drop-off between him and the next No. 6 in the lineup, the young Obed Vargas who is playing up a cycle and missed the second half of 2022 and the first quarter of 2023 due to injuries.

Edelman is important to the leadership of this team and in protecting the team’s defensive spine. Part of the reason why the team struggled in March in Spain (losses to France and England) is because Edelman was not there.

Edelman will sit in front of a central defense pairing that is likely Brandan Craig and Josh Wynder, who is also playing up a cycle. With Jalen Neal not released and Wynder having his stock take off over the past year, it will be a huge opportunity for Wyndner – who is signing for Benfica after developing with Louisville City.

In front of those three, Gaga Slonina will be in goal and he brings more experience with him to the U-20 World Cup than any other teenage American goalkeeper in recent history.

The front five (the No. 8, No. 10, two wingers, and the forward) are going to be rotated and it doesn’t seem clear what the top options are yet there – given the releases. But if Slonina, the central defenders, and Edelman can play well, the U.S. team should be in good shape.



The U.S. team has played almost exclusively with a 4-3-3 this entire cycle. But could the roster limitations force a different formation? It’s possible and Varas declined to answer if there was another formation that he’d be willing to use.

The 4-3-3 formation remains the most likely and the starting lineup for the Ecuador game almost picks itself.

  •        GK: Slonina
  •        RB: Mauricio Cuevas
  •        CB: Brandan Craig
  •        CB: Josh Wynder
  •        LB: Jonathan Gomez
  •        CM: Dan Edelman
  •        CM: Jack McGlynn
  •        CM: Owen Wolff
  •        LW: Caleb Wiley
  •        RW: Quinn Sullivan
  •        CF: Darren Yapi

That would leave Diego Luna, Niko Tsakiris, Markus Fekranus, Obed Vargas, Justin Che, and the two backup goalkeepers on the bench.

Moving forward in the group stage, Cowell’s return offers up some more flexibility. Plus, it will be important to see the progress of Tsakiris and how Justin Che is performing after a long injury layoff as well.

Varas also indicated on Wednesday that he like’s Wiley’s ability to play the wing, and that makes sense against Ecuador with Paredes and Cowell out.

One of the differences between this U-20 roster now and the one that played in qualifying is that Yapi gives the team a different look. Varas often went without a No. 9 for most of the cycle since he didn’t like his options. But Yapi’s emergence in 2023 with Colorado and then with the U-20 team in March gave the team a true No. 9. Now it comes down to providing him service. If the team is able to utilize the a true No. 9, it should help fill the void left by Aaronson’s absence.


There is a lot of talk about releases. We know that Neal, Aaronson and Chris Brady weren’t release while Buck may night have been released. We also know Ricardo Pepi is age eligible but has moved onto the first team. But who else is not here that could have been a coach’s decision?

Benja Cremaschi: versatile Inter Miami midfielder was not on the roster despite playing with Argentina’s U-20 team in December and the U.S. U-20 team in October. He is eligible for next cycle and that was always going to be his main cycle. Inter Miami would have released him, but he either was not selected by Varas or he declined due to hope with Argentina next cycle.

Caden Clark: The RB Leipzig midfielder had had injuries but has also not yet played for Leipzig in the Bundesliga. He has been an unused substitute at times. But next week will be the eight-month anniversary of his last game. He’s talented but his lack of playing put him in a bad position, especially on a roster where Varas will be shorthanded in group play.

Alejandro Alvarado: The Vizela midfielder had a good CONCACAF U-20 tournament last year but has struggled in subsequent U-20 camps and has not made an impact at Vizela (only 65 first team minutes all season).

Michael Halliday: The Orland City right back was a bit of a surprise to not make the roster given that he has had a strong start to 2023 with Orlando, he has played with the U.S. U-20 team a lot this cycle (including at qualifying), and the other right backs in Mauricio Cuevas and Justin Che have both struggled for minutes.

Nine U.S. U-20 World Cup players who could graduate to the senior USMNT

LOS ANGELES, UNITED STATES - JANUARY 27:  Cade Cowell #20 controls a loose ball during a game between Serbia and USMNT at BMO Stadium on January 25, 2023 in Los Angeles, United States during a game between Serbia and USMNT at BMO Stadium on January 27, 2023 in Los Angeles, United States. (Photo by Robert Mora/ISI Photos/Getty Images)

By Tom Bogert May 11, 2023

At his press conference to discuss the United States’ roster for the U-20 World Cup, head coach Mikey Varas repeatedly came back to his ultimate goal: To develop players from this group to graduate into the senior national team.

Of course, Varas would like to win the tournament, but success isn’t measured exclusively by results. It’s results and development. History shows around half the team should be expected to make at least one senior USMNT cap, with a handful graduating to a World Cup squad.Among recent U.S. U-20 World Cup squads:

• 10 players from 2017 squad made at least one USMNT appearance.

• Four players from 2017 (Tyler Adams, Josh Sargent, Cameron Carter-Vickers and Luca de la Torre) made the 2022 senior World Cup squad.

• 11 players from 2019 U-20 World Cup squad made at least one USMNT appearance.

• Two players (Sergiño Dest, Tim Weah) from 2019 made the senior World Cup squad, and a third (Chris Richards) very likely would have if not for injury.

The USMNT’s annual January camp may help inflate those cap numbers. With most of the first choice team unavailable for the annual camp during non-FIFA-mandated windows, the squad list is more experimental in nature and digs deeper down the pool to fill. Four of those 10 players capped from the 2017 squad have made only one senior appearance. Five of the 11 capped players from the 2019 team are nowhere near the senior squad at the moment.

With the second-youngest squad at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, the USMNT won’t be naturally losing players from the pool at a high rate in the near future. That could mean less opportunity for this year’s U-20 players to break through. It’s also worth remembering that, with Ricardo Pepi and Paxten Aaronson among age-eligible players not on the squad by their clubs, this isn’t the strongest possible U-20 group.

Despite all of that cold, hard nuance, the roster features plenty of talented players, a number of whom stand a good chance of breaking into the senior pool.

These are the best bets to do so.

Gaga Slonina

Goalkeeper, Chelsea FC, 18 years old

After a year as a first choice goalkeeper in MLS followed by a huge transfer to Chelsea this winter, Slonina is perhaps the best-known player in the squad. He’ll be the top choice between the sticks for Varas.

Slonina, turning 19 next week, is one of the most expensive teenage goalkeepers of all time after his transfer from the Chicago Fire for an up-front fee of $10 million with another $5 million in add-ons. He made 43 appearances with the Fire before heading to Chelsea in January.

He’s a potential No. 1 goalkeeper for the USMNT one day. Matt Turner (28 years old) is the current first choice, with Zack Steffen (also 28) among the top challengers for the spot.

Caleb Wiley 

Defender, Atlanta United, 18 years old



It’s been a dream start to 2023 for Caleb Wiley.

The Atlanta United homegrown has become an indispensable starter in MLS, delivering three goals and two assists while splitting time between left wing and left back. Long-term, he projects as a left back — that’s how clubs in Europe see him and where he’ll play mostly for the U-20s.

“We anticipate Caleb will have a big tournament,” Varas told media on a virtual press conference Wednesday.

Behind presumed starter Antonee Robinson, the USMNT left back depth chart is wide open. The current backups are right-footed players capable of playing on the left (Joe Scally, Sergino Dest), Wiley offers something more similar to Robinson: an attacking overlapping outlet down the left, allowing the winger (presumably Christian Pulisic, in the USMNT’s case) to cut in.

Wiley, 18, will be in Europe before long. Atlanta already rejected a transfer offer for him last year. A lot of scouts will be paying close attention to him in Argentina.

Josh Wynder 

Defender, Louisville City, 18 years old

Center back Josh Wynder is playing up a group, as he’s age-eligible for the 2025 U-20 World Cup as well.

Currently with Louisville City, Wynder will soon join Benfica in a USL league-record transfer this summer, with the Portuguese club winning his signature ahead of a number of MLS and European clubs this spring. Wynder just turned 18 this month but has already made 45 first team appearances.

“Josh is clearly a very technical center back with a great physical profile,” Varas said. “What really put the exclamation mark for me, in the last camp, he showed me he has ‘savage’ inside him as a defender. Your job is to be a physical player who wants to protect the goal. That takes a certain type of personality.”

Kevin Paredes

Defender/midfielder, Wolfsburg, 19 years old


Kevin Paredes had been thought of as a future USMNT left back, but most of his minutes at Wolfsburg have been at left midfield after he broke through at D.C. United as a wingback. He’s versatile, so still could end up at left back, but will play as a winger for the U.S. U-20s.

Paredes has made 20 Bundesliga appearances this season, 19 of which came from the bench. His importance as a squad player for his club means he won’t join up with the United States until after the group stage. He joined Wolfsburg from D.C. United for a $7 million fee in 2022.

With Paredes and Wiley as young options behind Robinson at left back, the national team should be covered there for the foreseeable future. 

Cade Cowell

Winger, San Jose Earthquakes, 19 years old

Cade Cowell’s athleticism is already at an elite level. If he can polish his final third actions, he’ll be in the senior national team on a regular basis. Even if he doesn’t, he’ll still get chances because of his dynamism. He had the fastest recorded sustained sprint in MLS last season, as per Second Spectrum.

Cowell, 19, already has three senior USMNT caps. He put in a man of the match performance against Serbia in January, albeit with both groups severely undermanned due to the friendly falling outside of a FIFA-mandated window.

The San Jose Earthquakes winger has 92 MLS appearances under his belt, starting all 11 of the club’s games this season before heading to Argentina with the U.S. U-20s. The Quakes rejected a bid from French Ligue 1 side Reims last summer for him.

Jack McGlynn

Midfielder, Philadelphia Union, 19 years old

Philadelphia Union midfielder Jack McGlynn has an elite skill that can translate to the senior international level: Distribution. Specifically, with his preferred left foot.

“McGlynn has a left foot that you can’t teach,” Jim Curtin told me in 2022. “It’s really special. His passing ability I equate to Haris [Medunjanin]. That’s the best passer I’ve worked with. And Jack is right there. His IQ is up there with [Alejandro] Bedoya, who has played in World Cups and in Europe. He’s worked really hard defensively, but he’s special. He’s still growing, he’s getting stronger.”

McGlynn, 19, is already the Union’s best midfield passer and is among their top options on set pieces. He’ll be a crucial part of the U-20s midfield. He has grown into his body and improved athleticism over the last year or two, and if that continues, he’ll be in the senior national team pool.

Obed Vargas

Midfielder, Seattle Sounders, 17 years old


The youngest player on the United States roster, Seattle Sounders midfielder Obed Vargas broke onto the scene last year playing a key role to the Sounders winning the CONCACAF Champions League as a 16-year-old.

Vargas, now 17, missed the second half of 2022 with a back injury, forcing him to miss the 2022 U-20 CONCACAF Championships with this group.

Owen Wolff

Midfielder, Austin FC, 18 years old

Austin FC midfielder Owen Wolff has displaced key veteran Alex Ring to establish himself in his club side’s first choice XI. He broke into the U-20 group this cycle and could be in line for a big role at the World Cup.  

“What we love about Owen, he’s got a fighting spirit,” Varas said. “He’s not afraid of confrontation and, on top of that, he’s very skillful and very smart. You see this in MLS, how he fought into the starting lineup this year.”

Wolff was been linked with PSV earlier this year. He projects to make a big move to Europe within the next few years.

Daniel Edelman 

Midfielder, New York Red Bulls, 20 years old

While the defensive midfielder isn’t thought to have as high a ceiling as others on this list, Daniel Edelman is already a steady professional and could find himself on the outskirts of the senior pool with his consistency if he keeps developing.

It would be a stretch to say he projects to be a first choice starter for the national team, particularly given Tyler Adams occupies his position, but depth behind Adams is unproven. Edelman is the U.S. U-20 captain and won a starting spot in the New York Red Bulls competitive midfield last season. He fits very well in a pressing/transition system, which could be the direction the senior team goes in the future. If so, it’s not hard to see a scenario in which he gets some caps.


Why U.S.’s U-20 men’s World Cup squad won’t include some of its best young players

Apr 8, 2023; Chicago, Illinois, USA;  Chicago Fire FC goalkeeper Chris Brady (34) controls the ball against Minnesota United at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Jamie Sabau-USA TODAY Sports

By Tom Bogert May 8, 2023

When the U.S. men’s U-20 team lines up for its opening U-20 World Cup match against Ecuador on May 20, it won’t be the strongest possible XI.

The problem isn’t unique to the United States. Roster construction is a complicated maze for all federations, as the youth tournament does not fall in a FIFA-mandated international window and clubs can decline to release players. Federations lobby for the players’ release and clubs grapple with the decision. Do they keep first-team players with the squad or send them to represent their country in Argentina at the world’s premier youth tournament?

layers generally want to go. Representing their country at a World Cup, albeit an age-specific precursor to the iconic senior event, is an unforgettable achievement. It can also be another major stepping stone in their careers.

“It’s kind of shocking that I see some of the guys I know not being released, and it sucks,” Atlanta United’s Caleb Wiley said. “I’m super thankful the club released me to represent my country. This is something that doesn’t happen often. For me to be able to go to Argentina, it’s special.”

When the tournament kicks off, European clubs are wrapping up their seasons, with titles, continental tournament qualification, relegation and cup finals still on the line. MLS clubs have games that Wiley, a key starter, will be missing.

“Think about the kids — and I’m getting fired up — this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that they may never get back again,” Philadelphia Union head coach Jim Curtin said. “To prevent them from playing in a U-20 World Cup? I’m sorry, I don’t agree with it.”

Curtin said the Union will “excitedly release any player” called up. It’s expected the Union’s Jack McGlynn, Quinn Sullivan and Brandan Craig will get the call for the U.S. Rosters have to be submitted to FIFA by May 10. McGlynn has won a starting spot with Philly, Sullivan is an important rotation attacker and Craig is currently one of only four first-team center backs Curtin could call on amidst a jam-packed May schedule.

It’s not that simple at other clubs, though.

“Sometimes there are moments in life where you have a choice between a bad solution and a bad solution,” Chicago Fire sporting director Georg Heitz told The Athletic. “This is one of those moments.”



For Heitz and the rest of the Chicago Fire, the decision was to decline to release midfielder Brian Gutierrez and goalkeeper Chris Brady. Both were expected to be on the roster if released by the club

Brady is the club’s first-choice goalkeeper. Gutierrez is the starting No. 10, even after Swiss international, and the league’s second-highest paid player, Xherdan Shaqiri returned from injury. The Fire have missed the playoffs in nine of the last 10 years, and fired head coach Ezra Hendrickson on Monday.

“My job is to defend the interests of the Chicago Fire, to defend the interests of our coaching staff and, of course, the players,” Heitz said. “There you see the problem — It’s a conflict of interest. The strongest argument not to let them go is the schedule. We have so many games in May, and we need these players. They are pillars in this team, we’re speaking about our No. 1 goalkeeper and our playmaker.”

Brady and Gutierrez won’t be the only ones held back by their clubs. Croatian side Hajduk Split already announced American midfielder Rokas Pukstas will not be released either. Pukstas has started each of the last 11 Hajduk matches he was available for, playing all but one minute over that timeframe. The club has four league games left, as well as the Croatian Cup final coming on May 24.

The statuses of Eintracht Frankfurt midfielder Paxten Aaronson and Wolfsburg winger Kevin Paredes aren’t defined, either. Aaronson broke into the Frankfurt matchday roster quicker than anticipated after a winter transfer from the Philadelphia Union, appearing in each of their last three games off the bench. Frankfurt is in the German Cup final on June 3.

“If the player is playing a huge role in the team in a professional league — against adult men in first divisions where there’s pressure on the standings — are you willing to release a player playing a significant role inside your team?” LA Galaxy head coach and sporting director Greg Vanney said. “There are different beliefs on that. In most places around the world, if a young player is playing, a lot would say no. There’s a reason why FIFA doesn’t make this mandatory (to release players). A club has to reflect on that.”



For the Galaxy, the player to reflect on is center back Jalen Neal, who has been a crucial figure over the U-20 cycle and even made his senior national team debut in January. But he’s become an indispensable starter and a bright spot for the Galaxy, which has just one win in 10 games and saw center back Sega Coulibaly go down with an injury in the first half of Saturday’s 3-1 loss to Colorado.

“If I feel like I can cover the team and I can afford Jalen some level of experience in this, I’d love to do that,” Vanney said. “I need to talk to him to see where his head is at but I also need to look after the other players who are here and trying to win games, win championships.”

The Galaxy could have had as many as four players at the tournament.

In addition to Neal, fellow Americans Mauricio Cuevas and Markus Ferkanus were also on the U.S.’s qualifying squad. Unlike Neal, they haven’t broken into the first team rotation, with Cuevas arriving from Club Brugge in April. Vanney said Cuevas and Ferkanus will be released if called.

They also have Argentina youth international Julián Aude, who was acquired from Lanus in March. Aude was a starter for Argentina at the U-20 South American championships, but was not called into their squad for the U-20 World Cup.

Vanney indicated there was a collective agreement between the player, his camp, the Galaxy and the Argentine federation that it would be more beneficial for Aude to remain with the Galaxy, where he quickly became a starter.

“Some of it is a little bit cultural in terms of where in the pecking order of the priority list we put the U-20 World Cup relative to first division soccer,” Vanney said.

MLS clubs are caught in the crossfire more than European clubs.

For one, clubs in the United States’ domestic league are expected to be more cooperative than those abroad. The league calendar also means it’s the early part of the season and in a league that has a playoff system in which more than half of the teams qualify.



“Sometimes you’ll hear from sporting directors or coaches who say ‘development, development, development,’ but then when it comes time, it’s ‘well I can’t sacrifice points here,’” Curtin said. “We all have to be in it together and really be about it, not just talk about it.”

Another key starter in MLS who is eligible for selection is San Jose Earthquakes homegrown winger Cade Cowell, who has started all 10 of the club’s MLS games. Like Neal, Cowell has been a crucial figure in this U-20 cycle and has made his debut with the senior national team.

“There’s more that goes into it than what people probably realize,” San Jose Earthquakes sporting director Chris Leitch said. “How does it impact our club? In the case of Cade, he’s a week-in, week-out starter. That’s a consideration, but it’s also about what’s best for the player. … He’s played in a lot of MLS games but he hasn’t played in a U-20 World Cup. We’re collaborative with the player.”

Cowell and other standouts from the U-20 World Cup could be called into the senior national team this summer, as well. The Nations League and Gold Cup tournaments run at the same time as the MLS season. How long can clubs be without key starters?

“It’s not just like ‘oh okay, he’s invited, let him go.’ There’s a lot that goes into this,” Leitch said. “But if you’re going to pride yourself on developing players, you have to give them opportunities in a different competition, even if it’s not best for your club. Also you’ve got to be willing to say ‘let’s see what the next guy is able to do with this opportunity, as well.’”

There’s also an obvious monetary value to this proposition.

FIFA U-20 World Cup Winner’s Trophy. Photo: Harold Cunningham/FIFA

Competing at a U-20 World Cup is another pedigree marker for any player, and it’s a tournament all clubs across the world are watching.Players from the United States’ squad at the 2019 U-20 World Cup like Mark McKenzie, Chris Durkin and Julian Araujo have since moved abroad. Tyler AdamsErik Palmer-Brown and Auston Trusty were at the 2017 U-20 World Cup.



“It is the premier youth tournament, it’s heavily scouted and the hope is there’s a value-add in putting more eyeballs on watching a player live,” Leitch said. “You watch Cade Cowell on video, you see he’s fast. You see Cade Cowell live and you’re like, holy cow, he’s world-class fast. … You can see it on the video, but seeing it live? You see how electric that really is.”

Catching the eye of clubs higher up the global food chain is important for players, as well as testing themselves against the best players in the world in their age group.

“You want to play in World Cups as a player, right?” Atlanta head coach Gonzalo Pineda said. “U-20 (World Cup) is a tournament that is very important for getting attention from European clubs, for understanding where you are in the world with your performance. You see where you’re at in your age group.”It’s not exactly the same discovery for players in the United States as it previously may have been, though. Through advancements in scouting technology, globalization in the soccer world and more clubs figuring out elite talent can be produced in any corner of the world, the starlets who will represent the United States are already well-known to scouts across the world.“I’m not sure a player goes there and does a whole lot for their value,” Vanney said. “Scouting is so sophisticated. Jalen is an example, when he played 200 minutes as a teenager, it’s already hitting flags in every scouting department in Europe that there’s a 19-year-old center back playing in MLS.”The Fire have already rejected a transfer offer from Club Brugge for Brady almost a full year before he made his first team debut (as first reported by ESPN in 2022). Gutierrez has already turned heads in Europe with two goals and five assists across 1,693 minutes in his age-18 season last year.“I would bet both players will make their way to Europe, with or without the U-20 World Cup,” Heitz said. “We’ve proven it with Gaga (Slonina) and (Jhon) Duran: You can make big, big transfers out of MLS directly.”Some clubs will release players, some won’t. The equation is different for each situation.“It may not be a black

My Game in My Words: Deeper insight from players preparing for the 2023 Women’s World Cup

Jeff Rueter May 1, 2023


Realistically, we only ever see about half of what makes an elite athlete so great. We see the goals, the well-timed runs off the ball, the other-wordly recovery runs and the jaw-dropping distribution. All of that is informed by repetitions in training and strong connections forged with teammates outside of the public eye. But, even before sequences are rehearsed on the training ground, they have to originate within a player’s mind.Ahead of the 2023 Women’s World Cup, we’re excited to bring you a series of interviews with top players where they talk us through some of their best moments on the pitch. It’s called “My Game In My Words” and it’s something that has become a staple of The Athletic’s coverage. While the churn of any given season can cause athletes to face the same questions over and over in some form, their eyes often light up when they get to break down the nuances of how they approach their craft.For those who are unfamiliar, one of The Athletic’s writers will sit with a player, one-on-one, and dissect a series of selected highlights. Some will be obvious: a monumental goal, a remarkable save. Others will force the player to break down lesser heralded parts of the game: positional play, reading an opponent, or when exactly to launch the ball instead of looking for a shorter pass.For example, take this from Beth Mead in our first installment of the 2023 series on how her time as a No. 9 helps her thrive at a wider position, reviewing a goal she scored against Sweden in last summer’s Euro semifinal.“I ran in and that was like a No. 9 should be, because I have that instilled in me still,” Mead told Katie Whyatt. “A full-back such as Lucy (Bronze) — she’s basically a winger anyway, because she gets that high up the pitch and gets past you. She can physically do it because she’s so athletic. Her strengths bring out my strengths, helping me get into that area. I remember Ian Wright — in the commentary analysis — saying that sometimes you just know when they leave your foot. And I really did when it left my foot; I knew I’d hit it well enough that it should be going in.”Through this series, both our writers and you, the reader, will hopefully gain a new understanding of the inner-workings of some of the best players in the world as they prepare for a major tournament. Once the World Cup begins, the world will see their moments of brilliance amidst the drama that comes with the highest stakes the sport has to offer — but thanks to this series, you’ll know why and how they thought to pull it off in the first place. 



Beth Mead: My game in my words

The My Game in My Words series is part of a partnership with Google Pixel. The Athletic maintains full editorial independence. Partners have no control over or input into the reporting or editing process and do not review stories before publication.

With World Cup roster spot on the line, Lynn Williams focuses on being her best self for Gotham

With World Cup roster spot on the line, Lynn Williams focuses on being her best self for Gotham

Courtney Stith Apr 30, 2023

In The Journey to the Cup, The Athletic tells the stories of players and teams as they work towards a place in the 2023 Women’s World Cup. Follow along as we track their progress as they prepare both mentally and physically for a chance to shine on the game’s biggest stage.Lynn Williams calls her trade away from the Kansas City Current a blessing in disguise.


The NJ/NY Gotham FC forward started the 2023 season in red-hot form, notching four goals in five appearances across all competitions. Her game-winning goal against the North Carolina Courage made her the third player to score 60 regular season goals and tied her with Portland Thorns’ Christine Sinclair on the NWSL’s all-time leading goalscorers list.

With a trip to her first World Cup on the line, Williams could focus on the pressure to compete for a spot on the roster. Instead, Lynn Williams is focused on being Lynn Williams.“My focus is just doing what I need to do to help this team and that means being the best Lynn Williams I can possibly be. And being the best Lynn Williams I could possibly be will hopefully help me get on the [U.S. national] team,” Williams told reporters following Gotham’s 1-0 win over the Washington Spirit in the UKG Challenge Cup where she notched another game-winning goal.

Williams working to be her best self means paying attention to the journey, instead of the finish line.

“I’m not really somebody who sets goals,” she toldThe Athletic. “I’m more of somebody who just looks at the process and the steps it takes you to get there. I think that sometimes when we look too far ahead, we can miss steps in getting us to that ultimate goal for lack of better words.

“I’m more somebody who says, ‘You know what? I’m going to show up every single day, and I’m going to play my best or I’m going to try my hardest.’ And hopefully, that allows me to reach, and have, success. But I think sometimes when we’re too goal-oriented, if we don’t reach that goal, then what? We’re so disappointed when sometimes it’s just about the journey.”

Focusing on the process has also allowed Williams to play with more joy after coming back from a hamstring injury that kept her out for 10 months.


“At the end of day, soccer is supposed to be fun,” she explained. “It’s a kid’s sport that we are just so lucky to be able to play as adults. I think that when I’m having my most fun, I’m relaxed and free and playing my best soccer. When you’re around a great coaching staff and a great bunch of teammates of women who are uplifting each other, it’s easy to find the joy in the game.”When Williams is playing her best soccer, everyone should be afraid — or excited if she plays for your team. In her seven seasons in the NWSL, she’s finished outside the top 10 of the golden boot race only twice (during her rookie year and when she was injured in 2022). In every season she’s played, she’s notched the most goals on her team.In 2016, with the Western New York Flash, she had 11 goals and five assists in 19 games, winning the 2016 golden boot and league MVP. She also became the first player to win MVP and score in an NWSL championship in the same season.

That championship game was special to Williams for several reasons. It was her first NWSL championship game (and win), and she scored her favorite goal of all time. In the dying seconds of extra time, Jess McDonald sent a floating ball to Williams who was waiting to pounce on the back shoulder of Washington Spirit defender Alyssa Kleiner. Williams beats two defenders and the on-rushing Kelsey Wys before heading the ball into the back of the net. The goal sent the game into penalty kicks and WNY won 3-2. Surprisingly, it was Williams’ first time scoring with her head.

A last-minute trade to a team more than 1,000 miles away could unsettle a player, but Williams is starting to feel at home. Living outside of New York City, she appreciates the ability to “pop into the city” when she wants and have a life outside of soccer — though she openly admits she’s more of a homebody. She hasn’t done anything memorable yet, but she and her teammates want to go to the famous Comedy Cellar to see a show.

Williams also appreciates the unique New Jersey perk of not having to pump your own gas, but it limits her opportunity to play the lottery as much as she used to.

“I love playing the lottery because you can’t win if you don’t play,” she said. “I feel like in the past, every time I got gas I was like ‘Oh I’ll just buy a lottery ticket.’ And now that I don’t have to get out of my car, I never buy lottery tickets. So I need to figure out a new system.”

So far, Williams has enjoyed playing with her new club and teammates. Originally, she left North Carolina to find a new challenge and Gotham ultimately became the place she needed to step out of her comfort zone.

For Gotham, its offseason transactions and new coaching staff have already translated into results. They have their best regular season start in club history with nine points. The team has kept three consecutive clean sheets across all competitions for the first time since April 2015. Williams has already equaled the most goals any player scored for the club in 2022. She also became the first player to be assisted in a game by both Mewis sisters, her new favorite stat.

“This is exactly the challenge I needed with a new group of people in a new environment with a new coaching staff. What I love so much is that (coach) Juan Carlos (Amorós) and the staff have held me accountable to everything and know where I want to be,” she said. “Everybody across the board is going to help us reach those goals and those dreams and I think that’s all you could ask for out of a coaching staff.”

Beth Mead: My game in my word

Beth Mead: My game in my words

By Katie Whyatt May 1, 2023


In this My Game In My Words seriesThe Athletic builds towards the Women’s World Cup by talking to leading players around the world to find out how they think about football, why they play the way they do and to reflect — through looking back at their key career moments — on their achievements so far. All in-person photography is photographed on Google Pixel.

Through the Keyhole with Beth Mead and Vivianne Miedema might be a little too easy. There are too many giveaways. Mead’s BBC Sports Personality of the Year trophy lives next to the TV. Then there is the shelf behind her, where she keeps her Player of the Tournament trophy from Euro 2022 and her winners’ medal. The tallest — Miedema’s PFA Women’s Players’ Player of the Year trophy from 2019 — stands at the side.



The clothes horse peeking into the bottom right of the Zoom call feels apt for the house where Miedema lives, the juxtaposition of the mundane and the extraordinary calling to mind that easy, languid gait with which she so often does the outrageous.

Of all Mead has won in the past year, SPOTY, she says, is the one that will never feel real. “I sit there and look at the trophy and the names on it,” she says, “and I still don’t believe it’s something I have my name on. Jill Scott said to me a couple of weeks ago: ‘I don’t think you understand what you did. A 70-year-old trophy, every sport going in Britain, and your name is on that with Princess Anne, Andy Murray and Lewis Hamilton.”

Those four dreamy weeks last summer set up Mead for the busiest year of her life. When she was runner-up for the Ballon d’Or Feminin, Mead attended the ceremony in a dress designed by Victoria Beckham — Beckham’s daughter Harper is a fan of Mead — and she joined two members of the Spice Girls in a box to watch England win the 2022 Finalissima.

Among her post-Euros awards — she also won the Golden Boot — there has been an MBE, and the Freedom of London and Scarborough. She was also England Player of the Year, BBC Women’s Footballer of the Year, UEFA Player of the Year runner-up and named in the FIFA FIFPRO Women’s World XI. More meaningful, she says, are the interactions with fans, the greatest surprise when families quietly pay for her meals and cocktails on holiday to say thank you for the role she had played in their summer.

We are meeting to discuss Mead’s game in her words, for her to take us into her eyes and mind on the pitch. She has picked a handful of her favourite matches for club and country, but we cannot do so without asking, first, how she is.

The past year has been the most successful of her career but the most trying of her personal life. In her SPOTY acceptance speech, she cried when speaking of her family, overwhelmed by the private pain of her mother’s battle with ovarian cancer. June Mead passed away in January this year. Throughout this early part of her grief, she has been without football. Mead had been in the best form of her career that afternoon in November when she ruptured her anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in a game for Arsenal against Manchester United, her planted right leg folding in on itself at the knee with the telltale twanging motion.


When we speak, Mead is, in ACL terms, doing “very, very well”. She is ahead of schedule, about to start running, “pushing for what could be another amazing summer” but aware that it might come just a few weeks too soon. She tries to be as pragmatic as she can, but the rehabilitation is arduous work, inevitably, comprised of “small stepping stones and wins”.

One of the toughest parts has been the switch — “it’s very much a full 360” — from the career-defining highs of last summer, and all the accolades that followed, to these smaller, private victories, not even won on the football pitch. She has not thought far enough ahead to worry about whether she will return the same player. “I’m hoping it’s like riding a bike, and my football comes back naturally,” she says.

With startling symmetry, Mead’s partner Miedema picked up the same injury three weeks after Mead. In the weeks where both were on crutches, their Arsenal team-mates visited to help them around the house, a rotating cast of Lia Walti, Steph Catley, Jen Beattie and Leah Williamson calling in until Mead, at least, was mobile. One night, Kim Little came over and cooked fajitas.

Mead has been far from idle in the meantime. In the next few weeks, she will finish her UEFA B coaching badge, having begun studying for coaching courses in lockdown. She enjoys the puzzle-solving aspect of it all — just days before our interview she sat down with Arseblog’s Tim Stillman as part of UEFA’s ‘Recognise Game’ series, which showcases elite performances in the Women’s Champions League. She analysed Arsenal’s 5-1 win over Lyon from this season’s group stage, a game in which she scored twice — and when she and Miedema watch Arsenal from the sidelines, they cannot help but break into analysis.

The Euros matches are the ones she views with more sentimental eyes. Analysis staff have distributed clips to the players but Mead prefers the BBC highlights. “I like to listen to it with the commentary. It just makes it feel more ‘real-time’. I know what happens and I’m still like: ‘What were we doing?’. Sometimes I just lie in bed at night and watch it, and it puts me in a happy mood before I go to bed. I enjoy watching those memories back. It’s a nice time to remember on the football pitch.”


Today is another chance to do so, although her first choice is Arsenal’s 2-1 win over Brighton in January 2022. Having gone behind after 15 minutes — Brighton’s first goal in 10 and a half hours of football at that point — Mead found Miedema to tap in at the far post with one free kick to pull Arsenal level. She then won the game with another free kick five minutes later.

Mead chose this for Arsenal’s mentality, as well as her own: their determination, after half-time, to “grab the game by the scruff of the neck” and the “domino effect” as she saw her team-mates feeding off her energy. “You can either shift it and be whiny and get annoyed, or you can do something about it,” she says. “I put my anger and my energy into taking people on, running with the ball and getting at people. I felt my free-flowing football: I was gliding past people with ease. You have games where, in instances, you feel untouchable. You feel like you can play so positively and help your team. Things come off that you might not normally try. You feel like the conductor. You’re setting things on their way.”

Mead won the second free kick herself, moving to chase a through ball from Tobin Heath. “The defender’s not really sure where I am and catches me on the wrong side,” Mead says of Brighton’s Victoria Williams. The free kick boomerangs slightly into the top corner, curving a foot wide of the wall.

“It’s just the way you wrap your foot around the ball or the follow-through right at the end,” Mead says. “You’ve got to follow right through to get that perfect bit of curl on it. It starts outside the frame of the goal and curls in. Where the keeper was stood in relation to where the wall is — for me, it was a no-brainer to put it where I put it. I’d just assisted her (Miedema) and put a great ball in. I had my eye in. That position was perfect for how I would like to strike a ball.” This is the distance at which she practises free-kicks, studying the technique of James Ward-Prowse.

“Viv said to me, ‘You’ve got this — back yourself’,” Mead says. Mead enjoyed the celebrations afterwards; Miedema, she says, “was just tootling behind me, with no emotion. It depends on what mood or how Viv’s game’s going as to what you get with her sometimes,” she says, laughing.

She and Miedema are, in Mead’s words, clever footballers — “we see things quite early on the pitch” — and have played together for six seasons now. Mead had previously been Arsenal’s number nine and had scored 14 goals from that position in the season before Arsenal signed Miedema. “Apparently, that wasn’t enough,” Mead jokes. “When you’ve got Viv coming in, you can understand why.

“The runs, the way she makes her movement — she makes it very obvious so I know where I want to put the ball and where she wants the ball to be. She’s very clever in losing the defender and making that sharp space to either get in behind, pull away from them and finish, or get in front of them.”


In her early days as a winger, she watched clips of Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah; as a child, she had admired David Beckham. “I love the way he put a ball into a box,” she explains. “That’s what I pride myself on — not needing too much space to put a ball in that someone can finish.”

But the process of crafting Mead: Mk. Winger began with working on her existing strengths as much as it did emulating others’. “I’m not slow as a winger, but I’m not the fastest out there,” Mead explains. “I would say my first five, 10 metres are my quickest. I can get away from someone, then be effective. A Lauren Hemp needs the space to run into to get up to speed. I could work all day and never have the pace Lauren has.

“With experience, I’ve figured out other ways to be effective. I like to move my body and the ball quite well. So I like defenders who are not so agile when you’re turning them and chopping them. They’re going one way and you’re going the other. That’s ideal.”

Her full-back with England, Lucy Bronze, has been a source of intel on how to beat defenders. The worst thing, Bronze said, is having to get back and make some sort of intervention after being out of position. Her advice to Mead is to manoeuvre the ball — but Bronze also proves a difficult opponent. “I think I can manipulate the ball really well against Lucy but physically she is always going to be there,” Mead says.

“Everybody has their strengths on a football pitch defensively. As a winger, you’ve got to be clever in how you work with that. I still can be so much better at it, but I’ve done a lot of individual development of watching how defenders move and how I can move in relation to them.”

Her second game of choice is England’s 8-0 win over Norway from last summer’s Euros. England, Mead says, had earmarked this as the toughest of their three group games; being 6-0 up at half-time was never part of their plan. This was one of those games where Mead felt she could do no wrong. “Some of the balls I put into the box — Ellen (White) couldn’t even get on the end of them because they were so good she didn’t expect them,” Mead smiles. “Another day, I’d have hit them straight off the pitch. But it was as if everything I did — and what we did as a team — just turned to gold.”

She has had “a handful, if that” of matches like that in her career. “But this one has to be number one. We were just relentless. They didn’t know what to do. They didn’t know how to adapt to it. They were in a huddle after each goal. When we were scoring, you could see in our faces that we couldn’t believe what was going on.”


We let the highlights package play through. I joke that I cannot imagine how they will fit eight goals into two minutes. “They’ve just got to throw them all in there, right?” Mead says. She waits a beat as the first goal begins to build. “I think a lot of us have watched this game a lot.”

We watch Mead’s involvement for England’s second. She scurries into space deep on the right and, from the goal line, cuts past Julie Blakstad and crosses for Hemp to turn the ball in at the far post. Then the flag flies up for offside.

“I knew instantly this wasn’t offside,” Mead says, “because the girl I’d just chopped was laid on the touchline. Not a chance is Hempo offside.” The initial pass from Lucy Bronze dragged Blakstad out of position. “So she’s running like mad to get back,” Mead explains. “In my head, she was either going to take me out, because she was running so quickly, or I’d chop her and she can’t stop in time. And she didn’t stop in time. I chopped and the other players were going that way as well. Then it leaves a big, big gap.”

These are the moments where Mead seems to operate on a different temporal plane to the rest of us: where time seems to slow for her only and the space around her bends to her will. “Some things can be so quick and so slow in your head,” she says. Goals three and four slip by — “I think, ‘This is a good day’,” Mead says of her header for England’s fourth goal — “because that never happens” — and then we arrive at Mead’s favourite of her three that day.

Fran Kirby plays Mead into space on the edge of the 18-yard box and she pushes forward to go one-on-one against Blackstad. In a flurry of touches, Mead pulls left; with another snake-hipped shimmy, she carves open the space to shoot low into the right-hand corner.

“This is what I really like: manipulating the ball well and making defenders move,” Mead says. “Again, they were all out of position. I was one vs one. I could have gone on the outside, which I actually think the defender (Blakstad) wanted me to do. I chopped inside. The other one is still recovering. She can’t slow down, so I’m able to go past her. The girl on the edge of the box (Ingrid Engen) is the wrong side of me. If she touches me, she’s going to bring me down. She tries to, but didn’t get a chance. The keeper was in an awkward position and I just tapped it the opposite way to where she’s moving. She’s still going right, so I go the other way.”

We watch until the end and the scenes that precede Alex Greenwood handing Mead the match ball. “That was me, playing with so much happiness and energy,” Mead says.

Watching the clips take her back to those moments when England felt — maybe even were — invincible. Her final match is England’s 4-0 semi-final win over Sweden from the same tournament, a game in which Mead scored the opener that let her and her team-mates off the leash.

“This is where mine and Lucy’s relationship was so great,” Mead says, as she watches Lucy Bronze direct a first-time cross into Mead’s vicinity having met the loose ball from Hemp’s first delivery. “Lucy, I knew, was going to be there. I was already reacting and turning as if Lucy was going across the next ball in. Readjust your position, take a good first touch.”

Such thinking is the legacy of those years as a No 9. Mead has spent more of her career in that position than she has on the wing. The old urges are there — you can’t erase those instincts, as her steadying first touch and the strike on the bounce demonstrate.

“I ran in and that was like a No 9 should be; I have that instilled in me still. A full-back such as Lucy — she’s basically a winger, anyway — gets that high up the pitch and gets past you. She can physically do it because she’s so athletic. Her strengths bring out my strengths, helping me get into that area. I remember Ian Wright — in the commentary analysis — saying that sometimes you just know when they leave your foot. And I really did when it left my foot: I knew I’d hit it well enough that it should be going in.”

Goal three, Mead says, “never gets old”. One YouTube clip of Alessia Russo’s backheel has been viewed close to 400,000 times. It never gets less impressive. It made an overnight star of her. The ironic thing is that Russo, Mead says, was initially critical of herself for not burying the chance at the first attempt — she hit the backheel on the rebound.

“But would this have happened if she didn’t?” Mead asks. “We were all just like, ‘Nah — you did not just do that in the semi-finals of the Euros! That was just filthy. What were you thinking?’. She was like, ‘I wasn’t — I just flicked it back and hoped it went towards goal or to one of you’.”

Did Mead know, in the moment, that it would go viral? “I mean, I knew it was going to do OK. But we never at that point knew how big we were getting throughout the Euros.”

The caveat to all this, of course, is that it is not always easy for Mead and Miedema to watch football when the pair of them cannot do the one thing they love most. This is the longest Mead has gone without kicking a ball. “Sometimes, it’s nice to watch it and talk about it, but then you miss it, and you put yourself in a bad mood because of it,” Mead says, of her daily life with Miedema. “It’s a tough balance, and it goes day-to-day with how we’re feeling, how we’re both doing. It depends on our moods, and if it’s one of those days when we just don’t want to talk football.”

The struggle is also set against the backdrop of her grief for her mum. “I’ve still got a different outlook on life: I’m here and I am still living and breathing and doing what I love to do,” Mead says quietly. “My mum had an illness and couldn’t fight it anymore. And now she’s not here. I have an injury that lasts nine months. Then I can go and do what I love again.”

Mead says she is “doing OK”. There are good and bad days. Songs that remind her of times they spent together. Mother’s Day was difficult. “The first one without her,” Mead says. Her dad, Richard, had made a teddy bear from June’s clothes. “So she’s with us every day,” Mead explains. “But it’s difficult. My mum was my best friend and the one person I would talk to throughout these hard days of rehab. But I want to make her proud and get back on a pitch again.”

She had been at home with her mother for the first few months of her rehabilitation. After the most mentally and physically draining period of Mead’s career, the club gave her leave to go to Miami so “I could try to get my head into some sort of shape”, paying for a physiotherapist to fly with her. She rested with Miedema, Little and Lisa Aitken, a professional squash player also recovering from an ACL injury, and got two tattoos in tribute to June.

“My mum said to me before she passed, ‘So, what tattoo are you getting for me, then?’ I was like, ‘I’ll have to get one now, won’t I?’.” Mead recalls. They booked a session while they were in Miami: the first, on Mead’s arm, says Love you loads, a phrase she and her mother always said to each other. On the back of her arm is a palm tree. “While we were away, Lisa was like, ‘Palm trees are one of the only trees that when its roots are pulled up during a storm, it becomes stronger again’. My roots have been pulled up because of the loss of my mum, but I’m hoping that I become stronger and she’ll be with me.”

She has become an ambassador for Ovarian Cancer Action: her involvement in this year’s Walk in Her Name campaign, which saw Mead ask her followers to sign up to walk 100km in March, helped to raise more than £140,000. She should be incredibly proud, I tell her, of her strength in going public with her loss so immediately, knowing how much money it would raise. “I’m doing my best,” she says. “I want to help people. I try to keep myself productive and busy.”

It is time for Mead to go. She has another interview, this time with UEFA. There was a time when Mead was known as ‘the angry Beth Mead’. The received wisdom — and Mead’s own view of herself — was that she played best when she had something to prove, a chip on her shoulder. Has that still changed, after everything — last summer, the staggering scale of her loss, a slow, methodical rehabilitation?

She smiles simply. “I’ll let you know when I come back.”

The My Game In My Words series is part of a partnership with Google Pixel. The Athletic maintains full editorial independence. Partners have no control over or input into the reporting or editing process and do not review stories before publication.

Humphrey Ker

Humphrey Ker on the true story behind Wrexham’s fairytale: ‘We are not Ted Lasso’

Richard Sutcliffe May 11, 2023

Humphrey Ker, Wrexham’s executive director and the man who ultimately set Rob McElhenney and Ryan Reynolds on the path towards buying the Welsh club, doesn’t cry as a rule. But come the open-top bus parade earlier this month to celebrate Wrexham’s promotion to the EFL, that rule was broken.“It was extraordinary,” he says. “We were coming up the street past McDonald’s and Primark, looking out at the crowd as we sang, ‘Can’t Help Falling In Love’ by Elvis Presley. And I just burst into tears.


“I hadn’t cried for 10 years. Not because I’m a tough guy — not in the slightest. More I’m emotionally damaged, like a lot of posh English people who experienced strange repression in their childhood!

“But everything just got to me. Partly being on that street, which I remember cycling up every day in my first five months in Wrexham and everything being shut due to Covid — things felt bleak back then. And partly all the happy faces looking up at the bus.”

Wrexham fansWrexham fans celebrate (Photo: Christopher Furlong via Getty Images)

Such emotion was understandable. The Vanarama National League title race was relentless, as Wrexham and runners-up Notts County smashed the previous record points tally with 111 and 107 respectively. Great television for the Welcome to Wrexham documentary crew, but draining for everyone else, especially after the pain of the previous year, when Wrexham were pipped to the title by Stockport County on the final day, then lost 5-4 in the play-offs to Grimsby Town.

“I did say to Rob and Ryan at the end of last season, ‘Look, we will win the league by 30 points next year’,” says Ker, sitting in the north Wales sunshine with The Athletic. “And how that was going to be boring for the documentary crew.

“Little did I know Notts County would be brilliant. Thankfully, we got over the line and the celebrations were fantastic. Obviously, we’d had the opposite emotion 12 months earlier.

“But, in a way, the documentary was probably 10 times better for the audience because we lost in season one. I got loads of texts from friends of mine, saying how the show blew their minds only to then be shocked at the end because we lost. They hadn’t expected that.

“But we are not Ted Lasso. This is real life. You can’t choose your ending.”

A little over three years ago, the chances of Wrexham finishing top of any table seemed remote. The club was at a low ebb even before the pandemic struck, bobbing along in the lower echelons of the fifth tier despite the best efforts of the Supporters Trust, who had ultimately saved the club in 2011.



Crucially, though, there was one pole position that Wrexham were destined to claim in 2020 — a list of prospective football clubs for two would-be investors from Canada and America.

“Lots of people have been very complimentary about us picking Wrexham,” says Ker, who compiled that who’s who of lower league football on behalf of McElhenney and Reynolds.

“In hindsight, it makes sense. And Wrexham was genuinely an early front-runner. But we did sit down and look at a host of clubs, assessing whether they were a good fit for what we hoped to do.”

Ker inadvertently prompted that search after recommending McElhenney watch the Netflix documentary Sunderland ‘Til I Die after the two friends were sent home from the set of Apple TV show Mythic Quest at the start of the pandemic. The verdict from the co-creator of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia followed on the Wednesday night. “I watched the first one with (wife) Kaitlin and the show was all right.”

Humphrey Ker’s day job, pictured here top right, promoting his acting work (Photo: JC Olivera via Getty Images)

Ker thought nothing more about it until his phone rang two days later. By now, McElhenney had watched both series and was hooked. “Rob’s telling me how the show had him in tears one minute, then jumping out of his seat the next,” he adds. “I was glad, thinking I’d earned myself a brownie point. But then he says, ‘We should do this. Buy a football team. But do it in reverse, by buying a club already struggling and try turn it around’.”

Hence, not long afterwards, Ker was given the job of compiling the list of clubs as contact was made with Inner Circle Sports, the investment bank that brokered the deals that saw Fenway Sports Group buy Liverpool and Michael Eisner purchase Portsmouth.

“At the very start, there was a brief suggestion from within Inner Circle Sports as to whether we’d be interested in Bolton Wanderers,” says Ker, the club having been relegated to League Two in May 2020.



“They were available for what was a massively reduced price for a club of that size, history and infrastructure. But we felt it was just too big a fish, in a way. This is a place where there had been Premier League football not long before.

“So many factors went into choosing a club, including the narrative. Here (in Wrexham) was a historic, storied club that had seen these great, great days. Beating Porto, playing in Europe, having 35,000 on the terraces was a big thing.”

The selection process was thorough. “We had five criteria,” says Ker. “These were fanbase — genuinely 10 out of 10 for Wrexham on that, as they got 4,500 every week in the National League — geography, the narrative — as in the history of the town, the challenges a club has faced, such as (previous owner) Alex Hamilton here, that meant it deserved a break — socio-economic status and facilities.

“Facilities-wise, Wrexham did not score particularly highly. It didn’t own the Racecourse Ground and didn’t have a training ground. Where Wrexham did do well, though, was geography and catchment area.

“Take another example of a club we discussed: Hartlepool United. They didn’t score very well on geography because they were so close to Middlesbrough, so close to Sunderland and so close to Newcastle, competing with a lot of big, big clubs.

“There also wasn’t that huge amount of population there. Whereas in north Wales, there are about 750,000 people. A decent catchment area and a big, dormant fanbase that we felt wouldn’t take much to activate.

“We felt this might avoid some of the challenges other clubs who had been financially charged in the past have run into. Such as going up, getting to a certain level but not being able to attract crowds.

“Here, there was a sense this could really take off.”

Eventually, the field was whittled down to just two clubs, with Wrexham finishing top of Ker’s list of possibles with 38 points out of 50 and their nearest rival, Hartlepool, on 36. Only then was contact made with both clubs.



“Ultimately, Wrexham had been a front-runner from very early on and remained the first choice. Hartlepool had been opened up as a second front if this had all gone wrong.”

The takeover went through in February 2021. It has been far from plain-sailing all the way since then, not least that play-off defeat at the end of the first full season under Reynolds and McElhenney, but Wrexham replacing relegated Hartlepool in the EFL next season suggests the right choice was made.

King at WrexhamReynolds and McElhenney meet King Charles and Queen Camilla  (Photo: Christopher Furlong via Getty Images)

“I have had a few people ask me, ‘Do you think this could be done elsewhere?’,” says Ker. “Some earnestly, almost as if to say, ‘How do I do what you guys have done?’. But it will be a challenge for someone to find anywhere with quite as strong a sense of self.

“Rob and Ryan are integral to the success of the documentary, of course. They have drawn people in who wouldn’t normally watch a football documentary. But then they have fallen in love with Wayne at The Turf, ‘Scoot’ (The Declan Swans singer Michael Hett), Chally (groundsman Paul Chaloner) and Jordan Davies.”

Davies and his partner, Kelsey Edwards, featured in a heartbreaking episode of the documentary following the death of their baby son, Arthur. Happily, the couple were able to announce on May 2, the day of the team’s bus parade to celebrate promotion, the birth of their daughter, Harlow Navy Davies.

“Jordan hadn’t been able to join us due to the baby arriving early in the morning,” adds Ker. “But as we came down the Mold Road, by the Maesgwyn (Hall), Jordan was there with his brother, two dogs and the baby in the pram, waving at everyone. To see him was so special. He got such a big roar from our bus.”

Ker, now 40, was a relatively late convert to football, instead preferring to spend school breaktimes “pretending to be dinosaurs with my friend Richard”. Then came his road to Damascus-style epiphany at the age of 11.



“We were playing in this inter-school competition when the ball came to me,” he says. “I thumped it so well that the ball flew into the top corner. The whole school was watching and, in that moment, I realised what football can make you feel like.

“After that goal, Richard would ask if wanted to go be a velociraptor and I’d be like, ‘No, fuck off, I’m a football legend now!’.”

This newfound devotion led to every spare minute being spent kicking a ball around. Liverpool also became a big passion that has endured, with any return visit from the United States before getting involved at Wrexham invariably featuring at least one trip to Anfield.

Philadelphia Eagles were McElhenney’s sporting love growing up, while Reynolds also had a deep connection to sport. In Welcome to Wrexham, the Deadpool star speaks openly about how sporting success made him feel “validated” in the eyes of his late father. What also became evident during the first series of the documentary was how both co-owners fell in love with football, particularly Reynolds.

Ker says: “When we started this, Ryan’s interest was in using the club as a philanthropic engine. The thing he gets a real kick out of — and always has done — is using his power to give joy to people.

“I’ll give you an example. We were on the bus parade and he’d pick out someone in the crowd below, shouting how he liked their poster or whatever. Such a little gesture but something that will have made their week or month, never mind day. That’s him as a person.

“He sees this as a way of doing that on a grand scale, almost supercharging what he has always done. That’s what got him into this at the start. Rob loved that but saw the sporting side as an attraction as well.”

Ryan Reynolds(Photo: Jan Kruger/Getty Images)

Asked if there was a specific moment when Reynolds’ emotional involvement in the football club’s fortunes came to the fore, Ker says: “The FA Trophy semi-final against Stockport last season and how Paul (Mullin) scored that incredible chip over the ‘keeper in the last minute from over there.” He points towards the goal at the University End of the Racecourse.

“Don’t forget, Ryan’s experience up to then had been watching (matches) via the (TV) stream, seeing us lose his first live game 3-2 at Maidenhead after having the wrong man sent off (Bryce Hosannah) in a case of mistaken identity and then drawing 1-1 at home to Torquay.

“A great occasion to be at, with the crowd buzzing at Rob and Ryan being there. But we conceded in the 89th minute and things went a bit flat. The next game Ryan came to was (in April) against Stockport in the Trophy. They were the team we had been chasing in the league for months and there was a sense we could haul them in.

“It lit a spark in Ryan. Ever since then, he has been all over it. Our group chat is where you can see a marked difference. We’d hear from Ryan all the time but it was often Rob asking questions like, ‘How’s so and so? Is he fit?’. Ryan would add ‘That’s great’ if it was good news but then there came a shift.

“Now, he is always the first one back in, asking how Jacob Mendy’s thigh is and who will switch to his position if not fit. Ryan lives on the east coast so gets the messages earlier in the day than Rob (in LA).

“Even so, it shows how he’s totally invested in the football side.”

This will no doubt come as a disappointment to the doom-mongers — invariably fans of Wrexham’s rivals — who say Reynolds and McElhenney will soon grow tired of the project and walk away.

“I do think the Premier League is doable one day,” says Ker when asked how far the club can go. “I go right back to why we chose this place at the start, the geography and catchment area with the history and enthusiasm.

“Look at the bus parade. There was everyone from 90-year-old ladies in wheelchairs with threadbare old Wrexham scarves through to three little boys standing on an electric conductor box with a sign they’d painted themselves.

“I’ve had a very privileged life and had some really fun jobs as an actor and writer. But I was saying to Rob on the bus, I love our day jobs but you just don’t get this in TV, with 40,000 people taking to the streets to shout, ‘Great show’ at you. That’s why this has honestly been the best three years of my life.”

Eleven Comes from Behind to Down Loudoun, 2-1


LEESBURG, Va. (Saturday, May 6, 2023) – A pair of late goals for the Eleven, including a 90th-minute match winner from Juan Tejada, lifted Indy Eleven over Loudoun United FC, 2-1, on Saturday night in Leesburg, Va.

The victory snapped a four-match winless streak in USL Championship play for Indy, with its last win coming against Detroit City on March 25. The Eleven is now 2-3-3 on the season, while Loudoun falls to 3-4-1. Indy now leads the series with Loudoun 4-2-0 winning two of the last three.Tejada came on in the 82nd minute to provide the spark for the Boys in Blue with his first goal of the season, off a headed assist from Douglas Martinez. It was the second consecutive game the Eleven scored late, with Jack Blake registering an 81st-minute goal to earn a 1-1 decision against Pittsburgh on April 29.The Eleven’s equalizer came in the 73rd minute off a Martinez to Younes Boudadi combination that eventually found Sebastian Guenzatti on the near post for his second goal of the 2023 season and 61st-career USL strike. The pair in 2023 are a team best.Loudoun took the early lead in the sixth minute when Kalil ElMedkhar got on the end of a cross from Laukoa Santos and hit the one-time volley into the back of the net for his second goal of the season. The Eleven countered with an early chance and nearly equalized just three minutes later with Jack Blake finding himself inside the 18 off a pass from Solomon Asante. Loudoun keeper Hugo Fauroux cut the angel on Blake, whose shot was one of two for Indy in the first frame.

Loudoun held the 13-5 advantage in shots in the match, with a 5-3 lead in shots on target, and out possessed Indy 53%-47%. Aodhan Quinn led Indy with three shots, while Yannik Oettl notched four saves for the Boys in Blue.Next up, Indy travels to Sacramento Republic FC Saturday, May 13 for a 10 p.m. ET match-up. Indy returns home May 20 against Colorado Springs.Single-game tickets for all home games at IUPUI Carroll Stadium along with prorated Season Ticket Memberships, specially-priced group tickets and an increased portfolio of hospitality options are available for purchase now via indyeleven.com/tickets or by calling 317-685-1100 during regular business hours (Mon.-Fri., 9:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m.).

USL Championship Regular Season
Loudoun United FC 1:2 Indy Eleven
Saturday, May 6, 2023
Segra Field – Leesburg, Va.

Indy Eleven: 2W-3L-3D, 9 pts
Loudoun United FC: 3W-4L-1D, 10 pts

Scoring Summary:
LDN – Kalil ElMedkhar (Santos) 6’
IND – Sebastian Guenzatti (Boudadi) 73’
IND – Juan Tejada (Martinez) 90’

Discipline Summary:
IND – Jesus Vazquez (caution) 30’
LDN – Abdoul Zanne (caution) 37’
IND – Robby Dambrot (caution) 45’
LDN – Jeremy Garay (caution) 45+2’
IND – Cam Lindley (caution) 56’
IND – Adrian Diz Pe (caution) 65’
LDN – Kalil ElMedkhar (caution) 70’
IND – Aodhan Quinn (caution) 89’

Indy Eleven line-up (4-3-3): Yannik Oettl; Younes Boudadi, Jesus Vazquez (Mechack Jerome 45’), Adrian Diz Pe, Robby Dambrot; Cam Lindley (Harrison Robledo 71’), Jake Black, Aodhan Quinn; Douglas Martinez, Solomon Asante (Gustavo Rissi 90+5′), Sebastian Guenzatti (Captain) (Juan Tejada 82’)

Indy subs: Tim Trilk (GK)

Loudoun United line-up (4-4-2): Hugo Fauroux; Laukoa Santos, Daniel (Chica Houssou Landry 88’), Bryce Washington, Gaoussou Samake; Abdoul Zanne (Panos Armenakas 76’), Aidan Rocha, Jeremy Garay, Kalil ElMedkhar; Tommy Williamson (Wesley Leggett 69’), Zach Ryan  

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