SEGMENT 1: The United States is the first of the 32 countries with tickets booked for the 2014 World Cup to actually arrive on Brazilian soil to start preparing for this summer’s big tournament. Stein checks with Steve to see if Jurgen Klinsmann’s side gets any bonus points for that distinction.
SEGMENT 2: Transfer season is in full swing, so the boys spin through all the big moves involving Americans and Major League Soccer, naturally starting in Toronto with the Jermaine Defoe/Michael Bradley deals and inevitably spending a good chunk of time chatting about the Philadelphia Union’s attempts to bring Maurice Edu home from Stoke City.
SEGMENT 3: American striker Juan Agudelo, on the verge of joining FC Utrecht of the Dutch Eredivisie on loan from Stoke, joins the guys by phone from England to talk about the complicated, long-awaited transfer that has finally made him a European footballer.
SEGMENT 4: ESPN’s Craig Burley dials in at halftime of Chelsea’s victory over Manchester United to talk about his old team’s first-half dominance and all the other latest storylines in the Premiership.
Here's the full transcript of the conference call with FC Dallas first round draft pick Tesho Akindele:
What do you bring to the table for FCD?
I’m a goalscorer, and I think any team could use a goalscorer. I think I can provide assists and I’m also willing to do the work defensively. A lot of players that can score goals aren’t willing to do the defensive work, but I’m willing to work on offense and defense.
Have you had contact with Oscar Pareja?
I’ve definitely run into him a couple times just because he coached in Denver and I was there. I’m excited to play under him because he came to Denver and did really well with the team here so I’m sure he’s going to do well in Dallas. I’m glad I get to be a part of that.
Do you feel like this was a result of your performance at Combine?
It’s all surreal. Right before the Combine nobody was talking about me getting picked, definitely not in the first round and possibly not even until the fourth round. Nobody was talking about me. It just shows you how important every game is. I just had a couple good games. We played three games and I played well and my stock just rose. It rose a lot because of those games. It’s just a surreal feeling to have moved up so much. I’m so excited for this opportunity.
Talk about challenges of moving from D2 soccer to MLS
Everybody’s facing a difference in level, even the division I guys are going to be playing better opponents. I think in D2 the level wasn’t that bad. We played good teams and I think I showed at the Combine that I wasn’t out of place. It’s definitely going to be harder to play in MLS, but all of us rookies are going to be going through the same thing.
Talk about your playing style
I’m definitely more of a speed guy. With my size, I can play target forward, but through most of my career I’ve been more of a speed guy trying to get behind the defense and get around them on the wings with my speed.
Have you graduated yet?
I have one year left on my degree, but I withdrew from school because I can be an engineer when I’m 55 years old, but my soccer career has an expiration date so I want to get the most out of it that I can.
Was there any indication from FCD that they were going to pick you?
I had an interview with Dallas and they made it seem like they liked me, but I had no idea I would get picked this early. I was definitely thinking somebody would pick me up in the second round or maybe at the end of the first round. I had no idea I’d be the sixth pick, nobody seemed that interested in me. They kind of told me they tried to keep it a little bit secret that they might try to get me early, but I’m glad they did that and I’m just happy now.
Have you been to Dallas?
We played a couple teams in the Dallas area in my college career and I know a lot of people from my school actually live in Dallas, so I’ll know some people over there when I go.
Do you feel like you can contribute right away?
That’s gotta be my goal. I’m going to work hard. I know the level is different. I’m going to have to get used to the speed of play and the smarts of the players, but overall I think I will be able to come in and contribute right away.
Could playing at altitude give you advantage?
I think it might help me right away, but Dallas is a lot hotter and more humid than Colorado. That’s going to be hard to get used to. I think I’ll be in good shape because of my altitude training.
Has it hit you yet?
It’s definitely not going to hit me until tonight. I’m talking to you guys, I have everybody texting me right now so there’s just a lot of business to take care of right now, but once I’m able to relax tonight it’s really going to hit me how early I got picked and just how awesome this opportunity is.
Mom and Dad reaction?
They were screaming right away. I had a couple of my teammates from the School of Mines over, they were all screaming for me. They said they’re proud of me and I just need to keep working hard and stay humble.
Talk about your work ethic
It definitely comes from my parents. Growing up, they didn’t ever let me give up. If times were tough in school or in sports or any situation in my life they made sure that I stuck with it. That was instilled in me as a kid and I still carry those values with me today.
Are you looking forward to playing with anyone?
I’m looking forward to playing with all of them. They’re all professional players and I’m moving into their world. I’m excited to see what they can teach me about becoming a better player.
Fresh off scoring four goals in a 4-4 draw with New England Revolution at December's US Soccer Development Academy Winter Showcase, U-18 forward Coy Craft has been called up to US U-18 National Team camp ahead of an upcoming tournament in the Canary Islands. Craft leads the U-18s with eight goals in ten games despite being the youngest player on the roster. Here's the full release from US Soccer:
CHICAGO (Jan. 3, 2014) – U.S. Under-18 Men’s National Team head coach Javier Perez called 24 players for a week-long training camp in Lakewood Ranch, Fla., to prepare for the upcoming Copa del Atlantico in the Canary Islands.
The training camp runs from Jan. 4-11 and precedes the tournament in Spain, which is scheduled to be played Feb. 4-7.
Twenty-one of the 24 players currently play for U.S. Soccer Development Academy teams while the remaining three also play for domestic-based clubs. Nine MLS Academies are represented, with Real Salt Lake AZ leading the way with three players receiving call-ups.
Five players – Mukwelle Akale, JT Marcinkowski, Erik Palmer-Brown, Tommy Redding and Ben Swanson – saw playing time for the U.S. U-18 MNT that took second place at the Limoges Tournament in France in October. Palmer-Brown started all three matches at the tournament and scored the lone goal in a 1-0 U.S. win over the Czech Republic, while Akale and Marcinkowski earned starts in two games.
Roster by Position:
GOALKEEPERS (3): Christian Herrera (Real Salt Lake AZ; Las Cruces, N.M.), JT Marcinkowski (San Jose Earthquakes; Alamo, Calif.), Justin Vom Steeg (Real So Cal; Santa Barbara, Calif.)
DEFENDERS (8): David Chavez (De Anza Force; Redwood City, Calif.), Justen Glad (Real Salt Lake AZ; Tucson, Ariz.), Malcolm Jones (LA Galaxy; Chino Hills, Calif.), Erik Palmer-Brown (Sporting Kansas City; Lee’s Summit, Mo.), Quentin Pearson (Colorado Rapids; Longmont, Colo.), Pablo Pelaez (San Diego Surf; San Diego, Calif.), Tommy Redding (Chicago Magic PSG; Oviedo, Fla.), Peter Schropp (Omaha FC; Omaha, Neb.)
MIDFIELDERS (7): Mukwelle Akale (Minnesota Thunder; Minneapolis, Minn.), Collin Fernandez (Chicago Fire; Downers Grove, Ill.), Cameron Lindley (Indiana Fire; Carmel, Ind.), Maduabuchi Obinwa (Chicago Magic PSG; Orlando, Fla.), Sebastian Saucedo (Real Salt Lake AZ; Casa Grande, Ariz.), Ben Swanson (Crew Soccer Academy; Grove City, Ohio), Jackson Yueill (Minnesota Thunder; Bloomington, Minn.)
FORWARDS (6): Coy Craft (FC Dallas; Frisco, Texas), Sebastian Elney (Boca United; Boca Raton, Fla.), Gerves Fagan (Sereno SC; Peoria, Ariz.), Christian Lucatero (Houston Dynamo; Pasadena, Texas), Jorge Ruiz (LA Galaxy; Mission Hills, Calif.), Kendall Stork (Chicago Magic PSG; Barrington, Ill.)
It's the final day of 2013 so we thought we'd test your memory on the 2013 FC Dallas season. Take the quiz and let us know how you did!
Today on Twitter, we received a fantastic picture from @RealGerm75 showing his Christmas tree decked out in FCD scarves and we're sure there's more of you out there raising your red during the holiday season so we thought we'd put together a little contest.
Over the next two days, send us your pictures and videos on Twitter and Instagram using #FCDChristmas showing us how you inject a little #DTID into your holiday season! Whether it's red and white hoops on your cookies, wearing your FCD jersey while having a family kickaround or showing us those great gifts you received from ShopFCDallas.com, submit your holiday pictures and videos to us using #FCDChristmas!
We'll put our favorite submissions into a Storify that will be featured on the FC Dallas website and one randomly selected submission(only one prize entry per account) will win four tickets to a 2014 FC Dallas home game!
Send us those pictures and show us how you raise your red during the holidays!
Best of FCDallas.com in 2013: March & April
FC Dallas burst out of the gates like never before in 2013 winning five out of our first nine games with just one loss.
The season opener, a 1-0 win over Colorado, wasn't the prettiest of wins but Jackson's opportunistic game-winner was good enough for three points.
“When I saw that the ball was bouncing I didn’t expect the mistake by the goalkeeper, but I was ready for it,” said Jackson via a translator after the match. “I still had to be careful though because it became too easy.”
After a head-scratching loss at Chivas USA, the all-important Texas Derby was next vs the hated Houston Dynamo. FCDTV kicked things up a notch with a hilarious new "Crush the Orange" video.
We took a look back at the history of the rivalry and how "El Capitan" the Civil War-era Howitzer cannon became the trophy for the game.
FC Dallas did end up Crushing the Orange with a late strike from Kenny Cooper in a thrilling 3-2 victory.
FCD scored another big win, this time 2-0 over Real Salt Lake, and an unbelievable play by Matt Hedges sealed the win.
“I tried tucking it away and then I saw [Hedges] coming in and blocking it,” said Sandoval. “I couldn’t believe it. I thought I had it.”
FCD's trip to New England to face the Revolution was spiced up by a pair of promo videos. New England fired the first salvo claiming that "Revs" could cure you from the FCD disease, but Dallas fired back as the Law Firm of Hooper & Hooper claimed that REVS or "Recycling Everyone's Video Segments" was dangerous to the country.
In the end, Dallas got the last laugh as Blas Perez, back from international duty, scored the late game-winner to send FCD top of the league.
“It’s a great group of guys from back to front,” said Cooper. “The team is playing really well with a lot of confidence. Obviously, it’s still early but hopefully we can keep this form going.”
FCD took advantage of what has become a yearly tradition in mid-April and held a team practice at Wescott Field at SMU.
“26 years here, I’ve worked and seen a lot of really good things happen,” Hyndman told FCDallas.com. “It’s great to be back."
FC Dallas made a major statement to the rest of the league with the LA Galaxy in town, defeating the star-studded team with a late header from George John.
“The more points you get early in the season the better,” said John. “In my first four years we got off to slow starts, a lot of ties, then at the end of the season you’re struggling for points - right now we're finishing off games and getting three points, so it's great.”
With the Whitecaps coming to town, FCDallas.com introduced the world to a new craze sweeping the nation - "Vancouvering"
Schellas Hyndman set a franchise record in late April with a 2-0 win over the Vancouver Whitecaps. Hyndman moved his record to 57-48-48 all-time good for 219 points, the most in franchise history.
“It’s obviously huge,” said Hunt Sports Group Vice President Dan Hunt. “He continues to win and continues to get results. I’m excited for Schellas, it’s a huge honor for a guy who has had a lot of success everywhere he goes and this is a unique team that can probably get him a lot more points. It’s a very special night for us all.”
That game also marked a new tradition on FCDallas.com with our social media recaps after home games.
In late April, we began our Century Club series in which we profiled different FCD players who made their 100th starts for the club in 2013. We started with Jair Benitez and a fascinating profile of the man known as "Chiguiro."
Things are going to be pretty slow at FCDallas.com over the next couple weeks as World Cup Way shuts down for the holidays before stepping full throttle on the gas as we barrel towards the 2014 season in the new years. With that in mind, I thought it would be fun to take a final look back at 2013 over the next couple of weeks and relive some of the great content churned out by the FCD digital team over the last year(or maybe it's just a cheap ploy to up our page view numbers in the final days of the year).
Either way, over the next couple weeks we'll take a stroll down memory lane.
2013 FCDallas.com Year in Review: Preseason
The country came to a stop in late December 2012 as the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting shocked us all. In an effort to help restore some normalcy to the community, the soccer world organized "Soccer Night in Newtown" and two FC Dallas players took part in the event. In addition, midfielder Bobby Warshaw wrote a fantastic blog about why he participated in the event.
In mid-January, FC Dallas made one of the biggest signings of the year, bringing in Peruvian national team goalkeeper Raul Fernandez to man the nets. The 27-year-old 'keeper came highly recommended from a former FCD fan favorite.
“[Sala] recommended this player and for the last two months we’ve been in touch,” Clavijo said. “We sent our goalkeeper coach out there to see him, talk to him and watch him train and everything checked positive."
On January 17, FCD selected Walker Zimmerman with their first round draft pick and Scott Brown caught up for him with a Q&A on draft day.
"I just want to get there and work hard and learn from my veteran teammates. I’m just going to try and make Dallas home and do my best to get on the field and to play well and do all I can."
2013 was a banner year for goalkeeper Chris Seitz and it all started with a solid preseason that earned praise from the coaching staff.
“This is probably the most fit I’ve seen him come in for preseason.”
The end of January was dominated by an on-again off-again transfer saga involving star winger Brek Shea. On January 29th, it looked like the deal had fallen through and Shea would be staying with FCD.
“I talked to Brek – we did everything we possibly could, it doesn’t seem like it’s going to happen,”
Then, just hours before the international transfer window closed on January 31, the deal was pushed through and Shea headed to EPL side Stoke City FC.
“This is one of those bittersweet situations,” FC Dallas head coach Schellas Hyndman said. “We are very excited for Brek to take this important step in his career, but we’re also going to miss him here. This will be a good, fresh challenge for Brek, and we believe he is well-prepared and ready to make an impact for Stoke.”
FCD made one of the biggest splashes of the preseason in early February making a sensational double-signing of forwards Kenny Cooper and Eric Hassli.
"Kenny has long been a fan favorite here and we couldn’t be happier about welcoming him home to Dallas. Eric is an exciting player who we know our fans will enjoy watching."
From Mexico, it was on to the Rose City where FCD played three games in the Portland Preseason Tournament including a 1-0 win over the hosts through a Blas Perez goal.
FC Dallas announced another major move in what has been a busy first week of the official MLS offseason, sending the rights to veteran forward Kenny Cooper and allocation money to Seattle Sounders FC in exchange for 27-year-old midfielder Adam Moffat.
In acquiring Moffat, FCD signs a player who started 28 games last year between Houston and Seattle, as well as starting 13 MLS Cup playoff games over the past three seasons.
In addition to the experience the midfielder brings, FCD signs a player with one of the most thunderous shots in the league. Let's take a look at some of the best #MoffatRocket's from the past few years(ignore the orange, he's in a better place now).
Moffat scores on a wicked shot from inside the box at Chicago
Moffat rifles in volley from 25 yards out vs. Revolution
Moffat scores another trademark strike from outside the box in 2012 playoffs
Moffat long-range strike slips through Greunebaum's fingers
Moffat scores emphatic goal vs. FCD
Moffat MLS Cup assist
Moffat scores from way downtown in 2011
While the offseason is a time for MLS players to rest and recouperate with pre-season just around the corner, it's still important for players to stay in shape and FC Dallas forward Blas Perez took that to another level last Sunday. Every December, the Panama marathon is held in and around Panama City and this year, for the first time, Blas ran the 21km half-marathon.
"It was a new experience for me as an athlete," said Perez from Panama.
While "Super Raton" is not necessarily known as a speed burner on the field, his time in the half-marathon of 2:00:57 - a little over 9:00 minutes per mile - is certainly a respectable one.
"I thought I did great, especially for it being the first time," said Blas "I want to give a big hug to everyone back in Dallas."
Over 2,000 runners competed in this 38th edition of the Panama Marathon and Blas(@SuperRaton7) took to Twitter after the race retweeting notes from his fans and pictures of himself from the race.
Mis respetos a todos los corredores de fondo/semi fondo, es un gran sacrificio los entrenamientos y luego la competencia un gran logro!
— Blas Pérez (@superraton7) December 1, 2013
(Thanks to David Sakata/Diario Pro for the photos)