The World's Game In The Heart of the Sun Belt

Soccer links for your weekend reading pleasure

I’ve posted some new items over at Beyond The Touchline as another extremely busy week of soccer in America comes to a close:

• The CONCACAF Gold Cup and the World Football Challenge both reach their culminations this weekend. Are events like these overloading an already gluttonous soccer schedule on these shores? One leading American soccer writer, who really, really loves the game, thinks so.

Soccer fans in Atlanta and Baltimore who have been starved for these events to come to our cities may beg to differ.

• Is an American soccer TV star in the making? I’ve linked to a profile of Fox Soccer Channel’s Christopher Sullivan, who’s truly a worldly observer of the game. If you’ve wondered about the source of his distinctive speaking style, you’re in for an interesting surprise.

• And finally, I round up the David Beckham brouhaha by posing this suggestion — and I’m not quite sure of the answer yet — maybe “The Beckham Experiment” is working after all. In some very unexpected ways.

Visit Beyond The Touchline for more on these stories and the game of soccer around the world.

July 25, 2009   No Comments

Clark added to U.S. roster for Gold Cup

After initially being left off the roster because of duty in the Confederations Cup, Atlanta’s Ricardo Clark has been added by U.S. coach Bob Bradley for the CONCACAF Gold Cup, which gets underway this weekend across America.

The U.S. was allowed to add seven players to its 23-man training roster because of its appearance in South Africa. All seven players added by Bradley were on that trip.

Is this summer the last good chance for Ricardo Clark (13) to merit a spot with the U.S. national team? (zimbio.com)

Is this summer the last good chance for Ricardo Clark (13) to merit a spot with the U.S. national team? (zimbio.com)

What’s curious here is CONCACAF’s rationale for this apparently one-time exemption: That the glut of competition makes it necessary to look at more players. Except that Bradley’s initial Gold Cup roster had just two players from the Confederations Cup, including Freddy Adu, who didn’t play a single minute there.

Indeed, Bradley has planned to use the Gold Cup to look at some young, lightly capped players between the rigors of South Africa and the big mid-August trip to Mexico. Don’t Confederations holdovers — including Jozy Altidore, like Clark a starter for most of the tournament — need a bit of a break? It’s true that they won’t be available for all matches — the U.S. group opener is Saturday against Grenada in Seattle.

But if I’m Mexico, for example, I’d be a bit miffed by this shotgun move by CONCACAF, even if the bottom-line benefit might be for these seven to get in some more good training time in the American camp.

For Clark, this is another great opportunity to show that he belongs in the national team fold. After a number of years marked by injuries and a lack of discipline on the field (including a red card against Italy in the Confederations Cup opener) he knows he’ll have to battle for a place at a position — defensive midfield — in which the U.S. has some depth.

A veteran with the MLS Houston Dynamo, the former St. Pius and AFC Lightning standout is also starting to draw some attention from European clubs during the July global transfer window.

July 3, 2009   No Comments