THANKS TO THE BOYS, TO KLINNS AND USSF

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Julian Green Following DaMarcus Beasley.. The Past, present and future… we are going to be fine

To My Beloved USMNT

Thank you for going above and beyond any and all expectations.  For not only surviving but thriving under the worst World Cup conditions, with travel, temps, and a deathly group of opponents.

Thank you for uniting yourselves as one team, uniting America in soccer madness and for uniting the world into believing WE ARE A SOCCER NATION AND CAN PLAY WITH THE BIG BOYS BECAUSE ARE ARE THE BIG BOYS.

Mostly thank you for overachieving and doing with style, grace and gritty Americaness… For that, we are all grateful.

No one gave you a chance, even to your face.  I didn’t either but I saw the potential in what this squad could be and why it is the right team.  I still do but now so does everyone else.

USSF did not believe it was possible to get out of the group after the draw; so it gave Jugan a contract extension and free reign to do whatever he wanted.  He wanted the 23 of you.

Some of you guys individually suffered attacks on your, “Americaness,” or patriotism and responded by sacrificing your hearts, souls and even your blood.

Some you guys were condemned because you were not a, “superstar,” or the traditional, “face of US Soccer.”  No, you’re not the, “traditional American soccer,” anything, you are just the real face of America: dedicated, hard working, with the “never giving up, never giving in & always give your all,” united, fair, who represent all Americans, white, black, Hispanic, Native American, and mixes.

You have given us your all, time and time again..  and this one time gave way more than ANYONE expected or believed you could. You left every part of you on the pitch in the fight to advance for that we all win.

A Special Thank You to those that have already dedicated so much to the programs..

To RUN DMB and his 4 World Cups which was foolishly and inexcusable ignored in favor of  bitching about one who didn’t go and honestly, wasn’t missed.

To St. Timmy of the Sticks, You are America.. You are simply the face of American Soccer: tats, smiles and hands and all..

Thanks Klinnsy.  You did what you had to do and got this team to do more than anyone thought was possible.  Lord I was not pleased at your selection but I was catastrophically wrong. I apologize.

Thank you Sunil and USSF for letting Klinnsy do what needed to be done and paying the bills.. oh and marketing your asses off.. [I EXPECTED SIMILAR TREATMENT FOR THE LADIES NEXT SUMMER FYI]

Now to the rest of your…..

Chris Wondo tweeted this last night..

That is America right there… “I screwed up,” (a debatable point if he or the linesman screwed up), “I take responsibility and I am sorry.”   There is no, “superstar,” ego there.  Just honesty and passion.

Like every other minute of this team’s time together.. his boys have his back.

That is what this team is… All Heart, All Soul, All In It Together..and ALL AMERICAN.

What they are is what they were at the start of last month a bunch of kids who needed to get experience and a group of Rudys who would teach them, not tactical lessons, but the intangibles about teamwork, spirit, discipline, mental focus and desire.

We leave this team a month later who new faces of US Soccer, a future of unparalleled talent: Julian is 19, DeAndre Yeddlin is 20, John Brooks is 21.  We are going to be fine.. soccer-wise. Just fine and the world better be ready…

What could have gone better in this Cup run.. honestly, literally nothing.. a loss to Belgium on a last minute brilliant kicksave but arguably the top keeper in the world is best way to go out..  After beating death all that was left was potentially getting crushed by Argentina, which does not help grow the program at all

The Belgium game was perfect way to establish the future..

Fabian goes down, and Yedlinny (that was Jules calls him but he needs something better) goes in and man’s up. He happened the pressure, the responsibility like a pro. He made some mistakes but so did everyone else.

Julian, who god knows I think that there were 5 of us including Klinnsy, Julian’s dad and me that were happy he was on the team in the first place.  The amount of hate/trolly tweets about him coming on were astronomical.  I just kept saying what I am saying here, “The Future is Now” and he handled the pressure fairly well or spectacularly.   That goal was pretty, so, so, so pretty and his first touch in a WORLD CUP.

Between Now and Russia 2018.. we have 2 Gold Cups (2015 & 2017), possible ConFed Cup play-off match, ConFed Cup, Olympics and Copa America 2016 on the Calendar.  [Plus Women’s team matches]..

If you jumped the bandwagon, grab one of the newly empty seats and get comfy because it will only get better from here.

 

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Meet Jonas Eriksson – USA v, GHA’s Ref.

 

He sounds like fun… Not keen on dolling out the yellows. I LOVE THIS.. GERMANY JONES BETTER LOVE THIS TOO

 

Per US Soccer: “89 international matches worked – averages 3.61 [assuming this is yellows];

0.18 red cards; and 0.18 penalty kicks awarded per match.”

Plus he is a millionaire who refs because he likes it.

here is his ref card from FIFA

 

US Soccer Brings A Game to Dodging and Weaving About Qatar 2022 – Gives Story Way More Validity

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This is in response to well respected-veteran journalist Jorge Ramos’s radio show’s tweets Thursday that very roughly translated from Spanish that FIFA told USSF to have the 2022 proposal ready to present plan and have an organizing committee ready by Sept or Oct.   Qatar losing the Cup (or might lose the Cup depending on translation). [Note Ramos tweets have been since been removed]

First of all Neil, BRAVO on a BRILLIANTLY stated non-denial denial statement. That is some solid political maneuvering here and  I respect this level of quality professionalism.

That said, why the hell are you all responding at all?

In the middle of the Brazilian World Cup’s First Day, three days before the team you represent plays its opener, you go OUT OF YOUR WAY to respond IN WRITING to an unverified, highly speculative tweets in Spanish.  IT WASN’T EVEN A STORY, just two tweets.

Yes it had fan traction on twitter but nothing especially big.   This would have been a 2 day story at most, especially with no follow-up.  I get that is what you are hoping the released statement does, but to me it gives the initial reports A LOT more credibility.  Let it die in the cycle, no one would remember/care by the end of the Cup.

The only possible rational I can come up with responding is hoping to turn more journalists off the story before they do their jobs and investigate it. In retrospect, that plans seems to actually work so well done I guess.

Sunil Gulati, your boss, was asked about it of course and handled it in a similarly impressive fashion.  You both left an impressive amount of wiggle room in the statements, like enough to drive the entire infantry tank division through them sideways, while appearing to deny it outright.  Let’s be honest, we both know neither of you denied the overall story outright.

Now your word choices are impressive and I can imagine the amount of time you and your team spent parsing exactly the right phrasing.

Well played, I especially like the choice of, “[t]he report is not accurate[,]” not even using, “inaccurate,” just, “not accurate,” as opposed to say, “the story is untrue.”   Those do no mean the same thing at all but most people will not understand the difference.  

The story being untrue is to say, the story in its entirety is false which fundamentally different than stating it is inaccurate meaning facts presented are incorrect but not touching on the overarching validity of the story. You went with the softest possible word choice in your denial. 

According to a report in Foxsoccer.com states the NY Times Sunil as quoted as saying, “‘[s]imply not true,’ … ‘They haven’t asked us and I cannot imagine it happening anytime soon.'” Now, I agree that would have been a strong, “flat-out,” as it was called denial were it not for the qualifier where he is denying the part where of the story where USSF was “asked.”  [It is not clear who at the NYT interviewed Gulati, best guess is Sam Borden who quoted Gulati in his twitter feed with a couple of disjointed tweets.]

The over theme of these responses is this:  spin it to the media as the formal request was not made in a vague enough manner that it allows the reader to infer the entire essence of the story is false without saying that.

That is the part that I find funniest and the reason that I find these responses so suspect.  I have zero problems believing this is true; there has been no FORMAL contact between FIFA and USSF.  Also there does not need to be.

The timing of all of this given them tons of wiggle room:  The Ramos Show tweets come out two days ago, June 12, 2014 and the responses are either Thursday (from Sunil) whenever Neil Buethe, posted sent his statement.

It is what happened a few days before the report and response, the  FIFA’S Executive Committee (ExCo) meeting June 7th and 8th.   Here is their meeting agenda, pay close attention to parts 8,13.4 and 14.3.

Now, I have no idea what those meeting points entailed in the meeting but what I do know who sits on ExCo, drumroll… Sunil Gulati.   It is disturbing how many journalists/media people either forget this fact or do not intellectually grasp its significance.

There are a couple of reasons this is exceptionally important, first of all.  Sepp Blatter put his boy on ExCo err Sunil was duly elected to ExCo.  Remember all those Blatter’s cronies are corrupt comments may or may not apply to Blatter crony and the President of US Soccer Federation.  I am in no way attempting to cast aspersions on Sunil’s character or morality but just reminding people that he used USSF’S vote to keep Sepp in power AFTER the QATAR VOTE [to be fair, Sepp did vote for the US bid and is not accused nor has any evidenced released shown he was involved in any bribes on the 2018/2022 bids].

The more important reality is Sunil Gulati is not simply the lovable, nerdy, econ prof who gracious leads US Soccer out of the kindness of his noble heart as the media LOVES to present him. REALITY CHECK:  He’s got game and more than willing to use it.  

The ExCo thing is IMPORTANT because FIFA is building a case to move the Cup.  They absolutely are and for one simple reason: cold hard cash money. There is a secondary reason of revenge but that is only Sepp based.

I was accused Thursday of, “thinking like a normal person, not a FIFA exec,” and, “conjuring logic that FIFA doesn’t have.”  Granted those should be taken as compliments.  Look, I am under no delusions about the motivation of FIFA and especially ExCo members.  I do not think they do anything not in their own financial and/or egocentric interest.  They like money.. and they like power.  This Qatar bid nonsense is costing them both and that cannot be tolerated.

Starting last October 3-4, 2013, the first of Sunil’s membership incidentally or not, changes are made to the structure of ExCo meet agendas to what we have now.  The agenda is much more organized and clearer and now we have and agenda area entitled, “Sports-political matters.”  It covered what looks to be a briefing on, “Israel-Palestine situation: discussions in Zurich on 3 and 23 September 2013,” and, “FIFA World Cup Qatar™: period of the competition.”  You know that moving it to winter financial/logistical fiasco.  Two months later in December 2013,  the agenda just went with “2022 FIFA World Cup Qatar™.”

In March 2014, it gets super interesting.   There is both an, “Update from the FIFA Secretary General [Jérôme Valcke] on the preparations for the tournaments [WC 2018 and WC 2022],” as well as under the, Sports-political matters banner, “Update from the FIFA President on the Israel-Palestine situation, the Kosovo situation, the Cyprus situation, and the working conditions in Qatar.”   YES, that FIFA President, oh Sepp.

These same sports-political topics topics, all of them, came up at ExCo meeting 5 days ago in São Paulo. Yet 2 days after that at the 64th FIFA Congress,  São Paulo 2014, the agenda covers, “Updates on Israel-Palestine, Kosovo, Cyprus,” but curiously Qatar did not quite make the cut to discuss at Congress.   The Congress is the annual meeting of all the FIFA members, basically the ONLY time in 2014 all the members will be there.   The next Congress is May 2015, at home in Zurich.

Pulling all of this back to the response of USSF gave to the Ramos tweets and why it is so clear that USSF is not really denying them, just denying they were formally asked.

ExCo makes decisions about the location of the World Cup of what which Sunil is a member of course.  Those decisions come from research of the, “Organising [sic.] Committee for the FIFA World Cup (TM),” who them report to ExCo on their findings.. Guess who sits on that organizing committee?   That is right girls and boys, Sunil Gulati.   Yes, the guy FIFA would call to say prepare a plan is the guy at FIFA who request it and then voting on it.

This is why the nuancing of the denial is so key.  USSF does not need formal contact from FIFA if their President is part of the decision making team.

For the record, Sunil is also Chair of the Media Relations Committee, tasked with organizing the, “working conditions for the media at FIFA events and maintain relations with international media organisations.”  Basically, he is FIFA’s faceman.

He is also Vice-Chair of Players’ Status Committee, required to “set up and monitor compliance with the Regulations on the Status and Transfer of Players and determine the status of Players for various FIFA competitions.” It is unclear is if they have any responsibility for player safety at say a summer World Cup in Qatar or if that is strictly the responsibility for the medical committee.  The Players’ Status Committee made seemingly major changes to player/agent relationships and third party ownership at ExCo last week.

Additionally, he sits on the Associations Committee, which is responsible for maintaining, “relations between FIFA and its Members and draw up proposals for optimum cooperation. The committee shall also monitor the evolution of the Statutes and regulations of FIFA, the Confederations and Members.”

So we clear Sunil Gulati sits on the committee that recommends and overseeing the Organization of the World Cup and on the committed that keeps members happy, is Vice-Chair of the committee that controls player contracts, chairs the committee responsible for playing nice with the media and then sits on the committee that vote for the changes to the 2022 World Cup venue.  Yet, we are supposed to believe this story is false because USSF has not been contact about it and does not expect to be anytime soon?  Sunil when are those committees getting on deciding so FIFA can ask USSF?  [If you are interested this is a list of all Americans on FIFA committees including FIFA Ethics Chief Investigator Michael Garcia]

Now then why would FIFA move the Cup?  It is not out of some altruistic sense of righteousness.   This is politics pure and simple.  Sepp wanted the Cup in America and for two very good if basic reasons: a  World Cup in the US is basically a license for FIFA to print money and it takes out enemies.

According to FIFA, they have spent over $2 Billion USD [$1 Billion spent in Brazil] of their own money on operational costs for World Cup 2014.  They will leave the real costs of hosting into the locations: stadium constructions/renovations, construction of roads, transportation systems, hotels, etc to the host nation.  Brazil estimated to pay approximately $13 Billion for the infrastructure development and upgrades paid for by a loan from Brazilian Development Bank.  This s what is causing the rioting in the streets.

By contrast, the US combined 2018/2022 USA Bid Committee economic impact report conducted by ERA/AECOM  the US hosting would cost approximately $10 million per stadium in infrastructure changes including installing grass and perimeter fencing as well as installing or upgrading the media center to accommodate international media.  [for the max 12 WC stadiums that is a $120 mil total].  Additionally,  Atlanta would be the headquarters of the International Broadcast Center (IBC) since it already has a significant amount of media infrastructure in place.  There was not an additional amount of outlays required but a 5% sale tax was assumed.

[I do not remember the economic impact statement ever being publicly released and I read several things that it had not been released but I found it.  It is very interesting, especially using Washington DC metro area’s FedEx Field as hosts of the Final Match at USSF request]

The 2010, 2014, potentially 2018 and 2022 all have a couple of things in common:  serious infrastructure concerns and almost all of the required World Cup level infrastructure being built from scratch.  FIFA could really use a easy one that does not require a $2 billion dollar investment on $4.2 Billion in revenue, which takes almost half their money.  The US Bid would not require nearly that investment and therefore on they would be able to keep a significantly higher portion of the revenue generated.  AND THEY LIKE MONEY.

There is the added pressure of bedrock FIFA sponsors publicly questioning it 7 years out. That has a huge effect and puts significant pressure on FIFA to act to resolve it.  These are massive companies that spend billions on public relations and the one thing that do not want is to be public associated with human rights abuses and deaths.  FIFA does not care what human rights workers or social justice campaigners complain about but the loss of sponsor money and it is a new ballgame.

Secondarily but not insignificant, is the war between Sepp/Platini using FIFA/UEFA as weapons.  The hate each other, Platini has just announced he would not support Sepp’s assumed next run and has threatened in the past to run against him.

Why this massive ego-off matters is Platini was major supporter of Qatar 2022 and still supports it to the point he is supportive of moving it to winter.  A mindboggling decision as it would have a highly detrimental effect on almost the entirety of European club soccer including the Champions League schedule which as President of UEFA is his bread and butter.

Soon it will be open warfare and the FIFA’S Ethics Committee will be primary in that effort.  I believe American Michael Garcia who is heading up the investigation, a former US Attorney and current partner at Kirkland & Ellis, will do a comprehensive and honest investigation leading to a report that accurately reflects what happened and who is at fault.

I think that is why he was chosen but not for the public-spirited ideal of fighting corruption.   Sepp seems to be in no way connected to any ethical violations for the Qatar 2022 bid but his enemies including Paltini are.   This reeks of a White Bulger mob move..   White turned FBI informant on rival mobsters so the US government would take care of them for him.  Sepp got the guy who would investigate and force the removal of his enemies for him and to make it all above reproach.   That is major game. 

It has already started.  Franz Beckenbauer is banned from the game for 90-days conveniently covering the World Cup span.    He is Bayern Munich honorary president, former member of ExCo who voted for the Russia/Qatar block an then stepped down shortly thereafter.  Oh and he is close, very close, to Platini to the point of supporting a Platini FIFA presidency back in 2011.  Enemies are falling..  it will continue.

I think my favorite FIFA move is subtle, simple but brilliantly ruthless renaming of the Stadium and Security Committee to the “Security and Integrity Committee.”  That is a linguistic stiletto between the 4-5 ribs.

Garica’s report is due sometime this summer after this World Cup with its potential recommendations.  The Organising [sic.] Committee for the FIFA World Cup (TM) meets July 11, two days before this final.  ExCo meets again September 25-26, which is exactly the time frame laid out in Ramos’s tweets

Again, I absolutely believe US Soccer when they all say, it is, “not accurate,” that FIFA has not contacted them.  I do not believe that means the overarching story is not true, necessarily. I do not know if the story is true, no idea how good Ramos’s source is but the independent facts and USSF response do not in any way discredit it.

If you doubt that Sunil is capable of some dodging and weaving I will remind you of this moment just a few weeks ago.  Phil Schoen reports finally the Copa American 2016 in America is a done deal down to the date of the announcement.  Sunil responds saying, ” Copa America 2016 in U.S.? Interesting idea but nothing agreed to by @ussoccer yet.”

As I responded then and still do now, non-denial denials FTW.

Klinnsman’s Latin Flavor… The Rise of Latino-American Generation

NOTE: this developed from a question in response to the E Pluribus Unum post.  I answered there and decided to develop it more here. 

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While it is true we are all focused on the duel passport-holders because of their prominence in the World Cup Squad, the true development of our nationals’ teams future lies in two areas: getting more urban youth involvement in the game and more young Latino/a players who are willing to commit t to playing for the US National Teams.

For the moment, I am going to focus on the rise of Latino generation.  This is always less of an issue for the women’s team offers unique opportunities for female players, so it is primarily the focus of the USMNT.

Klinnsman’s World Cup squad features at least three players of Hispanic ancestry: Omar Gonzales, Ale Bedoya, and Nick Rimando; additionally Joe Corona went to camp; and Liga MX based defender DMB will most likely start.   He has regularly called up Herc Gomez in Qualifying but since he did not play regularly for the Xolo and was actually just loaned out to Tigres, he was not a viable option for the Cup squad.

Where the real push to bring in Hispanic-America players is at the U-21 (and younger)  team level.  USSF/Klinnys seem heavily invested in developing young talent born in America, who could be/are duel passport holders with Mexico especially.

The first ever Under-21 Camp was held last April 20-24 at the National Training Session at Carson, CA.  Of the 21 players called-up, according to MLSsoccer.net’s Scott French, nearly half the member called up were  Hispanic-Americans (10 of 21).  Because it did not fall on a FIFA calendar date, the camp only had MLS and Liga MX players.  What is the U-21 version of Camp Cupcake?  Camp Mini-Cupcake?  Camp Cupcake Bite?

The Hispanic-American players include Benji Joya, Juan Pablo Ocegueda, Oscar Sorto, Alejandro Guido, Stevie Rodriguez, Daniel Cuevas, Danny Garcia, Victor Pineda, Jose Villarreal, and Luis Gil who had to pull out with an injury.  Players like Juan Agudelo Julian Green, John Brooks, Josh Gatt, etc were not called in as they are in Europe and clubs were not required to release them.

The team is lead by Tab Ramos, but as tech director Klinnsman would oversee/dictate style and player targeting.   At the time of the camp announcement, Ramos gave an interview to US Soccer.com discussing the plans for the camp and the U-21 team.  “One of the things that is important for us that we wanted to do is get the Olympic-aged players, which is the ’93s this year – and it happens to be an Under-21 – we wanted to get them involved as close as possible with the first-team staff.”

The Mexican-American players in the USSF pool are for the most part very young.  The option of actively choosing to play for the US over Mexico is very much a new thing with this young generation. Often it was players before who were not considered good enough to play for Mexico, who ended up playing for the US as fallback position.

It is clear that USSF and Klinnsman as technical director has a longterm vision that is being implemented in a methodical way.  While it is true the draw, changed everything and sped up certain aspects of the planning.  The long term, structural plan remains in place and continues to be built, brick, by brick and yes those Hispanic-American players are a huge part of that development.

USMNT Open Training Yesterday… Photo heavy and Sunil Speaks

IMG_1582It was cold, it was fun… videos coming later

Sunil seemed to completely disregard my concerns about the lack of female apparel but did say that he would talk to Nike for me.  I said they weren’t the only ones ignoring fans.   He tried to write it off that next year for the women’s world cup there would be more stuff. He agreed when I pointed out that doesn’t help me support the men’s team this year. We’ll see.. oh and nothing will change

Seems Flickr and WordPress no longer play nice.. so here is the link to all my flickr based photo of the Open Training