Big D Soccer News Update January 10

The 10 million dollar man - Christian Hofer

First news update of the new year.

It's been a crazy week around MLS and much of the news has circled around FC Dallas and USMNT players. Let's get right into it!

FC Dallas

We all know about the drama surrounding the possible second coming of Papi. Let's take a look at what else has been going on at FC Dallas.

As we confirmed yesterday, FC Dallas won the lottery for former UVA standout Brian Span. Span returns to the US after two years in the Swedish first division with Djurgardens IF. Span is a 6' 3" midfielder that was highly touted as a top 10 pick in 2012 MLS SuperDraft before deciding to try his luck overseas. While this video is from a few years ago when he was in college you still see the talent the youngster can bring to a team.

The acquisition seems, at least on the surface, to be a low risk/high reward gamble for FC Dallas. Midfield depth is one of FCD's top needs and Span definitely could be that quality depth that the team has been looking for.

The MLS SuperDraft will be held next Thursday starting at 11am CT with FC Dallas having the #5 pick in this years first round. FCDallas.com's Daniel Robertson sat down with topdrawersoccer.com's NCAA expert Travis Clark to discuss the upcoming SuperDraft and who FC Dallas should be looking at with their first round pick.

First off, how strong do you see this 2014 draft class? It seems like it may be missing superstar talent but has plenty of depth.

I think it’s pretty similar to years past, but the one variation may be lack of big time impact players. There will be a lot of depth with guys who make squads, but don’t necessarily become key contributors right away. When you look at the Generation adidas class as well, it’s pretty weak because of the league’s tendency to rely more on Homegrown players. So the best underclassmen in college are, for the most part, tied to MLS Academies which reduces the amount of impact players. That being said, there’s still plenty of quality out there for teams and coaches that do their homework.

While there may not be a lot of depth for super stars in this draft there are gems to be found and with the #5 pick FC Dallas scouts will definitely have to be on their toes during the Combine this week/weekend.

Daniel also takes a look back at all of FC Dallas' SuperDraft picks that have been in the top 5 spots. The team has had more than a little success with their first round picks.

2010 - #5 overall pick - Zach Loyd - University of North Carolina

Having made the second-most appearances for the club since being drafted, Loyd has certainly been a big hit for FC Dallas out of UNC. After some uncertainty about whether he would be back, FC Dallas recently announced that Loyd had signed a new contract for the 2014 season. The Oklahoma-native has made three appearances for the US Men's National Team and looks to be a major fixture on the right side for FCD heading into the future.

With names like Zach Loyd, Brek Shea, and Chris Gbandi on the list there are reasons to be hopeful this year. Who would you like to see the Hoops draft at the #5 spot next Thursday?

You can see the entire Combine and MLS SuperDraft schedule at MLSSoccer.com.

The club made a big announcement concerning this year's season kick off event Cocktails & Cleats.

Join us on Thursday, March 6 from 7-10pm at F.I.G. (1807 Ross Ave. Dallas, TX 75201), our brand new downtown location, for Cocktails & Cleats 2014!

For the first time ever, admission to Cocktails & Cleats will be FREE and open to the public (21 and up only), and it will be your first chance to see the brand new 2014 FC Dallas home kit presented by AdvoCare. The FC Dallas Foundation will be accepting $10 donations that will be used to purchase soccer balls for children in Brazil during this summer's World Cup.

This event will also be the first chance we will get to see the new home kit design for the 2014 season. It's great to see the team open this up both for free and to all FCD fans, not just Season Ticket Holders as in previous years. Hope to see you there!

USMNT

The biggest news involving a USMNT player in the last few days was the shocking news that it appears that AS Roma have agreed to a deal with Toronto FC for Michael Bradley. While TFC haven't officially announced anything Roma have tweeted out their goodbyes to the 26 year old Bradley and published a press release about the record setting deal. Nick Firchau at MLSSoccer.com has the story.

Italian Serie A club AS Roma announced on Thursday that they have come to terms to sell the rights for Michael Bradley to Major League Soccer, bringing one of the most identifiable and successful American players back to the league where he got his start.

"AS Rome SpA announces that it has signed with Major League Soccer (MLS) a deal for the outright sale of the rights to the player Michael Bradley, for the sum of US $10 million," the club said in a statement published on ASRoma.it.

The club also made the pending move official with a farewell message via their Twitter account: "Grazie, Michael #Bradley for taking part in this adventure with us: good luck!"

The fee would be the biggest incoming transfer fee in league history, topping the reported $9 million paid for the rights to Seattle Sounders forward Clint Dempsey last summer.

This news was surprising to say the least. Many people have argued on social media about what this means for Bradley and for the MLS as a league. What did you think about the move?

Ben Gladwell at ESPNFC.com is reporting that Roma coach Rudi Garcia has said that while he wishes Bradley the best he would have liked to have kept the American in Rome.

"It's a pity for Bradley because I wanted to keep him, but he wanted to play and I therefore wish him all the best of luck for the new adventure he is embarking on," Garcia said on the club’s official website after Roma booked a place in the quarterfinals of the Coppa Italia with a 1-0 win over Sampdoria on Thursday night.

"He's done well in these six months with me. We've got competition for places for everybody now and that will only make us stronger."

With TFC announcing the signing of Jermain Defoe from Hotspur, the addition of Bradley moves the talent level of the team up drastically. Now if they can just get a defense in Toronto....

The New England Revolution announced that they have acquired former USMNT regular Charlie Davies on a permanent basis on a free transfer from Randers. Thomas Floyd at Goal.com has the report.

"We're pleased that Charlie will be re-joining us and that we were able to find a way to make it work with MLS and Randers," New England general manager Michael Burns said. "Charlie came in last summer and showed us a lot of good things, and we're looking forward to seeing him integrated into the squad more in 2014."

A Manchester, N.H., native who played at Boston College, Davies scored four goals in 17 appearances for the USA before suffering major injuries in an October 2009 car accident outside Washington, D.C. Davies made his comeback on loan to D.C. United in 2011, notching 11 goals in 26 matches, then returned to French side Sochaux before joining Randers in the summer of 2012.

It would be great to see Charlie get regular minutes at his hometown club and work towards getting back to the player he was before his devastating accident.

I'll leave you with Goal.com's look at this weekends look at overseas matches involving US players in their weekly series Americans Abroad, including the head to head match up of two of the best that the US has to offer.

On the same weekend that Michael Bradley prepares to return to Major League Soccer, Clint Dempsey is about to make his return to the English Premier League, even if only for the start of his two-month loan stint. His league re-debut for Fulham is against none other than U.S. national team teammate Jozy Altidore and Sunderland on Saturday.

Let us know what you think in the comments below.

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