Howdy folks! It's starting to feel like soccer season again! All MLS clubs are well into the first week of their preseason training schedule and more players keep showing up everyday. I don't know about you guys but March 2nd can't get here fast enough.
FC Dallas has been making a few moves already this preseason. With the Brek Shea to Stoke transfer seeming to fall apart for now (granted it ain't over till it's over) it seem's that the young winger will be wearing Hoops until at least this summer. Again though, the transfer window doesn't close until next Thursday and ANYTHING can happen between now and then.
As expected FCD announced on Wednesday that they have released midfielders Ricardo Villar and James Marcelin.
Villar played in 29 matches, scoring two goals and adding two assists.
Marcelin, 26, joined FC Dallas on May 4, 2012. The defensive midfielder played in 16 games for FC Dallas last season.
Neither players loss will have a major impact on the team overall. Villar started the season strong last year but outside of a few bright games he never contributed on the level that the team had hoped. Marcelin contributed very little to the team and was used mostly as a stop gap last year to fill holes in a decimated midfield.
The team also has announced that David Ferreira will wear the captain's armband this season. Mark Norris of FCDallas.com spoke with Ferreira and Schellas Hyndman about what this means to David and for the team.
"You can be a leader vocally and you can be a leader by example," Hyndman said. "I think David has proven he can do both."
I think this is a great choice by Hyndman. The team is completely different with David on the pitch and I don't believe that it's all do to just his talent. He is one of the few players who will have the respect of the Latino and non-Latino players alike. He has always been a vocal leader in the best sense and will do a great job leading the team on and off the field.
Todd Date at 3rdDegree.net talked to Chris Seitz about his off season conditioning and his feelings on the upcoming battle with Raul Fernandez for the right to wear the number 1 on his back.
"You don’t ever want to be handed anything and if you are it’s not really worth the same as if you fight, work for it and you gain it," Seitz said. "That’s kind of my mindset. I’m going to go out there and work my ass off to get it."
Seitz also spoke with Mark Norris at FCDallas.com about his physical readiness and mindset coming into this season.
"I haven’t had any sort of fatigue issues, weakness in the lower back or anything that I had at the end of last year," Seitz said in between FC Dallas’ two-a-day training sessions. "Back to 100 percent and ready to go."
Many people have talked about how this is Fernandez's spot to lose but it seems like Seitz is ready to challenge that notion and impress the coaching staff. It will be interesting to see who's between the pipes when FC Dallas take the field on March 2nd for the season opener.
Avi Creditor at Goal.com has a piece up about the MLS losing some of it's most well known stars this season and how, while it may be a good thing for the players, it's certainly not a good thing for the league.
One of last year's adidas' miCoach commercials -- the one that continues to get played as the most widely seen advertisement for MLS -- prominently features Beckham, Montero, Espinoza and Shea. The lone highlighted carryovers into this season from the ad are Houston's Will Bruin and Portland's Darlington Nagbe. Both players are rising stars in the league with bright futures in their own right, but they are not yet talents who demand the spotlight and draw in neutral fans.
While the Shea deal doesn't look like it's happening until at least this summer, it does seem that the writing is on the wall. Some great points in the article, so give it a read.
How do you guys feel about the young, recognizable faces of MLS going off to Europe to play?
Speaking of young MLS talent possibly headed across the pond, Sky Sports is reporting that Norwich City skipper Chris Hughton has confirmed the Canaries interest in signing Sporting Kansas City forward Kei Kamara.
"Kei Kamara is a player we have made enquiries about, but any progress remains behind closed doors," Hughton said at a press conference ahead of Saturday's FA Cup fourth-round tie against Luton.
Not that Kamara is a huge name in MLS but he's certainly someone that all MLS fans are familiar with. This is a move that would help bolster the Norwich attack and, with the likes of Bunbury, Saad, and Sapong up front it wouldn't be a hugely negative impact on SKC.
On Wednesday MLS announced the long awaited details of the upcoming partnership between Major League Soccer and (US 3rd tier league) USL Pro. Here's MLSSoccer.com's Mathew Doyle with the details.
The two leagues have reached an agreement to integrate MLS Reserve League teams into the USL Pro schedule, a multi-year deal that will feature "interleague" play between MLSRL teams and the 13 USL Pro sides.
Considering the embarrassing amount of games that the MLS Reserve League plays, this can only be a good thing. So much talk is made about young draft picks needing time to develop and, hopefully, this will allow that development to happen.
MLSSoccer.com editor Simon Borg also writes about the potential impact this partnership could have on MLS expansion in the future.
Markets like Orlando, Phoenix, the Carolinas and lately even Tampa Bay have been the topic of MLS expansion chatter in recent months and those first-division dreams will only be fueled by the joining of forces between MLS and the third-division USL Pro.
I'm not as sure as Simon is about expansion possibilities but as I said earlier, this can only be a good thing for MLS, and American soccer in general, and could certainly help build exposure for USL Pro teams and possibly help in growing these markets into MLS ready franchises.
As always guys it's been a blast!