The U.S. Soccer Federation is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year and has often highlighted various important moments through out its history.
Yesterday, fourteen years ago, Portland Thorns FC head coach Cindy Parlow Cone - then just Cindy Parlow -helped make history providing the key assist to fellow U.S. Women's National Team legend Mia Hamm on her 108th career international goal in a friendly against Brazil. That strike put Hamm atop the list for most international goals scored by any male or female player in history.
Hamm went on to score 158 goals in 275 total caps. Cone, no slouch herself, bagged 75 goals in 175 career caps.
Current Western New York Flash forward Abby Wambach is closing in on Hamm's record though. She sits at 155. Portland's Alex Morgan, still only 23, has 42, and Christine Sinclair is third on the all-time list with 145 goals.
While Bolton's Stuart Holden looks like a lock to make Jurgen Klinsmann's squad for this summer's Gold Cup, according to Soccer America, Alejandro Bedoya is also making his case to be included in the team--if not for the upcoming World Cup qualifiers in June. Currently playing with Helsingborgs in Sweden, the one-time Rangers midfielder put in this great assist against BK Häcken.
Landon Donovan's near term future with the USMNT has also been a topic of late given his long leave of absence during the offseason. Sports Illustrated's Grant Wahl recently reported that Klinsmann plans to omit the LA Galaxy star from the upcoming World Cup qualifiers as well as friendlies. Klinsmann had hinted earlier this spring that this may be the case saying, "there are players clearly ahead of Landon Donovan right now."
Wahl goes on to say though that the Gold Cup roster could remain a possiblity for the U.S. star. You can also hear more about Wahl's thoughts on the Gold Cup in the last edition of the Backcut Podcast.
For a guy with 144 caps and 49 goals for the national team, it seems like the Gold Cup could be a good stage to work him back into the mix. What do you think? Who should feature for the USMNT in this Gold Cup tournament? Get your tickets now for the July 9 match against Belize.
UPDATE: Donovan addressed the situation on the Galaxy's All-Access Podcast on Tuesday saying, “Jurgen and I have consistently spoken over many months now. I was not aware that that was information that was already made public. Jurgen has not told me that it was definitive that I wouldn't be there – you never know. All I can do, as I've said all along, is do what I do."
World Cup qualifiers. Gold Cup roster. Donovan probably fits in there somewhere. The question is where and when.
A busy summer awaits for Jurgen Klinsmann and his USMNT squad as they'll have key World Cup qualifiers in June followed by the CONCACAF Gold Cup in July.
Portland will host two group stage matches in a double header on July 9 with US vs. Belize and Costa Rica against Cuba. Who Klinsmann will bring to Portland has been a big discussion but there's at least one name that has surfaced: Bolton's Stuart Holden.
The ex-Houston Dynamo midfielder became a key player in the EPL before a series of injuries tripped him up. Now on the comeback with a number of appearances on loan with Sheffield Wednesday, Klinsmann said of Holden, "I spoke to his coach at Bolton, and spoke to his coach at Sheffield Wednesday where he played some very important minutes and games while on loan. He’s on his way back. That being said, we want to have him back in our picture. We are going to bring him for the May-June camp, and also for the Gold Cup.”
Read more about the story over at ussoccer.com, watch video on Holden's inspiring comeback below, listen to SI's Grant Wahl talk about what to expect with this summer's Gold Cup and then get tickets for the Gold Cup showdown at JELD-WEN Field.
Grant Wahl knows this as well as anybody, which is why he came to town to see the Portland's 2-1 home opener win against Seattle Reign FC as part of a larger story for Sports Illustrated on the Thorns' Alex Morgan.
Wahl, a longtime college basketball and soccer writer for SI, really made his mark in 2009 with his excellent book, The Beckham Experiment: How the World's Most Famous Athlete Tried to Conquer America. Written in near real-time during the MLS season, it was an in-depth look not only into Beckham’s arrival with the LA Galaxy but also an inside look into Major League Soccer as a whole entity.
Since the book, Wahl has covered World Cups and international soccer along with a bid for for the FIFA presidency on a platform of more transparency. Through it all, he has continued to tell insightful stories across the soccer universe.
I sat down with him to talk about his impressions of the Thorns home opener, where MLS is at now near four years past his book and the importance of this summer’s CONCACAF Gold Cup to the U.S. Men’s National Team..
The Backcut Podcast sits at the intersection of Timbers, Thorns, soccer & culture to explore the unique elements of the beautiful game. You can subscribe to The Backcut on iTunes in the same feed as the Talk Timbers podcast.
Thorns FC forward Alex Morgan scores on 100th birthday of U.S. Soccer; Christine Sinclair assists for Canada
On the U.S. Soccer Federation's 100th birthday, Thorns FC forward Alex Morgan and the U.S. Women's National Team had a bit of a crazy game against Germany this morning. Despite taking a 3-1 lead on goals by Abby Wambach (47th minute), Megan Rapinoe (55) and Morgan (71), Germany battled back with two late goals in the 85th and 86th minute in front of 16,090 fans in Offenbach, Germany. Second-half sub Sydney Leroux had a late effort saved off the line in one of the wilder games in recent U.S. WNT memory.
Morgan started and played the full 90 minutes for the United States, while Thorns FC defender Rachel Buehler was an unused substitute. Midfielder Tobin Heath, who will join Thorns FC this summer after playing out her contract with French side Paris Saint-Germain, entered the match in the 77th minute for Heather O'Reilly.
Morgan's goal in the 71st minute came off a long, curling pass over the top of Germany's defense from FC Kansas City midfielder Lauren Cheney.
On Thursday morning, Thorns FC forward Christine Sinclair and the Canada Women's National Team tangled with France in a rematch of the London 2012 Olympics bronze-medal match (which Canada won). Despite going down 1-0 during first-half stoppage time on a well-placed Elodie Thomis goal, Canada kept it close and struck late in second-half stoppage time.
Sinclair collected a deflected ball and slipped a pass right into the path of Kaylyn Kyle in the fourth-minute of second-half stoppage time and Kyle netted the equalizer for Canada in front of 5,783 fans at Stade du Ray in Nice, France. Thorns FC goalkeeper Karina LeBlanc was an unused sub for the match.
Canada is back in action on Sunday, April 7 at 7 a.m. (Pacific) against England at New York Stadium in Rotherham, England. The U.S. Women's National Team visits The Hague, Netherlands on Tuesday, April 9, for a 10 a.m. (PT) match against the Netherlands at Kyocera Stadium.
So you may have heard there was some snow in Denver tonight for the USA vs. Costa Rica Hex World Cup Qualifier. Dempsey gave the U.S. the 1-0 win.
With the U.S. Men's National Team busy preparing for their World Cup Qualifier against Costa Rica tomorrow night (7pm PT, ESPN), KICKTV has put together this very nice primer on just what the Hexagonal is. In short, it's the long and difficult pathway for CONCACAF teams to qualify for the World Cup.
Elsewhere in the Hex, Timbers forward Ryan Johnson and goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts go to battle for Jamaica as they take on Panama in Kingston on Friday evening at 6:30pm PT. Updates throughout the match can be found via the Jamaican Football Federation's Twitter feed @ItsTheJFF.
Over in Africa, Futty Danso joined the Scorpions of The Gambia National Team for a World Cup qualifier on Saturday against Ivory Coast. In a tune-up friendly this week against Niger, Danso scored the second goal in a 3-1 win.
Also in action tomorrow is Timbers midfielder Will Johnson whose Canadian Men's National Team is in Qatar for a friendly against Japan.
Good afternoon from the Doha Sports City in Qatar. The facilities are immaculate. twitter.com/WillJohnson04/…
— Will Johnson (@WillJohnson04) March 19, 2013
Follow @CanadaSoccerEN for updates tomorrow beginning at 9am PT.
Timbers Academy co-director wrapped up his trip to France as part of a special MLS partnership with the French Football Federation. After partaking in a number of classes at the FFF's Clarefontaine national training center, Smith was able to spend some time with Ligue 1's Paris St. Germain to observe their academy system.
The PSG website had an article about the Smith and the other MLS Academy coaches (FRENCH) but Smith's time there also included some opportunities to see the French club's first team in action as well as their dramatic UEFA Champions League victory over Spain's Valencia:
Started observation week at PSG and got tickets to see their away game at Reims who were near bottom of the French table. PSG lost 1-0 to 10 men. Great atmosphere of sell out 25,000 but not like JELD-WEN!
Met with the PSG Academy Director and head coaches and watched their U19 and U17’s train today. There was a unique session for 30 minutes on the beach soccer court they have next to their field to help improve their team strength. Today was the only day of the week that they do daily double, which was interesting to see the workload.
In between sessions we got to tour their residential facility and eat lunch in their player’s cafeteria. Tomorrow we are heading back to their regional training center to see the U15 Parisian Region play which includes 8 PSG players and 3 players from Clairefontaine--French Federation Residency program.
After that, we are heading to the Champions League game, PSG v Valencia! It has been an incredible trip so far and very worthwhile.
Sometimes that which is local goes global. This is particularly true of the culture of soccer and how it can reach around the world. For the Timbers and their fans, there is a special bond between supporter and club. One area where this is particularly true is how many Portland season ticket holders reach out to the club via their season ticket holder services representative to share their stories about their travels and experiences as a fan.
Case in point: season ticket holder Sean Ingersoll reached out to Timbers ticket services manager Leigh Calvert about his travels in Africa with some great pictures; pictures that had a particular Cascadian bent. An avid soccer player himself, Ingersoll and his friends have often challenged themselves to play soccer in remote environments. And when I say remote, I mean places like, Mt. Kilimanjaro, Tanzania.
Ingersoll picks up the story:
Some friends and I decided it would be fun to go to Tanzania and climb Kilimanjaro. We have all played on the same GPSD adult soccer team, FC77 Rangers, and we try to play soccer in some unique environments. In 2010 we climbed to the top of South Sister and had a 3v3 match in the snow-filled crater at 10,300’…which was awesome. This year we decided to go to Africa and climb the mountain with Zara Tours, maybe even kick a ball around on the top. Zara sponsors several charity projects in Tanzania, including an orphanage in Moshi. We thought it would be a decent gesture to bring some school supplies and soccer gear so we passed the word around to our kid’s soccer teams, friends, co-workers and the effort just exploded. I think we collected over 250 lbs. of paper, notebooks, pens, 50-ish pairs of used and new soccer boots, balls, pumps, socks, etc. So we paid for the extra baggage and shipped all of the goods with us to Tanzania for the kids at the orphanage. We met the kids and teachers--it was an incredible experience.
In the top picture, Jim Snyder and I are both from Portland and Timbers fans. My buddy Shawn Mulqueeney is from Issaquah and is a Sounders fan. I suggested we bring our scarves for a summit picture and he agreed that would be fun. About two days into the climb, we got out a soccer ball and invited the porters to kick around with us (middle picture). The elevation was 12,800’. What was amazing about that was the mood of the climb seemed to change after that, from clients/porters to friends. Ah, the power of football. We summited on the third day, got out the scarves, and proved that Cascadia has the best and most hard-core soccer fans around. I did have a ball in my summit pack, but I could barely lift my foot more than 3” to take the next step, much less juggle or head a ball. One kick and I’m certain it would have rolled all the wall back down to the Kenyan border! So we hung out with the glaciers for about twenty minutes, took our pictures, and came back down.
Between stoking a rivalry around the world as well as making a difference in a foreign community, Ingersoll is clearly having an impact. Got a story of your own Timbers fandom from around the world? Send us a note at email@example.com.
Portland Timbers Academy co-director Mike Smith continues his time in France through an elite level training course as part of a special partnership between MLS and the French Football Federation. Here's his latest update.
Today was more sport psychology, and they introduced game analysis and charting, which we put into practice as we got to watch their first year students play in a game. They are born in 1999 and they played a friendly against another youth pro team. The 99’s won 6-0 and were impressive! A number of top European Scouts were there too.
We also watched the Parisian Center of Excellence players (1998’s) training. They did well and have certainly looked to play an attractive attacking style of football ever since we arrived here. This was the third time we have seem them train on different themes.
The photos are the statue they have of the world cup they won in 1998, the 1999’s (in red) in their game this afternoon and the French Sports Scientist showing us the data they were tracking by heart monitors and GPS of their young players…
The final one is the designated first team (National Team) pitch where finally the snow is melting. It is reserved only for the National Team and is in pristine condition. The Chateau where we are staying overlooks it. The field is so well kept, that it has electric wire about it to keep out the wild boars!