20
Mar

FOX Soccer Exclusive: Julian Green opens up about decision to play for Team USA

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Editor’s note: Julian Green spoke to Ole Pongratz on Tuesday in Munich. This interview has been translated from German to English by FOX Soccer’s Thomas Hautmann.

Ole Pongratz: Reports in the United States said you were to be included in the US training camp ahead of the friendly against Mexico but you have said that this isn’t the case — yet. Can you explain?

Julian Green: Yes, Klinsmann wanted to invite me to the game against Mexico but because it is not an official international match, Bayern had to give me the clearance first. That [only] happened on Tuesday.

OP: Jurgen Klinmann has announced that you have chosen the United States and that you have handed in your request for the one-time association switch with FIFA. What can you tell us about that?

JG: Yes, that’s right: I have decided on the USA and I will play for them from here on out.

OP: And why did you choose the USA?

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21
Feb

The rumored USA kit is very, very blah

Just 110 days before the World Cup, USA fans may have received an early look at what their team will be wearing in Brazil.

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(Image via Todos Sobre Camisetas)

Yikes! It looks more like an Old Navy polo than a soccer jersey. But lucky for all of us, USMNT fans are quite the, umm, creative bunch.

Pour one out for kit nerds everywhere.

11
Feb

USA stars Alex Morgan, Hope Solo honored

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2013 was good to the United States women’s national team.

In their first year with coach Tom Sermanni, the squad was undefeated, posting an impressive 13-0-3 record last year. Not too shabby.

Individuals on the team had incredible years as well. Abby Wambach surpassed Mia Hamm’s all-time scoring record. Sydney Leroux sealed her spot as the next USWNT star.

And on Tuesday, beloved striker Alex Morgan and fierce goalkeeper Hope Solo got some recognition their own: they were nominated by AskMen.com voters as two of the Top 99 Women of 2014.

Not only are Solo and Morgan making waves in soccer, but they’re catching the attention of people across the nation with the impact they’ve made in their field.

Here’s to another amazing year that leads up to a very important one: 2015, and the Women’s World Cup.

14
Jan

How will MLS move impact Michael Bradley’s World Cup preparations?

LAUDERHILL, Fla. – In the middle of a hectic period destined to alter his professional future, Michael Bradley found a few moments to contact a person keenly interested in his decision to move from AS Roma to Toronto FC: United States coach Jürgen Klinsmann.

Bradley said he reached out to Klinsmann recently to chat about his impending $10 million transfer to MLS and explain why he decided to swap Serie A for MLS at the start of a World Cup year.

“He and I spoke at the end of last week,” Bradley told FOX Soccer in a phone interview after his unveiling in Toronto on Monday. “We had a good conversation. He and I have always had an honest relationship. I wanted to him to hear from me what I was thinking and how I was sizing everything up. It was a good conversation.”

The reasons behind the transfer — a thought process Bradley detailed here yesterday — matter far less than its impact on preparing for the World Cup at this stage. The lingering concerns about regular playing time at Roma ended once he agreed to terms with TFC. Now Bradley must simply use the next few months to hone his fitness and obtain his match sharpness before the delegation departs for Brazil.

MLS will not match the tactical and technical demands usually found in the upper reaches of Serie A, but its exacting and rigorous fare will test Bradley in a different fashion. He must navigate through those requirements with the pressure of an expectant public and the weight of a lucrative deal upon his shoulders. The difficulty of the task and the heap of the responsibility for its success or failure poses a considerable challenge, according to Bradley.

“At the end of the day, Jürgen wants guys who aren’t afraid to take risks, who aren’t afraid to put themselves on the line and challenge themselves to be better players, to take more responsibility, to be better leaders,” Bradley said. “That’s what I’m doing in Toronto.”

Several of his international teammates face the same challenges with their MLS sides. Landon Donovan and Omar Gonzalez committed their futures to LA Galaxy last year. Clint Dempsey signed in Seattle. Matt Besler and Graham Zusi stayed the course with Sporting Kansas City. Other players — including potential addition Maurice Edu (linked with a Stateside move by ESPN analyst Taylor Twellman on Tuesday) and recent returnee Michael Parkhurst — now see the league as a viable alternative to plying their trade overseas.

Bradley joined that group when he signed for Toronto FC, but he does not speak for it. Nor does anyone else. This trend place MLS in an awkward position (begrudging respect after World Cup success, vicious excoriation in the wake of failure) without capturing the individual reasons why each of those players made their particular choices to cast their lot at home, Bradley said.

“I’ve always said, at the end of the day, everybody has to make their own decisions,” Bradley said. “Even when I went to Europe and people asked, I always said everybody has to decide what is important to them, what challenges them, what motivates them. I think it’s important, still, for guys in the national team to have and have had the experience of playing in Europe. But, at the same time, guys who choose to play in MLS and challenge themselves by taking big roles here, I think that’s just as important.”

It may or may not represent the ideal path in Klinsmann’s estimation, but it is the route Bradley and several of his peers have chosen. They must now find a way to make it work for them as they spend the next few months preparing for their journey to Brazil.

Photo provided by The Associated Press.

20
Dec

Landon Donovan, Brian McBride headline USMNT’s All-Time Best XI

On Thursday, the United States Soccer released the all-time Best XI for the women’s national team. On Friday, the men’s all-time Best XI were recognized. Just like for the women, the Best XI were voted on by a committee of 56 soccer historians, former players, coaches, media members and administrators at the national team level.

Among the all-timers is Landon Donovan, who received the most votes, as well as current captain Clint Dempsey and goalkeeper Brad Friedel, who edged out Kasey Keller and Tim Howard in what was the tightest race of all the positions. A big congratulations also to FOX Soccer’s very own Brian McBride and Eric Wynalda on forming the top line!

Here’s the full list from the United States Soccer Federation:

Goalkeeper: Brad Friedel 1992-2004 (25 votes)

Defenders

  • Marcelo Balboa 1988-2000 (35)
  • Carlos Bocanegra 2001-2012 (25)
  • Steve Cherundolo 1999-2012 (25)
  • Eddie Pope 1996-2006 (33)

Midfielders

  • Clint Dempsey 2004-present (25)
  • Landon Donovan 2000-present (52)
  • Tab Ramos 1988-2000 (42)
  • Claudio Reyna 1994-2006 (45)

Forwards

  • Brian McBride 1993-2006 (45)
  • Eric Wynalda 1990-2000 (43)

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17
Dec

Fresh new attitude: Nike launches a football icon

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PASADENA, Calif.

With the 2014 World Cup less than six months away, Nike paid homage to its soccer roots by returning to the iconic Rose Bowl to celebrate their highly-anticipated release of the Nike Tiempo V and Tiempo ‘94.

Inspired by the memorable World Cup tournaments that captivated US audiences in 1994 and 1999, respectively, the Tiempo collection bridges innovative design and boot heritage that stars like Spain’s Gerard Pique, England’s Ashley Cole and USA’s Tim Howard will wear next summer.

FOX Soccer was fortunate enough to get a special invite under the Pasadena stars to chat with Nike’s North America Soccer General Manager, Aaron Barnett, regarding the company’s celebratory moment.

So settle in boot junkies, here is the exclusive interview:

Charles Ventura: Mr. Barnett, can you tell us a little bit about the Nike Soccer Tiempo collection? What makes this boot so special?

Aaron Barnett: The new Tiempo Legend V looks back into heritage. The technology and innovation built into the leather boot is the best that we’ve ever had in terms of detail.

The design of the Tiempo Legend V focuses on providing the lightest touch. With the development of a new upper, the Tiempo Legend V mimics the touch and lightweight feel to bring the foot closer to the ball.

It’s a great update to a classic from our original boot from 1994. When you look at the Tiempo ‘94, the sportswear inspired shoe, the Tiempo V takes cues from the original line, with a pulse for the street and soccer pitch. The combination of this one-two punch is what we’re super proud of and shows what Nike’s all about.

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CV: Being outside the lovely Rose Bowl while reintroducing these boots with rich tradition, where does this rank in Nike Soccer history? Does it feel full-circle returning to a venue with major significance?

AB: In many ways, this is the spiritual and emotional home of Nike Soccer starting with the 1994 World Cup and capped by USA’s World Cup final victory in 1999. It’s a very special place and we look back to the Rose Bowl as where it all started. This is our way of paying tribute while also looking forward to the future for inspiration.

CV: People outside the soccer community have gravitated toward this boot collection. Why so?

AB: Nike feels soccer in the United States is part of culture. Whether it’s skaters, artists or people from all walks of life, everyone tends to have some affiliation with the beautiful game either because they’re fans of a certain club or have kids that play. It’s growing in the American psyche and as a partner of the sport, we want to help it grow.

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CV: Now, let’s tackle some personal questions. Who’s your favorite soccer player of all-time and why?

AB: Mia Hamm. Mia espouses the values of hard work, team work and leadership. She’s ranks right up there with my favorite athletes of all-time like Michael Jordan and Michael Johnson.

CV: What do you think of USA’s prospects next summer?

AB: As a fan, I love the US mentality. We always think we can win. With Jurgen Klinsmann coaching, the belief is there. We can grab three points against Ghana, Portugal can be vulnerable as history has shown and we hope for the best against Germany. I remain cautiously optimistic but feel we can push through the group stage.

CV: Any players that stand out to you come Brazil 2014?

AB: Well, of course, Neymar and Cristiano Ronaldo. They’re both dynamic players, it will be interesting to see how they fare after their respective club seasons. Clint Dempsey and Landon Donovan are others that come to mind as well. If they’re ticking, the United States have a serious shot of making some noise next summer.    

CV: And finally, who wins the World Cup next year?

AB: Brazil has to be the perennial favorite. The way Brazil played at the Confederations Cup this past summer and the way they’re gelling under Felipe Scolari is noteworthy. Obviously, you can’t rule out Germany, Argentina and the Netherlands. But Brazil remain the team to beat, especially with the entire nation behind their backs. It’s their tournament to lose.

CV: Thank you for your time, Mr. Barnett.

Editor’s note: For more information on Nike’s special boot, click on the video below:

Images provided by Nike Soccer.

21
Jun

USWNT celebrates Abby Wambach record with the Tootsie Roll

The USWNT is at it again. After their 5-0 victory over Korea Republic which saw Abby Wambach break Mia Hamm’s all-time scoring record, the squad decided a celebration was in order.

Rather than Sydney Leroux’s traditional postgame cool down of prancercising, the team stepped it up by doing The Tootsie Roll.

Keep the awesome celebrations coming ladies.

Bonus Abby Wambach congratulatory tweet:

4
Jun

Sydney Leroux’s key to success: Prancercising

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US women’s national team forward Sydney Leroux is making a name for herself both on and off the field.

In this weekend’s friendly against Canada, Leroux scored the final goal in a 3-0 victory. Unfortunately, she was also subject to racist and sexist tweets leading up to the match.

For those paying attention, the 23-year-old recently revealed her pregame secret that leads to success: Prancercising. Described as an “exercise revolution,” this hilarious exercise was made famous by a viral video which is a must-watch.

Here’s a peek into her mock pregame routine prior to the Canada match:

Not only is it an effective pregame warmup, it’s a great postgame cool down. She even got Alex Morgan and a few other USA teammates to join in on the routine: