MLS Rosters As 2020 Begins

MIAMI, Fla. (December 30, 2019) —

With the Expansion Draft in the rearview mirror and every MLS team announcing its roster moves this week, we can now take stock on where all 26 MLS teams stand heading into the winter.

Bradley Wright-Phillips, Miguel Ibarra and Roman Torres are just some of the players in search of new clubs next season after leaving their MLS clubs this winter.

Some players have already made big offseason moves, including Luis Robles moving to Inter Miami, Sacha Kljestan returning home to join the LA Galaxy, and Brooks Lennon heading to Atlanta United to name a few.

We have also seen some big-name veterans signing new deals with their long-time clubs, including Diego Valeri in Portland and Michael Bradley with Toronto FC.

Among the most recent moves were, the New England Revolution signed Polish striker Adam Buksa as a new designated player, while the Columbus Crew landed their playmaker in Argentine playmaker Lucas Zelarayan and the Vancouver Whitecaps added a top striker in Lucas Cavallini.

With a busy offseason continuing to push forward this week, here’s an updated look at every MLS team’s current roster heading into 2020, and every player currently under contract for the upcoming season.

(UPDATED through December 29th)

Atlanta United

Goalkeepers: Brad Guzan, Alec Kann, Brendan Moore.

Defenders: George Bello, George Campbell, Franco Escobar, Jon Gallagher, Leandro Gonzalez Pirez, Jeff Larentowicz, Miles Robinson.

Midfielders: Mo Adams, Ezequiel Barco, Andrew Carleton, Luiz Fernando, Julian Gressel, Emerson Hyndman, Brooks Lennon, Eric Remedi.

Forwards: Lagos Kunga, Josef Martinez, Pity Martinez, Dion Pereira, Hector Villalba.

Chicago Fire

Goalkeepers: Kenneth Kronholm, Gabriel Slonina.

Defenders: : Jonathan Bornstein, Francisco Calvo, Johan Kappelhof, Marcelo, Andre Reynolds II, Nicholas Slonina.

Midfielders: Micheal Azira, Brandt Bronico, Raheem Edwards, Przemysław Frankowski, Jeremiah Gutjahr, Fabian Herbers, Álvaro Medran, Djordje Mihailovic.

Forward: CJ Sapong.

FC Cincinnati

Goalkeepers: Jimmy Hague, Ben Lundt, Spencer Richey, Przemysław Tyton.

Defenders: Zico Bailey, Mathieu Deplagne, Greg Garza, Logan Gdula, Andrew Gutman, Nick Hagglund, Hassan Ndam, Maikel van der Werff, Kendall Waston.

Midfielders: Fatai Alashe, Frankie Amaya, Leonardo Bertone, Allan Cruz, Joe Gyau, Tommy McCabe, Haris Medunjanin, Caleb Stanko.

Forwards: Fanendo Adi, Rashawn Dally, Kekuta Manneh, Darren Mattocks.

Colorado Rapids

Goalkeeper: Clint Irwin, Andre Rawls.

Defenders: Lalas Abubakar, Sebastian Anderson, Kortne Ford, Drew Moor, Abdul Rwatubyaye, Keegan Rosenberry, Auston Trusty, Sam Vines, Danny Wilson, Deklan Wynne.

Midfielders: Kellyn Acosta, Cole Bassett, Nicolas Mezquida, Jack Price.

Forwards: Matt Hundley, Kei Kamara, Jonathan Lewis, Niki Jackson, Sam Nicholson, Diego Rubio, Andre Shinyashiki.

Columbus Crew

Goalkeepers: Jon Kempin, Matt Lampson, Eloy Room

Defenders: Chris Cadden, Waylon Francis, Hector Jimenez, Aboubacar Keita, Jonathan Mensah, Axel Sjöberg, Milton Valenzuela, Josh Williams, Vito Wormgoor.

Midfielders: Artur, Luis Diaz, Youness Mokhtar, Darlington Nagbe, Pedro Santos, Wil Trapp, Lucas Zelarayan

Forwards: Jordan Hamilton, JJ Williams, Gyasi Zardes

FC Dallas

Goalkeepers: Jesse Gonzalez, Jimmy Maurer, Kyle Zobeck.

Defenders: Bressan, Ryan Hollingshead, John Nelson, Callum Montgomery, Reto Ziegler, Reggie Cannon, Matt Hedges,

Midfielders: Bryan Acosta, Pablo Aranguiz, Santiago Mosquera, Michael Barrios, Edwin Cerrillo, Jacori Hayes, Brandon Servania, Paxton Pomykal, Thomas Roberts,

Forwards: Francis Atuahene, Dominique Badji, Jesus Ferreira, Zdenek Ondrasek, Ricardo Pepi, Fafa Picault, Bryan Reynolds, Dante Sealy, Ewa Twumasi.

D.C. United

Goalkeepers: Bill Hamid, Chris Seitz.

Defenders: Steven Birnbaum, Frederic Brillant, Oniel Fisher, Joseph Mora, Chris Odoi-Atsem, Donovan Pines.

Midfielders: Paul Arriola, Yamil Asad, Emmanuel Boateng, Russell Canouse, Felipe Martins, Júnior Moreno, Moses Nyeman, Ulises Segura, Griffin Yow.

Forward: Ola Kamara

Houston Dynamo

Goalkeepers: Michael Nelson.

Defenders: Jose Bizama, Victor Cabrera, Alejandro Fuenmayor, Sam Junqua, Adam Lundkvist, Erik McCue, Kiki Struna, Zarek Valentin.

Midfielders: Darwin Ceren, Boniek García, Niko Hansen, Tomás Martínez, Tommy McNamara, Memo Rodriguez, Matias Vera.

Forwards: Alberth Elis, Mauro Manotas, Ronaldo Peña, Darwin Quintero, Christian Ramirez, Michael Salazar.

LAFC

Goalkeepers: Pablo Sisniega.

Defenders: Tristan Blackmon, Mohamed El-Munir, Diego Palacios, Eddie Segura, Danilo Silva, Walker Zimmerman.

Midfielders: Eduard Atuesta, Latif Blessing, Francisco Ginella, Alejandro Guido, Mark-Anthony Kaye.

Forwards: Adama Diomande, Danny Musovski, Adrien Perez, Josh Pérez, Brian Rodriguez, Diego Rossi, Carlos Vela, Rodolfo Zelaya.

Los Angeles Galaxy

Goalkeepers: David Bingham, Justin Vom Steeg.

Defenders: Julian Araujo, Rolf Feltscher, Giancarlo Gonzalez, Jorgen Skjelvik, Daniel Steres, Diedie Traore.

Midfielders:  Efrain Alvarez, Joe Corona, Emil Cuello, Jonathan dos Santos, Perry Kitchen, Sacha Kljestan, Sebastian Lletget.

Forwards: Cristian Pavon, Ethan Zubak.

Inter Miami CF

Goalkeeper: John McCarthy, Bryan Meredith, Luis Robles.

Defenders: Mikey Ambrose, A.J. De La Garza, Grant Lillard, Christian Makoun, Alvas Powell, Ben Sweat, Román Torres.

Midfielders: Lee Nguyen, Luis Argudo, George Acosta, Jay Chapman, David Norman Jr., Matias Pellegrini, Victor Ulloa.

Forwards: Julian Carranza, Jerome Kiesewetter, Juan Agudelo.

Minnesota United

Goalkeeper: Dayne St. Clair.

Defenders: Michael Boxall, Chase Gasper, Brent Kallman, Romain Metanire, Ike Opara, Wyatt Omsberg.

Midfielders: Osvaldo Alonso, Hassani Dotson, Thomas Chacon, Ethan Finlay, Jan Gregus, Kevin Molino, Robin Lod.

Forwards: Angelo Rodriguez, Mason Toye.

Impact de Montréal

Goalkeepers: Evan Bush, James Pantemis.

Defenders: Rudy Camacho, Jukka Raitala, Karifa Yao, Jorge Corrales

Midfielders: Bojan Krkic, Clement Bayiha, Mathieu Choiniere, Ignacio Piatti, Samuel Piette, Romell Quioto, Amar Sejdic, Shamit Shome, Saphir Taider, Lassi Lappalainen.

Forwards: Anthony Jackson-Hamel, Maxi Urruti,

Nashville SC

Goalkeepers: Adrian Zendejas, Joe Willis.

Defenders: Jalil Anibaba, Brayan Beckeles, Jimmy Medranda, Daniel Lovitz, Eric Miller, Dave Romney.

Midfielders: Anibal Godoy, Derrick Jones, Dax McCarty, Randall Leal, Hany Mukhtar.

Forwards: David Accam, Dominique Badji, Abu Danladi, Cameron Lancaster, Daniel Rios.

New England Revolution

Goalkeepers: Matt Turner, Brad Knighton.

Defenders: Alexander Buttner, Brandon Bye, Samba Camara, Antonio Delamea, Andrew Farrell, Michael Mancienne, Seth Sinovic.

Midfielders: Issac Angking, Scott Caldwell, Luis Caicedo, Diego Fagundez, Nicolas Firmino, Carles Gil, DeJuan Jones, Damian Rivera, Kelyn Rowe, Wilfried Zahibo.

Forwards: Adam Buksa, Gustavo Bou, Tajon Buchanan, Teal Bunbury, Cristian Penilla, Justin Rennicks

New York City FC

Goalkeepers: Luis Barraza, Sean Johnson, Brad Stuver.

Defenders: Alexander Callens, Maxime Chanot, Tayvon Gray, Sebastien Ibeagha, Ronald Matarrita, James Sands, Joe Scally, Anton Tinnerholm.

Midfielders: Justin Haak, Maxi Moralez, Alex Ring, Tony Rocha, Juan Pablo Torres.

Forwards: Valentin Castellanos, Héber, Gary Mackay-Steven, Jesus Medina, Alexandru Mitriță, Ismael Tajouri-Shradi.

New York Red Bulls

Goalkeeper: Kendall McIntosh, Ryan Meara.

Defenders: Rece Buckmaster, Kyle Duncan, Kemar Lawrence, Aaron Long, Sean Nealis, Tim Parker and Amro Tarek.

Midfielders: Cristian Casseres Jr., Sean Davis, Omir Fernandez, Kaku, Ben Mines, Alex Muyl, Danny Royer, Marc Rzatkowski, Florian Valot.

Forwards: Tom Barlow, Mathias Jørgensen, Brian White

Orlando City

Goalkeepers: Brian Rowe.

Defenders: Kamal Miller, Kyle Smith, Robin Jansson, Joao Moutinho.

Midfielders: Jordan Bender, David Loera, Sebastian Mendez, Andres Perea, Mauricio Pereyra, Robinho, Uri Rosell.

Forwards: Tesho Akindele, Chris Mueller, Santiago Patino, Dom Dwyer, Josue Colman, Benji Michel, Nani.

Philadelphia Union

Goalkeepers: Andre Blake, Matt Freese, Joe Bendik.

Defenders: Jack Elliott, Raymon Gaddis, Olivier Mbaizo, Mark McKenzie, Matt Real, Kai Wagner.

Midfielders: Brenden Aaronson, Alejandro Bedoya, Warren Creavalle, Jack De Vries, Anthony Fontana, Jose Martinez, Cole Turner.

Forwards: Cory Burke, Michee Ngalina, Kacper Przybylko, Sergio Santos, Andrew Wooten.

Portland Timbers

Goalkeepers: Jeff Attinella, Aljaz Ivacic.

Defenders: Julio Cascante, Marco Farfan, Larrys Mabiala, Bill Tuiloma, Jorge Villafana, Dario Zuparic, Jorge Moreira.

Midfielders: Dairon Asprilla, Sebastian Blanco, Diego Chara, Tomas Conechny, Andres Flores, Marvin Loria, Andy Polo, Diego Valeri, Eryk Williamson, Renzo Zambrano.

Forward: Jeremy Ebobisse.

Real Salt Lake

Goalkeepers: David Ochoa, Andrew Putna.

Defenders: Justen Glad, Aaron Herrera, Erik Holt, Nedum Onuoha.

Midfielders: Luis Arriaga, Nick Besler, Damir Kreilach, Everton Luiz, Justin Portillo, Pablo Ruiz, Albert Rusnák.

Forwards: Corey Baird, Sam Johnson, Douglas Martinez, Jefferson Savarino, Tate Schmitt, Julian Vazquez.

San Jose Earthquakes

Goalkeepers: Matt Bersano, JT Marcinkowski, Emi Ochoa, Andrew Tarbell, Daniel Vega.

Defenders: Jacob Akanyirige, Florian Jungwirth, Guram Kashia, Nick Lima, Marcos Lopez, Paul Marie, Tommy Thompson, Casey Walls.

Midfielders: Eric Calvillo, Magnus Eriksson, Cristian Espinoza, Luis Felipe, Carlos Fierro, Gilbert Fuentes, Siad Haji, Judson, Vako, Shea Salinas, Jackson Yueill.

Forwards: Cade Cowell, Danny Hoesen, Andy Rios, Chris Wondolowski.

Seattle Sounders

Goalkeepers: Stefan Cleveland, Stefan Frei, Trey Muse.

Defenders: Xavier Arreaga, Joevin Jones, Kelvin Leerdam, Nouhou Tolo.

Midfielders: Handwalla Bwana, Emanuel Cecchini, Jordy Delem, Danny Leyva, Nicolás Lodeiro, Cristian Roldan, Gustav Svensson.

Forwards: Will Bruin, Justin Dhillon, Jordan Morris, Alfonso Ocampo-Chavez and Raúl Ruidíaz

Sporting Kansas City

Goalkeepers: Eric Dick, Tim Melia, Richard Sanchez.

Defenders: Botond Barath, Matt Besler, Andreu Fontas, Jaylin Lindsey, Luis Martins, Roberto Puncec, Graham Smith, Graham Zusi.

Midfielders: Gianluca Busio, Cameron Duke, Roger Espinoza, Felipe Gutierrez, Felipe Hernandez, Ilie Sanchez, Wan Kuzain.

Forwards: Gerso Fernandes, Tyler Freeman, Erik Hurtado, Alan Pulido, Johnny Russell, Daniel Salloi, Khiry Shelton.

Toronto FC

Goalkeepers: Alex Bono, Quentin Westberg.

Defenders: Auro Jr., Laurent Ciman, Julian Dunn, Omar Gonzalez, Richie Laryea, Chris Mavinga, Justin Morrow, Eriq Zavaleta.

Midfielders: Nick DeLeon, Marky Delgado, Griffin Dorsey, Tsubasa Endoh, Liam Fraser, Erickson Gallardo, Michael Bradley, Noble Okello, Jonathan Osorio, Alejandro Pozuelo, Jacob Shaffelburg.

Forwards: Ayo Akinola, Jozy Altidore, Patrick Mullins, Juan Agudelo.

Vancouver Whitecaps

Goalkeeper: Maxime Crepeau, Thomas Hasal, Zac MacMath

Defenders: Ali Adnan, Derek Cornelius, Jasser Khmiri, Georges Mukumbilwa, Jake Nerwinski

Midfielders: Michael Baldisimo, Simon Colyn, Jon Erice, Inbeom Hwang, Andy Rose, Russell Teibert

Forwards: Theo Bair, Lucas Cavallini, Fredy Montero, Yordy Reyna, Tosaint Ricketts


Fútbol Manager 2020: Inter Miami CF Confirm First Manager In Club History

Uruguayan becomes first manager at Inter Miami.

Has coached both CF Monterrey and CF Pachuca to Concacaf Champions League titles.

MIAMI, Fla. (December 30, 2019) —

At last. They found their manager.

Uruguayan Diego Alonso has been named the first head coach at Club Internacional de Fútbol Miami.

More on this breaking news was posted earlier this morning, prior to the team’s confirmation, over on our Inter Miami-dedicated site, Inter Miami Hoy:

Inter Miami Hoy.com 2019/12/30 – Inter Miami Hire Diego Alonso As First Manager, Announcement Expected Today

Rumours of his hiring had been circulating for days and the club made an official announcement via its Twitter account at 11:01 a.m. EST morning.

Alonso arrives in Vice City with an already impressive list of trophies and accomplishments which he will certainly be looking to add to with the Rosanegro

Image courtesy of Inter Miami CF

For starters, Alonso is the only person to have coached two different teams to Concacaf titles and he’s now the second coach in MLS to have won that tournament before.

“In Diego we found a manager that fits our culture and has a strong desire to build a winning club for our fans. He brings a lot of experience and championship-winning mentality as we begin our drive to be among the best clubs in the Americas,” Inter Miami sporting director Paul McDonough said. “We have big aspirations for our club and believe Diego has the right drive, passion and leadership to accomplish our goals.”

RCD Mallorca and Konami Announce Partnership

The agreement will see the gaming conglomerate, famous for the Pro Evolution Soccer (PES) video game series, sponsor the team for the remainder of the season

PALMA DE MALLORCA (December 21, 2019) —

Real Club Deportivo Mallorca, the oldest football club in the Balearic Islands, has announced that a sponsorship agreement was signed with Konami that will run until the 30th of June 2020.

The deal will see the inclusion of Los Bermellones in PES2020, alongside the much bigger clubs like FC Barcelona, Bayern München, Juventus and Manchester United, while Mallorca players Take Kubo, Aleix Febas, Salva Sevilla, Iddrisu Baba, Cucho Hernández and Lago Junior underwent 3D facial scanning at the Estadio Son Moix to ensure their likenesses appear in ultra-realistic graphics.

Later this month the rest of the squad will receive the same treatment ahead of an update scheduled for the 16th of December in addition to the inclusion of the Estadio Son Moix in the renowned videogame. Here is the official videoclip released by Konami. Putting it in basic terms, it’s pretty cool.

Video Courtesy of Konami

Partnership Activations

To activate the partnership, Konami said it will run campaigns in all PES titles that will allow gamers to sign six Mallorca players for free. The club and Konami will also jointly run a number of event activations.

Maheta Molango, RCD Mallorca CEO, had this to say about the new agreement:

“For us, this is so much more than a sponsorship,” Molango said at the announcement’s press conference. “We are making a step into the digital world, which is now not only a possibility for clubs but a necessity and what better partner to do that with than Konami. In addition to this, Japan is more than Takefusa Kubo, who is the most relevant player in his country. There is a very important history between RCD Mallorca and Japan with Yoshito Okubo and Akihiro Ienaga. Together with Take, that’s three of the seven Japanese players to have scored in La Liga.

“Lastly, it’s an honour to share this space with E Football PES2020 with clubs such as FC Barcelona, Juventus, Manchester and Bayern Munich. All of this is an honour, people recognise the hard work and brand, which is a step that we are very proud of.”

“For us, there is no better ambassador in Japan than Konami, with good values and a serious brand that thinks globally and that is the key to penetrating the Japanese market. It’s a mutual benefit for the two of us.”

Hosoda Manorito, Konami’s Pro Evolution Soccer Marketing Producer was equally enthusiastic:

“It’s an honour to be at RCD Mallorca’s side now that there are a lot of Japanese people who follow the club because of Take Kubo,” Manorito said at the live-streamed event. “Seeing Kubo triumphing outside of Japan makes us proud as fans from the country. That shows all the children that it is possible to reach the elite of European football.”

m1

Anuncio oficial en castellano:

El club más antiguo de las Islas Baleares, RCD Mallorca, es el último equipo en unirse a la familia PES

Konami Digital Entertainment B.V. ha anunciado a los aspirantes de la Liga Española, al RCD Mallorca como su último Club Partner para eFootball PES 2020.

Gracias a este anuncio, los jugadores del RCD Mallorca podrán ver sus caras y tatuajes escaneados en 3D, recreados en la última versión del juego. Las nuevas caras de los jugadores que se incluirán son:

  • Salva Sevilla
  • Manolo Reina
  • Lago Junior
  • Ante Budimir
  • Aleix Febas
  • Cucho Hernández
  • Takefusa Kubo
  • Iddrisu Baba

Para celebrar esta última edición de la familia PES, se lanzará una nueva campaña de jugadores de regalo que comenzará el 16 de diciembre en todos los títulos de PES*, recompensando a los usuarios con los siguientes seis jugadores del RCD Mallorca:

  • Salva Sevilla
  • Lago Junior
  • Aleix Febas
  • Cucho Hernández
  • Takefusa Kubo
  • Iddrisu Baba

*Incluyen eFootball PES 2020 (PC / Consola / Móvil), PES Club Manager y PES Card Collection.

El acuerdo oficial entre KONAMI y el RCD Mallorca también contará con un aumento de eventos locales y activaciones entre las dos organizaciones.

Maheta Molango, CEO de RCD Mallorca ha comentado: “Este nuevo acuerdo con KONAMI es un paso adelante para el club en tres aspectos. En primer lugar, para continuar con la digitalización del RCD Mallorca, creemos que alinearnos con KONAMI es fundamental para avanzar de esta manera y adquirir nuevas oportunidades. Además de esto y en el contexto de nuestra expansión en Japón más allá de la inmensa contribución de Take Kubo, una afiliación con el conglomerado de entretenimiento del país es esencial para nuestro mayor crecimiento. Y, por último, nos sentimos honrados de que una compañía como KONAMI, consolidada y con gran atractivo a nivel mundial, quiera impulsar nuestro proyecto para su crecimiento en un mercado tan estratégico como el fútbol español”.

eFootball-PES2020_RCD-MALLORCA_Campaign_EN

Jonas Lygaard, Senior Director Brand & Business Development de Konami Digital Entertainment, B.V. ha declarado: “Siempre nos hemos sentido orgullosos de nuestra capacidad de forjar relaciones duraderas e impactantes con clubes de fútbol de todo el mundo. El anuncio de hoy de nuestra asociación con el RCD Mallorca nos presenta nuevas y emocionantes oportunidades para relacionarnos con nuestro público español”.

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The Miami FC To Join USL Championship For 2020 Season. How It Happened & Why It's A Positive Move

Club will begin season in March 2020

Home games will be at Riccardo Silva Stadium On The FIU Campus

MIAMI, Fla. (December 12, 2019) —

The Miami Football Club will once again be in the second division of U.S. Soccer. The fifth-year club, which began life in and became one of the flagship teams in the now-defunct NASL, has played the last two seasons in the NPSL and NISA, lower level leagues outside of the official division sanctioning of U.S. Soccer.

Statement Released by the Miami FC on December 11, 2019

The team will join the United Soccer Leagues and begin play in the USL Championship in March, 2020 with its home games to be played at Riccardo Silva Stadium on the campus of Florida International University (“FIU”) in the western part of Miami-Dade County. That venue was renamed in 2017 by FIU in recognition of Silva’s financial contributions to the college’s athletic programs. It marks a full time return to that venue for the first time since 2017.

The news was announced at last week’s USL 2019 Annual Winter Summit, held in Orlando. Miami FC sporting personnel and club employees were present, holding meetings and attending sessions.

The Mechanics

The pathway to the USL Championship bears the label “Made in Canada / Fait au Canada.” Here is the background: The Ottawa Fury was owned by Ottawa Sports and Entertainment Group (“OSEG”). The club joined the NASL in 2014, later moving from the NASL to the USL in 2017. The club has averaged nearly 5,000 fans over the past three seasons, and reached the USL Championship Playoffs in 2019. On November 8, 2019, The Fury announced a suspension of their operations. after receiving news that their sanctioning to play in USL would not be renewed. This was not entirely unexpected, as Ottawa had to fight to receive sanctioning from Concacaf prior to the 2019 season, and Concacaf had been clear that the licensing would be for 2019 only. The confederation has been accused of trying to force Fury FC into the Canadian Premier League, something the club’s owners did not wish to do.

Relocation of the franchise to the United States was one of the ways the franchise could continue in the USL Championship, since it eliminated the need for approval from Canada Soccer, U.S. Soccer and Concacaf. Moreover, a relocation clause was contained in the club’s franchise agreement with the USL.

Last Wednesday, OSEG announced that they had exercised those contractual rights to relocate. Under the arrangement, Ottawa Fury are officially relocating to Miami pursuant to their USL franchise agreement. They then will enter into a contract to sell the club to Riccardo Silva. Under the terms of the sale, the club will operate under the existing the Miami FC name, with Miami FC’s logo and iconic aqua, orange and blue colour scheme. The purchase by the Miami FC involves its same club and staff, which means the Miami FC will not field a team in either the NPSL or the NISA moving forward. The club will also maintain the same ownership and technical staff.

The amount the Miami FC are paying to purchase OSEG’s franchise was not disclosed. For context, the initial expansion fee for USL Championship was estimated to be $7 million in 2018. The likelihood is that the purchase price was less than that, given the desire/need of OSEG to sell its franchise, but probably still a significant amount given the level of interest around the country in obtaining a USL franchise.

“We are extremely grateful to USL CEO Alec Papadakis and President Jake Edwards for their leadership and whole-hearted support during this difficult process,” said Ottawa Fury FC President John Pugh. “We’re also thankful to Paul Dalglish and his team for helping to facilitate this transaction and wish The Miami FC well.”

A Win For The Miami FC

The Miami FC have been highly successful from the start, winning nine trophies and becoming an established presence in the heart of the Miami soccer community. The club recently launched The Miami FC Youth Academy Program with the past year, as part of its commitment to growing the game not only at the professional level, but also at the youth level in Miami.

Miami FC in a Miami derby versus Miami United FC at Barry University on April 20, 2019. |

“We could not be more excited to bring The Miami FC to the USL Championship in 2020,” said The Miami FC General Manager Paul Dalglish. “We will build on the Fury’s success and honour their history, while also elevating our club and our community as part of the fastest growing professional soccer league in the United States. I want to thank Ottawa Sports Entertainment Group for putting this deal together, and to USL CEO Alec Papadakis for welcoming us to the league.”

Dalglish recently moved into the general manager role, after being the head coach. Replacing him on the touchline is Nelson Vargas, a former forward who played for the Miami Fusion. Vargas also was on the 1996 U.S. Olympic team. He has served as an assistant coach for Dalglish since 2018. Miami is expected to maintain most of the same roster, as many of the players on the current roster are signed for 2020. The squad was both NPSL and NISA champions this season.

Miami FC versus Stumptown Athletic in NISA. | Photo: Miami FC

Dalglish says the move to the USL Championship will help Miami FC further their ties in the community. “The decision to join USL … gives us a stable platform to further expand our academy program and community work, meaning accessible, inclusive and fun family events that bring all of Miami’s soccer community together,” he said.

What makes this turn of events particularly interesting is that it is set against the backdrop of how Miami FC owner Riccardo Silva has positioned the Miami FC since the club’s inception.

Silva has been a leading advocate of opening the system of US Soccer. He founded the club in 2015, along with former AC Milan defender and fellow Italian Paolo Maldini. This came after David Beckham’s initial announcement in February 2014 of his intent to exercise his option to bring an MLS expansion franchise to Miami. At that time, Beckham’s MLS club was only provisional, and initially it was thought the team could begin play in 2016 or maybe 2017 at the latest. However, it would take until January 29, 2018 for Miami Beckham United to even become a confirmed expansion club in MLS. During that interim Silva was able to insert the Miami FC into the market and get them launched for the 2016 NASL season.

Riccardo Silva, right, with Miami FC part owner Paulo Maldini, left, in 2015.

In 2017, Silva made a $4 billion media rights offer to Major League Soccer. That offer was summarily rejected by MLS, though in defence of that position it came at a time that MLS was contractually bound to its existing broadcast rights holders, which made any negotiations impossible without breaching the contracts it had in place. The offer was also conditioned upon MLS agreeing to implement promotion and relegation, something that has been a non-starter for MLS.

Returning to the present, it might seem surprising to some that a club whose owner has been such an advocate of change in the system would join USL, a league that cooperates with MLS, and in fact has clubs that are owned by MLS clubs operating within its very ranks. But USL continues its upward trajectory, gaining new markets and seeing more of its clubs moving to better facilities. The league has established itself as a solid second division league and fertile ground for investors interested in soccer. It has also been exploring a more open system. USL president Jake Edwards has been very open about his aim to add promotion and relegation in the USL between its second-division Championship and third-division League One. While that falls short of the completely open system Silva has been advocating, it would still be a significant step in that direction.

“We are evaluating what the landscape looks like in all of those divisions over the course of the next few seasons,” Edwards said when interviewed this summer. “But that work is happening now… I’m also well aware of the excitement and the drama, the reward for ambition, and the punishment for apathy.”

Analysing the move to the USL Championship, by all accounts it is a smart business decision for Silva and the Miami FC. While they were advocating for change in the system, the collapse of the NASL left them without a viable second-tier league to play in. The NASL, now defunct, is still the subject of an existing lawsuit in Federal Court, one that it is likely to lose. The Miami FC, along with minor league side Kingston Stockade, also filed a case with the Court of Arbitration for Sport (“CAS”) in Switzerland, requesting that judicial body to rule that the United States Soccer Federation is in violation of Article 9 of FIFA, which requires promotion-relegation to be the method of determining what teams compete at what level within a country’s domestic league stricture. The CAS has yet to make a ruling, but it would be a real shock to see it intervene in the way the petitioners would like, one that would likely lead to more litigation. Finally, without any disrespect to leagues such as the NISA, the road to having the strength to be a real force for chance is a long and difficult one absent forces beyond them also wanting change.

There is also the benefit of national exposure through the USL’s broadcast agreement with ESPN. Last August, the USL announced a new three-year rights agreement with ESPN that features the USL Championship and League One matches through the 2022 season. Under that new agreement, 18 regular-season games from the Championship will air on ESPN2, ESPNEWS, ESPNU or ESPN Deportes annually in addition to the USL Championship Final. All other matches will be streamed live on ESPN+ subscription platform.

In conclusion, joining an ambitious league growing in quality and reputation each year, with a vision of where it wants to go can only be a benefit to the Miami FC. Being in a stable league that has a national television contract is something the club needs, given that MLS’ Inter Miami CF also begins its inaugural season in March, has an ownership group worth billions and will certainly be the primary focus of the soccer media’s attention. Competition though, even if indirect and on different levels at different budgets, is always good. Smart scheduling, a well-thought marketing plan, outstanding communications team, proper price points for tickets and merchandise and giving fans a reason to feel invested in the club will all be keys to success. Outsiders may call Miami a bad sports town, but history has proven that a winning sports team here will get attention. Miami and South Florida have enjoyed an explosion of fútbol at all levels in recent years. New clubs have sprung up everywhere from West Palm Beach and Boca Raton, south across Broward and Miami-Dade Counties. Some are even bringing the concept of having fans own a stake in the club to the region. The demographics are arguably the best in the nation for soccer. The game resonates with the population, and the city and region surrounding Miami are easily big enough for more than one club to not only survive, but thrive.

To sum up Miami FC’s decision, it’s a positive move by a club that is committed to change and has likely reached a conclusion that the best avenue to continue to push for that change is as a part of the established system instead of as an outsider.

The Real Monarchs’ Philosophy As An MLS2 Side

Clubs approach to its USL Championship club seen as a model

MIAMI, Fla. (December 18, 2019) —

Real Monarchs SLC, the second team of MLS club Real Salt Lake, recently won the USL Championship with an impressive 3-1 away victory over Louisville City FC. That result was unexpected, both because of Louisville’s impressive record at home and the fact that they were the two-time defending champions of the USL Championship. They are also one of the most successful independent teams in the USL Championship, with highly engaged fans, active community involvement and a metro government that fully supports the club. In all respects, Louisville has been a model market and team for USL.

The Real Monachs’ Tate Schmitt celebrates after they won the USL Championship finals on Nov. 17, 2019
SCOTT UTTERBACK/COURIER JOURNAL

By way of a little further background, the USL is comprised both of independent clubs and clubs owned by or affiliated with MLS clubs. The future of the so-called “MLS2” sides in the USL Championship, which constitutes the second division of US Soccer, is currently very much unclear.

The Monarchs’ title took place just a few months after a report circulated that the USL was looking into repositioning all of the MLS-affiliated clubs (colloquially known as “2” teams) out of the Championship and into USL League One, the third division of US Soccer, as soon as 2021. Indeed, the two newest MLS2 teams for next season, New England Revolution 2 and Inter Miami CF 2, will be starting play in USL One.

One of the biggest factors where the disparity between MLS2 teams and independent clubs is on full display is match attendance. Nine of the 10 lowest-drawing sides are MLS-owned. When New York Red Bulls II hosted fellow playoff contender Saint Louis FC in early August, the announced attendance was just 756 fans, which was not far off their season average of 852. The Monarchs’ relatively low 1,983 fans per game made them the second-highest drawing affiliate club (28th in the USL Championship).

Putting attendance aside, naturally, independent clubs organise themselves somewhat differently from MLS owned clubs. But even within the category of MLS2 clubs, there are different philosophies. The Real Salt Lake approach its MLS2 team exhibits more of a hybrid approach. What follows is a discussion of their approach.

The Real Salt Lake Approach To The MLS2 Team

The approach Real Salt Lake takes with its MLS2 side, Real Monarchs could be considered a model of how to organise an MLS2 side, and a “best case” scenario for other MLS2 clubs to borrow from.

The main differentiator is that the first and second teams work in tandem with one another, with plenty of cohesion in training and in style. At other clubs, the MLS and USL sides often train at separate times. Not so in Salt Lake City. By working together every day and having greater movement of players between the two sides, the club ensures that its players have a more cohesive understanding of Real Salt Lake’s philosophy on the pitch at all levels. Midfielder Justin Portillo was a prime example of this, making the RSL matchday roster for 19 matches and the Monarchs’ squad on 16 occasions during the 2019 season.

The results on the pitch suggest that this type of approach to training and having players who can rotate between the MLS and USL sides benefits both squads. Case in point: In MLS, Real Salt Lake finished third in the Western Conference despite firing their coach and their general manager midseason, and they won their first playoff match, against Portland. One rung below in the USL Championship, the Monarchs finished fourth in the conference, then beat top-seed Phoenix Rising, El Paso and then Louisville City to take the title.

While most affiliates have underwhelmed by second-division standards, the Monarchs are among the league’s best clubs — 2 team or otherwise.

“We’re a fully professional second division team,” RSL assistant GM Dan Egner said in an interview before the USL Championship match. Egner serves as the general manager of the USL side. “We have 30 guys on our MLS roster and we have 20 guys on our USL roster. We view that as having one roster of 50 guys — I think that’s a little different than how a lot of people look at it. When that report came out, it was concerning because we think being in the Championship is of the utmost importance for what we’re trying to do. It’s not to say that League One can’t get there; we just don’t feel that it’s there right now. We’re extremely happy with what the Championship provides us.”

Real Monarchs GM Dan Egner holds the USL Championship Trophy. | Photo: Real Salt Lake

Secondly, Real Salt Lake sees Real Monarchs as being a place to develop promising players and to obtain a benefit if or when those players are later transferred. An example of this also happened this last season. Stanley Okumu, a 21-year old centre back who had signed with the Monarchs midway through the 2018 season, was really finding his form in 2019 and was gaining key minutes in the starting eleven for the Monarchs.

Okumu’s good form caught the attention of the selectors of his national team, and he was called up to the Kenya roster for the 2019 African Cup of Nations. He started all three group-stage matches in a group that featured eventual champions Algeria and tournament favourites Senegal. His performance did not go unnoticed. In late August, Okumu secured a transfer to Swedish Allsvenskan side IF Elfsborg. Real Monarchs collected a $200,000 fee as part of the transaction, which was a nice profit — Real Salt Lake had signed him in 2018 on a free transfer from NPSL club AFC Ann Arbor. The club saw the deal as a validation of their ability to develop promising players — even those who do not come through the RSL Academy.


Okumu in 2019 Africa Cup of Nations match with Algeria | Photo by Visionhaus

Real Salt Lake could have just moved Okumu up to the first team, since it was clear he was capable of playing at a higher level than the USL Championship. But RSL was already strong at the centre back position, with four capable players on the senior team: Homegrown former U.S. youth international Justen Glad, former Queens Park Rangers anchor Nedum Onuoha, Marcelo Silva and homegrown Erik Holt.

It was at this point that the closeness of the MLS and USL technical staffs resulted in a decision that benefitted both Okumu as well as Real Salt Lake. “After AFCON, we talked to the first-team coaching staff about where we saw Stanley falling in the next six months, even 18 months,” Egner said. “Realistically, his best-case scenario had him as the MLS team’s third centre back. Is that good for Stanley financially? Obviously, an MLS deal is better than his Monarchs’ (deal). But the playing time doesn’t really change because, inevitably, you’re playing the same USL games (on loan from the MLS side). If we could move him somewhere else, that’s going to benefit him and us. He performed very well at AFCON — he was arguably Kenya’s best player, and they were in the toughest group. When the Sweden move became tangible, we acted on it. For us, that move and the news that it made, and the (club) record (transfer fee), the history that it made was more significant for us than him becoming our third centre back.”

A third different way of managing is that the USL Monarchs deploy academy graduates alongside more experienced players in the starting lineup. This is something not widely done on MLS2 sides. After Okumu left for Sweden, homegrown defender Erik Holt made the most of his opportunities, scoring the conference-clinching goal against El Paso Locomotive. Next to him were a pair of USL veterans: 27-year-old Konrad Plewa (formerly of Red Bulls II and Saint Louis FC) and 28-year-old Kalen Ryden (Oklahoma City Energy and the NASL’s Jacksonville Armada).

Fourth, Real Salt Lake and Monarchs work together when an MLS veteran needs playing time to regain form and view it as an opportunity for the younger players on the USL side to interact and see how the older veteran structures his training and carries himself as a professional footballer. This past season, veteran RSL midfielder Luke Mulholland is an example. At 31, he’s the team’s eldest field player by a comfortable margin.

“Naturally, I would have preferred to play a lot of games with the first team,” Mulholland said. “Opportunities were very slim. We’re only happy when you’re playing, you know. It’s an RSL family all under one roof, so I have the ability to make the first team roster one week and drop down to play a game with the Monarchs in the next. I’m in a good position to get some games under my belt and get back into a rhythm of grinding for 90 minutes. That’s what I missed the most.” Mulholland not only regained form but was a key contributor for the Monarchs. He played 12 games for the Monarchs including their postseason run. Their record: 11 wins, one draw, zero defeats. He put in a man-of-the-match-caliber performance in Louisville.

Now 31 years old, Luke Mulholland pushed to play for Real Monarchs SLC this season after earning limited action in MLS, and has served as a veteran voice on the field in leading the club to the 2019 USL Championhip Final. | Photo courtesy McKenzie Burkart

The 31-year-old Englishman had been a fixture in Major League Soccer over the past few years, having made 123 MLS appearances, 97 of them starts. However, the midfielder only had two first team appearances in 2018, and it was Mulholland himself who asked to be placed on the Monarchs. The USL side had the room and since Mulholland would not be preventing a younger player at that position from getting playing time, they agreed. It paid dividends for the Real Monarchs. “I constantly kept asking my coaching staff [to play with the Monarchs],” said Mulholland. “The only way I can help the first team is if I can gain some form and rhythm with the Monarchs so every three weeks or so I’d ask to go down and play for them. And then, I just started to get in a good rhythm with the Monarchs, so it felt great. It always feels good to get 90 minutes under your belt and continuously playing week-in, week-out.” Mulholland was a key contributor for the Monarchs in the USL Championship Playoffs, playing all but 15 minutes as the side navigated its way past Orange County SC, Regular Season Title-Winner Phoenix Rising FC and El Paso Locomotive FC to earn a place in the final.

Fifth, the Monarchs’ approach is to split the minutes between veterans and academy graduates. MLS2 sides have a reputation for sacrificing quality in order to develop younger talent, and the Monarchs’ approach is a contrasting one. In their estimation, splitting the minutes can help accomplish quicker development. They believe it is the best of both philosophies in the USL.

“I don’t say this in a negative way, but we don’t really compare ourselves to other 2 clubs because we feel we’re the only MLS club taking this approach,” Egner said. “That’s not to say that anyone’s approach is right or wrong, but we’re the only one taking the approach that we are. It’s not really fair for us to compare ourselves to them, because they have different motives, a different model. When it comes to independent clubs, we want to beat them. For us, the measuring stick is the independent clubs and how our guys stack up to them. In the last few years, we’re right up there with them.”

Real Monarch players are made aware right off the bat that the club has three objectives, each with equal importance. The first is to help the players get to the first team. The second, should a player not make the MLS roster, is to help them earn another professional contract in a good situation. The third is to win — no matter the opponent or setting. 

The first point of the club’s vision shows that while they take a balanced approach, is doesn’t come at the expense of the developmental component. Even in this title-winning season, homegrown players like Holt, U.S. U-20 goalkeeper David Ochoa, and 22-year-old striker Douglas Martínez, an international for Honduras, all played leading roles. Competing against Championship opponents has helped all three to grow in 2019, and each could take on a key role for RSL in the future.

Success is usually emulated, so if Real Monarchs can continue to achieve in the USL Championship, expect more MLS clubs to take notice and set up their MLS2 sides in similar fashion, whether those sides ultimately reside in the second or third division.


(Cover Photo: David R. Lutman/Special To Courier Journal)

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2020 MLS Superdraft Presented By Adidas

Draft will take place on Thursday, January 9, 2020

New scouting opportunity set for Dec 13-15, 2019

MIAMI, Fla. (December 13, 2019) —

The details for the 2020 MLS SuperDraft presented by adidas were released today. The draft will take place on Thursday, Jan. 9 at 12 p.m. ET.

Some changes were also announced by the league. The draft is evolving in 2020 to streamline the draft process and provide fans with an innovative experience in collaboration with media partners ESPN and Twitter.

What’s New:

  • MLS and ESPN to collaborate on new draft presentation;
  • Embedded cameras and real-time reactions to amplify 2020 SuperDraft presented by adidas;
  • A new 2019 adidas MLS College Showcase is added to scout top college prospects. It will take place Dec. 13-15 in Raleigh, N.C.

The 2020 SuperDraft presented by adidas will be conducted during a jointly produced MLS and ESPN show. The show will stream live on Twitter, with a Twitter Event Card that includes the live stream and real-time highlights from the event all in one comprehensive experience. The live stream will feature cameras embedded with players and club decision-makers for real-time draftee reactions, live look-ins on club draft rooms, and instant engagement from fans on Twitter during the first round. Additional content and analysis will be provided across MLS league and club digital and social channels. The 2020 SuperDraft presented by adidas will also stream live on the ESPN App, YouTube and Facebook. 

The 2020 MLS expansion clubs will have the top selections in the draft, with Inter Miami CF owning two of the top three picks, the first and third picks overall, and Nashville SC selecting second overall.

“The MLS SuperDraft presented by adidas is an important opportunity for MLS clubs to acquire top talent from the collegiate game as well as promising youth internationals,” said J. Todd Durbin, MLS Executive Vice President, Competition & Player Relations.

Image result for todd durbin mls

“The new format will enhance the experience for players and fans, while maintaining the traditional competitive aspects of the SuperDraft.”

The SuperDraft will be conducted in four rounds with 26 players selected in each round. To streamline the process, clubs now will be permitted three minutes, instead of four in previous years, to make their player selections, and there will be no intermission between rounds. 

Complete 2020 MLS SuperDraft presented by adidas Rules and Procedures, are available on Russo Law and Soccer: CLICK HERE.

The eligible player list for the 2020 MLS SuperDraft presented by adidas will be announced on Monday, Dec. 30, following the 2019 adidas MLS College Showcase.

MLS College Showcase (Dec. 13-15) — A new scouting opportunity

The 2019 adidas MLS College Showcase is a three-day event in Raleigh, N.C., where technical staffs from every MLS club will have an opportunity to scout the top collegiate prospects in the nation, including players with remaining NCAA eligibility. The event will feature approximately 40 top college players, ranging from freshmen to seniors, participating in a series of training sessions, testing, interviews, and match play. This event will allow MLS technical staffs to interact with potential SuperDraft selections earlier in their collegiate careers without jeopardizing players’ collegiate eligibility.

The 2019 adidas MLS College Showcase occurs in conjunction with the 2019 Men’s College Cup and is a closed-door scouting event officially sanctioned by the NCAA. 

Note that Homegrown-eligible underclassmen players – young talents developed by MLS club academies – will not participate in the 2019 adidas MLS College Showcase.


Cover Photo: University of Connecticut’s Dayonn Harris sneaks out of traffic against Vermont. (Credit: Ian Bethune)


Gattuso Contract Heavy On Incentives

MIAMI, Fla (December 12, 2019) —

Gennaro Gattuso was on the list of possible head coaches for Inter Miami CF. On Tuesday night, he was installed as the new manager at Napoli, a few hours after the club said arrivederci to Carlo Ancelotti.

Gattuso’s contract is heavy on incentives. According to information obtained by the Italian publication La Gazzetta dello Sport, Gattuso will earn 750,000 € from now until June, 2020. His contract can be lengthened for two more years if Napoli finishes in the top four spots in Serie A and thereby qualifies for the Champions League next season. Under such an extension, Gattuso’s salary will increase to 1.5 million € per year. Further incentives could raise that total to 2 million € per year.

When asked about Carlo Ancelotti, who had coached Gattuso while he was at AC Milan, he said “Ancelotti is like a father to me. In all these years he has always been close to me, helping me in all situations. He has won everything and I still have much to show. The objective is to climb positions and arrive in a position which puts us in the Champions League. We must work well, recover points and exit from this delicate situation.”


Gennaro Gattuso estaba en la lista de posibles directores técnicos para el Inter de Miami. El martes por la noche fue confirmado como nuevo técnico del Napolés. El contrato también se ha hecho público. Según informa la Gazzetta dello Sport, Gennaro cobrará 750.000 euros de aquí a junio, un contrato que se alargaría por otras dos temporadas si el equipo termina entre los cuatro primeros y se clasifica para la próxima Champions. Si eso ocurre, Gattuso pasaría a cobrar 1,5 milliones por año, cantidad que se podría elevar hasta los 2 millones si se cumplen unos bonus pactados.

Lo que dijó Gattuso sobre Carlo Ancelotti: “Ancelotti es un padre para mí. En todos estos años siempre ha estado cerca de mí ayudándome en todas las situaciones. Ganó todo y yo todavía tengo mucho que demostrar. El objetivo es remontar posiciones y llegar a las posiciones de Champions. Debemos trabajar bien, recuperar puntos y salir de este momento delicado”, confesó ‘Rino’.


Ecco come giocherà il Napoli. | Here is how Napoli will play under Gattuso.

Il Napoli di Gattuso giocherà sicuramente con il 4-3-3
Gattuso will deploy a 4-3-3 at Napoli | Photo: Calcio Napoli