MLS Offseason Calendar Starts Today

MIAMI, Fla. (November 11, 2019)—

Today marks the beginning of the MLS offseason player movement calendar. 

The action will start with a 55-hour window starting at 1 pm ET today in which teams may sign and trade players.

Other important dates include the MLS Expansion Draft on Nov. 19, which you will be able to watch on MLSsoccer.com and the MLS mobile app, 

Also, the deadline for clubs to exercise options that are contained in some players’ contracts is on November 21.

For players who qualify, the opening of free agency is on November 25. 

You can read more about the rules and procedures surrounding the various drafts, the criteria for qualification and the processes for player movement at the Russo Law and Soccer website. Links are below:

Re-Entry Draft Rules And Procedures

Expansion Draft Rules And Procedures

End-Of-Year Waivers Rules And Procedures

Complete 2019 MLS Offseason Calendar

The complete offseason calendar is copied below:

Nov. 11-13
1:00 PM ET

Trade Window Opens
Following a 10-week roster freeze, MLS clubs may sign and trade players.

Nov. 13
8:00 PM ET

Trade Window Closes and Blackout Period Begins
Blackout Period begins whereby clubs may no longer sign and/or trade players until conclusion of 2019 Expansion Draft.

Nov. 14

Club Deadline to submit Bona Fide Offers
MLS clubs notify the League Office in writing of players who have been extended a bona fide offer.

Nov. 19
5:00 PM ET

2019 MLS Expansion Draft
Watch live in the MLS app or on MLSsoccer.com. Inter Miami CF and Nashville SC may select up to five players each from the eligible player list. The list of players eligible for selection in the 2019 MLS Expansion Draft will be released on Nov. 16 at 10:00 AM ET:

Expansion Draft Rules And Procedures

Nov. 21
1:00 PM ET

Club Deadline to Exercise Options
MLS clubs notify the League Office in writing of players whose options they are exercising.

Nov. 25
3:00 PM ET

End-of-Year Waivers
The End-of-Year Waivers process is conducted in reverse order of 2019 season finish, taking into account postseason performance. Per the Expansion Priority Draft, Nashville SC will have the 25th pick and Inter Miami CF will have the final selection in each round.

Eligible for selection are players who do not meet the minimum requirements for Re-Entry Process or Free Agency. The list of players eligible for the End-of-Year Waivers will be released on Nov. 22: End-Of-Year Waivers Rules And Procedures

Nov. 25
3:00 PM ET

Free Agency Opens
Clubs may engage with players, other than their own, that are eligible for Free Agency. Free Agency eligible players are out-of-contract and option-declined players who are at least 28 years old and who have completed a minimum of eight service years. The complete list of Free Agents will be released on Nov. 22.

Nov. 26
3:00 PM ET

2019 MLS Re-Entry Process – Stage 1
The Re-Entry Process, Stage 2 is conducted in the same format as Stage 1 and consists of MLS players who were not selected in the Stage 1. Not all unselected Stage 1 players will be available for selection as players may re-sign with their previous club between stages or may opt out of the process.

The list of players eligible for selection in the Re-Entry Process – Stage 1 will be released on Nov. 22: Re-Entry Draft Rules And Procedures

Dec. 3
3:00 PM ET

2019 MLS Re-Entry Process – Stage 2
The Re-Entry Process is conducted in reverse order of 2019 season finish, taking into account postseason performance. Per the Expansion Priority Draft, Nashville SC will have the 25th pick and Inter Miami CF will have the final selection in each round.

The list of players eligible for selection in the Re-Entry Process – Stage 2 will be released on Nov. 3 at 10:00 AM ET: Re-Entry Draft Rules And Procedures

MLS: 25th Season Official Game Ball Unveiled

MIAMI, Fla. (November 11, 2019) —

Next season is still almost four months away, but we now know what next year’s official Major League Soccer game ball will look like.

Shortly after the Seattle Sounders FC lifted the MLS Cup Sunday, Major League Soccer and adidas revealed the official match ball for the league’s 25th season.

Say buenos días to the 2020 MLS NATIVO XXV.

The 2020 MLS NATIVO XXV ball celebrates the league’s 25th season. By incorporating blue and green accents, it pulls inspiration from MLS’ original logo and its first-ever match ball in 1996.

The ball, which will go on sale online and in stores on January 2, 2020, is the first of “a series of initiatives” planned to celebrate MLS’ 25th anniversary, according to the league office.

Adidas says the ball has its most sustainable design to date. It is made of 100% water-based materials and print colours.

In addition, the “Hi-White” material used is supposed to allow players to see the ball better on the pitch. The ball is constructed of the same high-performance structure and panels as recent World Cup models.

The new MLS NATIVO XXV is one of the many ways MLS’ will celebrate its milestone year. In the coming months, MLS will unveil a series of initiatives to celebrate 25 years and to kick off a new decade of soccer in North America.

It is also expected that next year’s kits for the clubs will also pay tribute the the 25th-year anniversary of the league’s founding. Now if only MLS would bring back 3rd and alternate kits . . .

“They play like a team in crisis.”

Former Arsenal Manager Arsène Wenger’s Discusses Barça After 0-0 Draw in Champions League.

MIAMI, Fla. (November 7, 2019) —

Arsène Wenger analysed Barcelona for BeIN Sports for the midweek UEFA Champions League match versus Slavia Prague. He maintains that Barça play like a “team in crisis.”

The reigning La Liga champions were stunned on Tuesday night after they were unable to break the deadlock against Slavia Prague and were held to a 0-0 draw at the Camp Nou.

“They’re top of the league, they’re top of their group and they play like a team in crisis,” the legendary former Arsenal boss said on beIN Sports.

“Their game is too slow. There is no dynamic in the last 30 meters, it’s too individual.

“And every time they lose the ball, it looks like they will concede a goal on [the] counterattack because they cannot deal with pace against the opponent… the team lacks dynamic, lacks energy, lacks confidence.”

It was the first time since 2012 that Barcelona captain Lionel Messi failed to score in a home Champions League group game. He came close, striking the bar in a superb solo effort.

Wenger agrees with my own opinion that Barcelona are far too reliant on the Argentine superstar. He echoed that in discussing the Culés’ failure to make the breakthrough against Slavia Prague.

“Barcelona is an interesting case because they have a history of fantastic collective play, and on top of that, came Messi to make differences,” the 70-year-old explained.

“Today, it looks like they play and they wait for Messi to do something, but the basic strengths of the team play is a bit gone. And you think, when will Messi get the ball to do something?”

“And before, the music, the basic music, was the fantastic team play, making it difficult to catch the ball, and then on top of that came Messi.

“Today, it looks to me that they lost charisma.”

Wenger continued his brutal assessment of Barca’s performance with a stat comparison for ‘distance covered’ in the match.

Barcelona managed to cover 97 km in comparison to Slavia Prague’s 109 km, with the Frenchman saying it was the equivalent of 84 box-to-box runs.

He added: “Barcelona was beaten tonight really, physically, and then, not enough pace.”

While critical of Barça manager Ernesto Valverde, he was careful not to blame him entirely. “At the end, it’s always the coach who is guilty, he’s not always responsible,” he said. “There’s a difference between being guilty and responsible, you know?”

“As we said, Valverde does not make the decision on who comes in. He has to do the best with what he has.”

“So, what we speak about raises many questions: who has the final word when you buy a player? Secondly, is this really the player that the team needs?”


Source Credit: Sport Bible

Fort Lauderdale Stadium And The “Centro Deportivo” Proceeding On Schedule

Milestone reached on construction site in northern Fort Lauderdale.

MIAMI, Fla. (November 6, 2019) —

Progress continues to be made on the Inter Miami Complex (we’ll call it the “Centro Deportivo”) in Fort Lauderdale, which includes a new stadium, the club’s training complex and Inter Miami CF Academy home.

Last Friday, November 1, the team of on-site construction personnel completed the installation of the first roof structure for the stadium. This milestone comes just weeks after the stadium “went vertical” with steel columns, followed by the installation of componentes of the secondary frame of the metal building as well as the horizontal structural members designed to provide lateral support for wall panels.

Photo: Inter Miami CF

The yet-to-be-named, 18,000-capacity stadium (referred to simply as “Fort Lauderdale Stadium” in the interim) will serve as the temporary home of Club Internacional de Fútbol Miami for its first two MLS seasons, 2020 and 2021, before the club moves into its home stadium at Miami Freedom Park in Miami.

Fort Lauderdale Stadium is being constructed on the site of the former Lockhart Stadium. It will continue to house Inter Miami’s USL League One team once the first team moves into its Miami home.

📹 Inter Miami CF

Another key moment will be reached in mid-November, when the grass at Fort Lauderdale Stadium and for the training fields is expected to be installed.

Other portions of the 46-acre Centro Deportivo are also progressing. The Training Complex – where Inter Miami’s MLS, USL, and Academy teams will permanently train – is also taking shape. The 50,000-square-foot (4,645 sq. m) building continues to undergo steel, concrete, and roofing installations.

The stadium and training complex at the Centro Deportivo will be ready in time for the beginning of the 2020 season. Here are a couple of preview images released by Inter Miami:

More than 200 people are working as part of the Lockhart Construction Team,  including Manica  Architecture, Perez & Perez Architects Planners, Bliss &  Nitray, Inc. Structural Engineers, SDM Consulting Engineers, Flynn Engineering Services and EDSA, Inc. They will continue their work to deliver this project ahead of Inter Miami’s inaugural season debut in March 2020. Inter Miami’s first home game is tentatively scheduled for March 14, 2020, a date which will be confirmed when MLS releases next season’s calendar in a few weeks.

Inter Miami Hoy.

(Cover Photo: Inter Miami CF)

Manager “De Moda” – Does His Mobile Boarding Pass Say BCN or MIA?

MIAMI, Fla. (November 5, 2019) —

Marcelo Daniel Gallardo ticks most of the boxes on two teams’ managerial checklists.

Marcelo Gallardo has put together an impressive CV in his six years in South America. Mike Hewitt – FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images

He’s one of the front runners to be the first manager of Club Internacional de Fútbol Miami. Meanwhile, on the other side of the Atlantic, he is reportedly a front runner to take the helm of a much larger, more famous club. A club whose tag line is “More Than A Club.” For 43-year-old Club Atlético River Plate coach Marcelo Gallardo, whose baby-faced appearance has earned him the nicknamed “El Muñeco – the Doll,” it’s an enviable position to be in no doubt.

Manchester City coach Pep Gallardo thinks very highly of Gallardo.

“Lo que ha hecho Gallardo en River es increíble. A nivel resultados, de darle consistencia, y otro año y otro año. Y se van jugadores pero sigue estando a nivel”.

“What Gallardo has done with River is incredible,” Guardiola told an Argentine TV station. “Some things are inexplicable. Every year three coaches are named as the best in the world, and he’s never among them. I can’t understand it. It’s as if there’s nothing else in the world apart from Europe.”

Recently he has been linked as the successor to Ernesto Valverde at Barcelona. Valverde’s contract is expiring on June 30, 2020 and it’s all but certain he will not be back. It is also certain that Lionel Messi approves of Gallardo as a replacement, having already referred to him as “one of the best.” Leo voted El Muñeco the third best coach in the world at FIFA’s The Best Awards, and that vote surely was heard by the Catalan club’s board. Having Messi’s ‘approval’ would be an important factor in deciding whether to hire a new coach. Another Blaugrana great, Andres Iniesta, who is currently playing for Vissel Kobe in the J-League, said “El trabajo que está haciendo Gallardo es sensacional.” (“The work Gallardo is doing is sensational.”)

What are Gallardo’s credentials that have him to linked to one of the most storied clubs in the world? In short, it’s his combination of youth, experience, a commitment to attacking football and an impressive CV as a player.

Now in his sixth year in charge, he has experienced great success at River; he has won the Copa Libertadores twice, and will have a chance to make that three in this year’s final later this month against Flamengo. Managing a club for six years is extremely rare in South America. Demands and needs change quickly due to the fact that the best players are continuously being sold off, mostly to Europe. As Guardiola pointed out, at River Plate “every year the players leave, but the work continues.”

Compensating for this has given Gallardo a depth of experience beyond his years and certainly beyond the baby-faced appearance that has left him dubbed “El Muñeco – the Doll.”

Gallardo is credited with being proficient at reading the opposition, accurately assessing his own resources and making adjustments to the tactical plan, all without confusing his players. When he first took over at River, he used a 4-4-2 formation, featuring the old-fashioned Argentine diamond — a holder in front of the centre-backs, two mixed midfielders either side and the traditional No. 10, the position Gallardo had played.

On occasions he has even shifted to a back three — the first leg of last year’s Libertadores final against Boca the most notable.

Marcelo Gallardo guided River Plate to the 2018 Copa Libertadores title over Boca Juniors. Denis Doyle/Getty Images

He was a top-class attacking midfielder in his playing days, subtle and skillful, with over 40 caps and two World Cups for Argentina to his credit. His playing career is mostly associated with River Plate, but he also played in Ligue Un (France) with Paris Saint-Germain and Monaco. He also played in MLS and at Nacional de Montivideo. where he ended his playing days and promptly started coaching the side, taking them to the Uruguayan league title.

Gallardo played in two World Cups: France1998 and Korea-Japan 2002

The next test will be the Copa Libertadores final, now a one game final. It should be a tough challenge, as Flamengo is an attacking team under Portuguese coach Jorge Jesus.

If River prevail they will once again head to the FIFA Club World Cup — the one tournament where Gallardo has always come up short. In 2015, his side scraped by with a 1-0 semifinal win over Sanfrecce Hiroshima of Japan, before being overwhelmed in the final against Barcelona, 3-0. Last year, River did not even make the final, falling on penalties to Al Ain of the United Arab Emirates.

Regardless of the Club World Cup, a tournament that is not widely followed, Gallardo is the “in-demand” coach of the moment. Spanish press call him “El director técnico de moda.”

Both Barcelona and Miami have maintained contact with people connected to Gallardo, according to Argentinean publications. It was also reported that Miami Sporting Director Paul McDonough had been to Argentina during the past few months. Gallardo has been very smart, with indications that he will not sit down and talk about a possible exit until after River’s last game this year. That would be in December when the Argentina Superliga season ends.

For Miami, hiring an Argentine coach makes sense, seeing that the first two players the club signed are both from Argentina, making for an instant cultural connection for two promising players. It is also a strategy that worked well for Inter Miami McDonough when he was with Atlanta United. It was clear from early on indicated that the Five Stripes were going be very ambitious by building top-of-the-line training grounds, spending significant sums in MLS terms to acquire players and hiring an internationally well-known coach in Tata Martino, who had once led FC Barcelona and the Argentinian national team.

Inter Miami CF is overdue for announcing its head coach. Managing owner Jorge Mas previously said he was expecting to have a coach named by the end of summer, then changed it to the end of September, and later changed to the end of October. That date has now come and gone. As each day passes without a coach being named, the most plausible explanation I can think of is that the head coach is someone who is still busy. Marcelo Gallardo clearly fits that description. What else would explain the hold up?

I’ve written before about the shortlist of top coaching candidates for the new club. While only those inside the negotiations can say for sure (which obviously they won’t), if the first head coach was going to be Santiago Solari or Gennaro Gattuso, or any other manager not currently employed, it’s hard to understand why that person is not already in Miami helping to plan for the inaugural season.

Photo: DobleAmarilla.com

The Copa Libertadores Final is November 23. If that mobile boarding pass says ‘MIA’ we can expect a coaching announcement at the end of this month.

Read more | Relacionado

A Coach In Demand: Gallardo Could End Up At Barcelona … Or Will He Be In Miami?

MIAMI, Fla. (November 1, 2019) —

Marcelo Daniel Gallardo ticks most of the boxes on two teams’ managerial checklists.

Marcelo Gallardo has put together an impressive CV in his six years in South America. Mike Hewitt – FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images

He’s one of the front runners to be the first manager of Club Internacional de Fútbol Miami. Meanwhile, on the other side of the Atlantic, he is reportedly a front runner to take the helm of a much larger, more famous club. A club whose tag line is “More Than A Club.” For 43-year-old Club Atlético River Plate coach Marcelo Gallardo, whose baby-faced appearance has earned him the nicknamed “El Muñeco – the Doll,” it’s an enviable position to be in no doubt.

Manchester City coach Pep Gallardo thinks very highly of Gallardo.

“Lo que ha hecho Gallardo en River es increíble. A nivel resultados, de darle consistencia, y otro año y otro año. Y se van jugadores pero sigue estando a nivel”.

“What Gallardo has done with River is incredible,” Guardiola told an Argentine TV station. “Some things are inexplicable. Every year three coaches are named as the best in the world, and he’s never among them. I can’t understand it. It’s as if there’s nothing else in the world apart from Europe.”

Recently he has been linked as the successor to Ernesto Valverde at Barcelona. Valverde’s contract is expiring on June 30, 2020 and it’s all but certain he will not be back. It is also certain that Lionel Messi approves of Gallardo as a replacement, having already referred to him as “one of the best.” Leo voted El Muñeco the third best coach in the world at FIFA’s The Best Awards, and that vote surely was heard by the Catalan club’s board. Having Messi’s ‘approval’ would be an important factor in deciding whether to hire a new coach. Another Blaugrana great, Andres Iniesta, who is currently playing for Vissel Kobe in the J-League, said “El trabajo que está haciendo Gallardo es sensacional.” (“The work Gallardo is doing is sensational.”)

What are Gallardo’s credentials that have him to linked to one of the most storied clubs in the world? In short, it’s his combination of youth, experience, a commitment to attacking football and an impressive CV as a player.

Now in his sixth year in charge, he has experienced great success at River; he has won the Copa Libertadores twice, and will have a chance to make that three in this year’s final later this month against Flamengo. Managing a club for six years is extremely rare in South America. Demands and needs change quickly due to the fact that the best players are continuously being sold off, mostly to Europe. As Guardiola pointed out, at River Plate “every year the players leave, but the work continues.”

Compensating for this has given Gallardo a depth of experience beyond most coaches of his experience.

Gallardo is credited with being proficient at reading the opposition, accurately assessing his own resources and making adjustments to the tactical plan, all without confusing his players. When he first took over at River, he used a 4-4-2 formation, featuring the old-fashioned Argentine diamond — a holder in front of the centre-backs, two mixed midfielders either side and the traditional No. 10, the position Gallardo had played.

On occasions he has even shifted to a back three — the first leg of last year’s Libertadores final against Boca being a prime example.

Marcelo Gallardo guided River Plate to the 2018 Copa Libertadores title over Boca Juniors. Denis Doyle/Getty Images

He was a top-class attacking midfielder in his playing days, subtle and skillful, with over 40 caps and two World Cups for Argentina to his credit. His playing career is mostly associated with River Plate, but he also played in Ligue Un (France) with Paris Saint-Germain and Monaco. He also played in MLS and at Nacional de Montivideo. where he ended his playing days and promptly started coaching the side, taking them to the Uruguayan league title.

Gallardo played in two World Cups: France1998 and Korea-Japan 2002

The next test will be the Copa Libertadores final, now a one game final. It should be a tough challenge, as Flamengo is an attacking team under Portuguese coach Jorge Jesus.

If River prevail they will once again head to the FIFA Club World Cup — the one tournament where Gallardo has always come up short. In 2015, his side scraped by with a 1-0 semifinal win over Sanfrecce Hiroshima of Japan, before being overwhelmed in the final against Barcelona, 3-0. Last year, River did not even make the final, falling on penalties to Al Ain of the United Arab Emirates.

Regardless of the Club World Cup, a tournament that is not widely followed, Gallardo is the “in-demand” coach of the moment. Spanish press call him “El director técnico de moda.”

Both Barcelona and Miami have maintained contact with people connected to Gallardo, according to Argentinean publications. It was also reported that Miami Sporting Director Paul McDonough had been to Argentina during the past few months. Whether this was to talk to people connected with the coach or to talk to potential players is not known. For his part, Gallardo has been very smart, with indications that he will not sit down and talk about a possible exit until after River’s last game this year. Strictly speaking that would be in December when the Argentina Superliga season ends.

For Miami, hiring an Argentine coach makes sense, seeing that the first two players the club signed are both from Argentina, making for an instant cultural connection for two promising players. It is also a strategy that worked well for Inter Miami Sporting Director Paul McDonough when he was with Atlanta United. It was clear from early on indicated that the Five Stripes were going be very ambitious by building top-of-the-line training grounds, spending significant sums in MLS terms to acquire players and hiring an internationally well-known coach in Tata Martino, who had once led FC Barcelona and the Argentinean national team.

Inter Miami CF is overdue for announcing its head coach. Managing owner Jorge Mas previously said he was expecting to have a coach named by the end of September, later changed to October. That date has now come and gone. As each day passes without a coach being named, the most plausible explanation I can think of is that the head coach is someone who is still busy. Marcelo Gallardo clearly fits that description. What else would explain the hold up?

I’ve written before about the shortlist of top coaching candidates for the new club. While only those inside the negotiations can say for sure (which obviously they won’t), if the first head coach was going to be Santiago Solari or Gennaro Gattuso, or any other manager not currently employed, it’s hard to understand why that person is not already in Miami helping to plan for the inaugural season.

The Copa Libertadores Final is November 23. If you ask me, there will be a coaching announcement at the end of this month.

Read more | Relacionado

FC Barcelona In-House Documentary Series Will Take You Inside Barça

Por primera vez, las cámaras de televisión han tenido acceso al día a día de jugadores como Leo Messi, Gerard Piqué, Marc-André ter Stegen o Luis Suárez.

Miami, Fla. (October 30, 2019) —

Fútbol Club Barcelona will be releasing its own in-house documentary that will take viewers behind the scenes.

This follows other clubs who have produced documentaries, such as Netflix’ work with Juventus and Amazon’s work with Manchester City, Borussia Dortmund and Leeds United.

The Blaugrana version will be an eight-episode documentary each consisting of 45 minutes that focus around eight key games from the 2018-19 season. The exclusive content features dressing room footage, the players’ reactions to last season’s shocking defeat to Liverpool, interviews, and a glimpse into the players’ home lives. Actor John Malkovich provides the narration.

The documentary will be available via Barça sponsor Rakuten and their distribution partners in Europe from November onwards. It will be available in North America although the distribution partner has not been announced.

It is definitely a not-to-be-missed series.

Here is the trailer for the project:


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