Friday, March 12, 2010

It's not all whistles and handshakes

BEIJING, March 12 (Reuters) - More than 200 Chinese soccer officials have been sent on a five-day "Anti-corruption Rectification Education Camp" as China tries to rebuild the game after the match-fixing scandal, local media reported on Friday.

Huang Junjie, a FIFA international referee since 1998, was taken away for questioning by police earlier this week as part of the investigation into corruption in the Chinese domestic game.

The professional match officials, who will officiate in next season's men and women's Chinese leagues, will receive lectures on anti-corruption, training in refereeing skills and take an exam, the Beijing Youth Daily reported.

Who will make it to South Africa?

Yanks Abroad is out with its latest '23 tickets to South Africa' list, and while I agree with most names, there are a few points to make:

During the USA-Netherlands match, the scrawl said Feilhaber was out "indefintely." Let's hope his returning to traiing with his club is swift. He ought to be on the squad, but his health is unkown.

Stuart Holden is close to a lock, depending on fitness afeter breaking his leg in the Holland game.

Brian Ching would go into the "Work to Do" category. He doesn't score goals when it counts and couldn't rally the younger guys when the team was getting pasted by Mexico.

Replace him with Conor Casey, who has scored in WC qualifiers lately. Never can take too many strikers to a month-long tournament.
Bedoya should have a good chance of making the team.

Nice to see Beasley back, and playing the ball forward. He will be a good sub in South Africa

Not sold on Goodson yet and wondering when Ricardo Clark will be healthy.

Monday, December 07, 2009

New World Cup, new Adidas Ball

I think keepers will be unhappy with this new ball. More speed but easier grip doesn't sound like much help...

Friday, December 04, 2009

Goals in 3-D!

Good news: 

Sony Corp. said Friday it has signed a deal with FIFA, the international football governing body, to record up to 25 World Cup games in 3-D — a technology that gives viewers an illusion of depth on the screen.


They will be shown at Sony booths at FIFA events in Berlin, London, Mexico City, Paris, Rio de Janeiro, Rome and Sydney in June and July. Highlights will be shown in Sony showrooms, and a video version will be sold through Sony Pictures.

But why not in the US?!?!?

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

So the WC seeds are in

Pot 1: Brazil, Spain, the Netherlands, Italy, Germany, Argentina and England join hosts South Africa

Pot 2: Asia (Australia, Japan, Korea DPR, Korea Republic), North, Central America and the Caribbean (Honduras, Mexico, USA) and Oceania (New Zealand)

Pot 3: Africa (Algeria, Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Nigeria) and South America (Chile, Paraguay, Uruguay)

Pot 4: the remaining European teams (Denmark, France, Greece, Portugal, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia and Switzerland)

South Africa will be automatically positioned as A1; the other seeded teams will be drawn into the other groups B-H, but will always be in position “1” of their group

Groups will be drawn from A to H and the positions in the group will be drawn for Pots 2 to 4

FIFA says "Geographical criteria will also be respected, meaning that no two teams from the same confederation will be drawn in the same group (except European teams, where a maximum of two will be in a group). For example, South Africa cannot play the African teams from Pot 3 and Argentina and Brazil cannot be drawn against the three remaining South American teams.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

The Ref talks US v Brazil

From time to time, especially after U.S. Men's Team matches and other big games, the Ref chats with a seasoned USMNT observer -- the Samurai.

Samurai is familiar with the academy system and is a longtime watcher of the US team and club soccer.

Here is the conversation after the U.S. lost to Italy in the Confederations Cup.
Samurai : i was so depressed about the US game yesterday, but _____ pointed out some positives, and i didn't feel so bad

Samurai: he said US had some chances, just couldn’t finish, and he pointed out how Donovan took on a bunch of Brazilians in one run, and so did Dempsey

Samurai : maybe not in 2010, but by 2014, we should really start making some noise

The Ref
: that Conor Casey was a bright spot

Samurai: yeah, he was.

The Ref
: coulda been 3-2

Samurai : easily

The Ref
: but I was depressed also

Samurai: Feilhaber took that shot really confidently, too

The Ref
: that’s what I like about him and Casey. It's like they are hungry-- FIRE that ball in from under 20 yards

The Ref
: like uhm, Giuseppe Rossi

Samurai : the US is going to have big fast kids coming up, too. ______'s not small, but when he goes to some of the U16 academy practices (they are '92s and '93s, and he's a '94), he's usually the smallest one by a good 6 inches

The Ref
: that part is encouraging-- that there is not these one-offs like Dempsey coming out of US Soccer

The Ref
: there are a lot

Samurai: the academy thing will help. now kids have somewhere to go, where colleges will recognize them. If they get recognized, they’re more likely to keep playing

Samurai : that's the key. Give the kids incentive to keep playing rather than just because they like it

The Ref
: Eddie Johnson can tell them that they have to work a lot harder than the MLS to be in top shape for Europe clubs

Samurai: totally. and they need real confidence, which he seems to have lost

Samurai: Beasley too

Samurai: the other players are probably running circles around them in practice

The Ref
: like Walcott on John Terry!

Samurai: the academy practices are so intense because they're constantly being pushed. so the ones that get through will be in great shape. I doubt the big MLS stars feel much heat in practices to keep pushing them

Samurai: the MLS still can afford to bring in players to push their stars, they're still bringing in players to be back ups

Samurai : see how Pearce left Walcott off the starting team, because he didn't do much in the previous game

Samurai: so when he did come in as a sub, they said he was electric

Samurai: that's what the players need, fear of not playing

The Ref
: it seemed to have done the opposite to Beasley

Samurai: yeah, he probably realized he wasn't 'special'. he has good speed, but his touch and crosses aren't great. I bet those Rangers players all have great touch and can put the ball on a dime; they just might not be as fast as him

Samurai : when Beasley sees a sub crack a 30-yard shot on target, he probably gets disillusioned. I’ve never seen Beasley do stuff like that

The Ref
: man this whole discussion should be a blog post

The Ref
: like "today's trade" or something

Samurai: that's a great idea