MLS Ticker: Grafer named Chivas USA GK coach, Dike called up by Nigeria, and more

MLS Ticker: Grafer named Chivas USA GK coach, Dike called up by Nigeria, and more

MLS- Toronto FC

MLS Ticker: Grafer named Chivas USA GK coach, Dike called up by Nigeria, and more

Paul Grafer (ISIphotos.com)

Photo by ISIphotos.com

By FRANCO PANIZO

A former player who was around when MLS started has joined Chivas USA’s coaching staff.

Chivas USA announced on Thursday that they have rounded out their technical staff by hiring former MLS veteran Paul Grafer as their goalkeeper coach. Grafer, 39, arrives at the Goats after nearly five years in the same role with the Under-17 U.S. Men’s National Team.

Grafer, who worked with Chivas USA head coach Wilmer Cabrera during their days with the U-17 U.S. team, spent six years of his playing career in MLS. He was drafted by the Colorado Rapids in 1996 and went on to play for them as well as the New York/New Jersey MetroStars.

Here are more news items from around the league:

DIKE EARNS CALL-UP FROM NIGERIA

Bright Dike’s World Cup hopes are apparently still alive.

Dike was included in a 23-man roster for Nigeria’s upcoming friendly vs. Mexico in Atlanta. The Toronto FC regular is one of seven forwards on the squad that also includes Chelsea midfielder John Mikel Obi and Norwich City defender Joseph Yobo.

Nigeria, which plays El Tri on March 5, is in the World Cup’s Group F. The other three teams in the group are Argentina, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Iran.

SIMMS CALLS IT A CAREER DUE TO HEALTH CONCERNS

After nine years in MLS, Clyde Simms is hanging up his cleats due to health concerns.

The 31-year-old Simms announced his retirement due to kidney disease on Thursday, ending a career that saw him make 185 starts in 221 appearances, score three goals and add nine assists.

“I’ve never really talked about this because I always chose the mind over matter approach, but my health has gotten to a point where I can no longer do that,” Simms said. “When I was a freshman in high school, we discovered that I suffered from Focal Segmental Glomerulosclerosis (FSGS), the same kidney disease as (former NBA player) Alonzo Mourning. When I started playing with D.C., my kidney function was around 50 percent, and the last three years of my career, it has gotten down to about 20 percent.

“I fell in love with this sport at a young age and was determined not to let anything stop me. Unfortunately, for the past 10 years I have been dealing with kidney disease and it has become too tough for me to compete at this level anymore. I made sure for as long as I could I would still fight for my dream, my passion. I was very lucky to have had such a great run, but now it’s time to fight another battle. Thank you to all the fans, teammates, and coaches that supported me and helped me along my journey. To the Richmond Kickers, D.C. United and the New England Revolution, thank you for allowing me to be a part of your families. I will always be a fan. And to my family and people closest to me, thank you for allowing me to follow my dream.”

The midfielder spent the first seven years of his career with D.C. United before joining the New England Revolution for the past two years. He started in each of the 29 games he played in during the 2012 campaign, but was limited to just 10 appearances last year.

TIMBERS TOP INDY ELEVEN

The Portland Timbers made sure to end their stay in Tucson, Ariz. with a victory.

The Timbers edged NASL’s Indy Eleven, 1-0, on Wednesday night courtesy of a goal from Ben Zemanski. The strike came on a free kick from 25 yards out in the 75th minute.

The win saw Portland conclude its two-week visit to Southern Arizona with a 2-0-2 record.

DYNAMO ROUT HOUSTON BAPTIST UNIVERSITY

If the Houston Dynamo needed a quick boost in confidence, they probably got it on Wednesday.

The Dynamo picked up a 6-0 preseason victory over Houston Baptist University on Wednesday night, with Giles Barnes netting the winner just 12 minutes into the game. Brad Davis proceeded to score a brace and Tony Cascio, Mark Sherrod and Omar Cummings all found the back of the net as well.

Kofi Sarkodie had two assists in the win, including on Barnes’ decisive tally.

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What do you think of Chivas USA making Grafer their goalkeeper coach? How will you look back on Simms’ career? Which preseason result is more impressive, Houston’s or Portland’s?

Share your thoughts below.

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