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Your Questions Answered (Part 1 of 4)

Jermaine Jones 1 (AP)

Welcome to the latest installment of Your Questions Answered, where I field questions, take weeks to answer them, and then crank out some intriguing responses to get you talking and thinking that I'm either a soccer genius, or an idiot.

Yes, it once again took me a month to get to the Q&A, but given how busy the last month has been for the national team you might understand my issue. Now that we've covered that, let's get to the questions.

The first batch has plenty of U.S. national team questions, including the expected inquiries about Jermaine Jones, a 2010 MLS Draft question and even a (short) basketball question. Look out for the rest of the questions to be answered throughout the week.

Now, onto the answers:

BELLUSLUDAS- Should US Soccer hire Klinsmann to serve as Technical Advisor through South Africa 2010?



THE DEUCE- Well, as one of the first posters today the question is obvious. What do you make of Jermaine Jones' possibility in a U.S.A. jersey? Think it will happen? Think he will make an immediate impact? Where does this place Edu/Rico/Torres/Feilhaber in the pecking order? Is he our savior?
….By the time you answer, hopefully not all of these questions will be answered for you ; )

IVES- I think it will happen and I think Jones will flourish playing for the U.S. national team. Is he a savior? No, but I think he and Michael Bradley could make a great tandem.

What’s the pecking order now? I’d say Bradley-Jones is the first tandem, Edu-Feilhaber is second, Clark-Torres is third, with Stuart Holden coming on strong.


SEVEN- Is Toronto still planning on signing a central defender or was that just talk from Mo? I recall that when you were trying to identify the player you said he was involved in a promotion battle.

IVES- Toronto’s attentions have turned to signing Julian DeGuzman. They have since traded for Nick Garcia, who has come in and played better than he did for San Jose. So right now I’d say the chances of Toronto signing a centerback don’t look good.


ADAM IN IRVINE- Ives, any chance that Charlie Davies can become a winger? His speed and tenacity reminds me of Theo Walcott and unfortunately Beasley in past years.

IVES- Can’t say I’ve ever seen Davies hit a cross and I’m not sure how he’d fit there, but with his speed and ability to go at defenders I suppose it can’t be completely ruled out.


PAUL- Anything to report on the rumors of another move for Freddy Adu?

IVES- A month later and there’s no news on an Adu move. He’s at Benfica now and looks to be fighting for playing time yet again on a loaded Benfica squad. I have to believe he’ll move on loan or via transfer before the transfer window closes.


SASOCCERFAN- 1. What are the chances that San Antonio gets another look as an MLS city?

2. Have you checked out Itumeleng Khune from South Africa (Starting National Team Keeper)? He is the RBNY answer.

IVES- 1. I’d say San Antonio is a VERY long shot, and not even on the radar right now for MLS expansion.

2. The Red Bulls have already signed an African goalkeeper, Bouna Coundoul.


BRANT- short of a major negative story like a betting scandal or stampede of fans, what is it going to take to get soccer talked about on mainstream American sports radio?

You can't even get the 3x/hr score update on ESPN radio to give you the score of a WCQ match the next morning… it's pretty pathetic that the National team doesn't get more attention.

IVES- Apparently it was reaching the Confederations Cup final. Okay, so even that didn’t have THAT much of an impact. There’s no easy answer.

As for ESPN radio updates, I find that interesting because ESPN radio in New York always gives Red Bulls scoring updates, so maybe that’s just something U.S. Soccer needs to work on in major markets.


DAN THE BLUE- I'd like to know what you can tell us about Bradley's new club coach. I know he's 45ish, played at 'gladbach and was recently fired from a different club. Basically, is MB going to fit in and continue to be a part of the plans for that squad.

Second question, I'm going to Mexico in August to see us win in person at Estadio Azteca, are you going? If so, let's get a beer…

IVES- I can’t say I know much about Michael Frontzeck but he did spend a season at Manchester City and has previously coached Steve Cherundolo while an assistant for Hannover 96. This is just his third head coaching job, and he has just two full seasons as a head coach, so he’s somewhat inexperienced. Considering how highly regarded Bradley is by Moenchengladbach I'm pretty sure Bradley will be a key piece to the puzzle for Frontzeck, particularly with the departures of Marin and Baumjohann.


GI- If our LB is a problem for our MNT, why dont they move Boca over there and play (conrad, Edu or other players next to gooch.)
Also, Bob has stated before that if you dont play for your club team, you will not play for MNT but why does he go back on his words and keep bringing in Beasley, pearce, and even Altidore.

IVES- That’s a good idea GI. I’ll have to tell Bob Bradley that one.




BLAKE- US soccer fans are always clamoring for new, more knowledgeable ESPN on-air soccer talent. What are the chances we ever see you in front of the camera at press pass or as a sports center contributing pundit?

IVES- Right now they’re probably a bit remote, but once I drop 100 pounds Allen Hopkins better watch his back. Seriously speaking though, there are some plans for an increased relationship between SBI and ESPN. That will hopefully be emerging in the coming months.


ETJ- What is the latest update on th stadium situation in New England? I'm wondering because I'll be in college in Boston next year and I won't watch futbol in a football stadium

IVES- The Revs are still several years away from having a soccer-specific stadium so you will either travel to Gillette Stadium for Revs games or will be waiting about four or five years.


WISPY- Hey Ives — I have the reverse f everybody's favorite Jermaine Jones/Edgar Castillo question: who, other than Arturo Alvarez, might we LOSE from our player pool under the new FIFA rule?

IVES-  The pool could theoretically have lost Stuart Holden, but he’s cap-tied now (and insisted that he never thought about Scotland). Jose Francisco Torres has a younger brother who is supposed to be a stud so we’ll see what comes of him down the road. Zak Whitbread is someone who could change national teams but I don’t think Fabio Capello is keeping tabs of him.


JPC- Michael Orozco, what's going on with him?
Prior to the Olympics, he seemed to be the next up and coming guy in the central defense, he played very well. Then got that ridiculous red card, and it seems since then he's been kind of black balled from the USMNT. Is this the case? If not, why isn't he being called up?

IVES- Black-balled? Really? What is this, Hollywood? At the end of the day he’s still a young central defender who may not yet be ready to challenge for a role on the national team. That doesn’t mean his time won’t come if he keeps it up in Mexico.


OPTIMIST PRIMER- Can you outline what a day in the life of SBI entails? I get a majority of my soccer news and info from Soccer By Ives. Where and how do you collect it?

As always thanks for all the work you do

IVES- The day starts the night before with tracking of early-morning European stories. The actual day starts with hitting up as many major news sites as possible, be it Soccernet or the UK and Spanish newspapers. I also get tips from readers which help me get a jump on things. I’ll also usually go into a day with a list of stories that need to be touched on, written and/or posted.


JAYr5- Assuming Jermaine Jones's affiliation switch is completed in a semi-timely fashion, is he instantly a contender for the starting XI next summer? (Assuming the US makes it, of course.) I've never seen him play, but from the reviews he's getting, it seems like this is pretty big news. A quick follow-up, has Jay DeMerit played his way past Danny Califf and into the 3rd spot on the CB depth chart? (Califf was shockingly bad against El Salvador. I actually think there's a chance he's still down there booting long balls across the end line for goal kicks.)

IVES- I don’t know about instantly, but I do think Jones is good enough to eventually be starting alongside Michael Bradley in central midfield by the time the 2010 World Cup roles around.

As for DeMerit, not only has he blown by Dan Califf, but I would argue that Chad Marshall and Jimmy Conrad have moved past Califf on the depth chart.


YUSEF- In the previous Q&A, a question was asked about comparing the current USMNT pool to that of the successful team in 2002. Can you go by top player by position and compare the two? The USMNT is much deeper now, but is anyone scoring goals in Europe like Earnie Stewart did before the ’02 tournament? What right back is stronger than Sanneh in Korea? McBride was the best striker over the last decade and Reyna made the ’02 best XI, not to mention Clint Mathis’ nose for goal in that period. Your thoughts?

IVES- I won’t get into the in-depth analysis you asked for but I’ll touch on some of your comments.

Yes, there are people scoring goals in Europe like Earnie Stewart did. Michael Bradley scored 16 goals in the Dutch League, the league where Stewart scored his goals, and Clint Dempsey is doing well scoring goals for Fulham, in the EPL, where there were no Americans scoring consistently in 2002. As for Tony Sanneh, he certainly had a great World Cup but I don’t recall him being considered amazing before that tournament. I’d argue that the trio of Jonathan Spector, Steve Cherundolo and Frankie Hejduk is much deeper than the pool of right backs in 2002, and Spector could very well have a Sanneh-like World Cup (especially if his Confederations Cup is any indication). There’s nobody who can compare to McBride right now as far as target strikers go, but again, the U.S. depth is better now with Ching, Altidore and Davies. As for Mathis’ nose for goal, I’m not sure how you can argue with Dempsey having just as good a nose for goal as 2002 Mathis. And Reyna? No, there’s nobody right now who could match Reyna’s skill level in 2002, but Michael Bradley is one of the better young holding midfielders in Europe right now (yes, I said Europe), Maurice Edu starts for Rangers and Jermaine Jones is one of the best midfielders in the Bundesliga.


GAUCHO- Count me as one person that really likes what Spector brings to the table and is frustrated that he hasn't been healthier. It's no secret that our weakest position has been outside fullback (especially on the left, but sometimes on the right), especially with the injury bug we've had with those guys.

Back during the run-up to the 2006 World Cup, I remember seeing an interview with John O'Brien and the US training staff explaining why he was always injured and what they were doing to try to get him into playing shape in Germany. Are Spector's problems just a string of bad luck or something biomechanical that a good trainer might be able to rectify? Maybe this isn't appropriate for a Q&A but a post of its own with an interview with those in the know.

IVES- The sense I get is that Spector has been a victim of some bad luck with the injuries, whereas O’Brien was predisposed to having chronic injury issues.


DIZZLE- Hey, Ives. Could you see any SMNT players that have been locks in the past being phased out for South Africa 2010? The obvious suspects being Mastroeni and Beasley. Who else might be left out and who would replace them?

IVES- Beasley and Mastroeni are on the outside looking in as far as I can tell. As far as other veterans who have been phased out, I think those are the most likely, but I would also say Frankie Hejduk is in danger of being left home as well now that Spector has emerged and Cherundolo has returned. All that said, Beasley still has a year to recapture his old form and if he does, you can bet he'll be in South Africa.


BRENDAN- Is there any chance of FIFA changing the yellow card accumulation rules, so that more star players do not miss important Champions League/World Cup games?

IVES- Haven’t heard any real clamoring for a change. Players just need to learn to be more careful about the cards they pick up.


FRANK (PHILLY)- Considering that the talent pool for CM (Bradley, Jones, Edu, Torres, Kljestan, and Feilhaber) is far deeper that any other position on the USMNT, do we think (over the next year) playing 5 midfielders and either a 3-5-2 or a 4-5-1?

IVES- A 3-5-2? Nope. A 4-5-1? I can see that in certain situations, but if Jozy Altidore and Charlie Davies continue to develop and get regular playing time in Europe, and if Brian Ching stays healthy, I can’t see Bob Bradley using a one forward formation.


DOUG- what does your 'very' early top 5 look like for the 2010 MLS draft?

IVES- Hmm, good question. Here’s a stab:

1. Ike Opara, Wake Forest

2. Cody Arnaux, Wake Forest

3. Michael Stevens, UCLA

4. Corben Bone, Wake Forest

5. Andre Akpan, Harvard


MILKSHAKE of DESPAIR- Ives, why are you not in South Africa for Confed? Is it because of you unwavering devotion to RBNY?

IVES- In a year with a ton of trips to consider, there just wasn’t money in the SBI coffers to go to South Africa. That said, I’ll definitely be there in 2010.


JOE D- With the addition of Jones making the depth at midfield even deeper, what would your ideal starting XI look like if everyone is healthy?

IVES- If Jozy Altidore gets some serious playing time in the coming year, and Charlie Davies does the same in France for Sochaux, and Jermaine Jones settles in smoothly for the national team, here is the starting XI for the first 2010 World Cup match:






Now, if Altidore or Davies aren’t ready, Brian Ching should get the nod. If Jones isn’t a good fit, then Maurice Edu would have to be considered the next pick, followed by Benny Feilhaber. In the back, if DeMerit doesn’t keep up his Confed Cup form, then I’d consider the Spector as left back and Cherundolo at right back move.



Great work on the site!

1) Does Donovan leave the Galaxy for a foreign team after this season? Or will the money that the MLS requests for Donovan be so high, that he has to wait until after 2010?

2) Who is the next US player to get off the bench in Europe and into some regular first team action? (Adu, Altidore, Pearce, Guzan, Beasley etc.)


1. Donovan SHOULD leave after this season. Will he be allowed to? I’m not so sure about that one, although given his personal issues now (seperating from his wife) I think it would be pretty unfair of MLS to force him to stay.

2. I’d have to go with Altidore out of that group.


DAN KARELL- Who would you like to see the USA play in a friendly match, if the game against Iran doesnt work out?

IVES- Who should the USA play come November? A rematch with Argentina would be nice. I would also love to see a USA-Serbia match. Why? Aside from the fact that Serbia is one of the most talented young teams in Europe, there’s also the Neven Subotic factor.


KATATONIA- what do you think about having a MLS SuperCup? have the winner of the US Open Cup play the Supporters Shield or MLS Cup? would be a good way to kick off the season and perhaps bring more attention to the other competitions in mls.

IVES- I’m completely in favor of that and wrote that years ago. It only makes sense. Sometimes I wonder why MLS doesn’t do more to prop up the Open Cup.


SUSHANT RAO- Why Conor Casey over Kenny Cooper? I'm not a huge fan of KC, but I liked what he did when paired with Jozy (in the WCQ vs Guat) more than what I saw out of CC (vs Honduras). CC isn't a target forward like Ching and he doesn't have the passing or quickness of KC. Though, to be honest, I haven't seen a lot of CC or KC in MLS, so apologies if the answer to this question is obvious.


IVES- Sushant, Casey actually is a pretty good target forward. That’s his role and why he got the nod over Cooper, who is 6-foot-3 but not at all a target forward. That said, I do think Cooper is the better prospect and has the better chance of being an impact player on the national team.


JOE- I don't think it will happen because of all of the different FA's involved, but what are your thoughts on CONMEBOL and CONCACAF uniting into one region for the purpose of the World Cup? It would probably make it harder for the US to qualify, but it would guarantee multiple games – home and away – against top flight competition every couple of years.

IVES- I answered this in the last Q&A. NEVER GOING TO HAPPEN


MATT-I really believe that if you were to describe the national team's formation based on technical ability, we really play a 4-6-0. We score goals off of set pieces, penalty shots, and odd bounces. IMO, there's no worthy target man or pure striker in the pool.

Assuming you agree to some extent, why do you think that's the case, especially given our country's history of producing aggressive, attack-minded goal scores in football, basketball, and hockey? It seems like even if we were a country with a low soccer IQ, we could at least score goals, as our athletes are developed for that purpose.

IVES- Since this came before the U.S. team’s Confederations Cup run I will assume that Matt has seen some promise in the U.S. attack after scoring seven goals against Egypt, Spain and Brazil.


BRAD- Ives.. Kobe or Lebron?

IVES- Kobe



  1. “IVES- I’m completely in favor of that and wrote that years ago. It only makes sense. Sometimes I wonder why MLS doesn’t do more to prop up the Open Cup.”

    Because unlike FA’s in Europe, MLS get virtually no financial gain from the USOC because they don’t ‘own it’ they only play in it because US Soccer, who sanctions MLS as the ‘premiere league’ in America requires them to. So the only money they get is prize money for winning which isn’t all that high.

    Oh and Jones will be starting and a lock. The man has captained Bundesliga squads and is, according to many Schalke fans, the best player on their club and as much as I loathe Schalke, they are a BIG club in a BIG league. If someone isn’t working with Jones, you move them out and keep Jones in. He destroys attacks like an animal and unlike most of our CM/DM players he is great in attack and doesn’t cough up the ball too easily. He is seriously going to be one of our best players, if not the best, and he will easily motivate the rest of the team because he is a firebrand leader on the pitch which we need. Someone with a little fire in his guts.

  2. ok a couple things. i’m sure people will yell at me for being negative, but im a die hard fan, a die hard fan that’s going to spend a thousand dollars to go to azteca in a few weeks, so ease up.

    1. jones-bradley. i admit, i don’t know much about jones, but from all that’s said he’s a mascherano/makelele type player. now for either of them to be effective, they have to be paired with a much more skilled central midfielder partner, i.e. xabi alonso or patrick viera – someone who can make up for their lack of possession. that is why i think our central midfield needs to be one of edu/bradley/jones/clark + a skill player like feilhaber/torres/maybe even donovan or dempsey since we have no depth at the skill position. i think the brazil game showcased the problem of playing with no possession – at some point, you will be broken down. we can’t always get as luck as we did against spain (not to say that whole win was luck, but they had the majority of possession and in most games like that they will get numerous chances to score, as brazil did and ultimately capitalized on).

    2- people are saying the same things in response to the US in the confed cup that people said about donovan and company at the U-17 world cup and after 2002. ESPN ran a great piece comparing quotes from then and now after big wins, and we sound exactly the same – saying things like team’s now will take us seriously. now i know the confed cup is different and obviously players like gooch have been getting real international attention, but still, i personally think i need to see more consistent performances like that before i go crazy. remember how bad we were in WCQ and against italy and brazil in group play.
    to me, the US still has the same problems. we try to play a defensive game without the individual offensive talent to create out of nothing and without the defensive talent to withstand a barrage of attack for 90 minutes. a team like chelsea or italy can pull it off, but we can’t. we need to play a possession game if we are going to have any chance.

    3- of the best young midfielders in Europe? one of the best young midfielders in germany might be more adequate. i’m still not sold on him. he doesn’t offer enough in terms of skill and possession, and while he’s great defensively, he still has shown the habit of getting stupid reds and giving up bad fouls. until one of those two changes, bradley sholdn’t be a guaranteed starter. that doesn’t mean he shouldn’t start, but right now he’s as solidified as howard or donovan, which isn’t right by my book.

  3. so Ives told us not to post OUR depth charts yet.. but he’s given us some hints into his own version:

    Howard > Guzan > Perkins?/Hahnemann

    Bocanegra > Bornstein > Pearce (possibly Castillo)
    Onyewu > Marshall > Califf?
    Demerit > Conrad > Cameron!?
    Spector > Cherundolo > Hejduk

    Donovan > Klestan? > Rogers/Beasley?
    Bradley > Feilhaber > Torres > Beckerman
    Jones > Edu > Clark > Mastroeni
    Dempsey > Holden? > Adu?

    Altidore > Ching > Casey
    Davies > Arnaud? > Cooper

    or something like that

  4. i also had no idea about LD’s split either. wasn’t that her on the ESPYs last night there with him (or whenever it was recorded)?

    I agree 100% with the lineup Ives put out there under the circumstances (which should happen!) he laid out. I think we can put up a great fight with that squad. Even the bench looks good!

    As for Beckerman…I say no way. Not the A team. Torres, Feilhaber, Jones, Bradley, and Edu are ahead of Beckerman in my opinion. Not to mention Holden, who I think is a more promising player. Granted Holden can play on the right, he generally plays towards the center.

  5. Ching scores on set pieces and bungled goals, he headed off a guys back and into the goal in the gold cup. the difference is bradley’s playing more dangerous mobile attackers up top. And we score goals. if he goes back to the sort of one dimensional aerial threat. If we play guys that can shoot from distance and score from open play we will. When Bradley goes back to ching, and Cooper, and/or plays a set up where the midfielders can’t provide dangerous service to the strikers, a common problem for the u.s. specifically the central midfielders, we’ll go back to being reliant on set pieces and penalties.

    Posted by: Derrick in Los Angeles, CA
    I totally agree. We can play attacking, run at defenders football. That old, hold up play, can’t beat a defender style, is done.

  6. Thanks Ives!
    However, can we now consider Beckerman coming on strong for for a midfield spot on the A team bench joining Holden and Torres?
    I feel like Beckerman has looked very very strong in the gold cup. If jones doesn’t work out, Edu remains injured, and say Torres never shapes up, could Beckerman merit a spot on that 2010 roster? I think yes!

  7. Regarding Matt’s question about scoring.

    He’s is right. in the past we’ve often scored on set pieces, deflections, penalties.

    the difference what Ive’s points out, the scoring against brazil, spain, and egypt is that Bradley finally played strikers that like to score from open play, Altidore Davies.They are mobile and good with their feet and it compliments Donovan more as well. Ching never would have got to that counter attack ball that davies did against Brazil. And i’d guess he’d never have hit that first time because he’d have tried to slow the play and hold up the ball. that’s speculation but that’s Chings game.

    Ching scores on set pieces and bungled goals, he headed off a guys back and into the goal in the gold cup. the difference is bradley’s playing more dangerous mobile attackers up top. And we score goals. if he goes back to the sort of one dimensional aerial threat. If we play guys that can shoot from distance and score from open play we will. When Bradley goes back to ching, and Cooper, and/or plays a set up where the midfielders can’t provide dangerous service to the strikers, a common problem for the u.s. specifically the central midfielders, we’ll go back to being reliant on set pieces and penalties.

  8. Hey Ives…I’m glad to hear your role is about to increase into on air stuff with ESPN. I consider you the hardest working person in the soccer news biz in America. Certainly well deserved.

    BTW…I’ve played with one of your writers (Christa) in a Coed League in Atlanta! She’s sweet girl, but an absolute stud on the field. Wish she would play with us full time!

  9. “Stevie C. doesnt bring anything that Hejduk cant bring”

    Ross, ARE YOU SERIOUS?? How about a touch, ANY TOUCH, on the ball? Sure we all love Heydude’s intensity and personality. But any comparison between he and Cherundolo as defenders or even soccer players is ludicrous. Dolo CAPTAINS a Bundesliga team for Pete’s sake! In CONCACAF Frankie is an emergency fill in, a liability anywhere else.

  10. fair enough Ives. Maybe “black balled” was a little bit strong, but he really has disappeared from any USMNT duty, or even speculation about a call up ever since that red card.

  11. As long as Rob “I’m going to explain soccer to America” Stone and Max “listen to my melodramatic pronunciation of this Spanish/Italian player/team/town” Bretos aren’t involved, I’m happy. That, and Verizon FiOS offers mun2.

  12. When is Donovan’s contract up? I thought it expired at the end of this season. His best chance would be as a free agent, as he’s the most recognizable American face and Garber is a shrewd businessman and isn’t going to let that get away. Let’s hope he gets a chance in a league suitable to his size/talents.

  13. Per my previous comment, I see an article on dated yesterday stating that they have been seperated for several weeks. Hate to be a jerk, but is that maybe why Landon seems to have found his “fire” again?

  14. US-Serbia would be a great match! i hope they can organize a game over in europe this fall with either Serbia or another UEFA nation like the Swiss, Germany, Poland or Russia.

  15. spector has earned the spot at right back for 2010 but Hejduk should get the back up spot. Stevie C. doesnt bring anything that Hejduk cant bring and Frankie would bring more veteran leadership not to mention unmatched intensity.


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