It's Friday and it is time to start a new series, which is more like the old series.
Every Friday, I will touch on some of the week's popular subjects being discussed by readers, as well astouch on news stories SBI may have missed. We've called these types of posts Musings and TGIF before, but now we'll be going with Friday Free Kicks and plan to make it a weekly series.
The first subject today is Jermaine Jones. the Schalke 04 midfielder is sidelined by pain in his surgically-repaired shin, and still hasn't been approved by FIFA to make the switch from Germany to the United States, but there's still plenty of discussion going on about his impending move to the U.S. national team.
One of the more disturbing arguments being made about Jones is that he shouldn't even be coming to the U.S. national team. That as a player who was raised in Germany and who played for Germany, he isn't "American enough" to play for the United States. This may just be the misguided rantings of a vocal minority of U.S. fans, but it's talk that needs to stop.
Jermaine Jones is the son of an American serviceman, which affords him rights as an American citizen. To suggest that he shouldn't play for the United States because he didn't grow up here doesn't make much sense and doesn't exactly go along with the history of the national team. Should Thomas Dooley, Roy Wegerle and Earnie Stewart not have played for the United States? Perhaps Tab Ramos should have waited for the call-up from Uruguay rather than being a key figure in the evolution of American soccer?
It doesn't really make much sense. Yes, Jones played for Germany in friendlies, and only spent brief parts of his childhood here, but that doesn't make him any less worthy of wearing the U.S. uniform. This isn't the case of a Frenchman being rushed onto the U.S. national team by marriage. Jones is American by birthright and his qualities as a player and the potential improvement he could bring the U.S. team should be applauded and not criticized.
Jones may have been raised in Germany, and may be learning English and speaking it with a German accent, but he has always seemed far more American by nature than German. From his swagger, to his tattoos (including the one, in English, that say "Whatever doesn't kill you can only make you stronger", to his willingness to speak his mind, Jones may just flourish in the U.S. national team environment, with fellow free spirits like Charlie Davies, Clint Dempsey and Jozy Altidore, and away from the rigid structure of German soccer.
So yes, Jones should be embraced as an American from the moment he joins the U.S. national team. Not just because he's a standout player, but because he has every right to be a part of the team.
Now, onto some free kicks:
Remember that Tim Howard diving save vs. Trinidad & Tobago? It wasn't actually a save. Why not? Thanks to the sharp eye of an SBI reader, we were tipped off to the fact that the kick was supposed to be an indirect free kick by Trinidad & Tobago. Referee Joel Aguilar clearly signals for the indirect free kick, but it appears that neither T&T players or U.S. players realize this and treat the play as a standard direct kick. What does this mean? In theory, if Howard hadn't made the save the play wouldn't have counted. That's the theory, but leaving that kind of a decision up to a CONCACAF referee would be crazy, so Howard deserves credit for still taking care of the would-be shot.
Eddie Johnson scored in a Fulham reserve team match earlier in the week. His exclusion from Fulham's Europa League roster is disappointing, but he is continuing to plug along and shouldn't be completely written off just yet.
As if DirecTV subscribers didn't already have all the luck with their FOX UEFA Champions League bonanza, they're also being treated to a free preview of Setanta Sports this weekend. Perfect timing, what with the Manchester Derby on Sunday. I'll confess to having halted my Setanta subscription during the summer. With the French League being even more appealing, it may be time to renew it.
Remember wondering what it would mean to American soccer to have ESPN launching a channel in the UK? It means more exposure for MLS, which is having its matches shown across the pond more frequently now. Football fans in England will be able to watch Colorado-San Jose as well as Toronto FC-Los Angeles this weekend.
You will soon be adding the San Jose Earthquakes to the list of MLS teams with detailed plans for a new stadium. The club is expected to reveal designs for a new stadium this weekend. It's good news for MLS and for Earthquakes fans, who with the recent retirement talk from Darren Huckerby and overall awful 2009 season, were desperate for something to cheer about.
To go along with our Jermaine Jones lead item, I found some interesting thoughts from readers on Bryan Leyva's signing with FC Dallas. Apparently some people weren't happy with an MLS team developing a Mexican youth national team player. The fact is MLS teams should focus on developing the best talents possible, regardless of nationality. Pro teams are in the talent business, not in the business of just developing American talent. Having a highly-regarded prospect like Leyva sign in MLS is only a good thing, and bringing in more quality talent to MLS, whether foreign or American, can only help the American league and the countless American players who can benefit from a stronger pro league.
After Emmanuel Adebayor's tasteless celebration in front of Arsenal fans, I can't help but wonder what Carlos Tevez might do if he scores on Sunday vs. Manchester United (He has resumed training and will need to pass a fitness test to play). He said this summer that if he scored he would do something in the direction of Alex Ferguson. Not sure that would be advisable in Old Trafford, and not in the wake of Adebayor's suspension. That's just another in a bunch of great subplots in the weekend's top match.
Real Madrid will be on ESPN2 this weekend and it may be the one time some American fans who don't like Real Madrid will root for the big-spending club. Why? They face Xerez, the club that wasted a half season of Jozy Altidore's career by not playing him. If you're a U.S. fan and/or an Altidore fan, it's okay to be hoping for a Real Madrid blowout victory. Really.
Bryan Arguez and Brek Shea scored goals in a 2-0 friendly victory against Trinidad & Tobago in the U.S. Under-20 team's final tune-up before the Under-20 World Cup.
Lastly, in case you haven't noticed, I'm spending more time in the comments sections on SBI so be sure to keep an eye out to be responses to reader comments. It won't be every day, but I'm looking to inte
ract more with readers and so far it's been fun.
What do you think of these Free Kicks? Agree or disagree about Jones? Surprised about the Tim Howard save vs. T&T? Curious to see what San Jose's stadium is supposed to look like? Will you be enjoying the free Setanta preview, or are you cursing the heavens because you don't have DirecTV?
Share your thoughts below.