November came and went three weeks ago, but the questions SBI readers posed during that month haven't gone away just yet.
It took me some time to get around to them, but I will be posting answers to the November Q&A over the course of the week. We will start with the first batch of questions, which covers topics ranging from Freddy Adu to the Philadelphia Union, and even SBI's Top Five albums of the year.
Now, it's time for some questions to be answered:
JC– Having spent some time with the Philadelphia Union coaching staff, should we be reading anything in to John Hackworth's title of "Coach and Youth Development Coordinator"? Will he be a run of the mill assistant or will the Union be taking youth development to another level?
IVES– The Union is definitely serious about youth development. I talked to Peter Nowak at length about the team and its future and one of his points of emphasis was that the Philadelphia area is loaded with young talent and the Union plan on tapping into that resource and doing its part to help develop young talent in the area. I know plenty of teams have that sort of goal, but listening to Nowak it really sounds like it is a key piece to what they are trying to do.
MITCH– Do you find the name 'Real' Salt Lake as dumb as I do?
IVES– I wasn’t a fan of it at first, but it’s grown on me, and fielding a championship team that plays attractive soccer can make any name sound decent.
ELAC– Is Sacha Kjelstan leaving for Europe? Is the Steve Sampson-to-ChivasUSA rumor a joke? If not Sampson or Vasquez, then who?
IVES– I don’t get the impression that Kljestan is leaving, though I would have put money on it a year ago. The fact that he was called into the January camp would lead me to believe he won't be making a move, but then again he did spend time with Celtic after taking part in last year's camp.
As for Sampson to Chivas USA, it was close to happening but the Goats went with Martin Vasquez. Disaster averted.
DANNYc58– Now that Dilly Duka was signed, what are your odds he's a NYRB come January?
IVES– I’d say Duka is a good bet to be drafted by the Red Bulls, but not with the No. 2 overall pick. The Red Bulls like Duka, but he’s not considered a No. 2 overall talent in this draft and grabbing him at No. 2 would be a reach. I know some folks who base their entire rating of Duka on having seen him in a few U-20 World Cup games might be blown away by the fact that he’s not a lock No. 2, but the fact is there are just other players who are more highly regarded. That’s not to say Duka won’t be a good MLS player, but as we’ve learned in past drafts, the best players don’t always come from the highest draft positions. Duka could slide down to the Red Bulls pick at No. 14, and the team could also trade up from 14 to take him with a second pick. I just don't see him going No. 2.
ZACK– 1. Other than yours, which is your favorite Soccer blog?
IVES– I must confess that I don’t read other blogs nearly as much as I’d like but my bros at The Original Winger do a great job (as do all the Designated Players). England-based journalist Oliver Kay does a good job with his blog as well.
WILL SMITH– Who do you think is a worse coach in their respective sport: Juan Carlos Osorio or Eric Mangini? We know that JCO is the better dresser.
IVES– You know Will, some would call your obsession with Osorio borderline scary. As for the question, Mangini is a worse coach. Osorio had a worse year, but has enjoyed some success everywhere he has gone. Mangini has become a pure train wreck in Cleveland after not being that great with the Jets.
DIEGO– Who is the belichick of the soccer world? Which coach has had the most success developing other coaches?
IVES– A trend of mixing sports this time around. Before he passed away, Bobby Robson was someone who could be called an inspiring force in the coaching ranks, while Sir Alex Ferguson has probably influenced more managers than any other manager I can think of in the world.
MANNY F– When should we expect to see Freddy Adu states side again on an MLS team? Is it out of the realm to think that one of the future expansion teams in Portland or Vancouver might take him?
IVES– Adu can’t come back to MLS unless he’s ready to take a SERIOUS pay cut, and I’m doubting he would. The reality is that I don’t see any MLS teams being willing to pay him max non-DP salary ($400K). Now, if he were willing to come back and play for a smaller sum, there’s a chance he could have a home here. As it stands, I don’t see him leaving Europe while he can still make big bucks. He’s still young and still has plenty of time to develop. I think his process might appear to be a more painful and drawn-out one because Adu’s Twitter account helps paint a pretty painful picture of a player who’s career isn’t quite going according to plan. Someone should really tell him that using Twitter as a personal diary isn't a good look.
LUNT– What is your guess as to final four in the World cup? ( I know we don't know the draw but take a shot anyway) minw would be Spain, Germany,Brazil, Netherlands.
IVES– I’ll go England, Brazil, Argentina and Spain.
OMAR VIZQUEL– This is probably the 576th most important thing we should be thinking about at this point, but don't you think the USMNT coach should wear a button-down shirt and pants made out of some kind of cloth at the World Cup? Surely Bob Bradley will be the only head coach fully outfitted in 100% polyester in South Africa if current sartorial trends continue…
IVES– The last time I checked, the last two World Cup winners (Scolari and Lippi) were both track pants and polo guys, so I’m not sure Bradley needs to change a think.
GAGE– Any word on where Lee Nguyen is going to end up now that he's leaving Vietnam? Says on his FB page that he wants to be seen by the Nats coaches.
IVES- After recently training (and impressing) with FC Dallas, I would put good money on him landing with Dallas. It’s time for him to come to MLS and show what he can do. I can see him having the type of impact Robbie Rogers eventually made after returning from the Netherlands.
DURDEN– Any idea what's up with Chris Seitz? It seemed like he had so much promise even as a rookie, that I know a lot of us were hoping he would unseat Rimando that first year and start to get game right away.
Also, what are your top 5 songs and/or albums of 2009?
IVES– As you know by now, he’s been traded to Philadelphia, where he is projected to be the team’s starter. I think he could be a breakout player to watch in 2010.
As for my Top Five albums of 2009? Here are five I thought were pretty good (and yes, I listen to hip hop and dance music, though I don't beat up the beat with a fist pump.)
Only Built 4 Cuban Linx Part Two (Raekwon)
Blueprint 3 (Jay-Z)
The Grand-Mixed (Kaskade)
One Love (David Guetta)
808s and Heartbreaks (Kanye West)
CHICAGO MIKE- 1) Who do you think will win the world Cup?
2) Who is the best team outside Europe and South America?
IVES- 1. I’d bet on Spain. 2. Best national team outside of Europe and South America? According to the FIFA rankings it’s the USA. Aside from the USMNT, I would probably say Ivory Coast.
SMITS- Any chance that the Dynamo improve with the possible departures?
After soccer what's your favorite sport and briefly why?
IVES- Losing Holden and Clark is devastating for Houston, but the Dynamo can’t be written off just yet.. If Richard Mulrooney can come back strongly, if Eddie Robinson can return to his pre-2009 form and if Luis Landin can get in shape, the Dynamo can definitely soften the blow of the departure and be right back in the mix.
RORY- Remember that post you made about how you hoped something good would happen to Ownby after everyone on the comment board trashed the hell out of him, then he scored at the U-20 World Cup and almost had another? What was the funniest turnaround like that you've experienced, where you blogged one thing then a minute later were made to look like either a genius or a fool?
IVES- Folks who read the site regularly are aware of my penchant for jinxes, particularly in my match commentary posts. I can’t of any specific instances that stand out. I would need some help remembering the better (or worse) ones. I thought the Ownby one was great because NOBODY could have expected him to turn around and nearly score two after struggling so badly before that.
CITRONOMICS– Obligatory Freddy Adu question – what gives he is not seening playing time for his club team in Portugal? Work habits in practice, attitude, coach who only plays tested players…
IVES– Considering how many teams Adu has failed to get consistent minutes for I’m not sure how people can still put blame on the coaches. I think he’s a flawed player who brings some attacking elements to the table, but who still has weaknesses in his game that make it tough for coaches to justify starting him. In short, he's the type of player you pretty much have to build your team around to accomodate his shortcomings, and he's just not at that level where a team is going to do that.
DC JOSH– 1. How is soccer received at ESPN? Do you frequent the headquarters enough to know? Is Tommy Smith's head as large in person as it is on screen?
2. If you enjoy a bevvy, what is your favorite beer, type of beer? Or are you a wine man?
IVES– I don’t spend much time at ESPN headquarters but it definitely sounds like soccer has become a priority for the company heading toward the World Cup. Whether that emphasis will carry over beyond the World Cup remains to be seen, but right now soccer’s status at ESPN is rapidly rising.
RENIMENJIVAR– Since we're getting so close to the end of 2009, how has the year treated you (and SBI) [mostly good I hope]? As far as SBI goes, what do you think worked well and what needed improvement? What should we be looking forward to seeing at SBI in 2010?
IVES– Things have gone very well in year two for SBI, both from a reader and business standpoint. We grew at a good rate and I think SBI only strengthened its place in the American soccer landscape as a top soccer news site. As for what worked well and what needed improving, I would leave that for readers to decide. I will say that the incorporation of Travis Clark and Gianfranco Panizo to the staff was a big positive.
What can you expect in 2010? Hopefully more writers, more interactive elements to make SBI even more like a community, and more wide-spread coverage of the different elements of American soccer.
AUSTIN– Hey Ives, love the site. Stu Holden, USMNT supersub in the running, is officially out of a contract and now available on a free transfer. There's been some talk of a move to the SPL, but I'm thinking it might be too rough/not technical enough. God forbid another one of our players ends up injured or on the bench at Rangers. So my question is…Where would you like to see Stu head off to?
IVES– Holden is currently in talks with Blackburn, and I think that could be a perfect club for him to go to. I agree that the Scottish Premier League isn’t quite the style of league that would suit Holden well. The EPL isn’t exactly a cakewalk either, but the SPL can be a brutal league to play in from a physical standpoint.
EL TIGRE FEROZ– Ives, why on Earth do Red Bull make such poor decisions? If, as you say, they will be going with Erik Soler as GM and hiring some foreign, big-name (or not) manager–an proven failed model–how on Earth do they justify it? Having spent so many seasons close to the organization, do you have any insight into their psychology? As a supporter, it's my nature to be pessimistic–but is there any reason you can see that I should be hopeful? Thanks.
IVES– I’m reserving judgment on the current front office until a head coach is hired. That said, I would find it a bit crazy if the team hires a head coach with no MLS experience. It wouldn’t be completely shocking because I am sure folks in Salzburg will point to Bruce Arena and Juan Carlos Osorio and think “We tried it with so-called MLS experts and it didn’t work out.” That thinking would also ignore the fact that neither coach was given adequate support or competent from office help.
Why should New York fans be hopefully? The club is about to open the best stadium in the league, a second DP signing is all but guaranteed and it could be a marquee player like Thierry Henry. The Eastern Conference is also not exactly as tough as it was in year’s past so New York could be in a much tougher spot. And who knows? Maybe the team will hire a decent coach.