Welcome to the first installment of Your February Questions Answered. It is March 1st, the ideal day to look back and begin answering a record-setting number of questions from SBI readers.
I will be traveling quite a bit this week and will hopefully be able to answer as many of the February Questions as possible this week. This first installment includes questions on subjects ranging from TV shows to the future of D.C. goalkeeper Bill Hamid to which non-USA player I would add to the current U.S. national team.
Now, onto the first installment of Your February Questions Answered:
JAMES T– Hey Ives, if you had to put a percentage on whether or not Landon Donovan is bought by a European club this off season, what would it be? Also, what is your favorite Olympic event?
IVES– I’d put the chances at 75 percent (which may seem high to the folks overplaying his bad miss on Sunday. It was a bad miss, but it was WAY overblown. You would have thought the chance was as easy as Maurice Edu’s vs. Celtic).
As for favorite Olympic event, I’ll assume you mean winter Olympics. The one where they fly down a hill on skies and then do flips in the air before sticking the landing was fun to watch. Whatever that’s called, I was a fan of that. Didn’t watch much to be honest, though I did watch the hockey gold medal match, which was amazing.
IAN– Lost or 24?
BEN– What is your beer (or drink of choice) while viewing a nice match at the pub or at home? As a grad student mine has to be whatever the cheap special is or a solid dirty thirty.
IVES– I don’t get to watch many matches in the pub, but if I did I’d probably have to have some Guinness. That said, Heineken is my beer of choice.
DYTMUS– Please speculate as to the reason Nowak left the USMNT. How do you think the loss of Nowak has effected the USMNT? What role did Nowak play in as an assistant coach? (I tend to think it was a bigger role than the outward appearence)
IVES– Sounds like you’re fishing for a conspiracy theory my friend. Nowak left because he was presented with a great opportunity to build a club from scratch and have total power to do that. As for the impact of his departure on the national team, I’m sure it hurt the team to some degree because he had a good relationship with the younger players in the group, but I wouldn’t say the move was devastating for the squad.
WILYBOY– Who has more of a shot to start against the Netherlands, Torres or Edu?
I'd choose Torres, but wondering what Bradley might be thinking.
IVES– I said Edu last week, before his game-winning goal vs. Celtic, and that pick stands even more now. I’d love to see Torres, but Edu gets the nod. I’ve also heard suggestions that Michael Bradley should sit so we can see both Torres and Edu, but that’s pretty silly. Bradley’s the best central midfield in the pool and we need to see how Edu pairs up with him because they very well could be the starting central midfield tandem in South Africa.
J MANN– Favorite comic book hero?
IVES– When I was a kid I was a big Daredevil fan.
TREX– Any update on the Agudelo front? Please tell me RB are pushing hard to get him a GA contract.
IVES- It’s a unique situation because Hans Backe told me he hopes Agudelo signs but I’m hearing the club isn’t exactly rushing to get the signature. One issue could be the fact that Agudelo has grown and improved considerably in the past four to five months. He’s physically matured and is much stronger, and he’s also playing with more confidence. That, coupled with a successful trial at Colombian club Millonarios could have Agudelo looking for more money, which could be why a deal isn’t getting done.
JOSH ST PAUL– Ives, perhaps you've answered this before…
i'm curious as to what prompted the transition for you to strictly cover soccer. a number of years back (and still, to an extent, today)soccer journalists were few and far between and not too respected. it seems that you must have had some inclination as to where the popularity sport was headed in this country. passion is one thing, but one has to pay the bills. so what is/was your story?
IVES– I covered soccer in college and had a growing interest in the sport and when my newspaper had the beat open I jumped at it. I can’t say I made the move looking ahead and seeing soccer as a growth sport, but I saw it as something I could do well.
DCD– If you owned a team and had to slap a corporate logo on the jersey, who would be your dream sponsor?
IVES– I do like the Ferrari logo, but I’d probably go with Inca Kola. It would be a great way to rep my Peruvian people, and let’s face it, it’s a great soda.
PHIL– Do you think there is a chance mike grella would be a call up to the USMNT, if he starts getting playing time, or is league 1 (or probably championship league next season) too low a level for the US?
IVES– I think Grella has showed good promise with Leeds and has transitioned well to the pro game. If he can find a steady role with Leeds as the club moves up, I can see him getting a call in the summer of 2011.
DOMI-NATE– What do you think about organizing a Vegas trip for those who can't make it to South Africa? Do you know a bar/casino that will give World Cup the respect it deserves?
IVES– Wow, Best Idea Ever. Unfortunately, I’ll be in South Africa so I can’t even get to enjoy that trip. As for bar/casinos to watch the World Cup, that’s a very good question. I’m sure Vegas-based SBI readers could offer some suggestions.
CAIRO– If you could take one Non-American and add him to the USMNT for the World Cup, who would you choose; or rather, who would make the biggest difference in the team's fortunes?
IVES– Wayne Rooney. A pure goal-scoring forward with an unmatched work rate who is also a professional and relatively humble would do wonders for the U.S. team. I’m sure others would say Messi or Ronaldo, but for what the Americans have and don’t have, I’d go Rooney.
DARIUS– On a scale of 1 to 7 (7 is the best), How excited should we be for the inaugural Green Soccer Bowl, the Tournament in Detroit featuring Ghana, Malaysia, Puerto Rico and Kenya this May?
IVES– What’s less than 1? Oh right, zero. Seriously, who thought this up? More importantly, who in Ghana’s Soccer Federation thought this was a good idea?
SETH DAVEY– How old do you think Freddy Adu really is? Some say 26, but I'm guessing he's pushing mid-30's. Thoughts…
IVES– I had the chance to meet and interview Freddy Adu very early on, back in February of 2003 to be exact, and I found him to be smart and confident but I also found him to be totally believable as a 13-year-old. This was well before the real Freddy hype began. At no point back then did I get a feeling that he might be older. Even back then there were questions about his age, but I just never got that impression that he was someone much older.
JD– With Herculez Gomez's recent form at Puebla, do you think he should get a look in an upcoming camp even though he hasn't been capped in almost three years?
IVES– There are no more camps until December. Now, if he keeps on scoring for the next few months, I’m sure Bob Bradley will look at him. Will that mean a spot on the World Cup roster? I can’t really see it unless the other options are all just not looking good (Davies is still not back, Robbie Findley and Jeff Cunningham aren’t looking that good in MLS and Eddie Johnson’s time at Aris doesn’t get any better).
T. WHITE– Do you think Mourinho goes back to EPL after this season? I want him at Liverpool if Rafa leaves for Juve.
IVES– I would bet on Mourinho joining either Manchester City or Liverpool, depending on which of them doesn’t finish in fourth place. If neither finishes in fourth, then I think City wins the bidding war.
PMAC– What are the prospects for a Soccer By Ives show on FSC or FSC2?
IVES– Chances of getting some air-time on FSC? Good. Chances of an actual show? Not so sure about that one. I’ll go with long shot (for now).
HUTSKIZZLE– If Juan Agudelo was available in this years draft, where would you rank him?
IVES– Based on how he’s looking right now I’d have to make him a Top Five pick. No worse than a Top 10 pick.
DAVE– Ives, great site, but I miss more regular Red Bulls news and inside information you had in the past. Any plans to bring more of this back in the future?
IVES– There just aren’t enough hours in the day. People might realize that my job now is just different than it used to be when I was a beat writer for the Red Bulls for a newspaper. When you’re a newspaper beat reporter it’s easy to devote a ton of time to a team and focus on them. When I made SBI a national site it meant having to spread my time and energy across the country. I wish I could still cover the Red Bulls like I used to, but it’s just not possible.
That said, I plan on adding a writer to cover the Red Bulls and I will continue to cover the team personally by attending matches and occasional practices.
TIM– After Bill Hamid's good preseason, as a DCU fan, do you have any idea of what I should expect from Bill Hamid? How good can he become and how long should it take him to reach this potential.
IVES– I think D.C. fans have every reason to be excited about Hamid and I’ll put it down right now. Hamid will be D.C. United’s starting goalkeeper in 2012. I’ve heard some pretty impressive things about him from sources I respect, including one who believes he’s better at his age than Tim Howard. That’s saying a lot, and that’s not to say he’ll be as good as Howard, but he has the tools to be starting in MLS sooner than later.