Top Stories

Evening Ticker: Hurzeler joins USA U20 squad, Kandji tears ACL and more



The United States' youth system received an unexpected boost with the news that Bayen Munich and German U17 standout Fabian Hurzeler will join the USA's U20 squad.

According to Yanks Abroad, U.S. U20 coach Thomas Rongen said that Hurzeler will join the team during its January camp.

Hurzeler, 17, was born in Houston but has lived most of his life in Germany and is the youngest member of the Bayern Munich reserve team. The midfielder has captained Germany's U17 team in official qualifying tournaments, so he will have to file a one-time switch of federations if he is to participate in any U20 World Cup qualifying or tournament matches. This does not apply to the January camp or friendlies.

Here are some more stories to wrap up your Tuesday.


Colorado Rapids forward Macoumba Kandji has been diagnosed with a torn ACL after going off injured following his role in the game-winning goal in the MLS Cup Final on Sunday.

Kandji, 25, will most likely be out four to five months with rehabilitation.


The final attendance numbers from the 2010 MLS Playoffs show a substantial decrease from last year's record-setting average but that they were still the third-highest attended playoffs in history.

According to Sports Business Daily, the average playoff match drew 19,535 fans as opposed to 23,559 fans in 2009. This was capped with an MLS Cup Final crowd estimated at 21,700 at BMO Field in Toronto on Sunday night.


The Scottish Football Association (SFA) has set a Thursday deadline for a resolution to the impending referee strike this weekend in the Scottish Premier League.

The referees have voted to strike this weekend due to questions of their integrity that have been raised by SPL coaches, most notably by Celtic manager Neil Lennon. The SFA has not ruled out the possibility of "parachuting" in referees from other countries, but referees from Iceland have rejected the offer and officials from Ireland and Wales are unlikely to accept.


Two of Europe's top strikers will be out of action following on-field aggression.

Ajax has accepted a seven-match ban of Luis Suarez after the Uraguayan striker was seen biting a PSV Eindhoven player in a match last Saturday. Meanwhile, Inter-Milan forward Samuel Eto'o has been handed a three-match ban after the Cameroonian headbutted Chievo defender Bostjan Cesar. Suarez was fined an undisclosed amount while Eto'o was charged $40,000.


Despite waning national interest, FIFA is looking to add a second tier to the A-League, Australia's domestic soccer league.

The Australian Football Federation announced that it has launched a review of the country's resources with the ultimate goal of developing a promotion and relegation system between the two leagues. Several Australian clubs have been hit with financial difficulties recently, most notably Newcastle and North Queensland.


Several reports out of England suggest that West Ham United will beat out Tottenham Hotspur in the race for use of the 2012 Olympic Stadium.

Sir Keith Mills, deputy chairman of the London games and Tottenham director, admitted that West Ham is in "pole position" for use of the 80,000-seat stadium. West Ham is considered to be the favorite because the Hammers are willing to leave the running track intact, while the Spurs' bid calls for it to be removed.


What do you think of today's stories? Excited about Hurzeler joining the U20s? Concerned about Kandji's knee injury? Agree with the bans for Eto'o and Suarez?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. Not comparing the two, but it is an absolute fact that the US was Jones’s second choice. He wants to play in the finals and he sees the US as his chance to do that. So be it.

  2. Well thanks for the info, which is interesting. Didn’t know that.

    I think it’s about the same difference, though, isn’t it? I mean maybe it’s because of her height rather than her ability, but nevertheless, in the end she can’t make the US team because the US player pool is large enough to require more in that regard than she can meet. However she can make the Italian team, evidently because the Italian player pool is not like that…

  3. Ihemulu is a jerk. I put him in the Nigel de Jong category. Actually, I put de Jong in the Ihemulu category, because I put Ihemulu there years before de Jong joined him.

    Ihemulu destroyed a promising career for Dominic Mediate, breaking his leg badly with a late and reckless tackle.

    I’d like to see Ihemulu get drummed out of soccer, but I’d probably like to see him get a taste of his own medicine first.

  4. That seems to be what’s being said here, but it doesn’t sound right to me. Look at Diskerud, who played at the youth level for two countries. I guess it is tied to the question of official FIFA competitions. Hurzeler wouldn’t file except to play, so the cap-tie would be basically simultaneous, except that the paperwork would have to be filed to allow him to play for the USA…and it is the paperwork that seems to be the key. Not sure how that squares with Diskerud, except that I guess he didn’t play in FIFA competition for Norway.

  5. You play where you’re allowed to play while you still have your best legs. US citizenship laws do no get accelerated for anyone and it doesn’t seem like US Soccer is particularly keen on challenging the current process.

    Also, while Congo may not have the best shot @ the World Cup finals with Africa’s 5 berths, there’s still the Africa Cup of Nations.

    Good luck to Zakuani (and Najar and Diskerud and Mwanga wherever they choose to play). Can we quit whining and just accept that athletes will make their own career decisions without calling them mercenaries or traitors?

  6. Comparing the Jermaine Jones situation to Zakuani REALLY!! J.J. is a son of an American Soldier, how more american can you get. Zakuani was born in another country and has no ties to the U.S. He just moved here not to long ago.

    JONES…it sounds american it looks american and was born to an american soldier, what more do you want?.

  7. Why do you post this, when you’re admitting you know nothing? A long road? Well, he is the youngest player on Bayern’s reserve squad. On the other hand, how many USA players could sniff that team? I would bet those kids could give any MLS team a run for the money. We’re all hype about Agudelo lately. Do you think Agudelo could get a slot on Bayern’s reserve team? Captain of Germany’s U17 team?

    I don’t have a clue why he’s even considering the USA, unless he’s despairing of being Ozil’s back-up for a decade. However, if he does decide to file and make the switch, this would probably be the biggest coup for Team USA ever.

  8. “Because the Germans have a bottleneck of talent.”

    Exactly. Same thing happens in reverse to the US when it’s the women’s game involved. A gringa-latina scored the winning goal in Mexico’s shock upset of the USWNT in Cancun a couple weeks back, noting exactly what you say here: she would likely never get much of a chance on the US team. And an Italian-American is in goal for Italy in the current playoff to garner the last WC spot available.

    I don’t know that it’s the case with this guy, mind you — I mean that he’d have little/no chance to get much time with the German national team — but anyway, if it’s an easier path _and_ you have some appropriate background and feel some affinity for another country, as well, why not play for them? Seems like both a practical choice in many respects and then just a personal question that no one else could decide for you.

  9. Sure, there has always been an element of it but the situation has devolved in recent decades. The latest FIFA rule change (the one that allowed Jermaine Jones to switch) seems to be a form of capitulation.

  10. National team representation has ALWAYS been mercenary. Italy won its first World Cup with the ‘oriandi’ (or something, forget the spelling) – essentially a bunch of Argentines – in the 30’s.

  11. When did national team representation become so mercenary? Say what you want about David Beckham, the guy loves his country and that’s why he plays for his national team. A lot of guys just want to play international football and don’t seem to care about the shield on the jersey.

    If playing in the World Cup finals is more important than representing your country, I think you have the wrong priorities. I respect Ryan Giggs for playing for Wales, knowing full well his chances of making it to the finals were slim, as much as I disrespect Owen Hargreaves and Giuseppe Rossi for placing glory before patriotism.

    Soccer will always have its cynical wing. Oh well.

  12. Well I know both Schweinsteiger, Muller, and Lahm all joined BM in the reserve team at the same age as this kid, so I have no idea what you are talking about

  13. Too bad to hear about Kandji’s ACL. I have a bit of a soft spot for him–I was just starting to get into him as a player when he got traded. I like Ballouchy, too, but it seemed to me the Red Bulls’ energy level always went up when Kandji came into a game. Still, if he has to get hurt, then at least let him get hurt while winning the big one.

  14. Because the Germans have a bottleneck of talent. Hurzeler sees guys like Thomas Muller and Philip Lahm and Ottl–and those are just on Bayern. If you’re a young player in the German system, it’s got to be depressing b/c you just don’t see a lot of opportunities. To put it another way, it’s like being a fine young U17 GK for the US–and looking at Howard and Guzan and then a bunch of collegians and thinking “man, am I ever going to play for the NT before I”m 35?”

    Also, it’s changed a bit lately but the rep for Bayern’s youth team used to be “where young stars go to die.” Not b/c Bayern didn’t develop young talent but b/c Bayern Munich did such a great job buying up other teams’ young talent that the Bayern youth players rarely made the senior side. So if you don’t want to leave Bayern, you look for other opportunities to get ahead (and NT play is one).

  15. It was a cup final, and no doubt Ihemelu thought he was stalling. It was clear to all that Mac was definitely hurt, but it also seemed like he was lingering about 2 yards from the touchline…which was because that’s where he got hurt, but I can understand Ihemelu’s position.

  16. Lol lots of haters on these pages now….. Too bad the kid didn’t grow up in Dallas FC’s youth camp, because only then will these people think he is any good…..

  17. Probably best prospect. It is impressive that the captian of the youth squad and youngest reserve player at BM would choose the US over a perennial powerhouse. This seems to be a huge blow to germany, on paper. Lets hope it works out.

  18. Youngest player on Bayern Munich II squad. Last called up by Germany in March so hasn’t been out of the system for very long, so it’ll be interesting to hear his reasoning for the move.

    Shawn Parker should be another American on Rongen’s radar, but he’ll definitely be a tougher get after scoring for Germany’s U-18s just last week.

  19. what’s interesting is that Bakkal was laughing after the bite from Suarez and didn’t do anything. Also at the end of match Suarez and Bakkal were seen laughing it off.

  20. I do not really consider Zakuani American he just went to college here for like three years and plays in MLS he has not been in USA that long in my opinion. I do not see why he wants to play for USA. He has not spent the majority of his childhood here. Also, this guy from Germany is crazy why is he going to switch to play for USA if he is a prospect in Germany for club and country ?

  21. The playoffs may have sold tickets, but they must by counting season ticket holders who didnt show up, and contest winners who also didnt bother. I agree with angler23- No way there were 21,700 there at the final. I thought the empty seats, the stadium they held it at, and the teams competing all sucked! Worst cup in the last 5 years. Casey get’s MVP? He should have been tossed out in the first half from yellow card worthy fouls. The only good part of that cup was the FC Dallas goal.

  22. Kudos to Ugo Ihemelu, who tried to force Mac Kandji off the ground to speed up the game.

    As much as I hate faking injuries to waste time, when the trainers on the field attending to a player, you have to leave him alone. Ihemelu should have been sent off, and he should be suspended.

  23. Tell me if I have this straight on some of our duals:

    Hurzeler is locked into the US whether we cap him or not after the one-time switch.

    Agudela, Diskerud, and Bunbury aren’t technically cap-tied either because they haven’t appeared in an official fifa competition with other nations (and haven’t necessarily needed to file any one-time switch papers to this point.) It would seem they need to play in an official senior competition for the US in order to be cap-tied. Correct? (or have one-time switch papers been filed for any of those 3 players???)

  24. we may get Hurzeler but we lose out on Zakuani.
    Zakuani via his twitter, “I’ve accepted an invite from the Congo nat’l team for a game in Paris next week.. tough decision but long wait for US citizenship nailed it!” he followed that up with “If citizenship could have been fast-tracked, probably would have gone with US but happy with my decision.. can’t wait to represent Africa!”

  25. No way there were 21,700 at BMO for the final, that’s 100 seats short of capacity and there were lots of empty seats. You could even make out the Maple leaf in the stands.

  26. Good stuff re: Hurzeler, though can’t say that I have heard of him. Seems like the efforts of Rongen and the US Youth system going after more talent is starting to pay dividends.

    Any news on why the decision to switch and his thoughts on the USMNT (senior)?

  27. does anyone have an account of this kid? if so, please share. my initial thoughts are really ho hum…..being as i don’t know alot about him. that said, he is a junior player so in my opinion there is a long road that needs to be treveled by this kid before he starts playing first team soccer, whether it be at the club or senior national team level.

    in other words, i don’t want to hear any hype on him. talk to me about him in three years, and only if he has a couple of years of first team soccer at the club level. until then….yawn.


Leave a Comment