Photo by Tony Quinn/ISIPhotos.com
Good morning folks. As we draw closer to Christmas, there is plenty of news on the American soccer front and plenty to discuss. Let's go over some of the items making the rounds, and some of the things I'm hearing.
The 2011 MLS Draft is shaping up to be a strong one, with sources telling me the mass exodus from Akron is set to take place. Darlington Nagbe, Perry Kitchen, Zarek Valentin, Kofi Sarkodie and Darren Mattocks are all set to leave the school, with all but Mattocks on the verge of signing with MLS. Mattocks could be ready to make the jump to Europe, while junior midfielder Michael Nanchoff could also join the MLS party as well.
Just how big the Generation adidas class will be remains to be seen but the word around the league is that MLS is trying to curb the amount of money it's spending on the class after having spent considerable amounts of money on recent classes. Part of the reason for that shift is the league's desire to spend more money on homegrown player signings.
Whether the desire to keep the size of this year's Generation adidas class down actually leads to a smaller class remains to be seen. There are a large number of underclassmen, led by as many as six Akron players, looking to leave school to turn pro. The D.C. United signing of Ethan White, and New York's expected signing of Matt Kassel, has helped reduce the pool size, but there are still more than a dozen quality underclassmen interested in signing with MLS, meaning a few will be passed over much the way Los Angeles Galaxy midfielder Michael Stephens was passed on prior to the 2009 MLS Draft.
Here are some other stories to get your day going:
Is Friedel ready for MLS return?
With Aston Villa manager Gerard Houllier planning a serious player purge next summer, and Brad Friedel one of the players expected to be let go, it is looking more and more like Friedel could be ready to return to MLS after a dozen years in Europe.
Reporters earlier in the winter suggested the Columbus Crew were lining up a move for him, but there has been little news on that front, leaving us to wonder where he might wind up. Sources told SBI last spring that Friedel had expressed interested in signing with the New York Red Bulls, but with the club looking set to hold off on using a third Designated Player slot it seems highly unlikely New York would be a viable destination.
The Columbus Crew makes the most sense given his ties to Ohio, although the Crew does have a solid, though injury-prone goalkeeper in Wil Hesmer.
Cervi ready to leave Celtic
Speaking of American goalkeepers with uncertain futures, Dom Cervi is set to join the U.S. men's national team for January training camp while his club future remains very much in doubt.
Cervi spoke out last week in the Scottish media, saying he was ready to leave Celtic in search of playing time.
“I think Neil Lennon knows how I feel, because I’d like to think it’s obvious. It’s not going to do Celtic any good to have me sitting around moping.”
Cervi is on a month-long loan with Dundee, but that move has simply made him go from a No. 3 goalkeeper at Celtic to a No. 2 goalkeeper with Dundee, which means the former Chicago Fire first-round draft pick still isn't playing.
Could an MLS move be next for him? There are surely some teams that would be interested but the fact remains he has yet to be a starter anywhere so it's tough to imagine a team just handing him a starting role. At this point his best bet would be to stick it out in Europe and ply his trade in a smaller league. He's still a very young goalkeeper at 24.
What do you think of these developments? Excited to hear Akron's stars are likely to be coming to MLS? Where would you like to see Friedel wind up? Think Cervi should stay in Europe, or give MLS a try?
Share your thoughts below.