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Tuesday Kickoff: Blatter talks MLS, Twellman replaces Harkes and more

Blatter (Getty Images)

Sepp Blatter has gotten himself in hot water for recent comments, but the FIFA president steered clear of controversy when talking about Major League Soccer.

In an interview with Fox Soccer, Blatter addressed the MLS schedule, maintaining his position that it would be better if the league aligned itself with the European calendar as opposed to continuing the March-to-November schedule.

"If (U.S. Soccer) has the courage to change, they will do it," Blatter said in an interview that will be shown on Fox Soccer Channel during the week. "But they need some time to change that – to adapt to the international calendar. It means to the European calendar. It would be better for U.S. Soccer, and specifically also for the [United States] national team. And the popularity inside the country."

Prior to the awarding of the 2018 and 2022 FIFA World Cups, MLS officials appeared more open to the idea of shifting to the European calendar as a concession to having the United States secure hosting rights for the 2022 event, but that was before FIFA gave the hosting rights to Qatar. No radical change to an August-to-May schedule appears imminent, even though Blatter says that MLS is heading toward that direction. 

Here are a couple of more items to get your Tuesday going:


There will be a noticeable change during MLS and U.S. Soccer television broadcasts next year.

Former New England Revolution and national team striker Taylor Twellman will reportedly replace John Harkes in the ESPN TV booth for MLS and U.S. national team games, taking his seat alongside lead play-by-play voice Ian Darke.

Twellman was the color commentator for Philadelphia Union games this past season and has done studio work with ESPN for MLS and U.S. games. The oft-criticized Harkes, meanwhile, did not have his contract renewed by the network.


Well-traveled Chelsea striker Nicolas Anelka is a name frequently linked with MLS teams as a potential Designated Player signing, but he reportedly has interest from the other side of the world as well.

Chinese club Shanghai Shenhua is looking to sign Anelka during the winter transfer window for a reported £9.17 million salary, according to The Guardian, something that would likely price him out of MLS range.

The 32-year-old Anelka's contract with Chelsea expires this summer, when he will become a free agent and therefore a more attractive signing for MLS teams, who wouldn't have to pay a transfer fee for his services. 


Do you think MLS should align itself with the European calendar? Think Twellman is a better choice for the TV booth for MLS and U.S. games? Would you want your MLS team to sign Anelka? 

Share your thoughts below.


  1. “Twellman replaces Harkes.”
    I think this is the best thing i have read on here in a long time. don’t get me wrong, I love this website, and if i only get to check it once a week, i catch up through the whole time i missed (haha, check the dates on my comments, not that anyone else goes back through these, but commenting is worth it : )
    Purely, from a content happiness perspective, that headline rates off the charts…..SO HAPPY!!!!

    I was afraid I was stuck with him forever.

    p.s. I noticed that some comments on wynalda. Yes he is crazy as eff and wrong on many points, at least i think so (we are rebuilding for world cup qualifying, so i don’t think results matter now…did they matter when bob bradley took a C team to south america’s copa?), but his style is more professional, announcer like, and entertaining. he may state his opinion as fact, but he is clear that it is his opinion. harkes tries to pretend like there are no opinions but his, and it annoys the chrizzy out of me.

  2. SWEET!!!!!

    Early Christmas gift for sure, anyone but Harkes, and Twellman is a HUGE STEP UP!!



    LOVE IT!!!

  3. Blatter sucks, and he has absolutely zero idea about the MLS and its exceptional growth. What a corrupt piece of sh*t. Cold weather only seems to destroy the pitch, and I really think the current MLS schedule is perfect.

    As far as John Harkes leaving? I’ve been anticipating this day for a long time. I’ve been trying to look up some recent Twellman color commentary, and from what I hear, he may not be a huge improvement, but he SPEAKS IN COMPLETE SENTENCES. Harkes’ dismissal was long overdue and I’m eagerly anticipating Darke/Healey plus Twellman next year.

  4. Thank you! We currently have a very similar winter break to what’s being proposed above. So why change the schedule to something that would actually be very similar other than playoff time, just so we have two breaks-winter and off season??? Also, December and Feb. could lead to a lot of postponed games due to unplayable conditions. Ever been to SLC during Dec. and Feb? To me thats just too much time off soccer during what should be the playing soccer season.

  5. I think Twellman does an excellent job. He is certainly a few rungs up the ladder from Harkes. I completely agree that he is a move away from the “dumb it down” group. MLS and US matches will be better recieved for this move.

  6. interesting call on the American soccer culture, makes some sense to me.

    on Ian Darke, he doesn’t care desperately whether the US teams win or lose, in a nutshell. Not asking for a cheerleader but you have to love the team, the country represented.

    not all agree with that. I like Darke on other games, he’s good, just can’t listen to him calling USMNT games, and don’t

  7. liked Harkes, warts and all, trusted his perspective

    Darke is fine but not for national team games…he doesn’t care desperately whether the US teams win or lose, and I hear that, and that’s not good enough for that responsibility. Not asking for a cheerleader and able analysis is nice, but you have to love the team…love.

    not a big requirement to me, but clearly those in control disagree 🙂

  8. And the British guy is OK, but he’s a bit of a blowhard, and I think his cliches are just unfamiliar enough that we put up with them.

    In the grand scheme of America’s soccer culture, we won’t really have a great pundit class until we have a strong enough youth system that will turn out legions of frustrated nonathletes who grew up thinking they had a shot at playing pro. ONLY THEN will the US be a soccer power.


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