- Jason Davis

Robbie Keane landed in LA yesterday. The Irish forward was greeted by a small collection of Galaxy supporters sporting scarves and (I imagine) chanting his name. I'm in danger of making this blog a little too Keane-heavy, but as I do see his signing as a seminal moment in the history of a league with the reputation of Scrooge McDuck when it comes to transfer fees, it's a hard development to ignore.

The "Welcome Robbie" contingent reportedly surprised Keane, who was no doubt expecting the anonymity footballers typically enjoy in the States (though, with his wife on his arm, it's not like he could go unnoticed). Rather than point to that fact and turn it into yet another "the game is growing" pillar, let me instead focus on the tenor of the crowd.

A Win In Mexico

Thursday, August 18, 2011 | View Comments
- Jason Davis

An American club went to Mexico and won a game last night. We should be doing back flips, right? Throwing ragers, cracking the seal on our best bottles of special edition liqueur, inviting the breakers of "The Streak" (FC Dallas, in case you hadn't heard) to our homes to eat our food and sleep with our wives. Finally, finally, FINALLY, the nightmare is over. MLS CAN win in Mexico, and now we have the proof. Everyone breathe.

Of course, because of the circumstances, what should be a day of rampant and debaucherous celebration is instead a ho hum Thursday with a couple of half-hearted attempts to fire up the fan base. It's really not much of a story, even though FCD's win was the first of its kind in MLS history. Hyndman and company slayed the dragon. Marvin Chavez is an American soccer hero.

Erring on Eddie

Wednesday, August 17, 2011 | View Comments
- Jason  Davis

So Eddie's not coming, and the story is now less about whether or not he'd work for - or be wanted by - an MLS team, and more about the PR mess the premature announcement of his signing has become. Trust the league, that Eddie had all but signed on the dotted line and chose the eleventh hour to back out, or believe Eddie and agent Richard Motzkin that there wasn't a firm deal and someone in New York jumped the gun?

It's funny that the signing of a middling American striker with fewer goals to his name in the last two and a half years than clubs has caused such a furor. It's summer in MLS, the playoffs are looming, and everyone is desperate enough to see even Eddie Johnson as a potential solution. MLS has changed, but MLS hasn't changed at all.

Introducing the DYP

Tuesday, August 16, 2011 | View Comments
- Jason Davis

There was a conference call I wasn't on this afternoon. I hear that MLS ExViceP Todd Durbin talked about developments on the player acquisition front. Some of it was of the "Hey! Look at what we did!" variety. Some of it was to announce a change in the Designated Player rule that will allow clubs to identify and sign younger players above the usual salary limits. A tiny bit of it was to reveal that the league has signed Eddie Johnson and that GAM will be allocated by the usual means at some point in the next two days.

Whatever the breakout of time spent talking about each topic actually was, it's the new twist on the DP rule that is obviously the talking point. Owners are naturally adverse to risk, which younger players that require DP designations (usually due to transfer fees hitting the cap) are. Who knows how many times coaches have returned from trips to Central and South America giddy over a young player their club could have had for a reasonable fee, only to be told the cap hit would be too large or the club is holding on to DP slots for "accomplished" names. Maybe not that often, but it certainly happens.

That CCL Thing

Tuesday, August 16, 2011 | View Comments
- Jason Davis

So here we go again. Two MLS teams start their CONCAChampions campaigns tonight. After the thrilling, but ultimately disappointing, story of Real Salt Lake to start the year, the tournament that has remained such an MLS bugaboo is back to twist our gonads.

MLS has five teams in the group stages, a new high. Presumably that means a better chance that one or two of those teams can make strong runs deep into the tournament, though some of that will be down to luck. A couple of these clubs have fairly daunting task ahead of them just to make the knockout rounds. Real Salt Lake was a special team through the 2010-2011 tournament. It remains to be seen if any of the MLS clubs in this edition are worthy of that label.

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- Jason Davis

Well hello, Robbie Keane. Come on in. Apparently someone is willing to stuff your pockets full of cash on the chance you'll score a bunch of goals and they'll finally have a championship in LA to go with all that spending.

I'd call LA desperate, but since there's no chance AEG is running out of money anytime soon, I'm not sure the label applies. The Galaxy went all-in on 2011 before the season even started. Since Angel was a massive flop, signing Keane is just about the only way they could have increased the pot. It's not a little bit of money. And they had to pay a transfer fee as well.

AmSoc 86: Mind Your Business

Monday, August 15, 2011 | View Comments
- Jason Davis

Sick of my voice yet? Wait, don't answer that.

Jared and I, in our usual time slot, have a new American Soccer Show for your listening enjoyment.

We hit on our impressions of Klinsmann's debut, address a few of the more notable performances from Wednesday, talking about the good vibes that everyone is buzzing on, and consider the next steps in the next round of friendlies.

We move to the news of Major League Soccer's new TV contact in segment two. I have a chat with Ben Berger of footiebusiness.com before Jared and I flesh out some announcer candidates. We move on to a couple of emails - including the frustrating suggestion that Brek Shea HAS to play in Europe to become a great National Teamer - then chat about all the news swirling around Philly like Freddy Adu's debut and Juan Pablo Angel's potential move.

We close the show talking about Beverly Hills 90210 (guess who brings it up), Chuck Blazer and other things.

Thanks, as always, for listening. Make sure you like and comment at the Facebook page and hit us up on Twitter via the AmSoc account.

Rating and comments in iTunes are always greatly, greatly appreciated.

Visit the show website for other links of interest.

The Little German That Should

Saturday, August 13, 2011 | View Comments
-Ben McCormick

Say what you will about the positives Juergen Klinsmann has brought to the USMNT, there are still some things he can't change, like the US player pool...or can he? Although he may not be able to magically produce eleven world class American players, he is in a unique position to cure one of the US's most painful ailments: left back.

Enter Fabian Johnson, the 23 year old German-American left back at Bundesliga club Hoffenheim. Only a couple short years ago, Johnson was playing for the German U-21 team at the UEFA Championship, having just completed another solid season at 1860 Munich, starting 33 matches, scoring two goals and notching seven assists in the process. He then made the big jump to then Bundesliga champions Wolfsburg where his promising career hit a sizable speed bump.

In his first season at Wolfsburg, he played in ten matches, starting only six. The following season, he played in just seven matches, with Wolfsburg's lack of European competition putting the squeeze on his playing time.

At the beginning of this summer, he transferred from Wolfsburg to Hoffenheim for €600k, where general manager Ernst Tanner expects big things, calling Fabian a "very talented and very versatile full-back."  And Johnson is already fulfilling those expectations.

- Jason Davis

A little bonus American Soccer Show action for you. After getting together with Jared to chat with Brian Straus of The Sporting News, we decided it was a good idea to put out a bonus episode rather than hold on to it over the weekend.

In here is a lot of great stuff from Brian on Klinsmann's debut, the new feeling around the team , Freddy to Philly, and more. After finishing up with Brian, Jared and I stick around to chat a bit about the news that Robbie Keane could be headed to LA.

Thanks, as always, for listening. Make sure you like and comment at the Facebook page and hit us up on Twitter via the AmSoc account.

Rating and comments in iTunes are always greatly, greatly appreciated.

Visit the show website for other links of interest.

A New Mien for the Job

Thursday, August 11, 2011 | View Comments
- Evan Rosenthal

The demonstrative enthusiasm Jurgen Klinsmann brings to US Soccer was palpable last night from my seat in the second row behind the United States bench at Lincoln Financial Field. For those who felt that Bob Bradley was robotic and displayed little emotion and joy for the game, the first match of the Klinsmann era at least showed that there will be some smiles and fun in the US camp. Seeing the new coach standing prominently on the sideline in support of the players, rallying the team to put higher pressure on the Mexican defense, celebrating the goal, and greeting the substitutes with affection like a proud father, I was heartened by the new direction of the US Men’s National Team, and hopefully the entire program.

Editor's Note: This is the second post by US Paralympic Team pool player Jasper Wilson on the American attempt to qualify for the 2012 Paralympic games in London. For a primer on the team and the rules for what is also called CP Soccer, see Jasper's introductory post here.

- Jasper Wilson

The U.S. Paralympic Soccer team's qualification for the 2012 Paralympic Games is akin to a World Cup qualification for the other national teams of US Soccer. The team is quite young (it was the youngest squad at the Copa America and one of if not the youngest at Worlds) making their accomplishment of qualifying for the Paralympic Games that much more impressive.

The Day After

Thursday, August 11, 2011 | View Comments
- Jason Davis

I'm struck today - after my maudlin ramble last night that was mostly down to putting fingers to keyboard at halftime and then changing course mid-stream - by the thing on which so many people are focused after the Americans managed to salvage a draw against Mexico last night in Philadelphia. It's not any perceived change in philosophy, or the play of any individual player, but the attitude of the new head coach. Jurgen, he's ebullient, and people are smitten.

The Debut

Wednesday, August 10, 2011 | View Comments
- Jason Davis

You're a rational person. You understand how this game works, with its subtle interminable nuances and unruly moving parts. You understand that change is rarely quick, is never easy, and doesn't happen merely because you wish it to, and particularly not on this level with its stop-start nature. Executing a fundamental shift in approach and philosophy is a like turning around a speeding vehicle going 100 mph; if you want to do it without putting yourself in the hospital you have to do it gradually, and with patience.

by Evan Rosenthal

Claudio Reyna, the respected former player and current Youth Technical Director of U.S. Soccer, recently presented the U.S. Soccer Curriculum to help guide coaches towards the ultimate objective of producing professional American players capable of seriously competing for a World Cup. The comprehensive, 123-page document, covering almost every aspect of the youth game, foremost stresses “development over winning” for soccer clubs across the nation. No experienced soccer coach would argue with the philosophy or content of the plan. Yet the great difficulty is the implementation: how to actually go beyond words and take that step onto the playing fields across the country.

This review originally ran a couple of weeks ago, and is being re-posted due to Storelli Sports launching their website. 

To most of us, goalkeeping looks fairly simple; stop the ball, by whatever means necessary. There's more to it than that, of course, but since keepers are mostly judged on their ability to perform that one task, shot stopping is paramount.

-Ben McCormick

August 10 is going to be like leaving for a family vacation somewhere far away.

The bags are packed, you and the rest of the family are crammed into what space is left, and daddy Juergen is going to put the family truckster in gear and leave the driveway, ready for the long road trip ahead. Before the car leaves the driveway you ask him if he needs a map, to which he says, "don't worry, I know where I'm going" and you have no choice but to trust him.

This is a fairly common and often humorous situation, a man not asking for or seeking directions. In addition to being a joke that usually ends with elbows in the ribs of husbands and fathers everywhere, it also serves as a good metaphor for where the USMNT is right now. We know where we want to go (Brazil 2014 with a uniquely American playing style and youth system to match) and who is in charge of getting us there, but the journey itself is difficult to predict.

- Jason Davis

Here we go, the first American Soccer Show of the Juergen Klinsmann Era. How will this era differ from the last era, which was just a somewhat more successful version of the era before it. Klinsmann, bringing the revolution?

Jared and I cover most of the relevant questions surrounding Klinsmann's takeover. What level of control does he have? What changed? What does Klinsmann have in mind for the team, the system, and the future? And how the hell will he get from Point A to Point B?

We go on and on about players that should benefit from the change of coach.

There's a bit of discussion about Bob's legacy - not much, because no one seems to care - and how he'll be viewed by history. Bradley certainly had his moments. Only time will tell if how people appreciate him changes. Jared proceeds to accuse me of "pissing on the parade." Obviously we argue about that for a bit.

The World Cup qualifying draw is done. The US should have an easy time of it their first round of CONCACAF qualifying. The lack of serious challenge should buy Klinsmann some extra time to flesh out his team.

Finally, towards the end of the second segment, we move on to non-Klinsy subjects. MLS All-Star Game, including Jared's plea for an MLS Rock n' Jock, and taking stock of the format. Changing would be...pointless? Needless? Jared makes the argument that things have gotten stale. Is that it? Eh, I don't know.

Red Bulls in New York, and how fans should feel about winning a fake trophy. Congrats?

We close the show with a lengthy 3rd segment that includes emails and various odds and ends, including a bit of #whosmore90s.

Thanks, as always, for listening. Make sure you like and comment at the Facebook page and hit us up on Twitter via the AmSoc account and the CSRN network account.

You can follow me @mfusa and Jared @jrodius as well.

Rating and comments in iTunes are always greatly, greatly appreciated. It just takes a few minutes and will help us climb the charts or something. Only 26 more ratings til the completely arbitrary round milestone of 100.

Visit the show website for other links of interest.

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