Mark St. Andre
Iowa City, Iowa
I was looking at your rankings of the players from the MLS combine, and noticed that your list of goalies did not include Jim St. Andre. Although I have an obvious bias, being his twin brother, I was amazed that he did not place among your top 10 keepers. Jim played for three years with the Colorado Foxes, spending many months with the lowest goals against average in the league. He accomplished this while playing on the same team as Mark Dodd, who is ranked in your top five. Was Jim's absence from your list an obvious oversight, or am I blinded by nepotism.
After leaving Colorado, Jim St. Andre only split time last summer in New York (A-League) with rookie Bo Oshiniyi. He was rated high enough, however, for him to be allocated to New England, where he'll be reunited with assistant coach Ron McEachen, his coach at Vermont. In our in-house rankings we had him 11th or 12th among available goalies, which means he actually was ninth or 10th since indoor goalies Victor Nogueira and Pat Harrington never signed.
East Brookfield, Mass.
Do you think American referees will be able to handle Major Soccer League? Also, what happens to the U.S. team now that Mexico won the Gold Cup? Is there still a playoff and do we qualify for the tournament?
The big question will be what MLS coaches and general managers think about referees after calls go against their teams! American referees will be tested, but they will face a unique situation, since MLS is putting great pressure on them to eliminate defensive-oriented fouls.
An area of watch: how will MLS referees call the offside trap? There is sentiment among some MLS executives to eliminate it.
Re: Gold Cup, Mexico is the champ. End of story. It goes to the Inter Continental Cup and Copa America. U.S. can go to the '97 Copa America only by invitation.
Hi everybody! I'm writing on behalf of a friend of mine in Italy who has a friend who would like to come here to the States and play soccer with a professional team. He's a very good player, and a few weeks ago he read in an Italian newspaper that MLS is about to start. Unfortunately, this Italian friend of mine does not know who to contact here in the States in order to have more detailed information about the whole thing. Who can provide me with such information.
You should contact the MLS office: 2029 Century Park East, Suite 400, Los Angeles, CA 90067. Telephone: (310) 772-2600. Fax: (310) 843-4836.
I am concerned with how MLS plans on treating the fans who are often in the trenches of the grassroots effort of MLS. Those who are Sam's Army know that we have been harassed by security, and El Salvador fans at U.S. matches. We have been fined for cracking open a cold one in the parking lot (Los Angeles), have had our soccer ball taken away in a parking lot (Foxboro), have had flags and banners taken away (all over), and my dad actually had his umbrella both taken away and thrown out (Foxboro). How can MLS, and U.S. Soccer expect to keep fans coming to games if every time you attend you are hassled by security? What can we do as supporters (MetroStars, of course) to stop the injustices that occur at the matches?
You can voice your concerns to MLS clubs -- GMs, pr directors, community directors -- and impress on them your concerns about overzealous security officials. You can also contact local media about this issue -- since it is a local story. Only by continually badgering MLS clubs will they take the step to pressure security folks to lay off.
As players are drafted by various MLS teams, do you think that there will be parity in the league ? It appears that the mega-markets of N.Y. and L.A. are being "allocated" the best players while emerging-markets like Columbus are being "allocated" good players but not of the same calibre?
The salary cap is the most important measure that can be taken to ensure parity. New York/New Jersey got several big names, but they don't have that much money left over for others. A small-market team like Kansas City didn't do so badly with its allocated players (Sorber, Klopas, Takawira and Preki). And Tampa Bay was highly rating in Soccer America's post-draft team ratings (Feb. 26 issue).
Do you think there will be problems between the European coaches and the Latin American player in MLS?
That may be a problem, but some of the coaches have had experience working with Latin American players. After all Eddie Firmani had Pele and the other Brazilians with the '77 Cosmos. Ron Newman also had players from all over the world during his days with the Sockers. Thomas Rongen has spent many years in the Latino-dominated Miami area.
Walnut Creek, Calif.
I understand that MLS is most probably following the path of previous failed attempts at establishing a pro league in the U.S. by introducing changes such as A-League style shootouts (with an attendant bizarre points system that this entails) instead of calling a draw a draw. One only has to look at last year's A-League -- when the Atlanta Ruckus got to within one game of winning the Championship based primarily on their ability to defend and win shootouts -- to realize what a serious error of judgment this is. Why can no U.S. league seemingly keep its meddlesome fingers off the laws that the rest of the world successfully uses (and which a poll of U.S. soccer fans on the Internet found overwhelming support for)? And how about an article that pins down the MLS rules honchos into the justification for such changes?
The MLS 3-1-0 points system is now better than the A-League's (old) 3-2-1-0 points system. A win and a loss are now worth more (3 points) than 2 shootout wins (2). That was the reverse last year (2 shootout wins equaled 4 points). The playoffs are another matter. Like Ruckus, an MLS team can ride its way through the playoffs without ever winning a game in 90 minutes.
The MLS Beat by Ridge Mahoney in the March 4 issue of Soccer America examines how MLS came to go with the wider goals.
Key West, Fla.
What is being done to lobby the networks to improve the quality of the broadcasters who call the games? MLS should be aware of the damage done to our sport by the broadcasters. They are oblivious to the fact that the game on the field is exciting if you pay attention and know what to look at. They talk about anything but... During the last World Cup, when games were available in Spanish and English, I found it more enjoyable to watch the Spanish because Cantor et al were watching and understood the game, and I don't speak a word of Spanish What can I do to help re: the above tirade? I am a lifelong player, a school teacher and high school JV coach.
Andres Cantor is excellent, but to play the devil's advocate, how do you know he is if you don't understand a word of Spanish? I agree most of the U.S. telecasters are lousy and do more harm than good, but you can't assume that Spanish-language announcers are all the best.
I, like everyone else, am very excited about MLS, but what ever happened to MLS in Chicago? Is there going to be a new team there soon.
MLS officials always talk about Chicago as a strong expansion candidate. It will have to find local owners, however.
Chicago was first out of contention (stadium management problems), suddenly back in (June '94 announcement), then dropped ('95 final 10 announcement). Like several other big cities -- Philadelphia to name one -- Chicago is a big sports town in which the competition for the sports dollar is fierce.
I was wondering on how a player can enter the MLS amateur draft if he did not graduate from college. If a player had to leave school early, how does he becomes eligible for the draft?
The recent MLS draft was not really an amateur draft. It was a draft of all non-collegians, many already pros, who had signed an agreement to join an MLS team if selected. The MLS college draft is March 4-5. Only seniors or underclassmen who declare their intention to give up their college eligibility will be picked. Contact the MLS for more information (310 772-7505). The only name underclassmen who we believe will leave early is Clemson's Imad Baba.
With very few exceptions, Americans playing abroad seem to be returning to the U.S. to play in MLS, some having established very successful careers (Balboa, Sorber, Ramos, etc.). But I've never seen Claudio Reyna's name associated with MLS. Sure, Reyna's paid his dues with Leverkusen and is now seeing more playing time, but one has to wonder... Here's a guy who could be starting every game (surely in Mexico) and gaining a lot more playing experience than the occasional foray off the bench or scrimmaging with the "B" team in Germany. What are your thoughts on Reyna's decision to apparently remain in Germany, or is there any talk of him returning?
He will not return this year to MLS or go to Mexico. Period. Remember he's still only 22. Reyna has all the potential to be a star in the Bundesliga if he gets lucky.
U.S. MEN'S OLYMPIC TEAM
Peter Marino is a better player than Virginia player Nate Friends. The VIRGINIA coach (Bruce Arena) should not play favorites. He in all probability has lost respect from his team. Players are going to play. How they play is what should determine who plays, not who they know! Why is favoritism tolerated by soccer community?
Considering seven of Arena's Olympic players -- almost all in good shape to make the final 15 U-23 cut -- are current or former Virginia players, I don't see how they'll be upset with Friends' arrival!
The Ajax team won the European Cup and then the Toyota Cup in 1995. Until recently, Ajax had not lost a game for more than a year. Many consider Ajax the best team in the world. In the Ajax system, what is the mission of the left and right defenders. Are they midfielders or defenders?
Ajax generally players with three players back on defense, so their job is to cover among themselves the opposition's attacking players. While they do move forward, they do not have the attacking posture of defenders in, say, a 4-4-2 formation.
I'd like to know more information about Rapid Vienna in Austria. I have found information about Austria and the league but would like to know more about the team mentioned before.
Here's some information on Rapid Vienna.
Address: Keissergasse 6, 1140 Vienna, Austria. Stadium: Hanappi Stadium (capacity:
19,600). League titles: 29. Cup Winners' Cup titles: 0.
Roster -- Goalkeepers: Konsel. Defenders: Ivanov (94-95 club: CSKA Sofia, Bulgaria), Schoettel, Jovanovic, Haller. Midfielders: Pivarnik (Czech Republic), Heraf, Guggi, P. Stoeger (94-95 club: FCS Tirol), Marasek, Mandreko (Tadjistan). Strikers: Frigaard (Denmark), Sliwowski (Poland), Buerringer. Coach: Dokupil.
Information on all the European Cup competition quarterfinalists is available in the archive section of the Soccer America Online International Department. Simply use the search engine now available.
Do you think Ajax has the best shot at winning the Champions League? If not, who? Juventus, Real Madrid or Borussia Dortmund?
Ajax does have the best shot. It's unbeaten in European play over the last two years. The loss of Marc Overmars does hurt, as does speculation about the future of so many of its young stars in light of the Bosman decision.
Borussia Dortmund, Ajax's quarterfinal opponent, may be its biggest threat to derail its title hopes. It is in first in the Bundesliga, though suffering from the winter break and now the continuing bad weather in northern Europe. Juventus and Real Madrid have both struggled this year.
How long until Marc Overmars will be recovered from his knee surgery? Will he be able to play anymore this season?
We have no word on his rehab progress, but don't expect to see him before next season.
Louis M. Pacilio
What national team that was not in the last World Cup do you think will be good next time?
Just look at some of the Euro '96 finalists not at USA '94: '98 host France, Portugal, Croatia, to name three. A rising team is Turkey. Euro '96 host England, remember, didn't qualify for USA '94. Elsewhere, both the new South America champ (Uruguay) and African champ (South Africa) didn't make it to the '94 finals.
WHERE ARE THEY NOW?
What happened to Cobi Jones in Brazil? I watched most of the Rio games and never saw Cobi play with Vasco da Gama. Please let me know if he stayed there.
Cobi is still with Vasco da Gama, but he will probably end up in Japan or MLS, more likely the latter.
St. Joseph, Mich.
What happened to Steve Snow who scored a large number of goals of the U.S. Olympic team that competed in Barcelona?
He played for Boom, a tiny Belgian First Division club, in 1992-93, got hurt (actually his knee was already in bad shape by the time of the Olympics), returned home, played in the NPSL and is now, we're told, working in the Chicago area at a pizza parlor. One irony of MLS is that Snow's two other striking partners from the '92 Olympic team will not be in MLS, either. Manny Lagos appears set to remain with the USISL's Minnesota Thunder, which just beat the J-League's Gamba Osaka 3-2 on its Japanese tour. Dante Washington played in the CISL last summer and will, we're told, work for NBC on the '96 Summer Olympics.
While viewing your recently named All-Freshman Team (Soccer America Feb. 5 issue), I was wondering why Petteri Kaijasilta from Towson State University was left off the list? If my figures are correct, Petteri led the nation in points for this year's freshman class and he did this on a nationally ranked team (recognized weekly by ISAA but not your editors?). He was also second in goals (14) only to Hartwick's Orest Grechka (15). He was also NAC Rookie of the Year.
There's no denying Kaijasilta had a big year, but he still couldn't get the Tigers in the playoffs. Another freshman in that situation was Stefan Miglioranzi of Iona. Most of the players on our all-Freshman team did lead their teams into the playoffs, notably Grechka. For the record, SA Freshman of the Year Jap Heaps (Duke) did lead all Division I freshman in scoring (39 points).
David K. Blanar
Santa Clara, Calif.
Which Division I university do you see having the best recruiting class for women and men?
Soccer America is running each week its Super XI recruits lists for each region (alternatively men and women). The first one, Region I men, runs in the March 4 issue.
COACHING & PLAYING
George R. Miller
Would you consider a "coach" section to your magazine -- a drill or tip from top coaches on how to train or play a particular aspect of the game?
Soccer America is and will probably always remain primarily a fan magazine. Soccer America readers are coaches, players, referees, administrators, but the one common denominator is that they are fans.
In order to make this country even more competitive in soccer, it would help to encourage young players to play more freely, i.e. without having coaches and parents constantly evaluating them during practice or games. The pressure would diminish and the enjoyment would increase. Street soccer, very common, of course, in Europe and other parts of the world, would serve this purpose. Basketball players in the United States are groomed in this kind of environment, when they gather at a basketball court and shoot for hours or play pick-up games. I know that most soccer experts are aware of the benefits of street soccer, but not much is being done to encourage it. With the rising popularity of soccer, it may be possible to ask community organizations to build "soccer courts" (hard top with small goals; they have these in the Netherlands). We can even use the existing basketball courts and just put small goals on the end lines. Once the "facility" is there, I believe the kids will use it and we may be seeing kids play pick up soccer on the hard top (or small grass fields, if available), just like they are playing basketball. What do you think?
Part of the legacy of the World Cup was the construction (or plans for construction) of such facilities. My concern with your theory is when say that more should be done to encourage street soccer. That's the problem right there. More p[arental involvement. "Street soccer" must happen spontaneously to workt. One of the problems with European and South American soccer is that traditional street soccer has all but disappeared -- which explains why so many of the world's most exciting players now come from Africa. It's the only place where street soccer really still exists.
I would like info on NSCAA membership, etc.? I have been coaching and need to know more.
Again, the NSCAA's number is (800) 458-0678.
West Lafayette, Ind.
I have recently moved to Purdue Univ. and will probably be moving quite often. I was wondering if there was a list of over-30 soccer clubs in the United States? During the winter, it is impossible to play outside (new concept for me for I am from Colombia) so maybe there is a list of both indoor and outdoor leagues?
The Soccer America Yellow Pages has listings of clubs and leagues for players of all ages. Contact Soccer America at 510 528-5000 for more information on obtaining a copy.
I finally got on line so I had to write you and comment on Paul Gardner's column on goalkeepers a few issues back. What games is he watching? Yes, I will admit, we goalkeepers do have a tendency to fly off the handle, but he made our field players sound like little whipping boys. After my first pro season (New Jersey Imperials, USISL), I can attest to the fact that the verbal war is fought on both sides of the 18. Yes, the defenders can be just as out of control. I would think that he would be aware of this.
Point well taken.
Elkhart Lake, Wisc.
I recently went to USSF coaching clinic. Their basic principles left me
feeling that if all coaches subscribe to their philosophy -- a possibility
considering the fact that an A license is coveted by potential employers --
American players will never really break into the international scene as a true power. Are there any groups teaching a more individualistic style of play, one in which the creative player shines? There are too many youth coaches who do not realize how constrictive some of the theories being taught can be to the creative player.
The only other on-going national coaching program is providing by the NSCAA. Again, organized coaching programs are, by their nature, going to tend to stifle creativity to some degree.
Satellite Beach, Fla.
During a belated review of the latest NSCAA/Umbro High School Boys all-America list I noted a seeming disparity of all-America selections from only five Northeastern states: New York (5), Pennsylvania and Connecticut (4) and New Jersey and Massachusetts (3). These five states accounted for 21 of the 56 total selections. It does not seem fair to extremely talented high school players from soccer-laden States such as Texas, Missouri and Florida to have so few representatives. In fact, 22 states were not even represented! Is the upper Eastern U.S. so far advanced that they garner over one-third of the all-America honors or is it that most of the votes come from coaches in the Northeastern states? A look at the most recent USYSA national champions in under-19 (both boys and girls) are from Florida yet only one boy and one girl from Florida was selected. I do not wish to tarnish the achievements of those selected, I'm sure they are fine players (I have coached against several) but if the honor is to be "ALL-America" then let all of America be considered. Please tell us how are these NSCAA all-Americans selected and by whom?
Questions about the selection process should be directed to the NSCAA (telephone: 800 458-0678).
As a military member, I've taken my family to four states and two foreign countries. In three of those four states, soccer is a spring sport. However, it seems that to Soccer America and the interscholastic establishment, soccer is a fall sport, and the "spring" schools' teams and players are largely ignored. What can or should be done to balance the coverage of the significant percentage of high schools who play in the spring?
No doubt, it is a predicament. High school soccer will never develop nationally (or within some states for that matter) if states (or regions within states) play soccer at different times of the year. The NSCAA/Umbro rankings system has been changed to include more frequent winter and spring polls. The most recent girls winter poll appears in the March 4 issue of Soccer America. As a general rule, Soccer America does not cover high school soccer at the local level, regardless of the season.
SOCCER AMERICA COVERAGE
Now that Major League Soccer is on its way and the USISL and APSL are settling in as developmental, minor leagues, will Soccer America continue to waste its ink on indoor soccer? Once upon a time, indoor soccer was the only game in town, both for fans and players. Now that this is no longer the case, why perpetuate the myth that indoor soccer is anything other than an attempt to pay off arena mortgages by soaking youth soccer parents and paying slave wages to players with nowhere else to go? As a reader of your magazine, I'd rather have the extra pages devoted to MLS coverage.
A very legitimate question that Soccer America has not resolved. It isn't that there is no interest in indoor soccer, but indoor soccer ranks low on the list of reader preferences. Future coverage is being evaluated. For this NPSL season, you'll at least be able to read the features on the many indoor players who'll go to MLS this summer.
Rego Park, N.Y.
Why is it that Soccer America gives so little coverage to the Mexican Futbol League? I understand that a lot of your readers (myself included) enjoy news of the European leagues and that college and high school soccer represents the future of soccer in this country, but that doesn't explain why the best league in CONCACAF is not covered more extensively.
Like so many other areas, we've expanded our non-European coverage. One overriding theme of the emphasis on European coverage is the presence of most of the world stars there. We did add more Mexican coverage since so the arrival of the three U.S. national team players (Ramos, Balboa and Sorber) and the fact that the Mexican league is televised live on Univision.
I would first like to congratulate you on a fine magazine, and an outstanding web site. My question is more of a request than a question. I would like to see some more coverage of South American soccer. I realize that you have a limited amount of space, but I think that this would be an area that many readers would enjoy.
Again, this is an area of coverage that many readers have asked about. We are working to expand coverage as we've done in recent months, though it's unlikely that it will equal our European coverage in a matter of emphasis.
SOCCER AMERICA BACKGROUND
I am an exchange student at Ohio Northern University. I am originally from Scotland. I will be (hopefully) moving to America to work, once I graduate (Sept. '97). I have been told by my advisors that now is the perfect time to "build relationships" with companies that I would like to work for, as I am presently living over here. I was wondering if you could send me some information about your company, such as location, size and anything else that would be relevant to a business major.
More information on Soccer America and its staff is available elsewhere on Soccer America Online. We're located in Berkeley, Calif., (always have) and currently have a staff of 23 full-time employees: eight in the editorial and online departments, six in advertising, circulation and promotions, four in production/design, three in administration and two in our directories department. It was founded in 1971. We are celebrating our 25th Anniversary this spring!