• John Doyle: Keeping the Focus on the Kids
    U.S. World Cup veteran John Doyle chose the youth game over coaching in MLS.  When John Doyle looks at youth soccer today and his own experience as a kid, the differences he sees are profound. "Girls commit to college programs when they're sophomores in high school!" says Doyle, the Director of Coaching of Mustang Soccer in Northern California. Doyle was a high school senior when he started pondering his college options. An alum from his Fremont, Calif., youth club, Grant Clark, who went on to star at UCLA, talked to him about joining the Bruins. Coach Stephen ...
  • Chicago Fire Set for Second Decade
    The arrival of flamboyant Mexican attacker Cuauhtemoc Blanco is just one of several major changes for the Chicago Fire, the expansion champion of 1998 that has yet to bag a second league title.  At a team golf outing two days after a crucial 1-0 victory over Columbus lifted Chicago into the playoff tier, Fire officials and players finally found a weakness in the game of Cuauhtemoc Blanco. Not his game, soccer, but his golf game. When it comes to golf, he doesn't. Fortunately, neither does head coach Juan Carlos Osorio, and this is just one more example of ...
  • European Market Frenzy
    Spending on the European summer transfer market reached $2 billion in 2007. What's behind the spending boom? And who spent wisely and who spent foolishly?  Spending on the European summer transfer market - the two-month window during which European teams stock up on players for the new season - reached $2 billion in 2007. Two forces are behind the explosion of fees clubs are paying for players: the increase in rights fees television networks are paying leagues (or clubs directly) and the influx of wealthy owners, many of them foreigners from outside Europe. Here's a look at ...
  • Brazil's New Look
    The selection of former captain Carlos Dunga as coach of Brazil came as a surprise to many, but a stunning upset of Argentina in the Copa America final has secured his position as he readies the team for the start of World Cup qualifying.  During his career as a player, many observers regarded Carlos Dunga as the antithesis of the glorious skills and electrifying thrills associated with Brazilian soccer. A talented and rugged holding midfielder, Dunga captained the Brazil team that captured the 1994 World Cup - coached by Carlos Alberto Parreira - playing soccer described by some ...
  • How Barcelona Spawns Stars
    Barcelona can buy any player it wants, but maintains an ambitious and successful youth program. There's a large crowd of people in the plaza area surrounding Barcelona's Camp Nou Stadium, many of them are wearing jerseys with Ronaldinho, Messi and Eto'o on the back. But there's no game today. It's a Thursday afternoon, the team is in Scotland for a preseason friendly, but that doesn't stop the crowds, who eat Spanish omelette sandwiches in between stadium tours and visiting the FC Barcelona Museum, which draws 1.2 million visitors a year, more than any other Barcelona museum. ...
  • U.S. Backline: Up For Grabs
    After winning the Gold Cup, the U.S. conceded 13 goals while losing five straight games in the Copa America and against Sweden and Brazil in friendlies. Yet the defeats did serve the purposes of Coach Bob Bradley, who is testing veterans as well as young players to upgrade the backline.  Defending is about far more than defenders, especially in the modern game, where commitment to tackling and tracking is often assigned to forwards and midfielders as much as the men in the back. Still, as often as not, a game depends on a defender making the crucial tackle, ...
  • Reevaluating the Residency Program
    In light of poor results at this year's U-17 World Cup, the launch of the U.S. Soccer Development Academy, and MLS's move into the youth arena, it's time to reassess U.S. Soccer's 9-year-old Residency Program in Bradenton, Fla. The preparation process for the USA's first appearance at the U-17 World Cup, in 1985, didn't much resemble the current setup. After state and regional tryouts, 30 players were told to pack for a trip to China, bring their passports, and convene for a final week of tryouts and games against local competition at the C.W. Post campus in New ...
  • Beez Faces New Frontier
    DaMarcus Beasley has left England for Scotland, where his blazing speed and two-way play may be the right fit for legendary club Glasgow Rangers.  There's a goatee where was once the clean jawline of his teens, and a thick silver chain and "7" encircles his neck rather than the gold version(s) he sometimes favors, but otherwise, DaMarcus Beasley looks and sounds much like he did seven years ago as an MLS rookie with the Chicago Fire. He's grown a bit, maybe an inch, and gained a few pounds - but not many - from the 5-foot-7, 137-pound dimensions ...