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Backline: Rodriguez turns attention to MLS's long-range planning

In nearly a decade of employment with Major League Soccer, Nelson Rodriguez is well regarded within the ranks but nearly unknown outside of them.

Confederations Cup: Infectious belief

The USA restored some spirit and pride by beating Egypt and Spain and losing narrowly to Brazil to finish second at the Confederations Cup, the World Cup 2010 dress rehearsal in South Africa.

FC Barcelona - More than a club

The Barcelona tour returned to the United States, where the Spanish club was scheduled to play three friendlies in early August. Interest in the tour, part of its long-term agreement with Major League Soccer, increased when high-scoring Barca swept the 2009 UEFA Champions League, La Liga and Copa del Rey.

The new Galacticos

North American fans were to get a sneak preview of the new-look Real Madrid with superstars Cristiano Ronaldo and Kaka when the Spanish club faced MLS clubs Toronto FC and D.C. United in early August.

Youth Beat: Getting 'em while they're young

The age at which players are being offered college scholarships is getting younger and younger. Not everyone believes it's a healthy trend.

MLS: The Garber decade

Since coming over from the National Football League in 1999, Don Garber has presided over a decade marked by turmoil and growth.


MLS: Forecast clouded but far from gloomy

Commissioner Don Garber, who begins his second decade in charge of Major League Soccer, and other sports executives give their insights on the present state and future of America's soccer league, which is coming off a period of growth yet has been hit by the same economic issues that have hurt other sports.

Backline: Rick Davis-American Cosmo Heads AYSO

When Rick Davis was in high school, he told his father he planned to be a professional athlete.

"That's great," said his dad. "Someday you'll get a real job."

Richard Sr., a physician, was right on both counts. Rick Davis had a great career as a pro soccer player and eventually got a "real job."


MLS: Cubans Find Home

Of the many soccer players who have taken on the risks of defection, forward Maykel Galindo and midfielder Osvaldo Alonso have established themselves as valuable MLS players and done their nation proud.

Americans Abroad: Making An impact

Americans continue to celebrate success of various degrees in foreign leagues. We look at 11 who stood out during the 2008-09 season, including young Marco Vidal, the latest Mexican-American whose career required a move south of the border.

Women's Professional Soccer: Success Stories

Brazilian Marta and Englishwoman Kelly Smith came with big reputations, but other foreigners have also had an immediate impact in Women's Professional Soccer. Indeed, their success is credited with elevating the level of play in WPS to at least what it was at the height of the WUSA. Here's a look at five foreign stars:

International Season Review

Spain, England, Germany, Italy

Youth Beat: AYSO-The Volunteer Model Lives On

In an era when so much of youth soccer has become profit-driven, the 45-year-old American Youth Soccer Organization continues to provide low-cost play for children thanks to its steadfast belief in volunteer coaches.

Americans Abroad: Maurice Edu's Wild Ride

Sidelined for the summer by a knee injury, U.S. midfielder Maurice Edu has some time to reflect on a wild ride that has taken him from college soccer to the U.S. national team and Scotland in less than three years.

MLS: Preki's Thinking Game

The eight-time MLS All-Star is in his third season as head coach of Chivas USA, where he draws on his playing experiences in Europe and the United States to aid his quest for an MLS Cup title.