Texas Soccer Notes-Saturday April 1, 2017

Additional Texas soccer news of interest this week:

Major League Soccer (MLS):

  • FC Dallas (FCD) finally got around to extending Head Coach Oscar Pareja’s contract this week. Pareja, whose .609 winning percentage is the best coaching record in FCD’s history, won the Supporters Shield (best regular season record) and US Open Cup in 2016. He was also named MLS Coach of the Year last season.  “Oscar Pareja represents everything that we want to accomplish at FC Dallas,” said FC Dallas president Dan Hunt in a FCD Press Release issued this week. “His commitment to our Academy players, his knowledge of the game and his strategic vision are unmatched.”  Per team policy, no terms of the contract were released. (fcdallas.com)
  • Austin-native Kekuta Manneh was traded from the Vancouver Whitecaps to the Columbus Crew on Thursday.  Columbus received midfielder Tony Tchani and $300K in allocation money in return.  The deal also included some additional considerations depending on what happens when Manneh’s contact expires at the end of this year.  Manneh moved from Gambia to Austin as a teenager and played club soccer in Austin and Houston.  He also played with Austin Aztex when they were in the Premier Development League.  Manneh recently received his citizenship and is now eligible to play for the U.S. National Team.

United Soccer League (USL):

  • San Antonio FC defender Sebastien Ibeagha has been named to the USL Team of the Week. Ibeagha played a pivotal role in the club’s clean sheet and 1-0 win over rivals RGVFC on the road on opening weekend.  Ibeagha recorded 10 total clearances and won two aerial duels while completing 70% of his passes in the victory on Sunday. (sanantoniofc.com)
  • San Antonio FC entered the first-week iteration of the 2017 USL Power Rankings tied for 5th in the 30 team league.  (uslsoccer.com) 
  • This week San Antonio FC announced the creation of the SAFC Community Soccer Network – a newly-launched initiative designed to strengthen engagement between the professional club and the local soccer community.  19 current youth clubs and organizations throughout the South Texas area will initially participate in the network. SAFC will provide network clubs with recognition, website hosting, fundraising opportunities and opportunities to engage with SAFC players. (sanantoniofc.com)

National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL):

The National Women’s Soccer League is a professional league that is organized and operated by US Soccer.  This version of women’s professional soccer has existed since 2012 and is beginning its fifth season this year.  The only Texas team currently in this league is the Houston Dash, which began operation in 2014.  The Dash are owned and operated by the Houston Dynamo and play their games in BBVA Compass Stadium.  The team is currently in preseason and will open its regular season at home on Saturday, April 15. (various sources) 

CONCACAF Champions League:

According to Bleacher Report’s Big D Soccer, FC Dallas has been training in Mexico since Wednesday, ahead of the second-leg of their Champions League semifinal against Pachuca next Tuesday night.  This early arrival will hopefully help acclimatize the team to the high altitude (over 7,900 feet) in Pachuca.  A number of scouts for European soccer clubs are said to be planning to attend the match to observe selected players from both sides.  FCD has the week off from MLS play as their previously scheduled game in Colorado was postponed until October 7.   After the international break, Pachuca will resume play at home against Puebla in the LigaMX Clausura tournament tonight. (various sources)

United States National Teams:

  • The United States tied 1-1 with Panama on Matchday 4 of the Hexagonal Qualifiers last Tuesday night. After completion of this round, the U.S. has 4 points and is ahead of Honduras in fourth place on goal differential.  Six Texas-native or Texas based players played on Tuesday night.  Clint Dempsey and Omar Gonzalez went the full 90 minutes for the U.S. and Dempsey scored their only goal.  FCD’s Kellyn Acosta came in as a second-half substitute for the Americans.  Houston Dynamo’s Panamanian Alfredo Machado played the entire match as a right back and it was his long throw that directly led to Panama’s only goal.  The Dynamo’s Alberth Elis started and went the distance for Honduras in their home draw with Costa Rica. Houston’s Boniek Garcia was substituted on in the second half for Honduras.  FCD defender Maynor Figueroa started and went the distance for Honduras also.  As was suspected, Dynamo Rommel Quioto did not play for Honduras on Tuesday because of a shoulder injury he picked up on Matchday 3 in San Jose, CA a week ago Friday.  (various sources)
  • U.S. Under-17 Men’s National Team head coach John Hackworth has called eight players (in addition to the players currently on the U.S. Soccer Residency roster) for a set of international friendlies against Japan in Bradenton, Fla. The matches, which will aid in preparation for the 2017 CONCACAF U-17 Championship, are set to take place on March 19 and March 22.  Three of the U.S. Residency players who are part of this camp are from Texas youth clubs: Blaine Ferri from Dallas Solar Chelsea, Marcelo Palomino from the Houston Dynamo Academy and Bryan Reynolds Jr. from FC Dallas’s Academy program. None of the additional eight players called into camp are from Texas. (ussoccer.com)

Premier Development League:

The Brazos Valley Cavalry (a Dynamo affiliate) announced their first three signings this week.  Former Houston Dynamo Academy players Quayyum Murana, Kevin Rodriguez and Louis Thomas will join the team for their inaugural season starting in June.  Murana is a native of Ibadan, Nigeria and is currently a center back for the University of St. Louis.  Rodriguez, a Pasadena native is a sophomore midfielder for Northern Illinois. Finally, Houston-native centerback Thomas comes to the Brazos Valley from West Virginia University. (houstondynamo.com)

Youth Development:

  • San Antonio is hosting the 2017 USL Experience this weekend, which will convene some of the top players from the Super Y League (SYL) and allow them to experience life as a USL professional.  Seventy two U13 thru 16 boys and girls, after excelling in regional evaluations throughout the season, have been selected to participate in this program. Founded in 1999, the Super Y league was initially led by current SAFC Managing Director Tim Holt, who worked in the USL league office at that time.  (uslsoccer.com)
  • Major League Soccer announced the details for the 2016-17 Generation Adidas Cup to be hosted by FC Dallas in Frisco this year.  This U17 Boys tournament, consisting of 34 total games over 9 days, will be played by 19 MLS Academy and 13 international teams.  Based on results from regional qualifying, MLS Academy teams were slotted into either the top level Champions Division or the Premier Division of this years Adidas Cup.  FC Dallas will play in Group A of the Champions Division and the Houston Dynamo will play in Group D of the Premier Division. International clubs have won the last three championships, with Argentina’s River Plate lifting the Cup in both 2015 and 2016. (mlssoccer.com)
  • On March 21 the Dr Pepper Dallas Cup announced the brackets for the Mens U19 Gordon Jago Super Group, the marquee competition of this prestigious annual tournament.  The Dallas Cup is the oldest international youth soccer tournament (this is the 38th iteration) in the United States and will be played this year from April 9th to April 16th.  Approximately 180 invited boys teams, ranging in age from U13 to U19, will play at fields throughout the Dallas area, including the Cotton Bowl. In addition to the FC Dallas Academy, teams participating in the Super Group include internationally recognized youth programs like Manchester United and Everton of England, Chivas de Guadalajara, Tigres UANL and CF Monterrey of Mexico, Cortiba FC from Brazil, Eintracht Frankfurt from Germany and 2 other MLS Academy clubs. (dallascup.com)

International Soccer in Texas:

As part of their preparation for the CONCACAF 2017 Gold Cup the El Salvador National Team defeated Honduran club side, Olimpia, 1-0 at Houston’s BBVA Compass Stadium last Sunday. Salvadorian forward Efrain Burgos scored the game’s only goal in the 25th minute.  Three ex-Dynamo players participated in the match for Olimpia: Carlo Costly, Alexander Lopez and Luis Garrido.  It is great to see Garrido back on the field after the horrible leg injury he suffered in a 2015 World Cup Qualifier against Mexico.


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