While the European season winds down Soccer is gearing up stateside with many major developments the past few days.Miami based GOL TV has acquired exclusive English Language rights to the Copa America this summer. Since surveys of the American Hispanic population indicate almost half of their demographic actually watch Soccer via an English language platform if available, this is a coup for GOL TV's strategy of being the go to soccer network for Hispanics in the USA. In addition, the return of the US National Team to the competition after a 12 year absence will help ratings.
Speaking of GOL TV, one of Ray Hudson's favorite players Jeff Cunningham was traded to Toronto FC in exchange for Alecko Eskandarian who is now a member of Real Salt Lake. While I have often been critical of the system MLS has of trades which usually include the dreaded "partial allocation," or "player to be named later," this is a big trade that should help both teams attack.
Bad news as Red Bull New York's proposed stadium in Harrison, NJ will be delayed by a season. New York's attendance has been poor despite the acqusition of Juan Pablo Angel and the superb play of soon to graduate from Boca Raton High, Josmer Altidore.
Persistant rumors out of the New Jersey area suggest that Red Bull may sign Teddy Sheringham if when is released by West Ham United. Sheringham maybe 41, but he's a physical wonder. He scored the winning goal in Champions League at 33, led the EPL in goals and 35, led Spurs in scoring at 37 and stimulated Portsmouth to an unlikely survival in thier first EPL season at 38.
Another rumor is that Rivaldo may sign with the LA Galaxy. I have only seen this published in one place so I would put less stock into it than the Sheringham speculation.
All MLS teams except perhaps British player heavy Toronto FC are going to be decimated by the CONCACAF Gold Cup, FIFA Youth World Cup and Copa America. For example Juan Pablo Angel and Josmer Altidore will both be gone from RBNY for a long period of time which is why Sheringham is a hot target for RBNY. Also consider the potential plight of Houston who have a total of nine players who are currently in the USA or Canada's player pool.
Gabe Ferrari the only Italian/American in Serie A (if you do not count Giuseppe Rossi) has been called up to the US training camp for the Youth World Cup. Ferrari has dismissed speculation that he would accept a call up from Italy's Senior Team in the future by stating, "I'm American. I'm born American, grew up in the US and that is the country I would like to play for if I get the chance" If only Giuseppe Rossi had the same attitude!
The Mexican Clausura Semifinal match between Chivas of Guadalajara and Club America was watched by close to 5 million households in Spanish this weekend. (including mine even though my Spanish is poor and I couldn't understand half the commentary.) I'm wondering if ESPN and the jock driven sports media even noticed, but I am sure that is more viewers than watched any NHL or MLB game over the weekend. Let's hope the Superliga which debuts this summer gets some of these Mexican fans hooked on MLS, especially if an MLS club can win the competition.