In unexpected news yesterday, the Rhinos announced that they had signed defender Kenney Bertz to a new two year contract that will keep him with the club through the 2008 season. The Rhinos held an option on Bertz for 2007, but worked out a new two year deal with their 2006 Rookie of the Year and 2nd Team All-League defender.
Bertz joins captain Scott Vallow, Tenywa Bonseu, Matthew Delicate, and Hamed Diallo as players that the team have under contract beyond this season. Hopefully the team is able to get some more free agents-to-be under contract before the end of the season. Players such as Nate Craft, John Ball, Aaran Lines, Rey Martinez, Chad Severs, and second year players Danny Kramer, Josh Bolton, and Mike Ambersley are all free agents following the 2007 season.
Lines has already spoken about a desire to remain with the club beyond 2007. And my guess is that other players would listen if the club were to start up contract negotiations before the end of the season.
Clint Dempsey is struggling to adapt to the EPL and now he has a new boss
Clint Dempsey has had a bumpy road since finally gaining the transfer to Fulham that had been in the works for a while. And things may get bumpier now that Chris Coleman has been replaced as Fulham's manager by Northern Ireland coach Lawrie Sanchez.
Coleman had a soft spot in his heart for Americans Brian McBride, Carlos Bocanegra, and Dempsey. It remains to be seen whether the change at the top will affect how Dempsey is used and if that is a good thing or a bad thing for the development of the former New England Revolution forward/midfielder.
USL and Fox Soccer Channel announce new 3 year deal and 2007 broadcast schedule
The big news is that the Rhinos will be on national TV a minimum of five times in 2007. Home matches versus Vancouver (May 4), Atlanta (June 29), Carolina (July 6), and Montreal (August 24) and an away match in Montreal (August 31) will all be featured as the USL Game of the Week on Fox Soccer Channel. Plus, there will be three playoff games televised live on FSC.
The first USL Game of the Week will be a week from Friday when the Charleston Battery host the Minnesota Thunder at Blackbaud Stadium.
A little discussion about US Soccer's Project 2010
Aaron Gidding at Yanks Abroad had a piece about how it seems unlikely that US Soccer's Project 2010 will reach it's ultimate goal of the US winning the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.
Adam Spangler at TIAS.com then gives his opinion on Gidding's article.
I have to tend to agree with a lot of Adam's points. Although, I'm not that worried about the timing of the piece and whether MLS' opening weekend was the right time to open up that discussion.
Who cares about hosting another World Cup when it comes to actually winning one? Unless you believe that the only time the US is likely to win it will be when they are the host nation.
Some more on MLS opening weekend
May the Claudio Reyna injury jokes flow. Unfortunately, I'm not looking forward to seeing what the turf at Giant's Stadium will do to the Red Bulls captain.
If Clint Mathis is the answer for the Red Bulls, what is the question? I'm excited by Cleetus' return to NY more out of morbid curiosity than expectation of Mathis turning back the clock and scoring breathtaking goals again. This has train wreck written all over it and who doesn't like to watch that?
Soccer fans can teach hockey fans in Toronto about passion? I wonder what people from the center of the hockey universe think about that one?
The Soccer Daily at US Soccer Players.com hits on some of my feelings after MLS Opening Day has come and gone. But, I can't wait for this week's FSC GOTW and what Eric Wynalda will say tomorrow night......
The views and opinions expressed in this column are those of the author, and not necessarily those of the Rochester Rhinos or SoccerSam.com. Feel free to send any comments or complaints to firstname.lastname@example.org. James promises to read (but not to respond) to all of them.