October 13, 2006
In a stunning move, interim Kansas City Wizards head coach Brian Bliss has suspended US National Team forward Eddie Johnson for at least this week's regular season finale versus the New York Red Bulls. Johnson played only 6 minutes two weeks ago in a 3-3 tie with Real Salt Lake and he did not dress for the Wizards most recent match versus Chivas USA.
While Bliss described the suspension as "for the rest of the season", he did say that he hadn't thought about what to do should the Wizards get at least a point on the road in NY and grab the last playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
I wonder if MLS is re-thinking their move to turn down a loan with an option to purchase Johnson's contract offer that Spanish club Real Sociedad had made prior to the latest international transfer window closing?
Plus, does this move mean that Brian Bliss is likely to stay on as the full time Wizards head coach once the season is over? I can't imagine the club siding with an interim coach over one of it's marquee players if they were just going to let the coach go in the offseason.
It's going to be really interesting to see how this all plays out.
Real Salt Lake out selling their stadium plan to the people
First it was Real Salt Lake taking some Utah politicians on a roadtrip to Frisco, Texas to get a guided tour of Pizza Hut Park. Now Dave Checketts is joining forces with Sandy mayor Tom Dolan and Salt Lake County mayor Peter Corroon to rally support for the proposed stadium project to the people in Utah.
The first step was to pitch the project to local Rotary Club members.
Maybe it's just me, but has the public financing for a soccer stadium ever been viewed as a good idea by people other than soccer fans in this country? Heck, it's not just soccer stadiums that usually fail to garner widespread public support, it's pretty much any sporting venue that asks for public funding that has the majority of people come down on the negative side of things.
It's great that they are trying to sell the project to people of Utah. I just think that it will likely be a fruitless effort to change the minds of non-soccer fans.
California Victory to join the Carolina RailHawks in 2007 USL 1st Division expansion
Yesterday it became official and Dmitry Piterman, President of Spanish League club Deportivo Alaves has officially acquired a USL First Division franchise beginning in the 2007 season.
The club will be named the California Victory, in a nod to Alaves' home city of Vitoria, and will play it's home games at Kezar Stadium. Kezar Stadium is located in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park. It is also the home of Major League Lacrosse's San Francisco Dragons and was once the home of both the Oakland Raiders and the San Francisco 49ers. It currently has a seating capacity of 10,000.
With the Toronto Lynx moving down to the PDL in 2007 and California and Carolina joining the USL 1st Division next season, the league now looks to have 13 teams, mirroring where MLS will be with Toronto FC joining their ranks in 2007. The USL 1st Division appears to be well on it's way to getting back to an even number of teams in 2008 with Syracuse looking like it will rejoin the league after bowing out following the 2004 season.
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.