2009It will be interesting to see if the Rhinos can take the momentum of the 2008 season and build it into an even better 2009.

We had Rhinos owner Rob Clark in studio on Saturday and he said that things were looking good on Danny Earls returning in 2009 and that the the team has signed a couple of players that are playing overseas currently and the signings can not be released for a few more months.

Off the field, the team is waiting for the City to work through getting the grant released to finish the planned work on Rochester Rhinos Stadium. Apparently the State of New York is re-looking at all previously approved state grants and that is the latest hold up on getting the suites built and other improvements. Rob did mention that work on permanent locker rooms may happen with or without the grant being released by the state.

Hopefully Mayor Duffy and crew get that sorted out soon enough to both get the suites built, but also sell them for 2009.

News & Notes:

- Matthew Delicate has returned to the Richmond Kickers. But when we talked to him, he did seem open to a return to Rochester after the USL 2nd Division season is complete. So, we may not have seen the last of Deli in a Rhinos uniform.

- The Delco Times have not one , not two , not three , but four articles about how the Philly MLS 2010 stadium deal is hitting major snags after the project broke ground. The whole Philly to MLS bid could fall apart because of issues with financing the stadium.

- On a somewhat related note, SBI.net says that St. Louis should be the front runner for 2011 MLS Expansion. The one problem with the St. Louis bid to me is the lack of a relatively turnkey stadium. Giving the current economic uncertainty, I would think that the stadium plans in other places would jump to the top of MLS's list so that they can avoid what is going on in Philly right now.

- Luis Bueno's 2009 predictions at SI.com include the US winning in Azteca and Landon Donovan sticking in Germany. I'm hoping that both things happen even though it will mean a hit to MLS.

- Greg Lalas at SI.com has his US Soccer Fan 2009 Almanac up. I guess the Rhinos home opener didn't make the cut only because the USL has yet to release the schedule.

- Grant Wahl's latest at SI.com is a look back at 2008. The US Women winning gold without Abby Wambach was #2 behind the Spanish winning Euro 2008.

- In a real Tale of Two Cities type pieces, Goal.com looks at why Stuart Holden plays for the US and Yanks Abroad laments Neven Subotic's decision to play for Serbia.

- In similiar news, Kenny Cooper is staying in MLS and Matt Kassel is staying in school per their respective head coaches.

- Luis Bueno also has a piece up on SI.com that looks at how Chivas-America will feature an American born player on each side this season. It is fun to see Mexican clubs are looking north of border for talent.

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 news@soccersam.com. James promises to read (but not to respond) to all of them.