February 12, 2007
In a purely shameless plug, I have to say that this past week's Kick This! show was one fo the most fun that I've had in the 2 1/2 years that I've been a part of the show.
US Men's National Team and KC Wizards defender Jimmy Conrad is always a great interview and he didn't disappoint this time around. His take on Mexico being far from the poster boys for FIFA's Fair Play initiative and why he doesn't think he'll move to Norway.
We also had Real Salt Lake head coach John Ellinger on to talk about how Scott Palguta looked in the first week of training camp. Unfortunately, there wasn't a whole lot of good news for Rhinos fans coming out of that interview.
Rhinos to take on the LA Galaxy and Puerto Rico Islanders in the preseason
Andrew Battisti was back on Kick This! on Saturday and was the first to talk about a news piece on FC Dallas' website that talked about how FC Dallas, LA, and the Rochester Rhinos will be heading down to Puerto Rico to take part in a couple of preseason doubleheaders.
The doubleheaders will be on Thursday, March 22nd and Saturday, March 24th.
Taylor Twellman signs extension with New England
The Revolution may have lost Clint Dempsey this offseason, but they have been able to re-sign Pat Noonan and now Taylor Twellman. Twellman is reportedly getting a four year deal that averages around $300,000 per season. And there is talk that they are working on signing Shalrie Joseph to a new deal as well.
The 2006 MLS Cup runners up dealt with lot's of off the field issues last season with Dempsey and Joseph not being happy with potential moves to Europe being turned down by the league and Noonan and Twellman wondering about their futures as well.
It will be interesting to see if these moves help limit the off the field distractions in 2007 for one of the more talented teams in the league.
Real Salt Lake stadium deal gets done
With owner Dave Checketts talking to a group in St. Louis, the government in Utah finally showed Real Salt Lake the money and the team is staying put.
I would have liked to have seen St. Louis get a team, but I also think that avoiding the relocation of another team about a year after the Earthquakes moved to Houston to become the Dynamo, I think this is great news for MLS.
The Colorado Rapids change their colors and announce a partnership with Arsenal
First off, the colors aren't those of Aston Villa and West Ham United. They are the colors of the Colorado Avalanche and Colorado Mammonth which share owners with the Rapids. So, kind of like how all the teams in Pittsburgh wear black and gold, the Denver teams are trying to do much the same thing.
There are also rumors that the team wanted to change it's name to something like Colorado Arsenal FC, but had the move blocked by Nike.
Personally, I think keeping the Rapids name is a good thing and I'll get excited about another MLS tie in with a European club when we see some real results. So far, I haven't seen a lot come out of LA's deal with Chelsea and Real Salt Lake's deal with Real Madrid outside of last year's RSL-RM friendly.
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.