After reading Jeff Bradley's latest First XI article, I had to steal the idea. So, here is my Soccer Christmas Wish List:
- My first wish is an easy one: I am wishing that the new Rhinos investor that Steve Donner has been talking about signs on the dotted line and helps stabilize the team's finances. Given Steve's call into Kick This! on Saturday, it appears my guess of Andrew Murstein was incorrect. Steve mentioned that the investor is working a business deal in England and that they hope he will be stateside soon to sign the deal.
This can't happen soon enough for me.
- Next, I wish that Dave DiPasquale isn't as busy in 2008 as he was in 2007. Injuries decimated the Rhinos in 2007 and the team will be much better off in 2008 simply if they stay healthier.
- On the field, I'm hoping for a major revamping of the Rhinos midfield. This team needs two generals in the middle of the park, some wingers that can deliver quality crosses into the box, and someone that can be dangerous on set pieces.
- Off the field, I'm wishing for the front office to bring in people that truly know the Rochester soccer community. The experiment of bringing in an outside person to market this team in 2006 was a failure. Not having anyone replace him in 2007 may have saved money, but it didn't help attract fans.
There are true Rochester soccer people that would love to come in and try to rejuvenate the organization. I just hope the powers that be have the guts to make those moves.
- I wish that the Rhinos would do more to embrace their history. 2008 will be the 10th anniversary of the club's first A-League championship. I would hope that the team brings back every player and coach from that team and honors them properly.
- I am wishing for Rex the Rhino and Scott Vallow bobblehead nights this season.
- I am wishing for an Olympic gold double by the US in China. A win by the women would hopefully put the whole Ryan-Solo meltdown behind everyone and a win by the men's side would be a truly huge achievement.
- I am wishing that the Rochester to MLS dream gets reignited in 2008 and with good reason.
- And finally, I am hoping that my 5 year old son picks soccer over tee ball as his sport of choice this spring!
News & Notes:
- Lionel Messi is SI Latino's 2007 Sportsman of the Year. Not bad for a guy that is all of 20 years young.
- Soccer by Ives and Big Apple Soccer.com are both saying that Bruce Arena has thrown his hat into the ring for the Scotland National Team job. I would love to see an American get a gig like that. But, I don't see that one happening.
- Soccer by Ives is saying today that Mo Johnston is staying as the Toronto FC head coach. It will be interesting to see if this kills this rumor or not. My guess is that it won't.
- Michael Bradley scored a hat trick over the weekend. Yeah, he's getting USMNT caps only because he's the coach's son...........
- Bobby Boswell laments the loss of Brian Carroll to Columbus via San Jose.
- Marcello Lippi may be the next England National Team boss. I wonder who will be his translator?
While it hurts me to say it, I may have to go with the south of the border appraoch given the impact guys like Emilio and Toja had in 2007.
- AEG New York is helping push the effort to get a soccer stadium built in suburban Philadelphia. I'd still prefer a team in St. Louis to one outside of Philly.
St. Louis is a soccer town.
- The RailHawks have re-upped another player. This time it is outside midfielder Santiago Fusilier. Have I mentioned that the Rhinos really need this new investor signed ASAP so that they can start getting active in the free agent market?
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.