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Why Pelé Still Matters

Pelé is a name everyone knows and with good reason.  He is the greatest player to ever play the game and still draws attention wherever he appears or speaks.

People still cherish any opportunity to see him in person anywhere you go around the globe.  Commentators and analysts still care about what his says; his words care a heavy weight even today.

He will surely be the face of the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, representing the best of the beautiful game.  His love of country and his fellow Brazilians is as strong as it ever was.  He has been a strong advocate for Neymar, seeing the same greatness he had in his youth. That’s not to say that there will ever be a player of Pelé’s caliber.  No, I don’t think that is possible.  Some try to compare Messi to Pelé, but that is simply not an argument to make.  Messi’s accomplishments for both club and country don’t measure up to the legend of Pelé, who had a career that spanned decades.  And Messi’s influence hasn’t created new markets for the sport, something that Pelé can certainly argue.

Pelé is someone that brought soccer to the States, his mere presence made the sport viable.  Simply put, the 1994 World Cup and Major League Soccer wouldn’t have happened without his influence. Having the world’s greatest player actually competing here gave us a chance that we wouldn’t have normally had.

Pelé came from the humblest of beginnings and reached the highest levels of the game in what has to be called a legendary career.

His involvement with the resurgent New York Cosmos made them instantly credible and a recent appearance with the New England Revolution for Santander made headlines in Boston and around the country.

While this piece doesn’t do him justice, we wanted to make sure that fans realize that Pelé still matters and will always be our greatest ambassador.

The City of Três Corações Unveils Pelé’s Birthplace

With funding from the Ministry of Tourism in partnership with the local government, the House of Pelé was reconstructed based on memory and testimony from Pelé’s mother Celeste and his uncle George – who were also born in the same home. Since there is no photographic record of the original, the replica home was built from a collection of details and information made possible by both the city and the family – eventually becoming a project approved by Pelé’s family and turned into reality.

With the unveiling of the House of Pelé, the world can trace back to the beginnings of Pelé and see where the myth, the man and the legend began. The house features vintage furniture and décor that evokes the era of his day, and the overall project was overseen by renowned Rede Globo designer Keller Veiga.

With the presence of Pelé himself along with family members, guests and dignitaries – the inauguration festivities will take place at 2:30 p.m. on Sunday, September 23, 2012 which is also the 128th Anniversary of the City of Três Corações. The House of Pelé is located at Rua Edson Arantes do Nascimento, 1000 – Centro. Earlier in the day at 11:00 a.m., Pelé will visit the Monument of Dondinho in the Parque Municipal João Ramos do Nascimento to honor and pay respects to his late father, the one footballer Pelé looked up to as a young child and the man that gave him the motivation to excel at the game and give back to the community the way he has done to this very day.

Trio of Former Akron Standouts Selected for U.S. Under-23 Men’s National Team Training Camp

A trio of former Zips – Teal Bunbury, Kofi Sarkodie and Zarek Valentin – were among the 28 players called in by U.S. Under-23 Men’s National Team head coach Caleb Porter to an eight-day training camp from Dec. 15-23 in Lakewood Ranch, Fla., U.S. Soccer announced Thursday. The team will train at the Premier Sports Campus, which recently hosted the 2011 Development Academy Winter Showcase and the Nike International Friendlies.

“At every camp we expect to push the group forward by continuing to evaluate the player pool while imprinting the concepts of how we will play as a team on both sides of the ball,” Porter said. “As we sort through our personnel and start to hone in on the roster, it is equally as important that the players develop a clear understanding of the culture of how we will do things leading up to our first match in Nashville.”

Sarkodie (2008-’10) and Valentin (2009-’10) played for Porter when UA won the 2010 NCAA Championship, while Bunbury (2008-’09) was the starting striker on the Zips team that reached the final in 2009. Bunbury has played the last two seasons for Sporting Kansas City while Sarkodie (Houston Dynamo) and Valentin (Chivas USA) just completed their rookie campaigns. Valentin will play for the expansion franchise Montreal Impact next season.

The U.S. Under-23 Men’s National Team was drawn into Group A of the 2012 CONCACAF Olympic Qualifying Tournament and will face Canada, Cuba and El Salvador. The teams will play their group matches from March 22-26 at LP Field in Nashville. The two finalists from the tournament will qualify for the 2012 Olympic Games in London next summer. CONCACAF will announce the schedule for the qualifying tournament later today. This is the second gathering of this age group in preparation for qualifying for the 2012 Olympic Games. U.S. Men’s National Team head coach Jurgen Klinsmann is working with Porter and the rest of the coaching staff in order to structure the program in a similar fashion to the full team, including the approach to style of play, training sessions, and fitness testing.

A total of 12 players on the 28-man roster participated in the training camp last month in Germany. Seventeen are plying their trade in MLS, with the Philadelphia Union contributing five to the camp. MLS Cup finalists Houston Dynamo send a trio of players, including Danny Cruz, who started in the final against the LA Galaxy. Six players have experience with the full National Team, led by Freddy Adu with 17 caps. Gale Agbossoumonde, Bunbury and Mikkel Diskerud made their national team debut in the same match, with Diskerud setting up Juan Agudelo on the lone goal in the USA’s 1-0 win against South Africa in the 2010 Nelson Mandela Challenge. Chicago Fire goalkeeper Sean Johnson got his first appearance in the 1-1 draw against Chile in January of this year, and D.C. United ‘keeper Bill Hamid has been a part of every camp under Klinsmann. The December camp roster is loaded with players who have been a part of the U.S. Youth National Teams. Six players represented in the U.S. in qualifying for the 2011 FIFA U-20 World Cup, with Joseph Gyau recording a goal and Sebastian Lletget two assists. Adu and Bryan Arguez were part of the squad that reached the knockout round of the 2007 FIFA U-20 World Cup in Canada, and a total of 10 players appeared in the 2009 FIFA U-20 World Cup in Egypt.

There are 13 alumni of the U.S. U-17 Residency Program, including seven players who played in a FIFA U-17 World Cup: Adu, Agbossoumonde, Jared Jeffrey, Zac MacMath, Jack McInerney, Sarkodie and Sheanon Williams. Six players come from clubs in Germany and were part of the previous camp except for newcomer Jann George, who makes his debut with the U.S. National Teams. The forward joins from Nürnberg, the club of U.S. MNT defender Timmy Chandler. Joe Corona makes his second straight appearance in a U.S. camp coming from Club Tijuana in Mexico, while Sebastian Ibeagha and Andrew Wenger are the only two college players on the roster.


GOALKEEPERS (4) David Bingham (San Jose Earthquakes), Bill Hamid (D.C. United), Sean Johnson (Chicago Fire), Zac MacMath (Philadelphia Union)

DEFENDERS (8) Gale Agbossoumonde (Eintracht Frankfurt), Royal-Dominique Fennell (Stuttgarter Kickers), Sebastien Ibeagha (Duke), Kofi Sarkodie (Houston Dynamo), Zarek Valentin (Montreal Impact), Jorge Villafana (Chivas USA), Andrew Wenger (Duke), Sheanon Williams (Philadelphia Union)

MIDFIELDERS (10) Freddy Adu (Philadelphia Union), Bryan Arguez (Montreal Impact), Joe Corona (Club Tijuana), Danny Cruz (Houston Dynamo), Mikkel Diskerud (Stabæk), Dilly Duka (Columbus Crew), Jared Jeffrey (Mainz), Sebastian Lletget (West Ham United), Amobi Okugo (Philadelphia Union), Michael Stephens (LA Galaxy)

FORWARDS (6) Will Bruin (Houston Dynamo), Teal Bunbury (Sporting KC), Jann George (Nürnberg), Joe Gyau (Hoffenheim), Jack McInerney (Philadelphia Union), Andrew Wooten (Kaiserslautern)

On the Pitch with ISN – November 20, 2011

1.  I really question the NCAA’s decision to have tournament matches on MLS Cup Sunday. It is hard for a game like Akron v. SMU to get any attention when it starts at 8 pm ET and the MLS Cup coverage starts at 9pm ET. There should be no NCAA soccer matches on MLS Cup Weekend.

2.  Somebody at U.S. Soccer needs to push for all national team matches to be televised.  Last night’s USWNT match had a record crowd in Arizona, but it was only streamed online.  Streaming online equals limited exposure.  The women’s national team is still riding a wave of popularity, thanks to the Women’s World Cup and Hope Solo’s run on Dancing with the Stars.

3. Everybody is talking David Beckham now that he and the Galaxy are favorites to win tonight in the MLS Cup Final.  Most likely it is Beckham’s last game in MLS as he is being courted by teams like PSG and QPR.

So was the Beckham Experiment a success? It has brought the league a lot of worldwide attention and encouraged world-class players to come to the States. And finally he has played up to the level we all expected.  The first few years were a little rough, but the finish could be spectacular.  Beckham has already claimed his MLS Comeback Player of the Year Award; maybe some hardware for the Galaxy would seal his legacy as one of the greats in league history.

The next step for MLS is to find a way to get superstars in their prime.  And bring back the Cosmos as the 20th team. Maybe that will be the spark that we are all looking for.  Wouldn’t it be great to see players like Rooney, Ronaldo, Torres, Neymar, and Messi playing on American soil?

4.  We remain really positive when it comes to the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. It is going to be a great event, one that will set the standard for all World Cups to come.

Klinsmann Calls in 22 Players to Face Mexico on Aug. 10 in Philadelphia

U.S. Men’s National Team head coach Jurgen Klinsmann has named a 22-player roster that will travel to Philadelphia in advance of the match against regional rival Mexico on Aug. 10 at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia. The match will be the first for the former FIFA World Cup and European Championship winner at the helm of the U.S. Men’s National Team since being named head coach.

Kickoff for the teams’ first meeting in a friendly since 2008 is set for 9 p.m. ET, and the match will be broadcast live on ESPN2, and Univision. In addition, Univision will air a live pre-game show beginning at 8:30 p.m. ET. Fans can also follow the match live on’s MatchTracker and Twitter @ussoccer.

Tickets starting at $38 are on sale through, by phone at 1-800-745-3000, and at all Ticketmaster ticket centers throughout the Delaware Valley (including Walmart and Boscov’s) and the Lincoln Financial Field ticket office (open Monday-Friday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.). Groups of 30 or more can obtain an order form at or call 312-528-1290.
“One of the goals of the roster for this game and moving forward is to create competition at each position,” said Klinsmann. “There are many players who are established as well as many players who will get opportunities, and we want there to be a healthy contest for spots on the roster. We will get a good look at where each player is as quickly as we can during the short time in camp, and we will finish with an exciting game against Mexico.”

The roster delivers a combination of experience and youth at virtually every position. In goal, Tim Howard enters with 65 caps to his credit and is joined by 20-year-old Bill Hamid, a U.S. Soccer Development Academy product who was the first D.C. United Academy player to sign with the first team. Two-time World Cup veteran Carlos Bocanegra is just seven games shy of reaching 100 caps. He will patrol the center of the park along with 2010 FIFA World Cup teammate Clarence Goodson, the newly named captain of Brondby in Denmark, and two young players in Tim Ream and Michael Orozco Fiscal. Hannover 96 captain Steve Cherundolo returns after an injury forced him out of the 2011 CONCACAF Gold Cup final, while fellow Bundesliga-based right back Timmy Chandler is making his second appearance in a national team camp after debuting against Argentina in March. Chivas USA defender Heath Pearce and Edgar Castillo make up the options for the left side of the backline.

Central midfield is packed with experience, including four players from the 2010 FIFA World Cup. Michael Bradley has nine goals in 59 appearances for the full team, with eight of his goals coming in official competitions. Maurice Edu comes from three-time defending Scottish Premier League champion Rangers, and Ricardo Clark and Jose Torres make their first appearance in the squad since the World Cup in South Africa. Jermaine Jones has reached double digits in caps for the U.S. after competing in his first official competition earlier this summer, and has rejoined Schalke 04 after a loan spell with Blackburn Rovers. Real Salt Lake contributes captain Kyle Beckerman and FC Dallas sends Brek Shea, who is currently in third place in scoring in MLS this season behind Landon Donovan and Thierry Henry as the 21-year-old has netted nine goals in 22 games.
The USA’s all-time leading scorer, Donovan leads the attacking corps with 46 goals in 146 international appearances. Donovan is the only player on the roster who has experience with the new coach, having played for Klinsmann in 2009 at Bayern Munich during a loan spell. Both Freddy Adu and 18-year-old Juan Agudelo are coming off significant contributions in the 2011 Gold Cup, Adu having started in the final against Mexico while Agudelo appeared in five of six matches. DaMarcus Beasley returns to the squad with 93 caps to his credit that include stints in the last three World Cups, and Edson Buddle travels from FC Ingolstadt after his great run of form in 2010 led to a spot in the team in South Africa.

A total of nine professional leagues in eight different countries are represented on the roster. MLS contributes seven players, while German-based players number six total from the top two divisions and the Mexico first division sends four. New York Bulls contribute two players to the roster, the most from any single club.

The match on Aug. 10 will mark the 59th meeting between the USA and Mexico. The U.S. has a lifetime record of 15-32-11 against Mexico in a series that dates to 1934, but the U.S. has a 13-8-9 advantage in home matches since 1957. Since the rivalry between these two teams began in earnest in 1990, the sides have played 31 times, with the U.S. holding a 13-10-8 advantage. In the teams’ most significant matchup, the United States defeated Mexico 2-0 in the Round of 16 of the 2002 FIFA World Cup.

At the stadium, U.S. Soccer will continue to implement the Respect Campaign, which was launched in 2011 and includes a number of initiatives to enhance the game experience, particularly in the areas of customer service and fan-friendly behavior. U.S. Soccer is committed to providing a safe and secure environment for fans to enjoy the special atmosphere at these matches.


GOALKEEPERS (2): Bill Hamid (D.C.United), Tim Howard (Everton)

DEFENDERS (8): Carlos Bocanegra (Saint-Etienne), Edgar Castillo (Club America), Timmy Chandler (FC Nürnberg), Steve Cherundolo (Hannover 96), Clarence Goodson (Brondby), Michael Orozco Fiscal (San Luis), Heath Pearce (Chivas USA), Tim Ream (New York Red Bulls)

MIDFIELDERS (7): Kyle Beckerman (Real Salt Lake), Michael Bradley (Borussia Mönchengladbach), Ricardo Clark (Eintracht Frankfurt), Maurice Edu (Rangers), Jermaine Jones (Schalke 04), Brek Shea (FC Dallas), Jose Torres (Pachuca)

FORWARDS (5): Freddy Adu (Benfica), Juan Agudelo (New York Red Bulls), DaMarcus Beasley (Puebla), Edson Buddle (FC Ingolstadt), Landon Donovan (Los Angeles Galaxy)