Morrow and Beitashour at USMNT Camp
The U.S. Men's National Team's January camp is in full stride. A majority of MLS stars supplemented with young players plying their trade abroad compose the roster. Two Quakes in particular, Steven Beitashour and Justin Morrow, are proving to be inseperable around the Carson, CA training grounds.
San Jose's two offensive-minded wing backs are seeking their first full international cap ahead of the U.S. Men's National team match against Canada on Tuesday, Jan. 29 at Houston's BBVA Compass Stadium. Coming off of stellar MLS campaigns, the two 25-year-olds were instrumental in leading the Quakes to a franchise-best record of 19-6-9 and the club's second Supporters' Shield. Both participated against Chelsea FC in the 2012 AT&T MLS All-Star game.
With the Quakes' 2013 preseason officially beginning on Monday, Jan. 21, Beitashour and Morrow look to pick up where they left off in 2012. Now under the national team spotlight, Morrow's and Beitashour's stock continue to rise for a San Jose team that is eager to hoist the MLS Cup.
For the full story on Morrow and Beitashour, read here.
The 2013 MLS SuperDraft has come and gone and may have left MLS fans wanting more. Yet, the Quakes accomplished what they set out to. The 2012 Supporters' Shield winners entered the SuperDraft with two picks and utlized them both; picking standout Georgetown defender Tommy Muller and crafty left-footed University of San Diego midfielder Dan Delgado. While neither of these players were in Indianapolis, the two rookies enter the Goonies family with high hopes and aspirations.
Muller, a 5-foot-11 central defender, captained a Georgetown squad to unchartered territory - the program's first appearance in the NCAA College Cup final. The Altamonte Springs, Fla native was a three-year starter for the Hoyas, scoring four goals and recording four assists in 64 career appearances. His senior year efforts earned him a place on the All-Big East Third Team.
Similarly, Delgado arrives to the Bay Area with accolades abound from his efforts at the University of San Diego. Guided under the tutelage of the tenured USD head coach Seamus McFadden, Delgado took the West Coast Conference by storm, netting 15 goals and bagged 23 assists in 72 total appearances. His senior year was even more memorable; notching nine goals and 10 assists while being named to the NSCAA All-Far West Region First Team and leading his squad 2012 NCAA College Cup Quarterfinals.
Reflections on the SuperDraft have been widespread and altogether incongruent. While Muller and Delgado may not have earned the national recognition that some of the other draftees have, these two might parallel the 2010 SuperDraft "steals" that became 2012 MLS AT&T All-Stars Justin Morrow and Steven Beitashour. The Quakes added depth, intelligence, work rate, and skill with these two picks ahead of an elongated season that will include CONCACAF Champions League matches.
TopDrawerSoccer.com ranked the Earthquakes' draft day with the overall grade of a "B". Yet, the grade is one of the highest in the Western Conference. To see the complete list, click here.
WVHooligan.com also gave the Quakes a "B" ranking, in most part due to the strength of the returning nucleus of players. WVHooligan.com's full rankings are listed here.
Indianapolis will play host to the 2013 MLS SuperDraft, beginning at 8:54 a.m. on Thursday, Jan. 17. The Quakes hold three picks in the draft: number 15, number 33, and number 34. Speculation has started to swirl around teams' upcoming decsions, especially Toronto F.C. who sits with the first pick.
While the Earthquakes are coming off their best regular season in franchise history, culminating with the club's second Supporters' Shield, the Quakes have traditionally used their picks to cultivate talent.
Media outlets have embarked on the typical practice of mock drafts. With six Generation Adidas prospects participating in this year's MLS Combine and all expected to be drafted in the first round, the majority of college seniors will fall late.
SoccerByIves Mock Draft:
Soccerbyives.net's latest mock draft has the Quakes utilizing all three picks; selecting West Virginia centerback Eric Schoenle, Creighton's attacking midfielder Jose Gomez, and New Mexico's forward Devon Sandoval. To find the entire mock draft, click HERE.
TheDailyWiz analyzes some of the sleepers that fell to the 31st pick and beyond in past drafts. As the Quakes hold number 33 and number 34, teams have found success drafting players late. These players have included Omar Cummings, Sinisa Ubiparipovic, and Nick LaBrocca. Read the full story HERE.
Wondolowski’s Rise to Stardom:
What a year it has been for the Quakes’ lethal finisher Chris Wondolowski? The striker netted a MLS record-tying and league-best 27 goals. A wealth of individual accolades followed. “Wondo” claimed the Budweiser Golden Boot award, was named an MLS All-Star, and garnered the 2012 Volkswagen MLS MVP award. The Danville, CA native couldn’t have asked for much more.
When looking at Wondo’s past, his journey to donning the number 8 has been a rollercoaster ride that would have directed many to seek other options. The 41st overall pick in the 2005 draft, Wondo netted only seven goals in his first six years in the MLS before transforming into the scoring-machine that the Quakes’ faithful have become so accustomed to.
Soccer America’s Mike Woitalla chronicles the early years of Chris and his family and Chris’ ascendancy to become the league’s most feared goal-scorer. To read the full story, click here.
Former Quake, Ryan Cochrane, joins Santa Clara's coaching staff:
Former Quakes defender, Ryan Cochrane, was named an assistant coach for his alma mater, Santa Clara University. Cochrane was selected by San Jose with the fifth overall draft pick in 2004 and would go on to have a nine year professional soccer career. The 29-year-old was previously an assistant with Wheaton College in 2011 and Trinity University in 2012.
Elliott Almond of the San Jose Mercury News wrote the full story which can be found here.
Bay Area's Top 10 stories from 2012
2012 has proven to be a memorable year for Bay Area sports fans. The Giants miraculously won their second World Series in three years. The A's were in first place in their division for only one day but it was the one day that mattered. The 49ers channeled the glory from the past years under Bill Walsh and nearly made the Super Bowl.
The Earthquakes, though, were no strangers to drama. Posting a league-best record of 19-6-9, the Quakes demanded that their fans stay at the game until the very end. The berth of the "Goonies" arose to the delight of the organization and the Quakes' faithful. A three-pronged attack from Chris Wondolowski, Steven Lenhart, and Alan Gordon led San Jose into the playoffs at times to the bewilderment of their Bay Area fans.
Daniel Brown of the San Jose Mercury News details the top 10 moments from 2012. Find the full article here.
One week ago, our country was shocked and overcome with grief as details of a tragedy in Newtown, Conn. came to light.
As Washington Post soccer writer Steve Goff reported today, the news was especially significant to Earthquakes forward Marcus Tracy. The former Wake Forest product grew up in Newtown and his mother used to teach at the elementary school where 26 people were shot and killed on Friday, Dec. 14.
Tracy, his brother and a group of friends decided they wanted to do something to represent their community and pay tribute to those who lost their lives. They produced an original song and tribute that you can see above. Tracy also emailed sjearthquakes.com the following statement:
“When CNN first stated how many people lost their lives, it was complete shock and disbelief. It was unfathomable to think that this happened in the same town I lived in for 18 years, two miles away, at the school my Mom once taught at. It's still hard to believe. It's a very real reminder whenever I leave the house and see all of the media, police from out of town and out of state, the volume of traffic; it’s amazing, though, to see how the town has come together to uplift those most affected by the tragedy. It hurts you as a resident of Newtown that something like this could happen, so just try and imagine how parents, brothers, sisters and spouses are feeling right now. You can't; it's impossible. After days of grieving and trying to comprehend what the hell happened, me and a few friends got together to think about what we could do to help uplift this town and its people. So I turned to one of the only things (besides soccer) that I know and love: music.
I produce music as a hobby and have a production team with my brother and my friend, Anthony Santella. My brother is in Boston, so me and Anthony led the way. We produced the entire song together, but brought in a few of our other friends and created this video/picture montage tribute.
It was therapeutic for us, but also a means, we felt, to represent our town. Right now the whole world knows the town Newtown, CT for one reason only. But Newtown means something much more to each one of us. This is the only way we knew how to speak back to the community and the world that, yes, we were hit hard and suffered great loss, but we will bounce back. And also our way of recognizing and lifting up the 26 people who needlessly lost their lives that day."
The club's collective thoughts are with Marcus and Newtown during this holiday season.
Does it get any better than a seven-goal, multi-comeback California Clasico?
According to MLSsoccer.com, it doesn't. San Jose's 4-3 win against the LA Galaxy on June 30 at Stanford Stadium was the pick for Best Game of 2012. The match featured a pair of rallies - LA from 1-0 down to take a 3-1 lead and San Jose from 3-1 down to win 4-3 - as well as goals from some of the most recognizable faces in the league: Landon Donovan, David Beckham and, of course, Chris Wondolowski.
In a year filled with memorable games (aka Goonie moments), the stunner at Stanford Stadium tops the charts. However, let the debate begin for which game was second best.
Was it Steven Lenhart's 'Blond-Haired Bedlam at Buck Shaw' against the Chicago Fire on July 28, Alan Gordon's header to knock off LA at The Home Depot Center on May 23 or maybe the stoppage-time thriller against Seattle Sounders FC on Aug. 11? Vote now!
FIFA World Player of the Year Finalists:
FIFA has announced the three finalists for its annual World Player of the Year and, once again, it has come down to the usual suspects. Three-time FIFA World Player of the Year honoree Lionel Messi, UEFA Euro 2012 Player of the Tournament Andres Iniesta, and 2008 FIFA World Player of the Year Cristiano Ronaldo make up the three candidates.
Despite not winning La Liga last season, Lionel Messi is the favorite to take home the coveted prize. It would be an unprecedented fourth consecutive award for the 25-year-old diminutive Argentine. Messi’s 2011/2012 season goal-scoring streak has eclipsed his previous highs. He sits at 84 goals in the 2012 calendar year, one shy of Gerd Muller’s all-time record.
The much glamorized Cristiano Ronaldo may have been overshadowed in recent years by Lionel Messi as a byproduct of an incessant media campaign. This hasn’t stopped Ronaldo from hoisting the La Liga trophy; Real Madrid’s first since the 2007/2008 season. Ronaldo bagged 60 goals this past season including an astonishing 46 league goals in 38 games played.
Another FC Barcelona star and product of Barcelona’s famed La Masia youth academy, Andres Iniesta enters the fold without the goal-scoring knack that his counterparts possess. Yet the midfield maestro has once again orchestrated the tempo of a rhythmic Barcelona side. Deservedly named the UEFA Euro 2012 Player of the Tournament, Iniesta is seeking his first FIFA World Player of the Year honor.
View The New York Times article on the FIFA World Player of the Year finalists by clicking here:
Alex Morgan named U.S. Soccer’s Female Athlete of the Year
Alex Morgan’s 2012 could not be any smoother. After leading the USWNT to Olympic Gold in London, the 23-year-old former Cal star has been named U.S. Soccer’s Female Athlete of the Year.
Morgan has recorded 38 goals in 55 games played for the U.S. Women’s National Team, many of which have been timely finishes. Included in this was her 123rd minute game-winning goal against Canada in the Olympics semifinals.
View more on Morgan’s banner 2012 year here.
New USL Team in Sacramento
Warren Smith and an unnamed partnership group have successfully secured the rights to bring in a USL team to Sacramento. The team aims to begin play in 2014 and will use Sacramento City College’s Hughes Stadium as their home facility.
Smith is no stranger to Sacramento-area professional sports as he was integral in bringing in the Triple-A Sacramento RiverCats from Vancouver, Canada.
With the addition of another Northern California professional soccer team, will a budding rivalry develop between the two sides? Although they are on different tiers of the American soccer pyramid, the greater San Jose and Sacramento areas will be at the fore to develop the sport’s passion in Northern California.
Read more on this development here.
NASL names new Commissioner
Bill Peterson, a former executive with Anschutz Entertainment Group and NFL Europe, has been named the commissioner of the NASL. Entering its third season in 2013, the NASL looks for new guidance under the experienced Peterson.
Peterson will lead the nine-team league out of their Florida office. The current Chairman of USA Cycling Board of Directors, Peterson will oversee expansion efforts by the NASL that will include the New York Cosmos in 2013 as well as targeted areas of Virginia and Ottowa in the years ahead.
Read more on Peterson here.
Success has been nothing new for Bay Area sports fans of late. The Giants have won two World Series championships in the past three years, the A’s Bob Melvin and Billy Beane won AL Manager and GM of the Year, the 49ers are dividing and conquering opponents while paying homage to the late Bill Walsh, and your Earthquakes have won their second Supporters’ Shield all in 2012.
Like the iconic Rafael’s, Da Vinci’s and Titian’s of the 14th and 15th Century, Bay Area fans are fortunate to follow the Willis’, Posey’s, and Wondolowski’s of the 21st century sporting renaissance. While fans are out in record numbers to show their support, their teams are seeking to reciprocate the appreciation. New stadium plans are in the works for the 49ers, Warriors, and the Quakes with Santa Clara, San Francisco, and San Jose being targeted locations respectively.
The 49ers and Quakes both plan to inaugurate the 2014 year with new stadiums while the Warriors project a 2017 opening on San Francisco’s Embarcadero.
Andy Dolich of the San Jose Mercury-News writes of these nascent to developed stadium projects. With continued winning ways and new stadiums on the horizon, Bay Area sports fans can only bask in the Mediterranean-reminiscent climate.
View Andy Dolich’s article here.
It is no wonder that Zlatan Ibrahimovic has a black belt in taekwondo. The Swede's wonder bicycle kick, a fourth strike that overshadowed Steven Gerrard's 100th cap for England, demonstrated a full acrobatic exertion from an acute angle. It has left many clicking "replay" on YouTube. Sure enough, it has spread like wildfire through social media.
Analysts and players alike have argued that Ibrahimovic's goal may be the greatest ever - up there with Diego Maradona's 1986 World Cup goal (also against England) and Marco van Basten's volley in the 1988 Euro Final against the USSR.
Yet, a Northern Irishman by the name of George Best challenges the Swede's effort. The former Manchester United talisman starred for the Quakes in the NASL from 1980 to 1982. It was his natural individual brilliance that continues to captivate fans and places him among the elites of the game.
Andrew Keh's, "The New York Times Soccer Blog" shows a handful of Ibrahimovic's rivals; a selection of the top goals of all time. Included in this list was George Best's individual "virtuoso performance" - a slaloming run that was the only nomination from the NASL.
Best's goal can be found by clicking here.