Greetings, welcome to The Morning Kickoff. Your daily dose of news from Sporting Kansas City and the rest of the soccer world. We read everything, so you don't have to. If you've got a comment, speak up please. Motorhead made me nearly deaf last night. Good times.
The big news in Sporting Kansas City-land is that the team will announce its second home-grown player this afternoon. It's probably, kinda, sorta, maybe going to be right-back Kevin Ellis, a former KC junior who has been with the team since camp opened in January. Official word is coming today at 1:30 p.m.
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The other two home-grown possibilities are defender Konnor Knoll and forward Jordan Rideout. Both of them, however, recently signed their letters of intent to attend UMKC this fall.
Interesting side-note from KC's press release: There is no minimum age for a home-grown player, but they cannot be older than 24 (Ellis is 20). In the event a HGP is transferred, clubs keep 75 percent of any transfer or loan fee paid for the player.
• Four former Kansas City players (one the team's current coach) and one former coach have been nominated for inclusion in
the 2011 National Soccer Hall of Fame: Mike Burns, Chris Henderson, Roy Lassiter, Peter Vermes and Bob Gansler.
The other notable HOF nominees: Cobie Jones, Marco Etcheverry, Jason Kreis, Chris Armas, John O'Brien, Eddie Pope, Earnie Stewart, Carlos Valderrama, Joe-Max Moore and Peter Nowak.
• I like the idea of the U.S. Open Cup. But I dislike the U.S. Open Cup at the same time. Ya dig?
It opens up to allow all levels of American soccer. Then it denies the NASL (the second division behind MLS) entry this year. It allows only that only 8 (of 16) MLS teams qualify for the actual tournament. Six MLS teams automatically qualify (Columbus, Dallas, Los Angeles, New York, Salt Lake, Seattle). Which means they are encouraging the other 10 teams (Chicago, Chivas, Colorado, DC, Houston, New England, Philadelphia, Portland, San Jose and Kansas City) to field sub-par sides to deal with the possible two qualifying games (in addition to coping with the players lost during the Gold Cup). All of this on top of a 34-game regular season.
Omar Bravo already making an impact off the field for Kansas City.
MLS Talk runs through the reasons international stars should look at cities other than New York and Los Angeles.
I'm not completely in line with their reasoning for KC.
"Sporting Kansas City: Kansas City is a large media market, not as big as LA but still larger than Columbus's and Salt Lake City's. That's not saying much, but you would also be the face of the franchise, especially if Teal Bunbury goes overseas."
• D.C. United signed goalkeeper Pat Onstad to its staff as an assistant coach. Now, because of an injury crisis,
the 43-year-old has come out of retirement to sign a short-term contract to play for D.C.
An MLS team in Las Vegas?
Yeah, sure, why not?
• Kansas City native and our country's most recognizable voice on soccer, Grant Wahl, is just all kinds of awesome right now. Yesterday,
he announced his intention to run against Sepp Blatter for the presidency of FIFA.
It's not a joke. Or, as Wahl puts it, Blatter is the joke.
"As the ultimate outsider I'll bring FIFA into the 21st century by enacting the reforms no apparatchik in the old boy network would dare propose. For starters, I'll name a woman as general secretary, FIFA's most powerful appointed position. I'll clean up FIFA the only way possible: by releasing all of its internal documents, WikiLeaks-style, and commissioning an independent investigation using the guidelines of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. And I'll push for term limits to prevent any FIFA president (including myself) from serving more than two four-year terms in office. Consider, Blatter is one of only two FIFA presidents in the last 37 years! No wonder his FIFA has as much transparency and credibility as the Mubarak regime did."
• Today's must read:
Former Chechen warlord and current president Ramzan Kadyrov is using soccer to legitimize his presidency.
He owns the country's best team, Grozny, who recently lured Ruud Gullit to be the coach and will play a friendly against the 2002 Brazilian World Cup team. The 34-year-old Kadyrov will play in that friendly.
• This... this... this isn't how you take a free kick. SMH.