I’ve seen some s**t. I remember thinking Sam’s Army was about the coolest thing throughout the buildup to the 2006 World Cup. It was a group of Americans that were all soccer fans that got together to cheer for soccer — it was insane, it was wildly progressive and it was extremely dangerous.
Bayern Munich's greatest talent has the potential to fill the shoes of the retiring Philipp Lahm and then some. Joshua Kimmich will more than likely represent both Bayern and the German national team with as much, if not more, success than his predecessor.
In his storied career, Lahm has amassed an impressive trophy case with almost every accomplishment imaginable. He is a seven-time Bundesliga winner, a six-time German Cup winner, possesses a coveted Champions League title and, of course, the 2014 World Cup title.
Fiorentina manager Paulo Sousa has a problem. Paulo Sousa isn’t very good at his job. What’s more, people are starting to notice. For a while now, Fiorentina fans have been trying to tell anyone who will listen that the Portuguese manager is performing well below expectations. After two high profile capitulations in the space of a week, Sousa’s problem is now clear for all to see. Paulo Sousa isn’t very good at his job.
The offseason purchases of Mirlalem Pjanic from Roma (€32 million) and Gonzalo Higuain from Napoli (€75.3 million) haven’t debilitated the selling clubs, but they have had the desired effect for Juventus. Higuain has scored 19 goals, tied with Edin Dzeko for the most in the league, and no Juventus player has more assists than Pjanic.
Even more importantly, Napoli, the team that ran them closest last season, will come short of last season’s total of 82 points while Juventus look poised to surpass their own total of 91. There’s no surer gauge of the impact of that transfer.
We all know the legitimate questions that greet every disappointing showing from the USMNT: why does the US struggle so mightily when it comes to developing players from a young age? Why can’t we develop a star player? Why isn’t the American system doing a better job at finding Hispanic talent?
The extremely complex process of youth soccer development in America is hampered by the pay-to-play system, the daunting task of casting a net over millions of U-6 to U-18 players and the lack of qualified coaches to ensure their development.
Carli Lloyd just signed for a short-term stint with Manchester City. Rising star Crystal Dunn is leaving for Chelsea. And soccer rock star Alex Morgan is (temporarily) at French Club Lyon. While these might seem like isolated incidents, it's actually a pattern. More and more U.S. women's soccer stars are leaving the states, at least in the short term for Europe.
So that’s that then. The man who led Leicester City to their greatest achievement in 133 years of existence, who, against 5,000-1 odds, reminded us that football is important because it provides moments of proof as to the ability to ascend over the bleak status quo — that we are surrounded by possibilities rather than dictated by a torrent of cruel fate, has been stabbed in the back by his club a day after declaring that “the dream is alive”.
You'd have to go back to 2008-09 to find the last Bundesliga title that wasn't won by either Bayern Munich or Borussia Dortmund. However, there is one that is lurking, currently in second place in their debut Bundesliga season, waiting for the spotlight.
The team is the most despised in German football — RB Leipzig, a side that has literally come out of nowhere in seven years and is now challenging the traditional might of the Bundesliga.
The 2015 MLS Cup champions took an unexpected turn in 2016, going from league champions to missing out on the playoffs entirely. The Timbers finished with a record of 12-14-8, just missing the playoffs in seventh-place in the Western Conference.
The Timbers will be looking to make it back into the postseason in 2017, and here are three areas that they will have to improve on to make that happen.
Improved Play Away from Home
Arsene Wenger has confirmed that he will not walk out on Arsenal this season, but his future at the club remains in the balance with his contract set to expire in the summer. The BBC has reported that the 67-year-old and the club will come to a mutual agreement in the summer, but Wenger has made it clear that regardless of what happens, he will still be coaching next year.