Archive for the ‘MLS’ Category

Zlatan Ibrahimovic couldn’t lead the LA Galaxy to the MLS postseason in 2018, but he seems keen to give it another go in California.

The veteran Swede racked up a mightily impressive 22 goals and 10 assists in 27 outings in his first season at StubHub Center, but a flawed Galaxy team fell short of playoff qualification on Decision Day.

It appears, though, that the 37-year-old, who is contracted in Carson until the end of next season, still intends to honor that commitment.

“I have some wishes and demands which is simple things,” Ibrahimovic said, as quoted by the Associated Press. “There is interest in Europe, but my priority is Galaxy. They have wishes, I have wishes, but I’m optimistic and I’m positive.

“If I belong to Galaxy, I am a Galaxy player. If I belong to one club, I give my attention to one club, so I am here,” he added.

Even at the age of 37, it’s no huge surprise that Ibrahimovic, who has played for JuventusInterBarcelonaAC MilanParis Saint-Germain, and Manchester United in a decorated career, is still attracting attention from Europe.

Jose Mourinho last month ruled out a move to re-sign the man who scored 28 goals in 46 games in his only full season at Old Trafford. Meanwhile, rumors of a return to Milan have persisted despite the Rossoneri’s sporting director Leonardo insisting several weeks ago that such a move “is not possible” for the club.

Though the Galaxy’s primary problems this year arguably lay away from the frontline, Ibrahimovic was near-indispensable to the franchise’s efforts. His tally of 32 direct contributions to goals was 12 higher than any of his teammates’ totals, despite the fact he missed seven of 34 games. Many in Galaxy colors will likely see his return as imperative for the club’s 2019 hopes.

Club president Chris Klein seems to think so. “What he did this year is certainly well-documented. He wants to win and we want to win with him. Hopefully, we can come to a resolution that is good for both sides.”

Ibrahimovic continued: “I think the season was like a rollercoaster. Hopefully, we make it better (next year) because that is the target … Like I said, I’m not here for a vacation, I’m here for the challenge and I want to feel my team has a chance to be the best in MLS. I am the best, but I want to feel like my team can compete against the others.”

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WWE Hall of Famer Lita will have her first singles match in over six years when she takes on Mickie James at Evolution. This will mark Lita’s second official match of the year as she also competed in the Women’s Royal Rumble in January.

Lita talked with Planeta Wrestling about her Evolution appearance and if this could lead to more WWE matches down the road.

“If you follow WWE at all, I think the one thing that is consistent is: you never know. As a fan and as a performer, each time I go in I look at it as a mom as I’m happy with my chapter outside of wrestling,” Lita said. “But at the same time, every time I do go back, it feels like home and you just jump right back in.

“You go in with it being the idea of a one-time thing, but it’s likely and potentially that the excitement of it or the crowd’s response to it could turn it into something more than a one-off. Like my life in general, I just take it all as it comes. So, we’ll see.”

Lita’s appearance at the Royal Rumble was a surprise and she was asked if fans could expect more surprises from her at Evolution.

“For sure, but they wouldn’t be surprises if I told you right now,” stated Lita. “At this point in my career I’m not just representing myself, but beyond that because of the platform of WWE being so big and to get a chance to say more than just something about you is important. So, I’ll come up with something for sure to surprise you guys.

Lita last wrestled at the Royal Rumble and she wore gear that said #TIMESUP. At Evolution, Lita will look for revenge on Mickie James, who defeated her in the former’s retirement match in 2006.

The Undertaker will return to Monday Night RAW next week, according to Mike Johnson of PWInsider.

The Deadman is rumoured to make an appearance on next week’s show in order to promote his highly anticipated ‘Last Time Ever’ match with Triple H at WWE Super Showdown in Australia on October 6th.

Adding more intrigue to Taker’s alleged return is the fact that Shawn Michaels is on RAW next week to give his opinion on HHH v The Undertaker, leading to further rumours of a confrontation between the two.

The last time we saw the Deadman on WWE TV was in April when he defeated Rusev in a Casket Match at the Greatest Royal Rumble event in Saudi Arabia. He subsequently teamed with Roman Reigns and Braun Strowman at a live event in July in Madison Square Garden against Elias, Baron Corbin and Kevin Owens, which concluded with Taker pinning Owens, having an intense staredown with Reigns and Strowman, then shaking their hands.

One of the reasons why WWE are adding numerous legends to RAW, is that next week is the final Monday night before the NFL season starts, which traditionally reduces viewership, so the company will want to entice as many eyes as possible to the product before the competition from American Football returns. An appearance from The Undertaker will certainly do that.

The King of Strong Style may have come on a little too strong after dropping John Cena on the back of his neck last year.

In a recent interview with Gorilla Position, Shinsuke Nakamura claimed that he thought his career was over after botching a back suplex on SmackDown Live. The incident caused a ton of backstage heat. Luckily for him, he stated that Cena took full responsibility for the mistake.

Nakamura said, “Some people were upset backstage, not John Cena. But someone. They got p****d off at me, ‘Why did you do that?’ So, I just thought my career is finished today. But everybody came to support me and help me, even John Cena.

“Not everybody gets the chance to wrestle with John Cena now. I felt good in the ring with John Cena. If I have the chance, I’m gonna wrestle with him again. Maybe we can create [something] better than before.”

After the match, The Artist apologised to Cena on-camera, but Cena insisted that there was no reason to be sorry and raised Nakamura’s arm. It was clear to see that there was no heat between the two.

WWE are very protective of the sixteen-time world champion, and if Cena had been injured, who knows what the repercussions could have been.

Nakamura has since had a run with the United States Championship and successfully defended it at SummerSlam after defeating Jeff Hardy with his trademark Kinshasa.

Berlin – Bayern Munich announced on Tuesday a partnership deal with Major League Soccer team FC Dallas in their bid to expand into North America.

Bayern, who already have an office in New York, say twinning with Dallas is to help both clubs develop players and coaching methods.

“As part of our international strategy, we opened an office in the US in 2014,” said Bayern’s head of international strategy, Joerg Wacker, in a statement.

“Right from the beginning, we wanted to be more in touch with our fans while supporting the development of football in the United States.

“The promotion of young players is the focus here.

“FC Dallas stands for excellent youth work and is the ideal partner for us.”

A group of FC Dallas players visited Bayern’s academy in Munich last December.

“The primary goal is to build a youth academy and club of world-class excellence,” said Dallas’ CEO Clark Hunt.

“A partnership with one of the world’s most successful clubs is a significant step in that direction.”

 
 

Miami – David Beckham has finally achieved his goal of bringing Major League Soccer to Miami, but the prospect of a stadium without parking that drives up housing costs in a low-income neighborhood is no hit with residents.

The former England captain and glitzy star of storied Champions League teams was formally awarded an MLS franchise on Monday, but key details remain up in the air, such as its name and logo and when it will debut.

For the 25,000-seat stadium, the investor group led by Beckham has acquired land in an area called Overtown, a working-class district between downtown and Little Havana.

They still need to buy one more piece of land, but for now the deal is held up in court by a lawsuit. The investors are confident they will prevail.

“Our 24th team now is in Miami. The stadium is in the Overtown site,” MLS commissioner Don Garber said.

One problem is that Miami is already choked with traffic and the stadium will not have its own parking lots.

And people in the neighborhood fear housing costs that are already rising will force them to move away as they keep going up.

“We are largely overwhelmed by the larger forces in the community that are out there. Our voices are not being heard sufficiently,” said Ernest Martin, a member of the Miami River Commission, an association of people living near the waterway.

Martin was especially critical of the lack of parking.

But Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez said Monday that although the stadium itself will have no on-site parking, there are plenty of big lots two to three blocks from the planned arena.

He also pointed to public transport, but people in Miami love their cars.

The problem of rising housing costs comes with gentrification. Overtown is a black-majority neighborhood of some 13,000 people, and 24 percent of the residents earn less than $10,000 a year, well below the poverty level.

Worried about rent

“This has been a low-income housing area for many years,” Martin told AFP at his home along the river.

“Ultimately, the big increase in rent for the area will cause Overtown to become a more select area for residential users,” he added.

The barren lot of land where the stadium is supposed to go up is surrounded by a fence on which neighbors have hung a sign that reads “No to the stadium.”

Nearby are modest apartment buildings and a few shops. At a corner liquor store, the cashier tends to customers from behind bulletproof glass. The storefront is protected by iron bars.

Douglas Romero, a 27-year-old resident of Overtown, told AFP that this year his rent has already gone from $1,050 a month to $1,200.

“I’m a little worried, you know,” Romero said, holding his four-year-old son.

“The prices of rent have been going up lately, starting in January. The only thing would be, if prices go up, you know, everybody looks to move. Everybody looks for somewhere else.”

Second time lucky?

It isn’t even the city’s first tryst with MLS.

Its first team, Miami Fusion, made their debut in 1998 but only played for four seasons before being cut from the league after the 2001 campaign amid low ticket sales and the lowest revenues of any team in the competition.

Football in America is nowhere near as popular as baseball, basketball, or American football. But Beckham and his fellow investors are counting on the cultural diversity of Miami – with its large Hispanic and Caribbean populations – to attract fans.

And not all in the neighborhood are against the newcomers: “Him bringing the stadium here … it’s wonderful,” said Cedric Dixon, 52. “It’s excitement. It’s changing Miami.”

Landscaper Williams Charlie is skeptical that the new stadium can bring jobs, but says “we need a soccer team” nonetheless.

“Beckham knows what he’s doing. I’ll go right to the game – if they don’t move us out.”

One sign of how deeply opposed some are is the emergence of a Facebook group against the stadium which publishes scary videos of football-related violence as a way of warning against the dangers of hooligans.

“It’s not a done deal!” is the slogan of the Overtown Spring Garden Community Collective.

This is true: the proposed sale of the last piece of land needed is being held up by a millionaire named Bruce Matheson, who argues the county had no right to cede the first lot without opening it up to bidding.

He lost his first battle in court but has lodged an appeal.

Mayor Gimenez, meanwhile, remains bullish. “We are very confident that we are going to win the lawsuit,” he told reporters.

David Beckham finally founded a club.

On Monday, Major League Soccer awarded an expansion team to Miami. The announcement was made at an event in the city’s Adrienne Arsht Center, and featured the club’s ownership group, who have an agreement in place to build a world-class soccer stadium.

According to the Miami Herald’s Michelle Kaufman and Douglas Hanks, the team is scheduled to begin play in 2020, probably at a temporary site until the permanent stadium is ready in 2021. The team name, logo, and colours will be rolled out in the next few months, with hints that black and white will be part of the colour scheme.

The ownership group includes:

  • David Beckham, former MLS player
  • Marcelo Claure, chief executive officer of Sprint
  • Jorge and Jose Mas, Miami-based leaders of Telemas, a telecommunications and construction giant
  • Masayoshi Son, founder and chief executive officer of SoftBank
  • Simon Fuller, entertainment entrepreneur and manager

“It is with tremendous pride that we welcome Miami to Major League Soccer,” Don Garber, MLS commissioner, said. “With David Beckham, Marcelo Claure, Jorge and Jose Mas, Masayoshi Son, and Simon Fuller leading the way, we know the right people are in place and the time is right for Miami to become a great Major League Soccer city. This ownership is committed to bringing Miami the elite-level soccer team, stadium, and fan experience it richly deserves. We look forward to work(ing) with the entire organisation and successful launch for Miami’s MLS club.”

Beckham joined the LA Galaxy in 2007, securing a spot in his contract to own a club in MLS after his playing career. England‘s former captain exercised the option to own an expansion team in 2014, and the ownership group finalised the stadium plan in 2016.

“Our mission to bring an MLS club to Miami is now complete, and we are deeply satisfied, grateful, and excited,” Beckham, the first former MLS footballer to own a team in the league, declared. “Our pledge to our fans in Miami and around the world is simple: your team will always strive to make you proud, our stadium will be a place that you cherish visiting, and our impact in the community and on South Florida’s youth will run deep.”

The team will play in a privately developed, 25,000-seat, state-of-the-art stadium in Miami’s urban core. The arena will be designed by Populous, a global architecture firm that created MLS stadiums in Houston, Kansas City, and Colorado. There are also plans to build a privately developed training centre and academy focused on developing local footballers.