David Falk has followed soccer in the Puget Sound region since 1974. This blog covers Sounders FC, local college soccer, Seattle Wolves FC, Tacoma Tide FC and Kitsap Pumas. Send tips or comments to: goalseattle@gmail.com
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Seattle Soccer Examiner

Friday, October 31, 2008

Montero in 'limbo' between Cali and...?

It was reported a month or so ago that an 'American group' had bought the rights to 19-year old Colombian scoring sensation Freddy Montero of Club Deportivo Cali. Soon after a Colombian soccer website reported that Seattle Sounders FC were connected to that sale.

Seattle General Manager Adrian Hanauer has made no secret of his recent travels to the South American country, as recently as late September, and at least once with Technical Director Chris Henderson.

More recently it has been suggested that Sounders FC may own the majority of Montero's rights, with a Spanish club, possibly Sevilla, hold a minority interest.

If this is true, then Montero could be pulled to either Seattle or Europe in the coming weeks. The Colombian Clausura finishes in December, and that is when it is believed that this Freddy would come to Seattle.

I spoke with a Colombian soccer blogger who watched a televised match of Montero's Deportivo Cali club a day ago. Esteban Lugo tells me the following...

"Montero said that his rights are owned by an American Group. But the only media rumors that I've seen link him to Seattle. (Not just in BigSoccer but in Colombian media as well).

Here's a translation of Montero's post-match interview:

"It was exciting to play at this brand new stadium. I had a special interest in doing so since it was my first and last game here. I will travel when this tournament finishes." When the reporter asked "where to?" he said, "Let's wait until the tournament (Colombian League) is over. My rights are owned to a U.S. Group and we haven't decided where I'm gonna go."

"There are rumors of Argentina"- Said the reporter. "Let's wait and see"- Said Montero. "Where would you like to go?" said the reporter. "My dream is to play in Europe. But we'll have to see. I'm willing to make whatever stop in the road is necessary to get there".

So he didn't really confirm anything. But the media keeps linking him to Seattle.

About his style of play, he's a killer in the area. I'm not kidding. Montero is one of the best finishers in the Colombian league that I've seen in ages. His coach had also tried to use him as a winger but I see him more effective as a classical #9. He has a decent free kick as well. As all good finishers, he tends to be selfish. Look for him hunting for those loose balls after corner kicks.

Also, he's not your typical "fancy footwork" South American striker. He doesn't dribble that much. But he totally make up for that with his goalscoring prowess. He didn't have a good debut with the NT but to be fair, it was against Paraguay which (believe it or not) it's the best team in South America right now wereas Colombia is going trough rough times.

We will continue to track the Freddy Montero 'limbo.' I'll remind Sounders fans that the same rumor about Ljungberg also came with a comment leaked to me that Montero was 'a done deal' for Seattle.

Now we can see that a 'done deal' might just mean that Sounders FC have most of his rights, and could benefit by Montero's sale to Europe without him ever wearing a rave green kit. The Sounders may be in no hurry to make a decision on Montero until they've gone through the expansion draft (November 26) and the post-season free agent rush in MLS.

Freddie & the Raiders of the Emerald City

Freddie Ljungberg as Indiana Jones, courtesy of Pepsi, worldwide. Click photos for full size & watch the commercial below. Thanks to Jonas!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Media covers Freddie's Seattle debut

Freddie greets fans last night at Qwest Field.
Jenni Conner photo.

We've got links galore to share with you the day after Freddie Ljungberg came to Seattle and became a Sounder. It's an uphill battle for SSFC against ongoing coverage of the UW coaching change, and (today) the debut of the 'former Sonics' in OKC. The Times had Freddie on the front of their web page at one point yesterday.

(Updated all day with new links at the bottom)

GOALSeattle.com: Freddie meets his fans at Qwest celebration
Seattle Times:
Sounders land their star
Seattle P-I: Sounders sign Swedish star Ljungberg
ProstAmerika.com: Freddie fever hits Seattle
Expressen (in Swedish): Hundratals hyllade Ljungberg: "Riktigt stort"
Aftonabladet (in Swedish): I natt mötte han fansen
USA Today:
AP coverage
MLSnet.com: Sounders sign Freddie Ljungberg
King5.com: Raw video of press conference
NWCN.com: Freddie gets bleeped on regional TV (video)
Examiner.com: AP news story
Int. Herald-Tribune: Ljungberg sings for Seattle Sounders
BBC: Ljungberg makes switch to Seattle
Freddie Ljungberg Zone: Reuters recap
Football Fashion: Official presentation
Daily Star (UK): Freddie to be big in films
Canadian Press: Expansion team inks Ljungberg
Forbes: Sounders bring Swedish star to MLS
FourFourTwo: Ljungberg signs for Seattle
Bleacher Report: Can Sounders avoid the wooden spoon in 2009?
The Local (Sweden): Sweden's Ljungberg heading to Seattle
Breaking News: Ljungberg sees Seattle as sound move
Soccer Hotties: Freddie Ljungberg
LA Times: Is Freddie Beckham in disguise?
Yahoo: Freddy ready for MLS standard
Arsenal.com: Ljungberg signs for the Seattle Sounders
KJRam.com: Groz & Gas talk with Freddie (direct audio link)
NYPost: Big Apple rag chides Freddie's good looks
ESPN: an MLS briefing
SoundersFC.com: Video and story archive
Seattlest.com: Ljungberg Signs with Sounders; Tackles Thierry Henry Rumors
Soccer America: Seattle takes the DP plunge
Sports Illustrated: Sounders sign Fredrik Ljungberg
SkySports: Ljungberg signs for Seattle
Sportsnet.ca: Senseless in Seattle
Soccer America: Seattle bets big again on Ljungberg

Got links? send them to goalseattle@gmail.com

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Freddie goes Emerald as fans cheer

Freddie was all smiles as he talked to fans. (Jenni Conner)

Fans of Seattle Sounders FC got to meet their new hero Freddie Ljungberg at Qwest Field a few hours after he was announced to the media as Seattle's new sports star.

Supporters crammed into the Wells Fargo Suite to cheer the Swede and share in the joy of having a club so young sign a player so well-known.

The Sounders Band played the club fight song and Emerald City Supporters sang "The bluest skies you've ever seen are in Seattle" as the good times rolled.

Todd Leiweke, Joe Roth and Adrian Hanauer addressed the fans before Freddie took questions submitted by fans.

Roth brought several loud roars of laughter as the giddy moment moved him to poke fun at both the LA Galaxy and San Jose Earthquakes. "You don't have to know how to play soccer in LA," said Roth, "just look good." He later hinted under his breath that Seattle wouldn't be an expansion team 'like San Jose.' (No playoffs in their first year back for the Quakes.)

Freddy spoke with ease to the crowd, all smiles about his new adventure in the States. At one point he joked with Kasey Keller (who was behind the crowd on a balcony) about their days as rivals with Arsenal and Tottenham.

Freddie holds high his new ECS scarf. (Jenni Conner)

Fans were in great spirits and so were the Sounders representatives, who delighted in talking about their accomplishments so far and their 'new prize.'

I talked with friends on our way home, still amazed that a club so ignored for years was now past the 17,000 season ticket mark and bringing in world talent. A great day to be a Seattle supporter. We were all in agreement that Freddie is starting his 'new life in America' with the right attitude and were impressed with his intelligence, wit and sense of humor.

Some fans wore Swedish jerseys and talked about Freddie coming to Seattle. (Video)

Even more, Ljungberg seems a genuinely nice guy. He garnered big applause when he said he wanted to come to America 'while he was still young enough to be good,' rather than only after his legs were giving out, as some of his European colleagues had suggested he should.

Holding his Emerald City Supporters scarf high Freddie left the room as loud chants rang the halls. He stopped at the top of the stairs, turned around, and held the scarf high once more before thanking everyone for coming out to meet him.

Jenni's photos of the fan night

Fan Reports:
Shotgun Prose

Captures and photos from "Freddie Day"

Read the club press release.

Read Steve Clare's coverage at ProstAmerika.com

Last two photos by Joe Armand.

Freddie spotted at Pike Place Starbucks

From the UK Echo-News.

Our friends over at Expressen.se are taking their coverage to a new level today, including VIDEO of Freddie leaving Qwest Field!

More coverage from Expressen: here, here and here.

Aftonbladet has plenty of coverage, too.

Seattle press? ZZZ...except for Matt Gaschk in the P-I.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Fun with the 'Freddie event'

Hey, guess what?

I am going to give this blog a breather on 'Freddie Tuesday' and let some other voices in the Sounders FC website world provide some insight and coverage. Visit ProstAmerika.com, WeAreECS.com, GoSounders.com and other sites to see how fans are covering the event!

I'll be at the fan greeting at 5:00 PM, though I'll miss the 11:00 AM press conference.

I'm sure the newspapers and stations will have a blurb or two. Don't forget SoundersFC.com will televise the news conference live.

I've given myself the assignment of 'just being a Seattle soccer fan' for Freddie day. Having followed the whole drama from first rumor to final confirmation, now is the time for me to take it all in.

Seattle is joining the soccer world in a bigger way. The club name 'Seattle Sounders FC' is appearing in hundred of languages across thousands of newspapers and websites with more to follow. It is a very fun time and I am thankful to the Sounders owners for giving us fans special moments like these.

I will return to the blog after the big day with reflections of my own personal fan experience, and how I think the Freddie announcement 'came off.'

Keep talking Sounders FC and Freddie in our forums, where multiple threads are worth a read, a post or a vote...

Vote: How will Freddie do in Seattle?
Write captions to Freddie's photos

Around the Sound of Soccer for October 27th

UW Daily photo by John McLellan.

SDSU goal keeper Jorge Rosales bats the ball away from sophomore Taylor Mueller on a corner kick late in the game. The match ended in a 2-2 tie following the completion of two scoreless overtimes.

Yes, we do have other local soccer news.

The Seattle Sounders of the USL are on their way back from Argentina. Danny Jackson's latest blog says the club are undefeated so far in beef and coffee country.

The Washington Men went winless at home this weekend, as the UW Daily tells us.

A much better time was had by the Husky Women, who swept the Oregon schools down south.

The SPU Women topped Central while the SU Women lost a 4-3 thriller in Utah.

OPEN TO PUBLIC: Freddie fans invited tomorrow

Seattle fans are already honoring the arrival of Swedish player Freddie Ljungberg. See here a group of supporters got together and changed the Sounders' colors to honor Freddie and his Swedish heritage!

The public are invited to welcome Freddie Ljungberg to Seattle tomorrow!

Sounders FC season ticket holders will be getting an invitation to come to the 'Special Announcement' tomorrow at Qwest Field!

In the email will be a printable parking pass for parking in the north lot (otherwise, pay $10.)

Emerald City Supporters have also been invited. Details from them here.

The announcement will be held at 5:00 PM, but Sounders FC request that fans arrive no later than 4:30 to be seated.

Park in the north lot and enter through the North VIP entrance, which is on the right side (sound side) as you enter.

Questions? 1-877-MLS-GOAL

Expressen: 2.5 million per year for Freddie

UPDATE: Jonas translates and summarizes some of the Swedish articles!

Our original contacts at Swedish newspaper Expressen have continued to post new material on their website. Many new stories up today that can be reached through this entry article.

Of special note is the first report on how much Freddie will be paid by Sounders FC. A Swedish-to-English online translator says:

"According to U.S. data Ljungberg has been offered a contract guaranteeing him 2.5 million dollars per year.

The owners are all very rich and they've decided to go for the new football team. "

Go to the Expressen coverage for Monday, October 27th.

This graphic appears today in Aftonbladet, after they orginally spurned GOALSeattle's 'rumors' and approach to get them on the story.

We first approached www.Aftonbladet.se with our Freddie rumors. They pretty much laughed us off. Yesterday I received an 'apology' email from them and a request for more information. Today they are jumping in to the Freddie coverage...

Fotballskanalen.se reminds us that Seattle have had a famous Swede before, in the NASL days: Rene Almqvist. Almqvist played 5 matches (defender) for the 1980 Sounders who finished top of the table. They also have kindly posted a link to GOALSeattle.com.

Check back with us all day as our Swedish friend Jonas sends us translated summaries of the articles.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Swedish TV: Freddie boards London plane bound for Seattle

A Swedish football site features this Sounders' website capture.

One of our Swedish contacts, Jonas, reports:

Sweden's two biggest television channels have stories on their home pages. (Svt and TV4 and their soccer site.)

The football site even has a capture of the SoundersFC.com front page, with arrows pointing up to the Swedish flag.

The Svt article does not say anything that Expressen has not covered. TV4 says that Ljungberg and Elefalk are en rout from London to Seattle for Tuesdays press conference.

Both articles are citing sources close to Ljungberg. (I am reading that as staff from CAA Stockholm and/or Ljungberg'ss press woman, I cannot remember her name, it is the same press official that Madonna uses....)

English-speaking media are now picking up the Sv4 story. Here's an AP report.

Swedish TV: Ljungberg to Seattle

Our sources on the ground in Sweden are reporting that in the Sunday news around the country television reports site 'people close to Freddie Ljungberg' as confirming he'll be joining the Seattle Sounders.

GOALSeattle.com broke this story weeks ago with help from sources in both Seattle and Sweden, and we'll keep updating our blog as we learn more.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Signs say Freddie announced Tuesday

The hints, rumors and clues have flown in over the last few days and it all adds up to this: it appears that Freddie Ljungberg will be introduced as Sounders FC's 'designated player' at a press conference Tuesday October 28th at 11:00 AM at Qwest Field. Season ticket holders are invited to meet Freddie later at 5:00 PM when he'll be introduced to Seattle fans.

The best soccer writer in Seattle these days, Steve Clare, has his take on the Freddie saga here.

It is possible (though not confirmed, as is none of this) that KING 5 News may be on hand to broadcast the event live.

Update 10/26: Swedish football paper FotbollsExpressen.se continues to break the news over there. So does Seattle's Steve Clare. See two more translated articles HERE and HERE.

UPDATE 10/25: Seattle Times and Expressen of Sweden are saying the signing is imminent. (See also one of those funny Swedish-English translations of the Expressen story.)
More Swedish press translations HERE and HERE.


The pieces of the puzzle have come together after I talked at length with Swedish newspaper reporter Jens Brandberg who I had referred to Gary Wright, Sounders VP of Operations. Brandberg felt that based on his interview with Wright that something is indeed about to happen, though Wright neither confirmed or denied the possible signing of Ljungberg.

Meanwhile a fan who was looking over the TV schedule at G & D, found this.

LIVE 12:45PM & 6PM


Are you talking about FREDDIE? You should be!

(If it is someone else this post will self-destruct upon the announcement.)

SU learns, grows from Dakota trips

GOALSeattle.com continues its guest blogger series with Bellevue native and Seattle Prep graduate Maryann Boddy of the Seattle University Redhawks.

Sometimes you need to learn lessons the hard way. Our first game against South Dakota State didn’t turn out the way we’d all anticipated. Could it be that we traveled through three different states before getting to South Dakota? Did it set us back having to drive for about four hours after we’d already had a layover on our flight out? Were we unprepared and ill-equipped to deal with the 38-degree weather? The fact is, there is absolutely no excuse for getting scored on less than a minute into the match. They came out with very high pressure and caught us off balance. We immediately snapped out of it, but it proved to be too little too late.

Maryann (right) against WSU earlier this season. House of Commons Photography.

With a day of practice in-between games to unwind and blow off some steam, we came out in the North Dakota State game prepared to play. Our captains did well to get the wind at our backs, as gusts reached up to 52 mph and maintained at least 25 mph throughout the match. This proved to be a huge factor in allowing us to score three goals in the first twenty minutes. After peppering the goal with shots, we finally capitalized on our third corner kick. Jamie Coe, always with a nose for the goal, beat the NDSU keeper to the post for a short corner and put us on board ten minutes into the match. Not more than five minutes later our freshman center mid, Kassandra Riozzi, snuck behind the Bison flat back and headed in a far post cross by freshman Jordan Salisbury. Soon after, Riozzi’s in-swinger corner kick was guided directly in the goal by the wind for her second tally of the game. As the roles reversed and the Bison took the wind in the second half our 3-0 lead proved well needed. The Bison quickly put two goals in the back of the net which put our defense and resilience to the test. We dug our heels in, kept ourselves behind the ball and fought hard for the win.

As ugly as the North Dakota State win may have been, it made the 12 hours in the car and the eight hours at the airport well worth it. There were many factors that we had to overcome over the weekend and they taught some valuable lessons that we had to learn. At this level you can’t afford to take even a minute off, which is why it’s going to take everyone coming out “on” fire this weekend to win both our games in Utah. I know we’re up to the challenge.

Around the Sound: Sounders FC, Huskies, more...

For a supposed professional 'off season,' we sure have had lots of news to share regarding the Seattle soccer scene lately.

Yesterday Sounders FC announced that they will be holding public open tryouts in three Washington cities in November. Further, they will be videoing the tryouts for a reality TV show that will end with a live session after the Superbowl where Sounders fans will help choose a player for the club roster! Details here.

The current United Soccer Leagues Sounders continue their tour of Argentina. The latest blog posted about the trip gives praise to Argentine coffee, beef, and futbol passion. Read the blog here.

The Washington Huskies men and women have big matches this weekend. Tonight at Husky Soccer Field the men host UCLA. On Sunday they host San Diego State. They will be without star midfielder George John, though. The UW Daily previews the men's weekend. The women travel to Oregon for two matches. The UW Daily looks at the challenges the women face.

In the central part of the state the Whitman College Pioneer has a feature on the life of a college goalkeeper. Read it here.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Sounders keep winning, enjoying Argentina

Río Paraná - Rosario - Argentina (Flickr.com)
Thanks to SoundersFC.com for sending this blog our way. The Seattle Sounders of the present and future are in Argentina on a tour and scouting venture. It's going well both on and off of the pitch.

by Bart Wiley, Sounders FC

I knew we were far from Seattle when I awoke mid-flight and stared bleary eyed at the map that was showing our flight path - we were over Havana, Cuba - certainly far from the Northwest.

Our destination on this trip was Buenos Aires, Argentina - and after the eight-hour flight from Miami, we arrived early morning.

Among other things, this trip was a United Soccer Leagues Sounders farewell - owner Adrian Hanauer has always taken great care of the team - and this trip was no exception. He wanted to make sure the guys knew he appreciated their efforts during the 2008 season - an odd season where the current team was playing in its final season, making way for a new Sounders FC team in 2009.

In addition to a ´thank you´ to the players and coaching staff, this trip would serve as an information gathering trip for a possible Sounders FC training camp site.

We gathered our bags, jumped on a bus and headed into BA (Buenos Aires). On the way we were told that 18 million people called BA home - a staggering number that surprised most of us.

Our hotel was in the middle of a neighborhood called the Microcenter. Here the prominent landmark was Plaza Mayo, which contained, among other monuments, the Pink House - BA´s version of our White House.

See also: Danny Jackson's latest Argentina trip blog

Our rooms were not ready so we gobbled up breakfast which was very typical of European breakfasts - lots of breads, meats, cheeses, pastries - and completely amazing coffee. I never knew how much coffee Brian Schmetzer drank, but after watching he and the coaching staff down cup after cup I began to wonder if Argentina had enough coffee to satisfy our crew.

The team would train later this day at the home of Argentina Juniors. After a welcomed nap and some lunch, we jumped on two vans and headed to a training ground about 25 minutes from our hotel. The facilities were somewhat antiquated but the pitches were beautiful. Our team seemed to be the center of attention to those youth players curious enough to watch - I heard many, ´Que equipo´ (what team) from the kids lining the fence. Back to the hotel after training - everyone was exhausted.

The next day (Oct 18) the team faced the reserve team of Estudiantes de La Plata. A gorgeous goal off the foot of Hugo Alcaraz-Cuellar gave the Sounders a 1-0 win.

Our host and tour promoter, Ricardo Insaldi, invited us to his house for a barbecue the next night. We were also lucky enough to be joined by Drew Carey and some of his The Price is Right crew. Drew wanted to show his crew exactly how passionate Argentinians are about soccer. We would find out the next day but more about that in a minute.

Prior to dinner, we were treated to an eclectic dance routine by several native dancers. Some of the players joined the dancers on stage before the show was over. Zach Scott showed some fancy footwork.

Dinner consisted of meat and more meat. We had learned that Argentina was famous for its meat - we saw proof of that this night.

Our first Sunday in Argentina found us at the Boca Juniors-River Plate match. Think Yankees-Red Sox but multiply it times a thousand.

We arrived at the River Plate stadium through several security checks and pat downs and ended up sitting with the Boca fans. There were two sections between us and the River Plate fans-both for safety purposes as this match was at River Plate. We were told over 1500 security officers were on hand for the match.

I don´t know what to say about the atmosphere other than it was the most incredible scene I have ever witnessed at a sporting event. Singing, chanting, yelling, flags, smoke, anger, passion, inciting, sheer delight, utter disappointment, 60,000 plus people with white and red bangers, an entire section with red and white umbrellas, people from the upper deck throwing banners down to the lower level. I´m getting goosebumps just typing my memories of the match-absolutely incredible.

We saw several Americans in our section and asked them why they were there. They simply replied ´because it´s Boca-River, what else do we need to say.´

They were right, nothing else needed to be said.

Training on Monday and then another great dinner that night. I mentioned the coffee, but the food is equally as amazing. And cheap. Two of us went to dinner and had appetizers, a bottle of wine, two entrées , two desserts with coffee for under $60 US dollars.

We were supposed to play another match on Tuesday with a team named Platense but it rained harder than I've seen in quite some time. It was 10am but the sky was dark enough to be 8pm.

After unloading from the bus and getting the equipment in the stadium - which by the way was set in a neighborhood right off the freeway and would have never been seen by a stranger. We dodged raindrops on the way back to bus, which would take us to Rosario, four hours away.

We would spend the next several days in Rosario. The team was pleased to hear that the Platense match would be replaced with a match against Newell´s Old Boys, a first division team that currently sits third in the table. They would field a team of several starters, several reserves and several national team members. It´s not often you get to play a first division Argentinian team who sits so high in the table. Our guys were very, very excited.

The match was very entertaining and we won, 3-2. Sanna Nyassi, the young Gambian who is signed by Sounders FC, looked especially dangerous. Our liaison for the trip, Leo, was especially disappointed with the result. He is a native of Rosario and a lifelong Newell´s fan. He´s been training with our team from time and time and has really grown to respect the level of play that the team exudes.

Needless to say the guys were excited and ready to tangle with the rest of the Argentinian first division teams.

We´ll play two more games against lower level teams in Rosario before heading back to BA on Sunday for another Boca Juniors match - everyone is excited about the prospects of that.

A few other comments and observations.

Futbol is everything here. You can´t turn on the TV without finding soccer. Sportscenter is here (obviously in Spanish), but you can´t find any NFL, NBA, or MLB highlights. Only soccer. The Top 10 is only soccer. Soccer is life here.

People should visit Argentina just for the food and coffee-both amazing.

We´ve visited many hotels and training grounds and taken copious notes, all in preparation for the possible Sounders FC trip here in 2009. Adrian and Chris Henderson have visited a few times, and we´re here to provide them with a little more information.

Brian Schmetzer, Tom Dutra, Jimmy Gabriel and Darren Sawatzky (current Sounders coaching staff) are extremely knowledgeable, incredibly gifted and great with the players.

Ricardo Insaldi with Premier Soccer Tours,our host and guide, and his crew have been wonderfully helpful. They´ve done nothing but serve us and take care of us. Everyone is thankful for that.

At a laundromat, I discussed with two women the price of washing and folding t-shirts-definitely a first for me-especially in Spanish.

Leather and meat and coffee: Buy leather here, eat meat here, drink coffee here. I know I mentioned the meat and coffee earlier, but it´s that good.

We´re excited about our last few days here, our last two matches and the Boca match this weekend. The trip has been educational and enjoyable.

All for now. Adiós

Have you seen Freddie around town?

The rumor bus is now making stops in the Emerald City.

As early as September 18 a local soccer fan is reporting seeing Freddie Ljungberg in Seattle. The report had Freddie in a car with Sounders FC GM Adrian Hanauer near the Starfire Sports Complex where Sounders FC's main offices are.

Now just yesterday another poster says Freddie is in Seattle and being hosted by the Sounders while Hanauer (apparently) is in Argentina. Joe Roth is in the city, though.

Have you seen Freddie in Seattle?

(It makes perfect sense for Freddie to be in New York in regards to both soccer and fashion careers. Major League Soccer's league offices are in New York, and the league would have to approve / sign Freddie through its central player contract format. Then, it also makes sense that it would be off to Seattle to check out the club and city.)

More Freddie in New York photos:
Here, here and here.

GoSounders.com thinks Freddie will sign with Seattle.

UW Daily: Women’s soccer treads difficult road

Photo by Tim Willis, UW Daily.

Senior midfielder Jenna Robinson helps set up flags to protect the field from geese after practice Tuesday. The women’s soccer team heads south this weekend to face the Oregon schools.

It has been a gigantic turn-around season for the Washington Women. A program on the outs in recent years ran up victories in their non-conference matches to start the season.

Now comes the hardest part: winning in the Pac-10 and getting into the NCAA's.

In today's UW Daily Honsen Lin takes a look at the challenges ahead for the Huskies.

“In comparison to the other big conferences, it’s intense; it’s intense all the way through,” freshman goalkeeper Kari Davidson said.

Gallimore said that in any given week, many Pac-10 teams are ranked among the top few teams in the country.

“We do see a lot of girls who have a lot of speed and a lot of great skills that a lot of conferences and other teams do not have,” said senior defender Dana Stirn. “So it’s a big difference going from some of our non-conference games, which have been less challenging, to playing girls who are on the national team.”

Read the entire article here.

Girl Power
Women's college soccer around the Sound is having another banner year. Up in Bellingham the Western Washington Vikings are ranked 13th in the country. The Viks edged Central recently as this coverage from the Herald shows.

The Seattle Pacific Falcons are ranked 6th in the nation.

In South Sound the Loggers of UPS, currently ranked 4th in all of Division 3, keep cruising along, reports the Tacoma Weekly.

Over the Mountains the Washington State Cougars are having another excellent, ranked campaign.


Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Around the Sound of Soccer for October 22nd

Photo by Ruolan Liu.
UW freshmen Brent Richards (forward), Casey McCool (midfielder) and Dylan Tucker-Gangnes (forward) make up the main Husky attack this season for the men’s soccer team.

Photo by Ruolan Liu, UW Daily.
UW freshmen (from left) forwards Brent Richards and Dylan Tucker-Gangnes and midfielder Casey McCool scored more than one-third of the combined goals this season.

The Puget Sound region continues to buzz with soccer news and anticipation as our area demonstrates its love of the world's game.

In West Sound, Kitsap Soccer Club is nearing the end of its name the team contest, with Pumas and Paladins leading the vote.

In East Sound, Bellevue High School's Kate Bennett hung with the boys before being picked for the National under-17 club that is bound for New Zealand.

UW Daily reporter Sheena Nguyen checks in with the talented Washington freshmen who are leading the Dawg's run to a NCAA playoff spot.

In the Queen Anne neighborhood and well beyond, the loss of Neil Callahan is still being felt. Seattle Pacific University will honor Neil's soccer contributions November 1st at halftime of their home match with Cal State LA at Interbay Stadium.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Sounders in Argentina

The Seattle Sounders are in Argentina on a 'farewell and scouting' tour before the United Soccer Leagues club folds and the Major League Soccer Sounders take over the Emerald City soccer scene for good.

Club captain Danny Jackson is blogging from the tour:

We played on a large field in perfect condition. Our preparation wasn't the best considering we hadn't slept well in days, traveled half way across the world, and were playing at 6am PST. We knuckled down, and pulled off a great 1-0 win against a team full of energy and guile. The team consisted of first team players and reserves. Hugo scored a great goal, much deserved after a strong performance. We were all happy, but tired, when we headed off to lunch.

We ate lunch, consisting of warm cheese and a steak that was bigger than my head..... We headed back to the hotel, where we met July, who was taking us on a tour of the city. July is Ricardo's wife, who heads up Premier Soccer Tours, which arranged our trip. We headed to La Boca and drove past the La Bombanera, home of Boca Juniors. The area was fascinating, vibrant in both color and energy. We walked around for a while. Ben Dragavon posed for a photo with Diego Maradona, as Roger (Levesque) and Taylor (Graham) posed in rather revealing Tango outfits... or at least that's what I think they were. We spent a little too much time in La Boca, so we cut the tour a little short, and headed back to La Playa de Mayo, just around the corner from our hotel. This plaza is where the Pink House stands, housing the President, and where Evita famously spoke to the crowd.

Read Danny's first entry.

Around the Sound of Soccer for October 21st

Here's the latest from around the Sound of soccer...

The girls high school soccer rankings are out and posted in the Seattle Times.
Beamer and Kennedy lead the way in their levels. The Ballard News-Tribune highlights the play of Sara Ives.

The Western Viking Women continue to rack up the victories. The latest is a 3-1 win over St. Martin's. Two Vikes were honored by the league for play last week.

SPU Falcons Men came all the way back from down 2-0 to beat Northwest Nazarene 3-2 in Nampa, Idaho.

The Lake Washington Youth Soccer Association is getting the go-ahead to build more soccer fields.

October 25th is the last day to enter the Kitsap Soccer Club 'name the team' contest.

The new Women's pro league will get an internet assist from a Seattle company.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Ljungberg eyes 'Christmas' return to football

We are constantly updating our Ljungberg rumors thread in the forums.

A Swedish to English translation of a September 29th article quotes Freddie Ljungberg's agent Claes Elefalk as saying the star attacker is training daily and is eyeing a December return to the sport.

"I guess he will continue to play forward to Christmas," said Elefalk.

"There are strong bids.
But he has said that it would be fun to try out games elsewhere.
He trains in principle every day now."

Another translation.

Ljungberg has apparently been training with his hometown Swedish club Halmstads BK to stay fit. He has been said to have made a couple of trips 'abroad' since leaving West Ham.

A video series from the time when Ljungberg's career and star power were red hot (2003) has been uploaded to youtube. Here's the final clip in the 8-part upload:

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Dawgs bite back, Falcons roll

Freshman Brent Richards (right) scored again for the Huskies.

It was a good weekend for the University of Washington soccer teams.

Raphael Cox netted the overtime winner as the men beat San Diego State 2-1 on Sunday. In Seattle the UW women edged #13 Cal 3-2 on two late goals by Veronica Perez.

On Saturday the Seattle Pacific Falcon women blasted Northwest Nazarene 6-0.

Redhawks edge Bisons, 3-2

In its highest scoring match of the season, the Seattle University women’s soccer team scored three goals in the first 20 minutes of action, but needed to hold off a rally by North Dakota State in the second half for a 3-2 victory Saturday afternoon at the Ellig Sports Complex. Seattle University jumped on the board just over ten minutes into the first half as it dominated play right from the start. On the team’s third corner kick of the match, Kassandra Riozzi’s (Marysville, Wash.) boot found the head of Jamie Coe (Duvall, Wash.), who directed it into the net for her team-leading seventh goal of the season.

Read the complete match report at GoSeattleU.com

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Huskies clubs fall in conference matches

The Washington Men fell 2-0 at UCLA last night while the Women hosted #2 Stanford and got clobbered 5-1.

The guys are now 7-4-1 on the season and 2-1-1 (Wins, Losses, Draws) in league play. The gals are 9-5 on the season but slipped to 0-3 in conference action.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Seattle University Men shut out Portland

From GoSeattleU.com

PORTLAND, Ore. – With 1:17 remaining in regulation, Mutanda Kwesele (Seattle, Wash.) set up Chris Hodges (Redmond, Wash.) for the game-winning goal as the Seattle University men’s soccer team earned an important 1-0 victory over the University of Portland Friday night at Merlo Field.

Kwesele fed Hodges along the right side of the field, and Hodges slipped a 10-yard shot past Portland goalie Austin Guerrero just inside the left post for his third career goal. It was Kwesele’s second assist of the season.

Seattle University, outshooting Portland 15-7 in the match, took it to the Pilots early, as the Redhawks had several chances in the first part of the first half. Portland had a solid chance in the 11th minute, but Leland Wright’s shot from the right wing was saved by Emerson DeOliveira (Normandy Park, Wash.). Andrew Kreiter (Billings, Mont.) worked his way into the box in the 34th minute, but his shot was stopped by Guerrero.

In the first five minutes of the second half, a shot by Kyle Peterman (Boise, Idaho) was saved by Guerrero, followed by an attempt from Kreiter that hit the crossbar. After DeOliveira made a save on a shot from Frankie Lopez, Ian Walsh (Novato, Calif.) hit a shot from the left wing that Guerrero was able to handle. Neither team was able to put a shot on goal until Hodges’ tally.

With two saves, DeOliveira was able to earn his fourth shutout of the season, lowering his goals against average to 0.29. Portland (4-7-2) received five saves from Guerrero, but the offense struggled as the team’s seven shots came from only three different Pilots, led by Lopez with three shots. Seven different Redhawks were credited with at least one shot, led by Peterman with four attempts.

With the victory, Seattle University clinches its eighth straight winning season. Hodges becomes the 13th different Seattle University player to score at least one goal this season. The Redhawks improve their record against Division I opponents this season to 6-2-0.

Seattle University (8-3-1) has two weeks off before playing its final home match of the season against Simon Fraser Saturday, Nov. 1, beginning at 2:30 p.m. at Championship Field. The Redhawks defeated the Clan on Sept. 27 in Burnaby, B.C., 1-0, on a late goal by Peterman.

Seattle University (8-3-1) vs. Portland (4-7-2)
Date: Oct 17, 2008 Attendance: 2259
Weather: Mostly sunny, warm

Goals by period 1 2 Tot

Seattle University.. 0 1 - 1
Portland............ 0 0 - 0

1. 88:43 SU Chris Hodges (1) (Mutanda Kwesele) - inside left post, 10 yds

Shots: Seattle University 15, Portland 7
Saves: Seattle University 2 (Emerson DeOliveira 2), Portland 5
(GUERRERO, Austin 5)

Now and Then: Ljungberg and Daley

Steve Daley, 1983. His Sounders days brought his career back to him.

One of my all-time favorite NASL Sounders was attacker Steve Daley. He lit up the Kingdome along with his mates in the early 80's. At the time I was a young pup who had no idea what Daley had gone through on his way to Seattle.

Daley had 'escaped' to the States after what was termed a 'disastrous' deal that brought him to Manchester City for a then-record transfer fee £1,437,500. He struggled with the Citizens and was bombarded with media critiques and fan disapproval. He was called 'the biggest waste of money in football history' for almost two decades.

Here we are in 2008 and rumors are flying that Sounders FC are interested in yet another English League cast-off, Swedish attacker Freddie Ljungberg. So what does the press have to say about Freddie's recent foibles with West Ham United? That he was a complete waste of money for West Ham and a big disappointment, of course.

Now I am not disagreeing about the poor play and injuries and even the 'waste' labels applied to Daley and Ljungberg. What I would like to point out is that Steve Daley rose above those comments and dazzled Sounders fans in America. I dare say the North American Soccer League of Daley's years was richer in talent than the 2009 MLS will be. Yet Daley bounced back, even on the Kingdome astroturf, and had three very nice years here.

There is no reason to think that if Sounders FC sign Ljungberg that the same thing can't happen again. At his best Ljungberg has been a fierce competitor who causes troubles for defenses on the move and in the box. He has a scent for goal that made Arsenal fans vote him to their all-time starting eleven.

Maybe he won't 'pull a Steve Daley' and mesmerize the league and Seattle crowds with his flair and determination to resuscitate his career. But maybe he will.

Now that's the kind of story I wouldn't mind hearing again.

(Click the photo at right to read about Steve Daley off the pitch for the 1983 Seattle Sounders.)

*Mati Bishop has a completely different take. Read it here.

*SounderatHeart.com wonders about early fan reaction

See a youtube video made by a Freddie fan in 2006:

Counting down to big news

Sounders FC are going to tell us some pretty big news between now and Thanksgiving.

Joe Roth has said as much, and now fan reports from on the street in Seattle seem to be hinting the same direction. We will be hearing player signing announcements, and maybe even who our first-ever "Designated Player" signing will be.

Then of course there is also the matter of who will be Sounders FC's first head coach.

Will the Freddy Montero or Freddie Ljungberg rumors prove true? Which USL-1 Sounders players are destined to join the new club in 2009? Schmetzer, Schmid or Man X for gaffer?

Stick close, SSFC fans. Our club is about to take shape with faces and names.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Catching Up with the Redhawks

GOALSeattle.com continues its guest blogger series with Bellevue native and Seattle Prep graduate Maryann Boddy of the Seattle University Redhawks.

Last Week: I didn’t travel to our two games in California because of my concussion, but both of those matches were convincing wins. I’m really impressed with the results we got, beating Fresno State 2-1 and Cal State Bakersfield 2-0. Because I can’t recap the games for ya’ll, I decided to create a survey to find out what helps us get pumped up and ready to win games.

What is it that makes us successful, especially on the road? Is it most important to get a good night’s sleep, eat a hearty pre-game dinner, or shop for “Light-Up Buddy” gifts? Out of ten different categories, the results show that our warm-up/van music is THE most important in getting us ready to play. Having fans at our games was a close second, and third was eating a good breakfast, especially continental. Everything tastes better when it’s free! This is an insider perspective on how Redhawks get up for games- it doesn’t matter if we have to get up at 4:30am to fly, we don’t have to drown ourselves in Gatorade and Gu, and we could really care less
how comfortable our hotel is. We’re really a pretty simple group of girls; all we need is good music, good food, and good friends!

It’s no wonder we beat Eastern Washington 2-0 on our home field. We woke up and cooked our own breakfasts, warmed up to our own mix, and played on our field for our fans. Our confidence coming off the last two games mixed with our comfort playing at home fused to put together the best 90 minutes of soccer we’ve played all season. In the first 5 minutes we strung together about 20 passes like a connect-the-dots game, weaving in and out of the Eagles defense as if they were cones. The ball was sent in from out wide to the feet of Jamie Coe who had her back to goal. She made a quick, decisive, one-touch pass back to Kara Kuttler who was charging at the net. Having drawn the goalkeeper out of position, I was already celebrating when an Eastern defender streaked across the goal, clearing the ball off the line.

Though the Eagles defenders played very well and saved their keeper a few times, they made the unfortunate mistake of fouling senior forward Megan Fogarty as she checked back to receive the ball. Knowing she can turn on a dime, they got a little over-eager and clipped at her heels. Catching the defense off guard, I played a short free kick to Kate Edstrom who, playing on the left side for the first time all season, crossed a perfect ball to a rushing Kahlyn Keilty-Lucas who literally ran the ball into the back of the net for her first goal of the season. Shortly after Kassandra Riozzi sent her 13th corner kick of the game into the head of junior M’ily Reiter who also scored her first on the season. It’s important to note that this little 5’1” midfielder rose above the rest to head home a corner kick when just two weeks earlier she was sitting out of practice due to the same collision that gave me my concussion.

We are halfway through the season, have a winning record, and have won our last three games in a row. I don’t know if you can quite call it a winning streak, but it’s a start. When we sat down during preseason to set our goals for the year it was pretty difficult as we didn’t have the typical targets to work towards, like winning conference and making the tournament. Since this whole experience is new for all of us, we decided it’d be very important for our team to feel like we are growing and learning as the season progresses. We anticipated a learning curve in the first few games as we adjusted to a new formation and one another’s style of play, but heading into our last ten games we hoped that things would be coming together.

If we were eligible to go to the tournament, this would be a great time in which to gain momentum so that we peaked at the right time of the season. However, even if we can’t make playoffs, we still want to live up to the goals we set. As long as we can keep scoring goals, we shouldn’t have any problem meeting our goals.

This week: Our first game against a West Coast Conference opponent couldn’t have been more encouraging. Though it was our first time at Negoesco Stadium at the University of San Francisco, we couldn’t help but feel like we were playing on familiar turf. The similarities between this Jesuit school and our Seattle University calmed our nerves and gave us confidence.

The first 15 minutes of the game were a battle of athleticism with both teams tackling hard and playing very direct. It seemed more like a game of ping pong than soccer, a midfielder’s Achilles heel. However, once our bodies warmed up and the adrenaline subsided we really started knocking the ball. As they ran a 4-3-3, our coaches knew we needed to exploit their weakness by finding our outside midfielders. Once we were able to do this we were able to keep great possession and eventually scored our goal by a long cross sent in from defender Kate Edstrom. Scuffling in the box with the defenders and keeper, Jamie Coe was able to punch the ball in the back of the net after it was redirected by Kara Kuttler.

Unable to get behind our defense or win the ball in the middle, the Dons struggled to compete. They adjusted their formation midway through the first half to neutralize our attack from the widths, but to no avail. It was only a matter of time before Kara scored one of her signature goals- beating four defenders on the dribble and slotting a smooth shot past their keeper. Despite a late goal scored from a deflected corner kick, the Dons’ last ditch effort to equalize was subdued by our forwards toying with their defenders at the corner flag.

After a fancy dinner treated by Athletic Director Bill Hogan at a romantic 5-star restaurant on the San Fran bay, we enjoyed a day in the city before returning home to shower, wash our clothes, take a nap and head back to the airport again. Well, at least that’s how it felt. October is our heaviest travel schedule and we’re all hoping we can stay above water. It’s a month of squeezing in job interviews, rushing to and from practice and work, and falling asleep in one’s books.

Shameless plug- if anyone’s interested in Sounders FC season tickets, give me a call! (425) 203-8303. I can’t promise I’ll be around to pick up, so just ask for Casey Shaw.

These last few weeks of our season are going to be rough; it’s either sink or swim. Even though we’re on the road a lot, let’s hope we hit the ground running.

Around the Sound of Soccer for October 16th

The Seahawks Pro Shop continues to add Sounders FC gear to its online inventory. The above lapel pin is one of the latest new items.

Fans continue to buzz about the possibility of Freddie Ljungberg coming to Seattle. Even more buzz has been created out of Sounders FC owner Joe Roth's bombshell that the club 'are only one player away from a starting eleven,' meaning that 10 players have been signed. This means that we'll have seven guys announced soon. Roth says it will happen over the next six weeks or so, and that the players 'come from all over the world.' Watch the video.

Steve MacClare of ProstAmerika writes some of the best soccer articles in our area. Check out a recent interview Steve did with Sounders FC General Manager Adrian Hanauer and also his column over at the European Weekly.


In college soccer, two west Sound clubs are getting some internet attention. In Bremerton the Olympic College women have a feature on player Brittnay Gates. Up north but still on the peninsula, the PCC Pirates of Port Angeles are getting exposure from a MySpace page constantly updated by parents and fans. Sticking with west sound, the Bremerton City Council narrowly approved the sale of wine and beer at a local privately owned indoor soccer venue that sits on park land. It is expected that the new 2009 Kitsap Pro Soccer Club will not be allowed to sell alcohol in their stadium.

In south sound the big rivalry matches between Puget Sound and Pacific Lutheran saw a UPS sweep. The Logger women clinched the league while the men rallied to top the Lutes.

A bit further south the St. Martin's Saints are getting some press in The Olympian after their improvement over last year.

Did you miss the score from the "Coffee Cup?" In what some say could be the last meeting between long-time rivals Seattle University and Seattle Pacific, the Redhawks bumped off the Falcons 3-1 at Interbay earlier this week. The schools need to work out a plan to keep playing even after the Redhawks complete their move to NCAA Division One. See a match gallery here.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Giving 1000% for Sounders FC

We are kicking off a campaign to get our number of forum registrants up to 1,000 by Sounders FC kick off 2009!

There are lots of places around the web to drop by and talk about the Sounders, but let's pick GOALSeattle's forums as 'home base' where we all check in as often as we can.

The club's owners and players will read and are reading these boards. So do local and national journalists. So do hundreds of "guests" per day. Are you a frequent "guest?" We'd like to invite you to register and join the growing total!

Please register and add your voice to the growing throngs awaiting the arrival of Sounders FC!

Visitors to www.GOALTacoma.com and www.GOALKitsap.com should note that those sites now have forum areas at www.GOALSeattle.com!

Get gear and support this blog at the same time!