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Four big MLS rumors – Sounder At Heart

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The MLS offseason is nearly over. Which means the hot stove league is starting to take off. Every day there will be more and more rumors about player movement. Most will never become more than the fancy of an agent’s eye.

Cascadia Soccer

Fundraiser by Timber Joey Webber : Funeral and medical expenses for Calli Anne
Timber Jim is part of what makes soccer in Cascadia special. Let’s help our neighbor.

MLS

Toronto FC chief flying in for Insigne talks? – Football Italia
It is reported Toronto FC President Bill Manning will fly to Italy next week for an in-person meeting with Napoli captain Lorenzo Insigne, so they can

Albert Rusnak linked with Seattle Sounders move – RSL Soapbox
The midfielder could end up at the same club as Freddy Juarez again.

Report: Watford make transfer inquiry for George Bello – Dirty South Soccer
Watford’s new manager Claudio Ranieri is reportedly looking to add a left back this January.

Jose Ítalo reportedly on his way to New England – The Bent Musket
The 20-year-old left back comes to New England from Flamengo’s U-20 squad

Jay Heaps on Matt Turner: “He’s the best defensive ping pong player I’ve ever seen” – The Bent Musket
Jay Heaps talks about the growth of Matt Turner.

2022 Soccer Almanac: Key dates & major tournaments in busy year ahead | MLSSoccer.com
Bookmark this one so you have key dates for every pro league in the US and Canada’s important dates

Thorns sign Bella Bixby to a three-year contract – Stumptown Footy
Thorns FC re-signed goalkeeper Bella Bixby.

USL and other pro leagues

Oakland Roots Announce Juan Guerra as the Club’s New Head Coach

World Soccer

Developing Story: Joao Cancelo Posts Statement after being assaulted – Bitter and Blue
Scary time for Joao.

NHS Thanks Jordan Henderson And NHS Charities Together For Mental Health Assistance – The Liverpool Offside
The charity started by the captain in 2020 has helped to provide vital mental health tools to those working in healthcare during the pandemic.

On that Romelu Lukaku interview – We Ain’t Got No History
Maybe put your pitchforks away

Official: Katty Martínez signs with Club América – FMF State Of Mind
Club América makes their second splash in as many days, signing Katty Martínez from Tigres.

Culture

The Funniest New Sitcoms of 2021 – Paste
A good sitcom is the best thing on TV.

My Best of 2021 | Full Moon Storytelling
This gets circular as I recap stuff I wrote, which includes things written here at Sounder at Heart.

Those things are just cute.

Happy New Year. Play more games. Watch sitcoms. Have fun doing things with people you love.

NBC Sports s no more. Now, your EPL action is on USA Network, including a triple header on New Year’s Day. You can still find many EPL matches on Peacock. FuboTV, Sling, and other cable-replacements have them as well.

ESPN+ has a full slate of La Liga action throughout the mornings.

Friday

7:15 AM PT — Valencia vs Espanyol on ESPN+

Saturday

4:30 AM PT — Arsenal vs Manchester City on USA Network/Universo

7:00 AM PT — Watford vs Tottenham Hotspur on USA Network/Universo

9:30 AM PT — Crystal Palace vs West Ham United on USA Network/Universo

Sunday

4:45 AM PT — BeIN Sports has the Coupe de France on non-stop until 2 PM PT. Watching this is just like watching Emilie in Paris, except it’s actually in France, not ugly stereotypes, and the soccer scenes are better.

8:30 AM PT — Chelsea vs Liverpool on USA Network/Universo



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MLS

For Axel Kei and Real Salt Lake, going pro at 14 years old is just part of the process – The Athletic

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In the world of U.S. pro sports records, one benchmark which lasted for 18 years felt more like a cautionary tale than a feel-good marvel: Freddy Adu’s status as the youngest professional American athlete, signed to D.C. United at 14 years and 168 days. Eighteen years have passed since. Adu went from “the next Pelé” to progressing through a nomadic career of one year contracts by the time he turned 25. His saga (chronicled thoroughly in a podcast series hosted by Grant Wahl) was a cautionary tale for sports’ obsession with phenoms. 

Now, 18 years later, Real Salt Lake has lowered Adu’s record. Among the club’s four homegrown signings made last week, Axel Kei (surname pronounced to rhyme with “eye”) inked his first professional contract at the age of 14 years and 15 days — a full 153 days younger than Adu was when he went pro. 

“I’d never heard of that guy until I saw the broken record,” Kei said of Adu in an interview with The Athletic on Monday. “My dad was telling me he was pretty good for his age. I had to check it out real quick, ‘who was Freddy Adu?’ I even saw (that) he played for RSL, too. I was like, oh wow.”

For those who vividly remember Adu’s breakthrough, it can be jarring to hear that, yes, it’s been that long. Adu signed 313 days after Ricardo Pepi was born and 354 days after Yunus Musah entered the world. By the time Kei was born in late 2007 in Ivory Coast, Adu had already made his European debut with Benfica. 

MLS roster-building has changed plenty in that time.





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MLS

TFC notebook: Ajax forward Kerr signed to long-term deal … Salcedo for Soteldo said to be close

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Toronto FC has signed Ajax forward Deandre Kerr through 2024 with options for 2025 and 2026.

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“Deandre is another talented Toronto FC Academy player that comes off an excellent season at Syracuse University,” said TFC head coach and sporting director Bob Bradley. “We are excited to bring him back to the club with the first team.”

Kerr, 19, most recently played at Syracuse University for two seasons (2020 and 2021). In his freshman year, Kerr scored a team-high four goals in 12 matches, earning a selection to the 2020 Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) All-Freshman Team. As a sophomore, he scored a team-high nine goals and added three assists in 13 appearances for the Orange, leading to a 2021 All-ACC First Team selection. Prior to his NCAA career, he represented the TFC Academy in the U.S. Soccer Development Academy (USSDA) competition, scoring 14 goals and registering nine assists in the 2019-20 season. He originally joined the Academy on November 17, 2018.

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Internationally, Kerr represented the Canadian National Team at the 2019 FIFA U-17 World Cup, starting each of the team’s three games in Brazil. He previously also made three appearances at the U-15 level for Canada.

SALCEDO-FOR-SOTELDO DEAL CLOSE
Media sources out of Mexico report that Mexico international centre back Carlos Salcedo has agreed to a three-year contract with TFC with an option for one more year. It’s been widely reported that Salcedo will be dealt to the Reds from Tigres UANL of Liga MX straight up for TFC Designated Player Yeferson Soteldo, who played one season in Toronto and led the team in assists (10) while also scoring three goals in 19 appearances last year. However, the 5-foot-3 attacking dynamo was reportedly not a good fit in the locker room.

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REDS SPLASH OUT ON POOL ‘KEEPER
TFC announced a second signing on Friday, locking up goalkeeper Greg Ranjitsingh through 2023 with an option for 2024. The 28-year-old Scarborough native most recently served as MLS’s Pool goalkeeper during the 2021 season.

Ranjitsingh spent time with Philadelphia Union (2021), Minnesota United FC (2020) and Orlando City SC (2019), making a combined five appearances, before signing as the league’s emergency goalkeeper in July 2021. Prior to MLS, he made 90 appearances for Louisville City FC of the USL Championship through four seasons (2015-2018). He helped lead the club to consecutive USL Cup titles in 2017 and 2018, keeping clean sheets in both finals. Before joining Louisville, Ranjitsingh played college soccer at Mercer University from 2011 to 2014, earning the Southern Conference’s Goalkeeper of the Year award and getting named to the All-Conference team during his senior year.

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Internationally, Ranjitsingh was a member of Trinidad and Tobago’s 2019 Concacaf Gold Cup team. He made his first appearance in a closed-door friendly against Canada on June 10, 2019.

DELGADO TRADE OFFICIALLY ANNOUNCED
TFC officially announced the Mark Delgado trade on Friday.

The long-time Reds defender was sent to the LA Galaxy in exchange for $400,000 in 2022 General Allocation Money (GAM) and a conditional $100,000 in 2023 GAM if certain performance metrics are met.

“We’d like to thank Mark for his service to the club over the last seven seasons,” said TFC President Bill Manning. “He played an important role for our team, starting in two MLS Cups and doing a lot of the hard work in the midfield. We are glad he and his wife Nicky will get the chance to return to their family in Southern California.”

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Delgado, 26, made a combined 225 appearances with 17 goals and 21 assists in all competitions in seven seasons for the Reds. He ranks fourth on TFC’s all-time appearances list behind Jonathan Osorio, Justin Morrow and Michael Bradley. He was part of the club’s 2017 Treble winning team (MLS Cup, Supporters’ Shield and Canadian Championship) and was part of two additional Eastern Conference Championship teams (2016, 2019) and Canadian Championship teams (2016, 2018). Delgado was originally acquired by TFC on Nov. 19, 2014 in the 2014 MLS Dispersal Draft. He made his TFC debut on May 6, 2015 against Montreal in the 2015 Canadian Championship.

At the international level, Delgado has earned six caps for the US Men’s National Team during his career.

SBuffery@postmedia.com
Twitter @Beezersun

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MLS

Philadelphia Union Acquire $1.15 Million In Allocation Money From Chicago Fire FC

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Jan. 22, 2022 (CHESTER, Pa.) – Philadelphia Union announced today that the club has acquired a guaranteed $1.15 million in General Allocation Money from Chicago Fire FC in exchange for forward Kacper Przybylko. The Union will receive $575,000 in 2022 GAM and $575,000 in 2023 GAM.

“We want to thank Kacper for his efforts on and off the field with the Philadelphia Union,” said Union Sporting Director, Ernst Tanner. “He has played a major role in some of the Union’s most memorable moments over the last few years and we wish him all the best as we continue to look to strengthen and add depth to our roster in the coming weeks.”

Przybylko was signed by the Union in 2018 after a trialist period. After making his first appearance with the club in 2019, he went on to play three seasons, playing 83 games (77 starts) and contributed 35 goals and 14 assists in that time.

TRANSACTION: Philadelphia Union acquire $1.15 million in Allocation Money from Chicago Fire FC in exchange for forward Kacper Przybylko on January 22, 2022.





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