See the training facilities for the US camp in Brazil

Very interesting to see the facilities the USMNT will train at during the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.  It’s also interesting to see US Soccer be so aggressive in making relationships with the soccer media in Brazil.

This charm offensive is a breath of fresh air in comparison to years past with closed training sessions and the cold and icy demeanor of, say Bob Bradley or Bruce Arena.

The added exposure with the media and acclimatizing of the players will all work toward giving the US an advantage once they arrive in Brazil …. because they’re going to need all the help they can get!!!

 

San Antonio vs. Soccer: Thoughts on the World Cup friendly between Mexico and South Korea

courtesy backpagefootball.com

courtesy backpagefootball.com

San Antonio, TX – So the numbers came in for attendance at the Mexico vs. South Korea friendly World Cup warm up played at the Alamodome, Wednesday night.

According to reports the match drew a record 54,313 fans.

There were actually some South Korean supporters in attendance as well.  They were the small clusters of folks wearing red shirts and their inflatable rally sticks they banged together anytime S. Korea had a corner or free kick.  I think they might win the award for the cutest supporters in Brazil …. we will see!

One huge aspect of the game, I had thought would be an issue from the start, was the condition of the natural turf in the dome.  While I am not against playing soccer in a dome, I would expect that it would be on a natural surface where it involves two World Cup bound teams.  Soccer, deserves to be played on a natural grass surface, regardless.

Thankfully, San Antonio did the right thing by having natural grass installed for the match.

However, the way the commentator’s on ESPN made it seem, it was by the behest of the Mexican Federation representatives.  Sadly, this argument is still necessary in America and I’m not surprised it had to be requested for the Alamodome.  I’m sure the prospect of Mexico losing Oribe Peralta to some fake grass in San Antonio, Texas – was not too appealing to the federation.

The pitch, however, was in terrible conditions, again a point the ESPN commentators managed to spend quite a bit of time commenting about.  They used terms like, ‘rock solid’ and ‘bumpy’ to describe the field conditions.  The worst part was the visible seems from the newly laid turf on the field which can be as dangerous as playing on synthetic grass at times.  This was also expressed by Mexico manager, Miguel Herrera, before the game.

So although natural grass was laid, the issue of the field conditions wasn’t addressed properly.  I’d have to say, that was a fail, on the part of San Antonio and the Alamodome.

Also, with the attendance being over 50,000, I only question what that means for San Antonio.  While there is quite enough evidence to suggest San Antonio is a destination for Mexico supporters, I’d like to see the numbers of US born citizens who were in attendance.

From what I understand, there were quite a few.

Of course this is purely anecdotal, but from what I can tell through different social media outlets and comments on local news stories, quite a few San Antonio and Texas natives joined in the festivities.  You may not have been able to notice them, but they were there.

Courtesy Julian Castro via Facebook

Courtesy Julian Castro via Facebook

This is positive for San Antonio, but more importantly, positive for the mayor who continues to court MLS Commissioner Don Garber.

I think it needs to be restated, that people in San Antonio desire soccer and even for the casual fan, are interested in witnessing the spectacle.  I’d say good work on earning a World Cup friendly, but your next project will be to lure the MLS.

NASL Announces 2013 Spring Schedule

The NASL announced the 2013 Spring schedule earlier today to kick off the new year of soccer.  The NASL will be following the new format which splits the year into two separate seasons, very similar to many South American leagues.  For more about the format read up on the article posted to Inside Minnesota Soccer, which is no longer in operation.  (but thankfully the archive is still accessible)

NASL Changes to Split Season Format in 2013, Traditional Playoff System Eliminated, September 5-2012

The official schedule for the SA Scorpions FC is pasted below but can be found on their website via the following link:

2013 Spring Schedule

(All Times CST; Local Games in Red)

Home Visitor DAte / Time Venue
Minnesota                                         Stars FC vs Scorpions 4/6/13 Away
Scorpions vs Tampa Bay Rowdies 4/13/13 Toyota Field
FC Edmonton vs Scorpions 4/28/13 Away
Scorpions vs Atlanta Silverbacks 5/4/13 Toyota Field
Carolina RailHawks vs Scorpions 5/11/13 Away
Scorpions vs Ft. Lauderdale Strikers 5/18/13 Toyota Field
Atlanta Silverbacks vs Scorpions 5/25/13 Away
Scorpions vs Minnesota Stars 6/1/13 Toyota Field
Tampa Bay Rowdies vs Scorpions 6/15/13 Away
Scorpions vs FC Edmonton 6/22/13 Toyota Field
Ft. Lauderdale Strikers vs Scorpions 6/29/13 Away
Scorpions vs Carolina RailHawks 7/4/13 Toyota Field

Scorpions Re-Sign Ryan Cochrane, Add Two New Players – Ryan Cochrane Announces Retirement

SA_Scorpions_300XThe San Antonio Scorpions FC continue to hold on to key players during the off season with the recent signature of Central Defender Ryan Cochrane.  Cochrane, who is still only 29, will retain his spot in the top defense from the 2012 NASL season.

Cochrane was a significant contributor in the Center position often partnering with Greg Janicki and even Fabian Kling at times.

Cochrane will continue to act as the calming experienced leader in the defense, now having lived through a full NASL season.  Although he never looked uncomfortable with the pace of play, a 4 goal drumming from the Puerto Rico Islanders to open the season was a great way to be introduced to second division soccer.  Needless to say, if the Scorpions want to remain competitive locking in a dependable back line is imperative.

Still, on a business level, it shows the sporting environment for top level soccer in San Antonio is worthy enough for a player of his caliber to agree another deal.

I think maybe the San Antonio experience all-round might be enticing enough to secure the signature of future talent.  The opportunities in San Antonio are enough to attract talent from around the world.

Such is the case with the two new additions in Lyle Martin and Edin Husic.

Both players are coming from foreign leagues but while Martin is American, the opportunity to play in second division soccer in San Antonio was enough to lure the ex-MLS player.  Hopefully Edin Husic will find our southern comfort enough for his liking and will hopefully provide some strength at the defensive midfield position.

Here’s the press release:

Scorpions Re-Sign Ryan Cochrane, Sign Two More

Scorpions solidify backline and midfield for 2013 season

SAN ANTONIO, TX (Dec. 19, 2012) - The San Antonio Scorpions have re-signed defender Ryan Cochrane and added two new players, defender Lyle Martin and midfielder Edin Husic, to their roster for the 2013 season.Cochrane, 29, will return for his second season with the Scorpions after starting in all 25 games he appeared in last season, scoring one goal and tallying three assists as a key member of a backline that allowed the fewest goals in the NASL in 2012.“Having Ryan back, who was one of the NASL’s Best XI players last season, will solidify the defensive line for next season,” Head Coach Tim Hankinson said of Cochrane. “We are very glad to have him back.”

Martin will join Cochrane on the backline after a stint with the Bejing Baxy of China Division One. The American defender was drafted by Chivas USA of Major League Soccer in the 2007 MLS Supplemental Draft and played with the Vancouver Whitecaps of the USL First Division from 2007 to 2009.

With the Whitecaps, Martin, 27, was awarded the team’s Newcomer of the Year Award in 2007 and helped the Whitecaps win their second league championship in 2008.

“Lyle has versatility at the right back and right midfield position,” Hankinson said. “He has tremendous athleticism and we will be looking at him to hold down the right side of the backfield.”

Husic, 27, comes to the United States from Bosnia, where he played with FK Sarajevo. The 6-foot-1 midfielder has also made three appearances for the Bosnian national team in his career.  

“Edin brings top level eastern European professional experience and though he is by position a defensive midfielder, he has great quality coming forward in the attack,” Hankinson said.

I’ve included the press release of the announcement which informed us of Ryan Cochrane’s retirement below.  The news came abruptly after the announcement of his signing which seemed to signal the solidifying of the Scorpions defense, but as Football goes, it’s never a done deal.

Ryan Cochrane Announces Retirement

Scorpions star accepts coaching job at Alma Mater

 SAN ANTONIO, TX (Dec. 28, 2012) - San Antonio Scorpions star Ryan Cochrane has announced his retirement from professional soccer.  After nine years of playing professionally for six different clubs, Cochrane, 29, has accepted an offer to coach at his alma mater, Santa Clara University, for whom he played for in 2001-2003.

 Cochrane’s professional debut as a defender was with the MLS San Jose Earthquakes in 2004. From there he went on to play for the Houston Dynamo, the New England Revolution and most recently with the San Antonio Scorpions.  During his career he played in 173 matches scoring 6 goals. Cochrane also played in 2 MLS Cups, won 2 MLS Western Conference Championships, was awarded 1 MLS Supporters Shield and was named one of NASL Best XI Players in 2012.

 “Working with Ryan was a great experience; he was an important factor in our success for last season and always was a pleasure to coach,” said Scorpions Head Coach Tim Hankinson. “We wish him the best of luck in his transition with the next stage of his life.”

 Coaching following his playing career has always been a goal for Cochrane.  During his season with the Scorpions, Cochrane was asked what he would be doing if he was not a professional athlete and he replied, “I would be coaching soccer and playing a lot of golf.”

 “I’m truly honored to have spent my final season with the San Antonio Scorpions,” said Cochrane.   “From top to bottom the organization is first class and I wanted to thank everyone involved for welcoming me into their family.”

 Although Cochrane may be moving on to a new career, he will take his experience with the Scorpions along with him.  

 “What the club stands for goes far beyond competition and athletics and it’s a fantastic example for athletes, fans and all those in the community,” said Cochrane. “It is a club to be proud of and I was certainly proud to wear the colors. I will always be grateful for my time spent in San Antonio and I will be a lifelong fan of the Scorpions and the cause the organization represents.”

 With the signing process well under way, Coach Hankinson will continue to build the Scorpions roster.  

 “We will work hard to fill the hole that Ryan’s departure leaves.  We have plenty of time to find a talented replacement and there has already been significant interest from premier players around the world who want to come to San Antonio, play in a magnificent new stadium and win a NASL championship.”

Scorpions Re-Sign Blake Wagner, Pat Hannigan

Two players re-sign for the Bexar County club after an impressive season for the organization, wing back Blake Wagner and keeper Pat Hannigan.

The Scorpions pushed the limits for what is to be expected of an expansion club and secured a spot in the second round of the playoffs only to loose to last years cup holders, Minnesota Stars FC.

Minnesota went on to loose in the final to eventual cup winners Tampa Bay Rowdies.

Although their season ended in bitter disappointment, the Scorpions did earn the title of regular season champions and that was because of a deep squad who always performed at a consistent level.

While Darryl Sattler enjoyed an award winning season, earning the 2012 NASL Golden Glove Award, back-up and one-time starter, Pat Hannigan dutifully acted as support throughout the season.

Hannigan had won the job from Sattler and right from the start you could see it was deserved as the former professional indoor soccer player proved his worth in the early stages.  But his starting position was threatened when he went down to a rather serious injury and Sattler was asked to step in as the full-time starter.

Sattler went on to prove himself worthy of the Golden Glove, but it was clear that either player would have been successful behind the accomplished Scorpions back line.  They allowed the fewest goals in the 2012 NASL season.

Blake Wagner, on the other hand, was a big reason for the Scorpions’ strong defensive play.  Blake continually threatened opposing defenses breaking down the left side and often initiating offense where the normal attacking options seemed to falter.  Although he isn’t the speediest of players his skill compensates for his lack of pace against faster midfielders who are often forced to defend his marauding runs down the line.

Blake was one of the more consistent defenders in the league and provided a steady touch at both ends of the pitch.

Although Wagner and Hannigan are not new signings, based on their solid and consistent play at this level, it appears to be a good bit of business for the Scorps.

Here’s the press release below:

Scorpions Re-Sign Blake Wagner, Pat Hannigan

Scorpions retain goalkeeper and key defender for 2013 season

SAN ANTONIO, TX (Dec. 7, 2012) - The San Antonio Scorpions continued to make progress this week in building their roster for the upcoming season, re-signing defender Blake Wagner and goalkeeper Pat Hannigan for the 2013 season.

Wagner, who was a member of the Scorpions backline that allowed the fewest goals during the 2012 NASL season, will return for a second season in San Antonio after starting in all 23 matches he appeared in and logging 2025 minutes on the year. Wagner also tallied a goal and assist.

Hannigan started the first three matches of the 2012 season for the Scorpions before suffering a leg injury that sidelined him for several months. He finished the season with a 2.05 goals against average and nine saves in three matches played.”Having Blake back is great for our team moving forward. Not many wing defenders have the ability under pressure to retain possession and also press the attack forward like he can,” Head Coach Tim Hankinson said. “Pat began last season as our starter and was unfortunate to fall to injury, but he has made a great comeback and I’m sure he will be our hungriest player, looking to make a mark this upcoming season.

Before signing with the Scorpions last March, Wagner was a member of FC Dallas from 2006 to 2009 before signing with the Vancouver Whitecaps in 2010 and stayed with the team when they transitioned to Major League Soccer in 2011. The American defender finished the 2011 MLS season with Real Salt Lake.

Prior to joining the Scorpions, Hannigan was playing professional indoor soccer with the Rochester Lancers in 2011 and played with Miami FC, currently the Fort Lauderdale Strikers, in 2007 and 2009.

Scorpions vs Rowdies Slideshow – 08/19/2012

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Photos by Eric Patrick