FIFA Hand USMNT German Gift

jones-celebrating

By Alex Simon 

Schalke midfielder Jermaine Jones’ application to switch to the U.S. national team from Germany has been approved by FIFA. The U.S. Soccer Federation announced the switch in nationality on Tuesday. A recent FIFA rule change allows players who have not played in a competitive match for a national team to switch to another country in which they have citizenship. Jones’ father was born in America.

The last month for the U.S. Men’s National Team has been an emotional and physical roller coaster. Days after qualifying for the 2010 World Cup, the USNMNT found out that one of their teammates was involved in a deadly car crash. Days after that, they put on an inspiring performance against the Ticos, in honor of their friend. However, the match against Costa Rica brought more challenges for the U.S. Oguchi Onyewu, the US national team and AC Milan defender, tore a tendon in his left knee and will be out at least 3 months. 

 
With the World Cup less than 8 months away, U.S. coach Bob Bradley needs to start deciding Joneswho will make the 23 man roster. The U.S. have friendly matches scheduled to help the team stay sharp and to help Bradley see who deserves the remaining spots on the World Cup team. Jones, who turns 28 soon, has been sidelined since summer by a hairline fracture of his left shin and has not played in the German Bundesliga this season. If healthy, Jones is a lock for the squad and will likely replace Ricardo Clark as the team’s central defensive midfielder. Most likely, Michael Bradley will play more of an attacking role in the central midfield.

Like many American soccer fans, having Jones is huge news. Jones is a hardnosed player who has played top flight football for several years in Germany. The U.S. can use an abrasive type like Jones, who’s toughness will be a positive impact for a team that is known to be “soft” at times. With Davies most likely out for South Africa, U.S. fans will have to hold their breath that Onyewu and Jones will be healthy come tournament time. Because he won’t be ready to play for the U.S. in its European exhibitions in November, it appears the only game Jones will be able to appear in for the U.S. before World Cup training camp will be in March– the last international fixture date during the club season.

 
 
 
 
 

 

 

 

Empire State of Mind for Theirry Henry

Henry & Nash

By Alex Simon

The Thierry Henry to MLS rumor resurfaced over the weekend. According to the Daily Mail, Henry will look for a new challenge after the World Cup with the 32-year old excited at the prospect of playing football in one of the world’s biggest cities in New York.

For some time now, Henry has stated he would eventually like to play in the states. However, this report is the first to put a timeline on when Henry would come to Major League Soccer. Henry has stated numerous times that he loves New York and would not be willing to play for any other MLS club but the Red Bulls. Given this and the many subsequent reports, the Thierry Henry Watch is now in full effect.Red Bull?

There has only been one other player close to Henry’s worldwide popularity to play in MLS, David Beckham. There has been much debate whether Beckham coming to America has been a success. While Beckham has sold out jerseys and stadiums, the Galaxy have not been competitive until this year. I believe it is still too early to decide if Beckham’s influence was a positive one for MLS and soccer in America.

Beckham may be a heartthrob and a fashion mogul, but Henry has something to offer that Beckham can never, scoring goals. The few well-informed soccer fans in the U.S. understand that you do not have to score a goal to have a good game. However, this would be a non-issue regarding the Frenchman. Henry is a forward, and scoring goals is what he does best. If Juan Pablo Angel can put up impressive numbers in MLS, there is no telling the damage Henry could do to opposing defenders. My guess is to expect video game-like numbers if Henry were to come play here.

We learned that one guy can’t change the way Americans look at soccer, but Henry’s goal scoring would bring more awareness to the game than Beckham’s occasional free kick strike. Whether you like soccer or not, most people are fans of scoring. SportsCenter is not going to put a nice Beckham cross in their highlight-reel, but Henry putting one in the back of the net, now that is something to work with.