The news has come much faster with the start of Chivas USA's training camp this week, and time to round up the recent news. Where to begin?
Winger Ryan Smith has reported to training, and looks like he's ready to go with Chivas in 2012. He's been branded as selfish and a head case, especially by Sporting Kansas City fans (his former team) after he left the team abruptly last season. What hurt his case was news emerging that he was trying to get a place with Real Sociedad in Spain. But Adam Serrano talked to Smith this week, originally posted to the league website, and Smith explained that he left because his mother suffers from lupus and he wanted to help take care of her. That sounds pretty reasonable, right? Not to a lot of SKC fans on twitter, who unleashed venom usually reserved for infamous criminals in professing skepticism for Smith's story yesterday. To be fair, some SKC fans thought this was a reasonable explanation and didn't fly off the handle, but I was pretty surprised about the reactions floating around. Oh well, he's brought his family over from England (explaining that Chivas sweetened the deal by giving him a raise), and now we'll see how he performs on the field.
Gabe Dahl has a post from the first day of training on Monday, on the club website. A peek into the process of preseason training, to get the guys into game shape over time and avoid injury.
I forgot to mention the following tidbits Scott French over at ESPN provided in this excellent breakdown of training and the roster from Monday:
- Blair Gavin is on a "personal leave of absence." No indication as to what is going on or how long it is expected to last.
- Bryan de la Fuente has not been re-signed and evidently won't be returning to the club in 2012.
- Academy players training with first team: forward Ben Spencer, midfielder Esteban Rodriguez, midfielder Marco Delgado, midfielder Eric Gonzalez, and goalkeeper Jake McGuire.
In national team news, Chivas players Heath Pearce and Jorge Villafaña squared off Tuesday for the second of two scheduled scrimmages between the senior U.S. Men's National Team and U23 USMNT squads currently training in respective camps. The match ended 1-1, with goals from Graham Zusi (senior team) and Jack McInerney (U23s). Adam Serrano has a pair of articles on the scrimmage, on Soccer By Ives and the MLS league website, and while he doesn't mention Pearce and Villafaña in the articles except regarding the lineups, both played significant minutes. Pearce played the full 90 minutes, while conflicting information pegged Villafaña at either the first 45 or 60 minutes. Gabe Dahl mentioned on twitter that both Goats were playing left back, and given the problems both teams face in finding competent fullbacks, this could represent an opportunity for both players.
Concerning the Supplemental Draft picks from yesterday, according to his alma mater, Fort Lewis College, German defender Fabian Kling is currently on trial with Reading FC, currently in the English Championship (2nd division) but formerly in the English Premier League (also the former club of Bobby Convey). Who knows if he gets a spot with Reading, and if he even spends time with Chivas. (Credit to @BehindtheFlock on twitter for this link).
Don't look now, but Simon Borg gave Chivas the best Supplemental Draft grade in the league, on the league website. He has a reputation of making bold statements that often fall short, so let's hope he's proven right on this one.
On the Chivas Youth front, the U9 Youth Academy team won the Vegas Cup this past weekend, steamrolling opponents, scoring goals and kicking butt. Joel Trejo was named MVP of the tournament, scoring six goals. Tomas Angel, son of Juan Pablo, scored nine of his own. Congrats to all for the silverware! You can read about it here on the club website.
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