HOUSTON, TX - AUGUST 20: Alvarez: No word yet on where he will play (Photo by Eric Christian Smith/Getty Images)
Let's see: with the recent holidays, news didn't come fast and furious around Chivas USA, but it's high time we take a look at some of the notable news from the past couple of weeks. If I missed something, leave a relevant link in the comment section. On with the news!
Hot off the, er, presses, comes news from Chivas beat writer Adam Serrano, who spoke with Robin Fraser. The coach confirmed what has been rumored for about a week, that the quartet of Michael Umana, Marcos Mondaini, Victor Estupinan, and Sergio Arias are out. Umana has already gone to Comunicaciones, as I wrote about last week, while Mondaini and Estupinan are both believed to be returning to Ecuador, Mondaini with Emelec and Estupinan to an unknown club. Arias is going to Mexican Liga Ascenso side Irapuato. I'm sure we'll have reason to discuss these moves, and parse Fraser's comments in the coming weeks, but the clear out continues.
Now, for some good news on a couple of highly touted Chivas Youth Academy players. Midfielder Marki Delgado and forward Ben Spencer were both called up to a U18 U.S. Men's National Team training camp in Florida. They are training with U18 coach Richie Williams and 22 other U.S. Development Academy program players, scheduled to run January 2-9. Both Delgado and Spencer have been racking up accolades and opportunities in recent months, between playing in Chivas' reserve league team for several matches and taking part in a special showcase match with the top players at the U.S. Soccer Development Academy Showcase last month in Florida, among others. This current training camp is meant to be just that, as there aren't any tournaments on the horizon (and U18 isn't really an age group in international tournaments). But the camp can do for Delgado and Spencer what similar call ups to USMNT training camps can do for Chivas' first teamers Jorge Villafaña and Heath Pearce: a chance to learn from coaches and teammates, to stay fit, and to impress coaches the next time competitive matches come around. Congrats to Delgado and Spencer!
Serrano has an article on the league website from December 30 about Arturo Alvarez, who as you will recall was selected by Chivas in the first phase of the Re-entry draft last month. Although Chivas own his MLS rights, he is not under contract at the moment, and he discusses the fact that he's exploring options in Europe. Initially, word was that he was looking to play in Mexico, but with the FMF starting up again this weekend, I guess he probably would have signed with a team by now if there was interest. Meanwhile, Europe remains the holy grail for players in North America, so it's not a surprise he would like to try his luck there. But for Chivas, no news concerning Alvarez, and whether he'll be a Goat in 2012, yet.
Serrano also wrote an article on the league website from December 28 that commented on Alvarez, as well as French midfielder Nicolas Dieuze, from Chivas' perspective. Coach Robin Fraser sounded like he was hedging away from both players, so the club may be running out of patience concerning Alvarez, and may be moving on from Dieuze. Still, the situation could change considerably.
Serrano also has an article, also on the league website, about the signing of Ecuadorean midfielder Oswaldo Minda. He really seemed to impress the coaching staff while scouting in Ecuador, so hopefully he can make a positive impact on Chivas.
At ESPN, Los Angeles soccer writer Scott French has a plethora of articles looking back on 2011. His entire double series on the stories of 2011 in Southern California and in U.S. soccer is worth taking a look at, but he had a few articles on Chivas. First, from December 23, he discusses the breakout season of Nick LaBrocca and his importance to the Goats in 2011. Then, from December 25, he recounts the journey of Juan Pablo Angel around the Home Depot Center last year. Obviously, this was one of the strangest stories in MLS during the year. From December 26, he notes the efforts that both Chivas and the Galaxy made in developing their academies in 2011. On December 27, he takes stock of Robin Fraser's first season in charge of Chivas, and endorses him so far (I agree with his assessment). He followed that up December 28 with a brief assessment of Chivas' season. Finally, from January 1, he ponders over the major storylines for soccer in Southern California for 2012. Chivas' bid to make the MLS Cup playoffs in 2012 are his top priority for the Goats.
Over at Goal.com, Alex Labidou has an editorial about the lack of black coaches in global football. The article was spurred by the firing of Antoine Kombouaré over at Paris Saint-Germain in Ligue 1, but Labidou notes that Robin Fraser is currently the only black head coach in MLS. I haven't really seen any comment on this in the past year, which I suppose is a good thing as far as it not being a remarkable event in North America, but it is interesting to see how short of a leash black coaches typically get, including those in MLS in the past.
What do you think? Leave a comment below!