An Update on the American Soccer SceneUsually a downtime for soccer in the US, there’s lot of news coming out you should pay attention to.
by Katherine Rupp | Wednesday, December 16, 2015
Even in what is usually the ‘offseason’ for soccer in the United States – whether speaking of Major League Soccer, the US men’s or women’s teams, or college soccer – this seems to oddly be one of the busier times of the year. Just because the United States soccer system primarily follows the summer schedule whereas most of the world’s football leagues follow the winter to summer schedule doesn’t mean that US soccer is coasting during the winter.
When it comes to Major League Soccer, there have been trades, and soon other transactions (like the 2016 MLS SuperDraft), will be coming down the line. Most recently, however, the first Free Agent in MLS was picked up. Justin Mapp, who previously played for the Montreal Impact and the Chicago Fire among a couple other teams, was signed as a Free Agent by Sporting Kansas City. A couple notable signings and trades that have been happening since the MLS Cup Final on December 6th include Dan Kennedy traded from FC Dallas to the LA Galaxy, Marco Pappa from Seattle Sounders to the Colorado Rapids, and Chris Klute who goes from 2015 MLS Cup Final team Columbus Crew SC to the 2015 MLS Cup Final winning team Portland Timbers.
Not only are there plenty of trades and acquisitions and happenings going on around MLS, a few things – and one main task at hand – are taking place these days. For one, news was just released that the US men’s national team knows what opponent it’ll be taking on for the first couple of weeks of 2016.
The US men’s national team will take on Aron Johannsson’s homeland (besides the United States) team, Iceland, which will be looking to have a few quality match-ups as “Our Boys” (as the Icelandic national team is affectionately known) look to finesse their skills before the 2016 Euros. Additionally, the USMNT will play Canada at the Rose Bowl in California – which will also be the location of the Iceland match – and although, usually, games against the northern neighbor are often a bit of a sleepy or uninterested affair (especially when comparing the games against those such as when the US plays Mexico), it’ll still be a solid friendly CONCACAF matchup before the US takes on other CONCACAF opponents for World Cup Qualifying.
And on the women’s side of things, and maybe one of the most important events in US Soccer – and international soccer - history, the world’s international leading scorer in football is retiring. Abby Wambach, after announcing her retirement in October 2015, will play her last game against China in New Orleans. From Sydney LeRoux Dwyer to Christie Rampone and Megan Rapinoe paying their gratitude, and in some ways their debt of growing the game, to Wambach, it’s certainly a bittersweet moment for not only the women’s team and the US women’s national team fans but also for US Soccer fans in general. Not only has Wambach scored 184 goals, she’s amassed two Olympic gold medals and won the 2015 Women’s World Cup with the USWNT as well as receiving the 2012 FIFA World Player of the Year. So now, at the end of her playing career, Wambach, rightly so, will be seen as one of the best footballers in the world, men or women, ever, because of her glorious career.
There’s a lot going on, even in the MLS offseason, with offseason trades and acquisitions, in addition to the USMNT playing friendlies in January and early February, and of course, quite possibly most importantly, the USWNT plays China which will be the swan song for Abby Wambach, one of the best soccer players in the world. Although it seems like a down time for soccer in the US, don’t miss it, this looks to be an interesting time of the year.