MLS Offseason Still Providing Many Storylines to Follow

Even though it’s the ‘downtime’ in soccer in the US, there’s lots to keep track of
by Katherine Rupp   |   Friday, January 08, 2016

US Soccer Federation (USSF)

Major League Soccer is back! And ‘back’ in offseason terms only means that Major League Soccer clubs are making moves and the league also has a full slate of items of note before the season begins on March 6th.

Not only is there continual news with clubs around the league, especially after the new year, there are some eyebrow raising transfers. A few transfers that may have slipped by some include Chris Klute from MLS Cup 2015 participant Crew SC to MLS Cup 2015 winning Timbers, Chris Pontius from DC United up I-95 to now be with the Philadelphia Union, as well as a handful of Philly players being transferred out from Cristian Maidana and Andrew Wenger headed to Houston, to Ethan White going to NYCFC, and Zak MacMath officially being traded to the Rapids after being on loan with Colorado through the 2015 season.

Although most of those transactions and transfers aren’t as high profile as the next few, where all these players land will make a difference – for better or worse – for their new teams. As Dan Kennedy comes back to Southern California after being in Texas with FC Dallas, two of the bigger transfers are heading even further south from Los Angeles. Former Designated Player Omar Gonzalez is moving to Pachuca and Juninho will be suiting up for the Mexican club just south of the border in Xolos, also known as Club Tijuana. Not only are Gonzalez and Juninho heading to Mexico, Jorge Villafana is transferring from the Portland Timbers to Santos Laguna.

Additionally, not only are there still current MLS player transactions, but there will also be some other players, and new at that, will be coming into the league as the MLS Combine starts the day the full MLS schedule comes out (January 7) and runs for nearly a week as the best of the best in college soccer will show what they have to make it in MLS.

Although there doesn’t seem to be the biggest college prospect in the bunch this year – similar to last year’s SuperDraft (which begins two days after the Combine on January 14) with current Orlando City player Cyle Larin – there will certainly be a stand-out come time when the Rookie of the Year award is handed out.

Past the Combine, transfers, SuperDraft, and the offseason workouts and downtime that MLS players probably need after a long, draining season, there will be the news on January 7th that displays the full schedule of MLS games for the 2016 season, save for specific playoff dates and the MLS Cup Final date as well.

On top of all the Major League Soccer dates and happenings – this week even! – there will be some important US men’s and women’s national team tasks at hand such as two friendlies in Carson, California, and World Cup Qualifiers for the men’s team, and the Olympics in Rio for the women.

It looks like it could be shaping up for an exciting year for soccer in the US, not only with US national team games (full national teams and for the younger national teams like the U-23s), but also within Major League Soccer. And even though it’s the offseason, keep an eye out for interesting moves and acquisitions, including this week with the MLS Combine, to make an impact in US soccer, whether it’s this year or in the years to come.Major League Soccer is back! And ‘back’ in offseason terms only means that Major League Soccer clubs are making moves and the league also has a full slate of items of note before the season begins on March 6th.

Not only is there continual news with clubs around the league, especially after the new year, there are some eyebrow raising transfers. A few transfers that may have slipped by some include Chris Klute from MLS Cup 2015 participant Crew SC to MLS Cup 2015 winning Timbers, Chris Pontius from DC United up I-95 to now be with the Philadelphia Union, as well as a handful of Philly players being transferred out from Cristian Maidana and Andrew Wenger headed to Houston, to Ethan White going to NYCFC, and Zak MacMath officially being traded to the Rapids after being on loan with Colorado through the 2015 season.

Although most of those transactions and transfers aren’t as high profile as the next few, where all these players land will make a difference – for better or worse – for their new teams. As Dan Kennedy comes back to Southern California after being in Texas with FC Dallas, two of the bigger transfers are heading even further south from Los Angeles. Former Designated Player Omar Gonzalez is moving to Pachuca and Juninho will be suiting up for the Mexican club just south of the border in Xolos, also known as Club Tijuana. Not only are Gonzalez and Juninho heading to Mexico, Jorge Villafana is transferring from the Portland Timbers to Santos Laguna.

Additionally, not only are there still current MLS player transactions, but there will also be some other players, and new at that, will be coming into the league as the MLS Combine starts the day the full MLS schedule comes out (January 7) and runs for nearly a week as the best of the best in college soccer will show what they have to make it in MLS.

Although there doesn’t seem to be the biggest college prospect in the bunch this year – similar to last year’s SuperDraft (which begins two days after the Combine on January 14) with current Orlando City player Cyle Larin – there will certainly be a stand-out come time when the Rookie of the Year award is handed out.

Past the Combine, transfers, SuperDraft, and the offseason workouts and downtime that MLS players probably need after a long, draining season, there will be the news on January 7th that displays the full schedule of MLS games for the 2016 season, save for specific playoff dates and the MLS Cup Final date as well.

On top of all the Major League Soccer dates and happenings – this week even! – there will be some important US men’s and women’s national team tasks at hand such as two friendlies in Carson, California, and World Cup Qualifiers for the men’s team, and the Olympics in Rio for the women.

It looks like it could be shaping up for an exciting year for soccer in the US, not only with US national team games (full national teams and for the younger national teams like the U-23s), but also within Major League Soccer. And even though it’s the offseason, keep an eye out for interesting moves and acquisitions, including this week with the MLS Combine, to make an impact in US soccer, whether it’s this year or in the years to come.

Katherine RUPP

Nationality:
USA
College:
Drake University
Club Domestic:
Sporting KC
Club Foreign:
Tottenham Hotspur
Unabashed Minnesotan by birth. Tried reliving the glory days of collegiate intramural soccer championships but an ACL tear dashed future hopes of adult recreational greatness. Covering a city’s team that’s too big for one state: SKC.
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