Major Link Soccer: Don't Let Me Down

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Only the Mariners failed to give Seattle fans false hope in 2013.

Seattle

The Seattle Weekly takes a look back on the past year in Seattle professional sports, noting how the Seahawks, Sounders and Sonics all got our hopes up, only to let us down again, finding creative new ways to break the hearts of Seattle sports fans.

Now that it appears that Clint Dempsey's return to Fulham on a two month loan is all but done, Cottagers Confidential looks into how Deuce will fit into Rene Meulensteen's Martin Jol's tactics and what kind of impact Fulham supporters can expect as the club attempts to avoid relegation.

The Sounders technical staff got a chance to look at over 60 players last weekend in the team's combine in Las Vegas. Representatives of Toronto FC, Chicago Fire, Charleston Battery and Charlotte Eagles were also in attendance.

It appears that an agreement between the Sounders and striker Chad Barrett may be finalized soon. Barrett was apparently confident enough that he will be able to come to an agreement with the team that he tweeted about his excitement over the prospect of playing for the Sounders next season.

Another Chad is possibly even more excited to be on the good side of Sounders supporters in 2014. Chad Marshall expressed his anticipation of having CenturyLink Field's atmosphere work in his favor, in addition to rejoining Sigi Schmid and bringing a bit of consistency to the back line.

One of Eddie Johnson's oldest friends spoke with Joshua Mayers of the Seattle Times about Johnson's feelings surrounding his departure from Seattle and the Sounders organization. According to him, Johnson leaves Seattle with gratitude to Seattle's staff for taking a chance on him and to the fans for supporting him.

MLS

Sporting Kansas City midfielder Oriol Rosell has been named to Catalonia's squad for its upcoming friendly against Cape Verde on December 30. Rosell is one of only two players not based in Spain and is the only player in a league outside of Europe.

Soccer By Ives offers a preview of the order in which the top Generation Adidas candidates are likely to be picked in the 2014 MLS SuperDraft. It will be interesting to see if any of them drop to the Sounders, who hold the 13th pick.

Newly retired Houston Dynamo striker and former USL Sounder Brian Ching was named the managing director of Houston's expansion NWSL team, which is owned and operated by the Houston Dynamo.

In a recent interview, FIFA Ballon d'Or finalist Franck Ribery admitted that he would be open to an opportunity to play in the US or UAE at some point in the future, but he wouldn't consider it part of his "general career".

Three MLS players are heading south of the border. Cruz Azul unveiled Rafael Baca, Michael Farfan and Jose Villareal over the weekend, along with three additional new signings.

The Portland Timbers may be close to adding a third Argentine to the team's roster. 30 year-old Estudiantes de La Plata striker Gaston "La Gata" Fernandez is rumored to be one of Portland's targets for the winter transfer window. La Plata's "La Gata" would join fellow Argentines Diego Valeri and Maximiliano Urruti in the Rose City's attacking third.

Montreal's decision to hire former Chicago Fire head coach Frank Klopas instead of an experienced manager from overseas reflects a trend in MLS this offseason in which teams with open head coaching positions have opted to hire candidates familiar with MLS, rather than risking a foreign manager being forced to learn MLS rules on the job.

Chivas USA sporting president is leaving his position with the MLS franchise and Chivas de Guadalajara after less than a year on the job.

NASL

NASL's split season format has been the subject of a fair amount of criticism over the past year. With Virginia Cavalry FC delaying its entry into the league until 2015, the 2014 spring season will only consist of 9 games. Given that the host of the Soccer Bowl is determined by the winner of the spring season, the decision to stick with the current format hasn't exactly been a popular one.

US Soccer

USMNT striker Aron Johansson is attracting interest from Celtic manager Neil Lennon. Celtic has had its eyes on Johannsson for a while now, but it would take a minimum bid of $4 million to bring the 23 year-old AZ Alkmaar striker to Celtic Park.

An American whose nephew was shot and killed by an off-duty police officer in Rio de Janeiro 6 years ago is advising soccer fans traveling to Brazil for the 2014 World Cup to be careful while in the country, citing a long history of corruption within police departments in Brazil.

England

It didn't take long for Tottenham to replace recently fired manager Andre Villas-Boas. Instead of going with someone with top flight managerial experience, Daniel Levy opted in favor of consistency, giving caretaker manager Tim Sherwood an 18-month deal, which will allow Sherwood a full season and summer transfer window to prove himself capable of taking Spurs back to UEFA Champions League. Sherwood has been with the club in a coaching capacity since Harry Redknapp hired him in 2008. Sherwood also played for Tottenham from 1999 until 2003.

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