Major Link Soccer: NBA Loves Soccer

USA TODAY Sports

The two biggest stars for the LA Lakers made soccer-related news recently. Referees always seem to be in the news. American soccer loses one of its greatest leaders. The Gold Cup produces strong ratings on Fox.

Soccer is a pretty popular sport around the globe. Some people seem to be convinced that it will never become a mainstream sport in North America. Despite that, there are some pretty good signs that association football is well on its way to prove the doubters wrong. If that wasn't the case, we wouldn't have two-fifths of the LA Lakers starting lineup in soccer-related stories today.

Kobe Bryant has been rehabilitating his surgically repaired Achilles tendon and trained with AC Milan over the weekend while vacationing in Italy. Bryant lived in Italy for a few years while his father played pro basketball there. Steve Nash is a co-owner of the Vancouver Whitecaps and thought it would be a good idea to host his friend's bachelor party at the Whitecaps match against the Galaxy over the weekend. What wasn't a great idea was to interview Nash in the same area as his drunk buddies on the live broadcast, who provided some colorful criticism of the referee.

Speaking of referees, Jason Kreis thinks his team is being assigned inexperienced referees far too often. RSL Soapbox makes a case in his favor, also finding that the Sounders tend to be assigned more experienced referees than any other team in the league. Sporting News has an illuminating feature on Hilario Grajeda, who will be in charge at the MLS All-Star Game. Montreal's manager thinks the referee in their match against FC Dallas missed a red card against Eric Hassli and now wants the MLS Disciplinary Committee to step in.

There was some sad news yesterday in Argentina, as two men were killed in an incident between rival Boca Juniors supporter groups. In our country, we lost one of the people responsible for bringing pro soccer to Seattle. Phil Woosnam served as head coach for the Atlanta Chiefs in 1968 before serving as commissioner of NASL from 1969 until 1982. Paul Gardner believes that Woosnam has long been unfairly criticized for the demise of the league.

On the subject of NASL, BBC Radio had a feature on the reboot of the New York Cosmos, in addition to New York City FC. The Cosmos continue to add to their talented roster, with the signing of Brazilian defender Roversio. A biopic of former Cosmo Pelé appears to be casting for the lead role in the film right now.

Chicago's Chris Rolfe has been named MLS Player of the Week after scoring a brace against DC United. You can help DeAndre Yedlin win a different MLS weekly award, as he is in contention for MLS Goal of the Week. In a losing effort, DC United manager Ben Olsen became the longest tenured manager in club history.

U18 Sounder Jordan Morris was named as an honorable mention as one of the top players in the finals of the USSDA playoffs. Former Sounder Cordell Cato scored the only goal of the match for San Jose in a 1-0 win in a friendly against Norwich City, proving that he is actually capable of scoring outside of Kezar Stadium.

Former almost Sounder Lucas Neill looks to once again be close to signing with a MLS club. Waking the Red examines whether it would be worth it for Toronto FC to sign Neill, but the same obstacles that likely kept him from joining the Sounders last year could prevent him from joining TFC. Elsewhere in Canada, Montreal appear to be attempting to sign Argentine midfielder Hernán Bernardello as their second DP. Former Toronto FC and FC Dallas and Canadian midfielder Julian de Guzman has signed with Michael Gspurning's former Greek club, Skoda Xanthi.

After the LA Galaxy sent some young players on loan to AEG-owned Hammarby, their partnership was further strengthened as Herbalife was named as the shirt sponsor of the Swedish second division side.

The Gold Cup quarterfinal match on Fox between the United States and El Salvador pulled a 1.2 rating, which was good enough to beat the UEFA Champions League Final broadcast (1.0). This is especially impressive, considering that the match was also broadcast live on Univision. USMNT forward Herculez Gomez isn't off to the greatest start with his new club, Xolos Tijuana, as he will miss four to eight weeks due to a knee injury, although Tijuana believes the timeline for recovery is much shorter than that.


Despite the fact that there was an all German final in UEFA Champions League this year, neither Bayern Munich nor Borussia Dortmund earned the most amount of money from the competition last season. That honor goes to Juventus, thanks in large part to TV revenue, which they only had to split with one other team.

One of the major hurdles preventing Wayne Rooney from joining Chelsea is his nearly $20 million annual salary. We Ain't Got No History reports that Rooney is willing to take a pay cut in order to facilitate a move to Stamford Bridge.

Every individual involved in the two famous fixed matches in Nigeria has been banned for life, while the four teams involved have been banned for 10 years.

Fredy Montero is set to join Sporting CP, but his fellow Colombian striker is under fire right now, as news has emerged that he may actually be two years older than FIFA records indicate.

Watching direct free kicks in soccer matches over the years, I've always thought it wouldn't be a bad idea for a defensive player to lie down behind the wall, just in case the kick taker opts to shoot below the jumping wall. A player in Brazil did just that recently, not that it turned out to be necessary on the play in question.

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