This definitely isn't the time to be one of the countries scheduled to host the World Cup and/or the Olympics. Robbie Rogers offered his take, as a gay athlete and former Olympian, on the possibility of the United States boycotting the 2014 Winter Olympics in Russia, due to the restrictive new laws targeting homosexuals. On the subject of homophobia in sports, the first ever Football Fans v Homophobia conference will be held this weekend and will include fans from 29 different European nations.
Brazil's sports minister has cast doubt on whether the World Cup stadiums will be completed in time for next year's World Cup. The chairman of England's FA is between a rock and a hard place concerning the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. On one hand he could publicly oppose moving the World Cup to the winter, when it would conflict with the Premier League and the other top leagues in Europe. On the other hand, he could come out in support of holding the World Cup in the winter, in an attempt to bridge the gap between England and FIFA, stemming from the circumstances that surrounded the awarding of the 2018 World Cup to Russia
NBC's coverage of the Premier League begins in less than 48 hours. Every single match in the Premier League will be accessible to soccer fans in the United States for the first time. Fans will also be able to enjoy each match without being exposed to a ticker at the bottom of the screen during live matches. NBC studio host Rebecca Lowe participated in a Q&A on Twitter in anticipation of the start of the Premier League season. As long as nobody at NBC falls over while on the job like this Sky Sports News reporter did yesterday, they'll be in good shape.
As if comprehensive Premier League coverage wasn't enough, the college soccer season is nearly upon us and the TV listings for this fall's matches has been released. Washington will play on TV 9 times. Sean Okoli's Wake Forest will play in televised games twice. We can watch Aaron Kovar and Jordan Morris team up at Stanford 8 times this season.
Top Drawer Soccer has released their pre-season list of the top 100 upperclassmen in college soccer and 3 alumni of the Sounders Academy are included: Aaron Kovar is ranked 14th, Sean Okoli is 40th and Troy Peterson is 92nd. Two UW players are included: goalkeeper Spencer Richey is ranked 29th and defender Michael Harris (known for his somersault long throw in) is ranked 88th. Eight players who played for the Sounders U23's this year were also included in the top 100.
For the first time since 1999, Scotland and England played in a match against each other. While England narrowly defeated Scotland 3-2, Scottish supporters got the better of England when they filled the fountain at Trafalgar Square in London with soap.
In Brazil's friendly against Switzerland, Dani Alves channeled Mario De Luna and headed a fantastic goal into the back of his own net. The blunder proved to be the difference in the match, giving the Swiss a landmark victory over Brazil.
Other notable international matches yesterday included a 3-3 draw between Germany and Paraguay, Argentina's 3-2 win over Italy, Belgium drew France 0-0, Portugal drew against the Netherlands 1-1 and Mexico defeated Ivory Coast 4-1.
Prior to Argentina's friendly vs. Italy, players from both teams were afforded the opportunity to meet with the Pope. Lionel Messi's first Instagram post was a video of him with the Pope. The pontiff also met one on one with Mario Balotelli. Pope Francis reportedly spoke to Balotelli about racism and setting a good example to young people.
After their impressive come from behind win at Bosnia and Herzegovina, the United States national team earned their 12th consecutive win. That is the longest winning streak of any national team thus far in this decade. Only 6 teams have ever won more than 12 consecutive matches. The longest ever streak was set by Spain when they won 15 straight matches in 2008 to 2009, which was coincidentally snapped by the United States at the 2009 Confederations Cup. If you happened to miss the match yesterday, do yourself a favor and check out Jozy Altidore's free kick goal that put the United States ahead for good.
The LA Galaxy appear ready to announce their third Designated Player sometime today. With the MLS transfer window now closed, it is likely that their third DP will be Omar Gonzalez. Chicago seems to go through DP's faster than DeAndre Yedlin goes through hairstyles. Their newest DP is Uruguayan midfielder Egidio Arévalo Rios, who could play this weekend if his international transfer certificate clears in time. Rios was part of the 2010 World Cup team for Uruguay and won the 2012 Liga MX Apertura title with Xolos Tijuana. The Fire and forward Sherjill MacDonald have mutually agreed to terminate their contract to allow for the signing.
Stoke City's Cameron Jerome was fined £50,000 ($77,500) for violating the FA's policy on betting. He wasn't found to be involved in match-fixing or betting on any matches involving his team, which is why the penalty wasn't more severe.
After Hull City AFC re-branded as the Hull City Tigers, Fulham's owner (who also owns the Jacksonville Jaguars) felt it was necessary to reassure supporters that he won't be re-branding Fulham as the Fulham Jaguars. Despite Hull's name change, they are working hard at avoiding relegation this season, after securing the transfer of Tom Huddlestone and Jake Livermore from Tottenham.
After losing his job as the manager of Chelsea mere months after leading them to the FA Cup and UEFA Champions League titles, Roberto Di Matteo is in no hurry to manage another team just yet. It's not for a lack of offers, though.
Football Manager 2014 has been announced, and some new features have been added, including cloud saved games, improvements to the match engine and transfer negotiations, as well as tactics and support for Steam Workshop (similar to Creation Centre in FIFA). FM 2014 is already available for pre-order for $49.95. I'll probably wind up buying it, as long as it's not too much for my 5 year old laptop. I pretty much always have FM 2013 running on my computer.
There has been a change to the playoff round of UEFA Champions League. Ukraine's Metalist has been disqualified for alleged match-fixing. Greece's PAOK, who were defeated by Metalist in the final qualifying round, will replace them against Schalke.