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Major Link Soccer: Another full-time MLS academy

After the Philadelphia Union started their own high school in 2013 and DC United announced a partnership with a local high school in February, a new team has announced its own plans for a time intensive development program.

Jaime Valdez-USA TODAY Sports

MLS

North American soccer is often criticized for the relative lack of time youth players dedicate to training, which some cite as a reason US Soccer and the Canadian men's national team have failed to compete with South American or European powerhouses. In an attempt to fix this, or at least develop some good players for themselves, the Vancouver Whitecaps are setting up a full-time soccer academy.

On the other hand, LAFC have elected not to focus on building an academy until after they've made significantly more headway into a stadium plan - which could feasibly take a few years. LAFC have even chosen to pass up on Chivas USA's former academy (widely touted as one of the best in MLS), stating that they had to start their own history, as well as "put away the negative history and legacy of what Chivas had done."

Yesterday Benny Feilhaber was announced as the winner of MLS's Player of the Month for April. He is also the winner of this writer's "Worst Haircut Ever Award."

Remember that hullabaloo about the Montreal Impact signing a goalkeeper from MLS to help them out in the second leg of the CONCACAF Champions League final and possibly longer? Well, after signing Kristian Nicht from the NASL's Indy Eleven, the Impact have unceremoniously dumped the goalkeeper to waivers.

In case you've forgotten, the Montreal Impact didn't win the game Nicht was brought in to help with (or the overall final), which means that MLS will have to wait at least another year to earn a championship. The wage gap between teams in MLS and in Liga MX remains a huge issue though, and if an MLS team were to win, it would have to be one with enough depth, talent, and focus to overcome that barrier (cough-cough-Sounders-cough-cough).

We all know that positions on the field aren't as cut and dry as they're often made out to be. Sounder at Heart's very own nimajneb examined the similarities between different positions from a statistical standpoint, and found that perhaps we need to view positions in a different light.

After failing to sign a certain American right back last year, A.S. Roma had to hire veteran English defender Ashley Cole. Unfortunately Cole has not been performing up to expectations in Italy, and according to a report, his agent recently met with Roma's director of football to discuss a move to (perhaps?) MLS.

NYCFC are having a rough start to their MLS career, having won only one of the nine games they have played this year. Jason Kreis is constantly changing his tactics on the field, but could NYCFC's problem actually lie in their roster?

Even after having played 10 games in MLS, Orlando City SC are still trying to suck up every last nutrient from their roots in USL. The Lions have brought in former USL President Tim Holt as their new Vice President of Development.

It looks like Sean Johnson has been working on a few tricks:

World

The news surrounding the 2022 Men's World Cup in Qatar will not cease. Recent reports said that a few German journalists were detained in Qatar during an interview with World Cup workers. The journalists were not allowed to leave the country for five days, and only had their equipment returned a month later (obviously with all footage and data deleted).

The US U20 World Cup is all set for this summer, which means it's time to starting thinking about the roster. Cristian Roldan looks to be a strong option to play in New Zealand, as do the Galaxy's Bradford Jamieson IV and Dallas's Kellyn Acosta.

Mario Balotelli is well known as a loose cannon in the world of European soccer, and because of that he has tried to shield himself from journalists. But in a recent interview with a young fan, Balotelli was asked some hard-hitting questions that even he couldn't quite shake.

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