Nothing brightens up a Monday like the delivery of a freshly printed booklet of soccer season tickets. My LA Galaxy 2012 season tickets arrived today, and throughout the Twitterverse, I saw posts about many other MLS teams shipping out their tickets too. The 2012 MLS season is just around the corner! Aside from the excitement of a new season, we’ve got lots of soccer news from around the globe. The USMNT players are dropping like flies, Kristine Lilly is up for a major honor, and lots of headlines out of the EPL. Here’s your Daily Kick Around!
Major League Soccer
The anticipation for the new season of MLS is mounting, as promos are rolling out and tickets are being delivered. We are now less than two weeks away from the first match, and if you somehow aren’t pumped for this season, watch this. I bet you will be after.
Houston Dynamo fans were hit with huge news today as MLS has banned Dynamo fan groups from bringing items such as flags, banners, confetti and drums to away matches. It seems the decision stems from some antics of supporters groups during the 2011 MLS Cup final against L.A. Galaxy.
US Men’s National Team
With four players now scratched from the roster for the USMNT game against Italy this week, a couple of guys were called in to replace them. Jermaine Jones, José Torres, Timmy Chandler and Landon Donovan are out, and Brek Shea and Sacha Kljestan are in. SI’s Grant Wahl is in Genoa ahead of the match, and has a few must-read thoughts on the team here.
USMNT head coach Jurgen Klinsmann has suddenly resurrected his Twitter account, and since arriving in Italy a few days ago, has been tweeting like crazy. Today, he send out a link to a podcast he recorded. It’s about 15 minutes long and definitely worth a listen if you’re a dedicated USMNT fan. Interesting insights into how Klinsmann and his coaching staff scout players, and how he keeps guys like Clint Dempsey motivated to achieve at higher levels.
US Women’s National Team
As a young girl playing soccer, I idolized Kristine Lilly. She was — and still is — my hero in women’s soccer. I was even lucky enough to take a soccer clinic with her at the helm when I was in high school. Her incredible 21-year-career is arguably the greatest in US women’s soccer history. Now, number 13 is a finalist for the US Olympic Hall of Fame, the only nominee representing soccer. Check out how to vote her into the US Olympic Hall of Fame here!
English Premier League
During Aston Villa’s EPL draw with Wigan this weekend, top goal-scorer Darren Bent ruptured ankle ligaments, and has been ruled out for up to three months. This is a huge blow not only for Villa, but also the England National Team who will be playing in the Euro 2012 starting in early June. Awful news all around.
Carlos Tevez is set to make his return at Manchester City — well, sort of. The striker is expected to make an appearance in the reserve league on Tuesday. This means he could be making an EPL comeback as early as next week, when City takes on Swansea.
Former Real Madrid midfielder Mahamadou Diarra has been signed by Fulham until the end of the season, with the possibility of extension for another year. Diarra has been a free agent since last summer, and hopes to restart his career in the EPL.