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Crystal Clear

Greetings from Baltimore, where I spent the morning with Crystal Palace USA, a USL second division team affiliated with the famed London club. I am working on a big feature story about the team and decided to take in training at Johns Hopkins. CPUSA plays its home matches at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium, except this Saturday, when they will take on defending champion Richmond at Maryland SoccerPlex in Montgomery County. The team has built its roster with a combination of local players, foreign prospects and a pair from the mothership in London -- Charlie Sheringham (son of Teddy) and Lewwis Spence -- who will return to the big club late this summer. Lots of good angles, which I will share in the actual story in the near future.

Sorry for the lack of MLS/DCU substance today (what? robot dogs playing soccer isn't good enough for ya?!). Hope to provide some news later this afternoon.

By Steve Goff  |  May 8, 2007; 1:16 PM ET
Categories:  Misc.  
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Next: United Contributes


how does charlie sheringham look? pretty amazing that the son of a current epl player is playing semi-professionally at the same time as his dad.

Posted by: moses | May 8, 2007 1:34 PM | Report abuse

Goff, I have a quick question for you. Does DC United have any US Open Cup games scheduled? I notcied on their website that their schedule does not list any US Open Cup games. Please let me know. Thank you.

Posted by: DC United Fan | May 8, 2007 2:03 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for the info on Saturday's match.

Posted by: I-270, Exit 1 | May 8, 2007 2:05 PM | Report abuse

Make sure to mention in your feature for us soccerfan newbies the difference between USL and MLS.

Posted by: Juan-John | May 8, 2007 2:12 PM | Report abuse


I've seen them playing a few times, actually caught a scrimmage they were in against an upper-division amateur team, and I have to say I wasn't that impressed. I think it was the team's first scrimmage together and so I should probably give them a break, but how strong a side do you think they're going to put together? And is Sheringham the big redheaded back of theirs?

What I am impressed by is their youth teams, who are already playing in the Super Y leagues and are very skilled on the ball. Is that the real reason they're over here? To get an academy like structure set up? I can't see Crystal Palace USA ever being the most important team for the Crystal Palace Football Club, and really, is a USL 2nd division team that high up?

I think it's a way to set up an Academy and start marketing to the growing soccer market over here and increase the brand awareness. Interesting that they chose the Baltimore area to locate in. But it makes me wonder if other English and European sides are going to start setting up Academies over on this side of the pond soon and fielding clubs in the lower leagues.

If so, what does that mean for MLS and its long-term plans? I think Arena and the Orange Bovines are realizing that's the direction they need to go. What'd DCU's thoughts on this?

Posted by: G-Unit | May 8, 2007 2:25 PM | Report abuse

LOVED the Robot Dogs Playing Soccer! That guy should also do Colbert's show. Who needs anything from the training ground or front office with material like that?!? Question: Has DCU worked out the potential scheduling conflict at RFK with the Nationals for later this summer (can't remember if it was US Open Cup or SuperLiga)? Speculation was that a game might be played at the Ravens stadium.

Posted by: Baltofan | May 8, 2007 2:41 PM | Report abuse

G-Unit: Crystal Palace is doing exactly what the DCU/MLS folks are trying to set up on the trip to China. Brand exposure, marketing, and if it pays off with an up-and-coming player in a couple years, then great! In baseball analogies, think of CPUSA as a single-A club. If they find a diamond-in-the-rough on CPUSA, then they'll loan him out to an MLS or other lower foreign league team for a while, and monitor the growth. I don't imagine DCU to be concerned, do you?

Posted by: LeesburgSoccerFan | May 8, 2007 2:45 PM | Report abuse

Crystal Palace has set up shop here to build its brand name and to identify young talent while playing in the USL second division (third division overall in U.S. soccer).

Sheringham is 19, a tall, thin striker, member of the Crystal Palace reserves in London. Coming here for the summer is the equivalent of a major league baseball prospect spending the offseason (winter) in the Mexican league or elsewhere in Latin America. Lewwis Spence, the other player here for the summer, is a highly regarded prospect for the London club.

Posted by: Goff | May 8, 2007 2:53 PM | Report abuse

DC United Fan -

Open Cup games are usually announced once the date approaches. Currently, is listing July 10th as the target date for all 3rd round (where United enters) games. Scheduling may cause this date to change, but you should expect DC's game to be played somewhere close to that date.

Here is a link breaking down this year's Open Cup set-up (it changed again):

Posted by: Anonymous | May 8, 2007 2:56 PM | Report abuse

Goff, as everyone else says, You're the Man!!!!! Thank you for the link.

Posted by: DC United Fan | May 8, 2007 3:00 PM | Report abuse

Everton has set up shop in Connecticut ... Evertonamericact

Posted by: 12th man | May 8, 2007 3:17 PM | Report abuse

Several int'l clubs have American involvement through camps and other projects, but only two have actual pro teams competing here: Crystal Palace (CPUSA) and Alaves (California Victory).

Posted by: Goff | May 8, 2007 3:24 PM | Report abuse

Goff, when might we see the story you worked on this morning?

Posted by: JMR | May 8, 2007 4:16 PM | Report abuse

Given how relatively little money is required to start up a USL team (depending on the level), according to the USL Web site, makes one wonder -- with the growth of soccer here in the U.S. -- how long before all the top Euro clubs have their own USL teams...

Posted by: Juan-John | May 8, 2007 5:06 PM | Report abuse

So they're 0-3 and their last attendance was 278?

I doubt MLS gets too excited to take a USL2 player "on loan". I'd be amazed if they crease a USL2 pipeline to the Championship. Maybe the youth teams will find a player, but I don't see the big need to have anything more than a PDL team on top of that system? Do the young English players want to come here? Maybe this all will help them recruit for their academy in England (summer vacation in the USA)?

Posted by: Anonymous | May 8, 2007 5:07 PM | Report abuse

Story could run at any time, probably next week

Posted by: Goff | May 8, 2007 5:08 PM | Report abuse

Leesburg, some good ways to think about it. I definitely get your analogy, and I see the marketing, but as a Championship side, I don't get what increased exposure gives. I do agree that it might take awhile for all the overseas clubs to have a presence here, but I'd like to see DCU start pushing their academies a little bit more and sponsoring real teams. I think all the MLS teams ought to have a strong youth feeder system and youth clubs, throughout the age groups, and make those club teams especially strong and attractive as you hit the U-15 and above divisions. I know there are some pretty powerful, entrenched clubs out there (Bethesda, Baltimore, Dallas, etc.) that might be ticked off about such a move, but it can only grow the game and make the league better, plus hopefully make the club better.

Someone may correct me, but is there anything that would stop an MLS team from fielding a USL D2 team and using it as a regional development team or giving injured players coming back a rehab stint? Think about Ajax in the King's Cup a few years back when their reserve side, which plays, if I recall correctly, in the second division, advanced to the semifinals. Play that team out of the SoccerPlex or up in Baltimore and what do you get?

Posted by: G-Unit | May 8, 2007 5:22 PM | Report abuse

"is there anything that would stop an MLS team from fielding a USL D2 team"

- probably politics.

USL1 views itself as more rivals than feeders to MLS (though I think they've slipped and are mostly very far off from that being reality). Though there are MLS affiliated teams in the PDL and USL youth league.

In the 90s, MLS put the "Nike p40" players(now the Generation Adidas - top guys skipping college to turn pro) into the USL1. It's probably cheaper for MLS to keep to its own reserve teams and tag along on road trips.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 8, 2007 6:44 PM | Report abuse

i want my son to tryout for Crystal Palace soccer club for a the under 8 team. i have no idea who i can talk to about doing that . Could you help me with that? Could you direct me in the right direction.

Thank You

Posted by: D.C. | May 18, 2007 1:47 PM | Report abuse

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