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Posted at 10:15 AM ET, 01/ 7/2011

Friday kickaround: Eugene Starikov, USA-Chile, Virginia's Diego Restrepo, MLS combine, football at Pizza Hut Park, Uche Okafor RIP

By Steve Goff

*The U.S. national team has uncovered another foreign player with American ties: Zenit St. Petersburg forward Eugene Starikov, 22, who was born in Ukraine, grew up in Florida and played at Stetson University. He arrived at training camp in California last night. He has been on loan with Russian club Tom Tomsk.

*With two weeks until the first match of the year, ticket sales for the U.S. friendly against Chile at Home Depot Center are around 7,000. TV coverage remains unclear. Fox Soccer Channel is the logical outlet, but from what I can gather, the sides are far apart in talks and the U.S. Soccer Federation is pursuing other options.

*Diego Restrepo, the starting goalkeeper at the University of Virginia the past two seasons, has made a favorable impression in a trial with Colombian club America de Cali and is close to signing a contract. He is listed on the team's roster. Restrepo, who was not invited to the MLS combine, has also attracted interest from the Seattle Sounders.

More.....

*Under the watchful eyes of MLS coaches and general managers, the combine will take place at Central Broward Regional Park in Lauderhill, Fla., on Saturday, Monday and Tuesday. While players' stocks will rise and fall, goal-scoring doesn't necessarily boost their standing. None of the leading scorers at the combine since 2005 has produced at the pro level. Combine MVPs have fared better: Last year's winner, UCLA midfielder Amobi Okugo, was the No. 6 overall pick and made 11 appearances for the Philadelphia Union.

*RFK Stadium (Maryland vs. East Carolina) isn't the only MLS venue being borrowed for a college football bowl game this winter. FC Dallas' Pizza Hut Park is the site of the second-tier championship game tonight featuring Delaware and Eastern Washington.

*Uche Okafor, a Nigerian World Cup and Olympic defender who spent five seasons with Kansas City in MLS and settled in the Dallas area, has died at age 43.

By Steve Goff  | January 7, 2011; 10:15 AM ET
Categories:  College Soccer, MLS, TV, U.S. men's national team  | Tags:  MLS, U.S. national team  
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Comments

club Tom Tomsk?

Stepping in a rhythm to a Kurtis Blow
Who needs to think when your feet just go

Posted by: OWNTF | January 7, 2011 10:43 AM | Report abuse

club Tom Tomsk?

Stepping in a rhythm to a Kurtis Blow
Who needs to think when your feet just go

Posted by: OWNTF | January 7, 2011 10:45 AM | Report abuse

@OWNTF:

What you gonna do when you get out of jail?

Posted by: EdTheRed | January 7, 2011 10:46 AM | Report abuse

I'm gonna have some fun, natch'rul fun . . .

Posted by: OWNTF | January 7, 2011 10:48 AM | Report abuse

All credit to mid-80's synth pop, but how does Restrepo not get a shout for the combine? How does that selection process work?

Posted by: JkR- | January 7, 2011 10:54 AM | Report abuse

Also on the America de Cali roster.. Kevin Piedrahita. I think he was in a US U-20 camp recently. Other than that, I don't know much about him.

Posted by: jake77 | January 7, 2011 11:02 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: OWNTF | January 7, 2011 11:19 AM | Report abuse

Nice to see more competition at the forward spot. Starikov's bicycle kick.

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | January 7, 2011 11:22 AM | Report abuse

I thought Chile was one of the most exciting teams to watch in last year's WC. If the game were in DC, I'd go. 7,000 tickets with two weeks left is disappointing (though I understand the soccer burn-out and the fact that we're sending prospects rather than stars). Any clue if Chile is sending their A or B team?

Posted by: WorldCup | January 7, 2011 11:23 AM | Report abuse

how does Restrepo not get a shout for the combine?

Posted by: JkR- | January 7, 2011 10:54 AM

Seriously +1. Someone asleep at scouting wheel in MLS.

Posted by: Pedalada | January 7, 2011 11:31 AM | Report abuse

I've read that Chile is sending a B team.

Sad news about Uche Okafor, the reader comments in that article mention reports that he hanged himself. (?!)

Posted by: Joel_M_Lane | January 7, 2011 11:42 AM | Report abuse

Columbus loses jersey sponsor: http://www.dispatch.com/live/content/sports/stories/2011/01/07/glidden-withdraws-as-jersey-sponsor.html

The article also states that Best Buy ended its three-year jersey sponsorship of the Chicago Fire in December.

We are really lucky to have VW!

Posted by: Pedalada | January 7, 2011 11:43 AM | Report abuse

Chile is sending their B team. Not even Humberto Suazo, who plays in Mexico, is gonna be there.

Posted by: CACuzcatlan | January 7, 2011 11:44 AM | Report abuse

how does Restrepo not get a shout for the combine?

Posted by: JkR- | January 7, 2011 10:54 AM

Seriously +1. Someone asleep at scouting wheel in MLS.

Posted by: Pedalada | January 7, 2011 11:31 AM |

+3. They invite 5 GK's and not Restrepo, yet they have space for John Rooney, who is only there beacause of he has a famous brother?

MLS needs to get their act straight, they're going to lose a potentially impact GK, US Youth Nat player to a South American league. I thought the purpose of MLS was to keep American players here?

Potential scenario: Restrepo kills it down there, gets called to the Colombian National Team, what does he do?

I hope an MLS club is smart enough to draft Restrepo early and offer him a deal, at least give him an option to stay in the US and not loose him outright. Cuz I believe if he leaves, he ain't coming back...

Posted by: RJM23 | January 7, 2011 11:50 AM | Report abuse

My condolences to Uche's family. I enjoyed watching him play. 43 is too young to die.

Posted by: VirginiaFan | January 7, 2011 11:52 AM | Report abuse

I don't think there are any UVA players at the combine, are there?

Posted by: OWNTF | January 7, 2011 11:55 AM | Report abuse

Why no Alston in this camp? Still hurt, or out of favor?

Posted by: BooThisMan | January 7, 2011 12:03 PM | Report abuse

OWNTF, No UVa players in this year's combine, you are correct.

Posted by: RJM23 | January 7, 2011 12:07 PM | Report abuse

Maybe Restrepo is busy trying to make Cali.

+#$#@$#@2324

Posted by: Reignking | January 7, 2011 12:10 PM | Report abuse

Here's an interesting rundown from Soccer America about the draft(s) coming up.

http://www.socceramerica.com/article/40943/mls-tweaks-the-draft.html

The MLS SuperDraft has been cut to 3 rounds but the Supplemental Draft has been reinstated and will be another 3 rounds - conducted via conference call on Jan 18.

Also gives a summary of some of the new rules on 30-man rosters as well as how teams can acquire players. And the draft order for next week's SuperDraft.

Posted by: Joel_M_Lane | January 7, 2011 1:04 PM | Report abuse

With regards to the USA-Chile match, I'd say it seems more like both teams are fielding "C" teams, not "B" teams.

Posted by: fischy | January 7, 2011 1:10 PM | Report abuse

7,000 tickets with two weeks left is disappointing

The next time someone proposes changing MLS season schedules to match European league seasons just remember 7000 tickets for the USMNT vs another good WC team. How do you think New England at KC would draw in winter? And if it were a mid-week game?

If you want winter soccer, purchase a subscription to FSC.

Posted by: rcdwriting | January 7, 2011 1:32 PM | Report abuse

7,000 tickets with two weeks left is disappointing

The next time someone proposes changing MLS season schedules to match European league seasons just remember 7000 tickets for the USMNT vs another good WC team. How do you think New England at KC would draw in winter? And if it were a mid-week game?

If you want winter soccer, purchase a subscription to FSC.
---------------------------------------------
Well Said! +1

Posted by: I-95Exit43 | January 7, 2011 1:51 PM | Report abuse

What?! No live coverage of the supplemental draft on ESPN? ESPN hates soccer!

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | January 7, 2011 1:56 PM | Report abuse

If you want winter soccer, wait until 2022.

Posted by: Reignking | January 7, 2011 2:27 PM | Report abuse

I'm very much so a fan of the recent capping of so many young players with American ties. Ya snooze, ya lose

Posted by: carmines757 | January 7, 2011 3:06 PM | Report abuse

"The article also states that Best Buy ended its three-year jersey sponsorship of the Chicago Fire in December."

Posted by: Pedalada | January 7, 2011 11:43 AM

Best Buy is now the official sponsor of FIFA.

Posted by: Rand-al-Thor | January 7, 2011 3:56 PM | Report abuse

My thoughts and prayers are with Okafor's family and friends. RIP, Okafor.

Posted by: Kosh2 | January 7, 2011 4:03 PM | Report abuse

Actually, the first round of the draft will be on ESPN 2 and espn3.com. They've even sent Lalas and Twellman down tonthe combine.

Posted by: JacobfromAtlanta-ish | January 7, 2011 6:05 PM | Report abuse

61 days until United's first 2011 league match!

Posted by: Curious99 | January 7, 2011 6:40 PM | Report abuse

Best Buy is now the official sponsor of FIFA.

Posted by: Rand-al-Thor | January 7, 2011 3:56 PM
--------------

Excellent! Obvious this was submitted before Rand got to happy hour...

Posted by: 22206no1 | January 7, 2011 6:40 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | January 7, 2011 9:30 PM | Report abuse

They've even sent Lalas and Twellman down to the combine.
Posted by: JacobfromAtlanta-ish | January 7, 2011 6:05 PM
==========

Twellman's head won't fit on my 15" laptop screen.

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | January 7, 2011 9:35 PM | Report abuse

The patient and understanding folks at Liverpool FC have finally sent Roy Hodgeson packing. If I'm Avram Grant, Roberto Martinez or Gerard Houllier, I just got very nervous.

Posted by: FulhamDC | January 8, 2011 8:17 AM | Report abuse

If you want winter soccer, wait until 2022.


Très sheik!

Posted by: rcdwriting | January 8, 2011 9:28 AM | Report abuse

University of Akron Soccer star Darlington Nagbe Wins "The Hermann Trophy".

For the second consecutive season (Teal Bunbury+Darlington Nagbe), the nation's best collegiate soccer player comes from The University of Akron. This was confirmed Friday night when Zips' junior Darlington Nagbe was presented the Hermann Trophy at the Missouri Athletic Club.

The Hermann Trophy is considered the most prestigious honor in intercollegiate soccer and is the official National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) Player of the Year award for Division I competition. Nagbe, a two-time NSCAA All-American, was one of three finalists for the award, along with Indiana's Will Bruin, who was the first runner-up, and Louisville's Colin Rolfe.

"It feels great," said Nagbe about winning the award. "The two other finalists are great players. But I'm especially grateful for the honor because any one of my teammates could have been up here accepting this award instead of me."


Congratulations to Darlington Nagbe & Caleb Porter from all of us in ZipSoccerNation!! Go Zips Go and see you in Vancouver Darlington ...!

ZipSoccerNation
Alumni
Mid-Atlantic Chapter

Posted by: Zipfutbol | January 8, 2011 10:36 AM | Report abuse

"VW Focuses on U.S. Market in Bid to Be World's No. 1 Automaker"

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/08/business/global/08volkswagen.html

Posted by: Pedalada | January 8, 2011 11:39 AM | Report abuse

Zipfutbol are you a reporter?

Posted by: carmines757 | January 9, 2011 2:21 AM | Report abuse

DCU is bringing back Daniel Woolard, who spent the year with Carolina, after being cut by DC. Can we call this the "Ryan Miller Effect", after the guy the team cut in preseason the year before and is now training for the USMNT?

Posted by: fischy | January 9, 2011 9:53 AM | Report abuse

DC United MLS SuperDraft Update:

Look for DCU to select Perry Kitchen (Akron) or Omar Salgado (Akron) as Darlington Nagbe (Akron - Hermann Trophy winner) is the choice of the Vancouver Whitecaps.
DCU Front Office would love Perry Kitchen the 18 yr. old attacking defender who is impressing "Big Time" at the U-20 trials in Fla. this week. But with the Portland Timbers selecting 2nd & poised to select Kitchen a front runner is the likely direction for United.
Attacking wing-back Kofi Sarkodie would be a great addition (speed, creativity + goal scoring wing-back in the Total Futbol sense) to DCU but the club needs Forwards who can score "goals" so look for Omar Salgado to be the choice over Will Bruin of Indiana.
Kofi Sarkodie would be my choice as he is a tremendous overall player that will defend and offer a dynamic attacking presence.

Sidebar: Is there any Martin O'Malley + PG County mojo about a DCU stadium at the National Harbor location. O'Malley owes PG County / re-election.

Posted by: Zipfutbol | January 9, 2011 10:49 AM | Report abuse

Sidebar: Is there any Martin O'Malley + PG County mojo about a DCU stadium at the National Harbor location. O'Malley owes PG County / re-election.

Posted by: Zipfutbol | January 9, 2011

---

After last year's debacle?? PG County is alllll the way out. So far off the radar for DC United they'd need a radio telescope to find it.

Posted by: SportzNut21 | January 9, 2011 4:31 PM | Report abuse

Why does O'Malley owe Prince George's Co for his re-election? Was there ever a doubt that PG would vote Democrat? Besides, MO'M is the former mayor of Baltimore.

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | January 9, 2011 8:45 PM | Report abuse

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