Although Chivas USA have been very busy so far in the offseason, the news has slowed down a bit in the last couple of weeks. The biggest story has been Jorge Flores changing his name to Jorge Villafaña, and simultaneously being selected to the U.S. Men's National Team's U23 Training Camp this week in Florida. We've covered these stories here on the blog, but there's further coverage as well. Scott French at ESPN has a story about Jorge Villafana from last week. So does Adam Serrano on the league's website, from today, here.
From last week, Adam Serrano wrote his weekly column for the league website and discussed the contract situation of Juan Pablo Angel (the gist: nothing settled yet, but both sides working on it), and got word from Robin Fraser on a couple of transfer rumors for Chivas. Fraser admitted interest in Ecuadorean midfielder Oswaldo Minda, but he denied knowing of Salvadorean striker Andres Flores, let alone having any official interest in him. This seems to be a pattern for Fraser, as he is wont to admit to knowing one rumored player and denying everything about a second.
Gabe Dahl has an article on the club website from yesterday with word from Fraser about the re-signings of goalkeeper Dan Kennedy and defender Ante Jazic. Obviously, everybody's happy about it. I think we are all glad the team did the right thing in giving Kennedy a raise and getting Jazic back.
Here's the Chivas USA Youth Academy past couple weekly updates, from December 5, and December 12. The December 5 entry goes into great depth about the U18 and U16 teams' weekend at the Development Academy Winter Showcase in Florida. Apparently, a couple more Chivas Academy players, Jake McGuire and Malcolm Jones, joined Ben Spencer and Marki Delgado in the Select Team, that played a special exhibition match at the Showcase. Congrats to McGuire and Jones as well! I have to say, I really have to give props to the Academy staff that has really worked to put the word out about the Academy matches and tournaments, results, and accomplishments the past few months. The enhanced commitment to youth development looks to be off to a great start.
Around the league, some of you have been following the exploits of former Chivas de Guadalajara striker Omar Bravo, who was a designated player in 2011 for Sporting Kansas City. Well, that stint in KC is over, and his year in MLS may sum up his time in the league, as it was reported yesterday on the league website by Nick Firchau that Bravo is going back to Mexico to play for Cruz Azul. Bravo and SKC coach Peter Vermes had trouble seeing eye to eye at the end of the season, something that seems to be an increasingly common refrain for Vermes, but Bravo kept his public comments mostly respectful. He said he'd be open to a return to MLS in the future, so a sliver of hope remains for Chivas USA fans who have wanted him to come join the American Goats, but I'd say it's not very likely.
Midfielder Lee Nguyen, a former U.S. Men's National Team international, has signed with MLS and will be assigned a team Thursday in a weighted lottery. Once a very promising young player, Nguyen left Indiana University to play for PSV Eindhoven in Holland (not the worst occurrence in the world). But Nguyen barely played for PSV, and left for Vietnam in 2009, where he's become one of the biggest stars in the Vietnamese domestic league. But passport issues (he was reportedly under pressure to become a Vietnamese citizen to benefit citizenship rules in the league, which would have killed his USMNT hopes once and for all) and a likely desire to prove himself at home led Nguyen to try out MLS. Since it was practically impossible to watch his matches in Vietnam, there's no telling how good or bad Nguyen could be, so it is likely a high-risk/high-reward type of scenario, depending on his salary. Still, a 25 year old winger with experience at the international level probably will have something decent to offer a team. We'll just have to see which team he goes to.
The University of North Carolina Chapel Hill defeated the University of North Carolina Charlotte Sunday in the College Cup 1-0. Will any players from those schools, or fellow semi-finalists UCLA or Creighton be coming to Chivas USA in January's SuperDraft? Perhaps.
Along those lines, here's the initial list of draft combine invitees, on the league website.
What do you think? Leave a comment below!