Written by Zev Taublieb

kirovski

Can you name the first ever American player to be signed by Manchester United at the age of 16? Can you name the first and only American player who has won a Champions League title? Can you name the current Technical Director of the LA Galaxy?

Tip: They are all the same person. Time’s up!  It is JOVAN KIROVSKI. His 1v1 interview begins now:

 

How did Manchester United see you play?

JK: I went over to England with the US youth national team when I was 16. We played against Manchester United, Liverpool, and other English clubs. A scout from Manchester United invited me for a two-week trial that next summer. United wanted me to play in MILK Cup, a youth international tournament, but their roster was full. They lent me to Glasgow Rangers for the tournament and we ended up winning. I scored 7 goals in 7 games and many clubs wanted me. Manchester United was the obvious choice for me, however. My parents were very supportive and before I knew it I was the youngest and first American playing professional soccer for one of the best teams in the world.

 

You are the only American to win the Champions League. If you had to describe the emotions you felt at the time in one word what would it be?

JK: AMAZING! It was a fantastic experience. I did not think about it then, but the players I was around were the best in the world. We were the Barca of now and I was a player among them.

 

You were only 16 years old and the first American player to be playing abroad. Was it difficult adapting to the your new environment in England with Manchester United?

JK: Being an American was not easy, but once you show them you can play everyone gives you respect.

 

Can you describe your emotions during your first debut for the US national team at 18 years?

JK: GREAT! I was born and raised here! I have played 62 games with the US national team and have played at the youth level as well as in the Olympics. It was always amazing playing for my country. I wanted to be the best!

Kirovski talks playing in Bundesliga and MLS after the jump

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Written by Megan Miller

Portland Thorns

Over the years, female soccer players have always looked up to the U.S. Women’s National Team, or even their favorite EPL or MLS team for inspiration, never having a solid professional league to follow. That all changed when the new National Women’s Soccer League was introduced this year.

With eight teams, each with a handful of U.S., Canadian, and Mexican national team players, the league looked as though it would be a success. I got the opportunity to attend the Thorns FC home opener in Portland this past weekend against the Seattle Reign, and was amazed at what I saw.

I walked into JELD-WEN Stadium on Sunday, expecting a decent-sized crowd; young girls dressed in their soccer uniforms, in particular. I was pleasantly surprised to see that I had drastically underestimated the following that these women would have.

Megan gets a look at Alex Morgan and former teammates after the jump

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Written by Dennis Holowaty

KC

It all started back in 1999 when the Columbus Crew took a gamble and built the long awaited Columbus Crew Stadium. It was the first soccer specific stadium built for the MLS and was a milestone for American soccer.  This stadium led to a domino affect around the league as other teams started rolling out bigger and better stadiums that continue to impress fans.

The most recent additions include BBVA Compass Stadium in Houston and Livestrong Park in Kansas City.  These breathtaking stadiums are cornerstones for the league and provide fans with an unbelievable experience filled with top-notch game presentations, concessions, and amenities that rivals other major sports facilities.

The importance of the stadiums go far beyond the aesthetically pleasing look they possess.  These brand new stadiums showcase the MLS’s growth from its infancy to where it is today.  The transition from old football stadiums to world-class soccer-specific stadiums indicates that the MLS is slowly but surely etching itself a niche in the American market and is making a conscious effort to provide the best fan experience possible.

The American consumer tastes of sporting events are always evolving.  Every league in the United States finds itself trying to figure out the best ways possible to service its fans. The modern fan wants excitement on the field, but also wants a nice place to grab some food and socialize with friends.   In the newer MLS stadiums such as Livestrong Park, you are finding these amenities, concessions, and experiences present.  These upgrades to the atmosphere and presentation of the soccer brand are paying dividends for the franchise and the league.

Newer facilities also provide greater revenue streams that allow MLS franchises to monetize different assets not available before.  Sponsorship sales increase with the different and more prominent avenues in delivering their message. Increased suite and club level seating allow franchises to have a higher return on these more premium seats. New stadium designs allow for greater viewing angles and a better fan experience. More upscale concessions allow for a greater markup and make more money for teams.

Going forward, it is important for MLS franchises to continue to invest in themselves, their players, and the league.  A concerted effort on all fronts will pay great dividends for the leagues in terms of TV contracts, sponsorships, and expansions which will not only benefit the league but also the individual teams.  Soccer is on the rise in America and believe it or not more changes are coming. By making strategic steps forward the MLS will continue to position itself as a top league in the United States.

 

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Written by Zev Taublieb

Anton

Stefan Antonijevic is a former Valpairaso player whose professional career has taken many turns. He was drafted by Kansas City, bounced around Europe and the 6-foot-6 center back has now settled in Florida with the NASL’s Fort Lauderdale Strikers. We check in with the globetrotter in this exclusive interview.

 

Where are you from?
SA:
I am from Buffalo Grove Illinois.

 

Do you have dual citizenship? To what countries?

SA: Yes, American and Serbian

 

If soccer had not worked out what was you backup plan?

SA: Coaching

 

Why NASL?

SA: Great league that allows younger players to develop and pursue higher leagues.

 

One thing you find unique to the NASL compared to other leagues.

SA: The structure of the league and its schedule

 

What is your next professional goal?

SA: Next goal is to have a long and successful career without any regrets

 

 

If you could choose to go abroad or stay in the US where would you choose to go?

SA: Abroad

 

Any team in the MLS you hope to play against? Why?

SA: Definitely Sporting KC and Chicago Fire. Because I used to play with those teams, and there would be no sweeter revenge than to beat them.

 

What are some other teams you have tried out for or played on since your college career?

SA: Spartak Zlatibor Voda of the Serbian SuperLiga and HNK Rijeka of the Croatian first league.

 

Find out who Antonijevic models his game after following the jump.

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MLS Monday: Top 5 Goals

Written by Reshad Bahadori

Some great strikes this weekend in MLS, including former Notre Dame standout Dillon Powers (now of the Colorado Rapids) and Jose Villarreal from the U20 MNT.


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Written by Travis Clark

155020_10151305005162035_828741810_nWASHINGTON – The Landon Donovan saga is drawing to a close. This week, Donovan rejoined his Galaxy teammates for training and a trip to the White House, celebrating the team’s 2012 MLS Cup triumph.

The all-time leading scorer for the U.S. men’s national team, Donovan decided to take a break this offseason and has yet to play in 2013.

That time looks to be ending, and Donovan talked with reporters for the first time on Thursday morning, where the team was training ahead of a weekend matchup in Toronto.

Here’s what he had to say:

 

Q: Did you get what you wanted out of this little break?

LD: I did. I definitely needed a break, I was fortunate to have a lot of people both personally and professionally that also understood that. Now I’m excited to be back and to move forward and enjoy playing.

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Written by The 91st

Hoffman Donovan

We mentioned earlier that the Galaxy took their championship White House visit today, well look who decided to drop in? Yup, Mr. Landon Donovan, the 2013 answer to Where’s Waldo? Donovan’s been all over the map as of late, but he did make time for Obama.

David Beckham, on the other hand, couldn’t make it. He was too busy getting naked in China.

 

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Written by Zev Taublieb

Busch

He is famous, he is good looking; smart, talented, owns his own company and his initials are JB. No, it is not James Bond, Jason Bourne, or even Justin Bieber. It is none other than Jon Busch. We were able to catch up with the San Jose starting goalkeeper during this 1v1 interview for some interesting revelations.

 

Who was your soccer role model during your youth?

JB: (Former US Soccer GK) Tony Meola and (brother) Matt Busch.

 

What made you decide to become a keeper?

JB: My older brother was a forward and he needed someone to shoot on so he stuck me in goal and I liked it.

 

What 3 tips would you give an aspiring player or goalkeeper if their dream is to accomplish as much as you have?  

1. Don’t let anyone out work you.

2. Take each set back as just another challenge.

3. When your chance comes grab it with both hands and don’t let go.

 

Who is the best player you’ve ever played against?

JB: There have been so many. Peter Novak comes to mind, and Marco Etchevery.

 

What is the most memorable game you have played in? What team were you with? What team was it against?

JB: The two games that come to mind are when I played for the Crew and we beat LA for the Open Cup final and my US National Team debut vs Colombia, we won 3-0.

 

Busch previews life after soccer after the jump

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Written by The 91st

Seattle and Portland resumed their MLS rivalry last week with a 1-1 draw. One of the best matchups the league has to offer, take an inside look at the passion-filled showdown, from the locker room and huddle to the field.

 

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Written by Travis Clark

It’s rivalry week in MLS, meaning that nearly every game this weekend pairs off some of the biggest rivals against each other. In Texas, this means a meeting of the Houston Dynamo and FC Dallas.

In advance of settling things on the field, the two sides have traded video barbs, with the Dynamo supplying the latest effort, a response to FCD’s video we posted earlier in the week.

 

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