U.S. National Teams
United States Under-20s vs. Costa Rica
6:30 p.m. Friday (Fox Soccer Channel)
The U.S. only managed to beat Haiti by a 2-1 margin in its first group game of the CONCACAF Under-20 championship. That was enough to qualify for the next round, but Tab Ramos' squad needs to make a statement with a better defensive effort against the Ticos.
Former U.S. national team and Columbus Crew midfielder Robbie Rogers comes out as gay, stops playing soccer
The American soccer community was jolted Friday afternoon when one of the sport's more familiar faces, 25-year-old Robbie Rogers, declared himself to be gay and stepped away from playing the sport.
Despite his relatively young age, Rogers enjoyed a successful career with the Columbus Crew, English club Leeds United and the U.S. national team. Among his most prominent moments was scoring the tying goal in the U.S.' 1-1 draw with Mexico at Lincoln Financial Field in July of 2011. That was Jurgen Klinsmann's first game as U.S. head coach.
Rogers moved from Columbus to Leeds after the 2012 MLS season. His prominence faded after that due to injury, and Leeds released him last month. The California native decided to return to Major League Soccer, and the Chicago Fire traded to gain his rights from Columbus.
UPDATE: I spoke Saturday night with Bob Ley and other sources about ESPN's reporting on fixed soccer games played in the United States. The first thing I learned - and this was referred to on air but sort of glossed over - is that fixing in the two matches referred to below have been known about for a while.
There was a story last summer on ESPN Deportes' version of the investigative program E:60 about match-fixing involving El Salvador's national team. Both the U.S.-El Salvador game in 2010 and the Mexico-El Salvador game in 2011 were mentioned.
That E:60 program also referred to a CONCACAF Champions League game between Real Salt Lake and Panamanian club Arabe Unido played on August 28, 2010. Friday's Outside The Lines show did not mention it because of time constraints.
Time: 4:00 p.m. EST
Venue: Estadio Olimpico, San Pedro Sula, Honduras
TV: beIN Sport (Phil Schoen, Ray Hudson and Cobi Jones)
The United States men's national team begins the final round of 2014 World Cup qualifying today with a very difficult test. Honduras has a tremendous home field advantage and a lot of skilled, speedy players who will trouble the U.S. defense.
If you're stuck at your desk or don't have beIN Sport on your TV, come join my chat for live updates. If you do have beIN, I hope you'll join in as well to talk about what you're seeing.
Ghana vs. Cape Verde Islands
9:50 a.m. Saturday (ESPN3.com)
Playing in the Africa Cup of Nations for the first time ever, Cape Verde has made an upset run to the quarterfinals. Now the Blue Sharks will face a traditional powerhouse in Ghana. The Black Stars are led by forward Asamoah Gyan, who scored the goal that knocked the United States out of the 2010 World Cup.
Still have a vuvuzela in your closet? It might come in handy over the next few days, as the Africa Cup of Nations kicks in to high gear.
Zambia vs. Nigeria
10:00 a.m. Friday (ESPN3.com)
The list of venues for the 2013 CONCACAF Gold Cup has been published, and for the second consecutive tournament, Philadelphia is not included.
North America's signature regional tournament for national teams has not come here since the 2009 edition, when Lincoln Financial Field hosted a quarterfinal doubleheader.
A total of 13 venues will host games this summer. Some are tournament stalwarts, such as the Rose Bowl and Soldier Field. Others are new, such as Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy, Utah and JELD-WEN Field in Portland, Oregon.
INDIANAPOLIS - Consider the following scenario.
Somewhere out there in this country is a 12-year-old girl who is a big fan of the United States women's national soccer team.
She has a poster in her bedroom of Alex Morgan, or Abby Wambach, or maybe Carli Lloyd or Hope Solo.
INDIANAPOLIS – Although the National Women's Soccer League's college draft was conducted without much fanfare, there were a few U.S. national team players on hand to lend a little bit of buzz to the occasion.
One of them was midfielder Lauren Cheney, who as many of you has deep ties to Philadelphia. She and 76ers guard Jrue Holiday have been in a relationship since their days at UCLA, and last summer they got engaged.
I spent a few minutes talking with Cheney about what she has been up to since last summer's Olympics, both on and off the field.
Taylor Twellman opens up about the state of Major League Soccer, youth soccer player development, and his work researching concussions in sports
INDIANAPOLIS - I'm sure almost all of you are familiar with Taylor Twellman at this point. As ESPN's lead color analyst for Major League Soccer and U.S. men's national team games, the former New England Revolution star has quickly become one of the most respected and influential voices in the American soccer community.
But if you think he's good on television, you should know that he's even better when he's not in front of a camera. Give him an extended period to discuss the issues of the day, and he'll give you far more than just a few good soundbytes.
I know I've said that before, as I've been able to interview him for this blog a few times in the past. But it bears repeating, especially when he is able to command a sizeable audience in person.