Thursday, December 3, 2009

Best Soccer blog voting

US Soccer is having their annual Best of US Soccer awards voting. Wizards team blog Hillcrest Road is a finalist. They are up there with all the big national blogs. It is hard for a team blog to compete with the big national focused blogs. I think this is one of those time's it really is a great honor for them to be nominated as a finalist.

I think Hillcrest has done a great job this year keeping people informed about the Wizards and the more interesting national and international soccer news.

Go vote and help Hillcrest Road move up in the votes!!!

Octavio Zambrano to be KC Wizards assistant coach

If my information is correct, Octavio Zambrano will be named as a new assistant coach for the Kansas City Wizards in the near future. He previously coached in MLS with LA as an assistant and then head coach in 1996-99 and with New York 2000-02.

Coach Zambrano brings some needed coaching experience to Kansas City. What do you think of this hiring?

Update: Wizards made it official this afternoon.

From the press release:

The Kansas City Wizards announced Thursday that Octavio Zambrano is joining the team’s coaching staff. Zambrano, a former MLS Head Coach with the second-best winning percentage in League history, will serve as an assistant coach under Manager Peter Vermes. Kerry Zavagnin, Zoran Savic and John Pascarella will remain on the technical staff as assistant coaches.

“We worked to add an assistant coach with head coaching experience,” Wizards President Robb Heineman said. “Octavio (Zambrano) has excellent knowledge of our League and the international game. His presence will allow Peter Vermes to focus both on day-to-day coaching of the team and player personnel decisions more easily.”

Zambrano, 51, was born in Guayaquil, Ecuador, where he lived before moving to the United States in 1980 to attend Chapman University. Zambrano is fluent in both English and Spanish. He also speaks Italian, Russian and Portuguese. Zambrano played for Ecuador’s U-20 National Team and First Division club Union Deportiva Valdez before starring at Chapman University in the U.S. Zambrano then played professionally for the Los Angeles Lazers in the USISL before becoming a coach.

Zambrano was a Head Coach in MLS for both the Los Angeles Galaxy and New York/New Jersey MetroStars, coaching 143 games and winning three division championships over six seasons. Zambrano went 80-55-8 as a head coach, including a 32-18-0 record in Los Angeles and a 48-37-8 record in New York. Zambrano coached some of the best players in MLS history, including Paul Caligiuri, Robin Fraser, Carlos Hermosillo, Eduardo Hurtado, Cobi Jones, Clint Mathis, Welton, Tim Howard, Lothar Matthaus and Tab Ramos.

"This is a great opportunity to return to MLS and join an organization with such a strong vision," Zambrano said. "I anxiously await coming to Kansas City to start working with the team and preparing for the 2010 season."

Zambrano’s teams are known for playing fast-paced, attacking soccer. In 1998, the Zambrano-led Galaxy scored a League-record 85 goals in 32 games (2.65 goals/game) and posted the most wins and best winning percentage in League history (24-8-0, .750). In 2000, Zambrano’s New York scored 64 goals in 32 games (2.00 goals/game), the 8th most goals in League history by a club in one season. Zambrano also served as Head Coach of CS Tiligul-Tiras Tiraspol of Moldova from 2006-2008 and FC Tatabánya of Hungary from 2008-2009.

Zambrano holds “A” coaching licenses in the United States as well as in Europe, and is also an innovator in youth player development, having developed the first soccer academy in Major League Soccer with the MetroStars. He also founded and coached the Latino-based LA Salsa U-19 team to the finals of the McGuire Cup, the top youth competition in the United States.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Wizards U18 2 - 0 St louis Scott Gallagher Metro U18

The Wizards Junior U18 team played their first home game as part of the US Development Academy last Sunday. They were the second game of a double header against St. Louis Scott Gallagher. The U16's tied the first game.

From the start of the match the Wizards U18's was the better team. St Louis had their chances but were not very dangerous. Kansas City on the other hand challenged the St. Louis keeper numerous times.

Not sure how you get in this position...


The team congratulating #21 Tony Young for scoring the first goal...


St Louis keeper Kent Kobernus was kept busy...


The Wizards goalie Taylor Vinnage (?) was not seriously challenged often but cleaned up anything that came his way...


Both teams played hard and physical (mostly clean) throughout the game...


Another challenge in the air...


Wizards defender Michael Oakley stopping a St. Louis attack...


The second goal for Kansas City was scored by Mbulunji Mhango in the 50th. Overall KC played well and kept pressure on St. Louis until late in the second half.

The game was entertaining and very well played. I thought both teams were well coached.It was a better game than most college games I have attended. A couple Wizards players really stood out for me and I can't wait to see them play again.

More U18 game photos can be found here.

Wizards U16 1 - 1 St louis Scott Gallagher Metro U16

The Wizards Junior U16 team played their first home game as part of the US Development Academy last Sunday. I missed most of the first half but from what I was told it seems like St Louis had the better of the play and was leading 1-0 at half. Brian Bement scored for St. Louis in the 39th minute.

After half the Wizards started taking control of the match. A combination of the wind and some timely subs tilted the play in Kansas City's favor.


The Wizards were getting shots and challenging the St. Louis keeper...


Finally a shot from Derek Schrick blasted past the St. Louis keeper in the 70th minute.


The Kansas City U16s kept up the pressure...


But was unable to get another goal past the excellent play of Liam Stapleton, the ST Louis keeper...


Overall a good and fair result for both teams. More photos U16 game photos here.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Mayor Funkhouser signs host city agreement for World Cup bid

Kansas City Mayor Mark Funkhouser held a press conference at Arrowhead stadium to announce that he had signed the Host City Agreement for Kansas City's World Cup Bid. This is another step in the process to become one of the host cities for the 2018 or 2022 World Cup.


Rick Hughes of the Kansas City Convention & Visitors Association spoke about the predicted economic impact of $400-600 million for each host city. That is comparable to a year's worth of conventions in just one month.


David Ficklin of Ongoal talking to reporters after the press conference.


Originally I was thinking the announcement of the host city agreement being signed was a little, well actually a large yawn. Just another step in the process, right? But after thinking about it I did a little looking around. It seems that no other cities have their agreement signed or if they do they have not revealed it yet. Being the first Bid City to have the agreement signed does make the KC Bid Committee look aggressive and organized. Even Ives tweeted it so everyone knows that Kansas City is ready. The US Bid Committee will pair down the bidding cities from 27 to 18 this month and this can only help.

Monday, November 30, 2009

World Cup Bid news?

There is a press conference scheduled for tomorrow at Arrowhead. It is supposed to be a major announcement by Mayor Funkhouser. My guess is that they are announcing that the Kansas City bid is signed and submitted. It would be nice to be announced that we are in the final 18. That announcement is scheduled for December and it would be big enough to warrant a press conference.

No matter what it is, I will be there and let you know as soon as possible. I plan to tweet any big news right away and I will get a post up as soon as possible. So sign up to follow on twitter and you will know before anyone else.