Saturday, September 29, 2007

Where Are They Now-MetroStars 1997 Trialists

In continuing with last week's post, I did some more research and all the names that were associated as players/trialists for the MetroStars in 1997 are now included.

Scott Lamphear-The year was 1995. College's Division I first team consisted of names such as Clint Mathis, Matt McKeon, Andy Williams, Jesse Marsch, Brandon Pollard and…Scott Lamphear. After trading away their first round college draft pick (which ended up being Eddie Pope) the MetroStars drafted in Lamphear as their first college pick with the 11th pick overall. Scott Lamphear made a deal with the MetroStars that he would finish college and then join the team. On January 26th, 1997, he joined the Metros and almost made the final cut wearing jersey #25. However, Lamphear ended up being waived at the last cut. In 2001, Lamphear became Colorado College’s assistant mens coach until 2002 when he switched to the women’s assistant coach at Colorado College until January 21st, 2006. He has since gone missing…hopefully in his Engineering field that he postponed his MLS career for.

Will Kohler-In the second round of the 1997 MLS College Draft, the MetroStars drafted Will Kohler out of Harvard. Kohler missed training because of classes and wouldn’t have been able to join the team until the summer. He was about to sign with the team wearing #22 but after hearing what kind of salary he would earn, Kohler decided that his Harvard education would pay better on Wall Street. Can't argue with that. Especially in MLS circa 1997.

Roger Forzman -Forzman joined the MetroStars on their 1997 preseason tour of Italy. Roger Forzman saw time in two games before being let go. The Swedish player played in the Nicola Caricola Tribute Game against Genoa and a day earlier against the Serie C U21 National Team. Forzman was let go after that game and vanished since.

Gerry Lucey-On July 30th, 1997, the MetroStars called up Gerry Lucey from the North Jersey Imperials for an exhibition game against the Long Island Rough Riders. After his lone exhibition game, Lucey returned to the Imperials until the start of 1998. At that time, Lucey signed with the Long Island Rough Riders where he played until 2001. Lucey then retired from the game and continued his coaching career, which he started while playing. From 1994-2001, Lucey was the Head Coach/Assistant Coach for both the Mens and Womens programs at C.W. Post University in Long Island, NY. From 2001-2004, Lucey took over the reins with the Countryside Soccer Club. From there he became the assistant coach at the University of Tampa from 2004-2005 but left to coach West Chester University (Pennsylvania) where he posted a 23-1 record. On July 23rd, 2007, Lucey rejoined the University of Tampa as the women’s coach.

Jasmin Samardzic-Samardzic was a forward that joined up with the MetroStars during their 1997 preseason tour in Italy. He played in a whopping one game with the MetroStars against the Serie C U21 National Team. After not making the MetroStars squad, Samardzic bounced around in Europe, particularly Croatia, playing for Eintracht Braunschweig in Germany’s 3rd division in 98-99, and in Croatia for NK Rijeka, NK Pomorac in 2001-2002, NK Zagreb in 2002-2003, and HNK Rijeka in 2003-2004. Since then I am unsure of his whereabouts. I was told that he is a powerful person in Bosnia’s political cabinet being the Minister of Refugees but I have also heard that it is not the same person, just the same name…oddly enough.

Kenny Santos-Along with Gerry Lucey, MetroStars also called upon Kenny Santos for his first and only time donning the MetroStars jersey. After his game with the team, Santos coached the Jersey Riptide U17s and then moved on to become the assistant coach for Monmouth University’s Mens team from 1999-2001. He also switched careers and became a school teacher. He is currently the Head Coach of Red Bank Catholic Girls High School team.

Dave Stewart-With the 25th pick in the 1997 Supplemental Draft, the MetroStars drafted Dave Stewart who had been playing with the El Paso Patriots of the USISL in 1996. Stewart joined the team in Italy for the preseason tour and almost made the team wearing #13 but when the teams had to trim down, Stewart was cut. Where he went from there? One of the few mysteries I do not know.

Renato-Renato’s story will appear during the 2004 edition of these write-ups. He appeared on the preseason roster in both 1997 and 2004.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Where Are They Now-MetroStars 1996 Trialists

After seeing some of the names floating around the USL and other leagues, I decided to make a Where Are They Now-MetroStars/Red Bulls Trialists page. Each week, I will bring you what has happened with those guys that never made the team. This week, I will start with all of the 1996 Trialists.

Jorge Acosta-A talented US-Columbian striker, Acosta earned 12 caps with the US National Team starting in 1991. In 1996, the MetroStars drafted Acosta from the New York Fever of the USISL. Acosta was well past his prime and was waived by the team on the second waiver date of April 15th, 1996 with GK Matt Olsen (see below). He returned to the Fever and scored 5 goals in the 96 season. After retiring Acosta became the Assistant Camp Director of the Mickey Kydes Soccer Enterprises (another former Metro well past his prime when joining the Metros) and the Program Director at Old Greenwich Riverside Civic Center in Connecticut.

Hamisi Amani-Dove-Hamisi was drafted by the MetroStars in the 1996 College Draft but ended up turning down the offer to play for the Metros and went to Holland to play in the second division AZ Alkmaar instead. There he scored the game-winning goal that season to promote the club. He then moved to Austria and dominated scoring 32 goals in just two seasons with Bad Bleiberg. He then moved to Israel to play with Hapoel Tzafririm Holon F.C. where he netted another 19 goals in two seasons. In 2001, Hamisi Amani-Dove came back to MLS in a weighted lottery with the Dallas Burn winning his rights. Only seeing time in 6 games, he moved down to the USL where he played for Rochester Raging Rhinos in 2002 and Virginia Beach Mariners until 2005. Now retired, Amani-Dove is a successful business leader in the Washington DC area.

Walter Bustamante-Playing for the New Jersey Dragons in the USISL, Bustamante was the 159 out of 160 picks in the Inaugural Draft of 1996. The all-time assist leader at Long Island University, Bustamante never played for the MetroStars and was waived on March 25th, 1996. Bustamante is now one of the coaches of the World Class Soccer Camp with names such as Jeff Rigby, Alecko Eskandarian, and former Cosmos captain Kazbek Tambi (the director of the camp) located in New Jersey.

Troy Dayak-Dayak hated New York. So much, in fact, that he demanded a trade after the MetroStars drafted him in the 1996 Inaugural Draft with their second pick. The Metros traded him to San Jose in the first ever trade in MLS. In return the MetroStars received Rhett Harty and a first round draft pick in the 1996 College Draft (which was later traded a few more times). Dayak ended up having an extremely successful MLS career even after having neck surgery after an injury that almost left him paralyzed in 1997. In 1998 the Clash released Dayak where he recoved and started playing again for the San Francisco Bay Seals of the USL until 2001. He returned to MLS and San Jose and joined the Earthquakes where he played until 2005. After retiring, Dayak became the manager of the California Cougars of the MISL (Major Indoor Soccer League). Dayak owns a soccer shop in California as well as still still managing with the Livermore Youth Soccer Team in California. On a side note, he also owns an alfalfa farm.

Edivaldo "Juninho" DaSilva-In one of Charlie Stillitano's (then GM of the MetroStars) shocking moves, the club drafted Juninho and Tulio of Brazil. Unfortunately, neither were the same as the Brazil National Team players. After never showing up for the MetroStars, the club waived him along with Tulio, Walter Bustamante, Eddie Soto and Khary Stockton (all included in this piece) on March 25th, 1996. Nobody really ever knew who Juninho was until 2005. In 2005, Edivaldo DaSilva joined the Rochester Raging Rhinos of the USL. I conducted an interview with the player and realized that he was the Juninho that never was for the MetroStars. He played with the Puerto Rico Islanders (USL) in 2004 and in Bolivia and Tunisia. Juninho was released by the Rhinos for another MetroStars trialist, Bill Andracki, in August of 2006. He is now with the expansion MISL team, New Jersey Ironmen.

GK-Tim Mulqueen-Mulqueen has been a goalkeeper and assistant coach all over the place starting with the MetroStars in 1996. Due to roster regulations during this time, Mulqueen actually dressed for a number of games as the MetroStars backup goalkeeper when Tony Meola and Zach Thornton could not play. In 1997, Mulqueen was not only the MetroStars goalkeeper coach but also coached the New Jersey Imperials and their goalkeeper Tim Howard. Mulqueen brought Howard to MLS and now Howard is the starting goalkeeper for the United States men's national team and Everton FC in England after leaving Manchester United. After the MetroStars, Mulqueen rejoined Tony Meola in Kansas City with the Wizards as their assistant and goalkeeping coach along with former MetroStar, Brian Bliss. In 2004, Mulqueen joined the US Mens U-23 team as their goalkeeper coach until 2005 where he made the move to the U-17 camp as one of the assistant coaches where he is currently. Mulqueen has also been the goalkeeper coach for the U-20 and full Men's National Team.

Pat O'Kelly-An Irishman, Pat O'Kelly was drafted by the MetroStars in the 1996 Inaugural Draft from the North Jersey Imperials of the USISL. O'Kelly was a two-time NCAA first team member in college (1988 and 1989) with Seton Hall but decided that he would retire instead for "personal reasons". In 1998, O'Kelly came out of retirement to play in New Jersey in the USISL. He now works for a security firm in New York City.

GK-Matt Olsen-In one of the worst trades in MLS history, Matt Olsen was acquired as the third goalkeeper by the MetroStars in a trade with DC United. The transaction read like this: Matt Olson, second-round pick in supplemental draft (12th overall) and second round pick in college draft (11th overall) traded to MetroStars for first-round pick in supplemental draft (eighth overall). However, this was all based on a flurry of trades that were made by the two clubs. That eighth pick ended up being Mario Gori who had a successful MLS career but part of that flurry of trades included giving up the first round college draft pick who became EDDIE POPE! Pope's career obviously took off, while Olsen was placed on waivers with Jorge Acosta on April 15th, 1996 the club's second day of waivers. I have not learned of Olsen's whereabouts since his release from the club.

Eddie Soto-Drafted by the MetroStars in the 8th round of the 1996 Inaugural Draft out of the Los Angeles Cobras of the USISL camp, Soto was unable to make the roster for the Metros and was waived on March 25th, 1996. He then played some sand beach soccer and Orange County Zodiac/Wave of the USISL. In 1998, the Dallas Burn drafted Soto but once again, he was unable to make the final roster. Soto then joined his alma mater of Cal-State Fullerton as the assistant coach until Long Beach State's women's team offered him the same position where is currently.

Khary Stockton-Part of the group that was waived on March 25th, 1996, Stockton was drafted in the 12th round of the 1996 inaugural draft from the USISL's Richmond Kickers. After being unable to make the squad, Stockton went back to the USISL and played with the Milwaukee Rampage, Carolina Dynamo, New Orleans Storm, Lehigh Valley Steam, and then back to the Richmond Kickers after Lehigh Valley folded in 1999. He currently runs the Khary Stockton Soccer Camp based in the Washington DC area.

Tulio-Part of the wasted draft picks in 1996, Tulio was drafted after Juninho (see above) and never showed up to the New Jersey area. Waived on March 25th, 1996, Tulio is probably the most unknown name that the MetroStars had ever drafted. So rare that nobody even knows what his real name was. One thing is certain though, the Brazilian was not the Tulio of the famed Brazilian national team.

Scott Lamphear-Lamphear's interesting story will be included with the 1997 names.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Charlotte Eagles Sign Former Metro, Nelson Akwari

Anybody who knows me understands that I love to know what former MetroStars/Red Bull players are up to. So get used to seeing something on here everytime I hear of one of the near 200 players making a move.

Today, former Project-40/MetroStars defender Nelson Akwari signed with USL2's Charlotte Eagles. He joins former MetroStars #1 Draft Pick, Steve Shak.

Akwari joined the MetroStars in a weighted lottery on August 12th, 2002. To make room for Akwari the team waived Dustin Sheppard. Akwari was performing with the US U23's at the time. Akwari played in 7 games with the MetroStars, starting just 3. His debut was in an exhibition against Chivas where he recorded an assist.

In 2003, he was traded to Columbus along with the MetroStars 2nd round draft pick in 2004 in exchange for the 17th pick overall in the 2003 MLS SuperDraft. The Metros used that pick on current Red Bull player, Tim Regan.

Akwari struggled to blossum into a talented defender for the Crew and did not consistently see action. The Crew then lost Akwari to Real Salt Lake in the expansion draft in 2005. With Real, Akwari started to find a home in the back and looked to secure a starting spot heading into 2006 after a groin injury halted his most succesful campaign towards the end of the season. He got his chance to make a comeback three games into the 2006 season but it wasn't enough to earn a permanent spot as he only ended up playing in 18 games. In the 2007 preseason, Real Salt Lake coach deemed Akwari unworthy of a spot with the team and waived him.

Best of luck to Akwari! His career went from a potential candidate for the USMNT to starting in just over half a MLS team's games in one season down to USL2 the next season.

Saturday, April 7, 2007

Kickoff 2007:Player Hypes

As MLS is kicking off its 12th season, there is hype around 3 Red Bulls players: Clint Mathis, Jozy Altidore, and Claudio Reyna.

Clint Mathis may not be starting tonight but has shedded 13 pounds in an effort to get back into shape and regain his early career form. The NY Post has an interesting article regarding the matter and Clint's return here.

Josmer (Jozy) Altidore is ready to take the starting spot up a 17 year old. During MLS' preview, two interesting spots featured Jozy. The first showed the expected top players for MLS this season featuring Jozy and showed his beautiful long distance goal from last season. The second was a cartoon commercial by adidas that started with a player getting ready to kick the ball saying that he kicked the ball too hard and showing the cartoon Altidore carrying a large ball on his back. They pan out to show the 17 year old with a smile on his face.

Finally, Claudio Reyna. One of the biggest signings for the league in the offseason, Reyna is poised to take control of the Red Bulls. The captain was featured as one of the top stories of the offseason along with Beckham, Adu to RSL, and Blanco. As long as his knees can hold up, I think Reyna will live up to all the hype.

Friday, April 6, 2007

The "Designated Player Rule" Hurt RBNY Thus Far

Finally, after an offseason plauged by DP rumors, it's game day. When the Designated Player spot opened up for all MLS teams, it seemed like such a great idea. But let's do a reflection of this.

Bruce Arena becomes head coach of the Red Bulls. Interest spikes that Claudio Reyna will certainly be joining the Red Bulls during the offseason! The Designated Player rule is not in effect.

Claudio Reyna is expected to join the team. All media outlets are reporting it's not for a designated player spot.

The Red Bulls trade away arguable the team's best player, Amado Guevara, for a Designated Player spot.

Claudio Reyna signs. In the hype and excitement, it goes practically unnoticed that he has taken a designated player spot.

With Amado Guevara's replacement, the team is unable to secure any player for the DP spot. Ronaldo, Luis Figo, Zinadine Zidane, Agustin Delgado, Marcelo Salas, Juan Pablo Angel are all rumored to join the team but none ever do.

So, opening day is upon us and we have nothing for Amado Guevara and its pretty well known that Reyna was coming before the DP spots were in effect. That means we could have signed Reyna without a DP spot, kept Amado Guevara and thus had a DP spot to use. Instead we lose Amado Guevara for a DP slot (which can be argued that its for 5 years but we wouldnt have needed it if Reyna was able to be signed on a non DP salary). While Red Bull officials are claiming that they are trying so hard, names in Europe that said they would play with the MetroStars well before the DP rule are suddenly gone. Blanco, who would have made an amazing striker for the Red Bulls, signed with Chicago last week with their DP spot. While only 3 DP spots have been used, one has to wonder where the names that were so interested in playing in New York have disappeared to. The problem before was money. It obviously isn't the case now.

Have RBNY really benefitted from this rule? My guess is that it screwed us. Without the rule, we could still have Reyna and Guevara. With the rule, we have Reyna while Chicago is bolstered with Blanco and LA has brought in Beckham who will make competition tougher. 9 other teams also have a DP spot at their disposal.

So my two cents? Until we sign a player with our other DP spot, we lost Guevara for nothing and we would have still had Reyna regardless.

Thursday, April 5, 2007

Trialist Ansu Toure signs...with USL

Ansu Toure has returned to the United Soccer Leagues and has signed with his former team, the Minnesota Thunder. The deal is for two years and confirms Arena's comments about the Red Bulls not signing him with Mathis now on board.

The Minnesota Thunder are one of twelve teams in the United Soccer Leagues First Division. Former MetroStars midfielder, Manny Lagos, is the team's Director of Soccer Operations.

Magee to Chicago?

To start, I hear A LOT of rumors from A LOT of sources. Only about 35% actually comes to fruitation. This is part of the reason I created a blog. This one is a "I heard from a guy who heard from a guy" sorta thing.
In order to sign a Designated Player like the team wants to do, a player from the 18 man roster needs to be released in some way, shape or form. Well, that player might be Mike Magee. Magee has spent most of his career on the verge of breaking out but injuries have set him back. To start the 2007 season, Magee will be on the bench along with four other forwards so the trade makes sense. What makes more sense is that the trade will be for a draft pick (2nd round pick in 2008) and Chicago is where Magee is from. Add in that they can use another forward and this adds up. I'll keep you updated as I hear more.
UPDATE: While watching The Ultimate Fighter tonight (my other passion), I received a phone call from a source telling me I "was full of (you know what)." I contacted my source from which I heard this initally and he is standing by what he heard. I'll keep you posted.