Pontius, Olsen, DeLeon nominated for MLS awards

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Pontius, Olsen, DeLeon nominated for MLS awards

Three of United's finest were listed as finalists today for Major League Soccer's 2012 year-end awards.  DCU head coach Ben Olsen is up for Coach of the Year, captain Chris Pontius is up for Comeback Player of the Year and, as expected, midfielder Nick DeLeon is a finalist for Rookie of the Year.  

DeLeon is the fourth consecutive Rookie of the Year finalist for United, joining teammates Chris Pontius (2009), Andy Najar (2010 winner) and Perry Kitchen (2011). In addition to Najar, United vets Santino Quaranta (2001) and Freddy Adu (2004) also share the honor, each scoring five goals in their rookie seasons to win over voters.

This season, DeLeon notched six goals, which set a new goal-scoring franchise record and has played an integral role in each of United's tallies in the postseason.  DeLeon is up against former college teammate, Austin Berry (Chicago Fire) and Darren Mattocks (Vancouver Whitecaps FC). 

The 2012 Rookie of the Year will be announced on Nov. 17.  

In only his second full season as head coach of the Black and Red, Ben Olsen has pulled DCU from the bottom of the Eastern Conference standings to a second-place finish (17-10-7) and the club's first playoff berth in five years. Olsen's competition for Coach of the Year includes Peter Vermes (Sporting Kansas City) and Frank Yallop (San Jose Earthquakes).

After back to back seasons derailed by injury in 2010 and 2011, Pontius, the club's longest-tenured player, rebounded this year to record his best career season.  Pontius led United with 12 goals and set personal highs in games played (31) minutes (2,339) and shots on goal (29). He became the club's captain in September when Dwayne De Rosario was sidelined for the remainder of the season.

Alan Gordon (San Jose Earthquakes) and Eddie Johnson (Seattle Sounders FC) are also finalists for Comeback Player of the Year.

The Coach of the Year and Comeback Player of the Year awards will be announced on Nov. 27. 

Nike releases images of new U.S. Soccer jerseys, receives criticism of familiar design

Nike releases images of new U.S. Soccer jerseys, receives criticism of familiar design

The U.S. National Teams will rock a new look coming up soon. Instead of a blue and white color pallet on their existing jerseys, the new kit Nike unveiled today will be two shades of red. 

The U.S. men will first wear the red kits for their March 24th World Cup qualifying match against Honduras. The U.S. women will don them sooner, for the 2017 SheBelieves Cup from March 1 to 7. 

Similar to the previous designs, the new shirts will have color block sleeves with the words "1 Nation" and "1 Team" appearing on the inside hem. Men's team jerseys are crewneck, while womens are v-neck. 

Like all new uniforms, these have drawn some criticism, specifically for their resemblance to Portugal's 2016 home kit and England's 2016 away kit. 

What do you think; too similar or still too similar? Because it's hard to find the differences...

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It's official: U.S. Soccer hires Bruce Arena to replace Jurgen Klinsmann

It's official: U.S. Soccer hires Bruce Arena to replace Jurgen Klinsmann

NEW YORK – Bruce Arena is returning to coach the U.S. national soccer team, a decade after he was fired.

The winningest coach in American national team history, Arena took over Tuesday, one day after Jurgen Klinsmann was fired. The 65-year-old Arena starts work Dec. 1.

With the U.S. 0-2 in the final round of World Cup qualifying, the U.S. Soccer Federation wants to spark a turnaround when the playoffs resume March 24 with a home game against Honduras.

"His experience at the international level, understanding of the requirements needed to lead a team through World Cup qualifying, and proven ability to build a successful team were all aspects we felt were vital for the next coach," USSF President Sunil Gulati, who fired Arena in 2006, said in a statement. "I know Bruce will be fully committed to preparing the players for the next eight qualifying games and earning a berth to an eighth straight FIFA World Cup."

Arena first took over as national team coach after the 1998 World Cup and led the U.S. to a 71-30-29 record.

"I'm looking forward to working with a strong group of players that understand the challenge in front of them after the first two games," Arena said in a statement. "Working as a team, I'm confident that we'll take the right steps forward to qualify"

A wisecracking Brooklynite known for blunt talk and sarcasm, he coached the University of Virginia from 1978-95, then led D.C. United to titles in Major League Soccer's first two seasons before losing in the 1998 final. He guided the Americans to the team's best World Cup finish since 1930, a 1-0 loss to Germany in the 2002 quarterfinals.

He was let go after the team's first-round elimination by Ghana in 2006. Arena coached the New York Red Bulls of MLS from July 2006 to November 2007, then was hired the following August by the Galaxy. He led the team to MLS titles in 2011, 2012 and 2014.

Arena was inducted into the U.S. National Soccer Hall of Fame in 2010.

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