BY Stanley Holmes 10:55AM 01/06/2011

On Frame

Snippets from the far edge of Soccer Nation

Soccer superstar Kristine Lilly is finally retiring at the age of 39

Seattle apparently out of contention to host U.S.-Argentina friendly on March 26, according to Soccer Insider of the Washington Post. No official confirmation has been communicated. Still, only one response will suffice: You’ve got to be kidding! Not hosting a U.S. international friendly in Seattle is almost as tone deaf as FIFA awarding the 2022 World Cup to Qatar. But as you know, deciding where to play an international soccer match can get, uh, rather complicated.  Intangibles appear to carry more weight than the tangibles as the Qatar selection demonstrated. Even though we don’t know the details that caused the breakdown in Seattle, we do know that a sold-out Qwest Field of soccer-crazy supporters failed to convince the United States Soccer Federation. Memo to USSF: are you trying to one-up FIFA?

Speaking of the devil…Fifa President Sepp Blatter, in search of a Nobel Peace Prize, now claims to be outraged by the continued allegations of “corruption’’ involving the World Cup bidding process. And, so, the leader of Soccer Nation has announced he is forming an Anti-Corruption Committee to ensure the bidding process is clean and transparent. Says the imperious one: “I will take care of it personally, to make sure that there is no corruption at Fifa. This committee will strengthen our credibility and give us a new image in terms of transparency.’’ Forgive me for falling out of my chair, laughing.

Kristine Lilly, the Iron Lady of U.S., soccer retires, at age 39. I thought it would never happen. Yes, Lilly was a fantastic player and second only to the immortal Mia Hamm in career goals, and yes, she played in 352 international matches — a world record. But the fact she was still playing raises troubling questions for the state of women’s soccer in America. We should have seen two or three youngish tiger Lillys refuse to let the 39-year-old mother step back onto the pitch. By now, we should be witnessing one or two rising stars reshape the U.S. Women’s National team in their own image — just like Hamm and just like Lilly did for many memorable decades. But it hasn’t happened. That’s not Lilly’s fault. She just loves to play soccer. And to be fair, she represented her country well, very well indeed. She has played in all five Fifa Women’s World Cups and three Olympic Games, creating many moments of soccer magic. The one stat I think is impressive: she owns the distinction of being the youngest (16) and the oldest player to score a goal for the U.S. national team. Lilly, a 5-4 midfielder with a tireless work rate and a skilled left foot, scored her first national team goal in August 1987. She scored her final career goal against Germany last May in Cleveland.

Cascadia Cup ticket-sale competition heating up. Portland Timbers just announced the club has surpassed 10,000 season-ticket sales and will cap them at 12,000 in its renovated PGE Park, which will hold a capacity of 20,000 fans. Vancouver Whitecaps say they have sold 15,000 season tickets and will cap it at 16,500. But whose the biggest daddy of them all? Seattle Sounders, that’s who. The newbies will need to step up their game if they want to beat the Sounders’ season-ticket sales in its first year. In January 2009, just three months before their first kick, the Sounders had sold about 19,000 season tickets and capped sales at 26,000 for 2009 — a total reached by April. The Sounders raised the cap to 32,000 in 2010 and continued to sell out every match.

David Beckham growing bored in la-la land...Or so it seems. The fashion icon, media darling and LA Galaxy soccer stud, formerly of Real Madrid and Manchester United, may have woke one morning in a cold sweat — he was only playing for the Galaxy in the MLS! What else explains the rumors of the ancient thirtysomething seeking a short-term loan deal with Tottenham Hotspurs of the English Premier League? He certainly isn’t doing it for the money. And he doesn’t expect to play for England, does he?

Sigi Schmid to Receive Walt Chyzowych Lifetime Achievement Award
Sounders FC head coach Sigi Schmid has been chosen to receive the Walt Chyzowych Memorial Fund Lifetime Achievement Award for 2011. The award is intended to honor the memory and legacy of Walt Chyzowych, the former USA National Team and Olympic Coach as well as US Soccer Director of Coaching, who passed away suddenly in 1994 while serving as head coach at Wake Forest University. “Sigi Schmid is now the active coach with the most MLS wins at 139,” stated Ralph Lundy, Executive Director of WCMF. “He has coached in 316 MLS matches and his Seattle Sounders are the first team in 27 years to win back-to-back US Open Cups. He is recognized as a coach who thoroughly prepares his team while also focusing on player development. He is a perfect choice to be recognized for his contributions to the American game in the spirit of one of his mentors, Walt Chyzowych.” Formal presentation to Schmid will be made Jan. 15.


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