Talk

Fuel Soccer Talk: Zlatan left his mark on LA and MLS; US Youth Soccer’s Regional Awards announced; Midwest Fall Showcase features plenty of winners

Farewell: Zlatan Ibrahimovic heading to another Galaxy

He was arrogant. He was popular. He was polarizing. But he was clearly one of the best players to ever step on the pitch in his brief stay in MLS.

And now Zlatan Ibrahimovic is gone. The LA Galaxy announced that the Swedish superstar will not be returning to the club in 2020 by mutual consent.

Zlatan tweeted: “I came, I saw, I conquered. Thank you @lagalaxy for making me feel alive again. To the Galaxy fans – you wanted Zlatan, I gave you Zlatan. You are welcome. The story continues…Now go back to watch baseball.” Baseball?

Despite not knowing what sport is currently in-season here in the States, Zlatan was a huge difference maker on the pitch for the Galaxy and off the pitch for MLS. Over the past two seasons, he had 52 goals and 17 assists in 56 regular-season games for the Galaxy.

But his impact off the pitch may have been his greatest contribution to MLS. “We would like to thank Zlatan for his contributions to the LA Galaxy and Major League Soccer,” said LA Galaxy president Chris Klein in a team statement. “Since his arrival in 2018, Zlatan has positively influenced the sport of soccer in Los Angeles. We are grateful for his work ethic and passion. We thank Zlatan for his professionalism and immeasurable impact on the Los Angeles community and the soccer community in North America as a whole.”

There are plenty of lessons here for younger players. If you are going to talk, be prepared to back it up. Michael Jordan liked to talk – he backed it up. Muhammad Ali liked to talk – he backed it up. And Zlatan Ibrahimovic liked to talk – and he backed it up. True, he didn’t win a title. But he can’t play defense too.

US Youth Soccer announces Regional winners of annual awards

US Youth Soccer is excited to announce the regional winners of its annual awards.

The regional awards include: Boys and Girls Competitive Coaches of the Year, Boys and Girls Recreation Coaches of the Year, Young Referees of the YearVolunteer of the YearAdministrator of the Year and TOPSoccer Buddy and Coach of the Year.

The national winners will be announced on November 18 and then recognized at the 2020 US Youth Soccer Awards Gala, held Jan. 18 as part of the US Youth Soccer Workshop at the United Soccer Coaches Convention in Baltimore.

In addition, the Dr. Thomas Fleck Award will be announced with the national award winners on Jan.18, and the 2019 US Youth Soccer Hall of Fame Class will be inducted at the Gala.

SEE THE FULL LIST

More for U.S. Youth Soccer: Midwest Girls Fall Showcase

The 2019 US Youth Soccer Midwest Conference Girls Fall Showcase came to a close Sunday at the Creve Coeur Soccer Complex in St. Louis.

More than 120 Midwest Conference teams, including all Premier I and Premier II Division teams in the 15U-19U Girls age groups, competed in some of the final games of their fall season at the event. This weekend saw nine teams clinch first-place finishes in the Premier I and Premier II Divisions.

In addition to division titles, the weekend included several Premier II Division teams securing finishes near the top of the standings that will result in promotion within the Midwest Conference for next season. In the Premier I Divisions, several sides earned an automatic berth into the US Youth Soccer National League for the 2021-21 season with top-two finishes.

FULL REPORT

Send story comments and suggestions to Terry Jacoby at tajacoby@comcast.net