Here's a small collection of stories to be shared and commented on - not sure I have enough to say to warrant a dedicated post on each, but they're all noteworthy.
Lichaj Turned Down Poland
A few days old now, there's a story out there reporting that defender recently called up American defender Eric Lichaj turned down a call from Poland. Though I was somewhat nonplussed by the news, as I had always assumed that Lichaj would play for the US, it is interesting in the context that he'll be playing (provided Bob gives him his first cap) against the Poles on Saturday.
Lichaj is a young fullback, something of which we have a deficit, so any chance that his international services might have been lost is a scare thought. Luckily, Bob called him when he did, and Lichaj was more than willing. Too many times in the past we've seen talented Americans with dual-citizenship choose to play for someone else. It's refreshing, to say the least.
Grant Wahl wrote about it, then talked to Chuck Blazer about it, and now it appears there's an actual proposal for it; a combined "Tournament of the Americas" in which the ten CONMEBOL nations would be joined by six CONCACAF countries in an expanded version of the Copa America. I don't think I need to tell you how big this would be for the region; added meaningful games to the World Cup interim would benefit the United States in significant ways. The current cycle of World Cup/Gold Cup/Qualifying/Gold(ish) Cup leaves too much to be desired, provided a national broadcaster gets involved (and why wouldn't they?), a tournament like this could also greatly benefit the profile of the game and the National Team.
I'd prefer to see this reported in additional outlets before I get too excited about it, but at least the possibility is out there.
Charlie in ESPN the Magazine
This is powerful stuff. Just a week short of a year after the accident, Charlie Davies tells of his comeback efforts thus far for an upcoming piece in ESPN the Magazine. While I've expressed my concern that perhaps the comeback isn't as certain as everyone wants to believe, I am certainly rooting for Charlie. Hard. This story provides context for just how difficult it's been, and will continue to be, for Charlie to return to his previous form. When things have to be relearned, it's difficult to know if they can be relearned well enough to turn a player back into a top-class footballer.
I have supreme respect for what Charlie's been through and am glad to hear he's no longer working with deadlines in mind. If the force of his will is any indication, he'll be back playing first team soccer at some point. I genuinely hope that includes a return to the the USMNT.
The Charmed Life of David Beckham
Despite his wealth, fame, deadly right foot and incredible good looks, I've never before been jealous of David Beckham. Color me jealous today. Not because that Becks got to enjoy a $100 cheesesteak at a hoity-toity Philadelphia steak house (seems to defeat the purpose of eating a cheesesteak if you ask me), it's because the English midfielder was present for something that's only happened one other time in the history of America's past time, baseball: a post-season no-hitter. Yes, I'm a baseball fan, have been for my entire life, and can only imagine the electricity at Citizen's Bank Ballpark when Roy Halladay did his best Don Larsen (New York Yankees, 1956) impression. I won't assume that Becks couldn't possibly properly appreciate what he saw (and dammit, I hope he did dip out early), but I doubt he really could. I suspect I'd be in the same boat if I was in attendance for something that rare at a cricket match, for example.