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Life without soccer: Australian soccer federation petitions for lift in age restrictions

Plus a look at how D.C. United is staying fit, a rewind to Diego Fagúndez’ first goal and an introduction to the new NWSL players’ association representatives.

New England Revolution forward Diego Fagundez controls the ball during the second half of an MLS soccer game against the Columbus Crew, Sunday, May 21, 2017, in Foxborough, Mass. The Revolution won 2-1. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)

Every day MLS, the NWSL and the USL are suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic, Pro Soccer USA will provide the latest news and updates, examples of what the soccer community is doing to pass time and some recommendations for readers to keep busy while hunkering down at home.

The Latest

Football Federation Australia — the governing body for the Australian national soccer teams — wants both FIFA and the IOC to alter its age limit for the Olympic men’s tournament following the postponement of the Tokyo Olympics.

The Japanese government announced earlier this week that it will postpone the Games due to the continued spread of the coronavirus pandemic, with a rescheduled date expected to fall in the summer of 2021.

Unlike the women’s tournament, the men’s Olympic soccer tournament includes an age restriction. Teams can only field three players older than 23, and those three players are typically the top-shelf talent that each country has to offer.

For many male soccer players, the Olympics offer a rare opportunity to compete for their country that otherwise would be unavailable. It is also a chance for countries to mold their next generation of talent on an international stage.

Australian Olympic Committee chief executive Matt Carroll and FFA chief executive James Johnson are both calling for international governing bodies to increase the age limit for competition from 23 to 24 to accommodate the expected year-long delay.

Six Australian players who previously helped the team qualify for the Olympics will turn 24 before next summer, putting them out of contention under current Olympic rules.

“This would ensure the players who helped their nation qualify for the games this year but might otherwise be ineligible for the tournament next year because of age restrictions, have an opportunity to fulfill their dreams of representing their country and becoming Olympians,” Johnson said in an interview with Sports Illustrated.

This will be one of many issues that both FIFA and the International Olympic Committee will face in the coming months throughout the process of rescheduling the Olympics.

D.C. United players stay fit during training moratorium

With the training moratorium for MLS extended through another week, players and coaches for D.C. United are finding unique ways to stay in shape and get in workouts from home.

Whether that means lifting weights in a home gym or taking the dog out for a run around the city like Julian Gressel, the team is using technology to stay in touch and stay prepared for whenever play resumes.

Physical therapist Gabriel Manoel is also enjoying increased time with his family as all Maryland public schools remain closed due to concerns of spreading coronavirus. From “New Girl” to “Hunters,” players and coaches alike are also finding new shows to stream to fill their days.

Read the full story from Emily Olsen here.

A look back at Diego Fagúndez’s first MLS goal

Without live soccer to fill the evenings, our Julian Cardillo took a trip back to the 2011 New England Revolution season. He notes that it’s not exactly a season that most fans would want to remember — it was, arguably, the worst in the franchise’s history in MLS.

However, Cardillo focused on the debut and first goal of midfielder Diego Fagúndez. One of the most notable homegrown stories in the league, Fagúndez has since gone on to score 52 goals in his nine seasons with the Revolution. 

Cardillo reflected on the goal, which offered a rare bright spark in the season: “Fagúndez’s goal that August night was the single-best moment in a miserable, five-win season that saw most of the coaching staff fired, the roster almost completely gutted, and a managerial shake-up.”

Read the full article here.

NWSL Players Associations names 2020 representative board

The NWSL Players Association named 18 players to its executive board for the 2020 season, with two players representing each team.

The players association represents all non-allocated players in the league. Player representatives included league veterans such as Nicole Barnhart and Kristen Hamilton, and new additions such as Bridget Callahan and Betsy Brandon.

This new board of representatives will navigate an unprecedented time for the league as it looks to manage the coronavirus pandemic. They will also tackle a critical season for the NWSL following the appointment of a league commissioner and the announcement of a multi-year broadcast deal with CBS and Twitch.

 

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