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  • January 16, 2024
  • 27°

Major League Soccer

Winger Cade Cowell has signed with the Mexican club Chivas Guadalajara, leaving the San Jose Earthquakes of Major League Soccer after five seasons. The 20-year-old, who has U.S. and Mexican citizenship, scored 10 goals in 104 MLS regular season appearances, including one goal in 23 regular season games last year. He left U.S. training camp last week, where the Americans are preparing for an exhibition against Slovenia this Saturday at San Antonio. Cowell has one goal in eight international appearances.

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Lionel Messi has landed another prestigious award in soccer but the Argentina star needed a tiebreaker with Erling Haaland to win FIFA’s best men’s player prize on Monday. He has national team captains to thank. The voting breakdown showed Messi and Haaland with 48 points each. The tiebreaker was whoever had more “5-point” scores from the votes of national team captains. That category was 107 to 64 for the Inter Miami forward. Neither player showed up at the awards ceremony. Kylian Mbappé, the third finalist, skipped it too. World Cup champion Aitana Bonmatí showed up — and cleaned up. The Spain playmaker was named FIFA’s best women’s soccer player.

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Lionel Messi, Luis Suárez, Sergio Busquets and Jordi Alba were all sitting together and smiling after a training session. This wasn’t Barcelona in 2014. This was Inter Miami on Saturday. It’s official: Messi, Busquets, Alba and Suárez are together again, this time in Major League Soccer. Preseason training for Inter Miami officially opened Saturday, with Suárez being seen in his new colors for the first time after signing a one-year deal last month to join the trio of his former teammates who arrived last summer.

American defender Donovan Pines has joined Barnsley of England’s third-tier League One, leaving Major League Soccer’s D.C. United after four seasons. The 25-year-old agreed to a 1 1/2-year contract that includes a team option for 2025-26. Pines played at the University of Maryland before signing with D.C. The 6-foot-5 center back made 21 league appearances last year. Pines has played twice for the United States, both in the group stage of the 2021 CONCACAF Gold Cup.

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National Women’s Soccer League Commissioner Jessica Berman says the process is underway to select a 16th team for the league, with an announcement possible later this year. The new team would begin play in 2026, joining another expansion team already awarded to an ownership group in Boston. Berman spoke in the hours before the NWSL draft in Anaheim, California. A pair of expansion teams that begin play this season, Bay FC in the San Francisco Bay Area and the Utah Royals, have the first two picks.

Sporting Kansas City has hired Gavin Wilkinson for its front office. The MLS club is giving the former Portland Thorns president another opportunity following his 2022 firing after separate investigations into the club’s handling of player and coach misconduct. Longtime Sporting KC manager Peter Vermes will add the title of chief soccer officer. He will oversee Wilkinson, who will take on the title of sporting director and be responsible for player recruitment, roster building, budgeting and technical staff management. Wilkinson’s name surfaced in an independent investigation led by former Attorney General Sally Yates into misconduct and the cover-up of abuse while he was the Thorns’ general manager.

A team in North Carolina needed a coach. It hired Dean Smith. Such a move has worked out pretty well in the Tar Heel State before. And Charlotte FC hopes it works out again. Meet “the other” Dean Smith, a 52-year-old Englishman who is taking over as coach in Charlotte this season for his first stint in Major League Soccer. He’s fully aware of the legacy that Basketball Hall of Famer Dean Smith left during his 36 years leading the Tar Heels in Chapel Hill, about a two-hour drive from Charlotte.

Lionel Messi was not visible at Major League Soccer’s annual media day on Thursday. His shadow was. Messi is entering his first full season with Inter Miami, which creates an obvious storyline that seems to be on everyone’s mind as MLS teams enter their preseason training camps. And a franchise that hasn’t come close to winning an MLS Cup and didn’t even make the playoffs last season, even with Messi around for the last few months, suddenly seems like a frontrunner entering 2024. So, yes, Messimania continues, with no signs of slowing down.

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Apple TV and Major League Soccer are expanding their collaboration, announcing Thursday that the looming MLS season will be chronicled in a new all-access docuseries similar to the ones that have given fans a deep, different look at golf, auto racing and tennis in recent months. The eight-part series is already in production and will span from the preseason all the way through the MLS Cup final in December. It remains unnamed, for now, and no start date has been revealed.

Winger Cade Cowell has left U.S. training camp ahead of a possible transfer from San Jose to Mexican club Chivas Guadalajara. The 20-year-old Cowell had been with the group practicing for a Jan. 20 exhibition against Slovenia at San Antonio. No replacement for Cowell was announced by the U.S. Soccer Federation. Seventeen players could make national team debuts against Slovenia.

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