With the dust continuing to settle after the United States Under-20 national team's failure to qualify for this summer's World Cup, one silver lining still holds true after the mammoth collective disappointment.
LONDON -- At a time when player conduct seems constantly to be under scrutiny, only the most eagle-eyed drivers would have spotted Jonathan Spector's SUV pulling up at West Ham's community facility beside the A13 flyover in east London on a gray Tuesday. The club hosted a coaching clinic for adults with learning disabilities and mental health issues, and the event rounded off with a kickabout with Spector and his manager, Avram Grant, before a Q&A in the clubhouse. Afterward Spector posed for photos and signed mementos for a queue that backed out the door. It only took an hour or so out of his afternoon, but he made the guests' day.
Christmas is a time for sharing, a time for caring and a time for firing your manager before the yawning jaws of relegation snap shut. Since the weather put paid to seven of the weekend's nine fixtures, let's have a look at who's in the danger zone:
This Premier League season is almost 10 games old, the first point at which it is really permissible to scan the table and suck your teeth as you read the names at the bottom. The last one you'll reach is West Ham United, which has taken six points from the first 27 available.
After all the hype and speculation surrounding a major transfer for Michael Bradley in the aftermath of the World Cup, the 23-year-old New Jersey native stayed put at Borussia Monchengladbach, and the Bundesliga club couldn't be happier to have him.
With a week left on the Premier League clock, thoughts are starting to turn to the wheeling and dealing that the coming months will bring. Fernando Torres' scowl from the stands at Anfield on Sunday, as he watched his teammates surrender to Chelsea's endeavor, suggested his agent's phone would be buzzing before the weekend was up. The order in which the top six or seven teams finish -- not to mention the World Cup -- will help shape this summer's wish lists, so for now let's consider how the last year's signings have made an impact -- or not.
AMSTERDAM -- On a U.S. soccer team that has several versatile players, Jonathan Spector might be the most extreme example. The 24-year-old Chicago-area native is a natural right back, but he has played on the left side for England's West Ham United this season, while for the Yanks he has split time between the right side and (in the team's last two European friendlies) the center.
Carlos T�vez started and ended his West Ham season at the center of controversy over the circumstances of his transfer from Corinthians last August. But no one could question his ultimate impact out on the pitch. World Soccer's Keir Radnedge recently sat down with the Argentine star.
In a week in which Dirk Benedict and Jermaine Jackson crossed the pond for UK Celebrity Big Brother, there was only one way in which Blighty could return the favor: coming at you faster than The Mayflower following an uplifting prayer, here's The Limey.