American Soccer Ticker: German-born goalkeeper heading to U.S.; MLS launch MLS+, new TV show; and more

OkaNikolov1 (Eintracht)

By DAN KARELL

After 22 years with Eintracht Frankfurt in the German Bundesliga, goalkeeper Oka Nikolov is on his way to play in the United States.

The 39-year-old German-born player, who joined Eintracht in 1991 and never left, terminated his contract with the club on Tuesday in order to continue his career in America. Reports in Germany state that he is heading for Major League Soccer, though a club hasn’t been chosen yet.

Nikolov, who played five times internationally for Macedonia, started the final eight league matches this season for Eintracht after starting goalkeeper Kevin Trapp went down with a season ending injury, helping the side go from promotion a year ago to a place in the Europa League next season.

The New York Red Bulls were rumored to be interested in Nikolov in 2010, though those rumors were put to rest when Nikolov signed a contract extension at the Commerzbank Arena.

Here are some more American soccer stories from around the nation:

MLS ANNOUNCES MLS+ AND NEW T.V. SHOW

In a new development, Major League Soccer announced on Tuesday the creation of MLS+, a content and distribution platform that would “create a broad range of soccer programming on multiple platforms.”

“Soccer in North America and MLS are soaring,” MLS Chief Marketing Officer Howard Handler said in a statement. “To build on this momentum and inspire the next wave of fans, MLS+ will create hundreds of hours of premium programming per year.  MLS+ will also deliver new opportunities to leverage the relationship between our fans and the commercial community.”

MLS+ will display content in the form of T.V. shows, digital series’, mini-documentaries, viral video stunts, and more. The league plans on using MLS+ on any social media platforms as well, from Facebook and Twitter to YouTube and terrestrial T.V.

In addition, MLS announced the creation of a show, MLS Insider, that will debut on Friday, June 21, on NBC Sports Network. The show will be led by excecutive producer Jonathan Hock, who made three of the acclaimed ESPN 30 for 30 documentary series.

The first episode includes a features on New York Red Bulls midfielder Tim Cahill, Los Angeles Galaxy midfielder Robbie Rogers, and the Philadelphia Union’s supporters group, the Sons of Ben.

ORLANDO CITY SC RECEIVE MORE STADIUM BACKING

Though Orlando City Soccer Club’s first attempt at gaining the funding to build a stadium failed to pass through the Florida State Legislature, it hasn’t stopped them from continuing to achieve their goal of entry to Major League Soccer.

Orlando City SC were given a boost early this week, as the Central Florida Sports Commission (CFSC) fulled backed the organization’s efforts to build a soccer-specific stadium.

“As the organization responsible for regional sports economic development, we believe the addition of a soccer-specific stadium, capable of hosting events that are not currently possible in Central Florida, will be a valuable and beneficial addition to the existing sports venues in our region” said Mike Millay, Chairman of the CFSC in a statement. “A stadium that will serve as home to a MLS team will allow us to further attract events that drive sports fans to our community leading to greater economic benefit,” Millay added.

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What do you make of these reports? Where do you see Nikolov ending up? Interested in MLS+ and MLS Insider? Do you believe Orlando City is closer to building a new stadium?

Share your thoughts below.

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67 Responses to American Soccer Ticker: German-born goalkeeper heading to U.S.; MLS launch MLS+, new TV show; and more

  1. Common Sense says:

    PSSSSSST!

    PHILLY F.O.

    I HOPE YOU READ THIS….

  2. Old School says:

    “Reports in Germany state that he is heading for Major League Soccer, though a club hasn’t been chosen yet.”

    So, Nikoliv can waltz right in and pick the club of his choice. Meanwhile, had he played a single minute for the Nats, he’d be forced to enter the moronic process MLS has and unable to pick the club of his choice (without them having to award a team he’s never played for, trade ramifications).

    Come to MLS in the United States where if you’ve been cap’d by, Macedonia, you can freely select where you’d like to play. However, if you’ve been cap’d by your own country, sorry, you don’t have that freedom.

    I’ve been on the side of playfully ribbing Cosmo “fans” and the barrage of headlines on SBI, aka Cosmos By Ives, but I’m ready for MLS to remove some of these convoluted rules.

    • Aljarov says:

      ….only if no team has placed a discovery claim on him.

    • dan says:

      I agree 1000% about this.

      How many players have been put off by MLS completely when they found out that since the played more than 1 minute for USA that they have no freedom to chose where they play. Ridiculous…

    • Colin in MT says:

      I totally agree with you Old School. As with most of MLS’ quirky rules, I believe the allocation of US capped players has served a purpose. However, now that the league has matured I believe it should be altered or done away with all together. Maybe players who have been capped fewer than 20 times could still enter the allocation process. I’d hate to see MLS lose out on guys like Boca, Gooch, Herc, and Beasley because they’re restricted in where they could go

      • brian carlston says:

        Except fof the four players you mentioned only one would be allocated and that is gooch. The difference is that all others are former mls players and fall under the rules for all former mls players regardless of caps.

        • Colin in MT says:

          Didn’t Mcbride go through the allocation process when he came back? Or have the rules changed since the 2010 CBA was implemented?

    • Josh D says:

      LA enjoy their old, used up, over paid keepers. I’m sure he’ll end up there.

      • Kingly Alexander - Sankt Pauli! says:

        If this allocation process wasn’t in place for nats, then they’d all either be playing in LA, NY or the northwest.

    • solles says:

      Where does it say he can ‘waltz in and pick his club’? Maybe you’re right but I dont see that anywhere, I’m not going to assume he won’t go through the same allocation everyone else does, whomever is next in that line.

  3. Don't care says:

    Of course they will make one on rogers. Its a f**king joke

    • Arkie says:

      Ya, you know I hear they even made a movie about Jackie Robinson. Can you believe it?

      /sarcasm
      /yes whoever is going to say it, I realize these are two different things but anyone can spot the similarities.

      • slowleftarm says:

        Yeah, it’s a pretty terrible analogy. I’m a 100% in support of Robbie Rogers and other gay athletes but watch the episode of the Ken Burns baseball documentary to get an idea of what Jackie Robinson had to go through. Then hopefully you won’t compare Robbie Rogers to Jackie any more.

      • Guest says:

        I cannot believe you just compared Jackie Robinson’s story to Robbie Rodgers….. wow.

      • Don't care says:

        The fact that you tried to compare what Jackie Robinson went through to rogers is laughable. Rogers is a player who can’t even make it in league 1 and yet he continues to get talked about solely because he’s gay. They’re going to milk this sh!t for as long as they can. Its sad but that’s what MLS has become, a publicity stunt.

        • Joe says:

          Not a publicity stunt at all….if anything LA should be lauded for trading McGee to a proud MLS franchise that needed a boost. I say it as a Timbers fan who is glad that LA made a dumb deal for a player who isn’t that good (but a good story nonetheless) and watched McGee torch us and bring a spark to Chicago.

          It works out all around to me at least.

        • Old School says:

          “but that’s what MLS has become, a publicity stunt.”

          Huh?

    • slowleftarm says:

      What’s a joke?

    • Fredo says:

      I can’t believe there’s another piece on The Sons of Ben.

    • solles says:

      what are you afraid of dont care? someone might think you’re gay if you dont oppose everything to do with Robbie Rogers?

  4. betamail says:

    Still parading around Rogers? So annoying.

    • betamail says:

      before I get flamed. who cares what his sexual orientation, religion, views, etc are? Just let him play the damn game.

      • Common Sense says:

        this. the best way we can show the world this is not an issue in our society is to stop baiting and trying to cash in on the issue.

      • Kevin_H says:

        Unfortunately, a lot of people do, including athletes (I don’t know much this applies to MLS players). There’s a reason he nearly retired from the game.

        • David M says:

          He nearly retired from the game (assuming he did) because he wasn’t good enough to make it in England.

      • Catamount says:

        I’ve been around long enough to remember when whether a player was black or white was mentioned in the sports media. Without photographs or video these days it is possible to go for quite some time without knowing what race a player might be. It will be a great day for sports, and for Rogers, when sexual orientation stops being part of the story.

  5. Frank says:

    I was hoping there would be a weekly MLS summary show on TV. I’m not interested in watching YouTube clips or getting updates through Twitter or Facebook. I can’t really say I’m too interested in these human interest stories…

    • Old School says:

      I agree.

      I really like the Premier League Review and Premier League World TV shows that air. Not even a huge EPL but market the league and it’s players extremely well.

      Perhaps I’m just simply getting out of touch in my older age but I find most of social media on the level of annoying as the term: YOLO.

    • Jacknut says:

      I agree. I’m just interested in the games. Maybe it’s because most of the players are closer to my kids age than me, but I’m just not interested in their personal lives. Now this German keeper on the other hand…

    • The Imperative Voice says:

      I think MLS needs the “36” treatment. As in Indy:36, F1:36. Go with a team or player for a period of time leading up to a game. It can be interesting from a sporting angle, give a human interest angle on the athlete, etc.

      I also do find the Premier League Review and Aussie highlights a useful and succinct way of keeping up with the league week to week. MLS could use something like that, and more in the Review end of letting the video talk, than the talking heads themselves.

      Speaking of Review, I will be interested if that continues when EPL moves from Fox to NBC. Quality show, shame if it’s replaced by some overblown Sportscenter approach. Beauty of Review is it’s focused on the soccer, and done in such a way you pick up on the ebb and flow of a season.

      • Joe says:

        Yeah, whatever happened to that studio show for opening day that was akin to RedZone? I thought it was awesome, gives me a chance to catch up on who is playing where now, new DPs, new formations and coaches etc. What was it even called? Anyway, they can always change hosts if that was the issue and restart it.

        • Old School says:

          “Yeah, whatever happened to that studio show for opening day that was akin to RedZone?”

          Agreed. That was amazing and some of the most exciting production I’ve seen for MLS since I’ve started following the league.

      • Daniel Karell says:

        It is. MLS 36 on Thursday night at 10pm ET, Brad Davis, Dynamo. Also episodes coming up on Aurelien Collin and Matt Besler.

    • CplDaniel says:

      Im dissappointed too. I thoutht they were going to completely unteather the MLS experience from cable, and allow direct subscription to MLS programs, coverage, and games to consumers over the internet.

  6. Yevgeniy says:

    It’s very weird to me that there still is not a 30-minute weekly show of pure highlights of all games. It would coast absolutely nothing to produce and I think something like that can be watched by fans that are on the fence about MLS. We all know that there are plenty of great goals scored in the league, so it would be a great commercial.

    • Andy in Atlanta says:

      this…

      • fleninho says:

        speaks for me too…. the human-interest news magazine segments on Rogers and Cahill sound eminently skippable because both gents have been covered extensively the past couple months and are long established as players…..But a highlights show could include some 3-4 minute analysis segments — breakdowns of key tactics, spotlights on breakout performances, or club segments looking at what’s led to much better performances by, say, Dallas and Montreal this year.

    • master red card says:

      They used to have one on the old MLSsoccer site called “The MLS Review Show”, but in MLS’ infinite wisdom they got rid of it.

      I agree bring back a weekly magazine show that shows the MLS game highlights of the week.

  7. DCUnitedWillRiseAgain says:

    Undoubtedly DC will trade Pontius, DeRo, and DeLeon plus 4 first round draft picks and allocation money to get this 39 year old keeper.

  8. bryan says:

    really cool news about MLS. looking forward to it.

  9. The Imperative Voice says:

    If he wants to be on a MLS field this bad at his age then someone buy him field level tickets at one of the teams that lets you sit behind the signboards in a lawn chair.

    Nikolov is really too old to bother with. I don’t mind players who can give us 3-5 years and retire here, but 35 for field and 40 for GK is pretty much the reasonable outer bound on expecting any performance. We should be signing people whose age doesn’t raise red flags.

  10. Roman Lewandowski says:

    Marcin Wasilewski, a Poland NT defender, is leaving Anderlecht for MLS. He is an experienced defender (33 years old) and is very personable. He wears the armband when Kuba Błaszczykowski is injured.

    I think he will be great for a MLS team. I know very little about the Fire back line, but Chicago is a natural fit for an accomplished Polish player.

    • Old School says:

      This notion that Chicago will support a player simply because he’s Polish is outdated and ridiculous.

      It’s anecdotal but every Polish person I’ve ever met while being here in Chicago couldn’t care less about MLS…having a random 33 year old isn’t going to suddenly excite the base. If there’s a specific nationality that could be catered to in this city that supports the sport (but not necessarily our league) it would be Mexican.

      I would hope the fans and the league would move past that archaic thinking by now (especially when it’s not even accurate).

      Get a player because he’s talented, not because he’s .

      • Old School says:

        …not because he’s: “insert nationality”.

      • The Imperative Voice says:

        If you look at Montreal I think they show the up- and down-sides the past two years. When that is going well I’m sure the fans like all their Serie A oldsters and are glad they go to that national well repeatedly. It may even feel nice to the Italian heritage fans.

        But last year they couldn’t even make the playoffs because the Serie A bunch were mostly hurt and watching the games from sideline rocking chairs.

        I think as long as you don’t take it to Chivas lengths, if you pick the right players who stay healthy, going to a national well can be beneficial. The Dynamo have a history with Canadians and Jamaicans. But if you get the wrong people or bad injury luck, the fans won’t care one bit where you got that broken 35 year old from, they’ll just be peeved you signed some guy with one foot in a retirement home. And I don’t think LA fans care who they sign and where they’re from, as long as they win. It’s the team down the hall that has the hangup on that one.

      • Josh D says:

        Not that they would support Chicago in waves, but it’s a fair comment to say Chicago with their huge Polish population makes a good place for this former national team player, sometimes captain to live and play.

        And basing your negative comments on your experience is fine. However, I can’t imagine you know 0.5% of the Polish population in Chicago. I’m sure there are those fans who would maybe not show up, but at least put MLS on their radar.

        • Old School says:

          How are my comments negative? Blunt, realistic and probable? Yes. Negative? No.

          Show me a single SBI poster from Chicago who says otherwise and I’ll concede.

          I hang out at enough soccer pubs, go to enough games and have enough conversations to have a fairly good pulse. Trust me, a 33 year old defender who happens to be Polish puts MLS/Chicago Fire on the radar for maybe a brief conversation that would never translate to jersey sales/ticket sales.

          Sign a good player…don’t presume the soccer community here is that simple to blindly support a team because it caters to your nationality.

          People want quality, not nationality.

      • Roman Lewandowski says:

        I don’t live in Chicago, but I have watched several Poland NT games at bars in the city, so I am aware of the workings of the Polish soccer community there. “Wasyl” is immensely popular with Polish fans. A documentary film (hugely anticipated in Poland) followed him throughout EURO 2012. He isn’t some scrub. I would compare him to Jermaine Jones, minus the dual-nationality issues.

        And if these fans don’t care, as you so strongly assert, why do Polish teams play exhibitions in Chicago so often? Zagłebie Lubin recently played AS Roma there. The last US-Poland game took place there. The Messi world team will feature three Polish players for the Chicago match only.

        Yours are strong words from someone who (I assume) isn’t even Polish.

        • Old School says:

          I think that’s a rather simple question: Polish community comes out to support Polish clubs for the same reason Mexican fans come out to support Mexican clubs (or the National team) when they play here.

          You’re referencing a single Polish player that is 33 years old and a defender at that. There is no comparison to the impact (or lack thereof) to an ACTUAL Polish club.

          This entire mentality is so 10 years ago.

      • Roman Lewandowski says:

        I don’t live in Chicago, but I have watched several Poland NT games at bars in the city, so I am aware of the workings of the Polish soccer community there. “Wasyl” is immensely popular with Polish fans. A documentary film (hugely anticipated in Poland) followed him throughout EURO 2012. He isn’t some scrub. I would compare him to Jermaine Jones, minus the dual-nationality issues.

        And if these fans don’t care, as you so strongly assert, why do Polish teams play exhibitions in Chicago so often? Zagłębie Lubin recently played AS Roma there. The last US-Poland game took place there. The Messi world team will feature three Polish players for the Chicago match only.

        Yours are strong words from someone who (I presume) isn’t even Polish. You have your finger on the pulse of the Polish soccer community? I doubt it.

      • SZMULKI1916 says:

        I guess you never heard of Fire Ultras 98

        • Old School says:

          Yea, check our their “website”. No update in 5 years.

          I guess you didn’t get the memo.

    • adam says:

      If you know so little about the fire then how do you know he would be a great fit in chicago?Congrats on correctly spelling blazychzkzlzzski though. Damn I screwed up huh. Kuba himself is probably impressed.

  11. bring NASL to el paso tx says:

    To be honest, i thought MLS would actually go for a different name, before launching a tv show or youtube channel. Lets say when MLS reaches 20 teams, with nycfc in 2015, its perfect to go for a new era, new logo, new league name and a weekly tv show, to take the league to tge new era. Thats what i would do, just saying and in reality by renaming the league, that would create world media buzz and a tv show or its own network, would make it take off like never before. I like the name, NAPL,north america premier league or NPSL national premier soccer league

    • Old School says:

      I’m all for a new name and logo, too. I just wonder if we’re already at a point of no return on that front (at least with the league name).

    • Catamount says:

      Marketing 101. Any brand that is increasing in value is worth keeping. When the league contracted there might have been a chance. Unless the league fails it will be Major League Soccer from now on. NPSL has already been tried.

      Perhaps the folks in the Kids (Baby Goats) front office should take the class.

    • Gary says:

      Umm, you do realize NPSL is taken, right?

      But yes, I’d love a new name and (especially) a new logo.

    • MLS_Soccer_Talker says:

      How would changing the name do anything?.. MLS is just now getting more and more recognition. A name change would be counter productive. As for a logo change. I dont see whats the problem with the current one.

      • byob el paso tx says:

        The point of a new league name, like many soccer leagues in the world have done it, is to take the league into a new era. Just look at the mexican first division, new league name and logo for D1 and D2 and basically they are copying MLS with future goals.
        In 2015 MLS will reach 20 teams, which is a giant step into a new era, and eventually reach 24,26,28 teams and be a powerful league in North American and in the U.S. and globally.
        A new league name wont hurt the league, whats the big deal, ESPN doesn’t even take us seriously as a league.
        With a new name, ESPN might listen to the soccer nation more, the world of soccer will stop and read about the new league in America.
        If I was garber, I would do it with the 20 team coming in. New name, new logo and as a matter of fact, the American sport fan base are use to renaming teams and leagues.
        However, If i was Garber, i would go for
        NAPL=north america premier league
        NPL = national premier league
        NPSL=national premier soccer league
        UNAP-L=united north america premier league 1
        NAPS= north america premier soccer (my top favorite, globally known as NAPS, simple)

    • Sly boy says:

      Why does it have to have “premier” in the title…. That just smacks of euro posing . MLS is fin, new logo sure, new name, not really

      • byob el paso tx says:

        What else can be use instead of Premier? Elite, national, top.
        Look, ESPN is never going to cater MLS, or even other sport networks.
        Therefore, by going with a American-European soccer league name, it will create a chain reaction of positive attention-attraction from every corner of the world and especially the U.S.
        I can picture ESPN, FoxSports, NBC Sports, CBS Sports liking or even loving the name and taking it to the next level.
        If Garber already got 20 teams, then go for a new era, new name and logo.
        In reality, MLS has nothing to lose, but just gain and win, with a new league name.

  12. JAY NT says:

    sounds like futbol mundial

    cant wait to check it out