MLS Ticker: Grafer named Chivas USA GK coach, Dike called up by Nigeria, and more

Paul Grafer (ISIphotos.com)

Photo by ISIphotos.com

By FRANCO PANIZO

A former player who was around when MLS started has joined Chivas USA’s coaching staff.

Chivas USA announced on Thursday that they have rounded out their technical staff by hiring former MLS veteran Paul Grafer as their goalkeeper coach. Grafer, 39, arrives at the Goats after nearly five years in the same role with the Under-17 U.S. Men’s National Team.

Grafer, who worked with Chivas USA head coach Wilmer Cabrera during their days with the U-17 U.S. team, spent six years of his playing career in MLS. He was drafted by the Colorado Rapids in 1996 and went on to play for them as well as the New York/New Jersey MetroStars.

Here are more news items from around the league:

DIKE EARNS CALL-UP FROM NIGERIA

Bright Dike’s World Cup hopes are apparently still alive.

Dike was included in a 23-man roster for Nigeria’s upcoming friendly vs. Mexico in Atlanta. The Toronto FC regular is one of seven forwards on the squad that also includes Chelsea midfielder John Mikel Obi and Norwich City defender Joseph Yobo.

Nigeria, which plays El Tri on March 5, is in the World Cup’s Group F. The other three teams in the group are Argentina, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Iran.

SIMMS CALLS IT A CAREER DUE TO HEALTH CONCERNS

After nine years in MLS, Clyde Simms is hanging up his cleats due to health concerns.

The 31-year-old Simms announced his retirement due to kidney disease on Thursday, ending a career that saw him make 185 starts in 221 appearances, score three goals and add nine assists.

“I’ve never really talked about this because I always chose the mind over matter approach, but my health has gotten to a point where I can no longer do that,” Simms said. “When I was a freshman in high school, we discovered that I suffered from Focal Segmental Glomerulosclerosis (FSGS), the same kidney disease as (former NBA player) Alonzo Mourning. When I started playing with D.C., my kidney function was around 50 percent, and the last three years of my career, it has gotten down to about 20 percent.

“I fell in love with this sport at a young age and was determined not to let anything stop me. Unfortunately, for the past 10 years I have been dealing with kidney disease and it has become too tough for me to compete at this level anymore. I made sure for as long as I could I would still fight for my dream, my passion. I was very lucky to have had such a great run, but now it’s time to fight another battle. Thank you to all the fans, teammates, and coaches that supported me and helped me along my journey. To the Richmond Kickers, D.C. United and the New England Revolution, thank you for allowing me to be a part of your families. I will always be a fan. And to my family and people closest to me, thank you for allowing me to follow my dream.”

The midfielder spent the first seven years of his career with D.C. United before joining the New England Revolution for the past two years. He started in each of the 29 games he played in during the 2012 campaign, but was limited to just 10 appearances last year.

TIMBERS TOP INDY ELEVEN

The Portland Timbers made sure to end their stay in Tucson, Ariz. with a victory.

The Timbers edged NASL’s Indy Eleven, 1-0, on Wednesday night courtesy of a goal from Ben Zemanski. The strike came on a free kick from 25 yards out in the 75th minute.

The win saw Portland conclude its two-week visit to Southern Arizona with a 2-0-2 record.

DYNAMO ROUT HOUSTON BAPTIST UNIVERSITY

If the Houston Dynamo needed a quick boost in confidence, they probably got it on Wednesday.

The Dynamo picked up a 6-0 preseason victory over Houston Baptist University on Wednesday night, with Giles Barnes netting the winner just 12 minutes into the game. Brad Davis proceeded to score a brace and Tony Cascio, Mark Sherrod and Omar Cummings all found the back of the net as well.

Kofi Sarkodie had two assists in the win, including on Barnes’ decisive tally.

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What do you think of Chivas USA making Grafer their goalkeeper coach? How will you look back on Simms’ career? Which preseason result is more impressive, Houston’s or Portland’s?

Share your thoughts below.

This entry was posted in MLS- Chivas USA, MLS- Houston Dynamo, MLS- New England Revolution, MLS- Portland Timbers, MLS- Toronto FC. Bookmark the permalink.

15 Responses to MLS Ticker: Grafer named Chivas USA GK coach, Dike called up by Nigeria, and more

  1. Ryan in NYC by way of NC says:

    Clyde Simms is an absolute class act. I have the privilege of calling him a personal friend and followed his career since we were both freshman at ECU. Clyde embodied everything a professional athlete should. He worked his tail off, stayed humble and always took time to return a text or phone call from the lil folks like me. He’s was a great soccer player and more importantly, a hell of a guy. Go Pirates and Go DCU.

    • Nate Dollars says:

      +1

    • fischy says:

      Well, I’ve never had the privilege of meeting Clyde, but, as a DCU fan, I have enjoyed watching him play. I think all of us can agree that he’s a special person worthy of admiration. We can hope that he can recover his health and stay a part of the soccer community for years to come. I’d think he could have a nice career ahead as an analyst for DCU games.

    • MetroChris says:

      wow! never thought much of Simms as a player, but now I have so much respect for him. I too have FSGS and know how tough it can be

    • JoeW says:

      Simms is pure class. Regardless of what you think of him as a player or his skills, he was always a good person, fine teammate, and a guy who conducted himself with class. When he played for DCU, he lived in the District and would ride his bike to games at RFK. I’ve got nothing but respect for the guy. I hope he continues to fight the good fight.

  2. William the Terror says:

    So, Grafer’s a gaffer?

  3. graylo says:

    Will Grafer bring his pants? And will they get another website?

  4. Rocco says:

    Good for Grafer….class act

  5. The Imperative Voice says:

    Alternate headline, Houston Dynamo beat kids in public.

    • Hogatroge says:

      Lol.

      I know the Dynamo scrimmage HBU like every year, but it’s pretty funny that this even needed a writeup.

  6. CVS says:

    Hang in there Clyde!

    Truly one of the classiest players in the game. I’ll always remember him for being a rock in the DCU midfield and also for this: link to voices.washingtonpost.com

  7. bryan says:

    can we talk about Santiago González signing as a non-DP due to him being a “Special Discovery signing?” this is getting ridiculous. if the point of all these rules is to help teams avoid hitting the cap, why not just increase the cap and get rid of all these rules that seem to pop up every single time a new player join the league?

    as a fan, it’s extremely frustrating and it’s hard to back up MLS when they do these types of things.

    • chuck says:

      So, that’s how they will work Laba remaining at Toronto, probably.

    • Toño says:

      Yeah this truly is getting ridiculous. Hopefully after next year’s CBA agreement MLS can get rid of all these “special” rules that keep popping up..