As we wind down for the holiday break, there were a few developments worth reporting on. Just a few tidbits below.
I had great feedback on the big “who’s back for 2015” post. In particular I had a good discussion with @jdborneman on Twitter about who we will or won’t miss next year. He represented an opinion that I’ve seen elsewhere — that we’ll miss Jhulliam and Jermaine Johnson more than their minutes would represent. While they did great work for the team, I’m not as convinced. But what we definitely agree on is that we miss having the kinds of advanced stats that more developed leagues supply. Minutes, assists, goals, and cards are a poor substitute for real advanced stats like those supplied by Optasports and others.
Until then, though, we’ll make do with what we have. And based on that it’s good to know that we’ve signed two of the most important “still negotiating” players we had:
Yep, we’ll have Victor Pineda and Marco Franco back for 2015. That’s great news as they were two of the most utilized players, especially in the fall; Pineda played virtually every minute from the middle of August on, and Franco the same starting with week 13 vs Carolina. Franco formed the final piece in the back line that finished the season so well, and Pineda was a key stabilizing element in the midfield over that last piece of the season. Having them back means that the Eleven will look similar to the team we saw at the end of the year; Dylan Mares is the biggest contributor we don’t know about yet.
There was also a mention from @NASLInsider about comments from Juergen Sommer regarding newly-signed players that haven’t been announced yet. I’m sure the club is waiting until after the holidays to make an announcement — timing it to help with season ticket sales. (Smart play as always from the front office.) We’ll be eagerly waiting on the news.
Until then, we’ll have to pass the time with the Spring Season schedule that was announced last week. The Eleven will play every other team once in a schedule that lasts from April 4 through June 13, starting with the first game at Atlanta, and followed by the first home game on April 11 against the New York Cosmos. It’s all available on the Eleven site, or you can check out the calendar page on this site, including subscription links to the Google calendar I’ve set up. I’ll keep that updated through the season, including scores and summaries; I’ll add preseason matches when they’re scheduled, too. You’ll see the upcoming matches listed in the sidebar as well.
One hundred and nine days until we return to The Mike for the Cosmos match. I’ll be there — in section 114 this year, just a bit closer to the BYB. With winter in front of us, it’s good to dream of spring! Have a great Christmas!