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A busy offseason: ins, outs, home & away

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Smartphones overheating gorged on twitter feeds, laptops choking from horrendously congested bandwidth, unattended dinners burning and stacks of dishes toppling unwashed from the kitchen sink.  Hardly the end of the world (as we know it), but considering it’s the MLS offseason it’s been unexpectedly chaotic in our nerdy household keeping an eye on all of the soccer news this past few weeks.

Arrivals: To many fans delight, the Quakes signed the “Salinhart” partnership of Shea Salinas and Steven Lenhart to four year contracts (“…tell our enemies that they may take our lives but they will never take our freedom stadium”).  Going into the 2012 season, the pace of Salinas and Baca means that San Jose photographers are already upgrading their lenses for the faster shutter speeds they will need to freeze the action.  The Quakes have also acquired a utility midfielder (as it were), Jean Alexandre, from Real Salt Lake.  Finally a player that has already started in so many slots that Frank Yallop cannot be accused of playing him ‘out of position’.

Departures: Personally, I was disappointed to lose Bobby Burling in the expansion draft – I do appreciate players who play like they give a damn.  He was a strong physical presence and I wish him luck in Montreal (at least until kick off against San Jose).  Figuring that Convey was already long gone, I hadn’t anticipated that the club could parlay his departure into an international roster spot.  It would be great to convert that slot that into a position for Dawkins, and as we speak, Doyle and Yallop are stumbling over cockney rhyming slang trying to Captain Kirk a Jellied Eel with Tottenham Hotspurs.  Meanwhile, Quakes players available in next week’s re-entry Draft are Weber, Sealy, Andre Luiz, Leitch, and Peterson - watch this space.

Stadium: It took only one minute for the Quakes to sell their first luxury suite at the new stadium for $350,000.  For the average Quakes fan however, holding a bake sale isn’t going to cut it to raise that kind of dough.  When the new stadium is built I’m already counting on sitting a shade farther back – on the centerline of course - among the same wisecracking fans; and my aching back is counting on that being in 2013.  The next public hearing on the stadium plan is on Wednesday December 14, and is a vital step on the journey to that new stadium.  In the meantime, I humbly put forth a request to the front office for a seat cushion give away for the final season at Buck Shaw.

Euro 2012: It was just so disappointing that the Group of Debt (Portugal, Italy, Greece, and Ireland) did not get drawn.  In Group D, my native England will face Sweden, France, and Ukraine.  While many in my family across the pond think that this is an easy group, I’m not so sure.  England has never beaten Sweden in meaningful competition, Ukraine will have home field advantage, and their first game will be against France.  Plans are already being made for breakfast banter during the June 11 game against France.  I note that Google translates ‘banter’ into ‘plaisanterie’ in French – let’s hope we are all still exchanging pleasantries at the end of the game.

UEFA Champions League: as a Blackburn Rovers fan, I’m obviously not experienced enough to discuss this…

(Photo: Joe Nuxoll, centerlinesoccer.com)