Talking Points: Week of August 13th

Keeping up with everything in the American soccer world is a tough task. Every week we distill it all down in a few bits and pieces from the MNT, WNT, YNT, and AO world just for you!

BUT before you do anything (or maybe while you’re reading this post)… check out the latest episode of the now weekly-ish AO Podcast!

The kid’s gonna be a star

Translation: “The Bet on the Youth”

Tim Weah came on for some guy named Neymar Jr. in PSG’s Ligue 1 opener yesterday and showed a TON of hustle to snag his first domestic league goal for the defending champions.

Moral of the story… don’t mess with the youngster… and French defenses beware.

Schlake’s Weston McKennie flew in on the back post to snag their third goal versus Fiorentina this weekend.

Keep an eye on this one. Emmanuel Sabbi slices up the defense en route to his second goal on the day. U.S. Soccer’s Manager of Coaching Development Charlie Nobile said on Twitter, “Sabbi may be the most purely athletic YNT player I’ve ever seen. Great to see him start to realize the potential.”

Stars and Stripes FC is already looking forward to Sabbi’s call up in this piece. The striker, whose appeared inconsistently for the YNT set up, is also eligible for both Ghana and Italy.

If you’re looking for a laundry list of American’s abroad… check our Soccer Insider Steve Goff’s piece in the Washington Post. 

The core of the new-look USWNT is gelling as World Cup Qualifying nears

“The U.S. has all the pieces they need for some incredibly fun, incredibly dangerous soccer. It’s not just about results; this has been a team in transition for some time, and the transition period is finally over. There are no more legacies to define, no more final chapters to be written. This is a group of players ready for new legacies and new chapters of their own.” – Stephanie Yang (@thrace on Twitter) writes for The Athetic.

Jill Ellis has fiddled with the National Team for years since their embarrassing exit from the 2016 Olympics exit to Sweden, much to many fans frustrations, but a strong core of veterans and youth are coming together to before World Cup Qualifying and the campaign to defending their WWC title in France next summer.

READ MORE. (The Athletic provides premium, in-depth soccer coverage with a monthly subscription fee… available to AO members for 50% OFF! Discount available in the Members’ Only areas of the AO website.)


By default we’re an optimistic bunch. In missing the men’s World Cup we look to a new generation of MNT players. Above we celebrate a great run of form for the senior WNT before WWC Qualifying begins.

BUT…. there are issues in our youth setup for both the MNT and WNT that are cause for concern. Obviously the MNT has missed several of the last Olympics and mixed results in other FIFA tournaments, but more alarming should be that the “world is catching up with the WNT” is both true now and has been for several years. IF the WNT senior national team is going to have success in 2019 and beyond and remain the world’s #1 team then a hard look is needed at the WNT YNT.

“If you think that the world is catching up to the United States women’s national team, then you’re 10 years behind.”

We’ve been hearing the tired platitude that “the world is catching up” for some time, and results at the youth levels continue to inform the reality that a dramatic shift has already occurred.”

The Equalizer digs in. 


August 06 2016: Philadelphia Union director of soccer operations Earnie Stewart during a MLS match at RFK Stadium, in Washington D.C.
D.C United tied the Philadelphia Union 2-2.(Photo by Tony Quinn/Icon Sportswire) (Icon Sportswire via AP Images)

Earnie Stewart begins his role as USSF MNT General Manager this month and, ideally, we will have a new MNT coach by the end of 2018. With six MNT matches remain on this year’s schedule schedule (a gauntlet of opponents in Brazil & Mexico at home in September, Colombia & TBD at home in October and England & Italy abroad in November) most fans are chomping at the bit to see a new face on the sideline with our youth revolution to begin the rebuilding of the program. Stewart will play a big role in both this search and what comes next for our MNT.

So what else do we know? And what else do we not know? Take a dive into our primer on Stewart and the new USSF MNT GM.


Meet AO: Hartford’s chapter President Tom Lovkay… he helped found the Connecticut chapter before he could even legally watch a U.S. game at the bar. Since then he’s help host multiple MNT and WNT matches, including Landon Donovan’s farewell game. Hartford is a model chapter building a huge community of #AOFamily and mobilizing them from BBQs to FIFA to footgolf to food drives.

“It never ceases to amaze me how much fun we have with AO and with each other. It truly is a family. I take great pride and find immense responsibility to grow our mission as an organization and the game within our community. ” – Lovkay

Read more in our monthly, “Meet A Member”, feature. 

Speaking of #AOFamily… check out this story of AO: Electric City’s Brock Elder and his work raising funds for suicide prevention via footgolf to honor a lost friend and chapter co-founder.

Lastly… if you’re a footgolf fan then you’ve gotta check out the AO Open we’re hosting in Orlando, Florida in September!

The AO Open Final event will be atDisney’s Palm Golf Course at the Walt Disney World® Resort in Orlando! The tournament will be the Sunday of Labor Day weekend (September 2nd) where Top 4 finishers in each chapter’s qualifiers are eligible for both the AO Open AND the AFGL Magical FootGolf Challenge running the same weekend on the exclusive amazing golf course! Through our partnership with the good folks at AFGL, you can qualify and play in both! Crazy how that works out!

Full details and sign up on our Footgolf Resource Page.