Monthly Archives: March 2014


Lane United Adds Three Players But Loses One

March 25, 2014

Lane United FC has announced the commitments of three more players, all three with excellent youth training resumes, for the 2014 inaugural season in the Premier Development League. Amer Sasivarevic of Salt Lake City, Tarik Salkicic from the University of Tulsa, and Duran Lee from Toronto — the latter pending league approval — will be joining the Reds in May.

Meanwhile, Coco Navarro of Marquette, who had been expected to play for Lane United in the upcoming season, has received an invitation to train with MLS club Real Salt Lake over the summer and hence will not be coming to Oregon.

Regarding the three latest players, head coach John Galas was full of praise, noting that all three had top pedigrees for training at the youth level. Amer Sasiveravic, Galas said, “is a neat story.” Sasiveravic was born in Germany to Bosnian parents but emigrated to Utah in 1999. Galas mentioned that “at RSL (Real Salt Lake, where Galas was a youth academy coach), we saw him at an ID camp and he was one of the few players that stood out. We invited him to the RSL residency program and within a month he was getting big minutes.” Galas repeatedly praised Sasiveravic’s versatility, saying that “as a left-footer with great all-around skills, he can play at fullback, as a left-sided midfielder, or as a winger in a front three. He’s played in a lot of different positions in the past few years, competently at all of them.” He currently attends Grand Canyon University in Phoenix, Arizona.

Coco Navarro of Marquette University was invited to train with Real Salt Lake (RSL) first team this summer and will not feature regularly for Lane United. Head coach John Galas said that he hopes to still take Navarro on loan from RSL for a few matches in the 2014 PDL campaign.

Another player of Bosnian descent, Tarik Salkicic, also earned high praise from Galas for his exploits at the youth level. Salkicic too was born in Europe and moved to the U.S. as a child, ending up in Florida. For two years in high school, Salkicic was part of the U.S. U-17 national team residency program, traveling to Mexico in 2011 and playing in the U-17 World Cup. “As a national residency player, he was obviously one of the top college recruits in the country coming out of high school,” Galas said, adding that Salkicic can play “as a number six or as a center-back.” Salkicic matriculated to the University of Tulsa, where he earned regular playing time over the past two years. He will transfer to Oregon State in the fall of 2014 after his campaign with Lane United.

The final player, Duran Lee, comes out of the youth academy of Toronto FC, another MLS club. Galas noted the high quality of Toronto FC’s youth academy and coaching and said, “I know that he’s a big, strong center-half who nonetheless has good technical ability and is composed on the ball,” Galas said. “He should be able to help us play out of the back, which is what we’re really trying to do this year, with his good ball skills.” Lee spent the 2013 college season at Western Texas College, a junior college in the small town of Snyder, Texas, but may be looking to transfer, Galas said. “Playing in the PDL is a great opportunity for him to showcase his talent in the Northwest,” he added.

Regarding the one that got away — Coco Navarro, who has been called up to train with the Real Salt Lake first team for the summer — Galas stressed that “this is a really positive development. Coco obviously has the goal of going pro one day soon, so to get a trial with the first team of an MLS club is excellent for him. Galas added that, contingent on the alignment of the clubs’ respective schedules, Lane United may still take Navarro on loan for a few matches in the PDL season.

Lane United, with the addition of the latest three but the subtraction of Navarro, now has seventeen players fully committed to the 2014 roster. Most will begin training with the club in the first weeks of May. Until then, basic information about them will be available on the roster page.

Tetherow Golf Resort Joins Lane United as a Sponsor

March 18, 2014

Lane United FC is pleased to announce that it has reached a partnership deal with Tetherow Golf Resort in Bend, Oregon. Tetherow will be an official sponsor for Lane United’s training kits for the 2014 inaugural season, according to Lane United Managing Director Dave Galas and Tetherow managing partner Chris van der Velde.

Tetherow opened in 2008 and was named the “#1 Best New Course You Can Play in the Country” that year by Golf Magazine. It has since made several lists of the top courses in the U.S. and has expanded its offerings to include two restaurants, lodging, real estate and events. “We are already recognized as a premier destination for golf in the Northwest,” said Tetherow’s Chris van der Velde. “With the Northwest having become such a destination for soccer in the past few years, we felt that a partnership with LUFC would provide synergy between Tetherow and the Eugene/Springfield communities.”

Tetherow was a sponsor of the WPSL Oregon Rush women’s team in Bend, a fact which delighted the Lane United coach John Galas. “They’ve already shown in their short history that they support grassroots soccer in the Northwest. Both of Chris (van der Velde)’s sons play soccer, and he was surrounded by the beautiful game in the Netherlands where he had a very successful pro golf career himself. So he’s very familiar with and supportive of the sport.”

“We are very excited by this partnership with Tetherow Golf Resort,” said Dave Galas, the Lane United managing director. “They have shown that they are the best at what they do and we aspire to be the same. This will be an exciting summer in Deschutes and Lane counties, and we hope to get a lot of our fans over to Tetherow and build our fan base in Bend.”

LUFC Drops Exhibition Match to Corban University

March 15, 2014

Lane United lost its opening scrimmage of the 2014 season 3-1 to Corban University in a match played in ideal conditions in sunny Salem, Oregon on Saturday afternoon. Edgar Gomez’s composed finish off a Loren Hill cross in the 75th minute was a welcome consolation for a Reds side that had at times played evenly with Corban but found themselves three goals down after 55 minutes. Corban’s first two goals had been punched in off of set pieces and their third was the product of an inch-perfect long diagonal ball that left Lane United’s central defense completely exposed.

Some of these Lane United players have been training with each other in Eugene over the past week, but others have been unable to attend regularly and two of them, Jeevraj Rai and Gabe Hutchinson, had never met the coaching staff or any of their teammates in person before today. For many, this game represented a final round of open tryouts, as none of them besides Rolando Velazquez have been named to the full 2014 squad. The game inevitably began unevenly, and Corban were ahead after only five minutes when they scrambled a goal out of a 40-yard set piece that had been hoisted into the box.

They doubled their advantage at the end of the opening period (the match being played in three 30-minute periods to allow for lineup experimentation) when they won another free kick, this time on the left wing. The hard, inswinging delivery only required a touch off anyone and Loren Hill, the Lane United midfielder, was unfortunately the provider as the ball rifled off his back and into his own net.

By this point, Lane United had only mustered two relatively tame attempts at goal, from Hill and Velazquez respectively, although Velazquez had already shown a penchant for sneaking in behind Corban’s back line—the timing of his runs or the weight of the through balls never quite working out. He finally deserved a goal at the beginning of the second period, when he latched onto a long pass, brushed off the last defender and succeeded in lobbing the bouncing ball over the onrushing keeper 25 yards from goal. His effort had too much arc, though, and shot up over the crossbar after one bounce off the hard artificial turf.

Lane United settled into the game after that point and had a number of decent chances, including Jose Nunez glancing a header just wide off of a free kick, and Max Hawes doing well to corral a clearance at the top of the box and drag a shot wide on the half-volley. The third Corban goal, which came at the end of the second period, was their only strong chance of that passage. In the third period, the Reds were in control of the game, consistently pressuring Corban out of possession and on a couple of occasions passing it all the way out of the back to create chances up front. Gomez had two good shots and Hill one very powerful effort off his left foot that went only a little wide before Paul Beach hit the crossbar when he broke away from the Corban high line and found himself one-on-one with the keeper. The Reds’ efforts finally paid off when Gomez won possession 40 yards out, found Hill on the right and he slid a cross back in for Gomez to finish comfortably in the bottom corner.

The most stunning play of the game was yet to come, when Gomez attempted a chipped/curled shot from 25 yards that Corban’s goalkeeper did extremely well to save by sprawling and pushing it against his own bar. Raul Fletes also set up Ian Maloney with a cross similar to the one Gomez had scored from, but Maloney dragged his finish wide and to the left. But the late assault was just that—late—and a 3-3 draw would have been flattering given the ragged way the game began. Lane United’s small contingent of fans who made the drive north from Eugene could at least feel rewarded that they had gotten to see some of the team’s hopefuls finish the exhibition on a high note.

Late edit: Peter Bellerby, of NW Sports Pics, has graciously shared some of the photos that he took of Saturday’s action. Thank you, Peter, for your work!

Lane United Reveals More 2014 Squad Members

March 12, 2014

Lane United FC introduced on Wednesday four players who will play for the Reds for the club’s inaugural season in the Premier Development League (PDL) in 2014, pending league approval. The announcement comes after two previous blocks of recruiting commitments were finalized, one in February and one at the end of January. The total number of players committed to play for Lane United in 2014 now stands at 15.

Three of the four highlighted players are internationally born and raised but are current student-athletes at American Division I universities. Germans Christian Dietrich and Martin Lukaschik play for Fairleigh-Dickinson University in New Jersey, while Briton Pierce Kiembi currently attends the University of Texas at Brownsville. The fourth player, Mikhail Doholis, plays for Oregon State and hails from Vancouver, Washington.

Lukaschik, according to head coach John Galas, was recommended by another college player that Lane United was targeting (who then ended up with Werder Bremen in Germany). Galas called Lukaschik a “box-to-box central midfielder with the engine to get up and down the field for 90 minutes.” He started nearly every game for Fairleigh-Dickinson in 2013 and finished tied for second on the team in goals.

Lukaschik’s countryman and college teammate Dietrich was also a regular starter at Fairleigh-Dickinson, averaging 70 minutes per game. “A lot of his work doesn’t show up in the box score,” said Galas, “but as a solid outside midfielder he will complement our style of play and has great tactical understanding of the game.” Dietrich grew up training in the FC Union Berlin youth system in Germany.

Kiembi, the Brit, “reached out to us,” Galas mentioned, “and said he wanted the challenge and responsibility of helping a new club grow.” Since initially moving to the U.S. to begin school and play soccer at Bryan College in Tennessee, Kiembi has transferred to UT-Brownsville and in the meantime has played a season with the PDL side River City Rovers in Louisville, KY. Galas called him “a big, strong, athletic player who can be put anywhere in the midfield.” Kiembi was a regular starter for Brownsville in 2013.

Galas complimented the final recruit, the Northwest native Doholis, on his technical ability as an attacking midfielder and made reference to the fact that he started all but one game for the Beavers as a sophomore in 2013. He also enjoyed significant playing time as a freshman the year before. In high school, he played with fellow Lane United recruit Brenden Anderson in Gresham, OR, on the national championship-winning ESUFC Liverpool club side, in addition to being part of the U.S. U-17 national team residency program.

All 15 of Lane United’s currently committed and introduced players may be found on the roster page of our site.

SCANNING THE SOCCER UNIVERSE FROM AN OFFICE CHAIR: A SPOTLIGHT ON SCOUT7, LANE UNITED’S TECH-BASED COACHING AND RECRUITING TOOL

March 11, 2014

Where is a club like Lane United supposed to start?

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Assistant coach Gabriel Hernandez instructs local players who tried out for the 2013 exhibition team. Lane United’s scouting reach has extended considerably since those early days, with the implementation of intelligent, soccer-specific technology.

As a first-year club in soccer’s Premier Development League (PDL), Lane United FC has been presented with a unique challenge by the standards of sport. Not only is the club trying to amass a winning team of talented young players—most under 23 years of age—from all over the country and the globe, from scratch, but it needs to aid in the growth and development of each member of the squad over the three months of the PDL season. “The end goal,” according to head coach John Galas, “is that these guys are better off for the experience when they return to their colleges or home countries at the end of the summer.”

This is a somewhat unusual role to fill, especially in regards to recruitment. Expansion teams in other major American sports are allowed to draft known talents from around the league and the highly scrutinized college ranks. Meanwhile, at the minor-league or even scholastic level of baseball, basketball, football and hockey, there are official and unofficial networks of scouts with eyes on seemingly every high-school diamond or middle-school playground who can report back to the top, wherever that may be.

In American soccer, however, those networks have rarely been very extensive or solidified. Some youth soccer academies have been able to integrate their intra-club scouting structure at all age and skill levels, and even send out scouts into the broader reaches of their local communities, but until recently there has not been a good way for organizations at the lower levels of U.S. adult soccer to get a close look at a wide geographical range of prospects. The ubiquity and ease of web-based video has certainly helped in this regard, but YouTube is a vast and chaotic landscape of personal highlight reels that a club of Lane United’s proportions would never have the time or resources to adequately scan through. Compounding the difficulty is the fact that, unlike an established college program, the brand-new Lane United is rarely contacted by players on their own initiative—the club has to search for players within the high school and college ranks by itself.

Lane United’s technological partner and scouting and development paradigm, Scout7, has been “invaluable” in providing clarity and structure to the recruiting picture, said coach John Galas. Galas said he was introduced to the service—whose clients include Barcelona, Chelsea, Bayern Munich and approximately 150 other clubs around the world—through a colleague in England about two years ago. He then experimented with a demo version of the program at the Real Salt Lake Academy, his long-time coaching appointment before he moved to Eugene in 2013 to direct Lane United, and said that “everyone at the Academy loved it and found it incredibly useful.”

He called Scout7 “instrumental” this year in focusing his attention on players from the college ranks and some of the mid-stature club academies in Europe and South America. “In the past, there was no way to watch video of most of the players you heard about, especially video that multiple users could access. Now when I get a recommendation from a college coach, I go and pull up complete matches that the guy played in, scan his stats and so on, and so does Conner (Cappelletti, the Reds’ assistant coach).” He added that “the database of NCAA and PDL players will be fully populated and functional by next year, which will be great once we’re operating a USL-Pro club on a larger scale.”

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Players participate in open trials in 2013. In 2014, using Scout7 technology, every single fitness test, training observation, and match stat log can be archived and synchronized across multiple platforms for all coaching staff.

“We haven’t even been able to utilize a lot of Scout7’s potential so far, because we don’t have most of our players physically in front of us yet,” Galas continued. “Once we begin training and playing matches as a team, that’s when we can use (Scout7) to transition from recruiting these guys to helping them improve, and really make this a positive experience for everyone involved.”

Andy Cooper, a spokesman for Scout7, explained some of the player-development capabilities of the service by saying, “Over the course of the season, Lane United’s Intelligent Sports Framework (ISF) will store a wide range of information centrally and securely, including every match report, coaching session and fitness test made by every player, as well as all the scouting reports and player recommendations that came in when the player was recruited. By the end of the season, every facet of their development will have been managed intelligently using the Scout7 ISF.”

Galas concedes that in the absence of such comprehensive technology, it would be considerably more difficult to start and succeed with a team in Lane United’s position. “I’m not going to say it wouldn’t be possible, because I’ve been part of it before—relying on word-of-mouth and the occasionally inconsistent communication between all the coaches and staff and scouts, and using all that to build a squad—but the new way with this type of technology is so much more reliable and efficient if you really want to achieve something with you and the players.”