It's Thursday and I know you're craving your daily dosage of US Soccer news so I'm going to feed the addiction, buckle your seat belt and get ready for a wild ride...
*Robbie Rogers secured his UK work permit today, which officially completed his 2 1/2 year deal with Leeds United of the Championship. Rogers failed to receive an automatic work permit, as he did not appear in 75% of the US National Team matches over the last 2 years.
However, Rogers surprisingly has appeared in important US matches over his career and combined with this regulation becoming less strict in recent times, he was able to win the appeal. Rogers' resume includes being named to the preliminary 30-man roster ahead of the 2010 World Cup, playing in 5 of the 6 games in the 2009 Gold Cup, starting in all 3 match for the U-23s in the 2008 Olympics, and staring in all 5 matches for the US in the 2007 U-20 World Cup.
Rogers will join a Leeds United side that currently sit in the 11th position of the table, but are only one point out of a promotion playoff spot.
This was a smart move for Robbie. He has made significant career strides in the MLS, but he definitely has plateaued and thus it was time to move abroad. Robbie has to be hoping for a similar type of career re-surgence a la Sacha Kljestan's Anderlecht move, after undergoing a difficult 2011 season with the Crew.
You could always sense that Robbie had the talent to become a premier US winger, especially after watching him excel at every US youth level. However, Robbie had never been able to put it all together with the senior team as his final touch whether it be a shot or a pass has always been a bit off. In general, Robbie's decision making skills seem slow in crucial moments and adjusting to the English game will prove to be difficult if a similar pattern continues. I'm hoping for the best, but I really don't see Rogers succeeding in England.
*The US Men's National Team jumped ONE spot in the FIFA World Rankings today, moving from #34 to #33 while the top 10 ranked world powers remained in the same positions. The Yanks biggest rival Mexico also stayed put in the 21st slot.
*Yesterday, Eric Lichaj returned to action for Aston Villa in a reserves match vs. Wolves, playing 45 minutes in a 7-1 win. Lichaj has been sidelined since the summer with a hip injury, right after he was reportedly set to go on loan with Leeds for the second time.
It has also been reported that manager Alex McLeish wants to keep the American wing defender for the 2nd half of the season in order to have some depth in the back. Thus, another loan move for Lichaj is unlikely at this time.
It's great to see Lichaj back on the pitch. It wasn't too long ago that American fans were naming Lichaj the Yanks #1 left-back but then came Timothy Chandler to steal his thunder and everyone quickly forgot about Lichaj's blazing pace and hard-working performances.
Nevertheless, Lichaj has the potential to start at either left back or right back for the US come the 2014 World Cup if he continues to follow the same upward progression in his return from hip surgery. Either way, Lichaj will play a big role in World Cup qualifiers, so National Team fans should keep an extremely close eye on his form over the next couple of months.
Get more great soccer analysis over at US Futblog.