The Other Muslim Soccer Star in Kansas City

September 29, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

Compiled by Parvez Fatteh, Founder of http://sportingummah.com, sports@muslimobserver.com

Reporters_wcup_nigeria14Senegalese soccer player Birahim Diop welcomed a new Muslim teammate to Sporting Kansas this season with the arrival of heralded striker Soony Saad. But Diop himself has been in Major League Soccer (MLS) for three seasons now. He originally began his career in Senegal with US Rail de Thiès. In one year at the club he appeared in 25 matches scoring 15 goals. He then went on to ASC Jeanne d’Arc and scored 12 goals and added 7 assists in his one year at the club.

In 2001 Diop moved to the United States and joined the New York/New Jersey MetroStars reserve squad. He then impressed the coaching brass to move up to the senior squad appearing in 4 league matches in 2002. Following his stay in New York, Diop moved to Colombian side Deportivo Pereira, before being re-united once again with his former coach in New York Octavio Zambrano at CS Tiligul-Tiras Tiraspol in Moldova. In his first season with CS Tiligul-Tiras Tiraspol Diop appeared in 15 league matches and scored 3 goals playing as a holding midfielder. In 2008 Diop returned to the U.S. and played for FDR United in New York City’s amateur leagues, scoring 19 goals in 25 matches.

On March 17, 2010, Diop joined the Kansas City Wizards, as an addition to their midfield. Diop was reunited with coach Octavio Zambrano once again, as he was now an assistant coach for Kansas City. Diop scored his first two MLS goals on August 21, 2010 in a 4-1 victory over the New England Revolution. Diop than recorded the first hat trick of his career on October 23, 2010 in a 4-1 victory over the San Jose Earthquakes. Diop enjoyed his best year in Major League soccer in 2010 with the Kansas City Wizards appearing in 14 league matches and scoring 5 goals.

This season, the 22 year old midfielder has yet to score a goal in 18 games played with Kansas City. He has, however, started eight games, and has recorded an assist. At 6’3” and 175 pounds, Diop is an imposing figure in the Sporting Kansas City midfield. And as a result of his size he often plays as a striker. But with Soony Saad part of the strikeforce nowadays, he and Diop could have the makings of quite a scoring pair moving forward.

13-40

Nicolas Anelka Says He Is Happy at Chelsea

September 22, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

Compiled by Parvez Fatteh, Founder of http://sportingummah.com, sports@muslimobserver.com

ANELKA_N_20020824_NF_LReports surfaced again this week that French Muslim footballer Nicolas Anelka was close to signing with a Major League Soccer (MLS) team in the United States this past summer and is still interested in joining the league. His current club, Chelsea Football Club of the English Premier League, published quotes from the Anelka on its website stating his desire to remain with the Premier League team.
“I am linked everywhere but – when you are linked – it doesn’t mean you want to leave,” Anelka told the website. “I like Chelsea and first of all wanted to stay that’s why I am still here.”

The 32-year-old striker’s contract runs out next summer and current manager Andre Villas-Boas has hinted that this may indeed be Anelka’s last year with the club. “I am happy here, I like the club, everyone here, and, after, I will see what happens. It is not only down to me,” Anelka told the club’s website regarding a possible transfer in either the winter or summer transfer windows. “I have been here almost four years now, and I am pleased with the way it has been. It could have been even better but I am still happy.”

Anelka was reportedly close to signing with an MLS franchise located on the West Coast, according to one of his agents. Although a deal never materialized, Anelka’s camp confirmed to the website Goal.com that their client is still interested in moving to the North American league. “I can confirm that Nicolas is still possibly interested in pursuing an MLS career,” said Michael Wiesenfeld, who is part of European Football Group, an organization which will represent Anelka’s marketing rights should he join MLS. “He got very close to landing a nice contract with a team on the West Coast in August. He also has opportunities elsewhere in the world.”

Anelka originally joined  Chelsea from Bolton inn January of 2008 for 15 million pounds. He has made 344 appearances in the Premier League and scored 123 goals to date for Arsenal, Liverpool, Bolton and Chelsea. But Chelsea’s abundance of scoring forwards, and Anelka’s advancing age, make him more expendable than ever. And with his career with the French national team likely over, a period with MLS would likely be Anelka’s swan song.

13-39

Gambian Striker Joins Vancouver

July 14, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

By Parvez Fatteh, TMO, Founder of http://sportingummah.com, sports@muslimobserver.com

Bildnummer: 04293885  Datum: 31.07.2008  Copyright: imago/Reporters
Mustapha Jarju (RAEC Mons) - PUBLICATIONxINxGERxAUTxHUNxONLY; Vdig, hoch Jupiler League 2008/2009, Ligue, 1. Belgische Liga, Präsentation, Pressetermin, Porträttermin Fußball Herren Mannschaft Belgien Porträt Randmotiv Personen

Image number 04293885 date 31 07 2008 Copyright imago Reporters Mustapha Jarju RAEC Mons PUBLICATIONxINxGERxAUTxHUNxONLY Vdig vertical Jupiler League 2008 2009 Ligue 1 Belgian League Presentation Press call Portrait session Football men Team Belgium Portrait Rand motive Human Beings Don’t call him Jar Jar Binks, the regrettable Star Wars character. His name is Mustapha Jarju. He is the newest signing for Major League Soccer’s Vancouver Whitecaps. Ironically, Jarju goes by the nickname, Toubabo, which is the Mandinka word for “white person.”

“I got it when I was very young,” he told The Province. “I don’t know. I started playing well and they just give me that name. Maybe I played like a white man when I was young.”
Jarju had 25 goals and 13 assists in 41 games last season for Mons in the Belgian second division. He turns 25 years old next week. The six-foot striker helped Mons earn promotion this season but his contract was up and the Whitecaps beat out offers in Europe and the Middle East to secure his services. Jarju is also alternate captain of the Gambian national soccer team, and he has been capped 25 times.

He is also MLS’s first African to be a designated player, referring to players who can sign bigger contracts at ownership’s expense with only a portion counting against the cap. Jarju is now one of five Gambians in MLS. “For me, the most important thing is the players, the team, we are all the same,” Jarju told The Province. “I hope I’m going to have success in MLS and a very good six months in Vancouver, then come back ready for pre-season.”

Toubabo hasn’t played a game since the end of May, so immediate expectations of stamina should probably be tempered. Tuesday’s practice included the dreaded beep test, which involves shuttle runs in progressively shortened intervals and generally ends in a wasteland of weariness. Toubabo was one of the first to drop out. “I hope [Wednesday], not the beep test again,” he said.
Toubabo is well aware of the team’s struggles, and the expectations that will follow him. “I scored a lot of goals in the past season,” he said, “and I hope on Saturday I’ll start scoring again. But we have to do it as a group. One man can’t do it.”

“Being at the age he is, we’re excited where he can get to,” said Caps’ coach and director of soccer operations Tommy Soehn, who first saw the player on DVDs, then live in Belgium. “The thing that drew us to him was his nose for the goal, and his ability to set up goals.”

13-29

Soony Saad Joins Major League Soccer

July 7, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

By Parvez Fatteh, TMO, Founder of http://sportingummah.com, sports@muslimobserver.com

Michael Nanchoff #9 of the University of Akron sends the ball past Soony Saad #8 of the University of Michigan during the 2010 College Cup semi-final at Harder Stadium, on December 10 2010, in Santa Barbara, California.Akron won 2-1.

A University of Akron player sends a ball past Soony Saad of the University of Michigan at the 2010 College Cup Semifinal in Santa Barbara, California, on December 10, 2010.

Muslim soccer player Soony Saad has now gone from Michigan high school star, to college soccer sensation, to now professional soccer player all in a matter of a year and a half. Saad enjoyed a prolific freshman season with the University of Michigan men’s soccer team, scoring 19 goals and leading his team to the Final Four. But afterward, the lure of professional soccer proved too great. He left the team this spring after the season concluded and traveled to Europe to try out for a number of large European soccer organizations. But after failing find the right opportunities, Saad has returned home to the United States and has committed to Major League Soccer (MLS). And this week, in a weighted lottery, Sporting Kansas City of MLS has now won the rights to the Lebanese-American forward.

Sporting Kansas City already has what American soccer expert Ives Galarcep describes as “…one of the deepest and strongest collection of forwards in MLS…” But any team could use the natural scoring talents of Soony Saad. Last season Soony teamed up with his brother, midfielder Hamoody Saad, to lead the University of Michigan attack that brought home the Big Ten Conference Title. Before that, as a high school senior in the Detroit area, Saad was named the Gatorade National High School Boys Soccer Player of the Year. Sporting Kansas City beat out Chivas USA and the Chicago Fire to win Saad’s rights. Now they are hoping that Saad can bring their team trophies as well.

13-28

Soony Saad Joins Major League Soccer

July 7, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

By Parvez Fatteh, TMO, Founder of http://sportingummah.com, sports@muslimobserver.com

Michael Nanchoff #9 of the University of Akron sends the ball past Soony Saad #8 of the University of Michigan during the 2010 College Cup semi-final at Harder Stadium, on December 10 2010, in Santa Barbara, California.Akron won 2-1.

A University of Akron player sends a ball past Soony Saad of the University of Michigan at the 2010 College Cup Semifinal in Santa Barbara, California, on December 10, 2010.

Muslim soccer player Soony Saad has now gone from Michigan high school star, to college soccer sensation, to now professional soccer player all in a matter of a year and a half. Saad enjoyed a prolific freshman season with the University of Michigan men’s soccer team, scoring 19 goals and leading his team to the Final Four. But afterward, the lure of professional soccer proved too great. He left the team this spring after the season concluded and traveled to Europe to try out for a number of large European soccer organizations. But after failing find the right opportunities, Saad has returned home to the United States and has committed to Major League Soccer (MLS). And this week, in a weighted lottery, Sporting Kansas City of MLS has now won the rights to the Lebanese-American forward.

Sporting Kansas City already has what American soccer expert Ives Galarcep describes as “…one of the deepest and strongest collection of forwards in MLS…” But any team could use the natural scoring talents of Soony Saad. Last season Soony teamed up with his brother, midfielder Hamoody Saad, to lead the University of Michigan attack that brought home the Big Ten Conference Title. Before that, as a high school senior in the Detroit area, Saad was named the Gatorade National High School Boys Soccer Player of the Year. Sporting Kansas City beat out Chivas USA and the Chicago Fire to win Saad’s rights. Now they are hoping that Saad can bring their team trophies as well.

13-28