Windy City Return for Hyde | Chicago Fire Soccer Club
Windy City Return for Hyde
Goalkeeping coach discusses new role, 2010 season
As draftees and trialists spent time over the last six weeks looking to impress the Fire coaching staff enough for a roster spot, so did Aron Hyde, the club’s new Goalkeeping Coach. His work with the Fire’s three goalkeepers during the club’s six week, four stop tour was enough for him to be named to the position on March 1.
Hailing from Birmingham, England, the 27-year-old played for Judson University in Elgin from 2002-04, helping the Eagles to the NCCAA national championship his first year there, tallying up a 64-9-1 record over his three years between the sticks.
It was during his college years that Hyde had a training stint with the team he’s now coaching. He’s also trained with English clubs, Fulham FC, Millwall, Walsall and Wycombe Wanderers, but took up coaching after hanging up his playing boots, taking his license courses while working as an assistant first for Seattle University men’s and women’s teams, before spending last season at the University of Washington.
After spending a number of years in the Pacific northwest, and a number of weeks on the club’s preseason tour, Hyde’s happy to be settled back in Chicago.
“I obviously have some experience here,” said Hyde. “I was auditioning for my job [during preseason] but there wasn’t that much pressure because I’d talked to a number of people regarding the goalkeeping situation and so the transition was smooth. I have a good feel for the three keepers here and we’ve built up a good rapport.”
At 27, Hyde is one of the younger coaches in all of Major League Soccer – though still more senior than the Fire’s goalkeeping corps -- Andrew Dykstra, 24, and Sean Johnson, 20.
“Aron’s been great,” said Dykstra. “He’s young but he came to the team with a lot of experience coaching the position. He’s pushed both of us very hard but he knows what he’s doing and I would say we have a great working relationship.”
As far as Dykstra’s performance in preseason, Hyde was impressed with the second-year player’s work ethic, especially after suffering an injury early.
“Andrew was a little slow to get going in preseason because he picked up a knock soon after we arrived in Arizona. We sent him back here to rehab while we went to Mexico, giving him some cardio work to do while away. The whole situation was the best thing for him because he was still working hard while rehabbing and came back into camp ten days later as sharp as ever.”
Though losing against New York in his first MLS appearance, the goalkeeping coach is confident in his new number one keeper.
“He could have been rattled early with the back pass that he played out for a corner, but he recovered well and looked confident in the goal. The goal they scored was well-taken and no one found him at fault for it. As a debut, it was a good performance to build off of and we expect he’ll continue to improve through the season.”
When it comes to the goalkeeping position, Hyde is bullish about the subject as it relates to American keepers. An Aston Villa supporter, he’s happy to have both Brads, Friedel and Guzan, backstopping the Villains the last two seasons.
“Goalkeeping is the one position where this country has done a great job in continuously producing quality players. The play of guys like Friedel, Guzan, Tim Howard, Kasey Keller and Marcus Hahnemann, has given this country a great reputation of producing at this position and I think a lot of it has to do with American emphasis on athleticism, with kids playing a number of different sports that require good hand-eye coordination.”
Hyde has been back at work with his keepers this week, preparing both Dykstra and Johnson for Saturday afternoon’s clash with the Colorado Rapids, at 3 pm CT live on Telefutura.
Lowry Stakes His Claim in Fire Midfield | Chicago Fire Soccer Club
Lowry Stakes His Claim in Fire Midfield
Third-year midfielder starts season well
The Chicago Fire currently roster a few players born in odd soccer states.
Justin Mapp’s ties to Mississippi have been well documented, while Fire goalkeeper Andrew Dykstra challenges Houston Dynamo striker Brian Ching as another Hawaiian-born player in Major League Soccer.
Hailing from Montana, Fire midfielder Peter Lowry may have them both beat. He’s certainly the most famous soccer player with ties to the Treasure State.
“Most definitely,” said Lowry when asked the question. “To be fair I only spent my early years there before moving to California. I’ve gone back to visit a number of times though.”
Lowry’s ties go back a ways. His grandfather was a professor at the University of Montana, and his parents Tom and Colleen are both Grizzly alumni. Eventually the family moved to Fair Oaks, CA where Lowry would become a standout with Bella Vista high school, impressing enough to make his way to Santa Clara University.
Lowry played for the Broncos from 2004-07, making 87 appearances while tallying 22 goals and 15 assists. During his collegiate time, he also prepared for the professional ranks by spending three summers in the USL’s Premier Development League with the Boulder Rapids Reserve (2005-06) and San Jose Frogs (2007).
“The PDL worked well to prepare me for the jump to Major League Soccer,” said Lowry. “With both teams I played with top quality players who had the goal of making the next step and at the same time experienced what clubs expect of players at the professional level.”
Lowry’s collegiate and PDL play saw him selected 26th overall by the Fire in the 2008 MLS SuperDraft. While he saw little action during his rookie season, the central midfielder carved out a place in the team last year, appearing in 10 matches and scoring three goals. His past performances carried into preseason with new Fire head coach Carlos de los Cobos employing Lowry in the midfield during a number exhibition matches in preparation for last Saturday’s season opener against the New York Red Bulls.
Slotting in next to long-time Fire veteran Logan Pause in the center of the park, Lowry did well to help control the midfield and breakup Red Bull attacks. Though the team fell 1-0 at Red Bull Arena, the Fair Oaks, CA product took a lot away from the match.
“It was an interesting game. I thought we possessed the ball well and created a number of good scoring chances, but we couldn’t find the back of the net. Playing in the new stadium provided a tremendous atmosphere for us, especially as the game it went on, it became louder and louder on the field. As a player, you feed off of that environment, even if it’s not your home crowd, but a number of our supporters came out and did great work to help us through the match.”
As the team preps for this weekend’s match with the Colorado Rapids this week, Lowry recognizes the things that need to be worked on for the club to earn its first three points of the season.
“At the end of the day, the game against New York wasn’t a bad performance for us, but there are obviously things we need to improve upon. While created good opportunities, we need to make more and our finishing in front of goal needs to be better. If we keep creating chances, one will go in and we’ll be on our way. We’re working hard this week to make sure we get the victory in Colorado.”
The Fire will take on Colorado this Saturday, April 3 at 3pm CT live on Telefutura.
El Tri's Journey Begins | Chicago Fire Soccer Club
El Tri's Journey Begins
For Mexico, the 2010 World Cup is Priority No. 1
U.S. national-team coach Bob Bradley has to be a little envious. While most nations will kick off their World Cup training camps in mid-May, Mexico manager Javier Aguirre will gather his team beginning April 12. That’s a one-month head start.
Last year, the Mexican Federation (FMF) worked with the owners of the Mexican first-division clubs to outline a plan that prioritizes the Mexican national team’s 2010 World Cup preparations. The goal was simple: to ensure the most successful World Cup in the nation’s history (Mexico reached the quarters as hosts in 1970 and 1986).
To that end, an unprecedented agreement was reached with the clubs to voluntarily release domestic players more than a month before FIFA requires.
On Tuesday, Aguirre issued a list of 17 players, who will play their final club matches this weekend before camp. Their teams will do without most of them for the last four matchdays of the regular season, the Mexican liguilla(playoffs), the Copa Libertadores and the CONCACAF Champions League.
This sacrifice is sure to carry economic compensation from the federation for the clubs who contribute players. However, the real motivation of all parties involved is a realization that a landmark performance at the World Cup would benefit all of Mexican professional soccer. In fact, a total of 12 World Cup warm-up matches have been scheduled by the FMF, most staged in the U.S.
Come July, this grand plan might have been all for nought. In a difficult World Cup group featuring France, Uruguay and hosts South Africa, it very well might be three-and-out for Mexico. But the ambition and vision of the Mexicans is laudable. The focus and advance planning is impressive. The unified front from club owners to federation officials is downright shocking.
Fans in general can find little fault in focusing all of a country’s soccer resources to put Mexico’s name among the very elite at the World Cup -- even if that means depriving their club teams of their star players. Country before club is the accepted maxim in world soccer.
Should it work out for Mexico, although many are skeptical, it could make for a model that MLS, the U.S. Soccer Federation and other CONCACAF qualifiers can look at for future tournaments.
But for all this work and planning, Mexico is still behind the ball ahead of the World Cup inaugural match on June 11 against South Africa. That’s because the hosts Bafana Bafana are outdoing even Mexico on preparations. Led by former MetroStars coach Carlos Alberto Parreira, South Africa will be wrapping up a month-long camp in Brazil with two more to follow before the tournament kicks off.
It’s the mighty Herculez: American Herculez Gomez scored yet again on Sunday for his club team, Puebla. It’s his seventh goal in nine games. But last weekend’s strike wasn’t just any old goal. It was the game-winner and it came against Club América.
“The players called it the goal of a million-and-a-half pesos because that was one of the bonuses they offered us for beating América,” Gomez told MLSsoccer.com on Tuesday. “Players are going to take home a nice chunk of change because of that game.”
His scoring rate of one goal every 79 minutes is the best in Mexican soccer. But Gomez is still not a starter for Puebla. He came off the bench on Sunday, too.
“My coach likes to keep me hungry,” Gomez said. “I wouldn’t call them mind games, but he likes to do things to get me going. I’ve been fortunate enough to get on the field and I’m hoping that soon enough he’ll give me more of an opportunity.”
Only In Mexico: Gomez scored his goal on Sunday with the help of América goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa, who whiffed on the wicked but stoppable free kick. That makes two major blunders in a span of 11 days for the Mexican national-team starter, including a similar gaffe against North Korea in a friendly on March 17.
One former Mexican World Cup goalkeeper said Ochoa’s fame is what has impacted his performance. In Tuesday’s edition of Mexican daily Record, Ochoa’s own dad says that should his son commit another error, a psychologist could be in order. With the World Cup only two months away, the pressure on Ochoa will only grow.
Match of the Week: While MLS experiences its SuperClasico between the Galaxy and Chivas USA on Thursday, the biggest match of them all in Mexico comes this Sunday night. League-leading Chivas de Guadalajara hosts Club América (Telemundo, 9 p.m. ET) with a chance to put a serious dent in their rivals’ liguilla quest.
Chivas’ five Mexican national-team players will be leaving the club for World Cup training camp following the game. They will not want to miss the opportunity to leave the home fans with a parting gift and bury their rivals, who will be without their best defender, Aquivaldo Mosquera, due to suspension.