Vancouver Whitecaps FC announced the signing of Gambian international and former Belgian league standout Mustapha “Toubabo” Jarju today.
A 24-year-old striker, Jarju scored 18 goals in 31 games for RAEC Mons last season, leading the side to promotion to the Belgian top flight. He has 25 appearances and four goals for the Gambian national team, and is an alternate captain for his national side.
Jarju becomes the first African designated player in MLS history, and the fifth Gambian player in the league, after Sanna Nyassi (Colorado), Sainey Nyassi (Sanna’s twin, New England), Kenny Mansally (New England) and Mamadou “Futty” Danso (Portland).
Manchester United has landed on U.S. shores in advance of the first game of their preseason tour (against New England on Wednesday) and coach Alex Ferguson had some interesting things to say about MLS and soccer in the U.S. Chief among these was his notion that the country should form several leagues, due to its size:
“I always thought the problem would be the size of the country. Travelling from Boston to Los Angeles is a long haul. But in Brazil they have two leagues. They could easily do that in the United States if it takes off and they got more clubs involved. In fact, you could have four leagues because of the size of the country and the population base. There are unbelievable possibilities for the United States.”
It would never happen, but we like it. You create regional leagues to get around the problem of travel (which is real; ask any MLSer), and then take the winners of them and do a playoff (or championship game) in one neutral site. Not a bad idea. Commissioner Garber, your thoughts?
Wayne Rooney is part of the Man U contingent that’s here, and he spoke with the MLS website today, saying he thinks the league is on the rise and “in the next five, 10 years, it’ll be one of the major leagues in football.” From your lips to God’s ears, Wayne.
Rooney goes on to name-check Brian McBride and Joe-Max Moore, both of whom he trained with at Everton (Joe-Max “when I was a young lad”). Click here for the full article on Red Bull midfielder John Rooney‘s older brother.
New England–Man U kicks off at 8:00 tomorrow night on ESPN2.