I like to open with a joke or a silly story, but sometimes it's not the right time. As today's links show, today is probably not the right time. Some big news as well as some more personal stories made for a heavy Tuesday.
"It's Been in My Heart" United's Nyarko catching on with new team | WJLA.com
ABC 7 has this weekend's D.C. United game on TV, and they did a 90+ second interview with Patrick Nyarko and Ben Olsen at yesterday's training session.
Brussels terrorist attacks prompt Andy Najar to reconsider soccer career in Belgium | Washington Post
Yesterday's attacks in Belgium have had far-reaching consequences already. Here's just one: Andy Najar wants to leave Anderlecht as soon as possible, as Steve Goff reports. For D.C. United, that would result in a financial windfall due to a sell-on clause they attached when their Homegrown product headed across the Atlantic. More importantly, though, Najar's fear for his family is something a lot of people are feeling right now in Brussels and elsewhere.
"What are you up to?" | Bakary Soumare's Facebook page
Former MLS defender Bakary Soumare wrote this revealing, fascinating piece on his struggles with autism, concussions, and how he's trying to turn some big obstacles into solutions for others. There's also a note in here about Chris Rolfe, a friend of Soumare's from when both were with the Chicago Fire.
The New England Revolution are class | The Brotherly Game
A player normally associated with wild-eyed fury and another that later got red carded for a violent tackle show us once again that players aren't all what we see during the game. A nice gesture here from Jose Goncalves and Je-Vaughn Watson.
Long MLS's foundation, forced parity could become league's constraint globally | FourFourTwo USA
Graham Parker goes from orcs and wizards to MLS, and somehow it all makes sense. Plus, there's a pretty interesting segment on how changing the order on penalty kicks might cure the issue of how the team that shoots first gets a significant advantage.
Elsewhere, it looks like Orlando City still hasn't gotten a handle on this whole "how to sign players in MLS, the league your team plays in" thing:
Mix Diskerud most overrated in MLS, ahead of high-priced stars - player poll | ESPNFC
Can't say I disagree all that much with Diskerud being high on an overrated list. However, the players also want to play for Jesse Marsch, which is rather comical given that NYRB's coaching staff is likely at least somewhat involved in their team having 3 players go down with hamstring strains (all of the "pulled up while running" variety, which in the conditioning world are the ones you can prevent with better training methods).
I also wonder how much playing for a given coach was put in a vacuum for these players. Did they want to play for Peter Vermes, for example, just to play with him? Or to play at KC's glorious facilities?
We'll know within "the next day or two" if the Sounders are signing Herculez Gomez | Sounder at Heart
Two words: Andrea Mancini.
Ellis names WNT roster for Colombia friendlies | Stars and Stripes FC
Are Crystal Dunn and Ali Krieger on the USWNT roster? Well, yes, of course they are, along with some surprise inclusions like Allie Long and US under-17 player Ashley Sanchez.
Bobby Wood could be heading to Bundesliga's Hamburger SV | Stars and Stripes FC
Staying with our homies from Stars and Stripes, Bobby Wood is turning a good season in the 2.Bundesliga into a potential move up to Hamburg in the German top flight.
USL 2016 preview | SB Nation
If you want to know what's going on in the USL this season, it'll be hard to find more extensive coverage than our SBN soccer blogs all fanning out to cover the various MLS B teams and affiliates attached to their normal beat. That includes Ben's post on the Richmond Kickers.
I went to Turkey for a chance to play pro soccer, but now I can't wait to leave | SB Nation
Let's close with a very thoughtful look at what it's like to actually be a professional player. Find time to give this a read.
That's it for today's links. Here's hoping for a more pleasant day.