Bits and pieces from around the soccer world. . . .
Major League Soccer, which got off to a promising start when a sellout crowd of 31,683 turned out for its inaugural game at San Jose on Saturday, has scored another coup with its all-star game.
Instead of a single game, the event will be a doubleheader, to be played at Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J., on July 14.
The MLS all-star game will be played in conjunction with the FIFA world all-star game, the latter featuring world champion Brazil against a team representing the rest of the world.
The oddest sight at Saturday's San Jose Clash-Washington D.C. United game: The most powerful man in the sport bumping across a grass field on the back of a golf cart on his way into the stadium.
He is accustomed to getting out of a limousine and into a VIP-box elevator, but Spartan Stadium's amenities are somewhat thin. All the same, the unlikely passenger kept his composure, even managing a grin--or was it a grimace?--despite the bruising his dignity took.
His identity? FIFA President Joao Havelange of Brazil.
U.S. Olympic Coach Bruce Arena, who doubles as coach of D.C. United, made a bad call Saturday morning.
The league, in conjunction with the Japan World Cup 2002 bidding committee, brought in 10 of its top stars for a televised media question-and-answer session.
On hand were South Africa's Doctor Khumalo and Shaun Bartlett, Colombia's Carlos Valderrama and Leonel Alvarez and Americans Alexi Lalas, Tony Meola, Eric Wynalda, Cobi Jones and Frank Klopas.
Noticeably absent was D.C. United midfielder John Harkes. No explanation was given, but presumably Arena purposely held him out of the 11 a.m. event, which took place six hours before game time.
If the league is to be taken seriously, players should not have to endure continuing distractions such as this, and Arena would normally be correct to have held Harkes out. But this was a special occasion and it denied Harkes the opportunity to share the stage with his peers. If it was Harkes' decision not to attend, then Arena should have forced him to do so.
After all, Wynalda was there, and the one hour taken out of his morning didn't stop him from scoring the winning goal that evening.
Phil Woosnam, commissioner of the now-defunct North American Soccer League from 1971-83, heads a list of 10 nominees to the U.S. National Soccer Hall of Fame at Oneonta, N.Y.
Also nominated for 1996 were Gordon Bradley, former player and coach of the NASL's New York Cosmos, and Walt Chyzowych, former U.S. national team coach, who was nominated posthumously.
The chosen inductees will be announced in May. Those selected will be honored during ceremonies at the hall of fame on June 15.
The France '98 World Cup is still more than two years distant, but tickets for the 32-nation championship to be played in nine French cities June 10-July 12 go on sale May 5.
Prices will be less than for World Cup '94 in the United States, according to former French national team star and coach Michel Platini, who jointly heads the organizing committee.
Individual tickets will range in price from $40 for first-round games to $590 for the final in Paris.
Los Angeles Galaxy goalkeeper Jorge Campos will join the team Wednesday, only three days before its opening game Saturday at 7 p.m. against the New York/New Jersey MetroStars at the Rose Bowl. Opposing Campos in the MetroStars' goal will be former U.S. World Cup goalkeeper Tony Meola. New York/New Jersey will fly in on Wednesday in order to avoid a forecast East Coast blizzard. . . . In addition to their 32-game, regular-season schedule, MLS teams will also play as many as three international games apiece. The first of these was announced by the San Jose Clash, which will play Bayer Leverkusen of the German Bundesliga on May 26 at Spartan Stadium in San Jose. The German team includes U.S. national and Olympic team midfielder Claudio Reyna, as well as four other internationals, Germany's Ulf Kirsten, Romania's Ion Lupescu and Brazil's Paulo Sergio and Rodrigo. . . . The Tampa Bay Mutiny lost midfielder Peter Hattrup for the season when the midfielder tore the ligaments in his right knee in a collision during training. "He'll be out at least six months," Mutiny President/General Manager Farrukh Quraishi said, "and he was playing really well too." . . . San Jose has abandoned efforts to sign Mexico national team striker Carlos Hermosillo, who apparently is out of the team's price range. Similarly, the Colorado Rapids say they no longer are negotiating with Swedish World Cup goalkeeper Thomas Ravelli.