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Soccer / DAILY REPORT

Ruiz Nears Loan Deal With Wolves

December 31, 2003|Jim Barrero | Times Staff Writer

Galaxy striker Carlos Ruiz said he is close to reaching agreement on a three-month loan to play for Wolverhampton Wanderers in the English Premier League.

Ruiz, Major League Soccer's co-leading goal scorer last season, arrived in England last weekend and watched the last-place Wolves score a 3-1 victory over Leeds United on Sunday.

"We have invited Carlos to come and try out English football with us," Wolves Coach Dave Jones told the team's Web site.

"He is one of the leading goal scorers in America's Major League Soccer, and we think he's got the attributes to do well in this country as well."

Galaxy Coach Sigi Schmid said the move is a win-win situation, because the MLS club will not lose any service time.

"It's a great opportunity for Carlos. It fits what we wanted to bring to him as a club," Schmid said.

"It's a good situation because if he does well in this trial, in turn it makes him attractive not only in England, but other parts of Europe."

This month, another English team, Leicester City, had expressed interest in Ruiz but decided against pursuing a transfer.

Ruiz, 24, could join Wolves as early as Thursday when the FIFA transfer window reopens.

Ruiz told rojomania.com, a Web site devoted to his former team, Municipal, in Guatemala, that he came to England to "fine-tune" details of the arrangement, but he is still being "cautious and patient" regarding negotiations.

Ruiz's agent, Richard Motzkin, who also traveled to England, said he is confident a deal will be worked out.

"All the people of MLS are waiting to see what happens with this transaction," Motzkin told rojomania.com. Galaxy General Manager "Doug Hamilton and Schmid are in favor of this opportunity for Carlos."

If a deal is struck between Wolves and MLS, Ruiz is expected to stay with the team until late March so he can return for the start of the MLS season in early April.

U.S. Under-23

World Cup veterans Landon Donovan and DaMarcus Beasley are among 25 players who have been invited to a training camp leading up to final Olympic qualifying.

The camp will be at the Home Depot Center and prepare the under-23 team for Olympic qualifying matches in Mexico on Feb. 2-12.

Other players invited include defenders Ricky Lewis and Scot Thompson of the Galaxy, midfielder Bobby Convey of D.C. United, midfielder Kyle Martino of the Columbus Crew and goalkeeper D.J. Countess of the Dallas Burn.

Henry on Top

After finishing second in voting for the FIFA world player of the year and the Golden Ball as Europe's top player, Arsenal striker Thierry Henry was chosen French player of the year by France Football Magazine.

Henry finished ahead of Zinedine Zidane, who edged him for the FIFA award.

Hitzfeld to Stay

England will apparently have to look elsewhere for a coach if Sven Goran Eriksson leaves after Euro 2004 next summer.

Bayern Munich Coach Ottmar Hitzfeld, thought to be a top choice to succeed Eriksson, said he plans to stay with the German club until 2005.

"I have no idea what all this means. No one has asked me about the job, and it doesn't interest me much at the moment," Hitzfeld told Munich daily tz. "I want to fulfill my contract with Bayern Munich."

Quick Passes

Honduran forward Carlos Pavon, who played for Italy's Napoli earlier this year, will play for Morelia in the Mexican league during the 2004 Clausura tournament.

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Times wire services contributed to this report.

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