2015 was a fun year for soccer as a whole and for my own connections with the game. I launched this blog at the beginning of the MLS season with the goal to write one paragraph about every MLS, Premier League, and Champions League match. I accomplished that goal (save for the two match weeks I missed from getting married) after the completion of the MLS Cup final in December, I felt it was time to expand my coverage to include these daily news segments each morning. That has allowed me to further cover the world's game in a way that makes me feel almost directly involved.
I hope 2016 can continue to see this site grow in what relatively little time I have to dedicate to it. As we go forth with the Champions League, Premier League, and into another season of MLS, we will have plenty of other stuff to occupy our time this year. The COPA America Centenario will be a particular summer highlight for me, as the USA is hosting the special event. The Olympics, while not meaning much on the men's side, will be fun to watch to see if the USWNT can continue their dominance of that theater.
Today's edition comes a little late in the day, New Year's Eve keeps us all up late, after all. But nonetheless, these posts will continue to help you catch up on all the stories from the previous day in the world of football, or soccer, futbol, or calcio, or whatever you happen to call it.
As for yesterday, there was only one major match in Spain, but the transfer window opened up and a couple of large clubs decided to add to their midfield.
Villarreal 1-0 Valencia
Villarreal jumps back into the Champions League with the win over Valencia. They had dropped out over the week as the only Spanish club not to play on Wednesday.
The Transfer window was barely open when Arsenal, who didn't sign a single out field player over the summer, became the first European club to make a move. They grabbed Mohamed Elneny from Swiss giants FC Basel for £7.3 million. The Egyptian figures to hold down the fort while Santi Cazorla, Francis Coquelin, and Jack Wilshire rest up in the injury ward.
Atletico Madrid was also busy in the early hours of the window. They signed Augusto Fernandez from La Liga foes Celta Vigo for €6.5 million.
One of the things that tends to happen around this time of the year is a player who has had a breakout season with a smaller club becomes the topic of transfer rumors involving larger clubs looking to splash the cash. Watford's Odion Ighalo is one such player, but it appears he isn't going anywhere. The Hornets are keen to keep their top goal scorer as they chase an unlikely place in Europe for next season. Atletico Madrid have reportedly been interested, but all of their inquiries have been brushed away.
West Ham could be getting a boost to their midfield to aid their struggling club. Dmitri Payet, who was expected to be out for three months with an ankle injury suffered in early November, could return for this weekend's clash with Liverpool. While the Hammers haven't lost since Payet went down, they also have only won once and went a string of three straight matches without scoring a goal. Payet can help this team find the net a little more heading into the new year.
The next step for the USWNT is qualifying for the Rio Olympics this summer, and that begins with the January camp ahead of the February 10-21 qualifying tournament. Jill Ellis released the 26 woman roster for the camp, which goes down On January 5-21 in Carson, California. Plenty of familiar names from the World Championship side grace the squad. Hope Solo, Becky Sauerbrunn, Julie Johnson, Alex Morgan, and others will be present.