Friday, September 30, 2011

Soul ink former Temple QB DiMichele

PHILADELPHIA – The Philadelphia Soul have signed former Temple QB and 2011 SIFL MVP quarterback Adam DiMichele as well as former Dallas Vigilantes’ linebacker Joe Goosby.

DiMichele brings NFL and CFL experience to the Soul, while Goosby is the second former – QB Dan Raudabaugh was the first – to join the Soul for the 2012 season.

“We will continue to remain very active in the free-agent market,” said Soul general manager Tom Goodhines. “Adam and Joe are two great additions to the Soul. These moves focus on adding depth on both sides of the ball as both guys will help make it even more competitive in training camp.”

After a brief stint playing baseball at Okaloosa-Walton College (2004-06) in Niceville, Florida, DiMichele transferred to Temple in 2006 to play football for the Owls. In 2007 and 2008, he was named team captain passing for 5,024 yards and finishing No. 4 on the Owls’ all-time passing list while adding 45 touchdowns.

DiMichele has also spent time with the Eagles in training camp (2009), the Calgary Stampeders (2009), and the Winnipeg Blue Bombers (2009).

In 2011, DiMichele led the Erie Explosion (IFL) to a 9-3 record that included a division title. He led the league in passing yards per game (270.6), team points per game (70.2), and total team offensive yards per game (260.0), while completing 235-of-427 passes (55%) for over 3,200 yards and a league-best 91 touchdowns to just seven interceptions.

DiMichele, a McKees Rock, PA native, had one of the best high-school careers in the history of Pennsylvania as the Western Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic League’s all-time leading passer, which includes breaking records set by former NFL greats and Hall of Famers Joe Montana, Dan Marino, and Joe Namath.

“Adam brings excellent instincts and an outstanding resume at the quarterback position,” said Soul head coach Doug Plank.

Goosby joined the Vigilantes in the 2011 season as rookie free agent. He amassed 43 tackles, three punt blocks, one forced fumble, one fumble recovery, and one interception last season.

Prior to joining the Vigilantes, Goosby was a member of the IFL’s San Angelo Stampede Express (2010), and the Bossier-Shreveport Battle Wings (2009). Goosby played collegiately at Tulane University (2004-06) and was an All-Conference USA selection. In three seasons at Tulane he totaled 100.0 tackles (60 solo) in 33 career games.

“Joe brings his toughness and smart defensive instincts to our team," Plank said. "We’ve liked what we’ve seen and are excited to have them both coming to play in Philadelphia next season.”

Video: Bowen-McLane fight gets CGI treatment

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Le Toux, Farfan lift Union over DC United

Sebastian Le Toux

By John McMullen

CHESTER (The Phanatic Magazine) - Sebastien Le Toux continued his late-season surge as Philadelphia topped DC United, 3-2, in a match with major playoff implications in the heavily jumbled Eastern Conference.

Le Toux scored two first half goals on the pitch at PPL Park and rookie Michael Farfan added the eventual game-winner in the 57th minute for the Union (10-7-13, 43 points), who jumped ahead of both Columbus and Houston and into second place in the East, just one point behind conference leader Sporting KC with four games to play. Philadelphia also has a game in hand on all three of those clubs.

The top three teams from both the Eastern and Western Conference make the MLS postseason as well as four wild cards. Currently the Union are four points ahead of what would be the final playoff team, Red Bull New York.

Rookie goalkeeper Zac MacMath made his fifth straight start for the Union in place of injured All-Star Faryd Mondragon and improved to 2-0-3.

With the game even at two Farfan put Philadelphia back on top in the 57th minute, taking a little touch pass from Roger Torres and blowing by DC defender Brandon McDonald before blasting a left-footed laser past netminder Bill Hamid from outside the area.

The Union took the early advantage when Carlos Valdes went over the top of the DC defense to find a leaking Le Toux, who slid it past Hamid on the short-side in the fourth minute.

The red-hot Le Toux struck again in the 15th minute when Farfan lofted a beautiful pass over McDonald. The Frenchman controlled the ball off his chest before finding the upper right corner of net for his ninth marker in his last eight games and his 10th overall.

DC United (9-9-11, 38 pts) fought back cutting the deficit in half in the 22nd minute when Dwayne De Rosario headed in Austin Da Luz's corner kick for his MLS-leading 14th goal of the season.

Andy Najar deadlocked things in the 30th going coast-to coast after a Philadelphia scoring opportunity. The DC midfielder raced down the right side and put a nice stutter-step move on Farfan before knocking it past
MacMath inside the near post.

The Union return to action on Sunday when they travel to the Left Coast to take on Chivas USA. The team's regular season finale at PPL Park is Oct. 15 against Toronto FC.


*Philadelphia's three substitutions were Justin Mapp for Amobi Okugo at intermission, Freddy Adu for Torres in the 60th minute and Kyle Nakazawa for Sheanon Williams in the 80th.

*Attendance was 17,963.

*D.C. and Philadelphia split the points in their last contest against one another, playing to a 2-2 draw on July 2 in the nations' capital.

*Mondragon remains sidelined with a fractured finger while third-string netminder Thorne Holder was also unavailable due to a concussion.

*Williams (hamstring) and F Veljko Paunovic (left calf strain) both started despite nagging injuries. MF Stefani Miglioranzi (right knee inflammation) and F Danny Mwanga (hip flexor strain) did not dress.

*Le Toux has 24 goals and 19 assists for Philadelphia since the start of last season. No player in MLS has more goals and assists over that time frame. De Rosario is second with 39 combined markers and helpers since 2010.

Twitter War: Deadspin's blow-by blow of McLane vs. Bowen

Deadspin, citing a source in the room, has a blow-by-blow of the Les Bowen-Jeff McLane dust-up on Wednesday.

McLane and a few other reporters were reportedly working in the media room before Andy Reid's press conference when Bowen, whose work space is on the other side of the room, entered. The veteran reporter walked "with a little extra force" down the row of cubicles on McLane's side, the source said.

"Who the fuck are you to question my professionalism?" asked Bowen. "It's one thing if it's just me and you going at it, but it's another thing to do it in front of thousands of people on Twitter."

Bowen then called McLane "an insecure piece of shit" and a "pussy" before McLane shot back saying Bowen should have called him the night before to talk it over, to which Les said "I'm standing up to you right now."

The source then said Bowen told McLane he was going to "knock [his] fucking teeth down [his] throat" and delivered a punch to the side of McLane's head.

McLane never really attempted to fight back but did say they should take things outside. Bowen then took one more "open-fisted slap" at the side of McLane's head before Phil Sheridan, an Inquirer columnist, stepped between the two.

The two talked for 10 minutes outside with no further physical activity.

During practice, Asante Samuel attempted to re-ignite things saying things like, "I'll give you a prediction on Sunday if you guys come out here and fight."

Finally when McLane asked Reid a question about Vick, Reid gave his answer but finished it by saying it's "nothing to fight over."

Both have toned it down since and have likely been reprimanded by their bosses to take up the professionalism a notch or two.

Soul bring back WR Brackins

PHILADELPHIA - The Philadelphia Soul have announced the re-signing of ArenaBowl XXII Champion wide receiver Larry Brackins (6-4, 221, Pearl River C.C.) for the 2012 season.

Brackins was a member of the Soul for three seasons (2007-08, 2011), and joins the list of returning Soul players to re-sign in Philadelphia.

“We continue to put pieces in place for a championship run,” said Soul general manager Tom Goodhines.  “He brings championship experience and adding him with (Dan) Raudabaugh and (Donovan) Morgan makes for a potent combination on offense.  This is only the beginning of the great talent that will be coming to Philadelphia for 2012.”

Last season, Brackins displayed his athletic ability by hauling in 41 receptions for 492 yards, including 13 receiving touchdowns ranking No. 3 on the team.  His standout performance came in Week 18 against the Cleveland Gladiators, snatching nine receptions for 133 yards and 3 touchdowns.  Over his AFL career, he has recorded 265 receptions for 3,424 yards and 83 touchdowns in 53 total games.

“It will be great to see Larry in a Soul uniform again,” said Soul head coach Doug Plank.  “He is a dominant presence in the red zone and proved that he is a talented athlete with his performance on special teams last year.  Anytime you can add a proven winner, you’ve upgraded your roster immediately.”

During the Soul’s 2008 championship run, Brackins recorded 107 receptions for 1,412 yards and 29 touchdowns in 15 regular season games, and 20 receptions for 249 yards and five touchdowns in three playoff games.  He amassed 190 receptions for 2,522 yards and 57 touchdowns in 29 total games as a member of the Soul.

During his collegiate career, the former Wildcat caught 101 receptions for a total of 1,834 yards and 19 touchdowns while starting 23 games (2003-04).  He was awarded as an All-MACJC and All-Region 23 both years, and was named a First-Team NJCAA All-American his final season.  He will be joining another Pearl River C.C. alum in Philadelphia, wide receiver Donovan Morgan, who played for the Wildcats in 2002.

New Orleans gets Arena Bowl XXV

NEW ORLEANS – The Arena Football League (AFL), New Orleans VooDoo and New Orleans Arena have announces that ArenaBowl XXV will be played in New Orleans, adding to the growing list of championships being hosted by the city in 2012.
ArenaBowl XXV will be the fifth sporting event/championship hosted by New Orleans in 2012, joining the BCS National Championship Game, NCAA Final Four, Allstate Sugar Bowl and the 2013 Super Bowl.
“While 2012 marks the Arena Football League’s 25th Anniversary, we aimed to bring the ArenaBowl back to a neutral site. Because of the history of the New Orleans market and its tremendous AFL fan base, we believe New Orleans is the perfect place to celebrate the League’s Silver Anniversary,” said AFL Commissioner Jerry B. Kurz.  “New Orleans served as the host city for the last two neutral site ArenaBowls in 2007 and 2008. The atmosphere at the New Orleans Arena was unbelievable and both events proved to be tremendously successful. We look forward to having ArenaBowl XXV in the city of New Orleans.”
The AFL has not had a neutral site for ArenaBowl since New Orleans did the honor in 2007 and 2008, serving as host to ArenaBowl XXI and XXII.  Since New Orleans last hosted ArenaBowl, the highest seeded team in the game has hosted the championship contest.
Over 17,000 fans attended each of the ArenaBowls New Orleans hosted, which still ranks tops among neutral sites for the championship game.  Las Vegas, Nevada was the only other city in the United States to host ArenaBowl, and did so the two previous years prior to New Orleans.
“I attended both ArenaBowls in New Orleans in ’07 and ’08, and I can easily say that city of New Orleans did a great job of hosting ArenaBowl weeks leading up to the event for fans of all ages.  The New Orleans Arena’s proximity to downtown hotels and the French Quarter, coupled with the great football fans in our city, makes it an ideal location for ArenaBowl,” said New Orleans VooDoo Owner Dan Newman.
In 2008, The New Orleans Sports Foundation estimated that ArenaBowl attracted over 6,000 visitors to the city with 40-percent of the game’s attendees not from the metropolitan area.  It was also reported that each ArenaBowl hosted by the city brought an estimated 15-to-25 million dollars to the city each year.
ArenaBowl XXI in 2007 was the first neutral-site ArenaBowl to sell out, and did so six weeks prior to the actual game, or for fans to know what teams were actual going to be in it.

Flyers' Sestito suspended

NEW YORK - Philadelphia Flyers forward Tom Sestito has been suspended without pay for the remainder of the preseason and two regular-season games for an illegal hit from behind to New York Rangers forward Andre Deveaux during a preseason game on September 26, NHL Senior Vice President of Player Safety Brendan Shanahan announced today.

Under the terms of the Collective Bargaining Agreement, and based on his average annual salary, Sestito will forfeit $5,945.94. The money goes to the Players' Emergency Assistance Fund.

At 7:52 of the first period, Sestito hit Deveaux from behind, driving him into the glass. Sestito was assessed a major penalty and game misconduct for boarding.

Sestito will miss preseason games tomorrow night vs. New Jersey and Saturday at New Jersey. He also will miss regular-season games Oct. 6 at Boston and Oct. 8 at New Jersey.

Soul to host open tryout on Oct. 22

PHILADELPHIA – The Philadelphia Soul will hold an open player tryout  on Saturday, October 22 at the Philadelphia Eagles' NovaCare Complex located at One NovaCare Way, Philadelphia.  Soul head coach Doug Plank and general manager Tom Goodhines will be evaluating all players in attendance.  No Kickers will be evaluated at this tryout.

The Soul found three players – Nyere Aumaitre, Jerome Hayes and Keith Stokes – that became starters from last year’s open tryout.

All participants can pre-register before Friday, October 21 at  The cost of the tryout is $60 for those who pre-register and $80 at the door by cash, money order or certified funds only.  A t-shirt will be included in the cost and all fees are non-refundable.

On the day of the tryout, registration will begin at 8 a.m., with stretching starting promptly at 9 a.m.

Players will be tested on their 40-yard time, broad jump and short shuttle with other position-specific drills and one-on-ones to follow.  Please bring appropriate workout gear and shoes/cleats.  Testing will take place on field turf – no metal cleats are permitted.  A trainer will be on hand for emergencies only – not for player taping.

2012 Pro Football Hall of Fame Candidates

CANTON, OH – Running back Tiki Barber, quarterback Drew Bledsoe, wide receiver Keyshawn Johnson, guard Will Shields, and coaches Bill Cowher, Bill Parcells, and Marty Schottenheimer are among the 11 first-year eligible modern-era candidates for the Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2012.

The complete list of nominees for the Class of 2012 consists of 103 candidates. From that list of nominees, the Pro Football Hall of Fame Selection Committee will choose 25 candidates who will advance as semifinalist nominees. The list of 25 semifinalists will be announced in mid-November.

The list of 25 semifinalists will be further reduced by a mail ballot to 15 modern-era finalists and announced in early January.

The final list of nominees that will be considered for election will consist of the 15 modern-era finalists and the two senior nominees, former Pittsburgh Steelers defensive back Jack Butler and former Detroit Lions guard Dick Stanfel, who were selected this last month by the Hall of Fame’s Senior Selection Committee.

In 2008 the Hall of Fame modified its By-Laws for the Selection Committee making it mandatory for coaches, like players, to be retired five consecutive seasons. Prior to that change, coaches were eligible immediately upon retirement. As such, Parcells was a nominee in 2001, 2002, and 2003 and Schottenheimer was a nominee in 2000. This is their first year of eligibility under the new provision.

The Class of 2012 will be selected from the list of 17 finalists (15 modern-era and two senior nominees). The actual voting will be conducted at the Pro Football Hall of Fame Selection Committee’s annual meeting, which will be held on Saturday, Feb. 4, 2012 the day before Super Bowl XLVI at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, Ind. The election results will be announced that evening on NFL Network, live from the Super Bowl Media Center.

While there is no set number for any class of enshrinees, the selection process by-laws provide that between four and seven new members will be selected.

The preliminary list includes 71 players, 14 coaches and 18 contributors, including former NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue and longtime team owners Bud Adams, Jr., Jack Kent Cooke, Ed DeBartolo, Jr., and Art Modell.

While a nominated player or coach must have been retired at least five consecutive seasons, a contributor, who is an individual who has made outstanding career contributions to pro football in capacities other than playing or coaching, may still be active in his pro football career.

Preliminary List of Nominees for the Class of 2012

First-year Eligible Nominees

Quarterback – Drew Bledsoe

Running Backs – Tiki Barber, Stephen Davis

Wide Receivers – Keyshawn Johnson, Rod Smith

Offensive Lineman – Will Shields (G)

Defensive Back – Troy Vincent (S)

Kicker – Mike Vanderjagt

Coaches – Bill Cowher, Bill Parcells, Marty Schottenheimer

Additional Nominees


RUNNING BACKS – *Jerome Bettis, Larry Centers, Roger Craig, Terrell Davis, Eddie George, *Curtis Martin, Brian Mitchell (also KR/PR), Gerald Riggs, Herschel Walker, Ricky Watters

WIDE RECEIVERS –*Tim Brown, *Cris Carter, Gary Clark, Mark Clayton, Henry Ellard, *Andre Reed, Sterling Sharpe, Jimmy Smith

TIGHT ENDS – Todd Christensen, Frank Wycheck

OFFENSIVE LINEMEN – Tony Boselli (T), Lomas Brown (T), Jim Covert (T), *Dermontti Dawson (C), Joe Fields (C), Jay Hilgenberg (C), Chris Hinton (G/T),  Kent Hull (C),  Joe Jacoby (T), Mike Kenn (T), Jim Lachey (T), *Willie Roaf (T), Steve Wisniewski (G)

DEFENSIVE LINEMEN – Dave Butz ((DE/DT), *Chris Doleman (DE/LB), Carl Hairston (DE/DT), *Charles Haley (DE/LB), Ed “Too Tall” Jones (DE), *Cortez Kennedy (DT), Joe Klecko (DE/DT/NT), Dexter Manley (DE), Charles Mann (DE), Fred Smerlas (NT)

LINEBACKERS – Cornelius Bennett, Kevin Greene (LB/DE), Ken Harvey, Clay Matthews, Karl Mecklenburg, Sam Mills

DEFENSIVE BACKS – Eric Allen (CB), Steve Atwater (S), Joey Browner (S) LeRoy Butler (S), Kenny Easley (S), Albert Lewis (CB), Donnie Shell (S), Aeneas Williams (CB/S), Darren Woodson (S)

PUNTERS/KICKERS – Gary Anderson (K), Nick Lowery (K), Reggie Roby (P) SPECIAL TEAMS/POSITION PLAYER – Steve Tasker

COACHES – Bill Arnsparger, Bud Carson, Don Coryell, Tom Flores, Jimmy Johnson, Chuck Knox, Chuck Mather, Buddy Parker, Dan Reeves, Clark Shaughnessy, Dick Vermeil

CONTRIBUTORS – K. S. (Bud) Adams, Bobby Beathard, Gil Brandt, Leo Carlin, Jack Kent Cooke, Otho Davis, Ed DeBartolo, Jr., Ron Gibbs, Jim Kensil, Eddie Kotal, Art McNally, Art Modell, Steve Sabol, Paul Tagliabue, Burl Toler, Sr., Jim Tunney, Ron Wolf, George Young                               

*On 2011 finalists list

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Twitter Wars 2.0 - McLane vs. Bowen

First it was Gonzo vs. David Murphy, now it's the Inquirer's Jeff McLane taking on veteran Les Bowen of the Philadelphia Daily News is the latest City of Brotherly Love pissing match via Twitter.

It all started Tuesday when McLane, citing sources, reported that Michael Vick would likely play against the 49ers.

Bowen responded by writing : "Oh, and BTW, nobody has any idea on Tuesday whether Michael Vick is starting this week. It was obvious Monday Andy thinks/hopes he will."

McLane, who has been accused by veteran writers of being in Joe Banner's hip pocket, fired back with three rapid fire Tweets:

"@LesBowen Right. I made it up. How about if Vick starts Sunday you have to say on Daily News Live, "I'm an old hack that hasn't broken a ...

"...story in years, needs my editor to keep my blog fresh, and missed Vick on Monday because I was cluelessly tapping away on my ...

" and had to steal quotes from hard-working reporters who have a clue." If Vick doesn't start I'll eat my pencil. Sound good?"

Bowen, by and large, took the high-road, although he did respond cryptically to a Twitter user with the handle @MoorestownCup.

"I will handle my business in person, not thru yapping on Twitter. But thanks for your concern."

Well, handling it in person evidently meant a right cross.

Howard Eskin of WIP reported via Twitter today that Bowen "connected 2 the head" of McLane, and that the two had to be separated. 

It will be interesting to see how The Philadelphia Media Network, which owns both papers, handles the issue.

Starting Rolle

Rookie Brian Rolle is the Eagles new starting weakside linebacker, replacing fellow freshman Casey Matthews.

Matthews, of course, has played poorly early on and was moved from the middle to the weakside last week but was exploited again, falling for a play action and giving up a 40-yard touchdown pass to the Giants' Brandon Jacobs on a wheel route.

"It's not really that much of a challenge," Rolle said "I've been playing that position all of camp, and the first couple of games, as well. It's just a matter of being in there with the ones now and going out and taking care of business."

Meanwhile, second-year safety Nate Allen, who replaced Kurt Coleman when Coleman badly missed a tackle on Victor Cruz's 74-yard touchdown reception, will take over as a starter.

Sixers hire Jeff Capel, Sr. as assistant coach

Jeff Capel, Sr. has been hired by the 76ers as an assistant coach, according to The Philadelphia Daily News.

Capel was a head coach at Old Dominion from 1994 to 2001, North Carolina A&T (1993-94) and Fayetteville State (1989-1993).

The hiring won't be made official until the NBA Board of Governors approves the sale of the Sixers to a group headed by Joshua Harris.

Soul land new QB

PHILADELPHIA – The Soul have signed one of the Arena Football League’s top quarterbacks, Dan Raudabaugh (6’3, 220, Miami, OH), for the 2012 season.  Raudabaugh will be entering his third season in the AFL.

“This is a very significant signing for our organization,” said Soul general manager Tom Goodhines. “It’s another move to show why Philadelphia should be at the top of players’ lists if they want to win a championship.”

Raudabaugh’s two prior seasons in the AFL were with the Dallas Vigilantes (2010-11).  In two seasons with the Vigilantes, Raudabaugh played in 20 games, including one playoff game, completing 391-of-557 (64.8 percent) passes, with 100 touchdowns and 18 interceptions.  He took over as the signal-caller duties in the final two games of the 2010 season and retained the job going into the 2011 season.

“Dan is a very talented quarterback with unique abilities,” said Soul head coach Doug Plank.  “He has a rocket arm and makes decisions very quickly.  Dan knows where to go with the ball and understands to be successful in this league you cannot turn the ball over.  We are excited to have one of the League’s best on our team.”

Raudabaugh earned 2011 Week 8 Offensive Player of the Week honors after completing 29-of-35 (82.9 percent) passes for 377 yards and seven touchdowns with no interceptions against the Kansas City Command.  In Week 12 against the Pittsburgh Power, Raudabaugh again earned the honor of Offensive Player of the Week after completing 28-of-36 (77.8 percent) passes for 433 yards including 10 touchdowns and no interceptions.

During his collegiate career (2005-09), the former RedHawk ranked No. 5 in all-time passing yards (5,352).  He was No. 3 in all-time career completions (511) and also No. 3 in the school’s all-time pass attempts (916).  Raudabaugh was the starting quarterback during each of his four letter-winning seasons, and was awarded the No. 1 spot on the depth chart as a red-shirt freshman.

Campbell addresses Avery-Simmonds incident; both players escape punishment

by Bob Herpen
Phanatic Hockey Editor

National Hockey League senior executive vice president of hockey operations Colin Campbell on Tuesday issued a statement regarding an incident during a Monday preseason contest between Rangers forward Sean Avery and Flyers forward Wayne Simmonds.
Allegedly, anti-gay and racial slurs were exchanged in heated discussions between both players.
Campbell's statement said the league has looked into the allegations but has not been able to substantiate what was said and by whom. His statement said Simmonds "expressly" denied using the homophobic slur he's alleged to have said, and none of the on-ice officials close to the altercations heard what was said.
Campbell said the league is unable to take disciplinary action because of the lack of information, but reserves the right to revisit the issue.
"All players, coaches and officials in the National Hockey League deserve the respect of their peers, and have the absolute right to function in a work environment that is free from racially or sexually based innuendo or derision," the statement, issued Tuesday, said. "This is the National Hockey League's policy and it will remain so going forward.
"It also is important to emphasize that the National Hockey League holds, and will continue to hold, our players to higher standards with respect to their conduct both on and off the ice. While we recognize that the emotion involved in certain on-ice confrontations may lead to the use of highly charged and sometimes offensive language and commentary, certain lines cannot be crossed. Specifically, we have for many years emphasized to our clubs and players that commentary directed at the race or ethnicity of other participants in the game (or even non-participants), or that is otherwise socially or morally inappropriate or potentially hurtful -- including as it may relate to sexual orientation -- is absolutely unacceptable and will not be tolerated."
Read the full release here.
Despite the fact that neither player will be penalized, Avery still appears to come out on the winning end because Simmonds refused to divulge what slur was directed towards him, along with the video evidence (whose offending word has been either bleeped or blanked out upon repeated televised replays) of Simmonds' rant towards the perennial pest.
The Flyers won the game by a 5-3 count. The clubs will have plenty of time to either whip up the rancor or tone down the discord, as they do not meet again until November 26 at Madison Square Garden.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Henderson back in UFC, will face Rua

Las Vegas, NV (USA) – Two powerhouses of the light heavyweight division will collide on Saturday, Nov. 19 for a chance to prove that they deserve at shot at the sport’s ultimate prize – the UFC world championship. Former PRIDE and STRIKEFORCE champion Dan Henderson returns to the Octagon at the HP Pavilion in San Jose, Calif. to take on former UFC light heavyweight champion and international superstar Mauricio “Shogun” Rua. The winner looks to earn a coveted shot at the UFC light heavyweight crown next year.

Plus, San Jose’s own Cung Le makes his UFC debut when he battles mixed martial arts legend Wanderlei Silva in middleweight action. In addition, Sacramento’s “The California Kid,” Urijah Faber takes on former world champion Brian Bowles in bantamweight action, while welterweights Rick Story and Martin Kampmann collide in a pivotal 170-pound bout. The loaded Nov. 19 card will also feature San Jose’s Kyle Kingsbury battling 205-pound star Stephan Bonnar.

“The UFC light heavyweight division is arguably the deepest division in the sport and Dan Henderson and ‘Shogun’ are fighting to prove that they deserve to be next in line for a shot at the title,” UFC President Dana White said. “Both of these guys want to earn the right to be called the best 205-pound fighter in the sport. These guys both have incredible power and I expect a great fight on Nov. 19.”

Fresh off a massive knockout victory over rival Forrest Griffin in August, former UFC light heavyweight champion Rua (fighting out of Curitiba, Brazil) is as motivated as ever to reclaim the title. The 29-year-old, a Muay Thai ace known for being the only man to ever knock out Lyoto Machida, also owns victories over the likes of Chuck Liddell, Mark Coleman and Quinton “Rampage” Jackson. In November, he hopes to add Henderson’s name to his list of victims and prove to the world that he is ready for a return shot at the belt.

“I’m very happy to have a chance to fight Dan Henderson, who is a legend of the sport,” Rua, owner of a 20-5 record, said. “His career speaks for himself, and to be able to keep fighting at a high level for so long speaks volumes about him as a fighter. This is a fight that could have happened long ago in PRIDE, and I’m very happy to have a chance to compete against him in such an important time in our careers. Every time Dan Henderson fights, much like me, he comes to fight and is always trying to finish, so I expect a very tough fight that the fans will love!”

One of the sport’s most accomplished stars returns to the Octagon for the first time since UFC 100, as former two-division PRIDE champion Henderson (fighting out of Temecula, Calif.) begins his quest to capture the UFC light heavyweight title. The former STRIKEFORCE champion, who has won three straight, including a devastating knockout victory over Fedor Emelianenko in July, heads to San Jose on Nov. 19 with his sights set firm on Shogun. Henderson (28-8) believes a win at HP Pavilion will springboard him toward a chance to secure his first UFC world championship.

“This is a fight that the hardcore and old-school PRIDE fans have been waiting for,” Henderson said. “Shogun is a tough opponent and this is a fight that I’m excited about. The fans are in for an explosive bout.”

Hometown hero Le (fighting out of San Jose, Calif.) makes his UFC debut on Nov. 19 in a familiar location – the HP Pavilion. The once-beaten former San Shou world champion has fought all eight of his professional mixed martial arts bouts at the building known as “The Shark Tank.” On Nov. 19, Le (7-1), who owns wins over the likes of Frank Shamrock and Scott Smith, faces the toughest test of his career when he battles mixed martial arts legend Silva (fighting out of Las Vegas, Nev.). The 35-year-old former PRIDE 205-pound champion is known as one of the most fearless competitors to ever grace the cage. Owner of wins over Michael Bisping, Rampage Jackson and Dan Henderson, Silva (33-11-1, 1 NC) continues his quest at middleweight when he meets Le in his opponent’s backyard.

A pioneer in the lighter weight classes, Faber (fighting out of Sacramento, Calif.) looks to earn another shot at the bantamweight crown when he locks horns with former 135-pound titleholder Brian Bowles (fighting out of Athens, Ga.). The 32-year-old Faber is fresh off a thrilling five-round war with champion Dominick Cruz. He believes a win in his native Northern California on Nov. 19 will secure him the rubber match he so highly covets. Standing in his way is the hard-charging Bowles (10-1), who has won two straight since dropping the title to Cruz in March of 2010. Equally hungry to earn another crack at the champion, expect the 31-year-old to press the action against “The California Kid” when the two meet in a pivotal bantamweight matchup.

At just 27 years old, welterweight Rick “The Horror” Story (fighting out of Vancouver, Wash.) has won six out of his last seven fights in the UFC en route to becoming one of the division’s hottest prospects. Now, the hard-hitting former collegiate wrestler meets proven veteran Martin Kampmann (fighting out of Las Vegas, Nev.) in what is sure to be an all-out war. With memories of his Fight of the Year candidate with Diego Sanchez from March still fresh on fans’ minds, Kampmann (17-5), a 29-year-old Danish slugger, hits San Jose with a ton of steam. Owning wins over notables such as Paulo Thiago, Jacob Volkmann and Carlos Condit, expect “The Hitman” to come out swinging when he meets Story (13-4) at HP Pavilion.

Exciting light heavyweights Stephan Bonnar (fighting out of Las Vegas, Nev.) and Kyle Kingsbury (fighting out of San Jose, Calif.) fight on Nov. 19 with the winner expected to move into the 205-pound title picture. The 34-year-old Bonnar (16-7) is a Carlson Gracie black belt known for his legendary fight with Forrest Griffin in 2005 that helped launch the UFC to what it has become today. Riding back to back wins over Igor Pokrajac and Krzysztof Soszynski, “The American Psycho” gears up for an intense battle with the 29-year-old Kingsbury (11-2, 1 NC), winner of four straight.

Temple offers tix specials for Toledo game

PHILADELPHIA – Temple football fans will have several opportunities for discounted tickets to Saturday’s MAC showdown at Lincoln Financial Field.

Temple (3-1, 1-0 MAC) hosts Toledo (1-3, 0-0 MAC) at Noon on Oct. 1 during its annual Breast Cancer Awareness game.  The Rockets are the preseason favorite to win the MAC West division and the 2011 MAC Championship.

On Saturday at the Lincoln Financial Field Box Office:

Wear Pink

Wear pink to the game (to support Breast Cancer Awareness) and receive a ticket for only $5.

Employee Appreciation Day

Show your Temple ID card and receive a ticket for only $5.

Canned Food Drive

Bring a canned food item to the stadium and receive a ticket for only $5.

Phillies’ or Eagles’ Tickets

Show your Phillies’ playoff ticket for Saturday’s game – or your Eagles’ ticket for the game on Sunday vs. San Francisco – and receive a ticket for the Temple game for only $5.

Review: NHL 12 Muscles Out Another Winner

By J.J. Miller

Even the casual fan knows that physical play is one of the NHL’s biggest draws. Come for the fights and stay for the hockey game.

EA Sports made it a point to try and capture the physics and brutality of professional hockey and the result is another winner in its latest console adaptation, NHL 12.

The NHL series has always looked great and that doesn’t change this year as the game opens up by throwing the player into the beautifully recreated confines of Heinz Stadium to replay last year’s Winter Classic between the Pittsburgh Penguins and Washington Capitals. And while it is fun trying to pull of finesse goals with Sidney Crosby and Alexander Ovechkin, the game really hits its mark with its physics engine.

No longer do players just run into each other and fall down. The game factors in size, strength and balance when you go for the hits; big and small. Little players can still throw their bodies around, but are now more likely to just stumble or slow down bigger players unless everything is lined up right. The game’s bigger bruisers, meanwhile, can flatten any player on the ice, but going for the big hit comes at a price. If a big defender like Chris Pronger takes a full-stride run at a forward, both players are likely to land on the ice from the impact and leave the puck up for grabs.

Not only has EA introduced the partial falls and stumbling, but goaltenders can now get into the action for the first time. Players battling for position in front of the net -- another new feature that adds even more realism -- can come in contract with a goaltender, often drawing a penalty, but sometimes disrupting just enough to lead to a clean goal. Get in the face of a netminder too often, though, and it could lead to the goalie dropping his gloves and defending himself.

NHL 12 makes almost everything on the ice hittable. Glass can be broken by shots and hits, helmets come flying off when the physical play heats up and players can also be dumped into the benches on big hits. Another bull’s-eye feature that captures life in the NHL is the ability of the nets to come loose, stopping play and preventing players from constantly crashing the goal without risk.

Presentation is also key to a good game, but it is here that NHL 12 sometimes stumbles itself.

One issue is with commentators Gary Thorne and Bill Clement, who are fine overall but when they aren’t repeating a lot of the same lines from last year, they are busy plugging the NHL’s website and television network.

While the crowd looks great and adds to the atmosphere, they often mimic the same movements on camera and it is kind of weird to see 1/3 of the crowd doing the same exact clap or cheer in unison across the screen.

EA did step up in other areas, including replay packages. When a player is having a big effort, the game will eventually cut to a series of replays showing what the player has done. Score a hat trick and get rewarded with a montage of your goals; same goes for a player who has dished out hit after hit.

The Winter Classic is also a great new feature that allows users to either recreate last year’s meeting or plug in two separate teams at Heinz Field, with the game adjusting the crowd’s colors and loyalty to follow suit. Hopefully EA can expand on this feature for next year and give us the ability to play some of the older editions, including games at Wrigley Field and Fenway Park.

Once a player gets the hang of the game, several game modes present itself, including the return of Be A GM and Be A Pro mode.

The ability to take over as general manager and guide a team for a number of (hopefully successful) years has been around for a while, but remains the game’s most useful mode. For those who want to move their seasons at a fast pace, the game introduces an Action Tracker to the sim intervention, which gives the player several different speeds to follow a simulation and allowing them to jump into the game if wanted.

Be A Pro mode also goes deeper by letting a user create a player that can start out in the NHL on a team of his or her choosing, a 20-year-old trying to make a name for himself in the Memorial Cup before getting drafted or, new to this year, a baby-faced 16-year-old making his way through the CHL. Letting a user start his career at such a young age gives the game some excellent long-term value.

(For you lady games out there, NHL 12 allows you for the first time to create female skates after 14-year-old Lexi Peters from Buffalo sent a letter to EA Sports asking them why she couldn’t create a woman skater.)

NHL 12 also features a Be a Legend mode that eventually allows games to play as nine of the game’s all-time greats, including Wayne Gretzky, Mario Lemieux, Steve Yzerman and Gordie Howe, but the list could be bigger and is little more than a novelty.

That also holds true for the returning Ultimate Hockey League, an unappealing mode in which a player builds a team through earning packs of player, legend, logo, arena, training and other cards and battle other clubs in the EAUHL. While the randomness of building a team through the art of opening a pack of cards is interesting, its more fun just to play online as a regular team.

While some flaws remain -- some hiccups in presentation as well as repetitive commentary and game introductions as well as a thin legends roster -- the depth of the GM and Be a Pro modes even makes the game appealing for those who own last year’s version of the game. Overall, NHL 12 is another great addition to EA’s hockey lineup and is a must-buy for any hockey gamer out there.

First it was white Mike Vick, now it's baby Vick

Monday, September 26, 2011

Up and coming Williams ready for bout in NE Philly

Julian Williams
Philadelphia, PA—Undefeated junior middleweight Julian J-Rock Williams, of Philadelphia will test himself against seasoned Eberto Medina,of Newark, NJ, in the six-round semifinal contest on Friday, Sept. 30, at the National Guard Armory in Northeast Philadelphia. 

Headlining the eight-bout card is an eight-round welterweight contest between Ray Robinson, of Philadelphia, PA, and Manuel Guzman, of Lancaster, PA.

This will mark Williams’ second fight in his hometown and is ready to impress his fans.  He made his pro debut in Philadelphia in May of 2010 when he stopped Antonio Chaves Fernandez, of Brockton, MA, in the first round of the scheduled four-round bout.

Williams has boxed in five different states but he is looking forward to fighting at home again.  He is confident with testing himself at any level.

A pro less than two years, Williams is 7-0-1, 4 K0s, and already he has boxed four times in 2011.  He has faced every type of opponent from 72-fight journeyman Marteze Logan, of Covington, TN, to up-and-coming prospect Francisco Santana, of Santa Barbara, CA.

Medina (5-6-1, 1K0) recently fought a six-round draw with Williams’ gym-mate (Shuler’s gym) Jamaal Davis, of Philadelphia, PA, on July 15 at Bally’s Atlantic City. 

Medina also faced junior middleweight prospect Glen Tapia, of Passaic, NJ, earlier this year.  He also lost by decision to The New Ray Robinson, in 2008 in the same ring.  Williams will be Medina’s seventh fight against an undefeated prospect.

Other six-round matches feature undefeated junior middleweights DeCarlo Perez (5-0, 1K0), of Atlantic City, NJ, against Grayson Blake (3-0, 1K0), of State College, PA, as well as light-heavyweights Charles Hayward (7-2, 3K0s), of Philadelphia, PA, and George Armenta (13-7, 11K0s), of Silver Spring, MD.

Four four-round bouts complete the card.

Tickets priced at $40 and $50 are on sale Bam Boxing Promotions (215-280-6709) and online at

NHL's worst-kept secret officially revealed

Ending months of speculation and confirming what had already been leaked to dozens of sources, on Monday afternoon, the National Hockey League officially announced the 2012 Winter Classic.

2012 Winter Classic Promo Video

Winter Classic Pic of The Bank

Reid says Vick's hand not broken

Eagles coach Andy Reid revealed some good news at his Monday afternoon press conference -- Michael Vick’s right hand is not broken.

The oft-injured signal caller has a contusion and significant swelling in his non-throwing hand, according to the coach,

“The positive is that there is not a fracture there,” said Reid. ”We’ll see how he does over the next couple of days. We need to get the swelling out of it. I think he’s pretty relieved about it. It’s a positive thing.”

Soul re-sign star receiver Morgan

PHILADELPHIA  – The Philadelphia Soul have re-signed Second-Team All- Arena wide receiver, Donovan Morgan for the 2012 season.

Morgan became the fifth player – joining Nyere Aumaitre, Chris Frank, Drew Gardner and Kent Richardson – as players returning from 2011.

“The re-signing of Donovan Morgan is extremely significant heading into the free-agent signing period,” said Soul general manager Tom Goodhines.  “Talent attracts talent and Donovan’s return shows all of the free agents currently on the market that this organization is serious about making a run at the title.”

“Donovan is a huge part of our plans for this coming season,” added Soul head coach Doug Plank.  “We are excited to get one of the League’s elite receivers back into the fold and will be a big part of why we will bring a championship to Philadelphia.”

Morgan has proven his dominance as a wideout in a Soul uniform as he now ranks in the top-three of multiple franchise receiving records.  His 1,959 receiving yards this season surpassed the previous team record of 1,719 yards set by Chris Jackson in 2008.  Morgan’s 121 receptions and 37 receiving touchdowns ranks No. 2 all-time behind Jackson’s 140 receptions and 49 touchdowns also set in 2008.

Morgan finished the year ranking in the top-10 of multiple AFL statistical categories, including No. 1 with 16.2 yards per catch, No. 2 with 122.4 receiving yards per game, No. 4 in receiving yards, No. 6 in receiving touchdowns, and No. 10 with 14.2 scoring points per game.

“The experience I have had here in this great city with these great fans and organization made my decision to come back very easy,” said Morgan. “I look forward to building off of last season and can’t wait for 2012 to help bring the title back to Philadelphia.”

His best single-game performance came in his Soul debut, where he caught 14 receptions for 189 yards and five touchdowns, while adding a rushing touchdown, in a 58-52 overtime victory in Week 1 at Pittsburgh.  With that performance, Morgan is tied in Soul history for the most receptions in a game, most touchdowns in a game, and ranks No. 2 in receiving yards in a game.

During his time in Philadelphia, Morgan has also achieved multiple career milestones.  On May 15, he caught his 300th career reception and surpassed 4,000 career receiving yards against Georgia.  On May 27, Morgan caught his 100th career touchdown reception against New Orleans.

Throughout the season, Morgan’s down-field playmaking ability was apparent as he recorded 19 touchdowns of 20 or more yards, 10 touchdowns of 30 or more yards, and eight touchdowns of 40 or more yards.  Morgan was a reliable target all year, catching five or more receptions in 15 games, surpassing 100 receiving yards in 12 games, and catching multiple touchdowns in 11 games

Temple's Pierce named MAC Offensive Player of the Week

CLEVELAND (9/26/11) – Temple junior RB Bernard Pierce (Ardmore, Pa.) has earned Mid-American Conference Offensive Player of the Week honors for the East division, the MAC announced on Monday.

In Saturday’s 38-7 win at Maryland, Pierce rushed for a school record and MAC record-tying five touchdowns. He eclipsed the 100-yard mark in rushing for the 12th time in his career and third time this season. He finished the game with 149 yards on 32 carries for five touchdowns.

It was the first time in his career that he scored three touchdowns in the first quarter (on 31 yards rushing) alone.   The five rushing TDs also tied the MAC record, held by 10 players.  His 30 points also tied Sherman Myers’ (vs. Syracuse, 1979) school record for most points in a game.

After four games, Pierce leads the Owls (and the MAC) with 496 yards and a national-best 12 touchdowns on 87 carries. He is the Owls’ and MAC’s top scorer with 72 points.

Pierce stands third in career 100-yard games with 12.

Pierce (38) now needs just one touchdown to tie career leader Paul Palmer in all-time rushing TDs (39).

In this week’s national statistics, Pierce leads the nation in rushing touchdowns (12) and scoring (18.00 ppg) while ranking No. 10 in rushing (124.00).

Pierce also earned Honorable Mention National Player of the Week honors from the College Football Performance Awards and was named the MAC Player of the Week. He has been nominated for the FRS Running Back Performance of the Year by Intersport. Fans can vote for Pierce via Facebook until Oct. 2.

The MAC honor is the sixth of Pierce’s collegiate career and his second this season. He earned the season’s first honor on Sept. 5.

Additionally, senior TE Evan Rodriguez (North Bergen, N.J.) was named the National Tight End of the Week by the College Football Performance Awards. Against the Terrapins, he led the Owl receivers with a career-high 96 yards on five receptions.  

Temple (3-1, 1-0 MAC), which leads the nation in scoring defense (7.75 ppg) and received votes in this week’s USA Today Coaches’ Poll, hosts Toledo (1-3, 0-0 MAC) at Lincoln Financial Field on Saturday, Oct. 1 at Noon.  The Rockets are the preseason favorite to win the MAC West Division and the 2011 MAC Championship.  ESPN Plus will televise the game (shown locally on 6ABC).

Eskin: Banged-up Birds could be without Vick for a month

WIP's Howard Eskin reported last night that the Eagles are "preparing" to be without Michael Vick for "three to four weeks" as he recovers from his latest injury, a fracture to his non-throwing hand.

Eskin also is claiming wide receiver Riley Cooper will be out "one to two weeks" with a concussion, but Jeremy Maclin, who suffered a strained hamstring, will likely play next week.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Definition of Insanity

By Steven Lienert
The Phanatic

Andy Reid has made some mistakes over the course of his 13 years as head coach of the Eagles, but what he did Sunday against the Giants takes the cake.

The bad play-calling in short-yardage situations coupled with his inept challenges has forced Eagles fans to do the unthinkable.

They now must root for the Cowboys to beat the Redskins Monday night to avoid falling two games behind in the division.

All because Reid was too stubborn to admit that his team can't convert third- or fourth-and-short.

I mean, going for it and getting stuffed on fourth down from the one-inch line is one thing. But what made Reid think his team could convert that one-yard at midfield when it couldn't convert on the goal line earlier in the quarter?

The Eagles were up 16-14 at the time and a punt on fourth down very well could have pinned the Giants deep in their own territory.

Instead, Reid went for it, the Eagles got stuffed and Eli Manning used the short field to toss an under-thrown touchdown pass to Victor Stinkin' Cruz. Cruz scores twice and goes over 100 yards receiving against what's supposed to be the best corners in the NFL? Puh-leeze.

(On a side note: Hey, Nnamdi Asomugha, if you have safety help over the top, please take away the underneath stuff, will ya?)

And getting back to the Eagles' inability to convert on the Giants' goal line, what did Reid have to lose by challenging Michael Vick's last sneak attempt?

It looked like Vick broke the plane, but instead of challenging a pivotal touchdown and being wrong, he kept the red flag in his pocket.

He used it later in the game to take a look at a Giants touchdown that no Madden player that ever picked up a controller would challenge.

Albert Einstein once said that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.

If that's the case, Einstein would have no choice but admit that Andy Reid is insane.

Either that or he'd have to admit that Eagles fans are the crazy ones for investing their faith and money year after year expecting anything different with Reid as coach.

Mair, Nylander cut; Hartnell to seek heart tests

Farewell to Adam Mair and Michael Nylander, as both players were released from their tryout contracts on Sunday.

The club's current contract situation, plus sub-par play from each, were apparently factors in the decision.

One nugget that made us sit up and take notice came when Scott Hartnell was limited to just over nine minutes of ice time in Friday's preseason win over Detroit.

Well, it wasn't due to poor play, or a different line rotation. Apparently, Hartnell had an elevated heart rate and was kept out of action as a precaution. The 29-year-old did not practice on Sunday and will not play in Monday's preseason game against the New York Rangers.

Hartnell is scheduled to see a cardiologist on Tuesday, per Adam Kimelman of

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Union earn a point in KC

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (September 23, 2011) – Sébastien Le Toux canceled out Omar Bravo's second-half goal as Philadelphia Union and Sporting Kansas City each earned a point Friday night at LIVESTRONG Sporting Park.
Behind a strong performance from rookie goalkeeper Zac MacMath, Philadelphia's defense held a dangerous Sporting attack to a single goal after the two sides played to a 0-0 draw at PPL Park in June.
With the draw, the Union (9-7-13) sit one point back of both Kansas City and the Columbus Crew with a game in hand on KC.
The Union had the first chance of the game just two minutes in when Le Toux found himself all alone on goal. Shooting on an angle, the Frenchman sent his tight-angle sho wide of Jimmy Nielsen’s back post.
Sporting tested rookie goalkeeper Zac MacMath for the first time six minutes later when Matt Besler’s long throw ricocheted around the six-yard box, eventually falling to the feet of Kei Kamara. Kamara took a swing with his left foot but scuffed the shot, allowing MacMath to fall on the effort.
After several early chances, neither side created many scoring opportunities for much of the remainder of the first half.
Sporting nearly struck first in the 40th minute from Jeferson’s well-struck corner kick. Kamara rose above his marker and put his effort off the top of the crossbar.
Sporting would strike first in the 56th minute. Kamara chipped to the far post for Bravo, who finished from close-range in the 56th minute for his team-high ninth goal of the season.
The Union answered right back, though, as substitute Jack McInerney came inches away from sneaking a ball past Sporting goalkeeper Jimmy Nielsen at the near post a few minutes after coming on for Veljko Paunović.
In the 63rd minute, Philadelphia found their equalizer when Michael Farfan did well to keep the ball alive on the touchline, eventually picking out Le Toux lurking at the corner of the six-yard box for his team-leading eighth goal of the season and seventh in as many games.
Despite both team’s trading half chances the final 20 minutes, neither was able to break through, preserving a hard-fought 1-1 draw.
The Union return to action this Thursday, taking on D.C. United in the second-to-last regular season game of 2011 at PPL Park. The Eastern Conference showdown will be broadcast nationally on ESPN2 and ESPN Deportes.
Scoring Summary:
KC -- Omar Bravo 9 (Kei Kamara 4) 56
PHI -- Sebastien Le Toux 8 (Michael Farfan 2) 63
Misconduct Summary:
PHI -- Carlos Valdes (caution; Reckless Foul) 60
Philadelphia Union -- Zac MacMath, Carlos Valdes, Danny Califf, Gabriel Farfan, Kyle Nakazawa (Zach Pfeffer 62), Roger Torres (Stefani Miglioranzi 72), Amobi Okugo, Brian Carroll, Michael Farfan, Sebastien Le Toux, Veljko Paunovic (Jack McInerney 56).
Substitutes Not Used: Morgan Langley, Ryan Richter, Joe Tait, Karry Harrison.
Sporting KC -- Jimmy Nielsen, Chance Myers, Julio Cesar, Matt Besler, Seth Sinovic, Kei Kamara, Roger Espinoza, Graham Zusi, Jeferson (Aurelien Collin 46), Omar Bravo (Soony Saad 89), Teal Bunbury (C.J. Sapong 62).
Substitutes Not Used: Davy Arnaud, Michael Harrington, Peterson Joseph, Eric Kronberg.
Referee: Baldomero Toledo
Referee's Assistants: -Fabio Tovar; George Gansner
4th Official: Juan Guzman
Time of Game: 1:52
Weather: Sunny-and-71-degrees
Attendance: 18,778

Friday, September 23, 2011

Union sign GK Harrison

The Union have signed goalkeeper Karry “Chase” Harrison from the club’s USL-Pro affiliate, the Harrisburg City Islanders. 

Harrison joins the Union after goalkeeper Thorne Holder was diagnosed with a concussion injury during the Union’s reserve match against Columbus Crew.  
Along with recently signed midfielder Morgan Langley, Harrison led the Islanders to the 2011 USL-Pro final, in which Harrisburg lost in a penalty shootout to the Orlando City Lions.  During his second season with the club, the goalkeeper registered a total five shutouts in goal earning a 1.3 GAA and an 8-6-6 record.  As a City Islander in 2009, the ‘keeper earned eight shutouts, finishing with an 8-4-4 record and a 0.81 GAA.  Harrison was then named USL-2 GAA Champion and All-League Second-Team goalkeeper.
Before rejoining the City Islanders this past season, Chase Harrison defended the Crystal Palace Baltimore’s goal as well as the Richmond Kickers’ in 2010.  The West Virginia native was called up by D.C. United to replace back up starter Troy Perkins at the end of the MLS regular season, before signing with the Columbus Crew for their playoff run in October.

The graduate from Virginia Tech first joined MLS in 2006 when he was taken by Real Salt Lake in the third round of the 2006 Supplemental Draft.  Harrison spent the majority of the season on loan with the Virginia Beach Mariners of the USL-First Division, before joining the Rochester Rhinos in 2007.  As a starter for the Rhinos we went 7-5-6 with a 1.28 GAA.  In 2008, the ‘keeper was traded to the Portland Timbers where he earned a 1-5-0 record and a 1.76 GAA.
As a collegiate athlete with Virginia Tech, Harrison broke a total record of 24 career shutouts, eight in a single season during his senior year, as well as a 1.12 GAA. 

Why Cliff Lee Should Start Game One

By Steve Lienert
The Phanatic

Charlie Manuel is one loyal guy.

More so than most, he stands behind his players and supports them through thick and thin.

That's why he's going to have a hard time walking up to Roy Halladay and telling him Cliff Lee will be the Phillies Game 1 starter to open the NLDS.

The fact of the matter is that not only has Lee been the best pitcher the Phillies have had since the All-Star break, Halladay hasn't quite been the same since that game in Chicago where it looked like he was going to die.

Sure, he won his next four decisions but Halladay is 3-4 since August 16th, including losses to Arizona and St. Louis -- the two teams most likely to be the Phillies' NLDS opponents.

Contrastingly, Lee's 3-0 loss against the Nationals three days ago was his first since July 25th. During that span he defeated the Brewers, D'backs, Braves and Giants, allowing a combined four runs to go with two shutouts.

Let's agree that the Phillies, once the varsity team starts playing again, will snap out of this offensive (no pun intended) funk and advance to the NLCS.

With Lee starting the first game, Halladay would start Game 2 and Cole Hamels would get the pill in Game 3. That breaks up the two lefties and takes the possibility of using a fourth starter in the first round out of the picture, which is a good thing since neither Roy Oswalt nor Vance Worley has been consistent enough recently to be trusted.

It also sets up Halladay to pitch in the doomsday scenario of a necessary fifth game. (Lee would, of course, pitch in Game 4.)

If the Phillies would sweep, Halladay and Lee would both have plenty of time to be tabbed as the Game 1 starter of the NLCS.

If they close it out in four, a well-rested Halladay would clearly pitch Game 1 of the NLCS. The Phillies may even be able to squeeze three starts out of him if the need (due to injury or something extraordinary) arises.

If it goes five, Hamels, or even Oswalt, could start Game 1.

At that point, the problem for the Phillies wouldn't be which pitcher starts Game 1 of the NLCS, it would be ensuring there is a Game 1 at Citizens Bank Park at all.

Either way, though, it's kinda of like deciding whether you're going to drive the Bentley or the Porsche when you wake up in the morning; it ain't a bad problem to have.

But it's a problem Manuel faces soon. And we all know Halladay will be on the hill for Game 1.

Sometimes people are loyal to a fault.

Sixers' affiliate to host open tryouts

PORTLAND, MAINE – The Maine Red Claws announced that the team will hold open tryouts on Saturday, October 1 at Competitive Edge in King of Prussia, PA. 

This will be the team’s second open tryout for the 2011-12 season, and the first-ever held in the Philadelphia area, home of the Red Claws newest NBA affiliate, the Philadelphia 76ers.

“Our first season, we held successful tryouts in the cities of our two NBA affiliates, the Charlotte Bobcats and the Boston Celtics,” said Red Claws President and General Manager Jon Jennings. “With the addition of the 76ers as an NBA affiliate as we enter the 2011-12 season, we thought it only appropriate to add a tryout in the Philadelphia area. There are so many universities and quality basketball programs in the region and surrounding areas, we are looking forward to the talent that will attend the tryout and hopefully discovering a future Red Claws player or two.”

The single-day tryout format will include team drills, individual skills work and scrimmages. Red Claws General Manager and President Jon Jennings, Head Coach Dave Leitao and Red Claws basketball operations and support staff will be on-hand to evaluate participants. The camp is scheduled from 9 AM to 4 PM, with registration beginning at 8 AM and is not open to the public.

The Red Claws have enjoyed tremendous success uncovering talent through open tryout camps, with five players earning invites to training camp and eventually making the Red Claws over two seasons. Last season, two players received invitations to training camp and went on to play for the 2010-11 Red Claws.

The fee for the tryouts will be $150 in advance or $200 at the door. Registration forms can be downloaded at  The number of participants will be limited and must meet NBA D-League player eligibility requirements as outlined on the registration form.

Phillies trade Zagurski

The Phillies have traded lefty reliever Mike Zagurski to the Arizona Diamondbacks for a player to be named later, according to The Inquirer.

The 28 year-old pitcher was one of the three players the Phils designated for assignment last week as they shuffled the roster after the Lehigh Valley IronPigs’ playoff run ended.

Zagurski had a 2.65 ERA in 54 1/3 innings for the IronPigs this season.

Vick set to play

Eagles quarterback Michael Vick is recovering from his concussion well, and will likely play Sunday against the Giants.

However, because of the day-by-day nature of recovering from a concussion, head coach Andy Reid could not say for certain that Vick, listed as questionable on the team's injury report, will play Sunday.

"If he's okay on game day, then he plays on game day," Reid said during a press conference Friday.

Eagles head athletic trainer Rick Burkholder said during the session that Vick performed "very well" on two recent impact tests, which were interpreted by experts in Pittsburgh.

Burkholder said the team is very happy with the results, adding that Vick has been participating in regular weekly activities during the last two days. He practiced Thursday and Friday, went through strength workouts and sat in on meetings with the offensive staff.

"He's been cleared for where he's at right now," Burkholder said.

The team will continue to monitor Vick's progress overnight and during the weekend to see if he develops any symptoms. Burkholder said, barring any setbacks, Vick will not undergo more formal testing.

Simmonds issues statement on banana incident

A Phanatic Editorial

On Friday morning, Flyers forward Wayne Simmonds issued a statement regarding an incident at the John Labatt Centre in London, Ontatrio, where an unidentified fan threw a banana onto the ice while Simmonds took his turn in the shootout.

“It was unfortunate that this incident happened but I am above this sort of stuff. This is something that is out of my control. Moving forward, this incident is something I will no longer comment on so I can just focus on playing hockey for the Philadelphia Flyers.”

Simmonds scored on a nifty backhand as if nothing really happened, but the Flyers dropped a 4-3 decision to the Detroit Red Wings.

On Friday, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman issued his "condemnation" of the incident.

"We have millions of great fans who show tremendous respect for our players and for the game. The obviously stupid and ignorant action by one individual is in no way representative of our fans or the people of London, Ontario."

What Bettman misses in his obvious attempt to merely smooth things over, is that when you're dealing with something like racism, the actions of one person are simply going to taint everyone around that individual.

While it's a given he'll defend hockey fans as a whole to stem the tide of media hyperbole, who cares if the people of London, Ontario are or aren't racists? It's a minor-league town with a long and proud tradition of junior hockey, but after what happened last night, really not worth courting its fans to buy into the NHL product.

Time to move on, Mr. Bettman. Plenty of other towns to stage a preseason exhibition. 

As far as Simmonds is concerned, it's his life and his career, but I am disappointed that he's not taking a stronger stand. Nobody's expecting the young man to be hockey's version of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr, but some pointed words on the 23-year-old's end will absolutely be crucial in not letting this incident pass. 

Perhaps his quick dismissal -- mistaken for being classy and taking the high road -- and hopes that life will return to normal without further discussion is an implicit reminder that speaking out may not be the best choice for him to be able to continue his career.

If his own teammates, including James van Riemsdyk, who said "we've got his back" in reference to the Ontario native, truly want to make an impact, they should not simply circle the wagons. That's convenient against an attack by an opposing player or outside threat, like the media or the public away from the rink.

But for an internal threat such as fan behavior inside an arena during play, they're better served to band together and suggest a boycott of London outright -- even though it's going to cause a problem high up since Global Spectrum -- a cousin entity to Comcast, which owns the Flyers, also owns and operates the Labatt Centre.

There are nearly 30 players of at least part-African descent in the NHL, and they are not on the margins.

Try telling that to Winnipeg's imposing Dustin Byfuglien, or Colorado's slick-skating forward Chris Stewart, or Trevor Daley of the Dallas Stars, who rose above an ugly name-calling incident in juniors by John Vanbiesbrouck to become an impact defenseman on his club.

It would be easy to use that collective influence from the team reps to the NHLPA leaders and so on up the chain, to let the real power-brokers know that nothing of this sort should be tolerated anywhere and for any reason.

Boxing cancelled in Chester, MMA still on

Due to the impending weather, this Saturday’s Boxing/MMA show at Harrah’s in Chester has been downsized with the boxing portion being moved to Friday night, October 28th.

The MMA portion of the event will begin at 7pm on Saturday and the cage will be moved to a dry area outside near the race track that will be covered.

The Boxing portion will now take place inside in the ballroom on October 28th.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Flyers drop shootout to Red Wings; Simmonds target of racist prank

The Flyers lost a 4-3 shootout decision to the Detroit Red Wings in the club's annual game at the John Labatt Centre in London, Ontario on Thursday night.

But that wasn't the most surprising outcome in a game which saw Philly rally from a late 3-1 deficit to force extra time.

New forward Wayne Simmonds, a Canadian of African descent, was the target of a racist prank when an unidentified fan threw what was later confirmed to be a banana at the player while he skated in on his shootout chance.

Simmonds scored. And the outrage has begun. More on this story tomorrow, when everyone under the sun will chime in with an opinion.

NHL hands out 10-game ban on Shelley

by Bob Herpen
Phanatic Hockey Editor

While it wasn’t the first test for new NHL discipline czar/vice president of player safety Brendan Shanahan, it was the one where he showed his mettle.

On Thursday evening, Philadelphia Flyers forward Jody Shelley was suspended for the remainder of the preseason and the first five games of the regular season for his questionable hit on Toronto’s Derek Boyce during the second period of Wednesday’s 4-2 preseason loss.

It was a ruling based on the new protocols surrounding Rule 48, which aims to penalize the severity of the impact of boarding infractions, rather than the bodily location of the hit.

Shelley was given a major for boarding and a game misconduct for his efforts, and will be forced to cough up $67,073.15 in salary. That money is automatically forwarded to the Players’ Emergency Assistance Fund. The 35-year-old Manitoba native reportedly declined to attend an in-person meeting in Manhattan to discuss the issue.

“Shelley hit Boyce squarely from behind into the glass,” Shanahan said. “Boyce’s back was turned toward Shelley well before the contact, requiring that Shelley avoid or minimize the check. He did neither. In addition, Shelley’s two suspensions last season weighed heavily in this decision.”

The suspension begins immediately, starting with Thursday’s tilt against the Detroit Red Wings in London, Ontario. Shelley won’t be eligible to return to action until October 20, when the Orange and Black host the Washington Capitals.

Earlier in the day, Shanahan levied a multi-game ban to Calgary’s Pierre-Luc Letourneau-Leblond for another violation of the new terms of Rule 48.

I have to say he got it right on both accounts. While I dispute the ultimate effects of a rule downshifted to eliminate an automatic major, I can’t argue with the judgements — both of the referee to assess a major and game misconduct to Shelley, and with Shanahan’s decision on both players.

Shelley is not only a repeat offender, but a two-time repeat offender last season, his first here on a three-year contract, alone.

Leblond (Letourneau) doesn’t figure to be much of an impact player with the Flames. But for Shelley, it should be enough to give him pause. No matter if he’s a good guy in the room, if he keeps this up, his spot on the roster is up for grabs, no question.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Temple scores record TV ratings

Saturday’s Temple-Penn State football game did not only do well at the box office, but also with viewers locally as well as nationally.  

The ESPN-televised game, which drew 57,323 fans - the second largest crowd to watch a Temple game at Lincoln Financial Field, had a 1.6 national rating, which translates into 1,610,190 households and 1,952,851 viewers – a Temple football record.  In comparison, Pitt at Iowa, televised by ESPN2 garnered a 0.8/741,565 HH/952,531 viewers while West Virginia at Maryland on ESPNU had a 0.7/477,949 HH/775.120 viewers.
Locally, the game averaged a 6.7 rating with a high of 10.0 in the final 15 minutes of the telecast.  The rating translates to 202,663 viewers in the Philadelphia DMA (Designated Market Area).  It also was viewed in 43.6 percent of households using televisions (HUT). 
Temple next travels to Maryland this Saturday for a 12:29 p.m. kickoff with the Terrapins.  The game will be televised by the ACC Network and carried on ESPN3, ESPN Gameplan and locally on NBC Philadelphia Non-Stop.

Flyers sign Couturier

Perhaps based on his strong performance in last night's preseason-opening victory over Toronto which included a goal, the Philadelphia Flyers announced the signing of first-round pick Sean Couturier to an entry-level contract.

Couturier was the eighth-overall selection in this past June's draft.

The 18-year-old tallied 96 points in 58 games for the Drummondville Voltigeurs of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League in 2010-11, adding 11 points in 10 playoff games.

Flyers kick off preseason on up note, shut down Maple Leafs

Sergei Bobrovsky celebrated his 23rd birthday by stopping all 27 shots he faced as Philadelphia topped Toronto, 4-0, in preseason action at Air Canada Centre.

Zac Rinaldo, Wayne Simmonds, Mike Testwuide and Sean Couturier tallied for the Flyers, who are looking to put a second-round sweep at the hands of Stanley Cup champion Boston behind them.

James Reimer allowed all four scores on 22 shots in the setback for the Maple Leafs, who are looking for their first playoff trip since 2004.

The game, which was in hand for the Orange and Black throughout, took an ugly turn in the third period, when firecracker Tom Sestito jumped and pummeled former Flyer and current Leafs forward Joffrey Lupul.

Due to the fact that the club has four games in four nights in four separate locations, they are essentially going to be split into two factions. On Wednesday, the other squad takes on the Leafs at the big arena on South Broad Street.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Temple to start Stewart

Temple will start Chester Stewart at quarterback Saturday against Maryland.

Mike Gerardi started the first three games of the season but played poorly against Penn State last week, throwing two costly interceptions late in the game.

"We have two quality quarterbacks and we have decided to start Chester Stewart," Owls coach Steve Addazio said on Tuesday. "That is not to say that Mike Gerardi is not going to play."

Sex offender impersonating Eagles' Young

A registered sex offender has been impersonating Eagles backup quarterback Vince Young in the Washington DC area...

Alvarez suffers injury, off Atlantic City card

Kensington's Eddie Alvarez, the reigning Bellator lightweight champion, has suffered an injury that will force him off of the October 15th card at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, N.J.

Alvarez was scheduled to square off against Season 4 Lightweight Tournament winner Michael Chandler in a Bellator Lightweight title fight. The fight has yet to be rescheduled, but the possibility remains for a title fight later this season.

“Eddie suffered an injury that will keep him out of our October 15th show at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City,” said Bellator Chairman & CEO Bjorn Rebney. “Eddie Alvarez has a huge heart and if there was any way for him to fight on the 15th, I know he would. Ed’s in spectacular condition, so both of us are hopeful that this fight can potentially still occur later this fall.”

The night will feature the semifinals of Bellator’s middleweight tournament, as well as Bellator Bantamweight Champion Zack Makovsky in a non-title super fight against former UFC veteran Ryan Roberts. T

Monday, September 19, 2011

Flyers preseason game moves to The Comcast Network

Tomorrow night’s preseason game between the Flyers and Toronto Maple Leafs at Air Canada Centre will now be televised on The Comcast Network beginning at 7:00.

The full Flyers preseason television schedule is now as follows:

Tuesday, Sept. 20: Flyers at Toronto – 7:00, TCN
Wednesday, Sept.21: Toronto at Flyers – 7:00, TCN
Monday, September 26: NY Rangers at Flyers – 7:00, TCN
Thursday, September 29: New Jersey at Flyers – 7:00, CSN

All seven preseason games will be broadcast on the radio on 94 WIP.  In addition, a video webcast of the three non-televised games will be made available on

Soul re-sign four players

The Philadelphia Soul announced the signing of four players from the 2011 squad – offensive lineman, Nyere Aumaitre (6-5, 315, Iowa), linebacker, Chris Frank (6-0, 242, Ursinus), defensive back, Drew Gardner (5-11, 190, Iowa) and defensive back, Kent Richardson (6-0, 200, West Virginia).

The Arena Football League’s exclusive re-signing period will end with the opening of the free-agent signing period set to start on Monday, Sept. 26.  On that date, the Soul will be able to sign any players who were on 2011 rosters of other teams or regular street free agents.  The team can also continue to re-sign players from their own 2011 roster through the start of the season.

“The signing of this first group of players is the beginning of the process to bring back quality players from last year’s team,” said Soul general manager Tom Goodhines.  “Each one of these players finished their rookie seasons strong and will help put the foundation in place for 2012.”

“I really like the potential that these guys showed from last year,” said Soul head coach Doug Plank.  “This group will help make it an extremely competitive training camp.  We will be an organization that players will want to come to play for and we will make this a championship team again.”

Aumaitre, a Camden, NJ native, played at Iowa and started 14 games for the Soul in 2011.  He also spent time with the Harrisburg Stampede in the SIFL in 2009-10.  While in high school he was First-team, All-Conference and All-South Jersey as a senior.  Nyere also earned All-Conference and All-State honors as a junior and helped lead Wilson High School to the 2001 New Jersey state championship.

Frank, a Norristown, PA resident, played in two games in 2011 where he recorded 12.0 total tackles and recovered a fumble.  Chris played two years at Ursinus College after transferring from Connecticut.  He recorded 76.0 total tackles, 17 tackles for a loss, 4.5 sacks, three pass break ups, two interceptions, and two forced fumbles in 2007. He also earned All-Conference and team Defensive MVP honors.

Gardner, a Cherry Hill, NJ resident, played in one game in 2011 and recorded 1.5 total tackles.  Drew played one season at Widener University (2004), where he recorded 20.0 total tackles, three interceptions, and one blocked punt.  He transferred and played three seasons at the University of Iowa (2006-08) where he tallied 11.0 total tackles and earned the Special Teams/Hustle Award.

Richardson, who was a Rookie of the Year candidate in 2011, led the Soul in tackles (64.0) and pass breakups (11), while recording two forced fumbles, one fumble recovery and an interception.  During his collegiate career, he was named WVU team captain and received Athletic Director’s Academic Honor Roll (2008).  He was a member of the Mountaineer team that won the 2008 Fiesta Bowl vs. Oklahoma and played in the 2008 Car Care Bowl, 2007 Gator Bowl, and 2006 Sugar Bowl.

Former UFC star Lowe to make boxing debut

Former UFC star Waylon Lowe will be making his pro boxing debut when he takes on Shelby Willhite in a four round Jr. Middleweight clash on Saturday night when Joey Eye Boxing & XFE present a special night of combat sports at Harrahs in Chester featuring both Professional Boxing and Mixed Martial Arts.
This special show will take place outdoors on the Race Track

There will be seven pro boxing bouts and twelve MMA bouts beginning at 5:30 pm, with the boxing portion going first.

Lowe, who now resides in Philadelphia, was a two-time state wrestling champion before his distinguished collage career where he was a former three-time former division-two Wrestling champion when he attended Finley University in Ohio.

With those accolades it won him a trip to the Olympic training center. Lowe then turned to professional Mixed Martial Arts where he has compiled a record of 10-4 with four appearances at the highest level in the UFC where he is 2-2.

Lowe has been working hard at the Joe Hand Boxing Gym in Philadelphia and is very excited for the boxing debut.

“I cant wait to box”, said Lowe “This reminds me of preparing for my UFC fights, I have been training so hard with some top notch pros and some who will be fighting for world titles.  I feel that I have the strength to knock out anybody am looking forward to putting on a great performance on September 24th.  I like to thank Joey Eye and David Feldman for this opportunity to realize a dream of mine”

In the main event of the boxing portion of the show, Tony Ferrante (12-2, 7 KO’s) of Philadelphia will take on Tommy Karpency (21-2-1, 14 KO’s) of Adah, PA in a ten round battle for the Pennsylvania State Light Heavyweight championship.

In a six round Light Heavyweight bout undefeated Derrick Webster (10-0, 6 KO’s) of Glassboro will see action against an opponent to be announced.

In a four round Lightweight bout featuring Philadelphian’s, Lonnie Jackson Jr. (1-0-1) will do battle with Jonathan Ocassio (0-8)

Ina four round Bantamweight bout, Alex Barbosa of Philadelphia will be making his pro debut against an opponent to be named.

In a six round Cruiserweight match, undefeated Ahmed Samir (10-0, 3 KO’s) of Queens, NY will take on Pedro Martinez (6-4, 3 KO’s) of Philadelphia

In a four round Lightweight bout, Joey Tiberi (5-1, 4 KO’s) of Newark, Delaware taking in Mike Maley (4-8, 3 KO’s) of Whiting, Indiana

 The boxing portion of the show will begin at 5:30 pm.

A full slate of MMA bouts will be announced and one ticket gets fans the ability to see both shows.
Tickets are now on sale for $100 (VIP); $50 (Ringside) and $40 (General Admission) and can be purchased at the Harrahs Chester Gift Shop; By calling Joey Eye (267-304-9399); David Feldman (610-291-0806); 800-480-8020 or on