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Friday, February 08, 2008

Four QPR Goalies in the News - O'Brien, Pickens, Juergen Sommer and Bankole

Mirror "Redknapp has beaten Manchester United and Arsenal in the race to sign QPR's 16-year-old keeper Liam O'Brien. " Mirror

Chad Winger - Friday, February 8, 2008
Championship team Queens Park Rangers have completed the signing of free agent goalkeeper Matt Pickens.
Pickens, 25, who refused overtures from Chicago Fire after his deal expired on December 31st, also trialed with Norwich City and Preston North End before settling with the Londoners.
"Pickens has joined us until the end of the season," a spokesperson for QPR Press Officer Ian Taylor confirmed to YA. "He performed well in a brief showing for us, and he will now be with us until June."
"Both parties will evaluate a potential extension after the season
Pickens, who will attempt to unseat incumbent keeper Lee Camp at Loftus Road, appeared in 45 matches for Chicago, 13 of which were shutouts. Yanks Abroad

Colorado Rapids
The Colorado Rapids announced today that JUERGEN SOMMER has been named the team’s Director of Soccer and GARY SMITH has been added to the club as an Assistant Coach.
In his newly-created position, Sommer will work closely with the coaching staff and General Manager Charlie Wright on scouting, the Rapids youth academy, and operational aspects of the club in accordance with MLS rules and guidelines. The Rapids will also see the benefits of Sommer’s addition, as he will work directly with the first team goalkeepers...
“Juergen’s and Gary’s backgrounds as coaches and players will prove to be valuable assets to our team and our business,” said Rapids Managing Director Jeff Plush.
“With the contributions they will make to our on-pitch performance as part of our technical staff, we are a better club with their additions. As importantly, both are quality individuals who are committed to helping us reach our stated goal of becoming a premier team.”
A former NCAA Goalkeeper of the Year, Sommer has spent the last two years working as a volunteer assistant coach at his alma mater, Indiana University. He also has recently served as the goalkeeper coach for the U.S. Men's National Team. Sommer earned 10 international caps with the U.S. National Team from 1990 to 1998. Following his playing career at Indiana, Sommer signed with Luton Town of the English First Division in 1991. He led Luton Town to the FA Cup semifinals in 1993 and was named the English goalkeeper of the year that season.
In 1995, he became the first American goalkeeper to play in the English Premier League when he suited up for Queens Park Rangers. Sommer returned to the U.S. and played in the MLS from 1998-2002 with the Columbus Crew and New England Revolution. He played 54 games in his MLS career, making 249 saves. Sommer was named to the All-Star team his final year in MLS. While with the Revolution, he served as a volunteer assistant coach at Harvard University. Sommer was the 1990 NCAA adidas Goalkeeper of the Year and led the 1988 IU team to an NCAA Championship
Smith comes to the Rapids with ten years of experience as a professional player and full-time coach in the English FA. A UEFA “A” badge holder, he recently served as the reserve team coach for English Premier League’s Watford Football Club. Smith’s background also includes coaching with Wycombe Wanderers Football Club and Wimbledon Football Club, both located in London, England, throughout the past decade. Colorado Rapids

Essex Gazette - Ademola Bankole is not a happy man.
His team Nigeria have just endured their worst African Nations Cup display for 25 years, after disappointingly losing at the quarter-final stage to ten-man Ghana.
For goalkeeper Bankole, who is working at Colchester United as a temporary goalkeeper coach, to see the country he represented bow out of the tournament so meekly was something of a let down.
"When we're attacking, we're a little bit laid back," reasoned Bankole, after watching the two-time winners bow out of the competition.
While he is naturally disappointed with the Super Eagles' showing, the 38-year-old believes the influx of African talent in English football will increase over the coming years.....
While he remains a keen follower of Nigeria's footballing fortunes, Bankole is now an established figure in English football.
He has been a goalkeeper in England for some 13 years, taking in the likes of Queens Park Rangers, Crewe Alexandra and Grimsby Town, where he was nicknamed George' by the then Mariners boss, Alan Buckley.
Bankole also represented Bradford City on loan during their Premier League days, where he was a team-mate of current U's keeper, Aidan Davison.
The pair struck up a good friendship while at Valley Parade, so much so that Bankole was the first person Davison thought of when he was searching for someone to cover him at goalkeeper coach at Layer Road, following his shoulder operation last month.
"I'm a good friend of Aidan's," said Bankole, who also works for the Football Association coaching Level One goalkeepers.
"I know him from when we were playing for Bradford City when they were in the Premier League.
"I went to Bradford as cover for three months.
"We've stayed friends since then and we've played against one another a few times too, so we've always stayed in touch." Gazette

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