Iraq has had some tough times, to say the least. The country has been in turmoil after the removal of Saddam Hussein in 2001 from his dictatorship, and even before that the country was a walking time bomb. The country has its internal turmoil, but that doesn’t stop its soccer players from walking on the field, lacing up their cleats and putting on the Iraq jersey for international competition. The major difference between this team and most other international teams: They play soccer behind 10-foot blast walls and have security watching the gate for them, just in case someone decides they want interrupt practice.
MLSsoccer.net — Commentary: High-rollers not built for CCL success
Real Salt Lake doesn’t have the biggest crowds in Major League Soccer, in fact they have a pretty small regional population to draw from in Utah compared to some of the other teams in the league. So, RSL has to follow a smart recruiting and signing policy to attract players and win while keeping close tabs on the budget. Part of the team’s plan has been to qualify for the CONCACAF Champions League and hope the potential of playing in North America’s toughest tournament will attract quality players for a cheaper price than a Designated Player like a Thierry Henry or David Beckham. So far the plan has worked to a tee. RSL won the MLS Cup last season and qualified for the CCL, now the club is working on improving on last season’s results with the quality off-season additions they made and by keeping a deeper bench than most other MLS clubs who focus on signing expensive designated players.