Soccer Watch

Paul Dalglish
Paul Dalglish

It's crazy how short the off-season is in this sport. Players are really still just recovering from the World Cup, and already:

• Champions League play is well underway in both Europe and North/Central America. With some preliminary rounds already over, the U.S. teams and big European clubs enter the fray this coming week, with Euro games now on Fox Sports most every Tuesday-Wednesday at 1:30pm.

• English Premier League season starts this weekend, with NBC again offering blanket coverage, showing every game across its various networks.

• The USA Women bounced back from an opening loss to make the quarterfinals of the U-20 Women's World Cup on Saturday in Toronto (v. North Korea, 3:45pm, streamed live on ESPN3). Semifin­als are on Wed., Aug. 20, with the final next Sunday, Aug. 24.

• The UT Longhorns host a free exhibition game against Incarnate Word, this Friday, Aug. 15, 7:30pm at Myers Stadium.

And, by my count, it's only about 29 weeks until the opening of the Austin Aztex first season in USL PRO. So much to do. I had a brief phone chat today with returning head coach Paul Dalglish, that ranged from the parlous state of the Austin real estate market ("ridiculous"), to the prospects for the Aztex inaugural pro season ("If you look at the players we had in the PDL who were local ... these guys are playing at the MLS level ... the players that have left us have gone to a higher level than we're going to play at next year."), to the team's continuing local commitment ("We really believe in being Austin's team ... nothing will make me prouder than seeing some of the guys that I've seen playing on youth soccer fields in Austin pulling on an Aztex jersey as a professional player.") For the whole interview, see "Talking with Paul Dalglish."

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