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Page 2 of 2 -- Eriksson, who had hoped to use young players such as Stewart Downing (Middlesborough) and Shaun Wright-Phillips (Manchester City), said the restrictions are hampering the development of the team.

"The friendly in August [against Ukraine] was very important as preparation for two World Cup qualifying ties we had in September [against Austria and Poland]," Eriksson said. "And the friendly we've got in February [against Holland] is needed before World Cup games in March [against Northern Ireland and Azerbaijan]. It's much more difficult to see the importance of playing in November."

The match against Spain, a 1-0 loss in Madrid, was "all about money," Eriksson said.

American plan
Rusty Pierce is returning to the United States after a 10-day tryout with FSV Mainz 05 in Germany. Pierce, fourth on the Revolution all-time list with 113 regular-season and playoff games played, was claimed by Real Salt Lake in the expansion draft.

"I thought Mainz was a good option and he had a five-day tryout extended another five days," said Luxembourg-based agent Michael Becker, who also represents Bayern Munich's Michael Ballack. "After 10 days, the coach said it was not right. There were more options coming up, but he is going back to get married. He will be away a week, then it is the winter break here, so that's my final call.

"The second division here would be something to look at, but a lot of US players don't want to do it. If you are not with the No. 1 teams in the second division, you are looking at MLS salaries. In sheer financial terms, you can make 200,000 to 250,000 a year, which is like the MLS, but they forget that it is in euros and it's a nice tax rate."

Mainz, coached by Juergen Klopp, was promoted to the Bundesliga this year and is tied for eighth place. Among the club's preseason signings was US striker Conor Casey.

Round up the gang
The North American Soccer League alumni group is searching for former players in the region through the website www.NASLalumni.org. New England-based former players include Tony Bellinger (Dallas Tornado, Team America), Peter Carr (Tea Men), Holy Cross coach Elvis Comrie (Montreal Manic, Chicago Sting), Sal Lo Grasso (Boston Minutemen), Joe Morrone (Tulsa Roughnecks, San Jose Earthquakes), and former Revolution assistant coach Peter Simonini (New England, Jacksonville Tea Men) . . . Former Tea Men forward/midfielder Keith Weller, who played four times for England's national team, died of cancer recently. Weller, 58, played for Chelsea when it defeated Real Madrid in the 1971 Cup Winners Cup final. Weller also performed for Arsenal, Leicester City, Millwall, and Tottenham. 

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