Sebastian Soto and Djordje Mihailovic headline the United States U-23 side selected for the team’s September training camp and friendly against Japan.Head coach Jason Kreis has selected a 24-player squad, which will take part in a camp from September 1-10 during the upcoming FIFA international break.The squad is slated to play one friendly during the break – September 9 against Japan in Chula Vista, California as they continue their preparations for Olympic qualifying this spring. Article continues below Editors’ Picks Emery out of jail – for now – as brilliant Pepe papers over Arsenal’s cracks What is Manchester United’s ownership situation and how would Kevin Glazer’s sale of shares affect the club? Ox-rated! Dream night in Genk for Liverpool ace after injury nightmare Messi a man for all Champions League seasons – but will this really be Barcelona’s? Mihailovic represents one of the more experienced players in the side, having played for the United States senior national team during the 2019 Gold Cup. The Chicago Fire midfielder made a pair of appearances, and made one start for the tournament runner-up.Soto was among the stars for the United States at the U-20 World Cup in Poland earlier this year. The Hannover youngster scored four times in the competition, including a brace against tournament favorite France to help the Americans pull a surprise comeback victory in the last 16.The forward is joined by multiple teammates from that U-20 squad, including Alex Mendez, Chris Gloster, Mark McKenzie, Edwin Cerrillo and Brandon Servania.One player included on the list, Niko Hamalainen, has previously represented Finland at both the youth and senior team levels. The Miami-born defender, who featured in three games on loan at Los Angeles FC this season before returning to parent club Queens Park Rangers, started a friendly against Estonia in January 2019.Due to Hamalainen playing for Finland in recognized youth tournaments – he featured during the European U21 Championships – he would require a one-time switch of allegiance to play for the United States in a FIFA-recognized match.The USA are hoping to end a recent string of Olympic qualification failures, having not made the tournament since 2008.Qualification for the 2020 games takes place at the Concacaf Olympic Qualification Championship from March 20-April 1 in Guadalajara, Mexico, which will see the top two teams automatically make the Tokyo Games.U-23 Roster in full:GOALKEEPERS (3): Matt Freese (Philadelphia Union), JT Marcinkowski (San Jose Earthquakes.), Andrew Thomas (Stanford)DEFENDERS (8): Kyle Duncan (New York Red Bulls), Justen Glad (Real Salt Lake), Chris Gloster (PSV Eindhoven), Niko Hamalainen (Kilmarnock FC), Aaron Herrera (Real Salt Lake), Mark McKenzie (Philadelphia Union), Donovan Pines (D.C. United.), Auston Trusty (Philadelphia Union)MIDFIELDERS (6): Brenden Aaronson (Philadelphia Union), Edwin Cerrillo (FC Dallas), Hassani Dotson (Minnesota United FC), Alex Mendez (Ajax), Djordje Mihailovic (Chicago Fire), Brandon Servania (FC Dallas)FORWARDS (7): Omir Fernandez (New York Red Bulls), Jesus Ferreira (FC Dallas), Brooks Lennon (Real Salt Lake), Sebastian Saucedo (Real Salt Lake), Sebastian Soto (Hannover), Mason Toye (Minnesota United.), Haji Wright (VVV-Venlo)
Nova Scotians are invited to attend the annual Lieutenant Governor’s Garden Party on Wednesday, June 15, from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. Lt.-Gov. J.J. Grant and Mrs. Joan Grant will host the garden party on the grounds of Government House in honour of the 90th birthday of Queen Elizabeth II. Guests are invited to enjoy refreshments on the back lawn, weather permitting. Musical entertainment will be provided by the Bridgewater Fire Department Band and David MacFarlane. “Mrs. Grant and I invite the public to join us at the ceremonial home of all Nova Scotians to celebrate the Queen’s 90th birthday,” said Lt.-Gov. Grant. “The annual garden party is also an opportunity to celebrate our province. Everyone is welcome.” Those planning to attend the party should enter Government House through the main entrance on 1451 Barrington St. Parking is not available at Government House, but is available on surrounding streets and lots. In case of inclement weather, the garden party will be held indoors at Government House. Further details are available on lt.gov.ns.ca .
Updated 5.23 PMTHE IRISH ASSOCIATION of Funeral Directors (IAFD) has branded as “disgusting” today’s scrapping of the bereavement grant for families to cover funeral costs.The Bereavement Grant is a one-off payment of €850 made available on the death of a family member. Eligibility is not related to an ability to pay for the funeral but is based on PRSI contributions, meaning it is payable to the vast majority of citizens.Graham Gleasure of the IAFD has said that they will be talking to the Government with the hope of persuading them to reverse their decision to scrap the payment.Gleasure told TheJournal.ie that the Government’s decision is particular galling because the payment “is not a grant, it should never have been called a grant”. It is, he said, an entitlement earned as a result of PRSI contributions.The payment will be discontinued from 1 January with the Government saying it will be available for people in exceptional circumstances. Gleasure says however that this provision may put some civil servants in a “very difficult position” in deciding whether a recently bereaved familiarity is entitled to the payment.Families who are recently bereaved also will not want to be “pleading their case” for the payment either, he added.When news of the scrapping of the payment was leaked before today’s Budget speech the reaction on Twitter was wholly negative, particularly from people who have had to avail of the assistance in recent times.John Keohane of Keohane Funeral Directors in Cork city said the cut will have an impact on families, particularly given the current economic conditions.“It helps pay the bills, certainly,” he told TheJournal.ie. “Assuming people already have a grave, the average, standard funeral can cost about €4,500.“Obviously, every family situation is different but this payment does make a difference. A lot of people do not know it exists when they are first bereaved but, generally, they ask what help they are entitled to.”Keohane also says that cremations have become more popular in the city since the establishment of a local crematoria.“There are a couple of reasons, as well as the availability,” he added. “One is that some people don’t have a plot in a cemetery and they can cost up about €1,700 – and more in Dublin. Cremation halves the cost, really.”While the Bereavement Grant is based on PRSI contributions, the Exceptional Needs Payment, available under the Supplementary Welfare Allowance Scheme can help families which cannot afford a the cost of a funeral.It is a single payment to help with once-off expenditure which a person “could not reasonably be expected to meet out of their weekly income”.Although the payments were stopped this year for communions and confirmations, they are still payable for funerals where a person’s income is low.Each case is decided on the merits by the Department of Social Protection.August figures from the Department of Social Protection show more than €5 million is being paid out every year to help cover funeral and burial expenses. The average payout is around €1,300, having dropped slightly on previous years.There has been no signals in any Budget leaks if this grant will remain untouched. Earlier this year, the government stopped the Exceptional Needs Payment for communions, confirmations and other religious ceremonies.More Twitter reaction: – Additional reporting by Rónán DuffyLIVEBLOG: Budget 2014 as it happensREAD: Government doesn’t expect to lose any TDs over the BudgetPLAY: Budget Bingo 2014