Notre Dame's Golson close, but not cleared yet

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Notre Dame's Golson close, but not cleared yet

SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- Everett Golson has not yet been cleared to play, coach Brian Kelly announced Tuesday -- although the Notre Dame coach didn't sound too concerned about his status for this weekend. The first-year starter suffered a concussion late in Notre Dame's win over Stanford on Saturday.

Golson didn't pass his cognitive test on Monday and will re-take it today. Once Golson clears his cognitive test, he'll begin light exercise, and if there's no re-occurrence of headaches he'll return to practice. The earliest he could return to practice is Wednesday.

Golson has passed a balance test and an exam and has no symptoms such as light sensitivity or agitation. All he has to do is pass the cognitive test, which is done on a computer.

"If Everett Golson was a guy that you knew, you would know when he's ready," Kelly explained Tuesday. "When he's smiling and bouncing around, we're seeing that yesterday and today. We're seeing great progress."

Kelly said Sunday he expected Golson to be cleared by Tuesday, but if not, he could still start if he were cleared Wednesday. If Golson isn't cleared to practice Wednesday but does Thursday, he could still play against BYU, although the playbook may shrink as a result.

"We would probably limit of the things that we do," Kelly said. "There's very little we can't do in the running game. We would probably limit some of the things we would do in the passing game and some of the things that we have put on him. But he could practice on Thursday and be ready to help us on Saturday."

Golson completed 12 of 24 passes for 141 yards and a touchdown against Stanford, but fumbled three times -- with those turnovers leaving Kelly "very concerned."

"It's something that obviously we cannot continue to have," Kelly said Sunday. "He's got to take better care of the football, and he's got to do it in practice, and he's got to be smarter."

As questions about his future remain, David Accam is in his best run with the Fire

As questions about his future remain, David Accam is in his best run with the Fire

For the past two seasons, David Accam was a bright spot on bad Chicago Fire teams.

This season, with more talent on the roster, Accam has blossomed into one of the most dangerous players in the league.

He had a hat trick and an assist in Saturday’s 4-0 win against Orlando. That gives him 10 goals and six assists on the season. Only two other players in Major League Soccer have 16 combined goals and assists, New York City FC's David Villa and teammate Nemanja Nikolic (the leading goal-scorer in the league).

“I thought I could do anything on the pitch today,” Accam said. “I just wanted to enjoy myself and entertain the fans and also help the team win. That’s what we did today, especially after my first goal. I just thought I could get more goals and also help the team win.”

Accam’s big game comes after he sat out the previous two games, which were both played on turf. He wasn’t listed on the injury report, but coach Veljko Paunovic said, “he didn’t recover from the physical issues that he had in the previous game.”

The rest seemed to do Accam some good, but his success in the game (as well as his recent run of eight goals and four assists in his last eight matches) coincides with questions about his future. He was recently rumored to be the target of a Turkish club.

In the past, Accam has spoken about his ambition to play at the highest levels. Typically, that means Europe. General manager Nelson Rodriguez said last month that he expects offers to come in for the 26-year-old because he is a good player in his prime ages.

So is Accam playing like someone trying to earn a new contract? That could be either impressing potential suitors in Europe or boosting his negotiation position with the Fire. Rodriguez has talked about contract negotiations with Accam before, and said those will not resume again until after the season.

“I wanted to be in a team where I would develop as a person and also win trophies, whether here or somewhere (else) I don’t know,” Accam said. “For me, I’m doing really well here and every year if I keep playing well there will be always interest. I know there is a lot of interest because I’m doing well. For me it’s always extra motivation to keep doing well. You don’t know where I will end up, whether here or somewhere else. I’ll just keep playing.”

Accam’s play earned him another call-up to the Ghanaian national team. He will join the team on Sunday for a pair of friendlies in the U.S. The Black Stars will take on Mexico in Houston on June 28 and the U.S. in East Hartford, Conn., on July 1 as the two North American countries prepare for the Gold Cup.

“That’s where I want to be,” Accam said. “I want to be playing for the national team so it’s extra motivation for me to perform well and also to go to the national team.”

Accam has been one of the most productive players in MLS this year, based on goals and assists, and is young enough to draw the attention of plenty of teams. For now, the Fire have him as a key part of the best season the club has had in years.

“I think that he understands very well how to play with the team that we have now and with the teammates that he is surrounded with,” coach Veljko Paunovic said. “We just have to work to give David opportunities… Then we expect that performances like that will come even more.”

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