Rowdies sign Japanese veteran
The Tampa Bay Rowdies' search to complete their roster has taken them to Japan. The team signed utility player Takuya Yamada, who has four caps with the Japan national team. The veteran of the Japan Professional Football League is known for leadership and physical, hard-nosed play.
"We are ecstatic to secure Takuya Yamada for our inaugural team," Rowdies team president Andrew Nestor said. "Takuya is an icon in the game, and he will bring depth, leadership and passion to our team."
Yamada is the fifth of eight international players the team is allowed to sign as it prepares to compete in the new North American Soccer League.
Ralston to NASL TEAM: Steve Ralston, who played for the MLS Tampa Bay Mutiny for six years until the team was contracted in 2002, signed with AC St. Louis of the new NASL. Ralston, 35, had a 14-year MLS career and is first in MLS games played with 378. He was an unrestricted free agent after eight seasons with the New England Revolution.
Cabanas update: Paraguay striker Salvador Cabanas is conscious and could talk to police about being shot in the head at a Mexico City bar. Cabanas continued his strong recovery Monday, speaking to family members and taking food after doctors lowered his sedation level. The main suspect, Jose Jorge Balderas Garza, remains at large. Reports have suggested the shooting followed an argument in which Balderas Garza told Cabanas he had not been scoring enough goals for his Mexican team, America.
Boxing: Manny Pacquiao was honored as the fighter of the decade by the Boxing Writer's Association of America, along with matching Muhammad Ali and Evander Holyfield by winning his third fighter of the year. Other candidates for the decade award: Bernard Hopkins, Joe Calzaghe, Floyd Mayweather Jr., Shane Mosley, Juan Manuel Marquez and Marco Antonio Barrera.
AUTOS: Ferrari driver Felipe Massa returned to a competitive Formula One car for the first time since a life-threatening crash last summer and set the fastest time in the season's debut test session (1 minute, 12.574 seconds) in Valencia, Spain. Massa, 28, said he felt "zero afraid."
College hockey: Boston College and Boston University will play Monday for the 58th annual Beanpot tournament championship. BC advanced with a 6-0 win over Harvard, and defending champion BU held off Northeastern's two-man skating advantage over the final 88 seconds to win 2-1.
Olympics: Devils defenseman Paul Martin will not play for the United States hockey team in Vancouver because of a slow-healing broken left forearm.
Eduardo A. Encina, Times staff writer; Times wires