Jurgen Klinsmann vs. the Future of American Soccer

November 21, 2014

“In 2014, Jurgen Klinsmann put the finishing touches on the transformation of the United States men’s national team into some sporting version of The Hunger Games. No one died, except for perhaps Landon Donovan’s ego, but the German World Cup winner imposed a vision in which no player’s spot on the squad or in the lineup is ever safe. In Klinsmann’s mind, the previous iterations of the team were happy-feely groups hanging out in Mister Rogers’s neighborhood, complacent and content with the status quo. That needed to change.” Grantland


For the U.S. to be a world power, it has to kill its underdog

November 21, 2014

“The plucky, over-archiving Irish. The hard-working, underdog Yanks. Even among those of us who make a living spewing these tropes, there’s recognition that narratives are a poor interpretation of what happens on the field. Yet Tuesday’s game – the final one in a busy year for the U.S. men’s national team – presents a clash of walking, talking stereotypes. Few teams in international soccer are more readily typecast than the Republic of Ireland, Tuesday’s host, and the United States.” Soccer Gods


Donovan and Henry About to Bid Their MLS Farewells

November 17, 2014

“As the MLS semifinals begin on November 23rd, two of MLS’ greatest stars look set to move on. Well, one is for sure heading to retirement, while the other has been more opaque about it. Landon Donovan announced months ago that this would be his final season. His farewell tour kicked off with a semi-manufactured ‘Landon Donovan Send-Off’ friendly vs. Ecuador. Then he said good-bye to the LA Galaxy fans in his final regular season match. Now he needs a win against the frightening Seattle Sounders to reach yet another MLS Cup final.” Soccer Pro


U.S. grades: Yanks fail to hold on to early lead yet again vs. Colombia

November 14, 2014

“The U.S. men’s national team tried to take a page out of its World Cup playbook against World Cup quarterfinalists Colombia, one that relied on gritty defending to escape with a result. But Los Cafeteros proved to have too many attacking weapons, and scored twice in the second half to claim a highly deserved 2-1 victory. Jozy Altidore opened the scoring courtesy of a first half penalty, but Carlos Bacca equalized 15 minutes into the second half, and Teofilo Gutierrez nodded home the game-winner in the 87th minute. While the match did feature some moments where the U.S. looked threatening in attack, and there were some youthful elements in the U.S. lineup, it did little to stop questions about when the proactive style that Jurgen Klinsmann has long promised will begin to emerge.” ESPN


U.S. Soccer turning to overlooked youth to discover next wave of talent

November 12, 2014

“Most Americans aren’t familiar with Nacogdoches, Texas, and if they are it’s probably because of Clint Dempsey. Nacogdoches is a small town of less than 35,000 people in East Texas, roughly 150 miles from Houston and Dallas. Dempsey, the only American ever to score in three World Cups, grew up playing soccer on dirt fields against Hispanic immigrants in his town. He played in an unaffiliated local Mexican League in his teens, even after he had joined a more traditional Dallas-based soccer program.” SI


Saint or Sinner? The debate surrounding Landon Donovan

October 8, 2014

“Normally one needs to die to gain Sainthood, but footballers seem to be granted a special exception. At the end of this week, Landon Donovan will play his final match for the US Men’s National Team. As is par for the course when announcements like these are made, there has been an immense of praise and detractors coming out of the woodwork for the former US Captain. Despite all of the hostility and passion that comes from such a debate, there is still a question that is not answered: just how good was he?” backpagefootball


An Apology To The World’s Soccer Fans

September 8, 2014

“It’s me, and I’m sorry. I am the nascent American soccer fan. I am the one who has rewarded the editors that fill their sites with SEO-friendly ‘New soccer fan? Start here!’ posts. I am the brand new fan who, after running out of ideas for Tim Howard memes, took the ‘Which Premier League team should you follow?’ quiz, and considered abiding by the result. I am the soccer fan who, until six weeks ago, knew three players: – Landon Donovan – Pele – Ronaldo (Without knowing that there are somewhere between two and ten important Ronaldos). I am presuming that you have been around longer than that, living through the dark years when American soccer fans had roughly the same social standing as leprosy victims and Michael Bolton enthusiasts, so I do not begrudge you your sighs and scoffs. But while you can be frustrated with this new legion of American soccer fanatics, you can’t hate us, or at least shouldn’t.” The Classical


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