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


Player Ratings: U.S. 1, Czech Republic 0

September 4, 2014

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“Despite missing many of its veterans, the United States men’s national team opened the cycle that will lead to the 2018 World Cup with a hard-fought exhibition win over the Czech Republic on Wednesday in Prague. The United States started strong, with a solid performance from its central midfield, composed of Alejandro Bedoya, Mix Diskerud and Joe Corona. It was through those three players that the Americans scored the game’s only goal. Through it all, the team got outstanding goalkeeping from Brad Guzan and Nick Rimando, who are seeking to supplant Tim Howard during his hiatus from international play. Central defenders John Brooks, Michael Orozco and Tim Ream played well as well.” NY Times

For U.S. youngsters, win vs. Czechs about ideology, not victory
“Future editions of U.S. Soccer’s media guide will note Alejandro Bedoya scored the only goal in Wednesday’s 1-0 win over the Czech Republic. Press reports will praise goalkeeper Nick Rimando for his stalwart second-half showing and box scores might indicate that Joe Gyau, Greg Garza and 18-year-old Emerson Hyndman made their international debuts. But that’s all it is – trivia. The performances and moments that shaped Wednesday’s friendly will have no bearing on U.S. coach Jurgen Klinsmann when he selects his team for the 2018 World Cup. And that’s no slight against those men. Four years can be a soccer lifetime.” SI


Will Chivas Rise Again?

August 1, 2014

“A great Mexican club fights to stay relevant. Fernando Arce, Chivas’s new midfield ace, stood over a free kick Sunday at Mexico’s Estadio Olímpico Universitario, measured up the 30-yard attempt, and fired it past Pumas goalkeeper Alejandro Palacios. The goal handed Chivas a 1–0 win, making it undefeated in its first two Liga MX matches. Several years ago, that wouldn’t have been news. Now, as supporters of the team forage for nuggets of positivity during this dark period, it’s a big story and reason for optimism. But while Chivas’s first win at Pumas since the 2004 Apertura may be seen by as a forerunner of good results, the club still has long way to go before it transitions out of this bleak era that has seen them go without silverware in the last 15 tournaments.” Fusion


I Say Futbol, You Say Soccer

July 24, 2014

“Why the U.S. and Mexico should bid to co-host the 2026 World Cup. The ties between the United States and Mexico make up one of the most important bilateral relationships in the world today, with profound implications for the prosperity, well-being, and security of the people of both nations. Some in Mexico and the U.S. may not enjoy reading this, but there is one inescapable truth, one that has developed over time since the early 1990s and accelerated in the decade after NAFTA’s approval, and that could fundamentally alter the nature of our relationship and have a profound impact for North America and, dare I say, for the global community as well: Mexico and the United States are converging, as societies and as economies.” Fusion


How to Follow Soccer Now that the World Cup Is Over

July 22, 2014

“The World Cup is over, and the quadrennial outbreak of American soccer fever is slowly subsiding. In the aftermath of the most-popular soccer tournament in U.S. history, though, there are signs that some are sticking with the sport. There’s been a post–World Cup spike in Major League Soccer viewership, according to ESPN, and MLS streaming packages are reportedly up 300 percent. If you’re still feeling that soccer itch but don’t how to scratch it, here are the many ways to keep up on the sport between now and 2018. The obvious place to start is the already-underway MLS season. There are 15 American metropolises with teams, and new franchises are coming to Orlando and New York next season and to Atlanta in 2017.” Slate (Video)


Soccer The ‘World Cup Is Over, Now What?’ Guide to Soccer

July 18, 2014

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“Just because the World Cup is over doesn’t mean soccer stops. Soccer never stops; that’s one of its biggest appeals. There are so many different teams, leagues, club competitions, and international tournaments that, if you want to, you can always find someone to cheer for or some team to root against. It can also be a bit daunting to wade into without any experience. Luckily, you have me, your Russian Premier League–watching, tactics board–chalking, Opta Stats–devouring Gandalf, to help you tailor your soccer-watching habits. And now I will answer some completely made-up questions to guide you along your soccer path.” Grantland


Why the United States Needs a Football Revolution

July 16, 2014

“It was great fun, wasn’t it? The determination, the refusal to quit, the passion, the belief that running until it was physically impossible to run anymore was easier than acceding to defeat. Oh, yes, the United States at this World Cup gave Americans a team to be proud of, but it did not deliver on Jurgen Klinsmann’s 2011 promise to play progressive, attack-minded football. While the U.S. had grit, it lacked a coherent national style. The development of a national playing style, or even general philosophy of how the game should be played, is an important moment in a country’s footballing history.” 8 by 8


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