Detroit City FC: The football team rising from America’s biggest ruin

April 20, 2020

“In the 1980s, he played for the LA Lazers, a short-lived indoor soccer cousin to the famed LA Lakers, attracting a similarly glitzy Hollywood crowd to the city’s Forum arena. In the 1990s, as part of Sir Bobby Robson’s scouting network, he picked apart England’s World Cup 1990 opposition before being deployed to watch Brazilian phenomenon Ronaldo in preparation for Barcelona’s then world-record £13.2m purchase. In the 2000s, the arrival of David Beckham transformed the LA Galaxy team he helped coach from global non-entity into a travelling circus. He has even barked orders at the likes of Rod Stewart, Ronnie Wood and Andrew Ridgeley as manager of Stewart’s LA Exiles – a team of ex-pat musicians, actors and artists who have made California home. But he has never seen anything like Detroit City. …”
BBC


Tyler Adams’ maiden goal lifts USA to first win over Mexico in three years

September 12, 2018


“Tyler Adams showed he might be able to help when the rebuilding US soccer team resumes competitive matches next June. So did Antonee Robinson and goalkeeper Zack Steffen. Adams scored his first international goal, four minutes after Angel Zaldivar was ejected for a studs-up tackle, and the United States rebounded from a poor first half for a 1-0 victory over Mexico on Tuesday night and their first win over El Tri in three years.” Guardian


NYCFC’s Bronx Stadium Would Use City Parks Land — Sorta

August 18, 2018

“When the owners of the New York Yankees announced, on a June day in 2005, plans for a new stadium to replace the 82-year-old Yankee Stadium, they had a special treat for New Yorkers who’d been hearing for more than a decade how the public would need to pay for a new home for the ball club: Steve Swindal, George Steinbrenner’s son-in-law at the time, declared, ‘There will be no public subsidies.’ That turned out to be not quite so much true.” Voice


The Death of the American Soccer Troll

July 6, 2018

“My favorite media story of the World Cup is happening in Brian Phillips’s Twitter feed. Every few days, a certain kind of fan tells Phillips, one of the best soccer writers on the planet, that he shouldn’t use the word ‘soccer.’ He should use ‘football.’ There’s a name for this sort of pest: the soccer snob. But whenever I see another snob taking a dive, I wonder what happened to their counterpart: the American soccer troll. You know, the person who showed up during every World Cup to declare that soccer (they’d never call it ‘football’) sucked; that the sport was deeply and fatally un-American; that the U.S. soccer boom was a mass illusion schemed up by a few guys in Brooklyn. In 2018, the American soccer troll has more or less vanished. They’re sitting out the World Cup as surely as the U.S. men’s national team.” The Ringer


The Joy of Watching a World Cup Without the U.S.

June 12, 2018

“I spent the summer of 2010 in the sweltering Mississippi Delta, swatting mosquitoes the size of quarters and, regrettably, not watching the U.S. men’s national team play in the World Cup. During the previous few World Cups, I’d snuck into bars underage, woken up before sunrise, and hidden livestreams behind barely professional-looking spreadsheets all so that I could watch Americans play soccer against the world’s best.” New Republic


Hello, World

June 10, 2018

“In 1990, I spent one of the single greatest summers of my life as a counselor at a sleepaway camp in Maine. I was that requisite creepy English guy with cut-off denim shorts who spent seven glorious weeks attempting to fathom the American traditions of lanyard-making, Devil Dogs and skyhook wedgies. Yet my dominant memory remains America’s cruel indifference to the sport I love: soccer.” Washington Post


Own Goal: The Inside Story of How the USMNT Missed the 2018 World Cup

June 6, 2018


“In October, the United States failed to qualify for the World Cup for the first time in more than 30 years. A loss to Trinidad and Tobago sealed their fate, but according to players, coaches, commentators, and executives across American soccer, the disaster doesn’t come down to just one unfortunate result. No, it was the culmination of nearly a decade of mismanagement that broke the team’s spirit and condemned them to failure.” The Ringer (Video)


North American Bid for World Cup Gets High Marks, but Still Needs Votes

June 2, 2018

“The organization that controls soccer’s World Cup released a report Friday that raises serious concerns about Morocco’s ability to host the 2026 event, but the country’s bid was not disqualified. The assessment by evaluators for FIFA, world soccer’s governing body, could have essentially delivered the World Cup back to North America for the first time since 1994 had it outright rejected Morocco’s bid on technical grounds. Instead, Morocco’s survival sets up a furious two-week chase for votes against the other remaining bid, a combined entry from the United States, Mexico and Canada. …” NY Times


Reliving Giants Stadium

April 29, 2018

“The 1994 World Cup in America was the first for Luke Constable of the brilliantly named RGSOAS (Ruud Gullit Sitting on a Shed). His native England hadn’t qualified but thanks to his Irish grandfather, Luke was rooting for the Republic. Having missed the full game with Italy, the myth around the match had grown. Houghton’s goal and McGrath’s performance became legendary as the years went on. Luke has never seen the game in its entirety…until now. …” Pog Mo Goal


2018 MLS Ambition Rankings: Which Clubs Raise the Bar Highest as the League Grows?

April 25, 2018

“With each passing season, the potential rises and the boundaries are stretched. We’ve see it recently on the field, where Toronto FC became the first MLS club to eliminate two Mexican foes during a single Concacaf Champions League campaign. And we see it off the field. Look to D.C. United and Los Angeles FC, which are building stadiums in the heart of two of the USA’s biggest markets. Or behold Atlanta United, which broke the domestic transfer record with its $15 million acquisition of an Argentine teenager. The leeway clubs now have to operate within MLS’s limits (even if some are self-imposed) is expanding. …” SI (Video)


World Cup stunning moments: Cameroon shock Argentina in 1990 World Cup

March 22, 2018

“Of the great World Cup upsets – the USA’s victory over England in 1950, North Korea’s over Italy in 1966 and Algeria’s over West Germany in 1982 probably push it close – this one stands alone in myth and memory. It was not a perfect match but it was an irresistible narrative, as the World Cup champions, led by the great Diego Maradona, were vanquished by an unheralded team largely assembled of journeymen players from the French lower divisions – though for some of them even that was either an impossible dream or a distant memory. …” Guardian (Video)


The Man Who Brought You Christian Pulisic Has a Plan to Supercharge American Soccer

March 1, 2018


“Today, the phrase ‘Christian Pulisic to Barcelona’ would make for the ideal English tabloid headline. It’s plausible enough to allow you to briefly recast Barça’s Holy Trinity of Lionel Messi, Luis Suárez, and Neymar with the young American attacker (say it with me: ‘M-S-P’), while remaining outlandish enough to ensure that you’d never utter the thought aloud to anyone except your browser’s history. But a few years ago, Pulisic did go to Barcelona. Only 14 years old at the time, and still several years away from exploding onto the American and European soccer scenes, he was invited to train at the fabled Catalonian club. A move to Barcelona — with the Camp Nou, tiki-taka, tapas, and Messi — would be a dream for any teeanger who’s laced up a pair of cleats and picked up a FIFA controller, but Rob Moore wasn’t sure that this was where Pulisic needed to be. …”
The Ringer


World Cup 2018: Hats off to debutants Panama, as England await

February 22, 2018


“In the protracted campaign for World Cup qualification, a little luck can go a long way. Panama are one of only two teams that will make their debuts in the finals this year – the other is Iceland – but unlike the men from the very margin of Europe, virtually nothing is known about the Central Americans. Which is partly because they haven’t done a great deal in the past century. But they did knock out the Americans to get to Russia, albeit not without a touch of controversy and good fortune. …” Football Pink


Geoff Cameron’s Car-Pool Confessional

February 4, 2018


“STOKE-ON-TRENT, England — Rain predictably pelted the windshield on the nearly 40-mile journey down the dark motorway back to his home on the outskirts of Manchester, but Geoff Cameron wasn’t about to let a soaking interrupt him. Not after all these years here. Even after playing a full 90 minutes for the second time in three days, and even after the most damaging league defeat in his six seasons as a Stoke City player, Cameron had plenty to say. Over the course of the next hour, after some expletive-laden venting in the wake of a costly 1-0 home loss to Newcastle United, he invited questions on a number of subjects: Stoke’s increasingly dire predicament in the Premier League, his brush with political controversy last year and the challenges of life as an American abroad. …” NY Times


As January Camp Roster is Announced, Has USMNT Missed Out on Jonathan Gonzalez?

January 12, 2018

“The U.S. national team, which is barely a team at this point, will kick off this World Cup year without a World Cup at a January camp defined by last fall’s qualifying failure. There are no big games for which to prepare and there’s no permanent coach. As a result, this is a program with very little structure or long-term direction. Former assistant Dave Sarachan, who led the USA at November’s friendly in Portugal following Bruce Arena’s resignation, will preside over the squad of 30 campers announced Monday. …” SI – Brian Straus


Where it went wrong for the teams who missed out on the World Cup

November 17, 2017

“Fans from 21 countries explain why they will be staying at home next summer. Holland were unlucky, Italy were mismanaged and Mongolia were a disaster” Guardian


New Candidate and Palace Intrigue Shake Up U.S. Soccer Election

November 7, 2017

“In the surest sign yet that Sunil Gulati, the United States Soccer Federation president for the past 12 years, is in for a bruising re-election fight, his deputy Carlos Cordeiro announced Wednesday night that he would enter the race to replace his longtime friend. The entry of Cordeiro — a former Goldman Sachs executive who currently serves as U.S. Soccer’s executive vice president — into an increasingly crowded field of presidential candidates represents one of the most significant challenges yet to Gulati, whose stewardship of American soccer has been under fire since the United States men’s national team missed out on qualification for the 2018 World Cup last month. …” NY Times


How Did a Tiny Swiss Company Quietly Secure Valuable World Cup TV Rights?

October 27, 2017


“LONDON — Investigations over the last few years by United States and Swiss law enforcement officials into corruption in global soccer have exposed dozens of people and companies that, according to prosecutors, conspired to illegally reap profits from broadcasting and sponsorship deals tied to the sport’s biggest events. One company never named in any of the charging documents, but referred to obliquely, is a little-known entity based in the canton of Zug in Switzerland: Mountrigi Management Group, a three-person operation that illustrates how some of the biggest deals at the top of the world’s most-popular sport were put together. …” NY Times


The Real Failure of U.S. Men’s Soccer Sporting – Brian Phillips

October 15, 2017


“For around 30 years, from the 1986 World Cup through the night of Tuesday, Oct. 10, the United States men’s national soccer team managed to project at least a pleasing illusion of progress. Maybe it wasn’t always real progress. Maybe it wasn’t the kind of spectacular success enjoyed by the United States women’s team, which has won three World Cups and four Olympic gold medals and galvanized generations of fans. But there was always something you could point to, some piece of evidence to suggest that the men’s game was improving in this country. That the people at the top had a plan. …” NY Times


United States Misses World Cup for First Time Since 1986

October 12, 2017


“COUVA, Trinidad and Tobago — There was always a chance that a year would come when the United States again failed to qualify for the World Cup, when the hurdles in the nearly two-year slog of regional qualification — the matches on steamy afternoons and muggy nights, the hard tackles and the coin-throwing fans, the lousy fields and the dubious refereeing — all proved too much. That year is 2017. Trinidad and Tobago, whose World Cup dreams ended months ago, stunned the United States, 2-1, on Tuesday night. The result, combined with just-as-shocking outcomes in two simultaneous games in Honduras and Panama on the final day of qualifying for the Concacaf region, ushered in the unthinkable: The American men, mainstays of the World Cup for more than a generation, are out of next summer’s tournament in Russia. …”
NY Times, How the United States Missed the World Cup, Minute by Minute


U.S. National Team Still Controls Its Own World Cup Destiny

October 5, 2017


“The easiest route to the World Cup, any national team will tell you, is through the front door. Win your qualifying games and you can’t be left out. No worries. No math. No if-we-do-this-and-they-do-that calculations. Win, and you’re in. This, then, is the most appealing route for the United States national team over the next six days. If Coach Bruce Arena and his players win their final two qualifying games, at home against Panama on Friday and at Trinidad and Tobago on Tuesday night, they can pack their bags for Russia 2018. …” NY Times


Global Series | Top 10 North American Players of 2015: Chicharito, Dempsey and Navas feature

December 19, 2016

“… 4. ORIBE PERALTA One of the best strikers in Mexican football at the moment, Oribe Peralta has been around with the Mexican team for a number of years now, but only recently became a regular selection. the striker is famous among fans of El Tri for the brace he scored in the final of the 2012 Olympics to win the gold medal for Mexico against a fancied Brazil team. Having been around in Mexican football for some time, Peralta has represented a number of clubs from the Liga MX, but is now one of the important players at Club America.” Outside of the Boot


Exclusive interview with new USA coach Bruce Arena

December 5, 2016

“USA coach Bruce Arena told The Set Pieces that Christian Pulisic has a “very bright future” with the national team after meeting the Borussia Dortmund teenager for the first time at the weekend. Having recently been appointed as US head coach for a second time, Arena was in Germany to check in on the American contingent in the Bundesliga. On Saturday, he attended Dortmund’s victory over Borussia Mönchengladbach at Signal Iduna Park to watch Pulisic and Gladbach’s flying full-back Fabian Johnson.” the set pieces


U.S. Men’s Soccer Has an Ally in Misery: England

November 26, 2016

“A humbling defeat at the hands of a nation a small fraction of your size. A manager briskly fired, hastily replaced on a messy temporary basis by pretty much the only guy anyone could think of at the time. Question marks that linger not just about whether the team is good enough, but whether the players themselves care enough about representing their country.” NY Times


Costa Rica Pummels the U.S. and Puts World Cup Qualifying in Doubt

November 20, 2016

“The defense was a shambles. The midfield had little presence. The attack, such as it was, just spun and sputtered. How bad was it? It is difficult to know where to start. There was no fluidity from the United States national team here on Tuesday night against Costa Rica. No flow, no rhythm, no concentrated push, either early or late. There was no sturdiness or stoutness or resilience in a game that felt critical. There was no creativity.” NY Times


Confronting Columbus: How Mexico is planning to combat its Dos A Cero past

November 18, 2016

“It’s possible that Mexico’s most significant call-up ahead of Friday’s World Cup qualifier against the U.S. isn’t on coach Juan Carlos Osorio’s roster. This call-up won’t be in uniform in Columbus. He won’t break a sweat or kick a ball. Imanol Ibarrondo’s contribution is expected to be intangible. It’ll have to be. He’s Spanish, not Mexican, and he’s 49 years old. Ibarrondo once played professionally. He’s now an author, sports psychologist, consultant and motivational speaker who tries to help athletes and coaches bring out their best. Columbus is a place where Mexico certainly hasn’t been at its best.” SI


‘It Is America. But I Want to Play in Mexico.’

November 11, 2016

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“EL PASO, Tex. — Night fell and the thick, heavy air was cut by a sharp, chilling breeze, the sort of West Texas wind that made it feel as if the whole city had a fever. Was it hot out, or cold? The children on the field at Pico Norte Park, which is little more than a bumpy, narrow strip of grass lined for soccer, wore uniforms and quickly broke a sweat; the parents ringing the sideline wore jeans and sleeves as they watched and cheered and occasionally shivered.” NY Times


USA-Mexico World Cup qualifier given added tension in wake of Trump victory

November 11, 2016

“Tensions ahead of an always charged USA-Mexico soccer game this Friday have suddenly been magnified by the election of Donald Trump as America’s 45th president. Trump ran a scorched-earth campaign that openly denigrated immigrants and called for the mass deportation of Mexicans from the United States. His incendiary rhetoric – Trump called Mexican immigrants, among other things, rapists – could make for an ugly backdrop to a rivalry that has already had its fair share of nasty incidents. There is a real fear that the rhetoric Trump used could make its way into the stands and streets around the stadium, targeting Mexican fans.” Guardian


The rise of Soccer: The growing influence of USA on football

October 23, 2016

“Football is on the rise in America. Nobody can deny that. Children all over the country are getting into the sport and are becoming better and better at it. This progress has been shown over the last few decades. In 1990, America didn’t even have a professional football league and had just qualified for their first world cup in over twenty years. Twenty-six years later they have a thriving league in the MLS and are becoming more and more competitive on the international scene. Another, less spoken about, the thing that America is doing in the football world the takeover of multiple clubs across Europe. This takeover has led to both the first American manager in the Premier League and American style of business being implemented in some of Europe’s biggest clubs.” Outside of the Boot


Young USMNT goalkeeping trio gets shot as Klinsmann seeks a worthy successor

October 10, 2016

“t was in September 2008 that the U.S. national team last visited Havana, but it may as well have been the 1970s or 80s. President George W. Bush’s administration had doubled down on the embargo, tightened travel restrictions and included Cuba in an expanded ‘Axis of Evil’. A handful of intrepid American fans who made the illegal trip to support their national team covered their faces with bandannas. That team would have driven past a billboard featuring portraits of Bush and Adolf Hitler, and later found locals scouting a practice session from a dorm built into the Estadio Pedro Marrero.” SI


After lengthy USMNT layoff, expect Copa continuity as World Cup qualifying resumes

August 28, 2016

“If it feels like it’s been a while since we heard from the U.S. national team, that’s in part because it has been—Jurgen Klinsmann and Co. rarely go more than two months without a game or camp—and in part because so much has happened in the meantime. The American men aren’t often so far from the spotlight for this long. Since the whistle blew at the conclusion of the Copa América Centenario bronze medal game on June 25, Lionel Messi missed a penalty kick, retired, then unretired from international football. Cristiano Ronaldo coached Portugal to the European crown, and Neymar kept his composure while Hope Solo lost hers.” SI


First Look: Argentina vs. Chile in Copa America final rematch

June 23, 2016

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“The Copa America final is set, and it’s a familiar one. Argentina and Chile will vie for the Copa America title for a second straight summer after each easily dispatched its semifinal opponent. Argentina overran the USA in a 4-0 result on Tuesday night, while Chile blitzed Colombia out of gate, picking up where it left off in the quarterfinal against Mexico and advancing after a weather-delayed 2-0 win.  In addition to meeting in last year’s final, which Chile won on penalty kicks, the two sides engaged in one of the more entertaining games of this Copa America, opening group play against one another. Argentina prevailed, 2-1, with Angel Di Maria and Ever Banega scoring and assisting for each other before Chile nicked one in the last minute.” SI


Tactical Analysis: USA 2-1 Ecuador | Americans Once Again Survive with 10 Men

June 23, 2016

“The Americans opened their first match against Colombia by attempting to control the run-of-play through emphasizing possession in a progressive 4-3-3 formation. The Colombians ceded control of the ball but exploited the fissures that formed between the American lines when the forward players pushed too high up the pitch. The result was a decisive 2-0 victory with the visitors perhaps unlucky to not collect a third goal.” Outside of the Boot


Tactical Analysis: USA 4-0 Costa Rica | Americans Catch Fire in Chicago

June 15, 2016

“Having registered a rather uninspiring performance in their opening game against Colombia, the host nation needed to earn at least a point against Costa Rica or face the embarrassment of elimination only a week into the tournament. Meanwhile, the Costa Ricans successfully collected a point in their goalless draw against Paraguay, and victory against the Americans would all but secure advancement to the quarterfinals.” Outside of the Boot


After winning Copa group, USA has chance to prove knockout chops

June 12, 2016

“Now a new Copa América begins for the United States. The U.S. has persevered through the group stage, shaking off an opening loss to Colombia and winning twice against Costa Rica and Paraguay to reach the knockout rounds of another major tournament, even winning the group with a late helping hand from Los Ticos.” SI (Video)

U.S. Advances to Copa América Quarterfinals After Surviving an Ejection
“The United States knew the Copa América math days before it took the field against Paraguay on Saturday. A win or a tie would mean advancement to the quarterfinals. A loss would mean elimination. It was the solution to that problem that was surprising: 10 men and one goal equaled a second life. Riding a first-half goal by Clint Dempsey and overcoming the second-half ejection of defender DeAndre Yedlin, the United States held off Paraguay, 1-0, to seal its place in the quarterfinals later this week. Instead of the Americans’ facing the ignominy of a first-round exit, it was the Paraguayans heading home.” NY Times


Show Your Copa Colors

June 6, 2016

“The 100th edition of the Copa America hits U.S. shores from June 3 to June 26, and all 16 nations from CONCACAF and CONMEBOL will be sporting some slick new kits. Check out their home/away looks and download your favorites.” ESPN


U.S. must rebound after falling to Colombia in Copa opener

June 6, 2016

“It was a pick play in the box. Nothing too complicated. Geoff Cameron said afterward that he sees them “fairly often” in the Premier League. On a Colombia corner kick in the eighth minute of the U.S.’s Copa América Centenario opener, Daniel Torres set a screen in the area. Cristián Zapata looped around it like a basketball player running a curl play, and the small amount of space it created between Zapata and Cameron allowed the Colombian to fire home a volley that put the U.S. on its heels right from the start. … After the U.S.’s 2-0 loss, in which Colombia scored on a corner kick and a penalty kick, Cameron couldn’t hide his frustration that a solid performance by the U.S. back line was marred by a couple decisive moments, including the pick in the box.” SI (Video)


Copa América 2016: Who’s In, Who’s Hurt and Who Could Win It

June 4, 2016

“The Copa América Centenario, born in scandal and saved only by the promise of better behavior (and the presence of some pretty good soccer teams), kicks off Friday night when the United States faces Colombia in Santa Clara, Calif. The 16-team event is being played outside South America for the first time as a celebration of its 100th anniversary, and while a handful of top players have been left out or ruled out by injury, there is plenty left in the cupboard, including four of the eight quarterfinalists from the last World Cup. Here’s what you need to know before the tournament begins.” NY Times


Copa America 2016: 10 Young Player to Watch

June 4, 2016

“As the centenary version of the Copa America gets set to kick off this Friday, we here at Outside of the Boot are excited to present this list, featuring ten youngsters (22 and under at the start of the tournament) who could play an important role over the coming month. Admittedly, this isn’t the best tournament for young players, as several intriguing players (Paulo Dybala, most notably) weren’t selected while a handful of others (Jesus Manuel Corona, John Brooks) narrowly miss the age cut-off. Nevertheless, much as the likes of Derlis Gonzalez and Romel Quinonez impressed last summer, seemingly from out of nowhere, there are sure to be a few breakout stars this summer.” Outside of the Boot


SI’s Copa America Centenario picks

May 31, 2016

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“Copa America Centenario is a unique competition, one that pits South America’s 10 sides against each other and some of the best CONCACAF has to offer. Despite some of the stars who won’t be participating this summer–namely Neymar–and some of the nations who missed out, this is as close as it gets to a World Cup-style competition reserved for the Western Hemisphere. With that said, there can only be one winner. Argentina is out to end a trophy drought that is in its third decade. Mexico is out to make a statement against its South American foes. The U.S. is out to achieve material success under Jurgen Klinsmann for the first time since the 2013 CONCACAF Gold Cup.” SI

Copa America Centenario group previews

Chicharito has been loved, hated and loved again
“HE’S THE FIRST player out of the clubhouse. The Mexican reporters are unprepared, chatting with each other behind the metal barricade. They turn their heads when the door scrapes open, lunging for their microphones. A camera stand nearly topples. Javier Hernandez is small and slight. At 28, his body seems barely removed from boyhood. Yet even in an unadorned black tracksuit, charisma flies off him like sweat off a boxer. As he strides through the mixed zone underneath Vancouver’s BC Place, someone calls his nickname: ‘Chicharito! Hey, Chicharito!'” ESPN

Copa America Centenario – News


Disaster averted, but issues remain for USMNT looking ahead

April 4, 2016

“So the world isn’t ending. Put down the pitchforks and torches, cancel the move into that bunker and hold off on the ritual sacrifices. Facing the unimaginable horror of elimination from the World Cup more than two years before the tournament kicks off in Russia, the U.S. national team gathered itself and blasted Guatemala, 4-0, on Tuesday evening in Columbus, Ohio. Now 2-1-1 in their four-team semifinal round group and scheduled to face St. Vincent and the Grenadines and Trinidad and Tobago in September, coach Jurgen Klinsmann’s team looks to be well on its way to CONCACAF’s Hexagonal—just where it’s supposed to be.” SI


Three points for a goal? League 1 America: the soccer revolution that never was

March 2, 2016

“Two weeks ago Jim Paglia, a 63-year-old businessman, was moving home. The boxes in his new house no doubt contained possessions of personal interest. But hidden amongst the stacks was also a collection of documents that would intrigue the soccer public too. The boxes contained perhaps the last remnants of a failed bid against MLS’s claim to America’s first-division status: proposals for a single-entity league that looked to radically Americanize soccer and attract fans to a sport that had been in hiatus professionally for nearly a decade. This, the plans show, would have also meant changing the game. There would be electronic sensors, pitch divisions and Lycra-like jerseys. Goals? They would be replaced by points. And the goals themselves? Well, there would be four of them.” Guardian


Why FIFA should hit Mexico with harsher penalties for ‘puto’ chants

February 7, 2016

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“Two years later, FIFA has finally fined Mexico for fans chanting puto at games. I already explained back in 2014 why this term is offensive and heterosexist. Yes, lots of Mexico fans say they don’t mean it “that way,” but recall the early 1990s when Americans used the word ‘gay’ to mean ‘stupid’? Yeah, that was offensive. It still is. Puto is no different. The LGBTQ community in Mexico finds the term offensive, has made that point well known, and the so-called ‘tradition’ is less than two decades old. It needs to go and the time is ripe to make it happen. Still, one problem remains: FIFA’s impotency.” Fusion


Bob Bradley Climbs the Global Soccer Ladder With an Impediment: He’s American

January 28, 2016

“LE HAVRE, France — In the conference room of a smart hotel in the center of this port city, four Frenchmen were talking loudly over one another and gesticulating toward a flip chart in front of a row of empty chairs. Bob Bradley, the recently appointed coach of the city’s second-tier soccer team, Havre A.C. — more commonly known as Le HAC — sat nearby. Bradley was awaiting the arrival of his players for a team meeting before that evening’s league match against Paris F.C., the French capital’s second team. As the voices of his four assistant coaches rose, Bradley drew half a soccer field onto the flip chart — free hand, but with perfectly straight lines — before writing the names and numbers of his players and their possible opponents in different colored pens. He quietly checked the names and spellings with a translator.” NY Times


The USA – world football’s final frontier

December 28, 2015

“In American folklore, when the British redcoats came to Massachusetts in 1775 during the Revolutionary War, the message amongst the colonists was ‘one if by land, and two if by sea’. They came by land. In mid-November 2015, it was the Americans who came to New York City by land, air or subway (or my trek via a 13-hour shoddy bus ride to China Town) to see the British — two of them, with friends — packed in a Brooklyn convention center to celebrate ‘BlazerCon’. Redcoats were swapped for blazers (tweed ones were the most memorialised). Guinness was poured. Meat pies were consumed. This was a modern-day revolution of sorts, only through ‘soccer’.” Football Pink


The 10 Young Stars of 2015: Loris Karius (Keeper)

December 6, 2015

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“In the land of overflowing goalkeeping talent, Loris Karius is one of the men to be taken seriously as competition to the undisputed number 1- Manuel Neuer. The 22 year old currently plays for Mainz, but was on the books of Manchester City for 3 years. He made his debut in trying circumstances, coming on as a substitute after the first choice goalkeeper was sent off. Karius started off among the youth ranks of Stuttgart, before moving to Manchester City. He couldn’t really get a break through there, and ended up making the move back home with FSV Mainz.” Outside of the Boot

The 10 Young Stars of 2015: Andy Najar (North America)
“Andy Najar is a Honduran International who came through the DC United academy. Najar moved to America at the age of 13 and was soon part of DC United’s academy. He wasted no time in impressing and quickly moved up the ranks making his first team debut at just 17. The Honduran International hit the ground running winning the MLS Rookie of the Year award in his debut season. After pledging his allegiance to Honduras, Najar impressed in the 2012 Olympics to earn a move to Europe in the form of Anderlecht. Mainly deployed as a right-winger, but capable of filling in at right-back, the Honduran International has acquitted himself well as he continued his development on European soil.” Outside of the Boot


Klinsmann and the Americans: An Uneasy Alliance

November 18, 2015

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“It’s fair to say that U.S. Men’s national team coach Jurgen Klinsmann has been under fire this year from American fans and writers. The failure to gain the finals of the CONCACAF Gold Cup in July, after being defeated on penalties by Panama in the semifinals, coupled with the October loss to archrival Mexico for a berth in the 2017 Confederations Cup, has created doubts as to whether Klinsmann is still the right man to lead the American squad that earlier in the year had beaten Mexico, the Netherlands and Germany in successive friendlies. Klinsmann, who has also coached the German national team and Bayern Munich, led his squad through a strong 2014 campaign, highlighted by their advance from the World Cup ‘Group of Death’ in Brazil, but the question in sports is always ‘what have you done for me lately?’” Bundesliga Fanatic


USA World Cup qualifying roster: Nagbe, Johnson in; Dempsey out

November 8, 2015

“Clint Dempsey, who started the year as U.S. national team captain, is off. New citizen Darlington Nagbe and emerging defensive stalwart Matt Miazga suddenly are on the threshold of their international debuts. Fabian Johnson is back after a short stay in the coach’s doghouse. And Jurgen Klinsmann has found a balance between continuity and overhaul on his first World Cup qualifying roster of this new cycle. Less than a month after reaching the nadir of his four-plus year tenure as U.S. coach, the embattled manager has named a 23-man team for the upcoming qualifiers against Saint Vincent and the Grenadines in St. Louis (Nov. 13) and Trinidad and Tobago in Port of Spain, Trinidad (Nov. 17).” SI


Should CONCACAF Champions League change its schedule?

November 1, 2015

“With the CONCACAF Champions League (CCL) group stage coming to an end last week, it’s a good time to address whether or not the North American governing body should change the schedule of their premier club competition, something which has been discussed for a while now. The suggestion is to alter the competition to run spring to autumn, rather than autumn to spring.” Outside of the Boot


Around Europe: Sherwood axed; Suarez, Aubameyang net hat tricks

October 26, 2015

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“Yet another dramatic week in Europe’s major leagues saw pressure increase on Jose Mourinho, while there were hat tricks for some of the continent’s big-name players, like Barcelona’s Luis Suarez and Borussia Dortmund’s in-form Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. Bayern Munich might have found a successor to Pep Guardiola, while there was a dramatic return of the ex in Italy.” SI


Mexico tops United States 3-2 in thrilling CONCACAF Cup

October 11, 2015

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“Paul Aguilar scored a goal for the ages to end a game for the ages. The Mexico defender, who had been a thorn in the U.S.’s left side all evening at a sold-out Rose Bowl, latched on to a high, speculative pass from Raúl Jiménez in the 118th minute and hit a thunderous volley past Brad Guzan and inside the left post. The strike lifted Mexico to a 3-2 extra time triumph in a gripping Confederations Cup playoff that will be remembered for as long as the Americans and El Tri play the sport. With a berth in the 2017 tournament at stake, players on both teams gave their all on a sweltering Pasadena evening. Mexico took the lead twice and the U.S. recovered and equalized twice. When substitute forward Bobby Wood—the hero of the friendly wins over the Netherlands and Germany—scored in the 108th minute, it seemed as if penalty kicks would be needed to end an epic affair. But Aguilar’s moment of brilliance highlighted the genuine difference in skill between the two sides and was a game-winner befitting the occasion.” SI

U.S. Fails to Keep Step With Mexico’s Lead
“Mexico defeated the United States, 3-2, on Saturday night in a game staged to decide which team would earn a place in the 2017 Confederations Cup, an eight-country tournament of dubious prestige that will take place in Russia, the site of the 2018 World Cup. Mexico’s winning goal was scored in spectacularly skillful fashion in the 118th minute, in the second half of overtime, as Paul Aguilar sprinted into the right side of the box, settled under a rapidly descending lob pass from Raul Jiménez and lashed a low, wicked volley inside the left post. The Mexican players scrambled to form a joyous pile near the corner flag. The Americans stood still, stunned.” NY Times

After Mexico loss, it’s time to consider Klinsmann’s suitability as U.S. coach
“I’ve been reading a good book lately. It’s called Das Reboot: How German Soccer Reinvented Itself and Conquered the World. The author, Raphael Honigstein, tells the story of how the Germans completely rethought their approach to talent development starting in the late 1990s, refined it even more in the early 2000s and reaped the ultimate reward by winning World Cup 2014. Jurgen Klinsmann is a central figure in the tale whose voice appears throughout the book. When the German federation has trouble finding a suitable coach in 2004, Klinsmann gets the job and shocks the traditional German system by bringing in his American fitness gurus and introducing a technocrat’s way of thinking when it comes to developing talent and exploring new ideas. In many ways, he’s like a McKinsey consultant for soccer.” SI (Video)

Soccer Godcast, Episode 5: U.S. vs. Mexico and the ugly side of patriotism
“The latest international break is upon us, and the American soccerverse is consumed by all things USA vs. Mexico. Being the upstanding Americans that they are, hosts Kevin Brown and Miriti Murungi discuss this weekend’s CONCACAF Cup showdown and the wonderfully reckless comments from Landon Donovan, who may or may not have suggested that it was time for Jurgen Klinsmann to be fired, should the United States lose on Saturday. Later, they discuss Elliot Turner’s story about the unfortunate parallels between the conversations surrounding the U.S.-Mexico rivalry and the ongoing American immigration debate, which sparks a conversation about the number of U.S. fans who use soccer as a flimsy excuse to be xenophobic in the name of patriotism, and whether an ideological gap may exist between various segments of the U.S. fanbase.” Fusion (Video)


The USA-Mexico soccer rivalry mirrors immigration debates raging in the U.S.

October 7, 2015

“Surprise, surprise. Another soccer game between the United States and Mexico is on the horizon. On October 10, the two teams will contest a one-game playoff for the right to represent CONCACAF in the always super competitive Confederations Cup, the tournament, hosted by the next World Cup host nation (Russia), that pits regional champions against one another. But do we really need another U.S.-Mexico game? With so many Gold Cups, what is the need for this brand new ‘CONCACAF Cup’?” Fusion


Tactical choices in the center key to USA-Mexico CONCACAF Cup playoff

October 5, 2015

“Neither the United States nor Mexico heads into the CONCACAF Cup match in an ideal situation. Unrest has been the theme since the Gold Cup, with Mexico battling–yet appearing to narrowly avoid–key injuries sans a full-time manager and Jurgen Klinsmann still with some calls to make in regard to his first-choice lineup. Through the chaos in each camp, the key on Oct. 10 will likely be each team’s defensive approach. The finer details—player selection and formations—could change, but the broad strokes should remain the same because coaches don’t have time to drastically change now.” SI


Gritty comeback win over Peru gives USA a foundation to build on

September 8, 2015

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“In sports, team identity can be a tricky thing. What do you want to be about? What are your fundamentals? Your bedrock? And do you achieve the defining characteristics that you’ve set out as a goal for your outfit? Jurgen Klinsmann announced some audacious plans when he took over the U.S. men’s national team in 2011. He wanted nothing less than for the U.S. to become a proactive team that initiated the attack against elite opponents and made them react. That kind of transformation takes time, of course—lots of it—but it doesn’t mean you have to throw out all the good things that defined the U.S. team pre-Klinsmann.” SI


Klinsmann faced with several options in picking U.S. roster for friendlies

August 29, 2015

“So much for the best-laid plans of national team managers. U.S. coach Jurgen Klinsmann desperately wanted to avoid a playoff for CONCACAF’s spot in the 2017 Confederations Cup. So he selected a Gold Cup roster stocked with veterans and promising younger players—the best available, he claimed—who comprised a ‘very, very strong group that can win this prestigious tournament.’ It failed. The U.S. was 2-0-1 but unconvincing in the continental championship’s group stage.” SI


Is CONCACAF its own worst enemy?

August 7, 2015

“Congratulations CONCACAF! You finally get to sit at the big kids table in international football. After years of fighting and scratching to gain even a crumb of recognition from football fans across the world, the region of North and Central America and the Caribbean finally has the world’s attention. One would think that the region would be jumping up and down for joy with the Women’s World Cup and Men’s Gold Cup having finished and with Tigres playing in the Copa Libertadores final. But with the officials being carted off to prison and the shining light of the United States dirtied by its own internal issues a time for celebration is now a time for concern.” backpagefootball


Mexico is the most talented team in CONCACAF and finally showed it in the Gold Cup final

July 27, 2015

“Mexico is the champion of the 2015 Gold Cup. Well, Mexico and the refs. Some spectacularly bad refereeing helped El Tri make it to the final, but once there, it finally put on a show, beating Jamaica 3-1. This was the tournament in which Mexico proved itself. More than booking its spot in the Confederations Cup playoff, the Gold Cup was a showcase for El Tri’s absurd amount of talent. There’s no longer any doubt which team in CONCACAF is the most talented. In fact, the gulf between Mexico and the rest of the region may be even bigger than we previously thought.” Fusion


USA, still confident, knows there’s work to be done after Gold Cup finish

July 27, 2015

“The U.S. national team was well past writing a storybook ending to this disastrous CONCACAF Gold Cup when DaMarcus Beasley, 33 and a veteran of four World Cups, stepped to the penalty spot hoping to keep his side alive in Saturday’s bronze medal game. Even victory over Panama would not have obscured the disappointment of the Americans’ two-year decline from unbeaten regional champion to this consolation match played at half-empty PPL Park. But a Beasley miss, on what was probably the last touch of his historic international career, would be cruel salt in the wound. It would have been too much.” SI


Reggae Boy Blues: A Guide to Worrying About the USMNT’s Disappointing Gold Cup Exit

July 27, 2015

“Well, that wasn’t supposed to happen. The United States men’s national team, which had reached the last five CONCACAF Gold Cup finals, fell, 2-1, to an active and inspired Jamaican team in last night’s semifinal in Atlanta. Their first home loss to the Reggae Boyz sends the Americans into Saturday’s sad third-place match against Panama, while Jamaica moves through to its first final against Mexico. Not winning the whole thing — let alone crashing out before the championship game — is an utter failure for the Red, White, and Blue. So, how worried should you, USMNT-adjacent person, be? Well, it depends who you are …” Grantland


Mexico advances to Gold Cup final after chaotic, ugly semifinal show

July 25, 2015

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“Mexico is heading to the CONCACAF Gold Cup final, but not exactly in the most glory-filled manner. Despite having a man advantage from the 25th minute on, Mexico needed another late, controversial penalty call to force extra time, where it ultimately prevailed over Panama 2–1 at the Georgia Dome to set up a final against Jamaica on Sunday at Philadelphia’s Lincoln Financial Field. Andres Guardado, just like he did in the quarterfinals against Costa Rica, converted the late penalty and then another one in extra time to keep El Tri alive.” SI

Undesired third-place game still serves a purpose for United States
“There are two ways to look at Saturday’s Gold Cup consolation game between the United States and Panama. On one hand, it can be viewed as little more than an inconvenience, a match the players and coaches on both teams — having fallen short of reaching Sunday’s final in nearby Philadelphia — would just as soon not play at all. On the other, it’s still a chance for the sides to represent their countries, make a little bit of appearance money and, for the team that is victorious (after all, there must be a winner), an opportunity to end a disappointing, unfulfilling and ultimately unsuccessful tournament with heads held high.” ESPN