The disappearance of Wee Willie McLean: Solving America’s oldest soccer mystery

June 18, 2022


February 5, 1946. The entrance to Mount Pleasant Mental Health Center in Henry County, Iowa scales a gentle grade; a long, wide driveway passing through rows of oak trees, past manicured lawns and flowerbeds. If you’ve never been here, you’d assume you were entering the grounds of a botanical garden, or maybe an elegant estate. Then the facility’s main building comes into view, a brick-and-concrete goliath that eventually consumes your entire field of vision. It is cold, dark and imposing. Function over form, a warehouse for the unwanted. …”
The Athletic (Video)
W – Willie McLean (soccer, born 1904)


USMNT’s Memorable, Sloppy End to June Camp Gives Berhalter Much to Consider for World Cup

June 16, 2022


“The U.S. men’s national team ended its June international window, and its longest stretch of World Cup preparation, back where it set off on the road to Qatar. That September night in San Salvador, the U.S. was subjected to a raucous and deafening crowd that filled Central America’s largest stadium (despite pandemic limitations). There were fireworks during play, projectiles, and a motivated and energetic opponent. In short, the youthful visitors experienced a lot of what Concacaf has to offer. They escaped with a point and some valuable first-hand experience. On Tuesday night, with far lower stakes and amid rain-soaked conditions that somehow were significantly worse, the U.S. had to endure even more to earn yet another draw. …”
SI


Pulisic’s Quality Worthy of Applause as USMNT Accelerates Its World Cup Prep

June 2, 2022


“For the layman, it was extraordinary. For Christian Pulisic, it was expected. And once again, the margin of victory for the U.S. men’s national team could be measured, in part, by the distance between Pulisic’s ability and that of the average—or even exceptional—player. Amid the heat and humidity of FC Cincinnati’s TQL Stadium, and forced to work hard early by a Moroccan side as pressed for World Cup preparation time as the hosts, the U.S. men’s national team took a lead it never relinquished on another gorgeous, game-breaking play by Pulisic. …”
SI


How U.S. Soccer and Its Players Solved the Equal Pay Puzzle

May 20, 2022


“The new collective bargaining agreements approved this week by the United States Soccer Federation and its men’s and women’s national teams will, at last, bring an end to a decades-long, emotionally exhausting and wildly expensive fight over equal pay. For the first time, the women’s team, which has won the last two Women’s World Cups and four overall, will be paid at the same rate for game appearances and tournament victories as the men’s team, which has historically (and persistently) failed to even sniff that kind of success. In addition to those new (and higher) per-game payments, the new contracts also include an unprecedented redistribution of the millions of dollars in World Cup prize money the men’s and women’s teams can earn by playing in the tournament every four years. …”
NY Times
The Athletic – USWNT, USMNT achieve equal pay: How they reached a historic benchmark
NY Times: U.S. Soccer and Top Players Agree to Guarantee Equal Pay


USMNT Players Abroad Learn That Club Success at Highest Level Isn’t Linear

May 17, 2022


“Considering his effervescent personality and obvious on-field impact, not to mention the prominence of his name, it’s easy to forget that 12 months ago, Tim Weah was an almost totally unproven senior international. Untimely injuries had limited his time with the U.S. men to about 40 minutes across the preceding two-and-a-half years. …”
SI


What Seattle Sounders can learn from CCL Final woes of past MLS teams

May 2, 2022


“Even almost 10 years after that fateful night, Nat Borchers’ voice still dipped and dropped an octave or two as the painful memories flooded to the surface. ‘And I remember at the end of the game, being so upset because the fans there, they’d all been standing on their feet for the whole 90 minutes. They were expecting something, and we couldn’t give it to them,’ he said. ‘If you look back on it, it was probably the biggest game in American soccer history up to that point in time, I mean, in terms of club level, MLS vs. Liga MX. The fact that we couldn’t get it done was tough.’ …”
MLS Soccer (Video)


USMNT 2022 World Cup roster prediction 1.0: Our first guess at who is going to Qatar

April 18, 2022


“Previously, teams could only bring 23 players to the World Cup. The pandemic changed the nature of international soccer, however, leading to expanded rosters during the course of qualifying and in international tournaments over the last year. FIFA hasn’t yet made a final ruling on how large the squads will be for the 2022 World Cup, though USMNT head coach Gregg Berhalter said on CBS Sports’ Golazo Show last week that he’s hearing teams will be allowed to bring an expanded group of 26 players to the tournament. …”
The Athletic


How Canada used the 4-4-2 to success in World Cup Qualifying

April 6, 2022


“After thirteen long, hard-fought games, the Canadian Men’s National Team have officially qualified for the World Cup for the first time since 1986. With 8 wins, 4 draws and just 1 loss in the final stage of qualifying, John Herdman’s men sealed their spot with a game to spare, after thumping Jamaica by a smashing score-line of 4-0. In the final stages of the competition, Canada smartly stuck by a 4-4-2 formation, maintaining consistency and chemistry en route to an impressive run to the finish line. Here is our analysis of how Canada used the 4-4-2 to success, and stood strong to stand on guard for thee. …”
The Mastermindsite


The 2022 World Cup draw analysed: ‘The Group of Dark Arts’, favourites France and that song

April 2, 2022


“Cringe-inducing cartoon meant to engage with no youngster we have ever met? Check. Song-and-dance routine combing local colour with avant-garde twist? Check. A massive advert for the official ball (the fastest ever, no less)? Yep, we had that, too, and several speeches, a first performance of the first song from the official Qatar 2022 album and a very contrived moment with France manager Didier Deschamps and a young lad who was in the crowd in Moscow four years ago. The 47 minutes of preamble before the draw for the 2022 World Cup at the Doha Exhibition and Convention Centre flew by! …”
The Athletic (Video)
NY Times – World Cup Draw Highlights: Matchups Let Teams Look Ahead to November
Guardian – World Cup draw: group-by-group analysis for Qatar 2022 – Jonathan Wilson
NY Times: World Cup Draw Brings Certainty. Now Comes the Hard Part.
The Athletic: With a marquee World Cup meeting vs. England, USMNT has a chance to change its perception writ large
BBC – Fifa World Cup Qatar 2022: What are the draw highlights? (Video)


The World Cup Draw Is Friday. Here’s How It Works.

April 1, 2022


“The World Cup field is almost complete. On Friday, soccer teams will learn the answer to the critical question they and their fans want to know: Who will they play when the tournament opens in November in Qatar? The World Cup draw — part gala, part pep rally, part math seminar — will deliver intriguing clashes of styles, testy political collisions and, if past events are any guide, a few uncomfortable moments. But given the stakes of the draw, it is also one of the biggest events on the global sports calendar. Here is a look at how it works. …”
NY Times
NY Times: Who Has Qualified for the 2022 World Cup? (Video)
NY Times: Your World Cup Questions, Answered
The Athletic – 2022 World Cup odds: France, Brazil are co-favorites ahead of the draw; England, Spain right behind


Despite a pair of horrible misses, the USMNT leaves the Azteca in good shape

March 26, 2022


“The final celebration was muted, more of a full-body manifestation of a sigh of relief than an explosion of joy: A fist pump, a high-five, a slap on the back and a quick exit to field level to congratulate the team. Not that U.S. Soccer sporting director Earnie Stewart and U.S. men’s national team GM Brian McBride were that composed for the duration of the USMNT’s critical 0-0 draw against Mexico at Estadio Azteca on Thursday night. The former U.S. internationals, who both played in qualifiers at the Azteca, were visibly tense throughout, watching the match on a platform near the press tribune in the upper bowl of the cavernous stadium. The pair spent most of the game in a strained silence that was only punctuated by brief moments of encouraging applause and a couple instances of agonizing disbelief. Their anxiety was understandable. …”
The Athletic (Video)
The Athletic – ‘Positive disappointment’: After struggles in Mexico, a young USMNT must show their resilience once again
NY Times: U.S. Ties Mexico as World Cup Remains Just Out of Reach (Video)


MLS season guide: Predictions for MLS Cup, MVP, Golden Boot and how to watch

March 6, 2022


“MLS is back, and earlier than ever before. The league’s 27th season starts this weekend with a full slate of games to close February – a start date that was necessary in order for the season to end in time for the 2022 men’s World Cup. The past offseason has seen a new expansion team – Charlotte FC – build its inaugural roster, and exciting new arrivals like Lorenzo Insigne, Xherdan Shaqiri, and too many high-potential signings from South America to list in full here. Our American soccer staff has been following all of these developments closely, and we’ll continue to do so all season long. …”
The Athletic (Audio)


How to Strengthen Cross-Border Ties Between U.S. and Mexican Pro Soccer

February 24, 2022


“You’d be forgiven for not knowing what the Leagues Cup is. The annual series featuring eight teams—four from Liga MX and four from Major League Soccer—hasn’t garnered much enthusiasm since it began in 2019. It has the feel of an exhibition tournament awkwardly placed on the calendar, lacking the history and high stakes necessary to make it a credible competition. The Leagues Cup was in many ways more significant for what it represented: the possibility of a union between the two largest professional leagues in North America. Consolidating Liga MX and MLS makes a world of sense. It would bundle the popularity and prestige of the Mexican league with the commercial power of the American and Canadian markets. …”
The Ringer (Audio)


What it’s like to be a USMNT lightning rod for criticism: ‘It was overwhelming’

February 5, 2022


“It was midway through the first half of Sunday’s World Cup qualifier between the U.S. and Canadian men’s national teams when Gyasi Zardes charged forward toward goal. Canada had taken a 1-0 lead not long beforehand. An American equalizer would settle all of their nerves, maybe even quell the rising panic that a qualification disaster was happening to them again. This could’ve been Zardes’ moment, the play that would make him a hero whose goal put the team’s trajectory back on course for Qatar 2022. …”
The Athletic


Canada Beats U.S., Cementing a Soccer Power Shift

January 31, 2022


“If it wasn’t already clear which country in North and Central America and the Caribbean had the best soccer team during this World Cup qualifying cycle, Canada provided another resounding argument for its primacy on Sunday. With a 2-0 win over the United States on a frigid afternoon, Canada, without its best player, extended its lead atop the eight-team qualifying group that will determine the region’s berths in this year’s World Cup. Now four points clear of its closest rival with four games remaining, Canada has put itself in pole position for one of the region’s three automatic spots in Qatar in November. …”
NY Times (Video)


Is Canada the Soccer Rival the U.S. Needs?

January 28, 2022



“By most measuring sticks, Dwayne De Rosario enjoyed a successful career in soccer. He played 14 seasons in Major League Soccer, earning a most valuable player award, a league scoring title and collecting four M.L.S. championships. He represented Canada in the world youth championships, won a Gold Cup with its senior team and, although retired for years now, he still shares the title — for the moment at least — as his men’s national team’s career goals leader with 22. …”
NY Times
NY Times: U.S. Picks Up Another Win and Turns Focus to Canada (Video)
The Athletic: USMNT win over El Salvador highlights growing need for a reliable striker as World Cup hopes take shape


A New Wave of American Buyers Has Set Its Sights on European Soccer

January 28, 2022


“Last May, Venezia FC celebrated its improbable return to Italy’s top tier, Serie A, for the first time in exactly two decades, completing a remarkable five-year rise from the fourth division. Players celebrated with a ferry ride through Venice’s storied canals, steered by gondoliers wearing traditional candy cane uniforms. Among those celebrating in the victory parade was Duncan Niederauer, the club’s American president and majority shareholder since 2020. Niederauer, the former CEO of the New York Stock Exchange, had been part of an American ownership group that first bought into Venezia in 2018, two years after the club emerged from its third bankruptcy in a decade. …”
The Ringer


Portland Timbers vs. NYCFC result: New York City FC wins first MLS Cup in penalty kick shootout

December 12, 2021


“New York City FC was seconds away from its first-ever MLS Cup, only to concede the latest goal in MLS Cup history deep in stoppage time. But it survived extra time and beat the Portland Timbers in a penalty-kick shootout to take the Major League Soccer title home to the Big Apple for the city’s first major sports championship since 2011 (New York Giants). NYCFC goalkeeper Sean Johnson stopped the first two penalty kicks in the shootout to lead his team to a 4-2 triumph on PKs after the 1-1 draw persisted through extra time. …”
Sporting News (Video)/
New York City FC playoff dreams still alive after shootout win


World Cup 2022: ranking the top 10 contenders a year before Qatar

November 19, 2021


“With just over a year to go until the World Cup kicks off, 12 teams have qualified alongside hosts Qatar. All four semi-finalists from 2018 have sealed their spots and are joined by former world champions Argentina, Brazil, Germany and Spain, while recent European champions Portugal and Italy still have more to do. With most of the big hitters now able to prepare for the tournament, we assess where they stand as the countdown to Qatar begins. …”
Guardian
The Athletic: CONCACAF World Cup qualifying: Where USMNT, Canada, Mexico and Panama stand with six matches left
World Cup 2022 Power Rankings: France & England the early favourites as Portugal & Italy falter


U.S. Beats Mexico and Then Rubs It In

November 14, 2021


Weston McKennie and his teammates beat Mexico with goals and then taunted them in song.
“Michael Jackson’s 1988 song ‘Man in the Mirror’ — a classic tune, but no one’s idea of a rousing sports arena jam — was blaring over the stadium speakers late on Friday night as the U.S. men’s soccer team rollicked and embraced happily on the field. A bit less than half an hour earlier, Christian Pulisic had charged toward the sideline to celebrate the first of the Americans’ goals in their 2-0 victory against Mexico, lifting the front of his No. 10 jersey to reveal the same phrase, ‘Man in the Mirror,’ scrawled in permanent marker on his white undershirt. At that moment, even reasonably well-informed American soccer fans might have been left scratching their heads at the references, struggling to understand what, exactly, was afoot. …”
NY Times (Video)


USA-Mexico: 5 things to know about El Tri before crucial World Cup qualifier

November 12, 2021


“So begins Mexico’s most challenging – and most frigid – World Cup qualifying window. Following a promising start to the Octagonal with four wins and two draws, manager Gerardo ‘Tata’ Martino and his squad will now embark on a demanding two-game away trip against the United States (Nov. 12) and Canada (Nov. 16). There’s much more than just World Cup qualifying points on the line here. After already losing to the USMNT twice this year in the Nations League and Gold Cup finals, Mexico will seek to avoid a potential third consecutive defeat since June. As for Canada, Mexico have had some issues with John Herdman’s team after narrowly defeating them 2-1 in the Gold Cup semifinals and being held to a 1-1 World Cup qualifying draw at the Estadio Azteca in October. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. …”
MLS Soccer (Video)


Why Are MLS Teams So Expensive?

November 4, 2021


“According to Sports Business website Sportico, the MLS’s top three most valuable franchises as of 2021 are Los Angeles FC, Atlanta United and LA Galaxy, valued at $860m, $845m and $835m respectively. Yet Newcastle United were recently sold for $415m, and West Ham United are estimated to be worth $508m. So how can the MLS be more valuable than the Premier League? Seb Stafford-Bloor explains. Illustrated by Henry Cooke.”
YouTube: Why Are MLS Teams So Expensive?
MLS 2021: Who is the highest paid player in US soccer?
W – Expansion of Major League Soccer


El Gráfico

November 3, 2021


Heleno de Freitas (Boca)
El Gráfico is an Argentine online sports magazine, originally published by Editorial Atlántida as a print publication between 1919 and 2018. El Gráfico was released in May 1919 as a weekly newspaper, and then turned to a sports magazine exclusively. It began to be scheduled monthly from 2002, and was discontinued in 2018, continuing only on internet. El Gráfico is widely the most regarded sports magazine in Argentina and Latin America. The magazine was nicknamed La Biblia del deporte (‘The Bible of sports’) due to its chronicles, notable journalists and collaborators and its photographies. … The best selling era of El Gráfico was during the 1986 FIFA World Cup when Argentina crowned champion, with 690,998 sold. The second place in the ranking of all-time best seller magazine is for the 1978 FIFA World Cup with 595,924. Diego Maradona was the sports man with the most appearances on the cover: 134, followed by Daniel Passarella (58) and Norberto Alonso (54). …”
Wikipedia
Angels with Dirty Faces – Jonathan Wilson: 15 – Our Way
Diego Maradona: A genius and the soul of a nation – Jonathan Wilson
El Pibe del Barrio: Understanding the Latin American archetype and what it means for U.S. Soccer


U.S. Suffers First Defeat in World Cup Qualifying

October 13, 2021



“Continuing the good vibes from one performance to the next can be tough, it turns out, when you switch out all of your top performers. That was one of the harsh lessons learned by the U.S. men’s soccer team on Sunday as it fell limply to host Panama, 1-0, in its fifth qualifying match for the 2022 World Cup. Things had looked so different on Thursday, when the Americans stomped to a 2-0 win against Jamaica in Austin, Texas. But with a quick turnaround between matches — and a third game to play on Wednesday night in Columbus, Ohio — U.S. Coach Gregg Berhalter made seven changes to his lineup. …”
NY Times (Video)


Tyler Adams Is the Captain Now

October 6, 2021


“The age of Tyler Adams is a matter of perspective. In a strict, chronological sense, of course, he is 22 years 8 months, but what that means — whether it is young, as it appears to be, or old, as odd as that seems — depends on the context. There are times, in fact, when even Adams finds it hard to date himself with any degree of accuracy. Sometimes, he is aware of his youth. He shares the locker room at RB Leipzig, for example, with a host of players who joined the club in the lower reaches of German soccer, and remain in place even now that it has become a fixture in the Champions League. …”
NY Times
W – Tyler Adams
YouTube: Tyler Adams 2020/21 Season Highlights | RB Leipzig (May 2021)


Chasing New Revenue, FIFA Is Considering Major Move to U.S.

October 4, 2021


FIFA officials toured the United States in September, visiting possible host cities for the 2026 World Cup.
“Looking to expand its global footprint beyond its cloistered headquarters next to a zoo on the outskirts of Zurich, soccer’s governing body, FIFA, is studying the feasibility of moving its financial engine, the commercial operation that produces billions of dollars in revenues for the organization, to the United States. The possible move will be determined by technical factors including the suitability of locations on both coasts, the ease of acquiring work visas for overseas staff members and tax rules, according to an official with direct knowledge of the discussions who declined to speak publicly because a final determination had yet to be made. The operations involved represent a vital part of FIFA’s business: They oversee FIFA’s sale of sponsorships and broadcasting rights, which represent some of the most lucrative properties in global sports. …”
NY Times


What Liga MX and MLS must do to make the expanded Leagues Cup a success

September 30, 2021


“For years, MLS has tried to substantially grow its fanbase. The league has expanded rapidly, constructed fabulous new stadiums, made strides in youth development, thrown resources into marketing efforts and shuffled between different broadcasters. The work has paid dividends in attendance in many markets, massively raised the valuations of every club and attracted a growing number of deep-pocketed, motivated owners, but it hasn’t made MLS all that popular nationally. Still, MLS is on an upward trajectory. …”
The Athletic


Mexico–United States soccer rivalry

September 23, 2021


“A sports rivalry exists between the national soccer teams of Mexico and the United States, widely considered the two major powers of CONCACAF. The first match was played in 1934, and the teams have met 72 times, with Mexico leading the overall series 36–15–21 (W–D–L). Matches between the two nations often attract much media attention, public interest, and comment in both countries. The U.S.-Mexico matches are widely attended; several matches at the Estadio Azteca in Mexico have drawn over 100,000 fans, and several matches at the Rose Bowl in the United States have drawn over 90,000 fans. The most important matchups take place in quadrennial FIFA World Cup qualification matches and major tournaments such as the CONCACAF Gold Cup. The rivalry plays out often in annual friendlies scheduled during the early months in U.S. cities with large Mexican American populations such as Los Angeles, Houston, and Chicago. …”
Wikipedia
Guardian: The beautiful chaos of the USA-Mexico rivalry has returned (Video)
ESPN – USMNT-Mexico rivalry, post-Nations League classic: What’s next? (Video)


USMNT, Ricardo Pepi shine against Honduras in second half of World Cup qualifier

September 9, 2021


“The U.S. men’s national team has gotten its World Cup qualifying campaign back on the rails with a 4-1 win over Honduras on Wednesday night. After entering halftime down 1-0, manager Gregg Berhalter made three substitutions to start the second half with aplomb. What ensued was a four-goal onslaught, as the USMNT climbed all the way to third in the Octagonal as the first international window comes to a close. It was a classic ‘tale of two halves’ type of match. After struggling in the 4-3-3, Berhalter lined his team up in a 3-4-3. What ensued was an even sloppier 45 minutes than any of the previous four intervals, with gaps galore in the midfield, between the back seven and the attack, and all over the defensive line. …”
The Athletic
NY Times: For U.S. Men’s Team, Win Salvages a Week They’d Rather Forget
Guardian: A brilliant 45 minutes against Honduras failed to mask US World Cup problems


For U.S. Men, Two Games and No Wins Add Up to Concern

September 6, 2021



“If every World Cup qualifying campaign is a roller-coaster ride of highs and lows, then the United States men’s soccer team has not yet left the ground. The Americans have played two games in four days to start the final round of their regional qualifying tournament for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, and though they expected to win both matches, they have settled instead for two disappointing draws. These are early days, still. There are 12 games to go. And two points are better than none. …’
NY Times (Video)
Guardian: John Herdman aims to end Canada’s time in the World Cup wilderness (Video)


What’s the Endgame in the M.L.S.-Liga MX Alliance?

August 26, 2021



“One could forgive the top soccer players in Mexico and the United States if they feel as if they have seen quite a lot of each other recently. When some of the best players from Mexico’s Liga MX lined up against some of the biggest stars from Major League Soccer in the M.L.S. All-Star Game on Wednesday night in Los Angeles, it was not — for a handful of them — the first time they had played an important match north of the border this summer. Whether in a series of new cross-border club competitions or in two important national team tournaments, the Nations League and Gold Cup, U.S.-Mexico matchups — in a variety of jersey colors — are now more frequent than ever. …”
NY Times


Gregg Berhalter’s Plan for American Men’s Soccer Is Working

August 3, 2021


Some two dozen players sat in neat rows of chairs and peered at the projector screen in front of them, waiting for the tracksuited man to start the meeting. ‘I’m Gregg Berhalter, head coach,’ he announced, as if anybody in the room didn’t already know it. So began Berhalter’s first training camp in charge of the United States men’s national soccer team in January 2019. He paced around the room as he spoke, holding a marker in one hand and scraps of paper in the other. He smiled a lot but spoke seriously. …”
The Ringer
W – Gregg Berhalter


United States beats Mexico in Gold Cup final on late Miles Robinson header

August 2, 2021


Miles Robinson headed home an extra-time winner as the United States beat Mexico 1-0 in the 2021 Gold Cup final Sunday night at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas. Matt Turner made a stellar save just after 10 minutes — his 20th of the tournament — from a goal-bound Rogelio Funes Mori header to keep the score level early. The U.S. missed a great chance to take the lead at 25 minutes when, after dispossessing Mexico in its own half, Sebastian Lletget sprang Paul Arriola in the area, but his shot came back off the post with only the keeper to beat. Despite having the better of the shots and possession, Mexico failed to score as a scrappy U.S. side went into halftime tied 0-0. …”
ESPN
USMNT vs. Mexico score: Miles Robinson nets dramatic extra time Gold Cup winner as USA beat El Tri again (Video)
YouTube: Extended Highlights: USA 1-0 Mexico – 2021 Gold Cup Final


USA 1 – 0 Jamaica, Mexico 3 – 0 Honduras

July 26, 2021


Matthew Hoppe rose up, got his head on a deflected cross and, by the time his feet hit the ground, the United States had a 1-0 lead against Jamaica in the Gold Cup quarterfinals. The decisive 83rd-minute goal was Hoppe’s final involvement in the game, capping his first breakthrough international performance. …”
ESPN: Matthew Hoppe rises to the occasion as USMNT withstands Jamaica test (Video)
“Saturday’s 3-0 win over Honduras in the 2021 Concacaf Gold Cup quarterfinals was a big night for a pair of Mexico players, but for varying reasons. For DF Alan Cervantes, it marked his debut in a Gold Cup, as he played the final nine minutes of the match after replacing Edson Alvarez. Appearing in an official Concacaf tournament for the first time is something the 23-year-old will always remember. …”
Concacaf: Mexico make more memories, while Honduras turn the page


How America Is Producing Great Players | How USA Revolutionized Their Youth System

July 19, 2021


“Why is America suddenly becoming a football force?”
Football Made Simple: July 18, 2021 (Video)

“Why are MLS clubs getting paid for U.S. talent going to Europe, but not the youth teams that played a part in their development? (Sep 2020): … The reason why FCD was left empty handed was that for decades the U.S. Soccer Federation, for a variety of reasons, opted not to adhere to RSTP. When MLS was getting players from the college ranks, or on free transfers from abroad, this didn’t matter so much. But now that MLS was investing tens of millions of dollars every year in youth academies, it either wanted to see something in return for its investment or scare off foreign clubs from poaching their youth players and keep said prospects for themselves. …”
ESPN


2021 CONCACAF Gold Cup

July 17, 2021


“The 2021 CONCACAF Gold Cup is the ongoing 16th edition of the CONCACAF Gold Cup, the biennial international men’s football championship organized by North America, Central American, and the Caribbean’s football ruling body CONCACAF. The tournament was originally scheduled to be held from 2 through 25 July 2021, but was later rescheduled for 10 July through 1 August. Mexico are the defending champions. For the first time, the video assistant referee (VAR) system is used at the tournament. …”
Wikipedia
CONCACAF Gold Cup


U.S. 3, Mexico 2: All the Plot Twists

June 9, 2021


Weston McKennie
“You will not find the word Concacaffy in any dictionary, but any soccer fan in North America knows what it means and how to use it in a sentence. It can explain anything from a terrible field to a terrible call to terrible behavior, and the word works just as well as an anguished cry or accompanied by a shrug of the shoulders. Can’t believe that foul wasn’t a red card? That’s so Concacaffy. Field surrounded by a 20-foot moat? That’s so Concacaffy. Were there really just 11 minutes of stoppage time after a 15-minute overtime? Sooooo Concacaffy. Even before the United States men’s national team beat Mexico, 3-2, on Sunday night to win the Concacaf Nations League final on Sunday, the word has been tossed around quite a bit. For fans of the two teams — the twin poles of North American soccer dominance and hand-wringing — the whole night was thrilling and frustrating and exhilarating and maddening. …” NY Times (Video), W – 2021 CONCACAF Nations League Finals, Overtime Goal From Christian Pulisic and Heroic Penalty Kick Save (Video), YouTube: USA vs Mexico 3-2 Highlights All Goals CNL Finals, USA vs. Mexico: Extended Highlights | Concacaf Nations League Final | CBS Sports Golazo


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