A Look at Some Badge-Kissing Bandits Who Broke Your Heart

It’s easy to view modern footballers as soulless mercenaries, to assume they feel no emotion whatsoever for a club or the fans. But we don’t really know any and all footballers. What if they just crush a lot? What if they are merely Don Juans, men with feelings who just happen to fall head over heels for the newest club and immediately forget the prior one? That may cheapen their prior feelings, but it doesn’t deny they existed.

Thus, in that respect, I’ve penned a look at some bandits with the nerve to kiss our badge and then never look back. Continue reading “A Look at Some Badge-Kissing Bandits Who Broke Your Heart” »

More Reflections on the Galacticos 3.0

Being a Real Madrid fan means winning trophies, spending money on big signings, and winning even more trophies. You also get lots of shit when the expensively assembled team doesn’t win, but, hey, comes with the territory. What being a Real Madrid fan never meant before was this: selling key players in the prime of their career.

So what has happened these past two summers? Continue reading “More Reflections on the Galacticos 3.0” »

Yet Another Shameless Author Plug: eBook Rental Edition

Up until recently, my two eBooks, An Illustrated Guide to Soccer & Spanish and Real Madrid & Barcelona: the Making of a Rivalry, were only available for purchase on major retailers Amazon, iTunes, and Barnes & Noble. However, given the emergence of two eBook “Netflix” style services, that’s all changed.

Here’s the details. Continue reading “Yet Another Shameless Author Plug: eBook Rental Edition” »

Some Quick Tips for Soccer Stadium Etiquette

After decades of darkness, soccer has grabbed a solid foothold in the US. In recent times, more and more fans have grown enamored of the beautiful game. However, many have only seen the game on TV. They have questions about what to do and what not to do when going to games. Some harbor preconceived stereotypes and prejudices. Some are just worry-warts.

Luckily, as a fan who has seen games on four different continents, I’ve got two very easy rules to follow. Continue reading “Some Quick Tips for Soccer Stadium Etiquette” »

The Third Party Ownership Double Standard

This past weekend, the Brazilian national team beat Argentina 2-0 in a friendly in Beijing. With players based in Europe and South America, why on Earth did they travel so far to play one another? After all, the two countries are neighbors on the same continent. The simple answer is, of course, money. The more complicated answer lies in the CBA’s recent dealings.

Reuters (Andrew Downie to be exact) had an excellent article in 2012 about the CBF (Brazilian Federation) and its decision to sell friendly rights to ISE, a sports business corporation. Based on the terms of the deal, the CBF got a guaranteed payment of about two million per game. A fixed payment with no worries about gates – sweet deal, right? The devil is in the details, though. ISE got the right to pick the opponent and the venue.

And this business model, third party playing rights for national team friendlies, is even more worrisome than for individuals. Continue reading “The Third Party Ownership Double Standard” »

You Will Once Again Find My Writing Elsewhere…

Dearest reader,

You shall once again find my writing far from home – the lovely soccer TV show Soccer Gods (Mondays at 10 on the Fusion channel) has a corresponding site which has graciously agreed to host my slightly edited brainfarts on Mexican soccer. This is a regular thing. No, we’re not married – but we’re very canny about our Facebook relationship status. I’m also not reciprocating your pokes or your 2am “DTC” messages. Don’t be jealous. Just read these gems. Continue reading “You Will Once Again Find My Writing Elsewhere…” »

Neighborhood Blight: the New Stadium Scam

We all know the new stadium scam playbook in-and-out: teams commit to a long-term lease, promise to create jobs, and show off some hired gun economic impact study. Local communities then throw subsidies, free land, and tax breaks at them to the tune of hundreds of millions. In reality, the stadium creates only a few part-time and low-wage jobs, the surrounding neighborhood gentrifies only a bit (based on, duh, external factors like location), and the team tries to weasel out of the lease in later years (or extract renovation concessions).

Yet, in both Detroit and Liverpool, England, a new and far more sinister stadium plan has emerged: strategic blight. Continue reading “Neighborhood Blight: the New Stadium Scam” »

Landon Donovan: Remembering the man we never knew

The goals. The recent sabbatical. The early retirement. The World Cup snub. The goals. There’s so many trite talking points when waxing on Landon Donovan, the all-time leading goalscorer for the US Men’s National Team. For the past few months, I’ve purposely kept away from the topic to gather my thoughts and hopefully pen something different. Long-time fans will recall the criticism Donovan received as the “kid who couldn’t hack it in Europe” when he returned from Bayern Leverkusen to San Jose. This belief was given further credence when Donovan and team USA failed to advance out of the group stages at Germany ’06. Yet after 2010, fans made peace with Donovan. In 2014, may were even sad when he was left off the roster (despite no role in qualifying).

Still, what’s always most fascinated me about Donovan is not the sport, but rather his personal side. No, I don’t speak about the trite “not motivated” debate about whether “his head is in the game.” Rather, I refer to the weird anecdotes and incidents that popped up about him during his professional career. Many of these went beyond the typical “celebritydom gossip” to really make one ask: WTF? Here are some of my favs. Continue reading “Landon Donovan: Remembering the man we never knew” »

Soccer Spanish Revisited: Totti’s Clever Little Cucharita

For those who missed it, Francesco Totti scored a lovely goal vs. Manchester City in the Champions League. He ran onto a beautifully waited through-ball and delicately chipped the ball over Joe Hart. In Spanish, there are several terms for “chip.” Many say cucharita, which literally means “little spoon.” I’ve been told the Italian term is the same. In Mexico, it’s common to say picadita, which means “to chip” with a shovel. Others use the term globito, which means little balloon. Totti’s goal is a great example, and also a ray of light for every player over 35 – don’t sign up for that AARP membership just yet.

Elliott’s eBook, An Illustrated Guide to Soccer & Spanish, is available for $3.99 at Amazon, iTunes, & Barnes & Noble.

Should Soccer Players Jump through NCAA Hoops and try a “Gap Year”?

Thanks to the NFL’s mismanagement of a series of domestic violent incidents, the NCAA has been out of the spotlight for a few weeks. However, when last we checked on said institution, a federal administrative body had deemed it an “employer” based on the control it exercised over the lives of student athletes. Also, despite attempts to ban payments to players (and keeping the “amateur” spirit of collegiate sport), SB Nation had an amazing story on the ins and outs of being a “bagman“, the name for alumni who funnel cash to players and use burner cell phones.

What do these two things have to do with one another? And what do they have to do with soccer? For the next ten years of growth of soccer in the US, everything. Continue reading “Should Soccer Players Jump through NCAA Hoops and try a “Gap Year”?” »