Oh, hello again dearest readers. If you recall from the last edition in this series, there’s nothing sexier online than writing in the second person. Wait, what’s that you say? Hmmm. Adolescent vampires in high school? Well, yes, I suppose with the right facial structure, they could be sexier than the second person in online writing. Sorry, come again? Ummmm, well, sure, listicles of images of shirtless soccer players may be some people’s cup of joe I guess. I concede both those concepts may be erotic for some. However, I am about to write some soccerotica second person for the entire world.
You see, during last Saturday’s Clasico, people missed something. Something big. Your eyes filled with pleasure, but you didn’t know why. As SoccerErotica (TM) poet laureate, I will now put your feelings into the neatest of words, the finest of sentences, the paragraphiest of paragraphs. And our journey begins (and ends) with Sergio Busquets. Continue reading “SoccErotica: Peeping Tom Busqy Edition” »
I have no agenda against Rafa Benitez. Yes, I have pointed fun at his website, one dollar eBook, and zonal marking system and he did coach Liverpool, but I also recall his successful years at Valencia and think he’s a decent man. Still, a 0-4 loss at home in El Clasico to Barcelona is a pretty bad start to his tenure: not quite 0-5 at the Camp Nou, but pretty bad.
And more than a few things stand out. Continue reading “The Benitez Bad Aftertaste Clasico Recap” »
Sigh. The last five years have been pretty dreamy. No, not in the sense Real Madrid has won title after title. Rather, we’ve at least been close to winning title after title. We’ve been a respectable second place. After the depths of the Galactico era, this was a nice relief. Capello, Schuster and Mou coached teams to titles. More importantly, under Mou, Madrid started to sign and field coherent teams with strong player at every position. The Zidane y Pavon policy was discarded.
Then Carlo took over, let the horses run wild, and things got really fun. Continue reading “The Not Looking So Clasico Clasico” »
You follow soccer and only occasionally catch the odd American throwball (“football”) game, but you know this happened thanks to your Twitter timeline: Cam Newton celebrated during a game by dancing. Shortly thereafter, a mother complained in an open letter that she could not explain to her children what had just happened.
This lady is so lucky she does not watch soccer. Continue reading “An Open Letter on Sports and Truth” »
Back in October 2012, I noted a pretty common observation for the Guardian: US fans largely disliked Jurgen Klinsmann. In a sense, his early public statements about playing proactive soccer set unrealistic expectations given both the playing pool and his own tactical abilities. However, you never get a coaching job by saying “I will play drab, counterattacking football with no striker” unless you are Jose Mourinho. What’s so funny is that in every other country, a large segment of fans always actively dislike their coach. The US has been an exception the past several years because up until now most US fans were also fans of MLS and the USMNT coaches came from MLS. They were “our guys” so we knew their limits, but also their positives.
This post is not a subtle “save Jurgen” or “fire Jurgen” post, but rather another look at big picture issues. And there are plenty. Continue reading “Jurgen, Interrupted” »
So, in case you missed it, US Soccer recently settled a lawsuit by banning the heading of the ball by U10 clubs and restricting headers to “in practice only” for U12 youth teams. Lots of folks have chimed in on this. Not surprisingly, well-paid current and former pro soccer players who have not had their lives or careers derailed by concussions are against the ban. Some even claim the solution is to teach proper technique on headers, not ban the practice.
On the other hand, lots of scientific evidence seems to indicate that the brain is very much still forming at that age and repetitive heading of the ball can have deleterious health consequences. While former soccer players normally don’t suffer from the same scary issues as, say, former NFLers, this could possibly explain why Pele has predicted every single country will win the World Cup and, say, about two really rough decades of Diego Maradona’s life. Most importantly, the lawsuit compared soccer not to concussion-city American football, but other sports like softball, tennis, and basketball.
My take on this issue may surprise you. And, of course, it involves Junito. Continue reading “Junito: Heading for Greatness” »
Privilege envelopes us all. Take you, for example. The other day you sat down, pulled out your smartphone, and began to nonchalantly peruse both Youtube videos and Facebook posts. About five minutes later, you stood up, pulled up your pants, put your phone in your pocket, and washed your hands. Soft as a mother’s hug, warm as freshly baked biscuits, malleable as play doh, your stool had just oozed out of your anus with the subtly of a secondary character in a Franzen novel. And you barely noticed.
Awash in pictures of friend’s new babies and adorable animal videos, you remained impervious to the privilege of having soft stool and the ease with which said soft stool exits the orifice between your legs. Not everybody is so lucky. In fact, I bet Manchester United young starlet Luke Shaw would kill to swap places with you. But you can help. Continue reading “A Prayer for the Stool of Luke Shaw” »
The Guardian has reported that the Premier League has refused to adopt even a voluntary version of the NFL’s so-called “Rooney Rule”, whereby at least one minority candidate must be interviewed for every open coaching position. This is sad because talented and smart guys like Clarence Seedorf often get overlooked or pushed out the door too early to make way for the Pippo Inzaghis of the world.
One thing that also bugs me about this non-decision, though, is the circular justification. But I’m also annoyed by a certain acronym used in this debate. Continue reading “Who’s to BLAME for the lack of Rooney Rule in the EPL?” »
In case you have been living on a remote island with no internet connection or working phones, I have a rude piece of news for you: ESPN is shuttering Grantland, the Bill Simmons’ sports and pop culture site. This royally sucks for the people involved and for readers, even if after BS left ESPN for HBO some might have seen this coming. Of course, lots of sites are doing post-mortems on the “state of media.”
Here’s an irony: I wrote an article back in 2011 at TheScore’s FootyBlog on some kinda new sites, including The Classical, Grantland, and the kinda new Blizzard football magazine based in the UK. Where is that article? A few years ago, TheScore canned the FootyBlog, deleted the content, fired lots of people, and allegedly is now trying to adapt to short-form mobile media consumption. Since that article, other things have changed. The Classical is still a great launching pad for young writers, but a good chunk of the original cast have defected to better remunerated gigs elsewhere.
So, ahem, what the fuck is up? Allow me to tell you what the fuck is up. Continue reading “Grantlandia” »
The other day I was reading The King in Yellow, a collection of macabre short stories, and thought of Chelsea Football Club. In The King in Yellow, the early stories revolve around a mythical and fatal play. Any individual who dares to read said play dies by Act II.
And this brought to mind Mourinho’s Act III as Blues manager. Continue reading “Chelsea’s King in Yellow” »