American Soccer’s Very Own Recognitions

Lo and behold, the NYTimes relocated/rebranded the Goal Blog but soccer popped up in the Style Section. The general theme was this: the young and hip urban class of New York has embraced soccer (albeit not MLS). This group of childless rapscallions flocks to bars or “pubs” on Saturday mornings to don scarves, drink overpriced imported beer, eat a warm British breakfast, and/or maybe watch grown men kick a ball on TV. Predictably, the super super trendy have backlashed. Why?

Because nobody hates hipsters more than other hipsters. Sadly, the same is probably true of soccer fans in the states. Still, what most intrigues me about this debate is the reality vs. perception of New York City. Luckily, the second part of William Gaddis’ novel The Recognitions also grapples with this slippery concept. And provides some guideposts. Continue reading “American Soccer’s Very Own Recognitions” »

The Brave New World of MLS 3.0

Sigh. I can’t be bothered to start a “MLS Does Not Suck” column to respond to Deadspin’s coverage. The first article reeked of somebody who didn’t actually watch the league, but the second column made a lot more solid points about the Atlanta expansion situation. Take a deep breath and realize that, big picture, media coverage is a good thing. Deadspin prides itself on dumping in all major sports leagues from the NFL to the NBA – MLS is now on the radar. That’s a good thing. Deadspin will not coddle MLS. It’s your baby, not Deadpin’s.

The bottom line is that the truth hurts. While MLS is not quite two decades old, the league’s history can be categorized into three phases. And the 3.0 version looks suspiciously familiar. Continue reading “The Brave New World of MLS 3.0” »

MLS Salaries: Starting at the Rock-Bottom

One of the key things for any employee entering the workforce is starting salary: it normally sets the baseline for future earnings and possible raises. That’s why it’s so sad that management has played professional sports player unions for fools, pitting veterans against rookies in negotiations (at least in North America). Owners hand veterans with a bigger role in the union larger salaries today, in exchange for keeping the salaries for rookies nice and low. Here’s the problem: if rookies started off at a higher salary, then they’d be able to get even more in free agency. It’s common sense: starting higher up the ladder earlier is better.

MLS is no different from any other sports league in that regards. Yes, NFL players have a higher salary for rookies (entry-level employees), but it’s still well below the median and what a veteran earns. Yes, MLS salaries have gone up. DPs also make made bank. However, I took a survey of the Top 10 picks from the MLS Super Draft and then looked at their starting salaries. Then I found some other professions with equivalent salaries. The results were forehead-slapping.  Continue reading “MLS Salaries: Starting at the Rock-Bottom” »

Every World Cup Article Ever: Countdown to Countdowns

A watched kettle never boils, unless that kettle is an international sporting event watched and eagerly anticipated by hundreds of millions. The Brazilian World Cup is on the horizon, so many fine media outlets have started “daily countdowns” to highlight the number of remaining days and events that transpire. But why stop at days? Why not hours? Seconds? Milliseconds? What draws the human mind to fragment time and then stare at our beloved social construct with a microscope?

What makes this whole exercise all the more fascinating/depressing/amusing is the issues Brazil still faces (and will probably still face at the World Cup). Continue reading “Every World Cup Article Ever: Countdown to Countdowns” »

The Number One Reason Why MLS Should Expand to Topeka, KS

So, MLS is expanding all over the place. Sometimes, they occupy and share an NFL stadium. Other times, expansion cities scurry to build lovely soccer-specific stadiums. In their haste, though, they sometimes, ahem, have to clear out still-in-use churches. In Orlando City, the municipality balked at a local church’s initial asking price (tens of millions) and jumped straight to eminent-domain and litigation. Now, in Atlanta, rumors swirl that a stadium proposal will lead to the demolition of the City’s first black Baptist Church (and super-gentrification of the neighborhood Martin Luther King Jr. called home).

As someone who went to college in A-town (The term “ATL” is sooooooo 2004), I can understand why Arthur Blank wants to leave the aging (built in 1992) Georgia Dome, all tucked away down there (a mere 3-5 miles from downtown Atlanta). But, in all seriousness, if MLS teams are going to be destroying churches to build homes, I have a sweet idea for a location. Continue reading “The Number One Reason Why MLS Should Expand to Topeka, KS” »

US Players: The Winding Path Backwards & Ahead

Remember all the buzz when Jozy Altidore first signed for Sunderland? He’d just scored a plethora of goals in the Eredivisie and was ready to return to the EPL and take it by storm! Yes, the manager at the time was a bit crazy, but the team had survived relegation. Surely Jozy could knock in ten goals and guide the Black Cats to mid-table security? Right?

Then, this season happened. Continue reading “US Players: The Winding Path Backwards & Ahead” »

FutFedUp – The Totally Unexpected End of Another Era

I had a simple dream: reduce coherent thoughts to bullet points, sentences, and images. Quizzes. Listicles. Buzzwords. Retweets. I wanted to bring “social content” to soccer. I wanted a place for incomplete thoughts, unfinished ideas, and brain farts. With your help and support, FutFeed was hands down, indisputably, unabashedly the most successful week in my site’s history: we easily topped 15,000 unique visitors, which is good for a three posts-per week soccer blog with an owner too lazy to SEO-bait each post.

But therein lies the problem. And the demise of FutFeed. Continue reading “FutFedUp – The Totally Unexpected End of Another Era” »

7 Things with a Softer First Touch than Jozy Altidore

Many people don’t know this, but in addition to his role as a medieval siege weapon, Jozy Altidore is actually a professional, international footballer. It has even been rumored that Altidore has not yet worked this out himself, however the facts do not lie: Jozy Altidore has played in 67 games for the USMNTurtles. Rumor has it that he is even paid a weekly wage by BPL team, Sunderland Black Cats United.

However, since retiring from his job as a heavy blunt object, Altidore has struggled in his new role of professional footballer. In particular he needs to work on his first touch, so we have compiled a list of seven things Jozy can use as inspiration for improvement in this area : Continue reading “7 Things with a Softer First Touch than Jozy Altidore” »

SPONSORED: Top 7 Qatar Hotels for the ’22 World Cup (By Migrant Body Count)

We are the Qatar Tourism Authority are aware of the recent issues that have come to light about our country. We are aware that many fans of soccer are very sad and mad and angry. We respect the emotions of the fans. We promise to improve these things as much as possible.

In that respectful regards, we have decided to create a useful list of hotels where fans can stay that addresses the fans’ big concerns. First, many of you are worried that the hotels in Qatar will be beyond your modest budgets. Second, many of you would feel guilty staying in a hotel that was built by many migrant laborers who died. Here are the hotels as rated for you cost-conscious consumers with a conscience.

Good luck finding the most affordable reservation with the lowest death count. Continue reading “SPONSORED: Top 7 Qatar Hotels for the ’22 World Cup (By Migrant Body Count)” »

Top 10 Pictures of Arjen Robben Trying Desperately to Keep a Secret

Arjen Robben. Bundesliga champion. La Liga champion. EPL champion. Champions League champion. Devilish winger. Bag of tricks. Powerful left foot. Many words describe the brilliant Dutchman. But few know that his truly greatest asset is his ability to keep his mouth shut: yes, that’s right, Robben is a veritable Ft. Knox of gossip.

Here are pictures of him keeping secrets. Don’t let his giddy enthusiasm fool you. Those lips are locked. Continue reading “Top 10 Pictures of Arjen Robben Trying Desperately to Keep a Secret” »