Power Ranking & Journo Grades for Quintessential American Essays on “How to Pick Your EPL Club”

One of the beauties of covering the same sport for several years is learning to read the subtle changes in the tides of said sport. Indisputably, July is normally low tide for footy. Gold Cups are played. Rich English clubs go on preseason tours in America and Asia, where said clubs field reserve teams for entire halves and charge you over $50 for parking.

Then, after Mexico wins the Gold Cup final, we enter August, high tide. Previews proliferate. Predictions are predicted. Games get played. Most importantly, lots of American sports columnists invite you, the American and therefore assuredly “novice” soccer fan, to choose and root for an English Premier League Club.

Frustratingly, this mass of articles lacks a single, simple formula. Thus, using a secret algorithm I gleaned from reading dozens of player grade and power ranking “articles”, I have put this together. Enjoy. Continue reading “Power Ranking & Journo Grades for Quintessential American Essays on “How to Pick Your EPL Club”” »

The USMNT Gold Cup Recap: Red White & Blue’d

The US national team finished 4th place at the Gold Cup, the regional championships for CONCACAF. This is pretty sad. However, what’s more irksome is the prevalence of circular logic and ad hominem attack in the classic debate on the line between the responsibility of a coach as compared to players.

Allow me to elucidate. Continue reading “The USMNT Gold Cup Recap: Red White & Blue’d” »

MLS Stadia Update: Compromise and Progress?

As you may recall, I’ve written for VICE Sports about that tangled world of sports and politics. Namely, I’ve looked at the efforts of new MLS franchises to get stadiums built and stick a hand in the taxpayer’s pot of cash. As you’d expect, I didn’t pull punches when looking at both MLS franchisees and local politicians. Using open record requests, I was able to shed some light on how and why the situations had seemingly stalled.

Now, I’m happy to report, things have changed. Here’s where and how. Continue reading “MLS Stadia Update: Compromise and Progress?” »

A Brief History of Do You Remember that Time…I Wrote Something Weird?

Today the “Best Of” eBook for 2014 is on sale at Amazon for a buck. In honor of this Earth altering occasion, I went through and cataloged the weirdest, most bizarre things I have ever written at this site. They can basically be broken down into three sections: (1) Ferenc Puskas, (2) Hostile Takeovers, (3) Faux Literary, and (4) Fake Interview. Please note that the first one is not a typo. I did not include Junito because it’s only natural to blog about your preciously talented son, and my derided end-of-year awards invented to award me were just ahead of their time.

Still, here is some seriously weird stuff tangentially related to soccer for your re-reading pleasure. Or first-time reading pleasure for you soulless bandwagoners.  Continue reading “A Brief History of Do You Remember that Time…I Wrote Something Weird?” »

Hungover Dispatches from Canada: Women’s World Cup Edition

Futfanatico reminds you that Elliott Turner is still on injured reserve, thus we relied on unreliable correspondent GonzoBra to cover the Women’s World Cup in Canada. As per usual, his reporting was untimely, factually incorrect, and offensive. We have edited out most of the offensive parts, but left the grammatical errors because they enhance the entertainment value of this piece. If any.

I.

“On assignment”, you lovely phrase, we meet again! After what happened last summer at the dude’s World Cup in Brazil, I’m shocked no major media player has contracted my excellent reporting abroad services, but genius is seldom appreciated in its own time. At least I got this gig. And as last you may recall, in January I got stuck covering the MLS draft in January, but really spilled the beans on the soccer reporter circle cliques and also embarassed some dudes who owe me stickers for IndieGogo campaigns. Continue reading “Hungover Dispatches from Canada: Women’s World Cup Edition” »

Absolutely essential Women’s World Cup Op-Ed(s) on Hope Solo and turf and weird scheduling from trusted dude who does not follow soccer or women’s sports

Futfanatico’s editorial board notes that Elliott Turner is on injured reserve, so we got this guest column from an anonymous but totally respected “Sports Dude” who has a nationally syndicated radio show. Thus, you can trust everything written here. 

Hey there, sports fans. I know that I don’t normally speak, write, or care for soccer or Women’s sports. However, I decided to take a break from my morning radio phone-in show and other writing commitments to pen this super op-ed on some topics that have been getting lots of Google clicks recently and thus are important and worthy of my carefully worded and reasoned thoughts.

I speak, of course, of the Women’s World Cup. More specifically, warm up your brains and put on your thinking caps for my super hot takes on the Hope Solo issue, the turf dispute, and the weird scheduling of elimination rounds. Continue reading “Absolutely essential Women’s World Cup Op-Ed(s) on Hope Solo and turf and weird scheduling from trusted dude who does not follow soccer or women’s sports” »

New, Snazzy eBook for your Summer Enjoyment

Every year, I gather up my ten favorite pieces of soccer writing and deliver them to you at a delightful price of one dollar. This year, I kinda sorta maybe procrastinated, but, in reality, it was all a ploy to whet your appetite for my writing. I am 145% sexier and more readable in eInk format, Scout’s honor. Thus, the 2014 edition “Best Of” comes out in two weeks, for one buck, and you can preorder it at Amazon here.

Of course, if you don’t want the book, that’s fine also. I’ll just send your comments here to Spam, block you on Twitter, kick you out of my Subreddit, and we can both go on our respective ways through this rocking journey of life. No hard feelings, at least on your part. I’m sure you won’t bear me any grudges. Seriously, buy the book and help us all get Junito a new pair of electric algo colored Nike Preds for the Fall Season. Don’t you Sepp Blatter on me now after all your cherubic promises……

Editor’s note: no stool was softened in the crafting of this post. 

Admittedly Belated Soccer Blog Summer Update #7443

Oh hello, cherished readers. I know, I know. FIFA collapses. Women play soccer on turf. Aging South American target forward heads ball in goal. The headlines have come hard and fast this summer. All this time, you’ve held your breath and hoped upon hopes that somewhere in an office on the 50th story of a large, downtown Houston skyscraper, your favorite scribe would steal time from work and pen a wholly necessary op-ed on Hope Solo and why turf is to blame. Turf. Hope Solo. Hope Solo. Turf. I can’t be the only one who sees the connection?! Cause. Effect. Effect. Cause. Checkmate.

Alas, fate has intervened cruelly. I broke my leg in two places playing soccer in May. I needed surgery and, after the anesthesia wore off, I started thinking: where do pro athletes go when they have injuries? A black hole? Their twitters go silent. Their Instagrams collect dust. And I now know the answer: pain. Fucking, miserable, cosmically sucking pain. It saps your energy, your humor. I started to feel better in early June and thought – maybe rehab is worth some words? Well, I could write about stool softeners, commodes, trash bags and sitting showers, unerotic sponge baths and bedrashes, but, in reality, it’s something you have to experience for youself, man. Besides, all the credit goes to my beautiful wife. Thanks for everything, amorcita, especially cutting the Wilson tennis balls that are now on the bottom of my crutches. Continue reading “Admittedly Belated Soccer Blog Summer Update #7443” »

The Perpetual Midlevel Management Crisis at Real Madrid

Extra! Extra! Read all about it! Affluent European soccer team comes agonizingly close to winning two major trophies but falls just short! Equally affluent rival claims both! Oh soccer, you bizarrely wonderful world. Sport has always been torn in two directions: the idealists and the pragmatists. Some care about how a team plays, does it attack, will it win, while others care only about results. The two often come together, but not always.

Thus, when a team plays well but doesn’t win, what’s a club to do? If you’re Real Madrid, the answer is simple: sharpen your axes. Continue reading “The Perpetual Midlevel Management Crisis at Real Madrid” »

The Relegation Savior Fallacy

Just before the summer transfer rumor tradewinds pick up, another gust blows in another Spring rarity: the relegation savior. Every April across Europe, clubs at the bottom of the table claw, elbow, scratch, pull hair, and do anything and everything to avoid relegation. As if written in stone, the bottom three must take the drop. Clubs, fans, players, and owners get desperate. They clutch for any and all lifelines, yet with the transfer window closed since January, there’s only one: a new coach.

In comes a new coach and, sometimes, the team avoids relegation. But then what? Continue reading “The Relegation Savior Fallacy” »