England qualified for the World Cup, but, based on October’s FIFA rankings, are unseeded. Thus, they face the very real prospect of a “Group of Death.” We don’t know what the future holds, but here is a close approximation, in style if not in substance, of the Three Lions’ fate. Continue reading “The England World Cup Draw Preview & Banter of the Bile Variety” »
If Futfanatico pokes fun at folks who sometimes take themselves too seriously, then the Junito series from a few years back picked the perfect target: parents who treat youth soccer as life or death. However, the series hit a major snag: Junito resided in Nicaragua, was only three years old, and little league soccer opportunities were rare.
Now that Junito is in the states, just turned seven, and lives in a major metropolitan area, the question arises: not if the chele chulo will unretire, but when. The answer has finally arrived: now. As in, yesterday. Junito faced the most draconian of decisions, the ultimate fork in the road as to whether he will reach his potential as the greatest ever Footballer (and record goalscorer for Real Madrid) or just be a happy, well-adjusted human being.
He chose the former (though the latter is still a possibility). Continue reading “The Junito Legacy: A Roadbump in Unretirement Plans” »
The world is a confusing mess. Sport is no exception. The internet has brought us closer together and eliminated the clear lines demarcating the nation state. Fans now root for teams in faraway places. Top clubs forget about preseason and instead favor cash-generating Far East tours. American football stadia are packed during the summer for friendlies between Mexican soccer clubs and Italian teams. In sum, fans are everywhere and are fans of anything and everything. We all can lay a claim to a team, regardless of geographic location.
Here’s the big problem: just how are we supposed to feel better than other people?
Spurs got slaughtered by City. And, based on their legal department’s shitty antics, I don’t feel so sorry. What happened, you ask? Well, the Spurs got wind of a 10th tier team with the same name and a similar logo. What did they do? Twist their arm and force the club change their logo (next season).
Why? Well, that’s a good question. I’m afraid Spurs have some answers, but not satisfactory ones Continue reading “The Tottenham Hotspurs’ Stupid Intellectual Property Dispute” »
At long last, Sporting KC has reached the MLS Cup final. They’ve been a regular contender these past few years but pretty much always fell to the Houston Dynamo. During the past three years, though, the team has experienced a pretty constant shift in personnel. In part, that’s the reality of pro sports, especially in MLS with a pretty rigid salary cap. In part, they’ve also done good business: fans will miss Roger Espinoza and Kei Kamara, but Sporting KC at least sold them while their value was high.
The two key goals thus far for Sporting KC, defeating New England and Houston, have come from guys not even on the roster two years ago: Argentine Claudio Bieler and Englishman Dom Dwyer. Can you say turnover? Yessir. It seems like Peter Vermes relishes blowing up his team each summer, turning budding prospects into benchwarmers (albeit sometimes injuries play a role). Still, Sporting KC has not always bought well, and certainly not always sold high.
Here’s a list of past strikers to have donned the blue of Kansas City. Continue reading “Totally Random List of Former Sporting KC/KC Wizards/KC Wiz Strikers” »
Sometimes, the mainstream media is wrong. For example, a columnist at ESPN recently went on a posh vacation to Qatar. Surprise surprise, upon his return, he wrote a pretty bland, half-assed defense of Qatar. He had written quite movingly about the death of an Espanyol player years ago, but, like, the death of dozens of immigrant workers was brushed off as blogger chatter.
I actually wouldn’t mind to see a defense of Qatar. However, you need some stats. For example, the remittances from Qatar to Nepal (from migrant laborers) probably help out quite a bit. Also, there are probably some respectable employers in Qatar who don’t abuse the visa system. The problem is not defending Qatar. The problem is pretty shoddy journalism with vague assertions. Kudos to ESPN for taking it down.
A brownie point for a retraction. A hollow victory, no? However, sometimes, to a blogger’s chagrin, mainstream media is right. Continue reading “An Apology to Mainstream Media on Behalf of Richard Whittall (And Me)” »
Soccer commercials normally range from unbelievably campy to understandably understated. Often, our heroes from the field will pitch us on cleats, sports drinks, and carbonated sugar beverages. In some ads, the players dress as gladiators or jump around super futuristic black multi-level soccer fields. In most, the players just pull off a nice move in slow mo and then, boom, a close up of their cleat. In the most basic, they simply tell us to buy something. And we listen.
Like the surrealist Ronaldo watch ad from a few years ago, the recent Pumas ad featuring Michael Carrick breaks the mold. But not necessarily for the better. Continue reading “Pumas & Michael Carrick Proudly Present the Most Boring Soccer Commercial Ever” »
It’s not really a World Cup if there’s not at least one or two missed deadlines for stadium construction. It’s also not really a World Cup until major media outlets report on stereotypical “problems” associated with the host country. Before South Africa 2010, folks only wanted to write, read, and hear about witch doctors and goat sacrifices and “voodoo.” And Brazil?
“Favela” violence aka disaster porn. Continue reading “Violence in World Cup Host Country Article #68899” »
Futfanatico is a blog for the people and by the people. Thus, once again, we surveyed some American soccer fans on what they thought about the recent US-Soccer game and international soccer friendlies in general. The responses are not surprising, but still are illuminating. Continue reading “Ask An American Soccer Fan: International Friendlies” »
For the last fifty years, Mexicans and Americans have lied to ourselves. At least about soccer. That is to say, we’ve constructed elaborate narratives to explain, gloss over, and/or glorify the sport at home. In the US, the story is simple: between the fall of the NASL and the rise of MLS, soccer ceased to exist. Many MLS teams are even loath to acknowledge any traces of the NASL. For every Seattle Sounders, a team like KC rebrands and forgets about, say, their title win as the Spurs. The NASL was popular and attracted top talent, but fell by its own weight. Thus, America “was not a soccer country.” That is the current self-serving narrative.
In Mexico, the story is the opposite. Many fans of the Mexican League point to the 70′s, 80′s, and even early 90′s as a Golden Era for the game. The story goes like this: Mexico was a single sport nation with rising income, and thus could afford to pay star players to stay at home. Mexico could even afford expensive imports from South America. Club America’s golden era was the 1980′s, when they won five league titles including three-in-a-row from 1983-85. For Cruz Azul, their peak was the 1970′s, when they won six championships in a single decade. Chivas’ top era was even earlier, with their only sustained run of titles coming near the end of the 1950′s and the early 1960′s. Thus, Mexican soccer had great teams that went on fantastic runs in decades past. Or so the narrative goes.
But both these narratives fall to pieces when faced with reality. Continue reading “North American Soccer Narratives: Mexico and the US” »