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” »

The Ubiquitous Annual “EPL Monopoly of Four” Article

Unless your last name is Carnegie or Rockafeller, you dislike monopolies. The reason for your disdain is understandable. In the open market, a single business growing to gargantuan proportions can use its weight to either screw over consumers or suppliers. Often, they do both. On the one hand, you have Amazon and Wal-mart always trying to reduce prices and thus benefit consumers. However, how do they do this? By leaning hard and unrelentingly on suppliers. In Amazon’s case, for example, they’ve used eBook dominance to slash prices which reduces royalties paid to the authors and editors who make books happen in the first place.

Thus, we all dislike monopolies. However, there’s only one thing worse: trite journalism. Continue reading “The Ubiquitous Annual “EPL Monopoly of Four” Article” »

Which Worthless Article on Soccer Clubs’ Social Media Popularity is Most Popular on Social Media?

Two minute cat videos. Listicles. Slideshows. You can dump on most of the content that the interwebs has to offer. In fact, I have done so repeteadly. However, at least a good listicle requires some creativity and snappy prose. A decent slideshow depends on the skill of the source content: photography and image editing. Yes, they are small nuggets of info packaged in an easy-to-consume format, but cereal bars are also packaged in a way that is easy to consume. Cereal bars are also not a full course meal. Do you hate cereal bars?

Still, my painfully stretched analogy cannot extend to defend a new kind of crap appearing on the webs: social media popularity counts that masquerade as “worth you’re fucking time.” Nevertheless, I dared to ask: which of this filth is the most popular by its own metric? Continue reading “Which Worthless Article on Soccer Clubs’ Social Media Popularity is Most Popular on Social Media?” »

Q & A: Terrible Human Being Scores Goals, Continues to be Terrible Human Being

Futfanatico is thrilled to announce this exclusive interview with a terrible person who scores goals for your favorite European soccer club, Barcentus CF. We are incredibly grateful to Carlos Luis Suavez’s PR folks for arranging this interview and hope he can finally dispel the rumors contrary to his being a terrible human being who scores goals.

Q: Carlos Luis Suavez, what has life been like on the Continent since your big summer move?

A: Coming to a big club like Barcentus CF has been a dream come true – I couldn’t make this up! Playing with stars like Massi and Reymar is fantastic – training with them everyday, you see just how good they are and they make you better and want to be even better.
Continue reading “Q & A: Terrible Human Being Scores Goals, Continues to be Terrible Human Being” »

Greed, Graft, FIFA and….Hope?

Textbooks. Don’t they smell nice? What with all that paper and ink and stuff. I remember when I was a student and had them. I also read a few. In fact, I studied Economics and recall vividly lots of convoluted hypothetical situations and painful historical analogies that purported to support different theories. Basically, capitalism exists because greed is good and the key to unlocking each individual’s potential. When we’ve unlocked each individual’s potential, then we unlock all of society’s potential. Or something.

And I can’t type about greed and goodness without writing about FIFA. Continue reading “Greed, Graft, FIFA and….Hope?” »

SoccErotica: the Rise and Hot Heat of “Team Touch Zones”

Hello again, dearest, beloved querido reader. Remember a few months ago this steamy post where I used the second person to include you in on some scintillating writing about root-and-branch analyses? English clubs were stinking up the Champions League, so you and I, hands firmly clasped, strolled about and ruminated (hint hint) as to why that was. We embraced, our breaths so close as to become one, and concluded the problem was the root which needed to be changed.

Now, I’m happy to say, I’m back for sloppy seconds. Why? Because a new soccer analytic has totally gotten the soccer world all steamy: “team touch zones.” Continue reading “SoccErotica: the Rise and Hot Heat of “Team Touch Zones”” »

Junito: Navigating Chutes & Ladders

My writing on Junito has grown intermittent the last few years, but rest assured, he continues to play footy at a high level on a regular basis. It has not been all smooth sailing. Yes, for the first few years after joining a soccer club, Junito loved to go to practice on weekdays. His energy reaffirmed our belief that he really likes soccer. However, another explanation lurked beneath the surface. At our last residence, we lived in a rougher part of town where he had few friends his own age, he could not run around outside unsupervised, and we had no game console. Thus, he was cooped up inside with no video game relief. Practice was an escape.

Flash forward two years. We live in a nicer neighborhood. Kids the same age as Junito flock around and form friendships. We even got a Wii, if only to allow his dad to assert MarioKart dominance on the SNES and N64 throwback levels. Junito continues to thrive at soccer and this year has started every single game for his club team. There’s just one problem: is his heart really in it? Continue reading “Junito: Navigating Chutes & Ladders” »

A Platonic Symposium on the Essence of International Friendlies

“To be or not to be”, that is not the question. If you are reading this, you exist. Whether you like that or not, that’s your own issue. Rather, the pertinent question is: why do international friendlies exist? What comprises their very essence? Luckily, through a time and space warp continuum, great past philosophers & poets & writers recently met in a modern setting, drank some wine, and discussed a similar issue plaguing Greece thousands of years ago: non-Olympic friendlies between athletes. Keep in mind, this is a story I heard from my friend James who was told it by this one dude at a college party one night about ten years ago, so there may be some inconsistencies.

Here are their conclusions, if any. Continue reading “A Platonic Symposium on the Essence of International Friendlies” »

The World’s Best International Players as Judged by Similarility of Names to Literary Figures

Some famous literary heavyweights loved the sport of soccer. For example, French philosopher Albert Camus, author of The Stranger, enjoyed him some football. While some snooty intellectuals such as Borges viewed it as the opiate of the masses, others have applauded and embraced the artistry of a fine first touch. To put it simply, once you’ve seen a Dennis Bergkamp goal, your jaw drops, your mind goes blank, and only the best prose can describe the void left in your heart by every minute of the day you don’t see Bergkamp score.

Thus, it was no surprise that I noticed an odd pattern: many players on national teams around the world share names cannily similar to literary heavyweights. Wouldn’t it be beautiful for these two worlds to meld into one? Imagine the possibilities. Here are the highlights. Continue reading “The World’s Best International Players as Judged by Similarility of Names to Literary Figures” »