Enter the Arena

I don’t care to link to any of the folks who are clasping at the Honduras game as proof that Bruce Arena is an elite coach and the USMNT is now back on track. I’m not sure the USMNT was ever that far off track – the opening schedule was brutal and the loss of Clint Dempsey was huge. Still, I’m no Jurgen apologist. I thought he should have been let go immediately after the 2014 World Cup. If anything, Arena’s nice opening step points to Sunil Gulati running off Jurgen at an ideal juncture: he gave Arena months to get to know the player pool and game plan.

Still, there’s one big problem: will Sunil finally grow up and not extend Bruce’s contract after we qualify for Russia 2018?

Continue reading “Enter the Arena” »

An Open Letter Thanking Tim Howard for His Commitment to the USMNT

Dear Tim,

I am Elliott, the father of two young children, and I am very appreciative of the fact that you, as an athlete, realize how important a role model athletes can be. Athletes teach young children – and society – that if you are going to rock a sweet manpurse (I am not being sarcastic), you need to be sure it’s a designer label and not some knockoff. Your Instagram never betrayed me on that issue. Your clutches are the Louis Vitton stuff of legends.

But you’ve also taught my children another important lesson. And I’m very grateful for this second one too. Continue reading “An Open Letter Thanking Tim Howard for His Commitment to the USMNT” »

The Rapinoe Debate is Not Even a Debate

There is a saying in Spanish: Dime con quien andas, diras quien eres. “Tell me who you are with, and you will tell me who you are.” As you are aware, lots of athletes are protesting racial discrimination by doing various things during the national anthem. Some raise their first. Some kneel. These are silent protests that do not impede the ability of any person to go about their daily lives: nobody is running to the streets, flipping cop cars, or setting stores on fire.

Yet, people are upset. At a recent USWNT game, star player Megan Rapinoe kneeled in solidarity with people of color and other protestors. Continue reading “The Rapinoe Debate is Not Even a Debate” »

What does your pathological dislike of Jurgen Klinsmann say about you?

Hating Jurgen Klinsmann is so common, it’s passe. A GenXer columnist would write “it’s jumped the shark” and millenials would mock that columnist just for writing that trite expression. Even fedora-wearing creative types in Williamsburg have gotten over the Jurgen hate. Still, your hate fascinates me for different reasons: not because it is novel, or even very logical – it’s not. Rather, all hatred comes in different shapes and sizes, flavors and forms. And, simply put, I love variety (and haters).

Thus, I have used painstaking, peer-reviewed research (NOOOT) to create a guide to US fans based on how/why they hate Jurgen. Continue reading “What does your pathological dislike of Jurgen Klinsmann say about you?” »

Some Lighthearted Soccer Linkery

Friends, I am on a blogger break, remember? Me neither. Nevertheless, the capitalist freelancer in me has sold some prose to wonderful soccer content producers. You should visit their sites, turn off your AdBlock plus, and just download anything that shows up on your PC and/or enter your credit card numbers and any national personal ID number as well. Continue reading “Some Lighthearted Soccer Linkery” »

Hungover Dispatches from America: US Soccer Legal Troubles Edition

Futfanatico asked unreliable correspondent GonzoBra, a former court beat reporter for a small town daily, to cover the legal dispute brewing between US Soccer and the women’s team. 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.

When my editor Elliott cold-pitched me to write about the US Soccer vs. USWNT legal dispute, a lot of thoughts ran through my mind. First, how much cash can I milk from this cheap-ass motherfucker? Second, would I have to fly to some backwaters country like Canada? Third, like seriously how much money can I drab from this commission? Once I got satisfactory answers for the first and third question, I wasn’t really too worried about number two. It dawned on me that the legal dispute was happening here in America, so I could rely on my staple cheap-as-hell and alcoholic-as-water pilsners to keep me loaded and dangerous.

I also had some airline miles on a credit card to use for domestic flights because we all know accounts payable departments reimburse your expenses as quickly as Pirlo sprints. So what could go wrong? Continue reading “Hungover Dispatches from America: US Soccer Legal Troubles Edition” »

Maxi and Elliott Proudly Present: The Ben in Lasers Podcast

For too many years, US soccer has been on the tipping point of becoming great. As more and more Americans follow the beautiful game and ponder profound questions like “What EPL team do British Ex-Pats think I should support” or our personal favorite “Why are we firing Jurgen Klinsmann today”, some voices have been left behind. US soccer fandom as a nascent institution has the chance to be a multicultural “tossed salad” of fans, or….white people from Austin who claim to have invented (or laughably “perfected”) the breakfast taco will forever ruin it. There is no middle ground.

Thus, after months of “false dawn” advertising where Maxi and I used Twitter as part of our brilliant PC campaign and to test the waters, we have decided to record a proper podcast. Of course, this presented a myriad of important and salient issues like 1) How the fuck do you record a podcast, 2) How the fuck do you upload a podcast, and, most importantly, 3) How do you get Maxi’s deep husky voice to sound less Barry White sexy so listeners will focus on the actual content? Continue reading “Maxi and Elliott Proudly Present: The Ben in Lasers Podcast” »

A Somewhat Modest Proposal for the USMNT

Let’s not shit ourselves: the US loss to Guatemala was bad both in terms of the result but also how bad the US played. But let’s also not forget that: most US fans have detested Jurgen Klinsmann since 2012. Nothing’s changed, but bad results increase the volume of the echo chamber.

Still, before sharpening your pitchfork and joining the “ax him now” people, a few thoughts. Spoiler: you will be offended and disagree with all of them. Continue reading “A Somewhat Modest Proposal for the USMNT” »

Ask An American Soccer Fan: The AO Rally

In case you missed the joyous news, “Rog” aka Roger Bennett of the Men In Blazers will be at the AO (American Outlaws) rally before the USMNT plays Guatemala on Friday night. He will remind you that soccer is about to get big, give you two-minute summaries of every game in the latest Premier League “fixture”, and you will thank and love him for it. However, not all is well. In case you forgot, Noah Davis penned an investigative feature for Fusion last year on how sexism has started to appear at AO gatherings. Elaine Teng of The New Republic went to BlazerCon last Fall and observed that the MiB podcast enthusiasts are not a particularly diverse group.

Luckily, we were able to track down a few eye witnesses who went to BlazerCon and plan on attending the AO rally featuring Rog. We are incredibly jealous, but maintained our professional composure to ask them point blank: did you see a diversity problem at BlazerCon? Continue reading “Ask An American Soccer Fan: The AO Rally” »