Neighborhood Blight: the New Stadium Scam

We all know the new stadium scam playbook in-and-out: teams commit to a long-term lease, promise to create jobs, and show off some hired gun economic impact study. Local communities then throw subsidies, free land, and tax breaks at them to the tune of hundreds of millions. In reality, the stadium creates only a few part-time and low-wage jobs, the surrounding neighborhood gentrifies only a bit (based on, duh, external factors like location), and the team tries to weasel out of the lease in later years (or extract renovation concessions).

Yet, in both Detroit and Liverpool, England, a new and far more sinister stadium plan has emerged: strategic blight. Continue reading “Neighborhood Blight: the New Stadium Scam” »

Yes, I am still writing about soccer…..

Sigh. For the last few years, I’ve been pretty good about my Monday, Wednesday, Thursday posting. Why those days? Well, anymore and I’d turn the site into a content mill, any less and I’d lose my edge. Also, coincidentally*, those are the days when the internet has heavy traffic for actual readers. No, not bots. Not spiders. Not bait-clickers. Folks with the time to read some serious thoughts. I’m one of those serious thinkers. That’s why my listicles include full paragraphs under the pics and my lazy video posts include puns in the headlines.

Alas, it’s still Monday and I’m still posting, but time is short. Family and professional obligations have arisen. I’ve also gotten pitched by some seriously quality soccer sites, whom have generously agreed to publish my writing. Here are links to two longer pieces for said quality sites, both of which I am proud of: Continue reading “Yes, I am still writing about soccer…..” »

Long Overdue But Totally Unexpected Paraguayan Football Update

Every now and then, we like to give you, the reader, an esoteric South American soccer update. In today’s news, we looked closely at happenings in Paraguay, your favorite loser from the “War of the Triple Betrayal” err “Alliance.” Some pretty hysterical legal happenings have caught the headlines, but a more sobering fact got buried. Continue reading “Long Overdue But Totally Unexpected Paraguayan Football Update” »

When Things Don’t Always Go As We’d Like…. (Panenka Fails)

Contrary to FIFA’s assertion on its website, the “panenka” penalty is not a “cult.” Rather, on a superficial level, it is a technique – a player approaches the spot, usually stutter steps, looks to see if the keeper moves early, and then chips the ball down the middle or to the other side. Some criticize the panenka as arrogant – in reality, players take advantage of the fact that 75% of keepers move before the ball is kicked in PK situations. Also, on an incorporeal level, watching a ball softly float to the goal – something a child could do – brings a smile. Attitude and confidence are definitely at play, but so is the realization that no matter what the stakes are, soccer is always and always will be a game.

Still, the panenka is not always perfect. Sometimes the shooter does not stutter step. Sometimes the keeper reads it. In such situations, you look foolish. Here are those moments. Continue reading “When Things Don’t Always Go As We’d Like…. (Panenka Fails)” »

A Treatise on the Expression “Beast Mode”

I’ve always been uneasy with the term “beast mode” as used by TV pundits when describing an energetic or impressive athletic performance. Simply put, it’s not descriptive enough. Okay, so the athlete, a human, is doing something that is beyond the scope of a normal human, therefore they are similar to a beast. I get that. But the first time I heard the phrase, I thought of a blue, buff, hairy dude hanging upside down and reading Wittgenstein. I hear “beast mode” and think - what beast?

“Beast mode” is lazy wordplay. You could just as easily say “Past great player mode” and leave it to the listener or reader to decide with whom you are comparing today’s current star. Thus, I’ve come up with some GIFS and proper, specific similes for some key soccer players. They are not necessarily in “beast mode”, but more of an “animal kingdom” zone. Enjoy. Continue reading “A Treatise on the Expression “Beast Mode”” »

Slightly Outdated and Esoteric South American Soccer FactCheck

Being a fan of soccer requires a healthy knowledge of geography. Unless you are Fox Soccer Argentina. In March, the Copa Libertadores, the South American equivalent of the Champions League, was in full swing. San Lorenzo of Argentina traveled to Ecuador to play Independiente del Valle. Afterwards, some San Lorenzo players got angry and trashed the dressing room. I know, a total shocker – violence in South American soccer.  Jamas!

Things, though, were much more interesting online, where Fox Soccer had seriously trouble locating the Estadio Atahualpa. Continue reading “Slightly Outdated and Esoteric South American Soccer FactCheck” »

The Obligatory Soccer Jersey Review Blog Post

Let the record show, today’s date is sometime in May, 2014. Let the record also show that this fine site first came into existence in September of 2008. Six years. For six years, I have used all manner of self-control to prevent the overt commercialization of this site. Did you notice the banner ads? Probably not. They are tucked away in the footer, well below the comments. No side bar. No header. But how can “readers” click on them way down there? Why are they down there?

Aesthetics, my friend. Aesthetics. Yet aesthetics and commercialism don’t always conflict. I do get emails sometimes offering me worthwhile things in exchange for me to simply review them. Most get sent to spam. But when SoccerLoco offered me an authentic World Cup jersey, I couldn’t say no. And it’s my daughter’s fault. Continue reading “The Obligatory Soccer Jersey Review Blog Post” »

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” »