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Slightly Outdated and Esoteric South American Soccer FactCheck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” »

Top 9 Pictures of Footballers and Helicopters

Helicopters, they’re not just for transporting manufactured homes anymore. They can also do other important tasks, like carrying soldiers to kill people, carrying bombs to drop and kill people, and transporting foreign aid to people who will be killed by errant drone strikes weeks later.

More importantly (Ahem, MOST IMPORTANT), helicopters sometimes transport soccer star players. Here are some highlights. Continue reading “Top 9 Pictures of Footballers and Helicopters” »

Junito: An Unexpected & Abrupt Ending

On November 29, 2009, I unleashed my three-year old son Junito on the world of soccer and proudly chronicled his exploits. The task was simple enough: mold the greatest ever player for Real Madrid. We’ve all enjoyed the ups and downs, cried at the false early retirement, and were happy to see him come back stronger than ever. And had fun on Vimeo and Youtube. Sadly, though, it must end. Today.

There’s two problems: (1) Junito’s talent and (2) Me getting in the way. Continue reading “Junito: An Unexpected & Abrupt Ending” »

Junito: You Kant Have It All (All the Time)

I assure you, dearest and most loyal of readers, that the above image is not a fake. The name. The birth date. The location. The fixture. It’s all true. Melvin Arana, known in these parts as “Junito”, is officially unretired and….his first ever competitive game looms large.

What does that mean for our family, Junito and the soccerverse at large? Perhaps nothing. Perhaps everything. Continue reading “Junito: You Kant Have It All (All the Time)” »