A Premature Happy Holidays & Blogger Break Warning….

Don’t you hate it when your favorite bloggers stop blogging but in the blog don’t explain why they are not blogging or when they will resume regular blogging? Luckily, Futfanaatico is totally pro. I am traveling for Thanksgiving, hosting family for Christmas, and things will be spare around these particular parts. You may catch me on Twitter, you may not. Expect this Death Star to be rebuilt and fully operational by mid-January with some erratic planetary death rays here and there.

Luckily, though, I’ve been kicking it for Soccer Gods and Paste Soccer. You have plenty to read. Continue reading “A Premature Happy Holidays & Blogger Break Warning….” »

Some Ferocious Soccer Lynx

You know the drill. Contrary to some rumors, I am not the only person who writes about soccer. While you love my writing and would love to see three epic, full length features at this site each and every week, I’ve been pretty prolific at SoccerGods and Paste Magazine. Thus, for today at least, you’ll just have to content yourself with fine writing by other folks and links to said writing. Which is fine. I do declare. Continue reading “Some Ferocious Soccer Lynx” »

Supporting the Alianza

It’s not so often that I post a one link article. However, one of the major barriers to full youth participation in soccer in the US is the current “pay-to-play” model. I’m blessedly middle-class and can afford travel team fees for my 7 year old son Junito. I am also an educated professional and have the weekends off, so we can drive him to Sugar Land and Missouri City and even farther for tournaments. His mom is a student and can drive him to training on weeknights. Not everybody else is so fortunate. Even at Junito’s club, we see other parents that sometimes struggle to get kids to practice and games (We do our best to carpool but you can’t make a person ask for help). Junito’s club also will waive fees if you can show financial hardship.

Still, the monthly club fees aren’t that high; the time commitment is more of a barrier. SB Nation has an excellent, detailed article on Alianza de Futbol: a group trying to create a non-”pay to play” pipeline for largely Hispanic talent. They are not exactly a club, but do incredibly competitive tryouts and then the top kids get trials with clubs. Read about it here. Like, right now.

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”” »