Soccer Jam

The year is 2004. Zinedine Zidane has just announced his retirement from Les Bleus and international football. Instead, he wants to focus on his club career at Real Madrid and also try to play professional ping pong, which was his dad’s greatest dream for him. Sadly, though, Zizou’s serve lacks the spin and precision for him to advance past the semifinals at any of the major pro ping pong (PPP) tournaments.

At the same time, trouble brews in the galaxy. An Intergalactic Amusement Park complete with non-rolling coasters and wheels not  named after Ferris Bueler is having serious attendance problems. The place is named Seven Flags after some famous clone-ware related battle and resulting truce, but nobody can remember the exact details. All they know is that attendance has dropped precipitously. Even with 20% discounts on season passes and free meals (chicken tenders and fries) for kids ages 6-10 on Tuesdays, folks fail to turn up.

Thus, the nefarious Seven Flags CEO, Mr. HammSwindler, devises a dastardly plot: he sends his minions, the PotLucks, to Earth. Continue reading “Soccer Jam” »

Absolutely essential Women’s World Cup Op-Ed(s) on Hope Solo and turf and weird scheduling from trusted dude who does not follow soccer or women’s sports

Futfanatico’s editorial board notes that Elliott Turner is on injured reserve, so we got this guest column from an anonymous but totally respected “Sports Dude” who has a nationally syndicated radio show. Thus, you can trust everything written here. 

Hey there, sports fans. I know that I don’t normally speak, write, or care for soccer or Women’s sports. However, I decided to take a break from my morning radio phone-in show and other writing commitments to pen this super op-ed on some topics that have been getting lots of Google clicks recently and thus are important and worthy of my carefully worded and reasoned thoughts.

I speak, of course, of the Women’s World Cup. More specifically, warm up your brains and put on your thinking caps for my super hot takes on the Hope Solo issue, the turf dispute, and the weird scheduling of elimination rounds. Continue reading “Absolutely essential Women’s World Cup Op-Ed(s) on Hope Solo and turf and weird scheduling from trusted dude who does not follow soccer or women’s sports” »

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?” »

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” »

SPONSORED CONTENT: Highly Paid Special Consultant Finds FIFA Correct to Not Publish Corruption Report

As the world’s most important soccer blog with “Futfanatico” in the URL, everyday my email inbox is flooded with folks who want to pay money to be published at this site. Prestige. Page rank. Blow. Being published at Futfanatico is a doorway to all of these things. Earthly riches beyond your comprehension. They know it. I know it. You now know it.  Thus, it’s not surprising that FIFA’s close ally, the QTA, contacted me to publish this counterpoint post that defends FIFA’s decision to not publish the Garcia Corruption Report. We’ve worked with QTA before, with mixed reviews. Of course, the check cleared, so we’re for it. That’s why we’re doing it again.

Thus, let this expert, Marcos Peath, convince you that FIFA was right to not publish the Garcia Report. Here goes. Continue reading “SPONSORED CONTENT: Highly Paid Special Consultant Finds FIFA Correct to Not Publish Corruption Report” »

The Unpublishable Files: Top 10 Ways to Use the World Cup to Get Close with your Token Latino Friend/Coworker!

Now that I’ve entered this odd nether region between a blogger and free-lancer, you’ve seen my writing pop up at several sites around the webs. As you may have suspected, unlike at Futfanatico, those posts get edited by a person and I get paid. That’s created a dynamic where I pitch ideas to editors, some of which they like, some they don’t. Then I submit a piece of writing that is edited.

This current post was submitted to a few outlets during the past World Cup and one accepted the idea, but turned it into a really nice and positive part of a broader piece. I kinda like the claws, though. Deep down, I just may never stop being a snarky blogger. I couldn’t publish it during the World Cup because of a family situation, but I always felt this baby had to see the light of day. Will this be the start of a series of Unpublishables? Who knows. In a sense, this entire blog has been “Unpublishables” for about six years, so why change anything?

Without further delay, enjoy:

Continue reading “The Unpublishable Files: Top 10 Ways to Use the World Cup to Get Close with your Token Latino Friend/Coworker!” »

Some Quick Tips for Soccer Stadium Etiquette

After decades of darkness, soccer has grabbed a solid foothold in the US. In recent times, more and more fans have grown enamored of the beautiful game. However, many have only seen the game on TV. They have questions about what to do and what not to do when going to games. Some harbor preconceived stereotypes and prejudices. Some are just worry-warts.

Luckily, as a fan who has seen games on four different continents, I’ve got two very easy rules to follow. Continue reading “Some Quick Tips for Soccer Stadium Etiquette” »

The Third Party Ownership Double Standard

This past weekend, the Brazilian national team beat Argentina 2-0 in a friendly in Beijing. With players based in Europe and South America, why on Earth did they travel so far to play one another? After all, the two countries are neighbors on the same continent. The simple answer is, of course, money. The more complicated answer lies in the CBA’s recent dealings.

Reuters (Andrew Downie to be exact) had an excellent article in 2012 about the CBF (Brazilian Federation) and its decision to sell friendly rights to ISE, a sports business corporation. Based on the terms of the deal, the CBF got a guaranteed payment of about two million per game. A fixed payment with no worries about gates – sweet deal, right? The devil is in the details, though. ISE got the right to pick the opponent and the venue.

And this business model, third party playing rights for national team friendlies, is even more worrisome than for individuals. Continue reading “The Third Party Ownership Double Standard” »

You Will Once Again Find My Writing Elsewhere…

Dearest reader,

You shall once again find my writing far from home – the lovely soccer TV show Soccer Gods (Mondays at 10 on the Fusion channel) has a corresponding site which has graciously agreed to host my slightly edited brainfarts on Mexican soccer. This is a regular thing. No, we’re not married – but we’re very canny about our Facebook relationship status. I’m also not reciprocating your pokes or your 2am “DTC” messages. Don’t be jealous. Just read these gems. Continue reading “You Will Once Again Find My Writing Elsewhere…” »