For the last fifty years, Mexicans and Americans have lied to ourselves. At least about soccer. That is to say, we’ve constructed elaborate narratives to explain, gloss over, and/or glorify the sport at home. In the US, the story is simple: between the fall of the NASL and the rise of MLS, soccer ceased to exist. Many MLS teams are even loath to acknowledge any traces of the NASL. For every Seattle Sounders, a team like KC rebrands and forgets about, say, their title win as the Spurs. The NASL was popular and attracted top talent, but fell by its own weight. Thus, America “was not a soccer country.” That is the current self-serving narrative.
In Mexico, the story is the opposite. Many fans of the Mexican League point to the 70′s, 80′s, and even early 90′s as a Golden Era for the game. The story goes like this: Mexico was a single sport nation with rising income, and thus could afford to pay star players to stay at home. Mexico could even afford expensive imports from South America. Club America’s golden era was the 1980′s, when they won five league titles including three-in-a-row from 1983-85. For Cruz Azul, their peak was the 1970′s, when they won six championships in a single decade. Chivas’ top era was even earlier, with their only sustained run of titles coming near the end of the 1950′s and the early 1960′s. Thus, Mexican soccer had great teams that went on fantastic runs in decades past. Or so the narrative goes.
But both these narratives fall to pieces when faced with reality. Continue reading “North American Soccer Narratives: Mexico and the US” »
Not everybody loves Surreal Football. Their “balls on” aggressive Retweet campaign from a few years back rubbed some people the wrong way. They also have a gift for ad hominem. Nevertheless, they’ve won some deserved awards along the way. Thus, it was odd that recently their website pointed to Bleacher Report and an article that was a “swing and a miss.”
What happened? Continue reading “Bleacher Report Mysteriously Disappears Surreal Football Article” »
The Arsenal has played the Manchester United. The game hath ended. In a tense game with end-to-end action, United won 1-0 off a header from a corner kick. All sportswriters will boldly proclaim something about a title race and spin the same story: Arsenal has only succeeded because they have played lesser teams. Of course, consistently beating lesser teams is, like, the recipe for winning a league.
Arguments aside, I don’t care to talk about “title chances” in November. Rather, I prefer to look closely at just why Arsenal has started off so well and why United has come around. Let’s take a gander. Continue reading “United vs. Arsenal: Pretenders, Contenders & Offenders” »
During the Everton-Spurs game last weekend, goalie Hugo Lloris suffered a serious blow to the head. However, he stayed on the field, finished the game, and made a few key saves. Was it heroic? Was it stupid? If it was stupid, then who’s to blame: the player for staying? The coach? The trainers? The medical staff?
Predictably, op-eds and finger-pointing have surfaced all around the interwebs. I dive beyond this superficial debate to examine just how our culture and sensitivities create a complex web and relationship between the mind and the brain. Continue reading “The Concussion Headache” »
David Beckhamania. Many MLS fans recall his arrival to ‘Merica – we thought, wow, MLS teams are actually paying serious salaries to a pretty good overseas player who is not retirement age!?!?! Pinch me! His first year sucked, as chronicled in The Beckham Experiment, but he ended up winning some trophies.
Now he wants to be an MLS owner. There’s just one problem: he’s set his sights on Miami. Read my thoughts, and doubts, at the Guardian. Simply click here.
Beware crocodile tears…and the tears of the Balotelli. Since arriving back in Serie A, Super Mario has a decent goal return at AC Milan. Unless, of course, you omit the penalties. Even including his spot kicks, when you look closely at the penalties, a clear pattern emerges.
And this pattern, oddly enough, may have started an ocean and a continent away. Continue reading “From Brazil to Balotelli – Has the Paradinha Been Exported?” »
The newest issue of The Classical mag just may be the raddest yet. The editors basically threw down the gauntlet to writers: can you tell a story in 500 words or less? The result was glorious. The articles are appetizer-sized but will fill your head and tummy. Continue reading “Elliott Turner & The Classical: Accept No Imitations!” »
The blogosphere and mainstream media have an uneasy relationship. On the one hand, many famous writers and bloggers have climbed the ranks by attacking their more popular peers. Bill Simmons entered the ESPN ranks thanks to a scathing critique of the ESPYs. On the other hand, invariably bloggers and mainstream media will write about the same or similar topics. Mainstream media feels the pressure to produce daily doses of news – their model still follows the paper print run cycle, even as technology has evolved. Bloggers can sometimes take a step back and look at the bigger picture.
Often, though, these competing tensions manifest themselves in odd ways. And that’s especially the case for the proverbial “English Player/Coach Said Dumb Things” news cycle. Continue reading “The Ulitmate Non-story: No English Player or Coach Says Anything Stupid!” »
As the only soccer website to have been taken over twice by SEO-geared businesses, we at Futfanatico know a thing or two about “key words” and “black hat” antics. Hardly a days goes by without some spam email asking about “content partnerships” filling our inbox. Still, cynicism cast aside, “search” can be useful. At the very least, the mass of information entering and leaving Google algorithms offer a glimpse into just what people are thinking and/or doing when they believe they’re alone, just a keyboard before them and no peering eyes.
As a website with plenty of clasico content (and Google Analytics), we’re happy to share just what folks really think/care/do/relate to the so-called “clasico.” At least online. Continue reading “An SEO Guide to the Clasico: Surprising Key Words” »
Don’t you just hate previews that tell what will happen? We all know that no human knows the future. However, we do know the past. Or at least we like to think we do. Thus, in anticipation of this weekend’s juicy clash, I’ve analyzed over a hundred past clasicos and key moments.
I have then performed addition by subtraction. I will tell you what will not happen. You can figure out the rest. Continue reading “The Real Madrid-Barcelona Clasico Preview by Subtraction” »