When researching and writing (and later “recording”) my first book, An Illustrated Guide to Soccer & Spanish, I looked closely at the history of the Spanish soccer term: chilena, which is “bicycle-kick” in English. Basically, a Spanish expat in Chile pulled off a bicycle kick near the start of the 20th century, it was reported, and the name caught fire. Still, how our society apportions credit for inventiveness kinda bugs me.
At the same time as the chilena came to be in South America, Josep Samitier starred for FC Barcelona in Spain. A continent away, he became known for his famous “lobster-kick”. What is a lobster-kick, you ask. Sadly, no video or even good still image of the lobster-kick exists. Based on a few bare-bones match reports, the move was similar to the “scorpion kick” of a certain loco goaltender for Colombia. Still, can we be sure Samitier did not invent the chilena? And what makes a kick “lobster” as opposed to “scorpion”? Continue reading “Folha Seca: The Arbitrary Importance of History” »
About a month ago, I penned a reported feature for VICE Sports about the FIFA prosecutions. Basically, I questioned the use of US resources to go after white collar criminals from other countries who, based on the legal theory of the case, only “hurt” a nonprofit that is organized in Switzerland. I came to the conclusion that the US government was only going after FIFA for (1) Publicity and (2) Money. That’s right – if you read all the available guilty pleas, those Defendants are forking over millions to the US Treasury.
About a month ago, I published a reported feature at The Guardian about youth development in the US. A few weeks later, “Billy” Parchman published another excellent article on the topic for Howler Magazine. Basically, big picture, there are major issues with 1) Focus – technical development, and 2) Access – pay to play kinda shuts the door for many people.
In the US, parents want their kids to compete but also to win. This means that young kids start to learn tactics and play six-a-side much much too young. In the long-term, nobody but coaches (and parents!) with a hard-on gives a flying fuck about your U10 youth tournament in Beaumont. It’s nice and fun to win, but, if your goal is to produce a high caliber player, you need to first work on technical ability, technical ability, and technical ability.
In 2010, an octopus stole our hearts. I speak, of course, about Pulpo Paul, the aquarium-dweller with the clairvoyant tentacles who correctly guessedpredicted foresaw the results of World Cup games. Sadly, that same year in October, Paul allegedly died. Other animals tried to fill the gap, but they were clearly imposters. The world needed Paul, not some Paul wannabe.
Yet, as is often the case, nobody ever saw the dead body of this particular celebrity. Thus, a sliver of hope remained. In a rundown motel in one of those dark and blind alleys of Las Vegas, could a room full of Elvis, Notorious, and Tupac watching cable TV also have enough space for an aquarium filled with Pulpo Paul? Celebrity-love is the strangest kind because we never know the celebrity in any meaningful way, yet they haunt our dreams and fill our waking hours with emotions.
Good evening, good sir or madam. As the foremost expert on North American celebrities who are also fans of teams in the EPL, I face a quandary. As you know, Leicester City sit atop the EPL standings to the delight of many and largely because their Italian coach throws the team pizza parties when not ordering the striker to not practice finishing. You rightly ask: if this team is successful, then why has Drake, the Canadian rapper who constantly gets unexpectedly sexually assaulted (twerked upon sans consent) in music videos, not yet taken a picture with them?
Yes, I know. Sponsored posts are icky and make me feel sick to my stomach, but that annual server fees payment fast approaches. In large part, I blame my readers for having to resort to this crap. All of you had Adblock Plus and/or don’t click enough on the banner ads. None of that is my doing.
Junito, aka the chele chulo, who you have watched on this blog grow and learn to walk and kick a ball, is on the cusp of finally getting his US passport. And we know what that means: he is only nine years old, but will be eligible for the US youth national teams and maybe someday the senior team. Junito has now lived in the US for four years (almost), speaks fluent English, and is addicted to Minecraft but still finds time for Lego Star Wars. The inside joke around these parts was that I was crafting and molding Junito to be the savior of Real Madrid, the Nica-Mexi-American Messi who would restore balance to the force.
I’ve written a few times about the infamous “p chant” that was all the rage at Mexico games. Sadly, Spanish soccer stadiums are not so different. Instead, they often appear a teeming cauldron of prejudice – this is a land where players of African lineage still have to deal with monkey chants and it is the year 2016. No, not 1916. 2016. I will never forget the dignity and grace and humor of Dani Alves when eating a banana tossed at him, or the time Samuel Eto’o made fun of the not-so-subtle prejudices of the Spanish language by saying he will correr como negro (run like a black person) – an offensive allusion to the days of slavery.
So that’s why the above video shocked me. A handful of fans at the Camp Nou shouted “Maricon” at Cristiano Ronaldo during a moment of silence for recently departed Johan Cruyff. Continue reading “Mes que un desgracia” »
Futfanatico asked unreliable correspondent GonzoBra, a former court beat reporter for a small town daily, to cover the legal dispute brewing between US Soccer and the women’s team. As per usual, his reporting was untimely, factually incorrect, and offensive. We have edited out most of the offensive parts, but left the grammatical errors because they enhance the entertainment value of this piece. If any.
When my editor Elliott cold-pitched me to write about the US Soccer vs. USWNT legal dispute, a lot of thoughts ran through my mind. First, how much cash can I milk from this cheap-ass motherfucker? Second, would I have to fly to some backwaters country like Canada? Third, like seriously how much money can I drab from this commission? Once I got satisfactory answers for the first and third question, I wasn’t really too worried about number two. It dawned on me that the legal dispute was happening here in America, so I could rely on my staple cheap-as-hell and alcoholic-as-water pilsners to keep me loaded and dangerous.
For too many years, US soccer has been on the tipping point of becoming great. As more and more Americans follow the beautiful game and ponder profound questions like “What EPL team do British Ex-Pats think I should support” or our personal favorite “Why are we firing Jurgen Klinsmann today”, some voices have been left behind. US soccer fandom as a nascent institution has the chance to be a multicultural “tossed salad” of fans, or….white people from Austin who claim to have invented (or laughably “perfected”) the breakfast taco will forever ruin it. There is no middle ground.
Thus, after months of “false dawn” advertising where Maxi and I used Twitter as part of our brilliant PC campaign and to test the waters, we have decided to record a proper podcast. Of course, this presented a myriad of important and salient issues like 1) How the fuck do you record a podcast, 2) How the fuck do you upload a podcast, and, most importantly, 3) How do you get Maxi’s deep husky voice to sound less Barry White sexy so listeners will focus on the actual content?Continue reading “Maxi and Elliott Proudly Present: The Ben in Lasers Podcast” »