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” »

The Most Sincere Manchester United Story this Transfer Window

This past summer, Real Madrid fans were dumbstruck when Sergio Ramos said he wanted to play for Manchester United. At least the stupid ones were. You see, Sergio Ramos was in the middle of contract negotiations with Florentino Perez. Sergio has won every trophy imaginable, but here’s the dilemma: he is very close to 30 and in a few years may lose his pace. From the club’s perspective, a long-term deal and a pay raise were not warranted because his future production will probably decline. From the player’s perspective, his peak years are 28-32 and he has been a loyal (and successful) servant.

Thus, Sergio went public and said he wanted a move to Manchester United. Predictably, no such move materialized and instead he got a beefy new contract. Continue reading “The Most Sincere Manchester United Story this Transfer Window” »

Tactics Talk: Pellegrini’s Positional Dilemma for Sterling

What is it about City? Andy Johnson. Shaun Wright-Phillips. Jimmy Milner. The Eastlands is where promising English wingers go to collect paychecks and place their development in stasis. Still, hope, or rather “self-delusion”, springs eternal. This past summer Raheem Sterling raised a fuss, called in sick, and forced his move to Manchester City. Still, key questions remain unanswered.

For a player who has never scored more than ten goals in a season, City paid over thirty million pounds. That’s a hefty price tag. Can Sterling live up to it? Unlike Johnson, SWP, and Milner, Sterling has at least performed pretty well for England and shown a great soccer brain to match his dazzling speed. Still, a lot will depend on Chilsean coach Manuel Pellegrini. We are to ask and analyze: where will Raheem fit in at Pellegrini’s 4-2-2-2? Continue reading “Tactics Talk: Pellegrini’s Positional Dilemma for Sterling” »

Power Ranking & Journo Grades for Quintessential American Essays on “How to Pick Your EPL Club”

One of the beauties of covering the same sport for several years is learning to read the subtle changes in the tides of said sport. Indisputably, July is normally low tide for footy. Gold Cups are played. Rich English clubs go on preseason tours in America and Asia, where said clubs field reserve teams for entire halves and charge you over $50 for parking.

Then, after Mexico wins the Gold Cup final, we enter August, high tide. Previews proliferate. Predictions are predicted. Games get played. Most importantly, lots of American sports columnists invite you, the American and therefore assuredly “novice” soccer fan, to choose and root for an English Premier League Club.

Frustratingly, this mass of articles lacks a single, simple formula. Thus, using a secret algorithm I gleaned from reading dozens of player grade and power ranking “articles”, I have put this together. Enjoy. Continue reading “Power Ranking & Journo Grades for Quintessential American Essays on “How to Pick Your EPL Club”” »

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” »

Q & A: Terrible Human Being Scores Goals, Continues to be Terrible Human Being

Futfanatico is thrilled to announce this exclusive interview with a terrible person who scores goals for your favorite European soccer club, Barcentus CF. We are incredibly grateful to Carlos Luis Suavez’s PR folks for arranging this interview and hope he can finally dispel the rumors contrary to his being a terrible human being who scores goals.

Q: Carlos Luis Suavez, what has life been like on the Continent since your big summer move?

A: Coming to a big club like Barcentus CF has been a dream come true – I couldn’t make this up! Playing with stars like Massi and Reymar is fantastic – training with them everyday, you see just how good they are and they make you better and want to be even better.
Continue reading “Q & A: Terrible Human Being Scores Goals, Continues to be Terrible Human Being” »

SoccErotica: the Rise and Hot Heat of “Team Touch Zones”

Hello again, dearest, beloved querido reader. Remember a few months ago this steamy post where I used the second person to include you in on some scintillating writing about root-and-branch analyses? English clubs were stinking up the Champions League, so you and I, hands firmly clasped, strolled about and ruminated (hint hint) as to why that was. We embraced, our breaths so close as to become one, and concluded the problem was the root which needed to be changed.

Now, I’m happy to say, I’m back for sloppy seconds. Why? Because a new soccer analytic has totally gotten the soccer world all steamy: “team touch zones.” Continue reading “SoccErotica: the Rise and Hot Heat of “Team Touch Zones”” »

Top Secret Meeting of the Liverpool FC Transfer Committee

In the darkest of places, in an abandoned mine well below the depths of Moria, in a hole so deep you can hear the echoes from past Chinese New Year celebrations, lurks the cave…and the “committee.” Kinda. In truth, the cave is not a cave, but rather a series of caves, a maze of blackness so black it sucks in light, chews it up, and doesn’t bother to spit it out. If you’ve ever been lost in an IKEA around closing time, you know the full scale of absolute terror felt in a seemingly never ending labyrinth. You could fit at least two and a half IKEAs in this cave complex, if not 3.

And In this vast expanse of cold air, stalagmites, stalactites, mineral water and leather chairs, a table sits. And at this table sits the committee. Continue reading “Top Secret Meeting of the Liverpool FC Transfer Committee” »

Affable Alexi Lalas Refuses to Badmouth US Soccer Group Whose Aim is His Imminent Destruction

Alexi Lalas has long been the “big tent” pundit of soccer in the United States. Whether it’s getting in a twitter spat with a US national team player or defending a less-than-popular idealist reformer, Alexi has taken the ACLU First Amendment position that “all speech is good speech.” At least if that speech is about soccer. For Alexi, the tent of US soccer is big enough for different opinions and stronger for encouraging robust debate and dissent.

However, one new US soccer group just may have tested his resolve. Continue reading “Affable Alexi Lalas Refuses to Badmouth US Soccer Group Whose Aim is His Imminent Destruction” »

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” »