The Best Last Names in the EPL

What’s in a name? Would a rose by any other name smell as sweet, as Shakespeare asked? Maybe. But maybe not. Names and words and language are important. They give structure to our thoughts, dreams, hopes, and values. When you learn to speak a second language and start to dream in it, you can float about and feel emancipated. A whole new world opens up for you.

Which is why I wrote this post about last names. Because they matter. And there are some amazing ones in the EPL. Continue reading “The Best Last Names in the EPL” »

A Lament for the Stillborn Transfer Rumors Now Lost to Purgatory

In all religions that promise either eternal bliss or damnation based on an evaluation of a human’s life, babies pose a problem. Namely, babies sometimes die before they can really do anything great or super bad. Thus, do babies automatically get shipped off to Heaven? Do they frollick in super dope cribs while angels hover above on clouds and sprinkle the softest talcum imaginable? In the Catholic faith, most babes go to purgatory, a land between heaven and hell. With any luck and a few hundred prayers from below, many eventually gain admission through St. Peter’s gate.

But what about stillborn ideas? What about concepts that linger in the air but then disappear? I’ve complained about transfer rumors with an air of inevitability before. However, just as sad is the transfer rumor snatched from our grasp at the last minute. Continue reading “A Lament for the Stillborn Transfer Rumors Now Lost to Purgatory” »

Futfanatico Writers Present the Forgotten Soccer Story Nobody Can Recall

Remember that really good player from an obscure South American league who absolutely dominated in the 1970′s? Or that amazing amateur team from the New York Hungarian immigrant league in the 1930′s? They went on a tour of Europe or something and picked up some big scalps from top teams. Me too. We both remember this because something that is only remembered by a few is not really “forgotten” per se. Rather, it’s just often overlooked. However, nobody writes a headline with “often overlooked” or “remembered by a few.”

In order to correct this injustice, we are Futfanatico present the first ever, 100% “forgotten” story in the history of soccer journalism. Continue reading “Futfanatico Writers Present the Forgotten Soccer Story Nobody Can Recall” »

SoccErotica: Sensible SportsWriter Feeds You Steamy Takes

Oh, hello again. You didn’t forget me, did you? After our exhausting adventure with team touch zones, I knew you’d be fatigued. But now you’ve had your chance to rest, to catch a breath, to relax those tense tense muscles. Now that the English Premiership has swung back into action, you and I need to get those juices flowing.

Just close your eyes and open wide. Continue reading “SoccErotica: Sensible SportsWriter Feeds You Steamy Takes” »

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” »

ESPNFC Re-activates Transfer Speculation

I’m admittedly not a big fan of transfer rumors. During most silly seasons (the winter and summer), I prefer napping to blogging about soccer. In a recent Bleacher Report article, a journalist describes his methodical process in trying to pin down, unearth, and then break a soccer transfer. They key appears to be building contacts with agents, players, and clubs (“sources” in journalism) but then keeping your mouth shut until the last possible minute. As Balague notes, when a transfer does happen, it can occur in breathtaking speed.

But that’s different from “transfer speculation”, the well-known practice of tossing big clubs and big player names into the same article and basically daydreaming. Still, transfer speculation is an art-form into itself. I’ve articulated a few rules for said craft, and have a nice example courtesy of ESPNFC. Continue reading “ESPNFC Re-activates Transfer Speculation” »

Landon Donovan’s Omission & a Series of Increasingly Bizarre Analogies

Landon Donovan is not going to the World Cup. As taking a sabbatical and playing a bit role in qualifying, the US coach, Jurgen Klinsmann, has decided the all-time leading goalscorer is past it. Rather, to use Klinsmann’s own terms, there are players who are a little bit ahead of him at the moment.

That’s fine. Players age. Players get replaced by younger players. However, nobody has privy, insider information to Jurgen’s thought process. Instead, the soccerverse is polluted by analogies to past player omissions. Some say that the call is like when Jurgen left a certain Kuranyi striker off the German squad in 2006. Others recall when Pep Guardiola shipped off an aging and uninspired Ronaldinho upon arriving at FC Barcelona.

These analogies and comparisons are fine – they are the bread and butter of soccer writing. But they also have a clearly defined limit. They are a bit, shall we say, yawnable. Thus, here are some analogies to break the bubble, to help you cope with Landon playing in MLS, not Brazil.
Continue reading “Landon Donovan’s Omission & a Series of Increasingly Bizarre Analogies” »

American Soccer’s Very Own Recognitions

Lo and behold, the NYTimes relocated/rebranded the Goal Blog but soccer popped up in the Style Section. The general theme was this: the young and hip urban class of New York has embraced soccer (albeit not MLS). This group of childless rapscallions flocks to bars or “pubs” on Saturday mornings to don scarves, drink overpriced imported beer, eat a warm British breakfast, and/or maybe watch grown men kick a ball on TV. Predictably, the super super trendy have backlashed. Why?

Because nobody hates hipsters more than other hipsters. Sadly, the same is probably true of soccer fans in the states. Still, what most intrigues me about this debate is the reality vs. perception of New York City. Luckily, the second part of William Gaddis’ novel The Recognitions also grapples with this slippery concept. And provides some guideposts. Continue reading “American Soccer’s Very Own Recognitions” »