Safe Spaces?

For the past few years, writing (and writing about soccer) has been a privilege. P-R-I-V-E-L-E-G-E. I am a college-educated professional who works a 9-5 and has Saturdays and Sundays off. Thanks to this free time and a computer and internet connection at home, I was able to blog with very vague dreams of financial remuneration. The point was writing. I enjoyed writing. I also liked interacting with a handful of you in the comments. Eventually, these funny people called “editors” started to contact me about writing for money. Of course, I also cold-pitched hard, spreading a wide net. But that’s besides the point. I had the money and time to write at home for free for a few years, then started to get paid.

However, one thing is missing from that narrative. I’m also a man. Continue reading “Safe Spaces?” »

United vs. Southampton: Martial Matters

On deadline day, Manchester United paid a French club tens of millions of euros for a teenager that Wayne Rooney had never heard of. In fact, the kid had yet to receive a cap for the French national team. Now, after three whole games, the world sings his praises.

His name: Anthony Martial. But why so much euphoria? And can it last? Continue reading “United vs. Southampton: Martial Matters” »

The Hilarious “Resultology” of EPL Clubs in Europe

Resultology, the term and school of thought, is the immediate overreaction to results of EPL clubs on any particular matchday in a European competition. Of course, resultology exists in all walks of life and all parts of futbol and sports. It is a branch of Utilitarian analysis whereby we focus on results, and then work our way backwards to an explanation. Like all logic, resultology strives to use reason to make sense of the universe.

Here’s the problem: sometimes shit just happens. Continue reading “The Hilarious “Resultology” of EPL Clubs in Europe” »

This Twisted, Convoluted World of Fandom

I am Mexican-American. This means I root for American and Mexican players, especially the studs that go to Europe. Last year, I was happy to see Andres Guardado embrace a holding midfield role at PSV Eindhoven and win a league title. Then, when Hector Moreno signed for them, I became elated. If PSV was good for Andres (and DeMarcus Beasley years ago), maybe Moreno could do well there.

Then PSV played Manchester United in the Champions League, an English club team I’ve adored since Dwight York and Andy Cole terrorized defenses. What’s a fan to do? Continue reading “This Twisted, Convoluted World of Fandom” »

The Not Surprising Lack of Solidarity in US Soccer

Five percent. Look like a big number? It’s not. When you go out to eat, you probably tip double or even quadruple that figure. However, US Soccer and MLS balk at that number. What is that number? It’s the nominally low part of any transfer fee that should be paid to any of the player’s prior youth clubs (actually a smaller percentage based on years the player was at the club). For example, Bastian Schweinsteiger recently went from Bayern to United for about nine million euros. One of his old clubs is set to get 38,000 euros.

This is not an astronomical figure. Which is why it’s so funny MLS and US Soccer have colluded to never pay it ever. Continue reading “The Not Surprising Lack of Solidarity in US Soccer” »

How many MLS players would be better off as Jermain Defoe’s Personal Assistant?

Last week, the internet was abuzz with a story. The story of Jermain Defoe and his need for help. On a “seeking a secretary” website, Monseur Defoe ran an ad looking for a personal assistant. This person would take care of his numerous houses, probably do some grocery shopping, and maybe even so do some social media work. Who knows? Lots of folks in Hollywood have personal assistants, and my friends who work/worked in this cottage industry say it’s kinda fun. You’re basically a grown adult’s mom, but minus the authority.

Here’s my cynical question: in the ad, Defoe offered to pay 60,000 pounds per year, roughly $120,000 per year. How many MLS players should quit soccer, fly to Sunderland, and start mowing the laws of Defoe’s numerous estates? Continue reading “How many MLS players would be better off as Jermain Defoe’s Personal Assistant?” »

Mourinho, Enrique, and the Sophomore Slump

In the world of music, critics often lament a thing called “the sophomore slump.” Basically, a new band with a unique sounds enters the fray, generally kicks ass, and launches a debut album that blows our hair back Sir Alex-at-halftime style. Then comes the problem. The second album. Almost inevitably, with expectations lifted, novelty not a factor, and initial creative juices maxed out, the follow-up album passes muster but does not light our hearts aflame.

In soccer, I’ve been thinking a lot about the hardest season for a manager. No, not after a relegation dogfight. Rather, I speak of the one following a major trophy haul. And Jose Mourinho and Luis Enrique have their work cut out for them. Continue reading “Mourinho, Enrique, and the Sophomore Slump” »

Manchester United and the Discourse of Shadows

During the title-winning season of Sir Alex Ferguson, commentators used the phrase “smash-and-grab” with abandon. Basically, Manchester United would go to an away game, play so so, grab a goal on a counter, and hang on for the win. Oftentimes, these victories owed more to luck (and goalposts) than any tactical acumen or physical superiority. Yes, one could say that United benefited from superior finishing, but even that’s a stretch when the chances created stat is so skewed.

Yet instead of saying “luck” or “fortune”, these crucial away wins were a “smash and grab.” So what about LVG’s team? Continue reading “Manchester United and the Discourse of Shadows” »

The Premier League Season Preview: Disabled Fans Will Be Discriminated Against

I have only one prediction for this year’s English Premier League. No, I will not toss a dart between City and Chelsky. No, I will not boldly predict another Champions League qualification-Cup double for Arsenal. Rather, my sole prediction is this: if you are a disabled fan who wants to attend a match in person, you will probably be discriminated against.

And that’s both sad and ironic. Continue reading “The Premier League Season Preview: Disabled Fans Will Be Discriminated Against” »

The USMNT Gold Cup Recap: Red White & Blue’d

The US national team finished 4th place at the Gold Cup, the regional championships for CONCACAF. This is pretty sad. However, what’s more irksome is the prevalence of circular logic and ad hominem attack in the classic debate on the line between the responsibility of a coach as compared to players.

Allow me to elucidate. Continue reading “The USMNT Gold Cup Recap: Red White & Blue’d” »