Jurgen, Interrupted

Back in October 2012, I noted a pretty common observation for the Guardian: US fans largely disliked Jurgen Klinsmann. In a sense, his early public statements about playing proactive soccer set unrealistic expectations given both the playing pool and his own tactical abilities. However, you never get a coaching job by saying “I will play drab, counterattacking football with no striker” unless you are Jose Mourinho. What’s so funny is that in every other country, a large segment of fans always actively dislike their coach. The US has been an exception the past several years because up until now most US fans were also fans of MLS and the USMNT coaches came from MLS. They were “our guys” so we knew their limits, but also their positives.

This post is not a subtle “save Jurgen” or “fire Jurgen” post, but rather another look at big picture issues. And there are plenty. Continue reading “Jurgen, Interrupted” »

Who’s to BLAME for the lack of Rooney Rule in the EPL?

The Guardian has reported that the Premier League has refused to adopt even a voluntary version of the NFL’s so-called “Rooney Rule”, whereby at least one minority candidate must be interviewed for every open coaching position. This is sad because talented and smart guys like Clarence Seedorf often get overlooked or pushed out the door too early to make way for the Pippo Inzaghis of the world.

One thing that also bugs me about this non-decision, though, is the circular justification. But I’m also annoyed by a certain acronym used in this debate. Continue reading “Who’s to BLAME for the lack of Rooney Rule in the EPL?” »


In case you have been living on a remote island with no internet connection or working phones, I have a rude piece of news for you: ESPN is shuttering Grantland, the Bill Simmons’ sports and pop culture site. This royally sucks for the people involved and for readers, even if after BS left ESPN for HBO some might have seen this coming. Of course, lots of sites are doing post-mortems on the “state of media.”

Here’s an irony: I wrote an article back in 2011 at TheScore’s FootyBlog on some kinda new sites, including The Classical, Grantland, and the kinda new Blizzard football magazine based in the UK. Where is that article? A few years ago, TheScore canned the FootyBlog, deleted the content, fired lots of people, and allegedly is now trying to adapt to short-form mobile media consumption. Since that article, other things have changed. The Classical is still a great launching pad for young writers, but a good chunk of the original cast have defected to better remunerated gigs elsewhere.

So, ahem, what the fuck is up? Allow me to tell you what the fuck is up. Continue reading “Grantlandia” »

Chelsea’s King in Yellow

The other day I was reading The King in Yellow, a collection of macabre short stories, and thought of Chelsea Football Club. In The King in Yellow, the early stories revolve around a mythical and fatal play. Any individual who dares to read said play dies by Act II.

And this brought to mind Mourinho’s Act III as Blues manager. Continue reading “Chelsea’s King in Yellow” »

Reflections on Rafa’s Early Tenure at Real Madrid

I’ve written about Rafa Benitez for Squawka a few times. First, I noted that Rafa loves to rotate players wherever he goes. I still have saved the angry tweets of LFC fans wondering why Javier Mascherano wasn’t starting a league game vs. a bottom-feeder. I also wrote about Rafa’s preference for the 4-4-2 and how Ronaldo fits into the system.

Now that Rafa has had a few months as coach, it’s time to reflect on the team. Continue reading “Reflections on Rafa’s Early Tenure at Real Madrid” »

The True Conundrum of US Soccer

The US lost to Mexico, and to many American fans it hurts. I get this. After we under-performed at the recent Gold Cup, fans see a string of bad results. They want to hold either the coach or the coach’s boss accountable. I also get that.  Right now, the debate has nicely diverged into two camps: those who blame the Coach, and those who blame the players. For the second group, they claim the US lacks elite players who are in-form and simply couldn’t stack up with Mexico’s players. On the US team, a single player, Fabian Johnson, plays on a Champions League team. Conversely, Mexico’s roster was stacked with players on teams that regularly qualify for Europe’s top competition.

I don’t want to regress into this debate, though. I also don’t care for the “compared to Bradley” line of historical revisionism that also includes a nice bit of cherry-picking. Let’s all take a breath at look at the big picture. Continue reading “The True Conundrum of US Soccer” »

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” »