Ramblings of a Soccer Junky
Saturday, July 22, 2006
  Timing is everything

So, we’ve got another MLS All-Star game coming up. I’ve stated my opinion on the All-Star game numerous times. Beyond giving sponsors something to tout, it really does nothing. However, the MLS bosses still feel the need to have one so we’ll be watching (well, those how find the time to watch) a bunch of MLS players thrown together to play one of the best teams money can buy in two weeks. Yawn.

Thing is, I just realized that some players named to the All-Star team won’t be available because there’s an MLS game schedule the next day!!! C’mon now. As silly as the All-Star game is, having an MLS game scheduled the next day is just astonishing. Now, I’m sure it’s wasn’t a scheduling SNAFU but an issue of stadium availability—that is the most common excuse we hear about scheduling. But surly there was a Wednesday night the match could have been played.

Probably not. After all, these are the same decision makers who refuse to take time off for International matches and even the World Cup. Why should they take time off during the season to make their best players available for what they consider to be a showcase match?

Yet they still don’t understand why people aren’t showing up and filling stadiums on a regular basis. Mmmm….here’s a theory I’ve been throwing out for about 11+ years, put the best XI you can on the pitch every week regardless of where they are from or what they’ve done in the past and people will start to pay attention. Obviously playing matches at times when the best players aren’t available doesn’t follow my theory.

One hour til Columbus-LA. Guess I’d better grab a beer, sandwich and find the remote (14-month-old lil PZ now finds it fun to take daddy’s remote and put it somewhere…ah the joys of fatherhood) so I can see what progress Yallop’s made this week

Thursday, July 20, 2006
  Just a few thoughts for now

SO, while we were all focused on the events in Germany, MLS decided to keep playing…who knew??!! Actually, I knew. But let’s face it, who has that much time? 4 years ago I gave up sleep to watch all the World Cup matches and all the Galaxy matches. This time around, well I watched some of the Galaxy matches but really, I didn’t pay much attention. Besides, even though the results are going better, the team still lacks creativity. There’s no one in the middle of the park who can switch things up. You’d think once they tried the same thing over and over for the first 60 minutes without success, they’d try something different…but they don’t. Am I the only LA fan who still misses Cienfuegos?

Hey, Chivas lost to an amateur team!!! Roma FC of Dallas (ok, this using Euro names is really starting to get silly) are a USASA. Not even PDL but USASA. OK, so it went to penalties and Ratface (sorry, Razov…nope, still don’t care for the jerk) got sent off. Why the heck isn’t this stuff played up more? I’m guessing fear of making the product (MLS) seem poor. Yet the media love the Cinderella stories during March Madness. Someone hasta have an answer here.

St Louis is finally a serious candidate for an expansion team…or even a relocated RSL side. I’ve been watching the World Cup so this story has kinda blindsided me. First, I was under the impression that RSL were pretty stable and local communities were falling all over themselves to have a stadium in their backyard. I’m sure they were as long as money was coming from somewhere else. Now, help me out here with RSL. Some guy who used to be GM for an NBA team bought an expansion MLS team. The team seemed to be doing very well. The local media loves the team—not too common for a team in this league. And there seemed to be no stopping a new stadium. Oops. Guess the stadium talk was a bit premature. Chances are it’s all just positioning to make something happen…but Real Saint Louis sounds about as silly as Real Salt Lake. This Euro naming has gone too far…but I’ll save that for another day.

Speaking of moving. Things are starting to look up for the Smurf…sorry Quake fans. LA-SJ will still be a better rivalry than the LA Derby because it’s got history. Not sure how it’ll translate with an entirely new cast of players and the loss of at least a season. But the fans still hate each other. That’s got to count for something.

So, Bruce Arena is not in charge at Red Bull. Call me when they have a decent team.

So, prior to the season, I had a post about LA’s Curse of the # 9 Shirt. Well, guess what. Memo is now gone as well. Frank Yallop has already managed to free up $100k in wasted salary. He’s already out performing Steve Sampson.

Yallop has made a couple other moves that I’m not so sure about. Particularly Saragosa’s move to Dallas. But I’ll give Frank the benefit of doubt here for now. Let’s see who he brings in. Probably a bunch of U-21 Canadians.

Let me see now. Drop Landon back to the midfield and have Herc play along side…Borgetti? I actually like that idea.

Friday, July 07, 2006
  And now...the end is near...
I usually try and avoid this kind of debate about why the US doesn't embrace the sport of soccer. The thing is I'm not sure the sport isn't being embraced.

I can still remember having to hunt for any coverage of the Cup in ’90. Yeah, I got to see all the games I most wanted to see that summer. But it wasn’t easy. When the US played Italy that summer the stadium in Rome was packed with Italian fans. When the showed the small contingent of US fans, it was a group of about 20 people who looked like they could have been the players’ parents. Fast forward to this summer when the US played Italy at the same stage, the stadium was packed with US fans. You could clearly hear the fans from this side of the Atlantic getting behind their team. In addition, ESPN has really given the competition a great deal of coverage. Yeah, it’s not been without complaints, but overall, the coverage is light years ahead of what we saw just 16 years ago.

Back to my original point, is the US embracing the sport. Well, it depends on what you mean by embrace. The 30 or 40 something crowd probably will never give the sport and the World Cup a second look…old habits etc. However, take a look at what demographic was spending their hard earned…err Financial Aid Checks on a trip to Germany this summer. It’s the 18-30 crowd. Those are mostly college age Americans cheering on the team. Think about it, a 20-year-old college student today was only 9 when MLS first started. He/She would have been 7 when the World Cup took place over here. All through their youth they’ve had MLS, EPL, Serie A, La Liga, Bundesliga and several other leagues to watch every week on Fox Soccer Channel, GolTV and ESPN. Even though traditional media thumbs its collective noses at the sport, the kids today don’t really remember a time they didn’t have access to the internet and an infinite about of soccer coverage.

No, Sunday’s World Cup Final won’t see they type of Unofficial Holiday status the Super Bowl gets in this country…but it’s getting closer all the time. Look how far things have come in 16 years…at this pace, where will the sport be in another 16 years?
An American who fell in love with soccer while living in Europe.

Location: Hoosierville, IN, United States
August 2004 / September 2004 / October 2004 / April 2005 / May 2005 / June 2005 / July 2005 / August 2005 / September 2005 / October 2005 / November 2005 / February 2006 / March 2006 / April 2006 / May 2006 / June 2006 / July 2006 / August 2006 / September 2006 / October 2006 / November 2006 / December 2006 / January 2007 / February 2007 / March 2007 / April 2007 / May 2007 / June 2007 / July 2007 / August 2007 / September 2007 / October 2007 /

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