Friday, November 16, 2007

Just a video link

I know I haven't been updating at all, but Law School is hell and I don't have much to say.

Anyways, here's a link to my Cobi Jones video.



Thursday, July 19, 2007

Galaxy Jersey Change

Well I haven't been posing again, and it has not been entirely because of work, although that has contributed. Nearly a year after my entire fellow staff quit, they've finally hired a new person to help me out which is nice, but the real reason for my lack of posts has been that I haven't honestly seen a need.

Consider me the Gustave Flaubert of the American Soccer Blogosphere. I just don't see the need to make frequent posts on subjects that others have covered already (and usually better than I could.) Why bother commenting on the Beckham story when it's been covered backwards, forwards, sideways and widdershins? Or comment on the LA Galaxy changing their jerseys when Luis Bueno has said it better than I ever could.

I am much more comfortable writing an opinion about a subject that brings a new angle. I liked very much contributing to the Blog Carnivals, where everyone wrote on the same subject.

But anyways, that said, I am going to comment on the Galaxy Jersey situation. I dislike the change. But not because I feel like LA has built some kind of tradition on the current look. That look has hardly been around long or been the only one for the Galaxy. Let me show you the history of the LA Galaxy jersey. Below are pictures of most of the plethora of jerseys that the Galaxy have worn. I could go to the bother of finding different players for each jersey, but I will go with the man who has always been the Galaxy's poster boy, Cobi Jones*.


1996 second half & First Half '97:

1997 Second Half:



2003-2007 pre-Beckham

And now the New Look with the New Poster Boy:

No, I dislike the change because I *like* the 2003-2007 jerseys better aesthetically. Nothing more "moral" or "principled" than that.

*I find it interesting that at the MLS jersey unveiling, Cobi was not there for the Galaxy. That honor fell to El Tanque. My god they're ugly. And I own 4/10.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Bradley Decision

So big bad Bob has been named head coach, and the opinions are flowing in. Some for, some against.

Count me in the ‘for’ camp, but not without reservation.

If you look back several months (nearly a year now) at this blog, you’ll see that I have never been sold on the international (i.e. non-US) coach being undoubtedly better. Yes, it would be nice to have a coach with international experience, but there honestly aren’t that many, and of the candidates that were suggested (Quieroz, Houllier, Klinsmann and Pekerman) which has actually had much success in their international time?

Houllier’s primary accomplishment was to fail to qualify France for USA 94.

Klinsmann did well with Germany in 2006, but that’s hardly a lot of background to fall back upon. His experience prior to that was... well none. On top of that, he’s admitted to basing a lot of his style on what he learned from Bruce Arena (what do the people who claim Bradley is an Arena clone have to say to that??)

Pekerman’s history is mostly with talented Argentine youth squads. Yeah, US fans like their youth players, but they’re hardly D'Alessandro, Saviola, Aimar, Cambiasso, Placente, Riquelme or Walter Samuel, the players he had such success with. His full international experience is, like Klinsmann’s only from 2006 where admittedly Argentina did well (although they only squeaked by a weak Mexican side.)

And don’t even get me started on Quieroz. I’ll defer to Brucio on that one.

Some have argued that if the Bradley hiring doesn’t work out, we can appoint another coach before the 2010 World Cup. (Even as early as 18 months from now in late 2008.) I have to say that although it is a dangerous road to contemplate, it’s not a bad idea. Bob should be able to qualify the US for the World Cup. With CONCACAF given 3.5 spots, it really shouldn’t be much of a doubt. After that, we can reassess. And I think that’s the right time to do so.

Several countries have done this. Anyone care to look into when Jose Pekerman was appointed head coach of Argentina? Halfway through qualification for 2006 (and the Argies weren’t even struggling—Bielsa resigned surprisingly.) I think that 2009 is the time to bring in the experienced, short-term, mercenrary coach. That’s when it is time for Guus Hiddink or whoever. He’s not going to stick around anywhere for any length of time, as evidenced by his short stays in PSV, Korea, Australia etc. I wonder what the odds are on his staying in Russia after the UEFA Championships?

I’ve argued for some time that what we need is someone who can provide stability to our program in the years between World Cups. Bradley knows enough about the American player to develop young talent (Beasely, Bornstein, Wolff) and bring along players who are capable but underperforming (Donovan, Razov) and seems to be able to blend youth and experience (Kubic, Novak.) He is a fine person to run the team and develop our players. If he’s the man in 2010, I expect the US to do well. If he’s not, I expect that the US will be looking for someone to do as good a job as him in 2011.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Soccer vs. Baseball

I am a nerd. I’m not ashamed of it. In fact for much of my life I wore it as a badge of honor. But don’t let me stray too far from the point. The point is I was a many kinds of a nerd, and the one thing that seems to go along with each form of nerddom is segmentation. First, I couldn’t be a fan of Star Trek and Star Wars at the same time without arguing which was better. I couldn’t be a fan of Babylon 5 (in my opinion one of the best shows ever on television) because it was far too similar (which it wasn’t) to Deep Space Nine, which was on at the same time. I couldn’t do Math League, Go Club and Mock Trial at the same time. Okay, maybe I could but I wanted to have some afternoons to myself.

What the hell does that have to do with anything? I hear you cry. Well, it seems to me that people are continuously arguing about soccer vs. baseball. While there are obvious reasons for this—the “National Pastime” is the major summer sport in the US, which sets up a direct opposition to MLS. There seem to be constant arguments in places like BigSoccer where people try to argue that baseball is the more boring sport, since boredom is on of the most common complaints leveled against soccer in this country.

Well I’m here to say that it is time to stop. I like baseball. I tried for years not to; to be a good soccer fan and show nothing but disdain for most American sports with their stop-start action and constant commercial breaks. While those things still annoy me, (I’ve found that baseball on a TiVo is a wonderful thing) they don’t take away from the feeling of excitement when my beloved Twins are doing well. Honestly, I wasn’t as interested with the team when we were forced to watch the likes of Marty Cordova and Denny Hocking. Who could be? But of course, the Twins aren’t exactly lighting up the league this year either, but I’ve say through extra innings losses to the Indians and pretty damn awful performances to the Royals this year.

The newest MLS commercials are a good example of what I’m driving at here. They take sports that we all know and presumably the general population loves, like baseball, football and basketball and points out the similar features in soccer – “You’re already a fan, you just don’t know it” is the tag.

Now, I’m going to point out something that seems obvious, but I want set as a premise. I go to games to watch the games. I know it seems obvious, but it seems to me that many or most people do not. For example, the last Twins game I went to was a student ID discount night (so the upper deck was about twice as full as the lower deck, but I digress.) The masses of people in the ‘dome were cheering and booing at random times that had nothing to do with the game itself. I’d become distracted from the game and look to see what was going on—a beach ball being confiscated by security. A fight in section 245. A streaker (well maybe not.) Even more than that, sitting on the end of a row, I lost count of the number of times I had to get up to let people out of the row by the fourth inning (fifteen by then.) These people aren’t there to watch the game, they’re there because it’s a place to be. To meet with people and talk, and spent $7 on a shitty beer. The game itself is immaterial; it’s just a byproduct of the mingling event.

I think this is part of what turned me off on the game. I don’t like paying money to do something and then not do what I’ve paid for the privilege of doing. But that is the difference between the person who is a ‘sports fan’ and a person who is a fan of the game. I would argue that the vast majority of the hard-core soccer fans in this country are fans of the game. They like to watch the game, and that is where the disconnect is happening with the casual sports fan.

A casual fan of baseball can sit in the upper deck, flirting with the drunk 19 year old college freshman with her fake ID sitting next to him and still manage to cheer at the appropriate time because of the nature of baseball. There is often music or an announcement. In soccer, it’s harder to cheer at appropriate times if you’re not paying attention. There is no music played (hopefully) for a good defensive tackle or header back to your goalkeeper. It takes more to be an active fan at a soccer game.

But I still enjoy watching the game of baseball. There is skill and athleticism involved, and once you learn the rules, it’s quite easy to get drawn into the strategy. No rule is more complicated than the offsides rule, so don’t be intimidated. Even the much hyped infield fly rule is pretty easy when you start to think about it.

So stop bashing one sport just because you love another. Don’t be a soccer geek, be a fan.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Explanation again....

So I figured I'd let you all know why I haven't been posting at all. Again.

Basically, my boss quit.

Then my senior coworker quit.

We were a deparment of three. Now it's just me.

And I don't know jack shit.

So I'm working about 60 hours a week as well as taking a class, so I don't have enough time to READ soccer blogs, let alone write one. I apologize and hope to be back up and running when this whole thing blows over.

Love and Kisses

Turkish Zath

Friday, August 18, 2006

Face it, die hards, the USOC *is* just an exhibition.

The fact of the matter is that Americans will never understand the importance of the US Open Cup. The way that American sports are set up with a meaningless regular season leading up to a play-off cup championship is not going to change, and as long as it’s there, there will never be a meaningful second cup tournament in the US.

Sure, we could run MLS like that. We could eliminate the playoffs and simply have a single table and a separate cup, but as long as MLS strives to be the ‘fifth major,’ it can’t just stroll to the beat of a different drum. The public at large will not accept it, or will not make the effort to understand it.

It would be nice, but I feel as long as both the USL and MLS have a play-off format, the average fan will not value the US Open Cup. The die-hards who watch the foreign leagues and also the US leagues get it, but they are not the majority, and here is the important fact to note: THEY NEVER WILL BE.

When soccer makes it in this country, it won’t be because the average sports fan is watching the English Premier League or Serie A or the Primiera Division. It will be when the average sports fan watches MLS and the World Cup and roots for the USA at the World Cup. When the trips that I make to the local USL team mean dealing with traffic and paying for parking. When a Revolution game means traffic almost as bad as a Patriots game. That’s when

At that point, maybe the USSF could consider making a switch to a ‘pure’ league championship. However the way in which American sports are marketed practically require an ultimate SUPER MEGA ULTRA Bowl where one team wins and another loses. The awarding of a CONCACAF Champions cup place to the MLS regular season champions is a very big step in the right direction, but as long as MLS Cup exists, the US Open cup will remain an afterthought.

And is that really such a bad thing? In reality, the US soccer market is dreadfully fractured. People in different areas work at cross-purposes all the time in ways that delay the growth of the game as a spectator sport. The US Open Cup as it currently stands is a decent tool to bring MLS teams to smaller markets every now and then. It gives an opportunity to gauge the viability of a market in some ways as well.

Beyond that, the US Open Cup will just have to live in continued obscurity until such a point as the underlying format of US Soccer (or even US sports in general) changes. Whether that would ever happen is another question, but certainly one that won’t be answered for a good 20 years.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Announcing Carnival Four

MySoccerBlog has been chosen by the incredibly impartial committee to host The fourth Carnival.

The host has chosen the US Open Cup as a topic.

Get your browsers over there and write, dammit!