About D.J. Switzer

Soccer player, writer, fan, podcaster and enthusiast... in no particular order. Writing from an American footie fan's perspective at www.wrongsideofthepond.com from Cincinnati, USA.

WSOTP pod: this is not a dos a cero

WSOTP Podcast - This is NOT a Dos A Cero

This past weekend had it all: an Arsenal-United smackdown, a five-goal masterclass from Sergio Agüero, yet another Chelsea trip up, one manager quitting despite a positive result, and another manager losing his job after a somewhat positive result. Oh yeah, and there was USA-Mexico roster release that’s inspiring loads of questions of yet another manager, and MLS playoffs creeping up on us. You listeners also piled on the questions/topics enough to warrant a mini-mailbag. And all of that comes on top of our weekly Fantasy UpdateLeague 2 Watch and Winners & Wankers segments.

Whether you have new questions/topics for us next week, or if you want to contribute to the show for the first time, hit us up via the social media links at the bottom of the page or drop an email to contact@wrongsideofthepond.com. And don’t forget to subscribe to automatically receive the newest podcast each Tuesday.

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pic of the week 9/28-9/4


Carragher and Henry react to Rodger's Firing

This week’s Pic of the Week not only captured a moment in time when several people received news they weren’t quite expecting, but also the different reactions that surprise news can induce within that group of people.

On the right, we find an unnamed Sky Sports host breaking the news to the in-stadium studio panel after Arsenal-Manchester United that Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers had been handed his marching orders by the club brass. On the left, we have three very different responses to said news:

  • On the far right we find former Liverpool player and manager, Graeme Souness. Confusingly for a man who has such deep ties to the club, his face doesn’t show much emotion at all — particularly compared to the other two. But it does seem as if he’s either A) contemplating whether or not his name might be on Liverpool’s shortlist of replacements, or B) eyeing a meat pie on the food cart off camera.
  • In the middle, we find a man who routinely terrorized Liverpool back lines and fans alike for a decade in ex-Arsenal hit man, Thierry Henry. Henry’s reaction is awesome. He not only looks surprised, but also quite possibly bemused. As for whether the light placement of his hand on the other former Liverpoool man’s leg to his right was a purely innocent gesture or straight trolling? I’m hoping its the latter.
  • Last but not least, the man on the far left, Scouser-for-life Jamie Carragher, reacts to the news with a face that’s clearly concealing really, really, really clenched teeth. Is he angry at Rodgers? Maybe. Is he sad for his old club. Possibly. Did someone just tell him they planned to kick his dog? I wouldn’t rule it out. And believe it or not, the look he gives immediately after this shot might make it even better. But one thing I am absolutely sure of: I don’t think Henry’s consoling touch is doing anything to put out the rage out in Carragher’s eyes.

If you’re taking any joy in looking at the scene above, be sure to catch the video of the incident — its predictably awesome.

an extra hot seat

brendanrodgersLet’s start this off by acknowledging that in the world of modern football, there is nary a manager that isn’t in a hot seat. Results matter more than ever — thanks 24-hour news cycle — and any changes in management must produce results immediately. If they don’t, cutting your losses and moving on is the norm. It’s very much a world of “what have you done for me lately”.

So when a club does stick with a manager who isn’t consistently meeting expectations, his seat tends to burn hotter than the rest. Like an ant under a child’s magnifying glass, it sears from the focused heat of a thousand media pundits over analyzing every decision the manager occupying it does or doesn’t make. Fair or unfair, that’s the nature of the job.

Of course, certain jobs bring more pressure than others.

The seats of those attempting to guide one of Europe’s mega clubs — your Bayerns, Real Madrids or Barcelonas — are obviously permanently scorching. Expectations there are so high, even the mere thought of failure can crank up the heat on the man in charge. While the allure of leading one of the big boys is strong, the burns that can be suffered in the process can be severe. Anyone brave (foolish?) enough to take one of those jobs knows that going in. You don’t agree to take the job at Madrid and expect leniency from the fans, media, board and general public as you try to bed in your system. At the biggest of clubs, as Ricky Bobby’s father famously said, “If you’re not first, you’re last”.

Even hotter than the seats at the elite clubs, however, are those of the managers at clubs who were formerly big clubs.

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WSOTP pod: we might end this shirtless

WSOTP Podcast - We Might End This Shirtless

Trust us when we say that while D.J. was excited that his Spurs knocked off mighty Manchester City at the weekend — and that we made time to fully analyze City’s sudden drop in form and Spurs’ improvements — but this past week’s world of soccer events just seemed so run of the mill. There was a normal weekend of Premier League action to review, MLS playoff races to analyze, League Cup “drama” to cover and more FIFA officials getting what’s been coming to them to discuss. And yet I could have written that same sentence about 20 other weeks a year. So the guys do their best to shake things up and keep it fresh and relevant, despite the “normal” nature of the events that unfolded since our last Pondcast.

Want to be like one of the lucky listeners who had his or her question/topic tackled on this week’s pod? It’s as easy as hitting us up at the social media links at the bottom of the page or sending an email to contact@wrongsideofthepond.com. Plus, be sure to subscribe using the links below to automatically receive the newest podcast each Tuesday.

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pic of the week 9/21-9/27



As football becomes more and more integrated into American culture, it should be expected that we’ll be treated to ever more frequent mash-ups between the sport’s biggest stars and the star names from the world of entertainment. Like Kobe Bryant showing up in the latest EA Sports’ FIFA 16 ads, actors doing segments on the Men in Blazers show and Drake showing up and ruining everyone’s party.

Yet despite knowing all that, it still tickled my fancy when Kevin Hart showed up in the latest ad for H&M’s David Beckham line. Just look at him, standing there beaming like an idiot next to super serious, and slightly disgusted Goldenballs. That alone makes this worthy of the Pic of the Week honors. But even better is the nearly seven minute long video (below) that accompanies it. The future-Sir David even seemed a quasi-decent actor in the thing too — either that or he’s actually playing this thing how he would treat the entire experience.

I now want all of that clothing so I can be as cool as David Beckham/Kevin Hart — damn it, marketers!!!

WSOTP pod: the drama club

WSOTP Podcast - The Drama Club

Welcome to the point in the yearly soccer calendar when there is literally too much going on to pay attention. The domestic regular seasons are winding to a close and the playoffs soon to begin. Across the pond, the European leagues are now old enough to have developed narratives and full-fledged drama. Just in case you valued your freer midweeks for getting things like work and spending time with your family checked off your to do lists, the Champions League and other cup competitions have also resumed in full. And international soccer, somehow, is just around the corner again too. So if you haven’t had time to catch up on it all, here’s the Pondcast just in time to give you the Cliff’s Notes — not to mention all of our other weekly segments.

Whether you have new questions/topics for us next week, or if you want to contribute to the show for the first time, hit us up via the social media links at the bottom of the page or drop an email to contact@wrongsideofthepond.com. And don’t forget to subscribe to automatically receive the newest podcast each Tuesday.

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commentary: xavier musketeers vs bucknell

WSOTP - Match Commentary Xavier vs Bucknell 09192015Look, I know it’s late notice. But I’ve got some news for those of you who don’t have any engagements for this Saturday evening.

You’ve got plans now. And if you already have them, break them.

For the second time in as many weeks, I’ll be manning the commentary booth for the NCAA Division one match up between the Xavier University Musketeers and the visiting Bisons of Bucknell. Kickoff — weather permitting, as I learned my last time out to call a Xavier match — will be at 7pm tonight.

A live link to the webstream on GoXavier.com can be found right here.

So not only will you have the privilege of hearing me talk live tonight, but you’ll also have the added bonus of watching a really solid Xavier side in front of what should be a raucous crowd courtesy of the often 1000-plus Xooligans supporters group.

The Muskies are coming off the back of a massive midweek win over the No. 2-ranked Nortre Dame fighting Irish in a traditional “catholic college derby”. Though the win was truly huge, Xavier aren’t exactly chumps either: earlier this season they themselves were ranked as high as 10th before falling in successive games to Lipscomb and Virginia Tech, the latter of which I called. Hopefully I won’t prove to be a bad luck charm for the home side.

As for the away side, Bucknell will look to carry momentum over from their win 4-0 win over Seton Hall last Sunday. But will the longer layoff have refreshed their legs enough to make up for the long journey in from central Pennsylvania?

So be sure to tune in to find out how things play out, and here me try my best to explain it.

WSOTP pod: post-international break blues

WSOTP Podcast - Post International Break Blues

After a nearly two weeks off — you can thank the stupid international break for that — the boys return to bring you another action packed episode of the #Pondcast. And with two weeks’ worth of content to choose from, you can bet D.J. and Jeremy had plenty to say. There was USMNT drama to discuss, a plethora of international soccer to digest, and some truly breathtaking moments in MLS. Oh yeah, and the Premier League was back after a two week hiatus too, with plenty of drama of it’s own in tow. And of course, the normal weekly segments get their playtime, as well.

Want to contribute to the show? Then be sure to send us your questions or topics for next week’s podcast. Hit us up via the social media links at the bottom of the page or shoot an email to contact@wrongsideofthepond.com. And don’t forget to subscribe to automatically receive the newest podcast each Tuesday.

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EXCLUSIVE: cincinnati saints on the move


At some point or another, we’ve all been told the old adage of “don’t run away from your problems”. Throughout life, we’re taught that if we take on our problems head on, the outcome will be better and less painful.

For the most part, that rings true. But sometimes, running is the preferred option and the best way to actually face a problem head on. In the case of the National Premier Soccer League’s Cincinnati Saints, it appears that is exactly the case.

Over the last six years of the club’s existence, the Saints have met and overcome a litany of hurdles. Making the jump from a Sunday League team into the semi-professional ranks was the first of those. Then came outmaneuvering a series of in-town competitors. And for the last year, it’s been the slow battle to win over an often indifferent market in the Cincinnati public and media spaces. Small victories have defined the club during that stretch, due in large part to the perseverance of CEO and owner David Satterwhite.

But with the arrival of the USL in town, courtesy of the nascent FC Cincinnati and their billionaire backing, the Saints may have finally reached a hurdle too high to clear.

Despite their six year head start and a steadily growing presence in the Cincinnati soccer community, the Saints resources are realistically no match for the financial might of their new neighbors. Nor can the Saints — playing in a fourth division that’s best known for allowing students athletes a competitive space to play without soiling their collegiate eligibility — match the star power that FCC’s deep pockets can bring to town. They can’t be expected to net a home as “luxurious” as the redeveloped Nippert Stadium at the University of Cincinnati. And the connections to high ranking city officials and people of power in the community boasted by the new USL club are unlikely to develop now that another name with more clout has stormed in to their minds.

Faced with those realities, it was clear the Satterwhite and the Saints had some decisions to make.

Option one is to continue on fighting the good fight, and try to persist with carving out a slice of the Cincinnati market to call their own. While that might be a possibility, it’s probably more likely that the size of the new kid in town would cast a long shadow that would make it very hard to get noticed. The Saints might be able to live on that way for a few more years, but it would ultimately result in a long, drawn out death.

Option two is far more blunt — and dire. The Saints could call it quits. Throw in the towel. Close the curtain. Cease to be. This option, in spite of all of the energy and heart and knowledge gained, could still be on the table.

But there is still a third option available to the club: looking for a new home.

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ten words or less #113

It’s been pretty quiet ’round these parts the last week or so. No new posts on the blog in over a week, and there wasn’t a new podcast out this week either. For the limited few of you who consider yourselves “WSOTP Superfans” — Hi, Mom! — hopefully I’ve not left you suffering from withdrawal symptoms. It’s almost as disappointing as the USMNT against Brazil the other night.

Trust, however, that I do have a plan… which I’m not sure we can say about Klinsmann and the national team.

For the gear heads out there, I’m currently scribbling my first ever boot comparison piece about the Nike Magista Obra’s and the adidas Ace 15.1’s. The first new shirt to be added to the WSOTP Shop in over a year will likely go up, and I’ve also begun work on a line of MLS shirts, too. For you local kids, I’ve got something cool up my sleeve for FC Cincinnati. And believe it or not, I might even have some more breaking news to reveal in short order.

So in short, my apologies for being so negligent in my blogging duties recently. But as always, the wait should be worth it. Key word there being “should”. In the mean time, have some links that may or may not keep you satisfied until then.

This was actually a really surprising fact. – skysports.com

Unfortunately, the gender gap isn’t closing any time soon. – vice.com

Great TED talk on coaching language by friend Coach Reed. – youtube.com

Centered on Lampard, this actually is more damning to Terry. – deadspin.com

Excellent gesture by clubs, but even smarter PR. – espnfc.com

…and this equal but opposite reaction is so Eastern Europe. – twitter.com

Drogba scored a full debut perfect hattrick for Montreal. – streamable.com

Resetting expectations at QPR will be easy, Les. </sarcasm>  – theguardian.com

Iceland as a template for US Soccer moving forward? – si.com

Damn right he shouldn’t buy a red car. – independent.ie