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: season 2 episode 10

WSOTP Podcast - Season 2 Episode 10

I’ll tell you what: there was no short supply of footie talk about in the latest rendition of the WSOTP Podcast. The return of the Premier League had everyone elated, and the guys provided a rundown of all of the highs and lows from the weekend action. Stateside, the rapidly solidifying MLS playoff picture provided ample talking points, as did the recent club versus country debate being waged between Don Garber and Jurgen Klinsmann. Chris is back with his Bundesliga update. The normal weekly segments — Fantasy UpdateWinners & Wankers and Fulham Watch — are all in there, too. And in just in case you missed it when it was tweeted out, Jeremy was kind enough to create a Spotify Playlist with every song we’ve ever used to close out the podcast — in order of appearance even.

Also, remember that we would love for you to send us topics and questions to talk about in next week’s podcast. Get into the mix by shooting us an email to contact[at]wrongsideofthepond[dot]com, tweeting us or writing it on our Facebook wall using the links at the bottom of the page.

 

Subscribe to the WSOTP Podcast on iTunes or Stitcher, or search for “Wrong Side of the Pond” in your favorite podcasting app to listen to us on your mobile device!

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you picked a WSOTP scarf, now pre-order it!

Last week, I posted three mock ups on the site to let fans to pick an official soccer scarf design for Wrong Side of the Pond. Well the people — you, our readers and listeners — have spoken, the votes have been tallied, and a winning design for the first ever WSOTP scarf has been selected. And the winner is, with nearly 70% of the vote…

OPTION #1: The WSOTP Hoops Scarf!
WSOTP - Scarf Concept 2.fw

So now that a winning design has been selected, how do you go about getting your hands on one?

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pic of the week 10/13-10/19

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Drone at Serbia v Albania Euro 2016 Qualifier

While the European Championships — to be held in 2016 in France — are often thought to bring multicultural Europe closer together, the latest edition of Pic of the Week illustrates how that’s not always the case. This week, Serbia and Albania squared off in Belgrade in Group I action in the Serbian capital of Belgrade. As you might recall, the two countries have a long, complicated, and often bloody relationship. Tensions between the two are rooted in the conflict involving the former Serbian-province of Kosovo, where Serbia expelled and ethnic cleansed of Albanians and NATO had to step in to stop the bloodshed. And as such, UEFA banned away fans from traveling to either of the fixtures scheduled between the two national teams.

Not content to be totally blocked out of making a statement at the match, a covert Albanian fan flew a remote-controlled drone above the pitch and terraces with an Albanian-themed flag. But when Serbia’s Stefan Mitrović yanked down the flag, the powder keg was officially lit. Albanian players rushed over after taking offence to the action, a scuffle ensued and then Serbian fans began to rush the pitch to attack the Albanians. And after 30 minutes of delaying the match, English referee Martin Atkinson abandoned it.

What repercussions, if any, will come of the event remain to be seen. But you do have to wonder how UEFA — who had prevented Spain and tiny Gibraltar from being drawn together in qualifying — could allow two countries with such deep political tensions to be drawn together.

WSOTP pod: season 2 episode 9

WSOTP Podcast - Season 2 Episode 9

Just because we’re in the middle of yet another international break that’s forced another short sabbatical of the European club game, there was still ample subject matter for Jeremy and D.J. to discuss to warrant another edition of the WSOTP Podcast. So what’s on deck for this week’s episode? The guys spend considerable time chatting about Landon Donovan’s penultimate match for the US national team and the legacy he’ll leave behind. Furthermore, it’s not like MLS went on hiatus. So the guys made room to cover the steadily intensifying MLS Playoff races, including the Crew’s dramatic comeback win against Philadelphia. Speaking of the Crew, some time to was also devoted to Columbus’ #NewCrew logo reveal and D.J.’s experience covering the unveiling event last week — which you can read more about here. Plus, we announced the winning reader/listener-selected design for the first ever WSOTP scarf!

As always, remember to send us your topics and questions for next week’s podcast. If you have something for us, send us an email at contact[at]wrongsideofthepond[dot]com, tweet it to us, or even write it on our Facebook wall using the links at the bottom of the page.

 

Subscribe to the WSOTP Podcast on iTunes or Stitcher, or search for “Wrong Side of the Pond” in your favorite podcasting app to listen to us on your mobile device!

renewed crew

Featured

WSOTP - Blog - New Crew.fwIn the world of American professional sports, fresh starts aren’t exactly what I would call “rare”. Nary a year passes without some team in any of the major leagues — MLB,  NBA, NFL or NHL for those who don’t follow other sports — revamping their logo, changing their name, modifying their colors, or even moving cities. It’s a never-ending race to stay modern, current and fresh in the minds of would-be fans.

Major League Soccer has been particularly susceptible to this trend.

Of the original ten teams that still survive — RIP Tampa Bay Mutiny — only Columbus Crew and the New England Revolution still had their original brandings at the start of the 2014 MLS season. We’ve had teams move (San Jose to Houston), teams who have completely changed their names (Dallas Burn to FC Dallas), and teams who have run the gamut (Kansas City Wiz to Kansas City Wizards to Sporting KC AND new colors). Even teams coming in from other leagues (Seattle, Portland, Orlando) have had to give their brands a rethink.

And to nobody’s surprise, Columbus finally decided to join the party.

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ten words or less #97

Landon Donovan's Final USMNT Match

With tomorrow being the final chapter in Landon Donovan’s US national team book — at least from a playing perspective — many in the sphere of American soccer are busy peddling homages to the man’s career. I’m certainly guilty of it too, though I wrote mine back in August. I had contemplated making this latest edition of TWOL my ten favorite odes to LD, but honestly it just felt like people making the same points over and over. So I scrapped that concept, however I did still manage to include my favorite of the bunch in link #1 below. Nestled below that? A smattering of some of the other excellent reads I’ve come across in the last week and a half.

Enjoy the links, enjoy Landycake’s last ever match in national team colors, and prepare yourself for a full run down on the #NewCrew event in Columbus last night in the next day or so.

Landon Donovan’s biggest obstacle to greatness? His brain. – soccergods.com

These guys built a Pool-Ball table, and I’m super jealous. – facebook.com

Why the USL PRO-MLS partnership is already producing dividends. – mlssoccer.com

Well that’s going to be awkward for United. – telegraph.co.uk

Four MASL clubs decided they’ll play by their own rules. – syracuse.com

The big chance for Indian football. – inbedwithmaradona.com

A cool visualization of the most recent MLS Salary release. – stathunter.com

Hurdles/politics have forced Sacramento to rethink their MLS approach. – empireofsoccer.net

The FA’s poorly thought out revisions for foreign work permits. – weaintgotnohistory.com

Reason #479 why Real Salt Lake are good. – sltrib.com

WSOTP pod: season 2 episode 8

WSOTP Podcast - Season 2 Episode 8

This week’s episode is something of a surprise milestone for the WSOTP Podcast — this is our 50th overall episode! Since neither D.J. or Jeremy remembered that fact until they sat down to record Sunday night, we don’t have anything too special planned for the occasion. Luckily, we get to celebrate by talking about the epic Wenger-Mourinho bout at Stamford Bridge, Spurs getting back on track against Southampton, and Champions League updates. Domestically, we’ll be talking about the intense MLS playoff races in both conferences, the MVP and Coach of the Year debates, Chivas USA’s shuttering/contraction and more Red Bulls drama. You’ll also get your normal weekly installments of Fulham Watch cataloging their plight in the Championship and the guy’s Winners & Wankers from the past seven days. That’s a feast for your ears if you ask me

Also, don’t forget to send us your topics and questions for next week’s podcast, either via an email to contact[at]wrongsideofthepond[dot]com or tweeting us or writing on our Facebook wall using the links at the bottom of the page.

 

Subscribe to the WSOTP Podcast on iTunes or Stitcher, or search for “Wrong Side of the Pond” in your favorite podcasting app to listen to us on your mobile device!

goodnight, sweet princes

Goodbye Crew Construction Workers.fwIt’s a weird feeling knowing they are going away forever, isn’t it?

After all, I’ve known the trio for just shy of nineteen years now. There aren’t many who have been in my life that long. If memory serves me correctly, we were first introduced by former Columbus mayor Greg Lashutka way, way back on October 19th, 1995. And though their hardened, steely, cross-armed glares may not appear so to those on the outside, it’s been comforting to have them around over the years — confidently and knowingly watching over us.

Of course I’m talking about the three nameless construction workers that adorn the Columbus Crew’s outgoing crest, as if that wasn’t obvious at this point.

It’s true that some are quite happy to see the hard hats go. They’ve been mocked as cartoonish descendants of 90’s era Microsoft clipart. Some have derided the blue-collar ethos they represent as no longer being representative of the city the team calls home. They are said to no longer capture the spirit of the young, modern professional that the club and league so desperately want to fill their seats. And to be fair, those arguments hold quite a bit of water.

But that doesn’t mean I can’t still lament their impending departure.

This is the only logo my MLS team has ever used; the only face of the organization I’ve ever known. They’re one of only two MLS Originals™ crests that have survived to modern MLS 2.0/3.0 times — the other being the scribbled in crayon logo of the New England Revolution. And as such, I’ve I have a metric crap-ton of special moments attached to it.

The construction workers have presided over some tremendous memories. The guys were emblazoned on the hat that Brian McBride dawned upon being named the first ever Major League Soccer draft pick in February of 1996. They were hoisted up on the facade of the first ever soccer-specific stadium in MLS history in May of 1999. They stared out proudly from the chests of the players who hoisted the club’s first ever major trophy, the US Open Cup in 2002. And they were there too in 2008 as they cast their stern glazes over the lifting of the big one, the Crew’s first and only MLS Cup triumph.

But they weren’t just there in fair weather, as they provided a strong shoulder to cry on in the lean times too.

Some absolute league legends have also been privileged enough to wear these three plebeian workers over their hearts. The aforementioned McBride was joined by fellow notable Americans like Thomas Dooley, Eddie Gaven and Frankie Hejduk. And it would criminal not to mention imported talents like Stern John, Guillermo Barros Schelotto and Federico Higuaín. And perhaps ironically, all of those were/are industrious, tireless players who embodied the grit the crest’s occupants conveyed. Even if it was just a team slogan, the players that made the biggest impact here always seemed to fit the “hardest working team in America” mantra.

Columbus Crew Guerilla Marketing #NewCrew

despite the sadness of the departure of our three long-time friends on the old crest, i eagerly await the news of what will fill the yellow spheres scattered around the columbus.

Honestly, it feels a little bit like my dog died: I know I’ll be getting another, but the new one won’t look just like my current one or remind me of all the fun times we had together.

Look, I’m as excited as anyone for the rebrand the Crew will be unveiling this week. The current look is dated and sorely in need of a refreshing. Hopefully the #NewCrew rendition will mesh well with the league’s recent makeover and compare favorably to the newer brands that have debuted recently both inside and outside of MLS. I’m also optimistic the new face of the franchise will better represent the city and fans of the Crew. And my fingers are crossed that it will also give us further indication of the direction that Anthony Precourt and his Precourt Sports Ventures want to take this team.

But I’m still going to miss my guys — even if I don’t know their names. There are too many damn feelings and memories attached to their solemn black, white and grey faces.

Chin up, gentleman: you’ve served us well for nearly twenty years and deserve the (forced) retirement that’s coming your way. Perhaps there’s a warm spot in Florida you can retire to with all of the other brands sunset by the other American clubs over the years. I bet the ex-Wizards of Kansas City would be happy to carpool with you to Orlando next season, if you need a local MLS-fix.

Wherever you end up though, trust me when I say that you will not soon be forgotten. No matter how shiny and well received the new crest is, the three of you will be missed.

winter is coming… so help us pick a scarf

scarves

There’s a saying in the realm of football media that goes something along the lines of, “You’re not a real soccer website until you have your own scarf”… or at least that’s what it seems like.

Over the years — and especially since the unveiling of the WSOTP Shop – I’ve had multitudes of requests for our own branded scarf. And honestly, it’s something I’ve always wanted to do, too. However, coming up with a suitable/appealing design, gauging interest in placing an order, getting it produced and then distributing them to everyone was always daunting enough to convince me to put it off a while longer.

Yet with the cold of winter just around the corner, the timing for undertaking that process will truly never be better.

But I have a problem.

I’ve come up with three different scarves, and I can’t decide which one we should go with. Furthermore, since there’s a minimum order quantity of 75 pieces that needs to be dealt with, I need to make sure it’s a design that people would actually want to begin with. And that’s where you readers come into play: I need your help in picking the final design.

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WSOTP pod: season 2 episode 7

WSOTP Podcast - Season 2 Episode 7

We’ve got yet another full podcast for you this week thanks to a jam-packed weekend of action around the world of football. On the top of our minds was “Derby Saturdray” featuring the North London and Merseyside grudge matches, along with an interesting round of fixtures in the rest of the Premier League. We’ve also reached the point in the MLS season where things have gotten particularly interesting with the playoffs now just a month off, not to mention a very interesting week down the US soccer pyramid in USL PRO. D.J. and Jeremy also discussed “must have’s” for following the sport, talked of their Winners and Wankers for the week, and still made room for the second installment of our German football round up from correspondent Christopher Wieland. So strap on your headphones and ready your speakers for the latest edition of the WSOTP Podcast!

Have a topic you want us to cover or a question you want us to answer on next week’s podcast? Send an email to contact[at]wrongsideofthepond[dot]com, tweet us or write it on our Facebook wall using the links at the bottom of the page.

 

Subscribe to the WSOTP Podcast on iTunes or Stitcher, or search for “Wrong Side of the Pond” in your favorite podcasting app to listen to us on your mobile device!