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 15

WSOTP Podcast - Season 2 Episode 15

Club football’s return this past weekend — both domestically and across the pond — meant the boys had plenty of football discussion on their plate for Episode 15 of the podcast. On that European side of the plate: City’s struggling wins, Geoff Cameron’s horror show in the booth and on the field, whether or not Liverpool should/will sack Brendan Rodgers and the rest of the Premier League weekend. On the domestic half of the plate: fresh hot takes on the MLS Playoff Semifinal first legs, thoughts on further MLS expansion, and a quick reaction to the USMNT’s loss to Ireland. We also offered desserts of our bi-weekly Bundesliga update from contributor Christopher Wieland, plus Fulham Watch and Winners & Wankers.

And don’t forget to drop us a line at contact[at]wrongsideofthepond[dot]com to have us answer your questions or cover a topic of your choosing. You can always send them to us on social media using the links at the bottom of the page, too.

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and the award goes to…

WSOTP - Blog - Award Envelope.fwMajor League Soccer announced their end of season award nominees this week.

A good chunk of them come with their own title sponsors, as is the case with the Xbox Individual Fair Play Award, the MLSWORKS Humanitarian of the Year, the AT&T Rookie of the Year, the Allstate Goalkeeper of the Year and of course the big one, the Volkswagen Most Valuable Player. But there’s also the sponsorless awards like the Newcomer of the Year, Comeback Player of the Year, Defender of the Year and Coach of the Year. Not that I think these awards are any less important. In fact, I’d sponsor one if MLS would accept just $100 bucks for it. But they won’t.

Anyway, since the shortlists were revealed, the debate over which of the lucky candidates will take home each of the coveted prizes has raged.

But just like with my piece on the FIFA Puskás Awards from last week, ultimately, these are all very subjective decisions. You may like one better than me, I may like one better than you, and that guy over there may like completely different options to both of ours. But winners will be picked by popular consensus — the official rules on how that consensus is reached can be found here — and then we’ll all get on with our lives.

However, since I didn’t get an invite to participate in the voting (#fistshake), I’m going to cast my votes here. A WSOTP MLS Awards, if you will.

So jump past the break, and find out who I would cast my votes — and why — if MLS had deemed my votes worthy of gathering.

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i want: the secret footballer’s guide to the modern game

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WSOTP - Blog - Secret Footballer I Want.fw

Believe it or not, I don’t do all of my reading on the internet. Yes, from time to time, I still pick up and read timeless paper-bound words. Though normally it’s still soccer related as well. And the next book I’d like to mark down on my list of reads is the latest from The Secret Footballer. Not familiar with TSF? An author of a weekly column the Guardian that is purportedly a current Premier League player — either that or we’re all victims of an incredibly slick bit of marketing — The Secret Footballer dishes “insider” information on the professional game thanks to the safety of the protective pseudonym. There’s an entire website devoted to uncovering his identity, though nothing has been confirmed to this point.

Anyway, the first two books from The Secret Footballer — I Am the Secret Footballer and Tales From the Secret Footballer — were incredibly fun and relatively easy reads that shed a lot of insight into the professional game. And as such, I’m eagerly looking forward to reading his latest effort: The Secret Footballer’s Guide to the Modern Game. It doesn’t help that I’m already a sucker for tactics reading. And if this one is anything like the last two, I’ll finish it in a couple of days.

And to be clear… yes Mom, this is something I’d like for Christmas.

CLICK HERE IF YOU WANT  |  amazon.com

WSOTP pod: season 2 episode 14

WSOTP Podcast - Season 2 Episode 14

Who cares if it’s an international break… there’s still plenty of football to warrant a new episode of the Pondcast. So what’s on deck this week? D.J. and Jeremy delve into the US men’s national team friendly against Colombia and the negative reactions to Klinsmann’s post-World Cup displays. Euro 2016 qualifying also gets some time in the spotlight, as did the ludicrous findings of FIFA’s corruption investigation. And while there’s no Fulham Watch to update you on this week, the guys still picked their Winners & Wankers for the week. Not only that, but we also welcomed in our first guest of Season 2: the Cincinnati Enquirer’s Justin Duke, who our local listeners might know better as @EnquirerFC on Twitter. Justin talked with us about how he came to love the beautiful game, how he started following Liverpool, and also took part in our naming of our Third of the Season Premier League Awards™.

As always, if you want us to answer a question or hear us dish on a topic of your choosing, we would obviously love to do so. Just drop us a line at contact[at]wrongsideofthepond[dot]com, or you send them to us on social media using the links at the bottom of the page.

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ten words or less #100

WSOTP - Blog - TWOL 100.fwOne hundred is a really big number, and it’s honestly a little mind-boggling that I’ve now written that many of these link round ups. They’re easily the laziest updates I post to WSOTP.  They’re nothing more than the fruits of me gleaning the internet for content that’s not my own in order to pacify you until I have the time to finish content that is. But with ten links per update, that means with this posting that I’ve now shared one thousand links with you. And considering that I probably read another 15-20 articles per link that I actually share in these… I now see why my wife thinks I spend too much time on my phone/tablet/computer.

But even if it is a little bit filler on this site, I still think it’s a noble pursuit to share the best of the best out there. After all, this isn’t the only resource for quality soccer content on the web — as much as I would prefer you to believe that.

Also, to celebrate the occasion: I also thought I’d reveal a little secret about these posts if you hadn’t already figured it out: mousing over the links will reveal further commentary. So yes, I do actually use more than ten words. Why? Because this is my site, and I can make up whatever rules I want. Anyway, enjoy the 100th edition.

Odds of UEFA/Germany actually leaving FIFA? VERY slim. – theguardian.com

Rigged World Cup 2026 host revealed. – telegraph.co.uk

But seriously, Garcia needs to leak that report. – nbcsports.com

Expansion draft rules: as murky as everything else MLS. – mlssoccer.com

I’d love for this to be the WSOTP World HQ. – curbed.com
Cheers to my boy Craig for pointing this one out to me.

The making of Wayne Rooney’s 100th cap. – theoriginalwinger.com

Howler‘s expose on Tinfoil Ted makes him seem somewhat human. – vice.com

More Qatar-based tomfoolery at PSG. – goal.com

So… how are NYCFC any different from Chivas USA? – empireofsoccer.com

Why Everton, Liverpool, Spurs and United are struggling this season. – sbnation.com

a peach of a goal… or ten

FIFA Puskas Award

Not that this is a groundbreaking thought or anything, but most individual awards in the world of sport are one hundred percent subjective.

Soccer is particularly guilty of this when awarding prizes like league MVP’s, goalkeepr of the year awards, or the yearly handing out of the FIFA Balon d’Or. It’s not always the case, but often times an argument can be made for multiple people to be deserving of the award — much to Cristiano Ronaldo’s delight/chagrin.

Anytime you try to decide who the “best” player is, or who did something the best — aside from awards like Golden Boots where it’s pretty darn easy to determine who did or didn’t score the most number of goals — there are way too many factors for any one human or group to consider to say definitively that “this one guy is the best”. Nevermind that everyone has their own opinions, too. I might think something is better than you do, and you might think something is better than I do.

But despite that tangled mess of opinion and fact, we still give out these awards year after year and season after season. Personally, it seems like they’re handed out simply so we all have something argue about. And so people like me have something write about. That the Balon d’Or was originally voted on by a group of journalists is not an irony that has just dawned on me.

Anyway, the FIFA Puskás Award is no different. Named after Hungarian great Ferenc Puskás — a guy you should know about if you don’t already — the prize is awarded by FIFA every year to the player who scored the “best” goal. Please also ignore the fact that FIFA isn’t exactly known for its ability to make non-biased decisions.

But regardless, making a selection from their list of ten nominees is still good fun. And for me, it was an excuse to watch a bunch of fabulous goals all over again. Though it also make me wonder how some goals were left off the list — which I’ll get into later.

So below you will find the ten nominees for the FIFA Puskás Award, in video format, and my thoughts on each. At the end of the article, I’ll also choose my winner, who you will likely disagree with… because this is all subjective anyway.

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WSOTP pod: season 2 episode 13

WSOTP Podcast - Season 2 Episode 13

Despite it being a mostly “meh” weekend in the Premier League, there were a few storylines worthy of discussion on Episode 13 of the Pondcast. City, Liverpool, Spurs and Arsenal have all seen their form continue to slide, while Chelsea, Southampton and Newcastle have seen their stock continue to rise. The midweek Champions League action also merited similar talking points. There was of course plenty to talk about with the MLS Playoffs now in their later stages. We also made time to chat about the friendlies the US team will play out in the British Isles during the upcoming international break. And that’s all on top of our normal Fulham WatchWinners & Wankers and listener question segments.

If you have a question or topic you want us to delve into in next week’s podcast, send us an email to contact[at]wrongsideofthepond[dot]com, or you can reach out to us on social media using the links at the bottom of the page.

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hello darkness, my old friend

It’s funny how quickly things can change, but when you reflect back upon the conditions prior to the current situation, they can seem so, so long ago.

Just over four years ago — to be exact, it was November 2, 2010 — chants of “Taxi for Maicon” rained down from the rafters at White Hart Lane as Tottenham dismantled the holders Internazionale in the Champions League. An early, 18th minute Rafael van der Vaart goal got things started, while second half efforts from Peter Crouch and Roman Pavlyuchenko finished them off. All of that rode on the back of an impossible-to-forget performance from budding superstar Gareth Bale. Scurrying about at a hundred miles an hour in those sexy retro-esque Puma kits, we all attempted to hang on to the moment, the feeling and the player himself.

Four years isn’t really that long ago in the grand scheme of things. It’s just a single World Cup cycle, after all. And Spurs have had some pretty electric moments since, where the future still seemed just as bright and glory just as attainable as it was that November night.

But after yesterday’s horror show against Stoke City, that match against Inter seems a scant memory from potentially decades ago.

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ten words or less #99

WSOTP - Blog - Winter Is Coming Scarf.fwThe weekend is upon us, and the football will be coming thick and fast. Tomorrow morning we kick things off with a little Liverpool v Chelsea treat and the weekend is capped off off with some MLS Playoff action. And somehow, someway, I have to manage a way to watch as much of it as possible and NOT have my wife divorce me. I just keep reminding her we’re only a few weeks away from the end of the MLS season, and that seems to be working… for now, at least.

Also, a huge FYI. That official WSOTP scarf pictured above that still remains on pre-order? Yeah, we’re dropping the price. They’re now just $18. That’s two whole dollars we’ve lumped off the cost to encourage you to buy one. (If you ordered one earlier, worry not, you’ll be getting some money back.) We’ve also added an options for picking up the scarf from me personally so you don’t have to pay for shipping. And for those who have been concerned that WSOTP is getting rich off of your purchases, all profits go right back into the site — hosting, domain registration, and podcasting equipment isn’t free and has come directly out of my pocket for the last 5 years. So your moneys will be utilized to continue bringing you the wonderful content you’ve come to know and love. Plus it’s getting cold out again, and we want you to stay warm. So click here to buy one, please! 

Once your done with that, feel free to check out some of my favorite links from around the interwebz from the last week and a half.

You should stop laughing at the San Marino national team. – vice.com

Puma had to choose a specific zipper just for Wenger. – youtube.com

So how did we end up with LAFC? – si.com

How did I not know this academy existed? – businessweek.com

Want proof that FIFA and Russia are in cahoots? – reuters.com

So African players are just a commodity? Got it. – soccergods.com

DC’s new stadium most expensive in MLS history? – wjla.com

Gary Neville and I agree: defending is dead. – telegraph.co.uk

A magnificent piece of writing on Manaus’ World Cup. – deadspin.com/howler.com

Now contemplating auctioning my daughter’s support to the highest bidder. – whoateallthepies.tv

that’s not convenient at all

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CalendarLet’s just get this out of the way: outside of the halls of FIFA headquarters in Zurich and the luxurious high rise buildings in Doha, there are very few people in support the idea of Qatar hosting the World Cup in 2022. I’m against it, you’re against it, most everyone is against it.

I’m not here today to argue the merits of stripping the Arab state of their right to host the tournament, as that horse has been already beaten to death. And no matter how much more you or I or anyone else continues to beat it, the tournament is still likely to end up in Qatar. So let’s just put that possibility out of our minds for the next few minutes, okay?

What I am here to talk about today, however, is when the tournament in Qatar will be held.

Much like everything else that’s associated with the 2022 edition of FIFA’s main event, the time at which it will be played has stirred great debate. It seems highly unlikely that the World Cup will be played out in its normal (Northern Hemisphere) summer time slot, and wisely so considering the scorching temperatures will be unfit for fan and player alike. As such, alternative dates are being considered for the first time.

On the table: November/December 2022, January/February 2022, and May 2022. And that’s bad. Really bad.

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