can a “poor” international career really dull the luster of one of england’s greatest ever players?
There are all sorts of types of greatness in football. Some players are handed the title of great due to sustained excellence in performance. There are also players who are considered great for being long-timer servants of their club. And still others can be given such status for a memorable moment of greatness and glory.
But in exceedingly rare cases, such as with Liverpool legend Steven Gerrard, one player easily checks all three of those boxes.
The Englishman’s glittering sixteen year career with the Reds places him near the top of the club’s list of greatest ever players. Gerrard’s bagged 111 goals in 475 appearances for his hometown club to this point — or just under a goal every four matches — an impressive tally for a midfielder. Have a look at his CV and you’ll find a list of individual and team accolades to which few other footballers can lay claim. And of course many will fondly recall Gerrard almost singlehandedly hauling Liverpool back into the 2005 Champions League Final.
But making mention of his now recently ended international career, one that didn’t exactly see him set the world on fire, and suddenly Gerrard’s greatness is cast into doubt.
After getting a reprieve during the World Cup, the WSOTP Pic of the Week series makes its return in grand fashion. In fact, its resurrection is so grand that you could even call it a black tie affair. Well, that’s at least what Spanish Segunda B side Cultural y Deportiva Leonesa thought, as they debuted their brand new “tuxedo kit” to be worn for the 2014/2015 campaign last week.
Such was the excitement at the club for the new shirt, you can practically feel the disdain on the faces of Cultural staff forced to make an appearance at the press conference announcing the kit. From the forced smile of the player wearing the kit, to the complete lack of elation from anyone else in the picture, you could imagine the only person happy to see this kit debut is the fashion naive sucker who designed it — and I would imagine that’s the dude in red in the middle.
Fans of Cultural can take heart in knowing they’re not the only side in Spain that’s been stricken with a horrendous kit in recent times. In fact, fellow Segunda B side La Hoya Lorca made an appearance last year in this space for their god awful broccoli kit. Though in a country where this was considered fashionable, none of us should really be that surprised.
After a successful debut season with nearly 60 participants — and after receiving quite a few inquiries to see if it would be making an encore this year — it’s been decided that the WSOTP Premieraliga Fantasy Premier League will indeed return for a second season!
And just as with last season’s edition, the winner of the 2014/2015 league will win a free shirt from the WSOTP Shop of their own choosing.
Pick your team before the season kicks off on Saturday, August 16th.
You’ve got a few weeks yet to join, but better to do so sooner rather than later. If you’re anything like me, it will skip your mind and the deadline will pass before you’ve had a chance to throw your name into the hat. I picked my team today for that very reason… not that it will matter, since I tend to suck at these things anyway. And I won’t be awarding a shirt to myself. Anyway, I’ll also try to provide sporadic updates on the table throughout the season, so that way you know whether you’re paying the league adequate focus or not.
FYI: upon the season’s conclusion, the winner will need to provide their shirt selection, shirt size and an address shipping address. I promise I won’t stalk you after receiving it.
After a sizable break during the European close season this summer, save a few special edition live recordings down on Fountain Square for the World Cup, the WSOTP Podcast will be back in action here in a few week’s time. And with a sizable bump in the number of followers we’ve acquired due to the game finally catching a gust of wind here in the States, we thought it would be a good time to figure out just how everyone supports the sport of soccer here in the U, S and A.
As such, my podcast co-host and producer, Jeremy Lance, put together a short survey to give us a good look at the American soccer fan. But for us to really get a clear picture, we need as many of you as possible to fill the thing out. Whether a long-time fan or a relative n00b, we want — no, need — you to fill this thing out.
It shouldn’t take you more than a couple of minutes to complete, and it’s completely anonymous. And we’ll be sharing the results on the first episode of the second season of the podcast, which will be available for your listening pleasure the week before the Premier League season kicks off at the end of August.
So hit the link below, and thanks in advance for your data!
Much has been made of the incredible interest in the World Cup here in the United States.
The tournament on the whole averaged 4.5 million viewers over all 64 matches, a 36% increase from the 2010 World Cup four years ago. We also saw records smashed for single game viewership several times: the first was with the US-Portugal group match with 24.7 million, while the second was the Germany-Argentina Final with a total of 26.5 million viewers.
Easily at an all-time high, the continuing upward trend in interest in the tournament and the sport in general has prompted many to ask questions like “Has soccer’s time come in the US?” and “What needs to be done for the sport to continue to grow?”. They’re pertinent questions, and ones that certainly need answering.
And to answer that question, I’ll turn to one of our greatest ever American’s:
“Ask not what soccer can do for you — ask what you can do for soccer.”
– John F. Kennedy
Okay, so maybe I distorted that statement a little bit. But JFK’s most famous quote is incredibly relevant point when modified to address soccer’s situation in this country.
If we — and I’m talking about the existing fans of soccer in this country — want to continue to see our favorite sport climb in popularity and gain the respect and recognition in the US, it’s on us to make that happen.
Yup, soccer’s eventual success in this country comes down to you and me.
after taking a week off for vacation, i’m diving back into the blog with the latest stop on the WSOTP stadium guide tour: DC’s RFK stadium.
Ah vacation… you were much needed. After a month of World Cup to digest, my brain and Twitter feed certainly needed the rest. So after spending a week with my family on an isolated lake in South Carolina, I’m now back and ready to dip my foot into the pools of world football once again.
But instead of just easing back into things, I’m kicking things off with a bang. Tonight I’ll be making my next WSOTP MLS Stadium Guide stop by the above pictured RFK stadium in our nation’s capital to watch the Eastern Conference leading DC United take on a surprise Chivas USA side that’s punching well above expectations. You can expect a full detailed write-up to visiting the league’s oldest — and possibly most historic — stadium later this week.
In the mean time, here are a collection of some of my favorite links from the last few weeks to tide you over.
Without a doubt, this was the best World Cup I had the privilege of watching.
An impetus for attacking was shared by nearly every team at the tournament, with a record-tying 171 goals tallied in Brazil. The biggest stars of the game all turned up, notching important goals and providing key moments. Goalkeepers were in fine form as well, producing spectacular save after spectacular save. And there was ample drama, from the refereeing to player theatrics on the pitch.
Honestly, it’s hard to accept that it’s now over.
But now that I’ve had ample time to reflect back on the tournament — like everyone else in the world — I think it’s high time I get down to selecting my team of the tournament.
While there were some shoe-ins in there that just about everyone selected, I may as well dump out one spoiler at this point: I didn’t select Messi. That may seem a little unfair given that how influential he was in Argentina’s run to the final in Rio, there was such stiff competition in the areas of the pitch he could be deployed, I just couldn’t find room in my eleven for arguably the world’s best player. Crucify me in the comments for the decision if you like.
So who did make the WSOTP World Cup Best XI and bumped the Argentine Flea from contention? Read on to find out.
World Cups have an uncanny tendency to bring out the patriot in us all.
Predictably, that has a knock on effect, impelling many of us to open our wallets to outfit (word choice?) ourselves in the latest team gear to show our allegiance. We wear them to show our patriotism, that we belong and that we’re united in the cause of supporting our boys.
But picking up the latest kit isn’t the only way to show that we care. Many pull out their old kits, too. For some, the old kits represent a hipster-ish desire to show how long they’ve been devoted to the cause. For others, and old shirt can represent a good luck charm, hearkening back to earlier moments of glory. And yet for others still, an old shirt might be their favorite look for their favorite team. Fashion, of course, is in play for many of us too… myself included.
Yet for those who want to rock a retro kit as a fashion statement — but lack one — options are often limited. Acquiring old shirts can be an expensive endeavor, not to mention the pickings are slim. So for those who want to go the retro route for representing their team, but don’t want to spend a fortune to do so, where should they look?
My good friends at Campo have come to the rescue once again, and they’ve done so this summer with an extra special line of retro shirts specifically for the World Cup.
neymar’s injury can be blamed on more than just one colombian.
For a tournament that has arguably been the most entertaining World Cup in recent memory, this should be a time of celebration.
Four international heavy weights — Brazil, Germany, the Netherlands and Argentina — compose the semifinalists. Together they’ve already made 18 appearances in the final, and 30 appearances at this stage in total if you include this year’s tournament. A mind-boggling ten world championships have been hoisted between them, twice as many as the 2010 edition offered. To me at least, we haven’t seen a final foursome this sexy since Italia ’90.
But because the host nation have been robbed of their greatest talent, the dynamic Neymar Junior, it feels as if a bit of the air has been let out of the closing stages of this World Cup’s balloon.
Without a doubt, Neymar’s loss is a tragedy as far as the tournament is concerned. It’s a particularly devastating absence for Brazil given the lack of bite the rest of their attack has offered so far. And the manner in which it occurred was wholeheartedly brutal; just how Juan Zuñiga’s flying knee to the back went unpunished is a complete a head scratcher.
But I want to make sure of something important here: if Brazil crash out in the semis or don’t manage to lift the Cup on Sunday, don’t go blaming the entire failure on Colombia’s Zuñiga. Continue reading →
we recorded our third and final live podcast on fountain before, during and after the usa v belgium game.
Well, it wasn’t the result we had all hoped for, but the US loss to Belgium in the Round of 16 of the 2014 World Cup still managed to provide a great backdrop for our third and final live podcast recorded down on Cincinnati’s Fountain Square. Jeremy returned to rejoin D.J. after being out of action the last time out, and he also takes the reigns for the in-studio portions of the pod answering questions and talking about how fans new to the game can pick a team to follow for the upcoming Premier League season. On the live portion, we also get to hear Cincinnati Saints president and CEO David Satterwhite rejoin us on the podcast to talk about the events on the Square. And two other added bonuses: the audio this time around is at least marginally better and there were no hecklers this time either… hooray!
On a personal note, it was an absolute thrill to get to talk soccer in front of crowds of 4000 to 8000 at each of the events down on Fountain Square. Many thanks to the Cincinnati Saints, Hoist and 3CDC for allowing us the opportunity to MC the events and spread the word about the podcast.
If you’re new to the podcast, we’ll be back again weekly in just a few weeks’ time before the European seasons get rolling. So be sure to hit the links below to subscribe to the podcast on your computer or mobile device to listen in when we return on a regular basis.
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!