WSOTP stadium guide: colorado’s dick’s sporting goods park

Featured

WSOTP - DSG Park - Stadium Interior Looking West Match.fw Welcome to the WSOTP Stadium Guide, the latest major undertaking on here on Wrong Side of the Pond. With traveling supporters steadily becoming a fixture at MLS matches, there aren’t a lot of great resources for visiting fans to research ahead of their travels. Over the next few seasons, I aim to visit and provide an up close and personal look at each of the 20 (soon to be 22) MLS stadiums to help fill that void. I’ll also take opinion from the locals, as the Supporters who call each stadium home know it far better than I ever will. To see the full list of stadium reviews, click here.

DSG PARK QUICK GUIDE
Address 6000 Victory Way
Commerce City, CO
Home Club Colorado Rapids
Soccer Capacity 19,680
Opened April 7, 2007
Soccer Specific Stadium Yes
GETTING TO THE STADIUM
From Out of Town?
Driving In
Public Transport
MATCH DAY EXPERIENCE
Parking / Tailgating
Prematch Pubs
Tickets / Where to Sit
Supporters Sections
Suites & Special Seating
Food & Beer
Fan Activities
BEHIND THE SCENES
Player Facilities
The Field of Play / WSOTP Pitch Pass
Meeting the Players
Hidden Gem

After having only visited one stadium in 2014 — and not posting that guide yet due to some “delays” in getting necessary materials — 2015 hasn’t exactly gotten off to a better start.

But I’ll make do considering stop number six on the WSOTP Stadium Guide Tour was for the 2015 All Star Game!

My wife, daughter and I were lucky enough to score some tickets to the July 29th match in the Colorado Rapids’ now eight year old Dick’s Sporting Goods Park. The experience, as to be expected, was amazing, helped in no small part by the opposing team for this year’s game being my favorite European club, Tottenham Hotspur FC. I’ll try not to dwell on that too much, as I know the league’s marquee summer event isn’t exactly the average fan experience at DSG Park.

If you’ve never been to Denver, that’s reason alone to make a trip to catch a game at the Rapids’ home stadium. Perhaps best known as a wintertime destination due to the city’s proximity to the Rocky Mountain resorts, there’s even more to do in the summer time in Denver. Innumerable breweries, excellent outdoor offerings, fantastic museums and scenery that few other MLS cities can match are just a few of the things on offer. I hadn’t been to Denver in a decade, and it’s truly incredible to see how much the city has grown in size and culture.

As always, before we get started I wanted to give a special thanks to my excellent hosts — the Rapids’ Director of Public Relations and Communications, Diego Garcia, and Centennial 38’s David Wenger —  for showing me around and getting me acquainted with yet another spectacular American soccer stadium and city.

Continue reading

lofty ambitions

Featured

WSOTP - FC Cincinnati Jeff Berding Press Conference.fw

Sitting in an auditorium on the campus of University of Cincinnati yesterday morning, before the press conference had even started, I  got the feeling that what was about to unfold at today’s official FC Cincinnati unveiling was going to change the face of soccer in the Queen City forever.

I’ve been around the Cincinnati soccer scene for 25 years — seeing “professional” clubs come and go as a player, a fan and a member of the media — and I can honestly say that I’ve never before had that kind of feeling about anything soccer related here before.

Continue reading

weight off their shoulders

Featured

Abby Wambach Celebrates

Legacy and expectations are tough companions, particularly so during the pressure cooker that is a World Cup.

Ask anyone on the US Women’s National Team, and I’m sure they’d agree. Living up to the prior greatness of US teams of the past is a heavy burden, one that’s taken a long, tedious 16 years to fully realize.

It’s not like these are a group of push overs or anything either. Morgan, Rapinoe, Solo, Wambach and company represent one of the most talented core of players the American women’s program has ever had at their disposal at one time. And even if they’re not the most talented, they at least take the crown as the “most marketable” group the US women have ever had.

Yet even for names of their stature, the glory achieved 1991 and 1999 still loomed large and proved exceptionally difficult to replicate. But why?

The aforementioned legacy issues obviously play a part. Hamm, Akers and Lilly are giants of the game. Too, winning two World Cups means you’re expected to win every World Cup. Mediocrity is something that American women’s soccer fans — and sponsors for that matter — tolerate very well. And while it’s hard to call finishing at least third in every World Cup since ’99 “mediocre”, as famous American Ricky Bobby is known to say, if you’re not first, you’re last. 

But high expectations coupled with the gut wrenching loss to Japan in the final of the 2011 World Cup; that’s a tricky combination. And it was clear that approaching Sunday’s 2015 Final, the insecurities from each were still very much at play. Sure, the girls had an Olympic gold medal to console themselves with after having their hearts ripped out four years ago. But as anyone who knows half a thing about soccer will tell you, there’s really no substitute to hoisting the World Cup trophy.

However, it wasn’t just those feelings that had me doubting anyone that named the US as a favorite prior to the blowout they dished out to Japan on Sunday.

Continue reading

there’s more than one way to skin a cat

Featured

I’ll start this by saying I know this post is going to inspire some ire. It will be taken the wrong way. Some will take it personally, even though that’s not my intention. Angry emails will be received, my mentions will see the same, and I’ll probably have to tweet out another 5000 words on Twitter to defend my intentions. Suffice to say, I know what I’m getting myself into.

What exactly is it that I’m about to get on about that requires such an opening?

My growing annoyance with the ever-increasing childish tendencies of American soccer supporters groups, that’s what.

Now, that’s a pretty broad brush stroke I just painted with: I’m well aware that not all supporters groups or supporters group members are bad apples. So when I mentioned earlier that some are likely to take this personally, if you already feel like I’m attacking you, take a deep breath and give me a minute. I might not be talking about you or your group specifically at all. I could be, but it’s statistically not likely. In truth, most of you are great. But some of you are annoying as all hell. Read on to learn on which side of the divide you fall.

Also, before I get too far into this, let me also dispel any thoughts of me being against supporters groups on the whole. I’m not. I’m actually a bandana-brandishing member of the American Outlaws — Chapter 154 in Dayton, Ohio — and a card-carrying member of Tottenham Hotspur Football Club.

In fact, I mostly love what supporters groups bring to American soccer: energy, passion and some absolutely fantastic human beings. The fanfare they provide makes for great atmosphere, and has been one of the largest contributors to the vastly improved match day experience at American professional soccer games.

But I mostly love that from afar. While I have plenty of close friends and acquaintances in supporters groups who I love to catch up with at the pre-match tailgate and post-match at the pub, I usually keep my distance from the actual supporters’ sections in the stadiums themselves.

Again, this isn’t because I dislike what those sections have going on — it’s just not how I personally like to take in a match.

Continue reading

WSOTP pod: a visit from the mailman

WSOTP Podcast - A Visit From the MailmanIf you’re one of the rare subscribers that gives the entirety of our often lengthy shows a listening, you’ll know that we end each episode of the #Pondcast with a plea for your questions and topics for next week’s show. Each pod that goes up also includes a written reminder of that as well — yup, it’s down there today too. In your average week, we might get one or two. Well this week, it seems like everyone wanted in on the action — especially those of you who are fans of the US lower leagues — and that gave us enough for our first legit mailbag session ever. You guys are finally making this your show, and that makes us very excite.

In addition to the mailbag session this week, you’ll also hear the guys provide thoughts on a pair of very different Premier League sides that both earned their first wins of the campaign. Whiparounds for the rest of the weekend Premier League and MLS action, League 2 Watch and our weekly Winners & Wankers are all here too, to round out the reset of the episode. So there’s something for everyone.

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.

WSOTP Podcast on iTunes WSOTP Podcast on Stitcher WSOTP Podcast RSS Feed

WSOTP pod: what transfer window?

WSOTP Podcast - What Transfer Window?

It was a hectic week in the world of soccer, particularly for those of us who live in the Cincinnati area. There was an interesting weekend of Premier League football, highlighted by a crazy Manchester City mauling of champions Chelsea. Of course MLS was at it again this weekend, too. The Bundesliga finally made a proper debut on American network television. A new USL team was officially announced here in town, too. And that’s not even mentioning transfer news, which has been peculiarly quiet. And we of course will tackle all of that and more, including our normal weekly segments of League 2 Watch, Fantasy Update and Winners and Wankers.

Have a question or topic you want the guys to get into on the next episode? You can always reach out via the social media links at the bottom of the page, or you can send us an email to contact@wrongsideofthepond.com. And don’t forget to subscribe to automatically receive the newest podcast each Tuesday.

WSOTP Podcast on iTunes WSOTP Podcast on Stitcher WSOTP Podcast RSS Feed

pic of the week 8/7-8/13

Image

WSOTP - Blog - Balotelli Mohawk Shoe.fw

Just because Mario Balotelli has to labeen relegated to selection hell at Liverpool — unable to be sold, but of no use to the manager — that doesn’t mean you can keep his personality off the pitch. And you can thank his boot sponsor, Puma, for that.

Above are a new pair of boots from Balotelli’s new line of Puma boots, which at first glance aren’t all that dissimilar to most of the boots on the market today. It features a pretty standard blue and white, accented with gold — presumably because that’s the metal all of his toilets are made out of. But numerous Mario-customizations can be found on closer inspection. There’s his signature in gold on the side. One of his most famous catchphrases — “Why Always Me” — is plastered on the outside of the heel, too. But most striking of all the Balo-features is a line of what appears to be human hair down the heel, meant to replicate the Italian striker’s well-known hairdo. Though there’s no word on whether that’s really hair cut off of Balotelli’s head, or some Italian-made synthetic human hair that Puma spent years developing.

If for some crazy reason you feel the need to have Balotelli’s hair on your feet, you better hope you’ve got little ones: the new Balotelli Mohawk Pumas are only available in youth sizes.

ten words or less #112

Suffice to say, it’s been a crazy week here in Cincinnati. The launch of a new USL franchise — which we helped to break — and the arrival of an American soccer legend — also something we told you about first — has made for a very interesting week here on the banks of the Ohio River. I’ve whisked around town for press conferences (seen above… Hi, Mom!) events and to speak on a few different media outlets, not to mention written a few articles on it all, too.

But even though I’ve been a tad busy, still wanted to share some of my favorite points of interest from around the soccer interwebz that I’ve managed to stumble across over the last two weeks. For those of you who are new to these parts — greetings! Hopefully we won’t scare you off.

Major League Soccer’s first years were… weird. – si.com

Jersey porn, graphic design porn and soccer porn in one. – espnfc.com

This is hilariously/embarrassingly bad work from the BBC. – bbc.com

Bayern are your prototypical well-engineered German machine. – sbnation.comz

Double exposure sexiness.obbie – behance.com

I feel bad for judging Jake Livermore, now. – mirror.co.uk

Adidas’ big rethink is edgy. – youtbue.com

A unique animated telling of soccer’s turbulent history. – off-foot.com

Nashville FC: a small club doing big things. – vice.com

Doctorgate at Chelsea is Mourinho’s most audacious attention diversion ever.
– telegraph.co.uk

WSOTP pod: poop green kits

WSOTP Podcast: Poop Green Kits

The second episode of Season 3 sees hosts D.J. and Jeremy delve deeply into the first weekend of the 2015/16 Premier League season. On tap are thoughts ranging from the struggles of the “big clubs” in that opening weekend, to their opinions on the best and worst of the kits being dawned this year. The guys also spent some time heaping praise on Chattanooga FC and the tremendous things they’re doing in the American fourth division, looking into the big names that have recently landed in MLS, and orating on the “neutral” site selection for the USMNT’s Confederations Cup Playoff with Mexico. The weekly segments of Fantasy Update and League 2 Watch are back, and we also see the debut of Jeremy’s Wrong Side of the Argument bit. So there’s plenty in store.

Have a question or topic you want the boys to tackle? Hit us up via the social media links at the bottom of the page, or shoot us an email to contact@wrongsideofthepond.com. And don’t forget to subscribe to automatically receive the newest podcast each Tuesday.

WSOTP Podcast on iTunes WSOTP Podcast on Stitcher WSOTP Podcast RSS Feed

fc cincinnati: panning out as expected

WSOTP - Blog - FC Cincinnati.fw

Back in May, alongside friends at Scratching the Pitch, I helped to break the story that the United Soccer League would be returning to Cincinnati. Included in that piece was the team’s name — FC Cincinnati — their colors, and their logo.

Two weeks ago, I was the first to tell you that the still unannounced FC Cincinnati would be coached by former US men’s national team captain, John Harkes. Also in that piece was confirmation that the team would also playing at UC’s newly renovated Nippert Stadium in 2016.

And today, I’m here to tell you that all of that was 100% correct.

Continue reading

WSOTP pod: the season 3 premier

WSOTP Podcast - The Season 3 Premier

Well that didn’t feel like a very long break, did it? Actually, it’s been just a few weeks since Jeremy and DJ last sat down together with their mics to talk about soccer. But with the Premier League due to resume action this coming weekend, that means it was time to resurrect the #Pondcast. As such, we’re back with the first episode of Season 3 right freaking now.

So what can you expect on Season 3’s premier? As with the previous two season’s first episodes, the guys provide their annual Premier League predictions for the much coveted European places, relegation candidates and individual award winners. Of course, Fantasy Update and Winners & Wankers are back, too. The guys also dish on their second summer of match commentating, as well as Cincinnati’s summer soccer drama. And we also introduce some new segments to look forward to in 2015/16. So grab your favorite mobile device and/or plug in your headphones, and give the eighty-fifth episode of the WSOTP Podcast a listen!

Have a question or topic you want the boys to tackle? Hit us up via the social media links at the bottom of the page, or shoot us an email to contact@wrongsideofthepond.com. And don’t forget to subscribe to automatically receive the newest podcast each Tuesday.

WSOTP Podcast on iTunes WSOTP Podcast on Stitcher WSOTP Podcast RSS Feed

go big or go home

harkes.fw

It’s been over two and half months since Wrong Side of the Pond helped to break the news of a return to Cincinnati for the United Soccer League, but things have remained eerily quiet from the FC Cincinnati camp — at least in official capacities.

For those still doubting the still-not-announced club’s existence, there’s really no doubt that the team is indeed coming.

Members of their staff have been spotted around town, most notably at American Outlaws Cincinnati events at Molly Malone’s in Covington, but I also spotted them at the Women’s World Cup Final watch party on Fountain Square while we were recording our podcast on stage. They’ve also already been handing out season tickets to those pictured in their gear. There have been rumored promotional shoots, both in studio and on-site at UC’s Nippert Stadium. And a quasi-announcement was even made on local sports anchor Ken Broo’s television show saying they would actually be playing at Nippert — though a recording of that has proven elusive.

Too, the radio silence in the lead up to my article in May also has also come to an end. I’ve heard from two different front office staff members, both of whom have FC Cincinnati email addresses. And I’ve also been in touch with the PR company that’s handling the launch and media relations.

Yet despite all of this, an official press conference announcement still has not been scheduled — though two rumored dates have reportedly been pushed back.

So why the delay?

The official line from club contacts is that travel schedules haven’t aligned properly to make an announcement yet, though as recently as late June the club were still waiting for “official paperwork to be signed”. There’s also been speculation that a federal corruption and bribery investigation into rumored FCC front man Jeff Berding could have caused some of the delays. And there’s been the additional thought that the club are waiting to make a marquee signing to help make for a bigger splash.

And if my sources are correct, there could be some truth in the latter of those three.

Continue reading