WSOTP x AO: just for tonight, let’s be lovers


WSOTP - Blog - WSOTP x AO.fw

This is a short excerpt from my first featured post for the American Outlaws — the largest and most well-known US soccer supporters group — and their newly launched blog, ‘Voice of the American Outlaws’. After applying in December of last year, I found out in May that I was one of nine lucky entrants to be selected. The site soft-launched in September, and will soon be pumped by the AO mothership. To read my debut piece in it’s entirety, please click here or click the link at the end of the excerpt below.

As things currently stand, there are apparently two types of American soccer fans these days: those that are for Jurgen Klinsmann, and those who are not.

When he was first appointed back in July of 2011, Klinsmann was heralded as everything from “the first big manager in the U.S. men’s national team history”, to “the American soccer messiah”. Like President Barack Obama’s first term in office, Jurgen arrived at the helm of the national team with charisma and talk of change. His personality was bubbly and buoyant, and he promised to deliver wins with a style that should reflect our mentality and culture. The media mostly gushed about him, and fans were practically foaming at the mouth.

Nearly four and a half years later — much like our president — Klinsmann finds himself in a very different spot.

Continue reading “All Tomorrow’s Parties” on IBWM. →

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.

Continue reading

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


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.

Address 6000 Victory Way
Commerce City, CO
Home Club Colorado Rapids
Soccer Capacity 19,680
Opened April 7, 2007
Soccer Specific Stadium Yes
From Out of Town?
Driving In
Public Transport
Parking / Tailgating
Prematch Pubs
Tickets / Where to Sit
Supporters Sections
Suites & Special Seating
Food & Beer
Fan Activities
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


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

a “great” day for soccer with fc cincinnati

WSOTP - Blog - FCC Tryouts Rain.fw

One of the many peculiarities of soccer is that whenever you happen upon a day where weather is dreadful — think 45º F and driving rain — just about everyone you talk to will describe it as “this is a great day for soccer!” If not that saying specifically, a variation of it will likely fill its place — “now this is soccer weather” or “this is weather made for soccer”.

Newsflash: nobody actually likes playing in that kind of weather.

And predictably, I heard that common colloquialism uttered no less than a dozen times in the several hours I spent out taking in the action at FC Cincinnati’s open tryouts last Saturday.

A dreary, wet and cold Cincinnati greeted myself, a handful of other journalists, and the 127 players who made their way out to UC to see if they could earn a spot on the USL side’s maiden roster. Though I stood huddled under a tent at one end of the pitch, trying my best to minimize the amount of rain sprayed on me by the frequent gusts of wind, I was also counting my lucky stars. I had a proposal to participate in portions of the tryout with a GoPro strapped to me rejected due to liability concerns. No part of me wanted to be out playing in that mess, even if it would have made for some awesome content.

As coach John Harkes and his staff made their way over for the post-tryout media session under the tent — his clothing soaked and clearly a bit frozen — I asked if this reminded him of his time playing in England. “This is colder,” he replied, inciting some chuckles from the gathered crowd.

Continue reading

WSOTP pod: celebrating a century with chris rolfe

WSOTP - Blog - Season 3 Episode 16.fw

Two and a half years ago — despite nothing more to go than an occasional Twitter interaction and a fleeting encounter watching Wigan play at a podunk little high school — two guys that barely knew each other started a soccer podcast. Now into their third season and 100 episodes later, they’re somehow still making it happen.

To celebrate our 100th episode, D.J. and Jeremy welcome on longtime friend of the blog, Dayton native and DC United frontman Chris Rolfe to reflect on the 2015 season, talk Eastern Conference finalists Columbus and New York, and his famous hair/headband. The guys also did their normal Premier League rounds — including Leicester City and Jamie Vardy’s rise to the top, Chelsea remembering how to win and Spurs hot run of form. Too, D.J. recounts his freezing but pleasing trip to Columbus for the Crew-Red Bulls first leg, and your League 2 Watch and Winners & Wankers weekly segments are in there, too.

And as always, if you have questions, topics or suggestions you want us to tackle on the 101st episode, give us a shout on social media or drop us a line to And do us a favor and subscribe — and maybe even a review/rating? — on iTunes, Stitcher or via RSS using the links below.

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pic of the week 11/16-11/22


WSOTP - Blog - Freddy Adu the Marketers Dream

Professional athletes endorsing products for financial gain is so common place these days that we hardly ever bat an eye at it. And whether it’s maned NFL players hawking anti-dandruff shampoo, NBA players pushing video game delivery services, or a world-famous Frenchman little-known to most Americans selling us razors and shaving cream, it’s generally accepted that you’ve well and truly “made it” once companies start asking you to pimp their stuff. Well, most of the time anyway.

This week’s picture of the week comes to us via the Twitter feed of former US soccer prodigy, Freddy Adu. Once an incredibly active tweeter, Adu’s social media presence took a bit of a dive as his career went from full of promise to sliding off the edge of a cliff. Now back in the States playing for NASL’s Tampa Bay Rowdies, the guy who once was (foolishly) labeled American soccer’s Pelé is now being electronically social once again… including an odd #sponsored tweet for Hoover. And for some reason, it feels oddly sad.

I don’t mean to knock Adu; get that money where you can, son. But Freddy is also a guy who once had an endorsement deal with Nike and featured in prominent national television ads for Sierra Mist alongside the man he was (foolishly) compared to. Now? He’s doing fairly unprofessional Hoover endorsements on Twitter. At least we think, anyway.

I mean, we can’t rule out this being a desperate attempt by Adu to show potential suitors that he still has the marketer’s charm, can we? Or is he trying to send us a subliminal message? It really sucks down here in Tampa, ya’ll. 

Whatever the case, keep up the hustle Fred. Hoover’s not paying me to post about their cordless vacuums… though we can change that if you want, Hoover.

WSOTP pod: how many concussion symptoms am i showing?

WSOTP Podcast - How many concussion symptoms am i showing?

Though international breaks normally provide less action for us to orate about on our weekly #Pondcast, this last week of “break” was anything but. Off the pitch — but not by much — the guys touch on how the atrocity in Paris will have an impact on the professional game. Too, we also welcomed back FanDuel managing editor and sports injury specialist Will Carroll (@injuryexpert) to discuss recent US Soccer legislation aimed at reducing youth head injuries. On the pitch matters were discussed as well, with the USMNT’s return to World Cup qualifying, the NASL’s entertaining Soccer Bowl and European qualifying all in the mix.

For the first time in ages, we were blanked on the question front this week. So next week, we expect loads of questions and topic suggestions from you listeners! Got it? Good. So make sure to hit us up via the social media links at the bottom of the page, or drop an email to to send them along. And don’t forget to subscribe using the links below to automatically receive the newest podcast episode each Tuesday.

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an open letter to u.s. soccer

WSOTP - Blog - US in St Louis

Board of Governors
U.S. Soccer Federation
1801 South Prairie Avenue
Chicago, IL 60616

Greetings and good afternoon:

Running American soccer — at least I’d assume, seeing as how I have no experience in doing so — is an incredibly hard task. It’s probably a pretty thankless task at times as well. Few probably reward you for the countless hours you’ve put in, and the only feedback you receive is when people are angry or aggrieved.

I’d imagine that’s particularly true these days, considering the growing laundry list of complaints that the growing American soccer audience has for you. Opening up the pyramid, promotion and relegation, the banning of headers in the youth game, and claims of sticking with incompetent national team manager are all hot button topics in US soccer, and I’m sure there are countless others. Dealing with all of that can’t be easy, and coming up with solutions for those complains is likely even harder. In short, I respect — and even mostly approve — the work all of you do.

But not all of it.

You see tonight, the men’s national team kicks off qualification for the 2018 World Cup against St. Vincent & the Grenadines. They Caribbean minnows are ranked 129th in the world according to FIFA, pretty lowly when compared to our (admittedly disappointing) ranking of 33rd. And their record in international play isn’t exactly sterling either, so saying I’m worried about the USMNT losing to them isn’t really a concern.

So what’s my problem? In two words: the field.

Without a doubt, St. Louis is a hotbed of American soccer. Both historically and in present day. And even if it wasn’t, a city and population of its size is absolutely deserving of hosting a national team World Cup qualifier.

But — and let me make this very clear — when playing for the opportunity to qualify for a World Cup, it should be played on the absolute best surface possible. And you know what doesn’t qualify as the best playing surface possible for a professional soccer game that’s been organized for the sole purpose of reaching the most prestigious tournament your game offers?

A baseball field.

Even a well manicured baseball field like the one at St. Louis’ Busch Stadium, even one used by a Major League Baseball franchise, even one who’s had a month to meticulously prepare — none of them should be utilized as a stage for our nation’s team to qualify for a World Cup in a single game. Why? Because their playing surfaces and facilities are not freaking made for soccer!

The grass surface on those fields typically isn’t one designed for the wear and tear exerted over the course of the average game of soccer. That means increased divots and therefore a less clean playing surface. The dimensions of the playing surface aren’t arranged to allow for a full-sized international field — and a field that just exceeds the minimums really shouldn’t be counted. That leads to cramped play and potentially the need to adjust your tactics. And most glaringly, there’s the need to deal with putting a temporary surface over the dirt baseball infield. Which of course leads a less clean playing surface and the greater chance of a player getting hurt when temporary turf slides across the dirt it sits on top of.

And that’s not to mention the kind of message it sends to the international footballing community. Look, we care so little about our national team’s success that we’re willing to sacrifice it to make a few extra dollars.

Do I think it will affect the outcome of tonight’s game? Probably not, but it could. But that’s besides the point.

When you think about it, there are easily fifty stadiums in this country — between MLS, NFL and NCAA football — that would be better suited right this very moment than Busch Stadium in St. Louis would be today. And that’s even if they were still playing the game tonight.

Don’t give me the “Well, New York City FC play on a baseball stadium and they did just fine” nonsense. The postage stamp they play on at Yankee Stadium looked like a U-10 field, and I’ve heard from several MLS players that surface there was far from ideal. If you want to turn to the grass-on-top-of-turf example (Ex: Dallas’s AT&T Stadium/Seattle’s CenturyLink Field) to mute me, don’t. Those games were mostly for friendlies, and even then you’d see coaches from Mexico to MLS clubs complaining that it was an unsafe surface too.

Long story short, when the national team is playing in games of importance, there’s really no reason at all that we should ever short change our players with a handicap of a substandard pitch. It’s embarrassing that we should be forced into such a situation just so we can make a few extra bucks.

And let’s just pray nobody gets hurt.


D.J. Switzer
Wrong Side of the Pond

WSOTP pod: pop goes the microphone

WSOTP Podcast - Pop goes the microphone

You’ll hear about it when you listen in, but I may as well give you a heads up here, too: we unknowingly experienced some technical difficulties on this week’s #Pondcast that will have an impact on the audio quality. About 5 minutes into recording, the guys heard a loud pop but couldn’t ascertain what it was and recorded as normal — apparently that was a mic, and it put a nice grainy noise over top of the recording. Jeremy did his best to clean it up, but it’s definitely not our best sounding pod. Which is a shame, because the content on this week’s episode is excellent.

Not only did we get to continue ragging on Jeremy for Chelsea’s woes on top of D.J. celebrating a solid point in the North London Derby, but there was also an absolutely stunning round of MLS Cup Playoffs to discuss. Plus, there’s an excellent chat about the latest USMNT roster, and the rest of the weekly segments.

Want to contribute to the show? Hit us up via the social media links at the bottom of the page or drop an email to to send us your questions and topics and we’ll include them. And don’t forget to subscribe to automatically receive the newest podcast each Tuesday.

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of course we know what we’re doing

New York City FC coach and former Real Salt Lake player Jason Kreis takes the field before the team's MLS soccer game against Real Salt Lake, Saturday, May 23, 2015, in Sandy, Utah. (Leah Hogsten/The Salt Lake Tribune via AP)

Make no bones about it: while it may not have been the case ten years ago, Manchester City Football Club are truly one of the biggest clubs in world football these days.

Some have suggested that their struggles in European competitions dismisses their claims as a “big club” — and that argument does hold some water — but I’d still argue that three domestic cups lifted in the last four seasons in one of the most competitive countries in Europe is something that earns them that distinction. Plus, their ability to attract the world’s top talent, pay top wages and sign some of the most lucrative sponsorship deals is enough for me to class them as such.

Personally, I find City’s meteoric rise from perennial Premier League underachievers to annual title contenders to be one of the most fascinating storylines of this era of world football. Admittedly, the club and their Abu Dhabi-backed City Football Group ownership team made that happen by dumping in excess of a billion pounds into the club. But for those who say that they’ve done nothing but buy their prestige, that’s a huge oversimplification of their success. There have been plenty of billionaires that have thrown massive sums of money at a club with the hopes of turning them into a power — Leeds, Monaco and Anzhi Makhachkala, to name a few — and have walked away with very little to show for it other than debt.

It’s clearly not a fool-proof method, but Manchester City have found that success that’s eluded so many other billionaire-backed clubs. And that potentially means that they’ve done a better job of investing those sizable cash injections.

Sure, they’ve splashed on players — many of whom haven’t exactly panned out — but they’ve also dumped money into scouting, coaching and huge improvements in the clubs infrastructure and facilities. And those investments have brought success, even if measured.

So whenever the overarching City Football Group make really odd decisions with their MLS side — New York City FC — I really do try to give them the benefit of the doubt.

But damn do they make that difficult. Continue reading

WSOTP pod: this is legitimately a crisis


WSOTP Podcast: This is actually a crisis

You don’t need a description to entice you to listen to this week’s #Pondcast — and I don’t really have time to write one anyway. But you should listen. Because Mourinho, if nothing else.

If you want to get your own question or topic discussed on the next edition of the #Pondcast, be sure to drop us a line at or by getting at us on social media. Plus, you need to subscribe using the links below to get new episodes automatically delivered to your device of choice.

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ten words or less #114

The words have again slowed to a trickle here at WSOTP recently, and as I usually do, I’m plugging the hole with another links round up. It’s not that there isn’t plenty to write about — I have a really long list of items that I’d like to get to — I just haven’t had the time  to do so lately. But trust that I have still been hard at work on a number of projects behind the scenes that will hopefully see the light of day in the near future. And new #Pondcasts are still dropping regularly on Tuesdays, so we’re not leaving you totally deprived of WSOTP’s perspective — check back tomorrow for our latest episode!

In the mean time, I hope you feel satisfied with these interesting links from around the world of soccer.

Why haven’t you signed up for our FIFA Tournament yet? –

Sepp Blatter is clearly an old, delusional man. –

While awesome in theory, can the players take it on? –

Could MLS be over doing it on social media? –

And you thought your last match’s referee was a prick. –

Are Getafe about to get Wimbledon-ed? –

The American lower leagues are experiencing some growing pains.
– (FYI: audio Link)

You rarely hear about player’s fandom these days. –

Zlatan to Miami in 2017? The team start in 2018… –

A deeper (historical) look at MLS’ new salary data. –

WSOTP pod: fifteen goals for D.J.

WSOTP Podcast - Fifteen Goals for D.J.


While last week’s abridged version of the podcast gives way to this week’s 71 minute show, we’ve been forced to stuff in everything from MLS Decision Day, Champions League recaps, Chelsea’s continued meltdown to a lackluster Manchester Derby. Plus, the guys provide their weekly Winners & Wankers, a League 2 Watch and even name some winners in our fantasy MLS leagues — not to mention a slew of listener questions, and whole lot more.

If you want to get your own question or topic discussed on the next edition of the #Pondcast, be sure to drop us a line at or by getting at us on social media. Plus, you need to subscribe using the links below to get new episodes automatically delivered to your device of choice.

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