ten words or less #115

WSOTP - Van Gaal Toast

It’s the final day of 2015, and is my yearly tradition, I can’t help but feel a bit of melancholy. Looking back over the previous 12 months, it’s hard not to feel that way: 2015 was another great year for us here at WSOTP.

Our podcast traffic has doubled in the last year. We helped to host more events than ever before, including another successful World Cup watch party on Cincinnati’s Fountain Square. I was lucky enough to attend the MLS All-Star Game in Denver, which had the added bonus of also featuring my beloved Tottenham Hotspur. I also had the privilege of not only getting to work my first ever MLS Cup Final as media, but also attend my first ever MLS Cup Final — though I was admittedly a bit bummed to see my Columbus Crew side stumble at the finish line. I also nabbed two of my biggest ever scoops during 2015, both pertaining to the arrival of a new well-backed USL franchise in my hometown of Cincinnati. And even more mind-blowing, I had the honor of getting to help resurrect a professional team I supported as a kid by designing it’s crest.

Those are just a few of the highlights — there was a lot I left out. And when you get to experience that much in a single calendar year, there’s always the concern that the next year won’t live up to this one.

Rest assured, we’re doing our damnedest to make sure that doesn’t happen. More guests are being planned for the Pondcast. We’re plotting some further interviews for the website to bring even deeper insight into the American game, some new merch could be going up in the store in the near future… and we might even have a few more surprises in the works, too.

But as always, thanks to all of you who stopped by throughout 2015. We never would have been able to achieve so much without your eyes, ears and friendships. Cheers.

A fascinating story on East Germany’s final match. – bbc.com

I’d be willing to bring back Blatter for this. – sportingintelligence.com

And you think your boss is an ass… – skysports.com

Doubt I’d be this cool if in his situation. – whoateallthepies.tv
(Courtesy of Lippadona) 

Sadly, this isn’t that unrealistic of a response for FIFA. – theonion.com

MLS exodus to LigaMX a good thing? Maybe. – goal.com

“Though we play him constantly, we don’t really want him.” – football-italia.net

Be right back, spending next two hours in the driveway. – youtube.com

Indeed, geography can dictate philosophy. – mirror.co.uk

I’m devastated for Canales, but take a hint and retire. – espnfc.com

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.

Continue reading

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

pic of the week 9/2-9/8

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Marseille manager Marcelo Bielsa

Long before he took the manager’s job at Olympique de Marseille, Marcelo Bielsa has always been a man who has spoken his mind. And given his track record of success, he’s entitled to. But sometimes, the man nicknamed “El Loco” — the “crazy one” in English — says a lot more than what his club would prefer. So after the transfer window didn’t go quite to his liking, Bielsa felt it was time to unleash a tirade on club president Vincent Labrune at a recent press conference. And the face of the club press secretary, seen in the background, during said tirade is priceless.

However, after a rough start to life at the Stade Veledrome, El Loco has righted the ship and currently has the French giants sitting fourth in the table after two straight wins. So odds are, they’ll tolerate his little outburst… for now.

ten words or less #81

torres fans can take comfort in knowing fernando’s cat-like scratch of vertonghen’s face wasn’t viewed as ridiculous as luis suarez’s bite.

I don’t know if anyone else is feeling this way, but my cup runneth over with football at the moment. I already felt like my cup was full with the increased availability of Premier League coverage this season, but that’s feeling even more full given that the Capital One Cup and European midweek fixtures regularly on the calendar again. The MLS season has reached crunch time, providing a myriad of playoff races to and storylines satisfy one’s needs. And don’t forget: another round of World Cup qualifiers is just a fortnight away, too.

So with my attention span being pulled in a thousand directions at the moment, it’s been a bit difficult to crack out full-length pieces. But worry not, I’ve got you covered with the eighty-first edition of Ten Words or Less. And if I do say so, this one has some delectable links. Also, be on the look out for Episode 8 of the WSOTP Pod to drop later this afternoon, too. Though with both posts hitting you in short order, you might feel like your cup is running over too.

United fan marrying into City family trolls with his toast. – youtube.com

Dunny provides insight into how Generation Adidas got it’s start.
– theoriginalwinger.com

Spurs-Chelsea last weekend was a tactician’s dreamworld. – zonalmarking.com

Hey Geoff Cameron: less about you, more about the team. – espnfc.com

Would you eat — or pay $40.58 for — a Zlatan Burger? – guardian.co.uk

I back academies, but there are decent arguments against them. – latimes.com

For no other reason than tweaked nostalgia, I need these. – hypebeast.com

I’m no El Tri fan, but I dig me some Jorge Campos. – inbedwithmaradona.com

Great insight on year one of the MLS-USL partnership. – philly.com

This seems way more like something Sterling would do. – fanatix.com

pic of the week 7/22-7/28

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Zlatan Ibrahimovic Bikini

When you are The Zlatan, you do what you want, anywhere you want. He’s pretty well proven that with his willingness to kick teammates all around Europe. And if The Zlatan wants to prance about in a “mankini” after a 0-1 preseason friendly loss against Real Madrid in his native Sweden, then you better believe he’s going to do it.

Why exactly did The Zlatan choose to strip down to what Who Ate All the Pies described as an “ultra masculine bikini”? I doubt it was so hot in Solna that it was necessary to ditch one’s shirt and shorts after the match. Maybe players swapping shorts these days too, and I’ve just not caught on to the trend. Or perhaps he’s worked out a Bendtner-Paddypower-esque deal with GPSports to help get their name out into the marketplace.

You know, on second thought, it’s probably best not to delve into the murky world that is Ibrahimović’s decision making and just let him do what he wants.

ten words or less #74

we check back in with dribble 4 toledo, who now find themselves in paulding, ohio.

we check back in with dribble 4 toledo, who now find themselves in sherwood, ohio.

It seems like everyone is hitting the road these days. Premier League clubs are playing one another in Yankee Stadium. Or how about Neyamar, who’s packing his bags and leaving Brazil for greener (potentially) pastures in Barcelona. Better yet, remember the guys I wrote about back in early February? You know, the band of four dudes from my hometown who were making an epic trip across the state with only a soccer ball at their feet and the goal of raising money and awareness for the poor of Toledo in their minds?

Well at the close of the ninth day of Dribble4Toledo‘s 250 mile route, I’m happy to report the guys already find themselves well over halfway through their journey from Monroe to Toledo. Along the way, they’ve had some interesting detours along the route, so be sure to check out their Facebook page to chart their progress and see what they’re getting themselves into. And congrats and safe travels again to the boys as they continue their path across Ohio!

And to keep the trend going, I’ll also be hitting the road this week… albeit in significantly more lazy fashion, as I’ll be in a car and not hoofing it like the boys from D4T. First, I’ll be heading North to watch the US Men as they take on a Spurs-rich Belgium side in Cleveland. Then at the weekend, I’ll be sliding over to Chicago’s Toyota Park to watch the Fire battle DC United and kick off the next big project here at WSOTP. All told, it will be over a 1000 miles worth of driving just so I can fill these pages with content and keep your prying eyes coming back for more. Don’t worry, you can thank me later.

In the mean time, enjoy these excellent links from around the interwebs.

NYCFC’s logo won’t look like this; and that’s a shame. – mwillis.com

A brilliant breakdown of the reasons behind Falcao to Monaco. – reddit.com/u/nikcub

But will Monaco even be allowed to play in France? – guardian.co.uk

Neymar will either prove he belongs or crash and burn. – espnfc.com

The end of a beautiful friendship: Cosmos switch to Nike. – footballshirtculture.com

Trying to get into the Champions League Final… for free.
– supportersnotcustomers.com

Americanisms vs Britishisms. Funny thing: there is no right answer. – bbc.co.uk

Cesc on a mission to play for everyone I hate. – foxsports.com

This one is for mi amiga colombiana… crazy Colombian hair! – thebeautifulgear.com

Everton redesign their kit: fans hate it. Club’s response: surprising. – evertonfc.com

pic of the week 4/15-4/21

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Beckham's kids at PSG training

Short of the (future) children of the royals, Brooklyn, Cruz and Romeo Beckham (L-R) are most likely the most famous children in England along with their sister Harper. And given their parents’ fame, it’s not so infrequent that the little rascals show up in the news. But are Beckham’s kids really so important that they should get to buzz about a PSG training session and have kick abouts with some of Europe’s most elite footballers? Come to think of it, the little bastards also took the pitch in LA and Madrid, too. Does David make sure there’s a provision in his contracts where his kids can enter the field of play at any time they please?

Now maybe I haven’t been to enough professional level training sessions; maybe it’s pretty normal to see the players’ offspring wandering around the grounds. And it’s possible that I’m just slightly jealous of the access given to Golden Balls’ progeny. But that doesn’t change the fact that it seems just a little unsafe to have your children anywhere near so close to the Zlatan.

This week’s “Pic of the Week” brought to you by… privilege.

pic of the week 3/18-3/24

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David Beckham and his underwear

Yo dawg… I heard you like David Beckham’s new underwear, so we put Beckham in with a bunch of Beckham’s underwear so you can help him earn more money while giving him your money.

Sorry, I had to.

Though I was tempted to use a picture from Friday’s epic battle in the snow in Denver, I’ve already devoted an entire gallery post on the US Mens National Team’s now-protested victory over Costa Rica. No need for overkill there. So instead we get a shot of Golden Balls at an unveiling of his new H&M underwear line in Berlin. He even signed underwear at the event, so his fans could have even more David Beckham in their David Beckham underwear. Xzibit, no doubt, approves. How this guy has time to promote his underpants in Germany, slip and fall on his ass while in China as their “Global Football Ambassador” and play for PSG — all in one week — is a bit beyond me.