ten words or less #102

Matchday - MLS Cup Final 2014

With a big match on the horizon this weekend in domestic football — you know, the MLS Cup Final — we thought it high time to gather the local readers/supporters together again with another watch party at our favorite local pub, Rhinehaus in Over-the-Rhine. So if you happen to be in Cincinnati this coming Sunday (12/7), be sure to swing by to have a pint with the #Pondcast team and watch as Landon does battle with Jones in the former’s last ever professional soccer match. In fact, if you are going to be in town, let us know you’re attending by RSVPing here.

In the mean time, entertain yourselves by following any of the ten links below that I dug up from around the wide world web over the last week.

TLDR; more trebles because rich teams are getting richer. – espnfc.com

If MLS sides’ shirt sponsors were local(ish) breweries. – backheel.com

Tottenham’s fall can all be blamed on John Terry. – cartilagefreecaptain.com

Interesting look at dollars spent per win/point in MLS. – dtfsoccer.wordpress.com

Classic Sepp: absolving FIFA while blaming others. – foxsports.com

Besides a few owners/league offices, everyone agrees with Robbie. – irishexaminer.com

This backheel assist from Chicharito is the stuff of legend. – gfycat.com

This most valuable clubs in the Americas list is… interesting. – forbes.com.mx

A nice gesture. But Dortmund do this every year. – independent.co.uk

Western Sydney Wanderers are Australia’s BVB. – a-league.com.au

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dayton dutch lions shuttering USL PRO franchise

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WSOTP - Blog - DDLFC.fw

In an off season where it feels there’s been a new franchise announced every week, it’s not all sunshine and roses in USL PRO.

Over the last few months, a plethora of new teams have been added to the third division league’s ranks. Those included six new MLS-owned sides — Seattle Sounders 2, Portland Timbers 2, FC Montreal, Real Monarchs SLC (Real Salt Lake), Toronto’s still unnamed side and Vancover Whitecaps FC 2. There will also be six new independently owned clubs in 2015: Austin Aztex (promoted from PDL) Charlotte Independence (promoted from PDL), Colorado Springs Switchbacks, Louisville City FC, Saint Louis FC and Tulsa Roughnecks. All told, that’s a nearly 86% increase in the number of clubs in the league.

That’s twelve reasons for everyone to feel rosy around the league. Unfortunately, there remains at least one area of uncertainty.

At the end of September, Wrong Side of the Pond exclusively revealed that the Dayton Dutch Lions would be leaving the Gem City and departing South for the Queen City of Cincinnati. The Dutch Lions have long struggled in a number of areas including attendance, media awareness and general finances. It was believed that a move south to the larger market of Cincinnati would help the club stabilize and eventually grow.

But as it turns out, the Dayton Dutch Lions future is far more grim than just a relocation.

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EXCLUSIVE: dayton dutch lions moving to cincinnati

WSOTP - Blog - Dutch Lions Move to Cincinnati.fwAccording to information received from multiple trusted sources, Wrong Side of the Pond believes that the Dayton Dutch Lions will be moving their USL PRO franchise to Cincinnati for the 2015 season.

Rumors place the club leaving their newly minted home at Dayton Outpatient Center Stadium at West Carrollton High School — just opened midway through the 2014 season — and migrating to the Xavier University Soccer Complex. Currently, that facility also plays host to the Dutch Lions affiliate fourth division side playing in the USL Premier Development League.

Multiple attempts to confirm the move with the Dutch Lions went unanswered, as was a request for further information put into Xavier Athletics. Additionally, USL PRO declined to comment on any franchise moves, per league policy.

However, should an impending move 50 miles south actually come to fruition, it would come at the end of a turbulent stretch for a Dutch Lions organization that has alternated between few highs and far more frequent lows.

Established in 2009 as a fourth division USL Premier Development League side before self-promoting to the third division USL PRO — formerly the USL Second Division — in 2011, the Dutch Lions have long struggled to find a firm footing in Dayton and have found success on the pitch equally elusive.

Poor attendance has plagued the team throughout their existence and is likely the primary driver behind a relocation. The Dutch Lions averaged a league-low attendance of 531 at home matches this season, and often times the actual attendance was far less. The club’s struggle to find a permanent home likely contributed to those poor numbers, and a transient history of bouncing around local high school stadiums has made it difficult to establish a persistent fan base.

On-field outcomes have also been rare for Dayton, with a third place finish in USL PDL in their first year of existence being the club’s best ever league finish. But things haven’t gone as well since making the climb up to the third division: they’ve managed only one winning season (2013) and this year finished dead last out of fourteen clubs.

Reportedly, the only income keeping the club afloat comes by way of their youth academy, as club fees collected from each academy member are being at least partially used to help prop up the struggling professional side. Apparently, the Dutch Lions are also operating on what has been deemed “the smallest budget in the league” by a sizable margin. With little match day revenue to add to the coffers, a move South to a potentially more lucrative market would indeed appear appealing.

A move, however, shouldn’t come as a complete surprise.

Speculation of a move to Cincinnati seems to surface nearly every off season around the Dutch Lions camp. And when the organization announced their second PDL amateur side was to be established in Cincinnati just over a year ago, co-owner Mike Mossell — a Xavier Graduate and former player for the defunct Cincinnati Riverhawks — dropped a very telling quote in the official release:

“When Erik [Tammer] and I wanted to start a professional soccer club in the USA back in 2009, Cincinnati was our first choice.”

That’s not exactly a glowing endorsement for how the Dutch Lions feel about being in Dayton. Mossel’s ties to the Queen City only strengthen the argument that Cincinnati is where they would rather be setting up shop.

There’s also the matter of the organizations fourth division team, the already existing Cincinnati Dutch Lions, that might lend further credence to a potential move for their flagship franchise. Speculation has been that the placing of a Dutch Lions PDL side in Cincinnati was little more than a litmus test to see how a team might fare playing at Xavier. The lower-division side was able to average 251 supporters per match, hardly a mouthwatering statistic. But, given that there was virtually no media exposure and zero marketing efforts to promote the team, that might be enough to consider it a decent trial run.

While Cincinnati’s larger market and the owners’ original desires to place it there in the first place might be the primary drivers behind a decision to relocate the club, there are still a number of other factors that make it quite the perplexing proposition.

First and foremost is the already mentioned recent move to West Carrollton’s Dayton Outpatient Center Stadium — or “The DOC” as it’s come to be known by the club’s few dedicated supporters. The search for a permanent home for the Dutch Lions in Dayton had been long and arduous, with proposals for a soccer specific stadium failing to gain support from purported communities. The club eventually settled upon yet another temporary home in West Carrollton, where a brand new turf pitch without football lines was laid down in April thanks in large part to hefty investment from DOC’s Dr. Sanjay Gupta upon the completion of a 30-year agreement between the three parties. Should the Dutch Lions leave Dayton, it’s unclear whether that would in some way violate the terms of the partnership and if there would be any ramifications for such a decision.

Additionally, there’s the issue of the club’s youth academy, also based at West Carrollton High School. Though it’s not unheard of for a professional side’s academy to based in a different city, that normally isn’t the case for academies of lower division sides in the US. A move to Cincinnati for the USL PRO team would also leave a far further drive for academy members — normally an easier group to convince to attend — to actually make it to games. As well, it wouldn’t be a stretch either to hypothesize that the appeal of playing for an academy of a team not based in the same city might drop too.

A move to Cincinnati could also cast doubts on the futures of the Cincinnati PDL team and the women’s W-League team that also calls Dayton home.

Ultimately, it still remains to be seen if those or any other hurdles would be enough to block a move South.

Mossell has, of course, dealt with these types of rumors before too. He told Reckless Challenge‘s Chad Hollingsworth in an interview at the time of the Cincinnati PDL side’s announcement that “there are no plans” to move the USL PRO team to Cincinnati as well. But with WSOTP‘s sources now claiming the rumblings are coming from “within the club” as opposed to from outside sources, the ownership’s tune might now have changed.

Will Dayton lose it’s team? While nothing official from the club or league could be obtained, the Dutch Lions’ tumultuous time in the Gem City looks to have finally come to an end.

WSOTP pod: live world cup special #3

we recorded our third and final live podcast on fountain before, during and after the usa v belgium game.

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!

WSOTP pod: live world cup special #2

WSOTP Podcast - Live World Cup Special #1

better late than never: our second live podcast on fountain square before and during the US-portugal game.

Our second “World Cup Special” podcast was recorded way back before and during the US v Portugal match. I know, nearly a week ago, and another match has transpired since then. So what gives? Well, my computer crashed and I thought the file had been lost into the abyss. Luckily, I had a back up that I’d forgotten about. Furthermore, we weren’t able to record during the Germany game, so the layoff doubled in length. We’re sorry — but better late than never right?

As with last time, our audio situation wasn’t the greatest. But the plus side to that: you won’t be able to hear the hecklers. I’m also joined by Jeremy Lance-lookalike, Eddie Driver, as my normal recording partner was indisposed this time around. But that doesn’t mean this isn’t a pod worth listening to. Eddie and I dished not only on the Portugal game, but also talked over some of the World Cup’s highlights, and we had a chance to chat with some of the lovely Lady Saints to get their outlooks on the game. You’ll find some crowd reactions to the goals, and my post match analysis — including thoughts on the Germany match and the lead up to the Belgium round of 16 thriller that awaits us today.

For those who have asked: yes, we will be recording another podcast before and during today’s pivotal knockout match. And if you’re lucky, you’ll get it before next week.

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!

WSOTP pod: world cup special #1

WSOTP Podcast - Live World Cup Special #1

listen in to our first ever live podcast before the US-ghana game!

Welcome back listeners! After taking a few weeks off this summer to rest our voices so Jeremy and D.J. can commentate matches for the Cincinnati Saints on LiveStream and local TV, we figured it was high time to bring the podcast back for that big tournament that’s going on in Brazil. And thanks to our previously mentioned employers, we got to do record our first ever live session and “World Cup Special” in a special spot: Cincinnati’s famed Fountain Square. Not only that, but we got to do so in front of nearly five thousand rabid US soccer fans that were there to watch the boys in the bomb pops.

Fair warning: our audio equipment didn’t quite work as expected, so the recording quality isn’t the greatest. But you can’t definitely make out our ramblings on the World Cup action thus far. You’ll also be treated to some commentary from Saints players, a listen in to the reaction to John Anthony Brooks’ electric game winner against Ghana and more.

And as further reminder, be sure to join us for the next “Big Game on the Square” this Sunday at 5pm for the next edition of the podcast and the USA’s match against Portugal!

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!

color me surprised

Cincinnati Celebrates Brooks' GoalI have to give it to you, Cincinnati: you really surprised me yesterday.

We’re a city that’s often forced to divide our attention and pick a side. East or west side. Gold Star or Skyline. Xavier or UC. Cincinnati Saints or that other team that we won’t speak of. And when it comes to the watching the US team during the World Cup, things have been no different.

The American Outlaws Cincinnati Chapter were back at their usual stomping grounds at Molly Malone’s in Covington, with those who attended saying the place was jammed full of American supporters like sardines in a can. My favorite soccer pub, Rhinehaus in OTR, was packed in a way that only Lil Jon could appreciate. There were some who chose to stay further out in Hyde Park, with events being held at Cock & Bull, Hap’s, and The Pub at Rookwood. And those are just the soccer hangouts: numerous other establishments around town also have spoken of larger influxes of patrons in to watch the game.

And as such, I was a little concerned that the watch party I was helping to plan — the Cincinnati Saints and Hoists’ Big Game on the Square at Fountain Square — would suffer a lower than expected turnout due to litany of choices available to the city’s soccer fans. If I’m being totally honest, I thought we would be lucky to get 500 people out to the city center to watch the US’ opening game against Ghana.

Boy, was I wrong… and happily so.

The Cincinnati downtown commission, 3CDC, estimated that there were upwards of 5000 fans in attendance. Five thousand! Even if that was a little generous, that’s ten times the amount I had hoped for. Considering this match took place on Monday night on a day where the local meteorologists were warning of pop-up storms in a place that had never hosted a soccer event before, that is freaking incredible.

Too, the atmosphere was absolutely incredible. I’d fielded some concerns that it wouldn’t “be as good as at a pub” and that the AO party “would blow it out of the water”. Those concerns, much like my own earlier, proved unwarranted.

Flags, ridiculous outfits, painted faces, a bounty of bomb pop and Waldo jerseys. There were chants of “I believe that we can win” and “I Love Ya”. The energy and noise after the goals, particularly Brook’s equalizer, was a deafening madhouse. I’m pretty sure I saw someone jump in the fountain in jubilation. There’s a zero percent chance the AO party provided anything better. And the reaction around town, even from non-soccer types, has been nothing short of astounding.

I feel incredibly privileged to have been a part of the experience and to help put on the event. WSOTP Podcast co-host Jeremy Lance and I kept turning to one another and wide-eyed saying to one another, “I can’t believe this is happening in Cincinnati!” Never mind the 30 followers I’ve picked up on Twitter and 20 new Facebook likes since then… it was an honor even without the windfall of new exposure for this site.

We’ll of course be doing this all again on Sunday, and fully expect that the crowd will grow as word gets out that Fountain Square will be the place to watch. So if you didn’t join us yesterday, give us a try this weekend. And for those of you who did, thank you for making this such an awe-inspiring experience.

Here’s hoping we’ll catch you out there again, Cincinnati.

Also, be sure to check out this awesome video of the event from local Ricky Fairrow. It really captured the vibe of the crowd.
http://youtu.be/TUGG1ad1sMM

All pictures courtesy of the Cincinnati Saints. See the full album here.

listermann brewing’s ode to the world cup

Listermann Brewing E.S. Bee World Cup Beer

cincinnati’s listermann brewing reached out across the pond to come up with their special edition world cup beer.

It’s no secret: soccer and beer go together like hops and barley.

Drinking while watching games, whether at a pub or at the match itself, is part of the make up of the game. It’s so integral that FIFA even had Brazil change their laws to allow drinking in the stadiums — though that probably had as much to do with appeasing worldwide sponsor Budweiser as it did with preserving the traditions of the game.

Either way, there are few ways better to enjoy a match than to sip down some cold suds while taking in the action, especially during the World Cup. And as such, loads of brewers have rushed to produce special batches to commemorate the big event.

My hometown of Cincinnati — a town many consider to be one of the country’s biggest hotbeds of brewing — is no different, as my good friends at Listermann Brewing have brewed a special beer specifically for the World Cup: E.S. Bee. Continue reading

watch WSOTP’s first game in the broadcast booth

That’s right kids, the day has finally arrived. Myself and WSOTP Podcast co-host Jeremy Lance will be taking to the broadcast booth tonight as we commentate our first ever game for the Cincinnati Saints!

And even if you can’t make it down to Over-the-Rhine’s Stargel Stadium to watch the match in person, you can take in the match and our orations via a live stream right here on Wrong Side of the Pond. Click below to watch us live at 7:30pm tonight. And if that doesn’t fit your busy schedule, you can always check back and watch at a later time.

WSOTP - Saints vs Erie Admirals ICRC TV

Be kind in your evaluations of our commentating efforts… it’s our first run through, and neither of us has ever done this before. But know in advance that we’re aiming to at least clear the low bar set by FOX’s professional team of Gus Johnson and Eric Wynalda.

UPDATE 5/27/2014: Apologies for the inability to stream the match live on Friday, as we experienced some technical errors on the production side. That said, the stream is now available for your viewing pleasure on the ICRCTV.net website. We’ve also received assurances that this Friday’s (5/30) match against Detroit City FC will be available to livestream on YouTube.

we’re bringing the world cup to fountain square

myself and the rest of the saints media team will be on hand for this summer's biggest soccer event in cincinnati.

myself and the rest of the saints media team will be on hand for this summer’s biggest soccer events in cincinnati.

The wait is finally over. 2014: the summer of the World Cup. We made it!

Well almost… though we are less than two months away from the big production kicking off in São Paulo on June 12th. So while the long wait for the return of the world’s single most popular sporting event is nearly up, the next question becomes: where are you going to watch it?

If you’re not lucky enough to count yourself among those who are heading to Brazil to catch the matches in person — sadly raises hand – finding a place to watch with your fellow fans is a near necessity. And for that reason, you might find it useful to take a look at the WSOTP Soccer Pub Atlas, which could help you to find the closest of 270+ soccer bars across the United States and Canada.

But if you happen to be anywhere remotely close to Cincinnati for any of the US Men’s National Team matches this June, you might want to clear your calendar…

WSOTP - Cincy Saints - Fountain Square Flyer WhiteWSOTP - Cincy Saints - Fountain Square Flyer Black

Alongside the Cincinnati Saints, 3CDC and Hoist Rapid Hydration, Wrong Side of the Pond is pleased to be hosting World Cup Watch Parties for all three of the US Men’s National Team’s first round matches on Cincinnati’s famous Fountain Square!

After some wrangling with FIFA and ESPN to gain approval, the Saints Media team are pleased to be bringing soccer to Fountain Square for the first time on a scale like never before! And hopefully soon you’ll start seeing the WSOTP-designed posters above popping up around town to remind you to come down this June.

So what can you expect from the events, aside from being able to watch the US side take on world powers Germany, Ghana and Portugal on the Square’s 627-inch — or a little over 52 feet — Fifth Third Video Screen? Beside taking in the matches with hundreds (thousands?) of your fellow soccer fans, you’ll find drinks from local breweries to cheers with after goals, food you can scarf down to calm your nerves, appearances from Saints players and staff, activities for the kids, gear giveaways, live recordings of the WSOTP Podcast and more! Further details will be announced as we get closer to the first of the three dates, so be sure to stay tuned.

While it’s an optimistic goal, I know we would love to make this the largest gathering of US supporters in the country during the World Cup this summer. So grab your closest friends and make the trek down to the city center and take in a match with the Cincinnati Saints, 3CDC, Hoist and Wrong Side of the Pond and maybe help us set a record or two!

Click here to peep the official press release from the club, and be sure to check out the video announcement — starring myself and my fellow Saints Media Team members — below!