soccer is coming back to the square

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During last summer’s male rendition of the FIFA World Cup, a wave of national pride washed over the country, blanketing major cities with watch parties numbering in the thousands for each of the four US Men’s National Team matches.

It was no different here in Cincinnati, where the enthusiasm often transformed into euphoria as the boys were able to survive the “Group of Death”. Over seven thousand people showed up in Cincinnati’s city center to watch the action unfold on the big screen. If you weren’t able to make it, here’s a glimpse at the insanity:

So with the US Women’s National team in action this summer at the Women’s World Cup in Canada, the calls to return to Cincinnati’s Fountain Square were loud and frequent. And while there was absolutely interest to do so from last summer’s hosts — the NPSL’s Cincinnati Saints and Hoist — pre-existing conflicts on the Square’s calendar meant that regular watch parties just weren’t a reality like they were for the men.

Obviously, we were a bit bummed. As the emcee’s for last year’s events, it was absolutely electric experience to be a part of, and we wanted it to happen just as much as anyone.

But luckily, the stars have aligned for the biggest game of the tournament.

Despite a sputtering offense and some uninspiring performances, the US women’s absolutely airtight defense — which has a rather ironic 513-minute shutout streak going — has helped them navigate the tricky waters of their own “Group of Death”, through the knockout round and into their second straight World Cup final. And as it just so happens, Fountain Square had nothing going on during that time slot.

So you know what that means…

WSOTP - Cincinnati Saints Fountain Square WWC

That’s right kids: WE’RE HEADING BACK TO THE SQUARE!

Beginning at 6pm — immediately following the always enjoyable Art on Vine — on this coming Sunday, July 5th, the Cincinnati Saints and Hoist are once again bringing a US Soccer Watch Party back down to Cincinnati’s Fountain Square. And the Wrong Side of the Pond Podcast team is delighted to have once again been invited back to emcee the event!

As with last year, there will beers and drink specials to wet your whistles and keep your vocal chords ready to cheer. Of course there will also be food trucks there — like the delicious Urban Grille — to keep your belly satisfied, too. We here at WSOTP will once again be recording a live podcast prior to kickoff and during halftime, offering our analysis of the action, too.

And oh yeah, there’s that whole opportunity to stand united with thousands as we cheer on the ladies in their efforts to enact revenge on Japan’s 2011 World Cup final win. As of the time of writing, 500 people had already confirmed their attendance on the event’s Facebook page… just two days after it was posted.

So if you’re within 100 miles of the Queen City this Sunday, you’d do best to throw on your US kits and/or red, white and blue garb, grab all of your friends, and bring your best supporter’s faces to the Square to hopefully watch our girls lift the cup.

PS: the weather is looking aces for the weekend, too.

#forcincy match poster 5: saints vs erie commodores

WSOTP - Cincinnati Saints Matchday Poster 5

This week has been a madhouse for me personally, so getting the things that needed to get for the website took a bit of a backseat. As such, I was way behind the eight ball when it came to getting up my next match poster for the Cincinnati Saints’ NPSL match posters. Normally, I try to publish them at least three days ahead of time; this week’s game is tonight and I’m just now publishing. Yikes.

Anyway, the Saints welcome Erie Admirals FC Commodores FC to town tonight for their fourth home match of the NPSL season. As such, I thought a nautical theme would be in order for the match poster this week, given that Erie’s crest and name focus on the same. And I thought there would be no better way to capture the mood for the match than to have the Cincinnati Saints be the “sea monster” to Erie’s ship. Those of you familiar with the Kraken Black Spiced rum commercial will see the inspiration with the design that I utilized this time around.

We here at WSOTP will once again be bringing you the live match commentary on the Saints live stream of the match, plus on ICRC local access television. So if you’re not willing to brave the rainy forecast, or you want to watch this split screen with the USWNT tonight, check out our Match Commentary page for links to the stream.

If you want to see all the designs from my season long series, click here.

#forcincy match poster 4: saints vs detroit city fc

WSOTP - Cincinnati Saints Matchday Poster 4

It’s a Wednesday of a Cincinnati Saints match week, which means its high time for me to share the latest poster in my series of designs for the 2015 NPSL season. And while poster #3 of the series was for a match against our rivals to the north up Interstate 71, my fourth poster of the campaign is for the visit from one of our northern neighbors up the other highway — I-75 this time — in Detroit City FC.

If you’re not familiar with Detroit City, they’ve made quite the splash in the fourth tier of American soccer thanks in large part to their exuberant fans: the Northern Guard Supporters. The DCFC hardcores regularly pack their Cass Tech Stadium with thousands of supporters, and often show up with considerable numbers on the road too. Last I’d heard, they were expecting to send a bus load in our direction this Saturday.

So with Detroit so well-known for their support, I thought the perfect theme for Saints-City match poster would be to highlight the Saint’s own supporters: the Seven Hill Crusaders. No, they don’t have near as many members in their ranks as the visitors can contend. And they’ve not received near the same accolades or attention that their rogue-colored counterparts, either. But that doesn’t mean the Crusaders trail behind NGS in passion or love for their team. And as such, there seemed no better way to pay the Crusaders tribute for their fandom than to give them a poster of their own in the lead up to a match against one of the most well-supported lower league clubs in the country.

Of course, just as with all of the other 2015 NPSL home matches this season, you can catch the game — and yours truly and #Pondcast co-host Jeremy on the call —  live on local access television and via live stream online by visiting our Match Commentary page.

Want to see all the designs from my season long series? Click here.

#forcincy match poster 3: saints vs afc cleveland

WSOTP - Cincinnati Saints Matchday Poster 3

Next up in my series of match posters I’m creating to celebrate each of the 2015 NPSL home matches for my hometown Cincinnati Saints is a poster for tonight’s duel with AFC Cleveland. It’s a little later than when I had hoped to post it originally, but at least it’s up well before tonight’s kickoff.

The second leg of a “I-71 Cup” series between the Ohio fourth-tier foes — the opener which the Saints lost 0-1 on the road last weekend in Cleveland — provides the home side a real opportunity to claim their first ever silverware, at least when you consider their 100% record at the friendly confines of Withrow High School thus far in 2015. The name of the cup being contested between the two sides was clearly the driving inspiration for this game’s poster, which was fashioned to resemble one of the many highway signs that dot the 239 miles of Interstate 71 that separate the two cities. Admittedly, adding the reflective elements to the design was a huge pain, but it paid dividends in helping to give it a more realistic feel.

As always, we’d love for you to join us if you’re in our neck of the woods this evening, but if you can’t, you can always tune in and watch the game live online with match commentary provided by WSOTP by navigating to our Match Commentary page.

If you want to see all the designs from my season long series, click here.

#forcincy match poster 2: saints vs fort pitt

WSOTP - Cincinnati Saints Matchday Poster 2

As detailed a month ago, I’m creating individual match posters for each of the Cincinnati Saints home NPSL matches during the 2015 season. And with the Saints’ second home match of the campaign fast approaching this Sunday — a 2pm affair against the Fort Pitt Regiment — it’s high time I drop my next poster.

The inspiration for the design draws on the long-running relationship between Cincinnati and Pittsburgh and the similarities they share. They were some of the first in-land megacities, both of which found a home on the mighty Ohio River. Each also featured a well-known military fort that played an integral in shaping their respective regions. There’s a natural rivalry that exists between Cincy and the ‘Burgh, one that has probably been nudged along a bit by the supporters and fans of the professional pigskin football and baseball teams in each metropolitan area, too.

So with all that in mind, the design I went with was one that’s meant to emulate the old river maps that used to be utilized to navigate the wild waters of the Ohio. I also hoped to invoke the spirit of calls for local militias, which often fought alongside the regiments stationed at their local forts. And with a “Regiment” actually “invading” when Fort Pitt comes to town, what better way is there to support your local club than to take up arms against them?

As always, you can tune into the “battle” waged for Fort Washington and listen to the live match commentary provided by WSOTP by navigating to our Match Commentary page.

WSOTP pod: season 2 episode 39

WSOTP - Blog - Season 2 Episode 39.fw

With no side relegated during the next to last round of the season in the Premier League, that means the race for the final drop spot remains a big talking point on this week’s #Pondcast. Listen in as D.J. and Jeremy go through the scenarios each of Hull, Sunderland and Newcastle need to stave off, as well as wax poetic on Steven Gerrard’s last game at Anfield. Also on this week’s episode are reflections on USL’s return to Cincinnati — from not only ourselves, but also listeners too — a look back at the second legs of the Champions League semifinals, and off the field issues overshadowing much needed wins for two MLS sides, and much more.

ALSO A FAVOR TO ASK: On next week’s podcast, the guys will be eulogizing their respective clubs’ seasons… and we want to hear your eulogies for your own clubs! Just as with any questions or topics you want us to cover next week, shoot your’s to contact[at]wrongsideofthepond[dot]com or hit us up on social media via links at the bottom of the page.

And of course, don’t forget to subscribe below to automatically receive new episodes on your favorite mobile device.

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

revealed: USL in Cincinnati

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WSOTP - Blog - Cincinnati USL.fw

Late last night — or early this morning, depending on how you want to look at it — some seismic news shook the Cincinnati soccer scene. As revealed by good friend Chad Hollingsworth from Scratching the Pitch, full-fledged professional soccer would be returning to the Queen City in the form of a new USL franchise.

No, this isn’t the long rumored move of the Dayton Dutch Lions to Cincinnati. Nor is it the USL PDL’s Cincinnati Dutch Lions stepping up a level in the ladder, either. I’ve also received confirmation that there is zero involvement from the already established Cincinnati Saints of the NPSL. This is a brand, spanking new club — admittedly with some loose ties to the Dutch Lions organization.

So who is this new club, where did they come from, and how this all come to be?

Word of a new USL franchise first came across my desk back in December of 2014, and I’ve been chasing information on it ever since. Admittedly, extruding any sort of information on the topic proved extremely difficult. Wrong paths were followed. Dead ends were discovered. Red herrings were hooked. But the wet weather of the last month has finally yielded spring flowers.

Let’s start with what we already know.

As Chad disclosed, the new Cincinnati USL club will be feature an ownership group fronted by Jeff Berding. He’s spent the last 17 years working for the NFL’s Cincinnati Bengals, currently holding the title of Director of Sales and Public Affairs.

Jeff’s ties to Cincinnati run deeper than just his role with the Bengals. He attended the same high school as myself, graduating from Cincinnati St. Xavier in 1985. Afterward, he attended Xavier University. Berding also spent nearly five years as an elected official, serving as a Cincinnati City Councilman from 2005 to 20011.

As for his ties to soccer, Mr. Berding currently serves as the President of the Board of Directors of local youth soccer power, Kings-Hammer FC. For those who have followed the USL for some time, that club name may ring a very interesting bell. It’s the lovechild of a “joint-venture” between local youth side Hammer FC and former local USL Second Division franchise, the Cincinnati Kings. While that professional club may have gone belly up in 2009, the youth club has continued to thrive. Additionally, Berding’s LinkedIn profile indicated he’s also spent a spell on the sidelines as a youth coach for local parochial school St. Ursula Villa, too.

Also mentioned in the Scratching the Pitch article was another interesting soccer relationship: Berding served on the board of the Cincinnati Dutch Lions. More on that later.

While my sources confirmed the exact same information as what Chad wrote, aside from knowing that the team plans to begin play in Spring of 2016, that’s all we knew definitively about the prospects of USL coming to Cincinnati.

That wasn’t enough for me. So I, along with WSOTP Podcast partner Jeremy Lance, dug a bit deeper.

Continue reading

EVENT: listen to me, i’m irish!

WSOTP - Blog - St. Patricks 2015.fwLast summer during the World Cup, my podcast co-host Jeremy and I were privileged enough to be the emcees for Cincinnati’s — maybe Ohio’s? — largest US men’s national team watch parties. We stood on stage in the cultural center of Cincinnati, Fountain Square, in front of thousands of passionate soccer fans and brought the Wrong Side of the Pond to the masses and helped set the scene for all the action in Brazil.

Apparently, we made a bit of an impression.

This coming Saturday, March 14th, the Cincinnati City Center Development Commission (3CDC) is hosting a St. Patrick’s Day Party back down on Fountain Square. And they’ve been kind enough to invite WSOTP back down to host things once again!

Obviously, this won’t be an all-out soccer affair like our previous gig on the Square. We’ll mainly be introducing the bands, giving props to the event sponsors and commenting on the events unfolding in the crowd — but we will be sprinkling in soccer commentary throughout the course of the day.

In addition to hearing our lovely voices in a public setting, you’ll also have a plethora of other Irish activities to take part in. Performances, live Celtic music (peep the schedule below), Irish grub and garb, and of course we’ll have Guinness and Harp on tap too — along with Buds and Bud Lights, too. For those of you who prefer a harder drink, Jameson Whiskey will be available as well. And there will also be activities for the kids too, like face painting. Just don’t feed the kids any of the alcohol, cool?

Plus, don’t forget to say “hi” if you happen to spot us enjoying a pint in between stints on stage. See you Saturday!

Time Performer(s) Website
10:00am Changling LINK
11:15am Kennedy’s Kitchen LINK
1:00pm Beeswing LINK
2:15pm The Drowsy Lads LINK
3:00pm Erickson Dancers LINK
3:30pm The Drowsy Lads LINK
4:15pm Pipers LINK
4:45pm McGing Dancers
6:00pm Mike Oberst & Jake Book LINK
7:30pm Erickson Dancers
8:00pm Dulahan LINK

ten words or less #106

ClintDempsey

If you haven’t noticed, things have been pretty busy around these parts lately. Podcats have been coming out rather frequently. There’s been an uptick in original written pieces lately, too. We’ve gotten back into hosting events as well, as was evident with our Derby Saturday watch parties at our favorite soccer bar — Rhinehaus — here in Cincinnati. And believe it or not, the results of our WSOTP Promotion & Relegation Survey should start filtering out here soon too.

We hope to keep the content continuing to stream out here on a more regular basis, but as you might expect, we can’t give you original stuff quite every day. So to keep you entertained in the mean time — as if the numerous league, cup and preseason matches going on right now around the globe and a new US kit to complain about weren’t enough — here’s another sampling of our favorite stories from around the web over the last week or so.

WSOTP tabbed as “MLS blog to read ahead 2015 season”. – dranandvora.com

The Premier League TV deal forcing others to take action. – espnfc.com

USL has that ambition bug. – americansoccernow.com

Spurs rightfully made to pay for a prior sin. – bbc.com

Deuce is too old, but Dom Dwyer could work… – theoriginalwinger.com

There’s a lot to the Arrigo Sacchi racism comments. – theguardian.com

So does Barça like Cincinnati for it’s talent… or money? – cincinnati.com

 Cue Catalunyan outrage. – football-shirts.co.uk

Free agency is inevitable. The league needs it. – prostamerika.com

David Bentley is still playing… just not as you’d think. – independent.ie

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