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.

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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? – wrongsideofthepond.com

Sepp Blatter is clearly an old, delusional man. – tass.ru

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

Could MLS be over doing it on social media? – helltownbeer.com

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

Are Getafe about to get Wimbledon-ed? – as.com

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

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

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

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

NLD, FIFA16 and me (and hopefully you too)

It’s been a hot minute since WSOTP has hosted an actual live event. We’ve not yet held a watch party this Premier League season, and our last live podcast recording was way back before the Women’s World Cup final. Hell, we’ve barely even had a chance to watch a match outside of the friendly confines of WSOTP World HQ — you can blame our offspring for that.

So we figured it was high time that we get back out in public to meet and interact with our adoring fans…

WSOTP - Events - NLD FIFA Tourney

Alongside our friends from the Cincy Gooners and Cincinnati Spurs — not to mention sponsors Rhinehaus, Nation Kitchen & Bar, Listermann Brewing and West 6th Brewing — we’ll be hosting a FIFA 16 Tournament before the approaching North London Derby between Arsenal and Tottenham on Sunday, November 8th!

Want some details on the event? Of course you do!

UPDATE 10/23/2015 @ 4:00pm — There’s been a slight change to the schedule on Sunday and the poster above and the information below has been updated to reflect that change. Things will kick off at 8:30am Sunday morning when the doors open for the first match of the day on Sunday. Around 9:30am we’ll get started with a free-to-enter, PlayStation 4-based, single-elimination tournament in EA Sports FIFA 16. And yes, prizes will be awarded to the winners of both the tournament and the derby, like this dope trophy. Roughly 10:30am or so, Nation Bar & Grill — the sister restaurant to our hosts Rhinehaus — will be offering up free breakfast. Listermann and West 6th are also whipping up special beers for the occasion. Then, there’s the big game itself, which kicks off at 11am.

UPDATE 10/28/2015 @ 10:30am — We now have a registration form for the FIFA Tournament for those who wish to participate: click here to complete the form.

And worry not if you’re drawn against me: my most recent console is a PS2 and the last time I purchased the game was for FIFA 12. Again, you can thank the kids for that.

Anyway, be sure to come out to Over-the-Rhine and stop by Rhinehaus on the morning of Sunday, November 8th, for some food, brews, and banter, and if you’re lucky, the claiming of some bragging rights. Plus, you can do all of that while enjoying some football in the company of Wrong Side of the Pond.

commentary: xavier musketeers vs bucknell

WSOTP - Match Commentary Xavier vs Bucknell 09192015Look, I know it’s late notice. But I’ve got some news for those of you who don’t have any engagements for this Saturday evening.

You’ve got plans now. And if you already have them, break them.

For the second time in as many weeks, I’ll be manning the commentary booth for the NCAA Division one match up between the Xavier University Musketeers and the visiting Bisons of Bucknell. Kickoff — weather permitting, as I learned my last time out to call a Xavier match — will be at 7pm tonight.

A live link to the webstream on GoXavier.com can be found right here.

So not only will you have the privilege of hearing me talk live tonight, but you’ll also have the added bonus of watching a really solid Xavier side in front of what should be a raucous crowd courtesy of the often 1000-plus Xooligans supporters group.

The Muskies are coming off the back of a massive midweek win over the No. 2-ranked Nortre Dame fighting Irish in a traditional “catholic college derby”. Though the win was truly huge, Xavier aren’t exactly chumps either: earlier this season they themselves were ranked as high as 10th before falling in successive games to Lipscomb and Virginia Tech, the latter of which I called. Hopefully I won’t prove to be a bad luck charm for the home side.

As for the away side, Bucknell will look to carry momentum over from their win 4-0 win over Seton Hall last Sunday. But will the longer layoff have refreshed their legs enough to make up for the long journey in from central Pennsylvania?

So be sure to tune in to find out how things play out, and here me try my best to explain it.

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.

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back in the booth

WSOTP - Blog - WSOTP x Xavier.fw

UPDATE ON 9/5/2015: Due to inclement weather, the Saturday, September 5th, kickoff was postponed to 10am on Sunday, September 6th. I’ll still be on the call.

With the Cincinnati Saints summer NPSL season now over and the club opting to not join the professional indoor ranks this winter, that means the wait to hear Wrong Side of the Pond back in the commentary booth looked to be a long one. I know this is worrying to many of you, though I’m sure the Pondcast is helping to ease those fears on a weekly basis again.

However, I have some good news for you: you’re desires to hear sweet, sweet our live match analysis won’t have to be shelved until next summer.

That’s right, WSOTP will be live on the call for the #10 ranked Xavier University’s match against Virginia Tech this Saturday at 7pm Sunday at 10am Eastern!

Want to tune in as the Muskies take on the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University? You can catch the stream right here. 

Now there will be one major difference from Saturday’s broadcast compared to previous ones we’ve tackled: while you are probably used to hearing both D.J. and Jeremy in the booth, this time it will just be the former as the latter will be out of town. So bear with me as I attempt to cover both my normal color/analysis job in addition to Jeremy’s play-by-play responsibilities.

Xavier, who made a strong run last year’s NCAA Division I tournament to the Sweet 16, will be looking to bounce back after a surprise 1-2 loss last night to Lipscomb. Also worthy of mention are the raucous Xooligans, the team’s supporters group which have been known to pack 1000+ in for home matches, who will bring a great atmosphere to the match.

So be sure to tune in to catch the action and the commentary, like you have something better going on Saturday night!

wild speculation

Without a doubt, these are exciting times in Cincinnati soccer. Two fourth tier clubs call the city home, fully professional indoor soccer looks on the verge of a return to the area, and a new billionaire-backed USL club with sky-high ambitions just set up shop here, too.

But this past week, the keen-eyed observers in the area would have noticed that another major player in the world of soccer made a stop in the Queen City.

WSOTP - Richard Scudamore in Cincinnati.fw

Yes, that is indeed English/British Premier League chief executive officer Richard Scudamore. Yes, he and his son Patrick were in attendance at Great American Ball Park, home of Major League Baseball’s Cincinnati Reds, for the home team’s 12-5 win over the Detroit Tigers. And yes, that’s a bit out of left field. Pun intended.

If you’re anything like me, you might be asking yourself why in the wild world of sports would the Premier League’s head honcho be catching a baseball game in Cincinnati at the end of August?

It’s a great question. But while I’ve certainly been trying to sniff out official answers, the facts have yet to reveal themselves. And as you might expect in such circumstances, wild speculation has filled the void.

What follows is some of that wild speculation. Please, please, please don’t take any of this as fact as absolutely 0% of it has been verified. Some of it is entirely plausible — in my eyes anyway — while others are less so.

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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.

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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.

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go big or go home


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.

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