ten words or less #71

Champions League Tifo at Borussia Dortmund

believe it or not, the reason dortmund fans put up this awesome tifo was to use the dude’s giant binoculars to see when my last TWOL post was.

It’s been weeks since I put out my last Ten Words or Less, which I suppose is a good thing for you readers considering that means I’ve been dropping original content for you instead of shoveling you content from other sources. But that doesn’t change the fact that I feel like I’m neglecting the long-running links post. Or the fact that some of the links I had originally collected for this have since become irrelevant.

So now that you’re done buying a shirt from the brand new WSOTP Shop, I figured I’d get things back to normal with a freshly updated edition. And if you’re looking for original content, I’ll probably have something else for you before the weekend. In the mean time, enjoy some of my favorite links from around the world of football from the last week or so.

Terrible April Fools joke, but a great idea for real. – qatarliving

A refreshing dose of clarity from Spurs’ wordsmith, Spooky. – dearmrlevy.co.uk

Sexiest Puma shirt they’ve put out in quite a while. – football-shirts.co.uk

The first supporters to ever fly to an away match. – inbedwithmaradona.com

Abou Diaby: the man-made of glass. – talksport.co.uk

Chelsea’s creepy blue man group kit launch. – youtube.com

A very well executed dead horse beating. – regista-blog.com

Those poor globe-trotting scouts have it awful. – guardian.co.uk

One designer’s line inspired by retro soccer design. – hypebeast.com

So, bicycle soccer actually exists. – kckrs.com

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ten words or less #56

Wrong Side of the Pond's Subbuteo for The Football Attic

feeling important these days, thanks to the boys over at the football attic taking a fancy to the subbuteo figure i submitted their “league of blogs” project.

The Euros are over, thus ending a three-week stretch where I’ve felt like I have been drowning in football. I mean, I’ve been seeing matches when I sleep… far more than normal, at least. I needed a break, which is something I never thought I’d say about the game. But the headlines just keep rolling out, as if I had forgotten that the world of soccer never sleeps, takes breaks, or allows me to catch up with the rest of my life.

I mean just some of the headlines that caught my attention, and probably deserve an article of their own. Thanks to an epic final, Spain have officially entered G.O.A.T. territory. Transfer madness is in full swing: big names already on the move, others look to be doing so soon, and – GHASP!!! — Spurs are even getting in on some early action.

So as I put the finishing touches on about four different articles, I figured I could pacify you readers with another edition of TWOL. And if that sounds like a raw deal to you, I’m sorry… but you’re going to need to deal with it.

I made the Football Attics League of Blogs top 3! - twitter.com

Ever wonder how MLS sides utilize statistical analysis? – mlssoccer.com

Brazilian side Vitoria have a bloody brilliant kit promotion. Literally. – 101greatgoals.com

Who wouldn’t watch a late night TV hosted by Crouchy? – givemefootball.com

Why the international game lags tactically behind the club game. – newstatesman.com

Spanish B sides up for promotion are causing massive issues. – inbedwithmaradona.com

If all holds true, the Colorado Rapids are disgraceful. – prostamerika.com

Everything you wanted to know more about Italy’s kit font. – designboom.com

Never underestimate the combined power of the internet and idiots. – dirtytackle.net

Gyan is a text book case for “lack of ambition”. – theoriginalwinger.com

ten words or less #48

london 2012's "the albert"

for a ball with such an awesome name, couldn't have adidas gone with a slightly less faded 80's design for the official ball of london 2012?

With less than 30 minutes until kickoff between Spurs and United, I’m a literal train wreck. I’m stressing over Tottenham’s extremely weakened line-up squaring off against a solid looking starting XI for the Red Devils, and the potential repercussions of fielding such a weak squad in such an important match.

The only thing that could keep my mind from going into complete meltdown mode was to finish up this week’s TWOL post… though admittedly, it’s just a temporary reprieve for my fingers from the endless nail-biting that awaits over the next two hours.

This is how you know footballers make too much money. – theoriginalwinger.com

Every Euro 2012 Kit… who’s your favorite? – football-shirts.co.uk

Sadly, this might be the best pitch in Cuba. – kckrs.com

Chelsea are sunk because of… Napoli’s three in the back? – guardian.co.uk

MLS eyeing Florida for expansion; apparently doesn’t learn lessons. – soccerbyives.com

French kiss… quite literally. – kickette.com

I will actually watch more Crew games because of this. - thecrew.com

Suprisingly relevant Will Ferrell link: he apparently loves Chicharito. – dirtytackle.net

If this happened to me, I’d literally shit my pants. – youtube.com

How can one properly celebrate while sitting? Answer: you can’t. – soccernet.com

cat and mouse

My email inbox blew up yesterday, a multitude of emails from concerned and inquisitive friends filling it up several times throughout the day. They all asked about the same thing: how was I handling the news? And while the news of the passing of one America’s foremost innovators was the headline story of the day, that wasn’t the story to which my friends wanted to hear my reaction.

cesc fabregas in puma gear

the cat is out of the bag: cesc has jumped ship for puma.

No, they were all much more concerned with hearing my thoughts about Cesc Fàbregas’ traitorous, out-of-the-blue switch from Nike to Puma. Riveting, right?

Some in the boot-obsessed corners of the game are calling Puma’s capture of Cesc “one of the biggest brand transfers in football history”. Personally, I think that’s a bit sensationalist: Thierry Henry leaving Nike for Reebok in 2006 was a much bigger bombshell (Although ironically, Henry just signed on with Puma too.). But it’s still a massive move by a brand that’s been losing ground to industry leaders Adidas and Nike for years, as well as to upstarts UnderArmour.

So, what was my reaction to one of my favorite players leaving one of my favorite brands?

Admittedly, it was a bit hard to swallow at first. After all, my choice in boots has mirrored Cesc’s almost identically over the last few years. I’d argue that this wasn’t a conscious decision on my part, but I’m not entirely sure that’s true. But from the Tiempo Legend II’s through to both models of the CTR360′s, I feel like I formed a(n obviously non-existent) bond with my idol by way of our common footwear. And now that he was leaving Nike, I foolishly felt a bit betrayed and hurt.

Though, after seeing his first promotional picture for Puma — the awkward picture from the top of the post that makes him look a bit out-of-place in their digs — I did feel a bit more vindicated in my feelings. Then I remembered that Cesc jumping off the Nike boot train doesn’t mean that I have to, too. And then I remembered that none of this is really that important.

But, it did make me wonder why a player like Fàbregas — one of the elite players on the planet — would ditch a lucrative sponsorship with a deep-pocketed, innovative, industry leader to join forces with a company that appears on the wane.

To Nike, Cesc might have been the lead athlete on their CTR360 line of boots, but there are also a small herd of other stars that rock the same boot, including teammates Andrés Iniesta and Javier Mascherano. And considering that Nike already have the entire club wrapped up in Nike apparel, it wouldn’t be crazy for the Oregonians to think that they’re already getting plenty of exposure out of the Barça camp.

cesc fabregas and puma

cesc loyalty goes no further than the city behind him or the largest checks offered to him.

To Puma, Fàbregas appears the perfect pitch man for their footballing endeavors. By all accounts, the Catalonian is a good lad that won’t cause them much worry about exposure to bad PR on his behalf. He also just happens to be a member of the most famous and idolized team on the planet at the moment, and prior to his signing, Puma didn’t have a single endorsement on a roster that’s dominated with Nike (11 of 16 regulars) and Adidas ( 4 regulars) athletes. With Barcelona sure to make deep runs in the Champions League, Club World Cup and La Liga competitions, there are few other athletes that could offer the sheer amount of global exposure that Cesc’s feet can.

The plain and simple fact seem to point towards one conclusion: Puma offered more money to Cesc than Nike thought would be worth the investment to match. And though I’d love to believe with starry eyes that he would be loyal to the brand that’s paid him for so long, Fab4 has proven recently that he’s only loyal to two things: FC Barcelona and money.

Fàbregas — along with Kun Agüero – will now undoubtedly serve as the face of the brand now that their former face, Cameroonian striker Samuel Eto’o, has moved to the wilds of Dagestan far from Western eyes and their bank accounts. And it will likely do Puma, and the player’s bank account, well.

And to all of my friends who think that I’ll now be giving up my beloved Nike boots to copycat Cesc’s latest move, you’re crazy… I won’t be doing that until Chris Rolfe loses his endorsement and/or grows bigger feet than me.

ten words or less #28

ronaldo trains with the brazilian national team ahead of his last game for brazil

fat ronaldo looks on as he "trains" with the seleção for the last time.

Summer has arrived with a vengeance in Southwest Ohio. Sweltering temperatures normally reserved for August have plagued those of us living in the humid Ohio/Miami Valley region, causing us to suffocate on the air so thick and heavy that Cristiano would trip over it.

Researching for the blog has been a welcome excuse for me to sit on my couch and enjoy the air conditioning over the last week or so, and today’s post is the beneficiary of said sloth. So if you’re trying to escape the summer heat, why not sit back and check out some of the interesting bits of soccer blabber from around the tubes.

The Gold Cup TV schedule. You should watch it. – totalsoccershow.com

How to build a stalker: step one… – kickette.com

Donor hair: Chicharito, Neville, Fabio, Park, Kuszczak, Berbatov, Obertan? – redcafe.net

Pienaar has to be thinking, “Great… always the same kit.” – footballshirtculture.com

The highlights of the tactical evolution from 2010-2011. – guardian.co.uk

FIFA adds racism to their stable of “awesomeness.” – msn.com

Before Ronaldo. After Ronaldo. - youtube.com

I want to hang these up in my house… tonight. – kckrs.com

ten words or less #24

alejandro faurlin and neil warnock celebrate QPR's possible promotion.

perhaps faurlin (left) and QPR won't be enjoying the spoils of the premier league next season

the steam is running out of my team’s, and it’s seriously impacting my interest in the rest of the their respective seasons. real madrid are (deservingly) eliminated from europe. tottenham are (predictably) pissing away their season of “living the dream.” it’s hard as a fan of both clubs to watch on with both having very little left to play for besides pride (although if tottenham lose out on the europa league to liverpool, i might suffer an aneurysm).

forgive me my tears, for i am only human.

so as we prepare for a weekend full of title and relegation-deciding matches, here’s a quick round-up of some interesting reads from around the world of football.

no, no, no, no, no. screw clattenburg. – dirty tackle @ yahoo.com

someone should not get paid for this. - designfootball.com

it pains me to post, but another artistic masterpiece. – youtube.com

this is a huge step forward for MLS. – soccerbyives.com

how the hell did the ball move like that?!?! - sportpost.com

have to admit, i’m a little envious of this guy. – soccerbible.com

busquets is a disgrace: more evidence. – youtube.com

QPR are all smiles now; maybe they shouldn’t be. – qprnet.com

ten words or less #19

Michael Laudrup, King of the Sexy Pass.

masters of the sexy pass: if xavi is the new guardiola, then guardiola was the new laudrup.

i hate mondays. if you’re anything like me, it’s so hard to focus on one’s responsibilities as we struggle to recover from a weekend full of debauchery (a.k.a. a hangover), laziness (which requires me to turn my brain back on), and/or f.a. cup events (which, due to spurs’ early exit, has me less than invested). to help ease you back into the work week, below are some good links to use as you slack when you’re not quite productive enough.

if i designed my sunday league kits, they’d be this. – footballshirtculture.com

the forgotten barça starlet: bojan krkic. – therunofplay.com

this is brilliantly simple plan. – totalsoccershow.com

high fashion. – beautifulgear.com

soccer porn (that’s safe for work). – theguardian.co.uk

if he chooses terek gronzy over spurs, i will hate. – theoffside.com

probably won’t inspire confidence prior to a national title defense. – thecrew.com

fc borne bid for messi, bend everyone out of shape. – guardian.co.uk

round up #29

hauke brückner: you've inspired me to try to land a job at a football club.

there’s been some great readings over the last week and a half, many of which i don’t have time or patience to elaborate on. and i’ve dug out a few of my favorites that i felt warranted further discussion.

st. pauli’s newest player is the club press officer – dirty tackle @ yahoo.com
in the ten minutes it’s been since i read this article (and frantically looking for further proof on the tubes), i’ve already applied for entry level jobs at all of the professional clubs in the u.s. i don’t really care what the job is: ticket sales, concession worker, media communications, ball boy, the guy who updates their twitter and facebook accounts, whatever. if it can happen in germany, it can happen in america… right!? this is the land of opportunity, so of course it can!

i know that becoming the american hauke brückner is my last shot at making it to the big time. and since i’m fairly confident in my ability to meet the job expectations of the jobs i listed above, i feel like i’ll be kept around long enough to give me a decent shot of being recognized. now who among you can pull some strings for me to get me in this job before the start of the season?

off the field, a woman tames brazil’s soccer fans – nytimes.com
a rare, fantastic soccer article from the new york times, though it’s little surprise that it is a feature piece more focused on social issues rather than sporting. it’s encouraging to see the strides that are being made in gender equality in the football, not to mention the press that it’s receiving. however, it’s also extremely important to realize how vast that gender gap remains at the highest reaches of the game.

not only are women exceedingly rare in power positions at football clubs across the gobe, but fifa leadership is completely devoid of any female officers. this stat that completely baffles me, especially with the popularity of the women’s game growing and even proving to be lucrative. it’s not to say that women are abundant in american, but there are examples of sporting organizations that allow for a women’s perspective at the administrative level. fifa need to catch up with the times, and trailblazers like flamengo’s patricia amorim are the first steps to getting there.

puma power cat 1.10-VIP edition – prodirectsoccer.com
what. the. hell. where does puma get the idea that there is going to be a big enough demand for boots that cost $2,340?!?! don’t get me wrong, i get where having my own custom-built boots would be awesome. having a shoe built to my exact specifications for lightness, flexibility, materials and colors would be something i could only dream about. but i have to ask myself this important question: would wearing these boots make me that much better of a player? ummmm… no.

the only potential market for boots like this would be for pro players. they make a living off their feet, so dishing out a paycheck for boots wouldn’t be that bad of an investment. of course, this is making the massive assumption that a professional footballer would actually pay for their kicks. even the lowest level players for your average side will get free boots from the club’s kit manufacturer, even though many will already have sponsorship contracts and get their favorite shoes shipped to them on the regular.

so with all of that in mind, who the hell will be buying these shoes? i’ll need to revisit this in several months and see if puma and prodirect have actually sold shoes that share a price similar to boots like this.

ryan giggs – footballers today, tsk – whoateallthepies.tv
the reigning old man of the premier league, ryan giggs is undoubtedly a beacon of professionalism in today’s rapidly changing game. and as brightly as giggs shines in this respect (along with players such as former real madrid hit-man raul and david beckham), it’s easy for us to overlook how unprofessional many of today’s youngsters have become. case in point, the picture shown in the story linked above.

one would think that players struggling to breakthrough into their first teams or starting elevens would try to make a better impression by not wearing gigantic headphones plainly visible to fans/managers/directors. you would also think they would try to keep texting on their phones to a minimum, because i’m sure sir alex will be likely to consider you for the next game when you’re clearly not paying attention. morons. i mean, should i start to assume that players also don’t know not to bring guns to work?

cole shoots club intern with a pellet gun – telegraph.co.uk
sigh… apparently not. i would love to be able to live my life like ashley cole, free of the confines of worrying about the consequences of my actions.

go behind my employer’s back to illegal meet with another employer? the rules will be bent for me!
send a tramp naked pictures of myself even though i’m married? i can get another wife!
shoot a club supporter and intern? air pistols are legal in england!

so after getting all jazzed up about the possibility of landing a job with a club and then being called up to play in an injury crisis, ca$hley has gone and convinced me that the working conditions at professional clubs are far too hazardous to follow in brückner’s foot steps. i never imagined that my dream of becoming a professional football would be squashed by the prospects of getting shot.

ten words or less #15

now, which one are you? rafael? fabio? does your manager even know? oh who cares, just get in there.

for a change, i will not talk about anything tottenham or transfer related in this post. none of the following links will cover those topics, for real. consider yourself both lucky and blessed.

some love for a fellow former-dayton resident’s footie blog. – goonersharks.wordpress.com

brad friedel is broke. :( – whoateallthepies.tv

maradona vs. valderrama… in the present. – youtube.com

mourinho’s prematch reports are… a sign of OCD. – bragafut.com

horrid anniversary kits. and where are dude’s boots? – footballshirtculture.com

this is awesome: la furia roja simpson-ized. – reddit.com/user/maese

sir alex is a bastard. – fourfourtwo.com

“mcdonaldization,” while a sweet word, is concerning to me. – inbedwithmaradona.com

i’d wear those

We’re taking a small departure from my normal subject matter in this post,straying away from the headlines that are dominating other blogs. It’s a somewhat difficult thing to do right now in the world of football, considering the closing of the transfer window (another ho-hum window I might add… van der Vaart to Spurs the “shocker” of the window) and the retardation that is an international break just weeks into the season (unfounded rumor: del Bosque is in cahoots with someone to make sure Torres stays hurt).

let's talk about boots, baby.

So what’s this new topic of discussion that I want to cover today?

Boots… football boots.

Deep at heart, I’m a huge nerd — as if this blog wasn’t proof enough of that on it’s own. But believe it or not, once upon a time, I was once much more of one. Allow me to explain the depths of my nerdiness.

For those of you who grew up playing soccer here in the States, odds are you had a Eurosport soccer catalog delivered to your door every month. Most kids would leaf through it, find a few things they like, and then they would be done with it.

I on the other hand would scrutinize every single page, looking over it inch-by-inch so I could see everything in that damn magazine. Not only would I’d pick out and circle my favorite shoes and training wear that I would never be likely to receive… but I’d do it for each brand. Prices, specs and colorways would be committed to memory. For the next few days after each edition would landed in my mailbox, you could find me on the family computer drawing my favorite jersey and boots using Microsoft Paint.

Yeah… I told you I was a nerd.

Needless to say, I have a profound love for soccer kits, boots, equipment and apparel. I love the art in the design of the products, their marketing ploys and logo placements. For some people, they love the shape and the lines of car. I get geeked about the lines and shape of new soccer shoes.

So with all of that in mind, I thought I’d give you a glimpse into my super-dork mind and share my all-time favorite soccer boots. Not that this is particularly useful for anyone or anything, but it gives me the excuse to pour through the web looking for tokens from my childhood.

Trust that you will find absolutely no shoes from Reebok or UnderArmour on this list, as they make crap products that are more heinous than you’re average wannabe WAG. Sorry, but I’m judging you if you wear them. And if any of your other favorite(s) didn’t make the list, feel free to reply and convince me as to what I should have included.

Nike Mercurial Vapor III (2006)
worn by: Cristiano Ronaldo

nike mercurial vapor III

on looks alone, the vapor iii's are probably my all-time favorites.

Gifted to me by WSOTP favorite Chris Rolfe (Hurray for having tiny feet!), these boots made me feel like all of those kids from back in the day that said their Jordan’s made them run faster, jump higher, and have my own massive gambling addiction. When wearing these kicks, I felt like I could run a thousand miles an hour and have a first touch that rivals Messi’s. I couldn’t, but I at least felt like I could. This shoe’s fantastic lines alone just made them look fast.

Admittedly, it was a hard choice choosing which model of the Vapors I liked best, especially since I personally owned four different pairs of them (Vapor I’s in black synthetic and black k-leather, Vapor II’s in orange, and the Vapor III’s in the above white). The pair above won out becuase a) they’re ridiculously white — something I highly valued at the time — and b) they were the most comfy.

Adidas Accelerator Liga (1998)
worn by: Raúl 

i loved the looks of this boot, but i have to admit that something always looked funky about the tongue.

One of the few shoes on this list that I never had the privilege of wearing, I love the curling/swerving look of this boot. Throw in the ridiculously huge “adidas EQUIPMENT” logo on the heel and tongue, and you have the makings of a transitional modern classic. A few of my friends sported these back in the day, and I remember the k-leather feeling softer than any other leather I had ever felt before. Needless to say, I enviously eyed their feet at practice day after day… secretly plotting a way to swipe them. Sadly, I never succeeded.

Lotto PU Tacto (2000)
worn by: me, my senior year of high school

my p.u. tacto's helped me down arch-rivals moeller way back the fall of 2000.

Arguably the most comfortable boot I’ve ever worn, I rocked these for my senior year in high school. They hold a particularly warm place in my heart since they wear on my feet when I bagged the solitary varsity goal in my high school career. Extremely supple and very reactive, these were the first boots to feature separate heel and forefoot outsole plates — a feature that also made them remarkably light (for the time). I also loved these because nobody wore Lotto in the States, so I felt like a trailblazer. Oddly enough, I couldn’t find a single picture or reference to any pro player ever wearing this boot. So perhaps I’m a really big trail blazer.

Puma v1.06 (2006)
worn by: Samuel Eto’o

rolfe never let me wear these... bastard.

I loved these shoes, from a distance at least. Another gift from Rolfe, though these were passed down to his older brother, who as my roommate at the time, refused to let me wear them (I got the “shaft” and had to put up with another pair of Vapor III’s… boo hoo right?). They were the only shoe on the market at that time that could challenge the Vapors when it came to weight. However, that’s not what helped them on to this list. What really put them into my favorites was their design: these served as the launching point for Puma’s renaissance and subsequent avalanche of awesome designs that started to spill from their doors in the mid Naughties. Just whatever you do… try to ignore this color scheme.

Nike CTR360 Maestri (2010)
worn by: Cesc Fàbregas

i'm currently sporting this magnificent piece of industrial design.

There’s no way this list would have been complete without first putting up my current boots. The “shoe that Cesc built” is hands down the best synthetic shoe I’ve ever worn. Lightweight, well cushioned, and providing excellent touch and control qualities, the 360′s boast an extremely supple upper that could easily be confused for a k-leather. And while I would love to sport a pair from Elite Series, I just can’t justify spending such a hefty portion of monthly paycheck on football boots for my Sunday league team. Either way, I love this colorway much more than the current crop of neon and silver nightmares.

Adidas Adipure II (2009)
worn by: Frank Lampard

the all black adipures... hard.

A departure from my longstanding preference for white kicks, I loved the murdered out Adipures. You could perhaps best describe the entire Adipure line as “classic with a modern edge.” The shoe clearly pays homage to the Adidas’ classic Copa Mundial (see the toe box stitching and general overall shape), the shoe features a myriad of improvements such as the external heel counter and bladed stud configuration. All of that combined make the Adipure II’s one of the best natural, out-of-the-box feeling boots i’ve ever put on.

Umbro Xai (2001)
worn by: Michael Owen

umbro xai

the xais are perhaps the hardest boots to find pictures of on the internet.

I never in a million years thought I would wear these shoes. At their release, these were the most expensive soccer shoes on the planet ever. But when a senior on my college team realized he’d bought them too small, I hit the jackpot. Super comfy with a very durable k-leather upper, they featured “rubberized leather” strips that allowed you to put excellent spin on the ball without the added weight from Predator-like rubber fins. Were they worth the $200+ price tag? Probably not, but it was a quality boot that looked good and made me feel more important than I really was.

Nike Tiempo Ronaldinho (2007)
worn by: Ronaldinho

nike timepo ronaldinho

is it offensive to say this boot is much more attractive than the player they were designed for?

This was another shoe where I didn’t have any trouble deciding if it was on my list or not, but struggled to decide which colorway I liked the best. Dished out by Nike in four flavors (black, off-white, brown and red), I actually managed to rock two of the models (I couldn’t ever find the brown in my size, and never wanted to sport the reds). Ronaldinho’s first signature boot borrows much of its design from the days of old, with lines that give it a very classic silhouette. You could easily picture a player from the 1950′s digging them. My only complaint? The boots’ extremely thin and supple kangaroo leather did make them very prone to blowing out — a flaw that found it’s way to all three pair that I managed to lace up.