ten words or less #109

While things on the writing front haven’t completely picked back up yet — I’ve had a few original pieces pop out of my brain recently — things on the design front have really picked up a bit. In addition to the recently announced Saints Matchday Poster project eating up gobs of my time, there’s also been work on the Women’s World Cup front too with at least one new shirt design and a Canada 2015 wall chart in progress too. So while I’m stoked to be working on all of that stuff, I wanted to apologize for the continued low output on the written side of things.

And as I normally do in these situations, I’ll attempt to bribe you to stick around a bit longer with some of my favorite links from the last week or so in the world of football. It’s working, right?

Other people think we’re worth following on Twitter! – northernpitch.com

Struggling with the end of the season? Here’s why. – theguardian.com

Heineken’s brilliant way to “watch” football at work. – docs.google.com

Serie A needs to do something to increase interest again. – football-italia.net

In case you wondered, “urban” USMNT looks like this. –  hypebeast.com

So far, exploding the Red Bulls front office has worked. – si.com

Ohhhhh… so it’s their fault you bit them. Got it.  – dirtytackle.net

“Brilliant arrogance” defined. – telegraph.co.uk

Nooooooooooooo!!!!!!! – prosoccertalk.nbcsports.com

Are Portland Thorns the first “real” club in women’s football? – theguardian.com

WSOTP pod: season 2 episode 35

WSOTP Podcast - Season 2 Episode 35

“Yeah, yeah, yeah… there’s a lot of soccer to talk about this week, we’ve heard you say that on the Podcast around a million times.” Well, pardon us, but you’re going to hear it again. And really, it might be the most soccer we’ve ever tried to fit into one recording. We’ve got Premier League races, FA Cup shocks — including further professional trolling from Tim Sherwood — a very interesting round of MLS fixtures, a random international in USA-Mexico, plus the weekly Fantasy Update, Crap Football Watch and Winners & Wankers segments. And oh yeah, we did it all on a fancy new microphone set up thanks to friend of WSOTP, Adam Maloney. So we’ll be coming at you with “HD” sound… whatever that means.

Also, don’t forget to make our jobs easier by sending us your questions and topics to discuss on next week’s #Pondcast — the less content we have to come up with the better! You can reach us by email at contact[at]wrongsideofthepond[dot]com or hit the social media links at the bottom of the page. And if you haven’t yet, subscribe to automatically receive new episodes on your favorite mobile device.

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pic of the week 4/13-4/19

Image

Awful Alamodome Soccer Pitch

I don’t know what it is about North American soccer, but for the most part, we seem to really struggle with the field of play. The most common complaint levied against American/Canadian pitches is our over-reliance on synthetic, “turf” surfaces that are tough on players muscles and joints. They’re often lined for other sports, reinforcing the stereo type that the teams playing there are second class citizens. They can be tough to play on too, from inconsistent bouncing to increasing the speed of play. And some of the biggest names in MLS — particularly those of the elder, European star persuasion — have opted to just bypass games played on the fake playing surfaces altogether. The turf monster also caused a fuss ahead of this summers Women’s World Cup, where all six host stadiums will feature artificial fields, prompting a lawsuit from players led by American Abby Wambach.

But over the last year or so, ingenious groundsmen around the country have turned to an alternative solution to hosting matches in stadiums that feature turf — laying actual grass on top of the fake stuff, kind of like a turf toupée.

We saw it last summer with friendlies and international fixtures played in stadiums like Dallas gargantuan Cowboy Stadium and Indianapolis Lucas Oil Stadium, and even during World Cup qualifying when the national team took to Seattle’s Century Link Field. We saw it once again last week when the US hosted Mexico in San Antonio’s Alamodome. And in theory, it allows high-capacity NFL and collegiate football stadiums the chance to capitalize on the increasingly recognized cash cows that are international soccer fixtures.

Problem is, these fields are great in theory alone. The turf itself never looks as good as promised, and is often far worse than it’s appearance. Last week, Mexico threatened to pull out of the friendly (itself nothing more than a cash grab) because the conditions were so unsafe. And really, every time US soccer sanctions this solution, they’re not doing anything more than playing a giant game of Russian Roulette. And they lost that gamble when Kyle Beckerman went down injured against El Trí — how it took this long for a US injury to finally occur on one of these pathetic excuses for a field is a little mind-blowing.

Fact of the matter is, there are probably a hundred stadiums in this country that have natural grass surfaces suitable for high level soccer. And if a city with a large stadium wants in on the action, they should be required to provide a field fit for playing before they’re even be considered. I’m not saying another temporary solution can’t be used either, but this one certainly isn’t working.

US Soccer, for whatever reason can’t look beyond the safety of its own players, just to make a buck. It’s embarrassing, and the heroes we root on deserve far more than what we’re giving them.

WSOTP pod: season 2 episode 34

WSOTP Podcast - Season 2 Episode 34

We’ve nearly reached squeaky-bum time in the Premier League season, and as such, most of the latest #Pondcast focuses in on the increasingly interesting races at the top and bottom of the English top flight. Who will go down? Who will go to Europe? And how will Spurs let D.J. down next? We certainly tackled all those questions, but also made sure to leave time for domestic matters too. A short preview of USA-Mexico, USMNT roster selections for it and an interesting few storylines worth watching in MLS all made the cut along with our other normal weekly segments. And we even managed to squeeze all that in without exceeding the hour mark for the first time in ages — you’re welcome.

If you have a question or topic for next week’s podcast, reach out to us by email at contact[at]wrongsideofthepond[dot]com or hit the social media links at the bottom of the page. And if you haven’t yet, subscribe to automatically receive new episodes on your favorite mobile device.

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WSOTP pod: season 2 episode 33

WSOTP Podcast - Season 2 Episode 33

Another full plate of football talk awaits you on the latest episode of the #Pondcast. The bottom and top of the Premier League were awash with interesting results, punctuated by a series of amazing goals. Major League Soccer’s early season might be proving inconsistent, but it’s also yielded some really interesting stories. And the tail end of the international break gave everyone a chance once again complain about how the US national team are supposedly in crisis mode. And what of our normal Fantasy Update, Championship Watch, and Winners & Wankers segments? Yeah, there in there too.

Questions and topics that you would like to hear talked about on the next podcast can be sent by email to contact[at]wrongsideofthepond[dot]com or by reaching out to us on the social media using links at the bottom of the page. And don’t forget to use the buttons below to subscribe so that you automatically receive new episodes on your favorite device.

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ten words of less #108

A weekend of outrageous goals on both sides of the pond has me feeling a little like I have a football hangover. While there’s no doubt that I enjoyed myself and all of the breathtaking strikes, I definitely over indulged this weekend, too. Attempting to sit down and write last night, my mind felt like it was stuffed so full that I couldn’t even crank out coherent sentences. I’m not even sure that what I’m writing right now is readable — it seems like it is, right now anyway. So while I’m waiting for my brain to gain back some of its halfway decent writing ability, I present to you a sampling of other people’s works that I found enjoyable over the last week or so.

And stay tuned later today, as we’ll have the latest Pondcast up for your listening enjoyment, too.

The enigma that was Guti. Fantastic read. – thesefootballtimes.net

Who leaves first their club first: Sterling or Kane? – telegraph.co.uk

Cardiff City get another makeover their fans will gladly take. – designfootball.com

Time lapse video of San Jose’s Avaya Stadium being built. – theoriginalwinger.com

Box prices at Old Trafford are actually pretty reasonable. – reddit.com/r/soccer
Courtesy of user ‘Requiem01′

A unique perspective on Klinsmann’s approach. –  fusion.net

From no starts until November, to captain by April. – nbcsports.com

Photographic evidence of football’s awkward past. – guardian.com
Props to my cousin, Hunter, for sharing.

Digging the design of this new site. – whereisfootball.com

All in on FC Instagram in the Social Network League. – juanfootball.com

WSOTP pod: season 2 episode 32

WSOTP Podcast - Season 2 Episode 32

You might be inclined to think that with this being the middle of an international break, we wouldn’t have much to talk about on this week’s “Pondcast”. Well, if you were so inclined, you were wrong. There were of course international matches to talk about, including a pair of European USMNT friendlies and European Championship qualifiers. Plus there was MLS, for some reason playing through a FIFA break despite having 10% of their players called up. And we even invited on Gary Wiggins of Copa to Cleveland to see what our neighbors to the North are doing to bring the 2016 Copa América to Ohio. The guys also spoke about their trip to Kentucky on Saturday to watch the inaugural Louisville City and St. Louis FC match in USL. Plus, our normal Winners & Wankers and Fantasy Update segments made appearances once again, too.

PSA: don’t forget that we want to talk about topics that are interesting to you! Feel free to send us your questions and topics to cover via email (contact[at]wrongsideofthepond[dot]com) or by social media using links at the bottom of the page. And if you haven’t yet, subscribe to the WSOTP Podcast on iTunes/Stitcher/RSS, too.

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longing for the good ‘ol days

WSOTP - Blog - Anger.fw

The new US away kits officially dropped on Monday. It was impossible to miss, with images of the new blue-streaked shirts littered across social media by everyone from Nike, US Soccer, current mens and womens players to blogs, news agencies and randoms alike.

But if you weren’t paying that close of attention, you could be forgiven for thinking that someone had instead dropped an atom bomb on the USSF headquarters in Chicago, such was the negative reaction to yet another American soccer decision.

Whether or not it was a majority is up for debate, but it’s clear a sizable portion of the American fan base hated the jersey. Their ire seems to be pointed in multiple directions too, with Nike, US Soccer and even Sunil Gulati receiving poignant 140-character tirades since its official release. It was described as “ugly”, “effortless” and “unneeded”. Some were angry that it replaced the beloved “bomb pop” kit dawned by the US men in Brazil last summer — which, if you recall, also received a fair bit of scorn when it was first released.

Whether or not you like it, I don’t really care. I’m a fan. But then again, it’s my opinion and we’re all entitled to our own. It’s all subjective anyway and it’s no skin off my back if you don’t like it.

But the outrage that followed the new kit release wasn’t an isolated incident.

Continue reading

WSOTP pod: season 2 episode 25

WSOTP Podcast - Season 2 Episode 25

There was no shortage of tantalizing soccer to enjoy this weekend — both the men’s and women’s national team’s friendlies, the African Nations Cup Final, plus a full round of Premier League action — and the Pondcast team took it all in. The last of those included a pair of derbies, with the second editions of the North London and Merseyside Derbies drawing considerable attention. And with your normal installments of Fantasy UpdateWinners & Wankers and a newly re-branded Championship Watch, there’s plenty stuffed into this week’s WSOTP Podcast.

Don’t forget to hit us up with your questions and topics for next week’s pod at contact[at]wrongsideofthepond[dot]com, on the social media links at the bottom of the page, or in the comments below!

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WSOTP pod: season 2 episode 22

WSOTP Pondcast - Season 2 Episode 22

Premier League recaps? Check. Balon d’OR Predictions? You know it. Transfer Fodder? There’s plenty of that. Crazy Jurgen Klinsmann USMNT call ups? Of course. Narrative about new managers winning their first games in charge? Regrettably. Episode 22 of the Pondcast features all those discussions and much, much more.

Have something you want us to chat about next week? Send your topics and questions by email (contact[at]wrongsideofthepond[dot]com) or hit us up on the social media links at the bottom of the page.

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