longing for the good ‘ol days

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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.

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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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ten words or less #103

Arsenal starlet Gedion Zelalem

Thanks to the festive season, I’m currently enjoying being in the middle 14 straight days off from work for my “real world job”. And as usual, I went into the break with wild expectations of how productive I would be on the blog. But thanks in large part to family activities and obligations and catching up on sleep — not to mention a metric crap ton of Premier League fixtures —  I’ve predictably gotten very little done. A few things have been started, there’s some stuff going on behind the scenes and I’ve posted a few times, but otherwise I feel like I’ve been lazy. And I’m sorry.

So to keep you all content — and for me to keep my own sanity — below you’ll find the latest installment of Ten Words or Less link round up.

Please don’t over hype this. – washingtonpost.com

Potential host cities for the US-hosted 2016 Copa America? – globo.com

Want some bonus Ted Lasso footage? Of course you do. – youtube.com

IBWM’s 100 dropped, and there’s actually an American on it. – inbedwithmaradona.com

The USWNT are clearly struggling: is Wambach the problem? – soccerwire.com

This could light a fire under FIFA’s ass. – keirradnedge.com

The battle for MLS in Minnesota continues to be waged. – startribune.com

Liverpool’s kits next year will be made by… New Balance? – football-shirts.co.uk

I freaking love BBC commentator Nick Barnes’ match notes. – imgur.com

Arsenal transfer business to focus on midfield — not the defense? – theguardian.com

pic of the week 12/8-12/15

Image

damarcus-beasley

There’s been much talk about a changing of the tides in American soccer with the retirement of Landon Donovan. We’ve not been immune to the talk here at WSOTP either, and rightly so. And the tide continued its change today, as another of Donovan’s peers decided to hang up his boots… at least for the national team. That player in question: Houston Dynamo’s DaMarcus Beasley. But the Fort Wayne, Indiana, native — a man I had the privilege to play against and with during my formative years as well — hasn’t received near the spectacular send off that his long-time teammate did.

And in my humble opinion, that’s not exactly fair. He’s a versatile player, a man of many talents, and he’s overcome adversity to reclaim a place with the USMNT that many of us thought he would never recoup.

While he may not have been as talented or prolific as Donovan, it’s pretty easy to argue that Beasley’s career was just as successful. He earned the Silver Ball as the second best player at the 1999 U-17 World Cup, just behind Golden Ball winning buddy LD. A successful launch to his career in MLS with the Fire lead to a move to Dutch giants PSV, where he would eventually become the first — and only — American to play in the semifinals of the Champions League. He went on to make 107 appearances in Europe in a career that spanned the Premier League (Manchester City), the Scottish top flight (Rangers) and the Bundesliga (Hannover 96). He made a splash in Mexico with Puebla, too. And let’s also not forget all 121 caps Beasley earned with the national team, the seventeen international goals he tallied, and that he became the first ever American to play in four World Cups.

He’ll likely not get a testimonial or send off like his much heralded teammate, but I have a sneaking suspicion that RunDMB will just fine with that. And for that reason alone, we’re happy to give him the much deserved praise anyway.

WSOTP pod: season 2 episode 15

WSOTP Podcast - Season 2 Episode 15

Club football’s return this past weekend — both domestically and across the pond — meant the boys had plenty of football discussion on their plate for Episode 15 of the podcast. On that European side of the plate: City’s struggling wins, Geoff Cameron’s horror show in the booth and on the field, whether or not Liverpool should/will sack Brendan Rodgers and the rest of the Premier League weekend. On the domestic half of the plate: fresh hot takes on the MLS Playoff Semifinal first legs, thoughts on further MLS expansion, and a quick reaction to the USMNT’s loss to Ireland. We also offered desserts of our bi-weekly Bundesliga update from contributor Christopher Wieland, plus Fulham Watch and Winners & Wankers.

And don’t forget to drop us a line at contact[at]wrongsideofthepond[dot]com to have us answer your questions or cover a topic of your choosing. You can always send them to us on social media using the links at the bottom of the page, too.

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WSOTP pod: season 2 episode 14

WSOTP Podcast - Season 2 Episode 14

Who cares if it’s an international break… there’s still plenty of football to warrant a new episode of the Pondcast. So what’s on deck this week? D.J. and Jeremy delve into the US men’s national team friendly against Colombia and the negative reactions to Klinsmann’s post-World Cup displays. Euro 2016 qualifying also gets some time in the spotlight, as did the ludicrous findings of FIFA’s corruption investigation. And while there’s no Fulham Watch to update you on this week, the guys still picked their Winners & Wankers for the week. Not only that, but we also welcomed in our first guest of Season 2: the Cincinnati Enquirer’s Justin Duke, who our local listeners might know better as @EnquirerFC on Twitter. Justin talked with us about how he came to love the beautiful game, how he started following Liverpool, and also took part in our naming of our Third of the Season Premier League Awards™.

As always, if you want us to answer a question or hear us dish on a topic of your choosing, we would obviously love to do so. Just drop us a line at contact[at]wrongsideofthepond[dot]com, or you send them to us on social media using the links at the bottom of the page.

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we’re all grown up

This is a short excerpt from my first featured post for Football Golazo, the new football site brought to you by UK-based journalist Kristian Sturt (@FootieWriter). To read it in it’s entirety, please click here or click the link at the end of the post.

Jurgen Klinsmann

For years, Americans have predicted American football’s long awaited arrival in the mainstream. But the metrics by which that achievement has been measured are many.

Some believe it can evaluated on international successes such as regular knockout round qualification and a quarterfinal appearance in recent World Cups. Others might cite the tremendous growth in popularity of the US national teams and the professional game overseas. And still others attribute the maturation and expansion of our domestic league as the key indicator. And to be fair, all of those are fair measuring sticks.

But in my humble opinion, it wasn’t until last week’s spat involving US manager Jurgen Klinsmann and Major League Soccer commissioner Don Garber that US football well and truly arrived.

That’s right: a legitimate club versus country debate is what we needed to officially declare US football as fully grown up. That may seem a little absurd given how these  generally derided rows are regular occurrences in more established footballing countries. Those headline generators like the the recent quibbling between Liverpool’s Brendan Rodgers and England’s Roy Hodgson over the handling of a sleepy Raheem Sterling. Or more seriously, when UEFA threatened to ban an internationally-retired Frank Ribéry if he didn’t turn out for France if Didier Deschamps called him in a few months back.

We’ve honestly never had an actual one of those before in American soccer. Sure, there have been some minor issues in the past — mainly over missing star players when MLS refused to take international breaks. But none of those inspired a national debate in the same way that the verbal quarrel between our national team coach and head of our domestic league has.

Continue reading “We’re All Grown Up” on Football Golazo. →

WSOTP pod: season 2 episode 10

WSOTP Podcast - Season 2 Episode 10

I’ll tell you what: there was no short supply of footie talk about in the latest rendition of the WSOTP Podcast. The return of the Premier League had everyone elated, and the guys provided a rundown of all of the highs and lows from the weekend action. Stateside, the rapidly solidifying MLS playoff picture provided ample talking points, as did the recent club versus country debate being waged between Don Garber and Jurgen Klinsmann. Chris is back with his Bundesliga update. The normal weekly segments — Fantasy UpdateWinners & Wankers and Fulham Watch — are all in there, too. And in just in case you missed it when it was tweeted out, Jeremy was kind enough to create a Spotify Playlist with every song we’ve ever used to close out the podcast — in order of appearance even.

Also, remember that we would love for you to send us topics and questions to talk about in next week’s podcast. Get into the mix by shooting us an email to contact[at]wrongsideofthepond[dot]com, tweeting us or writing it on our Facebook wall using the links at the bottom of the page.

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WSOTP pod: season 2 episode 9

WSOTP Podcast - Season 2 Episode 9

Just because we’re in the middle of yet another international break that’s forced another short sabbatical of the European club game, there was still ample subject matter for Jeremy and D.J. to discuss to warrant another edition of the WSOTP Podcast. So what’s on deck for this week’s episode? The guys spend considerable time chatting about Landon Donovan’s penultimate match for the US national team and the legacy he’ll leave behind. Furthermore, it’s not like MLS went on hiatus. So the guys made room to cover the steadily intensifying MLS Playoff races, including the Crew’s dramatic comeback win against Philadelphia. Speaking of the Crew, some time to was also devoted to Columbus’ #NewCrew logo reveal and D.J.’s experience covering the unveiling event last week — which you can read more about here. Plus, we announced the winning reader/listener-selected design for the first ever WSOTP scarf!

As always, remember to send us your topics and questions for next week’s podcast. If you have something for us, send us an email at contact[at]wrongsideofthepond[dot]com, tweet it to us, or even write it on our Facebook wall using the links at the bottom of the page.

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