i want: #pondcast holiday gift guide

WSOTP - Blog - Holiday Gift Guide

Normally, the “I Want” series I run on the blog catalogs a list of the items throughout the course of the year I personally want. And judging at the cost, diversity and frequency of the items I identified in 2015, it’s clear I’m a very greedy person.

But with us up to our necks in the annual holiday season, my WSOTP Podcast co-host Jeremy Lance, reminded me that we should probably be a little more outwardly focused. And as such, we shared our ideas on the last podcast about what we would suggest — and maybe not suggest, too — to get for your soccer loving friends this year. If you want to listen in to the full audio for the segment, forward ahead the 25:10 mark to hear our full explanations for our inclusions in this year’s list.

WSOTP - Blog - World FC Shirts.fw
DJ: Ohio is not only home to great soccer writing, but also some pretty fresh soccer clothing, too. Case in point: the Columbus-based World FC make an excellent collection of original tee designs for a plethora of European clubs, from my Spurs to Jeremy’s Chelsea, Barcelona, Juventus and more.
MATCHDAY PROGRAM SUBSCRIPTIONSWSOTP - Blog - Match Programs.fwJEREMY: Many of us on this side of the pond have a European team that we passionately follow, but few of us get to experience the perks of actually crossing the pond to watch our team in person. But you can get a piece of the typical fan experience shipped directly to your home — albeit a few weeks later — by subscribing to your favorite team’s matchday programs. Many English teams offer it as a service, and they offer a unique look at each club from an insider’s perspective.
WSOTP - Blog - Magazine Subscriptions.fwDJ: There are lots of great places to read about soccer online (ahem). But if you’re not reading some of the stuff available in print, you’re missing out. Subscriptions to quarterlies like the American-based Howler or 8×8 are great options. If you’re looking for some international flair, try out the always excellent Blizzard. Each offers long form writing, incredible works of art, and delvings into the corners of our soccer world that rarely get the limelight they deserve.
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JEREMY: Whether you’re looking to add a unique piece of soccer clothing to your wardrobe, or a sharp looking piece of soccer art to hang on the wall outside your wardrobe, Art of Football has you covered. They create beautiful prints and t-shirts of iconic football moments.
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DJ: Having been commissioned by the likes of Adidas, FIFA and even the FA, English artist Steve Welsh has long been one of my favorite soccer-focused artists. Much of his work can be found on shirts, but I’ve been eyeing this “S is for Socrates” print from his F is for Football series on Miniboro.com site for my home office for ages. 
WSOTP - Blog - Magazine Subscriptions.fwNot all soccer gifts need be expensive, and there’s nothing better to stuff in a soccer fan’s stocking than playing cards. If you want to go the more traditional route for most of the world, you can get Panini stickers and fill up collection albums. However, if you want to stick to more American traditions, Topps makes sets just like they do for Major League Baseball. 

Most of the gifts below aren’t so awful, but you would definitely laugh at a friend or colleague if they received any of them. And as such, you probably shouldn’t want any of these.

WSOTP - Blog - Ugly Christmas Sweaters.fwDJ: Ugly Christmas sweater parties are pervasive during the holiday season these days, but don’t be tempted to take the easy way out by buying one of those printed t-shirt/sweatshirt versions that are popping up all over the place. Why? 1) It’s cheating and 2) they’re really not that ironic anymore. I’ve even seen a few clubs starting to hawk their own printed ugly christmas shirts, and when you see them doing something so trendy… you know a trend is a bit past it.
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JEREMY: Amazingly still available for purchase in the Chelsea Mega Store when we recorded the podcast last Monday, with Mourinho sacked this week, they finally took it down by the time I got around to publishing this today. Luckily, if you want to have your Mourinho Mask ready ahead of the next job he inevitably takes, I was able to find it on an alternative website.
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DJ: If you grew up watching Fox Soccer Channel during its heyday, you’ll remember Wallbangers as the life-size player and team logo posters that ran as every third commercial for on the now defunct channel. I’m not sure they even really make these anymore for pro players, but you can totally order custom ones for yourself. And that’s a million times more dorky than the originals.
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JEREMY: You know what really helps me to relax while I’m sitting around on the couch or laying in bed? Resting my head down on a pillow featuring the toothy mug of the soccer world’s most prominent vampire, Luis Suarez. No word on whether it will leave any teeth marks on you, though.
WSOTP - Blog - Vardy Chips.fw
DJ: I’m a big fan of chips. Like an addict, even. I’m also a pretty big fan of soccer, and the Premier League in particular. But there is no part of me that wants to try “Vardy Salted” chips. There’s no part of me that doesn’t think the salt is scraped off of Vardy after every performance.
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JEREMY: Have you ever wanted to smell like Alan Pardew does after a day at the office? Now you can, thanks to Eagle Perfume available in the Crystal Palace team store. It may or may not be made with the musk of the actual eagle that is flown around Selhurst Park before every home match.



#forcincy match poster 6: saints vs indiana fire


WSOTP - Cincinnati Saints Matchday Poster 6

Well, the end of the National Premier Soccer League 2015 season is imminent, and this coming Saturday’s game against the Indiana Fire Juniors will be the Cincinnati Saints’ final home date of the campaign (though a rescheduled home friendly against the Columbus Crew SC College Program will still take place on Saturday, July 25th at 7:00pm).

And as such, that means that I still had one last match poster to put together for the campaign as well. There were lots of potential designs on the table, and plenty of places to draw inspiration from. The Fire Juniors aren’t a particularly well-supported team, but I’ve tried to avoid picking on teams so far, and I’m not going to start with my last one either. I also debated a “Final Countdown” clock seeing as how this was the Saints’ last home game, but that met the chopping block, too.

Ultimately looked to the nickname of our opposition once again to draw as the primary inspiration for the design. “Put Out the Fire” is a common chant yelled at Indiana’s parent club in Chicago, so I assumed that means we could apply it to them, too. And what better way would there be to convey that message than to invoke the spirit of the famous Smokey Bear? A slight modification to his trademark phrase let’s us know that he too wants to help extinguish the flames of the Saints’ foes this weekend.

This being the last league home match of the season, that also means this will also be the last time the WSOTP Podcast team will be in the commentary booth for the NPSL season. So if you can’t join us at Withrow tomorrow, be sure to catch our Live Stream broadcast available on our Match Commentary page.

And as always, if you want to see all my 2015 Cincinnati Saints match day poster designs from the season long series, click here.

#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.

a way to track the ladies

I’ve been trying to publish this for the last three days. Check Twitter out if you don’t believe me. Unfortunately, the selfish jerks over at FIFA kept stealing all of the limelight. But despite their greatest efforts to upstage one of their own prestigious tournaments, I’m not going to go allow them to continue putting the ladies on the back burner.

So today, I’m pleased to announce that WSOTP is bring back our WSOTP World Cup Hub as a special space on the site devoted entirely to our Women’s World Cup coverage!

Whether it’s a new piece I’ve written that focuses in on the events transpiring in Canada, or a new podcast where Jeremy and I wax poetically about our love of Alex Morgan and the rest of the USWNT, you’ll be able to find it all in one convenient spot. And just as with the men’s tournament last summer, we’re launching the release of the WSOTP World Cup Hub with something special…

My original 2015 Women’s World Cup Wall Chart!

WSOTP - Bracket - Women's World Cup 2015 Wide

As was the case last summer too, you can download a hi-res (4080 x 2550 pixels) copy of the WWC Wall  Chart to hang on your cubicle wall, your fridge at home, or even blow it up huge and hang it in your soccer pub to help your patrons track the tournament! In addition to the blank version shown above, you can also head to the World Cup Hub page to download updated wall charts as the tournament progresses.

So be sure to give the WSOTP World Cup Hub a look, download your Canada 2015 Bracket, and check back regularly for ongoing coverage of the ladies this summer!

ten words or less #110

Well, it’s fair to say a bombshell was dropped on world soccer yesterday. I’d hoped to get out a full-length piece on it last night or today, but the rapid developments with regards to the FIFA corruption scandal has made it difficult to stay on top of and write accurately. So I’m giving it another day or so to fester before unleashing the dragon. And while you wait, there have been hundreds of miles worth of online column space already written on the topic — so you won’t be wanting for reading material.

To hold you over, as usual, I’ve compiled a list of my favorite links from the past week or so. The first four of which are directly related to the ongoing firestorm. So enjoy reading the selections below while the world outside burns.

FIFA meets the long, bad ass arm of American law. – justice.gov

How to boycott FIFA without hurting soccer. – independent.co.uk

Sponsoring the World Cup is an endorsement of their practices. – theverge.com

The NASL is in some serious shit. – northernpitch.com

Adidas “smart ball” teaches you to bend it like Beckham. – androidpolice.com

The Minnesota MLS stadium situation is… tricky. – vice.com

Snow skiing plus soccer? Super impressed… if this is real. – youtube.com

An insurance plan to protect against missing the Champions League? – bloomberg.com

Beer and soccer. You don’t need to know more. – soccerbible.com
Thanks to my man @MPFaessler for pointing this out.

Wambach’s turf war paying dividends, just not how you’d expect. – soccerwire.com

#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.

ten words or less #89

DC United forward Chris Rolfe

friend of WSOTP, chris rolfe will find himself in new digs this weekend after being traded from chicago to DC.

It’s been ages since my last links round up piece — okay, so it’s just been over a month. But a month can seem like ages in a house with an infant. And in the spirit of full disclosure, I needed to get this latest Ten Words or Less published before some of the links below become no longer relevant. And with the collection of links below spanning nearly the entire spectrum of professional soccer — from World Cup stories to the Premier League, from the Major Indoor Soccer League to USLPRO to Major League soccer, and from footie gear to soccer broadcasting — this is a links round up not to miss.

To new beginnings. – mlssoccer.com

Ian Darke stars in probably the best ESPN commercial ever. – youtube.com/espn

I really wish Chelsea would stop making kits I like. – footballfashion.org

The MISL is dissolving and it’s getting really ugly. – thebluestatement.com

BeIN Sport have made a vuvezela that changes the channel. – therichest.com

I am 100% behind making this the next MLS rebrand. – thegoatparade.com

Please don’t tell me this is a permanent home. – daytondutchlionsfc.com

Some people prefer Spanish commentary… I’m not one of them. – npr.org

I’m a non believer, but these football Tarot Cards rock. – designfootball.com

Some day… Nike will send me these, too. Some day. – theoriginalwinger.com

ten words or less #82

it’s fair to say that mexico are feeling very thankful this morning.

So, about last night? Pardon my french, but last night was fucking crazy. While World Cup qualifying drama reared its head in both Europe and South America, the real drama was saved for those of us here in CONCACAF. In a space of just two minutes, Mexico — who lost 2-to Costa Rica — went from not qualifying for their first World Cup in 24 years to being back in thanks to an injury time equalizer by none other than their hated rivals to the north. The unexpected swing in fortunes induced the now-famous maniacal response from Mexican commentator Christian Martinoli, which just so happens to be the first link below. And it felt eerily similar to Manchester City’s last-gasp title-winning goal in the Premier League two seasons ago.

Anyway, the magic of yesterday’s moments serves as yet another excellent reason for why this is such an amazing sport. If you couldn’t get into that madness, then you likely lack a pulse.

“We love you forever and ever! God Bless America!” – businessinsider.com

De nada, México. De nada. – bumpypitch.com

Will the US bid for 2026? If rules are redefined. – si.com

Why Januzaj likely isn’t United’s next Pogba or Morrision. – strettynews.com

8bit Football drops a killer historical USMNT effort. – 8bit-football.com

Chivas USA are actually looking for their own home. – mlssoccer.com

Qatar just sounds delightful, doesn’t it? – spiegel.de

Spain’s national team more like the USMNT than you’d think. – soccernet.com

Did Arsenal’s 2014/2015 Puma kits just leak out? – footballshirtculture.com

Organizing and finding pickup games is about to get easier. – kckrs.com