pic of the week 9/21-9/27



As football becomes more and more integrated into American culture, it should be expected that we’ll be treated to ever more frequent mash-ups between the sport’s biggest stars and the star names from the world of entertainment. Like Kobe Bryant showing up in the latest EA Sports’ FIFA 16 ads, actors doing segments on the Men in Blazers show and Drake showing up and ruining everyone’s party.

Yet despite knowing all that, it still tickled my fancy when Kevin Hart showed up in the latest ad for H&M’s David Beckham line. Just look at him, standing there beaming like an idiot next to super serious, and slightly disgusted Goldenballs. That alone makes this worthy of the Pic of the Week honors. But even better is the nearly seven minute long video (below) that accompanies it. The future-Sir David even seemed a quasi-decent actor in the thing too — either that or he’s actually playing this thing how he would treat the entire experience.

I now want all of that clothing so I can be as cool as David Beckham/Kevin Hart — damn it, marketers!!!

go forth and multiply

Manifest Destiny

Major League Soccer dropped a bomb of sorts yesterday afternoon.

In a release on the official league website, it was confirmed that MLS has accepted a bid from current-NASL side Minnesota United FC to become the latest expansion side. While that in itself is great news — United are a far more attractive bid than their cross-city rivals in the Vikings — it wasn’t the biggest news in that release. That was reserved for literally the very last, sentences of the article, and it’s blown the lid off of American soccer social media since.

“Over the course of 2015, we plan to evaluate potential expansion beyond 24 clubs.”

Now that’s some MLS expansion news.

Now if I’m being totally honest, when Don Garber announced back in 2013 that the league was hoping to expand to 24 teams by 2020, very few of us in the media ever thought that twenty-four was a legitimate, hard cap. Even then, there were too many cities interested in having an MLS franchise to limit it to that number. Too, MLS would be leaving far too much money on the table by limiting themselves to just twenty different markets. Twenty-four always felt like far more a milestone than a finish line.

But that begs the question: where is the finish line for MLS when it comes to expansion?

We’re currently sitting at 20 teams in 2015, and we know we’ll have 22 in 2017 when Atlanta and LAFC join the league. With Minnesota likely to be joined by Sacramento in expansion talks, that get’s us to magical number 24. But what does that mean for city’s like San Antonio, St. Louis, and Las Vegas (please, no) all seemingly chomping at the bit? Or even more pertinent, what happens if Beckham’s Miami bid ever gets its act together?

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ten words or less #105

WSOTP - Blog - Derby Saturday 2015.fw

You might have noticed the slight uptick in activity on the site over the last week, with four new posts going up. That’s not that busy, but it is when compared to the previous few barren weeks that preceded it. Things have finally slowed down a bit at work after the turn of the new year, and my now 13-month-old daughter has become slightly more self-sufficient. As such, I finally have time to write again. Which has been nice.

And honestly, he timing of this slight increase in free-time couldn’t have been any better. A hot-ticket weekend of derbies in Europe — and of course, WSOTP will once again be hosting further watch parties at Cincinnati’s Rhinehaus bar for the North London and Merseyside Derbites this weekend! MLS preseason is also in full-swing now too, meaning the trickling faucet of stories on the domestic front has suddenly morphed into a busted, gushing fire hydrant. I already have a half dozen articles in the works, so hopefully you’ll see the fruits of those labors in the coming days.

In the mean time, be sure to come join us this weekend for the Derby action if you happen to be in Cincinnati. If you’re not, the latest links round up will have to suffice.

Me, every Super Bowl. – foxtrot.com

Well this is awfully crappy of Manchester United. – thesportsbible.com

Why expanding the MLS playoffs is a bad idea. – soccergods.com

Qatar’s World Cup template had a Beta version in handball. – slate.com

The MLSPU’s take on the ongoing collective bargaining agreement talks. – orlandosentinel.com

Someone get me all of these sneakers, please. Thanks. – theoriginalwinger.com

Maybe something is finally brewing in Miami… – miamidade.gov

Watching someone’s greatest moment ever is fun. – vine.co/FilGoal

The story behind Toronto landing Giovinco. – torontosun.com

beckham and new york city: a match made in MLS heaven?

WSOTP - Blog - Beckham to RBNY.fw

From its very beginning, Major League Soccer’s proposed return to Miami has seemed a bit off. It’s an exciting market, but one that professional soccer had yet to conquer.

Under the stewardship of global superstar, two-time MLS Cup champion and owner of a discount MLS expansion agreement, David Beckham, the goal of bringing professional soccer back to Southern Florida got under way with a bang. A glitzy press conference featuring Golden Balls himself, smiling and answering questions with fellow investors and MLS commissioner Don Garber.

Pledges to build a spectacular new soccer-specific stadium in the city and on the waterfront were used to hype the handfuls of fans in attendance. Garber spoke of the promise, know how and star power that Beckham and his team of investors possessed. Quickly, a full fledged supporters groups sprung up, club names were debated, kits and crests were floated and stadium renderings filtered out through the media. The hype was real.

Too, the February 2014 announcement that Beckham intended to put his discounted MLS club in Miami came right in the middle of a slew of similar league expansion press conferences. First was New York City FC in March 2013, Orlando in November, Miami was next in February 2014, Atlanta in April and then Los Angeles FC in October.

Of course, the key word in that previous paragraph being “similar”.

None of New York, Orlando, Atlanta or LA have had MLS completely fail there. Miami has — though one could argue that it wasn’t Miami alone that ushered the Fusion to contraction, as the team actually played in Ft. Lauderdale. And while Los Angeles did see Chivas USA fail before too, the city also features the trump card that is the pride and joy of Major League Soccer in the five time champion Galaxy.

But more importantly, unlike the other four cities in that list, Miami’s press conference featured words like “contingent” and “if”. In order to get the Beckham his club, he and his team of investors would have to first secure a stadium. In downtown Miami. And since that announcement nearly a one year ago, we’ve not really heard any good news from Miami, Beckham or MLS.

And it’s that stadium issue which has proven the biggest stumbling block thus far.

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pic of the week 3/17-3/24


david beckham's miami stadium plans

Even though actual teams are playing actual matches in Major League Soccer, anytime David Beckham’s still-imaginary team in Miami makes any waves, it instantly becomes the front page news around the league. And things were no different when the Daily Mail published what are supposedly the initial renderings of Team Beckham’s stadium at the highly desired but likely difficult-to-acquire Port of Miami site. And to be fair, if they are able to pull it off, this stadium will easily be one of the best in MLS.

The 25,000 all-seated stadium offers views of the city skyline and port — designed by Miami’s Arquitectonica and 360 Architecture of Kansas City — also features an adjacent plaza that will house restaurants, retail space, and predictably a night club for Becks to fraternize with fellow celebrity friends. But as mentioned before, whether or not Beckham and the league will be able to secure the space in the port remains to be seen. Opposition ranging from Royal Caribbean cruise line and city officials, not to mention a hefty price tag, currently stand in the way of the deal being done.

But I’m hoping they’re able to pull it off, if for no other reason than it give me an excuse to check it out for my MLS Stadium Guide project!

WSOTP pod: episode 26

WSOTP Podcast - Season 1 Episode 26

did swansea interim manager gary monk have his kit on under that tracksuit? i hope we find out at some point this season.

For the first time in weeks it seems like, there was only a single helping of Premier League action for Jeremy and D.J. to cover on the podcast. And that means that there was ample time after the BPL round up — which includes discussions on Liverpool’s blowout victory over the Gunners and Gary Monk being the league’s second player manager since the turn of the millennium, among others — to dive into some other topics for a change. So what’s on tap? The guys share their thoughts on the quasi-announcement hosted by David “Beckman” and MLS in Miami, and a lengthy and in-depth response to a listener question about the best mobile apps to use to follow soccer while on the go.

Subscribe to the WSOTP Podcast on iTunes or Stitcher, or search for “Wrong Side of the Pond” in your favorite podcasting app to listen to us on your mobile device!

ten words or less #87

never forgotten, manchester united’s darkest day inspires the club to this day.

A week of travel for the real world job has cut into my football life this week. But worry not, I still have some goods for you this week. But before I get into my favorite links from the last week or so, allow me a quick moment to pay my respects to the “Busby Babes” of Manchester United that died in 56 years ago yesterday in the Munich Air Disaster. Regarded as the greatest tragedy in United’s long illustrious history, nine players — Roger Byrne, Tommy Taylor and David Pegg along with Eddie Colman, Mark Jones, Bill Whelan, Geoff Bent and Duncan Edwards — coach Bert Whalley, trainer Tom Curry and club secretary Walter Crickmer were all killed along with eight journalists. That a club could ever bounce back from such a catastrophe is mind blowing in its own right, let alone the heights that Red Devils have been able to scale since.

That said, on with the links!

You can still watch the Premier League during the Olympics. – broadwayworld.com

“Six degrees of… Bruce Arena”? – lagalaxy.com

Brazil’s biggest clubs support Brazil ahead of the World Cup.
– footballshirtculture.com

This is brilliant business by the American third tier league. – uslpro.uslsoccer.com

West Ham clearly don’t understand the laws of the game. – telegraph.co.uk

Hey Mr. Precourt… M.Willis took care of your Crew rebranding. – mwillis.com

Playing in Manaus this summer won’t be that bad. – inbedwithmaradona.com

Beckham’s announcement was little more than a political pep rally.
– miamiherald.com

Love for one’s club extends even into death. – itv.com

Though unlikely, I already hate the rumored “LA Gunners”.
– prosoccertalk.nbcsports.com

WSOTP pod: episode 12

WSOTP Pod: Season 1 Episode 12

WSOTP Pod - Season 1 Episode 12

among other things, we’ll tackle the reaction to spurs’ keeper hugo lloris continuing on after being clocked by lukaku’s knee.

With D.J. alone taking in nearly a dozen full matches this weekend — including six in the Premier League, four MLS Playoff games, and attending a live PASL match for the local Cincinnati Saints — figuring out what to actually discuss in this week’s edition of the pod was no easy task. But somehow, we managed to discuss all three topics at length. Additionally, we also talk about listener Dave’s suggested topic of American parallels to European soccer’s competitive penalties, Team Beckham to Miami, Hugo’s head injury, the trend of MLS players dreaming to retire to become farmers, and much more.

Click here to subscribe to the WSOTPpod on iTunes.

ten words or less #77

i’m sure you’re about as interested in hearing my excuses as wayne rooney is in staying at manchester united.

It’s Friday and nearly four days since my last post on the site, so I’m feeling a little panicked. I have four pieces in the works, but all aren’t quite ready for the big time for one reason or another: one needs more research, another needs editing, the next one is still a rough draft and the last one can’t be announced yet. And yes, that last one was hinting at something big to come — so definitely be sure to keep your eyes on this space.

In my defense, I have been really busy with things for the blog. I had to travel up to see Wigan take on the Dayton Dutch Lions, which will result in an article. I also had to conduct a phone interview one night this week, necessary to produce yet another piece in progress. And I also had to play soccer last night… but that’s just so I don’t become fat and die. Nobody would be writing the blog articles here if that hadn’t happened, so technically, it’s still for the blog.

So to buy myself some more time to complete at least one of the articles I’ve got in the pipeline, I present a smattering of my favorite links from the last week.

Wonder what the agent’s cut was for this unorthodox transfer. – goal.com

Sadly, Adidas would never make this cool concept ball. – behance.com

This is clever: a Super Mario ode to Sir Alex. – theoffside.com

This is how you properly breed a supporter. – dirtytackle.net

The new Sacramento USLPRO side branding is sexy as hell. – sacrepublicfc.com

Reddit user digs out a referees rule book from 1919. – reddit.com/u/MashedHair

Office work with Suarez? As bad as you might expect. – youtube.com

Apparently, some pro players are given access to tanks. – espnfc.com

More clubs should go this route with their kits. – footballshirtculture.com

Team Beckham in Miami? Only one way it will work. – miamiherald.com

pic of the week 6/3-6/9


Lebron James and David Beckham in Miami

Yes, I’m well aware that I’m jumping the gun on this week’s “Pic of the Week” by posting it six days earlier than normal. But considering how I haven’t exactly kept this “regular” feature very regular to this point, I hardly think anyone will kick up too much of a fuss. Anyway, this picture is far too important to wait until next Monday, so buckle up…

In this week’s POTW, you’ll see too extremely famous people at the conclusion of Game 7 in the NBA’s Eastern Conference Semifinals. On the left is Lebron James: basketball superstar, Liverpool minority investor and likely the most famous athlete on the planet now that the man on the right has retired. That man on the right is David Beckham: retired footballer, global brand ambassador and a regular in this POTW space. “So what?” you might be asking, “Stars from different sports hang out with one another all the time.” And in most circumstances, that would be an accurate statement. This time, however, there’s plenty to read into something as small as a handshake between two of sport’s biggest names.

Rumors have long swirled that Beckham still has an active clause in his previous MLS contract that allows him the ability to purchase an MLS franchise. Whether David can do so at a discounted price or not isn’t really relevant here, but what is relevant is that he’ll need additional investors to prop up a successful club. Additionally, there have been whispers that Golden Balls is eyeing up Miami as a potential location for Club Beckham. And that’s where this overly friendly handshake comes into play. Lebron is a) rich as hell, b) has bucket-loads of clout in Southern Florida circles, c) is apparently prone to backing soccer clubs given his involvement with Liverpool, d) and adds further star power to a potential bid.

If you ask me, the stars are not only figuratively, but also quite literally look to be aligning.