#Pondcast summer special: the donald trump of american soccer

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Well, it took just a month for us to get the itch to get back together and record yet another #Pondcast. Which is good, because we literally had people asking about when the next one would drop. Never mind that there are two major international tournaments going on with the Euros and Copa Centenario, or that the USMNT aren’t doing too poorly in one of them either. There’s also the small matter of several domestic leagues to contend with, particularly ones that have teams in Ohio to reflect on. And though we advertised differently earlier on, we brought back our former intern and current Cincinnati Enquirer writer Charlie Hatch (@charliehatch_) to join in on the discussion.

Also, stay tuned for a few more summer specials… as there’s certainly no shortage of football to talk about this summer.

Get involved in next future podcast by shooting over your questions or topic suggestions. Hit us up on social media links at the bottom of the page, or send an email to contact@wrongsideofthepond.com. And don’t forget you can subscribe below too.

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WSOTP pod: this is not the greatest sports story ever

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A new #Pondcast on a Tuesday isn’t something we’ve been able to pull off recently, but we’re back on schedule again — this week at least. On this latest episode, Adam Maloney (@maloneyam34) rejoins us-as a guest host again to reflect on Leicester City’s now official Premier League title and Spurs’ spursing it away to them by surrendering a two goal lead at Chelsea. The guys also spend some time chatting up the remaining fights for the remaining top four and relegation spots. Too, there was time to delve into the Champions League semifinals before rounding things up with the normal weekly segments, including an abbreviated return of Question of the Week.

Have a question or topic you want the boys of WSOTP to tackle? Hit us up at contact@wrongsideofthepond.com, or ask away on any of our social media channels. And if you haven’t subscribed or given us a review on your podcasting service yet, use those links below.

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WSOTP pod: they’re gonna win the league

wsotp-podcast-3-34.fwThe thirty-fourth episode of the third season of the WSOTP Podcast clocks in at a little over 55 minutes, which will likely come as a relief for our listeners that sometimes tell us we’re a little long-winded. But what can you expect to find in this somewhat abbreviated episode? The guys discuss what looks to be the end of a Premier League title fight and Spurs readjusted priorities. Too, there was a rundown of the weekend’s MLS action. And how could we not mention last week’s USA-Guatemala World Cup Qualifier in Columbus, which both D.J. and Jeremy attended — though in very different capacities. The usual weekly segments make their appearances, too.

Want to get involved in our weekly conversation like the listeners whose questions we answered today? Then get in touch with your questions or topic suggestions for next week’s episode by way of the social media links at the bottom of the page, or by sending an email to contact@wrongsideofthepond.com. And don’t forget to subscribe below to automatically receive the newest podcast every Tuesday.

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WSOTP pod: soccer’s johnny appleseed

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Cup competitions were at the fore this past week — FA Cup, UEFA Champions League, Copa América Centenario and even the FC Cincinnati’s preseason participation in the IMG Suncoast Pro Classic — and as such, they take up a sizable chunk of this week’s #Pondcast. But even with all of those tournaments, there was also ample time in this episode to leave room for an excellent conversation with special guest Peter Wilt. He joined us to talk about his time with Indy Eleven as well as share his new endeavors in trying to bring the NASL to Chicago. Plus your normal weekly segments are in there, too.

Want to get in on the fun yourself? Suggesting a topic or question for the guys to tackle is as easy as hitting us up on social media or sending an email to contact@wrongsideofthepond.com. And be sure to subscribe using the links below to automatically receive new episodes every Tuesday.

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ten words or less #116

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See, the blog isn’t dead yet! Though I’m guessing the less than 100 words below linking to content that isn’t my own probably isn’t the thing I should hang my “the blog isn’t dead yet” hat on. If nothing else, it’s something for you to chew on to end your weekend/get your week started.

Too, I’ll be dropping further information on my future plans for the blog in the coming days, too. So be sure to stay tuned so you know what’s up, right?

I mean at some point, it has to stop. Right? – worldsoccertalk.com

Can’t accuse them of beating around the bush. – manchestercity.com

Come fall in love with Dele Alli. – youtube.com

The USMNT once played in the NASL; it went disastrously. – mlssoccer.com

My inner 15 year old is losing his mind. – 8by8mag.com

Aw man, the “Deadline Day” banana video is fake!?! – squawka.com

Should Canada have its own league? Yes! But can it? – canadiansoccernews.com

Futsal fire. – youtube.com

US Soccer sues the USWNT… everyone has to pick sides. – futfanatico.com

D’oh. – washingtonpost.com

WSOTP pod: we’re not going anywhere

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As you may have noticed, I dropped some news yesterday. And because of that news, WSOTP will be through some pretty massive changes. But worry not — and it looks like many of you did — the #Pondcast isn’t going away! And to prove that point, we’re dropping another episode the day after the big news.

So what exactly is on this week’s episode? Despite the lack of Premier League action since our last show, there was ample going on in the footballing world for us to delve into. The USMNT played a game on Sunday, and (literally) a few people showed up to watch. There was also the FA Cup Fourth Round to contend with, even if there’s been a lack of upsets. And too, there are midweek Premier League games — some of them today — to look forward to as well. What about the closing of the January transfer window? Plus we asked you guys another question ahead of this episode, and you delivered with some excellent soccer culinary ideas.

Want to get involved in our weekly conversation? Then be sure to get in touch with your questions for the guys or suggested topics for next week’s episode by way of the social media links at the bottom of the page, or by sending an email to contact@wrongsideofthepond.com. And don’t forget to subscribe below to automatically receive the newest podcast every Tuesday.

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how much weight can you hold on your shoulders?

Stanford Crimson's Jordan Morris

When I think back to when I was a junior in college — sadly, over a decade ago at this point — and try to remember what responsibilities weighed heavily on me, my “burdens” were pretty typical of your average college aged guy.

There were of course my studies, which probably deserved higher priority than they received. There was also soccer, preparing for a senior season with high expectations having won the league that year. Of course there was a social life to attend to, too. There was a job working at the mall that was roughly 45 minutes away, but I couldn’t ever make the schedule work between it and the previous three balls I was juggling. And I might have started thinking about what I was going to do post graduation: where I was going to live, what kind of job was I going to land, and how I might be able to pay off the ever-increasing pile of student loans I was adding to. But probably not.

Millions of American kids are encumbered with similar concerns year after year, and most of us come out of it just fine. And the path to navigating those obstacles and choices is a well trodden one, with examples of friends and family to follow if need be. Plus we have the benefit of being able to make all of those decisions without the rest of the world scrutinizing them.

Unfortunately, Jordan Morris doesn’t have it so lucky.

Continue reading

WSOTP pod: the magic of the cup

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If you worried there wouldn’t be a new #Pondcast this week since there haven’t been any Premier League games since our last episode, worry no longer… we still managed to squeeze out a full program for you last night. So what’s on the agenda in lieu of the league? The most exciting round of the FA Cup — the third round — gifted us a number of surprising results. We bet you’d like to talk about the FIFA Gala/Ballon d’Or. There’s the January transfer window to keep an eye on, too. The US Men’s National Team also announced their January camp, so we dive in there as well. And despite it being the offseason, it’s been a surprisingly busy week all around the American domestic leagues, too. So trust us when we say there’s plenty to talk about.

Want to play a part in a future show? Hit us up via the social media links at the bottom of the page or drop an email to contact@wrongsideofthepond.com to send us your questions and topic suggestions. And don’t forget to subscribe using the links below to automatically receive the newest podcast each Tuesday.

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WSOTP pod: how many concussion symptoms am i showing?

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Though international breaks normally provide less action for us to orate about on our weekly #Pondcast, this last week of “break” was anything but. Off the pitch — but not by much — the guys touch on how the atrocity in Paris will have an impact on the professional game. Too, we also welcomed back FanDuel managing editor and sports injury specialist Will Carroll (@injuryexpert) to discuss recent US Soccer legislation aimed at reducing youth head injuries. On the pitch matters were discussed as well, with the USMNT’s return to World Cup qualifying, the NASL’s entertaining Soccer Bowl and European qualifying all in the mix.

For the first time in ages, we were blanked on the question front this week. So next week, we expect loads of questions and topic suggestions from you listeners! Got it? Good. So make sure to hit us up via the social media links at the bottom of the page, or drop an email to contact@wrongsideofthepond.com to send them along. And don’t forget to subscribe using the links below to automatically receive the newest podcast episode each Tuesday.

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an open letter to u.s. soccer

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Board of Governors
U.S. Soccer Federation
1801 South Prairie Avenue
Chicago, IL 60616

Greetings and good afternoon:

Running American soccer — at least I’d assume, seeing as how I have no experience in doing so — is an incredibly hard task. It’s probably a pretty thankless task at times as well. Few probably reward you for the countless hours you’ve put in, and the only feedback you receive is when people are angry or aggrieved.

I’d imagine that’s particularly true these days, considering the growing laundry list of complaints that the growing American soccer audience has for you. Opening up the pyramid, promotion and relegation, the banning of headers in the youth game, and claims of sticking with incompetent national team manager are all hot button topics in US soccer, and I’m sure there are countless others. Dealing with all of that can’t be easy, and coming up with solutions for those complains is likely even harder. In short, I respect — and even mostly approve — the work all of you do.

But not all of it.

You see tonight, the men’s national team kicks off qualification for the 2018 World Cup against St. Vincent & the Grenadines. They Caribbean minnows are ranked 129th in the world according to FIFA, pretty lowly when compared to our (admittedly disappointing) ranking of 33rd. And their record in international play isn’t exactly sterling either, so saying I’m worried about the USMNT losing to them isn’t really a concern.

So what’s my problem? In two words: the field.

Without a doubt, St. Louis is a hotbed of American soccer. Both historically and in present day. And even if it wasn’t, a city and population of its size is absolutely deserving of hosting a national team World Cup qualifier.

But — and let me make this very clear — when playing for the opportunity to qualify for a World Cup, it should be played on the absolute best surface possible. And you know what doesn’t qualify as the best playing surface possible for a professional soccer game that’s been organized for the sole purpose of reaching the most prestigious tournament your game offers?

A baseball field.

Even a well manicured baseball field like the one at St. Louis’ Busch Stadium, even one used by a Major League Baseball franchise, even one who’s had a month to meticulously prepare — none of them should be utilized as a stage for our nation’s team to qualify for a World Cup in a single game. Why? Because their playing surfaces and facilities are not freaking made for soccer!

The grass surface on those fields typically isn’t one designed for the wear and tear exerted over the course of the average game of soccer. That means increased divots and therefore a less clean playing surface. The dimensions of the playing surface aren’t arranged to allow for a full-sized international field — and a field that just exceeds the minimums really shouldn’t be counted. That leads to cramped play and potentially the need to adjust your tactics. And most glaringly, there’s the need to deal with putting a temporary surface over the dirt baseball infield. Which of course leads a less clean playing surface and the greater chance of a player getting hurt when temporary turf slides across the dirt it sits on top of.

And that’s not to mention the kind of message it sends to the international footballing community. Look, we care so little about our national team’s success that we’re willing to sacrifice it to make a few extra dollars.

Do I think it will affect the outcome of tonight’s game? Probably not, but it could. But that’s besides the point.

When you think about it, there are easily fifty stadiums in this country — between MLS, NFL and NCAA football — that would be better suited right this very moment than Busch Stadium in St. Louis would be today. And that’s even if they were still playing the game tonight.

Don’t give me the “Well, New York City FC play on a baseball stadium and they did just fine” nonsense. The postage stamp they play on at Yankee Stadium looked like a U-10 field, and I’ve heard from several MLS players that surface there was far from ideal. If you want to turn to the grass-on-top-of-turf example (Ex: Dallas’s AT&T Stadium/Seattle’s CenturyLink Field) to mute me, don’t. Those games were mostly for friendlies, and even then you’d see coaches from Mexico to MLS clubs complaining that it was an unsafe surface too.

Long story short, when the national team is playing in games of importance, there’s really no reason at all that we should ever short change our players with a handicap of a substandard pitch. It’s embarrassing that we should be forced into such a situation just so we can make a few extra bucks.

And let’s just pray nobody gets hurt.

Signed,

D.J. Switzer
Wrong Side of the Pond