Single-Digit Soccer: Is softball different?

It’s official — U10 sports are front-page news. Granted, the Vienna Connection isn’t The Washington Post. It’s a weekly community paper. And there they are — the Vienna Stars, national U10 softball champions! They won the Virginia title and moved on to beat teams from Virginia, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Delaware, Pennsylvania and Illinois. The team has two players from Great Falls, one from Lansdowne, one from South Riding, one from Leesburg, one from McLean, one from Warrenton, one from Bristow, and one from across the river in Potomac. Oh yes … and one from Vienna. (For those who don’t know NoVa … Continue reading Single-Digit Soccer: Is softball different?

Do U.S. Soccer’s divisional standards make any sense?

Or, to rephrase, are they necessary? Northern Pitch, an essential soccer blog you should all add to Feedly or Twitter notifications or whatever you use to keep track of things, has a good take on The Broken Logic of USSF’s League Rules. The Northern Pitch folks are in Minnesota with one foot in the NASL and one in MLS, so they have a good perspective on such things. So, of course, I feel compelled to be nit-picky … First, the history. In 2009-2010, the USL–at that time the 2nd division–experienced a schism: owners who wanted to spend more and up the level … Continue reading Do U.S. Soccer’s divisional standards make any sense?

Single-Digit Soccer reference material

Here’s the raw form of all the links in Single Digit Soccer for easy click-through access: FOOTNOTES [1] [2] You’ll see Game On cited a few times in this book. Farrey also is the executive director of the Aspen Institute’s Sports & Society Program, which launched a program called Project Play to address many of the issues of accessibility. [3] That’s the horrifying conclusion to the Game On chapter called “Age 9” [4] Originally published in an ESPN piece I wrote from the convention on Jan. 27, 2011: [5] As cited by John O’Sullivan: [6] [7] … Continue reading Single-Digit Soccer reference material

Ali Krieger and the case of the missing midfielder

Ali Krieger won’t be with the Washington Spirit for the NWSL semifinal at Seattle. Does it matter? Her absence, to attend her father’s wedding, is certainly a surprise. Her father, Ken, is a Virginia Youth Soccer Hall of Famer and the type of person you’d think would cut off his arm to be at an important soccer game. And he’s lucky that the D.C. United Academy team he coaches has the week off. Women’s soccer fans love a good debate. Sometimes. Other times, they’re furious that anyone would even dare to question the noble intent of their favorite players. Or any players. … Continue reading Ali Krieger and the case of the missing midfielder

Yet another promotion/relegation idea you’ll all ignore

Imagine there’s no NASL. Imagine there’s no USL. The brand names and any baggage associated with them are gone. Instead, you have the U.S. Pro League. (OK, I’m not good at coming up with names, but I think it should be something generic, and “the Football League” is taken. Maybe just get the sponsor’s name: “The Bud League” or something like that.) This would be the league that fills the USA’s D2 and D3 designations. And yes, it would have promotion/relegation. With caveats. The MLS reserve teams would stay in D3, which would be largely regional. But the top D3 … Continue reading Yet another promotion/relegation idea you’ll all ignore

Single-Digit Soccer: Requiem for the Ajax academy?

Perhaps this is a leap of logic — a thin correlation between two items that aren’t quite related. Maybe so. But when you look at Dutch soccer today, it’s easy to spot two things that, related or not, have gone wrong. First: The Netherlands national team is an utter mess, now looking less likely to make a Euro field that seems to be welcoming everyone else on the continent. Second: How is the vaunted Ajax academy doing today? On a message board I frequent (for local parents), someone recently dug up a 5-year-old NYT profile of Ajax as a frightening … Continue reading Single-Digit Soccer: Requiem for the Ajax academy?

National Weird Soccer League: The Spirit-Reign regular season finale/Part 1

I would probably pay good money to watch Laura Harvey and Mark Parsons play chess. It’s not just that they are, as their fellow Englishpeople would say, bloody brilliant. It’s the fact that entertaining eccentricities and stunning plays just seem to follow them around. Consider tonight’s game, where the turning point apparently came during the pregame introductions, when the Spirit’s PA announcer gave Hope Solo’s number the wrong number: No. 2 rather than No. 1. A quick correction, drawing a thumbs-up and a smile from Solo, apparently didn’t appease fiery Reign player Jess Fishlock. “I think it got chippy because … Continue reading National Weird Soccer League: The Spirit-Reign regular season finale/Part 1