Single-Digit Soccer: The elite-industrial complex crushes all

Why do we play youth sports? We’re here because you’re looking for┬áthe BEST of the BEST of the BEST, SIR! “Your boy Captain America here … to find the BEST of the BEST of the BEST, SIR! … with honors.” But a funny thing is happening with the race to the top. A lot of people are dropping out. ESPN’s Tim Keown has a good spleen-venting piece about this phenomenon: This is the age of the youth-sports industrial complex, where men make a living putting on tournaments for 7-year-olds, and parents subject their children to tryouts and pay good money … Continue reading Single-Digit Soccer: The elite-industrial complex crushes all

A quick word on pro/rel

Yes, I know. We should be done with this topic for another few years at least. But every once in a while, I come across some sincere conversation about this, picked out from the ritual abuse and accusations that I’m part of the Cabal from The Blacklist, and The Director and I are censoring message boards and making people disappear so we’ll never have promotion and relegation in our lifetime. And a quick post will be better than 100 tweets that send my unfollower count soaring. So here goes … @duresport @tomand0012 @OpenCupFan @THEChrisKessell We spent our own money and … Continue reading A quick word on pro/rel

Making the Club World Cup interesting

You’re not watching the Club World Cup? You’re not engrossed in every game? No one is. And that’s a pity, because it’s a grand idea poorly executed. Want to make it more interesting? Spread it out like the Davis Cup. Make each game an interesting event. Africa vs. Asia. Oceania vs. North America. Have continents alternate as hosts for the early rounds. And so on until you have at least a few weeks to hype the neutral-site final. (Which will probably be South America vs. Europe. Or a really interesting underdog story.) This year’s tournament could’ve been: September TP Mazembe … Continue reading Making the Club World Cup interesting

The tough turf questions to ask after the WNT cancellation

The U.S. women’s national team will not play Trinidad & Tobago today. The cancellation is the stunning but fair conclusion to yesterday’s news that Megan Rapinoe tore her ACL in training and the team was less than pleased with the conditions of Aloha Stadium’s artificial turf. The first question: How could this happen? Easy answer: U.S. Soccer dropped the ball and failed to check out the field. But it’s a little more complex than that. This field hasn’t been sitting idle for months. Hawaii’s football team just finished a full season on it. The NFL’s Pro Bowl will be played … Continue reading The tough turf questions to ask after the WNT cancellation

The ideal MLS playoff format, 2015 edition

“Get rid of the away-goal tiebreaker!” “Have a minigame after the second game!” “I miss shootouts!” Yes, it’s that time of year. Even the commissioner, Don Garber, has fretted about the away-goal tiebreaker. So, once again, I’m going to say MLS should use a modified Page playoff system. But I’ll tweak it this year, going up to 10 teams. In each conference: Play-in round #5 at #4 Quarterfinals 4-5 winner at #3 #2 at #1 Semifinal 3-4-5 winner at 1-2 loser Final Semifinal winner at 1-2 winner Yes, the 1-2 quarterfinal loser gets another chance. That’s a perk of finishing … Continue reading The ideal MLS playoff format, 2015 edition