Jill Ellis, the U.S. women and whether a “wrong experiment” exists

Sometime last night, while the U.S. women were losing to Brazil (before the frenetic last 10 minutes yielded an improbable 4–3 win), WoSo Twitter was melting down. And it wasn’t without reason. I found myself recalling that Tom Sermanni lost his job for far less experimentation than Jill Ellis has been doing in 2017. But the consensus is that Sermanni was unjustly fired, isn’t it? Wouldn’t we (mostly) agree that it’s a good thing that no block of veteran players is going to grumble every time the lineup changes and force U.S. Soccer to start from scratch? Some of the … Continue reading Jill Ellis, the U.S. women and whether a “wrong experiment” exists

Can you have American football without the USA?

In May, the international governing body of football kicked out the United States’ federation. No, we’re not talking about FIFA and U.S. Soccer. That’s right — USA Football was kicked out of the American football federation. Well, one of them. The international federation of American football is called IFAF (International Federation of American Football). But we now have two of them. Here’s how it breaks down: IFAF.org (The news site American Football International calls it “IFAF New York,” though it stills claims to be headquartered in France): Insists USA Football is still recognized. Claims recognition by the USOC (U.S. Olympic Committee). Has … Continue reading Can you have American football without the USA?

The Big Promotion/Relegation Survey, 2017 edition

It’s easy to debate promotion and relegation when you have no money or livelihood at stake. What about those who run or coach teams up and down this weirdly constructed pyramid of U.S. leagues? I’ve sent out a survey to the following: All NASL teams All independent USL teams (not MLS reserve teams) NPSL: The easiest email addresses to find (about 10), then whichever teams I could find among those in the round of 16 of this year’s playoffs or in last place in their respective divisions. (Figured I’d try to get some of the top teams and some of … Continue reading The Big Promotion/Relegation Survey, 2017 edition

How the USA can do promotion and relegation better than England

BEAU: Riccardo Silva offered MLS $4 billion for media rights if it would institute promotion/relegation? And people like Jeff Carlisle have already done the heavy lifting in reporting what did and didn’t happen? Great! Time to do a quick opinion piece. BEAU’S CONSCIENCE: What are we, all clickbait now? You know that offer was just a PR stunt. MLS can’t negotiate its media rights for several years, by which both Silva’s team and David Beckham’s proposed team may literally be underwater thanks to climate change and everyone may be watching sports on AmazonTube.  BEAU: Well aren’t WE Debbie Downer this … Continue reading How the USA can do promotion and relegation better than England

Podcast: Episode 3 with Gwendolyn Oxenham and extraordinary women’s soccer stories

Gwendolyn Oxenham and I both went to Duke, but she’s a more typical Dukie overachiever — soccer player, filmmaker, author, etc. Her new book, Under the Lights and In the Dark: Untold Stories of Women’s Soccer, collects interesting stories from all over, showing us what women’s soccer players do to compete and get better in a sport that is providing more opportunities than in the past but not quite as much as we’d all like. She also chats here about her youth soccer experience (a devoted coach!) and what she’d like to see for her kids. Continue reading Podcast: Episode 3 with Gwendolyn Oxenham and extraordinary women’s soccer stories

More apps (and more women) in the crowded soccer-skills marketplace

From the mailbox today: English Premier League soccer team Manchester City has launched SkillCity, presented by Nexen, a new interactive app that will help develop the talents of young soccer players across the US. The City squad is currently in the United States for its pre-season tour, visiting Houston, Los Angeles and Nashville. SkillCity will see young players compete across a series of challenges that have been exclusively developed by the Club’s City Football Schools coaches. The four challenges will allow boys and girls aged 5–14 years old to test their speed of movement, ball mastery, finishing and passing — ranking themselves … Continue reading More apps (and more women) in the crowded soccer-skills marketplace

Maybe coaches DON’T need a new practice plan for every practice

I’ve got a healthy skepticism of coaches who imply they’d be able to develop the next Messi while few other coaches could handle it. This quote puts it best: But there’s no doubt Brian Kleiban, the subject of RSD podcast guest Mike Woitalla’s latest Q-and-A, has a lot of good things to say about coaching. And here’s one: In my opinion, less is more. Figure out your core exercises to teach the basic fundamentals and team style of play. Work them over and over and over again. Demand perfection and execution in training. Once it becomes clear on consistent basis … Continue reading Maybe coaches DON’T need a new practice plan for every practice