Long-Range Goals: The Success Story of Major League Soccer arrived in bookstores the same day the 2010 World Cup kicked off. I’d like to say I planned it that way, but that would be too perfect. Besides, I was going through a conventional publishing house (Potomac Books), and I doubt we could’ve arranged that.
Before the book was published, I spent a decade at USA TODAY, where soccer was my most notable beat as a writer and online editor. For a few years, I wrote an online column called The Netminder, starting first by rounding up information that wasn’t readily available in the early Internet days, shining light on lesser-known competitions such as the U.S. Open Cup while offering analysis on controversial topics.
As the print and online sides converged at USA TODAY in the mid-2000s, I wrote much more for the paper. I caught up with Tim Howard at a crossroads at Manchester United, captured Cuban defector Maykel Galindo’s emotional decision to flee from his hotel, and did definitive stories on U.S. stars such as Brian McBride and Landon Donovan. I covered big games: Donovan silencing critics in 2006, several MLS Cups, and three qualification games for the 2010 World Cup — the quadrennial 2-0 win over Mexico in Columbus, a crucial rally past El Salvador in Utah, and the thrilling finale against Costa Rica.
Since leaving USA TODAY, my focus has shifted to women’s soccer and youth soccer. But you’ll still occasionally see me write about MLS, the U.S. men, or the latest FIFA scandal — see my piece on the U.S. men being far beyond the point of being “fixed” with one simple solution.
- A partial clarification on the U.S. Soccer anthem policy (not bylaw) - “Why didn’t we know about this national anthem bylaw before U.S. Soccer voted to approve it yesterday?” First up: It’s not a bylaw. It’s a policy. One big difference between the two is that bylaws — such as the one approved yesterday setting term limits on the president and vice president — don’t exist until … Continue reading A partial clarification on the U.S. Soccer anthem policy (not bylaw)
- U.S. Soccer approves term limits, elects Val Ackerman - No surprises today in Hawaii — the U.S. Soccer general membership approved term limits for board members, with the president now limited to three four-year terms. Also, they’ve added former WNBA president, former USA Basketball president and current Big East commissioner Val Ackerman to the board as an independent director. That’s a big deal for … Continue reading U.S. Soccer approves term limits, elects Val Ackerman
- MLS 2017 power rankings: Median, mean and ??? - I’ve compiled power rankings / predictions / odds from several sources and presented them below in order of median. I chose to emphasize the median over the mean to diminish the influence of the rogue picker. But you can also see the mean as well as the standard deviation as a measure of how much disagreement … Continue reading MLS 2017 power rankings: Median, mean and ???
- About this story: How this weekend could shape US Soccer’s long-term future - Reminder: I’m off Twitter for a while aside from automated stuff like this. And the next one. And the next one. So if you want to chat with me about this story, why not chat here? And this one has a bit of a back story, anyway. I’ve been working on this for months. One reason … Continue reading About this story: How this weekend could shape US Soccer’s long-term future
- Still no news on that U.S. women’s soccer contract … - Yeah, I should’ve used a NewsRadio clip in this update on the U.S. women’s soccer labor situation, which is in an advanced state of limbo while the women replace their union leadership. Enjoy: The US soccer pay dispute: will a fix be found before the NWSL season begins? – The Guardian
- Division 2 soccer: Just get on with it! - Two months ago, would anyone have bet on the former Carolina Railhawks landing an NWSL team before the men’s team got out of divisional limbo? The news that the Western New York Flash will be moving to the Triangle (reported overnight by FourFourTwo, with follow-ups from local soccer-media veterans in Rochester and the Triangle) has … Continue reading Division 2 soccer: Just get on with it!
- The 2017 pyramid plan (and pro/rel myths) - In many ways, 2016 was the year the promotion/relegation movement grew up. The shifting landscape, with MLS pushing its expansion plans and the lower divisions getting a makeover, could make such a system more feasible. And some rational folks made a serious effort to wrest control of the movement from the conspiracy theorists and random … Continue reading The 2017 pyramid plan (and pro/rel myths)
- Garbage in, garbage out: Soccer analytics and economics - Academia and sports each have a tension between number-crunchers and those who believe the numbers simply can’t capture the real world. We in the media are ill-equipped to cover this dispute. We’re generally not good at math. Twice, I’ve had to explain to a fellow journalist that 1/4=0.25. (“Do you have a quarter in your … Continue reading Garbage in, garbage out: Soccer analytics and economics
- Hey hey, ho ho, U.S. Soccer Bylaw 109(7) has got to go - The U.S. Soccer Federation is many things to many people. And you can’t please all of the people all the time. (Mitch Hedberg: “And last night, all those people were at my show.”) When U.S. men’s coach Jurgen Klinsmann was dismissed last month, The New York Times felt compelled to point out that the man most responsible … Continue reading Hey hey, ho ho, U.S. Soccer Bylaw 109(7) has got to go
- How much would Pelé’s New York Cosmos cost today? - In which I take the 1977 New York Cosmos roster, come up with modern analogues for each player and calculate the transfer fees required to assemble that team today. Bottom line: No one can afford it. Source: Messi, Lahm and … Sidwell? How much would Pelé’s New York Cosmos cost today? | Football | The … Continue reading How much would Pelé’s New York Cosmos cost today?