Podcast: Ep. 6 — The Big Questions with Bobby Warshaw

“If you let your kid play sports, she’ll grow up to be a productive member of society! If you don’t, what’s wrong with you?” That’s the subtext of a lot of sports marketing ads for everything from the NCAA to shoe companies. And we sports journalists buy in whole hog. But wait a minute. Aren’t some of the traits that make someone a good athlete — aggression, attitude, a winner-takes-all mentality — actually bad traits to have in life? Bobby Warshaw played at Stanford and went on to the pros in MLS and Scandinavia. His book, When the Dream Became Reality: The journey of … Continue reading Podcast: Ep. 6 — The Big Questions with Bobby Warshaw

Spirit-Breakers, before the deluge

Concentrating on soccer was rather difficult this afternoon. When we weren’t checking updates on Charlottesville, we were checking the weather. A couple of minutes after the final whistle, the SoccerPlex lightning-detection system kicked into gear, and we all had a wet drive home. But the game deserves some mention, even if it was basically a showdown between two teams battling for eighth place in a 10-team league. It ended 2-2, which won’t propel either team to seventh place, let alone a playoff berth that’s surely unattainable by this point. Even with only one team below them in the standings, I’d … Continue reading Spirit-Breakers, before the deluge

Podcast: Ep 5 — Promotion/relegation with Peter Wilt

For more than a decade, promotion/relegation talk has been the bane of the U.S. soccer community’s existence. It wasn’t going to happen any time soon, and some people reacted to that news by harassing and slandering the people who explained the reasons why. But now? We have a former Chicago Fire president — Peter Wilt, who has plenty of experience in other soccer leagues and U.S. sports endeavors — writing a manifesto on how we can make it happen, and he’s starting a league with the goal of making it happen. In other words, the grownups are talking about it now. Also, I’m doing … Continue reading Podcast: Ep 5 — Promotion/relegation with Peter Wilt

Podcast: Episode 4— Are WoSo players role models? Guest: Jen Cooper

Charles Barkley said he isn’t a role model. Women’s soccer players, though, have typically embraced that role. But does being on a pedestal come with inevitable pitfalls? Jen Cooper, keeper of Keeper Notes and the Mixxed Zone podcast, joins the show to talk about it. We cover (in rough order; see Podbean for the timestamps): four-letter words, arrests, fan worship, Christie Pearce on divorce and therapy, Abby Wambach’s memoir, collective bargaining propaganda, the fawning mainstream media, 99ers heteronormative “girl next door” marketing, soccer moms, and yes, Hope Solo. (And here’s the Barkley ad …) Continue reading Podcast: Episode 4— Are WoSo players role models? Guest: Jen Cooper

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