What happened to the Washington Spirit?

I spent several weeks reporting this piece tracing the club’s trajectory from “30 seconds from the title” to “who’s starting for this club?” and “what happened to the youth clubs?”

I did not pick the word “downfall” in the headline, which immediately made me think of Meme Hitler screaming about the Krieger trade.

Source: So close, and yet so far: the curious downfall of the Washington Spirit | Football | The Guardian

U.S. women’s soccer: Always look on the bright side of life

Sure, they lost 3-0. But they learned a lot, and the crowds keep coming out to see them even when they’re not seeing a bunch of celebrities crushing some hapless, unfunded national team just happy to be staying in a nice hotel.

Go ahead and rip me on Twitter. I won’t be responding. At least until Easter, when all bets are off.

My analysis, quotes and words of comfort from what’s probably my last appearance in the RFK pressbox …

Source: USA women suffer worst defeat in a decade as France win SheBelieves Cup | Football | The Guardian

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 it took so much time is the staggering number of documents I read — financial reports, transcripts from annual general meetings (“Alabama … here … Alaska … here … OK, now the adult associations … Alabama … Alabama … Alaska … here …”) and so on.

Another reason might surprise you: A lot of people weren’t interested in talking. But I didn’t sense that they felt intimidated. They simply didn’t know anything.

I’m grateful that they admitted it. They’re not the Twitter pundits who think they have all the answers on reforming U.S. Soccer but have never even peeked at any of the information the federation puts online. A couple of people had nothing to add to this story but were looking forward to seeing it published.

So there’s a “put up or shut up” element to this story. Sure. If you really want to see some new people in charge, speak up now and over the next four years, because a lot of people may soon be term-limited off the board.

But I also hope it gives people a bit of a peek behind the curtain. Sure, anyone can read the same documents I did and maybe even talk to some of the same people I did, but it takes some time. If you understand U.S. Soccer a little better after reading this, I’ve done my job.

And if you have anything to add now, please do.

It’s an exciting time for soccer. The sport’s profile in this country has completely changed in the past 15 years. So what’s next?

Story: How this weekend could shape US Soccer’s long-term future | Football | The Guardian

It’s 3 a.m. Smile! You’re on camera! Inside The Ultimate Fighter

Fighters get used to the cameras, sort of, but maybe not each other. Several TUF alumni sound off in this excerpt from Beau Dure’s unpublished book about the show.

Source: Inside The Ultimate Fighter: Fishbowl format distorts reality for reality TV – Bloody Elbow

Inside The Ultimate Fighter lives … at Bloody Elbow

I wrote a book about The Ultimate Fighter that never saw the light of day. But Bloody Elbow will publish excerpts for the next 10 weeks. Here’s the story of the book …

Source: Inside The Ultimate Fighter: The best-selling tell-all book that never was – Bloody Elbow