Work portfolio

If you’re looking for HIGHLIGHTS of my work, maybe 30-40 stories from all my different subject areas, check Muckrack.

An ARCHIVE of my work, dating back to my college paper, is available at Diigo, where everything is carefully tagged for easy searches (see below).

And if you’d like to see a traditional RESUME, feel free. For something less traditional, read “How I got here.”

First up, five BOOKS:

I’ve also launched a podcast (with accompanying blog) called Ranting Soccer Dad.

On this site, I’ve broken down my work into six broad categories.

CULTURE is basically a catch-all for anything that isn’t sports: news, opinion, television, and a whole lot of music.

OLYMPICS AND OTHER SPORTS focuses on my work covering Olympics (four in person, a few more from the USA TODAY office or my basement) and includes the odd piece on basketball or football. I’ve also had a particular interest in women’s sports and, oddly enough for someone born and raised in the state of Georgia, winter sports.

MMA is another topic that would’ve seemed odd to people who knew growing up. But I was USA TODAY’s first dedicated MMA beat writer, and I’ve gone on to write for The Guardian and Bloody Elbow.

GENERAL SOCCER is the catch-all for men’s soccer and broad topics affecting U.S. and global soccer as a whole.

WOMEN’S SOCCER is a topic I covered on occasion in college, where I saw Mia Hamm and North Carolina tear apart my schoolmates. As the sport has grown, faded and rebounded, I’ve found no shortage of interesting stories.

YOUTH SOCCER is a topic I started covering even before I had kids playing. Now I see it both from the perspective of national reformists and sideline parents.

  • The Guardian: The erudite British publication has published my work on women’s soccer, MMA, Olympic sports and the Flat Earth movement.
  • FourFourTwo: The soccer site is a terrific outlet for my youth soccer pieces and occasional some thoughts on women’s soccer.
  • Bloody Elbow: The surprisingly intellectual MMA site with the violent name has published a lot of my work on The Ultimate Fighter and other MMA topics.
  • SoccerWire: The regional youth soccer site published many of my youth soccer diatribes in 2015 and 2016.
  • The Huffington Post: I’ve occasionally contributed pieces here as a means of promoting my work. (You may have heard they don’t pay contributors.)
  • OZY: I was one of this startup’s early contributors, writing a bit about the Olympics and chess but also a couple of pieces on Millennials and small towns.
  • Bleacher Report: I’ve contributed to Olympic coverage.
  • Popdose: A bunch of talented writers joined forces for this pop-culture site, for which I write a lot of music pieces and occasionally something on sports or other entertainment.
  • Fox Soccer: Several staffing changes and redesigns ago, I wrote a few women’s soccer pieces. I also had a Women’s World Cup piece at Fox News Latino.
  • ESPN: The Worldwide Leader brought me aboard as a freelancer for the 2011 Women’s World Cup, and I wrote more women’s soccer and MMA pieces for them — a little more than 70 total pieces in exactly one year.
  • USA TODAY: My longest stint with one employer was a little over a decade from 1999 to 2010. My work duties ranged from technical stuff on the site to being cageside at MMA events. It’s complicated. Even after I left, I continued to do freelance work for the paper, the site and its affiliated magazines.
  • Knight Ridder Tribune (Washington, DC): My first job in the capital region was at a wire service, now called McClatchy Tribune, where I dabbled in soccer columns, most notably after the Women’s World Cup final in 1999.
  • News & Record (Greensboro, NC): My home from 1994 to 1998, again on the copy desk and in online production, but I did a bit of writing on sports, technology, books and fajitas.
  • Star-News (Wilmington, NC): My newspaper from 1991 to 1994, though I spent much of that time on the copy desk. I made a triumphant return with a guest column in 2016.
  • The Chronicle (Duke University): My beloved college newspaper, for which I wrote about everything from basketball to why we should get rid of letter grades. I’ve also been published in Duke’s alumni magazine.

I’m also a frequent podcast and radio guest on shows such as The Mixxed Zone (women’s soccer), The United States of Soccer (SiriusXM, formerly Soccer Morning), KNPR (Las Vegas, MMA segment) and elsewhere.

Finally, no list of my work is complete without my Master of Arts thesis on The Changing Face of News in the Information Age.


I started in online journalism in 1995 and made it my full-time job in 1996. Yes, back in the Notepad-and-FTP days.

Selected work

Katie Uhlaender wants to finish her skeleton career her way – NBC Sports

NBC Sports — In 2018, Katie Uhlaender stood where she has so many times – at the start of an Olympic skeleton competition. But this time, the former world champion and World Cup champion felt dragged down by so many traumas and emotional moments. The surgeries. The debts. The loss of an Olympic medal she held only briefly.

US Soccer has $162m in the bank. So where does all the money go?

The Guardian — In 2000, the US Soccer Federation was on shaky financial ground. A couple of business plans list ambitious ideas to build the sport in America while reining in expenses to balance against projected revenues around of $30m. The effort worked, and the sport’s American overseers doubled their assets to $14m.

15 months on from Larry Nassar, USA Gymnastics struggles to find its way

The Guardian — The disgraced doctor is behind bars after abusing dozens of youth athletes. But the effects of the scandal are still being felt across the sport.

The US women’s soccer pay dispute: a tangled web with no easy answers

The Guardian — To get “equal pay”, would the US women’s soccer team give up its salaries? It’s a strange question, but it illustrates the complexity of comparing deals that were negotiated at different times with different goals. The US women’s soccer team, for better or for worse, consists mostly of salaried employees.

Flat-Earthers are back: ‘It’s almost like the beginning of a new religion’

The Guardian — YouTube user TigerDan925 shocked his 26,000 followers recently by conceding a shocking point: Antarctica is a continent. It’s not, as he previously thought, an ice wall that encircles the flat disc of land and water we call earth. For most of us, that’s not news.

Millennials Continue Urbanization Of America, Leaving Small Towns

NPR — “Most of the young people that go to college go away, and then they don’t come back,” says Lee Bianchi, a retired engineer who lived in Clinton, Iowa (pop. 26,647), from 1961 to 2008. That’s long been the storyline in small-town America, which for decades has bled citizens – especially young ones – to the glamorous big cities. One might have thought technology would stanch the flow, at least among millennials: With Wi-Fi and telecommuting, young people theoretically could dodge overpriced real estate and ugly commutes and opt instead for a spacious house with a big yard and a broadband connection. But it turns out the millennial generation is only accelerating the demographic shift. Originally published at OZY.

Carli Lloyd at the death: Ten years on from the USWNT’s most improbable win

The Guardian — The 21st of August, 2008. For perhaps the first time in their history, the US women’s soccer team lines up for a game they are expected to lose. It’s the Olympic final in Beijing, and the USA face Brazil, who thrashed the Americans 4-0 in the World Cup semi-finals 11 months earlier.

‘It doesn’t seem fair to me’: Ultimate players strike for gender equality

The Guardian — Imagine if Alex Ovechkin and three of his teammates told the Washington Capitals they weren’t returning next year – unless the NHL put in a rule that three of the six players on the ice must identify as female. Perhaps Markham Shofner, Alan Kolick, Joe Freund and Tyler Monroe aren’t quite as high-profile as the Capitals’ star attackers.

Winter Olympics men’s figure skating: Chen hits back as Hanyu wins gold – as it happened

The Guardian — Live coverage of the 2018 men’s figure skating event with The Guardian’s trademark mix of information and wit.

Why underserved communities are the key to U.S. Soccer’s turnaround

FourFourTwo — We’ve heard it over and over since the U.S. men failed to qualify for the World Cup. “We have 325 million people in this country! How can we not reach a World Cup?” Granted, none of the top five nations by population made the men’s World Cup (as long as you accept figures showing Pakistan passing Brazil for fifth).

Inside TUF: The best-selling tell-all book that never was

Bloody Elbow — I am the author of a book called Inside The Ultimate Fighter. Don’t look for it at Amazon. You won’t find it. The publishing industry works that way sometimes, particularly when it comes to dealing with the volatile world of MMA. Or, as Paul Shaffer lamented in This Is Spinal Tap, I got no timing.

The First Time America Tried to Sell Football to Futbol Fans

OZY — The Waldstadion in Frankfurt, Germany, has a vivid history as the home of Eintracht Frankfurt’s soccer club since 1925. Now known as the Commerzbank-Arena, it has hosted a Day of Unity after World War II, three World Cups, including the 2011 women’s final, and superstars like Muhammad Ali and Prince on its stage. And in 1997, few on hand would forget having seen American football player turned executive Oliver Luck fall out of a helicopter.

How Kimbo Slice and MMA challenge our notions of celebrity and humanity

The Guardian — Summer 2009: A small group of reporters ascended a hidden flight of stairs in the Mandalay Bay Convention Center. While thousands of people milled around the UFC’s first Fan Expo, we were going up to a small room for a private audience with one of the most unlikely celebrities of our time. Kimbo Slice died on Monday, the tragic coda to a 72-hour span that showed MMA at its best and worst. This is a sport that has, in a perfect storm of new media and fickle public tastes, challenged our concepts of celebrity and humanity.

What’s THAT Supposed to Mean?: Tori Amos, “Caught a Lite Sneeze” — Boys on the left, boys on the right, Sister Ernestine, just bring your son? What’s THAT supposed to mean? Tori Amos wasn’t always so difficult to understand. Her solo debut, Little Earthquakes, was brilliant throughout – equal parts brooding ( Crucify), accusatory ( Precious Things), wistful ( Winter and Mother) and giddy ( Happy Phantom).

The USWNT is a soccer team, not a traveling circus. It’s time for a fix

The Guardian — Somewhere along the path to Hawaii, the US women’s soccer team’s victory tour veered into Spinal Tap territory. The team canceled a game in Honolulu, then returned to the mainland for a grim contest against a woefully underfunded and outclassed Trinidad & Tobago team in San Antonio.

Is the UFC turning into Rollerball?

The Guardian — “No player is greater than the game itself.” So says Bartholomew, the politically powerful executive played with patrician gravity by the great John Houseman in the 1975 film Rollerball. Bartholomew’s company is one of several that have conspired to provide sanitized comfort for the masses, with the deadly sport of Rollerball providing an outlet for pent-up bloodlust and a valuable lesson against individuality. The UFC has not yet fulfilled the prophecy of that dystopian film. But in making a deal with Reebok that strips the sport of individuality, the UFC has set forth a clear pecking order: corporations and the sport itself tied for first, athletes third.

Remembering Dan Borislow — Dan Borislow’s larger-than-life reputation was so great that, upon hearing of his death this morning, I immediately thought I needed to get his side of the story. I was sorely tempted to text him, thinking I might get an entertaining response about a bunch of idiots declaring him dead when he had every right to be alive.

Women’s World Cup — New Zealand pulls out dramatic draw

ESPN — SINSHEIM, Germany — The chances of either team advancing in the Women’s World Cup were gone. New Zealand had no chance before Tuesday’s game. Mexico’s chance disappeared when England scored twice against Japan. And yet the final few minutes here were the most dramatic so far at this year’s World Cup.

Dure: For U.S. Soccer, it’s a matter of style

ESPN — Claudio Reyna, Youth Technical Director for U.S. Soccer, guided a packed room of soccer coaches through a new U.S. Soccer curriculum geared toward a specific style of fluid, fast play. Reyna’s challenge: Can he and the federation get the chaotic, culturally diverse American soccer community to agree on at least a few basic principles of developing soccer players? Should they even try to get all American players, regardless of background, to play like Barcelona? Among the skeptics in the ballroom was Bruce Arena, who coached Reyna at Virginia before coach and player went on to successful careers on the pro and international stages. “A curriculum’s not going to make us any better,” Arena said. “If that was the case, we’d all publish curriculums. This country, I’ve always said, is too large, too different to have one style of play. If he [Reyna] can get that accomplished, more credit to him.”

At Whistler, there’s just no party like a biathlon party

USA TODAY — Whistler Village’s outdoor nightlife has been lively during the Games. For a daytime party, Whistler Olympic Park’s biathlon venue is the place to be. The stands are entertaining, with flags from multiple nations waving. But it’s the hillside next to the stadium that offers a comparable view with revved-up fans.

Mixed martial arts fighters often play a weighing game

USA TODAY — Cutting down to the weight limit for an MMA fight isn’t an exact science. Gina Carano, who has often missed weight and forfeited part of her purse as a result, once stripped naked behind a shield of towels to shed the extra few ounces of her clothing. Little wonder Tom Lawlor’s followers on Twitter believed him when he decided to exaggerate the grueling process of making weight the day before a fight.

Women’s jumpers still hoping for flight in 2010 Games

USA TODAY — U.S. women’s ski jumpers are training in Park City, Utah, while pursuing a court case to make it to Whistler, British Columbia, for the 2010 Olympics. They might only make it as far as the nearby Sundance Film Festival. Documentary maker Cara Perlman is shopping a film about the team to Sundance and other festivals.

Fighters’ entrance music gets brawlers in the mood

USA TODAY — The house lights darken. The crowd roars in anticipation of the main event. A spotlight picks out a fighter stepping toward the cage. The music starts … “Do you really want to huurrrt me?” sings Boy George as the ska-pop beat of Culture Club fills the arena. UFC fighter Rich Franklin says he’s crazy enough to be the fighter in that scene.

Iceland eyes gold medal in handball

USA TODAY — BEIJING – The president of Iceland doesn’t mind if everyone in his country rearranges his or her work schedule around the nation’s handball team. He’s planning the same thing. Had Iceland played in the bronze medal game, President Olafur Grimsson would have left a luncheon with Chinese President Hu Jintao to attend. “I said (to Hu), I hope you realize that if Iceland loses tonight, I will not be able to stay for your luncheon,” Grimsson said. “But if we win tonight (putting the team in the gold medal game, which is later), both my wife and I will be happy to stay for the entire lunch.”

Last shot sinks American again

USA TODAY — BEIJING – Four years after firing at the wrong target on the last shot cost Matt Emmons a second gold medal in Athens, the American shooter was lined up to win the same event Sunday. He went through the routine that carried him through a magnificent final, starting at the top of the target, bringing the gun down, readying his trigger finger … And the rifle went off.

In year 1, Beckham on target for MLS

USA TODAY — Oscar Wilde said the only thing worse than being talked about is not being talked about. By that measure, David Beckham’s first year in Major League Soccer has helped the league. In an exclusive interview with USA TODAY, he says he’s here for the long haul, hoping to leave a lasting impact on MLS and in U.S. soccer. The 33-year-old was relaxed at a midtown New York City hotel Friday, leaning forward in his chair in short sleeves that showed his extensive tattoos. He says he’s pleased and never asked for any sort of option in the five-year deal that pays him $6.5 million this year.

Cuba’s Maykel Galindo finds USA, MLS to his liking

USA TODAY — As Maykel Galindo went to the hospital last year, his face a bloody mess that would require reconstructive surgery, he thought his soccer career might be over. The last thing he was going to do was tell that to his grandmother back home in Cuba. He didn’t tell her about the first time he thought his career was over, either, when he defected from the Cuban national team at the 2005 Gold Cup in Seattle.

Donovan out of this world in Galaxy’s 5-2 win over D. C. United

USA TODAY — Go ahead, says Landon Donovan. Heckle me. Get on my case about the World Cup. Post the Landon in Germany: Worthless banner. I’ll just play better. That’s the message Donovan and the Los Angeles Galaxy sent Saturday in Washington.

Man U’s Howard expects much of himself

USA TODAY — Tim Howard will compete for playing time with Manchester United. His team will compete for the honors that have eluded it for the last two seasons in England’s Premier League and Europe’s Champions League. And he’ll compete for a spot on the U.S.

Clausen walking tall to third Olympics

USA TODAY — They say no one walks anywhere in this car-obsessed country. Try telling that to Curt Clausen, one of the fastest walkers in the world. He won the bronze medal in the 1999 world championships, moving up from fourth after the winner failed a doping test. He was also the technical advisor to Bryan Cranston on Malcolm in the Middle.

Manchester United ducks the real competition

USA TODAY — Manchester United. World’s biggest soccer club. Home of David Beckham, whose worldwide cult of personality makes Michael Jordan and Barry Bonds look insignificant by comparison. Cowards.

Arenas seek just the right music for the masses

Star-News, Wilmington, N.C. — A bit of reporting finds NBA teams struggling to come up with a player introduction to rival the Jordan-era Bulls taking the court to the Alan Parsons Project instrumental “Sirius.” View PDF

Letter grading gets an F

U / Duke Chronicle — U, the national college newspaper, ran an abridged version of a column I wrote about the evils of letter grades. View PDF