twoyellows:

You have to read this from bottom to top to get the gist of my mini-meltdown about the inequities of how players come to teams in MLS, but it’s safe to say that it’s rare when I get bent out of shape enough for this many tweets on one subject.
[link] - reason for the tweets.

As a Portland Timbers fan when Portland had the allocation order top slot over Seattle yet Dempsey went to Seattle because of some weird kink in allocation of USMNT members, allow me to agree with Jack whole-heartedly here.
If you’re going to have bizarre allocation in player movement as a measure of attempted parity, make the rules transparent and enforce them or don’t bother.
After doing that, only then can front offices be held to account for not procuring players. Because right now, an MLS front office can pretty much coast in byzantine rules and the lack of relegation. (Yes, I understand an MLS franchise is not a license to print money, but the growth has given teams more leeway by all appearances unless you are Chivas USA.) 
It will be real instructive to see what kind of favored status the league could bestow on whatever the next incarnation of Chivas USA is — because if the league manages to keep the franchise in the L.A. area and we see another big-name Euro player head there via some convoluted, opaque manner, the jig is well and truly up.
twoyellows:

You have to read this from bottom to top to get the gist of my mini-meltdown about the inequities of how players come to teams in MLS, but it’s safe to say that it’s rare when I get bent out of shape enough for this many tweets on one subject.
[link] - reason for the tweets.

As a Portland Timbers fan when Portland had the allocation order top slot over Seattle yet Dempsey went to Seattle because of some weird kink in allocation of USMNT members, allow me to agree with Jack whole-heartedly here.
If you’re going to have bizarre allocation in player movement as a measure of attempted parity, make the rules transparent and enforce them or don’t bother.
After doing that, only then can front offices be held to account for not procuring players. Because right now, an MLS front office can pretty much coast in byzantine rules and the lack of relegation. (Yes, I understand an MLS franchise is not a license to print money, but the growth has given teams more leeway by all appearances unless you are Chivas USA.) 
It will be real instructive to see what kind of favored status the league could bestow on whatever the next incarnation of Chivas USA is — because if the league manages to keep the franchise in the L.A. area and we see another big-name Euro player head there via some convoluted, opaque manner, the jig is well and truly up.

twoyellows:

You have to read this from bottom to top to get the gist of my mini-meltdown about the inequities of how players come to teams in MLS, but it’s safe to say that it’s rare when I get bent out of shape enough for this many tweets on one subject.

[link] - reason for the tweets.

As a Portland Timbers fan when Portland had the allocation order top slot over Seattle yet Dempsey went to Seattle because of some weird kink in allocation of USMNT members, allow me to agree with Jack whole-heartedly here.

If you’re going to have bizarre allocation in player movement as a measure of attempted parity, make the rules transparent and enforce them or don’t bother.

After doing that, only then can front offices be held to account for not procuring players. Because right now, an MLS front office can pretty much coast in byzantine rules and the lack of relegation. (Yes, I understand an MLS franchise is not a license to print money, but the growth has given teams more leeway by all appearances unless you are Chivas USA.) 

It will be real instructive to see what kind of favored status the league could bestow on whatever the next incarnation of Chivas USA is — because if the league manages to keep the franchise in the L.A. area and we see another big-name Euro player head there via some convoluted, opaque manner, the jig is well and truly up.

American exceptionalism falls flat when it walks onto a soccer pitch.

In a nice feature piece in the New York Times on United States men’s national team coach and technical director Jurgen Klinsmann, there is this bit from Bruce Arena, who occupies a dual role as former USMNT coach and Klinsmann foil for a journalist looking for “balance” in a piece on the current holder of the seat:

Bruce Arena, who coaches the Los Angeles Galaxy, told me recently that instead of trying to get American soccer to mimic European culture, U.S. Soccer officials should simply look inward. Italy’s team is coached by an Italian and has a core of players who play in Italy, Arena pointed out. Spain has a Spanish coach and players primarily based in Spain. Germany is led by a German coach and mostly features players on German teams.

“I believe an American should be coaching the national team,” says Arena, who led the national team for eight years. “I think the majority of the national team should come out of Major League Soccer. The people that run our governing body think we need to copy what everyone else does, when in reality, our solutions will ultimately come from our culture.

“Come on,” he says. “We can’t copy what Brazil does or Germany does or England does. When we get it right, it’s going to be because the solutions are right here. We have the best sports facilities in the world. Why can’t we trust in that?”

Arena is probably uniquely qualified to have this view, as the squad he led to a surprise finish in the quarters in 2002 was probably validation. (The squad he had that flamed out in the group stages four years later, well…) But when we talk about solutions for the American development (or lack of it) in soccer, we need to talk about what the countries who do what Arena says — draw from their own leagues a majority of the time, hire coaches solely from the country’s ranks — because Arena is making an apples-to-apples comparison. 

(One can argue it’s in his interest to agitate for a uniquely American solution — Arena’s career path from collegiate coach to US youth team coach to MLS coach to USMNT HC and back to MLS is a testament to and shining example of what the problem is, which I’m about to get into.)

Part of the excitement among the fan base for Jurgen Klinsmann’s arrival at the U.S. Soccer Federation was based on this trenchant analysis after Bob Bradley’s US team lost to Ghana in the Round of 16 in 2010, where he basically said we’re doing it wrong: soccer being a middle-class sport, dominated at youth levels by traveling teams and college teams, set us back before we could even get going.

(Relying on collegiate athletics to refine the pros of the future is a problem for all manner of American professional leagues, save baseball and hockey [the latter obviously being Canadian]. Soccer merely puts it in starker relief.)

It is absurdity on its face to accept Arena’s comparison, because the way the American youth pipeline for soccer works puts it far behind countries like Spain, Germany, Italy, Mexico, Argentina & Brazil where professional teams develop players at the youngest ages. Rising stars in world football are talked about making breakthroughs at the ages of 19, 20, 21. At that point, most American players are getting out of college and entering MLS. There are certainly exceptions (Donovan, Altidore, Michael Bradley)  American soccer players reach their potential much later and have less time to exploit it to the fullest. It is no coincidence that the most lasting contribution of the USA to world soccer is its goalkeepers — they generally reach their primes later and can keep going well into their late thirties at high levels.

Facilities and sport science only get you so far before you have to look at the pyramid and how you instruct the next generation to play. That wall was dinged by Arena’s 2006 team. Bob Bradley’s 2010 team managed to avoid it in South Africa for a time because of Donovan’s excellence against Algeria and the flub heard around the world by England’s Rob Green. But Bradley Sr.’s 2011 Gold Cup squad hit that wall head-on against Mexico, where the physical conditioning of the US team reached its limit against Mexico’s more talented and tactically aware team in the final. I still have difficulty believing that game was only a 4-2 defeat. It felt worse than that, and it’s probably why Sunil Gulati fired Bradley Sr. afterward. 

(This conditioning over technique is coming home to roost with the women’s team, too, as the rest of the world caught up with the women bolstered by Title IX into soccer and who won two World Cups on those advantages.)

This is why Jurgen Klinsmann has a contract until 2018 (noting that all contracts aren’t always worth the paper they are printed on), because while American soccer is on the rise as a domestic sport, it is broken as far as competing internationally goes. It will remain so until the USSF gets its shit together. That means MLS teams need to develop their own players before the NCAA gets to them and the instruction at those academies needs to be the best it can offer. 

Otherwise, we will be recruiting dual-nationals until the end of time because they are the only ones receiving serious instruction at the time one needs it to be remotely world class in the sport, relying on them and the next Landon Donovan or Clint Dempsey to pull us out of trouble instead of creating a pool deep enough where we don’t have to rely on one or two stars.

There is no way forward until the USSF upends the entire structure — and it’s in part why I’m not terribly concerned about how far the 2014 edition of the USMNT goes this year in Brazil. We still have a lot of catching up to do. Drawing on our unique culture means stagnation.

theworldsgame:

Zlatan Ibrahimovic scores his FOURTH goal of the day against England. From an overhead bicycle kick. From 30 yards away.

Good Lord, that’s just so fantastic it’s almost a shame it was scored in a friendly.

Honest logos for the Patriots, Cowboys, Giants, and rest of the NFL - Grantland
The Broncos’ “Pray For His Neck” seems rather accurate.
Jerry Jones probably wipes with $20 bills, so of course he has his own personal glasses-cleaner.
(via mocksession)

Jerry Jones probably wipes with $20 bills, so of course he has his own personal glasses-cleaner.

(via mocksession)

the new, really depressing reality of being a Liverpool F.C. fan.

It’s setting in after realizing the owners’ refusal to go any higher than £4 million for Clint Dempsey resulted in him going to Spurs for £6 million.

We’re broke, and we’re not good at being broke. We have to learn how to operate on a much lower budget. (Apologies for the dumb trope of referring to one’s rooting interest as “we,” but I find it more effective as a writing tool in this case.)

We’re paying for the British Player Tax Dalglish and Comolli happily spent when buying up Carroll, Henderson, Adam, and Downing. Jose Enrique and Luis Suarez have arguably been worth what was paid for them. LFC are banking that it might bring £18 mil or so from Carroll if he eventually wants to stay in East London and the Hammers stay up, but that’s still a loss. Adam was sold at a two mil loss to Stoke and I’m still surprised he was wanted. Henderson and Downing have no value after being acquired for completely stupid transfer fees.

Aside from the occasional buying of a player like Fabio Borini or Joe Allen, LFC are now going to have to lean on the academy — we’ll learn what the kids are made of, which is good — and figure out how to add good players on the cheap. It’s godsmacking how well David Moyes does in the market despite Everton’s well-documented financial trouble, and it’s clear LFC will have to imitate its closest rival in this way.


@SoccerByIves: Andres Iniesta wins UEFA player of the season. Cristiano Ronaldo is Not impressed. pic.twitter.com/3ybj1Ee5

Ronaldo has that face on almost all the time. McKayla Maroney probably owes him royalties.
Post from @SoccerByIves on Twitter (via Scope)

@SoccerByIves: Andres Iniesta wins UEFA player of the season. Cristiano Ronaldo is Not impressed. pic.twitter.com/3ybj1Ee5

Ronaldo has that face on almost all the time. McKayla Maroney probably owes him royalties.

Post from @SoccerByIves on Twitter (via Scope)

My favorite Bear story was I sitting in his office one day in Tuscaloosa, and he said, ‘You see that helmet over there? That’s Lee Roy Jordan’s helmet. He was the greatest hitter I ever had. You look at that helmet real close, you’ll see the color of every team we played on there.’

There was a little orange for Tennessee, a little maroon for Mississippi State.

I said, ‘Who’s your artist, Bear? I know you all polish the helmets after every game. C’mon.’

He said, ‘Goddamn sportswriters. It works on recruits.’”

Sportswriter and author Dan Jenkins on Alabama’s legendary coach Paul “Bear” Bryant, via EDSBS.

Liverpool transfer news: Daniel Sturridge of Chelsea is a target and Charlie Adam and Stewart Downing could be sold to raise funds - Mirror Online
Several reasons why the Mirror is throwing shit to the wall and seeing if it sticks:
Romelu Lukaku is on loan at West Brom. Sturridge is one of two recognized strikers in the squad, the other being Fernando Torres. Ask a Chelsea fan if s/he wants Torres to be the only forward on the roster with the transfer deadline this week.
If Brendan Rodgers thinks he’ll get 15 million pounds from the sales of Charlie Adam and Stewart Downing combined, he’s crazy.
Given some of Sturridge’s brain locks last season (Chelsea fans I follow on Twitter would get livid with his ball-hogging), I doubt he’d play well with Luis Suarez. 
Clint Dempsey would probably be a better fit with this LFC team in a starting XI.
Even if Sturridge was sold and Chelsea money-whipped Hulk or Edinson Cavani in, they’d need another striker.
This is so not happening.

Liverpool transfer news: Daniel Sturridge of Chelsea is a target and Charlie Adam and Stewart Downing could be sold to raise funds - Mirror Online

Several reasons why the Mirror is throwing shit to the wall and seeing if it sticks:

  • Romelu Lukaku is on loan at West Brom. Sturridge is one of two recognized strikers in the squad, the other being Fernando Torres. Ask a Chelsea fan if s/he wants Torres to be the only forward on the roster with the transfer deadline this week.
  • If Brendan Rodgers thinks he’ll get 15 million pounds from the sales of Charlie Adam and Stewart Downing combined, he’s crazy.
  • Given some of Sturridge’s brain locks last season (Chelsea fans I follow on Twitter would get livid with his ball-hogging), I doubt he’d play well with Luis Suarez. 
  • Clint Dempsey would probably be a better fit with this LFC team in a starting XI.
  • Even if Sturridge was sold and Chelsea money-whipped Hulk or Edinson Cavani in, they’d need another striker.

This is so not happening.

Fearless Raheem Sterling shows Liverpool the face of their future | Richard Williams | Football | The Guardian
Joe Allen, Seb Coates, Luis Suarez, and Fabio Borini were big bright spots for the Reds today, but Raheem Sterling is the dude every Liverpool fan wants to see. He merited a starting spot after his work against Hearts in the Europa League on Thursday and already looks a brighter, smarter option on the left than Stewart Downing has in over a year.
Thanks to bubbaprog, we have proof DEUCE is a fan of WWE. I mean, that’s a People’s Eyebrow that would bring a tear to the Rock’s eye, jabronis.
(via Oh yes. RT @edsbs Clint Dempsey’s bitchpleaseface right now: STRONG.)

tovaritching:

thethirdshift:

Liverpool want to talk to Brendan Rodgers about manager’s job | Football | The Guardian

That’s all well and good but after Swansea signed Gylfi Sigurdsson to a full deal, I’m not sure why Rodgers would want to leave. Essentially he has full control of the players and the team and just nailed one of this best players — if not the best — from last season down.

Let me say that I would be very, very surprised if Brendan Rodgers leaves South Wales for Merseyside. FSG should have interviewed Andre Villas-Boas as well, but it will probably be Roberto Martinez, which I would be more than fine with.

Too true.

Gylfi has admitted he only initially came here on loan because of Brendan. He won’t sign if Brendan’s leaving because he doesn’t want a repeat of what happened at Hoffenheim.

It’s people with big egos - speculation junkies if you will - shortening the odds and people take it in and bam he’s favourite. They don’t call this silly season for no reason.

And anyway, we are, maybe I’m looking through rose tinted glasses but right now I think that we are actually a better team than Liverpool. It’s too much of a step sideways, or, dare I say it, backwards, for Brendan to go there.

Right now Swansea is definitely a better footballing side than Liverpool. The Reds went around a lot of last season without a clear philosophy of play outside of “watch Suarez destroy a defender” or “unleash Craig Bellamy late.” FSG don’t have as much money available as Sheikh Mansour or Roman Abramovich (hell, even the Glazers), but it’s not so much a question (to me, biased toward Liverpool as I am) of who’s a better team now, but the highest level each club can reach with its resources — that’s the question every manager probably asks himself when dealing with a big money move.

Swansea would be thrilled with a Europa League spot. Champions League at this point would be out of the question with what it spends. Liverpool can still spend enough to fund a CL spot challenge — but I would argue FSG must take a page from the Newcastle book and find its Graham Carr, because it’s not going to outspend Chelsea, Man City, or Man United — and a lack of a coherent philosophy leaves it behind Arsene Wenger, who is apparently going to spend this summer and hope he can keep van Persie. 

The real question for Rodgers re: the Liverpool job is whether he believes he can replicate his work at Swansea at Anfield and do so quickly enough to earn Champions League qualification. It’s really about how high his ambition goes right now. I like his philosophy but I think he would be insane to take the Liverpool job if offered it. He has a better setup right now within its more limited financial parameters, and a lot of the groundwork done at Swansea City is also thanks to Paulo Sousa and Roberto Martinez, the latter being his likely competitor for the LFC job. I see the incentive for Martinez to leave — every year he loses his two or three best players and has to rebuild the squad again with loans to save it from relegation. Loyalty to Dave Whelan can only get you so far; Lancashire clubs have taken a major hit these days.

But that hasn’t happened at Swansea yet, and board has coughed up the pounds to bring Rodgers’ best player into the squad full-time instead of on loan. Barring some mass exodus of sales, I have no idea why Rodgers would want to leave now. Maybe 2-3 years down the line if the Swans are still up, but not right now.

That’s all well and good but after Swansea signed Gylfi Sigurdsson to a full deal, I’m not sure why Rodgers would want to leave. Essentially he has full control of the players and the team and just nailed one of this best players — if not the best — from last season down.

Let me say that I would be very, very surprised if Brendan Rodgers leaves South Wales for Merseyside. FSG should have interviewed Andre Villas-Boas as well, but it will probably be Roberto Martinez, which I would be more than fine with.

theworldsgame:

Chelsea take a team photo with their first Champions League trophy. 
That’s the cap of an exceptional 2011/2012 season in European football that has had all the drama of an episode of Game of Thrones, but with the class and elegance of Downton Abbey, but fret not football fans, as Euro 2012 is just around the corner.

I hate you to pieces, Chelsea, but…good for you. Congratulations. Not a soul dyed in anything other than blue thought you were beating Napoli, Barcelona, and Bayern Munich to win the CL. 
However, John Terry and Ashley Cole are still twats.
Well done you Blues. See you next season and I hope your owner fucks it all up by not hiring di Matteo as permanent manager.

theworldsgame:

Chelsea take a team photo with their first Champions League trophy.


That’s the cap of an exceptional 2011/2012 season in European football that has had all the drama of an episode of Game of Thrones, but with the class and elegance of Downton Abbey, but fret not football fans, as Euro 2012 is just around the corner.

I hate you to pieces, Chelsea, but…good for you. Congratulations. Not a soul dyed in anything other than blue thought you were beating Napoli, Barcelona, and Bayern Munich to win the CL. 

However, John Terry and Ashley Cole are still twats.

Well done you Blues. See you next season and I hope your owner fucks it all up by not hiring di Matteo as permanent manager.

theworldsgame:

In just under an hour another important match takes place. It’s certainly not Champions League final important, (it’s more important*) but it’s a game with an estimated £90 million for one of the teams. The NPower Championship playoff final features Blackpool against West Ham. The two former Premiership teams face off to determine who will join Reading and Southampton in the Premier League. A lot of people thought that there was a chance neither team would make it back to the Premier League this year. Blackpool because their talent was going to all get poached, and West Ham because, well, they’re West Ham.
Obviously, both teams managed to keep their wits about them to reach this point. West Ham was in the drivers seat for a lot of the season, but a rough March saw them take just 11 points from nine matches. Blackpool stayed rather consistent, if not unremarkable, this season but still managed to get themselves to this point. 
Blackpool faces a tough test as West Ham beat them quite easily this season, 4-0 and 4-1, but this is one match for everything, meaning that you leave everything on the pitch, so really anything can happen.
As we often do, we ask, WHO YA GOT?
*More important claim according to Sam Allardyce, so I mean…

Come on you Tangerines. The footballing world is better off without Big Sam’s kick-and-rush bushwa in the Premier League and infinitely improved by Ian Holloway press conferences.

theworldsgame:

In just under an hour another important match takes place. It’s certainly not Champions League final important, (it’s more important*) but it’s a game with an estimated £90 million for one of the teams. The NPower Championship playoff final features Blackpool against West Ham. The two former Premiership teams face off to determine who will join Reading and Southampton in the Premier League. A lot of people thought that there was a chance neither team would make it back to the Premier League this year. Blackpool because their talent was going to all get poached, and West Ham because, well, they’re West Ham.

Obviously, both teams managed to keep their wits about them to reach this point. West Ham was in the drivers seat for a lot of the season, but a rough March saw them take just 11 points from nine matches. Blackpool stayed rather consistent, if not unremarkable, this season but still managed to get themselves to this point. 

Blackpool faces a tough test as West Ham beat them quite easily this season, 4-0 and 4-1, but this is one match for everything, meaning that you leave everything on the pitch, so really anything can happen.

As we often do, we ask, WHO YA GOT?

*More important claim according to Sam Allardyce, so I mean…

Come on you Tangerines. The footballing world is better off without Big Sam’s kick-and-rush bushwa in the Premier League and infinitely improved by Ian Holloway press conferences.

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