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Football/Soccer

Copa America 2019: Puget Sound and Googling the Unknown.

I thought I knew it all.

I don’t carry a doctorate in world football, but I was confident I’d recognize every player in Uruguay’s starting 11.

Not so.

So who did I Google?

Diego Laxalt – The left back is currently at AC Milan. Though I didn’t hear his name mentioned once on podcasts this past Serie A season. Curiously, he’s also listed as an attacking midfielder on Wikipedia. Will he fit in with new Milan coach Marco Giampaolo’s tactical plans next season?

Fernando Muslera – Galatasaray’s #1. The former Lazio keeper looks so young I think every match is his debut.

Nahitan Nández – The Uruguayan number 8 is at Boca Juniors. Rumored (if you believe the internet) to want a move to Leeds to play under Bielsa.

Lastly Telemundo’s man of the match: Nicolás Lodeiro.

My first thought was Mexico – Liga MX. He’s got to be pulling up his socks for PUMAs or America, and I just never noticed. Or maybe Spain. A solid mid table La Liga side. Villarreal or Sociedad.

No.

“Nico” as he’s known on MLSsoccer.com slips on his shin-pads each week for the Seattle Sounders.

His playing resume reads like a gap year itinerary: Nacional, Ajax, Botafogo, Corinthians and Boca Juniors, all before dying his hair blonde and sailing in to Puget Sound.

An MLS player dictating a Copa America match? Doubtful any Copa America preview pieces predicted that.

Nice of football to again remind me, I don’t know it all.

Categories
Football/Soccer

Heaven is in the details: The 2015-16 Vancouver Whitecaps shirt

It was on sale.

I’d imagined I ordered a simple, white jersey. Another they all-look-the-same MLS shirt, brought to you by Adidas since 2004.

But a closer look revealed a delicate design, quiet even.

And unless you’re pulling the shirt over your head for Saturday morning pick-up, the small details are easily missed.

The shirt is both modern and retro. Harking back to the Whitecap’s NASL days, the tag below the collar reading: Since 1974.

“No that’s not the year I was born.” I explain to my teammates. It’s when the Vancouver Whitecaps were foun…oh never mind.

No. That’s not my birth year.

The club motto – Our all. Our honour. hides below the nape on the inside collar.

A perfect mental lift when playing indoor 5-aside, and all oxygen has escaped your lungs, but your team has no subs.

Our honOUR

The slogan reappears on the navy strip near the waist. Helpful again, when stricken with side stitch.

At the hip

Across the upper chest are the fade-to-blue-to-white jagged edges of the North Shore mountains. An homage to the local landscape. And yes, I googled “Mountains in Vancouver”.

The majestic North Shore peaks.

True kit aficionados know a classic shirt sponsor can unify the entire design.

See D.C. United’s all black VW shirts. Or Fiorentina’s Nintendo kit.

The Bell logo knits all the design elements together, and isn’t a too obnoxious plea for market share.

Kit diversity is missed when one brand sponsors a whole league. The styles become repetitive, homogeneous, dull.

Somehow the Vancouver Whitecaps 2015-2016 shirt escaped this fate.

Further reading: Graham Ruthven on kit designs and the MLS adidas partnership.


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Uncategorized

Link Ups – March 2018

Eugene Rupinski digs up lost treasure with the Tampa Bay Mutiny.

Lorenzo Insigne reminds us God loves Napoli.

Mark Godfrey strolls to the other side of Paris.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Uncategorized

What’s in the Name?

Episode #6

Journal,

 

Remember when MLS teams used to have cool names?

Names that popped off at the tongue?

The San Jose Clash.

The Tampa Bay Mutiny.

The Metrostars.

The Wiz.

The Burn.

 

Some have stayed cool, like the Timbers and the Earthquakes, but it all changed in 04’.

In a mad panic, when the league was about to swallow itself, the leaders that be thought, “hey, if we sound more European, maybe we’ll attract the growing demographic of Americans who watch European football on a regular basis.

Deep breaths. Deep breaths. I want to belch after typing that.

Changing the team names to have a more “Euro” sound is akin to popping zits without calming the hormones. It was a topical fix that did nothing to improve the league’s quality of play.

And, in doing so, MLS kicked aside one of the great American sporting traditions – weird ass team names.

See the – New Orleans Pelicans.

See the – Buffalo Bills.

See the – L.A. Dodgers.

They’re weird. They’re quirky. They’re us.

We all need to adapt with changing times to progress and survive. And MLS, sagging like a moldy floorboard, needed to RE-everything to survive.

But pasting F.C. or S.C. onto the end of a city name won’t bring a team genuine devotion. It won’t morph a franchise into a club.

The Eurosnobness we should’ve adopted, AHEM AHEM, – promotion and relegation, is one of the few paths for courting genuine love. A path that allows supporters to live through hells of the lower divisions and the heavens of lifting trophies.

There isn’t a marketing campaign or re-brand strategy that could ever reproduce that.

But that’s another entry for another time. Meanwhile, MLS, bring back the O.G. names.

 

One,

Jack

 

P.S. For a deeper look on MLS’s Euro naming efforts read Tim Froh’s piece: Not feeling the (Dallas) Burn: why MLS teams tried to sound more European

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Uncategorized

3 Setting Sons

Cynicism is the easy path. An easy path to walk when three divine sons of Europe arrive to sunset their careers in North America. “Over the hill.” we think. “Proof MLS is a retirement league.” we mutter. “These guys are just cashing in.” we write. It’s the same “I’ve come here to win trophies” babble. Frank Lampard, Steven Gerrard and Andrea Pirlo. A general, an inspiration and a sorcerer. Each unique in skill set, and each arrive with a different ending to their European journeys. Steven missing out on his birthday cup. Frankie doing a strange and effective Manchester City midfielder impersonation. And Andrea chasing around the Barcelona clockwork.

Yes they’re old. And all three could channel their inner Lothar Matthäus. But what if instead we hope. What if we cast aside cynicism and imagine Frankie still bursting into the box unmarked. Or Stevie charging after the MLS and US Open Cups like a wild footballing moose. And Andrea walking around the pitch, playing delicate reverse passes for David Villa to kiss off the inside of the post. Let’s imagine this, let’s believe.

Twilight has come for these legends, but hopefully their final chapters will make for a brilliant read.