Special for The Shin Guardian.
Boy, that guy over at the Free Beer Movement is…blowing UP! Actually, TSG has had a longstanding camaraderie with the guys over at the Free Beer Movement. Along with the American Outlaws, they were one of the first supporter groups to validate TSG as a decent place to discuss pitch escapades and the Red, White, & Blue. If you don’t know about the Free Beer Movement, check it out… it’s a great effort to interest new folks in the global game.
Dan, who hails from Milwaukee, but now lives in Coolville, USA (Austin, TX), has been a frequent contributor to TSG’s comment section and lent a hand in the last in entry in the Beer & Soccer Series: What’s Your Yankee Brew? Check it out.
Dan is back today to match up a few beers with a few of the players that will likely be traveling down to Pinotage country (and a few that won’t) to do battle for the United States. Thanks Dan; 23 beers for South Africa.
With the World Cup only a few months away soccer pundits across America are filling out their 23 tickets to South Africa for the United States Men’s National Team. We at the Free Beer Movement have never claimed to be good at punditry (we’re usually drinking too much during games to take notes and the such), but despite that fact we’re going to give our picks to make the plane across the pond.
A few caveats: We’re assigning each member of the Nats a beer that we think speaks most highly to whom they are as people and as players. Is it random? You bet, but we’ve got nothing else productive to contribute to the American soccer community than tongue-in-check crap like this.
Additionally, we’ve never claimed to be any good at the “analysis” part of the game. The players we’ve chosen to make the starting 11 and the final 23 don’t necessarily mean that’s our strongest side for South Africa (Example #1 is Frankie Hejduk… yup… he’s on board… but only because of our continued love affair with the “Great Haired One”) it means it’s either our best guess or because we found the perfect beer to match them with and that makes for better writing.
Lastly, we didn’t write this to get hammered on our squad selection from a “Where’s so-and-so” or “you omitted this guy and that guy”. We wrote it so you could get hammered with our creative beer squad selections.
Now suiting up for the U.S. National Team….
Goalkeeper – Tim Howard as Portsmouth Brewery “Kate the Great” Imperial Ale
* Kate the Great? We think they meant “Timmy the Great”.
* Despite the Evertonian’s taste for light beers we’re going heavy for the big man between the sticks.
* Generally one of the strongest types of beers and Timmy fits the bill.
* The word “Stout” originally was meant to describe someone who is “proud” or “brave”.
* Howard is a whole-package keeper and great in stressful/emergency situations (i.e. Confed Cup against Spain, 2009) and in an emergency a stout could be your whole meal!
* We’ve read before that Imperial stouts pair well with New York cheesecake and for this New Jersey native that’s close enough!
The Back Four
Left Defense – Carlos Bocanegra as Kronenbourg 1664
* This pale lager pairs well with our pale left back.
* As France’s #1 beer we’re thinking that he makes the list as one of Ligue Un’s best defenders as well.
Centerback – Oguchi Onyewu as Newcastle Brown Ale
* How could we not go with the brew from the same city as the club that gave Gooch his big Euro-league break through? While the stripes of Newcastle FC never quite worked out for him, the Newcastle Brown Ale is a perfect beer fit.
* A smooth beer that’s lightly hopped. Just like Gooch’s defense… smooth and with the 40 ounces of height he’s got there’s no need for anything more than light hops.
* “The taste you’ve come to know and love,” Brewpub guy on Newcastle’s website. We’ve got the same feeling for the big man’s defensive style too. Powerful and unshakable… despite a few blunders he’s USMNT material through and through.
Centerback – Jay DeMerit as Miller High Life
* A Wisconsin boy deserves a beer born and raised in Wisconsin (Milwaukee) as well.
* Certainly has been living in the “high life” as captain of English Championship side Watford after walking on to squad.
* Has solidified himself as the “Champagne of the Central Defense” after solid performances for the Nats (esp. against Spain last summer).
Right Defense – Jonathan Spector as Old Style
* We know that Old Style is another Milwaukee beer, but they’re also the choice of Spector’s hometown Chicago Cubs (boooooo!) so we’ll let it slide.
* Another blue-collar beer for another blue-collar defender, Spector has taken plenty of knocks and keeps on showing up at the USMNT party (just like this beer… where do you get this anymore!?!?).
* Because of his grandparents’ Germany ancestry Spector got on the fast-track to play in England by snagging a German passport. German roots are strong with Old Style as well as the beer uses the centuries-old double fermentation process of “kraeusening” to brew their beer.
Left Mid – Clint Dempsey as Lonestar
* Just like Lonestar, Deuce is a good ol’ Texas boy born and raised in Nacogdoches.
* For the better part of the year has been the “lone star” in Ray Hodgson’s solid Fulham squad.
* Can be really refreshing sometimes or completely not what you were hoping for when you get it.
Center Mid – Michael Bradley as Stone Ruination India Pale Ale
* Baby Bradley’s hard tackling style means “ruination” to opposing midfielders and forwards.
* Sometimes too “hoppy” or rash (Bradley’s Jr. and red cards anyone?).
* Honestly… how did this kid come from daddio? They’re like two totally different people. (Scroll down for our Coach Sweatpants pick)
Center Mid – Maurice Edu as National Bohemian Beer
* The Rangers FC man used to feature for the Maryland Terrapins (located in College Park outside of Baltimore) while “Natty Boh” was THE beer of Baltimore up until the brewery closed in 1978 (kept alive by Miller today).
* Edu’s nickname rhymes with “Mr. Boh” the one-eyed, handlebar-mustachioed spokes-logo of National Bohemian Beer.
* National Bohemian’s style is a pilsner also known as “the world’s first golden beer” and Mo Edu also happens to be Rangers’ first American to win an Old Firm Derby match with his “golden” stoppage time goal. Some great firsts!
Right Mid – Landon Donovan as Samuel Smith Beers
* Completely under-rated in the U.S. (by the majority of beer drinkers or sports fans).
* Hardly flashy. Always solid. (Unless served with pork)
* An English favorite that is better had in England (“We mean it’s good here, but it’s even better over there.”)
* We heard it could be great in South Africa with the proper Cup.
Charlie Davies as Rockbottom Brewery Restaurant and Brewery “Miracle Ale #2″
* We’ve never had this beer before, but there were too many references we could use to pass it up.
* Rock Bottom? That’s where Charlie was back in October 2009 after his horrific car accident. He nearly died and his professional career hung in the balance.
* Miracle #1? Davies survived and rehabbed his injury to being almost ready to set foot on a pitch in about five months. Early predictions had him out for at least a year.
* Miracle #2? Davies is our pick to be in the starting 11 on June 12th against England.
* The Shin Guardian boys love “Charlie in a Bottle” and here you have it.
Jozy Altidore as Stone Arrogant Bastard American Strong Ale
* We’re not resorting to name-calling here, but Jozy’s got some feistiness and we like it.
* Keeps taking those knocks in the EPL and comes back “strong”.
Bob Bradley as Three Floyds “Pride and Joy” Mild Ale
* Coach Sweatpants is about as “mild” as they come (that was an easy joke).
* Bradley’s “pride and joy” plays right under his nose.
* Unlike his “hoppy” son, Bradley the Elder rarely shows ANY emotion.
* Quality flavor, from an unexpected source, American version of a rare English style.
Coming Soon: the SUBSTITUTES