Archive for January, 2013

Discuss: Klinsmann’s January Camp Roster

Well done, Benny!

Last try, Benny!

Feilhaber with another lifeline.

Wondolowski with one more run.

The sweet left foot of Brad Davis.

GOALKEEPERS (3): Tally Hall (Houston Dynamo), Bill Hamid (D.C. United), Sean Johnson (Chicago Fire)

DEFENDERS (9): Steven Beitashour (San Jose Earthquakes), Tony Beltran (Real Salt Lake), Matt Besler (Sporting Kansas City), A.J. DeLaGarza (LA Galaxy), Omar Gonzalez (LA Galaxy), Connor Lade (New York Red Bulls), Alfredo Morales (Hertha Berlin), Justin Morrow (San Jose Earthquakes), Jeff Parke (Philadelphia Union)

MIDFIELDERS (8): Kyle Beckerman (Real Salt Lake), Alejandro Bedoya (out of contract), Brad Davis (Houston Dynamo), Mix Diskerud (Rosenborg), Brad Evans (Seattle Sounders), Benny Feilhaber (Sporting Kansas City), Joshua Gatt (Molde), Graham Zusi (Sporting Kansas City)

FORWARDS (5): Juan Agudelo (Chivas USA), Will Bruin (Houston Dynamo), Edson Buddle (Colorado Rapids), Eddie Johnson (Seattle Sounders), Chris Wondolowski (San Jose Earthquakes)

Spanning The Weekend Soccer Globe: January 2013, Week 1

by Roma FC & coffee bean expert Eric Giardini

With a new year, we’ve decided to bring a new feature bring back an old one. While it’s easy to know which matches are going on in the Premier League each week, it can be difficult to know what other matches are going on around the continent (for now) and around the world. That’s where I step in – to be your guide and shed some light on these other matches.

Unfortunately, I’ve picked a slow week with many leagues either on winter break (Germany, France, Netherlands) or playing Cup matches. That being said, let’s start in England.

Liam Neeson, Cystal Palace Super Fan

Liam Neeson, Cystal Palace Super Fan

England

Who: Crystal Palace v Stoke City

What: FA Cup, Third Round

Where: Selhurst Park

When: January 5, 10:00am ET

Low Down: While there are a few other Championship sides hosting their EPL “betters” in Third Round FA Cup action, this one could very well be the one with the biggest chance of an upset. Will Stoke City get …. Taken? (Yeah, I know).

Crystal Palace has been the surprise team of the season as it enters this weekend in 3rd place in the Championship trailing only Cardiff City and Hull City. They’ve turned Selhurst Park into a fortress (cliché alert) by losing only once in 13 matches – with that loss coming on the first match day of the season on August 18. Since then they are unbeaten and have scored a league best 33 goals at home and 16 conceded. The Eagles rely heavily on striker Glenn Murray who has scored a ridiculous 22 goals in 22 matches, which, coincidentally also leads the league in scoring. The other player to watch out for is Wilfred Zaha. Zaha, who made his full England debut in November against Sweden, has been a heavily sought after player this transfer window with Manchester United and Arsenal fighting it out for his services.

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Op-Ed: It Matters

—-

A month ago–during MLS Cup weekend–I had the chance to attend TedXSan Diego. If you’re not familiar with the TedX conference series, they are participatory events intended to stimulate “ideas worth spreading.” The event was made more special to me because my brother is one of the organizers.

Emerzian

Emerzian

The first speaker was a mid-30’s-year-old guy named Matt Emerzian. Emerzian talked about how he went through a metamorphosis at the height of his business success. He had collapsed into a panic attack one Sunday evening and, through a few different turns, that panic attack led to therapy-through-charity.

A prescription for volunteering and responsibility.

Matt gave up a frivilous lifestyle in search of a life of purpose, purpose through social change.

Emerzian came up with a concept called Every Monday Matters and, rather than paraphrase what it is, I’m going to lift a passage from an interview where he defined its bedrock:

At the core of Every Monday Matters is a burning desire to help everyone understand that they matter. I think that every single person on the face of the earth has questioned his or her purpose. Why am I here? Why does it matter? Am I significant? This is life’s greatest challenge, and our biggest question. People are powerful–much more powerful than they think they are and their actions matter.

Matt challenged the audience, each of us to not only share in social change and responsibility, but also with a specific task.

That task was to don a EMM bracelet when we exited and give it to someone.. in need.. in some way, to reinforce how important they were and let them know they could do something about their situation. A double pay-it-forward effect so to speak.

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Wil Trapp: One ‘Bus Leads Home

“When I think of MLS, it’s just kinda like…. I mean personally? … It’s the Crew because I’m from Columbus and that’s the team that we have here.” – Wil Trapp

Homecoming...

Homecoming…

………..

This piece conceived and executed by John Nyen, Portland, OR

This moment should cascade over you, gentle reader.

Bathe in the recognition of it.

This column isn’t about that garden variety 30-, 40-, 50- or 60-year-old soccer crowd who went through indoor leagues, APSL, and the relatively barren landscape of soccer in North America post NASL and pre ‘94 World Cup.

This moment is about the youth of Canada and the United States, in and out of MLS markets, who have almost an unconscious association of Team and Town when it comes to soccer. There may not be king-sized blankets of rolling support yet, but the league is beyond mere pockets of it.

This unconscious association of Columbus to Crew and Kansas City to Sporting will do more for MLS and this sport in this geographical area than any number of crazy innovations or player signings.

Born January 15th, 1993, Wil Trapp is part of a new generation of young North American soccer player and fan.

At 19 years old, there is no point in Wil’s memory where MLS doesn’t exist.

It simply does exist, as it always has existed to him and his local team has always played in and around Columbus. From three years old to now, Wil can say that the Columbus Crew has been his team. He didn’t have to resort to scanning the dial for Saturday morning games broadcast with awkward accents and bloody-confusing phrases or flipping through channels with voluptuous women speaking Spanish for matches on confetti-strewn fields.

On December 13th 2012, Trapp signed a homegrown player contract with Columbus Crew after two years at the University of Akron and four as a pupil in the Columbus Crew academy. The Lincoln High School product heads into the 2013 season a professional soccer player, fulfilling a dream of his in more than one category. Not only does he get paid to play sports, but as well…. Wil signed a contract for the team that he has watched and loved growing up.

That wasn’t possible if Ronald Reagan was ever your president.

Wil bleeds yellow, and when he dons the Crew kit he’s bringing not only his new found professionalism but 19 years of ingrained passion. Wil is a Columbus Crew fan because he grew up in a suburb of Columbus, a town called Gahanna, which is about 15 minutes from Crew stadium.

Head down the 317, onto the onramp at the 670-270 exchange, and West to I-71 North. Done.

Now, Will Trapp’s unique perspective.

………..

Nyen, TSG: “Do you know when your first Columbus game was?”

Trapp: “I mean I can’t remember, like obviously, the specific game… I wanna say it was probably 96, 97?”

Nyen, TSG: “So you were right there at the beginning?”

Trapp: “Yeah, three or four years old.”

Nyen, TSG: “Your grandfather was a semi-pro player?”

Trapp: “Yeah, he’s Greek, he was born in Greece , he came over and just played in.…. I’m not sure how to put it exactly, but the Germans had a team, the English had a team, all the immigrants had their own international league”

………

It becomes cliché to say that certain people are born into soccer, within North America. It is almost a way of dismissing the impact of a person in the United States choosing to love soccer over football or baseball; or a person in Canada loving Dwayne De Rosario over Sidney Crosby.

When people can’t explain why they picked soccer over American football, baseball or hockey, the given reason must be their parents or their peers were soccer players.

Now, this isn’t necessarily false.

However, as with the eternal nature versus nurture debate there is the argument that it takes both sides to create a person and their interests. It isn’t just the people who shape you but as well the location and time in which you grow up. The specifics that surround that for the current young soccer player and fan are far different than they were even 20 years ago.

Perhaps it is just as simple as how passion is transferred, sometimes through a mentor, a father or mother or sibling, but often passion gets passed to you through the simple process of absorption with those environments around you. Within this latter theory, the very fact that professional soccer at the top level within North America exists allows it to grow (slowly) within each continuing generation of North American’s that continues to be born around the time of the start of the league and afterwards.

crew

………..

Nyen, TSG: “Is this (soccer) something that has existed within your family life? I mean, do your mom and dad watch the game?”

Trapp: “It was never, like I mean with my grandfather obviously it was big but with my parents not really. My mom didn’t play and my dad played recreational. So I mean he didn’t, he wasn’t too into it. He played football and basketball in high school.”

Nyen, TSG: “You attend a game when you’re three years old, did you go semi-frequently… like every once in a while? Would your parents take you? When’s the first game that you can remember going?”

Trapp: “I mean, it was probably when they really built the new stadium, and it was around 2001, 2002? And we had season tickets and we would go. Those were like the games that I really remember, being there… knowing the players and the field.”

Nyen, TSG: “Did you ever do the Nordecke, did you ever actually get into a supporters group?… I mean it seems that at your age you probably didn’t have a chance.”

Trapp: “Yeah….. no… I was a little too young for that. But I mean our season tickets were kinda like the opposite of them, on the same side but the opposite corner basically. We were pretty close and could experience it a little bit, the chants.”

………

Soccer (sport in general) survives on the passing of tradition and stories from generation to generation. Specifically soccer’s different team traditions survive, thrive and spread because of that tradition.

When you talk about the singing of “You’ll Never Walk Alone” at Liverpool, there is a shared cultural tradition that has been passed down since the early 1960’s. When you talk about the singing of “You Are My Sunshine” at Portland Timbers games we are talking about a tradition that has been passed down since 2004. While seemingly young in age, this tradition and other moments of interpersonal cultural sharing are what help coagulate support and drive the connection between fans, team and individual players.

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1996: Harry Rednapp Defends His Frank Lampard Selection

Superb video here.

Outstanding Camp Cupcake Invites: Who’s (Maybe) HDC-Bound

Who's this year's January campers?

Who’s this year’s January campers?

January camp is slated to likely begin sometime next week with an expectation of a full roster out perhaps Monday by USSF.

Here’s a few bets on the roster: (A * denotes the invitation/attendance has already been confirmed.)

G: Nick Rimando, Sean Johnson, Bill Hamid

DEF: Matt Besler, Omar Gonzalez, George John, Steven Beitashour, Sheanon Williams, Heath Pearce, Amobi Okugo, Chance Myers

MID: Alfredo Morales*, Kyle Beckerman, Alejandro Bedoya, Graham Zusi, Dax McCarty, Nick DeLeon

FW: Chris Pontius, Freddy Adu, Josh Gatt, Benny Feilhaber, Mix Diskerud, Brek Shea

STR: Eddie Johnson*, CJ Sapong, Alan Gordon, Juan Agudelo

* Wildcard: Maurice Edu. Edu has played 11 minutes all season from Stoke City. Might he get released to Klinsmann’s mothership for January. Probably not, but…

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