Friday, December 30, 2011

Vid of the Week: 2011 Revs' Goals

The last-place New England Revolution didn't give us fans too much to cheer for this past year, but here were the 30 or so times we were able to let out a yelp or two.

- John C.L. Morgan

Related: Wahl: Revs Are the Least Ambitious Team in MLS (December 15, 2011)

Friday, December 23, 2011

Vid of the Week: Soccer and the Christmas Truce

A student-produced short film made in the early 2000s, "The Truce" re-creates the Christmas Day Truce of 1914.

German and British soldiers took a one-day reprieve from the early butchery of WWI and exchanged gifts and played soccer in an act that the historian Paul Fussell has called "the last twitch of the 19th century."

- John C.L. Morgan

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Klinsmann Calls Up Revs' Feilhaber

New England Revolution:
New England Revolution midfielder Benny Feilhaber is among the 20 players called in by U.S. Men’s National Team head coach J├╝rgen Klinsmann for the team’s annual January training camp, which will begin on Tuesday, Jan. 3, in Phoenix, Ariz. Also included in the three-week camp itinerary is a pair of international friendlies against Venezuela in Glendale, Ariz., on Saturday, Jan. 21, and Panama in Panama City, Panama, on Wednesday, Jan. 25.
- John C.L. Morgan

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Recommended Reading: The History of Soccer in New England

Via Dave Litterer in The American Soccer History Archives:
The history of American soccer finds a prominent place in New England which was one of the 3 major hotbeds of US soccer for much of the earlier part of the 20th century, and the later part of the 19th. In fact, the team commonly called the first regular soccer club in the country was the Oneida Foot Ball Club which played undefeated for most of its seasons between 1862 and 1967, and played many of its games on the Boston Common, where a plaque memorials their presence.
- John C.L. Morgan

Related: Revs Should Complement New Uniforms with Throwbacks (December 6, 2011)

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

The Geography of Talent: Historical All-New England and All-American Selections in Maine

Two geographic plots of the state's All-New England (top) and All-America (bottom) selections since 1989, thanks to the indispensable Maine Soccer Coaches Web site. Below are the public high school leaders for these categories:

Top 5 Combined All-American Selections
Falmouth (7)
Waterville (7)
Brunswick (6)
Cape Elizabeth (6)
Mt. Ararat (4)

Top 3 Boys' All-American Selections
Falmouth (7)
Cape Elizabeth (6)
Brunswick (5)

Top 3 Girls' All-American Selections
Waterville (6)
Greely (3)
Mt. Ararat (3)

Top 8 Combined All-New England Selections
Brunswick (14)
Bangor (12)
Cape Elizabeth (12)
Greely (12)
Mt. Ararat (12)
Falmouth (10)
Waterville (10)
Yarmouth (7)

Top 5 Boys' All-New England Selections
Brunswick (14)
Cape Elizabeth (10)
Falmouth (9)
Bangor (8)
Yarmouth (7)

Top 3 Girls' All-New England Selections
Greely (10)
Waterville (9)
Mt. Ararat (8)

- John C.L. Morgan

The Top 100 Moments in Soccer

Miguel Delaney over at the Football Pantheon is in the middle of documenting the Top 100 moments in soccer history, most of which are enhanced with YouTube footage.

Must-see (Internet) T.V.

- John C.L. Morgan

The Geography of Talent: Historical Maine Public High School Champions

By utilizing the wonderful trove of information available on the Maine Soccer Coaches Web site, I've plotted the annual state champions in each of the classes. The boys' champions--first crowned in 1970--are in the blue, and the girls' champions--first crowned in 1980--are in the pink.

For the curious among us, here are the Top 10 programs:

Top 10 Combined Championships
Falmouth (20)
Richmond (17)
Cape Elizabeth (13)
Gorham (11)
Greely (10)
Scarborough (10)
Yarmouth (10)
Georges Valley (9)
Mt. Ararat (9)
York (9)

Top 10 Boys State Championships (1970-2011)
Falmouth (10)
Richmond (9)
Cape Elizabeth (8)
Georges Valley (8)
Yarmouth (8)
Gorham (7)
Greely (7)
Scarborough (7)
Brunswick (6)
Van Buren (4)
York (4)

Top 10 Girls State Championships (1980-2011)
Falmouth (10)
Richmond (8)
Mt. Ararat (7)
Waterville (6)
Cape Elizabeth (5)
York (5)
Gorham (4)
Schenck (4)
Greely (3)
Scarborough (3)
Van Buren (3)

- John C.L. Morgan

Opposition Group to Submit Petition Against Seacoast Complex

A group of Freeport residents is expected to deliver a petition to the Town Council tonight asking officials to abide by a ban on commercial development of public open space and residential land west of the village center. The ban, part of the town charter, is the latest hurdle for the Seacoast United Maine soccer club in its effort to develop an indoor-outdoor field complex on town-owned land near Hedgehog Mountain.
- John C.L. Morgan

Related: Seacoast United Buys Topsham Dome (December 19, 2011)

Monday, December 19, 2011

The Geography of Talent: Top 2012 Players in the U.S.

(Editor's Note: Click on the map above to enlarge.)

Top Drawer Soccer has ranked its Top 100 2012 boys' club players (here) and Top 100 2012 girls' club players (here), so I've organized the two-hundred players by geography. Once again, the blue pins represent the male players, and the pink pins represent the females.

- John C.L. Morgan

Related: A Geographic Plot of the Top Youth Soccer Clubs in the U.S. (December 15, 2011)

Seacoast United Buys Topsham Dome

The Forecaster:
Seacoast United soccer club says its desire to build a sports arena in Freeport is not off the table, even though the club is buying the Howard Sports indoor facility in Topsham. Paul Willis, Seacoast's director of development and finance, said the nonprofit club plans to close on the Howard Sport purchase next week. It has leased the facility at 20 Atwood Road in Topsham for the past three years.
- John C.L. Morgan

Related: Seacoast May Take Field Complex Elsewhere (December 8, 2011)

Friday, December 16, 2011

Vid of the Week: Lech Poznan v. Tottenham Hotspur, U-12

Fast-forward to 0:40 to see what has to be the most incredible supporters group any U-12 team has ever had. Chants, flags, flares--these guys have it all.

- John C.L. Morgan

Related: Vid of the Week: Panyee United (December 9, 2011)

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Wahl: Revs Are the Least Ambitious Team in MLS

Sports Illustrated's Grant Wahl measured the aspirations of all nineteen Major League Team soccer franchises and found the New England Revolution to be the most pathetic:
No fan base sends me more complaints about its own team ownership than New England's. The Revs play in an NFL stadium far from any city, and any hopes for an urban soccer stadium in Boston remain talk and little more. Spending some money to make Shalrie Joseph a DP has been the exception to the rule in New England. Winning seems terribly important to the Kraft family when it comes to the New England Patriots, but how much do the Krafts care about the Revolution?
- John C.L. Morgan

The Geography of Talent: Top Youth Soccer Clubs in the U.S.

(Editor's Note: Click on map to enlarge)

Soccer America recently published its annual ranking of the best 30 boys' and girls' youth soccer clubs in the United States (here and here). The image above is a geographical representation of the results that I put together. Of course, the blue pins represent the boys' clubs, and the pink pins reprsent the girls' clubs.

John C.L. Morgan

Related: An In-Depth Look at Region I: Wealth (April 1, 2010)

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Westbrook Soccer Alumni Collegiate Report: 2011 Edition

Below are the Westbrook soccer alumni who played collegiate soccer this past fall:

Peter Dore (WHS '05)
Dore, a sophomore at Southern Maine Community College, started 19 games, had 7 assists, and scored 4 goals for the SeaWolves.
Driscoll, a freshman at Johnson & Wales University, appeared in 6 games for the Div. III Wildcats.

Zach Johnson (WHS '08)
Johnson, a sophomore at St. Joseph's College, set a school record for goals scored in a season (17) for the Div. III Monks.
Kearney-Graffam, a freshman at Southern Maine Community College, started 16 games and had 2 assists for the SeaWolves.

Galen Perkins (WHS '09)
Perkins, a redshirt sophomore at Stanford University, did not appear in a game for the Div. I Cardinal.

Jarrick Russo (WHS '11)
Russo, a freshman at St. Joseph's College, appeared in seven games for the Div. III Monks.

Andrew Sousa (WHS '11)
Sousa, a freshman at Daniel Webster College, played in one game for the Div. II Eagles.

Brenden Walden (WHS '10)
Walden, a sophomore at Roger Williams University, appeared in three games for the Div. III Hawks.

- John C.L. Morgan

Related: Westbrook Soccer Alumni Collegiate Report: 2009 (January 20, 2010)

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Recommended Reading: Tom Howe

Tom Howe, one of the founders of the illustrious youth club Scott Gallagher SC in 1976, spoke to Soccer America's Mike Woitalla in March 2011. Among other topics (long-term player development vs. short-term results and the inceasing youth soccer industrial complex), Howe addresses style of play for young soccer players:
I wish everybody would try and play like Barcelona. If all
the clubs across the country did that you’d have some pretty smart players when they hit the ages of 18, 19, 20. And there’d be more people wanting to watch soccer in this country. Barcelona’s the best team I’ve ever seen. They’re just fun to watch.
Update: Though Howe summarizes the Barcelona style of soccer he'd like to see more American youth coaches employ, Michael Cox of Zonal Marking just published an in-depth look at the ten principles of Barcelona's success, nine of which have to do with their style of play. Even though the article looks at those principles through the lens of former Barcelona youth coach Luis Enrique's implementation of those styles of play at AS Roma, it complements today's recommended article perfectly.

- John C.L. Morgan

Recommended Reading: De Toekomst (December 7, 2011)

Friday, December 9, 2011

Vid of the Week: Panyee FC

We're at that time of year when the number of playing surfaces will begin to narrow (theoretically, at least), but I think it's fair to say Mainers still have an advantage over the players in the non-fictional re-creation above.

- John C.L. Morgan

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Seacoast May Take Field Complex Elsewhere

The Forecaster:
Michael Healy, a spokesman for Seacoast United, said the Topsham-based nonprofit is still looking for ways to make the project fit in Freeport, but has also started to look for another host. "We will look to relocate in Freeport or outside Freeport," Healy said. After the Planning Board decision, which was an advisory vote, Healy met with the Town Planner, town councilors and the town attorney to discuss options that would make the project fit, including amending the zoning ordinance to establish an overlay district, creating a new recreational zone, or adding an additional permitted use to the zone.
- John C.L. Morgan

Related: Seacoast United and the Town of Freeport: A Timeline (December 3, 2011)

5 Holiday Gift-Giving Ideas

A California-based online retailer of hipster t-shirts with soccer themes.
A collection of fashion and soccer footwear inspired by the former Dutch star and coach Johan Cruyff. If for no other reason, go to this site to check out the Cinema section.
A Seattle-based retailer of a wide selection of soccer scarves at some of the best prices you'll find. The site has multiple scarves for each MLS team and features the scarves of the usual suspects across the Atlantic and elsewhere.
Another California-based online retailer of hipster t-shirts with soccer themes. All shirts are manufactured by American Apparel.

Zonal Marking
Though primarily a tactical analysis Web site, ZM has a rich bibliography of recommended reading for the aspiring tacticians and soccerheads on your gift list. I've read about ten of the books, and I'd say the list is a good one so far--with the exception of Rinus Michels's Teambuilding. Don't buy that; I'll give that one to you for free if only to open a slot on my bookcase.

- John C.L. Morgan

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Recommended Reading: De Toekomst

Here's a June 2010 New York Times Magazine article on the youth development program at Ajax:
The youth academy of the famed Dutch soccer club Ajax is grandiosely called De Toekomst--The Future. Set down beside a highway in an unprepossessing district of Amsterdam, it consists of eight well-kept playing fields and a two-story building that houses locker rooms, classrooms, workout facilities and offices for coaches and sports scientists. In an airy cafe and bar, players are served meals and visitors can have a glass of beer or a cappuccino while looking out over the training grounds. Everything about the academy, from the amenities to the pedigree of the coaches--several of them former players for the powerful Dutch national team--signifies quality.
- John C.L. Morgan

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Clint Dempsey Sets American Scoring Record in EPL

U.S. National Team standout (and New England Revolution alum) Clint Dempsey not only scored the game-winning goal in Fulham's game against Liverpool on Monday, but he also set the record for the most goals scored by an American in the English Premier League when he tallied his 37th goal of his Fulham career. The video* above a collection of most of those goals.

- John C.L. Morgan

* I apologize for the soundtrack accompanying the video. As this Run of Play piece argues, bad accompanying music is epidemic among YouTube highlight videos of this sort. I have to say, though, I'm not all that excited about the suggestions contained in the essay either.

Fall River Marksmen, Circa 1921

Revs Should Complement New Uniforms with Throwbacks

The New England Revolution introduced their 2012 uniforms to the public on Saturday.

And though I can't say I'm a big fan of the new threads,* I was disappointed for another reason: The New England Revolution (and the MLS in general) appear to be missing an opportunity to introduce most of its fans to a rich history of American soccer that predates both the MLS and the NASL by complementing their 2012 jerseys with a jersey that gives a nod to, say, 1921, the year in which professional teams in leagues such as the American Soccer League kicked off the "Golden Age of American Soccer."

An exhaustive search on the Maine Memory Network Web site yields but one lone photograph of a soccer game between those hotbeds of Maine soccer, Biddeford and Saco, circa 1912. And if American soccer ever gets face time on ESPN Classic, you're more likely to hear the live play-by-play call of a late-night international against Grenada than you are to hear a leather-throated baritone conducting a melodramatic voiceover about the spectacular exploits of Archie Stark.

Considering this mass media and cultural blackout blanketing the history of soccer in America, it's no wonder that even the most passionate soccer fans among us possess a gap in our knowledge, an ignorance of the long roots of professional soccer in the U.S.

The Revolution, then, would do well by taking at least one home game to adopt the throwback uniforms of the Fall River Marksmen (see above) and give us fans an excuse to talk and learn about how this sport has a much richer history in this country than a lot of us appreciate.

Until that happens, though, I suppose I'd settle for the Revolution to take a cue from the Philadelphia Union and at least recognize on their Web site that professional soccer in New England did not just begin with the birth of the MLS in 1995.

- John C.L. Morgan

* Despite my lack of enthusiasm for the new uniforms, I do appreciate the Revolution's efforts to incorporate the flag of New England on the back of the jerseys. It's small, but the official adoption of iconic regional imagery is another step in the right direction for a team still looking to be considered part of the so-called MLS 2.0 brand.