Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Recommended Reading: Revs and the Era of Mutual Love

M. Willis:
Major League Soccer’s history has been marked by eras - the Honeymoon Phase (‘96-‘97), The Era of End Zones & Yard Markings (‘98-‘00), Operation: Survival (‘01-‘03), A Series of Hyped Events (‘04-‘07), Guys! The Guardian is Talking About Us And Not In A Mocking Way (‘08-‘10), and currently, the Age of Mutual Love.
Also, check out Willis's thought-provoking posts on how the Revs brand should be rebooted.

- John C.L. Morgan

Friday, February 24, 2012

Vid of the Week: Benny Feilhaber

Feilhaber's acrobatic goal occurred in the second minute of the Revolution's 3-2 win over the L.A. Galaxy in their first game of the Desert Diamond Cup pre-season tournament.

- John C.L. Morgan

Friday, February 17, 2012

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Soccer's 1%

By a considerable margin, Real Madrid and Barcelona are soccer's biggest moneymakers. Real tops the annual list compiled by accounting firm Deloitte for the seventh straight year with revenues of $637 million for the year ending June 30. Barcelona is second with revenues of $598 million. Manchester United was again third with $487 million. Only Bayern Munich, Arsenal and Chelsea at 4-5-6 have more than half the total of Real Madrid.
- John C.L. Morgan

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Recommended Reading: Quarrelsome Cruyff

Simon Kuper on the roots of Dutch great Johan Cruyff and his recent takeover bid of Ajax:
Yet this is probably the final act of the long psychodrama. Given Cruijff’s history, it’s not hard to predict that this will end in quarrels. After that, one struggles to envision a successful Sixth Coming. Dutch football is slowly escaping the grip of its maker. Cruijff himself is impossible. Only his ideas will live on.
- John C.L. Morgan

Related: Bite-Sized Review: The Freaky Side of Soccer (February 24, 2010)

Monday, February 13, 2012

The Question: Is This the Beginning of the End for High School Soccer in Maine?

The United States Soccer Federation provoked reactions throughout American youth soccer circles late last week, when it announced that clubs participating in its U.S. Soccer Development Academy (USDA) will be transitioning to a 10-month schedule beginning this fall and that players participating in the USDA will no longer be able to play for both their USDA clubs and their high schools.

Amid the various debating points and virtual arguments, though, one thing is clear: High school soccer throughout the United States will look different beginning this fall. The question is, How different will it look here in Maine?

From my perspective, not much different--at least in the short-term.

That's because if a Maine soccer player were to participate in the USDA, he would most likely play for Seacoast United. As of today, though, neither the U-16 nor the U-18 Seacoast United Development Academy teams have a Mainer on their rosters. So--for this fall at least--there don't appear to be any upperclassmen here in Maine who will be forced to choose between playing for club or for city.

In the long run, though, the USDA's new 10-month schedule will no doubt have an effect on high school soccer here in Maine.

Obviously, the conflict will become more apparent when Mainers represent a USDA team at that level. However, a more subtle--but consequential--point: Even though the USSF's new policy applies only to the 78 club teams participating in the Development Academy, I wouldn't be surprised if other competitive premier clubs not affiliated with the USDA adopt a similar policy of exclusivity. And its these ripple effects that could cause the shift of some of the better players in the state playing exclusively for his club side.

So, even though the short-term impact of the new policy seems neglible and pretty small, the long-term impact could be a big one for high school soccer in Maine. The complementary relationship between high school soccer and club soccer has been debated for about the last decade now, and last week's news could very well signal the end of that symbiotic relationship.

- John C.L. Morgan

Friday, February 10, 2012

Vid of the Week: Harry Keough

Keough, a member of the 1950 U.S. World Cup team that shocked the world with its 1-0 win over England, passed away on Tuesday. He was 84.

- John C.L. Morgan

Revere's Ride: Dump Moreno

In the nine days since Revolution President Brian Bilello sent out a cryptic tweet claiming the Revs "have signed a #9," there's been confirmation the player was Colombian journeyman Jose "Pepe" Moreno, reports that Moreno has changed his mind and would instead prefer to remain in Colombia, and reminders that Moreno has signed all the necessary paperwork to become property of the Revolution.

All of which is to say New England Soccer Today's Brian O'Connell is spot-on with his call for the Revs to say thanks, but no thanks to Moreno:
At this juncture, the best course of action is to simply pull the plug on Pepe. It’s fairly obvious he’d rather stay in Colombia. So let him. Forget the potential public fallout for letting him walk. Better to leave him be than to force him into a situation he may never be ready for.
- John C.L. Morgan

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Recommended Reading: Player Development Model

A less sensationally marketed document, but free and definitely worth a read, has been unveiled by U.S. Youth Soccer, which has delivered its 117-page “Player Development Model.” You’re thinking, Another curriculum!? Right, it arrives eight months after the USSF unveiled its "U.S. Soccer Curriculum." But this one’s more similar in scope and is designed as a complement to the USSF’s excellent “Best Practices for Coaching Soccer in the United States,” which came out in 2005.
- John C.L. Morgan

Related: Geography of Talent (December 15-20, 2011)

Friday, February 3, 2012

Revere's Ride: Basement Dwellers

Even though the Revolution won't kick off their 2012 season for another month or so, they are already considered to be the worst team in the MLS:
John Lozano--not Benny Feilhaber, Shalrie Joseph or anyone else--is actually the key player in New England this year. The offense and possession game was better than good down the stretch, but defensively, they couldn’t stop a sneeze. Lozano needs to come through for them to improve.
Speaking of Lozano, he and his fellow defenders are evidently pre-occupied with communication right now.

- John C.L. Morgan

Vid of the Week: Bob Bradley on Egyptian Soccer Riot

The reaction of former U.S. national team coach--and current Egyptian national team coach--Bob Bradley reacting to this week's soccer riot in Egypt.

- John C.L. Morgan

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Revere's Ride: The Colombian Connection

John Lozano and Fernando C├írdenas are so new to the United States, they reported straight to the remote oasis of green pitches in south-central Arizona from their native Colombia. No stopover in their new home in New England, even though the club returns to the Northeast on Tuesday. No chance to find a temporary home or shop for warm clothes or meet office staff. None of that. The Colombian duo went straight to the Revolution’s preseason training camp way out west and, just a few days after arriving, found themselves in the Revs’ first training match of the preseason last Saturday.
There is also fresh news that the Revs have signed 30-year-old Colombian striker Jose "Pepe" Moreno.

- John C.L. Morgan

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Recommended Reading: Egyptian Soccer Riots

At least 73 people were killed in a brawl between rival groups of soccer fans after a match in the city of Port Said on Wednesday in the bloodiest episode of lawlessness since the ouster of President Hosni Mubarak one year ago. Police officers around the stadium appeared unable or unwilling to control the violence, and video footage showed officers standing idle as groups of fans attacked each other with knives and other weapons.
- John C.L. Morgan

Revere's Ride: Headlines

Here's news on the Revs since their first pre-season friendly that may not be news fit to post on its own, but is interesting in the aggregate:

Contributing members to the 2011 edition of the Revolution, Monsef Zerka and Rajko Lekic, will not be returning for the 2012 campaign. (February 1 and January 30)

Sainey Nyassi has gained permament resident status from the U.S. government, so the Revs now have five of its possible eight slots for international players open. (January 31)

Rookie Kelyn Rowe's solid debut attracted some positive press, including attention for his adjustment to a new position and predictions of a successful rookie season for the former UCLA midfielder. (January 30 and January 29)

Midfielder Stephen McCarthy may find himself playing center back this year. (January 30)

Midfielder Benny Feilhaber's January experience with the U.S. national team results in more questions than answers. (January 30).

The Revolution have announced two schedule changes for the upcoming 2012 season. (January 30)

News article leads to hopeful speculation that a new stadium deal may be in the works. (January 28).

- John C.L. Morgan