We got to have the debate about how our best athletes need to play soccer again this week. Apparently there are a load of American Kylian Mbappes out there but they don’t play soccer, who knew? The question is usually asked by people with a deeply flawed understanding of soccer and how its played internationally and how its played in the US but gets at the anxieties around the sport that USMNT fans have.
If you think we are using our best and brightest in soccer, I feel like you need to purchase an HD television. Mbappe is just like 1000 dudes that play football or hoops in the states, put cleats on em at 6 and train em and we will win everything https://t.co/RJXkrI34wn— Doug Gottlieb (@GottliebShow) July 15, 2018
The thing is, until that last part of the statement about putting cleats on good athletes and training them, I don’t know that he’s far off base with the overall idea. There’s no doubt that if more Americans were playing soccer that the sport would be stronger - how they develop is a completely different story and one that someone who isn’t that informed about the sport probably wouldn’t get.
The debate about if good athletes play soccer or not is not a good one to have on Twitter, but led to a good question:
quote tweet with the American professional athlete that you wish grew up playing soccer instead— Across the Pond (@ATPradio) July 17, 2018
The correct answer is obviously Javier Baez, the center attacking second baseman of the Chicago Cubs. Baez is what would have happened if Juan Ramon Riquelme played baseball and even without growing up playing soccer - as far as I know - he’d probably be the third best option at left back the USMNT has. What I’m saying is he should be called into January camp.
Anyway, here are the other amazing and enlightening things that happened in the world of soccer this week...
Who would win in a fight?
This is a really good list, the only problem with it is that if Gennaro Gattuso was on it he’d punch every person on it in half.
MLS player retires due to good heatlh
If it seems like MLS is just making up rules about rosters and how VAR will be used and generally not being accountable for what it does, well read this story about how Marvell Wynne’s career came to an end. It involves conflicting medical reports, including one the league picked to its benefit, that effectively meant that Wynne will never play again even though he’s healthy enough to. It includes some choice words from the defender at the end of the article.
NWSL players deserve better
NWSL players have pointed out their poor treatment before. Famously, Hope Solo documented the conditions that players in the league must endure including bad field conditions, poor equipment, awful officiating, unsanitary locker rooms, and poor security. That was two years ago and at least one team things aren’t much better. An Equalizer Soccer article noted the poor conditions that Sky Blue FC players face not only on the field in training, but off of it while traveling and even in their home life. Team owner, oh and Governor of the State of New Jersey, Phil Murphy was called on by NJ.com to address the issues. Apparently, hopefully after nearly dying of shame, he issued a response and got the team a trailer to shower and change in and promised to do better.
Bank account drained...
There are many reasons that coaches go in on referees. There’s the - “I’ve got my players back” and the “I’ll make this a story about me yelling at the refs rather than about the terrible way my team played and the horrible way I coached them” then we have the “this is awful, something has to change, this is ruining our sport, please, please, make it better.” I think these two fall under that last category.
Mike Petke is an American hero, when does the go fund me start to pay his fine? He should pay it to MLS in pennies.
On second thought, a succinct killshot is just as good.
Tata was asked about Howard Webb, the manager of VAR operations, saying that Atlanta should’ve been awarded a penalty against Seattle after Chris McCann was pulled down:— Dirty South Soccer (@DirtySouthSoc) July 19, 2018
“If he didn’t see Nigel De Jong’s kick, he’s not going to see this penalty.”
Finally, a fresh start
Who would have thought he hadn’t broke through the Manchester City first team.
Maybe they should be called the Miami Ladrones
What if I told you that the process to get the David Beckham Stadium for Players Who Can’t Play Good and Want to Learn How to Do Other Stuff Good Too built has been a hilarious and shady looking fiasco? First, the Miami New Times has the story of local political interests that featured yo momma jokes, nepotism, corruption, and threats to jump into a nearby body of water pending the result of a vote on the stadium. Then there’s this juicy soup dumpling of a revelation - MLS - with Don Garber sitting on the Board of Directors of US Soccer - brought in former US Soccer Board of Director member and former University of Miami President Donna Shalala to lobby for the stadium project. Here’s the thing, the former board member, and current Democratic candidate for Congress, did so without registering as a lobbyist. Of course, MLS pulling out all the stops for the team in Miami has nothing to do with the fact that Riccardo Silva’s team had to abandon its league when it folded and Silva is currently suing US Soccer over it. Whatever you do don’t make that connection or think too deeply about how MLS is bending over backwards to bring a team to Miami and Austin while treating fans in Columbus like they didn’t help make the league as successful as it is today.
Great, now I have to change my ringtone...
I Believe That We Will Win may be the best soccer song of all time, but Paul Pogba singing the N’Golo Kante song is one of the greatest things ever.
The apertura opens once again...
LigaMX is getting started tonight and I will once again tell myself I will watch it a lot while sorta watching it sometimes. But maybe this will be the year I follow a team and wait until my beloved Venados FC gets promoted finally. For now, check out the FMF State of Mind reasons to watch each team.
I keep plugging this and I know it’s behind a paywall, but it’s less than a cuppa coffee a month. It’s been a huge struggle for me to cut back to just 59 Pumpkin Spice Lattes a month (they will make them for you off season, I will have you know), but I’ve been happy with the subscription to The Athletic and you will probably like it too. You can even read Stephanie Yang’s new article about what role Carli Lloyd should be playing on the US Women’s National Team as the team prepares for the 2019 World Cup.
Goals of the week
What could it be?
The NC Courage have finally started finishing their chances - as Lynn Williams aptly demonstrated against Sky Blue FC last weekend - who doesn’t love a hat trick?
You should watch
Very Cavallari - As a Bears fan who delighted in the endless number of interceptions that Jay Cutler inexplicably threw in his career it’s just a joy to watch him take his unvaccinated kids to school and look disinterested about everything going on in his life. It’s really nice that there’s a reality show I can watch now that Bachelorette is getting to the dreadful final few episodes when the haunting reality of picking a partner someone met on a TV show while dating 20 other people at the same time sets in.