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The weekly Rekrap: The great train robbery

And a trophy for the best soccer team in North America...

Soccer: International Men’s Soccer Friendly-Jamaica at USA Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

Soccer fans in the US have a few options when it comes to expressing their support of the game - either latch onto a franchise team in MLS, NWSL or USL, support an international club, or build something from scratch. That’s what Chattanooga FC did 10 years ago becoming a stable, strong, club in a sport dominated by single entity in the US. They will seemingly get competition in a season or two from a new USL D-III team that may expand into the city according to Soc Takes. NBC Sports also covered the story putting it in context with other sports and leagues in the US.

It has been a difficult year for fans in the current soccer landscape in the US. The Columbus Crew are in the process of being re-located to Austin, Texas and this is the latest reminder that a wealthy outside party can free-ride on the success of a team with an important role and history in the sport in the US.

A possible path for pro/rel

This might be pure fantasy or it might be the logical end of a long, arduous, probably overdue, slog but with USL poised to launch USL D-III, the end result of MLS and USL expansion could very well end up leading to promotion and relegation. Nicolas Mendola of NBC Sports has a discussion of how it might work and why it would even be a good thing for MLS as a whole. While pro/rel discussions often point out the fact that MLS is a closed league that protects negligent and disinterested owners, the league may very well see the logic in implementing a mechanism to move teams between the leagues... it just might take a really long time to get there.

Re-living soccer history

Speaking of promotion and relegation, read this bananas story of the promotion playoff between Charlton Atletic and Sunderland from 1998. It has everything - a pee soaked stadium, a million goals, two teams that were good but now have to play against Scunthorpe United, you know... history. All of this happened when MLS was all but two years old and despite the fact that both clubs have fallen from grace, there’s something to be said for the struggles and challenges of a soccer team and supporting a club through their ups and downs, and downs, and downs as the case is with Sunderland and Charlton. Also, Will McGee is a treasure and everyone should read what he writes.

Photos from a star filled night

The MLS All-Star game was this week and it wasn’t even ruined by VAR. This is a massive accomplishment for the league and something that should be applauded. There’s no word yet if Don Garber had the tubes that carry VAR feeds to stadiums as I imagine the system works cut before the game, but it was by all accounts a fun time. Howler Magazine photographer Ben Green caught some of the action and took some amazing photos of the game.

Winning, you might have heard of it, and it matters

The NC Courage won the first International Champions Cup to feature women’s teams on Sunday. They managed to beat Paris Saint-Germain and Olympique Lyonnais despite having five starters on international duty. Don’t let anyone tell you this is a friendly pre-season tournament and it doesn’t matter and if they do, have them read Neil Morris’ article about why it does. The Courage are the best team in North America right now and have just one loss in 19 games, they are fun to watch and play an aggressive, attacking, pressing style. I highly encourage you to check them out if you haven’t yet.

From interesting prospect to youth phenom, the Alphonso Davies story

Kim McCauley has a great write up on the SBN big page about Alphonso Davies and how he is a phenomenally talented player. Anyone who watched the All Star Game saw him hang with one of the best teams in the world and in recent weeks he as absolutely blown apart MLS players. It’s been a lot of fun watching him progress and develop in the league. His story also includes the tidbit that his academy will receive a solidarity payment for their role in his development. Eventually, and by that I mean in the next CBA when the players will hopefully look at a league that is valued at $4 billion and realize that they should exercise more leverage, MLS will need to work something out with the MLS Players’ Association to make payments a reality for the rest of the academies in the country as well.

La lucha sigue

Where else would you get your soccer news than a Latin American political science journal? The North American Congress on Latin America published a story about the fight Latin American women’s soccer teams have been waging to get gender equality - or at the very least, you know, PAID. Following a protest and media coverage of the Argentinian women’s national team during the Women’s Copa America last April, their FA has promised changes ahead of a World Cup playoff scheduled for next year. For now, the players will wait and see if the AFA lives up to its word.


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