I hope everyone had a good and frightful Halloween. To celebrate the holiday and since it’s Friday, I figured we could spend a little bit of time and talk about candy. Now that Halloween has passed, we can take a moment away from the existential horrors tied with the USMNT for something with a little more levity, and what better way to do that than to imagine the players as candy.
Jozy Altidore: KitKat Bar
KitKat bars are pretty good. They’re not the best chocolate, but they pretty solid, decent candy. And I’ve got long memories of that great catchphrase.
Give me a Break of that KitKat Bar
And you know, that’s a fairly spot on description of Altidore. He’s not the best in the world, but he does a lot of things right. And he breaks. He breaks a lot, actually.
Gregg Berhalter: Smarties
Do you like Smarties? I used to like Smarties. Well, more fairly, I didn’t really spend a lot of time thinking Smarties, but if you had asked me in the past what I thought of them, I’d probably tell you that I thought they were fine and that I liked them OK. But if you asked me now, I’d have to say that I think they are a bit chalky and crumble apart too easily.
And where did they get that name from? What is smart about Smarties anyway?
Megan Rapinoe: Laffy Taffy
I kind of think this one is unfair. Laffy Taffys are alright, but Megan Rapinoe is great. It’s probably hard for Laffy Taffys to be compared to the reigning Player of the Year, but the more I think about it, the more I think it makes sense.
For starters, Laffy Taffys come in all sorts of colors, just like Rapinoe’s hair. And it’s never out of the ordinary. When you see a new color of Laffy Taffy, it’s altogether simple to just accept that, yeah, that’s what Laffy Taffy’s look like these days. Like Rapinoe, Laffy Taffys always have something to say. Sometimes, it’s even something amusing. That extends to the flavor profile as well. Nobody will ever disagree that Laffy Taffys have a bright and vibrant and tangy flavor about them. Indeed, if people don’t like Laffy Taffys, it’s often because they think that flavor is too much. They are also a little bit hard, so they have a bit of a bite to them. And they don’t go away; they really make you sit there and chew on things for a while.
But that’s still unfair. Laffy Taffys aren’t winning any awards anytime soon.
Christian Pulisic: Hershey Candy Bar
Come on. He’s from freaking Hershey, Pennsylvania. This one writes itself.
Michael Bradley: Candy Corn
Candy Corn is one of those really divisive candies. Always has been. Some people love it. Some people hate it. But I get the impression that, whether you adore them or disdain them, there are still some universal truths about eating candy corn, especially when you get them on Halloween. When you pull some candy corn out from your candy bag or pick one up from that help desk bowl, one thought always drifts into your mind. You can’t help but wonder “How old is this thing?” When you pop one in, the thought immediately occurs to you that you remember them tasting a whole lot better when you were younger. And I think that’s where people disagree on candy corn. Some people can’t stand that stale, yet overly sweet demeanor, that question of the passing of time. But others look at it and are reminded of their youth and choose to have another.
Rose Lavelle: Buckeye
What is a Buckeye exactly? A buckeye is a kind of nut that is native to the Midwest that grows on the Ohio Buckeye Tree. Buckeyes are so named because they resemble the eyes of deer. They happen to be the state tree of Ohio. They are very inedible and will give you stomach poisoning if eaten. Seriously, don’t eat buckeyes.
Buckeyes are also a kind of candy, a fine crafted chocolate with a peanut butter center. They are beloved in the state of Ohio. Coincidentally, buckeyes are very inedible to me. I have a lethal allergy to nuts so I seriously don’t eat buckeyes.
Why does that make Rose Lavelle a Buckeye? Well, she’s always got a kind disposition about her and has a bit of quirky, let’s say nutty, thing inside her. Doesn’t that sound like a buckeye? Besides, she herself says she’s “obsessed” with her hometown of Cincinnati. Well, Cincinnati is in Ohio. The Buckeye state. Where buckeyes are popular. And that works with me.
Wil Trapp: Nerds
On paper, Nerds are a good idea. Tangy, super small, crunchy bits of citrus flavored sugar? Yeah, that sounds great. You get just enough to scratch that sugary itch without having to sit there and chew like you do with something like a Laffy Taffy. They don’t overstay their welcome.
So you pull a box out and open it up. At first, it works out great. Just how you expected it. You get that nice hit of sugar, with that tangy flavor. So you pop a couple more in. And, before too long, you start to realize it’s not working anymore. You keep putting more Nerds in your mouth and it’s getting to be too much. It’s going all wrong. But you’ve got this whole stupid box full of them. You’ve got to finish it, right? What are you supposed to do otherwise? And, before you know it, you are reaching in to try and scrape the bottom of the box, all satisfaction lost long ago, only to realize that your sticky little fingers are now stuck in that stupid tiny little box. And the realization at last hits you. It was a trap all along.
What does this have to do with Wil Trapp? Nothing. Absolutely nothing at all.
Sergiño Dest: Good and Plenty
Ah, Sergiño Dest. Our new Dutch fullback. Well, he’s not really new. He’s actually low-key been in the US youth program for some years. We’ve not gotten a chance to see a lot of him yet, with him breaking into the senior team at Ajax and the USMNT just this fall. That means there’s something unexpected and hidden about him. And we know he’s got some proper dutch sensibilities in going forward.
And that brings us to Good and Plentys. They’ve been here for a while, just kind of under the radar (well, a century really isn’t a while, but...). And they aren’t super common candy in Halloween, so getting one is kind of a whole new learning experience each time. And, because they've got that white or pink coating on top, you don’t necessarily realize that you are getting into some sophisticated attacking notes from that black licorice underneath...
Yeah, ok, I’m just spinning right now. Dest gets to be Good and Plenty because he’s Dutch and 20 minutes of researching told me that black licorice was pretty popular in the Netherlands. I’ve never seen small packs of Twizzlers black licorice, so Dest gets to be Good and Plenty instead.
Carli Lloyd: Warheads
This one is self explanatory. What other candy is there with such a single-minded obsession with delivering that big payoff? What other candy is there that is so blunt and aggressive and willing to punch you in the mouth a little bit? You could consider something like a jawbreaker, but it doesn’t quite fit the same way. And, besides, nobody actually wants a jaw breaker. But Warheads, intense as they are, are good. Like, really good. Intense, but really good.
What do you think? Did some of my choices hit a sourpatch with you? Do you think I gummed up some of the choices? If you’ve got some suggestions for which players go with which candy, let me know in the comments below.