Yes I know, this is probably the third or fourth time I’ve started a weekly thing. But this time it’s going to stick. Here’s news we couldn’t get to this week but that deserves recognition or pithy comment for your weekend enjoyment.
It’s a wonderful time of year. A time when people gather and truly show what’s really important to them: buying stuff. But it’s also the end of the year and with it the end of a decade... though we still have another week before we say good bye to the 2010s. What a 10s it was, no doubt the best 10s in at least 100 years.
Before all that though, it’s time to celebrate Festivus. So, serve up a meatloaf or whatever on a bed of lettuce and gather your loved ones.
First, the Airing of Grievances. In short, “I got a lotta problems with you people, and now you’re going to hear about it!” Not the USWNT, keep doing what you are doing - never change and thank you for a perfect 2019. Winning the Women’s World Cup was beyond any Festivus Miracle I could have hoped for. If there’s anything that I’m let down by it’s that people couldn’t handle watching women celebrate winning the World Cup like they’d won the World Cup.
But the men - a lotta problems. It would be generous to say that there were growing pains... but there was no growth. It was all pain. The biggest positive was winning the group in something called the Nations League. The lows included losing to Canada (CANADA) in possibly the worst USMNT performance in a game the team was a clear favorite in over the past 10 years. Then there were the two largely non-competitive showings against Mexico. At best it seems like there’s a disconnect between what the manager thinks that he is capable of as a coach and that the players are capable of... or he’s the wrong guy for the job. In any case, it wasn’t good.
That was fun. Always good to express disappointment every so often.
Now time for feats of strength. This tradition holds that a head of household can challenge someone to a wrestling match and that the match will go on until the head of household is pinned. I pick Gregg Berhalter. I don’t have any ill will toward him, but I want to see if he ends up talking about making progress if he loses.
Finally, A FESTIVUS MIRACLE:
News that we didn’t write about but are now
That time Landon Donovan drank water but it was about more than water
I don’t know how you are reading this article since the internet was broken earlier this week. Pablo Maurer at the Athletic wrote about the 2002 photo of Landon Donovan drinking water and a sexy photoshoot with the MNT before they left for the World Cup. It’s a photoshoot that’s been written about before, but here we are 17 years after it happened with an exhaustive deep dive about it. Is it a funny and ridiculous thing? Sure. Is there deep social meaning behind it? Yep. Is it the only meme or recognizably famous picture of a US Men’s player that fans would recognize anywhere? It is - arguably, it’s the most recognizable image related to the USMNT, a second place shot isn’t really in the conversation and it’s almost 20 years old. As much as it’s a commentary about society, it also says that while the USWNT has had its share of iconic shots over the last decade (or half decade for that matter), the men haven’t. WHERE ARE THE MEMES GUYS?
Looking back at Megan Rapinoe’s incredible year
Leander Schaerlaeckens on Yahoo has a look at what a year Megan Rapinoe had. She obviously had an impact on the field with the USWNT winning her second World Cup, Ballon d’Or, Golden Ball, Golden Boot, and was named Sportsperson of the Year by Sports Illustrated.
US Soccer will try to fix itself
Also on Yahoo, Caitlin Murray has a report about steps that the US Soccer Federation will take to fix what is a reportedly toxic working environment for staff at Soccer
Mansion House (or as staff might call it Soccer House on Haunted Hill or Soccer Ammvtyiille Horror House). For now, the steps involve taking employee surveys and determining how to best address complaints and improve conditions for employees. The organization will also implement actual criteria for determining things like promotion and raises while also adding evaluation plans for all employees, including the CEO, which apparently (how?) were not in place before. It’s pretty bad that things got to this point, but terrible work environments cost organizations money and reduce employee performance so perhaps addressing things in this area will improve other aspects of USSF.
Olosunde talks about the USMNT and what it was like moving to England as a teenager
A report about Matthew Olosunde notes that the right-back is seeking to make his way to the USMNT and is making the most of his time with League One side Rotherham. While the third tier of English soccer might not sound all that impressive, the article notes that Olosunde is getting a lot of guidance from veterans and has a good attitude about the move there from Manchester United. The team has a solid defense and could end up in the Championship, so the defender might be in for a bigger test come next season.
Some news about watching soccer
It’s no secret that LigaMX is the most watched league in the US, but part of the impact of that is that TUDN accounts for 50% of all soccer viewership in the country. Many markets receive the network over the air, so watching games does not require a cable subscription or even internet access. If you own a TV and an antenna it will get easier to watch more free soccer since Bein Sports is launching its own OTA network. Who doesn’t love free soccer?
Finally, a POLL
What should Gregg Berhalter’s nickname be?
This poll is closed
Greggdiola GET IT? GET IT? GET IT?