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Sunday Cup-o-American soccer: Bigfoot, Cardinal, and Mark McKenzie on Black Lives Matter

It took long enough for Bigfoot and soccer to merge

MLS: Toronto FC at Philadelphia Union Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

2020 has been the longest century that most of us will have to live through. This week though, there was some news items or bits of analysis that was interesting but didn’t otherwise get the attention it deserved. So sit back, brew up a cup of coffee or reishi mushroom tea or whatever gives people superpowers now and take in the stories of the week.

A potential path forward for Jesse Marsch

Moves in the soccer world never happen in a vacuum. A player transfer opens a roster spot for a new signing, it’s a tale as old as time. Such a move may present itself to Jesse Marsch in the future. When Dortmund fired Lucien Favre the American was mentioned as a potential replacement at the German club. Ultimately, the job went to assistant Edin Terzic for the rest of the season, but should Dortmund decide to move in a different direction an opportunity there or elsewhere could be open to Marsch as NBC Sports discusses.

Alyssa Naeher discussed her progress ahead of the Best FIFA Football Awards

USWNT goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher discussed her 2020 season and what it meant to be nominated for the Best FIFA Women’s Goalkeeper. Ultimately, French netminder Sarah Bouhaddi took home the honor, but Naeher should again be in the running next year as the Olympics are on the table for the USWNT. In the interview, Naeher discusses the difficulties of training during a pandemic, how she became a goalkeeper, and how she approaches playing the position.

Meet my new favorite soccer team, FC Sasquatch

Ok, they’re actually called Appalachian FC and Leander Schaerlaeckens of Yahoo has the story of how the team emerged as Appalachian State University cut its men’s soccer program. As 2020 forced universities to react to budget shortfalls, many universities cut sports programs and the App State men’s soccer team was one program to be eliminated. In the wake of the decision, the team’s coach Jason O’Keefe rounded up investment and eventually founded a new team in Boone, North Carolina that will play in the National Premier Soccer League starting in May. Obviously, it doesn’t replace a college program, but it is a story of how the game can still grow in the face of the difficult times faced this year.

What makes Stanford a USWNT powerhouse?

There are a few marquee programs that seem to produce talent that ends up on the USWNT. One program is the Stanford Cardinal women’s soccer team. Samantha Leventis of Stanford Daily discusses what makes the program great and why so many of its players end up in the USWNT setup. The article goes into the history of the program, its early trials and tribulations and sustained success over the years.

Mark McKenzie on the challenge black players face due to systemic racism

2020 saw the rise of the biggest social movement in a generation and the calls for change were also made on soccer fields across MLS. USMNT defender Mark McKenzie discussed the challenges he’s faced due to racism and what bringing activism onto the field meant to him this year. Not only did the social movement illustrate how racism operates now, for McKenzie it also has motivated him to learn Spanish so he can communicate across cultures.