Happy Halloween, everybody! To be honest, this year has been pretty frightening so far (I mean, until the USWNT had a camp this past week, we had not seen any action from either team since March!!), so we figured we’d do something sweet for the holiday. Last year, we took a look at what candy each national team player would be. And this year, I figured we could revisit that idea with some new players.
Weston McKennie: Bertie Bott’s Every Flavor Jellybeans
As it turns out, Weston McKennie is a big Harry Potter fan. So naturally, that’s exactly where we are going to look when talking about candy. It would be something to say that McKennie was something like Fizzing Whizzbees or Sugared Butterfly Wings, but, for our purposes, I think we ought to stick with something that has actually made it out into the real world. Lucky for us Muggles, it is indeed possible to find such treats as Bertie Bott’s Every Flavor Jellybeans. But McKennie isn’t just Bertie Bott’s Every Flavor Jellybeans because he’s a Potterhead. Nah, he’s got the ethos of the candy, too. Bertie Bott’s Every Flavor Jellybeans (seriously, this needs an acronym) are all about sharing and having fun with friends and family. Everybody takes one and hopes they got watermelon instead of soap or vomit. It’s about camaraderie, about having fun with each other. And everything that we’ve heard and seen from McKennie shows that he’s all-in as a team player, a nice guy who cares 120% about everyone around him.
Julie Ertz: Everlasting Gobstopper
While we are on players and candy derived from fiction, why don’t we take to our next entry. Julie Ertz is best epitomized by the ever-popular Everlasting Gobstopper, as invented by the master Chocolatier, Willy Wonky in Roald Dahl’s classic novel Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. What exactly is an Everlasting Gobstopper? Well, let’s take a sec and look back at that original source.
You can put an Everlasting Gobstopper in your mouth and you can suck it and suck it and suck it and suck it and it will never get any smaller!... There’s one of them being tested this very moment in the Testing Room next door. An Oompa-Loompa is sucking it. He’s been sucking it for very nearly a year now without stopping, and it’s still just as good as ever!”
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Chapter 19, Roald Dahl
In the real world, gobstoppers are a kind of jaw breaker that last forever in your mouth. On top of that, if you suck on it for long enough, you’ll hit a new flavor. And that makes this just the perfect candy for Julie Ertz. She never tires out, always going 100% game in, game out. She comes in two-flavors at once: hyper-aggressive defensive mid, and rock-solid center back. And she most definitely qualifies as a jaw breaker.
Sam Vines: Red Vines
The fullback’s last name is Vines. This one was just too easy and I am not above grabbing low-hanging fruit.
Cristian Roldan: Almond Joy
Almond Joys try to do so many things all at once. They’re working the chocolate angle, AND trying to corner the coconut game, AND go all in with the nuts. If you can get that skillset to mesh all together, you’ve got the perfect trifecta. But that’s not what happens with Almond Joys. Really, Almond Joys try so hard to do so much, but they don’t get any of them right. They are a kind of jack-of-all trade’s candy, a real master of nothing. And that’s unfortunately how I feel about Cristian Roldan. You can see moments of talent in his defensive game, when he’s in possession, and when he’s attacking. But he can't put in a consistent enough performance in any one place to really be worth playing. And so, for me, he’s an Almond Joy. Do I get an allergic reaction when I see his name on the team sheet? No, just a metaphorical one.
Shout out to Vuke for calling this one in the comments last year.
Sam Mewis: Twix Bar
You know what’s a chocolate bar that actually does 3 things well? Twix bars. A standard Twix bar is a small biscuit topped with caramel before the whole thing is coated in chocolate. And, unlike Almond Joys, they are good. Indeed, I would say they are very good. The thing about Twix bars is that the quality doesn’t come from merely doing three things well. Sure, the chocolate, the biscuit, and the caramel are all individually of good quality. But the real thing is that, by putting them together, you get something that is more than the sum of its parts. And that’s the case with Sam Mewis. She’s got a little bit of that defensive bite, the willingness to shove opposing players off the ball. She’s got some pretty nice passing moves, with a clean eye for a smooth pass into space. And she makes those sweet, sweet runs late into the box for goals. (Just ask Man City fans about those sweet, sweet goals.) It’s not that Mewis is better at any of those individual aspects than more specialized players like Ertz or Lavelle. It’s that Mewis’ is able to put those skills together to produce something that is different and flexible compared to the others. She puts a whole new Twix on the midfield options from the rest of the WNT pool.
Carlos Cordiero: Halloween Peeps
Due to resource constraints, Halloween peeps will not be available this year.
Matt Miazga: Runts
Wait a second; this doesn’t seem right. I think there may have been a mix up.
Nothing friendly about a match between the U.S. and Mexico.— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) July 29, 2020
Ask Matt Miazga and Diego Lainez pic.twitter.com/bf1Cu4Cq3a
Alyssa Naeher: Tootsie Pop
Tootsie Pops are quiet and unassuming. They are pretty standard Halloween fare. They are the kind of candy your boring uncle gives. But the thing is, Tootsie Pops have a secret, hidden deep within. Everyone knows that there is this secret, but nobody has ever discovered it. How many licks does it take to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop?
Alyssa Naeher is quiet and unassuming. She does her job and she does her job well, without any fuss of any sort. She is so straightforward, her teammates call her Uncle. But you know what? Nobody knows what’s really buried deep inside Naeher. It’s a mystery. Who knows what’s at the center of Alyssa Naeher?
What do you guys think? Did I hit the Payday or did I flat out miss the Bullseye? I’ve got a feeling that you guys will be able to put your twist on these takes, so keep ‘em Good and Plenty down in the comments.
As always, stay safe. And Happy Halloween.