It has been quite a month for US Soccer.
Yesterday, the USMNT defeated Germany 2-1 for their first ever win against Germany on German soil. Earlier that day in New Zealand, at the U-20 World Cup, the US U-20 Men’s Team defeated Colombia 1-0, with a fabulous penalty kick save sealing the victory. This U-20 team has already tied the US record for number of wins at the U-20 World Cup. They stand a chance to have the best U-20 showing ever for a US team. Next up Serbia in the quarterfinals on Sunday. A couple of days before these exciting wins by the Men’s Teams, the USWNT kicked off their World Cup campaign with a 3-1 victory over Australia. It was a decisive victory, even if the Aussies didn’t think so. The Women face their former coach on Friday when the USWNT play Sweden. The mind games have already started. Just a day before the USWNT started things off with a win, the U-23 Men’s Team ended their campaign at the prestigious Toulon Tournament with a 2-1 win against England. The victory secured third place for the US, it’s best showing ever at the historic tournament. And just two days prior to the U-23 victory, the USMNT scored a thrilling come-from-behind 4-3 victory over the Netherlands in Amsterdam, its first ever win against this traditional European powerhouse. So, really an exciting week for US Soccer!
But, I began the post by saying it was a good month. I should really have said it was a good week for US Soccer and a good month for worldwide soccer, although the US had a large part in the events. On June 2, FIFA’s long-running president, Sepp Blatter resigned amid a flurry of indictments and accusations of bribery and other misconduct among FIFA executives. The IRS, FBI, and US Dept. of Justice are integrally involved in the indictments and ongoing investigations. The rampant corruption is mind-boggling. Here’s something to help you follow along. I’ll not try to spell it all out here. The bottom line is there is hope for change to an organization whose operations have been described as running like the mafia. John Oliver was especially ecstatic about the news of Blatter’s resignation.
All in all, these past few weeks have improved the world’s perspective on American soccer both on and off the pitch. US Soccer has probably not been held in such high esteem since the days of faux-denim kits and fire-red goatees.
God Bless America!
Ok, even though the US lost, we still survived the Group of Death. I’m feeling a little better. I still don’t have anything to say in a blog post…so go read this instead.
No time to blog. There is a game that is making me too nervous.
Click the image to see posters for all 32 World Cup teams
Unless you live in a cave or are willfully ignoring it, you know that the World Cup begins in 14 days. If you need to familiarize yourself with the teams and the groups, you ought to be watching the incredibly entertaining Men in Blazers team and group previews. Check out the latest on the USA’s “Group of Death”:
I also recommend the Men in Blazers podcast on the Grantland network. Roger Bennett and Michael Davies are two funny in-the-know Brits who’ve been successful journalists, TV producers, film makers, authors, etc. in the States for years. Even those who are not fans of soccer will get a kick out of Rog and Davo.
Roger Bennet is also directing a multi-part series for ESPN following the USMNT as they march to Brazil. See the first two episodes here and here. The third episode is to air tonight. Here’s a short preview:
I played soccer (football for those of you outside the US and Canada) maybe two years in my youth. Several things were working against me. For one, I lived in small-town East Texas. Football (American football for those of you outside the US and Canada) was and still is king. Another thing keeping me from soccer stardom was my skill. I stunk! I was so bad with my feet the coach had no choice but to put me in goal. So most of my career was spent standing around watching balls fly past me into the net. That was another thing, Continue reading
Seriously, can I have it? I’ve noticed in the past several years I lose mine all the time. And when I seem to have it, it only lasts for a short time. So I could use some extra attention, some with shelf life to it.
It all started, I think, when I began working in front of an internet-connected computer all day. It was just too easy to pop over and check news headlines or the latest online sale or my friends’ recently posted pictures. I was (and am still) able to get my work done. In fact, the distractions probably helped my eyes from glazing over. But the downside is that I think I started training my mind to concentrate for shorter intervals. Facebook only exacerbates the problem.
Later, about five years ago now, our twins (and first children) came along. Up ’til then I could usually find time to read or work on something for an extended period of time. No more. The evenings are taken up with dinner, baths, bedtime routines, stories, and then cleaning up the mess left over from the day. Finally, by the time that’s all done, there is no block of time left to read more than 15-30 minutes before bed. Again, my mind adjusts to accommodate short bursts of needed attention.
I’ve become an expert at skimming news articles, blog posts, and other miscellanea I would have, in a former life, given more attention to. I’ve become Cliff Clavin—lots of trivial information with little depth.
I do find myself returning to the same sorts of bits. Whenever I get my attention back I hope to dive in a little more deeply. Until then, here are a few things that have held my short attention over the last few weeks.
- The Gospel of Jesus’ Wife seems to have flared up and fizzled out rather quickly; although it may stick around longer than it should.
- The dust up around Emmanuel Christian Seminary’s Christopher Rollston and his Huffington Post article about the marginalization of women in the Bible has put a lot of bibliobloggers in a rightful tizzy. See the list of links in this post.
- Is Big Bird too big to fail?
- Is Jurgen Klinsmann up to something by not calling up Jozy Altidore for the next World Cup qualifiers?
- Is it time for a revision of peer review?
- And of course there’s always music. If you don’t know the story of Staff Benda Bilili, get to know them now. In the Democratic Republic of the Congo four senior paraplegic musicians take in abandoned street children and together they make music that forces you to move, what’s not to love?