In what will surely be one of many MLS sartorial commentaries over the coming months, allow me to say that someone should have been fired for the wardrobes that were trotted out at the HDC for the Chivas – Real Salt Lake match. I don’t know if it’s the equipment managers, Don Garber, or Brandi Chastain, but someone needs to get their head on straight in re: acceptable uniform combinations for professional soccer games.
That is, Chivas wore red and white striped shirts with blue trim, blue shorts, and blue socks. Real Salt Lake wore red shirts with blue and yellow trim, blue shorts, and white socks. Right. So both teams wore shirts with red prominently involved along with blue shorts. Errr, no. I know we’re all a bit hamstrung with the Chivas shirts (being pretty much the same home and away — both doing a good job of hogging both red and white), but there needs to be something a little more clever at work here. I mean, there are only twelve (12) teams. It shouldn’t be that hard.
We’re finally getting into World Cup marketing season, as Nike and Adidas are rolling out their big soccer campaigns for this summer’s main event. There will certainly be room and time to review said campaigns in detail; for now I’m just thankful that Nike has moved beyond the teaser trailer for their Joga TV thing. I had definitely hit my breaking point in re: “Mes Amis Footballeurs! Thees ees Eric Cantona!” on Fox Soccer Channel.
Though Nike has a bunch of these running right now (and they’re all pretty good), my favorite is definitely the Ronaldinho one, if only because you get to see what nine-year-old Ronaldinho looked like.
Also, nine-year-old Ronaldinho did not suck at soccer.
So this should actually be a pretty good idea for a TV show. They’re going to run a nationwide talent search for hidden gems of football talent — folks who just never got a look from the so-called “football experts”! Politics! It’s all politics!
The kicker is that the final episode will be the team they assemble from the TV show in a live match against the actual Malaysian national team. I have to imagine people will watch that. And it’s going to happen May 28th, along the approach route for World Cup media buildup. Very clever.
I don’t know if anyone else caught the Fox Sports World Report on Tuesday, but I think Jeremy and Carlos may have had a few too many bellinis at happy hour! They were, err, a bit giddy; one might even go so far as “playful.”
In case you’re just catching up with the Fox Sports World Report News Team, I’ll bet you didn’t know that weekday anchor Jeremy St Louis is more a hockey fan than a footy fan. But he doesn’t really follow the NHL. No. Of course not. He’s actually more into junior hockey; the Western Hockey League, to be exact. (It’s like Americans who are more into college football, sort of; maybe like the WCC.) And, as you’d probably expect, Jeremy is a Brandon Wheat Kings supporter; go Wheaties!
So I’m playing a little Winning Eleven, guiding the boys through their first season, when the XBox crashes (it does that a lot these days; poor little guy).
So I switch back to TV to catch the end of the (always excellent, UK-produced) EPL Preview show on Fox Soccer Channel, and whose voice do I hear but Winning Eleven/ Pro Evolution Soccer commentator Peter Brackley’s! Peter Brackley on my very own TV! Just moments after he’d been pronouncing words like “Ximelez” and “Iouga.”
Anyway, that’s what he looks like. And I definitely need to know more about this “stand-up comedy routine” from his bio.
(This is all a long way of saying that it was almost like playing an American sports video game.)
As our resident West Coast correspondent, I’ve grown accustomed to being out of phase with the timing of most big European footy matches. If you want to watch the domestic European leagues live, you need to be up and watching TV by 7. Extremely uncivilized.
Unfortunately, this week I’m a bit further to the west than usual. Or further to the east. Depends on how you slice it.
That is, you can imagine my dismay at missing the most highly anticipated match of this year’s Champions League (at least until the second leg of the tie), due to be broadcast here in Beijing at 3:30 am local time. While I appreciate that (a) the game is on TV at all and (b) my jet lag will enable me to catch the second Champions League broadcast at 6:00 am, I’m a little bummed I won’t be able to watch the CHE – BAR match live. Sigh.
I say Chelsea mugs them on the crappy pitch and takes a 2-1 lead back to the Nou Camp.
Iâ€™ve long since resigned myself to the fact that U.S. Soccer announcers arenâ€™t the high-end of global footy commentary, but after listening to the broadcast of this afternoonâ€™s U.S.A â€“ Slovakia Olympic hockey game, I was reminded of just how clueless the rest of our sports media is w/r/t coverage of international sports. That is, I didnâ€™t realize just how little vocabulary our media has for the description of a game played by two countries. Allow me to nitpick:
(1) The announcers are so accustomed to broadcasting games featuring teams that fall within the typical naming conventions of North American sports (â€œThe [Place/ University] [Nickname]sâ€) that they continuously stumble in the absence of the nickname, and fill the gap with â€œThe [Name of Resident/ Citizen of Country In Question]s.â€ That is, since they canâ€™t say â€œThe Rangers,â€ they say â€œThe Swedes.â€ What they mean to say is â€œSweden.â€
(2) Since we tend to refer to our Olympic teams as â€œTeam U.S.A.â€ the announcers seem to think that other countries apply this naming convention as well. That is, the guys doing the radio broadcast of this afternoonâ€™s hockey game (who were otherwise excellent â€“ seriously, they were really good), kept referring to the U.S.â€™s opponent as â€œTeam Slovakia.â€ Iâ€™m pretty sure that they donâ€™t sell t-shirts in Bratislava that say â€œTeam Slovakia.â€ Just a hunch.
(3) They refer to countries as a collective noun! No! NOOOOO!!!!!! The soccer way is so much cooler. That is, â€œSwitzerland are playing well in this tournament,â€ not â€œSwitzerland is playing well in this tournament.â€ This distinction is important. Very important.
Otherwise, I applaud all international sports competitions, specifically team sports, and I wish our athletes took their responsibilities to these competitions more seriously. Iâ€™ll shut up now.
So I’m looking for a good reason why all sports don’t adopt some version of the soccer rituals for discipline. That is, why don’t American sports hand out yellow and red cards?
I mean, they already have parallels in most sports: the technical foul in basketball (yellow — and two of them earn you a red), warnings in baseball (usually the ump shows the pitcher a yellow before he tosses him with the red, but you can earn a straight red if the umpire suspects overt revenge), and personal fouls in football (yellow sets you back 15 yards, and if you fight or try to hurt someone they can show you the red).*
Also, they should adopt the suspension rules for a red card and have Sean Taylor stay home for the Seahawks game.
*Hockey is exempted because hockey has the penalty box, which is awesome.
Apparently a group of geeks at the Los Alamos National Laboratory have made a spreadsheet that argues that soccer is the world’s most exciting sport — more exciting than all those silly American sports — based on “upset frequency.” That is, they looked at hundreds of thousands of games and it turns out that soccer has the most games where the result was not what the bookies expected. (I guess the soccer crowds aren’t so wise.) I can at least use this study to take some solace in my increasingly dismal performances in the Predictorship. Sigh.
(No comment yet from the the Jim Romes of the world in re: how this study doesn’t take into account long periods of knocking the ball about the midfield/ “It’s all here–fast-kicking, low scoring, and ties? You bet!”/ “You’ll see all your favorite soccer stars. Like Ariaga! Ariaga II! Bariaga! Aruglia! And Pizzoza!”)
Also, shouldn’t the folks at Los Alamos be making nuclear weapons or at least leaking nuclear secrets? I’m just sayin.