Soccer Trips 2017

2017 promises to be another great year for American soccer, and this year is particularly special because Atlanta United kicks off their first ever MLS campaign. But soccer happens all over this country at all levels and my goal each year is touch base at each level.

This year began with Atlanta United friendlies. First up was the quick drive up to Chattanooga for the game against Chattanooga FC. The Chattahooligans were great hosts, providing space at First Tennessee Pavilion and a huge breakfast buffet spread. Besides getting to meet fans from Atlanta and Chattanooga, I ran into Dennis Crowley, founder of Kingston Stockade FC of the NPSL. He came in from New York to check out the scene and we had a quick chat. Read my recap for Terminus Legion.

The following weekend was the opening match of the Carolina Challenge Cup. Atlanta United fans descended on Charleston to watch the Five Stripes face off against Columbus Crew SC. All four Atlanta United Supporter Groups did a shared tailgate, which was awesome. Returning to Charleston was great as well as the housing at Camp Cheek.  Read my recap for Terminus Legion and listen to my interviews with Atlanta United fans on the Terminus Legion podcast.

I went to the first ever Atlanta United game. The club kicked off at Bobby Dodd Stadium and it was awesome evening. Tailgate, march, tifo, great match. As a season ticket holder, I’m looking forward to the rest of the season. Here’s the Terminus Legion podcast from the tailgate.

 

Here is my proposed schedule for the rest of 2017.

  • April 28 Little Rock Rangers Soccer Club at Memphis City FC. NPSL/I-40 Cup
  • May 6 Birmingham Hammers at Atlanta Silverbacks. NPSL
  • May 13 Myrtle Beach Mutiny at Tormenta FC. PDL
  • June 6 Nashville Soccer Club at Peachtree City MOBA. PDL
  • August 6 Atlanta United at Sporting Kansas City. MLS
  • September 15 Bethlehem Steel FC at Louisville City FC. USL
  • September 16 New York Red Bulls II at Cincinnati FC. USL

Here are some of my previous trips.

You want to join me on a road trip? Comment below or hit me up on twitter @austinlong1974.

And check out Steven Bernasconi’s project, The Soccer Tour. He has put together an amazing 2017 and can’t wait to learn more about his adventures.

MLS Kits 2017

Get the podcast here: MLS Kits 2017

JR Francis (@paynomind on twitter) came back on the #SoccerNomad podcast to look at the kits for the 2017 MLS season. Our conversation covered a lot of ground and pulled references both far and wide. Hope you enjoy our conversation.

Resources

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Thanks for listening! You can also subscribe via iTunes and please leave a rating and review. Follow me on twitter @austinlong1974.

Holland Euro 2012 away kit

The Netherlands made the World Cup Final in 2010, narrowly losing to Spain in a match possibly more remembered for Nigel De Jong’s foot to Xabi Alonso’s sternum than the finish by Iniesta and the crowning glory of La Furia Roja. Following that defeat, the Oranje breezed through Euro 2012 Qualifying, only losing one match to Sweden after qualification had already been secured, and during the run they climbed to #1 in FIFA World Rankings.

Heading into the Euros, co-hosted by Ukraine and Poland, manager Bert van Marwijk had re-shaped the squad with about a third of the squad turned over. The Dutch rolled out a back line of van der Wiel, Heitinga, Vlaar and Willems with Mathijsen getting some time as well. The attacking group in the first two games featured Robben, Sneijder, Afellay and van Persie with de Jong and van Bommel holding.

After dropping their first two games, Holland could still advance and put most of their key attackers on the field with Van der Vaart and Huntelaar coming on and van Bommel and Afellay heading to the bench. An early goal gave hope to the Oranje but two goals from Cristiano Ronaldo saw the Dutch finish 0-3 and in last place.

As for the kits, the home shirt featured a two tone orange pattern that I didn’t care for and I loved the change shirt from Nike the moment I saw it. I love all black kits and this one by Nike was fantastic. The small deep orange band that came down the shirt provided a nice accent to the shirt while keeping the manufacturer logo in the same color as the shirt. Plus the KNVB badge was not framed in that weird shield used in previous iterations.

The Dutch wore the all black strip for the last group game and the shirt features a black ring collar, rubberized material at the seams and around the orange design feature, laser cut venting around the rib cage and a ventilated back. Nieuwe Meesters (New Masters) is on the inside neck and the bright Dutch orange is on the inside of the cuffs.

Another item I came across in my research was the name and number set. The name font is pretty common for the time but the numbers are quite, how do i say this, blocky. This image from the Switch Image Project shows what I’m talking about.
Despite my kit buying rules, when I saw a deal on Classic Football Shirts on the authentic version, I had to get it. I ordered a medium (maybe not a good long term decision as I age and put on the pounds) and it’s wonderful, bold shirt that weighs almost nothing.

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Resources

Football Shirt Culture

Historical Football Kits

Colours of Football

Wikipedia

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Check out more posts on kits from clubs and countries around the world on the Strip Club page. And yes. It’s safe for work.

The Soccer Diaries: An American’s Thirty-Year Pursuit of the International Game, Michael J. Agovino

The Soccer Diaries: An American’s Thirty-Year Pursuit of the International Game

I loved this book, which starts with a boy’s first game, a World All-Star Game at the old Meadowlands. As the author ran through the rosters, it’s remarkable that this game was played in the United States 35 years ago. From there it’s the drips and drabs of soccer that American fans searched for until the internet and sports channels flooded the market.

I found myself nodding along as the author searched out the beautiful game, either in games near and far or games on TV (which were extremely rare in the 80s and early 90s). It’s here that the book really spoke to me as I found the game later in life and would search bars and bookstores and catalogs for anything that would add to my knowledge of the game.

The book is similar to Fever Pitch in that it covers a long period of time in short little bursts and explores how one fan’s life changes through the years. However it doesn’t focus on one particular team and is not as dark and brooding and introspective as Hornby’s work and the author gives numerous examples of the fellowship to be found in soccer. I have traveled to matches, I have written and podded about matches, and I have met so many great people along the way. In the same Agovino spends time mentioning the many friendships he has developed over the years.

The author brings different perspectives as a fan and writer. Clubs and national teams coming to America for a quick payday, Swiss club teams struggling to find success and relevance, MLS searching for an identity, the fever and passion and joy and disappointments that go into each World Cup. The game has changed a great deal, both at home and abroad, in the last 30 years and the book explores this.

This is the book I would write if a) I could write as well, b) I had as many interesting stories and c) I had the time. If you follow the beautiful game at all, read this book. If you have fallen out of love with soccer read this book.

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For more book review, check out my Recommended Reading page.

Der Klassiker with Mia San Atlanta

Get the podcast here: Der Klassiker with Mia San Atlanta

Follow along with the show notes:

 

Atlanta based Bayern Munich Supporter Group Mia San Atlanta hosted Der Klassiker at Der Biergarten, with fans coming dressed in Bayern kits and lederhosen to support Die Roten. I caught up with Heather and Jon Cooke about Mia San Atlanta, their trip to Charlotte to see Bayern, their support of ATL Champions League and we even talked kits. This is a great group of fans and I hope you enjoy our conversation.

You can stay up to date with Mia San Atlanta on social media.

Read my SoccerNomad blog post on Bayern Munich home shirts.

First Bayern Munich kit

Bayern Munich kits through the years

14/15 Champions League shirt (Heather’s favorite)

2011-13 home shirt (My favorite)

16/17 Home, Away, Third shirts

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Thanks for listening! You can also subscribe via iTunes and please leave a rating and review. Follow me on twitter @austinlong1974.

Turf Wars: A History of London Football

Turf Wars: A History of London Football

This book went on my wish list and moved to the top of the pile when a copy ended up in my hands thanks to a huge Chelsea supporter.

The premise of the book is daunting as is stated in the title: A History of London Football. The author is very comprehensive, taking the reader from the early days of the pre-cursors of the Football League in the 19th century all the way to the 2015/16 season. There are even clubs in there that I had never heard of before.

I have to admit that the book can be a little dry at times. Covering over a 125 years of football is a big ask. Besides the nomadic nature of most clubs in the early, the book touches on key moments, either of a club’s location or success on the pitch. The first two-thirds or so would take multiple readings for me as I am not as familiar with those times but the last section of the 90s to the most recent seasons was really interesting.

Not a book for everyone. I might have focused more on the big teams, but if you want an expansive history of football played in London, this is the book for you.

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For more book review, check out my Recommended Reading page.

World Cup 2002

Looked back at the 2002 World Cup, from recapping key moments to kits to goals to the performance of the USMNT.

Read both parts below and let me know thoughts in the comments below.

Bad Hair, a Historic Run, Crazy Fans and Bad Refereeing (World Cup 2002) Part 1

Kits, Shoes, Tactics and Team of the Tournament (World Cup 2002) Part 2

 

Seattle Sounders Change Shirt 2013 and 2014

The Seattle Sounders entered their fifth season looking to reach MLS Cup after falling just short the previous season. Sigi Schmid was still at the helm and the roster received a little bit of a shake up with star forward Fredy Montero going out on loan to Sporting Club de Portugal and an influx of several new players. DeAndre Yedlin, Lamar Neagle, Shalrie Joseph, and Obafemi Martins joined the team ahead of the season, with US international Clint Dempsey signed in August.

The Sounders finished fourth in the Western Conference for the 2013 campaign, just one point above the red line. Poor performances bookended their season, as Seattle picked up only two points from the opening five matches and the closed the season with three draws and four losses. On the plus side, CenturyLink Field was a fortress as the team won ten, drew five and only lost twice at home. Seattle beat Colorado Rapids in the 4/5 play in game to set up a match with Cascadia rivals and #1 seed Portland Timbers. A 2-1 home loss was followed by a 3-2 loss at Jeld-Wen and the Sounders were out of the playoffs again.

Seattle did not find success in the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup, losing at the first hurdle away to Tampa Bay 1-0. A Cascadia Cup triumph eluded the Sounders as well as they finished third with Vancouver Whitecaps claiming the trophy.

Eddie Johnson led the team with 12 goals in all competitions and Mauro Rosales chipped in with eight assists. Michael Gspurning had 11 clean sheets in 33 appearances. In terms of appearances, the Sounders usually lined up as follows:

1          GK      Gspurning

2          RB       Yedlin

34        CB       Hurtado

19        CB       Traoré

12        LB       González

6          DM      Alonso

10        RM      Rosales

3          AM      Evans

27        LM      Neagle

7          SS        Johnson

9          CF       Martins

 

(image courtesy of Colours of Football)

Seattle’s official colors are Sounder Blue, Rave Green, and Cascade Shale and adidas introduced a Cascade Shale away shirt in 2011. Seeing the shirt in an official Sounder store during my trip to Seattle, I was intrigued by the design, with the Cascade Shale base trimmed in Rave Green and highlighted by the silver Powerweb bands which was a feature of adidas’ Techfit kits at the time.

(image courtesy of Colours of Football)

For the 2013 season, adidas used the same Cascade Shale background and Rave Green was used for the adidas branding on shirt and shorts and to outline the chest. The key design feature was a vertical two tone bar of Sounder Blue and Rave Green. Per the club’s official release:

The secondary kit continues in cascade shale with the addition of a two inch vertical stripe which connects team colors through a mosaic design to emphasize the team’s unique and diverse fan base.

One thing that Seattle Sounders blog Sounders at Heart mentioned was  

this feature is vastly different in the “replica” kits being sold through the team store; only green is present in those versions.

Images on the internet were inconclusive, plus I couldn’t find it on Classic Football Shirts or even on eBay. Is that weird? Anyway, I really like this look and saw a fan wearing the shirt at the Terminus Legion MLS Cup 2016 Watch Party. I complimented him on his jersey,  and I’m hoping the club return to this color scheme in the near future, staying away from Super Cyan, Electric Yellow and Pacific Blue.

What do you think of the shirt? What are your favorite MLS shirts of all time? Let me know if the comments below.

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Check out more posts on kits from clubs and countries around the world on the Strip Club page. And yes. It’s safe for work.