Archive for the ‘ Uncategorized ’ Category

The End

After almost six years of blogging, the time has come to move on.

Thanks to everyone has read and shared and commented and helped me share my journey through the beautiful game.

Follow me on twitter @austinlong1974 and stay tuned for the next project.

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Major League Soccer (MLS) Acronyms

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The 2017 Major League Soccer season continues a pattern of slow, steady growth for the league. As the league evolves, leadership has created and shaped the rules that govern the league. Here’s a quick recap so that you are ready for the upcoming season.

GAM General Allocation Money. A mechanism created by MLS to help teams improve their rosters by reducing hits to the salary cap or acquire players by signing or transfer. Dirty South Soccer breaks it down here.

CAM Center Attacking Mid, your team’s #10, your team’s most creative player. . . unless you’re the Montreal Impact and you put him on the left.

W(H)AM George Michael tribute patch to be worn for the 2017 MLS season at the edge of the hem opposite of the jock tag.

whamSAM Sick Ass Move, like some of these.

TAM Targeted Allocation Money. A mechanism created by MLS to help teams improve their rosters below the Designated Player level or reducing the DP hits to the salary cap. Dirty South Soccer breaks it down here.

DAM(N) son. When Giovinco does THIS to your team.

PAM Pissed Away Allocation Money. Pretty much any money spent on Branco, Lothar Matthäus, Shaun Maloney, and Rais Mbolhi. Feel free to insert your team’s horrible transfer below.

lothar-mattheusFAM As in the family discount against the salary cap that can be invoked when a coach’s son plays for the team. This fictional mechanism hasn’t been used since Michael Bradley played for his father Bob with the MetroStars but GMs around the league are keeping an eye on a possible John/Ian Harkes option in the near future.

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LAM Another term for the invisibility cloak, as in on the lam, as in the player is not impacting the game at all. See Alejandro Bedoya in most USMNT games.

BAM Beating down your opponent. You know like the Red Bulls against NYCFC last season or the Chicago Fire crushing the Kansas City Wizards 7-0 in 2001 or the LA Galaxy destroying the Dallas Burn 8-1 in 1998.

(no) MA(‘A)M That moment when your goalie saves your team like Stefan Frei in MLS Cup 2016 or pretty much any PK taken against Nick Rimando.

IAM I am the best player in league history. Love him or hate him, it’s LandyCakes.

CARSON, CA - December 1, 2012: LA Galaxy forward Landon Donovan (10) celebrating their victory after the LA Galaxy vs the Houston Dynamo for the 2012 MLS Cup at the Home Depot Center in Carson, California. Final score LA Galaxy 3, Houston Dynamo 1.

Would love to hear comments and ideas from MLS fans below.

Follow me on twitter @AustinLong1974 and check out the rest of the SoccerNomad blog for posts on kits, memories and more. And don’t forget the SoccerNomad podcast, which features Atlanta Supporter Groups, kit design and more

Mexico Home Shirt World Cup 1998

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The Mexican National Team of the 1990s was quite strong. After missing the 1990 World Cup due to using overage players at the 1988 CONCACAF U-20 Tournament, Mexico made both the 1994 and 1998 World Cups and won the 1993, 1996 and 1998 CONCACAF Gold Cups.

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Focusing on the road to France, CONCACAF World Cup Qualifying was marked by draws, with Mexico and the United States only winning of four of ten matches. El Tri won four and drew six to top the Hex table and were placed in a section with Holland, Belgium and South Korea. The competition started brightly as Mexico beat South Korea 3-1 in the opener. Draws followed against Belgium and the Netherlands but it was enough as Mexico moved on to the Round of 16 as the second placed team behind Holland. Germany was next up and Luis Hernandez opened the scoring just after halftime. However Die Mannschaft came back as Klinsmann equalized with 15 minutes to go and Bierhoff finished off the CONCACAF reps with only minutes remaining. (Match highlights)

mexico-shirtEl Tri strode onto the field in a very distinctive shirt, made by ABA Sport, who had taken over for Umbro and were followed by Atletica. I couldn’t find much about the company but did stumble across a facebook page, which has images of the many shirts the Mexican company has produced.

The shirt, also worn at the 1996 and 1998 Gold Cups, was mainly green with a white collar and cuffs, edged with red. In research for this post I learned that a dark red used to be main color for the Mexican home shirts rather than the green I was accustomed to. This switch was made in the late 50s and continues today. The main feature of the shirt was the Aztec tribal design that was shadow printed into the shirt. This video has a nice close up of the design and production elements.

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The shirt certainly divides opinion. While some find it garish, the writers at Complex ranked it #6 in their greatest shirts of all time, going as far as to say,

For a collector of retro kits, this is either your grail or an image from your nightmares. If you can get your hands on one of these, you’ve just bought yourself a conversation starter for every single social event you wear this out to.

I love it because it is a one off shirt with historical references. My wife picked up a knock off on a missionary trip to Mexico. She wore it from time to time until it was stolen at a laundromat. Such is life. Don’t know if I could ever own one as a US fan but still a great design.

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Additional Resources

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Read the rest of my Strip Club posts here and follow me on twitter @austinlong1974.

Paging Gianni Infantino

About a year ago the state of the US Soccer Pyramid consumed me. At that time I really thought that the NASL was on the way out due to the lack of a national footprint, MLS moving in on possible markets, and the development of USL as a feeder league for MLS. The NASL is still fighting the good fight bringing San Francisco into the fold and maintaining a Midwest presence with Rayo OKC. Time will tell if the league survives.

Recently the lower tiers of US Soccer and the ever present #ProRelforUSA conversations have been bubbling up in my twitter feeds. I started reading the American Pyramid blog and I was introduced to dozens of clubs/groups looking to fill a need, which is one of player development and local support. So I had American Pyramid creator John Pannebaker on the SoccerNomad podcast and one item he focused on was building critical mass at the lower levels. The day after I edited a rough cut of our conversation, I came across an article by Denis Crowley who started Stockade FC. Several times he mentioned the idea of “If something doesn’t exist, create it”, which is similar to what John said on the podcast.

The something is pro rel. It doesn’t exist in the US, at least not yet. Thanks to FIFA’s exemption and the powers that be at USSF and MLS, a concept that is used around the world (except in Australia) is non-existent in the US. But what if the lower leagues said, we’ll just do it, show how it’s done, build critical mass and change things? Might be a pipe dream but you never know.

These recent conversations and articles were reasoned and passionate with a real desire for a change that will benefit everyone from the clubs to the players to the supporters. The tone was in contrast to a lot of the chatter on social media demanding change. All of these things made me ask myself, Do we want Pro/Rel or do we want to yell about something or do we want to be like the rest of the soccer world?

I’m not against Pro/Rel. Don’t necessarily think it will be the magic bullet but it could help. Again the US has no frame of reference and the moneyed interests at the higher levels, especially in MLS, have no interest in changing. Only way this changes is if FIFA changes their special exception and then wins the ensuing legal battle.  No way these owners give up their fiefdom with a fight.

If people need something to yell at, I’m all for that. If you need a topic other than Pro/Rel, might I suggest fixing roads, improving the quality and decision making of drivers and improving customer service at fast food establishments? If you need more, I’ve got a whole list.

In terms of being like the rest of the world, we are America. We are the world. If we want to be like the rest of the world, does that mean #SingleTable and #LeagueNotPlayoff and #InternationalBreak? And does that mean we start petitioning FIBA and whoever is in charge of American Football worldwide and the World Baseball Softball Confederation and the International Ice Hockey Federation so that my local team can progress to the highest level? Who is the Ted Westervelt for those sports?

Again I’m for Pro/Rel but I’m tired of being yelled at by the most ardent supporters. Also I have enough in my life to complain about so I don’t need to add screaming at FIFA/USSF/MLS to the list. And finally I want to know how far people are willing to go to emulate the rest of world soccer. Whoever you are, carry on, but I’m going to keep going to games, having a beer or seven and enjoying myself.

MLS Crests

On a recent episode of the Bar Down podcast (iTunes/Stitcher), the guys went through all of the crests of MLS as an extension of a broader conversation on branding. Get more from them @BarDownPodcast.

As they rightly mentioned throughout the pod, MLS crests (and kits for that matter) started in the 90s and that’s not a good thing. Almost everything was bad at the outset, truly cringeworthy, and only in the last couple of years has the league started to pull out of their Tom Cruise like tailspin from Top Gun.

As a result I gave it a crack and in reviewing the badges, I was conflicted between a straight up analysis of the crest or factoring my impressions based on where the team started. Example Colorado Rapids. Really like their shield right now (probably a 7) but it’s a 9 maybe a 10 compared to its putrid predecessors. Same with the Wizards. The current one is decent as well but it’s a 12 compared to the Wiz shit show that came before it.

So here we go. Share your comments below or hit me up on twitter @AustinLong1974.

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Chicago Fire 9 Almost perfect. Since there’s no thing as perfection, I gave it a 9.
Colorado Rapids 7 Great color scheme, interesting design,  but get rid of the soccer ball.
Columbus Crew SC 6.5 Am liking the redesign but would get rid of SC.
D.C. United 5 Don’t like the redesign. Should have kept previous shield and updated the font.
FC Dallas 5.5 Love the shape, not sold on the steer.
Houston Dynamo 4 Meh, get rid of soccer ball to start.
LA Galaxy 7 I really like this one. At least one positive impact of Becks coming to MLS.
Montreal Impact 6 The Bar Down guys were pretty down on this on. Like the partially obscured fleur de lis. If home shirt matched the vertical stripes could go to an 8.
New England Revolution 2 The worst. Just the worst. So bad it’s now cool after 20 years.
New York City FC 7 Solid. Pretty much the only thing this club has done right so far.
New York Red Bulls 5 Red Bull logo—check. Words spelled correctly—check.
Orlando City SC 8 Really bold and totally agree that they should scrap words Orlando City. Imagine that will happen in the future.
Philadelphia Union 7 Great effort and love the snake and stars and patriotic components.
Portland Timbers 7 Evolution of this badge has been interesting. Get rid of the words Portland Timbers and could be a 9.
Real Salt Lake 5 Step up from original but either you’re a professional soccer team or a glorified AYSO super club. Pick one.
San Jose Earthquakes 5 Based on former incarnations, this is a 10. Current is tolerable and am still undecided on the faultline graphic effect.
Seattle Sounders FC 9 Class organization with a beautiful badge.
Sporting Kansas City 7 Interesting, modern, lovely shape.
Toronto FC 7 Really like some of the design elements (big T, banner, shield design)
Vancouver Whitecaps FC 9 Really love their badge. Considering previous efforts, this a 13. Reflects mountains and reflection in the water. Too bad their 2016 away shirt doesn’t quite pull this off.
Future Clubs
Atlanta United 7 Very down the middle in terms of design but love the rich, dark red (victory red to be exact) and the metallic gold.
LAFC 8 Font of the letters and wing kick ass.
Minnesota United 7 The loon image is very inconic and grey is underused color. Get rid of the words and this is a real winner. Can’t wait to see this on a 2017 MLS shirts. Wait? What?!?

Atlanta Supporter Groups

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I’ve been in Atlanta for over two years and have run into tons of passionate and knowledgeable soccer fans, many of whom have formed official and unofficial supporters groups for their favorite clubs. I started jotting down a list and was surprised how many teams were represented throughout the city. Below is what I’ve come up with so far. If I missed a group or got something wrong, let me know.

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English Premier League
Team Nickname Twitter Facebook Bar
Arsenal (Official) ATL Gooners @ATLGooners Facebook Brewhouse
Chelsea (Official) ATL Blues @ATLBlues  Facebook Hudson FC
Chelsea GA Blues @georgia_blues Facebook Ri Ra
Crystal Palace Crystal Palace ATL @CPFC_ATL Facebook Fado Buckhead
Everton (Official) ATL Evertonians @atlevertonians Facebook Fado Buckhead
Leicester Atlanta Foxes @LCFCAtlanta Facebook Brewhouse
Liverpool (Official) LFC ATL @LFCAtlanta Facebook Meehans Downtown
Manchester City ATL Cityzens @MCATLCityzens Facebook Brewhouse
Man Utd (Official) ATL MUFC @atlmufc Facebook Fado Midtown
Man Utd (Unofficial) MUFC ATL (Brew Crew) @ManUtdScAtl  Facebook Brewhouse
Swansea Atlanta Jacks @Atlanta_Jacks Facebook Meehans Vinings
Tottenham (Official) ATL Spurs @ATLSpurs Facebook Meehans Atlantic Station
West Ham (Official) Atlanta Ironworks @IronsAtlanta Facebook Brewhouse
Europe
Team Nickname Twitter Facebook Bar
Bayern Munich (Official) Mia San ATL @miasanatl  Facebook Der Biergarten
FC Barcelona FC Barcelona Atlanta @barca_atl Facebook Fado Buckhead
Real Madrid (Official) Madridistas ATL @MadridistasATL Facebook Olde Blind Dog
South America
Supporter Group Twitter Facebook Bar
Corinthians Fiel Torcida USA @FielAtlanta Facebook
Atlanta United FC
Supporter Group Twitter Website
Footie Mob @FootieMob Website Midway
Resurgence @ResurgenceATL Website Brewhouse
Terminus Legion @TerminusLegion Website Fado Buckhead
Faction @TheFactionATL Website Fado Midtown
Atlanta Silverbacks
Supporter Group Twitter Facebook Bar
Westside 109 ATLWestside109 Facebook
Atlanta Ultras AtlantaUltras Facebook
Georgia Revolution
Supporter Group Twitter Facebook Bar
The Uprising @TheUprisingRevs Facebook
United States National Teams
Supporter Group Twitter Facebook Bar
America Outlaws ATL @atlantaoutlaws Facebook RiRa

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Top Ten Posts of 2015

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2015 was another great year for the SoccerNomad blog.  Visitors from all over the world read about kits, memories and more.  Here are the ten most read posts from 2015. Thanks to everyone for visiting, sharing and commenting on the blog and it’s on to 2016.

10   Nigeria Home 2002-2004

9     Summer 2015–Chattanooga FC v Atlanta Silverbacks Reserves

8     MatchDay Memory–History of ATL Soccer

7     EPL Kit Preview 15/16

6     Solutions

5     Strip Club–Half and Half Edition (FC Barcelona Home 97/98)

4     Not Inverting the Pyramid

3     A Call to Action

2     Summer 2015–NPSL Final

1     Atlanta United Supporter Experience

 

Follow me on twitter @austinlong1974 and don’t forget to listen to the SoccerNomad podcast or subscribe via iTunes.

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