I wrote about Antonio Conte a few months back. Basically, his courage in benching underperforming players and introducing a new tactical system impressed me. Then, The Guardian ran a profile of him with an interview from an assistant. The details divulged kinda ruined my enchantment, to be honest.
Drum roll please.......thank you, that's enough. So, friends, you like my writing? My writing on football, eh? Well, here are some lynx to some fun stuff I've written for Paste and our buds at Four-Four-Two.
Please note, I do not endorse the 4-4-2 formation at any level of the game. Just the mag.
I don't care to link to any of the folks who are clasping at the Honduras game as proof that Bruce Arena is an elite coach and the USMNT is now back on track. I'm not sure the USMNT was ever that far off track the opening schedule was brutal and the loss of Clint Dempsey was huge. Still, I'm no Jurgen apologist.
As an avid fan of soccer who has played and coached at various levels, I am a keen student of what is reported by the always trustworthy British sports dailies. In particular, I read with a discerning eye about managers. I ask myself: how do they manage so well?
Last Wednesday, FC Barcelona beat PSG in the second leg at home in the Camp Nou to advance in the Champions League. Barca features three of the soccer's best attacking players Messi, Neymar, and Suarez and, before the first game, they were expected to advance past the Parisians. Then, Barca went and lost the first leg by four goals.
One of the best parts about sports is that, within a certain frame of assumptions, we can enjoy a heavy dose of unpredictability. Last season, nobody, not even a super computer with all the world's knowledge and really really nice spreadsheet tech with dope algorithms could have predicted Leicester's title.
One of my favorite football pathologies is when a team is losing and fans observe that no player is yelling during games, and complain about a "lack of leadership." The three assumptions behind this argument: (1) Leadership is atomic and individualized, (2) Leadership is the same as yelling, and (3) Leadership enjoys a causal, not correlative, relationship with results, all make me chuckle.
I am Elliott, the father of two young children, and I am very appreciative of the fact that you, as an athlete, realize how important a role model athletes can be. Athletes teach young children and society that if you are going to rock a sweet manpurse (I am not being sarcastic), you need to be sure it's a designer label and not some knockoff.
Baseball used to have all the good curses. For decades, Cubs and Red Sox fans wallowed in misery, shaking their fists at phantoms and decrying the lack of a championship. And that's not even mentioning the legend of Shoeless Joe Jackson whom, if I recall correctly, was decapitated and rode around on a horse (but sans a shoe on his left foot).
Christmas is all about love and family and yultide greetings and adorable bandanas on dogs and snow and giving gifts to others. Now that Christmas has passed, though, it's time to revert to your selfish, materialist ways. And I have just the best auto-regalos for your stocking.
Of course, they revolve around football and smart writing.
A quiver empty of arrows. A bow broken in two. A string pulled too hard, too long. For years, we believe that in the battle of sports takes, that takes were a renewable source of energy, like coal in mountains or oil in deserts or those strawberry candies that always appear in glass jars in a grandmother's house.
I am now posting so irregularly, it's almost laughable to be posting this. Still, I have paying eInk Kindle subscribers, have gotten some emails, and also some messages via Twitter. The holiday season in the US, from Thanksgiving to New Year, I am normally driving across the country and too busy to really think about soccer, let alone write anything of substance.
As Alexander Pope wrote in his Essays on Criticism: "To err is human; to thirst, also quite commonplace." For the last decade, fans of soccer have had our eye-balls assaulted by Cristiano Ronaldo. Basically, he is a dude that works out a lot, and wants everybody to know that he works out a lot.
as your trusted guardian of all that is cool and just and neat and worth reading, I would like to direct your attention to a really cool Spanish soccer journalism project. It is called "Los Demas", and here's the deal: a monthly long-form piece of journalism about teams in La Liga other than Real Madrid and Barcelona.