Soccer, mostly, but some other stuff, too

Archive for March, 2011

Life In The Past Lane

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Here’s a new one: the new old indoor soccer team in Wichita will do something I don’t believe has been done before. Not take the name of a former club, that’s been done to death. But the dispute over the trademark of the Wichita Wings indoor soccer team has been resolved with two claimants of the club sharing it. As a result, the new team will be called….the Wichita Wings 2. That’s a new one.

But here’s the thing….one of the two parties in the dispute registered the trademark four days after the team’s new owner announced his intention to revive the name (at least as I read that story, that’s what it appears). The lesson here is…check your trademarks and register them before you make it known you intend to do that. You open yourself up to someone being half a dick and swooping in and usurping your mark.

Rowdies fans got all hacked off when a Texas company sued for copyright infringement (and won) when what is now FC Tampa Bay announced their intentions to bring back the brand…but at least the Texas company had the trademark for years before it became an issue. (Not that logic will stop these people…they think American law should favor their desires, regardless of precedent or fairness.)

Anyway, what won’t be coming back is the traditional Wings logo, because it’s (essentially) Whataburger’s logo:

And, hopefully, they won’t be reviving this one:

Anything they come up with this time around has to be better than that, right?

Speaking of retro-ishness, the renamed Ft. Lauderdale Strikers unveiled their uniforms last night. Reminiscent of the originals, but way better than the fauxbacks they wore in a game last year. And the aforementioned FC Tampa Bay is supposed to reveal their 2011 kit Thursday. Oddly enough, the 2010 models were one of the few good decisions the club made last year – they were pretty nice (except for the completely random yellow oblong thing on the backs of the home shirts).

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March 30th, 2011 at 9:17 pm

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Five USA Stalwarts Elected To Hall (Updated With Vote Totals)

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Cobi Jones, Eddie Pope, Earnie Stewart, Bruce Murray and Bob Gansler, all stalwarts of the US Men’s National Team, have been elected to the National Soccer Hall of Fame’s Class of 2011, it was announced today.

Jones, Pope and Stewart earned election through the Player Ballot, while Murray was the Veterans choice and Gansler is in through the Builders ballot.

Jones – in his first year on the ballot – won 87 percent of the vote, the highest since Mia Hamm was named on 97 percent of the ballots four years ago. Pope was also a first-time eligible and claimed 74 percent of the vote, while Stewart got in on his fourth try with 71 percent after a 58 percent approval rating a year ago.

I voted for Bruce Murray for as long as he was on the regular ballot (the Veterans and Builders categories are separate elections in which I don’t take part) and am glad to see the former Team USA captain get in. Ditto for Gansler, who coached the Mullet Brigade to Italia ’90.

What’s also interesting is Jason Kreis who retired as MLS’ all-time leading goalscorer and will have his number nine retired by Real Salt Lake this year, didn’t garner enough votes. We don’t know how close Kreis – or any of the others – came, because USSF didn’t release vote totals – not even the top ten. Hopefully they’ll rectify that oversight. Just as soon as Dave Checketts launches the investigation into why Kreis didn’t make it unanimously. (Hey, I voted for him, you can’t blame me.)

EDIT: The biggest surprise (to me, anyway) in the vote totals was that Jason Kreis only got 16% of the vote, less than Steve Trittschuh.

2011 Soccer Hall Of Fame Voting
Cobi Jones 87.13%
Eddie Pope 74.26%
Earnie Stewart 71.29%
Marco Etcheverry 56.44%
Shannon MacMillan 54.46%
Joe-Max Moore 51.49%
Cindy Parlow 43.56%
Carlos Valderrama 42.57%
Peter Vermes 38.61%
Chris Armas 32.67%
Tisha Venturini Hoch 23.76%
Robin Fraser 20.79%
Mauricio Cienfuegos 18.81%
Roy Lassiter 17.82%
Chris Henderson 17.82%
Peter Nowak 17.82%
Mike Burns 17.82%
Steve Trittschuh 17.82%
Victor Nogueria 16.83%
Jason Kreis 15.84%
Raul Diaz Arce 10.89%
Tiffany Roberts 8.91%
John O’Brien 8.91%
Danielle Slaton 2.97%
Carlos Llamosa 2.97%

I don’t know if that was just a crowded ballot and you’re in your first year type of deal or if Kreis rubbed some voters the wrong way or what. Something must have happened for a guy who retired as MLS’ all-time leading goal scorer (and is still fourth) to get that little support.

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March 29th, 2011 at 12:47 pm

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Even Sporting Kansas City’s Reserve Team Is Europosing And Pretentious

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Even though they’ve apparently gone by that name for at least two years, it’s just now come to my attention that the reserve team for Major League Soccer’s Kansas City club is referred to as “Swope Park Rangers” (Swope Park is KC’s largest public park and contains four soccer fields).

Even though it predates the incredibly pretentious but not-at-all-European re-branding of the former Wizards, this is perfect and got me thinking about what other MLS teams could call their reserve teams (now that the reserve league – excuse me, the Reserve League) is back in 2011 after a two-season hiatus. This is similar to the wildly-popular and hilarious Twitter meme #futuremlsfranchise, but with the added difficulty of keeping it somehow tied (in theme, spirit or geography) to the MLS team in question. (If any of these mirror things you came up with for #futuremlsfranchise, I apologize, I’m not going off that list.)

So here are a few I came up with. Feel free to add your own in the comments. And if I have to explain them, you’re reading the wrong blog.

Chicago Fire: Dagenham & Redbridgeview
Chivas USA: MK Juans
DC United: Arlington Stanley
FC Dallas: Dallas Burnley
Los Angeles Galaxy: Westwood Bromwich Albion
New England Revolution: Leicester City Foxboro
New York Red Bulls: Nottingham Forest Hills
Philadelphia Union: Sport Lisboa de Benfranklin
Toronto FC: Brampton & Hove Albion

That’s half the league. Can we come up with the other half, dear readers?

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March 28th, 2011 at 11:20 am

They Had A Blast

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Congratulations to the Milwaukee Wave, who last night beat the Baltimore Blast 16-7 to claim the 2010-2011 Major Indoor Soccer League championship. Since 2000, the Blast and Wave have combined to win nine of the twelve championships, with only Philadelphia (twice) and Monterrey (last year) crashing the party in this particular league (which has played under various names).

Championships Overall: San Diego (10), Baltimore (6), Milwaukee (5), Canton (5), Dallas (4), New York (4), Monterrey (4), Cleveland (3), Kansas City (2), Philadelphia (2), St. Louis (1), Louisville (1), Detroit Rockers (1), Chicago (1), Detroit Ignition (1), Seattle (1), Las Vegas (1), Sacramento (1), Edmonton (1), Tampa Bay (1)

2011 – Milwaukee Wave (d. Baltimore 16-7 in one-game final)
2010 – Monterrey La Raza (d. Milwaukee 12-6 in one-game final)
2009 – Baltimore Blast (d. Rockford Rampage 13-10 in one-game final)
2008 – Baltimore Blast (d. Monterrey La Raza 14-11 in one-game final)
2007 – Philadelphia KiXX (d. Detroit Ignition 13-8 in one-game final)
2006 – Baltimore Blast (d. St. Louis Steamers in golden goal after split of two-game series)
2005 – Milwaukee Wave (d. Cleveland Force 2 games to 0)
2004 – Baltimore Blast (d. Milwaukee Wave 3 games to 0)
2003 – Baltimore Blast (d. Milwaukee Wave 2 games to 1)
2002 – Philadelphia Kixx (d. Milwaukee Wav 2 games to 1)
2001 – Milwaukee Wave (d. Philadelphia KiXX 3 games to 0)
2000 – Milwaukee Wave (d. Cleveland Crunch 3 games to 2)
1999 – Cleveland Crunch (d. St. Louis Ambush 3 games to 2)
1998 – Milwaukee Wave (d. St. Louis Ambush 4 games to 1)
1997 – Kansas City Attack (d. Cleveland Crunch 4 games to 0)
1996 – Cleveland Crunch (d. Kansas City Attack 4 games to 2)
1995 – St. Louis Ambush (d. Harrisburg Heat 4 games to 0)
1994 – Cleveland Crunch (d. St. Louis Ambush 3 games to 1)
1993 – Kansas City Attack (d. Cleveland Crunch 3 games to 2)
1992 – Detroit Rockers (d. Canton Invaders 3 games to 2)
1991 – Chicago Power (d. Dayton Dynamo 3 games to 0)
1990 – Canton Invaders (d. Dayton Dynamo 3 games to 1)
1989 – Canton Invaders (d. Chicago Power 3 games to 2)
1988 – Canton Invaders (won Challenge Cup)
1987 – Louisville Thunder (d. Canton Invaders 3 games to 2)
1986 – Canton Invaders (d. Louisville Thunder 3 games to 0)
1985 – Canton Invaders (d. Louisville Thunder 3 games to 1)

2009 – Detroit Ignition (won regular season, no playoffs)

1997 – Seattle SeaDogs (d. Houston Hotshots 2 games to 0)
1996 – Monterrey La Raza (d. Houston Hotshots 2 games to 0)
1995 – Monterrey La Raza (d. Sacramento Knights 2 games to 1)
1994 – Las Vegas Dustdevils (d. Dallas Sidekicks 2 games to 1)
1993 – Dallas Sidekicks (d. San Diego Sockers 2 games to 1)

2001 – Dallas Sidekicks (d. San Diego Sockers 2 games to 1)
2000 – Monterrey La Raza (d. Dallas Sidekicks 6-5 in one-game final)
1999 – Sacramento Knights (d. Dallas Sidekicks 7-6 in one-game final)
1998 – Dallas Sidekicks (d. Sacramento Knights 6-2 in one-game final)

1984 – San Diego Sockers (d. New York Cosmos 3 games to 0)
1983 – No season
1982 – San Diego Sockers (d. Tampa Bay Rowdies 2 games to 0)
1981 – Edmonton Drillers (d. Chicago Sting 2 games to 0)
1980 – Tampa Bay Rowdies (d. Memphis Rogues 2 games to 1)

1992 – San Diego Sockers (d. Dallas Sidekicks 4 games to 2)
1991 – San Diego Sockers (d. Cleveland Crunch 4 games to 2)
1990 – San Diego Sockers (d. Baltimore Blast 4 games to 2)
1989 – San Diego Sockers (d. Baltimore Blast 4 games to 3)
1988 – San Diego Sockers (d. Cleveland Force 4 games to 0)
1987 – Dallas Sidekicks (d. Tacoma Stars 4 games to 3)
1986 – San Diego Sockers (d. Minnesota Strikers 4 games to 3)
1985 – San Diego Sockers (d. Baltimore Blast 4 games to 1)
1984 – Baltimore Blast (d. St. Louis Steamers 4 games to 1)
1983 – San Diego Sockers (d. Baltimore Blast 3 games to 2)
1982 – New York Arrows (d. St. Louis Steamers 3 games to 2)
1981 – New York Arrows (d. St. Louis Steamers 6-5 in one-game final)
1980 – New York Arrows (d. Hou.Summit Soccer 7-4 in one-game final)
1979 – New York Arrows (d. Philadelphia Fever 2 games to 0)

San Diego’s also won the last two PASL-Pro titles, giving them 12 overall.

So what’s next? Wichita is joining the MISL next year, while Chicago hopes to find owners to take over their team, which was league-financed this year. The usual cast of supposed expansion/reactivation teams is still being talked about, and some may come to fruition. The dream of a 10 to 12 team league may be far-fetched for 2011-2012, but any signs of progress would be good.

Meanwhile, the PASL-Pro is still hanging in there, looking at its fourth season this fall (including a new team in Phoenix) with an economic model that at least gives teams a chance to not lose quite so much money. They’re not paying their players much and not drawing a ton of fans, but not many indoor teams are, these days.

Still, a unified structure, with everyone sublimating their own egos for the good of the game, is the only long-term solution, it says here. Whether that’s one very big league or one umbrella organization with different levels beneath it remains to be seen. But they haven’t killed indoor soccer yet. Maybe they never will. It won’t be for lack of trying.

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March 26th, 2011 at 9:10 am

Posted in soccer

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Not The Retiring Type

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Thursday’s news that Real Salt Lake will retire Jason Kreis’ #9 shirt got me thinking about this honor, which is common (some might say too common) in other sports, but virtually unknown in soccer. I can’t think of an American outdoor team that has ever retired a number (maybe the Cosmos retired #10 for Pele, I don’t know off the top of my head). Can you? I don’t believe another MLS team has – though Colorado has put some players’ names and numbers in a Gallery of Honor and Chicago has its Ring of Fire. MLS certainly has enough of a history now that teams could honor outstanding players in this way, but it’s just almost never done in the outdoor game.

Indoors, it’s a different story, however. I know of the following indoor soccer players who have had their numbers retired, some by teams that no longer even exist. See if you can add to this list, which I’m sure is far from exhaustive:

Team Player Number
Baltimore Blast Stan Stamenkovic #10
Chicago Storm Karl-Heinz Granitza #12
Cleveland Force Kai Haaskivi #12
Dallas Sidekicks Mike Powers #5
Dallas Sidekicks Wes McLeod #8
Dallas Sidekicks Kevin Smith #10
Dallas Sidekicks Doc Lawson #22
Dallas Sidekicks Krys Sobieski #31
Milwaukee Wave Peter Knezic #5
Milwaukee Wave Steve Morris #11
Milwaukee Wave Michael King #13
Milwaukee Wave Victor Nogueira #27
Philadelphia KiXX Peter Pappas #22
San Diego Sockers Zoltan Toth #1
San Diego Sockers Kaz Deyna #10
San Diego Sockers Kevin Crow #12
San Diego Sockers Brian Quinn #14
San Diego Sockers Gene Willrich #15
San Diego Sockers Juli Vee #22

If you can think of others, pass them along.

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March 24th, 2011 at 9:48 pm

Twenty Years Ago Today, The World League Debuted On ABC

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You remember the World League of American Football, right? Later called NFL Europe and NFL Europa before being shut down after the 2007 season, the WLAF made its debut the weekend of March 23-25, 1991, with the first game on ABC being played in Barcelona on the 24. Here are highlights, with Brent Musburger and Dick Vermeil on the call:

The Knights only lasted two years, but the Dragons made it to 2003.

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March 24th, 2011 at 9:58 am

Posted in Miscellaneous

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Timbers FC Hates America

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Did anybody else notice this on the Fox Soccer Channel broadcast of the Colorado Rapids/Portland Timbers match Saturday night? That’s Portland’s Rodney Wallace flying the Stars and Stripes upside down on his sleeve early in the match.

Section 8 of the U.S. Flag Code says: “(a) The flag should never be displayed with the union down, except as a signal of dire distress in instances of extreme danger to life or property.”

The Timbers did fall behind 3-0 in the first 30 minutes against the Rapids before losing 3-1, but it’s only one game out of 34, guys, no need to signal “dire distress.”

Other observations from opening weekend after the jump.
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March 21st, 2011 at 8:41 am

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Everything Must Go

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ANTONIO SUTTON BOBBLEHEADIt’s time to clean up, clean out and downsize, so a lot of the stuff I’ve collected over the years will be available for the bidding on eBay between now and whenever it’s all gone. Books, records, magazines, programs, media guides, jerseys, bobbleheads (like the one at right of Antonio Sutton) and more can all be yours if the price is right. Stuff from MLS, the NBA, the NHL, indoor soccer, minor league hockey…all sorts of stuff, really…has been taking up space for years now and it’s time for it all to find new homes. Click here to check out my latest auctions and happy bidding!

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March 17th, 2011 at 4:42 pm

Posted in Miscellaneous,soccer

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Change In The Weather

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Phoenix Monsoon owner Stu Starky (left) with PASL Commissioner Kevin Milliken.

Phoenix is back on the pro indoor soccer map. The Professional Arena Soccer League announced Wednesday it has granted Valley businessman Stuart Starkey (at left in the photo above, with PASL Commissioner Kevin Milliken) an expansion franchise that will begin play this fall in the PASL-Pro. (This is not a surprise to those of you who’ve been following along.)

The interesting thing is I’m listed as the voice of the team, the Phoenix Monsoon. While that may happen, I can tell you it hasn’t happened yet. Still, it’s nice to be considered.

Supposedly there’s going to be a press conference soon, probably at the team’s purported home, the Arizona Veterans Memorial Coliseum. I’ll let you know when I know more.

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March 17th, 2011 at 6:32 am

Blast From The Past

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In honor of tonight’s official opening of Major League Soccer’s 16th season, please to enjoy this recently-unearthed transcript of the first 30 minutes of the 2007 season opener between DC United and Colorado, as presented by Dave O’Brien and Julie Foudy on ABC. O’Brien’s soccer broadcasting career wasn’t long, but it was notable in that it brought a lot of criticism (and the “petulant little clique” comment didn’t help his cause) and led, in some ways, to the British Invasion we are dealing with today. (HINT to ESPN: People weren’t upset because O’Brien was American, they were upset because he wasn’t a soccer guy. We have soccer guys here. Stop kicking them to the curb.)

Anyway, the transcript is after the jump. When someone tells you American soccer announcers talk too much, well, this one did, anyway.

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March 15th, 2011 at 9:35 am