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Friday, August 04, 2017

OT: New Season August 2017 Soccer Thread

Are you ready for some futbol?

EFL - August 4 (that’s today!).  Note that ESPN has taken over the broadcast rights from BeIN and is going to make most games available on ESPN3 including today’s Sunderland loss to Derby County.
EPL - August 11 (Arsenal-Leicester). Also 8/20 is Spurs-Chelsea, that’s a big big game early.
La Liga - August 18
Bundesliga - August 18 (Bayern-Bayer Leverkusen)
Serie A - August 19 (Juventus-Cagliari)
Champions League Playoffs - August 15 - The best of the bunch look to be Liverpool-Hoffenheim, Nice-Napoli and CSKA Moscow-Young Boys
Europa League - August 17 - Everton get Hajduk Split but generally I won’t pretend to be knowledgeable about the teams here.
Also assorted Community Shield type things and a bunch of World Cup Qualifiers get rolling on August 31.  This is the penultimate break before the end of qualifying for most places so these are likely to be some very big games (US-Costa Rica September 1).  An

Jose is an Absurd Doubles Machine Posted: August 04, 2017 at 08:07 AM | 1192 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: off topic, soccer

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   1001. Topher Posted: October 11, 2017 at 03:24 PM (#5550108)
To flip, I'll predict that Sunil Gulati is safe for two related reasons:

1. He's on the FIFA Executive Committee and his replacement would not be.

2. He's needed in order to ensure a successful 2026 bid.

I personally don't agree with either reason but I bet he survives this.
   1002. PepTech Posted: October 11, 2017 at 03:26 PM (#5550115)
Wow, just saw that Panama goal. I don't think any part of the ball crossed any part of the line at any time. That's nuts.

I am officially adopting Belgium, insomuch as I care about 2018 anymore.
   1003. Textbook Editor Posted: October 11, 2017 at 03:26 PM (#5550116)
1001--Good, but sad, points.

   1004. Dale Sams Posted: October 11, 2017 at 03:29 PM (#5550118)
But I also agree with Baldrick than the US can't do it.


Fair enough. I defer to you and Baldrick. I haven't seen enough of the current to team to argue what you said.

But the little I've seen, I will say they can at least do more to provide their ball holders more outlets. Which gets into triangles and moving the ball upfield with options.
   1005. Topher Posted: October 11, 2017 at 03:44 PM (#5550141)
I will say they can at least do more to provide their ball holders more outlets.


I agree with the general principle here and doubly so given that Michael Bradley has been left on a bit of an island and he's not nearly talented enough to take on that much responsibility. In his defense, it's a special player that can do that.

I think what kills the US is that it really needs that extra man in the midfield to help create passing outlets. It also needs two strikers up top since the US appears to lack a player than can handle the responsibilities alone -- although maybe Wood can do that. But of course, you can't have both the extra man in the midfield and the extra man on top.

For better or worse that US has played with two on top for 85-90% of their games for as long ago as I can remember. And it obviously has consequence for the ability to build up an attack.
   1006. Mefisto Posted: October 11, 2017 at 04:20 PM (#5550210)
1001 is probably right, which is a shame. I think replacing Gulati would benefit the men's side, but also the women's -- we could replace Ellis.

I should emphasize that the problems with US soccer go beyond the top team coaches. The whole system is a problem and needs to be reconstructed. I doubt it's fair to expect the national team coaches to have that responsibility in addition to their other tasks.
   1007. Dale Sams Posted: October 11, 2017 at 04:24 PM (#5550220)
On a different note....how about an option in Football Manager for international coaches to tell players to GTFO of the MLS.
   1008. Nose army. Beef diaper? (CoB) Posted: October 11, 2017 at 04:37 PM (#5550236)
2. He's needed in order to ensure a successful 2026 bid.


After last night's disaster for FOX?

Short of putting Trump in charge of the US bid, the US is absolutely getting the 2026 WC (though we may have to share with our neighbors).
   1009. madvillain Posted: October 11, 2017 at 05:24 PM (#5550317)
I think what kills the US is that it really needs that extra man in the midfield to help create passing outlets. It also needs two strikers up top since the US appears to lack a player than can handle the responsibilities alone -- although maybe Wood can do that. But of course, you can't have both the extra man in the midfield and the extra man on top.


As you alluded to, the main problem is MB. And yet the formations continue to be build around him as a (lol) capable box to box mid. Maybe the MB of 8 years ago. This version just wonders all over the field, doesn't hustle anymore, and has seen a precipitous drop in quality (not just form) since coming to MLS. Bradley is frequently out of position and in the past he had to be partnered with someone like Jones or Beckerman who would stay back (well Jones had his own issues with positioning but man he had a workrate that made up for most of it) and make tidy clearances and short passes to link the attack while MB did whatever it is he does exactly.

Not bringing in a SINGLE PLAYER to compete with him for minutes is downright criminal. McKennie is the obvious example.

So we are building a formation around a player not capable of doing what we need out of him (being a dynamic box to box defensive mid that is part destroyer part DLP) and wondering why we keep seeing massive gaps between the defense and attack and teams like TnT and Honduras are over running the US midfield. Of course this strategy (empty bucket some would call it) worked against the stupidly (in that game at least) naive Panamanians but it's not going to work most nights, as we saw last night and against Honduras.

Geoff Cameron just watched his final WC opportunity pass him by, sitting on the bench for 180 minutes while an inferior player, MB, played every minute ahead of him. I can only imagine how frustrated Geoff must be today. Geoff has his weaknesses, but he is much better suited to playing the role of defensive central mid than MB. He will at least put in a god damn tackle on occasion and not run carelessly upfield time and time again leaving huge gaps (which is to be fair also a problem of the defense not playing high enough) for the opposition to exploit in the counter.

As for the strike force I have never liked the pairing of Wood and Jozy. If you want to pick one, pick Wood. They just get in each other's way mostly. Jozy always gets pushed out wide or high up (where to be fair he can make the occasional key pass or flick) and at that point you might as well play an actual winger or midfielder. Like Feilhaber last night in a 4-1-1-3-1 wouldn't have been the worst idea imo. Tell Wood to park his ass near the box and tell Bradley his job is to sit deep and look either to Feilhaber in the middle for CP or to the wings for Nagbe or Arriola. Yea CP might get swarmed but it's CP, let him pull the defense away from Wood and make something happen. You saw last night CPs quality, even on a shitty field he was basically able to do what he wanted.

Tactics are obviously complicated and beyond even the grasp of someone halfway tuned in (or mostly tuned in) like myself. I've obviously never coached at a high level and would have no idea how to run a practice or instructions for running what I just suggested for last night, but I think we can all see the clear weaknesses in the current US preferred lineup and on replay we can all see MB running around like a chicken with his head cut off.
   1010. Textbook Editor Posted: October 11, 2017 at 05:58 PM (#5550362)
1009--I've not really ever understood the 4-4-2 with MB, especially the last several years.

Doesn't the USMNT have the players to pull off a 4-2-3-1? I mean, I get that Altidore can't play anywhere but striker, and neither can Wood but, well... Isn't having a functional midfield better than just having 2 strikers?

Of course, it's kind of unfathomable that the USMNT would ever go to 3 at the back, because the CBs appear to treat ball handling like live grenade drills...

   1011. Baldrick Posted: October 11, 2017 at 07:17 PM (#5550469)
Bullshit. It wasn't that long ago the ENGLAND manager was consulting faith healers, and booting David Beckham for Aaron ####### Lennon. It wasn't that long ago the womens team threw away the championship by dribbling 1 v 3 when they should have slowed down and use their heads. So don't act like 'everyone knows that' and we're playing optimal tactics.

No one HATES the idea of beautiful triangles and nice passing. I mean, maybe Sam Allardyce genuinely does or something. But generally everyone is trying to balance 'what do we have the talent to do' vs. 'what would we like to do with better talent.'

And even with ridiculously high quality players, it's still hard to actually make it work. Witness the USWNT, where everyone SAYS the goal is free-flowing skillful soccer, but they don't actually play that way because Ellis doesn't know how to develop it. I believe she wants it; I don't believe she can make it happen.

And yeah, as Topher says, the US is nowhere close to having the players for it to be an obvious thing that they should fixate on nice triangles. A really great coach might be able to get it done. But the sort of coach we can actually get will almost certainly be better off helping the US be a good, solid, workmanlike team--which can create enough opportunities for the genuine skill players (maybe just Pulisic, maybe a couple others) to do great things.

I'm not saying that Klinsmann or Arena did a fantastic job or anything. But I think their tactical errors were in execution more than concept, if that makes sense.
   1012. Dale Sams Posted: October 11, 2017 at 08:13 PM (#5550601)
I'm not saying that Klinsmann or Arena did a fantastic job or anything. But I think their tactical errors were in execution more than concept, if that makes sense.


My initial response to you was obviously before I had a Snickers.
   1013. I am going to be Frank Posted: October 11, 2017 at 08:39 PM (#5550631)
Do most teams play in MLS play 4-4-2? Does Toronto? If we're going to be like this, might as well put all the athletes on the field and let Pulisic do everything on offense until he tires out.

Since the federation is sitting on so much cash, why don't they just fund an AAU-type circuit like the shoes companies do for basketball? Sure there are tons of problems with AAU, but it would end most of the pay-for-play problem and the US still spits out top-level basketball players.

The US players staying in MLS is a problem, but I think it's overstated. If we had better players they'd go abroad. Miazga left probably a year too early (and for the wrong team) and Agudelo left but got stuck in visa hell, and there are a bunch of youngsters in Germany and some in England. In reality, only Michael Bradley has come back to MLS in his prime where he still could have had decent European options. Jordan Morris is probably the only one I'm disappointed in. Selfishly he should have never went to college and try to find a European team. I'm not going to blame him going to college and then staying at MLS - it's his choice, but It would be safe to say it's not ideal for his development.
   1014. Richard Posted: October 11, 2017 at 09:50 PM (#5550714)
The US players staying in MLS is a problem, but I think it's overstated. If we had better players they'd go abroad.


I think this is broadly correct. The players would be offered the bigger money and many would follow it. There are just not enough players good enough to be desirable to European teams: plus I assume US players have work permit issues which makes it harder to move if they aren't in the national squads: this is not a problem for EU nationals wanting to move to another league in the EU.

The major US issue for me (and this is of course not an original thought) is that there are too many other sports competing for top class athletes. Australia has the same problem.

   1015. Textbook Editor Posted: October 11, 2017 at 10:04 PM (#5550736)
So I'm going to ask a really dumb question... but it's because I legitimately don't know the answer (and figure someone on here will):

What, exactly, is the proposed "fix" for "pay to play" in US Youth Soccer?

I ask because I see the "pay to play" culture lamented as one of the root causes of all things wrong with US Soccer--and I'm not necessarily disagreeing with that!--but what I never see is what the proposed *solution* is to this problem?

I coach at a moderately mid-sized town (~70,000) club; the town is actually big enough for 2 clubs; the other one recently adopted a more pricey model where all the coaches are paid trainers; fees there for a Fall-Spring season exceed $1,000... my club relies on volunteer coaches with low-rung coach licenses (I have the lowest badge you can get and coach; mainly because with 2 kids it's hard finding the 8-10 hours in a weekend to get the next badge up); our fees are more in the $375 range for a year--that includes 20 league games, 3 tournaments and a uniform every 2 years and a trainer for 1 session a week (the coaches do the other). We do an annual tournament that brings in a decent amount of $ but not a crazy amount. There's no deep pockets subsidizing my club. Pretty much what comes in goes right back out in field maintenance, the trainers we do get, ref fees, etc.

But... it's fine; the boys have fun. Really good teams from the club play in EDP/MAPS leagues (a step above the league my team plays in), but most play in the usual area league. There's anywhere from 15-45 kids per age group at the club; the majority will crash out before HS, but I was looking at the teams in my son's age group and figuring there's probably 20 or so kids who'll move on to at least play Freshman year at this side of town's HS (the town has two HS; the other club supplies a lot of the other HS's players). Of that... I don't know, maybe 5-10 hang in and get significant Varsity playing time 5 years from now; maybe 1-2 get partial college scholarships...

Now--I get that if I wanted to "push" TE Jr., I could sign him up with an Elite something or other team, have him train 3 days a week and play on the weekend, have top-level trainers that no doubt will teach him more in 6 months than he's been able to learn in 6 years... but it seems to me the crapshoot is still more or less the same as far as a college scholarship goes (and I didn't even think most colleges gave out FULL soccer scholarships, but, rather, like X-Country/Track, gave out 1/4 scholarships, 1/3, 1/2... portions of a full scholarship--and nothing to sneeze at!--but... still...

TE Jr.'s not getting a college scholarship for soccer. And the ship on that sailed the moment he was born, probably. Which, again, is fine--he loves playing, and I feel lucky I found a place he can do that for relatively little cost. What's going on at my club doesn't *feel* like pay-to-play, but... I mean, we are *paying* and he thus is *playing*... so...

I guess I just am not sure where the line is on all the "pay to play" stuff--is it spending $1,000 a year? $2,000? $5,000? And what's the alternative? Is it US Soccer kicking in cash to clubs like mine so that we can lower the fees even more, opening it up to kids who don't have the $375 a year to play? Is it coordinating US Soccer-sponsored pickup games on weekend through club facilities, so the insurance angle is covered and newly trained/younger refs can maybe break into competitive games away from the hothouse of "official" league U8 games (which are like the 8th circle of hell--I've seen it)? Something else?

It certainly *seems* like there's enough cash washing around at US Soccer that they *could* do things like give out grant money to clubs who apply looking to upgrade facilities, or lower costs for town players, etc... but to the best of my knowledge this isn't really happening--at least not down here at the town club level where I am.

I am genuinely interested in people's thoughts... I'd love to get rid of "pay to play," but I also (a) don't know how to even wrap my brain around what that would look like, and (b) worry my own actions/club are part of the problem (!)...


   1016. I am going to be Frank Posted: October 11, 2017 at 10:58 PM (#5550784)
The problem with getting rid of any pay-to-play is that there isn't going to be a return on investment for a long time. In Europe clubs run youth teams because there is hope that either a player becomes good enough to join the first team or they can sell players who aren't good enough (good teams) or sell players who are too good (lower-level teams).

I believe MLS clubs have this sort of model also (the Red Bulls academy is actually a town over from where I live and I will occasionally see staff at various restaurants), but I'm not too familiar with economics. I think clubs get a break on salary if an academy player makes it into the first team. However, I seem to remember that if clubs sell a player overseas, they only get a portion of the fee, and a significant portion goes to the league. If it was financially beneficial to them, they could set up an academy with dorms, schools, etc. I just don't see that happening for a while.

In a town like TE's case, the only way this works if it US Soccer just start giving grants. Even with all the money they have, it's not going to be enough, but it would be a start.

In other sports, high-level basketball has various circuits where they are sponsored, usually by shoe companies. Now this is extremely shady, and there have been indictments in college coaches and shoe company executives along with various middlemen for bribing kids and their families. The theory for these shoe companies to spend so much money in this circuit is to try and "lock in" players to their particular brand. If Nike sponsors an AAU team with a potential great player, they hope that the player chooses a college that also uses Nike, and then if and when the player makes the NBA, they sign an endorsement deal with Nike. So there is a potential financial return.

In football, it's mostly high schools, college recruiters and recruiting services. Players and high school coaches will send video (well links to their video) highlights to colleges. There are also camps that occur during the summer where good players are invited along with any other high schooler who wants to pay a fee to attend. At these camps there will be college coaches and good players will be evaluated against other "good" players. I really don't know the fees for this, but it's probably not more than a couple hundred dollars and it's usually not more than a day. No real "return" but football has a lot more volatility.

Note this is my understanding of how it works for football and basketball because I follow college recruiting (I read about it), I don't think I'm totally off base, but details may be off here and there.

The major US issue for me (and this is of course not an original thought) is that there are too many other sports competing for top class athletes. Australia has the same problem.

I think the US is losing out on some players but there are a whole range of athletes who are from 5'8" to 6'2" who would be marginal basketball and football players but could be soccer players. Maybe the whole "football scrambles your brain" will push more players toward soccer - or, more likely, keep more kids from switching from soccer to football.
   1017. Richard Posted: October 11, 2017 at 11:14 PM (#5550804)
I personally don't think there's much wrong with "pay to play". My son is in a similar system (although at his level and standard we are not required to pay any more as he is affiliated with a team in a professional league). I suppose the cheaper you make it, the more kids will play, but I assume organisations need to charge something.

The issue, I think, is that when I was a kid in England children started to go to "pay to play" and play for school teams having already played a lot of football: in the garden at home, in the park and the street with their mates...I played every day from about the age of 5 or 6. When I started training at 11, I already knew a lot about what I was doing, as I'd picked it up by osmosis.

I'm not sure whether so much football is played outside the "pay to play" structure in the US, and I do wonder whether this hinders development in some way.

Mind you, the amount of non-supervised sport being played is supposedly dropping in a lot of places. It certainly is in England.
   1018. Textbook Editor Posted: October 11, 2017 at 11:21 PM (#5550807)
I believe MLS clubs have this sort of model also (the Red Bulls academy is actually a town over from where I live and I will occasionally see staff at various restaurants), but I'm not too familiar with economics. I think clubs get a break on salary if an academy player makes it into the first team. However, I seem to remember that if clubs sell a player overseas, they only get a portion of the fee, and a significant portion goes to the league. If it was financially beneficial to them, they could set up an academy with dorms, schools, etc. I just don't see that happening for a while.


So basically some of it is that it all comes back to the ridiculous MLS set-up where the league owns all the teams, single entity bullshite. Which, frankly, I just don't get--let the owners go broke, let an arms race begin. If you let clubs benefit financially from their youth systems, I would almost guarantee that while, yes, there'd be your drunken sailor-spending teams, but if you brought in promotion/relegation you have a pretty decent NASL, etc. pipeline to overcome the clubs that will flame out (and if they do flame out who gives a ####).

I've never gotten into MLS (I'll watch the cup final and maybe 1-2 random matches a year), precisely because the way it's set up is totally a rigged system--the way they funnel DPs to who they want them to go to, etc... it's complete bullshit and I've frankly been astonished that MLS fans have gone along with this for as long as they have.

US Soccer grants would be a really great thing--there are a lot of clubs around me where even an extra $10,000 a year would make a *world* of difference. If you started giving clubs grants on an every-other or every-third year basis--even in amounts like $10,000--that would be an incredible help and help keep costs low or facilities better equipped.
   1019. Mefisto Posted: October 11, 2017 at 11:26 PM (#5550814)
My information is a few years out of date because I stepped down from the presidency of my club in 2010 (I stayed on the board after, but didn't track the finances that closely). It's also specific to girls, and I don't know how the boys clubs operate.

Our big problem is that we're on the West Side of Los Angeles. Practice space is non-existent unless we pay for it. It cost us $50,000 per year -- that's not a typo -- for a practice field which we shared with another club. Coaches salaries also tend to be higher because the coaches are all professional and need to pay rent here in LA. The net result was an annual fee for the girls of roughly $2000 apiece. That included coach, uniform, league season, roughly 5 tournaments, and National Cup.

Now, I was never particularly happy about this situation. It was not what I envisioned when I started the club. It did result in ours being the most successful girls club in the area, with teams finishing in the top 15 or so in all of SoCal, most players making their varsity teams, and a few each year going on to play in college. The downside was that it became increasingly a club for the children of rich parents, despite my insistence that scholarships be available for good players who couldn't afford it. And the truth is there are lots of folks on the West Side who can afford that cost.

I give this background because I think it represents a lot of what's wrong with soccer. It was then and for girls probably still is, the route to get noticed by colleges and the Olympic Development Program.

Now, my club was not supplying players to the National Team (we did have one girl make the U16 national team). And maybe it doesn't matter much because, as I say, lots of people here can afford these fees, the kids do get to play, and many of them succeed. But....

the risk is that this system blocks kids from lower income groups who might be real players. Maybe they find a cheaper club. Maybe they never get the training that would make them high level players. I don't know. What I think is that professional teams should be establishing youth teams the way they do in Europe: no fees.

This is hard to do in the US for a variety of reasons, including the size of the country and the relatively small number of professional teams. Most MLS teams now have such academies, but they need to be extended into other areas and to identify players pretty young (assuming they want to compete with Europe and SA). The "pay to play" might continue for those who can afford it and who might develop later, but it would be an alternative track rather than, as it is now, the main track.

I do not see an annual fee of $375 as the kind of "pay to play" which people are talking about. You're not part of the problem, though I might have been.
   1020. Textbook Editor Posted: October 11, 2017 at 11:37 PM (#5550841)
I'm not sure whether so much football is played outside the "pay to play" structure in the US, and I do wonder whether this hinders development in some way.


I think the argument would be without pickup games to try things out, the creativity/freedom of expression opportunity is lost, and you wind up with just the training and skills but not the flair (because generally coaches don't want to see flair, they want to see good technique at the lower age levels).

On the one hand, I see the reason why we (as coaches) are tempted to tamp down flair--depending on the situation/competition, flair in a U7 player can go a long way to dominating games, because a "normal" player doesn't even have basic skills down to cope with a "flair" player playing 2 years above his age (in terms of his skills)... But when that flair player finds out at U10 that what worked the previous 3 years won't work anymore, if he *doesn't* have the underlying skills, he's just going to be marginalized and wonder why what worked in U7 won't work in U10... and those frustrated players are a subset of the ones I see leaving the sport (at least at my club).

Pickup games in pretty much all sports save basketball are a dying breed, I think. I didn't play pickup baseball, per se, as a kid, but stickball/whiffle ball was a staple all day long, all summer long.
   1021. Topher Posted: October 11, 2017 at 11:37 PM (#5550842)
You are not the problem TE. Not. At. All.

The problem is that the financial incentives in American soccer are pretty damn close to being completely backward. Pay for Play exists because you aren't going to get good* coaches to train youngsters out of the goodness of their heart as they are sacrificing multiple afternoons/evenings during the week (making many 40 hours jobs impossible) and also sacrificing any semblance of a weekend life. You have to pay these coaches. And the American model is the parents make the payments.

If this was pretty much any other country, the club that developed the player would get a small percentage of the fees as the successful player transferred to bigger clubs. FIFA rules insist this happens. But despite that, it doesn't happen in the US. If it did, the youth coaches would go out of their way to find promising talent and wouldn't be (nearly as) concerned about getting paid up front for the coaching because there would be a pay out for successfully developing a player.

Congress almost assuredly will need to intervene to change the model. We (ha ... you guys ... I don't post here nearly enough to be part of the "we") discussed this as it was happening a year or so ago. Soccer America had a very nice primer explaining how the youth programs that developed some of our top talent wanted compensation and were being denied. The class action lawsuit was dismissed earlier this year. There are multiple moving parts in that class action lawsuit, but the biggest is likely the Fraser v. Major League Soccer decision. While Congress would likely need to pass new laws, the chances of that happening are ... umm ... not good. Even if Congress was inclined to look into the issue -- and they aren't -- the MLS owners are strongly against this and so is the MLS Players Union** so the chance Congress listens to the small clubs over the loud MLS voices is quite unlikely.

On top of that, you of course also have promotion/relegation. A lower division team has a lot more incentive to put resources into developing young talent when they can take the fruits of that and move up a division or two or three. And not just developing talent but SCOUTING talent. Right now way too many promising players completely slip through the cracks.

Right now MLS is getting parents to put up a lot of the up front costs to developing talent. Why exactly would they want to change that model?

* For above purposes, I'm pretending that the paid youth coaches are actually worth their salaries. I'm a bit out of the game now that I'm an old man but it would be quite the stretch to suggest that the paid coaches were across the board good.

** I say this not to be critical of the Players Union. The Players Union doesn't want those fees to be paid because it is no way in the interest of the *current* players in the union to up the costs when they get transferred even though it would probably be in the best interest for future union members to have those fees paid so they could get better coaching on the way up the ladder.

[Edit: partial cokes to those above that made most of these points as my fat fingers struggled to find the right keys.]
   1022. Dale Sams Posted: October 11, 2017 at 11:38 PM (#5550844)
Man...things must have changed a lot since i was a kid. My path and what I'm reading about PTP are very different.
   1023. Richard Posted: October 12, 2017 at 12:15 AM (#5550886)
I think the argument would be without pickup games to try things out, the creativity/freedom of expression opportunity is lost, and you wind up with just the training and skills but not the flair (because generally coaches don't want to see flair, they want to see good technique at the lower age levels).

There is something else that is lost. One thing I learned in pick up games was how to deal with people trying to foul me and, yes, how and when to foul them. Of course, this is not something you pick up as easily in a coached environment.

$2000 a year? Wow. There's nothing like that in England as far as I know.
   1024. Dale Sams Posted: October 12, 2017 at 12:47 AM (#5550889)
Pickup games in pretty much all sports save basketball are a dying breed, I think. I didn't play pickup baseball, per se, as a kid, but stickball/whiffle ball was a staple all day long, all summer long.


Man...me and the neighbor kid would go down to the elementary school and do 1v1 or penalty shootouts an hour a day for fun in summer before high school. In high school we (anyone who wanted to but it was mostly the school team) would spend our lunch hour (remember those...sometimes if an activity period-remember THOSE-fell after lunch, we'd get TWO glorious hours playing) scrimmaging. Then the school team would play after 3pm

In high school during summer, we'd sneak onto the NASL stadium pitch (the deadliest, hottest worn astroturf) when we could and play pickup. Sometimes NASL* players would kick around with us.

*The REAL NASL. Some of these guys capped too.

good times.

   1025. Textbook Editor Posted: October 12, 2017 at 12:52 AM (#5550890)
There is something else that is lost. One thing I learned in pick up games was how to deal with people trying to foul me and, yes, how and when to foul them. Of course, this is not something you pick up as easily in a coached environment.


Our last game, my LB was 60 yards upfield and made the 1st professional foul of our team's season, preventing a 4v2 breakaway as we clung to a 1-goal lead. I've literally been begging my players to take fouls like that--strategic, smart fouls--for almost 2.5 years. And this was the first time anyone actually did it... So, believe me, I hear you on this point.

Mefisto--your club's in an impossible spot. Unless you have a big benefactor who happens to also own real estate that can be used as field space... what are you going to do? We have basically 2 lighted fields (one 11v11, one 9v9 size) that go from 5:30pm-9:30pm 5 nights a week, with sometimes 5-6 teams sharing the 11v11 field. It's really only in the summer (when we have access to the local HS fields) that we get any kind of field time with a full half of an 11v11 field, and so it makes tactics a bit tough to teach in-season because you simply don't have the real estate to run the kids through drills mimicking actual game situations. I can't even imagine what field space is like to get in other major cities--and yet the major cities really should be the absolute hotbed of soccer talent, from across the income spectrum, etc.

And we're lucky that the cost of trainers here seems somewhat reasonable (I think the club's paid anywhere between $70-$100/hr for trainers, and in my experience they've all been pretty good), and living here can be somewhat cheap (or at least was cheaper than Southern CA). So that helps too.

But, naturally, the all-volunteer coaches thing my club has can be hit or miss. I'm no expert, and my ability to properly demonstrate footskills is... poor. But I try to convey what I *do* know and what I've gleaned from watching the training sessions over the years. It's probably right about $375 worth of value... lol. But in no way could I coach in an environment where parents were paying $1,000/$2,000 a year for their kid to play, even if I had a trainer running practices--I simply don't know enough to feel comfortable doing it in that kind of environment.

Now--luckily I've also not yet had a kid fall into my team that is clearly, demonstrably, a kid who has real gifts and needs proper coaching ASAP. If one ever did, to be honest the *first* thing I would do is tell the parents "Your son needs to be getting better coaching/training than I can provide; here are some possible options locally I think you should strongly consider..." Because a *really* gifted player should be getting such help. I think the problem is that--to keep the party train rolling--a lot of these "Elite academy"-type organizations really take just about anyone and train them 3 days a week instead of 2, charge a whole lot more, and the parents of the kid who should be in the local town club instead don't know (and aren't told) that Johnny's not really ever going to make it big--they just keep them in the pipeline to keep the fees rolling in.
   1026. Baldrick Posted: October 12, 2017 at 01:02 AM (#5550892)
This is a fascinating conversation. I have nothing to contribute, because this is way outside my experience, but I'm really enjoying reading everyone's perspectives here. Thanks.

Edit: I guess one question I have, while we're on the subject: I'm interested in getting involved in coaching at some point. We're starting to have the conversation about when we want to have kids, and I'd certainly like to coach them if they have any interest in playing. But that's still a ways down the road. If I wanted to dip my toe in the water sooner, do people have advice about how to get started? Like TE, I'm pretty limited in my own soccer abilities. Is that a big limitation, or does it not really matter too much?
   1027. Dale Sams Posted: October 12, 2017 at 02:02 AM (#5550895)
I don't think i knew Tim H. was 38.

It's a bit surreal to watch an old Newcastle-ManU game and hear "Alan Shearer heads one past Tim Howard!"
   1028. I am going to be Frank Posted: October 12, 2017 at 02:03 AM (#5550896)
So I have no kids of my own but many of my friends do. We’ve had group chats about their kids and their activities. All i can tell it is exhausting. Even if they’re not coaching, there are practices, matches, and tournaments. I have one friend who coaches soccer and another who coaches football. They’ve done it for a couple years, but they’re done. My friend who plays football constantly complains about parents.
   1029. greenback wears sandals on his head Posted: October 12, 2017 at 03:43 AM (#5550902)
In other sports, high-level basketball has various circuits where they are sponsored, usually by shoe companies. Now this is extremely shady, and there have been indictments in college coaches and shoe company executives along with various middlemen for bribing kids and their families.

I don't mean to derail an interesting discussion, but the legal argument for these indictments revolved around the coaches being employees of state universities. It's not at all obvious that these indictments will become convictions. In other words there is a very narrow scope here, and even then the long-term effects are still debatable. That said, the weird shoe company marketing infrastructure took decades to reach its dominant position in developmental basketball, and for something similar to happen in US soccer, the US system would need to churn out a Pulisic or two every year.
   1030. Jose is an Absurd Doubles Machine Posted: October 12, 2017 at 09:16 AM (#5550956)
I don't have any experience in soccer but I see it in baseball. Our local minor league team (Lowell Spinners) runs youth teams and it is stupid expensive to play for them (I think about $3,000). You pay your money, you show up, you make a team. A couple of years ago our town decided to participate in the same league at a much lower cost (about $1,000). Same concept but hopefully a bit more inclusive and available. The catch of course is that instead of getting coaches associated with the Spinners you get Coach Jose and Coach Bill.

Now if I can brag a bit. I'll spare you the gritty details but several of the parents told me over the summer that they felt the coaching the kids on our team got was superior to what the Spinners' kids got. There were a couple of specific issues that we had worked on that the Spinners didn't.

My point is not to make myself look good (well mostly, I mean I'm pretty fabulous) but to note that at least in my PTP baseball experience is that paying big bucks does not automatically get you superior instruction and opportunity.
   1031. Mefisto Posted: October 12, 2017 at 09:30 AM (#5550976)
Baldrick, I don't think you need to worry about coaching. I knew far less than you do when I started coaching. The trick is to start at young ages, where patience, encouragement, and energy are far more important than technical knowledge. You can work your way up from there.

ETA: There are plenty of on line resources for age-appropriate drills and practice organization.
   1032. Mefisto Posted: October 12, 2017 at 09:37 AM (#5550981)
Thanks TE. Looking back on it, I still don't see how I could have done it much different. I'm a bit annoyed with myself that I didn't push the scholarship issue more, but we did that some and any more would have been an improvement at the margins. In places like this, true soccer development requires some form of institutional backing in order to keep the costs down.
   1033. Jose is an Absurd Doubles Machine Posted: October 12, 2017 at 09:42 AM (#5550985)
Oh I missed Baldrick's question but Mefisto is 100% right. Your own ability is pretty unimportant, particularly at young ages. You are going to be better than even the best 8 year old and teaching them basic skills will not be a problem. Enthusiasm for the game and the ability to communicate with the kids is the biggest thing.
   1034. Dale Sams Posted: October 12, 2017 at 04:38 PM (#5551518)
Jose re:1030. You go right ahead and brag!

And touching on 1031....I know plenty of people who can play keepy uppy all day....and it doesn't mean #### if you can't get the ball on goal.
   1035. strong silence Posted: October 12, 2017 at 04:56 PM (#5551542)
TE
In your experience,

a. Have you ever seen a scout or a club coach from a higher level express interest in a player?
b. Have you (ever) heard of a player in your area who has chosen to skip high school in order to play for a U.S. development team?

Yes answers could indicate that US Development program tentacles are reaching downward (in order to identify promising talent.) This is an area of interest to me. I follow our local teams (in a similar size town) and I would answer yes to both.

Back in my day (early 1980s) one of my teammates, who was 16 at the time, was identified as a talent and invited to a tryout for the men's national team. Amazingly, he didn't attend because he didn't think he was a U.S. citizen.
   1036. strong silence Posted: October 12, 2017 at 05:05 PM (#5551555)
I guess one question I have, while we're on the subject: I'm interested in getting involved in coaching at some point. We're starting to have the conversation about when we want to have kids, and I'd certainly like to coach them if they have any interest in playing. But that's still a ways down the road. If I wanted to dip my toe in the water sooner, do people have advice about how to get started?

Baldrick,
Remember the 3 Ls. No Lines*, No Laps, No Lectures

With that little bit of knowledge, plus having an attitude of wanting to learn about coaching, and the goal of having fun with the ball, you'll do fine.

* I cringe when I see players standing around waiting for a chance to be in the drill. It's counterproductive and it probably makes a kid want to stop playing.
   1037. Dale Sams Posted: October 12, 2017 at 05:28 PM (#5551565)
* I cringe when I see players standing around waiting for a chance to be in the drill. It's counterproductive and it probably makes a kid want to stop playing.


God yes on the laps.*

The last I quibble just a tiny bit. If the drill is very fast moving then I think its beneficial.

*As I've said before...the best offfield training I know is pickup basketball. I played all summer...and when I went into college, I was far and away the most in shape...as a goalkeeper. That's not kid soccer of course.

   1038. Howie Menckel Posted: October 12, 2017 at 06:53 PM (#5551605)

NYC FC got bounced from its Oct 22 regular season finale at Yankee Stadium by..... the Yankees.

interesting consolation choice of where to play the game just announced - the Mets' CitiField.
   1039. Dale Sams Posted: October 12, 2017 at 07:11 PM (#5551615)
I hated playing on baseball fields. The sight lines screwed me up.
   1040. Jose is an Absurd Doubles Machine Posted: October 12, 2017 at 07:25 PM (#5551623)
1036 is really really good. Keep the kids moving, keep them engaged and don’t be afraid of a little competition, the kids seem to thrive on it. One drill we do in baseball that I think could translate to soccer is what we call the zipper drill.

The kids line up about 15 feet apart in a zigzag fashion. They then have to make a clean throw and it goes down the line like a zipper to the end and they do it with 10 or 20 balls and we challenge them to get 70 or 80%. If they do it right, the coaches run, if they don’t, they run. Always a lot of hooting and hollering. Could probably do the same thing with soccer balls to work on close passing and trapping.

X. X. X. X. X
X. X. X. X
   1041. Dale Sams Posted: October 12, 2017 at 07:39 PM (#5551630)
That was exactly what I meant on fast moving drills re: competition. The guy in line can see what the person in front of them did wrong and think "I'm gonna do better!"

Just some friendly competition.
   1042. Mefisto Posted: October 12, 2017 at 09:18 PM (#5551892)
Concur that 1036 is good advice. I'm sure that if anyone is just starting to coach and wants basic advice, plenty of people here would share.
   1043. Nose army. Beef diaper? (CoB) Posted: October 12, 2017 at 09:50 PM (#5552004)
Looks like there's a Friday morning news conference for the USSF.

Have to imagine Arena is gone, will Gulati follow, or announce he won't stand again in 2018?
   1044. Mefisto Posted: October 12, 2017 at 09:59 PM (#5552043)
If Gulati doesn't leave until 2018, that means he appoints the next coach. I hope everyone sees the problems with that.
   1045. Nose army. Beef diaper? (CoB) Posted: October 12, 2017 at 10:06 PM (#5552085)
If he's going to stand down, he could interim it until the next President ...
   1046. Mefisto Posted: October 13, 2017 at 11:43 AM (#5553114)
Arena did resign, but no word from Gulati. Reports say Tab Ramos will be the next coach.
   1047. Baldrick Posted: October 13, 2017 at 01:48 PM (#5553217)
   1048. Jose is an Absurd Doubles Machine Posted: October 13, 2017 at 01:56 PM (#5553223)
Arena did resign, but no word from Gulati. Reports say Tab Ramos will be the next coach.


Wasn't Ramos the coach of the ill-fated 2012 Olympic qualifying campaign? My recollection is that his tenure coaching the U-20s coincides with the period that the empty generation of 23-27 year olds we currently have was coming through. Am I missing something here? This seems like a really bad choice.
   1049. madvillain Posted: October 13, 2017 at 02:19 PM (#5553239)
Wasn't Ramos the coach of the ill-fated 2012 Olympic qualifying campaign? My recollection is that his tenure coaching the U-20s coincides with the period that the empty generation of 23-27 year olds we currently have was coming through. Am I missing something here? This seems like a really bad choice.


Yea my thoughts as well. Some great discussion here about the youth setup. Learned quite a bit.
   1050. Mefisto Posted: October 13, 2017 at 02:28 PM (#5553250)
That's a good analysis Baldrick. I'd just add that too many Chicago players chose the semi's to have a bad game. The midfield was choked, yes, but there were a LOT of unforced errors too.
   1051. Nose army. Beef diaper? (CoB) Posted: October 13, 2017 at 03:26 PM (#5553342)
Wasn't Ramos the coach of the ill-fated 2012 Olympic qualifying campaign? My recollection is that his tenure coaching the U-20s coincides with the period that the empty generation of 23-27 year olds we currently have was coming through. Am I missing something here? This seems like a really bad choice.


Is that the chicken ... or the egg?

Is he a bad coach, or was that just a fallow era for American soccer talent, leading to less than stellar results? I mean, primary talent development occurs outside the realm of the national teams, in high school, college, academies and professional junior teams.

Somewhat to that ... The Missing Years: U.S. Soccer’s Development Gap is an interesting and worthwhile read.

An except:

“First of all we have to acknowledge the fact that soccer has improved so much over the past 10 years alone,” said U.S. Soccer youth technical director and U-20 head coach Tab Ramos. “That makes a huge difference. I think there is more talent just because there are a lot more good environments for players to train. The next thing you notice over the past few cycles is that our team has gotten younger rather than older. I think that comes down to us being able to know all the players in our age group—not just the U-20 age group, but all the age groups. Now we can give opportunities to younger players.”

“These are kind of the things we weren't able to do six or seven years ago that now are a lot easier for us,” Ramos said. “All of those little things contribute to us being able to do better.”

Unsurprisingly, recent youth national teams are playing better. The past two U-20 teams have advanced to the World Cup quarterfinals and the 2017 squad did so without many of its best players.

The implementation of full-time coaches for U-19, U-18, and U-16 national teams has been a boost for these recent classes. In prior generations, there were only U-20 and U-17 national teams with occasional U-18 camps. Now there is a consistent stream of national teams for every birth year from the U-14 through the U-20 levels.

...

U.S. U-17 national coach John Hackworth believes that the turnaround has come with a better overall structure and organization that casts a much wider net than ever before.

“Tab Ramos deserves a lot of credit,” Hackworth said. “A full-time U-19 coach, U-18 coach, a U-16 coach, a U-15 coach. This is the first time we've ever had that. We're working together.”

“On the big picture, we've grown other parts of U.S. Soccer from the Development Academy and we now have a talent ID department,” he added. “The scouting department was people working in the Development Academy and doing scouting. That is now separated. We have a high-performance department now. There is so many growth areas within U.S. Soccer and the idea is those things trickle down and are in a collaborative effort with our clubs. And our clubs are now investing more in youth development than ever before.”

   1052. Textbook Editor Posted: October 13, 2017 at 04:11 PM (#5553388)
1035--ss, I have not seen any of that at our particular club (and certainly not my team), but we've lost a number of kids over the years to "elite" training programs, and one such kid I'm pretty sure now goes to some sort of actual Academy somewhere (instead of school), but details on that are sort of whisper-down-the-lane stuff and who knows if it's true.

There's some good players at our club, for sure, but we don't have any little Messis running around.
   1053. Textbook Editor Posted: October 13, 2017 at 04:49 PM (#5553425)
Remember the 3 Ls. No Lines*, No Laps, No Lectures


The "lines" part is somewhat harder at older ages. For Little Miss TE's U6 team we definitely try to do this, however.

And the laps thing... well, sometimes before/after my practice is the only sustained running some of my kids do all week. Just to get fitness up we need to do that--but I don't do that with the U6 team for sure.

To be honest my biggest issue with the older kids is they lack basic geometric awareness. Unless a drill is super, super straightforward, they get all sorts of discombobulated with where they're supposed to go, etc. It's a bit maddening at times.
   1054. Mefisto Posted: October 13, 2017 at 06:14 PM (#5553534)
I'd substitute sprint drills (say, suicides) for running laps. Interval training is more effective in general, and it duplicates a soccer game more than a lap does.
   1055. ckash Posted: October 13, 2017 at 07:07 PM (#5553584)
My daughter's coach has them do sprints up a fairly steep hill next to their practice field. I admit I get a bit of an evil glee watching them do it.
   1056. Jose is an Absurd Doubles Machine Posted: October 13, 2017 at 07:36 PM (#5553600)
My high school coach had us do laps of course but his primary source of apparent joy was his "1 through 5s" or god forbid "1 through 10s." These are like suicides except not as fun. You start with "1", you sprint across the penalty box. Then you do "2", sprint across the penalty box and back again. Now onto "3", across, back and back again. Got it? 1 through 5 sucked, 1 through 10 I swear had you thinking death was a better option.

The drill we did when we were younger in town was we would get into our regular position on the field then the whistle would blow and we'd run to the other end and back. So the forwards would run from midfield to the end line, midfielders would run from their starting position to about the edge of the box and the full backs and defenders would run to midfield and back. It was kind of a good drill because you were learning your positioning a bit.
   1057. Mefisto Posted: October 13, 2017 at 08:08 PM (#5553616)
My daughter's coach made his players pass the beep test every year (he scaled it for their age). This was ... not popular.
   1058. Nose army. Beef diaper? (CoB) Posted: October 14, 2017 at 08:49 AM (#5553790)
Dammit, Liverpool, bulge the auld onion bag, fer ####'s sake.
   1059. OPS+ Posted: October 14, 2017 at 10:20 AM (#5553802)
Crystal Palace get their first goal of the season and it happens against Chelsea. That's a bit of a surprise.
   1060. Nose army. Beef diaper? (CoB) Posted: October 14, 2017 at 10:34 AM (#5553803)
Of course, it being Palace, they gave up the equalizer 7 minutes later ...
   1061. I am going to be Frank Posted: October 14, 2017 at 10:46 AM (#5553804)
David de gea -
Wizard
   1062. Nose army. Beef diaper? (CoB) Posted: October 14, 2017 at 10:50 AM (#5553806)
TWO for Palace!

And they go into the half with the lead!

Meanwhile, Spurs are listlessly wandering about the pitch ... at Wembley ... again.
   1063. Nose army. Beef diaper? (CoB) Posted: October 14, 2017 at 11:04 AM (#5553812)
SPURS ARE A CHRISTIAN TEAM!
   1064. Jose is an Absurd Doubles Machine Posted: October 14, 2017 at 11:59 AM (#5553818)
That was an amazing effort from Palace. I only saw the second half but other than that fairly bizarre moment by Sakho at the end I thought they closed that out magnificently. I feel like Woy deserves a bunch of credit there because that looked like a well schooled team.
   1065. Mefisto Posted: October 14, 2017 at 08:31 PM (#5553999)
I have to say that the NWSL semis and finals were a piss poor advertisement for the league.
   1066. Fourth True Outcome Posted: October 14, 2017 at 11:44 PM (#5554278)
The final in particular was one of the worst-refereed, ugliest games I've seen in a while, though I'm pleased with the end result.
   1067. Baldrick Posted: October 15, 2017 at 01:17 AM (#5554289)
The general sentiment of the press box was disgust, disbelief, frustration, anger, resignation.

What an awfully refereed game. The second half was MUCH better, and still was pretty bad.

Talking to Christine Sinclair in the mix zone with her holding a bottle of champagne and smiling profusely is definitely one of my all-time favorite soccer moments, though.
   1068. Mefisto Posted: October 15, 2017 at 12:00 PM (#5554336)
The referee would have embarrassed the NHL.
   1069. I am going to be Frank Posted: October 15, 2017 at 06:34 PM (#5554398)
So there are Champions League games this week and no matches on FS1. Wednesday is understandable since there is playoff baseball, but the Man U game will not even be on any channels (as of now).

I hope the World Cup is such a disaster that Fox never bids on any soccer league or tournament ever agin.
   1070. Nose army. Beef diaper? (CoB) Posted: October 15, 2017 at 07:51 PM (#5554426)
Unfortunately FOX has the rights until the 2030 World Cup and even if 2018 and 2022 are nightmares, 2026 ought to be an easy homerun for FOX unfortunately.
   1071. Mefisto Posted: October 15, 2017 at 09:41 PM (#5554546)
Frank, I just checked my recording schedule and it looks like the games are being broadcast, they're just delayed. For example, on Tuesday there's the 11:30 (PDT) game, which is typical. But the next game is not until 5 pm and some are in the middle of the night. That sucks, but they are there.

You can still hate Fox, though.
   1072. Textbook Editor Posted: October 16, 2017 at 12:34 AM (#5554771)
A question for the youth coaches out there: What's the general take on refs calling obstruction in your games? In TE Jr's U13 game today, the other team appeared to actually be coached to obstruct players off the ball at basically every given opportunity (especially 2v1's in their favor when our player was attempting to attack the ball). The FIFA rule regarding this seems pretty clear:

becomes a offence punishable with a direct free kick or penalty kick. carefully consider the high probability that misconduct has also been committed. into the path of the opponent to obstruct, block, slow down or force a change of direction by an opponent when the ball is not within playing distance of either player.


But, like I said, I strongly suspect the team we faced was coached to do what they did in certain situations, and it went unchecked the whole game. Suffice to say, it took my guys about a half to realize, well, if *nothing* off the ball is being called, well, then... we might as well foul like hell off the ball. Which meant essentially a slugfest in the second half. But we weathered the storm and came away with a 2-2 draw.
   1073. KronicFatigue Posted: October 16, 2017 at 07:24 AM (#5554787)
Is there something "different" with CL broadcasts this season? I feel like this is the first year where I've had any issues. 2 years ago, I remember being able to watch any match I wanted on my phone. I feel like it was a combination of fox sports app and ESPN deportes (via watch espn). Last season is less memorable, but I could have sworn most of the matches aired live-ish, but spilled into secondary sports channel (like a regional sports channel's add-on channel when there's overlapping game). I could be romanticizing last season, but I feel the worst case scenario was a match airing immediately following the live games conclusions.

This season has been a disaster. All the matches, at least on Vue, seem to be limited to FS1 and FS2, there's no added games on demand or on the app. I waited until a 11 PM airing of a Chelsea match and when I finally watched it it was mislabeled and was just a rerun of Man U.

I've been so disappointed with the experience that I've tuned out most of the group stage. It's not worth the aggravation of searching out the game only to be disappointed.
   1074. Jose is an Absurd Doubles Machine Posted: October 16, 2017 at 09:37 AM (#5554822)
A question for the youth coaches out there: What's the general take on refs calling obstruction in your games? In TE Jr's U13 game today, the other team appeared to actually be coached to obstruct players off the ball at basically every given opportunity (especially 2v1's in their favor when our player was attempting to attack the ball). The FIFA rule regarding this seems pretty clear:


Not a youth soccer coach so I can weigh in there. What I can say is the lack of obstruction being called in the pro game is one of my biggest frustrations. "And Terry shepherds it out of play" is one of those things that announcers get all worked up about but it's frustrating to watch.

I share that because your guys are now at an age where that sort of thing would seem to be coming into play. I know with baseball as the kids get older we start giving them tips on little tricks that maybe you wouldn't teach a younger kid who is learning the game. I can see a coach at that age saying "OK guys, recognize where the ref is looking and if you have a chance to slow a player down that's a good defensive play." That sounds a bit harsh but it wouldn't surprise me if it is happening.
   1075. There are a lot of good people in alt-Shooty Posted: October 16, 2017 at 09:56 AM (#5554830)
ESPN3 is carrying a fair number of CL games if you can't find them on Fox. Tomorrow they'll have Dortmund-APOEL, Spartak-Sevilla and Feyenoord-Shakhtar. Of course, you'll all be watching Real-Tottenham so those games don't matter.
   1076. jmurph Posted: October 16, 2017 at 10:00 AM (#5554834)
Agree on the Champions League schedules looking weird this week, but some of the untelevised games will be streaming live on ESPN3. No, I don't understand it either but it's a real thing. Looks like Sevilla and Manchester City/Napoli on Tuesday, and PSG, Bayern/Celtic, and Barcelona/Olympiakos on Wednesday.

Relatedly, I recommend the LiveSoccerTV app for your phone- it's a comprehensive global schedule including tv coverage.

EDIT: I see Shooty beat me to the punch while I perfected my much more eloquent and helpful post.
   1077. I am going to be Frank Posted: October 16, 2017 at 10:53 AM (#5554859)
Since this is the last season that Champions League is on Fox, I think they're just don't care about it. They have no incentive to put on a good product. It's one thing to run playoff baseball, but I think they are just running with normally scheduled programming on Tuesday. I don't see how they can make any money of Champions League. Six Tuesday/Wednesday afternoons for group games and then six more for the elimination rounds plus the final. I'd also settle for just using the world English language feed. Instead they subject us to Brad Friedel and their collection of has-beens gas bags.

For all the talk about cord-cutting, while ESPN is absorbing all the flak, Fox has also has to be hurting. I still don't get FS2 in HD. I also want to know how many people spend an extra $10/month for Fox Soccer Plus.
   1078. Mefisto Posted: October 16, 2017 at 11:01 AM (#5554867)
TE, I only saw obstruction called once in the whole time since I started coaching soccer. The ref got the call wrong.
   1079. jmurph Posted: October 16, 2017 at 12:28 PM (#5554958)
José Mourinho is minded to sign a new contract at Manchester United but will do so only if he believes the terms reflect his achievements at the club and its current status under him.

Uhhhhh, how's that, now? I guess he did improve them from 5th place all the way to 6th in his first season, so that's something.
   1080. There are a lot of good people in alt-Shooty Posted: October 16, 2017 at 12:53 PM (#5554978)
Mourinho is angling for some of that sweet, sweet PSG money is all. If they'll give Neymar 30 million after tax Euros a year, imagine how much they'll give the most immense personality in soccer history. Billions!
   1081. PepTech Posted: October 16, 2017 at 01:13 PM (#5555002)
A look at the MLS standings led me to an interesting discovery - the first tiebreaker (after points) for playoff seeding is Total Wins. Is that used anywhere else? I would have thought GD was more or less universal. It turns out to make a difference in the Western Conference - Seattle under the current system can *not* be the top seed despite having superior GD to both Portland and Vancouver. They can clinch #2 with a win, since the other two teams play each other.

I'm trying to figure out why Total Wins is any kind of a good idea. I guess it discourages sitting on a draw at the end of the match? Anyone have a better reason? Now that pro/rel playoffs are more in vogue, this has probably been a topic of discussion somewhere. I would think the other way, that "Fewest Losses" would be preferable. Well, or just use GD like normal people :)
   1082. Nose army. Beef diaper? (CoB) Posted: October 16, 2017 at 02:46 PM (#5555122)
US U-17s advance to the quarterfinals with a 5-0 victory over Paraguay.

Tim Weah with a hat trick.

One of them looked like this!

Next match is Saturday morning against either England or Japan.
   1083. PepTech Posted: October 16, 2017 at 03:12 PM (#5555142)
I'm trying to figure out why Total Wins is any kind of a good idea. I guess it discourages sitting on a draw at the end of the match? Anyone have a better reason? Now that pro/rel playoffs are more in vogue, this has probably been a topic of discussion somewhere. I would think the other way, that "Fewest Losses" would be preferable.
To add to my own question, the last spot of the Western Conference looks like this:

San Jose 43 points, 12W, 14L, 7T, -22 GD
Dallas 43 points, 10W, 10L, 13T, -4 GD

Why choose a system that selects the wildly erratic team with a sub-500 record here?
   1084. PepTech Posted: October 16, 2017 at 03:16 PM (#5555146)
One of them looked like this!
Helluva kick, there, but #11 was wide open in the middle. Just saying.

The father of the most talented player on my son's rec team enforces a rule with his son: The boy gets $5 for every assist, and has to pay his father $1 for every goal he scores. It's had an interesting effect on his strategy :)
   1085. There are a lot of good people in alt-Shooty Posted: October 16, 2017 at 03:46 PM (#5555171)
Not a lot of quality in this West Brom-Leicester game.
   1086. Jose is an Absurd Doubles Machine Posted: October 16, 2017 at 04:24 PM (#5555207)
Why choose a system that selects the wildly erratic team with a sub-500 record here?


Because fans prefer a game with a decisive winner/loser than a tie. By using wins you further encourage teams to go for it late in games rather than sitting back and playing for the draw. Not saying it's the right or wrong way to go but I think that would be the logic.
   1087. PepTech Posted: October 16, 2017 at 05:18 PM (#5555242)
Thanks, Jose - that's pretty much the only reasoning I could think of, I guess I'm glad I could at least squint and see the thought process.

Holy cow, San Jose has had a weird second half. 5-8-2 with a -20 GD that includes a 3-0 win over the Galaxy. -27 in the eight losses. Yeesh.

   1088. vortex of dissipation Posted: October 16, 2017 at 06:33 PM (#5555284)
I have a question for those who are referees, or simply know the rules better than I do. Here’s a hypothetical situation:

A player from team A is dribbling the ball just inside the sideline, and the ball then goes out of bounds, giving a throw-in to team B. A split second after the ball goes out of bounds, a player from team B tackles the team A player, in a way that would clearly be worthy of a red card. There’s no foul, since the out of bounds happened before the tackle. Could the referee still give a red card for dangerous play to the player from team B, even though technically there was no foul?
   1089. Baldrick Posted: October 16, 2017 at 06:42 PM (#5555289)
A player from team A is dribbling the ball just inside the sideline, and the ball then goes out of bounds, giving a throw-in to team B. A split second after the ball goes out of bounds, a player from team B tackles the team A player, in a way that would clearly be worthy of a red card. There’s no foul, since the out of bounds happened before the tackle. Could the referee still give a red card for dangerous play to the player from team B, even though technically there was no foul?

I Am Not a Referee, but my understanding is that a player can be sent off for reckless or dangerous play regardless of whether a foul is committed.

The FIFA website is garbage, but their summary of rules on misconduct definitely says that a player can be sent off for excessive force 'outside the field of play.'
   1090. PepTech Posted: October 16, 2017 at 07:00 PM (#5555296)
FIFA rankings update is in, and Denmark has indeed passed N.Ireland for the last of the four seeds in tomorrow's draw. So it is this:

Seeded: Switzerland (11), Italy (15), Croatia (18), Denmark (19)
Unseeded: N.Ireland (23), Sweden (25), Ireland (26), Greece (47)

Top teams already out of the 2018 WC:

(9) Chile
(14) Wales
(20) Dutch
(24) Slovakia
(27) USA
(29) Scotland
(T30) Ukraine

Tunisia (28) still has work to do, and of course half of the Euro teams above will be eliminated shortly. At the shank end, the Asian teams qualified are Iran (43), Japan (44), S Korea (62) and Saudi Arabia (63), with Australia (43) facing Honduras (69). By the rankings, China (57) is missing out. The two African teams already in are Egypt (T30) and Nigeria (41), and those will pretty much go to the rankings as well (probably). And then there's Peru (10) vs. New Zealand (122). Good luck to the Kiwis.

It's likely that much like in South Africa, the lowest team in the field will be the host (Russia is at #65), and since they're in Pot 1, their group will be the most coveted.

   1091. Howie Menckel Posted: October 16, 2017 at 07:00 PM (#5555298)
the first tiebreaker (after points) for playoff seeding is Total Wins. Is that used anywhere else?

the NHL has done that for many decades (and I imagine they still do).

fun fact: the 1969-70 Philadelphia Flyers had an NHL record 24 ties (in 76 games). they never went more than 4 games all season without one - until they lost their last 6 games. that does feel kind of "un-American." :)
   1092. Richard Posted: October 16, 2017 at 08:00 PM (#5555343)
Vortex - you can definitely get a red card in that situation. Keith Gillespie was sent off in the Reading v Sheffield United game in the PL in 2007 in similar circumstances (throw in given: Gillespie comes on as substitute: Gillespie elbows Steven Hunt in face before throw in taken: Gillespie sent off and is recorded as spending zero seconds on the pitch)
   1093. Sean Forman Posted: October 16, 2017 at 11:18 PM (#5555505)
U-17's won today 5-0 over Paraguay and so are on to the QF's vs England or Japan. Which is better than losing.

Video of all of the goals below. Timothy Weah with a hat trick. 1st goal was a beauty all around and Andrew Carleton had several very nice passes for assists or leading to a goal.

https://www.topdrawersoccer.com/club-soccer-articles/usa-crushes-paraguay-in-u17-world-cup_aid43074
   1094. Textbook Editor Posted: October 16, 2017 at 11:24 PM (#5555511)
1090--Thanks, PepTech.

Eyeballing it from an Ireland perspective, I think I'd go in this order of preference:

Denmark
Switzerland
Croatia
Italy

Mainly because the Swiss seem a tad overrated to me, an away leg in Croatia seems like the worst possible away leg to get, and Italy's gonna Italy and there's no way Italy's staying home now that so many other "name" countries aren't attending. (And which means, yes, I do think the fix would be in to ensure Italy makes it.)

All of which means, *of course* Ireland will draw Italy; it's 99.99% guaranteed to happen.

At least there's no Portugal (who there's no way Ireland had a prayer of beating).

And thanks to everyone who chimed in with the question about refs and calling obstruction... I figured it was probably a non-call most places, especially off the ball. But, like I said, it happened so damn much in the game it simply *had* to be a coached tactic to do to any opposition player moving toward one of their players (with or without the ball)--and it just got a whole lot silly by the end of the match.

One real problem I have this season is that our league technically has forbidden coaches to speak to refs during games--i.e., they've explicitly said that a coach "has no right to talk to a referee during a game" which--practically--is a bit absurd, but it's been used as a bit of a blunt force tool to keep coaches in line, because, essentially, anytime you try to engage a ref at all, about anything, they can yellow/red card you. (And a red card is no joke--there's a $250 fine my club makes us pay personally + the 1 match ban + league mandated "anger management training"...)

So, generally, I try to not engage with refs at all other than to say hi when I pay them their fee. In the past, *prior* to games, I have occasionally asked them for clarification on a hypothetical call (for a foul/way of play I know the other team will engage in), just to see where their head is at on those sorts of calls, but I haven't even done that this year.

The refs generally seem to want to "let the kids play"--which I'm all in favor for!--but if you call a few quick fouls (assuming there are some), I also know kids adjust and toe the line and the game won't devolve into a slugfest. We have to fill out a referee comment form after every match and I said in no uncertain terms I thought she allowed dangerous play to go unpunished (on both sides), and that I would prefer to never have the ref again. Which I'm sure means she'll have our game again on Sunday ;)
   1095. Nose army. Beef diaper? (CoB) Posted: October 17, 2017 at 12:03 AM (#5555523)
[1093] Ahem ... #1082?
   1096. Sean Forman Posted: October 17, 2017 at 08:26 AM (#5555560)
Sorry CoB. not sure how I missed that. Almost recreated it word for word as well.


I don't know why I'm bothering to think about this, but for these Nov friendlies I want to see the following lineup.

4-3-3

Horvath
Yedlin, Brooks, Miazga (apparently Ajax is looking at a Jan Transfer for him), Kellyn Acosta (LB, who knows)
Jonathan Gonzalez (18yo DM starting for Monterrey & dual national)
Tyler Adams, Weston McKennie
Arriola (couldn't come up with a better name) Pulisic
Bobby Wood
   1097. Jose is an Absurd Doubles Machine Posted: October 17, 2017 at 08:42 AM (#5555565)
Team listed first is home in the first leg. Exact dates and times don't seem to be announced yet;

Northern Ireland v Switzerland
Croatia v Greece
Denmark v Ireland (yay TE!)
Sweden v Italy

Italy and Croatia should be clear favorites but the other two ties should be pretty good.
   1098. PepTech Posted: October 17, 2017 at 10:23 AM (#5555630)
Sorry if I missed it - has there been talk here about Stefan Frei? He passed his citizenship test this summer and from what I understand is not bound to the Swiss.

Congrats to TE for getting his wish. I guess Croatia v Greece cuts down on travel costs for everybody :)

I'll take the Swiss, Croats, Irish, and Italians, even though I still hate Luca Toni with the heat of one thousand suns. I don't even remember why, it's just so.
   1099. There are a lot of good people in alt-Shooty Posted: October 17, 2017 at 10:28 AM (#5555640)
Shrewsbury is about to be the only club in England with safe standing. When that goes well I expect it to spread to the rest of the football league. Tottenham's new stadium will have a section ready to convert to safe standing as soon as they're given the thumbs up so here's to hoping it happens fast.
   1100. jmurph Posted: October 17, 2017 at 11:23 AM (#5555722)
*Insert good Shakespeare jokes from someone smarter than me.*

Leicester has fired yet another manager.
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