Major Link Soccer: Occupational 'Hazard', Cascadia Football Federation

Even with ball boys, it can be hard to differentiate flopping from the real thing - Michael Steele

Plus, come see what the Mariners and Seahawks would look like if they played different sports.

Perhaps everyone has already seen Eden Hazard of Chelsea kicking a defenseless ball boy, but if not, click on for the video. Frankly, I don't really blame Hazard for doing what he had to do to get the ball in a tied league match. Still, this incident combined with John Terry's issues from last year have me rethinking my "fandom"* of the storied London club.

*"fandom" means "passing interest" when it comes to non-Seattle teams.

It looks now like there's a good chance Seattle will be saddled with a USMNT Gold Cup game rather than a Hexagonal round first team match that "matters". If we end up without a chance to see "our" team live after the tease we've been subjected to over the last few weeks, I think I'm done. Perfect timing for the Cascadia Association Football Federation to organize their first general meeting. Although not endorsed by FIFA, I might be able to see one of their games in person.

Mock-up jerseys are a thing of mine. I love looking at the ideas people come with for designs and color schemes. So when I saw a link to a bunch of mock-ups for Baseball's AL-West, I was excited. Even more so when I noticed it was the same guy that did a redesign of the New England Revolution. While I didn't love that post (not for lack of skill, but blue and green is our thing) his Mariners mock-up is really fun. The little touches, like the predominant Northwest direction and the SUPER subtle Puget Sound stencil make it a kit I'd be proud to wear. I only wish there were a blue alternate. It isn't the first time a Seattle sports team has been given a mock soccer kit, but it is perhaps the best (that I've seen).

Bloomberg News has named Seattle the best American city with an MLS team. That wasn't really the context, but in the end that is, indeed, what they're saying. They use a looser definition of "City" than I would. This list makes me wonder where Vancouver, Toronto, and Montreal would place.

Reign FC has their teaser site up, and it features a pretty cool image of a player that would rather be in Portland. I'm just giving you a hard time Rapinoe, we're glad to have you (even if we would rather have local faces as well).

It is no secret that Seattle's 2013 draft was oriented towards the future of their defense. But MLSsoccer has taken notice of the offensive capabilities of the two newest Sounders. They also caught up with Mauro Rosales, asking him about the upcoming Champions League games.

Elsewhere in Seattle's defense, our resident (insert opinion here) haircut DeAndre Yedlin has become a (quite literal) beacon, demonstrating what heights the Sounders Academy can lead to. And catch up with Kasey Keller as he talks about his trip to Tanzania, one of the few countries on earth where he can pretend his height is normal.

The league seems poised for a meteoric rise over the next 10-20 years, with attendance and revenues and profile constantly and consistently increasing. But the one metric that has seen little to no growth have been in television ratings. Will that change? One major factor in 2012 was the preceding program; the best NBC Sports Network broadcast was a Colorado-Dallas matchup directly following the Olympics. This will be partially rectified by NBC's new EPL deal. Another had to do with this:

No ESPN or ESPN2 game in the second half of the 2012 season averaged more than 300,000 viewers. In the first half of the season, there were eight such matches. Timing was a major factor, as a large majority of those second half games began at 9:00 p.m. ET or later.

News of Lance Armstrong's infidelity has reached across the Atlantic, as has his foundation's former naming rights for Sporting KC's stadium. Speaking of naming rights, Home Depot's deal with the LA Galaxy has expired. Don't worry though; the club will still be able to sign whoever they want, and convince Landon Donovan to come back.

In West Coast Bias, everyone suffers. None more so than the small markets, like Salt Lake City. It may not be surprising that Real Salt Lake doesn't get a ton of shots at national television, but it is unfortunate. They have a good thing going there.

So I was playing Soul Calibur V with a friend the other night. And every time I'd block one of his strikes or roll away form a finishing blow, he'd call me "lucky". And every time, out of reflex, I'd say something along the lines of "it isn't luck if you meant to do it". Despite that, I still only won four or five out of 20 bouts, and that was including the times his wife played while he took care of their three month-old. Long story short, some play lucky, and some are just good. MLSsoccer takes a look t the difference.

As often happens to older players, Shalrie Joseph is now poised to hop around after being the face of the New England Revolution for a decade.

KC was recently announced as the home of the 2013 All-Star Game, but if a Merritt Paulson tweet is to be believed, 2014's location has already been picked.

The MLS-USL partnership was formally announced this week, but only DC United and Sporting KC have announced partnerships with USL clubs. DC-Richmond makes sense. KC-Orlando, less so. The New England Revolution are reportedly speaking with the Rochester Rhinos, which I suppose would fall somewhere in the middle.

Assorted MLS developments: Salt Lake has a new owner by the name of Hansen (not that franchise-owning Hansen), Pavel Pardo is retiring, Barry Robson is out in Vancouver, and Edson Buddle injured his knee with the National Team

Schalke announced they will be installing a plaque to their stadium in honor of 9 club-affiliated Jews who died in the Holocaust. I think I prefer the plaque with names outside Centurylink, but this is a wonderful gesture.

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