I think it is fair to say that the governing body of soccer, FIFA, has seen better days. More popular days. Without the scandals, and politics, and controversies. FIFA, as a game is popular. FIFA is a video game is popular. But FIFA as the organization branch of the world's game.... not so much. They aren't winning any additional fans in the states with recent comments from FIFA president Sepp Blatter suggesting that the United States has "no strong soccer league". Don Garber, upon reading the comments in the paper the following morning, surely did a spit-take. As did we all, Mr. Garber, as did we all.
This "Soccer Night in Newtown" thing is looking like a pretty cool deal, with lots of big names (and some smaller ones) getting together for a sporting event all about the community. It could have easily turned into a cynical cash grab or promotional tool, but that sense has never really emerged. If this thing goes off the way it seems to be, it will really be something special.
I will drive this opinion into the ground until everyone agrees with the premise; building MLS stadiums significantly outside the downtown core is ineffective for teams fighting the attendance battle. The land is cheaper, and teams can get some sweet deals, but whole blocks of prospective fans are turned off or eliminated in the process. Chicago is one of many examples of this suburban phenomenon. Now the Fire's Bridgeview stadium is becoming a major point of contention due to financial obligations.
A few weeks ago I wrote an article (a precursor to a poll really) asking what Adrian Hanauer would need to do to earn your vote in 2016. With 241 votes spread over nine options, only one check was left completely unmarked. No one felt a Club World Cup appearance would be a minimum qualification for Hanauer's job. Regardless, one Bleacher Report writer felt that Seattle might make a run at the competition this year, WINNING CONCACAF.
If graphs and charts don't make you want to curl up in a ball and hide from the world, this site is for you! A former SB Nation author crunched the numbers on quite a few MLS players and found that shooting the ball at the goal... it is a good thing.
There may be more going on at the collegiate level of soccer in the 'States than there is in MLS. But for those of you who, like me, find themselves somewhat ignorant of the intercollegiate sports scene, Top Drawer has us covered.
The following link is included just because, really, Vancouver isn't mentioned once in article number four, and it really is unfortunate, because they have been as big a success story as there has been the last few years outside of SEA and POR. They should be receiving accolades the way Kansas City and Houston have been, but they got so pushed to the side by jumping into the league the same time as a certain Cascadia Cup winner.
Grant Wahl touches on that very subject in his yearly "Ambition Rankings", where the Sounders rank second to that team in LA. You know, the one that goes half-speed in the Open Cup and CONCACAF games.
I hate it when Joshua Mayers at the Seattle Times gets his links page up before mine, because the two often have many links in common. This week, he has something I would have had nothing on, that being a Sounders case at the new Mohai museum. I wanted to go check the new digs out before, and I still want to now. I think I'll try to visit this weekend. Who is with me?!?
Perhaps because the club is approaching it's awkward teenage years (they may be about to turn 5, but they grow up so fast) they have put "going streaking" on their list of New Year's Resolutions. Far be it from me to judge, but I'll be perfectly happy with the owners, front office, players, and even writing staff... forgetting... to follow through with that particular resolution.
Oh jeez, we're talking about sellout streaks... Look I love the people I sit next to at the games, but we aren't THAT friendly.
Speaking of the Reign, from listening to the GM of the new team talk about it, there sure seems to be a storm on the horizon. And that isn't a Seattle Women's Sports pun.
For the last bit, here is the most recent Sounders FC Podcast. Where you learn about Tanzania, Kilimanjaro, Ngorongo Crater, Dar Es Salaam and Kasey Keller?