Saturday, July 22, 2006

Petit Hombre

Pictured to the left is Jonah Blum, one of the US team's rising fans
and a true developing soccer mind in the Atlanta suburbs. Recently, I was able to get a few minutes of his time.

MK: Jonah, your thoughts on the US's world cup flameout ?

JB: nuzzhhh... zabab zzababa
MK: So, it sounds like you're blaming Arena for the team's lacklustre performance...
JB: unga... zabbbab... zhhss (biting sock)
MK: Strong words, indeed. Do you think he can be successful with RBNY?
JB: nnaapppzaz dugaduga mpat
MK: Well said. On to the next question. Freddy Adu.. ready for Europe ?
JB: Brilliant...I've authentically been impressed with Fredinho this year. He's adjusting on the pitch to the withdrawn striker spot, and is reading passing lanes well. Novak has succeeded in teaching him better defensive awareness and technique. Before, he was just out there to impress everyone. And, lest we forget.. the lad is only bloody 17!
MK: Where do you see him ending up ?
JB: uaannns zapa nahng nhanb.
MK: There you have it.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Meet the New Boss (same as the old boss)

Well, Bruce Arena is the new coach of Red Bull New York, which is a complete non-surprise, overall. Bruce is a NYC guy, and RBNY wanted a name coach, so I can see the match. I've always liked the NY/NJ franchise, dating back to their original taxicab logo.

Most coaches, after they leave their WC team, travel, golf and generally do nothing noteworthy for a few months after (I have a feeling Klinsmann is at a Jamba Juice enjoying the anonymity). It's kind of a susprise to see Bruce back in the news so soon after, but I guess he wanted to do something, and NY needed him, so it all fits.

I have no doubt Bruce will win at Giants Stadium. He'll figure out a way to get it done. I wonder what his future holds; it's not like he's going to be one of these Kinnear or Yallop-type guys who bounces around MLs teams. After being the big man in the US, that's a step down, and he's not a step down kinda hombre.

I wouldn't be surprised, honestly, to see him coach another small to midsized national team like Canada - a team with some skill that needs a coach with a resume. ehh ?

Monday, July 17, 2006

Out of Left Field

I read in yesterday's Washington Post that the DC United and Real Madrid are discussing a possible exhibition match to be held... in Baltimore!
Howzzabout that?
I can't imagine anything that I'd like more.. close to town, in a unique stadium. My fave club team versus one of the world's top clubs. I can't imagine Ronaldo, Raul, Roberto Carlos and Beckham all making the trip over, but I'd think some would be here.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Guten Tag, Jurgen.

Grant Wahl wrote today about the US's chance of signing former German coach Jurgen Klinsmann. I certainly hope they can. It makes all the sense in the world, plus there's really nobody else who fits the bill. Let's hope Gulati let Bruce go, knowing he had a good replacement.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Thanks, Bruce.

Well, you heard it here 27th. Bruce Arena is out as US coach. - his contract wasn't renewed.
I have a feeling this was all pre-decided, but I have respect for Gulati.

I'll take your questions now.

Is this because he failed to get out of the first round ?
Mostly, yes.

Are you surprised ?

If we beat Ghana, would Bruce still be here ?
I think so, yes.

So, why was Bruce one bad PK call away from being retained ?
Sports are a funny thing. When good things happen, we overlook a lot. Conversely, when bad things happen, we review a lot.

Klinsmann ?
There's a chance.

Are you sad to see him go ?
This isn't like the ending of "Cheers". 8 years is a very long time. Bruce will be OK. He's a smart guy. It's soccer. Bruce was a great - great coach, but his time to go had arrived. Fresh blood is a good thing in international soccer.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006


So, the news is that Jurgen Klinsmann has resigned as German coach.
Completely surprised me as with many people. Germany had a great run in this World Cup and he was again regarded as a national hero. I've no doubt that he was much loved by his players. The common thinking was that he'd stay until Euro 2008.

I can't imagine that he left for personal reasons. Klinsmann isn't an angry or spiteful guy. Just makes it look more like he's doing it to become the next US coach. Timing is a little weird, though. The last German game was Saturday - he celebrates, enjoys and he announced his leaving on Tuesday night. Seems a little pre-meditated for me.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

War of The Words

Two days after the World Cup final, and news outlets are getting some deeper information about what Materazzi said that got so under Zidane's skin.

I agree with what most people have said about this - that no matter what insult flew that Zidane has to keep his cool there - violence is a far worse thing than an insult. The latter happens all the time in sports; it's well known that teams are taught how to insult opponents in their native language.

Now, in no way do I condone what was said. If I was in the heat of battle, and someone slung something anti-semitic at me, I'd want his head bitten off, but I'd fuel that rage into performance on the field.

And, speaking of sports pundits, I've heard opinions from the usual soccer minions, as well as SI's football elder statesman Paul Zimmerman, Mike Golic, Dan LeBatard and Wilbon and a host of others. Hey, that's progres... regular sports journlists stepping in with their 2 cents. CNNSI's website even had a list of the top-ten sports meltdowns. I pretty much hate those silly lists, but atleast its' genesis was soccer.

And, getting back to Materazzi's quote, he said something like, "I'm a cultured man, I've never heard of a muslim terrorist". I realize that English isn't his first language, or maybe it came via an interpreter, but I think he meant to say something like, "I'm a cultured man; I don't believe Muslims are terrorists" or "I don't know any Muslim terrorists", to show his open-mindedness for Muslims.