Soccer, Sexism, USSF’S Huge [Hope] Solo Mess and A LOT of WTF

I have read and read and re-read pretty much everything written about this Hope Solo mess.  I have also read a lot written about domestic violence in the NFL and in sports in general.

Generally all the talking has proven to me is that very, very few people either involved in the decision-making or writing about it have any clue what the fuck they are talking about.  There is precious little discussion about the cycles of abuse, the toll it takes on families or why it exists in the first place.

To be clear, I have never been in a physically abusive relationship and got out of a couple emotionally abusive relationships pretty much unscathed or with minimal damage.   I have had a few close calls with some class-A DBags and suffered some sexual harassment and a sexual assault by a then boyfriend that left serious emotional scars, but thankfully not physical ones.  I have never been hit buy a guy that I was seeing or any other one for that matter.  I have never been in a physically abusive relationship by the grace of God and A LOT of luck and friends stepping in the line of fire so to speak.    Luckily, in my case relationships that could very easily end up there, I got out before it did.

Now back to the topic at hand… the never ending mess that is Hope Solo’s non-professional life.  I keep hearing this combination: Hope, Ray Rice, the question of why is SHE still playing, the false equivalency of male and female domestic violence and the idea that she is somehow different by virtue of gender    There are only a few people who know what happened in Hope Solo’s family’s kitchen and ultimately that is a matter for a judge/jury and or her legal team to sort through and determine.  There was no smoking gun videotape to crystallize the world’s opinion.

There are charges to be adjusted, include getting into a violent altercation with him 17 year-old nephew including breaking a broom over his head and then punching her sister, the boy’s mother, in the face when the sister tried to break it.  If those charges are true, she should be sent to jail as befitting punishment for those crimes.   I don’t care that she is a Hope Solo, America’s Best Goalkeeper or whatever.. if she is a violent thug, she is a violent thug.  Simple… simple… simple…

There is the trick and real issue, nothing, not one damn thing, in domestic violence is simple or black and white.

She is being portrayed in some segments as the same as Ray Rice and given the charges you can very easily make that case.  She is accused of the same crime as he was, punching a female loved one in the face, but she also has additional charges of violence against a minor. Is she then worse than Rice?  Is she been given a pass because we sexistly, as a society, do not consider women to be equally capable of violence and therefore not held to the same standard when they commit acts of violence?

Few, if any people, are talking about the ultimate irony  of Hope’s life…  that less than two years ago… Hope was the Janay Rice.  Hope was engaged to former NFL player Jerramy Stevens when he was accused and arrested for physical assaulting her at a party.   She married him hours later and charges were dropped due to lack of evidence and her refusal to testify.  When I say She was the Janay Rice, I mean down to the emergency marriage to protect her man.  Now does her being a, “victim,” of domestic abuse make her more sympathetic than Ray Rice?

Before I get too involved in this… let me state this emphatically, DOMESTIC VIOLENCE IS NOT OK.. IN ANY FORM, be it verbal, mental, emotional, physical, sexual or any combination there of..  it is also not cookie-cutter, or cookie-cutter easy to solve.  If you are wondering, no I have no answers to solve the problem.  I just think that different questions should be asked.

Hope has always been, “troubled,” and, “trouble,” depending on your perspective.  She has always been US Soccer’s bad girl: fighting with teammates, defaming the ’91ers, ignoring coaches, and then there is the family drama on the side.  She has been the victim and now the accused perpetrator of intimate violence.  It is typical of Hope’s image .,.. conflicted mess of good and bad, light and dark, right and wrong.

There are real questions that should be asked about Hope and her Captaining of the US Women’s National Team while these criminal charges hang over her.  It is fair to know that until convicted, she is innocent.  I firmly believe that for all persons. It is the cornerstone of our democracy.  She is entitled to that right as well.

What becomes the issue is how do we are the American soccer community deal with this mess most appropriately?  Hope missed national team friendly to attend the party where all this went down.  It potentially was the match that would have broken Briana Scurry’s shut-out record.  She did it later while both captaining the national team and still under indictment.

Today the WWC Qualifying Rooster was announced with Hope as presumptive Starting GK.

 

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After all Uncle Sunil said in a statement recently, “From the beginning, we considered the information available and have taken a deliberate and thoughtful approach regarding Hope Solo’s status with the National Team…Based on that information, U.S. Soccer stands by our decision to allow her to participate with the team as the legal process unfolds. If new information becomes available we will carefully consider it.”
Uncle Sunil is flat out wrong, so is USSF.  

If it were Tim Howard and not Hope Solo, we would not be having this discussion. He would be banned… and NO, I am NOT accusing Tim of any sort of thing. It was just a like for like analogy.

Look I believe in innocent until proven guilty in a Court of law after a fair trial, with every fiber of my being.  I do.  This is not a Court of law… this is the Court of public opinion, the Supreme Court of public perception.  This is teaching young children, both girls and boys that violence committed by women is not as serious or as dangerous as that committed by men.  It is.  It is that simple.  This is the core group of USWNT fans, young, impressionable kids.

What is this teaching boys who are the victims of domestic violence? By the way the estimate is 1 in 14 guys at some point in his life will be the victim of domestic violence, YES VICTIM. That number rises dramatically for homosexual boys and men to 40%. [Per the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence]

What is it teaching girls who commit those acts?  What about girls who are lesbian and subjected to domestic abuse in their relationships?  
Is is not as serious, as dangerous, as important because the abuser was another female?

The players of the USWNT have been shamefully quite on this subject… shamefully quite.  I give them only the benefit of the doubt in that, I assume they were strongly encouraged/ordered to keep their mouths shut.

Until today when back-up goalkeeper Jillian Loyden retired from international soccer, not one team member spoke out.  Loyden retired and then in the proverbial same breath, called out USSF and its basically unconscionable decision to ignore the Solo situation.   She has a very special reason to be so insistent that USSF gets it collective shit together.  She more than most know that what domestic violence can do… Jillian buried her sister Britton who was (allegedly) murdered by Britton’s fiancé who is still awaiting his murder trial (yes I believe he is innocent as he has not been found guilty).  Jillian wrote an impassioned op-ed piece calling for Hope to be banned..  She is correct, Hope should be banned.  [READ IT NOW]  For more info, you can go to Jillian’s Foundation’s website.

I do not pretend to know all the ins and outs of domestic violence, or how it affects people individually.  I know that Hope has been involved publicly as both a victim and a perpetrator. I do not know if she is guilty; that is for a Court, a judge and jury to determine… this is about representing the United States of America in international soccer, the historical beacon of the Women’s game.  Hope is not the player to do that at this point.

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US Soccer Brings A Game to Dodging and Weaving About Qatar 2022 – Gives Story Way More Validity

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This is in response to well respected-veteran journalist Jorge Ramos’s radio show’s tweets Thursday that very roughly translated from Spanish that FIFA told USSF to have the 2022 proposal ready to present plan and have an organizing committee ready by Sept or Oct.   Qatar losing the Cup (or might lose the Cup depending on translation). [Note Ramos tweets have been since been removed]

First of all Neil, BRAVO on a BRILLIANTLY stated non-denial denial statement. That is some solid political maneuvering here and  I respect this level of quality professionalism.

That said, why the hell are you all responding at all?

In the middle of the Brazilian World Cup’s First Day, three days before the team you represent plays its opener, you go OUT OF YOUR WAY to respond IN WRITING to an unverified, highly speculative tweets in Spanish.  IT WASN’T EVEN A STORY, just two tweets.

Yes it had fan traction on twitter but nothing especially big.   This would have been a 2 day story at most, especially with no follow-up.  I get that is what you are hoping the released statement does, but to me it gives the initial reports A LOT more credibility.  Let it die in the cycle, no one would remember/care by the end of the Cup.

The only possible rational I can come up with responding is hoping to turn more journalists off the story before they do their jobs and investigate it. In retrospect, that plans seems to actually work so well done I guess.

Sunil Gulati, your boss, was asked about it of course and handled it in a similarly impressive fashion.  You both left an impressive amount of wiggle room in the statements, like enough to drive the entire infantry tank division through them sideways, while appearing to deny it outright.  Let’s be honest, we both know neither of you denied the overall story outright.

Now your word choices are impressive and I can imagine the amount of time you and your team spent parsing exactly the right phrasing.

Well played, I especially like the choice of, “[t]he report is not accurate[,]” not even using, “inaccurate,” just, “not accurate,” as opposed to say, “the story is untrue.”   Those do no mean the same thing at all but most people will not understand the difference.  

The story being untrue is to say, the story in its entirety is false which fundamentally different than stating it is inaccurate meaning facts presented are incorrect but not touching on the overarching validity of the story. You went with the softest possible word choice in your denial. 

According to a report in Foxsoccer.com states the NY Times Sunil as quoted as saying, “‘[s]imply not true,’ … ‘They haven’t asked us and I cannot imagine it happening anytime soon.'” Now, I agree that would have been a strong, “flat-out,” as it was called denial were it not for the qualifier where he is denying the part where of the story where USSF was “asked.”  [It is not clear who at the NYT interviewed Gulati, best guess is Sam Borden who quoted Gulati in his twitter feed with a couple of disjointed tweets.]

The over theme of these responses is this:  spin it to the media as the formal request was not made in a vague enough manner that it allows the reader to infer the entire essence of the story is false without saying that.

That is the part that I find funniest and the reason that I find these responses so suspect.  I have zero problems believing this is true; there has been no FORMAL contact between FIFA and USSF.  Also there does not need to be.

The timing of all of this given them tons of wiggle room:  The Ramos Show tweets come out two days ago, June 12, 2014 and the responses are either Thursday (from Sunil) whenever Neil Buethe, posted sent his statement.

It is what happened a few days before the report and response, the  FIFA’S Executive Committee (ExCo) meeting June 7th and 8th.   Here is their meeting agenda, pay close attention to parts 8,13.4 and 14.3.

Now, I have no idea what those meeting points entailed in the meeting but what I do know who sits on ExCo, drumroll… Sunil Gulati.   It is disturbing how many journalists/media people either forget this fact or do not intellectually grasp its significance.

There are a couple of reasons this is exceptionally important, first of all.  Sepp Blatter put his boy on ExCo err Sunil was duly elected to ExCo.  Remember all those Blatter’s cronies are corrupt comments may or may not apply to Blatter crony and the President of US Soccer Federation.  I am in no way attempting to cast aspersions on Sunil’s character or morality but just reminding people that he used USSF’S vote to keep Sepp in power AFTER the QATAR VOTE [to be fair, Sepp did vote for the US bid and is not accused nor has any evidenced released shown he was involved in any bribes on the 2018/2022 bids].

The more important reality is Sunil Gulati is not simply the lovable, nerdy, econ prof who gracious leads US Soccer out of the kindness of his noble heart as the media LOVES to present him. REALITY CHECK:  He’s got game and more than willing to use it.  

The ExCo thing is IMPORTANT because FIFA is building a case to move the Cup.  They absolutely are and for one simple reason: cold hard cash money. There is a secondary reason of revenge but that is only Sepp based.

I was accused Thursday of, “thinking like a normal person, not a FIFA exec,” and, “conjuring logic that FIFA doesn’t have.”  Granted those should be taken as compliments.  Look, I am under no delusions about the motivation of FIFA and especially ExCo members.  I do not think they do anything not in their own financial and/or egocentric interest.  They like money.. and they like power.  This Qatar bid nonsense is costing them both and that cannot be tolerated.

Starting last October 3-4, 2013, the first of Sunil’s membership incidentally or not, changes are made to the structure of ExCo meet agendas to what we have now.  The agenda is much more organized and clearer and now we have and agenda area entitled, “Sports-political matters.”  It covered what looks to be a briefing on, “Israel-Palestine situation: discussions in Zurich on 3 and 23 September 2013,” and, “FIFA World Cup Qatar™: period of the competition.”  You know that moving it to winter financial/logistical fiasco.  Two months later in December 2013,  the agenda just went with “2022 FIFA World Cup Qatar™.”

In March 2014, it gets super interesting.   There is both an, “Update from the FIFA Secretary General [Jérôme Valcke] on the preparations for the tournaments [WC 2018 and WC 2022],” as well as under the, Sports-political matters banner, “Update from the FIFA President on the Israel-Palestine situation, the Kosovo situation, the Cyprus situation, and the working conditions in Qatar.”   YES, that FIFA President, oh Sepp.

These same sports-political topics topics, all of them, came up at ExCo meeting 5 days ago in São Paulo. Yet 2 days after that at the 64th FIFA Congress,  São Paulo 2014, the agenda covers, “Updates on Israel-Palestine, Kosovo, Cyprus,” but curiously Qatar did not quite make the cut to discuss at Congress.   The Congress is the annual meeting of all the FIFA members, basically the ONLY time in 2014 all the members will be there.   The next Congress is May 2015, at home in Zurich.

Pulling all of this back to the response of USSF gave to the Ramos tweets and why it is so clear that USSF is not really denying them, just denying they were formally asked.

ExCo makes decisions about the location of the World Cup of what which Sunil is a member of course.  Those decisions come from research of the, “Organising [sic.] Committee for the FIFA World Cup (TM),” who them report to ExCo on their findings.. Guess who sits on that organizing committee?   That is right girls and boys, Sunil Gulati.   Yes, the guy FIFA would call to say prepare a plan is the guy at FIFA who request it and then voting on it.

This is why the nuancing of the denial is so key.  USSF does not need formal contact from FIFA if their President is part of the decision making team.

For the record, Sunil is also Chair of the Media Relations Committee, tasked with organizing the, “working conditions for the media at FIFA events and maintain relations with international media organisations.”  Basically, he is FIFA’s faceman.

He is also Vice-Chair of Players’ Status Committee, required to “set up and monitor compliance with the Regulations on the Status and Transfer of Players and determine the status of Players for various FIFA competitions.” It is unclear is if they have any responsibility for player safety at say a summer World Cup in Qatar or if that is strictly the responsibility for the medical committee.  The Players’ Status Committee made seemingly major changes to player/agent relationships and third party ownership at ExCo last week.

Additionally, he sits on the Associations Committee, which is responsible for maintaining, “relations between FIFA and its Members and draw up proposals for optimum cooperation. The committee shall also monitor the evolution of the Statutes and regulations of FIFA, the Confederations and Members.”

So we clear Sunil Gulati sits on the committee that recommends and overseeing the Organization of the World Cup and on the committed that keeps members happy, is Vice-Chair of the committee that controls player contracts, chairs the committee responsible for playing nice with the media and then sits on the committee that vote for the changes to the 2022 World Cup venue.  Yet, we are supposed to believe this story is false because USSF has not been contact about it and does not expect to be anytime soon?  Sunil when are those committees getting on deciding so FIFA can ask USSF?  [If you are interested this is a list of all Americans on FIFA committees including FIFA Ethics Chief Investigator Michael Garcia]

Now then why would FIFA move the Cup?  It is not out of some altruistic sense of righteousness.   This is politics pure and simple.  Sepp wanted the Cup in America and for two very good if basic reasons: a  World Cup in the US is basically a license for FIFA to print money and it takes out enemies.

According to FIFA, they have spent over $2 Billion USD [$1 Billion spent in Brazil] of their own money on operational costs for World Cup 2014.  They will leave the real costs of hosting into the locations: stadium constructions/renovations, construction of roads, transportation systems, hotels, etc to the host nation.  Brazil estimated to pay approximately $13 Billion for the infrastructure development and upgrades paid for by a loan from Brazilian Development Bank.  This s what is causing the rioting in the streets.

By contrast, the US combined 2018/2022 USA Bid Committee economic impact report conducted by ERA/AECOM  the US hosting would cost approximately $10 million per stadium in infrastructure changes including installing grass and perimeter fencing as well as installing or upgrading the media center to accommodate international media.  [for the max 12 WC stadiums that is a $120 mil total].  Additionally,  Atlanta would be the headquarters of the International Broadcast Center (IBC) since it already has a significant amount of media infrastructure in place.  There was not an additional amount of outlays required but a 5% sale tax was assumed.

[I do not remember the economic impact statement ever being publicly released and I read several things that it had not been released but I found it.  It is very interesting, especially using Washington DC metro area’s FedEx Field as hosts of the Final Match at USSF request]

The 2010, 2014, potentially 2018 and 2022 all have a couple of things in common:  serious infrastructure concerns and almost all of the required World Cup level infrastructure being built from scratch.  FIFA could really use a easy one that does not require a $2 billion dollar investment on $4.2 Billion in revenue, which takes almost half their money.  The US Bid would not require nearly that investment and therefore on they would be able to keep a significantly higher portion of the revenue generated.  AND THEY LIKE MONEY.

There is the added pressure of bedrock FIFA sponsors publicly questioning it 7 years out. That has a huge effect and puts significant pressure on FIFA to act to resolve it.  These are massive companies that spend billions on public relations and the one thing that do not want is to be public associated with human rights abuses and deaths.  FIFA does not care what human rights workers or social justice campaigners complain about but the loss of sponsor money and it is a new ballgame.

Secondarily but not insignificant, is the war between Sepp/Platini using FIFA/UEFA as weapons.  The hate each other, Platini has just announced he would not support Sepp’s assumed next run and has threatened in the past to run against him.

Why this massive ego-off matters is Platini was major supporter of Qatar 2022 and still supports it to the point he is supportive of moving it to winter.  A mindboggling decision as it would have a highly detrimental effect on almost the entirety of European club soccer including the Champions League schedule which as President of UEFA is his bread and butter.

Soon it will be open warfare and the FIFA’S Ethics Committee will be primary in that effort.  I believe American Michael Garcia who is heading up the investigation, a former US Attorney and current partner at Kirkland & Ellis, will do a comprehensive and honest investigation leading to a report that accurately reflects what happened and who is at fault.

I think that is why he was chosen but not for the public-spirited ideal of fighting corruption.   Sepp seems to be in no way connected to any ethical violations for the Qatar 2022 bid but his enemies including Paltini are.   This reeks of a White Bulger mob move..   White turned FBI informant on rival mobsters so the US government would take care of them for him.  Sepp got the guy who would investigate and force the removal of his enemies for him and to make it all above reproach.   That is major game. 

It has already started.  Franz Beckenbauer is banned from the game for 90-days conveniently covering the World Cup span.    He is Bayern Munich honorary president, former member of ExCo who voted for the Russia/Qatar block an then stepped down shortly thereafter.  Oh and he is close, very close, to Platini to the point of supporting a Platini FIFA presidency back in 2011.  Enemies are falling..  it will continue.

I think my favorite FIFA move is subtle, simple but brilliantly ruthless renaming of the Stadium and Security Committee to the “Security and Integrity Committee.”  That is a linguistic stiletto between the 4-5 ribs.

Garica’s report is due sometime this summer after this World Cup with its potential recommendations.  The Organising [sic.] Committee for the FIFA World Cup (TM) meets July 11, two days before this final.  ExCo meets again September 25-26, which is exactly the time frame laid out in Ramos’s tweets

Again, I absolutely believe US Soccer when they all say, it is, “not accurate,” that FIFA has not contacted them.  I do not believe that means the overarching story is not true, necessarily. I do not know if the story is true, no idea how good Ramos’s source is but the independent facts and USSF response do not in any way discredit it.

If you doubt that Sunil is capable of some dodging and weaving I will remind you of this moment just a few weeks ago.  Phil Schoen reports finally the Copa American 2016 in America is a done deal down to the date of the announcement.  Sunil responds saying, ” Copa America 2016 in U.S.? Interesting idea but nothing agreed to by @ussoccer yet.”

As I responded then and still do now, non-denial denials FTW.

Klinnsman’s Latin Flavor… The Rise of Latino-American Generation

NOTE: this developed from a question in response to the E Pluribus Unum post.  I answered there and decided to develop it more here. 

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While it is true we are all focused on the duel passport-holders because of their prominence in the World Cup Squad, the true development of our nationals’ teams future lies in two areas: getting more urban youth involvement in the game and more young Latino/a players who are willing to commit t to playing for the US National Teams.

For the moment, I am going to focus on the rise of Latino generation.  This is always less of an issue for the women’s team offers unique opportunities for female players, so it is primarily the focus of the USMNT.

Klinnsman’s World Cup squad features at least three players of Hispanic ancestry: Omar Gonzales, Ale Bedoya, and Nick Rimando; additionally Joe Corona went to camp; and Liga MX based defender DMB will most likely start.   He has regularly called up Herc Gomez in Qualifying but since he did not play regularly for the Xolo and was actually just loaned out to Tigres, he was not a viable option for the Cup squad.

Where the real push to bring in Hispanic-America players is at the U-21 (and younger)  team level.  USSF/Klinnys seem heavily invested in developing young talent born in America, who could be/are duel passport holders with Mexico especially.

The first ever Under-21 Camp was held last April 20-24 at the National Training Session at Carson, CA.  Of the 21 players called-up, according to MLSsoccer.net’s Scott French, nearly half the member called up were  Hispanic-Americans (10 of 21).  Because it did not fall on a FIFA calendar date, the camp only had MLS and Liga MX players.  What is the U-21 version of Camp Cupcake?  Camp Mini-Cupcake?  Camp Cupcake Bite?

The Hispanic-American players include Benji Joya, Juan Pablo Ocegueda, Oscar Sorto, Alejandro Guido, Stevie Rodriguez, Daniel Cuevas, Danny Garcia, Victor Pineda, Jose Villarreal, and Luis Gil who had to pull out with an injury.  Players like Juan Agudelo Julian Green, John Brooks, Josh Gatt, etc were not called in as they are in Europe and clubs were not required to release them.

The team is lead by Tab Ramos, but as tech director Klinnsman would oversee/dictate style and player targeting.   At the time of the camp announcement, Ramos gave an interview to US Soccer.com discussing the plans for the camp and the U-21 team.  “One of the things that is important for us that we wanted to do is get the Olympic-aged players, which is the ’93s this year – and it happens to be an Under-21 – we wanted to get them involved as close as possible with the first-team staff.”

The Mexican-American players in the USSF pool are for the most part very young.  The option of actively choosing to play for the US over Mexico is very much a new thing with this young generation. Often it was players before who were not considered good enough to play for Mexico, who ended up playing for the US as fallback position.

It is clear that USSF and Klinnsman as technical director has a longterm vision that is being implemented in a methodical way.  While it is true the draw, changed everything and sped up certain aspects of the planning.  The long term, structural plan remains in place and continues to be built, brick, by brick and yes those Hispanic-American players are a huge part of that development.

USMNT Open Training Yesterday… Photo heavy and Sunil Speaks

IMG_1582It was cold, it was fun… videos coming later

Sunil seemed to completely disregard my concerns about the lack of female apparel but did say that he would talk to Nike for me.  I said they weren’t the only ones ignoring fans.   He tried to write it off that next year for the women’s world cup there would be more stuff. He agreed when I pointed out that doesn’t help me support the men’s team this year. We’ll see.. oh and nothing will change

Seems Flickr and WordPress no longer play nice.. so here is the link to all my flickr based photo of the Open Training

Landon Donovan, Julian Green and the Cyclical Nature of Sports Stars

NOTE:  This started out as a look at Berti Vogts moving into the line of fire as his role of World Cup 2014 Sacrificial Lamb requires, but I found these articles on his relationship with Donovan and it led to this post instead.    That one is still coming

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     The new look of USMNT, Jan 2014

Now that the Donovan bombshell has dropped and the media is spiraling into group-think drawn meltdown, realizing USSF is not taking Brazil as anything more than the best World Cup 2018 Prep-Camp, enter Berti Vogts into the consciousness of US Soccer fans.

There is much hand-wringing about the timing of the list’s release. Why not wait until at least after the Azerbaijan match?

I think the timing was planned very specifically because they wanted the initial bombshell to hit and the fact Vogts was Donovan’s coach at  Bayer Leverkusen, during LD’s first European misadventure, to percolate into a firestorm of misdirected rage. What’s a sacrificial lamb if not to be slaughtered to the mob of mass hysteria?

In researching  their relationship,  I found some intriguing quotes from the time and some rather interesting parallels.

An 18 year old Donovan on the Vogts appointment and what it meant for his career:

SoccerTimes: Have your chances for first team play changed under new Coach Berti Vogts?

Donovan: “Yes, I’m optimistic. Berti is a great coach and he has been giving a chance to some of the younger players. We’ve had three reserve players including two 19-year-olds dress with the first team in the past few weeks. If I did not get that red-card suspension I think I might have played or at least been a sub.”

Soccer Times, Dec. 13, 2000

Donovan was banned 6 matches when playing with their reserves for talking back to the Ref.   He claimed that he said one thing and the ref heard something else.  A review panel adjudicated him a six match ban.

“I’ve heard [Vogts] says he likes me a lot, wants to integrate me into his plans and whatnot, but I haven’t played, so I mean … I’d rather him hate me and I played every game.”  

Soccer America via CNNSI.com, Feb. 7, 2001.

 Bayer Leverkusen was not playing him and wanted him, at 18 years old, to play in the German 4th division… um stop when this sounds somewhat familiar.  18 year-old American in Germany, playing in the 4th Division, trying to get into the USMNT first team, kid has a lot of hype but not a lot of real experience.

.. no not familiar at all...

That same 18 year old, Donovan announced, “I think I should be on every roster,” he sa[id], quickly adding a “no, just kidding[,]” when asked if, although he was not regularly playing for his club, should he get a national team call-up to the U.S. v. Mexico WCQ in C-Bus (the first dos a cero).  He had played in a couple of friendlies and with the U-20s but this was to be his big breakthrough.  

USMNT coach, at the time, and current coach at the Galaxy, Bruce Arena gave him playing time at the senior national team without having been playing regularly with his club side and not at all with their first team. In the process he took the place of more established and successful players.  Still Not Sounding Familiar Correct? 

 The reality is 2014 is a watershed generational shift within the USMNT.  USSF has known it was necessary for a while but I believe they expected it to be a softer, longer transition that allowed for more graceful exits and  less brutally blunt.

 I think that was the plan until Dec. 6, 2013..  the Draw that Changed It All.

With US Soccer reeling from the disastrous draw, they decided to accelerate the transition.  If we cannot advance out of the group, then the next best thing is to allow it to be a training ground for the future of the program. Longterm health of the program is more vital than any player’s ego.

In all the media/fan melting down over Donovan’s exclusion, what has almost been completely ignored is that the young players included this time are getting the necessary experience to protect the future of the game in America.  Without it, the core of the future team would be World Cup virgins while in their prime in 2018.

Looking at the 23 Named Roster, their age in 2018 and their current WC experience:

  • Dempsey, Wondo – 35 [Dempsey has extensive WC exp]
  • Guzan – 34 [extensive WC experience, but zero game time experience]
  • Cameron – 33 [no WC exp]
  • Zusi – 32 [no WC exp]
  • Bradley, Besler, Bedoya, Johnson – 31 [only Bradley has WC experience]
  • Gonzalez – 30 [no WC exp]
  • Altidore – 29 [2010 WC exp]
  • Diskerud, Johannsson, Chandler – 28 [no WC exp]
  • Brooks, Yedlin – 25 [No WC exp]
  • Green – 23 [No WC exp]

Those are the players with a shot of heading to another Cup, now for the remainder of the squad.  All these players bring unique skill sets the younger kids can learn lessons, Klinnsman and clearly, USSF believe are important.  It is not necessarily technical skills but work ethics, commitment, dedication, perseverance, focus, basically all of the things Klinnsman talks about all the time. All those things that kept Donovan off the list.

Skipping the sense of entitlement and absurd notion that ANY player, “deserves” to be on the roster.  THIS IS NOT A TESTIMONIAL MATCH, THIS IS THE WORLD CUP. ONLY THOSE WHO EARN IT, DAY IN – DAY OUT, DESERVE IT.

I have never met Klinnsman for more than a 2 second, “hello, good luck” greeting. Even I know, he hates nothing more than spoiled, entitled, “stars” who half-ass their efforts.

This Cup is a huge opportunity for the young ones to learn and absorb the experience.  It means that they will not be as wide-eyed and awed the next time.

Additionally, it means that those guys who worked their asses off to prove how much they wanted to go are rewarded.  They get the professional chance of a lifetime. What he is doing is taking a team of kids and Rudys instead of a prima donna or two. There is an enormous amount for young players to learn from those Rudy players about never giving up, never giving in and always giving your all.

Thomas Rogan told his American Samoan team in Next Goal Wins, that he would, “cut off [his] own penis just to play in a Word Cup Qualifier.” Something tells me Beckerman, Davis, and Wondo agree.

As hard as it is to accept, it is transition time for US Soccer.   New blood, new talents, new challenges and new heights of success to reach (just not this year, presumably). Of course, they might shock us all.

For those mourning Donovan’s perfectly timely national team demise, “for,” Julian Green, ask yourselves this, “If Arena hadn’t moved the team on to Donovan from those more qualified, experienced, and, “deserving,” team members, where would this program be today?   It is Green’s time, Yedlin’s time.. it is time to move on…

My mantra in life comes from a tea bag, “THE MOST EFFECTIVE WAY TO COPE WITH CHANGE, IS TO HELP CREATE IT.”  That is exactly what USSF is doing, coping with the inevitable change by forcing its creation.  It is the best and most realistic reaction to the worst WC draw in US World Cup history (that is not even hyperbole)

My advice, get on board with this changing of the guard, because it is happening with or without you…

That said, Congrats on Finally breaking the MLS Scoring Record Landon

#YesAllWomen – US Soccer FINALLY Licenses Female Fan Appeal Option FAILS HARDEST YET [also Hubris]

#YesAllWomen - US Soccer FINALLY Licenses Female Fan Appeal Option FAILS HARDEST YET [also Hubris]

Apparently, US Soccer has released a female fan appeal option at Forever 21.. I have seen it, tried it on and let me just say I will supply the matches for the metaphorical scorching of the US Soccer House covered Earth.

Also met Hubris and let’s just say, we cannot be friends. I got what I asked for, well not even a little bit. I asked for female fan apparel options that did not SEXUALIZE female fans.

Instead US Soccer doubled-down on misogyny and sexism in fan support and worst of all they aimed it at young girls.

They ONLY female fan option is a t-shirt style top, with arms and sides cut out down to the bottom which is midriff bearing. It exposes a female’s entire chest and back, breasts on display for days. You can see from the picture, it is basically just a bib.  Guys still get fully made shirt options (and they also get options, as in plural, MORE THAN ONE and none are sexualized)

So girls and women either wear this with a bra (sports one, more safely) and it being exposed or wear something under it like a tank. Yeah, it’s a bib. Because it is a heavy t-shirt fabric, it couldn’t even really be used as a bathing suit cover-up.

What is most disturbing is that this sexist, male fantasy non-sense is being marketed (badly admittedly) to younger girls.   They are being told if you want to be a fan of US Soccer, the team of Mia, Julie, Brandi, Kristine, Abby, HAO, Carli, Alex, Syd, Hope, and Tobin, etc, etc in addition to the boys, that you can only do it in an overly sexualized state.  

Yes these clothes and this marketing is about the World Cup which starts in days but they will not magically disappear like Cinderella’s slippers.. It will still be there in Oct when the women start their own World Cup Qualifying campaign.

There are some women and girls may very well like this, especially for a gym workout wear. It is not really wearing outside the gym appropriate. The fact that it is the ONLY option for female fans is insulting.

Yes, I know that there female jerseys this cycle and possibly some t-shirts from Nike but every single, one that I have ever tied has clearly been a mismarked XL youth or smaller male. They are not cut for female bodies.

Why is US Soccer continuing to teach girls that their only fandom options are as accessories to the men in their lives or sexualized fantasies for general male fans or as mom.

WHEN THE HELL ARE WE FEMALE FANS GOING TO BE TREATED AS INDEPENDENT FANS, WORTHY BRING TREATED AS FANS, JUST FANS?

How hard it is to come up with a non-sexualized, properly designed clothing items to sell to 40+% percent of your market? Seriously, YOU ARE DISMISSING AND DISRESPECTING OVER 40% of your customers.

SUNIL, sweetie, you are an economist… how does that usually go in business?