Thursday, June 01, 2006

The Reckless Generation Was Galvanized

Do you remember Tab Ramos' nasty elbow to the head from Leonardo? Balboa's sick bike off the crossbar? Maradonna drug allegations? The infamous Baggio pk gaffe? The poor Colombian soul that scored the own goal for the US? Bora Milutinovic? If you're like Reckless Abandon, Clint Dempsey, Gooch, Convey, Donovan, Beasley, or Howard, then these were formative events in your soccer imagination. Check out this Marc Connolly article to see how the '94 World Cup was pivotal in getting US soccer to the level it is now, twelve years later. The first true American soccer generation, the one of reckless of abandon, is coming of age. And just as the '94 Cup prepared the way for this generation, the '06 Cup could be crucial in preparing the next generation, the one that could take the US to a place of prominence in world soccer. Let's hope our team rises to the challenge.

World Cup Soccer on Radio Open Source

There's a good conversation getting started at Radio Open Source. Open Source is an excellent radio show hosted by Christopher Lydon. Join the conversation and get your thoughts in about soccer in America.

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

If These Guys Step Up

The first American soccer generation's golden boys are featured in the current Sports Illustrated cover story.

If these guys—Landon, Gooch, Beaz, and Convey—really step it up this year like they say they're capable, and if they play with reckless abandon, then we will get out of our group. And once that happens, we can be dangerous, even against Brazil. I think that all four of them will be on the field against the Czech Republic.

While Beasley is playing unimpressively offensively, he works his ass off, is playing well defensively, and is super-fast.
He'll go on the right side to shut down Pavel Nedved. I think that he'll deliver.

If Donovan can figure out how to be more of a leader on the field, while still playing like the wild man he was in 2002, then he'll have another breakout Cup.

We all know that Gooch will be a lion in the back, actually on the backs on opposing attackers.

Convey has looked as determined as ever recently, and if he can run at the Czechs with the determined resolve that he showed against Venezuela, then we will win our first game.

Dempsey will make an excellent 12th man and should add some offensive spark in the second half.

Johnson still looks like a young and immature player. I'm not convinced he's ready for prime-time.

I think that Sports Illustrated got it right. If Reyna is healthy and in the center of the park with Mastroeni, Pope, and Keller, then it will be up to these guys on this cover to provide the extra intangibles that we'll need to make it through our group. This is the combination we'll need to survive Group E. If we can win our first game again, look for us to start cruising. If we loose, even tie, things might get a little shaky.

This is a World Cup, and nothing is certain. It's time to see where we really are as a soccer-playing nation. It's time to come to Jesus. It's time to see if some new players can step up and play with reckless abandon.

We'll Know We've Arrived

Check out this amazing video featuring the phenomenal creativity of Ronaldinho and Zidane.

Even though this isn't about US soccer, it is a breathtaking and it shows the unadulterated creativity of two of the world's greatest players. We're going to have to produce talent of this caliber if we ever want to be a real soccer nation. We can rationalize all we want, but we'll know we've arrived when we produce a player that can play this way.