Friday, June 23, 2006

In the Aftermath


The 2002 World Cup for Americans everywhere—except Clint Dempsey (best/only goal scored by an American player) and Ben Olsen (best performance by a player never expected to be on a World Cup roster)—will be remembered for its lackluster play, deftly un-effective tactical moves, and lack of spirit. It was the most anticipated team ever to yield so little excitement.

Here’s the story writ small. Wait four years. Get excited. Start a blog. Then, finally the day arrives when there’s a meaningful game involving Americans. KICK OFF! Fifth minute. Insert Czech river ogre turned monster striker. GOAL! Bland play. No energy. GOAL. GOAL. And off we go…

Bastards.

Maybe these losses wouldn’t be so bad if we didn’t have to wait four more years until another World Cup.

Now we have Four more years until we can know for sure how good we are. Four more years of waiting. Four more years of wishing Landon Donovan would man-up and go play in the big leagues instead of beating up the little kids in the sand box and, for the love of God, four more years (2010 will make it eight total) until we see the guy TAKE A FUCKING SHOT on goal in a World Cup.

We've got four more years of hearing Bubba say, "See, the reason we can't win in soccer is 'cause we don't CARE. We don't have our best athletes playing soccer. You think Brett Favre woulda let his team lose like that? Hell no! He’s got character!"

It wouldn’t be so bad if we knew we didn’t have to wait four more years for a chance to prove ourselves again. For a brief honeymoon that ended on June 9, we thought we were gaining the world's respect.

Let the clock slowly start its ticking.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Boooooooooooo!



Come on guys; that was a shit showing. Now we have to wait another four years to see where US soccer is.

We’re Ready for Eddie

(Correction: We made this post feeling confident that EJ would be starting today, but now the US soccer matchtracker is indicating that he's not. Now we're concerned about Donovan stepping up and producing some goals on top of his midfield responsibilities with Essian, and we're a little worried about our weakest backline yet facing one of our best attacking opponents. We still have some potent offensive subs that we can throw at them, including Johnson. Let's just hope that in the meantime Eddie Lewis can connect a sweat cross to McBride's head or Dempsey can destroy Ghana's back four.)

We think it's safe to say that our hopes of World Cup survival are resting on this man's ability to break out on the world stage like he did when he debuted in CONCACAF. We know he's got the potential and we've been saying all along that we think our chances in this cup could be determined by his ability to score goals. Well, we couldn't need some goals any more than we do now. Eddie are you ready for the big time?

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Our Grand Hope for US Soccer



Standing outside of the Cinema Tent at the Bonnaroo Music Festival in Manchester, TN, I nervously dripped sweat in the midday humidity two hours before the US took the field against Italy on Saturday. As I waited for a chance to get inside to see the game, I occupied myself by making instant friends talking obscure tactics with everyone around.

I eventually got into the tent and was fortunate enough to witness a classic moment in US soccer with hundreds of other rabid US soccer fans. We were all prepared to organize some sort of riot had we not gotten inside to see the game. Bonnaroo’s organizers even had to call mounted police to block the entrance and discourage any disobedience.

The game, as you know, was an emotional drama that was tense until the final whistle. I was exhausted and without a voice after the ordeal.



But, it was one of the most heartening soccer experiences I’ve ever had on American soil. Everyone in the tent, and though we were only a few hundred in number, was intensely involved in the game. We were not casual fans. And since we were at this music festival of national scope, we were gathered from various locations around the country. The hope of Reckless Abandon is that we can start to connect these people, these reckless American soccer fans, under the same “tent.”

I made instant friends with many people on Saturday, and I witnessed firsthand that true passion for soccer, passion international in scope, exists in this country. We do have knowledgeable fans. We just are not yet connecting them to one another properly.

ESPN has great journalism, but they have many other sports and many other agendas. Fox Soccer and the BBC are not concerned with the American game. The quality of coverage at Soccer America is a joke. US Soccer Players is unimpressive. The NY Times and other strong institutions have been covering the Cup well, but this only comes once every four years. Sam’s Army desperately needs some web development help. US Soccer, though it tries hard and does a good job, can sometimes be kind of dorky. Big Soccer is just an eyestrain.

The time has come for someone to emerge to connect all neighborhoods of the US soccer community and provide user-driven content as well as quality soccer journalism.

Reckless Abandon is only a blog now, but we have grand ambitions for the future. The spirit of soccer is too strong and goes too deep in too many American people for soccer to be denied in this country. That is our assumption, and that is our hope.