Archive: Soccer

I Volunteer With Inner-City Kids Because It’s The Only Place I Can Talk About Soccer

Why I "give back" to my community.

This Spring wrapped another fantastic semester volunteering with the Young Storytellers Foundation. YSF is a charity organization in Los Angeles where failing actors, writers and musicians work with inner-city kids in screenwriting. Over the course of ten weeks, students develop a five-page script. At the end of the semester, their work is performed by actors in front of the entire school. It’s a rewarding, challenging and fun program for students and mentors. It’s also the only place in L.A. where I can have in-depth conversations about soccer.

 

I look forward to my weekly-YSF session with glee. I come prepared with my notebook, laptop and updated scoreboard from La Liga. I have to keep my soccer fanaticism a secret all week, but when I volunteer with kids in L.A. I can finally have a meaningful debate over Lionel Messi being better than Cristiano Ronaldo.

 

No one at work appreciates my opinions on Manchester United’s recent match with Everton. But if Chicharito has a good game and I’m volunteering with kids in L.A.? Oh man, it’s on! We go to war over the Mexican National Team. Whether Dos Santos will rediscover his game in time for the next round of World Cup qualifying. If Ochoa is the best keeper in Mexico. The best games of Rafa Marquez. These things make me sound like I’m from another planet when I talk about them at work. But with your average 8-year-old in Los Angeles? It’s my ticket to the clubhouse.

 

It’s important to volunteer with your spare time. It helps enhance your local community and allows you to connect with new groups of people. That said, I volunteer for the entirely selfish reason of fighting about match-fixing in Italian football.

 

The only other place to engage such a conversation is the Internet, but I’ll get crushed in debates with those losers. The kids I volunteer with aren’t allowed to have smart phones at school and I come prepared. Little Pablo might say something like, “My favorite player on Barcelona is Pique.” And then, bam, I destroy him with a statistical analysis of Pique’s recent performance. “Oh yeah? Well he conceded five corner kicks and picked up a yellow card against Valencia. Is he your favorite player now?”

 

The joke is on me when Pablo comes back with, “Considering he lead Barcelona to back-to-back La Liga titles and manned the back-line in the World Cup and Euros, yeah, he’s pretty good.”

 

It’s only around the kids during my volunteer sessions that it’s perfectly normal to have my walls covered in English Premier League posters. When I wear soccer jerseys to work, I get a lecture. When I wear them to YSF, I get a high-five. When I show-off my face paint at work, I’m called retarded. At school, I compare my war paint to the young writers. My girlfriend keeps telling me to grow up, but my buddies at school consider me the coolest guy to pretend to be in fifth grade.

 

We’re midway through World Cup qualifying, with the grand tournament slated for next summer. It’s important to have these debates any way you can and I’m lucky enough to find classrooms full of children who validate my opinions. Next time you volunteer, I recommend you too try and find ways for your time to give back to you.

Do We Really Need the Riot Fence For the Women’s World Cup?

As one of a small collection of die-hard American soccer fans, I strongly support the U.S. Women’s National Team in pursuit of the Women’s World Cup trophy. I remember Brandi Chastain sending in the tournament-winning goal in ’99 and followed their early oust in the ’03 and ’07 tournaments. But those riot fences behind the goals. Really?

Don’t get me wrong, I am all for an equal tournament for the female players as the men. And soccer fans should be just as passionate for their country regardless the gender of the competitors. But doesn’t it seem a wee bit excessive to have the women’s tournament surrounded by a forty-foot tall barbed wire-topped barrier used to stop thousands of violent maniacs lighting fires in the stands?

What kind of rioters are we expecting for the Ivory Coast versus Sweden Women’s World Cup match after all? A bunch of Swedish lesbian biker chick women’s soccer fans ready to tear the place apart if their blonde beauties fall in the group stage? Won’t these behemoths be able to scale the fence on their own accord?

Maybe it’s to keep out the thousands of young girls who are there to support their role models. A zombie virus could break out, thus turning these children into an army of crazy undead monsters hell-bent on eating women’s soccer star brains. Protection would then be warranted.

There are riots in Greece right now over the austerity measures. Tens of thousands of Greek youths are striking because they don’t want their retirement age to be raised to the ripe old age of fifty-five, or whatever their dream deal is. Maybe they want to go to Germany (not sure how since the Greece airport employees are kicking back on the beach right now during their strike), and go ape-shit crazy at a women’s soccer match. Read more

Is Ronaldo’s Bastard Son Eligible For the U.S. National Team?

With the exciting news that Cristiano Ronaldo knocked up an American hottie (one of our best exports) and is now trying to play it off as a cover-up/surrogate situation, the United States national team might have finally turned a corner in international soccer. This is the break that Sunil Gulati and Bob Bradley have needed for decades, we could finally have our superstar to get us into the World Cup semifinals and now we just need some clever diplomacy to make sure this bastard son plays for the U.S.A.

Thanks to Ronaldo’s wayward cock, which has apparently veered and bent its way into an American woman like a hovering Jubalani off a free kick, the United States has uncovered the prospect of its dreams. Is there any way that whatever shady agreement between Ronaldo and this mystery woman that gives him sole custody can still land the son with an American passport?

Technically speaking if your mother is American, then you qualify for citizenship and the inalienable right to become an obnoxious tourist who asks locals in Paris where the nearest McDonalds is located. I don’t really see why it should be an issue when you consider how every other country find loopholes to load their rosters with superstars. I don’t think there is a single player on the French national team that has actually ever been to France. If the World Cup allows for nationals of former colonies to play for their colonizers, then a baby-momma situation seems completely by the books.

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Basically is there a way that a soccer superstar can pay off a girl that got liquored up and seduced into pregnancy by a GQ coverboy to give up custody while having the state department intervene on the negotiations? Why can’t we use this as Scott Boras’ chance to repay his debt to the country that lets him ruin every other sport by letting him save soccer? There is no reason that this can’t be included as an addendum to the contract between Ronaldo and the mother of future soccer Michael Jordan.

The most important question seems to be why this little twist wasn’t involved in Nike’s Write The Future ad. Maybe it’s on the director’s cut after Ronaldo unveils his statue in downtown Lisbon and guest stars on the Simpsons. He misses the free kick (vaguely reminiscent of every single game he played in during the 2010 World Cup), drinks his sorrows away and sleeps with the first pretty American he sees. She gets knocked up, he’s got Tiger Woods’ exemplary Write the Future looming over his head and adopts the kid to save face. The ad continues on with the pains of fatherhood, having to wake up at five A.M. to feed the brat when he needs his eight hours before Real Madrid training camp. He craps out in two years and finds himself on Fox Football Phone-In on Saturdays at 11 at night.

Write the future, Ronaldo. And, thanks to a hot American who was too drunk to remember that sex without a condom is a leading cause of pregnancy, he has written the future for American soccer. And it looks grand.

How Have Serbians Preserved An Entire Ethnicity of People Who All Look Drunk?

I know the obvious answer to this question is that they are, in fact, all drunk, but it seems pretty impressive that an entire Eastern European nation that has existed for millennia can manage to be filled with an entire population of citizens who all appear as though they’ve been drinking at Sonny McClane’s since noon.

Every time the World Cup offers a close up on any of their players or fans, you could switch any of them out with a bad Jim Bruer impression. I’ve been left trying to figure out the evolutionary advantage of having an entire group of people with glossed-over droopy eyes, long faces, hollow cheeks and not much of a sense of humor. Yet an eagerness to murder you at the first slight of their proud culture.

Seriously, this is a country

Could it have anything to do with the fact that the entire country is populated with nearly identical last names? To get a Serbian name, it seems like you could just add the letters, “ic” to the end of your name. Starting with the Lakers’ Sasha Vujacic, the members of the Serbian soccer team include: Jovanovic, Zigic, Ivanovic, Pantelic, Kuzmanovic, Obravic and Subotic.

As a side note, it’s worth noting that none of these are my favorite World Cup name of the tournament. There is a player on the South African squad whose surname is Tshabalala, but when the announcer says it, it sounds like he’s saying, “Shamalama.” I don’t know how to express my disappointment that his full name is not Shamalama Ding Dong. There is, however, a sweeper named Kim Dong-Jin on the South Korean squad, but this – like the South Korean defense – just doesn’t get the job done.

Anyway, back to the Serbs. And I should preface this by mentioning that my experience with Serbs are as follows: hazy knowledge about the start of World War I involving Franz Ferdinand; something bad when down there in the 1990s and it involved other countries; some Serbian guy with bad body odor (as opposed to good body odor: Axe body spray) in a Milan youth hostel.

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They seem like a deeply religious group of people who follow a sect of Catholicism that no one has ever heard of, and one that advocates murdering all thy neighbors. This is why I can’t figure out how Serbians were involved in ethnic cleansing in the 90s. Doesn’t your ethnicity have to be sort of “clean” before you can try and wipe your local minorities from the map?

Germany’s ethnic cleansing was at least based on them being fit, tall, blond and blue-eyed and they wanted to get rid of ugly and unfit Jews. But the Serbs? How can they claim genetic superiority when they all look like the middle-story on Cops. It’s pretty depressing when someone with an unpronounceable name who looks like he’ll be stuck at a traffic stop to sing the alphabet backwards while touching his nose is accusing you of being genetically inferior. Could it be that I have never witnessed an actual Serbian woman? This would explain the short temper, but fail to explain the breeding.

So to the Sasha Vujacic’s and Nemanja Vidic’s of the world, continue making your country proud. And when Man U or the Lakers win, or you’re playing for your home country, raise a drink to celebrate. No one can tell whether you are drunk either way, so enjoy.

Auto-Reply E-mail: Drunk In The Office For the World Cup

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7 Worst 2010 World Cup Jerseys

7. United States


Hooray, we won a beauty pageant. Oh, wait, our entire back line is recovering from crippling injuries and we’re stuck with a jersey with a white-on-white sash on the front. The
USA jersey
is a poor throwback to the 1950 England win, but maybe these will distract the Brits.

6. Portugal


The
Portugal
kit looks like a cartoon that has just seen a hot girl and its tongue rolled out of its mouth.

5. Japan


Four of the five worst jerseys have a bizarre faded image within the jersey which is never a good look (see Mexico’s Aztec jerseys). Not one of the heavy favorites, at least Japan will continue their country’s trend of perplexing fashion choices.

4. Italy


This is a prime lesson of why you never mess with a classic. What is that thing in the background? A person? The Italy jersey looks like crop circles around where the nipples would be, like the Val Kilmer Batman.

3. South Korea


What could have been a classy and straight-forward red jersey (isn’t their neighbor to the north all about the reds?) is vertigo-inducing with those downward faded stripes. These jerseys look like a magic eye.

2. Uruguay


Are those sparklers going off on the jersey? Mini fireworks? A metaphor of their team going bust in the first round?

1. Slovenia


Thanks to
Slovenia
, Charlie Brown goes to the World Cup.

7 Best 2010 World Cup Jerseys

We are almost one month away from the biggest global sporting event. More than a billion people worldwide will be glued to televisions despite all your soccer hating. Soccer jerseys (or footie kits) are as much of a business worldwide as your Kobe replica threads, so here’s my rundown on the best and worst of the bunch.

7 Best World Cup Jerseys

7. New Zealand


One of the best examples of keeping it sharp and simple. New Zealand follows the lead of their famous rugby compatriots with a solid all-black logo. Expect awesomeness if they bust out the haka before matches.

6. Ghana


One of the few teams with vertical stripes, Ghana has a nice look with their federation’s logo faded out over the shoulder. Michael Essian leads one of the favorites amongst the African teams.

5. Australia


Admittedly people are split over this one, with some saying it looks boxy, but I think it’s a good fit for the Socceroos. It is bold and strong and pays homage to rugby jerseys, still the country’s top sport by far, although it would have been cool to see something like their bicycle jersey.

4. Spain


A good example of not messing with a classic, but just doing some strong tweaks, Spain is one of the tournament’s favorites, with a good look on the pitch. The iconic red jerseys have cool blue and yellow outlines and piping.

3. Brazil


Despite Nike having a proven track record with the worst World Cup jerseys (including Brazil’s away kit), they were smart not to mess with the most iconic threads in the sport. Brazil‘s classic look is as sharp as ever.

2. Argentina


Argentina follows their main rival’s lead with its newest iteration of their classic light blue-striped jersey. Adidas was smart not to mess with this look and it continues to be one of the best sellers for a reason.

1. Ivory Coast


By far the most badass World Cup jersey. It follows the elbow design on other African Puma jerseys, but Ivory Coast‘s features an elephant wrapping its trunk around a soccer ball. Very cool and a good team in the hardest group.

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