Blog Archives

#SavingTheCrew and U.S. Soccer

After a year of hell, the state of soccer in Columbus–and the United States–is back on track.

This time, when Crew fans chant that #HellIsReal, it’s a good thing.

We’re ready, FC Cincinnati.

Beginning this morning, reports were pouring in essentially stating the Columbus Crew–the original Black & Gold in MLS–will be #saved.

Actually, my mom tipped me off this morning via text while I was working on an unsuspecting Friday.

A mom who loves soccer and lives in Columbus? The best damn mom in the land! 

In a joint statement, the Columbus Partnership, Jimmy Haslam, and Dr. Pete Edwards, the Crews’ team doctor, stated: “While there are many details to be worked out, our alliance is working diligently and collaboratively with [MLS] to keep the Crew in its community. We are very excited about the quiet but deliberate progress that has been made to date and will keep the community updated as this process moves forward.”

-Jeff Carlisle, ESPN U.S. soccer correspondent

A rumored downtown stadium is also in the mix.

Major props to Ohio Attorney Mike DeWine and Columbus City Attorney Zach Klein for their legal work to #SaveTheCrew. And the major part–well, all of it–for this legal effort by Mr. DeWine and Mr. Klein is the Modell Law, which basically created a window for local investors to make a reasonable offer to keep the Crew in Columbus.

Quite poetic and perfect that the owner of the Cleveland Browns will be keeping the Crew in its hometown, isn’t it?

My favorite reaction today from a Cleveland Browns perspective is that Jimmy Haslam was thinking, “If I can’t find a good kicker, then I’ll just buy a professional soccer team.”

That was well played.

Deep down in my heart, I knew the Columbus Crew would somehow stay in Columbus. What did Joe Dirt say? “You can’t have no in your heart.” And now Columbus is reenergized to reclaim its rightful place as THE soccer capital of the United States, both on the pitch and in the stands (plus on Twitter).

After failing to qualify for the thrilling 2018 World Cup, the USMNT experienced an identity crisis, among other things. With the Crew staying in Columbus–the soccer capital of the United States–American soccer and the under-construction national team has a burgeoning identity rooted in the inspiring passion and relentless dedication of its fans.

Incredible.

The next step is revealing a sophisticated, creative and surprising tactical identity. That is still in the TBD-phase as the pursuit for a new head coach continues.

With the spotlight shining brightly on Columbus, the national media will now be forced to take note that goalkeeper Zack Steffen, defensive midfielder (and frequent USMNT captain) Wil Trapp and forward Gyasi Zardes make up the spine of the new USMNT. They come courtesy of the Columbus Crew. Just to be clear. And let’s also not forget that if an American is chosen as the next USMNT head coach, it will be the detail-minded Columbus Crew head coach Gregg Berhalter.

It’s not surprising that when U.S. soccer started to plot against the Columbus Crew behind closed doors that its national team suffered similarly along a parallel path. It worked in opposite fashion in the early part of this century with Dos-a-Cero when U.S. soccer and MLS celebrated the country’s first soccer-specific stadium and all the talent that Crew Stadium was home to.

Time for the pendulum to swing back in the right direction and for the new Crew front office to be inspired by Lamar Hunt’s winning legacy. Lamar Hunt can rest a little easier in Heaven tonight.

The Crew is being saved. Imagine what could happen to the USMNT if they begin embracing Columbus again with everything–and everyone–its capital city has to offer.

P.S. For good measure: 

C-R-E-W, f*$! you, Precourt, we SAVED THE CREW!

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Jerry’s World Has Cowboys, Buckeyes & Horned Frogs

How great is the show ‘Westworld’?

Anyways: A poisonous chestnut and a horned frog meet in the Texas desert at a place called Jerry’s World…

Tomorrow night, the world of college football will zoom down into “Jerry’s World”/AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas to watch #4 Ohio State vs. #15 TCU. This primetime matchup will feature a Buckeye team without its head coach, Urban Meyer, on the sideline. However, its coaching staff is very capable of filling the void for this particular game, especially given the insane amount of talent who will be sporting scarlet & gray.

The game should be a great one with various challenges on various fronts for both Ohio State and TCU. The Buckeyes want to make a statement that they are for real akin to its 2014 championship season, and TCU wants to make a statement that they are worthy of being compared with the top college football programs in the country.

Are you ready?

Am I ready?

OH-YES.

The Ohio State Buckeyes battle the TCU Horned Frogs tomorrow night at 8 p.m. on ABC.

Columbus, OH Is Thunderstruck

What did Ohio State head football coach Urban Meyer know? When did Urban Meyer know? Why didn’t he act back in 2015?

Right now, there are more questions than answers in the breaking story concerning former assistant Zach Smith–the grandson of Mr. Meyer’s mentor Earle Bruce–and accusations against Mr. Smith regarding domestic violence against his wife. One answer we do know is that Urban Meyer has been placed on paid administrative leave while Ohio State investigates this matter.

A fair speculation we can presume at this point is that, like former OSU head coach Jim Tressel, there was an effort by Mr. Meyer to slide a critical issue under the rug to prevent a tough personal decision. Particularly given the severity of the situation, Mr. Meyer absolutely should have acted to protect Zach Smith’s wife, regardless of the lifelong family connection via Mr. Bruce.

More recently, Mr. Meyer should have told the truth when publicly asked about whether he knew about the aforementioned allegation against Zach Smith back in 2015.

This story will develop by the day, hour and minute. For now, in the immediate aftermath, it’s difficult envisioning Urban Meyer remaining the head coach of The Ohio State Buckeyes.

FIFA Bids Farewell to Tradition in 2022

Image result for Gianni Infantino

FIFA President Gianni Infantino

With the 2018 FIFA World Cup coming to a close this weekend–third place on Saturday and the final on Sunday–people are already starting to look to the next World Cup in Qatar.

You know, that soccer-rich culture crazy hot Middle Eastern country that surely has at least one soccer ball within its borders.

While I am not a fan of people immediately dismissing the moment for the future, there was news that broke today that was eye-opening. FIFA President Gianni Infantino (Swiss) confirmed that said World Cup in Qatar four years from now will be November 21-December 18. And in announcing the unorthodox schedule for a tournament meant to be played in June and July, Mr. Infantino added this remark.

“Leagues around the world have been informed already, and of course they will have to adapt.”

“…of course they will have to adapt” is quite the statement to make regarding a host country whose bid process was a bit shady, to say the least. The perception looked like a cash grab by FIFA and Qatar with accusations of corruption in the voting process.

Having traveled to Qatar years back, it’s a nice country and I’m glad I stayed the night, having taken in its burgeoning skyline. It’s sort of a mini Dubai–the new Dubai–to a restrained extent. But when other soccer-rich countries and cultures lost the bid for 2022, that seemed a bit odd.

And now the FIFA president has the gall to speak down to the world’s top soccer leagues–steeped in storied history and tradition, as well as world-class talent–to force them to adapt?

FIFA should have adapted to the traditional needs of the World Cup and its participating coaches and players in awarding the tournament for 2022. Particularly given the historical fallout via corruption charges waged against former FIFA President Sepp Blatter (Swiss) and Co. in 2015 and FIFA officials concerning the Qatar bid, FIFA has yet to earn back the benefit of the doubt in cases like the 2022 bid.

FYI – The road of redemption for FIFA will be long and weighed down in a myriad of heated debates. And it doesn’t help that this road for FIFA is being built to travel through Qatar in November and December.

P.S. Liquor is heavily restricted in Qatar. Well, at least soccer fans aren’t famously known for drinking an alcoholic beverage or two, in a stadium or a pub, when watching the beautiful game…

P.P.S. One unresolved issue still under review is whether the 2022 FIFA World Cup will include 48 teams. No, no and no. It may be time for a competitive marketplace of alternative governing bodies to emerge to challenge FIFA and its endless train of terrible, horrible, no good, very bad ideas as conducted by the Swiss. Perhaps it’s fitting this type of news broke on Friday the 13th.