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Breaking AP News: He’s an A$$hole

Heartless, conniving and only out for himself without any regard for people not worth millions of dollars.

Fitting with the times we live, Crew SC scumbag owner Anthony Precourt has all but finalized a deal to move the Charter member of Major League Soccer (MLS) away from America’s soccer capital in Columbus, OH westward to Austin, TX in 2019. There’s even a report that Mr. Precourt will be in Austin tomorrow. And the only way to prevent this disgustingly greedy and despicable move is, according to Precourt, for Columbus, OH citizens to fork over the money for a new stadium closer to downtown…or else! 

When Anthony Precourt arrived with his venture capitalistic mojo, it was presumed that he would use this business mentality to take the Crew to the next-level. Apparently, his plan all along was to buy an MLS club (the very first one in league history), concoct a contract with a sneaky escape clause (he wouldn’t move the club in 10 years unless that destination was Austin, TX), pretend to care about fans and, behind their backs surely support the registration of two names for an MLS club in Austin.

Earlier this year, Major League Soccer registered “Austin FC” and “Austin Athletic” as trademarks. MLS executive vice president Dan Courtemanche told the Statesman that Austin would not be considered for one of the four remaining expansion slots but did not respond to a question about relocation.
–Kevin Lyttle, Austin American-Statesman, October 17, 2017

Then there’s this.

On the call, the Crew owner said no one from the city had stepped up with a “serious” offer to keep the team in Columbus.

That was disputed by Alex Fischer, CEO of the Columbus Partnership, an organization of top city business leaders.

“We offered to buy, literally, 50 percent of the team,” Fischer told me.
–Laura Newpoff, Columbus Business First, October 17, 2017

And this.

“No investor presented an offer,” Precourt said. “We must begin strategic alternatives to secure long-term vitality.”

Again, Fischer disputes that.

“We won’t let emotions override our primary resolve” for the team to remain in the city, Fischer said. “We have specifically asked the owner to propose to us what would work.

“He hasn’t done that yet but we would hope and expect he would. In the meantime, we stand with the members of the team and fans who are very emotional today. We share that emotion.”
–Laura Newpoff, Columbus Business First, October 17, 2017 

Does Anthony Precourt remind you of anybody?

The Columbus Crew has won championships (Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup, MLS Cup and three Supporters’ Shields). Columbus Crew fans have paid their hard-earned money and supported the club since its debut in 1996 against D.C. United in the Horseshoe. It was a momentous 4-nil win for the Crew. And I should know as I was there with my dad. Fans in Columbus pack the stands beyond capacity to cheer on the red, white and blue with unrivaled pride. Crew Stadium has hosted the most memorable games against That Team Down South (my trademark is still pending) with many iconic “Dos-a-Cero” victories.

If there are business struggles with the club, it’s Anthony Precourt’s job to fix them. Period! That’s why he’s paid a huge salary and has the prestigious title of owner of a storied MLS club. That’s why bought an MLS club, right? To support the club and its city? Wrong. 

He’s supposed to care, but he doesn’t.

He doesn’t care about the dedicated fans spanning several generations who will no longer have a professional soccer team to cheer for, support and make cherished memories with Columbus and its iconic Crew Stadium. He doesn’t care about the stadium workers who will be out of a job. He doesn’t care about the storied history of soccer in Columbus, OH, ranging from the Crew to the USMNT to its elite youth club soccer programs. He doesn’t care about Lamar Hunt’s amazing mission and success story in bringing MLS to Columbus. He doesn’t care that he pretended to admire this city and its people. He just doesn’t care.

The problem with all that is that everybody in Columbus cares. A lot!    

It’s actually quite difficult to express all my feelings in a single blog post, but this is a mere start (at 1,000+ words). There are more than 20-years of emotions and memories to reflect on, including my trip to Los Angeles to watch the Columbus Crew defeat the New York Red Bulls in the 2008 MLS Cup.

After waiting for more than a decade, with superstars like Brian McBride (MLS’s first overall pick), Brad Friedel and Stern John and many others have proudly sporting the Black & Gold over the years, the Crew finally hoisted the MLS Cup in triumphant glory! I was with my parents and it was truly a surreal and amazing moment. Unforgettable.

The Columbus Crew were, in fact, the MASSIVE champions of Major League Soccer.

I remember the joy, the celebration and the feeling of being a champion because every fan of this club feels like they are part of it, right there on the pitch with the players. And the players and coaches make (made?) sure the fans felt that way. Being a fan of the Crew is a unique experience. We have always been one with the club and the club has always been one with the city, regardless of the no-nothing suits of MLS (cough cough Don Garber) and no-nothing big city critics (cough cough Seattle’s fan section).

As I mentioned, I watched the Crew win its first MLS Cup in the Home Depot Center in Los Angeles. And while that stadium is newer than Crew Stadium, it looked and felt like every other cookie-cutter MLS stadium you see being built around the league these days. It’s generic. There’s no great story or lineage there. It’s not unique. Now, the Crew winning MLS Cup for its city and its citizens was unique and special. Moreover, Crew Stadium is the first soccer-specific stadium in the United States of America. The USMNT’s best accomplishments are defeating That Team Down South (my trademark is still pending) by “Dos-a-Cero.” Crew Stadium has hosted multiple World Cup qualifying matches, MLS Cups, an All-Star game and women’s World Cup games. Columbus, OH has earned the title as THE soccer capital of the United States.

Columbus’s story is a perfect encapsulation of America’s soccer story in that nothing comes easy and it’s constantly viewed as unable to rise to the occasion. And yet, when that moment arrives, guess who is there to stand tall and deliver unforgettable results with passion, skill and memories unlike any other? That’s right: Columbus.

Columbus’s soccer story is America’s soccer story; one of an underdog that rises to be a champion.

If that first ballot, hall of fame a$$hole Anthony Precourt can’t see that, well…once again, he doesn’t care.

History will show that Columbus’s soccer story has been proud, distinguished, innovative and unrivaled whereas Anthony Precourt’s soccer story is one of failure, deceit, sleaziness and deliberate tragedy that can be found in the gutter of American sports alongside the USMNT that failed to qualify for the 2018 World Cup.

Somehow, someway, the Crew and its fans need to rise to its fiercest challenge ever:

Extinction.

Much like the Crew’s original logo, it’s time to put on the hard hats and for the city to get to work.

P.S. Want to buy a soccer club, Les Wexner? With a net worth of $5.7 billion, you could continue to support and define the evolving story of Columbus in the only way you know how: 

With massive intent and delivery.  

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The USMNT’s Last Chance Blown-Up By TNT

The United States Men’s National Team (USMNT) will not compete in next summer’s World Cup in Russia after losing away at lowly Trinidad and Tobago 2-1 last night.

christian-pulisic-sad-usmnt-world-cup

(Christian Pulisic reacts as USMNT fails to qualify for the 2018 World Cup in Russia)

The USMNT has officially hit rock bottom.

One of the blog posts I wrote a few months back concluded the hiring of Bruce Arena would be a 50/50 coin toss regarding success. Whether you picked heads or tails, it turned out to be the other one for Mr. Arena’s prowess for getting the United States to the 2018 World Cup. In truth, the coin didn’t land in someone’s hand, but rather in a gutter.

As written in yesterday’s blog, like the Dutch not qualifying for next year’s World Cup, the USMNT failing to qualify is equally a “total mess.” It’s embarrassing and humiliating. There’s no other way around that fact. Moreover, this blog has repeatedly (repeatedly) written about the shocking lack of change and insight concerning USMNT’s ineffective roster, strategy (the team had a strategy on the pitch?) or any overarching philosophical guiding principles whatsoever for America’s national team. And these critiques aren’t limited to this year or a match-by-match basis, but for several World Cup cycles.

There are so many negative things that can be stated right now. Actually, there are far too many negative things that should be stated right now about the USMNT. That’s a problem in and of itself. One plus today, however, may be that the current roster, not including Christian Pulisic and possibly Bobby Wood, are likely done at the national team level. These older and familiar players were given too many World Cup cycles, especially because their way didn’t deliver expected results. The next generation of Americans, like Christian Pulisic, Julian Green, Mix Diskerud, Wil Trapp, Bobby Wood, Josh Williams and others, need their shot to define the USMNT with a dynamic playing style guided by an identifiable, innovative philosophy.

A new coach from overseas with a proven record with young players wouldn’t hurt. If US Soccer is thinking clearly (a big if), they might focus their attention and wallets on Mr. Pep Guardiola. Once again, it’s possible and also the best bet for simulating a Men in Black flash eraser moment for American soccer fans. All the above problems would be resolved and the USMNT could enter a future World Cup with talent and expectations like never before. If there was ever a moment to show someone the money Jerry Maguire-style, this is it.

The USMNT is (and has been) in desperate need of a soccer revolution. When you think revolution, you think of standing for and protecting your home; the values that define you and showcase your best characteristics for a bright, prosperous future. In the case of US Soccer, that means returning home:

Columbus, OH.

In Columbus, US Soccer will find a future waiting and willing to be built together by dedicated blue collar workers from a plan by white collar visionaries and supported by the best damn fans in the land stands. Quite frankly, it all sounds like a massive idea.

Actually, it all sounds pretty damn American.

From 2nd Place to 3rd Place to No Place

Total Football’s total mess is over…but only briefly.

The Dutch blanked Sweden 2-nil in Amsterdam ArenA today in the final game of World Cup qualifying. However, as a consequence of a massive goal differential shortage entering the match, the Oranje finished tied for second in points. But because goal differential is the first tie-breaker, the Dutch technically finished in the non-qualifying position of third place in their group behind Sweden and France. Therefore, the Dutch will miss the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

As a lifelong fan of the Netherlands, it’s tough to see this team not playing in a World Cup. Without diving too deep into the weeds right now (failure of a youthful, next generation of footballers to develop at a world-class level), what’s even more depressing is what was said after the final whistle blew.

Arjen Robben (33), my favorite soccer player, declared he is retiring from international competitions with the Dutch National Team.

This move was predictable, as it was either going to be announced this year or after the World Cup next summer had the Dutch qualified. Still, to know that Robben won’t put on a national team jersey again is jarring. One of the leaders of a golden generation of players for the men in orange (Arjen Robben, Wesley Sneijder, Robin van Persie) was excruciatingly close to winning his country’s first-ever World Cup on multiple occasions. The Dutch finished second in 2010 and finished third in 2014.

Now, as this disastrous World Cup cycle has proven, the Dutch will not be serious contenders for a long, long time. There is a very concerning talent gap for such a historically influential and talent-rich soccer nation.

Returning back to Robben’s breaking news, three pieces of immediate solace are:

  • He will continue to play for Bayern Munich.
  • His two goals today (especially his second) were classic Arjen Robben moments.
  • He retired from the Dutch National Team in front of his home fans.

Speaking of his classic second goal today against Sweden…

Ironically enough, the Netherlands won today’s game with the worst lead in soccer. And 2-nil proved, once again, to be the worst lead because they needed a much higher goal differential to miraculously qualify for next summer’s World Cup. It was a loss disguised as a win.

As opposed to Arjen Robben’s legacy with the Netherlands, which was always a win-win situation.

Thank you for all the memories playing for the Oranje! 

It’s Time for Wesley Sneijder to Widen His (Soccer) World

Two people walk down the same street together and see something happen. Incredibly, it’s entirely possible that these two people will have vastly different reactions and, therefore, reach two vastly different conclusions to said event.

Ready, set, go.

“Galatasaray have terminated the contract of Netherlands midfielder Wesley Sneijder.”
–Goal.com

What does the statement above mean?

The initial response indicates bad news for Dutch superstar Wesley Sneijder. Has to, right? When contracts are terminated, regardless of profession, that isn’t good news. However, having followed Mr. Sneijder’s comments recently, the opposite is actually true in his case. As a matter of fact, the “termination” was a mutal decision made between Mr. Sneijder and his now former Turkish club Galatasaray.

After making his 131st cap for the Netherlands national team (a record) during a revitilizing (and desperately necessary) 5-nil win against World Cup qualifying foe Luxembourg last month, signs emphatically point towards the 33-year-old #10 preparing for a third consecutive World Cup run next summer in Russia.

What does this projection mean?

Galatasaray is a good club, but not the one that will best condition the undervalued world-class veteran for what could possibly be the last best chance for his home country to try to win its first World Cup for a generation. Along with Arjen Robben and Robin van Persie (also 33 years-old), this explosively dynamic golden trio still have what it takes to hoist the greatest trophy in soccer. But the youngsters/next generation of the Oranje have to dramatically step up their game just to qualify for next summer’s competition.

It’s still an “if” at this point in qualifying, but possible.

Wherever Wesley Sneijder takes his talent to next, that club will have one of the most creative and dangerous #10 playmakers in the world. He can pass with precision and vision and score at seemingly any moment.

Here are a few examples of the now free agent finding the back of the net throughout his career for both club and country.

And Wesley Sneijder has Turkish club Galatasaray to thank for permitting him to build on his career once more at a critical juncture. Plus, Wesley Sneijder should get to fly on Turkish Airlines at least one more time…

Any chance to listen to Morgan Freeman’s voice, I’ll take it.