Those of you who used to periodically read this blog may have noticed the lack of new posts for many months. I did not intend to neglect Red, White and Blues as much as I have, however, the neglect was for a good reason. My writing energies over the last year were poured into completing my first non-fiction book, a soccer title, called Dallas ‘Til I Cry: Learning to Love Major League Soccer.
“Euro Snob” is sometimes used to describe American soccer fans that generally ignore Major League Soccer in favor of the elite professional leagues of Europe. As a big Chelsea FC supporter, I was admittedly one of these Euro Snobs for several years. In 2013 however, feeling obligated as an American soccer fan to pay attention to my domestic league, I decided to try to become a fan of MLS by following it closely for the first time. My conduit for this MLS experiment was becoming a Season Ticket Holder for my local club, FC Dallas.
Dallas ‘Til I Cry: Learning to Love Major League Soccer chronicles my experience as I try to become a full-fledged supporter of FC Dallas and MLS overall. Part soccer fan memoir, part MLS critique, the book explores American soccer fandom in all its joys, agonies, and quirks. It’s an American twist on the kind of soccer fan passion reflected in books like Fever Pitch, Bloody Confused!, and 32 Programmes. Whether already a fan of MLS, cynical about the league, or a curious fan who simply enjoys narratives of soccer cultures around the world, I hope you’ll find Dallas ‘Til I Cry to be a funny, heart-warming examination of the much-maligned, resilient, and emergent Major League Soccer.
The book is now available to purchase on Amazon.com and will be available soon as an e-book for Kindle. I will also be relaunching this soccer blog at http://www.nathannipper.com in the coming weeks. Thank you very much for reading this blog over the years. I appreciate your support and hope you will check out my new book as well as continue to read the new blog when it launches at nathannipper.com.
Red, White and Blues began a year ago today
Okay, blogiversary isn’t really a word, but that’s part of the fun of blogging – you can make up words and there’s no editor to stop you! Unfortunately, that’s also the downside – there’s no one around to stop you from sounding dumb. Unless you run it by your wife first, which I’ve done on many occasion over this first year of RW&B. I didn’t run blogiversary by her. Probably should have.
Anyway, I’m taking a short break from soccer writing today to say thank you to all who have stopped by to check out the blog this year! Thank you also to those who have posted comments, “followed” the blog, “liked” a post, or all three. This has been a fun way to exercise part of my brain and I hope you’ve enjoyed the occasional post. Please continue to stop by when you’re on the information superhighway and bear with me in my effort to develop this tiny slice of digi-real estate.
My how quickly things change. A year ago today Chelsea hadn’t even hired Andre Villas-Boas yet, Bob Bradley was still the U.S. coach, and FC Dallas was near the top of the Western Conference! Looking forward to covering another great year of soccer…
(*Frank Lampard doesn’t actually endorse Red, White and Blues. Or even know it exists.)
US loses in frustrating fashion
Here’s how to beat the U.S. men’s national team: camp out on defense and counter-attack when possible. Other than that, don’t bother playing much offense. Give the U.S. all the possession they want. It’s okay, they won’t hurt you. What about U.S. shots from any kind of distance? No worries – they almost never shoot from outside the box.
Okay, I probably shouldn’t be that cynical. I understand that this was a “building” match, a chance for Klinsmann to experiment with the lineup. It’s basically a practice game. A scrimmage. These are the things we tell ourselves at least. I know the U.S. wasn’t at full strength, etc. But still. We lost to Costa Rica! I know Costa Rica is usually one of the toughest teams to beat in the region. But still! We shouldn’t lose to these size countries. Ever.
Maybe I’m naïve. Maybe we don’t have as much talent in the U.S. as I think we do. Maybe we are still a decade behind the world’s elite in our soccer infrastructure and national team development. But I don’t think that’s the case. We need to be very tough on ourselves. We need to raise the expectation level in this country! We shouldn’t be okay with losses to Costa Rica even if it is just a friendly and even if we are using an experimental squad.
The U.S. should have won Friday night. There were signs of life, particularly in the first half, but signs of life don’t cut it anymore. Qualifying for the 1990 World Cup marked a turning point in American soccer history, but we’re twenty years beyond that, so it’s time to jettison all excuses, tighten up our big boy boots and assert ourselves a little bit. Beating Belgium on Tuesday would be a good place to start.
Am I being too harsh/unrealistic in my assessment of U.S. Soccer? Feel free to share your thoughts below…
New era for U.S. men’s national team
As I’ve mentioned in this digital space before, I like Bob Bradley. I didn’t like him at first. As the post-World Cup ’06 rumors swirled that the U.S. might pursue Jurgen Klinsmann, I was all for the idea. When that didn’t pan out and Bradley became coach, I was discouraged. It seemed an opportunity to progress had been wasted. However, Bradley grew on me, and I appreciate the job he did. Even if we should have gone further in World Cup ’10, it was still a thrilling experience (as was the Confederations Cup in ’09). So there are no hard feelings toward Bob. It was simply time for a change and I’m very glad that change is Klinsmann.
U.S. Soccer needed to shake things up and it seems they have. To beat the world at its own game, we needed someone from outside our borders, someone untainted by the inferiority complex of American soccer, someone with a completely different perspective who will hopefully be able to put their finger on what we need to do better. Klinsmann has his work cut out for him, but I’m excited about his potential.
U.S. Soccer (and fans) now must be patient with Klinsmann. He’s not going to work overnight miracles. Players still have to win the games. I wouldn’t expect big things from the friendlies in August and September. But if U.S. Soccer has patience – and if Klinsmann is willing to hang in there – he could be the right guy to guide the team to the next level.
Life is funny. I remember watching Klinsmann in the 1990 and ’94 World Cups. He was a wiry, fiery competitor for Germany. Who would have imagined then that this German hero would someday coach the United States national team? Pretty cool. Very few of the world’s current national team coaches have actually won the World Cup (as a coach or player). Now ours has. Perhaps it’s the edge we’ve been missing.
What are your thoughts about Klinsmann coaching the U.S.?