Wednesday, March 31, 2010

A New "Silly Series": Shit-faced Look-A-Likes #1

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Maybe you see it. Maybe you don't. Maybe it was just something that we thought we saw after a hard nights drinkin'. A quick glance and there is was. A brief semblance of recognition between one personality of the soccer world and something random outside of it.

It's "Shit-faced Look-A-Likes" a new feature from the Free Beer Movement!

First up:

One's a stone-faced, emotional-less machine and the other is "Sonny" from the movie "I, Robot".



Sonny ---------------------Bob Bradley

Any more "shit-faced look-a-likes"? Leave a comment below.

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Monday, March 29, 2010

Who We're Buying a Beer For...

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"Who We're Buying A Beer For" is a weekly series that honors those who are making positive contributions to the growth of soccer in the United States. Sometimes serious, but mostly down right silly we hand out brews to these great individuals.

We're buying a beer for a U.S. National Teamer that really should be buying us a few cold ones since we just learned that
Stu Holden signed an endorsement deal with sporting giants Nike. With the exception of the pretty bad knock (and by knock we mean broken leg) that the former Houston Dynamo and Major League Soccer standout took in the US-Netherlands friendly (damn you Nigel De Jong!) it has been a very good year.

After bursting on the the USMNT scene, Holden finds himself across the pond with English Premier League mid-tablers Bolton Wanders. A great move for a player looking to get on the plane to South Africa.

What's big about Nike's announcement is that it shows another step in its commitment to the sport in the United States. Now the Beverton, Oregon company (who we've honored previously for its new environmentally friendly jerseys) has snagged some of the biggest names in American soccer to its brand: Landon Donovan, Clint Dempsey, Tim Howard, Freddy Adu, and Eddie Johnson (errr..... scratch those last two).

Holden joins a prestigious group of marketable faces for Nike. And the more faces, and subsequently, stories, that Nike latches onto the greater exposure for the sport in the United States. Nike has always been successful in attaching their brand to highly marketable individuals as they are on the up and up: Tiger Woods, Michael Jordan, LeBron James, even, Donovan.

The signing of yet another young gun to Nike's portfolio is a sign that they want to get out in front of the American soccer wave that is emerging in this country. A move that is beer worthy for Mr. Holden and his new employer.

With the specter of a strike in the rear-view mirror we're serving up a few rounds for Major League Soccer for a great start to the new season.

On Thursday night American soccer fans we're treated to a prime time, sold out match in Seattle against the expansion side, Philidelphia on ESPN2 and the weekend rolled on with another high-profile opener in New York (also in prime time on ESPN2), surprising results (Kansas City's 4-0 trashing on DC United), and the return of the league biggest player, Landon Donovan to Los Angeles.

All in all a quality start to the league's 15th season with, hopefully, plenty of more great action to come. And while MLS' new website continues to trouble and frustrate its fans a face-lift on the site was needed. All new things have their bugs and we're sure that it will all get worked out sooner enough.

Taking the good with the bad, if you're willing to drop $39.95 for MLS MatchDay Live, there's one thing the new website got right. High-quality match video (as long as the games aren't on a national broadcast) makes last year's package look like it was served up by CompuServe. The FBM took in a few live games last weekend and one on-demand match (had to see out boy FRANKIE in action for C-Bus!) and it was all awesome. Worthy every penny.

Lastly, we hope you'll allow us a little self-indulgence as we celebrate the launch of our first (of many we hope!) T-shirt. We're not going to keep the beers for ourselves, though. We'll pass them out to to all those who helped make our shirt drop possible.
You know you want it...Get one today from Objectivo.com

Talk about commitment to the cause!
We'd like to thank our designer, Eric Wheatley,
who donated his time and energy to re-design the Free Beer Movement logo and put together a very sharp looking FBM shirt. Wheatley besides being a devoted FBMer is also the chapter head of the Baltimore Brigade, an American Outlaws USMNT Supporters' group.

Also, the great guys at Objectivo who are hawking the shirt for us have been great. They saw that the FBM is interesting and growing part of the American soccer world and wanted to get on board with us.

As regular readers know we're just trying to carve out a little place in this American soccer land and make some noise about how beer can help spread the gospel of our domestic game. Not only does it help confirm our theories about the growth of the sport when FBMers take it upon themselves to buy beers for soccer newbies, but getting institutional support from a company like Objectivo tells us we're doing something really right.

Support the Movement. Get the Free Beer Movement T-Shirt. Only from Objectivo.com

Friday, March 26, 2010

Those Bastards at The Guardian!

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No, wait! Not our friends at "The Shin Guardian". Whew... dodged a bullet there. Almost lost an ally. And in this cut-throat world of American soccer media you need those. Like how we just made ourselves apart of the legitimate American soccer media there. Probably didn't even notice. Snuck it right it there on ya. Now its been said. We're in.

Anyways... the "bastards" we're speaking of are the ones at the England's "The Guardian" newspaper. Why such anger at some stuffy old rag from across the pond, you ask?

Because they're filthy stealers!

First the go and steal "The Shin Guardian's" stuff!



TSG (left) and The Guardian (Right)

Then they came for us.

A few months back we put our super-sweet (note: not super-sweet) Photoshop skills to use and created a little bit of brilliance. This bad boy:

Yeah. Pretty awesome huh? We've got a whole lot more where that came from, too.

Well, The Guardian must have thought they were pretty awesome also and so they went ahead a COPIED the idea for some stupid series on England's injury problems.

Wanna see the proof?

The similarities are un-mistakable. What you don't see it?

War? Check. Beckham getting canned? Check. US on the attack (not pictured, but one could assume!)? Check.

Bastards! This means war, course!

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Wednesday, March 24, 2010

23 Beers to South Africa: The U.S. National Team Brew-Ski Team

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Now suiting up for the U.S. National Team....


Originally Featured on The Shin Guardian

With the World Cup only a few months away soccer pundits across America are filling out their 23 tickets to South African for the United States Men’s National Team. We at the "Free Beer Movement" have never claimed to be good at punditry (we’re usually drinking too much during games to take notes and the such), but despite that fact we’re going to give our picks to make the plane across the pond.

A few caveats. We’re assigning each member of the Nats a beer that we think speaks mostly highly to whom they are as people and as players. It is random? You bet, but we’ve got nothing else productive to contribute to the American soccer community than tongue-in-check crap like this.

Additionally, we’ve never claimed to be any good at the “analysis” part of the game. The players we’ve chosen to make the starting 11 and the final 23 don’t necessarily mean that’s our strongest side for South Africa (Example #1 is Frankie Hejduk… yup… he’s on board… but only because of our continued love affair with the “Great Haired One”) it means it’s either our best guess or because we found the perfect beer to match them with and that makes for better writing.

Lastly, we didn’t write this to get hammered on our squad selection from a “Where’s so-and-so” or “you omitted this guy and that guy”. We wrote it so you could get hammered with our creative beer squad selections.



* Kate the Great? We think they meant "Timmy the Great".

* Despite the Evertonian's taste for light beers we're going heavy for the big man between the sticks.

* Generally one of the strongest types of beers and Timmy fits the bill.

* The word "Stout" originally was meant to describe someone who is "proud" or "brave"

* Howard is a whole-package keeper and great in stressful/emergency situations (i.e. Confed Cup against Spain, 2009) and in an emergency a stout could be your whole meal!

* We've read before that Imperial stouts pair well with New York cheesecake and for this New Jersey native that's close enough!

The Back Four

Left Defense - Carlos Bocanegra as Kronenbourg 1664

* This pale lager pairs well with our pale left back.

* As France's #1 beer we're thinking that he makes the list as one of Ligue Un's best defenders as well.

Centerback - Oguchi Onyewu as Newcastle Brown Ale

* How could we not go with the brew from the same city as the club that gave Gooch his big Euro-league break through? While the black and white stripes of Newcastle FC never quite worked out for him, the Newcastle Brown Ale is a perfect beer fit.

* "The taste you've come to know and love," Brewpub guy on Newcastle's website. We've got the same feeling for the big man's defensive style too. Powerful and unshakable... despite a few blunders he's USMNT material through and through.

* A smooth beer that's lightly hopped. Just like Gooch's defense... smooth and with the 40 ounces of height he's got there's no need for anything more than light hops.

Centerback - Jay DeMerit as Miller High Life

* A Wisconsin boy deserves a beer born and raised in Wisconsin (Milwaukee) as well.

* Certainly has been living in the "high life" as captain of English Championship side Watford after walking on to squad.

* Has solidified himself as the "Champagne of the Central Defense" after solid performances for the Nats (esp. against Spain last summer).

Right Defense - Jonathan Spector as Old Style

* We know that Old Style is another Milwaukee beer, but they're also the choice of Spector's hometown Chicago Cubs (boooooo!) so we'll let it slide.

* Another blue-collar beer for another blue-collar defender, Spector has taken plenty of knocks and keeps on showing up at the USMNT party (just like this beer... where do you get this anymore!?!?)

* Because of his grandparents' Germany ancestry Spector got on the fast-track to play in England by snagging a German passport. German roots are strong with Old Style as well as the beer uses the centuries-old double fermentation process of "kraeusening" to brew their beer.

The Midfield

Left Mid - Clint Dempsey as Lonestar

* Just like Lonestar, Duece is a good ol' Texas boy born and raised in Nacogdoches.

* For the better part of the year has been the "lone star" in Ray Hodgson's solid Fulham squad

* Can be really refreshing sometimes or completely not what you were hoping for when you get it.

Center Mid - Michael Bradley as Stone Ruination India Pale Ale

* Baby Bradley's hard tackling style means "ruination" to opposing midfielders and forwards.

* Sometimes too "hoppy" or rash (Bradley's Jr. and red cards anyone?).

* Honestly… how did this kid come from daddio? They’re like two totally different people. (scroll down for our Coach Sweatpants pick)

Center Mid - Maurice Edu as National Bohemian Beer

* The Rangers FC man used to feature for the Maryland Terrapins (located in College Park outside of Baltimore) while "Natty Boh" was THE beer of Baltimore up until the brewery closed in 1978 (kept alive by Miller today).

* Edu's nickname rhymes with "Mr. Boh" the one-eyed, handlebar-mustachioed spokes-logo of National Bohemian Beer.

* National Bohemian's style is a pilsner also known as "the world's first golden beer" and Mo Edu also happen's to be Rangers' first American to win an Old Firm Derby match with his "golden" stoppage time goal. Some great firsts!

Right Mid - Landon Donovan as Samuel Smith Beers

* Completely under-rated in the U.S. (by the majority of beer drinkers or sports fans)

* Hardly flashy. Always solid. (unless served in Mexico with pork)

* An English favorite that is better had in England ("We mean it's good here, but it's even better over there.")

* We heard it could be great in South Africa with the proper Cup.

Forwards


* We've never had this beer before, but there were too many references we could use to pass it up

* Rock Bottom? That's where Charlie was back in October 2009 after his horrific car accident. He nearly died and his professional career hung in the balance.

* Miracle #1? Davies survived and rehabbed his injury to being almost ready to set foot on a pitch in about five months. Early predictions had him out for at least a year.

* Miracle #2? Davies is our pick to be in the starting 11 on June 12th against England.

* The Shin Guardian boys love "Charlie in a Bottle" and here you have it


* We're not resorting to name-calling here, but Jozy's got some feistiness and we like it.

* Keeps taking those knocks in the EPL and comes back "strong".


* Coach Sweatpants is about as "mild" as they come (that was an easy joke).

* Bradley's "pride and joy" plays right under his nose.

* Unlike his "hoppy" son, Bradley the Elder rarely shows ANY emotion.

* Quality flavor, from an unexpected source, American version of a rare English style.

Coming Soon: the SUBSTITUTES

Questions, comments, concerns, or additional player and beer suggestions? Leave them in the comments section. We're adding our beer bench in the coming week or so and we're opening to your input.

Support the Movement. Get the Free Beer Movement T-Shirt. Only from Objectivo.com

Now Available: Free Beer Movement T-Shirts from Objectivo.com

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Ladies and gentlemen... this is what you've been waiting for! Well... maybe not, but it's still kinda cool. The Free Beer Movement has teamed up with Objectivo.com, a great soccer-specific T-shirt company, to release the OFFICIAL shirt of the Movement.

What better way to confess you love and devotion to the Movement that is "Building American Soccer One Beer at a Time" than by purchasing one of these beauties?

How will owning a FBM shirt change your life? We've already heard from early purchases of this awesome shirt that they're experienced improved higher grades at school, pay raises at work, a better sex life, and, now...this is just an unconfirmed rumor... penile growth into the double digits.

The shirt features the brand-new Free Beer Movement crest on a cranberry colored American Apparel shirt. All of this was done and designed by our buddy and American Outlaws Baltimore chapter head, Eric.

Check it out:

Oh wait... you wished there was something on the back to REALLY tie the whole shirt together?

BAM!

Head on over to Objectivo.com and be the first on your block with the new Free Beer Movement T-shirt.

Seriously... we don't even have one yet!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Tuesday Video: Major League Soccer "First Kick" Promo

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There was no "Viernes (Friday) Video" last week (sorry we were busying penning this beauty of a take-down on the New York Times which was also featured on Match Fit USA) so we'll throw a little "Tuesday Video" at you.

Major League Soccer kicks-off (pun intended) its 15th season this Thursday as the Seattle Sounders host the expansion side Philadelphia Union at 8:30 pm (Central Time) on ESPN2.

We're pleased as punch that the League and the Players' Union was able to come to an 11th hour agreement as to avoid a work stoppage and we can all just get excited for the upcoming domestic season.

This is the first full MLS season that the Free Beer Movement will have been in existence so we're doubly excited about the prospect of our members ("Free Beer Movers") sharing their stories and pictures of soccer conversion of "newbies" across this great nation.

So when you're out at matches all season remember to grab some newbies and buy them a beer.

Spread American soccer, one beer at a time!

Here's the ESPN commercial:

MLS First Kick 2010 Commerical from mlsinsider on Vimeo.



Support the Movement. Get the Free Beer Movement T-Shirt. Only from Objectivo.com

Monday, March 22, 2010

Who We're Buying a Beer For...

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We've got a real cosmopolitan group of beer honorees this week for all you loyal readers. From rap moguls, to government administrators, to bricks and mortar we've got it all here for you at the Free Beer Movement.

First off is the modern renaissance man Mr. P. Diddy aka Sean Combs. Rapper, producer, fashion designer and now, maybe, owner of Crystal Palace FC. According to several reports out of the British press (and a few domestic sources) the formerly named "Puffy Daddy Diddle Do" is looking to help out the cash strapped and administration-threatened club.

We're not entirely in favor of having sports team become the playthings of American millionaires (or from any country for that matter), but having such a high profile owner, as long as run responsibly (which from the sounds of how Palace has been run so far ANYTHING would be better) could help raise the profile of the sport in America. Which is, of course, what we're all about.

And let's face it (prepare yourselves for a bit of an aside) American soccer could use a little more P Diddy in its life. We're sorry.... but if you have to choose the metrosexual, probably Robbie Williams-listening, David Beckham as the "hip" face of American soccer or the diamonds and Cristal world of Diddy we're going to come down on the side of the rap star.

American soccer, despite the great stories of Altidore, Davies, Howard, Onyewu, and other black players lacks the draw in an African-American community dominated by basketball. Any in-roads down this path is a positive step forward. Coming from an un-hip white guy, we'd take some hip-hop culture in the game. This is a good start as well.

Beer? Cristal (how appropriate!)? What's your poison P Diddy? It's on the FBM.

From the top of the charts to the backrooms and boardrooms of Washington DC comes a beer for Federal mediator George H. Cohen (standing behind Don Garber in light gray suit) who was the keystone in the Major League Soccer owners and Players' Union finding agreement to avoid a work stoppage the week the League was supposed to kick off its 15th season.

The Obama appointee was brought in last week to be the glue that binds and he worked his mediating magic to bring the two sides back from the brink. What seemed like an impossible situation a few short days ago came to a satisfying resolution Saturday afternoon.

So while the federal government is getting shat all over week in and week out American soccer fans have one thing to thank the paper pushers in DC about; a domestic soccer season brought back from the brink.

Don't even know if this pencil neck drinkings, but we'll meet up with him at Molly Malone's with the rest of DC United's Barra Brava to buy him a few rounds.

Lastly, this week saw the grand opening of the new jewel in the soccer specific stadium crown of Major League Soccer, New York Red Bulls' Red Bull Arena. We're not sure if buildings drink beer, but maybe we'll just poor a few out at the front gate.

Even the New York Times' George Vecsey was impressed and recently that publication has been on the FBM's shit list. We're glad that rag cleaned up its act. Now we can focus on the Washington Post and douche-hole Chad Norman

For as disappointing as New York has been as a MLS franchise (minus their Cinderella run to the Cup Final the year before) it is good to see such positive investment in soccer in the Big Apple.

A worldly city finally gets the world's game. And as much as people mock the purchase of the side by the energy drink, Red Bull, there's no way this stadium gets built without their money. So hats off to them... even if you turned a team into a walking billboard. That's cool.

Check out this great video from opening night, a 3-1 victory over Pele's former and Robinho's current Brazilian side, Santos.





Support the Movement. Get the Free Beer Movement T-Shirt. Only from Objectivo.com

Thursday, March 18, 2010

De-constructing Stupidity: In Defense of American Soccer

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Editor's Note: This is the first time we've ever done this (so go easy on us), but we couldn't let this inaccurate, poorly written, and blatantly stupid article just pass under the radar. Too often major media outlets let the columnists take a swing a soccer, sport's whipping boy and run said column as a big "F you" to the American soccer community. Today... we defend this house. The article comes from Alex Beam of the International Herald Tribune and was published in the New York Times on March 18th, 2010. His words in bold, our responses in italics.

This little piece of brilliance is also cross-posted over at the great American soccer site, Match Fit USA.
The World (Minus the U.S.) Cup

If you are a man, you know the feeling. At a party, you encounter a beautiful woman, perhaps a tad exotic. She speaks with a hint of an accent — South American? — and she dresses a notch above the people you hang around with. Is that a Sapphire martini in her hand? You think about approaching her. But in the end, you shy away.

America is that man. The World Cup is the exotic, unattainable object of fascination. The Quadrennial Awkward Date resumes
.

First off, this is just the worst bit of metaphor I've read in a while. Must Read Soccer better save some space for worst writing of the week because we've got a nomination right here. I've written better leads when I wrote for my high school newspaper. Honestly, if America was at that party... America would walk over (being the greatest country in the world) and charm the shit out of that South American? hottie. Case closed. Metaphor over.
It would be great if Americans could embrace the World Cup, because then big U.S. sponsors could make even more money.
Big U.S. sponsors already make a ton of money from the World Cup. Take a look at the sponsors of the upcoming Cup: Coca Cola, McDonald's, Continental, Visa, Castrol, and many more. You don't think they didn't get into the game to grab a slice of the pie? Those are some of the biggest companies in the world. Not to mention Nike who isn't sponsoring the competition, but might as well for how often they'll show up there.
The American audience for the World Cup has increased in past years, but rarely approaches the viewership for red-white-and-blue sporting events. This year’s (admittedly excellent) Super Bowl attracted over 100 million couch potatoes. The mind-blowing, head-butting 2006 Italy-France World Cup final lured 17 million American viewers.
The problem being that when you compare finals head to head, yes, the World Cup comes up short. Too bad the tournament isn't... wait... JUST ONE GAME. So let's multiply 17 million viewers times 64 matches, OK? How about we compare one massive tournament in the U.S. to the World Cup and see how they match up? In 2009 the NCAA basketball championship game between North Carolina and Michigan State garnered 17.6 million viewers. Oh wait! That's almost EXACTLY the same as American views of the World Cup... must be that college basketball hasn't arrived yet in the United States. Oh, and another thing, the 2006 World Cup ratings in the U.S. you cited was a 152 PERCENT increase from 2002 whereas the NCAA tourney finals has seen a decrease over the last five years. You want more? The World Cup final regularly outdraws the NBA Finals and World Series in the U.S.
For Americans, soccer is just not a sport you play hooky for. What American boy hasn’t played sick to watch a World Series baseball game a few times in his life? I feigned many a flu to watch Juan Marichal of the San Francisco Giants pitch against Sandy Koufax of the Los Angeles Dodgers, back when dinosaurs roamed the earth. But I can confidently predict that classrooms will be full, and workplace absenteeism will be at normal levels, when the United States plays its first round matches in South Africa this June.
Soccer is a sport you play hooky for. During the 2002 World Cup in Korea/Japan I faked having to take my little sister to basketball camp every morning so I could show up late to work. I've taken over a week of vacation from my job to travel to both Washington DC to see USA versus Costa Rica on a Wednesday and USA against Honduras in Los Angeles. Those are stories that were repeated by almost every other soccer fan I met there. Those committed to even water polo skip work to watch their sports. Be surprised... watch the work place numbers this year.
Why? For one thing, America has yet to develop a soccer culture. It’s the most popular youth sport in the country — there is lots of “sharing” — but in most surveys, professional soccer ranks 10th or lower in fan interest, after stock car racing and several college sports.
According to this recent Harris poll there is no foundation (other than the author's mind) that soccer falls outside the top ten for fan interest in the sport. In fact, soccer ranks in the top ten while numerous other sports have seen dramatic drops in popularity (i.e. baseball, men's tennis, etc). And what the fuck is that random aside about "there is lots of sharing"? What do you mean by that? What place does that have in this professional journalism writing? Are you against sharing? Is that some frat boy inside joke about soccer?
To indulge some gross stereotypes, white Dads play catch with their sons in their backyards. Black kids play basketball. Hispanic-American kids may play soccer, but there are only one or two of them on the 20-man American roster.
Great now you're engaging in stereotypes to justify your argument. I'm sure that's going to go over real well. Another factual error here as well. The US roster contains 23... TWENTY THREE players. And among those 23 players include such notable Hispanic Americans (which by the way IS NOT the proper way to call Latinos... "Hispanic" implies they are from the island Hispaniola (Haiti and the Dominican Republic) and not from Latin America. I digress... Carlos Bocanegra, Jose Fransisco Torres, Edgar Castillo, Alejandro Bedoya, Jonathan Borenstein (Jewish-Mexican), and Nick Rimando to name a few recent USMNTers. So that's more than "one or two". Again, good research.
For another thing, U.S. soccer just isn’t cool. It’s no accident that the only TV ad I remember from the last World Cup featured the Brazilian soccer team horsing around in the locker room, bouncing a soccer ball off of every conceivable appendage while grooving to samba music.
Did you see what our boys did to the "cool" Brazilians in the Confederations Cup last summer? Black is the new white. USA is the new Brazil.



Where do they get those names, anyway? Dida, Cafu, Kaká, Fred. By comparison, the current U.S. team roster reads like the letterhead of a white-shoe law firm: Evans, Goodson, Findley & Marshall.
Where do I start here? Evans... not on the team. Goodson... maybe. Findley... not if Charlie Davies is back. Marshall... nope. Oh, how about "law-firm" names Onyewu, Bocanegra, Cherundolo, Hejduk, Bedoya, Klejstan, Torres, Edu, and Adu.
Who are you going to fall in love with? Nice white boys from California and the mid-Atlantic states, suburbs, or the funky futbolistas of the favelas?
Sigh. Exhibit A: Clint Dempsey. Grew up rural poor in Nacgodoches, Texas. Had to drop out of soccer so his sister (who died by the way) could play travel tennis. The rest of his team raised money so he could still play with them. How about Freddy Adu (if he ever gets another look), who's single mother immigrated from the Ghana so he and his brother could play soccer in the U.S.? Or maybe Jay DeMerit from Green Bay, Wisconsin who paid his way to a tryout out with a non-league side in England and then was picked up and is now the captain of Watford, a big English club. I'll fall in love with my Yanks.
And it’s not just the Brazilians. The current English national team is a hotbed of wife-and-girlfriend swapping intrigue. I haven’t seen an American footballer on the front page of the New York Post, well, ever.
Maybe you missed it, but the same thing happened over here. The news broke at the same time, but you were probably too busy being entranced by the "sexy" English scandal. John Harkes, back in 1998 slept with fellow USMNTer Eric Wynalda's wife. Harkes was then dropped from the 1998 squad. This was all just revealed, but if there were any mainstream journos following soccer back them you could have easily uncovered it and added to the "intrigue" back then.
Big-time soccer cued up its shot in the U.S. and missed. Football god David Beckham was supposed to save the American game when he joined the Los Angeles Galaxy in 2007, but he never broke through, on the field or in the popular imagination. Not only was he bedeviled by injuries, but his greatest skill — serving parabolic passes from the outside midfield — is one that scoring-obsessed Americans could never appreciate. His wife Victoria’s frenzied attempt to become a celebrity in a town that already had celebrities, thank you, likewise gained little traction.
The only people that said that Beckham was going to "save" American soccer were the people that hoped that soccer in this country dies. It’s a set-up argument. If I said, "the New England Patriots MUST not lose a game this season and win the Super Bowl otherwise football is dead" and then they don't do it... I win. I certainly don't remember anyone in any position of authority, not commissioner Don Garber, the president of the Galaxy, or Beckham himself saying he was here to "save" American soccer. Soccer in America DOES NOT NEED SAVING. It is strong, stable, and growing in this country. Only from pretentious fucks like you maybe who keep looking for the silver bullet to slay the sport here.
The Beautiful People assembled to tout the opening of the David Beckham Soccer Academy in Los Angeles in 2005. When it closed a few months ago, a brief press release did the job.
So what? His flashy, exclusive soccer camp closed. Too bad you mentioned earlier in the article that soccer is the largest youth sport in the nation so I think soccer for kids will be just fine.
Hope springs eternal at ESPN, the network that will broadcast the games to most Americans. On the one hand, ESPN’s vice president of programming Scott Guglielmino allows that if, by some miracle, the American team plays deep into the month-long tournament, that could produce a possible ratings bonanza.
But no matter what, this summer's World Cup WILL BE a "ratings bonanza" because viewership is up across the board for soccer. Face it.... ESPN is doubling down on soccer in the country. They are investing in the English Premier League, Major League Soccer, and even rolling out 3D TV for this summer's Cup. The Worldwide Leader in Sports intends to make soccer in this country.
Just in case, he says the network will be rolling out some “team predictor” Web software that will match fans up to teams whose style of play they might enjoy. “It’s O.K. to root for more than one team,” he says. “We want the non-core fan to buy in and connect with the World Cup.”
That sounds like ... a dating service.
Great another good ol’ boy joke at the expense of soccer. Good one. You got us there.

FUCK YOU. We will win.


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"Clint Dempsey... this is the stuff dreams are made of!"

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Posted with no explanation needed.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Happy Saint Patrick's Day

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We highly recommend NOT wearing your Thierry Henry France jersey today.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Who We're Buying a Beer For...

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Poor David Beckham. He worked so hard to get back into Fabio Capello's England side. He abandoned his Major League Soccer side, twice, to join European club AC Milan to prove he could still play at the international level. Here’s a consolation beer for you. While most of the American Soccer public loathes Mr. Posh Spice for bailing on the LA Galaxy twice now. However, his drive and determination for his singular goal of making it to the pinnacle of his sport for a fourth time (which I don’t believe many others have done) has to be admired. For his chance at the 2010 World Cup to be taken from him by a freak injury in the dying minutes of a league game makes even the most cynical of us feel some empathy towards him.

Let’s raise a glass in hopes that your ownership stint isn’t as lackluster and Three Lions driven as your MLS playing career. Feel free to take the beer along with you to South Africa as Coach Capello has offered you a seat on the plane.

Side Note: When you Google Image "David Beckham" in the entire first page of images not one of them shows him playing soccer. I think that's very telling....

A consolation beer for MLS and the Los Angeles Galaxy as well. The loss of Beckham was tempered by the return of Landon Donovan, but there's still a huge hole in your 2010 marketing strategy. League rule changes and Galaxy owner's AEG's money brought a right-sided midfielder to your league and your team; however, you mismanaged the marketing of it leading the American public to believe that this would be the second coming of Pele.

The spectacular goals didn’t come, the injuries took away playing time, and his singular devotion to the Three Lions stole one half season from you and this devotion lead to an injury that may have now robbed him of the rest of his career. Hopefully the contract wasn’t guaranteed.

However, the "Beckham experiment" (copyright Grant Wahl) is not an utter failure. Rumor has it that Thierry Henry is on his way to NY after the World Cup, and possibly Raul. Two goal scoring world soccer stars, though they don’t have the same clout outside of the sporting world as Mr. Posh, that could be for MLS what Becks could not. These rumors wouldn’t even be possible if Beckham hadn’t come here first. Here’s a beer for enduring the hardships that have come with the world’s biggest soccer star being a part of your fold.

Lastly we're stopping by the headquarters of the Turkish Football Federation next time we're in their neighborhood and dropping a case off for them. Why buy a beer for our May 29th World Cup warm up opponents? Let's just say that they have an inflated sense of how big soccer is in the United States. At least that was the original thought through a series of Internet rumors.

Confused? Us, too.

Last week the US soccer Internet-blogo-sphere world was all atwitter about rumors that Turkey was cancelling its match against the USMNT because of a recent resolution from the U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee condemning the European nation's actions against the Armenian people back around the time of World War I. Additionally, Turkey also re-called its ambassador to the U.S.; the ultimate diplomatic bitch-slap. Most historians agree that the Turkish government committed acts of genocide against the Armenians.

The FBM likes to stay out of international squabbles and accusations of "who killed who", but what it does find incredibly fascinating is the perceived impact that the cancelling of a friendly soccer game in the U.S. would have on relations between Turkey and our nation.

Did Turkey really think that pulling out of a soccer match would generate outrage among the larger American public? Maybe they thought that, President Barack Obama, a confessed West Ham, World Cup bid supporter, and soccer fan, would throw his weight around on the issue? Maybe Turkey thought the Congressional Soccer Caucus would stage a walk-out on the House floor during the vote?

While the rumors ended up being false we do appreciate that Turkey took the time to at least drop the hint that they thought American soccer was influential enough to make some waves in the diplomatic community. While the whole situation is mildly humorous (with the exception of the whole genocide-against-a-people-thing) we'd hate to make light of the growing influence of soccer on America.

We're sure that if Turkey was dealing with another nation on this issue this would have been a much stronger hand to play. Despite that it certainly was nice of them to think of us soccer fans in this whole "we didn't killing millions of Armenians back in the day" dust up last week.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Viernes (Friday) Video: "United We Strike"

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"THAT IZ OFF THE MOTHERFUC%EN HOOK DOG, THAT IS DOPE IM FEELING THAT SHIT, it sounds good USA GET SOMEEEEEEEEEE !!!!!!"

- aztecwarrior011789, You Tube commenter

And really what else can we say about this off-the-cuff bit of creativity about the U.S. Men's National Team from "Incredible Stan".

Not since Clint "Duece" Dempsey dropped his "Don't Tread" beats (with the great line "Thanks to soccer I'm on more ice than a hockey skate".) in 2006 has the American game gotten as much hip hop exposure as this.

Any rap that drops a line "get well" line to Charlie Davies is alright in my book.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Found Free Beer Movement - Austin, Texas

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What better way to spread the Free Beer Movement then my very own soccer team in Austin, Texas? Every Tuesday night you'll find Mr. FBM between the sticks for FC Arriba in the Super Social Co-Ed League for Austin Sport and Social Club; sponsored by who else.... Miller.

I snagged a 12-pack of the cheap stuff, Miller Lite, and dragged a cooler out to the field. Despite a stern talking-to from the field official about not having the beer in cups (apparently it's OK to drink there... just not from cans... go figure) we enjoyed a cold one after a thrilling 0-0 scoreline.

Beers were consumed and teammates were hipped to the FBM taking off in their own backyard!

Great success!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Free Beer Stories: Jesse from Paraguay

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Editor's Note: Today marks the publication of our first "Free Beer Story" from outside the United States. Normally we get stories and pictures from Americans promoting American soccer, but in this case we have an American using Paraguayan soccer to get Americans interested in the sport. And free beer, of course! This week's story comes from Jesse, a sports-fanatic-but-not-soccer-fan-turned-soccer-fanatic-turned-free-beer-mover, who we featured in an interview a few months back.

Got your own "free beer story"? Send us it at freebeermovement @ gmail (dot) com and get a FREE Free Beer Movement sticker!

Some of the teachers here in Paraguay are big fans of one of the local soccer teams called Guarani and regularly attend games. Their excursions usually involve large amounts of beer being consumed prior to the games so I figured that this would be a perfect fit with the ideals of the Free Beer Movement.

We gathered two other teachers and another friend who had not been to a game yet together at the house of one of the fans before the game for the free beer part of the evening. We imbibed some imported Nut Brown Ales, Red Ales, and Golden Ales from Argentina to wash down a nice asado consisting of a large chunk of beef and some spicy chorizo. Having just discovered that these beers were imported they went over especially well as a change of pace from the national beers which all taste suspiciously like Budweiser.

Full of beer and meat we hopped in cabs and made our way to the stadium for the game between Guarani and the defending champions Nacional. Unfortunately for the superfans, Guarani came up on the short end of a 1 - 0 final despite dominating most of the game and having multiple good scoring chances.


Even with the loss, the new recruits had a good time watching the game, listening to and observing the "hinchatas" (crazy supporters groups that some might call gangs), and drinking beer. It was an overall successful night as evidenced by a quote from one of the recruits, "I think I just associate soccer games with being drunk at this point. This is fun, why don't we do it more often?"

Got your own "free beer story"? Send us it at freebeermovement @ gmail (dot) com and get a FREE Free Beer Movement sticker!

Monday, March 8, 2010

Who We're Buying a Beer For...

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Who are WE buying a beer for this week you ask? Who are YOU buying a beer for this week? Oh, right... we're the one's who started this whole "beer buying" thingy. I guess you're under no obligation to purchase and beer... Our bad.....

On to the list!

The Beaverton, Oregon sports behemoth Nike recently launched its line of 2010 National Team World Cup jerseys, including those of the U.S. National Team. We're not here to debate the look of the brand new kits (beauty pageant, anyone?) we're here to praise the Swoosh branders for their environmentalism.

According to an article from Fast Company:

Nike's bottles-to-T-shirts operation is fairly straightforward. Recycled polyester comes from a Taiwanese supplier that cuts up, melts, and spins plastic bottles into a yarn for the shirts. Each shirt will consist of 100% recycled polyester and approximately eight plastic bottles. The shirts are slightly more expensive to produce than standard jerseys, but Nike claims that the costs ultimately even out because less material is needed for production. And on the outside, players and fans won't be able to tell the difference between the bottle-filled jerseys and the regular polyester shirts worn by non-Nike teams.

Environmentally savvy soccer lovers will also have the chance to check out Nike's shirts--the brand is using 13 million plastic bottles to produce jerseys for fans. All in all, Nike's initiative will stop 254,000 kg of polyester waste from being dumped in landfills.

Sure Nike has used child and sweatshop labor in the past, but let bygones be bygones! They're on the "green" bandwagon now! Seriously, though, this is a great move for Nike. Even if "caring about the slow destruction of our planet" is "IN" right now are you all glad that global sportswear companies are getting behind it? (Aside: Nike even dropped out of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, who are active global warming deniers... take that!)

Additionally, Nike says that the jersey push will prevent some 13 million plastic bottles from ending up in landfills. So that's step one. Step two is taking care of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch!

When you're watching U.S. versus England on June 12th just remember the team scoring all the goals is also saving the Earth.

Speaking of the Nats, the Yanks might have an unlikely ally in Sir Alex Ferguson. According to a report in the Times of London the Manchester United manager has been in close contact with Coach Sweatpants (have you ever seen him not in them?) about the English contingent on his team along with several other Premier League managers.

Coach Bobbo had this to say about his foreign manager spies:

“I have been in Europe a lot lately and I’ve had the chance to catch up with different people,” he said. “I appreciated those opportunities, whether it was watching training sometimes or communicating about our players.

“Occasionally, there are some managers in England who subtly let me know they will be rooting for us that day. You can guess that they were not actually born in England. That’s all part of it, I guess.”

The gum-chewing (obsessively almost) Scotsman gets big points for siding against the fish-and-chip face stuffing English and giving some help to Coach Bradley.

Fereguson, who is known as a connoisseur of fine wines, will get a bottle of whatever he wants if we beat England on June 12th.

One part of the U.S. Soccer world that doesn't need any help winning is the U.S Women's National Team, which took home its seventh Algarve Cup this past week, defeating Germany 3-2 in Portugal.

Carli Lloyd’s goal in the 18th minute was followed by a powerful header from Abby Wambach four minutes later, staking the U.S. to a 2-0 lead. German forward Inka Grings pulled a goal back five minutes before halftime, but a goalkeeper mistake from Germany’s Nadine Angerer allowed Lauren Cheney to make it 3-1 in the 69th. Grings finished her brace with a goal in 74th minute to make the end of the game tension-filled, but some tremendous ball-winning in the back by central defenders Amy LePeilbet and Rachel Buehler helped the U.S. hold on to the victory.
Check out the highlights:





Over the years we've becoming HUGE fans of the USWNT and women's professional soccer. It might come from Mr. FBM's high school days as equipment manager/waterboy/goalkeeper coach of the Sun Prairie (Wisconsin) Lady Cardinals soccer team. It might come from his younger sister's storied soccer career. It might come from the striptease that was Brandi Chastain's celebration in the 1999 Women's World Cup Final. Who knows?

The point being we love all forms of the American beautiful game and our proud of our women's national side for their absolute domination of the sport. A few years back we worried about how the team would replace such household names as Mia Hamm, Brianna Scurry, Michelle Akers, and Julie Foudy, but we now have a new generation of American women taking center stage in Abby Wambach, Hope Solo, Shannon Boxx, and Heather Mitts (oh... Heather Mitts!).

Of all the people we've bought beers so far this is the group we'd most like to actually follow through with!

Friday, March 5, 2010

Viernes (Friday) Video: 723 Football Films

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Out of seemingly no where came the production group, 723 Football Films as they've loaded YouTube up with a series of fantastic U.S. Men's National Team videos.

One of their first productions was "The Speech"




Alongside that fire-in-the-pants-of-an-American-soccer-fan comes a series of "goalographies" of Nationa lTeam players.

Landon Donovan:



Clint Dempsey:



And "feature" videos of Jozy Altidore and Brian McBride:





There are several more "goalographies" on 723 Football Films YouTube Channel including Brian Ching, Eddie Johnson, Carlos Bocanegra and DaMarcus Beasley's tallies for the Yanks.

Looking forward to all the great videos these guys will put together before June.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Found Free Beer Movement - Baltimore, Again!

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The boys from the American Outlaws chapter Baltimore Brigade have done it again! Here's their promotional flyer last week's USA vs. El Salvador American Outlaws watch party. Can you find us?

Hint: the Baltimore-centric FBM logo across the bottom!

Where's your Free Beer Movement?

Send us your stories and pictures of soccer and beer (especially those of your efforts with "soccer newbies") around the nation and we'll feature them on the site. E-mail us at freebeermovement @ gmail (dot) com.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

"America! Fuck Yeah!" USA - Netherlands Game Day Edition

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Obligatory image of crushed orange. We're looking at you, Holland!

Skip work. Take a long lunch. Call in sick. Quit.

Do something to get out of whatever it is that you normally do and watch today's U.S. National Team game against the "Total Football" Orange Machine Holland. As an American soccer fan these are the games that we're supposed to get for. They define our fandom.

A meaningless international friendly? Not one featuring most of the members of both national squads South Africa-bound World Cup squads. The United States playing in Europe against one of the top five teams in THE ENTIRE WORLD? Sign us up!

A reason to have a few (or more) cold ones on a Wednesday afternoon? Say no more.

As an American soccer fan you have a patriotic duty to report to a bar filled with like-minded fans. Feeling like serving the call of duty further? Grab a few soccer newbies, too. A fellow burnt out co-worker, you worthless roommate that doesn't usually leave the couch in between class, the cat that just sits on the window sill. We don't care. These games are signature American soccer and Free Beer Movement days.

Days where we get to show off our American soccer pride with... um.... pride!

It's game day here at the Free Beer Movement, which means we wish our boys good luck and send all of our lovely readers elsewhere in the soccer Inter-web-blog-o-sphere.

Why?

Cause we don't do news. We do drinking and America loving and we do it during soccer... no sense and pretending we're going to have any professional insight to hand out here.

If you're looking for quality coverage of today's massive match up between the United States and the Netherlands check out these links:

- The Shin Guardian's "Preview" and "Oranje Slices: Game Day Post"

- That's On Point's "Netherlanding Story"


And since we couldn't decide on which orange-related image to include in this post we're doubling up and dropping this one, too.


Get it? Orange Crush! We're creative!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

The FBM 6-Pack Interview Series: "Superfan" Erin

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There are few people who completely embody the ideals of the Free Beer Movement more than our interview subject this week. We're chatting with Erin D. aka "SuperFan". Her USMNT fandom has been featured on "The Original Winger" and the US World Cup Bid site. If you follow her exploits on Twitter you'd also know that she's one of the biggest proponents of "BEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEER" in the world.

This summer she's traveling to South Africa to follow the US National Team and to do so she's selling... what else? Beer koozies to help support her cause. If you're short any preservers-of-beer-coldness we highly recommend these.
You can also follow her journey on her blog as well.

Erin was kind enough to share her story of soccer and beer and more beer. And just because a sixer isn't usually enough for Erin this "FBM 6-Pack" actually has a ninja beer attached to it; a bonus seven-pack! Read on.

1) You're often referred to a "SuperFan". Where did the nickname come from and how did you earn it? How do you plan on retaining such an honor?

It started after the USA vs Costa Rica game in Washington DC. The Original Winger did a write up and after it was posted it was linked to by the Go USA Bid for World Cup 2018/2022. When the did the brief write up/recap and linked to the original story, they titled it "MNT Superfan has her day in the sun (and rain)". My friends saw it...started calling me Superfan and it spread and ended up sticking. I went ahead and embraced it. There are worse things people could call me! . As far as retaining the nickname? I am just going to keep doing what I am doing...which is being passionate about the sport and my teams. There are plenty of other Superfans out there doing what I am and more. The more Superfans the better.

2) You also happen to enjoy beer a lot. What is it about beer and soccer that go so well together? What's your poison?

The camaraderie that comes with hanging around at a tailgate before a game and then marching into the stadium and giving it your all for 90 minutes...there is nothing like it. At the tailgates you get people from all walks of life. All nationalities and socio-economic groups are represented and the majority have two things in common: Beer and The Beautiful Game.

I can invite non soccer friends to a game and they are mildly interested....when they find out that soccer fans DO tailgate and drink beer before the game they become a lot more interested. I am pretty sure every person I've brought out to a game has enjoyed it immensely. When they get to the tailgate before the game they have this realization that soccer fans aren't that different than other sports fans in our country.

As far as my poison...being in Houston, it is HOT and SWAMPY for most of the MLS season. We also like to start our tailgates plenty early. I usually stick to a light beer. Plenty of people give me crap for that...and that's ok. I can definitely enjoy a good brew. At soccer games...I stick to the cheaper light stuff. I am a teacher after all...and the keg beer usually isn't anything too fancy.

3) You're a female island in a sea of male soccer fans. How do you feel about that? What's different about being a fan as a woman versus a man? What are the advantages? What are the disadvantages? What can American Soccer do to get a larger female fan base?

I love being around all the guys. They guys I hang out with know and respect me and always look out for me. They know I am passionate about the game and will give everything I have during the game. Being a woman and a fan...I'll sometimes meet guys who don't know me and find out I am a soccer fan. They will sometimes assume I know nothing about the game and are surprised when I do. I think an advantage is that I've got that group of guys that looks out for me. A disadvantage, like I said before, is when you go to an away game or the likes and you've got people who don't know you assuming you are there just because your with your husband or boyfriend. The assumption that I would only be there to be with a guy.

4) How many National Team matches have you attended? What are some of your favorite USMNT moments?

Let's see. My first USMNT game was last year in Chicago against Honduras. I had watched plenty of matches before but only last year REALLY started traveling for both club and country matches. From the moment everyone met up at the pregame bar before heading to the stadium, I was hooked. The atmosphere and passion was electric....and I felt at home. It was at that game that I KNEW I needed to go to World Cup. After that I went to the El Salvador game in Salt Lake City, Costa Rica in Washington DC and the last one I attended was the Honduras game in LA.

My favorite moments from games I attended would have to mostly come from the DC game vs Costa Rica. The emotions surrounding the game where just incredible. The energy and passion during the game. The stands at RFK just rocking for 90 minutes...and the last minute goal were just incredible feelings. Then after the game when all the players came around....it was all just a surreal experience. Another great moment would have to be watching the game a few days earlier vs Honduras. It was a closed circuit feed with only one US friendly bar in Houston showing it. The feed was horrible and you couldn't tell what was going on. But the passion in that place was just amazing. I was so happy to see that many people pack into a place...under the assumption of paying $20 just to watch the game (they ended up not charging cause of the poor feed). It was just amazing.

5) You're also a huge Houston Dynamo fan and a member of the Texian Army. Tell us why the Dynamo are the best team in Major League Soccer?

I respect our players and organization so much. Starting with the front office. They are always around and approachable. I've walked up to Oliver Luck at a few games to ask stadium and other questions and he is always open to answering them and talking to the fans. From the COO and Vice Presidents on down to the ticket reps. I have had nothing but great experiences.

As far as the players, not only do I enjoy watching them on the field...but what they do for the community day in and day out is just amazing. There are always players at Texas Children's Hospital talking and visiting with the kids. They are out there just being upstanding citizens in the community...but ones who are also approachable and love hanging out with their fans. They respect and care for their fans as well. I imagine that it is this way in many MLS cities as well and that every fan believes THEIR team is the best. That's great...the more players and fans around the league that are getting the word out about this great sport the better. The Dynamo and their players have a special place in my heart.


6) You're travelling to South Africa for the World Cup. How big of a trip is this for you? What games do you have tickets for? What are your hopes for the USMNT there?

This is a huge trip for me. The farthest I've been from Texas is Canada and Mexico. So for me to be going to South Africa is pretty big. I don't know if it will really hit me that I am going until I board that plane.

I have tickets to the three US group games. I also have tickets to the Netherlands vs. Denmark game and Brazil vs. Cote D'Ivoire. I am very excited. I would love to see the US win the whole thing. Do I think that has a high chance of happening...probably not. But why not dream big? Like I tell my students...you've got to set high goals. Settling for mediocrity just isn't good enough. Can I get cheesy here? What is the saying...Shoot for the moon and you'll always land among the stars? I say if you are going to the World Cup...your goal HAS to be winning it. Otherwise, why bother going?

7) You've begun raising money for your trip by selling koozies. Tell us some more about that campaign.

I am a single teacher with a mortgage (and a house that flooded last year and was unlivable for 6 months! Whole 'nother story). This is an expensive trip. I knew others were doing things to help raise funds for their trips so I started thinking. I thought about a shirt...but that could get expensive to produce and ship and you have to deal with sizes, etc. Then I thought about what would represent ME and knew I had to do a koozie.

I don't think they are as big in other parts of the US...but in Texas everyone has koozies for their beer/soda/water drinking. I guess when it is hot outside we are trying to keep our beers colder for a little longer. So, I had a friend help me with the design and got them printed up. I think that a koozie is something that any USA supporting person can use even if you aren't a big soccer fan. People get very patriotic when it is our country being represented...so I'd like to see a lot of people with USA koozies in their hands this summer! People can order them on my blog. I also plan on updating the blog while in South Africa. That was my main reason for starting it...so people can get a fans view of the World Cup by checking out the blog in June.

To order koozies you can go to: http://tinyurl.com/usakoozie

Monday, March 1, 2010

Who We're Buying a Beer For...

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While the American soccer frets over the potential work stoppage that may destroying our nation's domestic game we're drowning our sorrows in beer. Luckily we've got a few bright spots in an otherwise dreary week for the sport in the U.S.

Enter Maurice Edu. The U.S. National Team midfielder recently returned to action after months on the sidelines with a knee injury, for his club, Scottish powerhouse Rangers FC, and this weekend played in one of soccer's greatest rivalries.

I'll let my esteemed journalist colleague (ha! look we're journalists now!) Mr. Grant Wahl explain why Celtic FC versus Rangers is one of the best sporting spectacles in the world.

From Grant Wahl's classic 1999 piece on former USMNT Claudia Reyna's participation in the Old Firm:

"Celtic-Rangers, the world's most bitter club rivalry. While soccer may have other hallowed matches—Barcelona-Real Madrid, Boca Juniors-River Plate in Buenos Aires, Roma-Lazio in Rome, Flamengo-Fluminense in Rio—none come close to matching Celtic-Rangers for a purity of hatred that involves politics, class and, above all, religion. In fin de siècle European sports there is no greater symbol of sectarian strife. Stabbings and bar fights in Glasgow, a city of 688,500, are regularly investigated for Celtic-Rangers links. And this year, as has often been the case, a Scottish championship was on the line. "There's nothing like it," says the 25-year-old Reyna. "All you can tell people is that you have to come here to believe it."

Believe this, if you can: 59,918 wild-eyed fans—neighbors, even—divided into two religious camps by a human wall of police. Two hours of eardrum-shattering noise, including chants about Catholic scum from one side and Irish Republican Army songs from the other. Hundreds of Union Jacks and Irish tricolors fanning the flames of nationalist bitterness. A referee beaned by a coin, his head spouting blood.

Imagine trying to play soccer amid all this, trying to clinch a title in front of a stadium full of people, most of whom hate you from the bottom of their souls. Only then will you have an idea of why Reyna sat slack-jawed at breakfast the next morning. "Sometimes you don't experience all those things in your entire career," he said. "They happened to me in the same game"

Welcome to the holy war universally known as the Old Firm, which has pitted Celtic's Irish Catholic faithful against Rangers' Protestant supporters for 111 years. A social organization founded in 1888 to aid Glasgow's poor Catholic immigrants, Celtic and its successful soccer team have aroused the undying resentment of the Protestant establishment, symbolized by blue-clad Rangers. It's why Rangers forward Paul Gascoigne famously celebrated a goal against Celtic by mimicking a flute player to commemorate William of Orange's victory over the Catholics at the Battle of the Boyne in 1690. And it's why Celtic players take special pride in crossing themselves when they score against Rangers. "It's the last bastion of the sins of our fathers," says Ian McGarry, a soccer writer for the Scottish Daily Mail. "In the past the division represented itself in the workplace and in everyday society, but now the only place where it's still acceptable is a sporting occasion."


So one can imagine that when these teams get together it's going to be a wee bit important to both sides.

And, as a causal fan of the match up, but a huge fan of our boys "over there" the game becomes EPIC when Edu, the former Major League Soccer Rookie of the Year, scores the game winning goal, deep into stoppage time.

Here's the clip. A scramble in front of goal and Edu stabs it home. Just watching the unbridled celebrations by players and fans alike speaks volumes to what an important win it was for Rangers.



Just another American abroad making a name for himself in some of the best leagues in the world. These high-profile contributions not only push American soccer players into the sport's consciousness, but hopefully will begin to push into the greater general consciousness of the American public.

American soccer lacks the marketable face and personalities that other sports have. Think (before his fall from grace) Tiger Woods or LeBron James. We're not suggesting it's Maurice Edu (!), but just commenting on the fact that American soccer needs a face. Maybe we have it in Landon Donovan, but for whatever reason, people aren't buying it. But maybe it's not even the face that is the problem. Maybe it is still the sport itself in this country.

It's the classic "chicken vs. egg" conundrum for American soccer. What comes first? The profile of the sport creating marketable and recognizable players or certain individuals raising the profile of the sport. We've certainly seen one side of the equation in David Beckham (and to a lesser extent Donovan) try and fail.

Speaking of David Beckham our next beer goes to the author of a book about the man and his ups and downs with the Los Angeles Galaxy, Mr. Grant Wahl. This is old news to the soccer world, but Wahl got a promotion from his employer, Sports Illustrated, a few weeks ago. He is now the magazine's full-time soccer beat writer. He previously split his time between soccer and college basketball.

We've lamented the coverage of soccer in the media world before and particularly Sports Illustrated (the print edition), but SI's commitment to soccer gets a HUGE boost with this announcement. Just as ESPN has ramped up its soccer coverage it looks as though the nation's preeminent sports journalism magazine has countered as well. The rag will also launch its first-ever World Cup preview issue before the tournament (duh!) and sending writers Joe Posnanski and Peter King along and a few others with Wahl to South Africa. Some see the addition of Posnanski and King, who are not soccer writers BTW, as an insult to the sport and soccer fans in America.

We're torn here, but really its a step in the right direction. I think the real point to be made is right now, in this country, the major media outlets do not have quality soccer reporting talent. There are tons of great writers and commentators on the sport in this country, but none of them are employed by the places with the money to send them to South Africa this summer. Print media is dying and the old guard of sport journalism is usually disrespectful, if not downright hostile to soccer. So SI sends two seasoned writers who don't completely hate soccer to join their soccer guy for the summer.

Grant Wahl's appointment to full-time soccer writer at Sports Illustrated is beer-worthy in that it's one more step forward in the fight for the sport's relevance in the United States.

The journey may be long, slow, and often painful, but the cause is good and just.