Monday, February 28, 2011

Better Know A Supporters Group - The KC Cauldron

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Welcome to the second piece in a new feature on the Free Beer Movement site to expand our coverage of American soccer culture. It's called "Better Know a Supporters Group" just like Steven Colbert's "Better Know a District" from "The Colbert Report". 


Our goal: to feature each of the Major League Soccer teams' supporters groups. We've sent e-mails to each and every SG in Major League Soccer and soon you'll be able to check all what each is all about and what awesomeness they have to contribute to our growing American soccer world.

When we devised this idea a while back it was cool to be able to see what each supporter group is about, but in light of the terrible, one-sided, anti-American, condescending profile of Philadelphia's Sons of Ben SG by the British GQ (not even going to link to it to give them the site hits) we think its all the more important to give supporters groups in Major League Soccer the proper exposure and voice they deserve.


Today it's the Cauldron, supporters of an inaugural member of MLS, Sporting KC (formerly Kansas City Wizards). Check out their campaign to bring the Gold Cup to KC. Epic!

As told to the Free Beer Movement by KC "hype man" Sean Dane.


The Basics

MLS Club: Sporting Kansas City

Stadium: Sporting Park (no sponsor announced)

Year  SG Founded: 1996

Section Name (if other than SG name): The Cauldron aka Members Stand aka The Blue Hell

Any other SGs apart of your section?

Hillcrest Syndicate, La Barra KC, Southern Voodoo, King City Yardbirds, K.C. Futbol Misfits

Location of SG in Stadium (section #, side, direction):

East End Line, South Sideline, and through the Cauldron Emeritus, branching out into other sections (Section 128, just above the sideline Cauldron section)

The Meaty Questions

What are the origins of your groups’ name?

The section now known as The Cauldron got its start as a group called The Mystics. The Cauldron name came about when group leadership and the club itself wanted to expand the club, and elected to give the section a name, with individual groups inside.

Hillcrest Syndicate - Taken from Hillcrest Road, the street on which our prior stadium location would have had its address. A reminder that you never know what the future will hold.

La Barra KC - The name is pretty straightforward. So are the guys that make it up. You think you got love for the game? If you can keep up with these guys, you might be right.

Southern Voodoo - Based out of southern Missouri, the name came naturally. They drive for hours to come to every game. Yes they’re that hardcore.

King City Yardbirds - They just like “King City” for “KC”, but “Yardbirds” is triple-headed. The founders of the group are all into music, and “Yardbird” was the nickname of KC jazz legend Charlie Parker, as well as the name of the legendary and influential British group of the 60s. “Yardbird” is defined as “a soldier assigned to a menial task or restricted to a limited area as a disciplinary measure,” which they feel sums up their role in KC fandom perfectly.

K.C. Futbol Misfits - Taken from the iconic punk band, their name describes its members nicely. This raucous group likes to have a good time & has been known to push the envelope. Energetic, vocal & a never say die attitude is what they are all about.

Favorite chants/songs?

We brought "Wings of a Sparrow" to these shores. True story, it’s one of our ‘96ers fault.

"Wiz on the Fire". Yeah it’s simple, but sums us up pretty damn well.

Why is sitting in the supporters section the “best seat in the house”?

First, if the setup for the Cauldron was described as beer, we’d be a 55% ABR encased in fur. In order to get to your “seats”, supporters in the Cauldron will enter through their own 8,000 square foot pub, with German-inspired beer hall tables. This will be Mecca for soccer fans throughout the Midwest - if soccer is on, it will be shown there. Pre- and post-game will be live every week. The Members Stand occupies the ever-familiar goal line, but will also wrap around the sideline all the way to what would be the 30 yard line or so on a NFL field, down front. A fully enclosed 4-stand park, the roof extends onto the pitch, and seats come all the way to field level. Basically if you have soccer stadium wet dreams, this is your place. Hotels, restaurants, bars, and shopping are next door.

Brag. What makes your SG one of the best supporters groups in MLS?

It’s only a hard question because I imagine you have a space limit. We have perfected the melting pot or cauldron if you will. Other teams might claim this but we live it. English speakers and Spanish speakers are united on the capo stand together. Per capita, we bring it as hard or harder for 90 minutes than any group in the league. Drums, flags, smoke, banners, the rest. The AOKC beer pong team is one of the best in the nation. One club, united in blue.

When Lamar Hunt was looking to build the “New Arrowhead”, he realized he couldn't ask for funding for 2 stadiums at once and put the team up for sale. The Wizards were facing relocation - fans from the Cauldron helped start a foundation that would lobby support and help in the search for investors. Thankfully, a brave group of Kansas Citians saw that what we had built here was special, and could be so much more. Now supported by our local ownership group, Sporting Club, and approaching 9,000 total season ticket holders already for 2011, our future has never been brighter. Kansas City is one of the fastest up-and-coming markets in MLS.

The Cauldron also has deep ties with the first American Outlaws chapter, founded in Kansas City, and @aokcdoesnotstop’s love and support for the national team is some of the best in the country. For example - this and this.

If anyone in the USSF reads this, please bring our team home to the Heart of America this summer for the Gold Cup. It’s gonna be a show.

Greatest game(s) in team history?

Most outsiders would assume the MLS Cup 2000 final, but anyone who was there at the time would agree that it was the Western Conference Final in 2000. Igor Simuntenkov scores in golden goal extra time to bring Kansas City the Lamar Hunt Open Cup trophy in 2004, as we take down Chicago 1-0.

In CONCACAF, we beat Santos Laguna in the quarters of 2002 (first and only MLS club at this time to win a home-away series with a Mexican side), and should’ve beaten Saprissa in 2005 (the year they won the competition). If we used away goals like most other home-and-home competitions, we would’ve won.

Herculez Gomez puts the Wizards into the playoffs in stoppage time. One of the most dramatic regular season games in MLS history

Another regular season classic in 1996 that was considered one of the 10 greatest games of MLS in 2005 by Frank Dell’Apa - 6-4 Preki, Mo, Digital and crew over, well, the Crew.

Beating Manchester United with 10 men in front of a Cauldron that numbered in the thousands would be on most team’s list, but not ours. It’s a friendly - just another day at the office.

Predictions for this season?

We are going to be super good and stuff - bright young talent, savvy veterans. Yeah there’s a 8-11 game roadtrip to start the season, and Gold Cup callups, but this is our year. Call your bookie and put your house on it.

Why Major League Soccer? Why American soccer?

Because we live here? This is our home and this is our club. Not much further explication required.

World Cup Viewing Party (June 2010)

For more information and/or to join "The Cauldron".

Photo Credits: Thad Bell @ BackPost.Net

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Saturday, February 26, 2011

Going Suds Up: The Best Beers, The Best Soccer

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By Kirsten Schlewitz / Senior West Coast Beer and Aston Villa Correspondent

At this time last year, I was busy forking over about $300 for the pleasure of watching Aston Villa lose to Manchester United at Wembley in the Carling Cup final. This time around, Villa’s most loathsome, most despised, most detested rivals, Birmingham City, are the ones in London hoping to win some silverware – and Villans everywhere will likely be cheering Arsenal in a voice much louder than can typically be heard inside the Emirates for this year's edition of the Carling Cup Final.

Remember less than two weeks ago, when Barcelona played Arsenal in the first leg of their Champions League tie, and everyone was calling the match Arselona, not just for simplicity but because of the similarities between the two sides, with their flowing, attractive football? Yeah, this will be no Arseingham. Birmingham City are a rough, physical side, prone to lashing out and hacking down the opposition if they get nervous. Sometimes even before they get nervous, come to think of it.

Considering the Gunners are well known for winding up on stretchers if someone merely breathes in their direction, this match could see half of them on the sidelines before fifteen minutes have been played – horrible news for a club with four more games in less than two weeks. If there ever was a time for a beer classified as a “Strong Ale,” that time is most certainly Sunday, 10 AM CT (Fox Soccer Channel). I suggest that Arsenal attempt drinking these beers before the match, as perhaps they have some sort of magical properties to actually make them strong. And if not, they’ll be so relaxed that when the Blues slide into them with their signature dirty tackles, the Arsenal players will simply bend, fold, and stretch rather than break.

(Genius, and if it works, I expect to be fairly compensated for this plan).

As for everyone else, drinking 10% beers after the sun’s just barely risen may seem like the height of idiocy. But it’ll help you cope with the likes of Stephen Carr, David Murphy, and Lee Bowyer, I promise. You may think this is just the overheated ramblings of a Villa fan writing at 1AM, but just a few minutes of watching these thugs on the field will have you wanting something strong and tasty. And that’s where Fifty Fifty Brewing Co. "Concentrated Evil" Belgian Strong Ale (Truckee, CA) comes in. Actually, it’s probably highly unlikely you’ll actually find this beer, as it was a limited holiday run, but not only could I not resist the name, but this is one of the best Belgian Strong Ales I’ve ever tasted. Just like a typical Belgian, it has aromas of candy sugar and pepper, but this one also adds dark fruits to the smell. The taste is similar, with a pinch of bourbon thrown in for good measure, which also provides a lovely warming finish.

For a Belgian Strong that you’ll almost certainly find, try picking up Brasserie Caracole "Nostradamus" Strong Dark/Brown Ale (Belgium) . Caracole is my favorite brewery in Belgium, but alas they only distribute four beers outside the country, and Nostradamus is the best of those four. The smell is of tart apples and cherries, but it’s definitely not a sour. The taste is hard to pin down, complex and shifting. It does include a bit of a sour flavor, but also hints of green apple, raisons, and a bit of citrus bitterness to balance the caramel malts.

Alright, I’m off to research Arsenal chants and sayings before heading out to re-stock the beer fridge.

About Kirsten

I may be a law student at Lewis and Clark, but soccer is my true love, with beer coming in a distant second. That's not to say I don't love beer--I've tasted over a thousand different brews, and listed many of them on Ratebeer. Living in Portland, Oregon, I attend quite a few festivals and tastings, and am able to argue passionately about the merits of Cascade hops vs. Chinook. 

As for the soccer, I'm the Managing Editor of SB Nation's Aston Villa site, 7500 to Holte, the Italy Editor for SB Nation Soccer, and cover the Seattle Sounders on SBN Seattle (don't judge--I'm from Seattle!) Finally, I write for Two Footed Tackle when I find words worthy enough for the site. Want more? Follow me on Twitter!

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Friday, February 25, 2011

VIDEO - USWNT In Portugal and Trick-Shot Battle

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Posterized!
The United States Women's National Team has landed in Portugal (a few days ago actually) to begin preparations for the 2011 Algarve Cup which begins on March 2nd. The full USWNT roster is here, but make sure you notice the return of keeper Hope Solo, making her comeback from shoulder surgery that kept her out of the tail end of Women's World Cup qualifying earlier this year (but for training only... Nicole Barnhart is still between the sticks). 

Also, back... leading scorer and resident bad-ass Abby Wambach, who's scored 15, count 'em, 15 Algarve Cup goals.

This will be the Lady Nats 16th trip to the Cup in Portugal and they'll be after their eighth tournament title to follow up their 3-2 win over Germany from last year's championship.

The USWNT Schedule (from Group A):

March 2nd: vs. Japan
March 4th: vs. Norway
March 7th: vs. Finland
March 9th: Championship Game - Group A Winners vs. Group B Winners

Video from their arrival and first training:



Extra Awesome: USWNTers Tobin Heath and Yael Averbuch show off their mad skillz in this awesome "trick shot" battle.



Video Courtesy of: USSoccer.com and the USWNT Blog.

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Thursday, February 24, 2011

NEWS WATCH - Major League Soccer Announces New Playoff Format

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10 playoff teams? Ribbons for everyone!
Major League Soccer announced their new playoff format for the upcoming 2011 season. The league, now with 18 teams playing, will feature ten playoff teams vying for the MLS Cup.

Here's the league's line:
The league’s new structure will include the top three seeds from each conference and four wild card berths – regardless of conference affiliation – but the postseason will now include two play-in games for those wild card teams.
The expanded system now allows for more teams to be included in the postseason chase, driving more interest throughout the league as two additional teams vie for a spot in the MLS Cup Playoffs.
We're all about the American soccer, but having 56% of your league team enter the post-season seems to us like rewarding regular season mediocrity. Certainly that hasn't been the case for the past couple of seasons in MLS.....

If you think of the "wild card" play-in games more like one would for the NCAA basketball tournament then those teams don't really count as "playoff" teams and there's only really eight hats in the ring for the MLS Cup. Granted there's no college basketball play-in teams wining Division I titles, whereas when it comes to the "Fall Classic" for the league, all bets are off.

Being the true optimists that we are about our version of the domestic game we can brag to the rest of the American sports leagues that our "wild cards" are truly wild!

"The MLS Cup Playoffs: Russian Roulette Is More Predictable!"

Here' a helpful video from MLS to explain it all (although if you have to create a video to explain it, then its probably already too complicated):


Get Microsoft Silverlight

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Wednesday, February 23, 2011

USMNT Celebrity Death Match: Dirtiest Disallowed World Cup Goal

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Torsten Frings (2002) Vs. Koman Coulibaly (2010)








Create your free online surveys with SurveyMonkey, the world's leading questionnaire tool.

Check out the whole "USMNT Celebrity Death Match" Archive. Vote for any you missed!


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Tuesday, February 22, 2011

VIDEO - CONCACAF Champions League 360: Real Salt Lake Vs. Columbus Crew

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While much of the world will focus their beady, little eyes on  the European Champions League (and we can't blame them), MLS fans and fans in Mexico, Costa Rica, and Honduras all have horses in CONCACAF's version of the Champions League.

American soccer has a chance to make a big mark on the regional stage. As the quarterfinals kick off this week Major League Soccer has two... count 'em... TWO... teams making an appearance and a run at the tournament title.

Real Salt Lake and Columbus Crew will face each other in the first of two home-and-away matches to see who progresses onto the semi-finals.

Consider it an MLS appetizer as the regular season is LESS THAN ONE MONTH AWAY!

And check out this epic, nearly thirteen minute look into tonight's American soccer throw down produced by MLSSoccer.com

We're above picking sides in this match, but no matter what happens between the two, an AMERICAN team will book their place into the next round and be one step from the tournament final (guaranteed against a Mexican league side as all four clubs from Mexico were drawn into the same side of the bracket.. suckers!).

The match kicks off from Columbus Crew Stadium at 7pm (CT) on Fox Soccer Channel.



Photo Credit: Concacaf.com

Video Credit: MLSSoccer.com


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Going Suds Up: The Best Beers, The Best CHAMPIONS LEAGUE Soccer

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By Kirsten Schlewitz / Senior West Coast Beer and Aston Villa Correspondent

(A note on Kirsten’s thought process: “Beer. Champions League. Beer and Champions League. Beer for Champions. Wheaties Beer?” And then the lovely Commie, who you’ve seen around these parts, suggested wheat beers. Genius!)

First things first: the only way this week’s slate of Champions League games can even come close to approaching last week’s is if Ronaldo fails to score while Lyon beat Real Madrid, Fernando Torres and Didier Drogba get into a fist fight after Freckles finally scores for Chelsea, the Inter Milan bus gets over turned by fans chanting “Rafa! Rafa!” while driving away after a loss to Bayern Munich, and everyone forgets about that other match that was played.

In other words, don’t expect too much out of these ties. That’s where the beer comes in – a distraction in case these matches are so boring that you want to poke your eye out with a sharp implement (remember Inter v Bayern last year? Snooze fest). Now I’m making the assumption that for most people reading this column your Champions League watching comes sometime in the middle of your day or, at least, not past the socially acceptable hour of 5 o’clock. Personally I’m all about kicking it with the booze at 7am, but if you’re headed back to work after a long lunch I can’t recommend anything too strong.

Instead, cozy up with these beers, which will give you a bit of a buzz, but not so much that you’ll need to set up a meeting with HR. And because it’s quite likely that you’re drinking these in a bar I’ve deviated from my usual obscure beer recommendations to give you two likely to be on tap.

Tuesday

Chelsea travel to Copenhagen and Lyon host Real Madrid. You know what’s really close to both Denmark and France? Belgium. While I often can’t stand a German Hefeweizen, I love a good witbier. Witbiers are Belgian wheat beers (duh) but instead of tasting like banana and bubble gum, they’re spiced with coriander and citrus peel. Much, much better. And likely available to you! Hoegaarden Brewery's "Hoegaarden" Belgian White (Belgium) is often seen on tap, particularly at any place hoping to give off a European vibe – and what’s more European than white beer and Jose Mourinho?

Hoegaarden is an excellent example of the witbier style, with a spicy, citrus aroma and tastes of orange and coriander. Sweet-and-sour, so you can choose depending on your feelings toward Fernando Torres.

Wednesday


Most beers in Munich are actually Helles or Dunkles (think of the beers that come out styling themselves as “Oktoberfest”) but since we’ve actually got a German side playing on Wednesday, I’ll go ahead and give you a German Hefe. Well, a German-style Hefe, anyway. Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. "Kellerweis" Hefeweizen (Chico, CA) is one of the best American takes on the German style. It both smells and tastes of cloves and bananas, but nothing so overpowering as to be off-putting. This one has a very creamy palate and it’s only 5%.

Although, to be perfectly honest, if Bayern start losing to Inter Milan I might be grabbing something with a higher ABV. That’s a title that I hope is passed on.

About Kirsten

I may be a law student at Lewis and Clark, but soccer is my true love, with beer coming in a distant second. That's not to say I don't love beer--I've tasted over a thousand different brews, and listed many of them on Ratebeer. Living in Portland, Oregon, I attend quite a few festivals and tastings, and am able to argue passionately about the merits of Cascade hops vs. Chinook. 


As for the soccer, I'm the Managing Editor of SB Nation's Aston Villa site, 7500 to Holte, the Italy Editor for SB Nation Soccer, and cover the Seattle Sounders on SBN Seattle (don't judge--I'm from Seattle!) Finally, I write for Two Footed Tackle when I find words worthy enough for the site. Want more? Follow me on Twitter!

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Monday, February 21, 2011

Better Know A Supporters Group - Timbers Army

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We're starting a new feature on the Free Beer Movement site to expand our coverage of American soccer culture. It's called "Better Know a Supporters Group" just like Steven Colbert's "Better Know a District" from "The Colbert Report".

Our goal: to feature each of the MLS teams' supporters groups. We've sent e-mails to each and every SG in Major League Soccer and soon you'll be able to check all what each is all about and what awesomeness they have to contribute to our growing American soccer world.

When we devised this idea a while back it was cool to be able to see what each supporter group is about, but in light of the terrible, one-sided, anti-American, condescending profile of Philadelphia's Sons of Ben SG by the British GQ (not even going to link to it to give them the site hits) we think its all the more important to give supporters groups in Major League Soccer the proper exposure and voice they deserve.

Today it's the Timbers Army out of Portland, Oregon and the SG of the Portland Timbers, newbies to MLS.

As told to the Free Beer Movement by "107 Independent Supporters Trust" Board Member Garrett Dittfurth.

The Basics

MLS Club: Portland Timbers

Stadium: PGE Park

Year Founded: 2001

Any other SGs apart of your section?

There are several subgroups within the Timbers Army; as a whole generally identified by what section within the TA are they sit. 108 Lazy Eights, Fighting 106th, 105th Howitzers, but all identify as Timbers Army.

Location with PGE Park: Sections 101-108

The Meaty Questions

What are the origins of your name?
The Cascade Rangers were founded in 2001 by two brothers Steven and Jim Lenhart in the run up to the Timbers returning as a professional team to gather in the pub pre-match to sing, chant, and drink. Some Glasgow Celtic supporters who wanted to participate took offense to the name and due to the sectarian connotations the name was changed to Timbers Army shortly thereafter. We still pay tribute to the original name and in our crest you’ll notice the CR underneath the rose, which is homage to the Cascade Rangers.

Favorite chants/songs?

Korobeinik, Bury Me in Timbers Green, Onward Rose City

Why is sitting in the supporters section the “best seat in the house”?


We create the atmosphere. It’s a 90 minute party. You won’t find a greater collection of people committed to their team and their town anywhere else in North America.

Brag. What makes your SG one of the best supporters groups in MLS?

We have a 3,600 seat supporters section that we are expecting to be sold out every match. Arguably we’ll be the biggest supporters section in North America by a long shot. We may be new to MLS but we’re not new to supporting our team as we’ve been doing it for a decade already. We’re bigger, we party better, and we’re going to bring it bigger than anyone in North America has seen when supporting our boys on the pitch.

Greatest game(s) in team history?

There have been so many memorable games it’s hard to pick one. One that has special importance and is still a strong memory is the final home game of last year against Puerto Rico. We have a tradition of singing “You Are My Sunshine” in the 80th minute in honor of our retired mascot Timber Jim’s daughter Hannah Serrill.

The Timbers Army was encouraged to bring sunflowers to the match to give to the team. During the singing of “You Are My Sunshine” in the 83rd minute Ryan Pore headed in a ball to put the Timbers up 1-0. It sent the Army into pandemonium and many into tears of joy.

The goal is now known as “The Sunflower Goal” and was the final goal scored in PGE Park before the remodel started. I’m attaching a video here. While it may not be the greatest win in team history it certainly meant a lot to the supporters.


Predictions for this season?

Squeak into the playoffs and upset a higher seed in the first round.

Why Major League Soccer? Why American soccer?

Most of us follow other leagues. For me I have an EPL team that I support and a club in the Bundesliga. Of course they play better soccer. Neither of those clubs occupy the space in my heart where the Timbers reside. If you can’t support your hometown club you don’t like soccer.

If you scoff at American soccer and don’t care about its growth you ignore MLS. Most Timbers Army members get that idea.

Interested in learning more and/or joining the Timbers Army? Check out their website at: TimbersArmy.Org.

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Tuesday, February 15, 2011

VIDEO - Ten Best Bicycle Kick Goals in MLS History

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Pssssht... so what! Wayne Rooney hits a bicycle kick to win the Manchester derby for United this past weekend. I've seen at least a half dozen just as good as that. "Silly English-types with your K-nnnn-igits! I fart in your general direction. Your mother was a hamster and your father smelt of elderberrys!"

OK... more than a half dozen. How about ten! Count 'em! Ten AMERICAN soccer bicycle kicks for you all to feast upon.



Video Credit: MLSSoccer.com

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Monday, February 14, 2011

Free Beer Match Day Nine: Give Me 473.2 CCs of Beer! Stat!

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Editor's Note: Just in case you didn't get the post title. The game was in Corpus Christi and, CC being a medical term, we calculated how many CCs it would take to fill a pint because, well, we like beer. 473.2 CCs to be exact. And there you have it. Nerd-dom at its finest.

Meet Free Beer Movement Pale Ale 1.0 (Austin, Texas)
The Free Beer Movement took to the road this past weekend to watch some pre-season Major League Soccer action between Texas rivals, Houston Dynamo and FC Dallas in Corpus Christi, Texas. The Western Conference Champions and MLS Cup 2010 runners-up were humbled by their intra-state rivals, 4-0.

As always its the atmosphere of American soccer that makes the day even more special. Saturday became a day of not only watching American soccer, but celebrating the greatness of America soccer supporters groups.

We traveled with several members of the Austin Soccer Supporters Group, Chantico's Army, met up with the San Antonio SG, the Crocketteers, and then party-hardy with the Dynamo's Texian Army, El Battelion, and La Bateria.

A friend of ours has been working on a tribute beer for the Movement and this weekend was the release of the Free Beer Movement Pale Ale 1.0. What better way to spread the love of American soccer through free beer then a beer with our namesake?

Check out more photos from the event....


Friday, February 11, 2011

Going Suds Up: The Best Beers, The Best Soccer

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By Kirsten Schlewitz / Senior West Coast Beer and Aston Villa Correspondent

Last week, the mood was all about friendlies. But now that the international break has passed, it’s time to get back to what soccer’s really about: intense, bitter rivalries. The sort of match that will leave a sour taste in your mouth. Well, to be fair, there’s only one of those matches, but it’s a big one. Manchester United host cross-town rivals Manchester City at Old Trafford. Oh, and it’s an early one as well, with the teams facing off at 6:45am CT on Saturday.

Last week, the previously undefeated United experienced a shock loss at Molineux at the head of Wolves striker Kevin Doyle, who put the home side up 2-1 in the 40th minute. Astonishingly enough, United didn’t managed to mount a comeback, but such is their record that they remain firmly in first, four points ahead of Arsenal (and we all know how they failed last weekend) and five against Manchester City. City, after an embarrassing draw against relegation-battlers Birmingham City midweek, saved face by beating West Bromwich Albion 3-0 and thus sending the Baggies manager, Roberto Di Matteo, out the door. Of course, that was all due to the hat trick of Carlos Tevez, and if Roberto Mancini decides his star striker is still suffering from the attitude problem that kept him out of the Argentina friendly, United may be looking at an easy win.

But what you guys are really here for is the beer. And, as already alluded to, we’re going sour this weekend. Bonus: research has shown that women are evolutionarily predisposed to like sours. It’s something to do with the way women were the gatherers and gave the sweetest berries to their young, learning to tolerate the sour themselves. Far-fetched, perhaps, but most women do love sours. So if you’re trying to impress a lady on Monday, set out one of these bottles. If you are a lady, well, drink up. And if you’re just sour on the idea of Valentine’s Day, clearly these are perfect for you.

Best for impressing: Port Brewing Co. Lost Abbey "Cable Car" American Wild Ale (San Marcos, CA). The crème de la crème of sours. Difficult to find, unless you’re at the Lost Abbey tasting room or one of the Toronado locations. But the harder it is to find, the more impressive it is, and the sweeter it will taste when your team wins at the weekend. Get out your stemware for this one. It pours a hazy gold with a thick foamy head. The flavors are an incredible blend of citrus, oak, and peach, with the perfect balance between sweetness and sour.

Your next best bet: Palm Breweries "Rodenbach Grand Cru" (Roeselare, Belgium). This one should be available at almost all specialty bottle stores, although it might be a little pricy. Belgium is where wild ales originated and this one takes the style a bit further into the sour persuasion—and does it wonderfully. Again, get out your tulip glass, because this one’s definitely worth showing off. It pours red-black with an off-white head, plenty of lacing and the perfect amount of bubbles. The aroma is of tart blueberries and cherries with a bit of vanilla and brown sugar. The taste is primarily of sour cherries, but overall the balance is right on this one as well, the beer walking a fine line between sour and sweet.

There you are, gents and dames. Enjoy the derby, enjoy the plethora of soccer available this weekend, and enjoy the day of love—even if you’re celebrating it with a sour.

About Kirsten

I may be a law student at Lewis and Clark, but soccer is my true love, with beer coming in a distant second. That's not to say I don't love beer--I've tasted over a thousand different brews, and listed many of them on Ratebeer. Living in Portland, Oregon, I attend quite a few festivals and tastings, and am able to argue passionately about the merits of Cascade hops vs. Chinook. 


As for the soccer, I'm the Managing Editor of SB Nation's Aston Villa site, 7500 to Holte, the Italy Editor for SB Nation Soccer, and cover the Seattle Sounders on SBN Seattle (don't judge--I'm from Seattle!) Finally, I write for Two Footed Tackle when I find words worthy enough for the site. Want more? Follow me on Twitter!

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

Thursday, February 10, 2011

USMNT Celebrity Death Match (Part 2)

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Our second round of USMNT Celebrity Death Matches continues today! Round one was a real bloodbath...

For those of you wondering why our series has omitted the most obvious of Death Matches, Mexico; there's a whole post of its own coming down because we've got so much material.

On to the fights!

Germany v. Landon Donovan: You Thought World War Two Messed You Up? Just Wait.

Frankie Hejduk v. Barbershop Quartet: Mixed Signals, Four Down 

Bob Bradley vs. the Masked German (Jürgen Klinsmann) 

Tag Team - Neven Subotic and Guiseppe Rossi vs. Teal Bunbury/Jose Francisco Torres: Traitors vs. Countrymen 


Ricardo Clark v. Bob Bradley: Don't Hug Me, Man

USMNT v. Tea Party Movement: Don't Tread On Me. No, You Don't Tread On Me!


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Wednesday, February 9, 2011

USMNT Celebrity Death Match (Part 1)

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It started as a Twitter daydream. Imaging Clint Dempsey and Michael Bradley duking it out during the weekend's Fulham/ Aston Villa game. Bradley however could not partake in the USMNT Midfiedler Celebrity Death Match because he arrived at Villa Park only the day before. Still we pictured what the fight might look like. Then it spawned out of control as #USMNTCelebrityDeathMatch when we started imaging all the other clay-mation fights that could go down a la the old MTV2 special (when they did cool things instead of "My SuperSweet 16", "Jersey Shore", and "Teen Moms").

Before we get into the matchups (in no particular order) a huge "thanks" to everyone that participated in the thread. Hilarious entries. Particularly USMNT legend Alexi Lalas who joined in after we set his own CDM throw down. He suggested that Italian referee Pierluigi Collina officiate the proceedings. Which is great because not only is he a bit nutso, he looks just like the ref from CDM.




The Match Ups


Michael "Terminator" Bradley v. Clint "Deuce" Dempsey: Midfielder Celebrity Deathmatch



Brad Friedel v. Kasey Keller: 2002 World Cup Re-Visited 


John Harkes v. Eric Wynalda: Ladies Night  

Eric Lichaj v. Gerard Houllier: Playing Time's Over 


Bruce Arena v. Steve Sampson: Coaches Scorned


Nigel De Jong v. Stu Holden: Broken Legs Can Be Mended and Then Used to Break the Breaker


Jonathan Bornstein v. Honduras: Bow to Your King


Ruud Gullit v. Alexi Lalas: Dutch Treat/Red Dawn 


Everton v. Los Angeles Galaxy: The Battle for Landon's Heart 


Juan Agudelo v. Teal Bunbury: There Can Be Only One "Next Big Thing" 



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Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Soccer Marketing 101 - Houston Dynamo Stadium Done Right

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The Houston Dynamo broke ground for its new stadium this past weekend, another success and step forward for soccer in America. The 22,000-seat downtown stadium will open in 2012. For Dynamo fans, this has been a long tough battle, and now the two-time MLS Cup winners will have a place to call their own.

The Vision Production Group made an awesome video promoting the future stadium for the Dynamo's potential advertisers and partners. It is not only a great tribute to the hard work the team has put in on the field, but the culmination of the long road the front office and its fans had to get to this point.

Furthermore, its a testament, once again, to the lengths in which the sport has grown in the United States; that another major American city will have its own soccer specific stadium. Another Major League Soccer team out from the cavernous confines of a football stadium and the eye sore of the excessive amount of white lines. Another MLS side that's escaped from revenue sucking stadium rental agreements. Another MLS side that is looking forward, building its own feature, controlling its own financial destiny.

Lastly, Houston has a downtown stadium to call home. It might have been able to settle years earlier for something in the suburbs, but they didn't. Even when last fall's mayor race seemed to doom their plans (Annise Parker came out against building another stadium in Houston) they pushed forward. Parker was even at this weekend's event, shovel in hand. The Dynamo saw,with Texas rivals FC Dallas, the pitfalls of a stadium that, while shiny and new, if placed too far from the city, can flounder.

Their new marketing video contains a bit of celebration of the club's past and a bright look into its soccer-specific future.


Houston Dynamo Stadium Launch Marketing Video from VISION Production Group on Vimeo.

Photo Credit: Wilf Thorne / Houston Dynamo


[H/T to The Offside Rules for hipping us to this video.]


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Sunday, February 6, 2011

FBM EXCLUSIVE - Jay DeMerit's ThrowBall Super Cup Prediction

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This is a metaphor for the Super Bowl. Steelers get eye-poked. Packers win!
You may or may not have known this, but USMNT and recently returned to Major League Soccer (for the Vancouver Whitecaps) defender Jay DeMerit is one of the coolest people on the Twitter-box.

I know, you're telling yourself... what about Kanye West? Is DeMerit even the coolest soccer player on Twitter? There is the edge-of-your-seat-feed of Cristiano Ronaldo.

Let us tell you now... yes, he's the best. What makes the best more untouchable? This soccer player, this amazing story of soccer success is also a massive Green Bay Packers fan. The FBM can relate; having grown up in same land of beer, brats, and cheese of Wisconsin... we are too.

We got a hold of DeMerit on the ol' Twitter-box (the Whitecaps are in Arizona for pre-season camp) to ask about his plans and prediction for tonight's ThrowBall Super Cup.

Free Beer Movement: "WI guy to WI can I get a couple of quotes for the FBM site about what you're doing for the SB and what you'll be drinking?"

Jay Demerit: "Well I'm not gonna lie, we are in preseason training camp so the party will be staying PG. Chips and salsa."

But if I was in Dallas I'd be on the Mich Golden and patron with my hunting overalls and Rogers throwback jersey.. great gameday combo.

FBM: Michelob Golden, eh? Nice. Prediction?

JD: Best 30 pack out there.. Pack 34-27.

FBM: Awesome.. thanks Jay.

Ladies and gentlemen.... Jay DeMerit, soccer superstar, super Packers fan. Super Bowl champions?

The notorious hunting overalls and throwback Rodgers jersey.

Photo Credit: DeMerit's Twitter feed. A must-follow.


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Friday, February 4, 2011

Going Suds Up: The Best Beers, The Best Soccer

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By Kirsten Schlewitz / Senior West Coast Beer and Aston Villa Correspondent

I don’t know about anyone else, but I’m still hungover from transfer day madness. Fernando Torres, Luis Suarez and Andy Carroll are all still making my head hurt desperately. But really, there’s no better cure for the hangover blues than a little hair of the dog, so let’s jump right in.

This upcoming week was supposed to feature the U.S. Men’s National Team against Egypt, but that’s obviously been canceled, for reasons that not even I can bring myself to joke about. In fact, let’s all take a moment to raise whatever we’re drinking in honor of those who lost their lives in the violence in Cairo.

There’s really no better week to focus on friendship and love than this one. Even as the world looks grim, even as two American football teams prepare to fight it out in an ice-covered Dallas, soccer is turning to their lovey-dovey friendlies. And what better way to celebrate those friendlies than by taste-testing beer that will be perfect for your Valentine’s Day celebrations? Fire up ESPN3.com for your choice of five different international friendlies (don’t bother with trying to find the Argentina match, however—ESPN and I are going to have to have a little chat about my need to watch Ezequiel Lavezzi) and give these beers a go.

Now, the absolute perfect Valentine’s beer is one that you won’t be able to find, as it was a limited edition last year, but this is the standard to hold all lovey beers to: Elysian Brewing Co. "XOXO" Chocolate Chili Stout (Seattle, WA). It smells like a typical stout, quite chocolatey. The taste is chocolate at first and then gives way to orange and cinnamon. The finish has a spicy kick to it, with both adobo and chipotle peppers.

One of the best ways to surprise your sweetheart—or to drink away your Valentine’s heartache—is to buy a bottle of Southern Tier Brewing Co. "Mokah" Blended Stout (Lakewood, NY), if you’re lucky enough to live in a region in which they distribute. Mokah pours nearly black, with a thick cappuccino head that leaves plenty of lacing. The aroma is essentially that of coffee mixed with fudge and is damn near intoxicating. The palate is creamy and the taste is more of that mocha-ness (hey, it’s in the name), with the coffee flavor lingering on and on. It’s one of the best beers on the market.

If you don’t live in a region lucky enough to receive Southern Tier, try a Kiuchi Brewery "Hitachino Nest Espresso" Imperial Stout (Japan). Like Mokah, it pours near-black with a thick tan head. The aroma is of coffee, chocolate, and red fruits, such as plums and raisins. This one tastes of dark chocolate, vanilla, cherries, and, you guessed it, espresso. With actual coffee beans added to the boil, Hitachino Nest has the added benefit that, if you’re a bit sleepy or the match you’ve chosen is a bit dull, this beer will wake you right up.

Many apologies if you’re not a fan of the taste of coffee. You can always pick up a Southern Tier Brewing Co. "Choklat" Imperial Stout, which is pretty much Mokah without the coffee taste, although its depth of flavor is not quite as intense. There’s also Rogue Ales "Chocolate" Stout (Newport, OR) , which is clearly chocolate, but has a hint of spice at the end, and is usually cheaper than any Southern Tier bottle.

Happy friendly week! Let the love flow…or at least the beer.

About Kirsten

I may be a law student at Lewis and Clark, but soccer is my true love, with beer coming in a distant second. That's not to say I don't love beer--I've tasted over a thousand different brews, and listed many of them on Ratebeer. Living in Portland, Oregon, I attend quite a few festivals and tastings, and am able to argue passionately about the merits of Cascade hops vs. Chinook. 


As for the soccer, I'm the Managing Editor of SB Nation's Aston Villa site, 7500 to Holte, the Italy Editor for SB Nation Soccer, and cover the Seattle Sounders on SBN Seattle (don't judge--I'm from Seattle!) Finally, I write for Two Footed Tackle when I find words worthy enough for the site. Want more? Follow me on Twitter!

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