Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Stadium Porn - San Jose "Could" Have the Best Seats in MLS

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"Ok. You guys both see that women waving in the black top over there? Wow." said the ref.
The San Jose Earthquakes are still a ways off from getting final approval for a soccer-specific stadium, but as they continue to push for it more and more details are coming out about its proposed design.

Just like LIVESTRONG Sporting Park raised the bar (haha... no FBM pun intended) last June and the sexy, new Houston Dynamo stadium will debut next May, the Earthquakes stadium may have the coolest idea yet when it comes to soccer stadium innovation; field-level luxury suites.

Sure the NBA has got court-side, but the only amenity for paying loads more than the proletariat is being close to the action and a few extra inches on the seat pad.

Hey! Down in front! Don't you know how much I paid for these seats?
San Jose's design puts 12 luxury boxes at game level and what you get is beyond anything the 10-foot, round-ball league as to offer for its A-listers.

From the Silicon Vallet Mercury News story:
Unlike that courtside seating, however, these amenities will include 24-inch padded seats, couches, cocktail tables, flat-screen televisions, a bar area, catered food and a sliding-glass door that just might stop the soccer ball before it knocks over your martini. As Kaval put it, "you'll have to be on your toes."
The price for the up-close and personal vantage point: $350,000 for a five-year contract. Despite the cost, Kaval maintains it's competitive with other luxury suites in professional hockey and football leagues, considering the number of events that will be held in the stadium. Each suite accommodates 23 people. 
Now, of course, we're all about making the game-day experience as authentic as possible by supporting supporters groups and the like and shying away from fake-fan and overly family-friendly, but stadiums and teams have got to make money. Soccer still needs its sugar daddies and luxury suites are the avenue.The difference in SJ is that by putting these boxes down in the action you really are appealing to people that are to see the game and not hide it their boxes (hopefully).

Here's to innovative ideas in the soccer stadium and marketing world. We've come along way from Crew Stadium.

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The Tuesday 10: Occupy FIFA Edition

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By "The Other 87 Minutes" / Senior Unemployed English Major Correspondents
Corruption. Injustice. Obscene profits. In this week's list, we're assembling a crew of famous footballing names to Occupy FIFA. They won't rest until they bring down the soccer juggernaut (and Sharpie a moustache on Blatter while he's sleeping). Or until it's time to power-wash.
1. Kyle Beckerman: Our front-man. Sometimes looking the part is 90 percent of the battle.
Come at me, bro.
2. Edgar Davids: We need someone who is resistant to the onslaught of pepper-spraying policemen, and Davids has the ocular equipment to lead the line.
3. Alexi Lalas: Don't let the suit he wears these days fool you; he wants to be out there fighting the power.
4. Mario Balotelli: We need someone to draw an inordinate amount of news media attention while not necessarily doing anything.
5. Joey Barton: He's no stranger to run-ins with the police.
Chaaaange?
6. Antonio Cassano: The poster boy for our 99% wears 99 on his back every game.
7. Carlos Tevez: Has been a thorn in the side of the soccer world's monied class since 2007.
8. Jamie Redknapp: Gets to tag along for a few months since he has all of Daddy's credibility to fall back on.
9. Bicester Town FC: For their experience getting evicted from their ground.
10. Robbie Rogers: Newly jobless, he can help explain what the movement is all about.
Who would you enlist to march on FIFA? Have a set of bongos we could borrow? As always, leave a comment below and don't forget to follow us at @o87minutes on Twitter.


About "The Other 87 Minutes"

What is this new site we're exposing you too? We'll let them explain:

The Other 87 seeks to provide something that’s not instant analysis or eve of matchday previews. Think of us as the good bits of your favorite soccer coverage: the profiles that examine what makes a certain player tick, the historical background that sheds some light on how the sport has evolved to the present day, the silly features that are more than just tacking names on a list, but considering and explaining why each one deserves to be there.
O87 wants to be a home for soccer writing that makes you think, but that also treats the game as just that, a game. The greatest game, the one we obsess over and fixate on, to the point where we can’t read that gas costs 3.43 a gallon without thinking of Ajax’s 1995 Champions League winning team. But a game nonetheless.
“When you play a match, it is statistically proven that players actually have the ball three minutes on average. The best players – the Zidanes, Ronaldinhos, Gerrards – will have the ball maybe four minutes. Lesser players – defenders – probably two minutes. So, the most important thing is: what do you do those 87 minutes when you do not have the ball…. That is what determines whether you’re a good player or not.” –Johann Cruyff

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Monday, November 28, 2011

Phun With Photoshop - Jesse Marsch Pillages MLS for Montreal

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Five Good Minutes With.... Chris Wondolowski

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FBM looking all "journalism-y".
Wondo: "You're so funny." FBM: "I know." (Note: These words are not apart of the audio recording below.)
So handsome.
During MLS Cup 2011 weekend we had the pleasure of running into San Jose forward Chris Wondolowski. Wondo was in town for a bunch of MLS W.O.R.K.S. events, but also to receive the MLS Castrol Index "Player of the Year" award.

Apparently because Wondolowski had nothing better to do he granted us an audience and answered a few  questions about a whole range of issues including: what his and San Jose's goals for 2012 were, what he does in the off-season, how to get his new trophy through security at the airport, and whether he'd melt down said trophy to make the Earthquakes MLS Cup rings if he had the chance.

Please forgive us it was our first audio interview we've conducted live on the spot so you're getting the full, unedited brilliance.  There's loads of bad jokes included.

ChrisWondolowski11.19.11

Wondo endorses FBM.
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Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving from the FBM!

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Take the day to enjoy some great beer and work on convincing all those football fans you're hanging out with to watch some soccer (American or otherwise) with you real soon!


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Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Nike and Bumpy Pitch - A Celebration of Los Angeles

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Nice to see BP's name in lights.

FBM was lucky enough to get a VIP invite to the Nike Soccer/ Bumpy Pitch "Celebration of Los Angeles" party during MLS Cup 2011 weekend. Us, along with the leadership of The American Outlaws took off to the historic Ricardo Montalbon Theater in Hollywood for drinks, diversions, and, of course, some sweet American soccer swag.

The event featured the new Cristiano Ronaldo "CR7" collection and thCR Mercurial Vapor Superfly III, but we were particularly excited to see the new collaboration between the "the Swoosh" and American soccer brand Bumpy Pitch. A big move for the local boys.

Much thanks to Nike Soccer and Bumpy Pitch for having us out. 

Brews and Views Essay Series: Why American Soccer?

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We continue our new series on the Free Beer Movement. It's called "Brews and Views" and we pose a question or topic to various prominent soccer persons and, well, they give us their view on it.

We've got loads of get people that have already responded to our call for essay submissions and each week we'll feature a unique perspective on the current topic/question at hand. Kicking it off (pun intended) we're asking our respondents the question, "Why American soccer?".

As inhabitants of the U.S. of A we've got loads of soccer viewing options and limited amount of time. We want our panel of essayists to make their case as to why the American version of the world's game is the one we should all invest in.

Regularly readers know where we stand on this issue. Buy American. It's ours. Build and shape it so it ranks as one of the premier leagues in the world.

The series will include such diverse voices as former U.S. Men's National Team player Alexi Lalas, The Shin Guardian, MatchFit USA's Jason Davis, Church of Soccer, Nutmeg Radio, FutFanatico, MLS Insider, and many, many more.

Interested in submitting your own answer to the question, "Why American soccer?", then send us an email with your response. Please keep your submission to under 1000 words (that's like 2.5 pages typed!) and include a picture that you feel goes well with your response. Send it to freebeermovement(at)gmail(dot)com.

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By Alexi Lalas /   Do you REALLY need us to tell you who he is and what he does?

It hasn’t always been easy to love this game in our country. When someone says, “I’m an American soccer fan,” they often have the scars to prove it. 

But the history, culture, and lifestyle behind our sport is real, and it has helped us survive. And now, it will help us thrive. 

Soccer is no longer a niche sport in America. Yet it still remains an alternative to convention. It’s like Nirvana after Bleach — as cool and alluring as a hipster band, yet as dorky and na├»ve as a teenager.

Here’s what I believe:

I believe American soccer will only get bigger and stronger because it is becoming a way of life for more and more people. I believe that the game will increasingly influence the style, talk, politics and even morals of the American soccer fan. I believe that groups like the FBM and the American Outlaws are evangelizing fans in creative, organized, and intelligent ways that reflect the actual game. 

Because the experience of being inside the American soccer culture is unique, inclusive, and contagious.

I’ve been lucky to be a part of American soccer for a long time. I’ve seen the sport grow and I’ve grown with it. Through it all, I’ve come to realize that, no matter how hard we aim for the ideal, it’s not perfect and it’s not infallible. But it is ours. 

Eventually, the teenagers grow up and the best bands graduate to mainstream popularity. So I know that soccer will become an accepted major American sport. 

But for now, it is simply our way of life. A life we choose or maybe a life that chose us. Either way, it is a life we love. And now more than ever, we are not alone.



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Monday, November 21, 2011

The Tuesday XI: Most Sensational, Inspirational, Celebrational, Muppetational Edition

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By "The Other 87 Minutes" / Senior Unemployed English Major Correspondents


Forget Thanksgiving. This week we're honoring the release of the brand new Muppet movie with a line-up of our favorite furry or feathered puppet pals.
The Muppets are one-of-a-kind, endlessly creative, slightly manic, and a fantastic team to boot, so, naturally, we made them Total Footballers. 
GK – Sam the Eagle — Top-notch goalkeeping. It is the American Way.
SW – Swedish Chef — Like any club team, our Muppet squad can have problems with the language barrier. Luckily the Swedish for “offside trap” is just “offffseede-a trep”
LB – Statler — (He's the one without the mustache.) One of our two masters of the Dark Arts. No one draws more cards than him, except maybe his partner on the other flank.
CB – Ms. Piggy — Big (but don’t tell her we said that) and physical, if Piggy doesn’t get the ball she’s certainly going to get the man.
RB – Waldorf — Fortunately he and Statler have Ms. Piggy between them. Otherwise we’d never keep them on opposite sides of the field.
LM – Dr. Bunsen — The good doctor is constantly inventing chances for our forwards.
CM – Animal — Our own little furry Johan Neeskens. He attacks the ball like a heat-seeking missile; all we have to do is wind him up and let him go.
RM – Beaker — Our Dutch-style midfield features a playmaker, a destroyer and a runner, with Beaker fulfilling the last role. He’s forever providing support to both the attack and defense in his own high energy way. For some reason, he’s also the player who always seems to get hit when they’re lined up in the wall.
LW – Kermit the Frog — Our Piet Keizer-like leader, his spindly limbs and surprising athleticism give him no end of dribbling moves with which to beat his opponent.
Our Muppet front line in action.
CF – The Great Gonzo — The Muppets’ mad genius takes on the Johan Cruyff role, always popping up on the field where he’s least expected and causing havoc with his unpredictably.
RW – Fozzie Bear — An interesting tactical wrinkle for the squad. Since Fozzie’s used to being the target of other Muppets’ jokes, of Statler and Waldorf’s barbs, of various pieces of thrown produce and rubber chickens, he plays here as a right-sided target forward, providing an outlet when Gonzo is helping work the ball through midfield and crashing the back to post to get on the end of long balls.

About "The Other 87 Minutes"

What is this new site we're exposing you too? We'll let them explain:

The Other 87 seeks to provide something that’s not instant analysis or eve of matchday previews. Think of us as the good bits of your favorite soccer coverage: the profiles that examine what makes a certain player tick, the historical background that sheds some light on how the sport has evolved to the present day, the silly features that are more than just tacking names on a list, but considering and explaining why each one deserves to be there.
O87 wants to be a home for soccer writing that makes you think, but that also treats the game as just that, a game. The greatest game, the one we obsess over and fixate on, to the point where we can’t read that gas costs 3.43 a gallon without thinking of Ajax’s 1995 Champions League winning team. But a game nonetheless.
“When you play a match, it is statistically proven that players actually have the ball three minutes on average. The best players – the Zidanes, Ronaldinhos, Gerrards – will have the ball maybe four minutes. Lesser players – defenders – probably two minutes. So, the most important thing is: what do you do those 87 minutes when you do not have the ball…. That is what determines whether you’re a good player or not.” –Johann Cruyff
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Friday, November 18, 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

In the interest of full disclosure, I must tell you: I’m sitting here wearing a “Beat LA” sweatshirt. Sure, it’s meant to be an anti-Dodgers sentiment, but it applies to Sunday’s match between the Los Angeles Galaxy and the Houston Dynamo. We’ve got scrappy Houston, with no international marquee players, against the great Galaxy, starring Landon Donovan, Robbie Keane, and David Beckham. Plus, LA has the home field advantage. 

Granted, the last time these two teams met, Houston walked away with a 3-1 win, but they’re still not the favored team. If you’ve got no vested interest in this match, put on your orange and stand behind the underdogs.

MLS Final: Los Angeles v Houston, Sunday, November 20 at 8pm CET on ESPN

Fullers Golden Pride: What else than this, a strong beer from England, a tribute to the MLS Comeback Player of the Year. The alcohol aroma is apparent from the pour, which is red brown with a rapidly diminishing head. Golden Pride is fairly sweet and caramelly, enhanced with a hint of orange, a slight dry hop bitterness and a finishing alcohol burn.

Divine Reserve #11, Saint Arnold Brewing: Houston fans that can’t make it to the Home Depot Center will – if they have any taste – be sipping some sort of Saint Arnold brew come Sunday. This imperial IPA seems like a great choice, as its 8.9%ABV. The color even manages to be a reddish-orange; unfortunately, it doesn’t taste like citrus. But it does taste like peaches, which is even better! Well, it taste like hoppy peaches, but fortunately doesn’t leave a bitter taste in your mouth. Which is good, because Dynamo fans will likely already have to deal with enough bitterness.

And a third beer, for those who think they’ve earned the right to wallow:

Sour Apple Saison, Epic Brewing: This one tastes more like a standard Belgian than a saison with apple, but there is a hint of sourness to this brew. The aroma isn’t spicy enough – way too much bubblegum for a saison. There’s more bubblegum in the taste, as well as banana, which is followed by some apple and cinnamon.  And if you hadn’t caught the hint as to which fan base this might most apply to, well, Epic is based in Salt Lake City. My tears are still flowing.

 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 onRatebeer. 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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Thursday, November 17, 2011

VIDEO - MLS Cup 2011 Hype Video

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Are you ready? FBM is ready. Get the NEW Free Beer Movement "Pint Glass" shirt! Only from Objectivo.com

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Brews and Views Essay Series: Why American Soccer?

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We continue our new series on the Free Beer Movement. It's called "Brews and Views" and we pose a question or topic to various prominent soccer persons and, well, they give us their view on it.

We've got loads of get people that have already responded to our call for essay submissions and each week we'll feature a unique perspective on the current topic/question at hand. Kicking it off (pun intended) we're asking our respondents the question, "Why American soccer?".

As inhabitants of the U.S. of A we've got loads of soccer viewing options and limited amount of time. We want our panel of essayists to make their case as to why the American version of the world's game is the one we should all invest in.

Regularly readers know where we stand on this issue. Buy American. It's ours. Build and shape it so it ranks as one of the premier leagues in the world.

The series will include such diverse voices as former U.S. Men's National Team player Alexi Lalas, The Shin Guardian, MatchFit USA's Jason Davis, Church of Soccer, Nutmeg Radio, FutFanatico, MLS Insider, and many, many more.

Interested in submitting your own answer to the question, "Why American soccer?", then send us an email with your response. Please keep your submission to under 1000 words (that's like 2.5 pages typed!) and include a picture that you feel goes well with your response. Send it to freebeermovement(at)gmail(dot)com.

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Local, live soccer. Austin, 2009. (Photo by Free Beer Movement)
By APR and Teucer / "Juggle the Numbers"


We take the "Why American soccer?" question a step further and ask: "Why local soccer?"  We live in a world of instantaneous communication, where we can all theoretically know about soccer results as they are happening. Indeed, as a pair of amateur statisticians we keep abreast of all the results in the leagues that
interest us. Every soccer aficionado has easy exposure to the best teams in the world, which means we can be fans of them from anywhere. If you want to watch the best quality soccer in the world, it’s at your fingertips; if we wanted to analyze the best and most followed leagues, we would be quite able to do so.

But we follow the domestic game, because we favor local soccer. There is nothing like being a part of the excitement and feeling a part, however small, of your team’s victories. A win for a team you happen to enjoy, playing in a stadium you will likely never see in your life, is far less engrossing than the energy of a supporters’ section at a local match. We rejoice in the tension of the buildup before a quality chance, in the unbridled joy that comes from the stands as the home team sinks a late goal to get a result, in the stunned silence that
follows a particularly damaging away goal. We delight in watching as the wins pile up and our local teams move up the table, and in the pain of watching as they are in near free-fall to the bottom, in the camaraderie that develops between your friends at the stadium and in the shared hatred of the local rivals. These are all things which have a much more profound effect when it is something you can identify with. Compared to the best teams in the Premiership or Serie A, we’re watching second-rate sides on second-rate fields - but as long as they
are our second-rate sides, playing at our second-rate fields in our hometown stadia, this will always be more satisfying than anything we might see on a broadcast from Europe.

Stepping back from "Why local soccer?" to "Why American soccer?", we can then take our passion for our individual local team, and use it to build passion for our "local" league.  Whether that league is a fully national league, or a recreational league in a small city or town, passion for the league will help it to grow and improve.  In the long term, that builds up the quality of play, and improves not just the local soccer environment, not just the national one, but the worldwide one.  A stronger local recreational league improves exposure and talent level on the local basis, which in turn increases it on the national level, and eventually up to the global level.  By having
better local leagues, we have the facilities to expose more people, young and old, to the sport.  As soccer becomes more ingrained in our culture, the quality of the top players produced by our nations will continue to improve.  If you are a fan of your national team, even if just for the World Cup, then it is in your interest to help improve your national league structure.

American soccer is nothing more nor less than the sum of all the local soccer in all of the United States. It unites thirty-two professional teams and their thousands of eager fans, along with countless amateurs competing on every level from backyard pickup games to the US Open Cup. To embrace American soccer is to embrace local soccer, and vice versa - and once you’ve dipped your toe in those waters, you never leave. We might have our favorite teams abroad as well, but it is our local clubs to which our hearts truly belong. We stand in our
supporters’ sections and chant, or we volunteer our time to help our teams make the season happen. We follow our teams by high-def television or by low-resolution webcasts, by busing to rivals’ stadia, by social media on the web and by the old-fashioned web of real social interaction with other fans. We endure torrents of rain we hope may let up any minute and summer heat we know will not break until the next game, if then - because when we feel our hearts race with every goal and every near miss, we know we’re precisely where we want to be.


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Tuesday, November 15, 2011

The Tuesday XI: USMNT Player Ratings in Beer

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By "The Other 87 Minutes" / Senior Unemployed English Major Correspondents


Tim Howard (GK) Lindemans Framboise: Sweet and sour temperament, but effervescent as usual. Made some crucial saves that kept the match level for 70 minutes.
Timmy Chandler (LB) Weihenstephaner Hefe: Typically a refreshing bit of German goodness, but on this occasion a little too light when something stronger was called for.
Clarence Goodson (CB) Oude Gueuze: Can be quite enjoyable in moderation, but too much at once leaves a sour taste. Responsible for the deciding goal in the match.
Carlos Bocanegra (CB) Rogue Chocolate Stout: Full-bodied and strong. Was the most consistent on the backline for the US.
Steve Cherundolo (RB) Oskar Blues Ten Fidy Imperial Stout: Viscous and impenetrable, but perhaps a bit thick. Dolo dealt with the threat of Franck Ribery all night, but needed help on occasion.
Brek Shea (LW) Stone Pale Ale: Has the trappings of something sweet but pours bitter and a bit bland. Shea was looking to make connections but fell flat all night.
Kyle Beckerman (LM) Flying Dog Snake Dog IPA: Fully loaded but lacking in balance. Beckerman was tenacious in the midfield but didn't know what to do when he had the ball.
Maurice Edu (CM) McSorley's Irish Pale Ale: Can best be described as underwhelming and flavorless. Edu was totally anonymous throughout the match.
Clint Dempsey (RM)  - Schlenkerla Rauchbier: A true standout - firey and bitter, but overpowering at times. Dempsey always looks threatening but may have missed a decisive pass in the second half.
Danny Williams (RW) Yuengling Black & Tan: A tale of two styles. Looked competent tracking back, but couldn't do much on offense.
Jozy Altidore (FW) Stone Double Bastard Ale: Packing a huge punch, can get the job done on its own. And that's what was asked of Jozy on Friday. Although he didn't capitalize by the end, he showed signs of life with little to no support up front.
About "The Other 87 Minutes"

What is this new site we're exposing you too? We'll let them explain:

The Other 87 seeks to provide something that’s not instant analysis or eve of matchday previews. Think of us as the good bits of your favorite soccer coverage: the profiles that examine what makes a certain player tick, the historical background that sheds some light on how the sport has evolved to the present day, the silly features that are more than just tacking names on a list, but considering and explaining why each one deserves to be there.
O87 wants to be a home for soccer writing that makes you think, but that also treats the game as just that, a game. The greatest game, the one we obsess over and fixate on, to the point where we can’t read that gas costs 3.43 a gallon without thinking of Ajax’s 1995 Champions League winning team. But a game nonetheless.
“When you play a match, it is statistically proven that players actually have the ball three minutes on average. The best players – the Zidanes, Ronaldinhos, Gerrards – will have the ball maybe four minutes. Lesser players – defenders – probably two minutes. So, the most important thing is: what do you do those 87 minutes when you do not have the ball…. That is what determines whether you’re a good player or not.” –Johann Cruyff

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