Please Tell Me RSL's Jersey Will Look Better Than This

And yes, he is smiling because he is thinking what you are.

The Soccer Show: All the News That's Fit to Podcast

If you don't know about The Soccer Show you are missing out. Munk and the Mick host one of my favorite podcasts' and this weeks episode is a corker; they rundown Landon's wonder performance, the demise of the Virginia Beach Mariners, Tony Meola's "hey look at me, I used to be somebody" rant, and a chat special guest with John Harkes.

Get plugged in

Forbes on Futbol

Everybody is getting down with this soccer thing right now, even rich/wealthy cats. As odd as it is to write this, the moneybags over at Forbes have put together an interesting bunch of articles and photo essay's on the beautiful game that you can check out here. This article requires you to register, but I know you've got bills and shit so just use the username and password below.

Username: Carolina1
Password: Carolina1

Nestled amongst the articles on the push into the Chinese market, the world's top paid players and a detailed rundown on the world's most valuable clubs is that David Beckham will receive 45% of LA Galaxy jersey sales. We've all heard speculation that he was getting a large chunk of this, but this is the first time I have seen it in print. That's serious cash...enough to keep him questionable haircuts for a long time to come.

Portland Expansion Talk Heats Up

As mentioned earlier in the week, expansion talk is once again coming out of Portland. Oregon Live reports on a potential investment group today led by a local real estate mogul. Call me jaded, but something about the word "local" fills me with nightmarish visions of Ken Horowitz . I don't know these guys from Adam and for all I know they could be rich, rich, rich.

But MLS does not need rich guys in ownership positions, it needs wealthy guys. The great 21st century humorist Christopher Rock describes wealthy as "someone whose family owns the patent on the color Blue". That's what MLS needs, not the owner of the largest auto-dealer in town....that will get you a grave next to the
Virginia Beach Mariners .


BREAKING: Mathis Back to New York

TOR EXCLUSIVE: Extra Time First Look

Much has been made of the fact that all MLS games will be televised this season and ESPN's upcoming Thursday night coverage. But one of the most exciting things to happen to soccer on TV screens this year will be Extra Time, a brand new chat show about American soccer.

"Jay Leno for soccer" is how show creator
Tegan Summer describes the show. The show is hosted by Raz Adoti, known to fans of Fox Soccer Channel footie drama 'Dream Team' as "Wes Kingsley”. He was most recently seen as “Richie Rich,” in Haven his second movie with Orlando Bloom, and in Universal Pictures’ Doom, starring opposite Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson. Along side Raz on the couch, playing the role of correspondent is LA Galaxy and US Soccer legend Cobi Jones. And lest I forget the Chivas USA girls are also set to feature regularly on the show.

Currently in the final throes of negotiations, the weekly show (sponsored by EA Games & PS3 among others) appears to be headed for Thursday nights on a network TBD. Look for it to crash onto the airwaves by mid-April.

Stadium Stagnation

Remember a bunch of months back when the mayor of Boston was openly courting the idea of a soccer-specific stadium in the city? You haven't heard much about it since so the Boston Globe has asked "yea, whatever happened to that ".

I for one really wish this would happen; an urban stadium could do wonders for the Revs image and attendance (although it may cut down the number SUV's with soccer ball bumper stickers in the parking lot). But the Krafts are known for being thrifty when it comes to their futbol franchise, so don't be surprised when they end up being the last MLS club still playing in an NFL stadium.

Another Day, Another Galaxy Friendly

"Rangers will confirm within the next few days that they will face David Beckham's MLS side LA Galaxy on Wednesday, May 23 in a lucrative end of season friendly, as revealed in SportTimes a month ago."

Whatever. Read about it here. Does anyone know what the record is for matches played by an MLS team in a calendar year? I'm looking to you Ken Tomasch.

There is also rumour of Celtic taking on Chicago Fire at Toyota Park. So I propose a question of sorts....why not make it interesting and hold an Old Firm match stateside. You can't tell me that wouldn't make headlines and get asses in seats.

Tomas Rosicky Busted With 6 Hookers (Six!)

"Shit. I knew I didn't really need more than 2, did I?"

And what's worse is that his old lady
has seen the pictures. Now do you see where greed will get you kids?

The Dirty Truth

To most die-hard soccer fans in America this is not a revelation . But to Joe Sportsfan who goes to AOL for their sporting news needs it might be a bit of an eyebrow-raiser. But given the _____ performance that the Yanks gave last night, it might be for the best that only a hair over 10,000 souls were in attendance. I use "_____" because I can't think of a word to describe the way they played; something that's not exactly positive but not quite negative. Feel free to place your suggestions in the comments.

The only other thing I will say about last nights performance is that Eric Wynalda hit it right on the head about Eddie Johnson. The national team is about having the best players RIGHT NOW on the field, not players for players to get by on past achievements. These games should not be used as auditions for meaningful matches...I don't want to see EJ called up again until he is scoring in K.C. with enough frequency to warrant him buying condoms in bulk from Costco.


Beckham Has the Backing of Diddy & "His People"

"David is a really special man. Him coming over to the States is like the Beatles going over there. He's going to be a legend...I'll help him settle in. The US is my area. He's got my full support and the backing of all my people."

-P Diddy, March 2007. [via The Sun UK]

Well thank God for this really....do you know how hard it is to get a shiny suit, an 80's music sample cleared, or a prominent role in a gun charge trial without the backing of Mr. Combs and his people? Impossible. You have a better chance of seeing Zidane suit up for Columbus Crew.

And WTF is with this photo? When the hell did he get traded to the LA Clippers?

I Just Love This Amy Winehouse Song

"They tried to make me go to rehab and I said "no, no, no"

Download: Amy Winehouse "Rehab"


Photo by Craig Dyer

Don Garber's tour of PGE Park this week has put Rose City on the list of cities vying for a potential piece of the MLS pie. There has been talk in the past but nothing that ever warranted much talk beyond the world of Bigsoccer.

As great as the supporters are in Portland, the only way I would like to see them come into the league is if Seattle and Vancouver came with them. Those three clubs have a great three-way rivalry that is the best in USL-1.


ESPN's MLS AD Campaign

You may notice something interesting between watching the 246th game of the NCAA tournament (U. of North Texas, we hardly knew ya) and the World Series of Poker. It's ESPN's new ad campaign for MLS Primetime and it ain't half bad. Pretty good in fact, even though I could have used a bit of Berman in there.

You can watch all three spots
here .

Just a Few Random Bits...

What it Do? What it do? Just a few quick things to tell you guys about in bullet point form:

  • TORtv will now be available in an easy to digest 4-clip format, usually containing a highlight reel, a micro-doc, a commercial, and a music video. And on occasion something sexy.
  • The Offside Rules is now on Myspace. PLEASE be our friend.
  • The Your Captain Needs You Campaign is stepping up to phase 2. Please be it's friend on Myspace. This is super important as it will not only be a good way to send you updates on the project but the more friends it has, the better it looks to a potential investor. Again, PLEASE be our friend.

Thanks for listening. Now get back to work.

Flick On: Film Fest to Feature New Soccer Movie

The Tribeca Film Festival will feature a "festival within a festival" this year with the 2007 Sports Film Festival beginning on April 27th. The second day of the festival will be highlighted by a gala screening of acclaimed director Michael Apted’s documentary “The Power of the Game" a documentary film "weaving together six story lines of triumph over adversity, the film chronicles the social impact of the 2006 World Cup on a global scale."

The ESPN-backed festival, which will run for 12 days, is advised by a board of sports and entertainment luminaries including MLS chief Don Garber, author Nick Hornby, and filmmaker Spike Lee (and that's kinda special). There will also be an appearance by the Red Bull New York freestyle street team as well.

Be sure to check out their website not only for show times and screening information but for
Jeff Bradley's top soccer movies of all time . Game on!

Dear Posh, Could You Please Hold Back A Little?

For a few months at least. Please just wait until you and your husband arrive in Planet Hollywood before you start showing off your baby-feeders outside of Nobu. Or better yet wait until the All-Star game. At half-time. On a float. A diamond-encrusted float fueled by Cristal, Faberge eggs, and bald eagle heads....the more lavish the better.

Why? Because our league could like, you know really use it's very own "Nipplegate" scandal to get the tongues wagging because nothing says "big league" like big boobs.


Radio Free Beckham

If you have spent any time watching documentary TV you know that no one does it like the BBC. And even without the benefit of their always tasteful visuals they still manage to tell a very compelling story.

BBC Radio Five Live's Ralf Harris has a 1-hour documentary on what awaits Brand Beckham when it lands on US shores. Excellent stuff with soundbites from everyone from "the entirely unflappable" Alexi Lalas, to John Spencer, to Ex-Sex Pistol Steve Jones (who's kind of a hater). Grab your headphones and get stuck in!

D-Town Down: Ballin' in Texas

Having grown up about 50 miles north of the Big D, it shouldn't come as a surprise that my first live soccer experiences were in Dallas. I had played youth ball as a kid, watched Tatu's Dallas Sidekicks on TV occasionally, but had never been to see the game live. In college I popped my cherry with a Dallas Burn doubleheader that saw Mexico & South Africa playing the nightcap in an electrifying Nike Cup match. After that I was hooked and bought season tix for the Burn before their suburban exodus to Southlake.

Over the next week Dallas will become Soccertown USA with a Texas-sized slate of youth, national team, and MLS exhibition matches. Check out some of the upcoming ties:

March 28: U.S. U-20 vs. Haiti U-20
March 28: U.S. Men vs Guatemala Men
March 30: FC Dallas Reserves vs.
Haiti U-20
March 31: FC Dallas vs. Atletico Paranaense
April 1:
Real Madrid U-19 vs. Solar SC U-19 (Dallas Cup )
April 1:
Chelsea FC U-19 vs. Chivas Guadalajara U-19 (Dallas Cup)

So get in a car, call up Amtrak, or go to Southwest Airlines website....do whatever you can to get yourself down there because not only do we have soccer back home but we have the world best BBQ, Shiner Bock (ask somebody if you don't know), and really big trucks with gun racks on the back window. And if you are really lucky you may be able to meet a disgraced cheerleader or two.

Damn, I just got really homesick as I wrote that.


Here Are The Old Men

So I went to V2000 in England. 3 days of camping, Stella, music, and the sketchiest food ever sold from a cart. Highlights where seeing Richard Ashcroft's first solo gig after The Verve broke up, catching Moloko live before they broke up, and dancing in a field with a few thousand Euro-ravers when Underworld dropped "Born Slippy (Theme from Trainspotting)" and blew our collective minds.

Last year Virgin brought the festival stateside and today have announced that it will be back in Baltimore again this year with The Beastie Boys (!), Smashing Pumpkins (!!), and The Police (!!!) headlining. Hell, why not hit the festival and a Crystal Palace USA match and make a weekend out of it...anybody with me?

Road Trippin': Whatcha Know About The Dirty South?

ESC's Mike Vallo getting all Metro-stalgic somewhere below the Mason-Dixon.

Now that MLS clubs are balls-deep into pre-season it's time for what has become a true indicator that the darkness of the off season is coming to a close, the Carolina Cup Challenge. This year the 4 team tournament pits the host club Charleston Battery against competition regulars Red Bull New York, newbies Toronto FC, and the Houston Dynamo (reigning MLS champs need I remind you).

Not only is this competition an excellent final tune-up and test for both players and coaches, but it is also an excellent excuse for a road trip to one of America's great soccer towns. So if you are thinking of hitting the road for mint juleps, BBQ, and a little bit of soccer you'll need to download the superb inaugural issue of the Empire Supporters Club fanzine . There you will find an indispensable guide to Charleston that is sure to make you look a little less like a tourist.

Big shouts to "Onionsack" Anthony and Mikey Vallo (holding it down for ESC in Quebec) for putting this together. Great stuff from two of my favorite fanatics.

*Note: If you are a member of a supporters club and have anything you'd like to let your fellow futbol freaks know about give us a shout. We are a non-partisan outlet (so long as you don't support the Krauts).

Herbalife to Become LA Galaxy Jersey Sponser

The title pretty much says all there is to say, other than "What happened to the Citibank offer?". Bussinesswire has the scoop. In a separate LA Times piece by Graham Jones that I am too busy to link to it says that the deal is in the neighborhood of $3.5-$5 million a year. Oddly there is no mention that Herbalife is owned by Jorge Vergara, who owns the HDC's other tenant Chivas USA.

Also of note is the photo above; I know it is tiny like Sean Wright-Phillips, but that is Alan Gordon wearing the new sponsor-laden LA Galaxy kit, who appears to still be with the team despite rumors to the contrary. Maybe Alexi thought that photographic evidence was needed to show that he hasn't gone anywhere.


This Just In: Virginia Beach USL Team Abandoned By Owner

These stands may remain this empty. Looks like USL 1 has got a major disaster on it's hands as the owner of the Virginia Beach Mariners has walked away from the franchise. The USL league office says it "can't rule out any scenario at this time" which could mean "this fucker just may fold" since the season begins in less than a month. Colin Clarke must be kicking himself for taking this job.

Why Was This Guy at RBNY Media Day?

Wouldn't it be interesting if he ran RBNY's youth programs? I hear that there is a vacancy.

LA Galaxy Website to Finally Speak Espanol

Maybe I am being a bit naive, but I think that LA should have been the first, maybe second team to do this . Mind you I don't have my content available in Spanish but I would love to. So if there are any Spanish-speaking readers out there who would like to contribute to The Offside Rules give me a shout. I'm also interested in finding contributors from other MLS cities, especially if you are a supporters club member. Email me if you are down.


Gates vs. Marquez

So Bill Gates lost to Rafa Marquez at FIFA, big deal. See how he is holding up his arm triumphantly? That's not because he just scored….it's because he just remembered that he could buy La Liga with the money in his sock drawer if he wanted to. Read about their electronic footie encounter at Joystiq. One reader left a gem in the comments that took the words right out of my mouth.

"What? Bill couldn't give him a Premium 360? I bet it didn't even have the Hard Drive."

You know what, I'm glad Bill gave him the weak system with the wired controllers....nice to see Rafa on the other end of a cheap shot for once.


The Librarian: Manchester Buccaneers

I should know better than to endorse a book that I have not even read yet, but the Amazon description alone looks funnier than the last 5 Jim Carey movies. Sure it's a touchy subject, but how can you not be down with a book in which the 12 year-old protagonist tries to "spread the word about Manchester and their successes and failures against teams such as Tott Nam, made up predominantly of young Vietnamese players". OMG...I am crying as I type this!

If you've already read this, and want to give us a review hit me up.

True Game

If you have checked out TORtv at all you may have already seen this clip....but things like this warm my cold grey heart and need to be put front and center. True Game is a sweet little micro-doc following two US soccer fans on a cross-country road trip to Phoenix to watch the most recent 2-0 beatdown over Mexico. It's brief and homemade but I love it; we see so little of the American fan experience that it is sometimes easy for people to forget (or not even know) that there is a contingent of fan that does travel for both club & country. Watch and enjoy.

If a Stadium has Concerts is it Still "Soccer Specific"?

"People fucking hate cunts like Phil Collins, and if they don't — they fucking should"
-Noel Gallagher

You may or may not agree with Britain's foremost purveyor of the unibrow, but apparently someone believes that enough people like him & his band Genesis to fill Toronto's new soccer specific stadium BMO Field. They'll be just one of many acts to help owners fill out those calendar dates this summer. Here's a look at a few others who turn pitches into dance floors, honky-tonks and mosh pits.

4/15/07 Pizza Hut Park
KDGE Edgefest with The Killers, My Chemical Romance, Muse, AFI, Jet, Kaiser Chiefs & more.

05/19/07 Columbus Crew Stadium
"Rock on the Range" with Hinder, ZZ Top, Evanescence, Velvet Revolver, Breaking Benjamin, Papa Roach, Buck Cherry and more.

6/30/07 DSG Park
Kenny Chesney with Pat Green, and Sugarland

8/25/07 Home Depot Center
Vans Warped Tour with Bad Religion, Coheed & Cambria, Cute is What We Aim For, New Found Glory, Hawthorne Heights, K-OS, Fishbone & more.


Rumor Rewind: Eski Trade Still in the Works

A few months ago there was talk of Captain Concussion aka Alecko Eskandarian potentially being traded from Toronto FC before he even got to play for them. The chatter died pretty quickly as the news of the Beckham signing hit the same day, and the Eski trade was rubbished as a rumor by Red Bull.

But like Ronaldo, this one keeps popping up. Last time around it was a trade for a keeper when RBNY was sitting on Wattreus, Rimando, and Conway. Now I'm hearing some scuttlebutt that TFC is interested in trading the helmeted one for cracking defender Jeff Parke. That doesn't sound too far out of the realm of possibility as the back line seems to be the one place where Bruce's boys have a little (but not much) breathing room and Toronto has more strikers than a room full of disgruntled Teamsters with Edson Buddle, Conor Casey, and Abbe Ibrahim on the roster alongside Eskandarian.

As always with these things, we shall see.

Money & Marketing: the Red Bull Rebuttal

Last week I mentioned that there would be a flip side piece to Ives Galarcep's unveiling of Red Bull New York's 2006 loses. It has come a little later than I thought but Kristian Dyer's latest for Soccernet goes a little deeper into the story here. He also brings forth some figures that you've probably have never seen before.

RBNY GM Marc DeGranpre offers something of a rebuttal, and offers that maybe the sky isn't falling just yet, and that the team actually hit it's financial marks for 2006. He also touches on the subject of the seeming lack marketing behind the club this year.

"I've said before we do not believe in marketing an inferior product, the soccer enthusiasts in this area are too smart for that," de Grandpre said. "We are focused on turning the team on the field into a winner and once we do so, then you will see a more aggressive marketing campaign."

I can't say that I wholly disagree with him. Spend 2007 making your team a winner on the field so that when the club opens it's shiny new stadium (that is certain to be best of MLS), you have some on-field buzz to go along with it. Only then will it make sense to spend the kind of cash necessary to make anything resembling a splash in the New York market.

50-50 Ball: Why Watch MLS?

A user over on Bigsoccer a user by the name of "Shopping Cart Man" has posed the above question this a.m. Now I would think that the homeless would have more pressing issues to deal with like finding new ways to intimidate people into giving them money but what do I know?

It's a simple question with a simple answer really. Here's 2 scenarios, which would you prefer?

  • You could be in a committed long distance relationship with a really hot Spanish chick that you where introduced to when you were an exchange student. Best sex you ever had, but aside from maybe you going to see her once every few years or her stopping to see you when she comes through the States occasionally for work, your relationship is limited to early a.m. phone sex (due to the timezones) on the weekends.

  • You could be in a relationship with a local woman who is attractive for sure, but no supermodel (although she appears to be maturing gracefully). Not only do you see her regularly, but you know her family, friends and have a fairly normal relationship. Although she is no pornstar, you do get to sleep with her on a regular basis.

The choice is yours, homey.

Download: Black Sheep "The Choice is Yours (You Could Get With This or You Could Get With That)


Brit Tabloid Report Threat of American Hooliganism

The Daily Star (Britain's answer to the National Enquirer AND Perez Hilton) is reporting that the LAPD Swat Team is drawing up plans to deal with the threat of hooliganism. Allegedly both the department and the Galaxy fear that with the arrival of a certain new signing British ex-pats will suddenly take an interest in MLS and bring the ruckus.

One problem with that though....there is no away support in America! Other than the 4 matches a year against Chivas USA, you never see more than a handful of fans for the opposition. But just to be on the safe side, I am recommending that CCTV cameras be placed outside The Derby, no lager sales after kickoff at the HDC, and that Elijah Wood now be placed under 24 hour surveillance.


Fuck Me! Toronto FC Sell Out Season Tix, Luxury Boxes

Wow. Not much to say other than "good on you Canuckistan". Read it and weep LA; even with your mighty Beckham you're no longer the leader in season tickets.


You may have noticed that as of the last few days the Sky Sports video feed has been fairly erratic. My guess is that since the Cricket World Cup is being sold on pay-per-view, why would they give it away for free over the web? No worries, we had a good run.

Now I have something better...The Offside Rules TV (TORtv for short). Just press play once and you'll get a few hours worth of juicy clips; nothing but the sweetest goals, coolest commercials, crackin' music videos, and the finest in mini-documentaries. I've tried to include almost exclusively professionally shot footage to keep the content quality high.

All of the clips are programmed in a playlist form so that you only have to click once; the videos will segue to the next clip automatically. You can skip to the next clip or see the last one again by clicking on the arrows or on the "filmstrip" at right.

Let me know what you think of this; if it sucks, needs more women, is too long, too short, or if you'd rather just have ESPN where Sky Sports was.

The ATL's USL team to host Cruz Azul

Somebody has got to say it. Mexican futbol is the hottest thing this side of the border since the the introduction of the Grilled Stuft Burrito. I mean everybody from the national team, to MLS clubs, and now the A-league are doing what they can to stoke the fires of the Rio Grande rivalry. According to the team website , Atlanta will pick up the baton on July 28th when they take on Cruz Azul.

It's not surprising given the large & lovely Hispanic population and the trucks full of cash that can be made by hosting these matches. It's also not surprising given the ambition of the Atlanta Gorillas (their plans to expand their stadium to 15,000 capacity) and the popularity of Cruz Azul. What is surprising is that Issac Mizrahi is CA's coach. How does he have time to do this and design for Target at the same time?

New Yorks Notes

For those of you interested an interest in Red Bull New York that is not limited exclusively to those cute college girls who hand out the free drink samples, I've got a small update on trialist Ansu Toure. Good buddy Bruce from DuNord reports that the Liberian is back in the Twin Cities to close out paperwork to obtain his US citizenship. As RBNY currently has a full roster and would have to cut someone to keep Toure this may make him look a little sweeter in the eyes of Bruce Arena & Jeff Agoos given the teams current lack of scoring options.

On another note, keep your eyes peeled the next few days for further info and another take on RB's financials later this week. It seems that there is more to the story that Ives (my favorite writer, save Angela Landsbury) wrote earlier in the week about the clubs' multimillion-dollar losses last year. And no, the loses have nothing to do with keeping Meola in McRib sandwiches.



10 Signs That You Spend Far Too Much Time on Bigsoccer

10. You know what the following letter combinations mean:

9. The letter combination "DP" no longer conjures a pornographic image.

8. You'd like to "Move KC now!"

7. The NASL's demise is the direct result of the Cosmos success. FACT!

6. You complain. About everything.

5. Making the 1st page of a thread is the most exciting moment of your day.

4. You can list every potential MLS expansion market, & why they'll never get in
(especially Rochester).

3. You don't have to ask which side of the family Uncle's Phil & Lamar are on.

2. You've had multiple arguments about why Miami was contracted.

1. The word "Hmong" sends you into fits of uncontrollable hysteria.

Aye Dios Mio: Mucho Mexican Money

"The Q's take for Mexico-Venezuela is slightly less than the Supercross motorcycle event in February, and about the same as the Monster Jam truck races in January. And more than either college football's Holiday Bowl or Poinsettia Bowl in December, which Stover says made $342,000 and $200,000, respectively.

And far more than the entire Chargers season. Figures released by the city early this week indicate the city is at least $400,000 in the red for one playoff, eight regular-season and two preseason games. Qualcomm Stadium ... the home of futbol"

How you like them apples Jim Rome? This Revelation comes courtesy of
Marc Ziegler's piece in the Wednesday edition of the San Diego Tribune-Union. There are more than a few die-hard Sam's Army types out there who cringe at the fact that Los Tri play so many matches (6 this year alone) on U.S. soil. But when you see numbers like that and realize that SUM/MLS are pocketing it, it's a little harder to hate. Viva Mexico!


Holding Out for a Home?

Yes, there are a lot of negative things being said about RBNY today and much of it is true. But how can your nipples not turn into pencil erasers when you see this image of the interior of Red Bull Park? I'll give the front office the benefit of the doubt and say that they are going to lay low this season and wait until next year to reintroduce themselves to the metro area; check out the ad blitz Colorado is doing in Denver this season with the opening of DSG Park and you get the idea.

Jersey Jersey

So I was at Target in Jersey on Sunday, just tooling around with the missus as you do, when this guy comes walking past me with yellow & gold Galaxy kit emblazoned with Becks name and number on the back. It was a very odd moment because on one hand I wanted to tap him on the shoulder and (in a voice akin to the comic shop guy on The Simpsons) inform Johnny-come-lately that in about 6 months time (possibly less) that jersey will be well out of date. Hell, I'll bet a fiver that Beckham will never even wear the green & gold.

On the other hand I was smiling ear to ear due to the simple fact that someone was wearing an MLS kit out of market. That may not sound like much, but you rarely see someone even wearing a jersey for your local side, let alone one from another market. But maybe I have a skewed view on this as the Arc of the Covenant is easier to come by than an RBNY top.

And speaking of kits, it looks like the 2007 MLS jerseys are beginning to roll out. So for all of you kit whores out there you can now pick up those Toronto jerseys for complete set for the league (if this is you, seek help). But of course the Red Bull is still pre-order only.


The Whole "Grow Our Brand" Thing Is Getting Out of Hand

First it was the Ajax America experiment down in Florida. Then Chivas came to the USA and Chelsea went public with their "special relationship" with LA Galaxy. Shortly thereafter perennial also-rans Charlton FC announced that they would be opening an academy in Arizona and were followed to America by their brothers in futility Crystal Palace, who set up shop in Baltimore. Real Madrid hitched their wagon to RSL after RSL hijacked their name. And most recently Arsenal have gotten in bed with Colorado Rapids.

Now Liverpool want to have a
"strategic alliance [that] will allow Liverpool FC to extend their brand in the U.S. through one of the most influential youth leagues in America,the LIJSL".

I swear some days I think that KY should really think about getting in the event sponsorship game; you will be hard pressed to find a bigger, more lucrative circle jerk than world football.

Pacific Islanders Getaway

There is a reason it's called "the world game". Seriously, when was the last time your local NFL team hosted an exhibition match against the Fijian National team? Never of course, but for the record their rugby team would annihilate most American football offences (sigh...if only they knew how to play the game).

If you're feeling the need for a little island life you can get your fix on the Fiji national teams 2007 tour. Also, I'll give a prize of some sort to anyone who can tell me the name of any Fijian player ever without going to Wikipedia for the info. Tour details are as follows:

April 4 vs Santa Clara University
April 6 vs San Francisco University
April 7 vs California Victory (USL Div 1)
April 10 vs California Berkley
April 11 vs San Francisco Seals (PDL)
April 13 vs BYU
April 17 vs KC Wizards
April 18 vs Real Salt Lake reserves

To further broaden your horizons here's 5 facts about Fiji.

1. Really good golfer (and REALLY rich guy) Vijay Singh is from Fiji.
2. The tallest building in Fiji is a vertigo-inducing 14 stories tall (I've seen NYC schools taller).
3. Current president Commodore Josaia Voreqe Bainimarama took over via coup in 2006.
4. Due to said coup, Fiji lost the right to host the 2007 World Netball Championship (gotta hurt).
5. Survivor: Fiji was voted by The Offside Rules as one of the lamest shows on TV not starring a person who talks to ghosts.


Rumor Update: Brazil, Argentina to US in '08

A few weeks back I mentioned that it looked like Brazil & Argentina were setting up to face off stateside in late March. Apparently that timetable was a little too tight, with sources now indicating that this will be put off until next year, but likely to involve multiple matches.

Sunday's San Diego Business Journal backs that up in addition to stating that San Diego is booked to host one of those matches. I'll keep my ear to the ground on this one as any opportunity to gaze upon the pure genius that is Ronaldinho and the raw talent of Messi should be savoured.

Also, look for San Diego to possibly host a match by Chelsea as they are looking to play in another California city while in country for the World Series of Football. My wild-ass guess would have the bay area as the only other real possibilty.


Galaxy to Appear on The Apprentice

Garber ain't the only Don down with MLS these days. Word out of LA LA Land is that the Gals will be featured in this Sunday's episode of Donald Trumps' The Apprentice as the contestants try to run some sort of half-time promotion at the HDC.

Do any of you Left Coast readers recall there being "Bad Hairpiece Giveaway Night" last season?

DC & Melbourne Play "He Said, She Said"

United Finalizes Deal For Fred--Washington Post

Victory quash Fred rumour--Sportal.co.nz

These are today's headlines on the rumored transfer of Fred, a Brazilian striker/midfielder playing in the A-League. Australian champs Melbourne say he ain't going. D.C. says that they have him locked up like Charles Manson.

Who's doing the PR for Melbourne, Baghdad Bob? Not to say that The Post has a 100% track record on transfer rumors; just a few weeks ago they said that D.C had a different Brazilian midfielder, Ruy, locked up.


Galaxy v. Chelsea Rumor to Finally Get Some Closure

According to the OC Register....

"The Galaxy and Chelsea FC of the English Premier League are set to finalize a date for an international friendly, expected to be July 21. A Friday news conference has been scheduled at The Home Depot Center at 10:30 a.m. "

It seems like this rumor has been floating around forever. I will be interested to see if the press conference reveals any details pertaining to TV rights for this match (and the tournament as a whole). If this is in fact going to be Beckham's Galaxy debut I can't imagine it not being televised; the question is does ESPN get this as a bonus to their TV deal, or does the league let it ESPN, FSC, & Gol fight it out since it is not a regular season game?


Admit It, You Like To Watch

If you read this blog you are probably like most North American soccer fans and get the majority of your footie fix online. You get news from DuNord, stories from Soccernet, tickets from Ticketbastard, watch videos on Youtube and get the spurious rumors from MLS Underground (the Perez Hilton of American soccer).

Apparently you buy your movies online as well. A footnote from Jack Bell in the NY Times yesterday mentioned that “Goal! The Dream Begins,” the first part of the soccer movie trilogy, was the No. 5 film downloaded on iTunes after being available for less than a week. Very impressive indeed for a movie that only had a US box office gross of $4,280,577.

Let's hope that the sales will keep coming, and that it will have an influence on whether the sequel (already showing in the U.K.) gets a domestic release.

NOW SHOWING: Celtic v. AC Milan

Watch the Champions League match live at left.

Red Bull Just Starts Making Sports Up

This is only tangently soccer-related but what the hell, it's a slow news day. Have you seen this new sport that Red Bull have come up with called Crashed Ice? It's like something you would come up with if you were bored with 4 of your bro's on a cold day in Wisconsin after each drinking a case of The Beast. I admire this "fuck it, why not?" attitude that has led to this ground-breaking addition to the sporting landscape.

Basically stick a bunch of guys on skates as they jump, slide, weave, and break-bones through an iced-over snowboardcross track. How fucking fun does that sound? More fun than sitting on the couch high as shit watching Chapelle Show reruns while your homeboys girlfriend (who you always thought was too fine for his wanna-be 2 Fast 2 Furious ass) feeds you a box full of Twinkies. What, too much?

I got hipped to this from the link in this CNBC article. I'm no financial wizard or anything but I would like to point out that when this guy says that Red Bull should have never renamed the team after they bought it because "everyone does that" I had to ask myself "really, who else?" Sure there are a few clubs in Europe named for a company that owns them but who else in America has done this? Someone please correct me if I am wrong.

Brian Weidling Interview

That towering pillar on online soccer goodness, Evenison, has an interview with the director of the Claudio Reyna documentary "The Goal" that has been the topic of a lot of chatter online lately, Brian Wiedling. Don't forget...Your Captain Needs You!


Warning: This Is Porn

.....only if you like pinpoint crosses and long-range strikes as much as you like tits, and Victoria Secret catalogues. And if that's the case you need to move out of your moms fucking basement and get wet.

Until then, spend your Saturday night's at your World of Warcraft-edition Alienware PC peeping FootieTube. It's like Youtube without all of the annoying cat videos, and music videos so bad that even MTV won't air them.

In addition to all the current clips & commercials, they have a wealth of old-school footage for the hardcore fan. Seriously, where else can you see Jimmy Greaves tackle the dog during the England-Brazil match from '62?

Q&A with Jonathon Kraft

Mass Media has an interview with NE Revs owner Jonathon Kraft. No revelations but just something I would put out there since you don't see too many interviews with MLS owners. You can use the following log-in to bypass the registration for the site:

Username: walruses@mailinator.com
Password: 777777

Courtesy of Bugmenot.com, an awesome resource for accessing those registration required articles without having to actually give up your info.

Krauts Get Creative with Thier Balls

So let's just get all cultured in this piece. These art-damaged Germans over at bora-herke.de have been using their brains for something other than finding new ways to wear leather, and build unreasonably nice motor cars. They may have done the most original thing with balls (apart from "The Cincinatti Bowtie") since Johan Cruyff retired by creating some really original one-of-a-kind balls for each country that played in the 2006 World Cup.

What makes it special is that each ball is made of a product that originated in said country, mostly with wonderfully jingoistic stereotypes in mind. The Swedish ball is made out of Ikea catalogs, and the Japan's ball is made of anime. Other highlighted balls include the U.S.'s, which is made of denim, England's ball that seems to be made of tabloids and Korea's ball that is made of cellphone and gadget images.

MoIllusions has a bit more information in English (from around the time of the Cup, but worth checking out).


Breaking News: Dave Checketts to buy Gol TV

Reports are surfacing that RSL owner Dave Checketts' company has apparently put in a bid for Gol TV that would make his firm majority owners of the cable network. It could be very interesting to watch this play out as FSC is Gol TV's direct competitor, and holds rights to MLS broadcasts. Conflict of interest, yes. End of the footballing world, no.

Vive les Quebecois

It's been a while since I posted any
USL news so I thought I'd bring up this piece from a few days ago. The USL's Montreal Impact have thrown down the gauntlet in regards to MLS expansion franchise Toronto FC.

"Toronto FC hasn't proven anything yet," Impact president Joey Saputo said Thursday. "We're still the best team in Canada and our goal is to continue to be the best team in Canada and, if we have the opportunity to play Toronto FC, our goal would be to prove it."

The CBC story is here. These guys certainly don't have a little brother complex. And why should they; they have higher attendance than several MLS clubs, in some cases pay better than MLS, are about to begin construction on their own SSS, and have a supporters group (UMO2) that rivals anything going stateside. And I won't even mention their high-alcohol beer, and strip clubs that defy justification.

Shit, can we get them in as the 14th team?


Stan Kroenke to take on Ticketmaster

First he started his own network, then built the Rapids their own stadium. Now owner Stan Kroenke (he of the questionable mustache) is set to make his empire, which includes Denver's lacrosse, hockey, and arena football franchises, even more self sufficient by starting TicketHorse.

You hear that Rapids fans, not more extortionate Ticketbastard service fees! What's also cool about this deal is that their will be ticket kiosks in Denver area locations of Dicks Sporting Goods, a new-comer to the MLS sponsorship table who are really putting their money where their mouth is and are getting behind soccer whole hog.

Now if only we actually find some MLS merchandise in their store....



“My desire to come here still stands,” said Adu to realmadrid.com. “Look at the situation I’m in. I play for ‘Real’ Salt Lake now, so you never know, right?”

That is a quote from an article I just read about RSL playing Real Madrid while training in Spain.

Yes Freddy, YOU PLAY FOR REAL SALT LAKE! The Bernabeau is certainly a natural next-step from Rice-Eccles or the Sandy Debacle Stadium set to open in 2009.

Now look, I love The Biggest Midget In The Game(TM) as much as the next guy but will someone please help him learn to know when to shut up? I swear he alone is reason enough for MLS to have some sort of Motown style finishing school. But I guess 17 year old millionaires are never really that smart are they? They don't make that kind of money from being physicists or authors, just from being athletes, actors, or musicians.

Sorry if I am cranky, I didn't get Police tickets and it has left me on edge.

MLS Competition Calendar & Key Dates Announced

MLS released it competition calendar today along with some key dates for the year. Check some of the highlights below; what's mad-as-hatters is that only 4 of these dates have anything to do with the regular season. And this schedule does not include the matches LA is playing in the much rumoured 4 team tournament with Chelsea, SuWon Bluewings, & Tigres. I can't remember a year so packed for American soccer ever, can you (paging Kenn Tomasch)?


February 21, 2007:CONCACAF Champions Cup Quarterfinals Houston Dynamo at Puntarenas FC, Puntarenas, Costa Rica; D.C. United at CD Olimpia, Tegucigalpa, Honduras

March 1, 2007:CONCACAF Champions Cup Quarterfinals Puntarenas FC at Houston Dynamo, College Station, Texas; CD Olimpia at D.C. United, Washington, D.C.

March 13-15, 2007:CONCACAF Champions Cup Semifinals - 1st leg

April 3-5, 2007:CONCACAF Champions Cup Semifinals - 2nd leg

April 7-8, 2007:MLS First Kick - Opening Weekend

April 12, 2007:MLS Primetime Thursday debuts on ESPN2FC Dallas @ Los Angeles Galaxy 10:00 p.m. ET

April 17-19, 2007:CONCACAF Champions Cup Finals - 1st leg

April 24-26, 2007:CONCACAF Champions Cup Finals - 2nd leg

June 6-24, 2007:CONCACAF Gold Cup

June 30-July 22, 2007:FIFA U-20 World Cup (Canada)

June 26-July 15, 2007:Copa America (Venezuela)

July 10, 2007:Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup date (round-of-16) - 8 MLS teams enter tournament

July 19, 2007:2006 Sierra Mist MLS All-Star Game vs. Celtic FC, 9 p.m. ET ESPN2 DSG Park, Denver

July 24, 2007:SuperLiga begins

August 7, 2007:Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup date (quarterfinals)

August 14-15 2007:SuperLiga semifinal matches

August 18-September 9, 2007:FIFA U-17 World Cup (Korea)

August 29, 2007:SuperLiga final

September 4, 2007:Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup date (semifinals)

October 2, 2007:Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Final

October 21, 2007:MLS Regular Season concludes

November 18, 2007:MLS Cup 2007RFK Memorial Stadium, Washington, D.C.

Sympathy for the Scheduler

The person with the toughest job at MLS HQ this off-season had to be the person responsible for making the schedule work this year. Sure it's probably always a bastard to put together, what with many teams still playing second fiddle at their stadiums to NFL, MLB, and concerts. But this year you have to throw "the David Beckham tour" and the fact that there are an uneven number of teams into the mix. It's a crime if the person responsible for juggling these cats did not at the very least get a margarita party in the office for completing this task.

And after reading Jack Bell in the NY Times yesterday, I have to think that this person is probably now the last person on planet earth that wants Becks to be recalled to Steve McClaren's England squad. Why? Because this person (or persons) obviously busted their ass to make sure that Brand Beckham would touch down in every MLS market at least once this season, and that the league would get much bang for it's buck by giving LA the most ESPN coverage of any team. If he's called up two very important showcase's for the league new golden boy would come into serious jeopardy: the LA-Derby vs. Chivas USA and a season-ending clash with Red Bull New York, with both matches are slated as primetime ESPN games.

What's the problem you ask? England has Euro 2008 qualifiers against Russia scheduled the day before each of these matches, and the chances of Beckham suiting up in Europe then playing in a match the next day in Los Angeles are….well, let's just say it could happen, but it certainly is not ideal. Now whether you believe McClaren will go all Capello and out him back on the team is an entirely different issue.

If this were to occur, in my opinion the only person less jazzed would be the poor guy at the Gals ticket office who sold all those multi-game ticket packs and then would have to deal with the pissed-off phones calls from the international soccer neophytes for whom the "club vs. country" debate is completely foreign.