A photo of what may prove to be the 2013/2014 Manchester United home shirt has been circulating the web today. This one features a black turned down collar and looks to have abandoned the “table cloth” look of this season’s home kit. I like it. Do you?
Interesting position. I think some lower level clubs could adopt a similar role within their organizations
At the tender age of 20, many will be looking to widen their eyes deciding on what the future has install for them. But Toronto FC Brand Ambassador Rachel Bonnetta has come across the job role she describes as ‘one of the best in the world’. Being a brand ambassador is a confusing title, I caught up with Rachel to discuss what the role involves and all things Toronto FC.
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The main reason I have for shunting Robin out wide is that we’ve got some midfielders in a rich vein of form that need to see some minutes on the pitch. The injury to Kagawa on Tuesday seems to have postponed the discussion on where/how our Japanese midfielder best fits into a Manchester United starting XI, but there are still a plethora of combinations and permutations that the gaffer could piece together when the Reds take on Chelsea at the Bridge this weekend. The presence of van Persie and Rooney both in the team means that they MUST be on the pitch together from the start. In addition to the two strikers, only de Gea’s position in goal, and the back line of Rafael, Evans, Ferdinand, and Evra pick themselves. After that the remaining four positions are quite debatable.
The reasoning behind the title of this piece is that this author humbly believes that a 3 man midfield of Cleverley, Anderson, and Fletcher/Carrick is just what is needed to stymie a Chelsea side that is leading the Premier League table by a comfortable 4 points at this early stage of the season. Anderson is a player that divides opinion amongst United supporters, but I belong to the group who believes the Brazilian is due some time on the pitch to showcase his talents. Anderson’s ability to run with the ball is something unique to him and maybe only Shinji Kagawa in Manchester United’s midfield. Carrick, Scholes, and Cleverley are all excellent passers but have no real physical presence to speak of. Scholes’ advancing age makes me wary of starting him in a match against a midfield likely to consist of Mikel and Ramires holding behind Hazard, Mata, and Oscar. Against that sort of opposition, our best bet is to meet them with a 3 man midfield, Rooney leading the line, with Valencia wide right and van Persie wide left.
So there you have it. My ideal squad for Sunday:
Rafael Evans Ferdinand Evra
Valencia Rooney van Persie
Having been out of the house and offline most of the weekend I missed a chance to watch Man United play live and all the subsequent conversation surrounding the match. Having now watched the full match, and BBC’s Match of the Day program I feel the urge to make note of just a few things.
- Danny “Welbinho” Welbeck isn’t terrible in a wide left position
- The link up play between Wayne Rooney, Robin van Persie, and Welbinho is whats keeping Chicharito (rightly in my opinion) on the bench.
- David de Gea is improving all the time. Looked composed and again demonstrated his absurd reflexes.
- Anderson is looking sharp and fit and will most likely start in the Champions League tomorrow against Braga. (with Cleverley and Kagawa I predict)
- This Manchester United team is still developing and is in a tactical revolution this season to build from their personnel overhaul over the last two years. Second place without ever reeeally putting together a good string of performances bodes well for when these players really gel.
Things I’m looking forward to in the near future:
- A fluid 4-3-3 with Anderson, Kagawa, Cleverley, Welbinho, van Persie, and Rooney all starting together.
- More link play between van Persie Rooney and Welbinho
- The return of Vidic, Smalling and Jones
All in all I’m quite pleased with how we’re playing going forward. The majority of the match against Stoke and in previous games as well we’ve bosses proceedings with the exception of the odd defensive lapse What I’d like to see is the complete eradication of errors at the back. More clean sheets. More dominant displays. And more fear in the hearts of our enemies.
Just think this is fantastic. Lets start using social media to promote ourselves to ourselves!
Today we retweeted a job posted by the San Diego Flash Soccer Club(@SDFlashSoccer) calling for people to become members of a new street team they are obviously assembling to help increase their community outreach.
However it was the feedback that we received from users asking about the job and where they can get more information that really got us thinking – why is no-one aggregating all the soccer jobs that get posted across the country?
If we are to #GrowTheGame we should be broadcasting opportunities for new positions within the sport far and wide to attract the most talented applicants. Not only can teams, colleges and other organizations (both non & for profit) recruit the best candidates for those individual roles, but the sport can ultimately have the best people in those key positions which can help to drive soccer forward and reach its potential in the U.S.
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By Martin Barrio
The Spain Italy match has been the one of the most anticipated games since the draw for the Euro cup was held. Today’s game proved to be a battle between the coaches rather then the teams. With plenty of time to prepare and strategize for this game, both Del Bosque and Prandelli must have thought of numerous plans to break the other team down or try to get a favorable result. Today we saw the fruition of all their hard work and preparation for this game.
As many of you know, Spain has probably the best team on paper and they have the results to prove it. They are the reigning European Champions from 2008, and more recently the World Cup in 2010. Their players and footballing philosophy have remarkably produced what is arguably the best Spanish national side in their history. Their style involves possession of the ball for long periods of time to wear their opponents down mentally, and then catch them when they make a mistake; something like how a snake charmer lulls a serpent with his flute before trapping it. Today was no different, albeit with a the lineup that was more surprising then usual. Their formation on paper was a 4-6-0, with Xavi, Iniesta, Silva, Busquests, Xabi Alonso, and Fabregas all starting together for the first time. Most football fans were shocked and bewildered by the lack a of a recognized striker, and as such missed the true genius and overall picture with this selection. Italy have a proven reputation of being the most difficult side to break down; their traditional view of the game has always been to play solid, organized defense and try to catch their opponents on the counter. Del Bosque made the decision not to try to break through the Italian wall with a sledgehammer, but rather to slowly chip at it over and over until it crumbled.(insert clever metaphor about vines of ivy and castle walls here) This 4-6-0 formation was intended to keep possession of the ball and tire the Italians until they could not keep their organization and shape, then bring on Torres and Navas to provide the requisite force to finish the Italians off. However the out of form Torres could not finish his glorious chances leading to undeserved criticism once again. The strategy was genius, just poorly executed. Many feel that Spain must change their strategies, however they created numerous chances especially towards the end. They still have the best midfield in the world and their style and philosophy does not need to change. The only criticism Spain deserves is for not calling Roberto Soldado.
The Italians once again come into a competition under the oh-so-familiar cloud of match-fixing scandals back home. Buffon recently has tried to unite the country and asks for their support in this upcoming campaign. Certainly a successful run in the European Championships will give the media more favorable storylines to write about. The Italians have always been recognized for their superb defensive abilities and their strong organization. They don’t really have any super-star players like Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, etc., but no other national side is united and strong as a team like the Italians. Coming off a despicable performance against Russia, many questioned the success the Italians would have in this upcoming tournament. However, today’s strong defensive performance certainly has silenced many doubters. Prendelli’s Italy also featured a surprising line up, a 5-3-2 with shockingly Cassano and Balotelli as forwards. The Azzuri brought back an old strategy with two central defenders in the back line and De Rossi playing sweeper just in front of them to cut the diagonal runs of the Spanish players through the midfield. The right wing-back Maggio and left sided attacker Giaccherini were drafted in to provide width in midfield. Some would argue this line-up involved three defenders, however upon further analysis, those outside “midfield” players seemed rather content staying in their own halves and not pushing the play further up the pitch. Cassano, having recently returned from heart surgery back to the national side reveled in being back in blue side and was relishing a chance to score a goal. Balotelli unfortunately had a very lack-luster performance and it was Di Natale who came of the bench with devastating effectiveness to instantly score a rather impressive goal to give Italy the lead. Pirlo gave a man of the match performance as he found lots of space and made some great passes all over the field. Although Italy did not win this game, they certainly proved they are a formidable side and will not be taken lightly. They came to this competition to hold the trophy at the end, and anything less will be thought of as a failure. Just like in 2006, every team should be wary of the Italians and they turn out to be the most unpredictable side in this competition
Both sides played tremendously well, and if it were not for Casillas and Buffon, emphasis on Casillas, this game could have gone either way. Spain will be looking to come off this draw with a victory next game to silence all the critics and Italy will continue to give these types of performances in hopes of giving their supporters something to cheer about. The European Championship has begun and the drama has begun to develop in a very short amount of time. Let’s all sit back and enjoy the show.
I first heard about the San Diego Flash through a social media online network known as Twitter in the spring of 2012. Warren Barton, who I had recently starting following, tweeted something about a tryout for those late bloomers like myself, who managed to fall through the cracks (chasms really) of the American soccer system. As a player this instantly appealed to me and I began to look into this club that was offering this unique and fairly outlandish opportunity. As I delved deeper into the history of the club I began to get a tingle up my spine as I realized exactly what I was dealing with.
The San Diego Flash is a Men’s Outdoor Professional Soccer Club based in San Diego, California. They were originally founded in 1998, but folded in 2001 due to lack of suitable infrastructure. After a period of 8 fallow years the team was resurrected in 2010 by a new ownership group spearheaded by Clenton Alexander, a former investment banker, and including Warren Barton himself as head coach and other highly reputable soccer personalities like former US international and San Diego native, Eric Wynalda. The Flash returned to competitive play in 2011 when they made its debut in the Southwest Flight of the West Division of the National Premier Soccer League (NPSL), the fourth tier of the American soccer pyramid.
Since returning to competitive play, the Flash, lead by Barton and assistant coach slash former Flash player Jerome Watson, have taken their opponents largely by storm. Winning the Southwestern division of the NPSL last season in 2011 with a record of 12-1-1 and advanced to the playoffs where they narrowly lost out to the reigning champions, the Sacramento Gold. This season the team is currently 8-1-0 on a 7 game winning streak and have only conceded 4 goals whilst banging in 31(!!) up the other end. The Flash, while dominant on the pitch is still looking to improve and expand as a brand in their home city. The people behind the scenes are working hard to bring this fabulous team to the attention of soccer fans of all ages in the area. CEO Clent Alexander has stated that, “The mission of the San Diego Flash is to inspire all youth players, boys and girls, to playing the sport of soccer at higher levels by giving them quality soccer to watch, as well as give local players the opportunity to play professionally in their hometown of San Diego.” In an effort to do just that, the Flash recently unveiled a new and interactive way for youth players to get involved. By visiting the Flash’s homepage, (http://sandiegoflashsoccer.com/) players can upload a picture of themselves with their team, and then actually attend flash home matches to receive personalized passes with their own picture on them! This simple yet effective measure demonstrates that the Flash as an organization is a club with its fingers firmly on the pulse of the people. We all want quality soccer in our backyards and the Flash aim to give it in a variety of new and interactive ways.
As fans of soccer in America, we find ourselves in an awkward and frankly embarrassing position. No one wants to be associated with mediocrity, and yet on an international scale, our domestic league and most of our players are unfortunately just that. In order to improve into the world power on the pitch that we are off of it, we are going to need to take a good hard look at ourselves. Where can we direct our gaze and identify where to bend our will in order to develop? We can’t afford to cast our sights across the pond at European football forever. In order to rival and eventually surpass the rest of the world we are going to have to grow our game. The easiest and probably most effective way to take great strides in a short period of time is to invest in our local clubs. Supporting a club like the San Diego Flash with a solid business model off the pitch and scintillating football on it is a PERFECT way to begin to address the disparity between ourselves and the rest of the world.
Success isn’t something that comes overnight. It takes years of meticulous planning, investment of resources both precious and plentiful, sleepless nights, a little luck, but most importantly what success needs in order to become synonymous with United States soccer is the time and attention of the United States people. San Diegans are lucky. We have in our own backyard; a team to support that plays entertaining, free flowing football. A team that we can go and support as they look to climb the ladder with local lads and a dedicated coaching staff of former professionals who know exactly what it takes to rise to the top of the crop.
What can you do you ask? Its simple:
- Find your local club whether it be MLS, USL, PDL, NPSL and go watch a home game
- Get online and use social media to connect with other like-minded locals who are interested in grassroots soccer in America. Use the hashtag #GrowTheGame on Twitter and you’ll be amazed at what’s going on
- Visit the website of your club and learn more about their history and the people involved in running them
- Perhaps buy yourself or your child a jersey from the club?
- Get creative in your support! Whether it be funds, time, specific expertise… etc. Whatever you do helps so chip in as you can. The movement starts with you