Lows, Highs and Goodbyes -- 2011
Posted by Paul Gardner on Dec. 31, 12:19 p.m.
The usual touches of sadness and gladness, accompanied by the glow of excitement and the groans of disappointment come back to me from the soccer year that was 2011. There were occasions ...
The Suarez Verdict: A Rush to Justice?
Posted by Paul Gardner on Dec. 21, 8:20 p.m.
A very curious business, this "conviction" of Liverpool's Luis Suarez for racially abusing Manchester United's Patrice Evra.
The Latest Fashion News from FIFA -- or, A Look at the 2012 Rule Book
Posted by Paul Gardner on Dec. 20, 6:07 p.m.
Reading the soccer rule book -- or any rule book -- is not really anyone's idea of having a good time. But someone has to do it once in a while, so I'll save you the trouble with a quick skim through the latest version of FIFA's "Laws of the Game." I shall call them rules, though.
Barcelona vs. the best? No contest
Posted by Paul Gardner on Dec. 18, 8:17 p.m.
Within the last eight days Barcelona has stamped its superiority on world soccer in a way that brooks no argument. Pep Guardiola's team is simply irresistible.
North Carolina quells Charlotte Frenzy to take College Cup
Posted by Paul Gardner on Dec. 12, 12:28 a.m.
The most baffling moment of the college final arrived during halftime. Charlotte's coach Jeremy Gunn was telling us that he felt "the first half went well for us" and that what was needed in the second half was "to keep making life difficult for our opponents." Well, fair enough, not exactly the most sophisticated approach you'll ever hear, but I ...
Bruce Arena exposes fallacy of Euro training for MLS youngsters
Posted by Paul Gardner on Dec. 9, 12:11 a.m.
Bruce Arena, I'm delighted to announce, has returned to being Bruce Arena. After a season in which his Galaxy gave us game after game of very dull, very un-Arena-ish games, he has now had his say -- a very invigorating, straight-talking, totally Arena-ish say -- on a topic that has long cried out for such a comment.
More questions about the safety of heading
Posted by Paul Gardner on Dec. 4, 7:32 p.m.
U.S. Youth Soccer's "official" response -- if that's what it is -- to the latest medical studies on possible brain damage resulting from heading the ball sounds dangerously complacent.
Remembering Roy Rees - the Welsh Maverick
Posted by Paul Gardner on Nov. 30, 10:28 p.m.
Roy Rees -- gone so suddenly, so sadly. They say he was 74, but that hardly seems possible to me. I suppose they're right, but Roy, both in mind and body, was always a young man to me.
Beckham's Galaxy: More boring than scoring
Posted by Paul Gardner on Nov. 26, 12:54 p.m.
Now that the Galaxy (or as it's far too often defined, "David Beckham's Galaxy") has won MLS Cup, we can settle down to have a bit of a ponder about its manner of claiming the title. Beckham has had his say, "We were incredible" is his modest opinion.
ESPN - typically - fires the wrong guy
Posted by Paul Gardner on Nov. 22, 12:16 a.m.
Trying to read any logic -- particularly soccer logic -- into any of the decisions made by ESPN regarding its soccer coverage is barely worth the bother.
MLS Awards: Which ones are on the mark?
Posted by Paul Gardner on Nov. 18, 3:24 a.m.
Interesting bunch, these MLS season-award winners. For a whole variety of reasons they reflect various happenings and attitudes within the league and its clubs.
The Beckham Final ... The Beckham Finale?
Posted by Paul Gardner on Nov. 16, 12:17 a.m.
It is inevitable that this MLS Cup will be all about David Beckham. Even should the unthinkable happen and he is unable to play, that in itself would be the big story.
Coming to a stadium near you: The New York NeanderBulls
Posted by Paul Gardner on Nov. 9, 3:55 p.m.
No joking now -- this is a heartfelt statement: I can genuinely declare that the Red Bulls' Hans Backe is the most likeable coach I have ever encountered at the pro level. And during over 50 years involvement in this sport, I've met a lot of coaches.
The Snood Factor: Why Colorado, and not KC, should be in the Eastern Conference Final
Posted by Paul Gardner on Nov. 4, 12:51 p.m.
As far as I can discover, there is no specific FIFA rule that would prevent goalkeepers from making asses of themselves. Maybe there should be, as they clearly have some sort of inbuilt facility that enables them to excel on the idiocy front.
MLS making big mistake by courting Brit referee
Posted by Paul Gardner on Nov. 1, 10:54 p.m.
I mentioned some weeks back that the American Mark Geiger had been chosen to referee this year's Under-20 World Cup final. This was a particularly notable honor, as one of the referees also in line for the job was England's Mark Clattenburg, a man with seven years' experience refereeing in the English Premier League.