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Stars? Bah, says Mourinho. The team -- meaning the coach, that is ME, is the one who matters

Coaches, of course, can be relied on to say something. Without doubt they are the most frequently quoted contingent in the sport of soccer. They can also be relied on to make themselves highly visible during games by frequently throwing histrionic fits -- it wouldn't amaze me to learn that we actually see more of the coaches during a telecast ...

Hallelujah! A terrible diving call gets rescinded!

Regularly, at least once per season, I announce, with indignant protestations of disgust, that I have just witnessed the worst-ever diving call.

Lalas & Balboa agree -- breaking the rules is fine

We all remember Alexi Lalas and Marcelo Balboa, don't we. The stalwart double act at the heart of the U.S. defense in the 1994 World Cup. A rather rustic pair. That's right -- those two. That was over 20 years ago, and they've moved on, of course.

Brazil 1 Chile 0 -- a game shaped by refereeing

So who needs travel? My 9:30 am Sunday breakfast in New York was spent mostly watching a telecast from London ... featuring two of South America's top teams, Brazil and Chile.

Why are England's clubs so barely English?

With the inglorious exit of Everton -- bounced out of the Europa League by a 5-2 mauling from Dynamo Kiev -- the participation of English clubs in this season's European competition has come to an abrupt and really rather shocking halt.

Why are goalkeepers allowed to get away with this?

The picture below is from Saturday's Dallas-Kansas City game. It shows Dallas goalkeeper Chris Seitz in the process of punching the ball away.

Kaka comes through; Villa not quite; Kelly not at all

The great Orlando-New York clash managed to do what so often doesn't get done ... it produced a wonderfully climactic finish and the right result.

IFAB nearly gets one right, UEFA gets it all wrong

Well, well -- how about this? Had to happen some time, I suppose, so here we are: I find myself in agreement with an IFAB decision. At least, partially so.

Europe embraces Latino flair, how about the USA?

Ten minutes into Tuesday's Champions League game between Manchester City and Barcelona, TV commentator Martin Tyler told us "There are South Americans everywhere you look on the pitch here."

In search of youth soccer ... and do we really want it anyway? Part 3: Street soccer -- to be crushed or cherished?

The purest form of youth soccer -- maybe it is really the only form -- is street soccer. With its own rules, invented by the boys, without coaches or referees, anarchic but functional, plenty of appalling language but not (as I recall) much rough play, chaotic but with its sudden surprising moments of joyful teamwork.

In search of youth soccer ... and do we really want it anyway? Part 2: Correcting bad habits, or the intrusion of the adults

Youth soccer is a manifestly imperfect sport. What else would one expect from kids, anyway? It is, we are told -- this is an ongoing criticism -- full of bad habits that have to be corrected. But from the youth-development point of view -- in other words, from the way adults see things -- the biggest negative of youth soccer ...

In search of youth soccer ... and do we really want it anyway? Part 1: The young naive mischief-makers ...

Back in 1977 FIFA initiated an under-20 tournament and called it the FIFA World Youth Championship. With that title, the event sailed merrily along through 15 editions until 2007 when it suddenly became the FIFA U-20 World Cup

Argentina shines; Brazil not so much

The way I look at it, Brazil owes us something. Us. Meaning the vast world soccer community that has -- with good reason -- treasured Brazilian soccer as the glittering truth of the sport, the Beautiful Game at its pinnacle.

Tab Ramos and the Soccer Speed Trap

Comparing his very ordinary current under-20 team with the highly promising version he had two years ago, Coach Tab Ramos says that the new team is "more dynamic, and we have speed on this team."

'A flag on the play' -- something soccer could learn from football

From Saturday's FA Cup game in England: Leicester's Andrej Kramaric gets clean through the Tottenham defense, ball at his feet, only goalkeeper Michel Vorm to beat. As Kramaric tries to dribble around him, Vorm makes a slide tackle. Something goalkeepers are not very good at (if you doubt that, take a look at the video of Manuel Neuer's recent attempt ...