• Kick-in fraught with problems
    Twice in recent weeks we've had top English Premier League coaches suggesting changes to the rules of the game. First it was Alex Ferguson -- the longest serving EPL coach -- who criticized the sometimes mystifying criteria that referees use when deciding how much extra time to add at the end of each half of a game.
  • The back-heel pass: bringing soccer a new dimension
    It is my considered, indeed cherished, opinion that anything in soccer that makes life more difficult for defenders is worth a try. Anything within the rules of the game, that is.
  • D.C. United's puzzling pursuit of Porter
    D.C. United's interest in Akron University coach Caleb Porter (now aborted by Porter's veto) ... what was that all about? Was it a desire to do something daring, to break free from the network of coaches who tend to get recycled in MLS, to show that a new approach was necessary?
  • What College Cup reveals about the college game
    By Paul GardnerWithout much hesitation, I'd say that the weekend's Akron vs. North Carolina NCAA Division I semifinal was probably the best college game that I've seen. And that's in nearly 50 years of watching. I put that probably in there, because there are some ifs and buts to be considered. Firstly: I'm using the criteria of college soccer to judge the game -- I'm not comparing it with youth soccer generally, or with, say, the Under-20 World Cup.
  • Ref Howard Webb lets Messi take a beating
    There is good refereeing, there is just plain refereeing, there is bad refereeing -- and then there is Howard Webb. The Englishman, much favored it seems by the UEFA and FIFA powers that be, was in action again yesterday, in the Dynamo Kiev vs. Barcelona game.
  • Messi: Quite Simply, The Best
    The annual Ballon D'Or vote for the world's best player is one of the very few of these rapidly multiplying awards that has managed to hold my interest year after year.
  • The Troubled World of England's Youth Academies
    Those of you who are bewildered by the proliferation of soccer academies might want to take a look at a book published recently in England -- "Every Boy's Dream" by Chris Green (A&C Black, London). There is a great deal of intriguing material in its pages as Green wends his journalistic way through the successes and failures, the joys and despairs of the youth development system in England.
  • The marketing of fanaticism
    Not that you needed a reminder, but this weekend's big games were a glaring example of just how international pro soccer has become -- at the club level.
  • The Olympic Soccer Camel Lumbers On
    The camel, so it is said, was supposed to be a horse - but it was designed by a committee and that's the way it came out, ungainly, unshapely, and often unmanageable.
  • MLS Cup: Real Salt Lake Worthy Winners
    As soccer finals go -- and they haven't been going that well lately -- this was not at all bad. It's always satisfying to see the underdogs come through, especially when they manage to play the better soccer. And Real Salt Lake certainly did that.
  • USA looks too familiar in Denmark game
    Trying to think of one word to describe the USA's performance against Denmark, I have settled on "stale." Nothing new to be seen here, very much the same old same old.
  • Despair not - Kreis and Donovan Offer Hope
    I had to feel sympathy for MLS Commissioner Don Garber when the lights went out at the Home Depot. Not once, but twice -- and we got television shots of him in his luxury suite, talking into his cell phone, trying to show some mastery of a situation over which he had no control at all.
  • Rethinking the red-card rule
    A great shame, this. What promised to be -- what surely should have been -- an immensely pleasing semifinal between Switzerland and Colombia at the Under-17 World Cup was quickly turned into a disappointing occasion -- by the referee.
  • New Generation Coach: Kreis Shows the Way
    So, is that the end of the playoffs, then? Or do these conference finals also count as playoffs? I rather hope not, because I've had my fill of playoff soccer, thank you, and would like to see something a little more ... er, a little more, shall we say, refined?
  • The Commissioner Shoots the Messenger
    I see that D.C. United President Kevin Payne has upset MLS Commissioner Don Garber by uttering some uncomfortable truths about the league.
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