• World Cup Rosters: the injury curse, plus thoughts on Klinsmann's choice of passport-holders
    So much for any thoughts of an intriguing afternoon watching World Cup teams play warm-up friendly games. Very quickly I'm watching an appalling challenge from Ireland's Alex Pearce on Italy's Riccardo Montolivo. After a delay for treatment, Montolivo departs on a stretcher. The Italian press is saying he has a fractured tibia. No World Cup for him.
  • Referees: Soccer's Secret Society (Part 3)
    The Vice President of Competition at Major League Soccer is former national team player Jeff Agoos. One of his responsibilities is to oversee the formation and the functioning of the MLS Disciplinary Committee.
  • Referees: Soccer's Secret Society (Part 2)
    In 1981, I interviewed the aging Sir Stanley Rous, former FIFA president and a cardinal figure in the development of modern refereeing. I asked him if he thought a set of signals would be a good idea for referees.
  • Referees: Soccer's Secret Society (Part 1)
    There is a decidedly non-vital, unimportant area of soccer about which we know far too much: the private lives of the players, their girlfriends, their hairstyles, their favorite television programs, foods, colors and much, much more of similar bilge.
  • Brazen goalkeeper cheating helps Sevilla win Europa League
    Is there any excuse for this? That the Europa League cup -- one of soccer's major trophies -- has just been won by Sevilla thanks to absolutely blatant cheating by its goalkeeper?
  • Goals (Part 2): A lively weekend when goals were what mattered
    I was telling you about the weirdo in the Anthony Burgess novel who kept dreaming up absurd soccer scores -- Fulham 19 West Ham 3 indeed!
  • Goals (Part 1): Dreadful decision from EPL ref Dowd nixes Suarez's brilliant record-breaking goal
    In Anthony Burgess' novel "The Doctor Is Sick," the doctor (not a medical doctor, but a linguist) is in a hospital ward where his neighbor talks aloud in his sleep. He intones soccer scores:
  • The Soccer Tragedies -- Lest We Forget
    Ernie was a massive Londoner who used to sell newspapers outside London's Tottenham Court Road subway station. The foghorn voice went with the job and every night I'd hear his cry of "Star, News, Standard" as I headed down the steps to the trains.
  • On being unable to see the soccer for the koaches
    It has been a sweet and sour week. Sweet because the UEFA Champions League and the Europa League have produced some remarkable games and some outstanding individual player performances. Sour because the coaches have been so much the focus of attention.