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Soccer's protective pall is holding back what it needs -- more teenaged stars

Are teenage players getting a fair shake?

IFAB: one step forward, one step backward

I think it unlikely that there are many people around who would consider the International Football Association Board (IFAB) to be an up-to-date group. But, the IFAB is making an attempt, it seems. It has just approved a major rewriting of soccer's rules and David Elleray, the man in charge of the overhaul, says one of its aims is to ...

Straight from the coach's mouth -- well maybe not

I don't know about this. Someone -- one of the TV guys, I suppose -- is under the impression that, during MLS telecasts, we don't get enough of the coaches.

De Jong? Disgraceful

Not much point in mincing words over this one. In its 4-0 loss to Santos Laguna the LA Galaxy was frankly pathetic. Outplayed, out-thought, out-skilled, utterly humiliated. A night to forget for Bruce Arena and his players as the quicker, sharper Mexicans ran rings around them

So bad, all you can do is laugh

Manchester City's shootout victory over Liverpool in the Capital Cup was what we now almost expect from grand finals -- disappointing, short on good soccer, miserly on goals.

Demands for a more physical game should fall upon deaf ears

Right at the end of Vancouver's preseason game against Chicago there was a coming-together of players. That's a term that has been cropping up in ref-talk lately. It denotes a collision but -- possibly -- it shades the meaning slightly. A collision carries the suggestion of hard contact, something, if not violent, then certainly forceful.

Rule Changes: The best, the worst -- and one that needs reversal

While awaiting the latest changes to the rules (the IFAB will announce them at the beginning of next month), I have been amusing myself trying to decide which has been the best and which the worst of the changes made during the past 25 years -- since 1990. And which change I would make, were I in charge of the ...

Arena and the Lawnmower: Why, Bruce, why ...?

Bruce Arena's signing of Nigel de Jong is a shameful episode. The most experienced American coach of the lot, with so much to admire about him ... what can have possessed him?

Losing Miazga, Gonzalez, Villafana -- How is that good for MLS?

Let's see now. Matt Miazga -- we can define him, at age 20, as one of the most promising of the American youngsters -- is leaving the Red Bulls, going to England to join Chelsea. At the same time, Ashley Cole, who, as it happens, once played for Chelsea but is now a 35-year-old who is coming off being a ...

Coming soon: a slimmer, snappier -- and maybe better -- rulebook

Right now, I'm thinking that IFAB -- you know, the soccer rule-making guys -- have really done it this time. In the past, I've relentlessly criticized them for being a virtually useless group that does very little, and is composed of the wrong people anyway.

The MLS PseudoDraft and other obstacles that Latino Americans face in American soccer

Time for another MLS SuperDraft. It would be better called the MLS PseudoDraft. It might also be known as the Slim Pickings Draft. Most of those involved are college players, and the day has long since passed when a bumper crop, or even an ordinary crop, of pro-ready players might be expected from that source.

A new type of coach -- appointed by the sponsors

Keeping up with the changes and additions to the English language -- I'm talking now about demotic usage, the every-day words that we speak and read -- is a topic of much fascination to me.

Good luck and bad luck for the Foxes

You hear it often enough: a team should rest assured that, over the course of a season, luck will more or less even out. In particular, hostile (and therefore wrong) referee decisions will be compensated by favorable ones. The accompanying wry grin will wordlessly convey that some of those will be "acceptably dodgy."

Pawson's Pause gives the game away

I continue not to understand the negativity that pervades -- though possibly less than it used to -- referee thinking.

Will Computer SAM kill off the soccer pundits?

Mark Lawrenson was once a top defender. He played for the Republic of Ireland, even though he was born and grew up in England. And he had a seven-year stint with Liverpool. Which puts him up there among the stars, at least in British eyes