Vacation is upon me and the urge to write (and think) any more than is required has fallen by the wayside. However, I have stumbled upon a few must-read articles that are worth sharing. Whether you are a die-hard soccer fan or are perplexed how anyone could be, the first two are worth a look. (The third is more for the interested soccer fan, I must admit – but has some cool footage linked in it of fans that anyone can appreciate.)
The first two relate to the recent US vs. Mexico game that I touched on in “USA Dispossessed of Azteca Dream.” Bill Simmons of ESPN wrote the first, which is called “Sporting emotions at the highest pitch.” Simmons is not a soccer-mad writer by any stretch, and even described soccer as “a sport I have never totally liked and even actively hated at times.” However, his descriptions of the experience in Mexico City, in Azteca and as a pseudo-US Soccer fan are astounding. He also makes Soccer comparisons to US Sports that, well, I could never make since SportsCenter doesn’t usually bump Fox Soccer Report off my TV. Simmons describes a key moment in the game by writing: “It was one of those sports moments when you wish they could have stopped the proceedings right there for 20 minutes, just so we could soak in what happened and dream about all the possibilities.” It’s a wonderful read.
The second that relates to the US v Mexico game (and is linked to from within the ESPN report) is a report by photo-journalist Douglas Zimmerman. The pictures and descriptions of his time at Azteca Stadium add a depth of understanding of the magnitude, fervor and pure passion that exists in a game of this nature.
The last article worth mentioning is one that appears to be calling my mistress ugly. (See Major League (Soccer) Mistress.) Basically, this excellent blog posting looks at a local Seattle Sounders Portland Timbers comparison. Portland looks to join MLS in 2011 along with the runaway success that is Seattle this year this blog focuses on the clubs’ shared histories, different success rates (Seattle on the field, Portland in the stands prior this the Sounders break out year) and home-grown (Portland) versus “club-sponsored” (Seattle) supporters. A few interesting points to walk away from this article with . . . the passion that the Pacific North West seems to have for this sport, the rivalry that will hopefully bring added passion to MLS soon and some background on what has made Seattle’s entrance to MLS so impressive (great marketing.) The question that one needs to ponder after reading this though: what is the value of home-grown support versus a club-sponsored (marketing?) approach when you are in the big leagues?