soccer

Women’s soccer celebrations then and now [UPDATED]

Featured image Members of the U.S. women’s soccer team continue to insist that there was nothing out of line with the exuberant celebration of goals that ran up the score in their 13-0 victory over Thailand. It was all in good fun, an expression of sheer joy, they contend. But this hasn’t been the women’s team’s view in the past. Years ago, after Norway defeated the U.S. women in a World Cup »

U.S. soccer stars embarrass themselves at Women’s World Cup

Featured image Yesterday at the Women’s World Cup, the U.S. defeated Thailand 13-0. The lopsidedness of the result is further proof that the tournament is a second rate sporting event. Soccer is the world’s game, but women’s soccer is not. Not many countries take women’s soccer seriously and, with the possible exception of the U.S., those that do don’t take it nearly as seriously as they take men’s soccer. Hence, mismatches like »

2018-19 English Premier League all-stars

Featured image England wrapped up its club soccer season today with Manchester City crushing Watford in the FA Cup final, 6-0. The victory gave City a “triple.” It won the EPL championship, the FA Cup, and the League Cup (as I call it). In the history of English football, which extends back to the 19th century, this has never been accomplished before (though 20 years ago, Manchester United achieved an even more »

High drama in the European Champions League

Featured image Earlier this week, two English teams, Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur, were staring at defeat in the semifinals of the European Champions League. With only 45 minutes (plus stoppage time) to play, Liverpool needed three goals to defeat mighty Barcelona, and that was assuming Barca didn’t score. Similarly, Tottenham needed three goals to defeat Ajax of Amstersdam assuming Ajax didn’t score. To make matter worse, both English teams were without their »

Revenge of the minnows

Featured image English Premier League soccer doesn’t have a salary cap, at least not one that resembles those in major American sports. There is something called “financial fair play” that restricts the purchase of players, but it does not create anything close to equal spending and/or equal salaries among the teams. As a result, there are wide disparities in the talent level of EPL teams. Sure, some teams punch above their weight. »

Good soccer sportsmanship gives rise to controversy

Featured image I doubt that English Premier League soccer generates many hot takes on American sports gabfest shows. But the second tier of English soccer garnered some recently after a bizarre match between Aston Villa and Leeds United presented an outbreak of good sportsmanship. Aston Villa and Leeds United are two of English football’s blue bloods. Villa, the preeminent team in the Midlands, won a European championship in the 1980s. Leeds, the »

A good deed does not go punished

Featured image Dave Williams works at a paper mill in the Liverpool area of England. He’s worked there since the age of 16. For more than two decades, Williams has worked overtime in order to pay for seasons tickets to Everton soccer matches for himself and his four sons. Phil Jagielka is a defender for Everton. When he was in his early teens, Everton released him from its youth academy. But after »

English teams dominate in European football [UPDATED]

Featured image The English Premier League (EPL) has been presenting outstanding soccer for many years. However, its excellence hasn’t fully been reflected in European club competitions. English clubs have won the top European competition — the Champions League — only three times this century (Liverpool, Manchester United, and Chelsea once each). By contrast, the two top Spanish clubs, Real Madrid and Barcelona, have won it a combined nine times. This is a »

Wayne Rooney under fire for visiting Trump White House

Featured image Wayne Rooney, arguably the best English soccer player of his generation, now plies his trade in Washington D.C. for DC United. Barron Trump, the president’s youngest son, is a rabid soccer fan (of Arsenal, but we forgive him) who, reportedly, has played for DC United’s youth team. Thus, it came to pass that, at Barron’s urging, Rooney was invited to attend last year’s White House Christmas party. Rooney did attend, »

U.S. Women’s soccer team sues for equal pay

Featured image The 1996 Olympic Games were held in Atlanta, but some of the soccer matches took place at RFK Stadium in Washington, D.C. I took our family to see a doubleheader — a women’s match between Brazil and Norway and a men’s match between Ghana and South Korea. The two women’s teams were among the five best in the world at that time. The two men’s teams probably would have been »

Madness at Wembley Stadium

Featured image Maurizio Sarri is the manager of Chelsea Football Club. At least I think he still is. Sarri came to Chelsea this summer from Italy where he had considerable success managing Napoli. His time at Chelsea began well, but the team has slumped lately. Chelsea’s “dressing room” (or locker room, as we say in the U.S.) has a reputation for toxicity. When the team’s form dipped, word came that Sarri was »

Gordon Banks, RIP

Featured image Gordon Banks died yesterday at the age of 81. Banks was an English goalkeeper, considered the best England has ever produced. In fact, he makes any credible list of the world’s all-time top-10 keepers, usually in the top half. Banks was in goal for England when it won the 1966 World Cup. In the final, the only match I ever saw him play, West Germany put two goals past him. »

Rooney takes Wembley bow

Featured image Fifteen and a half years ago, Wayne Rooney, then 17, was called up to the England national team. His reaction to the call-up when told about it by a member of the Everton staff was to ask whether Tony Hibbert, a teammate of Rooney’s on the Everton youth squad, had also been selected. Rooney thought he had been selected to play for England’s under-19 team. Fifteen years on, Rooney has »

Rooney moves DC United to verge of playoffs

Featured image When Wayne Rooney joined DC United this summer, some folks wondered whether he would play hard or was just in it for the pay check. Others wondered whether he had enough left to make a difference even playing hard. These people hadn’t been paying attention. Anyone familiar with Rooney’s playing career knows what a fierce competitor he is. And, as I noted here, during the 2017-18 English Premier League season, »

2018 World Cup review

Featured image I haven’t written anything about the soccer played in Russia during the 2018 World Cup. This was my way of protesting against the Cup being held in Putin’s thugocracy. I did not want to promote the event, even in a very small way. However, several readers have asked me to comment on the tournament. Now that it’s over with, I see no harm in offering a few thoughts and naming »

The World Cup and racial politics

Featured image On Sunday, France defeated Croatia 4-2 to win the World Cup. I rooted for France, as I normally do once England and the U.S. are eliminated (if Brazil and France are both still playing, my allegiance varies based how much I like the particular players). This year, the U.S. failed to qualify and Brazil was eliminated before England. So rooting for France was an easy decision for me. Leftists and »

Mr. Rooney goes to Washington

Featured image Earlier this month, Wayne Rooney joined D.C. United in Major League Soccer (MLS), having been sold by Everton FC. of the English Premier League (EPL). Rooney is the all-time leading scorer for Manchester United and the English national team, and is second on the all-time Premier League scoring list. (The EPL commenced in 1992). Yesterday, Rooney debuted for D.C. United in the first game ever played at the club’s new »