It’s a grand old team. . .

Featured image On the train from Manchester to Liverpool (delayed half an hour until a driver could be found), I met a Bolton Wanderers fan who, like me, was on his way to see Everton play. He explained that an Everton season ticket holder friend had invited him to the match. Bolton Wanderers were a founding member of the Football League in 1888 (along with Everton). They have won the FA Cup »

Off to England

Featured image I’ll be in the north of England for the next week attending soccer matches, among other things. The highlight will be a last visit to Goodison Park in Liverpool. Everton will be moving to a shiny new stadium soon. I probably won’t blog while I’m away. However, I know that John and Steve will be dying for soccer news, so maybe I’ll file a match report or two. »

Nationalism and international soccer

Featured image International football, by which I mean nations playing other nations, has a strong and obvious nationalist component. The anthems of the two teams are played before the matches commence. Some players belt out the song with the gusto one would expect at a feverish nationalist rally. Fans paint their faces in the colors of their nation. Some countries come to a standstill the day their team plays. FIFA, the body »

Everton wins Copa America, and other soccer news

Featured image No, Everton, the football club, didn’t win the South American championship this weekend. Instead, it edged a Kenyan team on penalty kicks in its opening pre-season match. However, Everton, the soccer player, scored a goal and assisted on another as Brazil defeated Peru 3-1 to win Copa America. Everton was named outstanding player of the match and finished the tournament as its co-leading goal scorer. Everton probably will never play »

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 »