Soccer stories, good, twisted and other...
San Diego-based Jeff Illingworth, a British transplant - turned - youth soccer coach of 15 years in SD, is blogging and has a new book coming out on the explosion of youth soccer in America. DesperateSoccerMoms.com. Interesting: if he's been here 15 years and is just now calling it a youth explosion, maybe our youth movement hasn't peaked yet and there are still far bigger days ahead in terms of youth participation (though hopefully not the accompanying Sunday-night-suburbanite-drama that he seems to have named his book after!)
Cleveland.com reprints a Grahame Jones (LA Times) story on a "strange few weeks" in international soccer, from a 12 year-old debuting in a top South American league to Swedish coaching giant Sven-Goran Eriksson joining a hopeless British club. Jones does a nice job of illuminating some international futbol characters, yet it's a seemingly random story for the Plain Dealer to print (outside of Terry Pluto and Brian Windhorst, much of what the Plain Dealer covers in sports is pretty random, and this is a lifelong fan of all things Cleveland speaking), and hopefully when we look back on this summer, what we remember are the USMNT's romp to the Confederations Cup finals followed by a storm of top flight European clubs playing friendlies against each other, Mexican clubs and MLS clubs here in the States. As little soccer coverage as Cleveland.com does, it completely missed the boat here.
Blue Sombrero comments on some ridiculous theft- over $108,000- by the regional commissioner of American Youth Soccer (AYSO) in La Quinta, California. There are bad people out there!
Interested in a perspective on the state of US National soccer from a truly local level? Check out this quote-driven essay by Ryan Wood of The Cohassett Mariner (MA).
Kevin Van Valkenburg of the Baltimore Sun has a nice take on the embodiment of the American dream, inthe form of recent AC Milan signee Oguchi Onyewu. Our stoic centerback, son of Nigerian immigrants, is indeed a great symbol of the dream for fans on and off the pitch.
And finally, Some People Are on the Pitch has its top 15 list of quotes from the late British football manager Sir Bobby Robson, who passed away this week, which read like a set of Yogi Berra-isms.