While recent reports show that MLS is getting higher attendance numbers than the NHL and NBA, it should come as little surprise given soccer's long history in the United States.
Hang Up and Listen, Slate's all-sports podcast, was back at it today discussing Adrian Peterson's amazing comeback from knee surgery, baseball's West Coast power shift, and an interview with NBC Sports Stan Van Gundy.
But toward's the end, when they get into their "oppo tacos"--a reference to the surprise of an opposite field home run in baseball--co-host Stefan Fatsis opens up a discussion of the new National Women's Soccer League and the collection of new teams, crests, and names. Quickly running through the rest of the league, Fatsis describes Thorns FC as, "The only team in the new league with a sense of style and smarts."
He goes on to sing the praises of the new team crest, the uniqueness in having a soccer fan help design the logo, and how these things matter.
"Smart team's take this seriously," said Fatsis. "I'm definitely taking my daughter out to Portland to watch the Thorns play."
Now that Caleb Porter's time at the University of Akron is drawing to a close, Marla Ridenour, a sports columnist with the Akron Beacon Journal, sat down with soon-to-be new Portland Timbers head coach to ask him about his time with the Zips, his plans for Portland, and why he made the big move west.
In short, he was looking for a new rush.
The turning point came when he coached the US U-23s national team last spring.
“It gave me a taste of that rush and it’s unlike anything else,” Porter said Wednesday during a half-hour interview in his UA office. “There’s more pressure, but there’s more reward, too. I like that. I like a challenge. I’m not afraid of pressure.
“Even the rush of having to finesse the players, the management. I need that. I need to wake up every day feeling nervous, almost like I’ve got to be at my best, otherwise I get bored. It was very different the way I was feeling; it was like when I came here seven years ago.”
It's an excellent read to learn more into the insight of the new Timbers coach and what makes him tick as well as what his hopes for the future are.
“I try to be the best I can be. I try not to give a day away. I try not to slip,” he said. “In some ways it’s a madness, but that’s the way that I live. I don’t want to look at myself in the mirror at the end of the day and think, ‘I wasn’t good today.’ I try to instill that in my players.
“I’m very uncomfortable being comfortable. I want to grow, I want to get better, I want to push myself, I want to be challenged, I want to feel pressure, I want to wake up every day knowing I have to be at my best. That’s what makes me tick.”
Go read the whole thing at Ohio.com and check out the photo album of Porter in his UA of Akron office as well.
Though perhaps not quite as popular as the addictive FIFA 13--at least not in the US--Sega's Football Manager has it's very dedicated followers. A complete front office simulation game, Football Manager lets the user be the coach, technical director, and everything in-between to control all aspects of your favorite side.
For one such VERY dedicated and talented player of the game, he received the ultimate opportunity. FC Baku in the Azerbaijani Premier League turned over their head coaching duties to 21-year old Vugar Guloglan oglu Huseynzade, a young man with no head coaching experience other than what he has learned while playing Football Manager.
As stated by sports business contributor Jed Hughes on Bleacher Report:
Tomorrow marks an entire day of high school soccer as all soccer classifications from 1A to 6A and from boys to girls will gather at two different fields in Hillsboro to crown a slew of Oregon state champions. With games kicking off as early as 10:30am you'll be able to see some of the top teams in the state battle it out at Hillsboro Stadium and Liberty High School:
@ Hillsboro Stadium
» 10:30am - 5A Girls - Sherwood vs. Summit
» 1pm - 5A Boys - Woodburn vs. Mountain View
» 3:30pm - 6A Girls - Thurston vs. Clackamas
» 6pm - 6A Boys - Lincoln vs. Jesuit
@ Liberty High School (Hillsboro)
» 10:30am - 3A/2A/1A Girls - Valley Catholic vs. Oregon Episcopal
» 1pm - 3A/2A/1A Boys - Riverdale vs. Oregon Episcopal
» 3:30pm - 4A Girls - Mazama vs. Gladstone
» 6pm - 4A Boys - Philomath vs. La Salle Prep
Lincoln High School--just a hop, skip, and a jump away from the Timbers home field of JELD-WEN Field--will take on Jesuit in the 6A Boys championship at 6pm. The Cardinals had a wild ride to the final and if you want a taste of the fun and exuberance that is high school soccer, watch this postgame video filmed by Oregonlive.com after Lincoln defeated Clackamas in the semifinals on Tuesday night:
Tickets are only $8 for adults, $5 for students and can be purchased on-site at the stadium.
You may recognize the voice of Brian Dunseth as it has become fairly ubiquitous across the American soccer spectrum. A soccer analyst on NBC Sports, Fox Soccer—often paired with our very own John Strong—as well as on Real Salt Lake and FC Dallas games, Dunseth has become a keen observer of Major League Soccer which should come as little surprise given his long playing career in MLS.
The first ever signing to the Project 40 initiative in 1997—now more commonly known as Generation adidas—Dunseth went on to play for the New England Revolution, Miami Fusion, Columbus Crew, Dallas Burn, and Real Salt Lake. After his playing career ended, Dunseth got into broadcasting but also teamed up with his old college teammate from Cal State Fullerton, Ben Hooper, to start a clothing company called Bumpy Pitch that bridges soccer, culture, history, and style. That same theme led their foray into an online “magazine” of sorts called The Original Winger that collects stories about soccer, shoes, watches, fashion, movies, music, and more.
But Dunseth also has a unique affinity to Portland. In 2000, he was the captain of a loaded US Olympic U-23s team that featured the likes of Frankie Hejduk, Ben Olsen, Conor Casey, Danny Califf and Landon Donovan as well as Timbers Alumni Ambassador Adin Brown. The head coach of that team was none other than Timbers legend Clive Charles who had a defining impact on Dunseth as a player and as a person.
In this episode of the Backcut, we talk about soccer in Portland, the influence of Charles both on a personal level and on American soccer, and much more. It’s an illuminating and emotional conversation.
The Backcut Podcast sits at the intersection of Timbers, soccer & culture to explore the unique elements of the beautiful game. You can subscribe to The Backcut on iTunes in the same feed as the Talk Timbers podcast.
Presented without comment, The Super Great Toilet Keeper.
The trio will be running a special presentation as one of numerous events connected to The Body Beautiful in Ancient Greece, an exhibition of artifacts celebrating the human form dating back to the second millennium BC which are all part of the collection of the British Museum in London. Attendees will have the opportunity to participate in various activities, such as creating mythic monsters, designing vases and Greek-style puppets.
Mwanga, Timber Joey and Thompson will talk about the importance of keeping their own bodies healthy through exercise and a healthy diet. The presentation will run from 2 until 2:30pm with an autograph session to follow until 3pm.
Free Family Day runs from noon until 5 p.m. at the Portland Art Museum located at 1219 SW Park Avenue. For more information, visit www.pam.org or call 503.226.2811.