Ten-Man Cosmos Tie With Minnesota

nycosmos_logoDown to ten men for the majority of the game, the New York Cosmos came from behind to tie 1-1 with NASL-leading Minnesota United FC on Saturday night at Hofstra’s Shuart Stadium.

The Cosmos were reduced to ten men after goalkeeper Jimmy Maurer picked up a red card in the sixth minute for a foul in the penalty box. Minnesota’s Christian Ramirez scored on the ensuing penalty kick, beating substitute goalkeeper Kyle Zobeck, making his first career appearance with the Cosmos.

The Cosmos equalized in the 74th minute when forward Mads Stokkelien finished a cross from winger Jemal Johnson.

Millonarios Win NYC Supporters Cup

20140823-supporters-cup-484Photos by Adolfo Lee

Millonarios won the 7th edition of the annual Supporters Cup at Pier 40 on Saturday. The tournament, hosted by Downtown United Football Club to help underprivileged inner-city kids through their soccer programs, attracted a record number of twenty supporters clubs this year.

20140823-supporters-cup-271This year’s event involved the support of NYCFC for the first time. Kicking off under the early morning storm clouds were NYC based supporters groups from around the world including Liverpool, Celtic, NY Cosmos, River Plate, Barcelona and Spurs. Holders Everton, winners of three of the past four tournaments. were absent this year due to prior commitments, leaving the door open for a new champion to emerge. By lunchtime, the sun had broken through and only four teams remained in the contest – Cardiff City, Third Rail (NYCFC), Leeds United and Millonarios – while the rest of the teams drowned their sorrows in nearby Mr. Dennehy’s.

Cardiff City reached the final by beating Leeds United on penalties in the first semi final, but Leeds can take consolation from the fact that they didn’t concede one goal in regular play throughout the entire tournament.

20140823-supporters-cup-510Millonarios saw off NYCFC in the other semi final and went on to win the final 2-0 against a tired looking Welsh Side. The Colombian team could also boast the best support of the day, bringing dozens of fans carrying flags, drums and horns to cheer on their side.

“The tournament is a great reflection of the deep, diverse and passionate soccer culture in NYC,” said organiser Paul Jeffries. “It’s also a great testament to the generous spirit of the fans to support opportunities for kids to play the game.”

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See more Adolfo Lee photos and info about the annual event at www.nycsupportersclubcup.com

Cosmos Still Searching For Form

SavareseInterview

New York Cosmos manager Giovanne Savarese remains upbeat about his teams prospects this season. Photo by Eytan Calderon.

By Cesar Trelles

Clearly 2014 has not gone the way that 2013 went for the New York Cosmos as they continue to stumble in the NASL.

It was thought that part of the reason for the inconsistency over the last couple of weeks was the fact that Marcos Senna was not in the lineup. When asked on Tuesday why the team has not been able to gain consistency, even with Marcos Senna back in the lineup, head coach Giovanni Savarese explained that he wishes not to compare this team to last year’s.

Still he is confident with the team he has now and is positive they can turn their fortunes around and resume their winning ways when they take on first place Minnesota United FC this coming Saturday..

“Minnesota is going to be a very challenging game. They at the moment are the best team in the league as far as attendance. We’re looking forward to the challenge however and hope we can turn things around by getting 3 points this weekend,” said Savarese.

Coming out of Saturday’s match against Tampa Bay, the heat and humidity were one of the factors that coach Savarese blamed for the team’s lackluster effort in a 3-1 loss to Ricky Hill’s team. When asked about the fitness level of his team, Savarese confirmed that the players are indeed fit. However he admits that they struggle with warmer, more humid conditions.

“There is something for us to analyze because it has happened twice in the warm climates. We saw it in the match against the Strikers, we saw similar situations where we started very well, probably one of our best games so far. We were winning 1-0, creating different chances and then at the end we struggled a bit with the heat even though the Stikers had only ten players. Now again against Tampa, we started very well then we kind of went down. I don’t blame fitness but it’s something we definitely have to look into when we go to warmer climates.”

Savarese added that the players bounced back very well from their defeat in Tampa and looked very strong in practice so far this week.

The Cosmos leader sees the match against Minnesota as a great opportunity to send a message to the league that the Cosmos are still very much alive in the hunt for the fall title. He feels strongly about the match creating a huge confidence boost for his club and he remains excited about the match this Saturday. He added that his locker room remains very healthy and upbeat, dispelling any theories that chemistry might be a problem for this year’s team. He admitted that his only concern is about being careful with respect to getting frustrated on the pitch at times. This frustration has led to missed opportunities which in turn have translated to poor results.

The Cosmos currently sit in seventh place in the race for the fall title, a full eight points behind Minnesota United FC. A win for the Cosmos would help their chances and move them up the table for sure. In the combined table, the Cosmos currently sit in third place and still hold onto a playoff spot should the season end today. The match will be broadcast as the NASL Game of the Week on ESPN 3.

Cross Island Crew Tidbits:

•    Cross Island Crew Supporters Scarves are available for sale for $20.
For information email crossislandcrew@gmail.com or
visit www.crossislandcrew.com

College Corner – Changing The Schedule

NotreDame

By P Andrew O’Malley, Notre Dame

By Pat Glodkowski

It was a cold night on December 15th when Maryland’s men’s team took on Notre Dame, the former being heavily favored.

The scene of the event was in Chester, Pennsylvania at PPL Park, home of the Philadelphia Union. Supporters (primarily Maryland fans in attendance) huddled for warmth, as the weather was frighteningly unfavorable. Nonetheless, a respectable number of people were in attendance. Maryland opened the scoring in the 35th minute, but their celebrations were short lived as Leon Brown equalized for Notre Dame five minutes later. Then, not long after the start of the second half, Notre Dame got the game-winning goal, courtesy of Andrew O’Malley. The game was sensational, but we must widen our perspective and look beyond the simple 2-1 result.

As I explained in a previous article, the current set up of the college soccer schedule is a lot of preseason preparation in August. So much so that often times they find their muscles unwilling to even make it off the pitch back to their rooms. They then engage in a handful of friendlies, which the teams use to gauge their capabilities. The season begins the weekend of August 29th this year, and will last until Thanksgiving. Should teams be good enough, they continue onto play in the championships, which goes into mid-December.

The season is incredibly short, compact, and tiresome. Practically each weekend witnesses a game, and keeps the athletes constantly on their toes. It is a physically demanding season, and alters performance significantly.

Many coaches have had something to say about the scheduling matter. A proposal was brought up during a meeting of the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA). The committee has been looking into the idea of making the season extend into the full academic year. The coaches hope this will alleviate the physical rigor, but also help their players deal with academic rigors of college.

The plan looks to extend the official teams days from 132 to 144. The set up is simple: the preseason will start later in August, and will feature the warm up games. However, rather than packing 24 games into a three month period, 12 games will be played between mid-September and Thanksgiving. Afterwards, the season will pick up again in mid-March with nine regular matches and then tournaments each team is involved with. (It is important to note, these proposed changes only affect Division 1 soccer.)

Prominent figures such as Coach Sasho Cirovski (Maryland), NSCAA Program Director Rob Kehoe, and MLS representative Todd Durbin have all agreed this action would greatly benefit College Soccer, should its positive effects emanate in Division 1 {if it ever gets to that point (it should)}. A handful of legitimate reasons exists that could prompt the proposal to be executed.

The high number of games in such a short time leads to many problems that negatively affect all teams. Most of the stress falls on the players too, sadly. With so little time to rest, players can see their performance levels fall, and injuries increase. Moreover, students may see their performance in school drop as well, which is an adverse side effect, particularly for those that will rely on their education after graduation.

The College Cup goes largely under the radar because everything happens so fast, and during cold months. Teams note a drop in attendance during their post season tournaments for a variety of variables. However, they believe they can negate the decrease in attendance, coverage, and noticeability should the tournament be moved to May. They believe this will have more people interested in the game and give them something to look forward to during the year. In addition, it will offer more options for the location and remove scheduling conflicts with other more watched sports like football or basketball.

Player development can be considered the most important of all the coaches complaints. College soccer has been under a lot of scrutiny by critics who believe the program is actually detrimental to the future success of players. The argument is that the separate rules (remember they follow NCAA’s rules rather than FIFA’s laws) and schedule creates unrealistic adaptations by the players, as they will find it difficult to adjust to full season leagues, and not being able to be put back into the game should they be subbed out in the first half.

The recent argument is that players should follow their pro dreams through academies in lieu of the typical college path. That being said, many youths who possess such aspirations are enlisting among the ranks of academies in order to pursue a more immediate pathway into the professional scene. So does this development imply that academies and pro teams are essentially raiding the talent pool and picking away at the quality of college teams? Not necessarily. Only so many players are able to really break into the professional stage and sign contracts before they attend college. With such apparent risks involved, many talented players still decide to continue their careers in college before moving on.

Yet, if the NCAA and schools rely on this argument, they will see their talent pool and quality slip, as players will be coaxed by their coaches and the USSF to forgo college and take the academy to pro team path. The marketing here really needs an adjustment. Players that are looking for professional careers should still have the ability to reach that goal with a college degree in their arms. NCAA must listen to the concerns of coaches and players and adapt a flexible outlook, in order to keep the level of the game high in the college sphere.

A lot of lobbying will have to go into helping the NSCAA persuade the NCAA to listen and then act upon their expert opinions. The overarching organization has to realize that schools may lose some of the best talent in the nation simply because the rules and organization currently in place are not suitable to players looking to engage in professional soccer.

If The Kids Are United

PP_logoby Paula Marcus

I normally try and avoid writing about Reading too much, largely because no matter what division your teams is in, other fans don’t care about your team as much as you. But there is something going on in Berkshire that even national media has been picking up on.

After scoring his first goal for the club on Saturday, Jake Taylor celebrated by running over to the East Stand and kissing the badge on his chest. This over used gesture is generally seen by fans as a clichéd attempt to win over supporters. In Taylor’s case, however, this was not the reason. Taylor is born in Berkshire, has been at the club since the age of eight and was one of 12 academy products in the 18-man matchday squad.

Teams producing conveyor belts of first team players is not new. In the 1990’s, Dario Gradi built one of the best youth systems in the country at Crewe Alexandra. The Crewe youth system was highly respected by everyone in football and brought a steady stream of players to the top flight, including David Platt and Robbie Savage. Crewe reinvested money from the sold players back into the academy, and were one of the few teams outside the top division to be financially stable.

In 2013, Crewe were able to field a starting 11 made up completely of players that had come through their youth system. But this was a one off, and for the last game of the season. So what are the chances of it happening again in a higher division? In terms of the top flight, it’s highly improbable we will see an entire first team of academy graduates. The pressure on teams to succeed means few will be willing to blood younger players unless they are a real talent. There is also that fact that in a game that is always changing, few players will progress through to the first team and remain at the club long enough for the next few generations of players to follow.

The influx of foreign players and money available to sign good players from lower leagues also means that it is unlikely we will see an entire team come through an academy any time soon. Even Liverpool and Manchester United, two teams with really top academies, rely more on players brought in (this year mainly from the Southampton summer sale) than those in their youth systems.

As you move down the divisions, and the amount of money available for transfers decreases, the reliance on home grown players will always increase. However, there are some limitations. Having an academy of a high enough standard to scout and develop players isn’t cheap. After promotion, Reading opted to invest money in the youth team instead of on signings (something fans were less than happy about) to allow the implementation of the EPPP academy system. Because of this, Reading are one of only a handful of clubs in the Championship to have elite status.

It is not yet clear what effect the EPPP system, brought in last season, will have on the development of players lower down the leagues. Both Yeovil town and Wycombe Wanderers closed their academies, seeing little point in producing young players that any EPPP club can come in and take for next to nothing. Over the past few seasons, Championship clubs have developed some exciting young players including Will Packwood at Birmingham City, Jake Foster-Caskey at Bighton and Hove Albion, Jamaal Lascelles at Nottingham Forest and Sam Byram at Leeds United to name a few. But, none of these teams have been given elite academy status.

That said, merely having an academy doesn’t mean you will instantly be able to produce a starting line-up of players. Firstly, there is the difficulty of producing good quality players in the specialised position of goalkeeper. This is something that Reading have done well in over the past few seasons, with Alex McCarthy the stand out of the bunch. On top of this you need to have good coaches in every position. Reading’s first two cycles of players developed was somewhat lacking in the defence department, and it is only now that defenders capable of defending have actually come through.

Even selecting and developing the players from a young age isn’t enough. With increased pressure, and fans that are generally unwilling to tolerate below par performances, clubs are far more reluctant to put players into the first team until they are sure they are ready. The loan system has been a great tool for clubs to blood younger players, although many Championship teams seem far more willing to give game time to players from the league above than their own youngsters.

However you look at it, it seems unlikely that we will see a repeat of Crewe’s academy graduating starting 11 anytime soon. With a prolonged take over leaving no money for transfers and seven first team players injured (two of which are also academy products) it is highly unlikely that we will see such a youthful Reading side at future games. After all, you don’t win anything with kids.

Listen to Paula’s latest Championship podcast.paula_02

Burning Questions

esclogoThe View From 101 by Tim Hall

My column last week regarding some of the issues and complaints pointed at the national leadership of the American Outlaws – currently the largest US National Team support group – generated a lot of interest, and as ever, I am thankful for the looks and the kind words. It’s always rather reassuring to know that you’re not just shouting into a deep empty well.

Still, it was not without criticism. Some people complained that I didn’t do my journalistic duty by attempting to get the American Outlaws response to the claims being made. And, well, that’s true, I did not. Why? Well, the reasons are myriad. For one, there is a limit in the space I have to get all of these thoughts out.

Two, I have it on good authority that, were I to wait for a reply from AO National to my questions, my column would have finally been printed on the eleventeenth of Neveruary.

Third, since their inception, the American Outlaws have been the subject of literally nothing but positive, glowing, gushing press about just how swell they are, and in none of those articles is the alternative viewpoint presented. It strikes me as rather odd and frankly dishonest that people are requesting equal representation in my column when no one is beating down the doors at some of the big websites demanding their puff pieces be a bit more balanced.

Fourth, I am not a journalist.

Fifth, it is important to give voice to the marginalized, disenfranchised and voiceless, and some of those people who have had negative experiences with the American Outlaws have come forward willing to share their stories, and as we go forward, I hope to bring their stories to light. Sixth, and somewhat tellingly, there was absolutely no complaining about the content of the article, nor about the points and questions that were raised, which would seem to indicate that there is some worry and mistrust lying just underneath the surface for even the most ardent supporter of the AO movement, but not enough to bubble through, and instead the immediate reaction is to defend, defend and defend some more. Completely understandable. It’s a natural reaction to take when someone is attempting to question something you hold close.

And on, and on, and on. But I realize that all of my well thought out reasons will sound just like excuses to those that want to view them that way, and that’s fine. Something about pleasing all the people all the time and so forth.

But please allow me to show you that your criticisms and queries have not fallen on deaf ears. I do have questions for the leadership of the American Outlaws, as I’m sure many of you do as well. And so, in this very public forum, I will list them below, and I will email a copy of them to the powers-that-be, and should they respond, I will gladly share their responses as much as possible. And then, I’m sure people will find something else to complain about. Perhaps a dangling participle or some other unimaginable sin. Regardless:

Are there plans for, at any point in the future, an election for American Outlaws national positions of leadership? If so, when? If not, why not? Continuing on that theme, if no elections are planned, what would be the expected outcome should one of the current AO leaders be unable to fulfill their current roles due to – heaven forbid – some medical emergency? Or, if one of the current leaders was found to be misappropriating funds? Or, anything? What is the club’s plan to deal with such an eventuality? And without elections, how can membership feel that there is accountability from leadership that they cannot recall, vote out, or in any other way have recourse against?

In the specific instance of the AO Detroit chapter, why did one man’s thoughts on his personal Twitter account, which was in no way linked to the official club account, be grounds for his termination as chapter president? When said tweets became an issue, National leadership in the form of Mr. Donahoo alerted the chapter president that elections would have to take place for his replacement. Why are elections at the local level a more pressing matter than at the national level? And if these local elections for leadership are paramount, why then was power allowed to be transferred to a new chapter president without a vote by members?

Would you please clarify the relationship between the American Outlaws national leadership and TenDot travel, the company responsible for arranging travel for AO members to the World Cup in Brazil? Are there any familial relationships between AO leadership and any employees of TenDot? If so, was that potential conflict of interest explored so as not to cost membership extra money for the sake of providing business to a relative?

Continuing on the theme of travel to Brazil, would you speak to the reports of numerous delays, rerouting and confusion on one of those AO flights to Brazil that allegedly made members very nearly miss the first US group stage game? Was there national American Outlaws leadership on that flight that could have, or did, act to assuage the concerns of traveling members, act as a liaison between the carriers and members, or in any other way lead the club?

On a similar note, there were reports that senior American Outlaws leadership were not on the flight or flights to Brazil with the paying AO members, but instead were invited to fly down to Brazil on the private flight of the US Soccer Federation. Is this true? As a club that bills itself as an “independent” supporters group, how does leadership justify that claim against the acceptance of such an offer from the very people you claim to be “independent” from?

What is the current financial status of the American Outlaws? How much money is in the official AO bank account, if one exists? Why does leadership not feel like this information should be provided to members regularly? How much money, for any calendar or fiscal year of your choosing, goes to leadership traveling to games or in any other way impacts the lives of the national leadership, and how much goes to anything else? Do any or all of the leadership draw a stipend or a salary for their work?

Perhaps if we get answers to some of these questions, we’ll have a better grasp on where this club, and American support is going. We can only hope.

UPCOMING EVENTS

Saturday, August 23: New York Red Bulls vs. Montreal Impact – It’s something like Nerd Christmas this Saturday, as the Empire Supporters Club hosts Forza Lucha, the annual pro wrestling pre-game party at El Pastor (570 Market St. Newark). You don’t have to like wrestling or soccer. You don’t even need to like fun. Just understand that money is being raised for the AIDS Resource Foundation for Children based in Newark. If that’s not a good enough reason to come out, nothing is.

Tour of Duty

bowlerBy Bill Thomas

The new season might have begun, but for some, the silly season persists, for who is this coming up hard on the rails? Why it’s Richard Scudamore on the rank outsider, 39th Game. There’s no much backing for this six year old but Scudamore is still giving it the whip hand in an effort to get it over the line despite overwhelming opposition.

The idea – that we would have a 39th round of Premier League fixtures with these fixtures taking place outside the country, in some of the nations that are paying hefty television fees to screen our league – has gained a little fresh impetus over the course of the summer with a string of friendlies being played abroad, most notably in the United States, and drawing huge crowds as they did so. Manchester United took on Real Madrid in front of 109,318 patrons in Michigan and then faced Liverpool at the home of the Miami Dolphins where more than 50,000 fans took in the fixture.

In the wake of that, while Scudamore had the good sense to accept that if you are getting that many to a pre-season friendly, you really don’t need the lure of proper competition to get fans through the turnstiles in these overseas markets, he added, “It will happen at some point. Whether it is on my watch, who knows?”

More and more top flight clubs are looking to take advantage of the Premier League’s increasingly global reach during the pre-season period, with sides playing in China and the rest of the Far East and in the United States, all of them rapidly escalating markets for the top teams. But how long will this particular movement go on for, particularly as the footballing fixture calendar gets ever more congested?

Already, while Manchester United were on the road, new manager Louis Van Gaal was bemoaning the fact that the amount of travelling his squad was required to do was poor preparation for a new season and after that opening day reverse to Swansea City, his complaints will only gain in credibility.

Again, lines will be drawn in that constant battle between game and commerce as clubs look to maximise the lucrative deals that can be done around the world while coaching staff look to juggle jaded resources ahead of fresh campaigns, especially in summers where international tournaments eat voraciously into holiday periods.

Perhaps in the end, Scudamore will be proved half right, for all that the whole 39th game seems hopelessly flawed. The success of these pre-season friendlies may have opened things up for some kind of resolution to the issue. A “39th game” but one which has no bearing on the Premier League itself. Instead, by packing in one more midweek game into the schedule, the Premier League could buy itself an extra week at the end of the season and, while the likes of La Liga and Serie A are still trundling on, play ten fixtures around the globe.

That gives the “brand” the international exposure it craves, it allows clubs to go and visit those territories where they perhaps already have partners or are looking to make some in-roads and it doesn’t eat into the pre-season schedule, allowing Van Gaal to take his United team off to Slovenia or Ireland or wherever he thinks will suit them best next July. If you craft it in that fashion, you could almost construct the “win – win” scenario beloved of executives everywhere.

One question though. Even in Michigan, who is going to watch a friendly between Leicester and Southampton or Albion and Stoke?

German Players In Britain Questions

keano1 – Who was ever-present in goal for Arsenal’s unbeaten team of 2003-04?

2 – Who played over 100 times for Spurs and is currently their assistant manager?

3 – Marcus Babbel scored for Liverpool in the 2001 UEFA Cup final against which Spanish team?

4 – Who played for Liverpool, Middlesbrough and Spurs and has a surname starting with Z?

5 – Which German player famously broke his neck in the 1956 FA Cup final and played on?

ANSWERS

German Players In Britain Answers

keano1 – Who was ever-present in goal for Arsenal’s unbeaten team of 2003-04?

Jens Lehmann

2 – Who played over 100 times for Spurs and is currently their assistant manager?

Steffen Freund

3 – Marcus Babbel scored for Liverpool in the 2001 UEFA Cup final against which Spanish team?

Alaves

4 – Who played for Liverpool, Middlesbrough and Spurs and has a surname starting with Z?

Christian Ziege

5 – Which German player famously broke his neck in the 1956 FA Cup final and played on?

Bert Trautmann

I Threw A Brick Through A Window

bowlerBy Bill Thomas

The summer transfer window is an odd beast, one which has achieved almost completely the opposite of what it set out to do – or at least, what we were told it was going to do.

The idea when it arrived back in 2002 was that it would prevent clubs being able to buy success in-season. In the past, if a big club was struggling or had suffered a particularly bad injury to a key player, they could simply plunder the transfer market at any time up to the fag end of March, help themselves to a good player or two and start accumulating the points again. Preventing this from happening would, we were told, even up the playing field and force clubs to make the most of their playing staffs.

In addition, because you couldn’t use the market to fill any sudden gaps, it was claimed that suddenly, young players would come pouring through from the reserves and into first teams everywhere, simply because you could not recruit from elsewhere.

Epic, as I believe the young people say these days, fail.

Let’s start with the youth point first, one where we can say that the law of unintended consequences has come savagely into force, in our domestic football at least. The nature of the window is that essentially, you need your squad for the whole season in place by the end of August. Ok, you can tinker a bit in January, but by and large, you’ve got what you’ve got. Even if you cast your eyes to January, it means you play 20 or more league games before you can add to your squad, plus, perhaps, assorted cup fixtures.

So, if you are a manager, coach, technical director or chairman, you have to look deep into your squad and ask yourself the “what if” question. What if your left-back breaks his leg on September 2nd? What do you do then?

In days gone by, no issue. You would have been happy to thrust in a youngster, give him a couple of games to see how he was coping and then, if he was having a struggle, you would go out into the market. On the other hand, if he turned out to be a player, then everyone’s a winner, except the poor so and so with his leg in plaster.

Fast forward to the modern game. However good your up and coming youngster is, short of an absolute genius, no Premier League would go with a 17 year old who has never played a first team game anywhere as second choice. Throw him in at game four following the injury to your main man and watch him fall apart and suddenly, you’ve got to either carry him through 16 more, or play somebody else out of position.

Sixteen games is a lot of games to be holding on for and by the end of it, the damage is done and you are either out of the running for the title or stuck in the relegation fight depending on the ceiling of your ambitions. So you can’t take that risk and you have to bring in experienced cover, generally from overseas because its cheaper, and you thereby block up the prospects of one of your academy lads. Mirror that throughout the team and across the division and it’s no wonder that players are 22, with two or three seasons on loan in League One and the Championship behind them, before they get a debut in the top league.

This then feeds into just how, instead of levelling the playing field, the transfer window has steepened the slope. Before all this nonsense, clubs could operate squads of 14, 15 senior pros and augment it with the up and coming, knowing they could go out and buy reinforcements if the situation demanded. Nowadays, they have to run with tournament sized squads of 23 or more and, with footballer wages being what they are these days, that runs into money.

And so again, we come to the ever widening gap. Look at Chelsea’s squad, Manchester United’s, City’s. They have their 23 players and all of them, even those barely getting a game, are of real top class – just look at the absurd riches in Chelsea’s goalkeeping ranks for your first example.

And then look at what clubs like Burnley, Swansea and the rest of us can afford. In truth, many beyond the golden circle are simply bringing in some players because they need experience while knowing they are not really buying the quality they’d like, not that they’ll admit to it.

You have to buy players you don’t really want simply because it is too big a risk not to, thereby hurting your finances without really strengthening your side as you would want. In that direction lies madness and possible ruin, as a few clubs could testify. So it is that the rich get richer and the poor get poorer. You’d almost think that the transfer window was designed for that very purpose wouldn’t you?

Senna’s Midnight Heroics Rescue The Cosmos

CrossIslandCrewBy Cesar Trelles

After waiting an unprecedented three hours to complete their game on Saturday night, the New York Cosmos returned to winning ways with a 2-1 victory in Atlanta against the Silverbacks. The match was suspended for over three hours when severe thunderstorms swept through Atlanta, making playing conditions dangerous. 

While the Cosmos enjoyed picking up three points from the tumultuous trip south, they had to dial up their ace in the hole once again to pull this victory off. As opposed to last week at home when he missed a crucial penalty kick, this time Marcos Senna delivered in style.

In the 61st minute Senna lofted his free kick over the wall, curling it just inside the upper right post to give the Cosmos a 2-1 lead that would survive the rest of the match. The Cosmos first goal of the game was scored just before half time by Andres Flores, his first as a member of the team, set up by Hagop Chirishian.

The Senna goal was clearly a boost for the Cosmos who were already playing a man up as a result of a Silverbacks red card given to Junior Sandoval in the 41st minute. Even with that advantage however, the Cosmos once again showed difficulties in finding the back of the net.

Back on July 26th when they played the Fort Lauderdale Strikers, the Cosmos were up a man the entire second half but were only able to come away with a draw. Last Wednesday at home they enjoyed a similar advantage against Edmonton but still couldn’t seal the victory.

Ironically, Senna’s goal from this past Saturday was very similar to the one that clinched the 2013 Soccer Bowl for his team in the same stadium. It was taken from about the same distance, at the same end, against the same goalie. The strike was also reminiscent of a goal that Senna nailed against the Tampa Bay Rowdies last September that capped a remarkable comeback after being down 3-1. That goal was from a similar spot on the pitch, same curl, same result. And then there was the one in Edmonton last September too. While that one didn’t give the Cosmos a win, it helped them secure a draw on the road. In the 2014 spring season, it was Senna’s laser shot that beat Minnesota United 1-0 back on May 12th.

One cannot help but wonder where the rebooted Cosmos would be without Marcos Senna. Based on these recollections alone, he’s been responsible for three game winners, a draw and a soccer bowl championship – an impressive feat for any 38 year-old.

We have clearly seen the Cosmos struggle this year when he has been unavailable to play due to a lengthy groin injury. During the span where he was not in the starting lineup the Cosmos secured three wins, lost two matches and tied one. If you exclude the May 31st match against Fort Lauderdale, the Cosmos only scored four goals in the five match span without him. The alarming fact of the matter is that right now given the Cosmos roster, they need Marcos Senna in the lineup and given his age, Cosmos fans cannot expect to have that happen for too much longer.  The Cosmos need to find an alternative option rather than depending on Senna to score all the crucial goals from midfield. The clock is not only ticking on Senna’s playing career, but also on the Cosmos’ success unless they can produce other options.

Cross Island Crew Tidbits:.

• Cross Island Crew Supporters Scarves are available for sale for $20. For information

email crossislandcrew@gmail.com or visit

www.crossislandcrew.com  

 

 

 

College Corner – How it Works

Matt Besler went from the US College system all the way to the World Cup Finals

Matt Besler went from the US College system all the way to the World Cup Finals

By Pat Glodkowski

    The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) is the governing bureaucra… I mean organization of all college sports. During President Teddy Roosevelt’s tenure (slight relation to Teddy Goalsevelt) the idea was brought to life to create a regulatory branch for college sports. Most of the desire to organize came from the high number of college football related injuries and deaths, causing schools to drop their programs because it was so dangerous to maintain. In order to curb these tragedies, 62 schools formed the Intercollegiate Athletic Association of the United States (IAAUS) in 1906 to uphold some protective practices in sports. In 1910, it became the NCAA, and quickly began to branch out, beyond a discussion group.

The NCAA has plenty of committees and cabinets to overlook the 1,281 member schools and conferences. Moreover, there are plenty of subcommittees to accompany the regular committees. They are then put into contact with college representatives and their faculty, and everything gets really complicated in that process. Nonetheless, the NCAA is meant to act as support for schools in various areas such as media relations and research.

Currently, President Mark Emmert runs the organization after assuming his role in 2011. The NCAA has a simple organizational structure for colleges. The general idea is pursuant to the 1973 establishment of Divisions I, II, and III. Then, there were changes made in 2006 tailored to football, and is unnecessary to go into further for the sake of this article. All that is important now is that college soccer is based on the 1973 structure of college sports.

From my first hand experience, the NCAA is definitely a unique body that plays a special role in the college scene. Not only do all the rules come from there, but there is a lot of compliance, medical, and business related topics that they also deal with. These categories touch on recruiting laws, drug use, and dealing with concussions. So although one could say they are difficult to fully understand (which they are), they do hold a pretty powerful purpose, and have an impact, both good and bad, on collegiate sports.

Now that the Division I, II, and III set up is clear, how exactly do each of the divisions differ from the other two? Well to be honest, the differentiating factors are not that big. Other than there clearly being more money in Division I, the ranking is based on the number of sports that the school supports. Requirements for Division 1 says there has to be 14 teams (7 of both genders, or 8 female and 6 male), the school must sponsor at least two sports teams of each gender, and they are able to allocate funds for athletic scholarships.

On top of that, there are some prerequisites for each division. Division 3 for example requires experience as a varsity starter and club team experience. Division 2 stacks onto those prerequisites with also being in showcase tournaments, and being an all-state player. Lastly, Division 1 has all those requirements, but requires double the varsity starting time, being in major tournaments, and having experience with the Olympic Development Program (ODP).

These requirements do translate into better-funded programs. Top-flight schools are allowed to give 9.9 full ride scholarships out for men and 12 for women. NCAA Division II men’s soccer program can have 9 while the women can have 9.9.  NCAA Division III does not have any athletic scholarships. More often than not, Division I and II teams spread out these “full rides” in order to have some depth in their squads. This method gives them more flexibility in selecting players, by offering them partial scholarships, but to a larger base of players. Moreover, they are allowed to appeal for high scholarship bonuses based on the player’s performance, should it improve. It is important to know that these scholarships are done on a per year basis, and cannot be sealed in for four years.

The exclusion of Division III athletic scholarships does keep away considerable talent from those teams. I know this feeling too well, as an athlete (fencing) at a Division III school; the lack of financial aid can be a true deterrent from attending the school. Yet, they still do obtain some talent. Oftentimes students are still enticed by the high level quality education or experience they will receive at a particular school, which could sway them to go Division III. Ultimately, most of these players go to college for the education, as only 1.9% of them make it to the pros via the MLS SuperDraft (note students in all levels of NCAA are eligible for the draft).

So we see quite a bit of variety there in terms of what is expected from the athletes. Now, even though Division I seems to have the highest requirements that does not necessarily mean their programs would trump Division II or III programs. They do have the advantage of being slightly better funded, but a team like Southern New Hampshire, which won the Division II championships, still could very well  defeat NC state (took 44th in the Division 1 ranking system).  Ultimately the team quality is not as black and white as the division system they play in, because it is a school wide ranking system rather than based on a team by team basis.

To be fair still to the Division I program, they often do field some of the best players to enter MLS. Maryland, Akron, UCLA, and Virginia has seem some of the nation’s top talent excel in college, then later on in their professional careers. Players such as Omar Gonzalez and Matt Besler have gone through these ranks and have went on to impress the world in the most viewed sporting event, the World Cup. For now, the college system is one of the most important ways we foster the youth talent in this country. Although the NCAA is often accused of impeding youth development, changes may be made in the future that might keep the college program relevant.

Outlaws Behaving Like..Outlaws

esclogoThe View From 101 By Tim Hall

Jimmie Cates is the president of the American Outlaws chapter in Detroit. Maybe. It’s all very complicated. “I guess I am since they haven’t had elections yet but it sure does feel like a lame duck situation.” Cates said in an interview this week. The long, complicated story of how Cates may or may not be president is a case study into the American Outlaws, and the current state of support and supporters for American soccer.

In 2013, Cates got into a verbal exchange on Twitter with members of the Northern Guard, supporters of Detroit City Football Club. The argument began over a disagreement regarding actions both sides took while supporting the US Men’s National Team in Mexico. “I went after NGS from the American Outlaws Detroit account and called them out on their nonsense, which I realize was a mistake to do from the AO account even with good intentions and defending AO from nonsense attacks.” Cates would later be reprimanded for using the official AO Detroit Twitter account in this way. “I was a little annoyed because I was just defending (American Outlaws) National (leadership) but went along with what they asked me to do.” So far, Cates is a good soldier, or at least has his heart in the right place.

Not one to back down, however, Cates took to his own personal Twitter account, and the back-and-forth continued. “I have probably blocked 25 NGS people (on Twitter). They are lemmings and follow what the leaders say as gospel.” Eventually, Cates had enough, and tried to blow off the feud. “I will be the first to admit that I’m an ass, and this isn’t a sob story, but one can only take so much bulls*** and not lash out.” The language Cates used in the tweeted attempt to end things, while not expressly explicit, is however not fit for republication here. Suffice to say, Cates wished severe irreparable harm on the Northern Guard.

It was at this point that a Northern Guard member brought Cates’ tweets to the attention of American Outlaws national leadership, claiming that the words Cates was using on his personal account were somehow bringing AO Detroit or National into disrepute. Then the hammer came down.

In an email with the subject line “Your Horrible Tweet” that Mr. Cates shared with this reporter, American Outlaws President Korey Donahoo straddled a fine line between asking and telling Jimmie Cates that his time as Detroit chapter leader was over. “We are going to proceed with running elections for leadership of AO Detroit, as AOD are due for elections anyway. Please do not request to be a candidate for leadership as we will not accept your request,” the email reads in part. “We have AOD members asking for us not to contribute their $5 to AO Detroit as a result of the tweet.”

At first glance, this all seems fairly standard politics, sadly. A man in a public position says something offensive, and the overwhelming desire of Americans to punish anyone who would offend us with hurtful words leads to that man’s dismissal, either by resignation or by losing the popular vote.

But, this is not American politics, this is the American Outlaws, the would-be standard bearers for American soccer support, the ones ESPN promoted ad nauseum during the World Cup. And within the American Outlaws, the idea of putting things to a vote is a bit revolutionary. There isn’t a structure in place to vote on the use of money, nor to vote on inclusion or exclusion of a chapter, nor, as Cates said, is there a structure in place to vote for local leadership. “It baffles me. There was talk a few years back about running local elections and chapter leaders kinda balked at it. But (National’s) response was that we will make it so easy for the incumbent chapter leader to win. But nothing ever happened, and to my knowledge no one has had an official election on the local level.” Cates himself was never elected president of the Detroit chapter in the first place. As the founder (along with his father), he simply became president by default.

Speaking of people who became president by default, this leads the discussion back to Korey Donahoo, he of the “Your Horrible Tweet” email, the president of this massive movement known as the American Outlaws. Mr. Donahoo became president because he is one of the founders. This system may work for your local bowling league, but a group that now boasts over 100 official chapters and 6500 members is surely a slightly larger animal. And yet, there have never been nor are there any plans for a national election at any point. Mr. Donahoo could conceivably carry on being AO President in perpetuity like Fidel Castro was for Cuba. However, outsiders tend to call that “despotic” or “dictatorship”.

The issues with American Outlaws leadership on a national level do not stop there. Not only is there no oversight on expenditures, there’s no open accounting on exactly how much money AO has to spend. This lack of transparency has inevitably led to rumors and allegations that the leadership is misappropriating funds for their own use. Note, of course, that in the “Your Horrible Tweet” email quoted above, as much time is given to the language Mr. Cates used as was to the income, or lack thereof, of membership dues, which makes one question where priorities truly lie.

Further talk has come up concerning the American Outlaws recent trip to Brazil for the World Cup. Claims have been made that owners of the travel agency AO used to book their Brazilian vacations are actually relatives of American Outlaws national leadership and were given the sizable business of sending the majority of American support despite it being less expensive to go through alternative channels. There have also been reports floating around that, while one American Outlaws plane was dogged by repeated delays and mass confusion, AO national leadership was invited to fly down on US Soccer’s private plane.

And to criticize the American Outlaws is to invite trouble. This reporter made a small joke about the AO’s demographics on a podcast and subsequently had the safety and well-being of myself and loved ones threatened by rank-and-file membership.

All of this may seem like making mountains out of molehills. How does one person’s loose tongue on the internet matter in any larger sense? But it does matter. The American Outlaws are, currently, the face of American soccer fandom and support, so regardless if one is a member or not, by being a fan of US soccer, AO represents you in a way, for better or worse. For the most part, American Outlaws have done a fine job since their inception, but for that success to continue, there must be complete transparency, there must be elections, and there must be accountability.

League Cup Questions

keano1 – What was the score of the 2014 League Cup final?

2 – Who is the only player to have won the League Cup on 5 occasions?

3 – Which team scored four goals in a fourth rd tie vs Arsenal in 2012 but still lost?

4 – Who became the first tournament sponsor in 1982?

5 – In 2004, which side did Steve McLaren manage to a 2-1 win against Bolton in the final?

ANSWERS

League Cup Answers

keano1 – What was the score of the 2014 League Cup final?

Manchester City 3 Sunderland 1

2 – Who is the only player to have won the League Cup on 5 occasions?

Ian Rush

3 – Which team scored four goals in a fourth rd tie vs Arsenal in 2012 but still lost?

Reading – lost 7-4

4 – Who became the first tournament sponsor in 1982?

The Milk Marketing Board

5 – In 2004, which side did Steve McLaren manage to a 2-1 win against Bolton in the final?

Middlesbrough