My Starting XI: Thanksgiving Edition

If you’ve read anything from this blog before you probably know that soccer is big part of my life, but so is journalism (hence the blog).  Being that it is Thanksgiving, I wanted to do something special, something unique.  Here’s what I managed to come up with:

I have assembled my starting xi.  The eleven blogs that have been ever so helpful to me as I strive towards a career in journalism.  While there is a footy theme to these blogs, the selections are not limited to just “soccer blogs.”

Let’s get started, shall we?

                                           Soccer By Ives

                                            Matchfit USA

RFFootball                                                                  The Sports Guy

                     World Soccer Reader    ESPN Soccernet

     Sports Biz     The Schmuck Stops Here     Objectivo     Footytube

                                            Going Guerilla

A 4-5-1 formation, not my ideal but allow me to explain:

F – The lone striker, must have enough talent to survive by himself.  Is the high-profile type forward that brings the fans to the stadium, even when a bottom-of-the-table opponent is in town.  SBI was the first soccer specific blog that I ever began to check on a regular basis.  I had the pleasure of meeting Ives this summer while covering the U.S. v. Honduras match in Washington, D.C., during the Gold Cup.

M- The attacking midfielder, I would go as far to call this the “starlet” of my squad.  (I would argue that this team has two of them, but I’ll get to that later.)  Doesn’t come with the recognition of the proven striker, but it won’t be long as the gap is narrowing.  Jason Davis is the owner/lead writer for Matchfit, he also is co-host of the American Soccer Show.  Jason has been a guest on our podcast “Inside the Six,” a few times as well.  He was gracious enough to help me earlier in the year with a project of my own as well.

M- One of the holding midfielders, sometimes undervalued to the success of the team but those within the team know its just as important as the rest.  They don’t always score the goals, nor do they always get the girl.  This is where I got my start, and I couldn’t be more thankful (I don’t think I can express that enough).  Owned by Trevor Hayward, WSR continues to grow.  Equiped with a small but talented group of writers, the future looks good for WSR.  I’m excited to see where things will go and motivated to help them get there.

M- The other holding midfielder, sometimes all the work pays off within the media.  Think of Michael Essien or Wilson Palacios, while the profile of Essien and Palacios doesn’t measure up to what ESPN has been able to accomplish in the last 30 years, Soccernet has found success amongst the soccer community and continues to improve. 

LW- The left winger, kind of an odd position on the pitch.  Not always the easiest to find quality in.  But when you do, you’re set.  Don’t underestimate the value of a fit left-winger, think Arjen Robben, when fit, a strong argument can be made there is none better at the position (Yes, Richard I just compared you to one of the Dutch – it’s a compliment, I promise.)    Richard Farley, the other “starlet” of this squad, writes for a number of different online publications, namely World Soccer Reader, where I was introduced to him.  He also hosts “Inside the Six,” for WSR.  He has been incredibly helpful to me with his time, in answering my questions or just talking footy as well.

RW-  The right winger, the glamour, the flare and everything comes with it.  Think Cristiano Ronaldo, even though, I think my selection would disagree with the comparison.  But I’ve said it before, ESPN’s Bill Simmons “the Sports Guy,” is the best in the business and as much as it pains me to say it, Ronaldo is the best player in the world.  (For those of you keeping score at home, I’m in the Messi camp, I swear!)  He’s my writing hero, and in the last 12 months or so he has taken a liking to the beautiful game.  Call my enjoyment of the Sports Guy a “man crush” if you will.  I’ll stop there though, cause I could write a whole thing on Simmons…

LB- The left back, if you’re a U.S. supporter, it’s the position you like to make the scapegoat.  But this is no Jonathan Bornstein, even though I think he is somewhat unfairly picked on.  Tim Lemke is the sports business reporter for the Washington Times.  While footy may not be one Tim’s best subjects, he has got a handle on the business side of sports.  It’s somewhat of a unique title, as he doesn’t focus his work on any particular sport, but take time to look at his work and you’ll see it demands attention.  Tim has been ever so gracious with his time with me as well, answering questions from an aspiring reporter.  I’m sure I’m bothersome at times, but Tim continues to help me reach my goals.

CD- Center back, the wily veteran.  They feed the midfield to get the attack going and stops the oncoming attacks (dribble moves or verbal onslaughts from readers – although the latter is rare).  Experience in the back line calms the storm for any team.  “The Schmuck Stops Here,” is a Baltimore blog by Peter Schmuck of the Baltimore Sun.  Pete sticks to predominantly the Ravens and Orioles, but dabbles in national sports as well.  Known for his humor, he can keep even the roughest of franchises (the O’s) in good perspective.  I’ve known Pete for many years and he too has been quite helpful in me trying to reach my goal. 

CD- Center back, every team needs a solid foundation.  So why not at least look the part?  Yes, Objectivo is a clothing store, from which I have purchased some fresh footy gear, but they also have a blog.  Not too heavy on the analysis side of soccer, there you will find plenty of videos and sarcastic posts.  It’s definitely the lighter side of soccer there.  The store plus the blog create a strong foundation, worthy of a spot in the back line.

RB- The right back, the flashy defender who moves forward and rips the highlight reel goal.  The kind you see on Footytube.  With match footage that can be difficult to find anywhere else, the youtube spinoff is essential for the soccer fan unable to catch the mid-day match on tv.  Footytube also has a blog, plenty of pictures and their own fantasy football (soccer) game.

GK- The goalkeeper, when your squad doesn’t have a “true” goalie, the formula in finding one has always been this: a sense of the game + some athleticism + somebody who is just a little crazy = a pretty good goalie.  Jared DuBois is a fellow writer at World Soccer Reader, he is easily the biggest L.A. Galaxy fan I’ve ever interacted with.  His blog, Going Guerilla, proves he fits my formula for a goalie, even if I bet I’ll get some grief for placing him here.  While Going Guerilla is not completely footy talk, Jared covers all the basis there.  It’s a fun read for those times when you just need a break from all the footy action.

– – – – –

That’s my squad…and I’m sticking with them.  Again, since today is Thanksgiving, I simply wanted to give credit where it was due and say thanks to everybody here.  I know there are others I could have included (you all have a spot on the reserve team – because unlike the MLS, I didn’t cut mine).  

Happy Thanksgiving to all!

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One Response to “My Starting XI: Thanksgiving Edition”

  1. Thanks for the shout out homie! I’ll handle your balls anytime…

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