Saturday, June 28, 2008

Review: The Western Mass Highland Games

Caveat: It was that very special kind of New England "hot and humid" today and that may have tainted my impression of the event.

Setting: Franklin County Fairgrounds, Greenfield, MA.

Sorry, not good. Too spread out. Too run down. Not at all scenic. Having been to games at Grandfather Mountain in NC and Loon Mountain in NH, the fairgrounds were, frankly depressing.

Piping: Bands and individual competitions.

There were only a few bands and they were small, but they were good. Unfortunately, the individual competitions went on all day, so there was always a background of multiple pipers playing different tunes whilst I was trying to listen to the bands.

Games: The usual variety.

There were divisions for both genders, lightweight men, and over 40 men. Maybe the weakest and smallest (in number) field of athletes I've ever seen. There was one good 40+ male and one women who were good. Otherwise, for the first time, I felt like I could have competed and done okay.

Food: "Fair" food as well as British (not solely Scottish) foods.

It was fine, not terribly expensive, but not a lot o choices.

Retail: Booths

Not too many, too many selling crap, and too many that were Irish or Welsh oriented. Also, henna tattoos? Really? Why?


Sparse and not as "into it" as I am used to.


-WWII American reenactors? Huh? Why?
-Medieval fencing types...stay at the Ren Faire please.
-Medieval Scottish reenactors...stay at the Ren Faire please.

Overall: Meh.

At least parking was free and I got to wear my kilt for the first time.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

The Streak is O-V-E-R!

Well, after 17 years and 20 matches, my "no defeat" streak is over. The disappointment was somewhat lessened by the fact that it took a match featuring 3 red cards, more yellow cards than I can count, and an on-field visit from the local constabulary to bring the streak to an end.

I'll try to get things back on track this Friday!

USA v. Mexico @ Lehigh University, Bethlehem, PA: Olympic Qualifier, 1991.

USA 3 Mexico 0

USA v. Scotland @ Willow Brook Park, New Britian, CT: Friendly, 5/26/96

USA 2 Scotland 1

Hibernian v. Motherwell @ Easter Road, Glasgow: League Match, 3/21/98

Hibernian 1 Motherwell 0

USA v. N. Korea @ Foxboro Stadium, Foxboro, MA: 1999 Women’s World Cup, 6/27/99

USA 3 N. Korea 0

Italy v. Mexico @ Foxboro Stadium, Foxboro, MA: 1999 Women’s World Cup, 6/27/99

Italy 2 Mexico 0

Scotland v. Belgium @ Hampden Park, Glasgow: World Cup Qualifier, 3/24/01

Scotland 2 Belgium 2

USA v. Jamaica @ Giants Stadium, NJ: Friendly Match, 5/16/02

USA 5 Jamaica 0

NY/NJ MetroStars v. AC Milan @ Giants Stadium, NJ: Friendly Match, 5/16/02

MetroStars 1 AC Milan 1

Scotland v. Iceland @ Broadwood Stadium, Cumbernauld: UEFA U-21 Qualifier, 3/28/03

Scotland 1 Iceland 0

Scotland v. Iceland @ Hampden Park, Glasgow: European Qualifier, 3/29/03

Scotland 2 Iceland 1

Manchester United v. Juventus @ Giants Stadium, NJ: Friendly Match, 7/31/03

Manchester United 4 Juventus 1

USA v. Latvia @ Rentschler Field, East Hartford, CT: Friendly Match, 5/28/06

USA 1 Latvia 0

Western Mass Pioneers v. L.I. Rough Riders @ Lusitano Stadium, Ludlow, MA, USL2 League Match, 7/8/06

Western Mass Pioneers 2 L.I. Rough Riders 1

New England Revolution v. Real Salt Lake @ Gillette Stadium, Foxboro, MA, 6/2/07

New England Revolution 0 Real Salt Lake 0

Western Mass Pioneers v. N.H. Phantoms@ Lusitano Stadium, Ludlow, MA, USL2 League Match, 6/30/07

Western Mass Pioneers 1 N.H. Phantoms 0

New England Revolution v. Carolina Railhawks, US Open Cup Semi-final, Veteran’s Memorial Stadium, New Britain, CT, 9/4/07

New England Revolution 2 Carolina Railhawks 1 (AET)

New England Revolution v. New York Red Bulls, MLS Eastern Conference Semi-Final, Second Leg, Gillette Stadium, Foxboro, MA, 11/3/07

New England Revolution 1 New York Red Bulls 0

Ross County F.C. v. Ayr United F.C., SFL Div. 2 League Match, Somerset Park, Ayr, Scotland, 3/15/08

Ross County F.C. 2 Ayr United F.C. 0

Western Mass Pioneers v. Crystal Palace-Baltimore @ Lusitano Stadium, Ludlow, MA, USL2 League Match, 6/6/08

Western Mass Pioneers 3 Crystal Palace-Baltimore 1

Western Mass Pioneers v. Boston Olympiakos @ Lusitano Stadium, Ludlow, MA, US Open Cup First Round Match, 6/10/08

Western Mass Pioneers 2 Boston Olympiakos 0

Western Mass Pioneers v. Richmond Kickers @ Lusitano Stadium, Ludlow, MA, US Open Cup Second Round Match, 6/24/08

Western Mass Pioneers 1 Richmond Kickers 2

Monday, June 23, 2008


1. It could not be raining any harder at the moment.

2. Pele was mugged/robbed/car-jacked today...IN BRAZIL!! Really?! People in Brazil refer to him as El Rey...and they robbed him? Jeepers.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

My nemesis

Max Bretos now has a beard.

I didn't think he could be more of a jackass.

I was wrong.

Friday, June 20, 2008

It's my birthday

Woo and/or hoo.

Thursday, June 12, 2008


Too often I make a point of mentioning it when I have a bad day.

In the interest of fairness, I thought I'd make a point of mentioning that yesterday I had a great day.

I drove into Boston, taking the "long way" so that I could pass by (not in order of importance), my favorite sub shop, the house were my grandparents used to live, the cemetery where they are both buried, and end up at Wonderland Station on the Blue Line. It's not the fastest or the easiest way to get into the city but each of those places hold a lot of happy memories for me so when I get the chance...

I arrived a little earlier than I expected to, so I headed down to Faneuil Hall/Quincy Market for some lunch and some people watching. After that I made my way over to the Thomas P. "Tip" O'Neill Federal Building for a meeting. I can't speak for any other federal buildings, but the security screening was, to put it mildly, thorough. I even had to show that my pockets were empty because the metal detector was set off by the snaps on my pockets!

The meeting went well, but was much shorter than I expected it would leaving me almost the entire afternoon to spend in Boston before heading over to Fenway for the Red Sox game against the Orioles.

I spent the afternoon lazily working my way from Causeway Street to Fenway Park via Boston Common. On the Common I enjoyed a cherry slush, more people watching, and reading a book on a park bench.

After that I wandered around, had a chocolate shake, checked out some of the shops along Newbury Street, and eventually arrived at Fenway just as the pregame festivities were beginning. I did a little wandering around, got myself a sausage and pepper sub, bought myself two Carl Yastrzemski related souveniers, and listened to a surprisingly good little band that was playing on the sidewalk.

The game was excellent (I hadn't been to Fenway for probably ten years, though I'd been lucky enough to see the Red Sox win at Yankee Stadium a few years ago) the Red Sox won, my seats, though cheap and kind of far away, were good, and I didn't have to sit next to anyone obnoxious. They even played a Jam and a Sugar song over the stadium PA!

It took a long time to get back to the T and then to my car, but I was expecting that, so it wasn't too bad.

All in all, a great way to spend the day!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008


According to, the "real feel" (temperature and humidity combination) right now is ...wait for it...112!!


Sunday, June 08, 2008

Quote of the Day

"Whenever I hear a politician talking about financial considerations in relation to Scottish self-determination I know they're talking complete shit. It's not about that at all, it's about democracy."

-James Kelman - Scottish author and winner of the 1994 Booker Prize

Friday, June 06, 2008

Apropos of nothing

I made up a list of my personal heroes. I may give these people their own posts at a later date.

In no particular order:
  • Thomas Paine, political philosopher: As much for "The Age of Reason" as for the better known "Common Sense."
  • Simon Wiesenthal, Nazi hunter: As much proof as one could ever need that one person can, and should, make a difference.
  • Abraham Lincoln, American president: One of our greatest presidents, and maybe even a better man.
  • Winston Churchill, English politician: His early career was a little rough, but his conduct leading up to, and during WWII was inspirational and essential.
  • Andrew Fletcher of Saltoun, Scottish nobleman and patriot: One of the few who could not be bought during the negotiation of the Act of Union.
  • Carl Sagan, astronomer: His book The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark changed my life.
  • Charles Darwin, naturalist: He did for the biological world what Newton did for the physical world.
  • Johnny Cash, musician: I can't think of any single American who better represented what America is, and isn't, than this man.
  • Norman Borlaug, plant scientist: Generally credited with saving more than a billion people from starvation.
  • Margaret Sanger, birth control advocate: One of the first women to campaign for modern family planning.
  • Marc Bloch: French medieval historian who was also a member of the French Resistance. Murdered by the Nazis.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

USA v. Spain

Spain beat the US today, 1-0. The score was appropriate. Both teams had dominant periods during the match, but the US faded down the stretch and Spain simply has better players to bring in of thier bench. Also, some of Bob Bradley's substitutions left me scratching my head. Why for example would you take out the player who looked the best in the first half...

Freddy Adu: Offensively, the most dangerous looking player for the US today. Freddy demonstrated good one-on-one dribbling skills and some accurate passing. No goals, but he looked the most likely to get one. Worked especially well with Eddie Johnson. A-

Eddie Johnson: Looked great when working with Freddy Adu in the first half and though he seemed to drift out of the offensive flow in the second half, he at least kept playing defense. Had one goal called back for being marginally offside and missed another half chance. B

DeMarcus Beasley: Clearly still rusty after many months out injured The more matches he gets going into World Cup qualifying, the better. C

Clint Dempsey: EPL hangover? Just not his day? Well defended by Spain? Whatever the case, the Deuce was a non-factor during the match. D

Maurice Edu: Looked good in the midfield today. Distributes the ball well, gets back to play defense, and like several other players he seems to get better when Freddy Adu is on the field. B

Oguchi Onyewu: Very solid in the middle of the back line, Gooch seems to be getting more and more comfortable with the ball at his feet, and as a result his distribution forward is improving. A good player who is still growing into his role. B+

Heath Pearce: I continue to be impressed by Pearce. He plays aggressive, smart defense, does not get caught out of position, and always seems to be involved in the offensive without abandoning his defensive responsibilities. I'd love to see Michael Parkhurst playing along side him. A-

Michael Bradley: Clearly a good player on his way to becoming a very good player. He defends tenaciously, gets involved in the offense, but also continues to "play his age," occasionally out of position and occasionally makes the rash challenge. Hence the only player on the US to receive a card today. B

Frankie Hedjuk: I want to find something to criticize (Why don't I like Freddy? Maybe it's the awful hair style...), but I can't. Hedjuk played not good, but great defense in this match. He didn't contribute as much as he usually does to getting the ball forward, but still... A-

Josh Wolff: Made one good pass after coming on in the second half. Otherwise, a non-entity. Which is kind of the point I made in my previous post. D

Eddie Lewis: Another steady, steady, steady outing for Lewis. Moved the ball around well, took a decent free kick, and was dangerous with his crosses from set pieces and from the run of play. "Veteran Presence" would seem to sum things up nicely. B+

Steve Cherundolo: Like Eddie Lewis, another steady, veteran player. Good defense, good distribution up the wings, and he still has some pace. B

Carlos Bocanegra: Best match I've seen from him in a while (which is not surprising given that his playing time at Fulham this year dwindled as the season went on). Good in the air as always, good passing out of the back. B+

Brad Guzan: Only confirmed why so many teams are looking to sign him. Confident, aggressive, and in control of his space and his defense. Made several good saves. Not much he could have done to prevent the goal. B+

Tim Howard: Not called upon to do much in the first half. The job will be his until somebody improves enough to take it. B

Mastroeni: Came into the match too late to make an impact- though it's good to see he's at least on Bob Bradley's radar. Incomplete

DNP: Dan Califf, Jay DeMerit

So, setting aside Mastroeni's "incomplete," the team's GPA comes out to 2.89. That sounds about right, a slightly "weak" B.

Sometimes I forget... much I despise Rachel Ray.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

As promised, an ENORMOUS post!

While watching the US National Team's thoroughly mediocre display against England (by whom I am rarely impressed for a number of reasons) a week or so ago I found myself puzzled (enraged?) by some of Bob Bradley's choices to make up the team. So, wanting to be the “solution” and not just the “problem,” I thought I'd take a look at who is in the official USNT Player Pool, who should be, and a few wild cards that are probably not on anyone's soccer radar at the moment.

And, of course, what list would be complete without caveats?

-does not include players who play in below MLS in the US and in minor foreign leagues.
-does not include players who have declared themselves as “retired” from international duty.
-does not include players who have been selected in the past, but won't be again, e.g., Clint Mathis.
-does not include players who are buried on the “depth chart”- goalkeepers, for example.
-does not include players about whom little information is available.

USSF 2008 Player Pool

Brad Guzan: Raw, but clearly talented. Tends to rush around the box like a lot of young keepers do, but he's aggressive and a good shot stopper. I can see why European teams (Aston Villa and Celtic among them) are interested in getting him. The more time he sees on the national team, the better.

Frankie Hejduk: It's hard to criticize Frankie. He hustles, he plays tough defense, and he's not afraid to get forward and cause problems for the opposition. At the same time, he's had little success outside of MLS and while he's deserving of future call-ups, it's time to look for younger players at his position.

Carlos Bocanegra: Carlos has been miscast as a defender. On the back line, he's is good enough to have 100+ appearances for Fulham, but I think he should play in the midfield. His size and tendency to make rash challenges would be less of an issue and he could be incorporated more into the offense. He's managed 10 goals in 54 matches for the national team (most off set pieces I would suspect) and one has to wonder how many more he would have had as a midfielder from the run of play?

Oguchi Onyewu: A year ago I would have said that his game had stalled- good in the air, and an intimidating (if stationary) presence on the back line. However, another year playing for a top team (albeit in a weaker league) has given him a more well-rounded game. He's better on the ball and generally seems to be playing more within himself.

Heath Pearce: The more I see, the more I like. Pearce is a solid defender, has a high work rate, and is not afraid to get forward and take his shots. He strikes me as the kind of player whose game will improve by leaps and bounds if he is surrounded by better players.

Michael Bradley: Forget the “coach's son” tag, the kid can play. He's shown he can score in a good league (Holland) and he plays good, scrappy defense. Hopefully he will continue to be selected regardless of whether his father is the coach or not.

Ricardo Clark: That he's ever been selected boggles my mind- his eight caps are eight too many. Not only does he rarely contribute anything positive, he commits needless and ill-time fouls and is often caught out of position. He makes me long for Chris Armas.

Josh Wolff: He's been a decent striker in MLS, but I've yet to watch a international match (or an MLS one for that matter) where I've had the thought, “Wow! That Josh Wolff is some player!” At this point, every call-up he receives is one taken away from a younger, hungrier, and potentially better striker.

Eddie Lewis: He's getting on in years, but Eddie continues to be a steady player for the national team who brings veteran presence to the side and is still one of the best free kick and corner kick takers on the team. It's probably time to phase him out, but in favor of whom?

Tim Howard: Howard has proven himself in the EPL on big-time teams (Manchester United, Everton) and deserves to be the national team's keeper until somebody else can take the position away from him.

Freddy Adu: It's easy to bash Freddy, but keep in mind that he doesn't turn 19 for another week! If he was any other American playing for a major European team (Benfica), scoring the occasional goal, and already with five national team caps, we'd be impressed. My guess is his best soccer is still ahead of him even if some have already started to sour on him.

Maurice Edu: The jury is out. Edu seems like a decent player, but he's only earned four caps and it's just too early to tell. He will probably have to move beyond MLS before his quality can be assessed.

Steve Cherundolo: I always find myself wondering why he's been selected again, and then he goes out and plays a mistake-free match with occasional flashes of brilliance. This is probably why he's made a decade long career for himself in the top two divisions in Germany.

Eddie Johnson: So far, a reliable MLS striker and a decent one for the national team. However, there seems to be much more potential than production to date. Johnson's time at Fulham doesn't appear to have done his game much good, but he's still young, so there's still hope. I guess.

Clint Dempsey: At some point, somebody is just going to let the Deuce be the Deuce. Clint was successful in MLS and this past season has come into his own in the EPL while playing for Fulham. However, he's not a striker, he's a winger, and an attacking one at that. Once somebody lets him do this and take players on, he's only going to get better.

DaMarcus Beasley: As long as he's healthy, Beasley should always be in the team. He's proven himself in MLS as well as in the Netherlands, England, and Scotland. His speed and his willingness to run at defenders causes problems for the opposition and that's always a good thing.

Nat Jaqua: A “pretty good” MLS forward now plying his trade for a midlevel team in the Austrian Bundesliga. He's only earned three caps so far, so it's a little early to make a judgment, but he also doesn't appear to be the answer as far as scoring national team goals is concerned.

Dan Califf: I'm not sure why, but I like Dan Califf. I think it's because he plays his position- fullback- with a little bit of anger. He did well in MLS, and has done well enough in Denmark to be named captain of his team- not an easy thing for an American. So, yes, give him more matches.

Josmer “Jozy” Altidore: Size, strength, and bags of skill. However, he's also starting to get a bit of a 'tude towards his fellow players and a sense of entitlement when it comes to getting calls from referees. There's nothing wrong with having some competitive fire, but Altidore would benefit from playing in a European league where he could be “put in his place” and grow up a little on and off the pitch.

Brian Ching: I like Brian Ching, but when it comes right down to it, he's a “poor man's” Brian McBride- team first, physical well-being second. I wish him many years of further success in MLS, but I don't think he's good enough to beat out the other potential forwards on the national team.

Jimmy Conrad: Probably has two or three useful years left on the national team and based on past efforts, he deserves them. He's played well enough and earned enough respect from his teammates and coaches to be name team captain on several occasions and that speaks volumes about him.

Bobby Convey: The question surrounding Bobby Convey is, “Will he get his career back on track once he's 100%?” Up until he suffered his knee injury he seemed to be on his way to being a first team selection at Reading and for the national team. If he comes all the way back, both teams will be better off. If not, he'll probably be back in MLS and only sporadically on the national team.

Ramiro Corrales: A reliable MLS midfielder who supposedly came into his own while playing in Norway. Based on what I've seen upon his return to San Jose and his selection to the national team, not so much. To old and not good enough. Next.

Brad Davis: Another reasonably productive MLS scorer who probably is not the answer for the national team. No reason not to give him a few more chances- he only has three so far- but are there any reasons to give him more chances?

Jay DeMerit: Good enough to play 100+ matches for Watford and to be named the club's captain, yet not good enough to play more than six matches for the US?! Watford is probably as good or better than all but the top teams in Austria, Scotland, Belgium, the Netherlands, etc. (where other Americans are employed) and he's got six caps? Somebody is wrong here, and it's not Watford.

Donovan, Landon: Landy Cakes. When he plays with a chip on his shoulder he's among the best American players ever and I can't even hold his failure to make a European career against him. Unfortunately, he spends too much time “coasting.” He's pretty much said that he stays in MLS because he can be one of the best players without sacrificing much and that's not a great attitude for a team captain. But, that being said, he has to be in the team.

Benny Feilhaber: Recently suffered a knee injury, but looks to be a promising prospect when he's healthy again. He plays with both grit and flair and could really make a difference in the national team's midfield. I hope he gets plenty of call-ups during WC 2010 qualifying.

Clarence Goodson: A tall defender sounds great, but he's already 26 and has yet to make much of in impact in MLS (and has now moved to Norway). The fact that he wasn't protected by Houston in the expansion draft and has only been awarded one cap says to me that he's probably not going to get many more...and probably shouldn't.

Sacha Kljestan: With the exception of his tackle on Andy Williams, I like this kid. He likes to make things happen in the midfield and isn't afraid to take a shot. I've been pretty impressed with his free kick ability as well. Only five caps so far, but should get many more.

Drew Moor: Another case of it being too early to tell, but as a defender, he should be given a chance to prove himself. He's done well so far in MLS, but I'd like to see how he holds up against some better competition.

Pat Noonan: A very productive scorer in MLS who should have more than the dozen national team appearances that he has so far. If the US ever decides to play a formation in which there is a “withdrawn” forward, he could make a big impact. He's been around for a long time, but you might be surprised- as I was- that he's still only 27.

Michael Parkhurst: He's not big, he's not fast, he's not flashy. He's just good, very, very good- calm, cool, and collected. It's not surprising that he has begun to attract interest from European teams. He's only been capped twice but he should be in the national team camp as much as possible.

Eddie Robinson: One goal in one appearance is a good start, but nothing he has done as an MLS defender suggests to me that he is an elite player and he'll be 30 in less than a month. In other words, he's on the downside and probably won't be selected unless there is some sort of defender shortage.

Chris Rolfe: Rolfe is a pest, in the best possible way. I don't think he's a starting forward, your “go to guy” on the national team, but, he's just the kind of energetic, scrappy, goal poacher who could prove to be a handful if he were brought off the bench. Potentially a great “12th man” on the national team.

Jonathan Spector: Spector's nine caps are even harder to explain than Jay DeMerit's six. Spector hasn't played as many matches, but he's younger (22) and has played his matches in the Premier League (Manchester United, Charlton, West Ham United) rather than the Championship. What's not to like?

Taylor Twellman: Twellman is not a “complete” soccer player. However, he averaged more than a goal every other game since 2001 and is one of the top five goal scorers in MLS history. He's made 29 appearances, but not many as a starter. He needs to be in the team more and be allowed to do what he does best- score goals.

Jeremiah White: Has played in Serbia, Greece, France, and Denmark and has only one cap. Maybe he's just a “journeyman,” but how many MLS players with more caps haven't been able to get a contract with even one European team? Worth a longer look.


Brian McBride: Keep running him out there until he says “stop.” He's proven himself to be a scoring threat in the top league in Europe and now that he's moving back to MLS he'll be playing fewer matches and can probably extended his international career by a year or two if he wants to.

Jeff Larentowicz: No caps? Really? A tough midfielder/defender with a cannon of a shot from both open play and set pieces, he deserves a chance to show what he's made of at the international level.

Bryan Arguez: Only 19 and already under contract with Hertha Berlin in the Bundesliga. Worth keeping an eye on.

Kyle Beckerman: Two caps, already 26, and a glut of better midfielders ahead of him. Also, I've watched him play and I don't even think he's a top MLS midfielder. Pass.

Kenny Cooper: I had high hopes for Kenny Cooper- he was a big, young striker with experience at one of Europe's biggest clubs (Manchester United). He's still young and he's still big, but also become injury prone and he's dropped from the EPL, to a mid-level Portuguese team, to MLS. He may still come around, but right now his trajectory is a negative one.

Gregg Berhalter: Probably done as an international, but still a serviceable player and worth having on the bench while the younger generation gets its minutes.

Eddie Gaven: It's easy to forget that Eddie is only 21 years old and that he's become a decent MLS player and a regular player on the national youth teams. Both are good things. However, if he wants to make an impact on the national team he's going to need to find a way to stand out from the crowd.

Colin Burns: Another GK buried so deep on the depth chart that he may never get close enough to get a call-up. That's too bad, because he's on the verge of making a career in Europe and he's a player I've seen in person and been impressed by- don't be surprised if he shows up in MLS at some point.

Jonathan Bornstein: Though a bit small for a defender, Bornstein has done well at the position. However, his ability to score goals from the midfield suggests he is better suited to that position. He seems to have caught Bob Bradley's eye and is like to be given additional matches.

Jorge Flores: Though only 18, Flores has begun to make a name for himself in MLS and on the national youth teams. A gifted forward, it is likely that Flores will feature in the full national team in the near future.

Pablo Mastroeni: Where have you gone Pablo? Once a fixture in the national side Mastroeni seems to have faded into oblivion. I liked him as a player- though he was prone to rash tackles- but I suppose this is what happens as a player ages and the player pool grows deeper.

Dominic Servi: A towering goalkeeper who at age 21 has already drawn interest or been offered trials by top Scottish and English sides. Should he live up to the hype he could be the one who challenges (surpasses?) Brad Guzan for the goalkeepers shirt after Tim Howard retires from international soccer.

Cory Gibbs: A good defender, but one who is approaching 30 and whose career trajectory is heading in the wrong direction. Three years with Charlton without a league appearance does not bode well for him when other Americans playing regularly in England have had a difficult time getting selected.

Lee Nguyen: A player to watch. Left college after a year to play in the Netherlands and now plays in Denmark. I watched him during the NCAA tournament when he played for Indiana and he looked to be a “special player.” Very much in the mold of DaMarcus Beasley.

Danny Szetela: Under contract with Racing Santander (the only American player currently under contract in Spain), but on loan to Brescia (where he is one of only a handful of American players), he appears to have a bright future.
Brian West: Had a decent MLS career and has done well in Norway and earned himself 7 caps as a result. That being said, he's 29, not in the 2008 player pool and finds himself competing against younger, similar, and better players- Michael Bradley for one.

Quentin Westberg: The French-born goalkeeper may be one of the few younger keepers (he just turned 22) who have a chance- along with Brad Guzan- once Tim Howard has moved on. He's been with Troyes FC since he was 17 and is drawing interest from other, higher level teams, outside of France.

Preston Zimmerman: Only 19, did well with Hamburger SV's youth squad, and is now looking for a new club in Europe. Probably a few years away from playing for the full national team, but again, he's a forward so he'll probably get a look.

Greg Dalby: No caps yet, but has captained the U-20 and is currently under contract to a team in Belgium's top division. Probably a player with a future on the national team.

Neven Subotic: A big young (19) who has featured on various US youth national teams and is already playing in Germany. The only problem is that he is eligible to play for the US, Bosnia, and possibly Serbia as well. Hopefully, he chooses the US.

Frank Simek: Another player who has only a few caps (5) despite the fact that he's played over a hundred matches for a good club (Sheffield Wednesday). I would hope that given his young age (23) he will get plenty more chances to contribute to the national team's back line.

Charlie Davies: Not only has Charlie established himself in Sweden's top division, he's a New Hampshire boy and thus, I'll be pulling for him. He's already earned three caps and I expect that he'll get a chance to score some goals for the US before too long.

Robbie Russell: Probably one of the best uncapped American players. He's established himself as top defender in Norway and Denmark and played in the Champions League as well. Almost 29, so his call-up will need to come soon if he's going to make a contribution.

Tally Hall: Another young GK playing in Europe who might have enough time to develop as a challenger for a national team place in the post-Tim Howard era.


If the USSF is willing to do the legwork, I guarantee there are HUNDREDS of quality players playing in city leagues- especially those which draw from the immigrant population and their first generation American children- who could improve the National Team.

The balls in your court (pitch)...

Monday, June 02, 2008

Bo Diddley

Bo Diddley passed away today at the age of 79. If you don't knew who he was, well, shame on you.

Bo Diddley was one of those musicians who literally changed modern music. The Bo Diddley "beat" as seen in songs like "Bo Diddley" and "Who Do You Love?" was unlike anything before or after it.

Bo Diddley's songs were covered directly by artists as diverse as The Jesus and Mary Chain, George Thorogood, Buddy Holly, the Who, C.C.R., and the Rolling Stones.

The Bo Diddley “beat” was employed by artists as varied as Elvis Presley, U2, The Smiths, Muddy Waters, and the Stooges.

To me, however, nothing shows how important Bo Diddley was or how highly respected he was among those he influenced than the fact that he was the opening act on The Clash's first U.S. tour.