Wednesday, April 25, 2007


While nervously wondering if Eleven Devils is going to make it to the pub for today's CLASH OF CIVILIZATIONS (i.e. Chelsea v. Liverpool), we browsed this excellent piece on football, socialism, Brian Clough, Shankly and champagne. Makes ya think, innit? Or something like that.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007


There were a few handsome goals in Major League Soccer last weekend—but how mind-shatteringly awful were DC United? The concessions to the Kansas City Wizzzzzzzards would have embarassed my own Albina Going Unicorns.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Why is Du Nord Brilliant?

My fellow professional journalists are wont (which I believe means they are "apt") to look askance (which I think means "be critical of") this thing of ours called the Blogozone. (That's right, right?) Blogs are amateurish, unreliable (unlike professional coverage of weapons of mass destruction, etc.) and lack the resources of actual news-churning outlets. (Resources such as: shitty coffee, bad pay, miserable overworked staff, computers that don't work or operate on proprietary systems designed in the 1970s, photo departments that won't do the assignments writers need them to do because the correct photo request form wasn't filled out at the right time...but I digress.)

In the future, I will refer such complainants to Du Nord (see blogroster, right), the mandatory-read daily soccer news digest composed by one antic genius in Minnesota. Du Nord is a perfect example of an unpaid blogger who does something his paid counterparts can't or won't do—if there's a story of importance to American soccer, he's on top of it, and he cherry-picks some very interesting bits and pieces from around the world.

But what's truly great about Du Nord is the author's slightly frantic writing style and bursts of bizarre humor. I quote:

A year old PDL team from Lancaster California is run by a guy with a dream. And he has a good dream. A dream I suspect most of us have. (No, not the one about Pam from The Office, a hot tub full of jello, a sleeve of saltine crackers, a roll of duct tape, and a short wave radio tuned in to Swedish hip hop.) ...


Saturday, April 14, 2007

Galacticos Reunion?

I'm telling you, this rumor, which has the distinct whiff of a Lalas fishing exped., only makes New York Red Bulls' signing of Marco Materazzi that much more urgent.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

MLS Real World

There are times when Yer Humble Correspondent feels like the plug should just be pulled, and this is one of them. Because this account of five MLS rookies sharing a house is undoubtedly the best Americansoccablag post of the last year. Who can compete? Unless we discover that a bunch of Timbers signings decided to join a latter-day Rajneesh compound, it's hard to match.

Sunday, April 08, 2007 the Future!

The first weekend of MLS action is in the books. And while I know the word is that this is the year the league makes its great breakthrough, based on the half of the Colorado v DC match I saw, not much has changed.

This was indeed the archetypal MLS game: a chippy, disjointed encounter in bad weather in front of an "announced" sell-out in the exurbs; played at what would look like half-speed to any indoctrinated Premiership fan; full of midfield hardasses determined to clog up play and disappointing foreign stars (DC's new Brazilians); both teams having a bad hair day. The real drag was also predictable—the lousy broadcast by "ESPN on ABC", far from showcasing the league's stated determination to look better on TV, was no different than any of the Mickey Mouse efforts the Disney empire has made in the past. Why was Julie Foudy referring to the league as "the MLS"? Is she British? And why did they slap up a list of "famous Freds", including F. Flintstone (but sadly not F. Flintoff) to kill air time and "introduce" DC's new Fred?

It's time for MLS to go to its broadcast partners with a DVD of any—pick one—Premier League broadcast and say, "this is what we want. Make it happen."

Friday, April 06, 2007


It appears that Eric Wynalda—former US national team star, annoucer, hotheaded loudmouth—has been suspended for this weekend's MLS season debut by his employer, the ABC/ESPN monolith. Why? Because he downed a few beers with a blogger and unloaded some of his endless storehouse of strongly held opinions. While he mostly ranted about the state of football in the US and MLS in particular, Waldo swerved out of his way to suggest that soccer-bashing sports bloviator Jim Rome could, at any time and place, provide him with oral sexual gratifcation.

Wynalda has apparently apologized to Rome for the remarks, which is too bad. Frankly, it's about goddamn time someone from the footballsphere told Rome to blow him/her. If ABC was smart, it would invite Wynalda to go live and repeat the suggestion in even more graphic terms. In fact, both DC United and the ColoArsenal Rapids should take the field tomorrow wearing special, limited edition "ROME CAN BLOW ME" jerseys, replicas of which could then be sold for $1000 apiece to an eager public.

Slapping down Waldo betrays a fundamental misunderstanding of how American media works—instead of censoring the half-baked, vindictive madness that spews from the mouths of your content providers, the winning move is to accentuate it and encourage them to even more unfortunate faux pas. Major League Soccer should DEMAND that ABC put Wynalda back on the air, and tell 'em to put a few brews down him for good measure. Then we might see a frenzy that would put Beckhamania in the shade.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

See America on $35 a Day!

Major League Soccer kicks off in just two days, and most of the preseason coverage has been glowing. The buzz revolves around how the league has grown and solidified, Toronto FC's phenomenal box-office coup, 'Rado's new stadium and Beckham's impending and possibly catalytic arrival.

And I was feeling pretty good about all this, until I saw this item on the excellent S. Goff's WaPo soccer blog:

The Marc Burch trade is now official....Burch, 22, will join the club on a developmental contract, which means he will earn either $12,900 or $17,700 this season.

If this league has really grown up, what is it doing paying adult men less than $13,000 a year for risky physical labor? I'm all for giving young kids a bottom-rung, low-budget chance, and that rate might be appropriate for a 16-year-old apprentice living with his parents. But for anyone past the age of 20, that kind of payment is definitely immoral and should be illegal. How is someone supposed to live in a major metropolitan area, let alone maintain the physical and mental condition necessary to play professional sport and "develop," on less than $50 a day?

What can be done? MLS supporters groups in every city should start with a Day of Solidarity with their club's developmental players, using banners and other signage to let the league know that fans will not tolerate this grossly inequitable situation forever. Or will they? I don't think fans have ever made a concerted effort to get players more money in the history of American sports. Certainly, NFL fans seem perfectly happy to let their beloved cartel treat players like disposable parts. Then again, I don't think there's been a "major" league in the modern era quite this cheap.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007


This killjoy is trying to kill the rumors, but I'm trying to keep them alive. Not that they, you know, exist.

Monday, April 02, 2007


Eleven Devils has been on an undeclared hiatus of late, which is not in any way related to its parent company's alleged "regulatory issues" in the Cayman Islands. However, news broke today that demands some notice. In its on-going quest to provide a "world-class soccer experience" (but what about the New York Red Bulls?), Major League soccer announced that:

—As teams enter the field, led by the referees (FIFA style), a new MLS anthem will be played.

—A new MLS anthem and signature sound was recorded last month by a full orchestra in Prague, Czech Republic, under the direction of an American conductor. More details on this piece of music will be revealed on April 6 on

A new anthem? A signature sound? A full orchestra in Prague? Consider our collective gourd exploded!