Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Old Nostalgics FC

Like many futbolistas Yanquis, the Eleven Devils Editorial Commissar makes regular visits to the invaluable blog Du Nord, a wide-ranging compendium of soccer news updated just about every day by some Irish Viking maniac in Minnesota. Du Nord is a great example of why my fellow "professional" journalists just need to shut the fuck up about blogs: Bruce does something no mainstream media outlet in this country does, and does it really well.

Today's DN post sent me tripping down le Rue de la Memoire in a big way, with three separate items that harked back to the days in the early and mid-'90s when I started following this sport we all call calcio in earnest:

—Carlos Llamosa, longtime defender for the US national team and various MLS clubs, is finally retiring. You may recall what a great, and oh-so-American-soccer, story Carlos was when he broke into the Show: a dude from Colombia, who was working security at the World Trade Center the first time it got bombed, comes out of nowhere (specifically the A-League), becomes a staple of the great early DC United teams, turns Americano and plays in the World Cup. Not to say that these kinds of made-for-Hollywood sagas are impossible now—see a certain Watford defender, who scrubbed his way up from college in Chicago to Non-League to the Premiership and national team—but it does remind me how provisional and seat-of-the-pants the whole MLS enterprise was back in the day.

—Meanwhile, it looks like the Rochester Ragin' Rhinos—the darlings of the American lower divisions a decade ago, the team that was certain to make the jump to MLS as soon as the top flight got its act together—are on the rocks in a major way. The Rhinos talked the good people of Rochester into helping them out with a stadium, and now may gift those same fine citizens with a ballpark of their very own if the club can't get out of debt. One could call it a cautionary tale, if one were of that ilk.

—Finally, DN compiles its usual updates on the American players plying their trade all over Europe these days. Just 10 years ago, any single American player getting a European deal was tantamount to a rain of toads. Now no one even notices—still waiting for The New Yorker to run an update on its Freddy Adu profile of a few years ago, the one that basically said the kid was worthless.

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