Thursday, May 29, 2008

Dirty South News

by Adam Spangler of This Is American Soccer

Mike Rowe is dressed in a white synthetic chemical suit, goggles, gloves, headlamp, and a cloth mask, which covers only his mouth, mutes his voice, and appears to be completely unsuitable protection for what he’s about to do. Shimmying on his stomach under an aging house which hovers inches from his back, he’s there to help a small crew of young men—all college educated Rowe points out—clean out drooping insulation, mold spores, and the carcasses of dead rats along with the various treats they left behind in life, a life so many of us take for granted.

As creator and host of Dirty Jobs, one of the most successful shows for the Discovery Channel (he also narrates several other channel favorites), Mike Rowe respectfully celebrates and sends up particular jobs most of us would probably realize existed if we took the time to think about it, but damn if we stop to give it much thought.

The concept for the show is quite simple and noted with the host’s greeting which opens every episode:

“My name is Mike Rowe, and this is my job: I explore the country looking for people who aren't afraid to get dirty—hard-working men and women who earn an honest living doing the kinds of jobs that make civilized life possible for the rest of us. Now... get ready to get dirty."

Mike Rowe is now a wealthy television personality, but it wasn’t always that way. With Dirty Jobs, beyond the sarcasm, the self-deprecation, and the wow and gross-out factors, there is an important life lesson.

shit is hard.

Yes, the rat poo (Rowe's word choice not mine) appears to have hardened the top layer of insulation—Rowe is now up in the attic for more cleaning; the flimsy filter mask now more often than not dangling around his thick neck; brave man. So yes, a rat’s poo dries and hardens just like yours, but that’s not my point.

My point is work is hard. Putting in time is hard. Competition is hard. Keeping head and heart apart is hard. Writing is hard. Making a living at anything is hard. Making a living at soccer writing is really hard. Growing soccer in America is hard. Beating England at Wembley is hard. My point is, shit is hard. I take du Nord for granted, and Mike Rowe needs to spend some time with Bruce McGuire, a hard-working man making civilized soccer life possible for the rest of us.

Or maybe brucio as the kids call him is our Mike Rowe, shining a light into the media cavity that is soccer in America and filling it with some medicated goo.


You’ve seen some other guest bloggers already at du Nord this week, and you’ll see more next week. Everybody comes with their little bit of flavor, which is great, which is why soccer is the sport of the internet—as Bruce told me before I had heard it anywhere else.

Out of respect for the work the man of the North puts in (almost) every day to bring us our soccer stories, I’m going to try my best—I will fail—to do exactly what Bruce would do. I don’t know a better way to show my appreciation.

I got a big news day handed to me. So now… get ready to get dirty…

YUNEL'S CARTEL (aka the lead-off hitters)

Brian McBride will return to MLS! A true gentleman of the game; how can you be anything but psyched for this?

U.S. is said to be considering a bid to compete against England for the 2018 World Cup! On a side note, it is really gross how much power the head of the Trinidad and Tobago federation and vice-president of FIFA, Jack Warner, appears to have.

Heartfelt Get Well Soon wishes go to Leslie Osborne. The talented 27-year-old national team midfielder tore her ACL and will have surgery. A month after that she will have reconstructive surgery on her ankle. Her rehab is expected to take 8-10 months. Damn. Along with Tarpley and Kai, Osborne is one of my favorite young female players.


If that Eddie Johnson strike in the 46th minute goes in, would people be singing a different tune today, about him and maybe the team?

Let us not forget this is a friendly (with a roster full of European players coming off the end of their seasons), and thus completely meaningless beyond whatever Bradley and his staff can glean from the players, line-up, strategies, and tactics used. I didn't learn anything other than we need to get on the ball. And I lay that at the coach's feet.

Jon Carter filed first for Soccernet after the game and wrote, “on this evidence the gap between the countries is as wide as ever.” Notice the fact that this story is in the “England” section of the website yet the headline reads (at the time of writing) “Falling Short.” That’s not right.

Jack Bell and Shaka Hislop rate the teams.

Craven Cottage Newsround looks at the game through a Whites lens.

Wire story on Fabio Capello’s thoughts after the game.

The BBC calls the U.S. team disappointing.

US Soccer with all the quotes and whatnots. Watching the pre-game videos as well, I think Bradley was just too humble today. From the soccer we saw, I don’t think a single player thought they could win this game. Again, I lay that at the coach's feet.

Ives Galarcep has his morning-after thoughts.

I spoke to Mr. McGuire on the phone last night – 2am in brucio time. Your distinguished blog master had a blast at Wembley stadium (all things considered). He felt as if he was at an indoor stadium, the overhanging rain guards blocking out much of the sky (some locals agreed with him). It was a beautiful stadium, Bruce told me, but he kind of wished it was the old Wembley. He said the US fan support was impressive, taking up a few big sections just like a supporters section at an English club stadium. USSF gave scarfs to people who bought tickets online (or something like that), so many of the American faithful looked great sitting all together.

He’s looking forward to finding some music stores in London over the next few days, possibly one he recalled from his industry days that sold nothing but Reggae 45’s, possibly something with a little more kick than the US MNT showed last night. Much more I’m sure from Bruce upon his return.

My thoughts from the game...

Donovan didn’t play due to a groin injury (luckily he has two more chances coming up in which to grab his 100th CAP). No matter what people say about Landon Donovan (see below), the fact remains he is our nation’s best soccer player. Nobody in the U.S. player pool has of yet shown they can have an impact on a game like him. I don’t think that’s really up for discussion.

That being said, the argument some have against Landon is the same one I have for our entire national team. One word: unspectacular.

The US MNT is like my golf game. I hang in there for a while but always have one or two blow-up holes, one or two double/triple bogies that just ruin my scorecard. I think that pretty much sums it up.

Decent ball control in between too many poor passes and bad touches. There is too little presence of an attacking mindset, creativity or flair which creates even less total offense. Mediocre set pieces. No “penetrating runs,” as noted by Harkes on ESPN Classic. Brutal breakdowns that lead to goals. The story is too often the same.

One thing that was different: the two Eddie’s—Lewis and Johnson—probably looked the best on the field. Not saying a whole lot, I know, but how long has it been since we could say that?

I just said he played well, and now I will say that Eddie Lewis should not be called into the national team anymore. Neither should Frankie Hedjuk or Josh Wolff. Given the other big news of the day, some people are going to start wondering if McBride needs back on the national team. I love him, but he does not.

I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that part of me would rather see the team lose 4- or 5-0 if it meant we were pushing forward, taking chances, and letting it all hang out. I would like to see a team with a burning fire under its drawers play in a game that isn’t against Mexico.

The entire idea of a friendly is unspectacular. Could fans care about this more than the players?

ESPN Classic’s coverage? Wait for it… unspectacular. Again, not bad, kinda good, just not great. They did avoid the enormous breakdowns, but the broadcasting talent and on-air passion of Harkes and Dellacamera is on par with our team’s. Does American soccer deserve a handicap?


Karin? Thoughts? “Well, it's not like after the Risotto.”


Houston and Dallas drew last night in Frisco, TX. Rosario had a wonderful assist and the injury time equalizer. Eddie Robinson lost his mind and will be the star of today’s viral video extravaganza. His two-handed shove of Marcelo Saragosa was hilarious in its stupidity, pathetic the way Saragosa went down like he was shot, and just all around sad. It occurred while the two players were alone in the box, while the keeper had the ball in his hands. TV cameras were zoomed in nice and tight. What idiots. The two lovely gentlemen received yellow cards, the second of the game for Eddie Monster. FCD's Andre Rocha was shown a straight red after attacking Robinson following the incident, making it three straight games a Dallas player has been shown red. You stay classy Texas!

Game story from Steve Hunt at MLSnet.

Houston Chronicle's coverage here.


The Dallas Morning News says their classy MLS team is looking at a coach within the ranks of USSF. Not a big surprise, but kind of a let down. Dallas should be going after a coach raised south of Dallas. Maybe they are.


The Columbus Dispatch blog, Covering the Crew, addresses the racial slurs thrown at New England Revolution players. They of course have to call it Videogate.

more from the Dispatch on the crowd in the context of their US Open Cup victory over Real Salt Lake.

There really is no way of policing this that doesn't include security everywhere. The best way to stop this would be for the Columbus fans to take matters into their own hands and crush the offensive fans.


Franco Neill appears to be headed out of the District.

The saga for a new United stadium continues.

DC travels to New England for ESPN's Thursday Night Primetime game.


Microsoft will be the jersey sponsor of the Seattle Sounders when they join MLS next season, but the logo on the shirt will be “XBOX 360 live”. Apple should snap up San Jose and redesign their uniforms. And how long until Sony/Playstation get in on the fun?


Canada’s National Post alerts us to the mildly surprising fact that Toronto FC coach John Carver will not be fined or suspended for his post-game comments criticizing officials. Was there no punishment because MLS agreed with his comments?


Erik Stover, Vice President and Operations and General Manager of Red Bull Park, has been promoted to the role of Managing Director of Red Bull New York, replacing Marc de Grandpre, who resigned on April 9, 2008. Before joining Red Bull Stover was General Manager of Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego. Ives Galarcep’s reaction: “It is hard to defend a pro sports team hiring someone with no team management experience to run a pro team, but Red Bull has done it two times with Red Bull New York now.” That’s the nicest thing he had to say about the news.


From my man Carlisle on Centerline Soccer: "San Jose missed out on McBride... due to their decision to sign Haitian international forward Peguero Jean Philippe. When Jean Philippe put pen to paper, the Quakes automatically moved to the bottom of the allocation list that is used when former MLS players return to the league from overseas. But when Jean Philippe was put on the season-ending injury list earlier this week, I asked Doyle if the Quakes would move back to the top of the list. Doyle assured me that this was the case."

Well, as it turns out, that is not the case. San Jose lost its spot and now misses out on the prize, even if it is just whatever Chicago has to give up to get McBride.


An article from Green Pitch about MLS spending and growth. Jonathon Feldman paints a bleak picture. Has he given any thought to the idea that MLS has the golden crutch of SUM to support it? Wait, is that true?


The fine gentlemen at The Original Winger have the goods on the first round of the Open Cup.

Soccernet’s USL Wrap from Tuesday.


Bigger news than US v England? Everyone knows Brian McBride is coming home. Gotta love it. But gotta wonder what he has left after all the bumps and bruises and face-plates and new knees. No real discussion on that yet; or how much he will cost or how much Chicago—can he go anywhere else?—will have to give up for him. For now, and rightfully so, everyone is just celebrating his homecoming.

Fulham’s website has a wonderful photo gallery of McBride’s career.

(I still contend that Fulham has the best website of any club in the world, but they won’t exactly be America’s team anymore. Only Dempsey and Johnson will be left next year if Kasey Keller indeed returns to Seattle.)

Thoughts from du Nord favorite Craven Cottage Newsround on McBride’s retirement include a look back at what Bruce had to say about the striker in last year's Fulham Review. 2008 edition coming soon!

Steve Goff has all scenarios figured out for McBride’s entry into MLS. Looks like we sit and wait to see what Toronto does with the first allocation option.

Luis Arroyave speaks to MLS about those same scenarios.

The Independent checks in on the shining light that is David Beckham and where that light is pointed.

Landon Donovan – great player or great underachiever? Martin Rogers pulls out the unfortunate mainstay of a column subject and comes up with nothing new. Dear Yahoo, send your writers on the road to follow stories instead of forcing them to put another layer of retread on the armchair. We need experienced voices like Rogers out in the field!

Philadelphia will receive the first expansion team in the yet to begin women’s professional league, bringing the total number of teams to 8 in 2010.

17-year-old Aussie Elysse Perry should probably be on the radar for all the teams in the forthcoming WPS. She plays soccer and cricket for Australian national teams.

EPL Talk sums up the recent spat of news concerning USSF hosting an EPL or FA Community Shield game in the States.

The commissioner of the Major Indoor Soccer League resigned. Anybody care?

To Catch A Predator missed a chance to bring soccer onto their program when Howard University Men’s soccer coach Joseph Okoh was arrested.


The 101 Great Goals of 2007/8 is out. Crazy amounts of work must go into this.

Roma is very close to being the next club purchased by an American. Trading of Roma shares was briefly suspended this morning due to its skyrocketing price.

A thought provoking piece from the Guardian’s David Conn on the state of English leagues and the money they make. A good discussion in the comment section as well.

Tom Dunmore at Pitch Invasion gives us a little more context on the Guardian story.

The International Herald Tribune via the AP reports that Bolivia is psyched that FIFA lifted the ban on high-altitude games.

"South African soccer has lost another diamond.” South African striker Abram Raselemane died in Bloemfontein on Tuesday. He was barely into his 30’s.

Gina Chon at The Wall Street Journal’s blog reports on Iraq’s soccer woes linked to the dissolution of the country’s Olympic committee.

Asia’s soccer chief thinks that the soccer team should only be reinstated if all the sports are.

Iraq and Australia just got the go-ahead to play some games, so maybe this will work out.

“Before a friendly international match on Tuesday in Prague, the Czech organizers played the national anthem of Latvia and the official program for the match contained Latvia's national flag and a photograph of the Latvian squad.” Only one problem: they were playing Lithuania. Well done. This embarrassing moment in Atlanta at the World Series now looks flattering.

Manchester City will decide Eriksson’s fate by June 15th. Did anybody else think this already happened?

Spanish soccer captain and FAO Goodwill Ambassador Raúl González was awarded the first edition Spanish prize for solidarity in sports for €30 000, which he has requested be donated to the FAO special projects fund known as TeleFood.

Sport Illustrated’s Tim Vickery looks at Brazil’s “brave heart” Washington who made an overdue splash in Copa Libertadores.

Bueno keeps us up to date on the Mexican League playoffs.


Simon Baskett on the Reuters Soccer Blog has a great look into the Spanish media’s involvement in the Ronaldo to Real Madrid rumor. Talented reporters over there at Reuters.

The Big Lead has a nice interview with the KC Star’s star sports writer Joe Posnanski.

The wonderful Pat Jordon writes for Slate on the eroding connection between sports fans and their heroes. What is lost in this piece is the fact that these stories, this relationship, could be alive and well in soccer if the press would just pay some attention.

From the stupid observations department... In this article about Brian McBride officially leaving Fulham, the author concludes with this line:

“At Fulham, he was among five American players, including goalkeeper Kasey Keller, defender Carlos Bocanegra and forward Eddie Johnson. Bocanegra also is leaving Fulham”

Why only omit Clint Dempsey? Wonder if that was just an editorial space concern, brain fart, or something more sinister.

Philadelphia Weekly looks at the New York Times decision to publish a popular but maybe terrible 8,000 word article about one girl’s on-line issues. PW asks, “Is writing taking on the Hollywood value system, where any press is good press, even for the press?” Answer: yes


Sweet, new-ish, and free! Outkast download.

A great crate-digging blog.

And as my lasting gift, because I know Bruce loves him some good music, following is a PDF of a playlist I put together for an outdoor, rehearsal dinner (wedding) BBQ.


Safe Travels Bruce!


Anonymous EricJ said...

Sorry, I stopped reading after you generalized the whole dallas organization based on a few incidents.

12:24 PM  
Blogger Adam Spangler said...

yikes! a little testy after a few rough weeks in Big D? Ever seen Anchorman? It's a joke.

12:52 PM  
Anonymous EricJ said...

I can't say that I am not testy after these few weeks ( :) ), but I was just a little put off by not just chastising the offending player is all.

1:41 PM  
Blogger Adam said...

Fair enough. The whole episode was just outrageous I thought, watching it live on TV.

Nothing I wrote is pointed at the organizations or even soccer for that matter. I simply wanted to make sure I made the insanity of the players in that moment clear. I guess I did, to a fault. I have nothing against Dallas or Houston.

Thanks for commenting. I hope you will go back and read the rest of the post. Please don't hold my assy-ness against the fine writers I linked to below the Dallas info.

2:06 PM  
Blogger chris said...

Personally I ignored the Dallas baiting and got to the end. I'm halfway through the Jordan article, but his lead about Josh Beckett and your comment struck me. Last night at the FCD game, I sat very close to Brek Shea in the stands. At one point I went over to get an autograph for my daughter. I think I was the only one to ask for his autograph all night, though several people stopped to talk to him. He was very polite to everyone. Then I remember Sala being in the stands with the Inferno during his suspension last year. There's definitely a player/fan connection in soccer that isn't there in other sports. Maybe I don't want it to grow into a major league.

2:36 PM  
Anonymous EricJ said...

Upon another topic mentioned: I am curious as to whether the new women's league will have tv coverage like the last attempt? I am starved of soccer on tv (my situation does not allow for special order channels) and the women's game would be a nice addition.

4:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Please stop apologizing for Eddie Johnson. How many chances does this guy get? He's got the size and speed, but the talent (or execution, whatever it is he does not get it done) is not there, period. How many disappointing performances on big stages does it take for everyone to admit this?

6:36 PM  
Anonymous Demko said...

Awesome work, sir. It is truly in the spirit of Brucio that you have immediately offended some thin-skinned dallas fan. Stay classy!

9:28 PM  
Blogger Kraig said...

Thanks for this - nice job, great links, especially that crate digger link.

3:35 PM  
Anonymous bq said...

Thanks to the links to CCN. Very nice job Adam. It's a lot of work what Bruce does every day and you did it quite well and with class and humor.

All week I've been discovering this article or that and am ready to forward it on to Brucio as I normally do but there's no Brucio to forward it onto this week or next. How depressing. But you have lifted my spirits Adam by filling in valiantly.

Thanks Much!

Nice play list by the way.

5:06 PM  

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