Tag Archives: soccer

Soccer Mom Sunday 2017, #1

Happy new year, everybody in blog-land!

As usual, I allowed life to come between me and my online journal. So, what better way to get back into the blogging groove than revitalizing the only feature I ever chose to create? You’re welcome.

Just because I haven’t been writing about soccer doesn’t mean I’ve had nothing to do with soccer. The boys finished their seasons…all less than stellar. But it’s our local club, and they all still learned and had fun, which is most important. Toughie is doing a special camp for NJ Youth Soccer, which is the precursor for their Olympic Development program (or ODP, which Eric Wynalda says also stands for “Over-Determined Parent.”) The other boys will probably do a different camp, and then back to the season with their teams.

I watch soccer like it’s going out of style: Premier League, Bundesliga, MLS Cup. I’m starting to follow RB Leipzig, who was just promoted to the Bundesliga this season. They’re owned by the same company as the New York Red Bulls, but they can’t use the company name because of Bundesliga regulations. The team gets protested against and attacked. And that makes me kinda like them more. Because when you watch them, you know the skill is solid. So while I will enjoy any fixture, there’s a special place in my heart for Die Roten Bullen.

I’m not really good at New Year’s resolutions (sure sounds to me like no one is), but I decided to get myself out more, and that includes soccer. I have met some really nice people who have gifted me some tickets, but even if I’m just at a bar watching a game with other fans, that’s more than I’m doing now. It’s supposed to be fun to be a fan, so let’s have some fun this year!

Have a great 2017, and play on!

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Soccer Mom Sundays #2

I promise this is not going to become a soccer blog…. unless it gets me a job with MLS or recognition by actual sports journalists– in that case, all bets are off.

“Is this the real life, is this just fantasy?”– Freddie Mercury

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(A Fanta sea would be pretty awesome. It really is the best orange soda out there. And have you ever had it in Europe? They still use real sugar– so good. Not as syrupy as here. I’m totally digressing…)

I did something this season that I never thought I would do… I created an MLS fantasy team. I had a limit of 16 players and $120 million to spend. Considering that I only started paying attention to MLS last season, it was odd because I only chose players that I recognized. If I could’ve had all Red Bulls, I would have (but there was a limit of 4 players from any one team). But for the most part… I had no idea what I was doing. Still don’t.

First week: went better than I thought. One or two of my players scored goals, and I ended up with 42 points– but since the average score for the first day was 50, I was pretty proud of myself. Then I promptly ignored it and my picks were locked in before I knew it. I accidentally left Orlando City phenom Cyle Larin benched. So as of right now I have 24 points (participant average of 51).

Rassa-frassin’ googly-moogly…

Well, there are plenty of games left– I just have to be a little more dilligent. And maybe, if Eric Wynalda gives me a couple tips, I could do better as the season progresses.

Play on, folks!

 

Soccer Mom Sundays #1

Okay, so it’s Monday…

But hey– I’m nursing an MLS hangover! Yesterday was the first day of the 2016 MLS season and it was kind of a big deal. 10 games played across the country, most notably featuring the re-match of the MLS Cup Final (Portland Timbers v Columbus Crew) and the ‘Consolation Match’ that could have happened at last year’s playoffs (New York Red Bulls v Toronto FC). In total, 36 goals were scored, and there was plenty of action for the American soccer fan.

In case I haven’t made it clear, I’m a fan of the New York Red Bulls. They play in Jersey, and I live in Jersey. It’s kind of a no-brainer. I’ve gone to a couple of games, and the atmosphere at Red Bull Arena is captivating. The other fans I have met are really great, and I’m learning a lot from them– especially the folks who report on NY area soccer and go in-depth with RBNY. I’ve met a couple of the players, and interact with a couple more on Twitter. I even have a good relationship with a group sales rep (whom I call my “Red Bulls Boyfriend”). Overall, it’s a club I am happy to associate with.

They played their home opener and it…. didn’t go well. First half was amazing, although scoreless. They had good combinations, and stayed up near the Toronto goal, but as my friend Russ McKenzie commented yesterday, there was no finishing– just couldn’t find the inside of that goal. Then, when Toronto scored on a penalty kick in the second half, it was very hard to recover. TFC scored again, and the inability to finish was painfully obvious for RBNY. However, the team has much to be proud of: new player Gideon Baah did a great job in defense, a space that many were concerned about between Matt Miazga’s departure to Chelsea and Damien Perinnelle’s continued recovery. Felipe Martins (who is probably one of the sweetest guys in MLS, by the way) was trying to make things happen up top. If I’ve learned anything about soccer in the time that I’ve really paid attention to it, it’s that the long view is the most important. One loss, while annoying, isn’t the end of the world. It’s pretty  much impossible to have an undefeated record in soccer– unlike the NFL (which may be why soccer lags behind football in popularity).

I watched at least some of 5 MLS games yesterday: Red Bulls/TFC, Chicago Fire/NYCFC, Portland/Columbus, Seattle/Sporting KC, and LA/DC. And that was AFTER watching the 2nd half of Hamburg/Berlin in the Bundesliga! I give up watching re-runs of any show during Lent, so a soccer game is almost always new. I should find a way to monetize this fanaticism…

I have to get in all the watching I can, because in less than a month, I’m going to be spending a lot of time watching a very different competition: The Regulator, Toughie, and Pint-Size Genius all start their own soccer seasons. They’ve been practicing with indoor camps, so hopefully they’re fit and ready to go.

Play on, everyone!

Ruh roh…

(NOTE: I wrote this entry last week but something went wrong with the Auto-Save feature. I’m going to try to replicate it as best I can…)

While sitting in the Auditorium waiting for The Hubs to arrive and The Regulator’s Spring Concert to start, I had a rather startling realization:  there were only two weeks left to the school year.

If you lived anywhere– let’s face it, anywhere— this past winter, you’d agree that it didn’t feel as though the school year was ever going to end. But it is, and as usual, I feel woefully unprepared.

I had had such high hopes for this summer– vacations, day trips, and a move to a glorious house in suburbia. But alas, this was not to be. I’ve been tutoring here and there, but it doesn’t pull in all that much. The big vacation is already paid for, but aside from that, I’ll have to wait and see if I land a work-from-home gig that Mrs. Legal Lawyer told me about. If I don’t get that… well.  Can’t feel sorry for myself if that’s the result.

I always say that I’ll get the kids working on their basic skills and reading like crazy over the summer, but that doesn’t really happen, either. The Regulator needs to improve his handwriting like woah, and they could all use more trips to the library. The Hubs and I love books, but we really can’t afford to be buying all of them! The Summer Reading Program at town libraries is pretty great, but we just haven’t been able to keep up  with the assignments. I think we need to spend more time there and get the boys a little more familiar with their reading interests and limitations (why am I bringing home 6 novels per kid?).

And even though we’re not moving, it’s not too early to start preparing. I intend to  start tossing all the stuff we don’t need, maybe even selling what we can. Who knows? We might even be able to be a little happier in the space we have when there’s less stuff in it. We have a storage unit and most of that stuff hasn’t seen the light of day in a couple years!

The Regulator is also transitioning to *gasp* MIDDLE SCHOOL. I hear tell the 5th grade is one of the toughest years in our school system. Probably just as well that we’re not moving anywhere… he’s not one to handle stress. I want to prepare him, though: study skills, note taking, organization. Things that will make the actual content a non-issue (which it pretty much is– he’s above average intelligence-wise and I have the objective test results to prove it).

There’s always swimming and soccer, and maybe if we can squeeze in a day trip, it’ll be a grand time. Anything to keep them from being plugged in all damn day.  Anything to keep them from making a royal mess of our home.

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Oh… if I use this. Poor boys won’t know what hit them! They’re downright lucky we don’t have a pet (or a farmstead, for that matter… how the heck old is this list?!?!).

Here’s to family fun and making memories.

It really *is* how you play the game

I’m just gonna put it out there. Toughie’s team has yet to win a game. Let’s be clear: many things in the universe are conspiring against them. The teams are divided by age, but because it was hard to get enough kids for a team, two age groups are together in one team. But because the older kids in the group can’t play against younger teams, the younger kids have to play against older teams. And they’re not just any ramshackle bunch of kids who happen to be older: some of them have been playing as long as they’ve been walking. Some were cherry-picked from their recreational leagues, and other teams have so many kids they have an “A” squad and a “B” squad. Our team was just big enough to play the field with one or two substitutes. Many of them dabbled in the rec league, but didn’t have much in the way of formal training (Toughie included). They’re learning as they go. And it’s just not easy. And that is frustrating. Now here’s the bright side:  It has never gotten the kids down. They were just as excited after their last loss about playing as they were before their first loss.  And more kids have joined up. And now they’re learning to play together. And they’re scoring. And they’re loving it. And every parent on the sideline is proud. And next fall, there will be two teams formed from this one–the older kids who play in the next bracket, and the younger kids who will  stay in our current bracket. Toughie is one of the younger kids. And if he’s good now (which I have been told he is), he just might be great next year. He’s trying every step of the way. Here’s to not worrying about whether you win or lose.

Bulls on Parade!

I don’t know if you are a soccer fan, but you probably don’t have to be to know that traditionally the players are escorted out onto the pitch by children. I think it’s a way of reminding them that they are role models. Or it might be a way to keep the hooligans in line before the start of the match. Either way, I can only imagine how cool it must be to do something like that: meet a famous player or two, go out onto a field in front of thousands of people.

Well, now I can do more than imagine. I was able to live it vicariously through my children. Toughie’s travel soccer team was invited to participate in what’s known as the Red Bull Experience. They were given replica uniforms and entered the pitch to stand with the teams during the National Anthem. Through an interesting turn of events, the Regulator was able to participate as well. (His travel team had a similar opportunity a couple years ago, before he joined them. So this was great.)

In case you don’t have an almanac handy, I’ll just tell you: it was honking cold today– 45°and rainy. The Red Bull Arena, while an architectural marvel, causes a fishbowl effect with the wind. But I am happy to report that even though the rain was quite heavy at times, we barely felt any of it. There was a hint of thunder and lightning, but it never affected the game. My sister was able to join us for the fun, and while she was undoubtedly cold, she was content to hang with us. In hindsight, we really shouldn’t have brought Buttercup, but I have to say she was a real trooper– with the help of some popcorn, of course.

There was a huge fan section behind the goal, in the level below us. There was a drumline and several guys leading cheer after cheer. I always wondered how soccer fans coordinated cheers and chants during the game. So- now I know. 

The game itself was… ok. First half was awful: the opponent (Chivas USA) scored on a penalty kick in the goal box. The Red Bulls couldn’t get anything off the rest of the half, nor did they look as if they were trying. The second half proved much more exciting. They literally scored at the last minute; off a corner kick by Theirry Henry during the additional penalty time. So it ended in a draw, which proved a point Regulator’s coach made: MLS teams aim for the draw instead of the win.

I was worried that the boys would be cold, or hungry,  or bored. But they were none of those things. They discussed penalty kicks and passing tricks. They cheered the home team and critiqued the opponent.  They all agreed that we should come back for another game… but hopefully it’ll be warmer.

Here’s to family fun and professional sports: may they both be within reach.

(Oh, and the post title is from the Rage Against the Machine song that played when the Red Bulls scored. See what they did there? Well, I liked it.)