Author Archive

Review: The Soccer Diaries

Posted: August 9, 2014 by cyclechicster in Uncategorized

There are two kinds of football fans: those who inherit their passion and those who discover it all on their own. Michael J. Agovino, sports correspondent for The Atlantic (among others) and author of new book The Soccer Diaries: An American’s Thirty-Year Pursuit of the American Game, is the second kind of fan and is damn proud of himself. His book, published on June 1st, is half memoir and half history of the proliferation of the American game.

Much in the spirit of Nick Hornby’s Fever Pitch, Agovino ties vignettes of his life as a soccer fan to individual games. But intent is really where the similarity ends because Agovino makes it overwhelmingly and irritatingly clear that he is not just a fan of the old New York Cosmos or USMNT, he’s a fan of the entire sport.

The attention to detail and soccer heroes is there. As someone who hasn’t really bothered to learn the deep, rich history of the sport, I came out of this reading experience wiser and (of course) much more appreciative of soccer’s struggle for legitimacy here in the US. However, the lack of personality in some of these vignettes takes away from the feeling and emotions that may actually be attached to the significant events (World Cup and Cosmos matches make up the bulk of them) described.

Truth be told, I really wanted to enjoy this book. It had the makings of a great read what with the author being so knowledgeable and dedicated to the same sport. His early life in the US with precious few-and-far-between soccer fans should have been the bulk of the narrative. But, instead of reading about the camaraderie that inherently comes with finding a fellow fan, even now, I sit through agonizing statistics about teams and matches that don’t adequately connect to his story.

There are a couple of gems in here, don’t get me wrong. Reading about how he struggled trying to learn to play soccer well is both endearing and saddening when you think about how great our AYSO programs, club teams, and youth academy initiatives are. Overall, however, this book was off target.

Open Letter to the President of TFF

Posted: November 20, 2011 by cyclechicster in Red-Eye to London
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Dear Pres. Mehmet Ali Aydinlar and Members of the Board:

I am writing to you in outrage after the Besiktas J.K. –  Galatasaray incident in which fans threw objects at Emmanuel Eboue.

It is never acceptable to throw objects at players, regardless of personal feelings about the player, and regardless of race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or religious affiliation. To do so undermines everything that FIFA have been working to achieve. This year has brought about numerous accusations of racist slurs and chants from both players and fans alike. Inaction is by far the worst option for the TFF to take, and only perpetuates racism and hatred in football, The Beautiful Game.

I call upon the board to show the world that Turkish football will no longer accept violent and racist behavior towards players, that TFF supports its players, and supports a policy of non-discrimination. I call upon the board to discipline Besiktas J.K., by means of fines and reparations. I call upon the board to instruct refereeing officials to take measures to ensure the safety of players and fans alike by making announcements to fans that racist behavior will not be tolerated, and by suspending matches if peace and respectful behavior is not maintained.

Finally, I call upon the board to investigate the individuals behind the abuse, and ban them from the stadiums. Make the stadiums safe for players and fans.

Sincerely,

Jennifer Rivera

jenriv89@hotmail.com

____
A bit of context, in case you hadn’t seen this already!

If you would like to email the Turkish Football Federation, here is the address to their International Department intdept@tff.org  and their Media Matters medyailetisim@tff.org At the moment, it’s the best that I could find but if you find the direct email address to the president or members of the Board, let me know so I can send a copy to them as well. Finally, I urge you to also write letters! The more people who send letters, the more likely they are to listen. We may be football fans from outside the area, but we can at least try!

We Think You’ve Heard This Before

Posted: October 6, 2011 by cyclechicster in LPGCast
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Hello, hello!

Due to real life obligations, I was unable to have the podcast ready for you on Wednesday, but I have it now!

This week we discuss the need for technology in football (again) and losing to scum. It’s unfortunate, but we press on. #Forward

Referenced in this podcast: Arsène quotes from http://www.mirrorfootball.co.uk/news/Arsene-Wenger-writes-to-Arsenal-fans-to-tell-them-forget-the-title-article807873.html

 

I know I’m a day late with this blog post about the Champions League match against Olimpiacos, but I really couldn’t be bothered with thinking about how poor some of our football was last night. I was too busy celebrating and making up little songs about how we were the only English side in the CL to win their match this week. Sorry about that (not really). But I’m ready to sit down and really look at the way Arsenal played football last night.

To be honest, I wasn’t really impressed with last night’s game, nor was I overly impressed with Olimpiacos’s performance. They were stronger throughout the match, and created more scoring opportunities than we did. By the end of the first half, however, we had scored 2 simple goals against them.

I’ve heard a lot of mention about how our defense is cack and how we still need to revamp etc etc. But honestly, that’s not really our problem anymore. Our defense is getting on fairly well for a back line that suffered humiliation, countless injuries, and infinite rounds of musical back line. There were, and will always be a few cock-ups (like the one that led to the Olimpiacos goal) but what needs work now is our midfield.

Yes, we’ve got loads and loads of talent in our midfield, but what the boys lack right now is the ability to read each other. In the first half alone, Rosicky and Arteta had trouble communicating numerous times and missed each other’s passes, and even got in each other’s way. There was this hilarious and frustrating moment when a pass comes toward Arteta and all of a sudden, Rosicky comes in and steals it. Uh, what?

Those kinds of misunderstandings can’t happen against a tougher side, especially if Rosicky is fighting for to be a starter. It’s in Arsenal’s best interests to have a B side that is just as strong as the A side, and Rosicky (regardless of whether he’s A or B) needs to be able to play well with whoever he’s matched up with.

Deficiencies aside, Arsenal played a decent game against a much more experienced Olimpiacos and won. So we’ve got the three points we needed, and a confidence boost we’ll need heading into this weekend for the NLD. We’ve got a nice run going and things are really starting to look up for the Arsenal. We started the season with the most embarrassing loss in recent history, but since then, I’ve really noticed the squad’s improvement from week to week. What’s really important is that the boys keep possession and play the Arsenal way. The goals will come; RVP is fit, Chamakh’s form is starting to come back, THE OX, etc.

Up the Arsenal!

-follow me on twitter: @cyclechicster

Oh! By the way, this is technically my first actual blog post. Normally, I just stick to podcasting and translations, but since we no longer have a wanky Spaniard giving interviews about his dream club, I figure I should start writing again.

Want to see my older posts? Find my name in the staff sidebar and click on the links or click my category “Red-Eye to London” for my archive.

Getting it Right

Posted: September 28, 2011 by cyclechicster in Le Petit Back Heel, LPGCast
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Unlike Arsenal, we are back to full strength! Join Jen, Deb, Sarah, Zara, and Subha as they discuss the Bolton match.

Alternate title: How Arsenal and Song got it right, and Walcott got it wrong.

One of our big topics (so big, it necessitated a Le Petit Back Heel episode) was Robin van Persie. Listen to the minisode below, take a look at Zara’s post, “The Century Man” and read all about our captain.

Listen to the LPGCast by downloading on iTunes or listen below without leaving the page.

This week we had so much to say about Robin van Persie that we added a very short Le Petit Back Heel to this week’s media. It’s also available on iTunes (you don’t need to subscribe to another channel) and you can listen below:


The truth is that I came here to present this fragrance, not talk about either team. At the moment, there’s nothing to be said or discussed.

And after 8 years, after all my hard work, after everything I’ve felt, after all I’ve experienced with the club, with the fans, with my teammates; I can’t just throw it all away now with a word.

After saying it both actively and passively, Cesc Fabregas has taken a couple of days vacation, the current Arsenal player is one of the most sought after ‘pearls’ by La Liga, but while his future is being decided he takes advantage of the break with his family on the beaches of Ibiza. There have been a lot of Premier League games and lots of attention as to whether he’ll be wearing blaugrana, white, and if he will finally return to the best league in the world to show off his talent. The Arenis de Mar native, in spite of everything, also takes time to be with his loved ones,  forget about his boots, and feel the beach sand. What does Cesc’s future hold? Only time can tell, for the moment, he enjoys the coast with his family. A true star on and off the pitch who looks to have his future bound to one of the teams in La Liga.

So that’s his latest official statement, and it once again is vague, as it should be. While it’s true that he hasn’t committed himself to Arsenal, it’s important to see that even though he plans to leave us eventually, we mean a lot to him. I’ve seen a lot of fans criticizing him for ‘forgetting’ everything Arsenal FC have done for him, but this video is proof that he can’t. And after the Samir Nasri quotes we’ve just received from NOTW (please visit @timpayton for the quotes if you don’t want to purchase the rag), it’s refreshing and I appreciate seeing Cesc not betraying it to the media.

Cesc remains one of our most well-spoken diplomatic players, regardless of his intentions to stay or go. That’s something I truly respect and admire about him. Oh, how I wish ALL of our players were well-versed in the do’s and don’ts of footy PR.

 

Posted: June 29, 2011 by cyclechicster in Red-Eye to London
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So this video has caused a minor uproar on Twitter as Cesc’s quotes have circulated via The Guardian. Unfortunately, the translations are correct. However, the media are (omg what a surprise) capitalizing on these quotes.

This is what I can catch, some of it is in Catalán and I don’t understand it, so unlike the Don Balón translation, this will be slightly incomplete.

Reporter: You can’t resolve anything now, can you?

CF: Nonono–

R: but you can relax about it now?

CF: Exactly, at the moment I don’t have anything to say and there’s nothing to discuss.

R: you’re just getting in good physical condition to be ready for the start of the season, right?

CF: Of course, I’m already doing my part, and doing what I can–

R: [two reporters talk at once] Are you relaxed/content at your club? [the other asks if he is an optimist]

CF: yes, yes, I’m very relaxed

R: [in Catalán] What about the market?

CF: What market?

R: the transfer market [not sure about this next part] Are you in it?

CF: Me? No, if something happens it’s because it has to; I believe that when a player is in the market, it’s because his club doesn’t want him, but I don’t have that problem so I’m calm.

R: Are you an optimist?

CF: Yes, I’m optimistic about everything, I don’t know what you’re referring to.