Dmitry

Soccer/Football

21 posts in this topic

Let's talk my favorite sport. Does anyone here play? I'm trying to play 2x week with the old-timers, like myself. Love it.

Well, the US men's soccer team failed to qualify for the 2018 World Cup. How the f...is that possible? Losing to Trinidad and Tobago, the worst team in the COncacaf [10 games, 2 wins, 8 losses]. Bizarre.

http://abc7.com/sports/us-mens-soccer-fails-to-qualify-for-world-cup/2517742/

 

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There is a soccer thread but no one has posted in more than a year. 

 

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I played in high school (starting in 1970, when the sport was first offered as part of the athletics program, through 1974).  I had a step-grandfather in Tacoma WA who hailed from Liverpool, and he used to send me the sports section of the Liverpool paper after he'd read it.  Lots of articles about Kevin Keegan and Stevie Heighway.  I started going to San Jose Earthquakes games in 1974 (the beginnings of the old NASL), and also began watching the World Cup (only available in spanish, on a UHF tv channel, in those days).  In the mid-to-late 70's, I was able to get both "Soccer Made In Germany" (Bundesliga matches, announced by Toby Charles) and "Star Soccer" (EPL, announced by Mario Machado) on our local PBS affiliates, and started to learn more about the game.  But the World Cups continued to be spanish-only until many years later, and when we did finally get english-language coverage ('90 or '94?), it was cringe-worthy (Seamus Malin explaining the rules of the game to Jim McKay for 90 minutes).

I wasn't talented enough to play in college (SJSU was often ranked in the top ten in the nation at that time), but I played in recreational leagues for about 20 years (always at striker, where I was lethal :) ... I scored just over 300 goals in roughly 300 games).  Injuries began to mount, and I had to give it up when I was in my 40's.  

I've remained an Earthquakes fan through the transition from the NASL to MLS, and I've been a fan of the U.S. national team ever since they qualified for Italia '90.  These are not good times for either the Quakes or the Nats, but I'll keep my chin up.

I'll watch an occasional EPL or La Liga or Champions League (etc) match, but I'm generally much more interested in the international game (all of it... WC, WC qualifying, regional tournaments, and even friendlies) than I am in following foreign leagues.  I'm not even sure why that is.

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Comrade Uli, do you politicize your bowel movements too? 

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Can't speak for Uli, but my bowel movements often invoke brexiting, or something that sounds like that.

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Long, painful, and uncertain?

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1 hour ago, Dmitry said:

Long, painful, and uncertain?

:lol: try living with it...no apparent cure or palliative. At least the England national side is doing a good job preparing us for our life of disconnectedness. The other "Home" nations as we like to call them at least play with some verve whilst losing or not in NI's case

Meanwhile, back with football. Glad to see the mighty Royals, Reading FC, finally remembering how to win; away at Leeds, even sweeter. Yes, there is football outside the Premiership here in the UK

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One of the mysteries of this sport for me is a persistent expectation from everyone that the English side will achieve something.

Joe Hart does let in the most amusing, improbable goals, so there's some entertainment there for sure.

 

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It's because we invented the game and won the World Cup on the only occasion we had home advantage which just went to prove our entitledness was preordained by the sporting Gods. The fact that we've failed to produce even one world class player, one who can produce at home and abroad, in the last decades is of course irrelevant.

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2 hours ago, mjazzg said:

 The fact that we've failed to produce even one world class player, one who can produce at home and abroad, in the last decades is of course irrelevant.

Interesting thought. What country do you think has produced most such players in the last decade. of the top of my head i'd say Brasil, germany and France.

 

 

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I can't disagree. There's definitely a palpable air of entitlement there, an aplomb.

Harry Kane is a phenomenal footballer, by far the best in this English generation imho. He's got everything- skill, speed, intuition. I really enjoy watching him play.

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2 hours ago, uli said:

Interesting thought. What country do you think has produced most such players in the last decade. of the top of my head i'd say Brasil, germany and France.

 

 

I'd have to add Spain to that list - Xavi, Iniesta, Ramos, possibly Busquets and Puyol. But of course like so many of the better, but not comparable, English players none of these tested themselves in foreign leagues (a personal and completely arbitrary test that I like to think helps identify some of the traits 0f the really good players - the willingness and ability to adapt and learn from alternative tactics/approaches/footballing cultures) - not surprisingly if you're playing for that Barca team.

FWIW my "world class" criteria is that they'd get picked in a World squad of 18 of their contemporaries. France certainly has a current team that could mature with a number that fit my classification.

2 hours ago, Dmitry said:

I can't disagree. There's definitely a palpable air of entitlement there, an aplomb.

Harry Kane is a phenomenal footballer, by far the best in this English generation imho. He's got everything- skill, speed, intuition. I really enjoy watching him play.

Kane's undoubtedly a class act (and has an excellent coach at Spurs). I'd really like to see him ply his trade in La Liga or the Bundesliga and then come back a more rounded player to lead England to World Cup glory in 2022!!

Edited by mjazzg

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1 hour ago, mjazzg said:

I'd have to add Spain to that list - Xavi, Iniesta, Ramos, possibly Busquets and Puyol.

FWIW my "world class" criteria is that they'd get picked in a World squad of 18 of their contemporaries. France certainly has a current team that could mature with a number that fit my classification.

Spain definitively.

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Let’s hope there is a unified Spanish team next year. 

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Within the last two years the following have represented, or could play for the Catalonian National side - Pique, Bartra, Jordi Alba, Busquets, Fabregas, Xavi, Victor Valdes. And they are just the household names. Looking at the list here

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catalonia_national_football_team

you'll see many of the current squad play top flight football in La Liga or elsewhere. They'd give both England and USA a good run for their many and some better teams too

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On 10/12/2017 at 5:41 PM, Jim R said:

I played in high school (starting in 1970, when the sport was first offered as part of the athletics program, through 1974).  I had a step-grandfather in Tacoma WA who hailed from Liverpool, and he used to send me the sports section of the Liverpool paper after he'd read it.  Lots of articles about Kevin Keegan and Stevie Heighway.  I started going to San Jose Earthquakes games in 1974 (the beginnings of the old NASL), and also began watching the World Cup (only available in spanish, on a UHF tv channel, in those days).  In the mid-to-late 70's, I was able to get both "Soccer Made In Germany" (Bundesliga matches, announced by Toby Charles) and "Star Soccer" (EPL, announced by Mario Machado) on our local PBS affiliates, and started to learn more about the game.  But the World Cups continued to be spanish-only until many years later, and when we did finally get english-language coverage ('90 or '94?), it was cringe-worthy (Seamus Malin explaining the rules of the game to Jim McKay for 90 minutes).

I wasn't talented enough to play in college (SJSU was often ranked in the top ten in the nation at that time), but I played in recreational leagues for about 20 years (always at striker, where I was lethal :) ... I scored just over 300 goals in roughly 300 games).  Injuries began to mount, and I had to give it up when I was in my 40's.  

I've remained an Earthquakes fan through the transition from the NASL to MLS, and I've been a fan of the U.S. national team ever since they qualified for Italia '90.  These are not good times for either the Quakes or the Nats, but I'll keep my chin up.

I'll watch an occasional EPL or La Liga or Champions League (etc) match, but I'm generally much more interested in the international game (all of it... WC, WC qualifying, regional tournaments, and even friendlies) than I am in following foreign leagues.  I'm not even sure why that is.

Thanks for your reply, Jim. You're an interesting cat, so many diverse interests...from antiques to soccer.

I also used to watch futbol on the Spanish language channels when I first moved to the US in the late 80s. I had no idea how not-popular the sport was, and still am amazed that it has not taken a foothold it deserves, despite millions of kids playing at schools or in leagues. Our town is considered 'the' soccer town in this little joke of a State, but we don't have a turf field, and the multiple grass fields resemble pastures.

Let me ask you, in your decades of playing pick-up games, how did you get ready psychologically prior to the kick-off? Or just showed up and put the cleats on?

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On 10/15/2017 at 1:46 PM, mjazzg said:

:lol: try living with it...no apparent cure or palliative. At least the England national side is doing a good job preparing us for our life of disconnectedness. The other "Home" nations as we like to call them at least play with some verve whilst losing or not in NI's case

Meanwhile, back with football. Glad to see the mighty Royals, Reading FC, finally remembering how to win; away at Leeds, even sweeter. Yes, there is football outside the Premiership here in the UK

Championship? Pah, I have to watch nonleague

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On 10/16/2017 at 7:49 AM, Dmitry said:

Let me ask you, in your decades of playing pick-up games, how did you get ready psychologically prior to the kick-off? Or just showed up and put the cleats on?

An interesting question, Dmitry, which I haven't thought about in a very long time.  Before I get to that, I should emphasize that I rarely played in "pick-up" games.  I played in recreational leagues, in a structured setting with scheduled ten-game seasons, and an organized team.  The team went through constant changes over the years, but ours included one of my brothers as well as a friend who I'd grown up with and played with in high school.  So, I generally knew what to expect most of the time (like I said, I always played as the team's striker), and over time I even got to know what to expect from many of the opponents that we played once or twice per season.

Even though there was really nothing "at stake", I still always took it pretty seriously anyway (not only wanting to win, but wanting to do everything I could to help facilitate the game being played the right way).  Besides being able to score some goals, what I really loved was passing.  Making a great pass was always more gratifying than scoring a routine goal of some sort.  I was sort of a target striker, but I usually didn't try to hold the ball up, and although I had decent speed, I didn't try to attack with the ball very often. I usually preferred to play the ball first time to a wing or a mid, and then look for space and a return pass.  I played with some guys who could really serve the ball into the box nicely, so I scored a lot of my goals via headers.

Anyway, back to your question.  I felt a combination of excitement and anticipation before games, as well as some anxiety.  I can recall having concerns about all kinds of things... poor fields, poor referees, playing games with certain team members absent, difficult opponents, playing with injuries, and not wanting to let my teammates down.  The anxiety was all out-weighed by the prospect of the team playing great, and the joy of being part of that.

When I did find myself involved in pick-up games, it could be very uncomfortable... people not knowing each other's skills and temperament, having to play out of position, etc.  Those scenarios usually involved more selfish play, less teamwork, and less fun.

Thanks for asking, by the way.  What have your experiences been like?

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Thank you for your take on this.

My experience is not nearly as extensive as yours, I only play pick-up games. One group is mostly kids in their 20s; I fell in with them through the meetup app.  That's a lot of fun, because I know I can't compete speed and endurance-wise, so I play smart.
Another group I play with is almost exclusively composed of the older local Portuguese guys from the Azores. Lovely, friendly people, great tactical players, but some are very hot-blooded. Yesterday was the first time I witnessed fisticuffs. One guy intentionally smacked another on the shin [according to the victim, for the 4th time] , he retaliated with a punch, knocked him down, then the first guy's brother got into it. We're talking of people in their 50s. Of course, we broke them apart, but this is just to appraise you of how this can get. Anyway, often times i feel intimidated and too self-aware when I play with them. The expectations are high, especially from an outsider like me; a couple of them just don't pass to me, period. So I know I've got to relax somehow. 

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8 hours ago, Dmitry said:

I only play pick-up games. One group is mostly kids in their 20s; I fell in with them through the meetup app.  That's a lot of fun, because I know I can't compete speed and endurance-wise, so I play smart.

I love it.  :)  The ability to out-think less experienced players is a nice feeling.  I had to stop playing when I was in my early 40's, but even when I was younger there were always plenty of players around who were relatively new to the game.

8 hours ago, Dmitry said:

Another group I play with is almost exclusively composed of the older local Portuguese guys from the Azores. Lovely, friendly people, great tactical players, but some are very hot-blooded.

Interesting.  This reminds me of something I didn't mention, which is that I played against a number of teams that were assembled largely according to ethnicities/nationalities.  For those teams, it always seemed to up the stakes to some degree, despite the assumed friendly/recreational nature of the activity.  It's understandable, though.  Playing for pride and all that.

 

8 hours ago, Dmitry said:

Yesterday was the first time I witnessed fisticuffs. One guy intentionally smacked another on the shin [according to the victim, for the 4th time] , he retaliated with a punch, knocked him down, then the first guy's brother got into it. We're talking of people in their 50s. Of course, we broke them apart, but this is just to appraise you of how this can get.

Yeah, I can't say I'm at all surprised.  Pick up games are just a different atmosphere.  Fortunately, people typically controlled themselves pretty well in the rec leagues, because the league organizers had a pretty strict policy.  I can only remember one player getting banned from the league while I was playing.

 

8 hours ago, Dmitry said:

Anyway, often times i feel intimidated and too self-aware when I play with them. The expectations are high, especially from an outsider like me; a couple of them just don't pass to me, period.

Again, I'm not surprised, and you've described very well what I disliked so much about those settings.  Intimidation and a lack of trust and flexibility.  As if it matters who wins in a pick-up game!  Anyway, if you're still enjoying that avenue for playing the game, then you're more probably tolerant than I was of those selfish and quick-to-judge-your-skills guys.  If I were you, I'd be looking for a rec league team to join up with.  Generally, the turnover rate on most teams was always pretty high when I played, so I'd think it wouldn't be too hard to find a team that's eagerly looking for good players to join them.  There were also different league levels according to age and skill/experience.  There were minor fees to join a team, and of course the regular responsibility to show up and play games according to a schedule, but for me it was well worth it.  Even if you had to start out as a reserve player for awhile, it might be worth investigating (if you haven't already considered it).

What position do you prefer to play, by the way?

Edited by Jim R

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