Thursday, August 19, 2010

Book Review: Soccerhead by Jim Haner

As any good soccer junkie, I devour any and all interesting-looking books on soccer. I just finished Jim Haner's Soccerhead: An Accidental Journey into the Heart of the American Game (2006, North Point Press). If you are at all curious about the game in the US, or about youth sports in general, I recommend this book. It offers humorous accounts of a no-nothing youth soccer coach (Haner), and his metamorphosis into a full-fledged soccer nut.

It also offers insight to the history of the game in the US. Haner describes how the game predates American football, basketball and baseball by a significant margin, and offers some explanation of how it lost it's status as an American sport over time.

In addition, Soccerhead offers reminders about the nature of youth sport, and the role of parents in youth athletics. Haner interviewed many experts, and spoke from his own experience. The second-most important point, specifically related to soccer, is that the best coaches at the youth level coach the least. The most important point, and this is relevant to all youth sport, is that it should be fun. Period.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

So It Begins...

I live in the US and as a result have limited access to European matches. I am a cheap-o and only subscribe to basic cable, giving me both Univision and Telemundo. Unfortunately they don't cover Europe. The only games I get to watch are those that are played on ESPN's handy ESPN3 online player; oh, and the occasional game that I will take in at my fav local pub, the Druid.

ESPN3 is hosting Premier League games this season for the first time ever, I believe, and I am ecstatic about that. They also host a lot of La Liga matches.


The 2010 PL season has begun. The team I support in that league, Arsenal, drew at home to Liverpool. That is probably a decent result for both sides as neither would want to lose face against one another. I don't expect either of them to win the league.

My early prediction for the PL:

1. Chelsea, AKA the Evil Empire
2. Manchester United, they will be in the race until late
3. Man City, Apprentice to the Evil Empire
4. Arsenal, they will just edge out arch rival Spurs
5. Spurs
6. Liverpool, again no CL football for them
7. Everton
8. Villa
9. Fulham
10. Blackburn
11. Bolton
12. Newcastle
13. Stoke
14. West Ham
15. Sunderland
16. Wolves
17. Wigan
18. Blackpool
19. Birmingham
20. West Brom