October 10, 2008

We have a visitor, mind your manners

Thanks to a hectic travel schedule, you get an extra special guest post. Today's author is Jeff Tobin, who writes for American Soccer News.

“Failure is an Option”

The top things I learned about being an unpaid soccer journalist:

The Polish media like to embarrass themselves and they are completely self-unaware of this fact. Not ALL Polish media, but at least the guy who was allowed into the David Beckham and Bruce Arena press conference after their loss on September 25th.

During the press conference, while journalists were instructed to ask questions to Bruce Arena first, a gentlemen who introduced himself representing “Polish fans from Europe” asked Mr. David Beckham (swoons – the “reporter” not Beckham), “How is it in the United States and what do you think of Morrissey?” The latter part of the sentence may or may not be true but I listened to the recording 12 times and it still sounds like he asks about Morrissey and I now can’t get the hook from “The More You Ignore Me the Closer I Get” which could be fitting but “There is a Light That Never Goes Out” could also work in this case. Beckham obliged because he may be the nicest and richest man I have ever met, but he provided a standard, “I have enjoyed my time here.”

A mocking energy filled the room for moments as Grant Wahl, Luis Arroyave, and about a dozen poorly placed photographers snapped away as a man, a right-footed soccer player, answered a question that was barely appropriate last summer, unless you work for US Weekly. There are stupid questions.

Another thing I learned is that the Galaxy has a great opportunity to make my favorite blog, http://failblog.org/, next to this one of course.

The Galaxy had been deemed a “Superclub” by former General Manager Alexi Lalas in the past and currently, they are on pace to not make the playoffs AGAIN despite having Beckham and Landon Donovan. Not making the MLS playoffs is hard to do in one year, but two years!? Yahoo Seriously folks.

This is what Arena had to say to me directly as I asked him about his playoff chances in front of paid journalists, ““I feel confident that we are going to give it a great effort. I can’t tell you whether we are going to do it (make the playoffs). Obviously we are a bit behind the eight ball and all we can try to do is make progress as a team and go out and perform up to our capabilities each and every week. If we win tonight, we are 3rd in our conference. We aren’t that far behind. If we don’t win games, we don’t have a chance. It’s likely we’ll need to win three of them to have a chance.”

One down and three more games to go as LA failed last week against the Columbus Crew: The same Crew that is coached by Sigi Schmidt. This is the same Schmidt that was fired from the Galaxy even though he won the championship and had a first place team. Pile on the fact that Donovan and Beckham will be away on international duty against Cuba and Kazakhstan leaving Pete Vagenas, Greg Vanney, and Edson Buddle to beat Toronto to even have a chance to stay in consideration of the playoffs.

Lastly, Chad Barrett, who has a chance to break the 10 goal mark in MLS against the Galaxy, will have a chance to help his team make the playoffs. This is important because, besides John Thorrington and possibly Jon Busch, I have never seen a player take losses and defeat the way Chad Barrett did in his time in Chicago. He suffered for his team giving all of his blood, guts, and body salt while usually leaving them on the field in the 70th minute mark. You can’t blame a guy with low sodium content for not being able to go 90. He hustled all game, chased every ball and when the team won, he was ecstatic regardless if he scored or not. If he didn’t score , he would often call himself out especially during his slump after the demolition of the Red Bulls on May 25th. He was a class act for Chicago and his competitive nature will be missed.

And in life and blogging, you want to end on a positive note.

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