Sunday, April 24, 2016

Great Article from @dutchreferee

See the whole article, "7 tips to stay focused for 90 minutes" here, at Dutch Referee Blog.

I'll add a #8 alongside the very worthy (7) points he makes.

#8 - Visualize.
In preparation for a match visualize the match and decisions you may have to make. Picture entering the field. Air is warm, sun is out, and you can smell the fresh cut grass. Visualize inspecting the teams before the match and having a nice pre-match conversation with a coach or player. Feel the thrill of that first whistle to start the match. Imagine that hand ball that a player tries to get away with on your blind side. Picture in your mind that goal by the #10 and before pointing upfield, looking to your assistant to verify it was a good goal. Go through cautioning a player for that hard challenge that has no place on this day. Finish by visualizing the final whistles and shaking hands with your teammates ... all of them ... players and referees alike who worked for 90 minutes together for a good match.

Imagine the good and the bad and how you are going to deal with it that day. Play it in your head before you walk into the field. If you find yourself waining during a match, replay that part to bolster your focus and confidence.

Then do it. 

Saturday, April 23, 2016

"I could have done more ..."

US Soccer Star Abby Wambach: 'I Could Have Done More' to Fight Pay Inequity

“Maybe I was a little too scared.”


On the soccer pitch, Abby Wambach was a leader. Now, five-and-a-half months after she retired from the game after a 30-year career, she says she’s ready to keep leading – this time in the fight for gender pay equality.

In a painfully honest speech Thursday before some 6,500 at the Watermark Conference for Women in Silicon Valley, she, in effect, apologize for not having done more to help the cause when she played on the women’s US Soccer Team. “I turned this chapter and was like, ‘Gosh, I could have done more. I should have done more,'” she said, adding, “There’s so much frustration in my bones, because I could have done more.” ...

See the whole story here, from Fortune.

Kicking Back Comments: While Abby continues on her apology tour (and I mean no disrespect there, this is a good thing for everyone) she took time to comment on the EEOC issue. Her comments seemed to be a bit scripted and had less vitriol than her former teammates. As one of the highest paid on the WNT her thoughts did ring a bit hollow, but was much more on point than her teammates. Her comments about feeling shamed about such issues I do think are powerful and throughout this matter shame, nor respect should be used as a weapon again the other party.

This is not about respect ... it's about money. Those two things do not lead to the other. I personally know a millionaire who is a truly unethical wanker and have met nearly penniless people who are people I would trust.

Beyond that, this article is crap as while it points out some facts regarding pay, it clearly continues to be a cheerleader for the WNT, regardless of what the reality is. 

Friday, April 22, 2016

Equal pay my ...

As I have bloviated about here a few times now, the whole WNT equal pay issue is a bit of a red herring (a logical fallacy) that is IMO nothing more than a way to put pressure on US Soccer regarding the upcoming case regarding the CBA for the WNT.

There was a spectacular piece in the NYT regarding an objective, and I mean truly objective, look at the comparison between the MNT and WNT pay.

You can see the whole article, Pay Disparity in U.S. Soccer? It’s Complicated, here, courtesy of the NYT.

Here are some of the highlights:

  • MNT for their history is more revenue generating than the WNT. Note this does not include sponsorships and broadcast rights. Since 2012 however the MNT has brought in a factor of 2 more revenue if we include this point. Factor of 2 folks.

  • Top (12) paid players in US Soccer are, (6) men and (6) women, all over $1M.

  • Best paid women made about $1.2M since 2008 and in some cases made MORE than the men in similar positions on the MNT.

  • It is only until you get to about the 25th position on the roster do this tip away from the women and it does dip big time.

  • Equal work? Nope. WNT qualifies in 2 weeks time when the MNT takes 2 years and many more matches.

  • What about those bonuses for the men (in general) v. the women? Well, go talk to FIFA, and guess what, they base it on revenue too.

  • Per diem and sponsorship appearance work? No question, as I have stated earlier should be equal, and in fact I think the appearance fees should be bigger for the WNT right now as they are coming off a HUGE win and have a chance at same in the Olympics. This is the one point that is correct in Carli Lloyd's horribly misinformed article in the NYT. Whoever advised her to write that should be ashamed of themselves as she is now left looking really silly.

Bottom line? I am for equal pay when there is equal business worth. [Don't get me going about human value. A cardio-thoracic surgeon makes less than Hope Solo. Equality?] Certainly equal pay when it comes to things like per diems, no question about that. But please stop the crap reporting about the "mistreatment" the WNT suffers. It is utter bull$h!t.

The media is whipped up into a lather and makes it seem like the WNT are this rag tag bunch of kids who can't feed themselves and are playing with used shoes. Enough. It is starting to be seen for what it is ... a tactic for more in the CBA.

You want equality? How about NWSL salaries? Equal work as these players are shoulder to shoulder with their WNT counterparts. Their pay you ask? A maximum of about $39K and a minimum of about $7K ... per year ... which is below the poverty line if this is all they do.

Should these women get paid the same as a WNT player? Why not? Equal work, equal pay, right?

More equality? Let's talk criminality? Imagine, just imagine if Tim Howard were accused of the things Hope Solo actually did per the court papers in her domestic violence trial, or her suspension after her husband was arrested for driving a team van while drunk. Do we think he would be on the MNT?

Not a chance.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

MLS updates security

MLS updates security measures at all 20 stadiums
Image courtesy of Thefirsteleven.com

Major League Soccer announced on Tuesday that it will bring security measures at MLS events in line with those of other North American professional sports leagues, with new individual screening methods upon stadium entry beginning Saturday, April 23 at all Major League Soccer matches, Soccer United Marketing games, or United Soccer League matches played at MLS venues.

Under the new policy, all guests will be fully screened, either by use of a magnetic search wand or by a pat down. Each venue will make its own decisions regarding what protocols will be used at events to reach this baseline level of security. ...

See the whole announcement here, courtesy of MLS.

Kicking Back Comments: While this should have been policy from BANG! there are a couple of recent incidents that may have brought this forward. One significant one may be from DC United.

In this case as the story goes, a smoke bomb was set off in a tunnel outside the stadium. Ultimately as a result, at least one fan(atic) was suspended for a year by MLS. Now, this apparently was a fan who would drive (3) hours to see a DCU match and has substantial fan spirit to lead and take part in organized activities for DCU.

MLS has been roundly called out on this, using such images such as smoke bombs, flares, and confetti streamers thrown into the pitch to advertise how "global" the US game is. The above article and those linked do an excellent job of spelling out how hypocritical MLS is with respect to its advertising. There is even an open letter to MLS citing how capricious and arbitrary (my words) such bans are.

I can see this one both ways. You can't reasonably do something that can endanger another (e.g. ignite a smoke bomb in a tunnel) but at the same time MLS can't stand on the backs of these folks they are suspending to forward their marketing campaign to make MLS look more like the global game.

This is the US ... The Game may never have that type of flair in my lifetime .. sadly.

Here is the DCU updated security notice.

Monday, April 18, 2016

From Humble Beginnings

Good News for SA Soccer: Major League Soccer Commissioner Officially Confirms Expansion to 28 Teams

As San Antonio's new pro soccer team starts to grind through its inaugural United Soccer League season (San Antonio FC is undefeated through three games, by the way), the looming potential of Major League Soccer coming to town is the backdrop.

Those big-league dreams got a little boost yesterday, when MLS Commissioner Don Garber officially confirmed that the league will expand to 28 teams at some point in the future. ...

See the whole article here, from the SA Current.

Kicking Back Comments: Hard to believe we started with 12 teams in 1995 and we're still going now. I for one did not think this league would last this long (shame on me) and kudos to the visionaries who have been keeping it going and growing (source). When these new teams come on line in 2020, MLS will be 25 years old ... amazing.