January 24, 2018
This week’s guest, Charles Boehm, is a player, coach, referee and writer -- check out his intro at the 2:45 mark and learned where he played alongside future non-U.S. national teamers. Like me, he was in Philadelphia for the United Soccer Coaches convention and attended many of the U.S. Soccer presidential candidates’ sessions.
We talk about what makes a soccer person and what makes an elitist (5:30), whether Eric Wynalda is the front-runner (8:00), the “anyone but (so-and-so)” approach to voting (9:45), what the candidates showed us in Philly (13:05), Kathy Carter and Soccer United Marketing (24:10), what’s changing in U.S. Soccer (30:00-ish), then youth soccer and the surprising focus on ODP (38:15).
I didn’t get around to finishing my thought on why I was once the best U12 center back in Athens, Ga. The answer is the same reason why I was once a competent over-30 coed indoor goalkeeper: Reckless disregard for my own safety. It surely had nothing to my skill. It also had a lot to do with the fact that not many kids played soccer and even fewer wanted to play defense.
January 17, 2018
Point 1: Why this weekend will be huge for the U.S. Soccer presidential election. (2:02)
Included in that: Why I’m skeptical of current election projections (including a NewsRadio reference), what the Number 1 issue in this election should be (8:10), a few surprising things on Paralympic soccer (8:30), a question of what we’re really saying about futsal -- the next beach volleyball? (9:30), SUM and pro/rel (11:30), and finally back to the Number 1 issue and how it overlaps with other major issues (18:00).
Point 2: The new U.S. Soccer coaching curriculum, grassroots level (22:15)
Included in that: Welcome to Disney (25:55), introducing tactics at 4v4? (26:20), the painful irony of the chosen video clip (27:15), U6 parent coaches developing their own coaching philosophy? (28:00), the nice tone (32:25).
Point 3: Soccer discourse, Twitter (33:40)
Include in that: What we all have to offer (34:15), why dealing with crap for 15 years makes these discussions difficult (35:45), different types of people (36:45), the ideal outcome of the Kathy Carter candidacy (39:30).
Next up for Ranting Soccer Dad (40:00). Basically, I’ll get back to interviews at some point and quit soloing like this. (And yes, I finally bring it full circle.)
January 3, 2018
No interview lined up, so what's the rant this week?
How the United Soccer Coaches convention in Philadelphia might help us reset the hostility-to-substance ratio in the presidential race.
Who I would NOT endorse for U.S. Soccer president, based on what I know now. (The answer is NOT Eric Wynalda, which I know might blow the minds of some folks on Twitter.)
Why Riccardo Silva’s tweet about promotion and corruption was irresponsible and inaccurate. (He’s welcome to chat with me or simply tweet again to explain, clarify, etc.)
A bit of U.S. Soccer voting history.
Some musing on corruption and investigative journalism.
Where were Commisso and Silva in 2002 when MLS was about to fold and could’ve been steered in another direction?
Something that has actually encouraged me about public conversation right now.
My New Year’s resolution that I hope others will share.
December 13, 2017
Beau flies solo for the likely 2017 RSD finale and talks about the magnificent seven or the elite eight to reach this stage of the USSF presidential race. At the 15-minute mark, he tries to sum up 20-some hours of the Soccer Parenting Summit. Happy holidays, and get more details on this pod later this week at RantingSoccerDad.com
December 6, 2017
If you want to skip Beau's rant on the good and bad of US Club Soccer, Sunil Gulati and Twitter, skip to the 15-minute mark. That's where you'll find the interview with Paul Lapointe, one of the first candidates to declare his intent to run for the U.S. Soccer presidency.
We talk about promotion/relegation, the role of the president, equal pay for the U.S. women's team, women's soccer promotion/relegation/Open Cup, the fragmented world of futsal, the fragmented world of indoor "balls and walls" soccer, youth soccer and coaching. All in less than 45 minutes.
December 1, 2017
Eric Wynalda has played in multiple World Cups, Germany, MLS, etc. He's been a successful coach and commentator.
Yes, we talk about promotion/relegation. In fact, we did it first just so you single-issue types can listen and then bail out. If you want to hear about EVERY issue facing the next USSF president -- well, we got to maybe half of them. There are lot of issues. In rough order, we talk about:
1. What's different or similar between the concerns of the Twitterati and the concerns of the typical state or national association.
2. Whether people are nervous to speak up about the USSF power structure.
3. Women's soccer: The new collective bargaining agreement and the NWSL.
4. Youth soccer: Has the federation done too little? Too much?
November 29, 2017
Neil Morris covers his local teams -- North Carolina FC and the North Carolina Courage -- for WRAL. His work includes a terrific podcast, the Inverted Triangle. In his day job, he's an attorney and mediator.
So why not combine his areas of expertise and try to mediate the NASL/USSF lawsuit? We gave it a whirl, with Neil playing the role of mediator and your host flipping between the roles of NASL and USSF advocates.
The conversation starts around the 8:45 mark. We quickly explain what's going on in the real world with the lawsuit, and then Neil explains the mediation process.
I present a hypothetical NASL offer, prompted by Neil's helpful questions and prodding, around the 25-minute mark. (Highlights: Cosmos owner on the USSF Board, drop divisional sanctioning OR give us D2 for a few years.) I give a hypothetical USSF counter at 43:45. We spend the last half-hour assessing our progress -- some promising ideas, but some roadblocks that even the most reasonable people may have difficulty eliminating. Uh oh.
November 15, 2017
A vote for Kyle Martino is actually a vote for a network of people that he believes can solve the problems in U.S. Soccer. He’s going to bring them together in early December to flesh out a “progress plan” that he outlines on his site.
He’s already hard at work building this consensus, and this interview has a few glitches because he was on the run as we chatted. He had to run at one point to do a live interview, and the phone connection dropped as he hopped from train to train.
The former MLS player and current (though on leave) NBC analyst grasps the complexities of the U.S. Soccer presidency for which he’s running. Like a couple of other candidates, he’s out talking with youth and adult constituencies to find out what they need. He has mixed feelings about the incumbent, Sunil Gulati, whom Martino firmly believes has run his course as president but still has a lot to offer U.S. Soccer. He’s shocked to hear how other candidates talk about Gulati, pointing out that the next president will have to work “symbiotically” with him as a FIFA Council member and World Cup bid organizer. (That’s all between the 14- and 18-minute marks.)
We talk specifically about women’s soccer -- in addition to our conversations about youth soccer, which is certainly not limited to boys -- at the 13:30 mark and the 28:00 mark and possibly a few other places. I did not get around to asking about the NWSL -- honestly, I haven’t thought of a question along those lines that I wouldn’t rather be asking NWSL owners.
November 8, 2017
He doesn't have the name recognition of Eric Wynalda, he hasn't been in the U.S. Soccer inner circle like Carlos Cordeiro, and he hasn't been campaigning as long as Steve Gans. But Mike Winograd is an interesting candidate for the USSF presidency. He's a former player, he helped launch a pro club, and he's a lawyer who works on very big deals.
In our conversation (starting around the 10-minute mark after I ranted a bit about the NASL lawsuit and gave an overview of the presidential election), we talk about Winograd's background and his plans, which he outlined in a prior interview at GotSoccer. His basic mode of operation: He wants to get everyone on the same page -- or, as he puts it, rowing in the same direction.
Key quote: "U.S. Soccer should not be in the business of trying to ram things down people’s throats."
Particular points of interest: How to get the WNT and MNT equal or equivalent, depending on what each team wants (35:00), and addressing cost barriers in youth soccer (40:00).
November 1, 2017
Jef Thiffault is the managing director for the NPSL, an elite amateur league that's been sometimes pulled into promotion/relegation discussions. But he used to work for MLS and SUM.
Mind blown yet?
It's actually an encouraging discussion that gives the impression that we have some smart people in U.S. soccer, toiling far away from the courtrooms and big-league boardrooms. And we might see a sea change in elite amateur competition that just might spill upward to the pros.
Interview begins around the 10:30 mark after I give a long introduction and rant a bit about the NASL and so forth.