Search Results: “soccer”

31 results were found.

soccer and the impediments to success

Brian Phillips: Soccer is beautiful because soccer is hard. Most popular sports artificially enhance the human body. Soccer diminishes it. Instead of giving players a bat, a racket, protective armor, or padded gloves — tools that allow players to reach farther, return a ball faster, absorb harder hits, or hit harder themselves — soccer takes […]

soccer Saturday

I’m looking forward to the Gunners’ inevitable draw with Swansea this morning (presumably with a Giroud equalizer in extra time). I don’t know how I became an Arsenal supporter, which may help explain why I don’t know how to stop, but I often wish I could stop, given the peculiar frustrations of Arsenal fandom: no club […]

bad soccer

I’ve read a number of stories this morning about last night’s MLS Cup final between Seattle and Toronto, but none of them have said the the most obvious thing, which is that it was an appallingly bad game of soccer, “won” by a team that did not manage a single shot on goal in one […]

How I Became a Soccer Fan

How I Became a Soccer Fan A story from back in the day.

offside, handball, and VAR

Nobody, and I mean nobody, in the world of soccer knows what the offside rule is. Nobody, and I mean nobody, in the world of soccer knows what the handball rule is. What’s called offside in one match will be called onside in another; handball calls are if anything even more arbitrary. And VAR seems to have increased […]


For decades now, James Wood has been writing about his Christian upbringing, but he has gotten progressively worse at it. For instance, compare his 1996 essay in the London Review of Books with his new piece in the New Yorker. Both essays emerge from the same perspective: a kind of bemusement at the world he […]

tolerating corruption, or not

Everyone knows that professional sports around the world are utterly and unfixably corrupt. Was there ever a chance that Manchester City’s ban from the Champions League would be upheld? I doubt that anyone in the whole wide world thought so. Corruption is baked into the system, and no reasonable person could think otherwise. Last year, when […]

livestreaming church

I disagree with pretty much everything in this post by Ephraim Radner. I don’t think consolation of lonely people is distinctively “motherly”; I don’t think that there’s anything wrong with the church being “motherly” — that’s not just a “well-worn trope,” that’s part of the job description; I don’t think any of the things he […]

Tom Dart:  Since Berhalter’s appointment was announced last December there have been no results that exceeded expectations against good teams; there is currently no reason to believe that the US would be anything but makeweights at Qatar 2022, should they qualify. And there is a lack of clear evidence that the team is trending in […]


One of the ongoing themes of my online life is accidental dispersal — I inadvertently accumulate sites of digital presence, and then at a certain point realize that I need to consolidate. I realized recently that, as much as I enjoy having a blog devoted to soccer called The Pacey Winger, I just don’t post […]

working the refs

Last Sunday afternoon, in the aftermath of the first game of the NBA playoff series between the Houston Rockets and the Golden State Warriors, there was much online huffing and puffing about whether the game’s referees had failed to call fouls against the Rockets’ James Harden and Chris Paul. But something important was overlooked in […]

preview of coming distractions

I don’t think I’m flattering myself when I say that I have a fairly broad range of interests — and keeping track of all those interests has always been a challenge for me. I’ve mostly tried to do the online part of it by creating silos, so that people who care about only some of the […]

pity the poor referee

There were so many bad calls in the Arsenal-Burnley match I just sweated through that I can’t figure out whether Burnley got hosed. Certainly Arsenal’s late penalty shouldn’t have been granted — Koscielny was clearly offside — but the Xhaka red card was debatable (though I think justified), and earlier in the match Jon Moss […]

Farewell, Michael Bradley?

Not so long ago, Michael Bradley was a young, rising, dynamic midfielder who was making a real name for himself in Serie A. Then he came to Roma and discovered that, in the eyes of the coaches, he was not nearly as good as Miralem Pjanic and not quite as good as Kevin Strootman — […]

Klinsmann and the blame game

Some thoughts about this interview with Jürgen Klinsmann: He’s remarkably explicit about the players who have disappointed him and why they have disappointed him. E.g.: “The Czech game, we gave the first cap to Emerson Hyndman, he disappeared.” I don’t know whether I should call that explicitness “commendable honesty” or “throwing his players under the […]

my best blog posts of 2015

The Thrilla in Manila and the End of Boxing How I Became a Soccer Fan Three related posts: The Value of Disagreement, Disciplinary Bulverism, and Code Fetishists and Antinomians The Bought Grace of Life Ferrante’s tragedy And above all, I think, the series of posts I wrote on something that, as I said in one […]

Different Managers Use Pressing in Different Ways The Inside Channel is one of the best soccer blogs I know. Jake Meador writes especially clearly, vividly, and informatively about tactics. If you are a soccer fan, and especially if you want to become a more knowledgable one, you should definotely check it out. This post is […]

What we learned from USA’s friendlies with Brazil and Peru

What we learned from USA’s friendlies with Brazil and Peru Not sure how much we learned, but we received further confirmation that the USMNT has made zero progress in the Klinsmann era and had probably regressed a bit. Has U.S. men’s soccer, as a much larger and more complex endeavor, improved? I see no reason […]

DAY 1: Let there be light, God said, and there was light. DAY 2: Let there be morons, God said, and there were morons. DAY 3: Hey, morons, God said, I created LIGHT. DAY 4: I mean, I’m just saying, God said. None of you guys could have created light. You’re too stupid! Hey, you want me to part […]

Typical rustic folk games involved hundreds of drunken men from rival villages rampaging through streets and fields, trying to drive, say, a casket of beer (the proto-ball) into the crypt of a church (the proto-goal). The schools distilled such testosterone-fuelled rituals into new formats involving smaller teams, sober boys and sodden leather balls. Codified by […]

It’s been less than a year, but what happened next is already the stuff of lore. “You have to understand,” noted foosball aficionado George F. Will told me recently over a steaming mug of chai caramel latte at McDonald’s. “Of the three major American sports, one, snooker, is primary mental, and another, lawn bowls, is […]

Stott sees crowds as the opposite of ruleless, and crowd violence as the opposite of senseless: What seems like anarchic behavior is in fact governed by a shared self-conception and thus a shared set of grievances. Stott’s response to the riots has been unpopular with many of his countrymen. Unlike Zimbardo, who would respond—and indeed […]

The Love Song of Mario Balotelli

I think I am a genius, but not a rebel. I have my life, my world, I do what I want, without annoying anyone. I believe I am more intelligent than the average person. It is said that geniuses are misunderstood. So perhaps genius is so different that people don’t understand. The talent God gave […]

All of these are awesome. Thanks to Luke Neff.

After the End

runofplay: Cue the End-of-an-Era music: Pep Guardiola has resigned. But from this vantage point what seems clear is that Pep’s departure, and all the accompanying verbiage — about the intensity of his personality, his perfectionism, the hardware his team has won over the past four years, the success of the Barcelona Way, Pep as the […]

On Throw-Ins

runofplay: Why are soccer players so bad at throw-ins? In any given soccer match the rate of throw-in failure is shockingly high. The problems come in three general varieties.    Excess of ambition. A teammate stands unmarked five yards from the thrower-in, so that nothing would be easier than to toss the ball at his […]

The takedown

Yesterday I posted a little piece over at The Run of Play on the inexplicably lousy season Inter Milan is having. The analogy that struck me was that the team seems to have something like Chronic Fatigue Syndrome: they’re not lazy, they’re not slacking off, but they seem somehow to be incapable of energetic and […]

Last week one of my Twitter followers replied in this way to one of my soccer tweets: “Why do you like soccer? Sports need to have a balance btw offense and defense. Soccer fails the test.” Well, we’ve heard that one before. I didn’t reply, but if I had I would have said (of course) that he was […]

There are two reasons, basically, why soccer lends itself to spectatorial boredom. One is that the game is mercilessly hard to play at a high level. (You know, what with the whole “maneuver a small ball via precisely coordinated spontaneous group movement with 10 other people on a huge field while 11 guys try to […]

You can divide all soccer players — maybe all athletes — into two groups: the rational and the irrational. Rational players do what they look like they do. They look athletic, and they are athletic. They look balanced, and they are balanced. Ronaldo is a rational player; you could spot him on the beach and […]

It’s hard to imagine a revolution in understanding a popular sport that could entirely circumvent that sport’s followers. But that, weirdly, is what the soccer clubs seem to be aiming at: a great, obscurantist leap forward that will enable them to win more matches without anyone outside their own offices knowing precisely why. You can’t […]