Don’t forget: Concacaf Champions League resumes tonight! NYRB against Club Tijuana at 7:00 p.m. and Toronto FC against Tigres at 9:00. As always, if you have anything you’d like to see me include in one of these posts, hit me on Twitter (follow while you’re there) @ClubCountryUSA or in the comments.
All news is local. Talkin’ about national team-oriented stuff with a local flavor? Why, that’s right up my alley! AO Nashville leader Jennifer Slape breaks it down on the Outlaws’ national site:
As a leader it is incredible to watch people from diverse backgrounds, careers, life experiences; that if it weren’t for AO wouldn’t come together and become a family that supports and embraces each other no matter what. Personally, it is shocking that I went from being terrified to talk to people to being able to stand in the front of group and lead chants.
Their are many movies based on feeling OK about being awkward (actors have made careers on it – John Cusack and John Cusack 2.0 aka Paul Rudd), so fear not Jennifer, we’re with you. Plenty more – and more of the soccer stuff – at the link.
For the continent! Details on the Concacaf (new typeset in the ol’ style guide: no more all-caps) Nations League are here:
The U.S., along with the five other participants in the most recent Hex, automatically starts in League A, which will comprise 12 teams. Those 12 will be drawn into four groups of three after qualifying concludes. League B will have 16 teams – four groups of four. League C will have 12 – four groups of three. All groups will be double round-robins, meaning the U.S. will play four games – two home, two away – during the September, October and November international breaks in 2019.
A promotion/relegation system will then connect one iteration of the Nations League to the next. The four last-place teams in Leagues A and B will drop down to B and C, respectively, two years later. First-place teams in Leagues B and C will jump up to A and B to replace them.
The winners of the four League A groups, meanwhile, advance to a March 2020 championship event. Though it hasn’t been confirmed, the format will almost certainly be simple: two semifinals and then a final during the international break.
There’s still logistical stuff to work out (not enough matchdays available for all the games), but it could be worse overall. Still holding out hope that eventually the continental Concacaf teams and the CONMEBOL teams join up for a new confederation with the Caribbean nations doing their own thing.
Tab4USMNT. Do yourself a favor and read this FourFourTwo profile on Tab Ramos:
“I’d like to coach the senior national team at some point. I don’t know if that’s now or later – it doesn’t really matter. I think I’m in a good place and I think I’m valued by U.S. Soccer where I am. I feel good about that. But I don’t know. I don’t know when the time will come, if it will come or not.”
Something something. The author of the story, Charles Boehm, posted a couple other interesting quotes that to be quite honest strike me as more newsworthy than a standard puff piece but I ain’t the editor.
Pertaining to those quotes, a wide-ranging podcast interview with former USYNT coach Hugo Perez. It’s primarily focused on player development and the American systems (and conveniently includes a transcript). He’s not really breaking new ground here, but it’s food for thought nonetheless.
Solidarity and training compensation. Is the U.S.’s way of not being left behind here, going to be “the rest of the world comes to us?” Lawyers are pretty concerned that it’s bordering on illegal in England and rife for being overturned in the event of a court challenge.
Much like promotion and relegation – which the Premier League has been vaguely trying to break away from since its founding in the 90s, for all you Eurosnobs that think it’s the only way to go – it seems like the American system is the better (here meaning “less illegal” and “more profitable for clubs-as-businesses”) one, and, well, maybe the rest of the developed world getting dragged down to a more similar situation to ours than American joining them.
Of course, Pro-Rel has its own (significant) problems even in places where it’s long been lex terrae, and it’s hard to see us coming around on that one, but I would love to see training compensation enacted here for as long as it can hold up in courts.
Etc.: This is an old tweet and something I’d like to expand upon in the future, but for now, just something to make you think, man. … Tickets for the home opener dwindling? Expect the club to release a lot more going forward. … Allocation money in MLS has expanded the European middle class of players (which is a good thing for the league going forward; probably not a good thing for young Americans). A second angle on the same principle. … Sort of old news, but Tennessee Soccer Club members honored at the Philly convention. Local news coverage of soccer gets a thumbs-up from me. … How valuable are MLS keepers, and how awesome is NYRB’s Luis Robles?