Pitch Points is all booked up

Rounding up the links of local and national relevance in the world of soccer. As always, thanks for visiting FCAC. Follow on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, and if there’s anything you’d like me to include in one of these posts, go through those channels or drop me a line in the comments here.

Jacobs and Nashville SC CEO Ian Ayre
A busy presentationmanz and radiomanz, respectively. 

Busy social slate. On top of, uh, the season being days away, there’s plenty of action going on in the Nashville SC world in the next week-plus.

  • Tonight: Mill Creek Goalden Ale release party. Unlike last year’s event (which occurred at their main Nolensville taproom), this will be at their 12 South outpost. Begins at 5:30 p.m.
  • Friday night: Those traveling to Evansville, Ind. for Saturday afternoon’s friendly against Indy Eleven can head to Doc’s Sports Bar the night before, where AO Evansville is hosting a Q&A with NSC Technical Director and GM Mike Jacobs, along with representatives from the Eleven.
  • Next Monday: Interested in what it takes to launch a pro sports franchise? Jacobs will be presenting on that topic in an Evening Class at Nashville University School.

Packed calendar this time of year if you’re interested in as much soccer as you can possibly cram into your brain.

Radio Radio Radio. Plenty of audio to consume if that’s your deal.

The Andrew Gutman saga is basically over from our perspective, but on the Soccer, Esq. podcast, Miki Turner of the Athletic goes through some of the rules interpretations that affected Nashville’s ability to sign him on a one-year loan. The relevant portion starts at about 9:40 on the pod.

Nashville SC GM Ian Ayre joined MLS’s Extra Time (no longer “Radio”) for some talk about the future of our MLS franchise here in the Music City. The show’s host, Andrew Wiebe, predicts NSC’s philosophy on the basis of what Ayre told them, with a couple of the key quotes included. Ayre appeared earlier last week on 102.5 The Game. Listen here.

Always pluggin’ the homies at Pharmaceutical Soccer.

Basically we’re better than Germany. If you’re one of the people who gets real depressed about the state of development in the US, read this… about the team that was world champs until just a few months ago:

Bierhoff said Germany was not producing enough flair players because training had become too formalised.

“We need room for individualists, we need more football pitch mentality,” he said. “It needs more feeling again. Through freer training, street football should be brought into the clubs. We need to create more space for creativity and enjoyment for our players.”

Does that sound extremely familiar? I’m the furthest thing from a pollyanna when it comes to the state of the game in the United States, but when basically the same things are being said (many of them close to word-for-word) about the team that entered the World Cup as the favorite, maybe it’s fair to say that there’s some overreaction to it.

They’re lauding the development of a country that is literally most famous for its consistent failures in the World Cup (until this year’s crowning achievement of a fourth place finish, of course).

Meanwhile, pay-to-play is actually cool and good? I wouldn’t go so far – “a lot of clubs have financial aid!” is a pretty easy way to wave a hand at a small piece of a problem and pretend like the whole thing doesn’t exist – but I’ve long said that, while it’s not ideal, there’s a place for pay-to-play soccer. As long as there are parents and families out there willing to pay extra for an additional level of service, there’s a place for it.

The problem is the access to all levels of competition for those who can’t afford it (including those who live in areas that don’t have such clubs available at all, a far more complex socioeconomic picture than “you can just get scholarships!”). The existence of pay-to-play as the preeminent model is the problem.

Pickup culture. Hey, speaking of improving development in our country (but in this instance, that’s probably more a fortunate side effect than the goal itself)… Nashville SC’s first mini-pitch in the city, at long last, opened over the weekend:

Extremely important for the city, for the sport generally, and for the club in helping cultivate all those positive things. Why they went out of their way to keep the unveiling secret from the media is a question to be asked on a different day, I guess (it’s a layup for the club, and a layup for the mainstream media folks in the city. Instead it got no local coverage).

This fits into a very different segment of the pickup culture spectrum, but is a pretty cool story in The Athletic($) about the pickup games in the Philly area that many past, present, and future pros have called home… and may have helped launch the coaching career of Philadelphia Union headman Jim Curtin.

Etc: Fairly off-topic, but an incredible story out of Madison. Have to imagine just about everyone is rooting for Niziyigimana. … I don’t know what Matt Pickens did to somebody at USLHQ, but to not be on a list of 10 keepers to watch is the latest aggression that includes making a grand total of one team of the week last season. Liam Doyle is a defender to watch, at least. … “Does Celtic move prove trialist couldn’t cut it at Rangers?” No, it proves Gutman turned you down as fast as if you were the Chicago Fire. … #Stadium_stuff, and this brief snippet indicates why the TSFA dropped its stadium lawsuit against Metro. … USL League One will join the Championship on ESPN+ this Summer. … Local coaches moving up the USSF license ranks.

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