Pitch Points shuts down the studio

They didn’t play here but it’s whatever

Welcome to Pitch Points, your semi-regular rundown of links of interest. As always, use the various social channels to drop me anything you think would be a good fit for one of these posts.

Bintu-gones. The University of Cincinnati will be shuttering its men’s soccer program. The Bearcats won’t likely be the last Division I institution to see contraction during the coronavirus pandemic. The stated reason, however, is… well, it rings a little hollow:

“This was a difficult decision, but one made with the long-term interests of UC Athletics at the forefront,” Cunningham said. “During this time of profound challenges and widespread uncertainty, I have engaged in a comprehensive and thorough review of UC’s sport offerings and long-term budget implications of supporting the number of student-athletes currently at UC. Based on this review, and in consultation with President Pinto and other University leaders, UC Athletics will no longer sponsor a men’s soccer program.”

Certainly, the explicit statement isn’t quite “we can’t afford the scholarships,” but it’s definitely the subtext.

Total scholarship outlay for the Cincinnati men’s soccer program? Assuming every scholarship player is from out of state (which is not the case!), an NCAA-mandated maximum of 9.9 scholarships times the tuition cost of about $27,500 annually, carry the one, and… $270,606.60. The athletic director’s compensation? Close to double that. Certainly there are other costs associated, and some imprecise language by the AD shouldn’t diminish the fact.

The reason programs will want to reduce their number of sport offerings – and will use coronavirus as an excuse – is because it’s a way for administrators to maximize their piece of the pie, nothing more or less. Using a pandemic as a means to that end is epically scummy.

Cincy Soccer Talk‘s Bryan Weigel gives his thoughts on the move.

Clint Dempsey is the best. Surely by now, most have seen The Athletic‘s fantastic oral history($) of some of the best Clint Dempsey stories. I would certainly not have the level of interest in soccer that I do today if not for Dempsey, though, so here we stan:

Charlie Davies, former U.S. teammate, former high school all-American wrestler: Someone had been talking about what a good wrestler I was, and Clint goes, ‘He’s not a good wrestler.’ Or something like that. He goes, ‘Do you wanna wrestle?’ ‘Yeah, alright, let’s do it.’

…and that story only gets better.

The Bruce Arena “tries shit” quote will always be the canonical Dempsey description. “DGAF” is probably the underlying attitude that led to the “tries shit” mentality. Dempsey was always a guy who embodied DGAF on the pitch, and when it wasn’t soccer time (for a guy as competitive as he is, that was a lot of the time), he lived it in a very different way off it, too: dude didn’t want to deal with the bullshit. He wanted to fish.

Cheers to a true king of the American game.

Speaking of people who like to fish. From Nashville SC play-by-play announcer Tony Husband, a great profile of wingers coach Steve Guppy (who likes to fish and his name is also a type of fish). His coaching philosophy should draw some impressive results from the players.

“We work religiously on taking players on, with position specific warmups, where you’ve got to get the repetitions in. To me if you can take a player on or you can do a body movement a drop of the shoulder without realising you’re doing it, then you’re a player, but to get that it takes thousands and thousands of repetitions and that’s what we’re trying to do within the warm ups.”

I’ve been high on Guppy since his hiring was announced, an it’s unfortunate we only got to see limited results of his coaching (albeit with a couple nice highlights) before the current hiatus.

The distant future. The year 2022. MLS’s Armchair Analyst Matt Doyle on the next World Cup roster for the USMNT.

Only one Nashville mention:

Other considerations: Mark McKenzie (TSG Hoffenheim), Matt Miazga (Reading), Walker Zimmerman (Nashville SC), Aboubacar Keita (Columbus Crew), Justen Glad (RSL), Erik Palmer-Brown (Austria Wien), Mauricio Pineda (Chicago Fire)

The rest of the piece is worth a read, though in a few positions… hopefully guys develop a little faster than they seem to be on track for now? Or some new names emerge? Lookin’ for a competitive squad in Qatar.

Local club stuff. A new ECNL Director for Tennessee Soccer Club:

Prior to his time as Assistant ECNL Director, Warden served as the U13-U19 Girls Director at TSC. Before moving to the states and joining TSC, Greg was a staff coach and then Boys Academy Director at Redlands United in Australia.

As a player, Warden played with Redlands United (Australia), Radcliffe Borough (England) and Inter Nashville FC. During the 2017 and 2018 USL seasons, Warden also trained regularly with Nashville SC.

TSC has also added Dan Sidebottom as the Assistant Director.

With the shuttering of the DA, ECNL – at least for the time being – is the top youth club league for both boys and girls nationally. Hopefully TSC will continue to be successful within it.

Etc.: The rise and fall of the San Francisco Deltas. I hate to see any team (especially a good one!) go under, but the NASL crew were clearly an unsavory bunch to associate yourself with – and seem to remain so, to say the least. … It’s called… … Soccer in Hawai’i.  … NSC broadcaster Jamie Watson with some game analysis. … Nashville SC rightback Eric Miller on the FiftyFive.One podcast. … Idaho seems like not a super-great place in some ways!

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