Saturday, December 26, 2009

Frankie Claus Celebrates Boxing Day

USMNT fringe player Frankie Hekjudk tries to get in the holiday spirit with a Boxing Day gift for Coach Sweatpants.

Hejduk: Hey Coach Bradley… I got you a gift. Think you could put my name on the list for January camp?

Beasley: Hey, Frankie… think you could add my name to the gift tag?

If Frankie’s hijinks don’t work then its a good thing you signed on to our campaign to give him a career beyond his USMNT glory days. Add your name to the “Recruit Frankie Hejduk for Free Beer Movement Spokesperson” petition.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Happy Non-Denominational Celebration of the Winter Season!

Fuck it… Merry Christmas all!

May your holidays be filled with beer and merriment!

Don’t forget all the great Boxing Day action tomorrow in England!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

News Watch: Time Wasting Links For Your Enjoyment During the Holidays Edition

Ho! Ho! Ho! Nothing much going on at FBM HQ so we’ve got a host of great Ameri-centric soccer articles that have been floating around the Inter-web-blogosphere.

* Pass on World Cup 2018? USA and 2022 a perfect match? So says guest writer Keith Hickey on MatchFitUSA

* 2009 Year-In-Review for Americans Abroad in England by That’s On Point

* The “Summer of Soccer” put the sport on the nation’s radar, but one American soccer blogger isn’t ready for soccer to become mainstream.

* You know what’s wrong with other American sports? They aren’t close enough to soccer. The Shin Guardian makes the case for “soccerizing” the rest of the lot.

* Soccer By Ives gives us their list of best USMNT goals of 2009.

* Missed our interview on the “Waiting For Gaetjens” podcast? No, you didn’t… it’s right here.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Lookie Lookie Who's on the TeeVee!

Where’s Waldo?

If you can find him, you can find FBM Prez Dan at the USA vs Costa Rica match in Washington DC.

Does that mean we can now say the Free Beer Movement has been featured on ESPN?

Monday, December 21, 2009

Who We’re Buying a Beer For…

There’s no coherent theme to this week’s recipients of beer from the FBM. Honestly, we’re not sure where you’d get the idea that anything we do here would be considered “coherent”.

Anyways, we digress… here’s this week’s brew-worthy list:

1) Congressional Soccer Caucus

The four co-chairs [Representatives Chris Van Hollen (D-Maryland), Mary Bono Mack (R-California), George Miller (D-California), and David Reichert (R-Washington)] of the CSC introducted a resolution in the United States House of Representatives earlier this month congratulating the USMNT for their qualification for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.

The text reads as follows:

Whereas 2 goals by forward Conor Casey, 1 goal by midfielder Landon Donovan, 3 critical saves by goalkeeper Tim Howard, and an untiring effort by all players led to their ultimate victory; (Introduced in House)


December 8, 2009

Mr. VAN HOLLEN (for himself, Mr. GEORGE MILLER of California, Mrs. BONO MACK, and Mr. REICHERT) submitted the following resolution; which was referred to the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform


Congratulating the United States Men’s National Soccer Team for securing a berth at the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa.

Whereas, on October 10, 2009, in San Pedro Sula, Honduras, the United States Men’s Soccer Team achieved an impressive victory over the Honduran Men’s National Soccer Team by a score of 3 to 2 in its penultimate qualifying match for the 2010 FIFA World Cup;

Whereas 2 goals by forward Conor Casey, 1 goal by midfielder Landon Donovan, 3 critical saves by goalkeeper Tim Howard, and an untiring effort by all players led to their ultimate victory;

Whereas with its victory over the Honduran Men’s National Soccer Team, the United States Men’s Soccer Team has joined the national soccer teams from Brazil, Germany, Italy, Spain, and South Korea as the only teams that will have participated in all 6 FIFA World Cups since 1990, including the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa;

Whereas with its dramatic and emotional come-from-behind tie against the Costa Rican Men’s National Soccer Team by a score of 2 to 2 on October 14, 2009, the United States finished in first place in the CONCACAF World Cup qualifying standings; and

Whereas the entire United States Men’s National Soccer Team has demonstrated once again that United States soccer is on par with the level of soccer played in nations that claim it as their national sport: Now, therefore, be it

Resolved, That the House of Representatives congratulates the United States Men’s National Soccer Team for its achievement in securing a berth at the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa.
If there are any Free Beer Movers in the districts of these four House members could you do us a favor and drop a beer off in their mailbox? Thanks.

2) Jens Lehmann
The former Arsenal and Germany number one has been featured on the FBM site before, but Lehmann’s continued exploits in the German Bundesliga has him earning top honors as as a receiver of beer from us. We were going to buy him a beer last week for urinating during a match, but after his scuffle in a league game we think we should double our order.

First off is his ingenuity probably because of a few too many pre-game brewskies):

Second is his stupidity:

VfB Stuttgart keeper Jens Lehmann injured his knee in the incident that got him sent off in Sunday’s Bundesliga match against Mainz, his club said on Monday.

Lehmann was shown the red card three minutes from time with his team leading 1-0, causing a penalty and allowing the hosts to grab a last-gasp equaliser.

Lehmann, 40, pushed striker Aristide Bance for no apparent reason and injured a ligament in the process, medical checks on Monday showed. He then ripped off a Mainz fan’s glasses in a minor scuffle after the match.
If there was any footballer that needed the comforts of a nice, cold beer its the beleaguered Lehmann.

3) Everton Football Club and David Moyes

The Liverpool, England-based Everton FC finalized their three month loan deal for Major League Soccer and USMNT star Landon Donovan. The Los Angeles Galaxy player will head across the pond to give his European dream another shot in January.

Obviously, any playing time in one of the world’s biggest leagues, the English Premier League is good news for Donovan and the profile of the American game. The experience against some of England’s best players and teams will only improve the USMNT’s chances against England in their opening game in the 2010 World Cup.

The FBM’s only worry is the freshness and health of our Nats’ best player. Our belief is that Donovan has the fitness to not allow his English vacation affect his domestic and international form. A fit LD is the key for the Yanks (or Sons of Liberty as we’ve pushed) to compete effecctivly this coming summer.

The real focus of our praise is on Everton and their manager David Moyes who’ve given Donovan this golden chances to prove himself in Europe again. Moyes was full of praise for the U.S.’s best player:

“Landon will certainly add pace, he is a good finisher.”

Moyes added that Donovan’s numerous accolades proves he will be a much needed addition to his side.

He added: “He was voted best player, yet again, in the American league and is captain of the USA national team. I need players who can hit the ground running, who I think can go into the team quite quickly and make an impact.

“With his experience and the goals he has scored, I am hoping he will be able to do that,” he said.

Any good news for LD is good news for American soccer. Beers all around for Donovan’s first goal in the colors of Everton!

As always we’d love to hear our readers’ suggestions of who we should buy a beer for next week. Leave a comment in the comments section or shoot us an e-mail using the “contact” link at the top of the page (or click the link we just left for you!).

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Found Free Beer: Minneapolis, Minnesota

Free Beer Movers Nick (in the Fulham jersey) and Jon (“photographer”) were at McMahon’s Pub in Minneapolis, Minnesota for yesterday’s English Premier League action representing the Movement.

If you’re looking to joing the FBM fun at McMahon’s we can get you in touch with the Free Beer Boys up there!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

FBM on the “Waiting for Gaetjens” Podcast

Free Beer Movement founder Dan is on this week’s episode of the new American soccer podcast, “Waiting for Gaetjens.” Gaetjens is hosted by two of the biggest names in American soccer media, Greg Lalas, editor for and the host of “Extra Time” on and “This Is American Soccer” writer Adam Spangler.

Listen to the show: Episode 7

Monday, December 14, 2009

Who Were Buying a Beer For…

Life it getting busy here at FBM HQ. Damn “real job”. We barely had time to get a nice list of people we’re buying a beer for this week.

Our first honoree is actually a whole team so that counts like we have a lot more people on our list. Right? Nice try, huh? Oh, well. Despite its brevity in numbers we think this week’s list more than makes up in depth. Enjoy!

1) The 1950 U.S. National Team World Cup Squad

While it might seem tired and cliche to celebrate the giant-beating 1950 Yanks squad this week, we’ve really got nothing better to do than that so here it goes.

The New York Times ran a great profile piece on the last four surviving members of that fated team and the quote from Walter Bahr speaks volumes about the growth of soccer in America.

He said,

“The older I get, the more famous I become.”
The 1950 one-nil victory over England in the World Cup continues to stand as one of the greatest upsets in the history of the sport. And while the United States fell into a soccer hibernation for the better part of four decades, the resurgence of our national team and the continued success of our domestic league can be traced back to that tournament. The foundation was laid in giving a group of people the hope that an United States soccer team can and did stand up to one of the greatest footballing nations of its time.

The same could be said of our current Nats who faced down #1 Spain and went to the mat against the current World Cup holders Brazil in this past summer’s Confederation Cup. A sort of “yes, we can” (sorry Obama) attitude that we as National Team team and fans of it are not satisfied with soccer mediocrity.

The fact that Bahr and his few remaining compatriots keep getting more famous is a testament to the growth of our domestic game. Our sport has history that we can look back on with pride. Our sport has legends that we can look up to. It is because of their efforts that out current crop of U.S. players and fans have shoulders to stand upon.

So when the 2010 World Cup squad faces off against England on June 12th in South Africa it is more than just another match in the greatest tournament on the planet (which is, for obvious reasons, already huge), it is a tribute to the sacrifices that a dishwasher, hearst driver, and other assorted workers of odd jobs made on that fateful day in Brazil. It’s a damn shame that it takes sixty years to wait to celebrate their work, but, even though cliche, this week seems the most appropriate.

Let us buy you gentlemen a beer.


For years it was incredibly ironic that the “Worldwide Leader in Sports” was dissing the world’s number one sport. One friend politely referred to their coverage of soccer as a “Travashammockery”.For soccer fans in the United States we had to hope and pray that our cable company didn’t charge and arm and a leg to see soccer-specific channels like GolTV, Setanta, and Fox Soccer Channel. Every once in a blue moon (in between 2004 World’s Strongest Man and a jump-roping competition) soccer would show up on the network.

Those days are mostly behind us. ESPN has read the tea leaves and are moving forward at a breakneck pace to cover soccer. And while fans of Major League Soccer will clamor for more high-profile coverage of their league (preferably a few games that don’t always feature Blanco or Beckham) no one can doubt the networks new commitment to the sport. For a network that had one MLS game a week only two years ago, a weekly English Premier League game, occasional Spanish La Liga games, and the massive slate of various leagues at ESPN360 (and, of course, the full-blown coverage of Euro 2008, the WC draw, and the up-coming 2010 festivities), the so-called WWL is finally living up to its name.

As soccer fans of the game, both foreign and domestic, and increase in soccer coverage by the globe’s biggest player is a step in the right direction. And even though our American league’s standing is nothing short of depressing on ESPN the arc of history is bending towards justice for us all (sorry I just stole part of that from Martin Luther King Jr. with a few changes).

The Shin Guardian has put together a fantastic three-part series on ESPN’s upcoming World Cup coverage. This is based on one of their writer’s meetings with various executives at the company (including VP of Content John Skipper) at the World Cup Draw Media Day at ESPN HQ in Bristol, Conn. last week.

Part I: Soccer, the World Cup, and ESPN
Part II: A World Cup for All Viewers
Part III: Spanning the World with the Worldwide Leader

This doesn’t even begin to touch on the network’s helping hand with the USA 2018/2022 World Cup bid. The Go USA Bid Committee worked with ESPN to produce a SportsCenter-looking bid video for the selection committee in South Africa. The Worldwide Leader in Sports is clearly behind the home side.

Check it out:

Many we just realized buying a whole network beers is going to cost us. Better re-write the ol’ FBM budget.

(Crumples up cocktail napkin.)

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

A FBM “6-Pack” Interview with Soccer Without Border’s Founder Ben Gucciardi

Editor’s Note: We continue our interview series, this time with questions for Ben Gucciardi, Founding Director, Soccer Without Borders. As opposed to our “Starting 11” series, this is what we like to call the “FBM 6-Pack,” a short, straight-to-the-point Q&A.

Soccer Without Borders is an international organization focusing on youth and community development while giving children the opportunity to play organized soccer alongside learning. Read on about SWB mission, accomplishments, and Gucciardi’s future vision for SWB.

If you’d like to donate money, time, or soccer equipment to Soccer Without Borders there are links at the end of our interview.

1) Where did the idea for Soccer Without Borders come from? When did the organization get off the ground? What was your first project?

The idea to start Soccer Without Borders came from a strong desire to contribute something positive to the world and to do meaningful work. At the time when it started, soccer had been such a powerful force in my life. Mostly, soccer had been a positive thing, but towards the end of my playing career, I also started to feel that there was a lot of missed opportunity to do more with soccer to address social issues, both large and small. When you look at sports, you see so much negativity in the way people interact, fighting, trash talking, parents complaining etc, and all of this is an expression of larger societal issues. But none of that is inherent in sport. Instead the coach and program leaders create a certain environment and set the tone for the way a program functions and behaves. So my thought was to try and expand the potential of soccer and capture the extremely powerful and positive aspects of the game. You can then use that appeal of the game to engage youth that are often difficult to engage, and once they are engaged, it becomes possible to use soccer as platform to create dialogue around relevant social issues.

Like most things, you start with an idea and with time it evolves and becomes more focused. I think our program is still very much in the process of being refined and finding its best expression. We have learned so much about what really works well and what is less effective since the organization got off the ground with our first program in Granada, Nicaragua in the fall of 2006.

2) What does a traditional (if there is such a thing) project look like for SWB abroad? What are your core areas of emphasis (models and methods)?

There are four aspects of an SWB program: soccer play and instruction, life-skills education, training coaches from the communities and themed camps and tournaments. Our programs are always run in partnership with schools, community centers and local NGO’s and we try to staff them with local staff as much as possible. We also maintain an SWB office in each of the communities we work in that serves as a youth centered sage space for the community, as well as a place kids can come for programming and gear.

The life-skills aspect of the program varies from place to place, and we try and get a lot of input from community leaders about what to focus on as well as inviting them to leas sessions. One of the programs we use is the Girls For A Change program ( . This program asks youth to look at the negative issues in their communities and work together to design a project that works at addressing the root cause of the issue, and then the youth actually go out and do the project. In this way, young people can start to see how much of an impact they can have, which I think is a key aspect of confidence, just feeling like your voice and your actions matter.

3) How many projects has SWB established thus far? Where? What have been some of the organizations greatest accomplishments?

So far we have established six ongoing programs in Granada, Nicaragua, Solola, Guatemala, Buenos Aires, Argentina, Ndejje, Uganda, New York City, NY, and Oakland, CA. I think our greatest accomplishment to date has beet the growth of the program in Nicaragua. When we were first there, there was about a handful of girls playing soccer. Today we have more then 200 members of the girls program and we run a league for girls and hold popular life-skills events on a daily basis. I think across the board, our biggest success has been in engaging populations that would otherwise not have access to soccer opportunities, and witnessing the positive things the program has brought to their lives.

Another thing I would say is that we have been able to reach a lot of young people here in the U.S. through presentations about the program. These presentations are done by our staff as well as volunteers that travel abroad and return, and in this way, we are able to use soccer as a way to raise awareness about social injustice and the huge disparities in opportunity that people have in different places.

4) You have been personally involved in a refugee and immigrant team in Oakland, CA. Can you tell us a bit more about what that encompasses? Some of the hardships and some of the successes?

The program in Oakland is run in partnership with an amazing public high school called Oakland International High School. This is the school where most newcomer immigrant and refugee students that arrive in Oakland get referred to because of its emphasis on English language development across the curriculum. Our teams are called “Internationals United: and we play in a club soccer league through the CYSA, and we practice two days a week with games on weekends. What is unique about our team is that in between the girls and the boys teams we have youth from 13 countries (Burma, Bhutan, Nepal, Liberia, Nigeria, Ivory Coast, Uzbekistan, Russia, Mexico, Honduras, El Salvador, Guatemala, Nicaragua) speaking a wide range of languages. It is a pretty amazing experience to watch the team begin to form connections across language and cultural barriers and build meaningful friendships. For most of the girls, it is really there first time playing soccer and being on a team, and while not always easy, it is pretty special to watch them progress and build their confidence by learning a new skill.

The challenges are many as well, things like paperwork for the league (many parents don’t speak English and the forms are not translated), getting to games (very few parents drive so al the kids bus in to downtown Oakland and we have volunteers who drive to the various fields), end up taking a lot of time and energy to get done. Cross -cultural relationships can also be complicated as well. There are tensions that need to be worked through and talked about and misperceptions that occur all the time, and while we can usually deal with them, it is not easy for people to want to say something to their teammate and not be able to communicate. Things get bottled up, and then let out in unhealthy ways. A final challenge is that much of Oakland is a difficult place for all youth to be in, and immigrant and refugee families are often targets of gang violence and recruitment. For example, a father of one of our girls players was murdered last year outside of his apartment in Oakland by a random drive by shooting. This was a refugee family from that came here seeking safety and the chance to build a new life. While this is an extreme case, a lot of these youth experience and witness violence in their communities.

Soccer Without Borders: 25+12+6=1 from Clare Major on Vimeo.

5) SWB is particularly committed to promoting girls’ involvement in soccer and education. Why is that such a crucial component to the SWB mission? Give us a few examples of where this has worked well.

About 85% of our staff are women who played in college or the pros. I think across the board these women had immensely powerful experiences playing soccer, and they have done so much in order to share their experiences with other girls that lack the same opportunities afforded to American female athletes. The two most successful areas where girls’ programming has really taken root are in Granada, Nicaragua and in a slum Buenos Aires, Argentina. In both of these areas, we have built a girls soccer movement that has far reaching affects that girls have verbalized about their self-confidence and the perception their communities have of their abilities.

6) What would you like to see SWB grow into? What are some future goals for the organization and what are you doing to help accomplish them?

Right now we are in a transition period from an all volunteer staff to beginning to have some full time people that actually make a living doing this work. I would like to see us make this transition successfully and to begin to be able to really improve our existing programs. We are currently doing a lot more on the business side of things, trying to focus more on fundraising and standardizing a lot of our policies and procedures. This is the less fun but equally necessary aspect of our work.

Once we really hone in on best practices for our programs and solidify the existing programs, I would like to see the program spread to new areas. One thing about this work is that there are just so many areas where a program could be successful. In most of the world, nothing gets kids attention like soccer.

We have lots of ideas we would like to implement, like having a tournament where the girls from all our different programs could travel and play each other, to having the players in Oakland and NYC go to the other project sites to coach and volunteer. It’s all just a matter of time and funding…

Editor’s Note: There are several way to support the Soccer Without Borders mission.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Yankee Doodle Landy and Our “Declaration of Soccer Independence”

Dateline: June 12th, 2010

Like it? Yeah? We made it. We’re pretty awesome.

Channeling the spirit of Joe Gaetjens, American Soccer Freedom Fighter:

“When, in the course of World Cup events, it becomes necessary for one soccer nation to dissolve the playing bonds which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the Beautiful Game, the separate and equal station to which the laws of FIFA and of nature’s God (Charlize Theron) entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of soccer pundits around the world requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all players are created equal, that they are endowed by Pele with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of more goals. That to secure these rights, soccer is instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of Bob Bradley. That whenever any form of soccer becomes destructive to these ends, it is the right of the USMNT to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new soccer, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form (other than England’s 4-4-2), as to them shall seem most likely to effect their formation and width. Sunil Gulati, indeed, will dictate that soccer long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shown that American soccer fans and media are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of Sepp Blatters and Jack Warners, pursuing invariably the same object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute despotism, it is their right, it is their national team duty, to throw off such soccer, and to provide new center-backs for their future goalkeeping. –Such has been the patient sufferance of these American soccer fans; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former systems of government. The history of the present English National Team and Premier League is a history of repeated injuries and hard tackles, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute tyranny over these USMNT and Major League Soccer. To prove this, let facts be submitted to a candid world.”

Original Piece: “Yankee Doodle” by Archibald Willard (1836-1918)

This quote works, too:

“Today, we celebrate our independence day!” – President Thomas J. Whitmore (Bill Pullman in “Independence Day”)

Friday, December 4, 2009

Who We’re Buying a Beer For…

This week’s beers are being handed out in sympathy for a number of individuals, animals, and organizations.

1) Charlie Davies

Multiple sources have reported that the injured USMNTer is making great progress on his road to recovery. Davies mentioned in an interview with ESPN this week that he expects to be playing in South Africa this June for the World Cup.

Now we don’t have a medical degree, but we do watch a lot of the hit TV show, House, so we’ve got a knack for unique approaches when it comes to health care. Hear us out… have a beer. That might really get the blood flowing!

It’s so crazy is just might work!

In all honesty, though, Davies on the mend is a great sign for the young American star, but continuing the medical positivity is that a number of other American internationals are seeing their fortunes on the rise when it comes to shaking the injury bug.

A beer for all those USMNTers shaking off the cobwebs in time for the 2010 World Cup!

2) South African Cows

Beef in the World Cup 2010 host nation is at risk of being sacrificed for good luck at each of the game venues, this according to the the BBC.

Various touchy-feely groups across the continent and several abroad have gotten their undies in a bunch over it, but supporters call it a “truely African” way to celebrate Africa’s first World Cup.

To be honest, we’ve got no horse in the race (or cow!), but if these noble creatures find themselves on death row before the 2010 tourney let us be the ones to buy them their last drink.

“Cow… what do you want on your tombstone?”
“Fuck it… give me a beer.”

3) The United Soccer Leagues

Could any organization being any more fucked that the USL right now?

Yes, I suppose the Taliban are sure fucked now with 30,000 more troops on their way to Afghanistan. Good answer.

The Secret Service? Yes… I another good answer. They did royal screw up letting those two reality TV attention whore into the White House reception for the Indian Prime Minister.

But that’s besides the point. The USL is hemorrhaging teams to the competing North American Soccer League, bankruptcy, and pure collapse faster that anyone can keep track. At the time we wrote this the league only had four teams left (including one that has never played a competitive game and looks in a poor position to get off the ground and other that is leaving for Major League Soccer in a year.

The big question is why any of those teams are still hanging around in the USL right now (including my own Austin Aztex)? Have you seen the 2010 schedule? (ha ha!)

I propose a summit between the dead carcass that is the USL and the we-don’t-know-quite-what-it-is-yet-but-it-at-least-has-teams-in-its-league-NASL over a bunch of tasty brews. Something like when that white cop and that black professor got into that tiff about them professor breaking into his own home earlier in the year. President Barack Obama could settle it all for us . Because the United States Soccer Federation sure as hell has been sitting on their hands a lot over this.

This is a complete side note, but entirely related, but the falling, flaming soccer ball on the USL crest is looking awfully ironic right now.

Certainly there are a lot of people in the situation in need of a beer to settle the differences or at least one to cry into.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Free Beer Stories: Leslie from Houston

Free beer does it again:
“I convinced my boyfriend’s friend Dane to attend his first Major League Soccer game; a 2009 MLS playoff game between the Houston Dynamo (duh) and the Seattle Sounders on 11/8/2009. Bought him some beers, the ticket, and loaned him a scarf! Now he wants to come to more games during the 2010 season! Success.”

– Leslie

Jaime, David, Leslie, Dane (the newbie)

Thanks for sharing your “free beer story’. We’ll have a FBM sticker in the mail soon to reward you for your efforts.

Everyone else… we want to hear your success stories and well. Send an e-mail to us with your stories and pictures and you can be handsomely rewarded as well.