Monday, August 9, 2010

Who We're Buying a Beer For...

The one thing we love more than drinking beer and watching some soccer is being able to share said beer with people. We do it all the time and so do the fine men and women that subscribe to the Free Beer Philosophy of the Free Beer Movement. We share our beer with our friends, family, and co-workers who desperately need some education on the soccer front to understand the passion that drives our connection to the sport of soccer.

Some people already get it and their working day in and day out to improve the atmosphere in the U.S. for soccer. Those people or groups deserve some recognition and we only know who way to thanks.

A beer on us.

Each week we serve up a healthy dose of brewskies for the individuals and organizations that are building a foundation for soccer in America. Hey... kinda like us at the FBM!

Yeah... most of this is literary flourish, but if we were to ever run into one of our honorees, say Sir Alex Ferguson (Mar. 8th, 2010) or Landon Donovan (Jan. 4th, 2010), we'd be obligated to let them know that their next drink is on the Free Beer Movement. And we'd hope, dear readers, if you ever ran into one of the ladies or gentlemen you'd let 'em know the FBM owes them a beer (or better yet pick up a drink for them and send us a picture and the tab!)

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This we're casting our beer buying net quite wide honoring some pretty big institutions include the MLS, USMNT, and the EPL.

Star Power (P.S. Where's McBride?)
First up is Major League Soccer for putting on one hell of a show last night on ESPN2 which featured a Designated Player-packed showdown between the Chicago Fire and Red Bulls New York. Taking stock in the growth of MLS, now in its 15th season, we've come a long way. The match featured tons of star power in Brian McBride, Freddie Ljunberg, Nery Castillo, Juan Pablo Angel, Rafa Marquez, and, of course, Thierry Henry.  Not to be outdone the Fire's rookie goalkeeper Shaun Johnson wasn't too shabby either.

For our own domestic league a match of such magnitude was a huge step forward. Just as important as the product on the field was the atmosphere in the stands. All credit to the Fire and their massive supporters group, Section 8, for the awesome display they put on.  Fans of the Fire and followers of the league are used to the dramatic displays of fandom from Toyota Park (great chants, flares, and flags/banners galore), but the casual viewer of this game (or non-soccer fan flipping through the channels) probably gave pause and stuck around to see what was a beautiful product both on the field and off. 

Despite the 0-0 scoreline (which hopefully most can appreciate a well-fought defensive battle) this game lacked little. And while it might be somewhat of a stretch to consider such action that went well into the Chicago night akin to those epic "European Nights" of the Champions League, we dare say that most could be left very impressed and not re-calling Anfield when presented with last night's game.

For a league still in its teenage years it was a great display of the progress made in such a short span.

We're baaaaaaaaaaaack!
For those of us wishing to relive the dramatics of the World Cup we've got a chance to bring some of that back when the U.S. Men's National Team takes the field against five-time champions Brazil from the New Meadowlands Stadium. We kind of like the fact that the stadium is making its debut to the sporting world as the host of a soccer match where American football will take a backseat for just a few more weeks (despite what ESPN and Brett Farve will want you to think).

Sure an international friendly in August doesn't have the same "umpf" as the last time they met in the 2009 Confederations Cup Final or even if the two were to have crossed paths in South Africa during the World Cup, but it's our first chance to see our boys in the Red, White, and Blue since that dramatic and tragic loss to Ghana back in June.

With the USMNT back in action we turn our attention towards the future; to the 2011 Gold Cup and qualifying for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.  Appreciate the fact that tomorrow night's opponent will be the host for our next World Cup campaign; hammering home our next major objective.

Even as the squad named by Coach Bob Bradley isn't as forward-looking as many would hope it's important to remember that the next chapter in American soccer history is beginning to be written right here. For beyond tomorrow night many of those who featured (prominently or tragically) in South Africa will move on and fresh blood will be pumped into the squad in the form of exciting young talents or (maybe) new leadership (on and off the field).

And lastly, whether you feel that such a match it just a money-making scheme or otherwise its hard to deny that capitalizing on the fame that befell the Nats just over a month ago isn't a smart move. The reappearance of the Yanks on the national radar keeps the appeal of soccer in this nation alive and moving forward.

From the stadium to the American Outlaws Chapter bars (being anywhere else is a crime) to your living rooms (get out there, man!) the USMNT returns for all of us to rise up in once voice to support.

Lastly, it might seem that honoring the English Premier League would seem a bit backwards for a site that it so unabashed in its support of American soccer.

Not so, we say.

FBM: We're here to help your cause.
Our love of the game is larger than just a desire to see our National Team and domestic leagues grow. We're fans of the global game and that includes one of the world's best leagues.  We're firm believers that being a soccer fan in the U.S. is not a zero-sum game where love of the Major League Soccer is relative to the love of a foreign league and/or team.

We can all be fans of Manchester United, Barcelona, Bayern Munich and others while supporting the game at home with the Dynamo, the Sounders, or the Crew.  There is room in our soccer hearts for all of the global game and as a soccer fan in America there should be no distinction either.

We have our loyalties across the pond (we're not saying who) that led to our want and desire to see the same success here in the United States. If you're a soccer fan in the United States and you don't support seeing our domestic game grow and thrive to parallel other leagues around the world then we just don't have time for that.

With the return of the EPL (and other European leagues) to our television screens in the twilight of summer is just the Free Beer Movement and our followers the opportunity to continue to spread the love of the game to newbies long after MLS finishes its road to the MLS Cup.  Saturday and Sunday mornings, Champion League mid-week afternoons, and loads of other games smattered around give the Free Beer Movers of the Movement a great platform to make in-roads into the American mainstream sports fan.

Every game (no matter where in the world) is a chance to bring soccer to someone who knows not what he or she is missing. Whatever league and teams you support you must use as the guiding light for your newbies.

Come to American soccer, yes, but come whichever way the path takes you.

Photo Credit: MLSSoccer.com, ISSPhotos (Soccer By Ives),

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"Anyone who tells me soccer is boring, I'm going to punch them in the face."
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