Friday, December 30, 2011

Team FBM - Our Ultimate Twitter Follower Guide 2011


U.S. Soccer released its "Best of" nominee lists for 2011 (link to Facebook voting). Categories from "Male and Female Athletes of the Year", "Best Goal", "Best Fan Moments" and the like are all up for grabs.

The one that concerned us the most was the "Best Twitter" account which featured loads of USMNT and USWNT players and a few big media accounts.

First, we thought it a bit unfair that players a media were lumped into one. Second there were very few nods to grassroots sites/writers (just one actually) that do so much leg-work for soccer in America. Thirdly, US Soccer lumped their own accounts into the contest.

Lastly.... we were snubbed. But that's just sour grapes.

So we decided to assemble our own "Best Of" Twitter list for 2011. These are accounts we follow that fill our social media feeds with great in-depth reporting, valuable news, humor, style, and just plain random-ness from the American soccer world.

If you're a Twitter-er and a soccer fan you need to be following these accounts.

Oh, and if you're not following us on the Twitter-box yet, you should do that as well. We're at @FreeBeerMovemnt (yes, there's no last "e"... that user name would've exceeded Twitter's username rules... bah!)


football formations

Goalkeeper - @MLSReserves

Water Boys - @GolazoEnergy,@YourLocalCraftBrewery

Team Chaplin - @ChurchOfSoccer

Manager -@FakeBobBradley           

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Thursday, December 29, 2011

Real American Heroes? Forging A National Team Identity

You know we had to go with this.

Preston Zimmerman opened a can of worms. Pandora's box. He let the cat out of the bag. Choose your overused cliche, but American soccer took a look at the elephant in the room yesterday.

The former U-20 National Team member set Twitter abuzz yesterday (and doubled his follower count) with comments about U.S. Men's National Team coach Jurgen Klinsmann's squad selection so far. Zimmerman, who plays in Germany's Third Division for SV Darmstadt 98, was outspoken in the belief that Klinsmann is choosing German-American talent (and those with tenuous connections to the U.S.) over better "real American" talent from U.S. colleges and Major League Soccer.
Zimmerman: Controversial tweets.
(Photo mined from "The Shin Guardian")

While many American soccer fans uttered a collective "who?" when the name Zimmerman and his comments broke on a slow soccer news day, we've been following the 23-year old Washington native's journey in a series of articles and interviews done over at our friends, The Shin Guardian. There Zimmerman documents five years of difficulty in trying to land a club in Europe. A much less satisfying version of "The Jay DeMerit Story".

With that as context, Zimmerman chose yesterday to take to social media to let out his frustrations about the evolving make-up of the National Team and the lack of quality results in Klinsmann's early reign. Both of these discussion are nothing new among American soccer fans (particularly the latter one), but perhaps it took a higher-profile individual (even if that person is a former USYNTer and journeyman in Europe) to punch these topics (particularly the former one) out of a Big Soccer discussion board and onto the "front page".

The full timeline of his remarks is included below:

The United States of America was founded, built upon the backs of, and flourished because of the contributions of millions of immigrants that set foot on these shore since the first colonies of the 1600s. Whether early Anglo settlers looking for religious freedom to African slaves (even if not by choice) to other Europeans looking for economic opportunity and to escape political repression of tyrants to our latest immigration wave; people have sought out the United States as place for the "American Dream".

The same could be said of our soccer history. While the arc of American soccer history is long (just as long as baseball here) it does not have the same depth as some of our other sports. With the exception of St. Louis in the early 1900s our soccer history is shaped by the contributions of mostly-immigrant sides of Bethlehem Steel, the Fall River Marksmen, and countless other "company teams" that, at-times thrived and at-other-times, struggled to keep soccer alive in the U.S.

Gaetjens: Real American hero?
The United States National Team recruited foreigners with skeptical citizenship connections to their adopted homeland to play on. Our history's most celebrated hero, Joe Gaetjens was the son of a Haitian mother and a Belgian father. He was allowed to play for the U.S. in that fateful World Cup of 1950 because he expressed his intentions of becoming naturalized after the tournament. That would never happen. (Gaetjens disappeared in Haiti in the 1960s under dictator Papa Doc). Two other non-citizens would feature for the U.S. side in the "Miracle on Grass"; Joseph Maca, who was born in Belgium and Ed McIlvenny, a Scotsman.

The list of immigrant connections to U.S. soccer continues. The "Shot Heard Round the World" taken by Paul Caligiuri in 1989 comes from an American of Italian parents. Thomas Dooley, born in Germany and took U.S. citizenship in 1992 to become a member of the 1994 World Cup team and captain of the 1998 squad in France. Carlos Bocanegra and (dare-we-say) Jonathan Bornstein both have a parent of Mexican decent while Benny Feilhaber (called into the January camp) was born in Brazil.

We could go on.

What Klinsmann is doing is nothing new to American soccer and the National Team. From the early days of soccer immigrants have combined with natural-born Americans to forge our soccer-ing identity. It hasn't led to most attractive of results and certainly not a clear "style" like "Total Football" or "Joga Bonito", but in that chaos is what makes it uniquely American.

A struggle to accept diversity and integrate it into an American fabric.

So what is a "real American" or a "fake American"? Sarah Palin tried to define that during the 2008 Presidential election and now Zimmerman has brought that discussion to U.S. soccer.

On the face, as a National Team, we should never accept anyone that isn't willing to give everything to the American cause. That goes for any player natural-born or otherwise. But as an increasingly diverse nation and one with a massive global reach through history (thus so many children of American GIs now eligible for the U.S.) we must accept that our team will reflect the confusion, chaos and struggles that are a reflection of our national debate over what is and isn't "American".

Klinsmann has a diverse vision for the USMNT.
The discussion is good, but the end result must be that we, as National Team fans, should want the best eleven players on their field to compete. These players will come from California, Texas, New York, Mexico, Germany, and countless other countries around the globe. If those are culled from American universities or MLS or wherever we must field our strongest possible side. If the domestic game is being overlooked, as Zimmermann alleges, then Klinsmann's and his staff must have their reasons. We want to see the domestic game as strong as possible, but also acknowledge that we might (or probably) not be there yet.

Not because the United States Soccer Federation becomes a mercenary group snagging people in some sort of A-Team exercise, but seeking committed individuals to participate in the National side.

Some of these players will have less of a connection to the U.S., perhaps even speaking little English, but if the commitment to the idea of American soccer is clear then who are we to question that?

Klinsmann said it himself in an interview with Sporting News' Brian Straus:

“It’s a different part of American culture. It’s the global picture that America represents,” Klinsmann told Sporting News before a match in Paris. “Those are kids who came through military families or for whatever reasons, working reasons of their parents, then they grow up with a different educational system, which gives them in soccer terms an edge ahead of American kids growing up in the U.S.”
“But those kids (Fabian Johnson, Timothy Chandler, etc), they have a very special connection to the U.S. no matter where they’re born," the coach said. "The opportunity to represent the U.S. on the soccer field is another big emotional piece of their connection to their country. Now you live in this dual-citizenship world that is normal. It’s globalization. It’s just the way it is. If you’re Mexican-American or you’re coming from the Caribbean, South America or Europe, everyone has a special connection to the United States. That shows you the path of the U.S. Not only that it’s a country of immigrants into the U.S., but it’s also an export country. It goes both ways.
This new era for American soccer is confronting our identity issues head on. Klinsmann, when named National Team Coach earlier this year, said a hallmark of his reign would include scouring Mexico and Europe for players overlooked during the Bob Bradley-era (although Bradley did give Chandler, Gomez, Torres, their first caps). Ironically, this has been at the expense of the outstanding Hercules Gomez. Some people will be left on the outside looking in. That is up to the coach and for us Monday morning quarterbacks ("Post-International-Friendly-Couch-Captains" doesn't have the same ring to it) to debate.

Zimmerman has every right to asks these questions. The results for Klinsmann have, thus far, been disappointing, but the connection between results and recruitment is thin. We need more time to see how the Klinsmann Experiment (Grant Wahl... a new book?) will play out.

(Related note: All 20 players called into the January camp are U.S.-born).

We as an American soccer community has every right to debate them as well. As we move forward as fans of our evolving National Team these issues will continue to confront us. We must accept that there are no easy answers to this issues; as a National Team or a nation.

But our National Team will reflect our national identity of a conglomeration of races, ethnicities, religions, and increased globalization. As long as each player can show a love for country, commitment to the cause, and contribute to the team we must accept them as "real Americans" just as we have for millions of others for hundreds of years in this nation

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Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Nominees - FBM Person of the Year 2011


Last year we debuted our first selection ever for "Person of the Year". The award went to the German ad agency Nordpol+ for their roll in creating the brat train and under-the-seat kegs at St. Pauli's (Germany) soccer stadium.

Beer and soccer indeed.

This year we're opening the award to out FBM community to decide. We've narrowed down the field to a few spectacular candidates for you all to vote on. Below is a profile of each nominee and their claim to be the FBM's 2011 "Person of the Year"


1) Clifton Vial 

We might be stacking the deck for our other nominees because Mr. Vidal's story is completely unrelated to soccer, but, boy, is it beer-related. Clifton lives in Nome, Alaska and one night while driving he lost control of his Toyota Tacoma and ended up in a snowdrift. Unable to contact anyone and stuck in below-freezing nighttime temperatures. Over three days he battled to stay alive. His only ally?

Let's go to the newspaper article:
His only provisions: Snow, and a few cans of Coors Light that had frozen solid in the cab. Vial ate the beers like cans of beans. "I cut the lids off and dug it out with a knife," he said.
Beer! Life-saving beer! How wonderful.

Just think if he would've had some Alaskan Brewing Company instead of Coors Light he probably would've been able to survive a week out there.

2) Keira Knightly

Keria Knightly is hot. No argument there. And she's a pretty talented actress as well. But what makes her a candidate for FBM's "Person of the Year" is this revelation in some asinine interview about her upcoming movie "A Dangerous Method".

The movie was shot during the summer of 2010 and Knightly said that given the heavy nature of the movie's subjects (psychologists Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung) her and her co-stars would go our each night and drink loads of beer and watch the World Cup.

And she still gets credit for her starring role in "Bend It Like Beckham" too, right?

3) Clint Dempsey

American? Check. All-time leading scorer for his countrymen in the English Premier League? Double check. Often celebrates those goals by using his boot as a bottle opener and drinking a beer? Triple check.

Clint Dempsey has now blasted in 39 Prem League goals and numerous ones have been followed up by his boot-and-beer celebration (like the one below from 2008). Deuce has cemented his place as one of the USMNT's most recognizable players alongside Landon Donovan and Tim Howard.

(Don't forget his other beer-credentials... spokesperson for Modelo)

Clint Dempsey is having a banner 2011. Can he add FBM's "Person of the Year" to his pile of accolades? 

4) German Beer Drinking Kid

How long does it take a child to drink a beer at a soccer game?  No one knows the exact answer to that question, but after watching the following clip of a youngster enjoying a beer during an early December Bundesliga match between FC Augsburg and FC Schalke, we are led to believe that the answer lies somewhere around 25 minutes.

That conclusion was drawn from the evidence in the video above, which shows a child enjoying a beer and wiener schnitzel in the 62nd minute of the match, before washing said beer and schnitzel down with a water (or full glass of vodka) in the 89th minute.

The legal drinking age in Germany may be 16, but I guess it is never too early to begin expanding your child’s palate.

5) Will Ferrell

Mr. Ferrell starred in the Oscar-snubbed soccer flick "Kicking and Screaming", but that was back in 2005. He even appeared on "The Daily Show" in a Chelsea jersey, but now you're talking about 2008. What has the funny man done in 2011 to be included on this list?

Ferrell loves Old Milwaukee beer. He loves it so much that he offered to do ads for the company (apparently only in the Midwest where OM is most popular) for FREE. Free. That's something we like.

Will even coaches his son's soccer team in his spare time.

So does a beer-swilling-selling, soccer fan deserve to top this year's list? You decide.

Create your free online surveys with SurveyMonkey, the world's leading questionnaire tool.

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The Tuesday Day: Bowl Game Edition


By "The Other 87 Minutes" / Senior Unemployed English Major Correspondents

To our mind, the only thing wrong with the Champions League is its outmoded method of determining the best of the final 16 teams through a two-legged, single-elimination knockout tournament.

Far superior is a method we've developed here in America: Using complicated algorithms and the arbitrary opinions of a tiny subset of people to determine who the real champion is. Luckily, UEFA has us around to apply this method to its premier competition. Today we bring you the Champions League Bowl Series.

1. Champions League Championship Game: Barcelona vs. Real Madrid

A rematch? In the championship game? Are we crazy? Possibly, but you'd have a tough time making a case for another team as superior to either of these two. With this much offensive firepower on the field at one time, the game might even finish 9-6.

2. European Cup Bowl: AC Milan vs. Chelsea

This Great Uncle of Them All always matches up the champions from England and Italy. Unfortunately, one of those teams ended up ineligible, so the game had to reach and take Chelsea.

3. Beckenbauerbowl: Bayern Munich vs. Inter

Like any good bowl system, our formulas favor interesting rematches from years prior. That the Beckenbauerbowl grabs Bayern is just an added bonus.

4. Cruyff Bowl: Arsenal vs. Napoli

A fascinating clash of styles manufactured by our selection committee. Arsenal overcame Udinese, but can they pull a similar feat against Napoli's three-pronged counterattack?

Forget the cup, now
he's got his own Bowl.
5. Maldini Bowl: Benfica vs. CSKA Moscow

With both Milan teams off the board, the Maldini Bowl gets stuck with an unappealing matchup between two teams with fanbases who will have quite a ways to travel to watch the game. Plenty of cheap tickets are likely to be available for this one.

6. Di Stefano Bowl: Zenit vs. Marseille

A clash of teams on opposite trajectories, Zenit on top of their league, Marseille closer to the tenth place team than the first.

7. Platini Bowl: Lyon vs. Bayer Leverkusen

When in doubt, we select for historical drama that our announcers can hype during the game.

8. Diego Maradona's £10,000 Bidet Bowl: APOEL vs. Basel

Better luck next time, boys. We just won't know if you're ready to play in a big-time game until we see that you've won a big-time game.

And a pair of extra, bonus bowls:

9. Best Bowl: Manchester United vs. Borussia Dortmund

Winners of their leagues last year, narrowly in second this year, early flame-outs in the big one. A perfect match-up for one of our bonus bowls.

10. Blatter Bowl: Juventus vs. Dynamo Kiev

A fitting matchup between a pair of teams who have faced sanctions in the recent past.

About "The Other 87 Minutes"

What is this new site we're exposing you too? We'll let them explain:

The Other 87 seeks to provide something that’s not instant analysis or eve of matchday previews. Think of us as the good bits of your favorite soccer coverage: the profiles that examine what makes a certain player tick, the historical background that sheds some light on how the sport has evolved to the present day, the silly features that are more than just tacking names on a list, but considering and explaining why each one deserves to be there.
O87 wants to be a home for soccer writing that makes you think, but that also treats the game as just that, a game. The greatest game, the one we obsess over and fixate on, to the point where we can’t read that gas costs 3.43 a gallon without thinking of Ajax’s 1995 Champions League winning team. But a game nonetheless.
“When you play a match, it is statistically proven that players actually have the ball three minutes on average. The best players - the Zidanes, Ronaldinhos, Gerrards - will have the ball maybe four minutes. Lesser players - defenders - probably two minutes. So, the most important thing is: what do you do those 87 minutes when you do not have the ball…. That is what determines whether you’re a good player or not.” -Johann Cruyff
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Sunday, December 25, 2011

Hoppy Christmas Everyone!


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Saturday, December 24, 2011

The Idea of the Free Beer Movement

U.S. Soccer Federation President Sunil Gulati speaks to U.S. supporters
(including the American Outlaws) in Chicago. He might have been taking about this....
The idea is simple: invite your friends to a soccer game, buy them a beer. There... you've done it! You're now a participant in the Free Beer Movement.

You watch soccer at home, in bars, at the stadiums, you might even have enough physical stamina to play the sport itself. Now it's time to take what you already do and share that love of this sport with others.

In the United States, for a number of Americans, the verdict is still out on soccer. We have no doubts of our own passion for it, but for millions of others they remain underexposed to the sport. Rather than have Jim Rome's and other old-school soccer-hating media-types define OUR sport to others, we must become the voice for soccer. We are ambassadors of our sport.

There are many ways one could do this, but the Free Beer Movement subscribes to the KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid) philosophy of life. What's more simple than a free beer?

Use your passion, use your knowledge, above all use free beer and expose the underexposed to soccer. Once they're in the door of the bar, the gate of the stadium, or just the comforts of your hope you've got ninety minutes for soccer to entertain and for you to educate that newbie.

Will every person you bring into your soccer home (be it your actually home or pub or stadium) become an instant fanatic? Probably not. The point isn't to indoctrinate these "soccer newbies", but to introduce them to what you love and help them develop and nurture an appreciation for the sport.

Beer and soccer. Looks pretty good together, huh?
Consider this: if each Free Beer Mover (that's you!) brought ten people to various games throughout the year and bought them free beer, that is most definitely ten people that would not have watched a second of soccer otherwise. If even one of those people became a true-blue soccer fan, that's one more person to be added to the rolls of the soccer faithful that would have NEVER touched the sport before if not for your free beer intervention.

It is a win-win situation for all involved! You're already watching and going to games (and probably drinking beer), so why not have some more company? We've all seen or been to games with either empty seats or them filled with too many of our opponents. Now is our chance to fill them with future fans.

A silly idea leads to serious economic support behind American soccer. More fans in the seats means more cash on hand for clubs to invest in marketing, stadium improvements (or building one!), academy programs, and player signings.... all things that increase the quality and attractiveness of our domestic league.

Being a soccer fan and supporting the game is nothing to be ashamed about. Too often, we soccer fans, are content with being that sporting outsider, supporters of a niche American sport. Outcasts among the ignorant. IT DOES NOT HAVE TO BE THAT WAY! Soccer is the world's game and the fastest growing sport in the United States. We have a viable domestic league, an exciting National Team headed to this year's World Cup, and fans as dedicated and passionate as any other sport in this country.

The Free Beer Movement is not only a philosophy for growing the game, but an organization that wants to empower American soccer fans to take pride in their version of the global game.

Being a soccer fan does not have to be solitary life. Show your colors, define your passion, share it with friends over free beer and grow the sport in this country to where it is on par with the rest of the world.

"Invite your friends to a soccer game, buy them a beer".

It's a simple idea with big implications.

Help build American soccer one beer at a time.

And it starts with you.

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Thursday, December 22, 2011

NEWS - Klinsmann's Roster for January Friendlies


Der Bomber Jurgen Klinsmann, named his 20-man roster for January camp and the two international friendlies in Arizona against Venezuela and away in Panama.

The good? The bad? The ugly? What are your thoughts?

GOALKEEPERS (3): Bill Hamid (D.C. United), Sean Johnson (Chicago Fire), Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake) 

DEFENDERS (7): Geoff Cameron (Houston Dynamo), A.J. DeLaGarza (LA Galaxy), Omar Gonzalez (LA Galaxy), George John (FC Dallas), Zach Loyd (FC Dallas), Michael Parkhurst (FC Nordsjaelland), Heath Pearce (Chivas USA) 

MIDFIELDERS (6): Kyle Beckerman (Real Salt Lake), Ricardo Clark (Eintracht Frankfurt), Benny Feilhaber (New England Revolution), Jeff Larentowicz (Colorado Rapids), Brek Shea (FC Dallas), Graham Zusi (Sporting Kansas City) 

FORWARDS (4): Juan Agudelo (New York Red Bulls), Teal Bunbury (Sporting Kansas City), C.J. Sapong (Sporting Kansas City), Chris Wondolowski (San Jose Earthquakes)

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Wednesday, December 21, 2011

The Twelve Days of US-Mas

We're in the holiday spirit here at the Free Beer Movement. For us, it means more time off, a return to the FBM motherland (Wisconsin), and a chance to try all sorts of tasty Midwest brews.

That doesn't mean we've jumped away from our soccer minds, though. Our little ditty covers some of the biggest American soccer stories of 2011 and a few hopes for 2012 and you may recall the ditty as "The Twelve Days of Christmas". We, however, always of soccer and beer minds presents....

"The Twelve Days of US-Mas"

On the first day of US-Mas my true love sent to me....

A German at the head of zeee U.S. team
Das ist goot.
On the second day of US-Mas my true love sent to me....

Timmy Times Two!
Anchoring the backline for years to come.

On the third day of US-Mas my true love sent to me....

Three Cascadia Cupping!
The Pacific Northwest rivalry put MLS on the map this year.

On the fourth day of US-Mas my true love sent to me....

Four Calling Harkes No More
Harkes, driving to the unemployment office.

On the fifth day of US-Mas my true love sent to me....

Putting the Women's World Cup in the past. Will the girls be golden again this summer?
On the sixth day of US-Mas my true love sent to me....

Six Deuces-A-Laying Waste to the EPL!
37, 38.... Brian McBride's tally in the rear-view mirror.
On the seventh day of US-Mas my true love sent to me....

Seven Stu Holdens-A-Styling!
Comeback kid?

On the eighth day of US-Mas my true love sent to me....

Ocho Cinco a soccer balling 
Bo knows... only he could play two sports.

On the ninth day of US-Mas my true love sent to me....

A real "number nine" striker!
Anyone want to score for the USMNT? Bueller?
On the tenth day of US-Mas my true love sent to me....

Ten Beckhams Bailing
David gets his MLS Cup victory and then "au revoir" to France?

On the eleventh day of US-Mas my true love sent to me....

Eleven Landons-A-Leaving
Here we go, again!

On the twelfth day of US-Mas my true love sent to me....

Twelve Beers-A-Brewing!
Beer and soccer. What a novel idea....


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Tuesday, December 20, 2011

The Tuesday XI: Home For the Holidays Edition


By "The Other 87 Minutes" / Senior Unemployed English Major Correspondents

Our week of seasonal celebrations continues here at The Other 87 with a special Tuesday XI featuring a cast of characters straight out of a typical holiday gathering. Naturally, we’ve lined them up in a 4-3-2-1, the Christmas Tree formation.

GK - Grandpa - Tries to stay out of the way (and more or less immobile until he’s absolutely needed.
LB - Your Significant Other- Does an admirable job each time out feeling her way through an unfamiliar role on a new team.
CB - Dad - Our older captain. Knows by now it’s necessary for him to jump into action and when to stay out of the way.
CB - Aloof Cousin - Only shows up because you're his only living relatives for three states in any direction. Does his job with a minimum of fuss, whether it be making tidy small talk or helping with the dishes.
RB - Youngest Child - Ahh, the weak link. Whether it’s a small cousin, young niece or nephew or even a baby sibling, you can’t kick the kid out of the game, but his or her presence can slow the game down when the ball’s in that zone. Best to tuck the little one over near the sideline where she doesn’t get plunked in the head with any stray shots.
LCM - Super Mom - The hardest working person of the holiday does the similar dirty work in the center of our midfield.
CM - You - The holidays can’t start without you, can they? Just as you’re the most important component of your family gatherings, you’re at the center of the action here, scoring goals and creating chances one minute and playing defense next.
RCM - Old Family Friend - An only child; when he heard there was a game he came right over.
LAM - Perfect Older Sibling - Gets to play the star role further forward, because it turns out he’s still better than you at everything.
RAM - Drunk Uncle - Crazy, unpredictable, dangerous. Alternates between barely paying attention the game and wreaking havoc on the field.
CF - The Family Dog - The ultimate scavenger, both under the table and in front of goal, The holidays are his time to shine, as more people, more booze, and possibly more small children mean more opportunities for him to pounce and put mistakes away.
About "The Other 87 Minutes"

What is this new site we're exposing you too? We'll let them explain:

The Other 87 seeks to provide something that’s not instant analysis or eve of matchday previews. Think of us as the good bits of your favorite soccer coverage: the profiles that examine what makes a certain player tick, the historical background that sheds some light on how the sport has evolved to the present day, the silly features that are more than just tacking names on a list, but considering and explaining why each one deserves to be there.
O87 wants to be a home for soccer writing that makes you think, but that also treats the game as just that, a game. The greatest game, the one we obsess over and fixate on, to the point where we can’t read that gas costs 3.43 a gallon without thinking of Ajax’s 1995 Champions League winning team. But a game nonetheless.
“When you play a match, it is statistically proven that players actually have the ball three minutes on average. The best players - the Zidanes, Ronaldinhos, Gerrards - will have the ball maybe four minutes. Lesser players - defenders - probably two minutes. So, the most important thing is: what do you do those 87 minutes when you do not have the ball…. That is what determines whether you’re a good player or not.” -Johann Cruyff

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Monday, December 19, 2011

FBM's Holiday Gift Guide


In the midst of the holiday season and American soccer's off-season now is the time to reload your fandom with these ten FBM must-haves.

And don't worry... there's still time to get all of these great things!

Hell... you can just buy these for you as well. Treat yo self!

1) Bumpy Pitch Gear

Want some of the hippest soccer/lifestyle gear for the holidays? From tees to hoodies and a few raglands BP has you covered when you're off the field. Some of the softest shirts we've ever had rub against our nipples.

Original brand shirts from BP, some retro shirts honoring American soccer's past, and easily the best $30 you'll spend. Get some.

2) "Distant Corners: American Soccer's History of Missed Opportunities and Lost Causes"

David Wangerin is back with another examination of American soccer's long and complicated history. Wangerin is the author of the fantastic "Soccer in Football World (also a great read to pick up).

A great read to brush up your defenses of the sport in this country against those who say it has no place here.

3) "The Very Best of Pitch Invasion Writing"

The website "Pitch Invasion" has always been a great source for quality soccer writing and now some of their best work is in all-in-one edition. Read pieces from PI editor Tom Dunmore and others like Peter Wilt, Brian Phillips, Richard Whittall and many more.

Digital version for $5.99 or get some paper cuts with the in-your-hand version for $11.99.

4) Season Tickets to Your Local, American Soccer Team

Don't kid yourself... you're not going to get your money's worth from that gym membership you promised to follow through with for that New Year's resolution.What a better way to ring in the new year than with committing yourself to supporting local, live, American soccer?

Whether its a Major League Soccer team, NASL, USL or otherwise there's probably some level of American soccer being played nearby. Tickets (and especially season tickets in a supporters section) are dirt cheap. So why not buy two and bring a newbie each game?!?!

5) Beer (duh)

If you're going to go to American soccer games this year better make sure you're well stocked with beer for newbies (and yourself, of course).

Ahh... yes. Beer. That's what makes us tick.

Right now we're loving: Victory Brewing Co.'s "Yakima Glory" Black Ale (Downington, PA), Deschutes Brewery "Jubelale" Winter Ale (Bend, OR), Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. "Celebration" IPA (Chico, CA), and Alaskan Brewing Co. "Smoked" Porter (Juneau, AK).

6) Umbro's "Come Away With the Pints" Shirt

Beer and soccer, we believe, are the sport's version of the culinary world's peanut butter and jelly and this shirt by Umbro symbolizes that.

Umbro's blurb:


There's nothing wrong with owning more than one beer and soccer shirt and if you absolutely must... please support the Free Beer Movement with our our "pint" shirt from Objectivo.

Plus, it might be the softest shirt you'll ever own. Just $28 here.

8) "Rise and Shine: The Jay DeMerit Story" on DVD

No American soccer games on the TeeVee right now so pop Jay DeMerit's biopic in the DVD player and celebrate a great bootstraps story of the USMNT's successful attempt to make it big in England.

Funded completely by donations from fans across the globe, the making of the movie is just as inspirational as the flick itself. Here's our interview with the producer from back in March when news of the movie broke (the first story about it anywhere!)

For $19.95 you can inspire the next generation of American soccer players with this movie.

9) American Outlaws Membership

All the cool kids are doing it. Join the largest supporters group for the U.S. National Team, the American Outlaws.

A $20 purchase (plus $4 for shipping) gets you a t-shirt, the signature bandanna, and discounts for U.S. Soccer tickets, Big Soccer Shop, Continental Airlines, rental cars, and hotels in game day cities.

10) Beer Bar Rags

As much as we hate to admit it... sometime we spill our beer. Usually after a goal is scored so that makes it more OK.

Clean up any beer-related messes with these cool beer-style "tea rags". They're artsy, too, hand-stamped with antique printing blocks.

$23.50 for four rags that say IPA, Pilsner...well... you all can read from the image here.

Get the NEW Free Beer Movement "Pint Glass" shirt! Only from

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

The Tuesday 10: Beating Barca Edition

Not pictured: Him tapping the tips of his fingers together and/or petting a white cat.
Don't sweat yet another defeat in the biggest game on Earth, Mr. Mourinho. We've got ten ideas for how to win the return leg that will appeal to your evil genius side.
1. Get Carvalho back and once again play Pepe as a rearmost midfield destroyer, hoping his physicality can throw off the Barca rhythm just as Real's pressing did in the opening minutes.
He needs your clothes, your boots, and your motorcycle.
2. Travel backwards in time to kill Lionel Messi before he ever got his tiny little legs injected with growth hormone. Watch out in case they send Carles Puyol back to protect him.
3. Maybe have someone, you know, follow the world's best player into midfield so he doesn't have so much time on the ball.
4. Hijack the Barcelona team plane, and demand that they release the European Cup or you'll begin killing hostages. Be sure to check that Pep Guardiola doesn't stow away while they're trying to evacuate him and thwart your plans.
5. Sign all of Getafe as your B squad. They seem to have this figured out.
6. Instruct your players to defeat then replicate their programming onto the genetic code of every non-Barcelona player on the planet, so that the April Clasico looks something like this. 
Whyyyyy? Whyyyyyy? Whyyyyy?
7. Pull a Tonya Harding on Dani Alves.
8. Go further back in time and keep Johan Cruyff's parents from ever falling in love by seducing his mother, preventing him from ever instilling in Barcelona his tenets of Total Football. Make sure that he doesn't thwart you with the power of Chuck Berry, or that you don't accidentally become his father.
9. Take the metaphor a step further by actually driving your bus onto the Camp Nou field.
One Indiana Jones = Three Barça midfielders
10. Nuke the Barcelona training complex in March. Careful though, they could probably fit Xavi, Iniesta and Fabregas all in one fridge.

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