The Importance of Sacrifice

After a recent men’s league game I overheard a young man (probably in the 14-16 age range) tell a buddy, “I can’t believe my parents are late to pick me up! Seriously, what the hell is wrong with just being on time?” The buddy, who was also waiting said, “Who cares? They’ll be here. Let’s go back […]

Defective Labels

Take a moment and consider what the word “elite” means to you. If you’re so inclined, extend the meaning and place it in the context of American soccer. For as long as I can remember, clubs, players, parents, coaches, media outlets, and fans have either laid claim to what elite is regarding American soccer and […]

The Concussion Debate: Exploring Football’s Most Mysterious Injury

The crowd braces for inevitable impact as two energetic under-17 players on a collision course with one another refuse to let up in a challenge near the sideline. The larger of the two players immediately bounces back up, rubs his shoulder and grimaces. The other player remains motionless on the ground. A trainer and coach […]

The Art of Composure

By: Jon Townsend @jon_townsend3  This past Sunday, like any given Sunday (no, not the movie), I found myself on the bumpy fields playing what many call Sunday League soccer. As a former collegiate player and a guy who’s been around the post-college doldrums of American soccer from combine invites, lower league football in Germany’s Regionalliga’s, “professional” […]

The “Best” Myth

A swirling autumn wind ripped across the aluminum bleachers as I took a seat to watch a local high school soccer game. I generally don’t enjoy watching high school soccer because of the slovenly way the game is played at this level. I knew what I would see would be rough version of soccer fluctuating […]

The Obsession with Average

The Obsession with Average By: Jon Townsend @jon_townsend3 Having played the game since I was four and staying with it in some (or multiple) capacities ever since, I’m prepared to say the American player has an obsession with average. Part of this obsession with average is a systemic issue whereby society has granted people carte […]

Training vs. Practice: A Measured Approach

The narrow footpath widens as I approach the now abandoned football pitch. At my foot is a scuffed football and in tow are my two nephews aged five and nine. My nephews have just returned from Ireland and brought with them a new love for football. The moment I show up to visit my parents […]

The Face of American Soccer

The announcement was inevitable. Seeing Landon Donovan score against Bayern Munich in a meaningless game somehow signified a type of finality reserved for movie scripts. When Donovan announced his plans to retire at season’s end, the outpouring of support and gratitude for arguably America’s best ever soccer player was immense. I found it a bit […]

Assessing College Soccer

For players growing up in the United States, the opportunity and possibility of playing for a high-profile and high-calibre university has long been the end goal. During a player’s teenage years either playing high school soccer or for a competitive club, they learn that statistics matter more than performance. Yes, for recruiting purposes, statistics supersede […]