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 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 […]

The Me In Team

When Johan Cruyff described the basis of Total Football, he really described team football in two sentences: “Simple football is the most beautiful. But playing simple football is the hardest thing.” With a history of talismanic and mercurial superstars, football is still a game that celebrates the individual whose brilliance is only made possible by […]

Rule or Be Ruled

Watch this first.  How much training is too much? Well, the whole question in itself is subjective as one person’s threshold might be the next person’s training zone. The term “over-training” is thrown around weight rooms like discarded bumper plates and it’s avoided in soccer circles because most people are too scared to push their limits. […]

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 Allure of the Rondo

The Allure of the Rondo By: Jon Townsend @jon_townsend3   Call it “Piggy in the Middle”, 3v1, 5v2, 5v5+2 or any variation where a numerically superior group of players has the ball and a smaller group of players tries to win the ball back. Great players do this with precise and frenetic one-touch passes to […]