the tanner ba'

Odds & Ends: Winter Wonderland Edition

While we've gotten plenty of snow here in western Massachusetts, this is the approach to the front door of my friend Blair's house in Gloucester, a fishing port on the coast of Massachusetts.  Blair, by the way, has seen County play in person- with me!

While we’ve gotten plenty of snow in western Massachusetts, this is the approach to the front door of my friend Blair’s house in Gloucester, on the coast of Massachusetts. Blair, by the way, has seen County play in person!

  • New England Revolution and USMNT midfielder/defender Jermaine Jones has announced that he will need surgery for a sports hernia and will miss the next two weeks of preseason.  I have two thoughts on this:  First, having had this surgery myself in March of 2011 I can vouch for the fact that he will be ready to go in two weeks- there will still be some swelling and tenderness, but structurally he will be sound as a pound.  The second thought is that, for somebody who plays as hard as Jones does every time he takes the pitch, a “low-key” preseason ahead of the 2015 MLS season is probably a good thing in the long run.
  • Former New England Revolution defender A.J. Shares has seen his transfer to Serie A’s Hellas Verona fall apart and has sought refuge at Bob Bradley’s Stabæck in Norway where he is currently training, but not actually on trial.  I’ve always wondered how this happens?  What changes between a player leaving a club/league or another club/league only to have the terms of the deal (I assume) become so onerous that he is no longer willing to sign with the club?  Shouldn’t all of this be worked out in advance?!  Any-who, backing out of a deal with a mid-table Serie A side and training with a team that finished in the middle of the pack in Norway’s Tippeligaen last season?  What was wrong with MLS, A.J.?
  • The U.S.-Panama friendly match was.  Nope, that’s it, it just “was.”  I took nothing out of it that was good, bad, or something that I didn’t already know.
  • If you’re wondering about the state of the NWSL- the U.S.’s top league for women- these days I encourage you to Google “NWSL, retirement” and see how many (young) players are bolting from the league to either, a) play in mediocre but better-paying leagues overseas and b) how many of them are leaving for mediocre- but stable- jobs in the “working world?”  I have to wonder what this means for the future of the USWNT, who have already seen the rest of the world quickly catching up to them over the past decade?
  • Rangers lost (at home!) to Raith Rovers in the Scottish Cup this weekend.  Now if they can just fail to get promoted to the Premiership and go out of business for good I will die a happy man.
  • Finally, about a month ago in one of my “old man indoor” matches our team drew a penalty kick, the aftermath of which was a lot of people looking at other people that the hoped would take it and everyone else suddenly very busy adjusting their shinguards or re-tying their boots.  This seemed to go on forever until I- who have never taken a penalty kicking 35+ years of playing competitive soccer- said, “Screw it!” and stepped to the line.  My only thought was, “Don’t miss the goal!”  I didn’t.  I smacked it right off the post.  Luckily, it came right back to me and I cooly (sure) knocked it in with my left foot (what?!).  Every one was very complimentary- I suspect because they had all gotten off the hook.  This past week I was taken down in the box on a breakaway.  When I got up off the turf I saw that the penalty had been given and I also saw the rest of my teammates staring at me with big smiles on their faces as if to say, “Wow!  What are the odds that our designated penalty taker drew the penalty himself!?”  I do not want to be the “designated penalty taker,” but again, since I drew the PK it seemed like I better take it.  Which I did, in the worst possible way.  I stepped up and buried it in the lower lefthand corner as the keeper dove to his right.  Clearly, I am now stuck with a job I want not part of.  On the bright side, it was our last match of the second session and I ended up with 6 goals in 8 matches- not bad for an “assist” guy.  Session Three starts tonight.
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