Written by Will Parchman

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The Development Academy showcase is currently running through its paces in Florida, which means a collection of the nation’s brightest young stars are currently throwing hands in front of sidelines choked with scouts.

One of the most anticipated of those games was the Red Bulls-FC Dallas U18 match on the opening Thursday of the event. The two are routinely the most talent-laden academies over the last three years, and FCD’s 2016 national title sweep proves they’re the kings of the castle for now. The game duly didn’t disappoint, the sides struggling to a 1-1 conclusion that fairly reflected the evenness of the talent levels.

The way they tied? That was a bit unique.

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Written by Will Parchman

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The 2015 U17 World Cup was largely forgettable from an American perspective. The U.S. was blown out of the water against Chile and Nigeria, and it went into a shell after going up 2-0 on Croatia and was forced to settle for a 2-2 draw it almost didn’t even secure.

Needless to say, the individual reports weren’t sparkling. Nobody, save two notables, did much to advance their reputation above what we already knew. One was, unsurprisingly, Christian Pulisic, who was just months away from his first cap with the USMNT.

The other? The little-known Brandon Vazquez. And apparently Atlanta United was paying attention.

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Written by Will Parchman

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The U17 MNT, as you may have ready on this very site, is currently rocking the Nike Friendlies tournament in Florida. The annual competition is frequently the biggest non-World Cup related tournament on the calendar for any boys YNT side considering the attendees. Every year a handful of major European clubs sent scouts to unearth gems. It is, after all, how just about every name from the 2013 team (including Christian Pulisic) breached the walls of Fortress Europa.

Our man Travis Clark is in house to take it in, which has already included a bit of history. As much as the U.S. has dominated games at times at this event, their 7-1 flaying of Portugal stood alone. And a handful of top prospects might’ve just won themselves a European contract as a result of it.

In any case, goals are fun, and we’re here for those today. All seven of them, in fact. Without further ado, let’s run through ‘em. Be sure to pay special attention to the last goal, which traversed the length of the field, took 14 passes, displayed a willingness to play out of pressure and didn’t feature a single long ball.

Good soccer. This is good soccer.

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Written by Will Parchman

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Hard as it is to believe, it’s been 10 years since Zinedine Zidane last stepped foot on a competitive soccer field. The Headbutt was the last we saw of Zidane-the-player, and the last time that nameplate graced the back of a jersey in anything other than charity matches and friendlies against tragically overweight former players.

Until Wednesday.

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Written by Will Parchman

Adrian-Heath

Perception is an interesting thing. It’s more or less wedded to the complicated web of history, which is run through with strands rooted in reality but coated in fable. We believe what we believe about the past not only because we’ve seen it, but because we trust our own version of events.

When Hannibal invaded the Italian peninsula with a string of smashing victories at his heels, Rome raised up Quintus Fabius as a dictator to meet the threat. Fabius, now famous for his strategy, refused to meet Hannibal in pitched battle. He knew he was an inferior tactician, and his goal was to destroy Hannibal’s buzzing morale by stretching his supply lines, frustrating his troops and essentially pulling the cape over the charging bull over and over again.

In hindsight, it was an ingenious strategy, especially considering the results. Fabius knew Hannibal needed lightning-quick, decisive victories in the field to sate his mercenary army, and Fabius denied him this by harrying his army and then ghosting into the mist at every turn. He was attempting to convince Rome’s enemies Hannibal was no threat as an ally, and so far from Hannibal’s base in Carthage, it was working.

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Written by Will Parchman

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And then there were 12.

The men’s and women’s DI tourneys are down to the wire, as both are nearing Judgment Day. On the women’s side, we’ve already whittled it down to College Cup four: West Virginia, North Carolina, Georgetown and USC. The men’s side is one step from that same place, with the final eight prepping to be cut in half by the end of the weekend.

Goals take on added significance this time of year. Golazos, meanwhile, belong in their own stratosphere.

This week we’ve got four belters from the week that set the women’s College Cup field and took the men from 16 to 8. Big doings. Let’s get going.

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Written by Will Parchman

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David Beckham’s arrival stateside was notable, but not for one of the reasons typically elucidated en masse. He was not in his playing prime, his feet robbed of their buoyancy by the weight of time. Neither was he capable of swinging the needle of soccer fandom on his own. He may have been inside the palm of the handful of the world’s best at one moment, but by the time he arrived in L.A. he was merely Among The Very Good Ones. An unbelievable set piece taker and a sulking Ent during the run of play.

We know this now.

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Written by Will Parchman

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It’s been more than 10 years now since Bruce Arena prowled a sideline in U.S. Soccer gear. Now in his second stint and third cycle, Arena insists those 10 years provided a looking glass into his past successes and failures with the national team.

To wit.

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Written by Will Parchman

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All regime changes are fundamental responses to something. Fear is a motivator, but so too is anxiety, excitement, uncertainty, joy. It’s how we vote our presidents, our city councilmen, our local propositions.

It’s an important prism to clutch as you look through it this week onto the taciturn face of Bruce Arena, which once again became the face of U.S. Soccer. Arena was confirmed Tuesday as the successor for Jurgen Klinsmann’s broken tenure, a fact that inspired no shortage of opinion. Arena is a legend in U.S. circles, a man for whom most of the American populace would grant a triumph through the streets of New York. If there’s a more universally appreciated USMNT coach in history… well. There isn’t.

And yet there are questions. Appropriate questions, but questions nonetheless.

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Written by Will Parchman

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In the end, it was the vague grandiosity that got him.

Jurgen Klinsmann of course is no longer the USMNT coach, fired in place as he attempted feverishly to dig himself out of the hole he created. In doing so, he obliquely took a swipe at a vocal subsection of the American populace that would see him gone (which was the vast majority by the time Costa Rica’s 4-0 demolition was done), mentioning that they perhaps don’t “understand” the game.

Klinsmann will now take those thoughts into unemployment, however brief that time is, to be replaced until the end of the 2018 cycle (and unlikely beyond it) by Bruce Arena.

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