Written by Will Parchman

picault

The lead-in sentence to Fafa Picault’s soccer history on Wikipedia is clipped, left almost intentionally vague.

Picault started his career with the youth and reserve team of Italian club Cagliari, but later parted ways with the club after six years, for unknown reasons.

There are some things that freeze in time and we leave them buried under us in the deepest recesses of our past. Picault’s history as a youth player in Italy is something like that.

Tags:  , , | Leave a comment
Written by Will Parchman

u16

We’ve long known soccer is the great destroyer of borders. The game has a way of unifying ends that might’ve never met. It pulls out chairs to the communal table and invites us all to sit and eat and talk together.

So it went this week for the U16 WNT, which blazed a brave new trail in the history of the USWNT program this week.

Tags:  | Leave a comment
Written by Will Parchman

pablo

La Masia is so jam-packed with quality that to hear one of its coaches speak glowingly about an individual is almost jarring.

When it’s lunar-sized center forward prospect Pablo Moreno, you understand.

Carles Martínez coaches Barcelona’s Infantil A side, one of the club’s most important in a developmental sense at the U15 age group, and he recently sat down with Grup 14 to talk shop after his move from Espanyol. The discussion almost immediately turned to Moreno, who’s scoring return the last three years has been frankly ridiculous for anyone, let alone a child.

This is what Martínez had to say.

“Pablo is very good. He’s the most competitive player I have ever trained. It’s that drive that makes him special. I admire him because he’s always on the spotlight yet he takes it very well and calm. I’m very pleased with the change he’s doing in his control abilities. If he can succeed in that, which he is doing, he has a bright future although he has to take it step by step.”

Two years ago Moreno bagged 72 goals in 27 games for Barca’s seven-a-side Alevín A. Last year he bagged 41 in his first jump up to the Infantil group. This season? Moreno has been the leading scorer across the entire academy with a staggering 66 goals. He scored 28 in his first seven games of the year. For the math wizards among us, that’s 179 goals in three seasons. Are you hearing this.

Tags:  , , | Leave a comment
Written by Will Parchman

saul

Despite a glut of possession and a handful of substantive chances, Pep Guardiola’s last Champions League go-round with Bayern Munich before his inevitable decampment for Man City this offseason is on its last legs.

Bayern owned nearly 70 percent of possession against Atletico Madrid at the Felipe Calderon, but they couldn’t break down Diego Simeone’s resolute Atleti, and this insane solo effort from Saul, who’s only on a £28,846/week salary (comparatively small in the ballooning world of European soccer money), decided the first leg.

And holy mother of dragons was this a thing to behold.

Tags:  , , , | Leave a comment
Written by Will Parchman

office

There are difficult jobs, and then there is the roiling tempest that is the life of an MLS general manager.

I do not envy those men who darken doors with “MLS GM” scrawled on their pebbled glass. There may be a sports league in the world with a more convoluted, overgrown and arcane set of acquisition rules, but I have not yet found it. There have been five different types of drafts employed in the last three years alone. Frank Lampard was able to skate through an entire offseason giving off the impression NYCFC had loaned him to Manchester City when it had never even signed him. Earlier this year, San Jose traded something called Targeted Allocation Money (TAM), which has existed for less than a year, for General Allocation Money (GAM). The ol’ TAM-GAM swap. Per league policy, details were chained to a cinder block and dumped over the side of a tanker at mid-sea.

Tags:  , , | Leave a comment
Written by Will Parchman

scott

According to journalist Peter O’Rourke, U.S. U20 midfielder Kyle Scott is just about done at Chelsea after nearly two years. O’Rourke’s sources say Scott is asking to leave the club.

One would assume that based solely on outward appearances, life was good in these halcyon championship days for Kyle Scott at Chelsea. The young American international, who’s represented England, Ireland and the U.S. at the YNT level, just polished off his best ever youth campaign at the club level. Chelsea won its second consecutive UEFA Youth League title earlier this month, and Scott played an integral role. He scored the only goal to beat Ajax in the quarterfinals. That came just two months after he signed a new contract in February.

Chelsea dropped PSG 2-1 in the final, and you can see Scott (third from the left) celebrating here.

Tags:  , | Leave a comment
Written by Will Parchman

turner

With all the hoopla around young Tommy Redding, it can be easy to forget that Tyler Turner is still a highly prized defensive prospect for youth-focused Orlando City.

Tags:  , , | Leave a comment
Written by Travis Clark

Daphne CorbozWith the officially unofficial stance U.S. Soccer has taken requiring players to be in the NWSL in order to get a look on the U.S. women’s national team, the number of Americans competing at major clubs abroad has dwindled.

One of the standouts remaining is Daphne Corboz. The former Georgetown star signed with Manchester City last summer after finishing her degree on the Hilltop, and has enjoyed a strong start to the 2016 campaign.

Corboz scored the winner over the weekend in City’s 2-0 defeat of Birmingham, showing superb technique to finish a rebound in the first half.

Tags:  , , | Leave a comment
Written by Will Parchman

juve

Sometimes winning is merely showing up. And sometimes winning titles is about not showing up at all.

So it went with Juventus’s fifth straight Serie A title. At 4 p.m. on a Monday afternoon, Juve won another cup without having to kick a single ball. Thank Roma and its irrepressible midfield force Radja Nainggolan, who casually and intermittently depresses every American Roma fan by being semi-bald and wearing the No. 4 and oh damn no that’s not Michael Bradley my bad.

Tags:  , , , , | Leave a comment
Written by Will Parchman

Pablo-Picasso-Record-Guinness-profesional_TINIMA20111028_1033_19

Art at work over the past weekend in MLS.

Each of the player action maps you’re about to see comes from an individual performance this past weekend in MLS. In each case they are paired with their artistic doppelgängers. Each map was swiped from FourFourTwo’s excellent StatsZone app, for which this is the key:

key

There is art – both bland and sublime – in MLS. You need merely know where to look.

Tags:  , , | Leave a comment