Written by Will Parchman

zungul

The year is 1981, and Steve Zungul, The Lord Of All Indoors, strides into Elaine’s in New York’s Upper East Side with a cowboy hat cocked on his head, a warmup jacket and a silk scarf. As if on cue, the waiters, many of them his Yugoslav countrymen, rush to his side. One of the most enigmatic and talented figures in American soccer history cuts a unique figure.

“Yugoslavs are very lucky in America,” he told Sports Illustrated. “We always seem to have countrymen in the restaurant business.”

Zungul’s story should pass into legend, not anonymity. In the 14-year history of the now-defunct Major Indoor Soccer League (1978-1992), Zungul scored 189 more goals than anyone, recorded 85 more assists than anyone, was named the league MVP and its scoring champion six times, led the league in assists four times and was named the Championship Series MVP on four other occasions. Giorgio Chinaglia once said he ”is one of the top forwards in the world. That’s well known in Europe. He’s a true star. He’s almost perfect.”

In an age where indoor soccer has bled off the page, he’s also relatively anonymous today.

I’ve pulled a few of his most interesting tidbits from the internet for some source material on the colorful Yugoslav, and these stories won’t disappoint. Just consider Zungul the original Zlatan, only with even more flavor and less kitschy social media backing. Impossible? Hardly. Read on.

Tags:  , | Leave a comment
Written by The 91st

RM

The European season is nearly here, which means a fresh round of jersey designs have been hitting the airwaves over the past couple weeks. Here are 10 designs that hit the mark dead on. Special note to Real Madrid’s third kit, which has a dragon on it. Hell. Yes.

Tags:  | Leave a comment
Written by Zev Taublieb

zev

Ed note: This is the third in a three-part series from Valparaiso midfielder Zev Taublieb on his journey from college to play soccer at the U23 level. Part 1 | Part 2

In the first three minutes our captain hit the post off a corner. Then two minutes later I made a run out wide and gave our top goal-scorer time to hit a shot outside the box. It smashed the crossbar and looked to have bounced across the line and back out again, but the refs waved our objections away. A minute later I put our striker through on goal for a breakaway. Their keeper came up with a great save and the score was left 0-0 despite all of our great chances.

Halftime came around and we were losing. Darren explained that, had we finished our first three opportunities, the game would be over. I was playing well, but angry and disappointed I hadn’t done more. Darren made four subs at the half. We only had four other subs, which meant I was going to play for the rest of the game.

Before stepping on the field for the second half, I thought to myself, again, two months ago I wasn’t even on the roster. Now I’m playing a full 90 against another top MLS side. After the game, which we eventually lost, Darren spoke to us again, his words still ringing in my ears.

“The purpose of this program is to build professionals. Yes, we want to win, but more importantly we want to develop you. We need to learn the lessons of this weekend and to further the teams improvement and the individual improvement of all of you. To become a pro you have to be consistent, understand the game, out work your opponent, have the technical ability, and emotional stability. Today they had more of each of these components.”

The loss hurt all of us. We still had a chance to make the playoffs, but we dug ourselves a small hole. However, Darren’s words told us that we still had a shot not only to make playoffs, but also become professionals, the goal of the entire team.

Two days later Belgium was playing the United States in the World Cup round of 16. Fabian Johnson, the right back for the United States, pulled up with a hamstring injury and DeAndre Yedlin was put in his place. I texted Darren a simple “Go Yedlin.” What an amazing journey he’s had over the past two years. Two summers ago he was playing for the U23 Seattle Sounders team and now is playing against arguably one of the best teams in the world at the World Cup. Darren texted me back, “You have earned my respect Zev. With belief and hard work maybe you can be the next Yedlin.”

I responded quickly with my heart beating fast. “Yes, that has been my goal for a long time.” He reiterated that belief is the key to achieving even your most wildest of dreams. I took a picture of the texts. I will savor them forever.

I have been wanting to play for this U23 side since the moment we had our first training session. However, I just as much wanted Darren’s respect. I respected him so much, regardless if he played me or did not play me. He tells you how it is and truly wants everyone around him to succeed, from the kit man to the other players, to the other coaches. I knew earning his respect would not be easy, which was all the more reason I wanted it. When I received that text, I felt honored. I deserved it, I had earned it, and I was not going to waste it.

I think it is Darren’s personality, coaching, and wisdom and that of which he instilled in the Seattle Sounders youth program that has helped 16 players from the U23 team sign pro contracts. I think it is a major reason why DeAndre Yedlin is where is. Darren coached Yedlin with the Sounders throughout his youth career and at the U23 level. Darren can see the big picture. As much as he wants to win every game he understands that he has done his job well if he is producing talent. To produce talent you must produce winners and there’s no one better at it. I look forward to be added to the list of players who signed pro after playing with the U23 team.

At the time of this writing, we have four more games to play. I don’t know what my role in them will be. I’m confident in my ability because of what Darren has taught me and will continue to teach me. I hope to play for him when I’m a professional. I know I’ll go professional. I don’t know with who, where, or how, but it will happen. Belief is the key. It is the belief I have in myself that helped me go from not being on the roster for this Seattle Sounders U23 team to starting and playing a whole game. There are many more steps to take. I am not satisfied. But I must look at the big picture and mentally record my accomplishments, so when another challenge comes my way, I’ll know anything is possible.

Seattle Sounders U23
#17

Tags:  , | Leave a comment
Written by Will Parchman

You might remember Brian Iloski. You should, anyway. The pint-size phenom made international headlines by making the final cut for Nike’s The Chance team two years ago. Some 100,000 players tried out. Iloski made the final 16.

Smash cut to today, and Iloski is quietly carving up defenses after his initial season with UCLA last fall. He played in nine games before missing time with an injury, though he did convert a spot kick in penalties in a loss to Connecticut in the third round of the NCAA tourney.

In any case, I’m here to remind you that Iloski is a hell of a lot of fun to watch. This recently released highlight video proves my point, and then some. Plus, legitimate video editing and good music. You’re welcome.

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

jerseys

Jersey nerd? College soccer fan? Member of society? Then you’ll appreciate this.

Kevin Ives (@AUPPL over on Twitter) recently mocked up a round of professionally inspired soccer jerseys for a few of the major conferences. This is a compilation of those excellent designs (the PSG-inspired KU home uni is particularly nice, but that Michigan State offering wins the day). Have a glimpse at his mock-ups on the Big 12, SEC and Big 10 below. He promises ACC concepts soon. Can’t wait.

Here you’ll find the Big 10 gallery. The SEC gallery is here, while you can head over to scope out the Big 12 gallery here.

WISC2

Picture 1 of 29

Tags:  , | Leave a comment
Written by Will Parchman

SEC

Jersey nerd? College soccer fan? Member of society? Then you’ll appreciate this.

Kevin Ives (@AUPPL over on Twitter) recently mocked up a round of professionally inspired soccer jerseys for a few of the major conferences. This is a compilation of those excellent designs (the PSG-inspired KU home uni is particularly nice, but that Michigan State offering wins the day). Have a glimpse at his mock-ups on the Big 12, SEC and Big 10 below. He promises ACC concepts soon. Can’t wait.

Here you’ll find the SEC gallery. The Big 12 gallery is here, while you can head over to scope out the Big 10 gallery here.

VANDY2

Picture 1 of 28

Tags:  , | Leave a comment
Written by Will Parchman

big12

Jersey nerd? College soccer fan? Member of society? Then you’ll appreciate this.

Kevin Ives (@AUPPL over on Twitter) recently mocked up a round of professionally inspired soccer jerseys for a few of the major conferences. This is a compilation of those excellent designs (the PSG-inspired KU home uni is particularly nice, but that Michigan State offering wins the day). Have a glimpse at his mock-ups on the Big 12, SEC and Big 10 below. He promises ACC concepts soon. Can’t wait.

Here you’ll find the Big 12 gallery. The SEC gallery is here, while you can head over to scope out the Big 10 gallery here.

Tags:  , | Leave a comment
Written by Will Parchman

jerseys

Jersey nerd? College soccer fan? Member of society? Then you’ll appreciate this.

Kevin Ives (@AUPPL over on Twitter) recently mocked up a round of professionally inspired soccer jerseys for a few of the major conferences. This is a compilation of those excellent designs (the PSG-inspired KU home uni is particularly nice, but that Michigan State offering wins the day). Have a glimpse at his mock-ups on the Big XI, SEC and Big 10 below. He promises ACC concepts soon. Can’t wait.

If you’re after individual sites, the Big 12 gallery is here, you can head over to scope out the Big 10 gallery here and the SEC gallery is standalone here.

Tags:  , | 2 Comments
Written by Zev Taublieb

taubbers

Ed note: This is the second in a three-part series from Valparaiso midfielder Zev Taublieb on his journey from college to play soccer at the U23 level. You can read part one here.

Playing with the second group was often demoralizing.

I knew this was going to be my position when I arrived, but that didn’t stop my agony. I wanted to play. I wanted to help the team. I wanted to be a real difference maker. How could I do any of that if I wasn’t playing? I thought about quitting. I don’t like to admit it crossed my mind, but it did. I had been invited to play for the Des Moines Menace earlier that year after performing well for them in last year’s PDL season. I thought about asking that coach if I could return. I thought about going home and seeing my family who I had not seen in months. I missed my girlfriend and thought about visiting her.

As these thoughts went through my mind I said to myself, “I made a commitment and I plan to keep it.”

Tags:  , | Leave a comment
Written by Will Parchman

2009-u21

On Monday, Four Four Two released an article examining the German developmental revolution. It’s an excellent piece of popular history. In particular, it looked at its peculiarities and why it can’t truly be replicated anywhere else. At least not easily. The German model is the envy of the world at present, but as recently as 12 years ago it was viewed to be in turmoil by those within its inner sanctum.

As Americans, how do we look at the developmental castle the Germans built for themselves? Some of the brickwork FFT laid down is worth examining in more depth through an American prism.

Tags:  , , | 1 Comment