Written by Will Parchman

I’m dubbing this Zombie Soccer. OK? OK. Zombie Soccer.

Norwegian Premier League teams Sandefjord and Mjøndalen agreed – for some godawfully hilarious reason – to play virtual soccer against one another. What that means in this context is they strapped on VR headsets that show a top-down view of the field. Which means navigating by your wobbly senses. It’s brilliant and hilarious. It also produced this caption, which, taken completely out of context, makes it all worthwhile.

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Written by Will Parchman

sites_league_files_image_nodes_2014_04_Wil-Trapp,-Crew-celebrate-in-CLBvDC

The MLS 24 Under 24 is at least partway my favorite time of league’s yearly calendar. The reasons for this are almost definitively obvious. Trumpeting the league’s stars of tomorrow is, in a way, a measure of revealing its growth. More to the point, it’s a measure of whether it’s making any or not.

There are still those clubs that might have you believe MLS is a poorly ported version of the EPL – all money and age, no chemistry – but they would be wrong. MLS, in its current economic and realistic climate, is far more like the Dutch Eredivisie than anything else. Or at least it should be. MLS does not have (and may never have) the economic push to compete nose to nose with the world’s richest leagues. Even China can outspend MLS in its way. Where the league needs to make its most substantive gains is in development, where it can produce something nobody else in the world has: the elite American. Until its payrolls are unencumbered by a cap that would keep all but a few internationally renowned stars on one roster, savvy development is the ticket out.

That’s where talent evaluation enters the fray. Where are we in that struggle? And how do we climb to a place of international solvency?

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Written by Will Parchman

Tevez

It’s not a secret Carlos Tevez has had his detractors down the years. His hard to pin down attitude cast him as a wanderer on the club scene and an outcast as an Argentinian national team player. Is he emotionally aloof? Hard to coach? Unpredictable?

Fame for Tevez, though, has always been a reluctant gift. He’s one of those genuine players who has very little time for the glossy sheen of PR. He goes where he wants, says what’s on his mind and has little compunction for following the generally understood rules of celebrity. He’s also fiercely loyal and notoriously warm with fans.

Tevez’s upbringing goes a long way toward explaining his blunt, honest demeanor. The clearest indication of that are the burn scars on his neck he famously refused to have removed during his first stint with Boca Juniors because they were apart of his past.

This recent interview perhaps provides as much insight into Tevez the person as anything we’ve seen. He chokes up when talking about the generosity of his friends in the Fuerte Apache neighborhood of Buenos Aires, historically one of the most dangerous in the city. Some still don’t have jobs and refuse to let Tevez pay. For anything. Goes a long way toward understanding one of the most prismatically prosaic characters in world soccer. The Spanish translation is provided below.

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Written by Will Parchman

pedro

You may remember (YOU SHOULD ANYWAY) the petition Seattle-area club Crossfire brought forth to FIFA in an effort to generate compensation for DeAndre Yedlin’s sale to Spurs. It’s a seminal moment in youth soccer development in America. The trickle-down effect these sales have on lower clubs can ultimately help break the shackles of pay-to-play. At the very least, they’ll lower costs while the money begins is slow filter downward.

As it is, MLS doesn’t reward clubs with compensation. But what does that look like practically in places that do? We got a tangible taste of that this week when Pedro was sold from Barcelona to Chelsea for £23m. And it was glorious.

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Written by Will Parchman

evans

We love CONCACAF, primarily because it flaunts the idea that soccer has become polished to a high, glossy sheen in our 21st century digital age. While Europe’s top leagues have their own fair share of drama, it’s fairly localized and relatively predictable.

Not CONCACAF. Whether that’s insane penalties in continental competitions or… insane penalties in club competitions, our fair region is suitably insane.

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Written by Will Parchman

20yrds

I woke up punching my headboard. It was at that point I knew it was going to be a good day.

My wife and three young daughters were already awake, downstairs. I heard them clinking around in the kitchen, readying for the day. The sun was free, pouring in through the composite Venetian horsebone blinds (from an original 16th century Venetian warhorse, whose bones we purchased on the deep web) onto our merino wool-backed, 22 karat goal-threaded Charlotte Thomas Bespoke bed sheets. My wife once told me there are people in this world who sleep atop less than 1,000 thread-count sheets. My incredulity stretched like my stomach after  a Wagyu beef truffle-and-diamond burger from Serendipity 3 on East 60th. I still have trouble digesting both.

I flipped off the bed and strutted to our 1,500-square foot closet, my legs kicking out from the knee like a goose-stepping Nazi. My morning routine. I flung open the jewel-encrusted sliding doors, revealing smooth fabric hanging limp from identical rose gold hangars and stretching into the mists of time. I cleared the gathered sleep from the corners of my eyes to see the glory itself: 67 identical light blue adidas track jackets, paired with 67 identical light blue adidas track pants.

The way the white stripes lined up made me smash apart the sliding doors. Today was going to be a good day.

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Written by Will Parchman

emo

At the start of the 2014-15 season, the soccer world seemed to calve open for Emerson Hyndman. Just months after he’d been promoted from the U18 squad, a then-18-year old Hyndman started in Fulham’s central midfield in the club’s season opener in the Championship, an eventual 2-1 loss to Ipswich after an 86th minute dagger on Aug. 9. In lieu of the comprehensive emptying of Americans in Europe’s top leagues, this note received perhaps a bit more attention than it otherwise might have. It wasn’t the Premier League, but it was something.

Yet even by objective measures unencumbered by American exceptionalism, Hyndman had every reason to be optimistic. He’d put in a grown man’s shift in the middle in his debut, completing 89 percent of his passes and looking every bit the midfield engine the English public cleaves to so heartily. His day is worth retrospection.

Remember: 18 years old in arguably the most competitive second division in the world.

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Written by Will Parchman

bekistste

Every now and then, a goal crosses our desk – which is littered as it is with silly goals – that brings an extra level of silliness. This is one of those goals.

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Written by Will Parchman

050715-soccer-Gedion-Zelalem-pi-mp.vadapt.620.high.0

Do you like American hype trains? Young phenoms-in-waiting? Large firework stands in mildly scary rural areas? Then boy howdy, is this the video for you.

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Written by Will Parchman

marco-verratti_2990109

Marco Verratti, PSG’s diminutive Italian jack-of-all-midfielders, has been doing nasty things for the Ligue 1 giants for a while now. He’s arguably the world’s best defensive midfielder-possession recycler mix, and he’s rapidly become one of, if not the most indispensable part of PSG’s star-studded cast.

But what he did on Sunday… mon Dieu.

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