Written by Will Parchman

parks

There’s an American in Portugal.

As far as soccer goes, the sprawling Dallas suburb of Plano is perhaps most famous for producing FCD stalwart and USMNT prospect Kellyn Acosta. But it’s also home to a young American player named Keaton Parks, who committed to SMU in 2015. While moonlighting for Plano-based NPSL side Liverpool Warriors, he was scouted by second division Portuguese club Varzim at a tournament in Portugal.

Soon thereafter, Parks moved to Portugal with the help of his club coach and immediately became perhaps the most under-the-radar American in Europe. While Christian Pulisic started Champions League matches against Real Madrid and Brooks Lennon earned YouTube documentaries at Liverpool, Parks toiled in half-empty stadiums in the Portuguese second division.

And then, on Sept. 4, Parks, 19, made his debut for Varzim.

Tags:  , , | Leave a comment

The Klinsmann Legacy

Written by Will Parchman

a.espncdn.com

Regime shift is never a bucolic landscape of plush rolling greens and pastoral Bob Ross barnyards. It is, even in the best of times, a violent mashup of seemingly incongruous colors. It is a Turner painting, the man lashed to the mast as the snow and waves whip at his collar.

It is especially difficult when the transfer of power comes upon you suddenly. It has been a strange, uncomfortable thing to watch Obama slowly begin to vacate the levers of power for Trump’s administration, but the process itself is as normal as gravity. But when someone is fired, as Jurgen Klinsmann was late in 2016? Stability is an inherently foreign concept.

Klinsmann spent five full years operating as perhaps the most vocal agent of change in U.S. Soccer history. He was the spiritual kin of Teddy Roosevelt, all hot-blooded vigor and progressive change and public laments on the State of Things. In his sprawling, multi-thousand word introductory press conference in 2011, he bounced from youth national team playing style (he would like to better define it) to USMNT playing style (he would like it to “reflect the culture” and be more proactive), to the college game (he would like it to be more technical), to comfort zones (he would like to shove them out of an airlock in a space vacuum). In hindsight it was a meandering, rambling mess.

Klinsmann was, in truth, a Lamenter-In-Chief, a man so dissatisfied with the state of American soccer that he spent much of his time pushing back against it in lieu of the sweeping change so many were led to expect. Whether or not he had the ability to change any of the institutions he’d identified (or if he even tried – he never touched or attempted to touch college soccer, for instance), he complained vociferously and often. His idealism ground to powder, he was forced off his captain’s chair with nary a whimper.

This was the disconnect, the break between Klinsmann and the real world that led so many fans (and journalists) to abandon him. It wasn’t that he was terrible as a manager. His teams weren’t awful, more often than not, and his winning percentage remained defiantly high to the end. But his teams failed to assert almost any of the principles of style, proactivity and discernible youth progress that he seemed to trumpet upon his arrival. He was the reform candidate, and at least in his primary duty as a coach, there seemed to be precious little reform.

Tags:  , | Leave a comment
Written by Will Parchman

horvs

Ethan Horvath, all 21 years of him, is moving onto the Continent and joining Club Brugge. Somebody, it would seem, is giving the gent good advice.

The Great American Keeper Train is skipping a cab car. Whatever else we learned about the USMNT in a dismal 2016, this was perhaps the most conclusive proof yet that the New Year brought glad tidings of great joy.

Tags:  , | Leave a comment
Written by Will Parchman

rongz

U.S. Soccer has a new chief scout.

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

tesv

The skepticism flows like a river bisecting the Yangtze these days. Whatever China is doing with its soccer money, it certainly doesn’t seem sustainable. But it also isn’t slowing down. It’s accelerating like a rocket-propelled ship in a vacuum.

Tags:  , , | Leave a comment

What’s next for Bob Bradley?

Written by Will Parchman

skysports-swansea-city-manager-bob-bradley_3821176

Fairness is a relative idea, like freedom or evil. There is no one way to define it, and perhaps fewer notions about what constitutes the highest form of the ideal. Socrates might look at the American system of governance and call it inherently draconian and unfair, even if both Greek and modern models are differing (mostly positive) degrees of the same term.

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

drinkers hunter long

Let’s be frankly intimate with one another for a minute and whisper an abiding truth into the darkness that lay at our collective backs.

You’re happy to see 2016 go.

This was a weird year, and not for a mere few reasons. But perhaps the better news (aside from the fact that it’s almost over) is that the 91st was in fine fettle this year. Here in our shaded corner of the internet, where humanity can stretch beneath a weathered palm and watch the soccer pass by languidly. You had literally hundreds of stories, both ridiculous and serious, to gorge upon. And to mine eyes, these are my 10 favorites. Let’s have a look back as we prepare to bury 2016 beneath 400 feet of adamantium steel.

Tags:  | Leave a comment
Written by Will Parchman

nagbe

Darlington Nagbe will not be going to Celtic. At least not yet, and perhaps not ever.

Whoever did the rejecting is perhaps up to your specific Atlantic bias. Celtic, which had invited the enigmatic Timbers attacker to watch a Champions League match against Barcelona earlier this year, claims it’s the one doing the walking away. The Timbers side of the equation alleges quite differently.

Tags:  , | Leave a comment
Written by Will Parchman

neumann

As of today, two of the top nine picks from the 2014 MLS draft are retired.

Tags:  , | Leave a comment
Written by Will Parchman

100914-SOCCER-Julian-Green-trains-during-a-United-States-soccer-training-session-PI.vresize.1200.675.high.93

Julian Green went from prized World Cup-goal getting ingenue for Pep’s Bayern Munich to Hamburg loanee arranging disgruntled meetings with team brass to sweet summer child reborn for Ancelotti’s Bayern Munich in record time. Green managed to pack a lifetime into two years.

Tags:  , , | Leave a comment