Written by Will Parchman

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Life unfurls in a continuum, a scroll unrolling over the breadth of human history unveiling one earth-shuddering point of light in history after another. Nothing in human existence has ever occurred in a vacuum. A government buckles and the ripples wash into the New World for a thousand years. A single man crosses the Rubicon with his war machines and Europe still has not slept. Petrarch ascends Ventoux and the flame of discovery lights the braziers into the lightening future.

We are all products of these decisions, these convulsive moments that grab the earth by its scruff and pull it in one direction or the next. Whether we know (or care) why our calendar is arrayed the way it is, or why our legal names include a first and a middle and a last, or how our lexicon was shaped in history’s kiln, or whatever facts of life tie your brain into soft, doughy pretzels, we are operating on the cobbles laid into place by those decisions faded into the worn tapestry of time.

In the same way the monoliths of the past laid social, moral and cultural foundations that remain societal bedrock, everything that happens in sport is an extension of something else. Jean-Marc Bosman agitates for freedom of movement and “picked up on a free” becomes the modern day bargain rack. Johan Cruyff drops into defense and our positional morays are dead under rock and ash. Leo Messi plays anywhere, at any time, and what we thought we’d seen and what we have seen will never meet in the middle again.

Signings, too, are built on the back of their predecessors. David Beckham was the Zero AD Designated Player, the singularity at the center of a black hole expanding into infinite time devouring stars and planets and midfielders until MLS supernovas in some distant era. MLS will never be the same in the afterglow of the Beckham era precisely because we operate on a continuum. It is not a flat circle. It is a switchback, doubling back on itself as rock tumbles over the same ground trodden by our forebears.

Giovani dos Santos is an LA Galaxy player. The tremulous continuum thrums.

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Written by The 91st

Carli Lloyd might have started a revolution, because more and more players are going for half-field shots.

Can we just take a second to appreciate all the things that went into this sensational volley?

Besides the form and the perfect timing, which are impressive on their own, you have to respect the brashness that compelled Paderdorn midfielder Marcel Ndjeng to even attempt the volley in the first place. Just look at his bemused expression once the goal goes in, as if he’s saying, “Yeah, this happens all the time. No big deal.”

Paderborn went on to win the game (against Bolton) 4-1 because no team has ever recovered from this sort of Mjolnir hammer strike.

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Written by The 91st

owdsurfcerr

Turkish fans have a history of raucous support, but they certainly exceeded expectations when Robin van Persie arrived in Instanbul to sign with Fenerbahce over the weekend.

Arrival crowds are a pretty standard show of support in the world of soccer, but smoke bombs, flares, and a general atmosphere that seems more like ‘apocalyptic rock festival’ than ‘meeting someone in customs’ take it to the next level.

Of course, among the blinding clouds of smoke, the overwhelming throng of supporters and a fence that looked on the verge of collapse, the highlight of van Persie’s arrival was a fan known as the ‘Flying Dutchman’ who attempted to crowdsurf to the new signing before falling just feet from the star.

Honestly, there was way too much going on to adequately describe it. Just watch the video and buy a go-bag. And if you haven’t seen Mad Max yet, don’t, because this is what happens:

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Written by Will Parchman

ECNL

The ECNL season is a 10-month grind that inevitably leads to here. After the ECNL Playoffs concludes in Seattle in late June every year, there’s only one event left on the season calendar: the Finals. Those start in Richmond on July 14 (THAT’S TUESDAY) and run through the 18th.

If you hadn’t heard (and we’re here to tell you), the finals are U15, U16 and U17 teams vying to hoist the national title trophy. And the groups were unveiled on Monday. A glimpse of what the board looked like.

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Written by The 91st

wnt

If you thought the U.S. women’s national team received an amazing amount of coverage throughout the Women’s World Cup, just wait until you see the latest issue of Sports Illustrated.

Taking a historic step, Sports Illustrated is celebrating the World Cup-winning team’s spectacular tournament run with a remarkable 25 different covers. Each of the 23 members of the team will be honored individually, with additional covers of head coach Jill Ellis and a team photo rounding up the 25.

All that said, Megan Rapinoe takes the crown for best cover. Amazing.

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Check out all the covers over at Sports Illustrated.

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Written by Will Parchman

preki

We still don’t really know what’s going on with Preki, who as of last week was the head coach of defending USL champion Sacramento Republic. Wherever he’s going to coach in the UK (Leicester City, probably, although that has yet to be confirmed) he won’t be in Sacramento anymore. Or anywhere, for that matter, in the United States.

On his way out the door, Preki grilled a morsel of food for thought over the fire until it was a hunk of flame-deadened animal and plunked the chewiest bit on our plate. Among other things, Preki recently said this to the Sacramento Bee before skipping town.

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Written by Travis Clark

SSUSA_20140803_94The power of sport as an agent of change is a commonly tossed-about theme in the shadow of major global sporting events.

Soccer is closely linked to that concept, giving players a chance to work their way from rags to riches. Of course, those instances are one in a million (or more), in terms of those who have successfully navigated what can turn into a perilous route.

One organization, Street Soccer USA, has embraced the power of soccer, in an attempt to improve the well being of people of all ages across the United States. Based in 16 cities, the organization works fervently to supply an outlet for people to improve on and off the field, using its resources to help meet the practical needs of people in disadvantaged communities in the cities it works in.

On Sunday, July 12, SSUSA will host the third annual Times Square Cup. A four-a-side tournament in the middle of Manhattan, 32 teams from around the world will compete along with ten local teams in the heart of the city.

We caught up with Street Soccer USA founder and CEO Lawrence Cann to discuss the organization, how it specifically works and this weekend’s showpiece.

TDS: How did you come up with the idea to start Street Soccer USA?
Lawrence Cann: The concept’s really simple. I learned a lot of valuable skills and had a really valuable school system through my soccer team growing up. Volunteering at a soup kitchen, I realized the kids are just like me they just didn’t have the same support structure so we try and build that in the form of a soccer team around them. It’s really as simple as that, just using the positive aspects of soccer and using it as a support system for people who are a little less connected.

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Written by Will Parchman

Nine years ago almost this very second (whenever you’re reading this, it’s still true – this event happens on a continual time loop for eternity), Zinedine Zidane made all of the world’s humble gif-cobblers the happiest when he stabbed Marco Materazzi in the chest with his big shiny dome.

What was said? Something about Zidane’s mother? His Algerian heritage? Probably. In any case, the result was France ultimately losing on penalties to Italy and the abrupt end of one of the great international careers of all time.

It also led to one of the iconic soccer photos of all time. Au revoir, monsieur Zidane.

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Written by Will Parchman

Back in January, Terminus Legion, the awesomely named Supporter’s Group for the new Atlanta MLS franchise – whatever it was going to be called – offered up its suggestions for the team’s name. They were pretty good: Bantams, Black Harts, Empire, Firebirds, Kings, Locomotives, Railrunners, Resurgents. At the very least, they had tie-ins the region. A rail hub. A resurgent city after Sherman’s March. The jewel of the south. Etc.

On Tuesday, the nascent club officially unveiled its new colors, crest and team name, the latter of which Sports Illustrated broke last month. And the logo looks like it was stolen from The Avengers Brand Cereals™ or… something.

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Written by Will Parchman

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Andrea Pirlo’s transfer status is now Juventus Official. The Italian club confirmed what most of us already knew on Monday, ushering the maestro off into the pale sunset over the Alps.

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