Written by Will Parchman

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It’s been more than 10 years now since Bruce Arena prowled a sideline in U.S. Soccer gear. Now in his second stint and third cycle, Arena insists those 10 years provided a looking glass into his past successes and failures with the national team.

To wit.

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Written by Will Parchman

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All regime changes are fundamental responses to something. Fear is a motivator, but so too is anxiety, excitement, uncertainty, joy. It’s how we vote our presidents, our city councilmen, our local propositions.

It’s an important prism to clutch as you look through it this week onto the taciturn face of Bruce Arena, which once again became the face of U.S. Soccer. Arena was confirmed Tuesday as the successor for Jurgen Klinsmann’s broken tenure, a fact that inspired no shortage of opinion. Arena is a legend in U.S. circles, a man for whom most of the American populace would grant a triumph through the streets of New York. If there’s a more universally appreciated USMNT coach in history… well. There isn’t.

And yet there are questions. Appropriate questions, but questions nonetheless.

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Written by Will Parchman

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In the end, it was the vague grandiosity that got him.

Jurgen Klinsmann of course is no longer the USMNT coach, fired in place as he attempted feverishly to dig himself out of the hole he created. In doing so, he obliquely took a swipe at a vocal subsection of the American populace that would see him gone (which was the vast majority by the time Costa Rica’s 4-0 demolition was done), mentioning that they perhaps don’t “understand” the game.

Klinsmann will now take those thoughts into unemployment, however brief that time is, to be replaced until the end of the 2018 cycle (and unlikely beyond it) by Bruce Arena.

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Written by Will Parchman

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Nobody gave Providence much of a chance.

In truth it had little to do with the Friars themselves, although that was certainly part of the package. Providence got into the NCAA tourney as an at-large team with a 12-6 regular season mark. They’d missed their chance at an RPI-defining win at Clemson, and while the 1-0 win over Creighton was impressive they’d lost to the Bluejays in their first game at the Big East tourney not long after. Providence proved themselves as a winning team in the regular season, but a title contender?

But it was really more about the Goliath standing on the other sideline.

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Written by Will Parchman

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There are few incontrovertible truths in this world. One of them? The best goals are tourney goals.

The tourney’s now in full, riotous swing for both men and women after last week’s events. While the women plunge dangerously close to the College Cup in San Jose, the men are now fixing their gaze on the third round after a wild first two. As if you needed proof, unseeded Providence came back from a 4-1 deficit on Sunday, scored four goals in 13 minutes and won 5-4. That was top-seeded Maryland’s only loss of the season.

With all that said, it’s Goal of the Week time, and we’ve got some bangers for you. So let’s dive right into it, shall we?

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Written by Will Parchman

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The Papua New Guinea U20 women’s team has had a tough go at this month’s World Cup. The host country is currently taking part in its first ever men’s or women’s World Cup at any level, and it’s been predictably tough sledding. In their first two games, a 9-0 loss to Brazil and a 6-0 loss to Sweden dropped them to the bottom of Group A.

Of course, it was never really about the results for PNG, which was simply focused on using the occasion to improve, play ambassdor and perhaps nick the first World Cup goal in national history.

Consider that last task mission accomplished.

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Written by Will Parchman

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Earlier this year, a Jurgen Klinsmann biography called Soccer Without Borders was excreted into this atmosphere. Co-written by Klinsmann (or at least “with help,” whatever that means) and a man named Erik Kirschbaum, the book was ostensibly a pro-Klinsmann propaganda piece. He called the U.S. performance in Brazil “stylish,” quoted Klinsmann deriding the counter-break style that won the U.S. its biggest World Cup and Confed Cup games (“you can maybe win one game in 10,” which, no), justified Landon Donovan’s 2014 World Cup exclusion. So it went.

Anyway, it was Klinsmann as Klinsmann wanted to be known. It was him, but sheared free of all the inconvenient bits, his flaws ground down to the nub and presented only as a way to frame his perfections. Of which there are many, you must know.

Klinsmann’s job status ignited a firestorm of controversy after the U.S. tanked against Costa Rica and fell into the cellar of the Hex after two games. ESPN, Fox, Vice, Sports Illustrated, NBC, everyone (even your humble author) ran articles explaining how and why Klinsmann’s time was up. Sunil Gulati simply hasn’t done anything about it (that may change?). Oh and yes, they’ll qualify because CONCACAF has perhaps the most forgiving qualification format on the planet, not because the U.S. will engineer some stirring turnaround worthy of wider job security.

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Written by Will Parchman

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Anyone who’s spent any time around the youth World Cup scene knows Nigeria. Whether for the African nation’s unrelenting stream of U17 titles (it owns five of them, and three of the last five) or for rampant reports of age fraud, Nigeria’s an impossibly large figure on the international YNT scene.

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Written by Will Parchman

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The fields of green stretched in neat rows from left to right, tucked one after the other under a slate gray sky. You could see them easily underneath the shadow of the massive expanse of the BayArena, the incubation factory of one of Europe’s most unlikely powerhouses.

In September I visited Bayer Leverkusen, the home of the youngest team to qualify for the 2016-17 Champions League and one of the most youth-friendly clubs in all of Europe. It has been a club ethos to chase youth for years, something club CEO Michael Schade reiterated during my visit there.

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Written by Will Parchman

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Patrick Rothfuss’s second book of the fantasy series Kingkiller Chronicle, Wise Man’s Fear, takes its name from the following premise. It appears several times in the book, each time foreshadowing something to come.

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