Written by Will Parchman

Benny Feilhaber’s spent the better part of the last two years ripping up MLS back lines with measured killer balls, and Kei Kamara probably leads the MLS MVP race right now with a league-high 20 goals. And still Feilhaber gets the time-honored Klinsmann Snub. Beautifully predictable.

Anyway, Kamara and Feilhaber got together to run through some FIFA 16 skill games. You’ve always wanted to do this. Watch a couple pros get the chance. Semi-related anecdote: can someone please bring back the Benny Feilhaber show? If anyone’s poised to take Jimmy Conrad’s job in 4-5 years, it’s the ‘Haber.

 

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Written by Will Parchman

nagbe

Earlier this week, American Soccer Now’s Brian Sciaretta said something about Jurgen Klinsmann. I want you to read it.

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Written by Will Parchman

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The story about how Jurgen Klinsmann came to casually dismiss MLS in that manner of his that sweats ebullient nonchalance is codified in Reddit’s MLS scrolls now. He skirted the edge of things, dancing upon its razor by neither overtly diving in nor staying out entirely. Klinsmann is a curling eyebrow in the midst of an overheated argument about Donald Trump in a Shriners backroom in Des Moines, Iowa. He is inviting you to see into the layers he’s creating but never implicating himself directly. He knows the ramifications of speaking directly, and so he does not.

So when he says Bradley “has to prove he hasn’t lost a bit” by going to Toronto FC, he was neither saying TFC was beneficial to his development nor overtly detrimental. He is playing to his base without kneecapping his wider bloc. He is politicking.

The story, though, was not about Klinsmann’s comment. It was about Bradley’s body language. This AP story from Eric Adelson in the aftermath of Klinsmann’s initial comments fills a volume the length of Gibbon’s Roman histories.

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Written by Will Parchman

carl robinson

MLS is making strides in player identification and development. Whatever you may feel about the speed at which it’s doing this, things are better now than they were a few years ago, and a few years before that, and on we go.

But if you look at the numbers, those strides are primarily concentrated in clusters. MLS (and specifically our academy, college and club system) has done yeoman’s work developing holding midfielders, defenders, keepers and, in smaller numbers, strikers for the next level. If the USMNT is anything, it’s a mirror reflecting the player pool as a whole. And at each of those positions the U.S. has generated a player worthy of distinction.

The area where the U.S. system has not succeeded, however, is with attacking midfielders.

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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

final

With the abrupt close of the MLS transfer window (rosters, though, don’t freeze until Sept. 15), it’s time for that time-honored tradition of haughty judgments. It’s the most wonderful time of the year.

These three teams won the summer window transfer sweepstakes. Money ain’t everything, NYCFC.

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Written by Will Parchman

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You clamored for it (no you did not). You wrote your congressmen for it (you most definitely did not). You hectored Don Garber about it until he opened an envelope and delivered it to you (you… well, maybe).

It’s time for the midseason Parchies: the best of the best in the world of MLS’s U23s.

The Parchies seek to award, through a complicated algorithm designed in Jurgen Klopp’s basement, the league’s top U23 players via a series of totally serious awards with totally serious corresponding medallions. It’s everything and nothing that matters in soccer, and it is upon you.

The criteria is two massively convoluted parts: Be 23 on December 31, 2015, and be good at soccer. If you are those two things, you have a chance. So without further soul-crippling ado, here we are.

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Written by Will Parchman

DCU

You might’ve seen this week that D.C. United is cutting funding to its academy to divert money to its impending stadium project. Chucky Boehm over at Soccer Wire reported this week that the club has already cut ties with longtime academy coordinator Steve Olivarez, and U14 coach Jonny Frias isn’t coming back next season.

By and large, MLS academies have been slowly slashing their cost to the player since the Development Academy was implemented in 2007. A practice once commonplace is now almost entirely extinct. Only five MLS academies require any sort of fee at all for its players, and even fewer require an annual fee. None present a cost above $500, let alone $500/year.

Well, except one. D.C. United.

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Written by Will Parchman

Ceren2

The MLS summer salary dump is here.

What that means for you, intrepid MLS gumshoe, is schlepping through reams of salary figures to discover those players who wear ski masks and those behind the counter, frantically jamming the “Call Police” button.

I’ve codified, in my estimation, the “best” and “worst” contracts from each team’s perspective based on post-CBA guaranteed cash those players receive as of 2015. We can quibble over the precise meaning of those terms (as we’ll see when we get to Lee Nguyen), but in this context it’s essentially from a team’s vantage. So relative to each player’s performance when weighted against the rest of the league, how many are underpaid and how many are making off with unwarranted bucks?

My selections.

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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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