Couldn’t help but notice that a new season of Ted Lasso is right around the corner, premiering next Wednesday March 15. While I am looking forward to the new season, my ‘jump the shark‘ spidey senses are tingling ever so slightly. Hoping I’m wrong and it sustains the ‘believe’ vibe of the first two seasons.
One of the main reasons for concern is that now Nike is manufacturer of the AFC Richmond kits/uniforms (vs. the previously fictional company Verani Sports). And with this change also comes new home and away kit designs for AFC Richmond, which I have in turn created as desktop wallpapers. You can find them below and in the Random > TV Tab gallery here on my site. Believe!!
If you thought the politics of a disgruntled suburban soccer mom’s vitriol against the town’s soccer coach was bad, you clearly did not play soccer in suburban NJ, because those moms will take on the US Men’s National team coach (paywall) without blinking an eye, as Danielle Reyna did to Craig Berhalter:
To set the record straight, I [Danielle Reyna] did call (U.S. Soccer sporting director) Earnie Stewart on December 11, just after the news broke that Gregg had made negative statements about my son Gio at a leadership conference, I have known Earnie for years and consider him to be a close friend. I wanted to let him know that I was absolutely outraged and devasted that Gio had been put in such a terrible position, and that I felt very personally betrayed by the actions of someone my family had considered a friend for decades. As part of that conversation, I told Earnie that I thought it was especially unfair that Gio, who had apologized for acting immaturely about his playing time, was still being dragged through the mud when Gregg had asked for and received forgiveness for doing something so much worse at the same age. Without going into detail, the statements from yesterday significantly minimize the abuse on the night in question. Rosalind Berhalter was my roommate, teammate and best friend, and I supported her through the trauma that followed. It took a long time for me to forgive and accept Gregg afterward, but I worked hard to give him grace, and ultimately made both of them and their kids a huge part of my family’s life. I would have wanted and expected him to give the same grace to Gio. This is why the current situation is so very hurtful and hard. At the time I called Earnie, many people were trashing Gio on social media due to Gregg’s comments, and I didn’t know when or if this would stop. I just wanted Earnie to help make sure that there would be no further unwarranted attacks on my son. I thought our conversation would remain in confidence, and it didn’t occur to me at the time that anything I said could lead to an investigation. I’m not criticizing Earnie here. “I very much commend the recent efforts by U.S. Soccer to address abuse of women players, and I understand now he had an obligation to investigate what I shared. But I want to be very clear that I did not ask for Gregg to be fired, I did not make any threats, and I don’t know anything about any blackmail attempts, nor have I ever had any discussions about anyone else on Gregg’s staff — I don’t know any of the other coaches. I did not communicate with anyone in U.S. Soccer about this matter before December 11, and no one else in my family has made any statements to U.S. Soccer regarding Gregg’s past at all. I’m sorry that this information became public, and I regret that I played a role in something that could reopen wounds from the past.
The Athletic (paywall)
Now, the USMNT did not have any chance of seriously competing for this year’s World Cup in Qatar. It was a ‘we’re happy to be here’ appearance and anything beyond making the knockout stage was playing with house money (being that the USMNT didn’t even qualify in 2018). Would playing Gio Reyna have changed the USMNT’s outcome? I’m guessing probably not. The Netherlands team the US lost to was an exceptionally well coached team that was playing chess compared to Berhalter’s checkers strategy. Playing Gio may have made the matches in the knockout stage a little easier however I’m not convinced he would have been a difference maker vs the Netherlands, much less the next round opponent Argentina should we have advanced.
The way Berhalter handled the Gio Reyna situation was a failure of leadership to not clearly and truthfully communicate the reasons for his decisions to the player, the press and by proxy, the fans of the USMNT team. I can also relate to Mrs. Reyna’s perception on how Coach Berhalter’s negative statements about Gio in the conference she noted above were unfair, damaging, and, frankly, an immature way of handling the situation. Reading between the lines, it seems that the long and deep relationship that the Reyna and Berhalter families had probably gave Gio and his parents the perception that he was going to get ample playing time in the World Cup and when things didn’t go exactly to Gio’s liking, there was likely a sense of disappointment that clearly went south quickly. The way Gio reacted was immature, yet even though he has been playing soccer at some of the highest levels in the world, let’s remember that he’s still all of 20 years old. Suburban soccer mom’s can be a nasty bunch sometimes, and even when you’re the Head Coach of the freaking US Men’s National Team, you can be taken to the woodshed by a mom who’s pissed her son did not play as much as they would have liked.
Over the course of the past two years, as we have all been home because of the pandemic, I’ve been consuming a lot of movies and TV. I have been diligent about checking out reviews and listening to critics before diving into new TV shows because I already am ‘in deep’ on too many TV shows. Whenever I engaged in any of the many ‘prestige’ television shows that are out there, a key criteria is the legitimacy and believability of the storyline relative to the premise of the show. And what I mean by this is the following: if, for example, a show is based on a fantasy premise, then it needs to effectively create the world-view that you are entering and set the proper context and boundaries in which the fantasy can operate within before it becomes truly unbelievable to the viewer. Similarly with ‘real world’ stories, the same thing applies. The story needs to be rooted in reality and clearly be cognizant of the timeframe and context in which it is set.
One show I have recently been watching is “Yellowjackets” on Showtime. The show’s storyline centers on what happens in the 25 years since a plane crash stranded a fictitious 1996 NJ high school girls soccer team in the wilderness after they won the state championship and were heading to Seattle to participate in a national high school soccer tournament (i.e. a tournament that presumably includes each state’s high school champion). The show is really good and does a great job of balancing the storylines of what has become of the survivors in present day 2021 and the closely held secrets of what really happened to the survivors in the wilderness back in 1996.
As good as the show and the acting is, there are a few glaring gaps with the 1996 portion of the storyline that I just can not get past. I’m going to do my best not to spoil anything about the show.
The show says that the survivors of the crash are stranded in the wilderness for 19 months. There is no part of me that would believe that a plane full of upper-middle class (mostly) white girls from a seemingly well-off suburban NJ town would be left out in the wilderness for almost two years. I went to a soccer crazy high school in a town very similar to the one portrayed in the 1996 storyline of “Yellowjackets” and there is no way on earth that parents in the town would have let this go without a full-on 24/7 search and rescue effort until the crash site was discovered.
Also depicted in the 1996 storyline are several pretty severe injuries from those that survived the crash – both as a direct result of the crash and from attacks from wildlife in the area where they were stranded. I honestly don’t buy that those that suffered these injuries would have recovered the way they did in the show. The injuries were just too bad, and it would have been too easy for things to go sideways.
As is well documented, the show says that the plane crashed ‘in the wilderness of Ontario’ as a result of the pilots having to fly further north than the normal route to Seattle in order to avoid a severe storm. The storm that they were avoiding must have been some sort of super storm because after looking at typical flight paths from Newark to Seattle, they would have really had to go far out of their way to be routed over that area of Canada. Further, the wilderness depicted in the show at the crash site seemed much more in keeping with the terrain of the Canadian Rockies compared to Ontario.
I really wish the show did more to bring in the storyline of what was happening in NJ in the weeks or months after the accident. It would have been much more realistic to engage with the families back in NJ and to understand what they were doing to try to determine what happened to the team and their plane. It is such a major gap in the show. Maybe the show-runners did not feel that they could effectively juggle three major story arch’s (1996 crash site, the 1996 families trying to find their kids, and the survivors living ‘today’ in 2021) and while I can appreciate that, you don’t need to look too much further than ‘Game of Thrones’ to see how a show has deftly threaded a similar needle. They could have, for example, dedicated one ‘stand alone’ episode within the season to the families at home in NJ and how they were coping and trying to solve finding the plane. They could have extended the season from 10 to 12 episodes to accommodate the same. There were several options available it would seem to me.
The acting in this show is really good, and there has been a lot of speculation as to where the story will go in its second season. There are some serious “Lost” vibes being bantered about in online forums – mainly due to several ‘cult’ like and super-natural themes that are presented early on and via one key character. Definitely check the show out! Hopefully you enjoy it as much as I am and you can get past the concerns I have noted!
Less than a month away. It is a nice bridge between the EPL seasons, even if AFC Richmond does not even exist. It would be great if somehow a real AFC Richmond could be established and find its way up to the EPL. Since that likely won’t happen any time soon, you can always download the Ted Lasso AFC Richmond desktop wallpapers I created last year after season 1 dropped.
As with many folks out there binging anything worthwhile on TV and streaming services, I finally got around to watching Ted Lasso on Apple TV+. When I first saw the promos and trailers for the series, I was as skeptical as many other folks out there. The history of television shows that have mutated from advertising campaigns (NBC originally used the Ted Lasso character to promote their coverage of the English Premier League football) is not a pleasant story – see: ABC’s Cavemen via Geico. Yet somehow, Apple TV+ and the show runners have figured out something that works – what a fun, enjoyable, and entertaining series.
So, in honor of the show and its fictitious EPL club AFC Richmond, and the fact that I have a disturbing habit/hobby of making desktop wallpapers of actual EPL clubs, I share with you AFC Richmond Home and Away desktop wallpapers to be downloaded and used to your heart’s content. Like all the others I create, the wallpaper dimensions are 2560 x 1440 pixels and you can drag/drop or download them right to your desktop. You will also be able to find these in the “Television” tab of the Movies, TV & Misc. collection of Wallpapers on my site.
For the AFC Richmond Home kit, I created two versions – one with the red/yellow stripe offset right to mimic the actual kit layout in the show, while the logo is in the center of the wallpaper. The other version has the red/yellow stripe centered with the logo, to mimic how the logo overlays the stripe on the show’s kit. Different folks will have different preferences, so I thought I’d just do it both ways.
In the span of an evening earlier this week, as I am sure you may be aware, the US Men’s National Soccer Team was eliminated from the 2018 World Cup. Just about everything that needed to go wrong for the USMNT, did. The NY Times broke down the evening, minute by excruciating minute.
It’s all over but the shouting now, and Americans are doing most of that. In a split second, a difficult feat, qualifying for the World Cup, that has become something of a birthright for a generation of United States fans has vaporized.
I’ve read several articles about this fiasco over the past few days and the POV that resonated with me was that US soccer needed something like this to happen to deliver a cold wake up call to the US National program. After so many years of progress, having a result like this should serve as a top to bottom five alarm fire that US Soccer needs to get it’s shit together.
I love projects like this. A very cool exploration of logo design titled “Football As Football“, where some designers have styled several NFL logos as if they were European Football (soccer) clubs. A few for your viewing pleasure:
Yes, they even did a really nice job with the logo of the NY Jets
After a whopping 51 years in England’s lower football (soccer) division, Cardiff City has finally been promoted to England’s Premier League. Cardiff was a team that had deep financial issues not too long ago.
It is a remarkable accomplishment because the club was nearly bankrupt more than a year ago. In three of the last four seasons, Cardiff got tantalizingly close to promotion from the League Championship, only to fall short in the promotion playoffs. Those failures were called â€œdoing the Cardiff. With Tuesday’s result, a point from a scoreless draw with Charlton Athletic, the club can bury the phrase and look forward to resuming the fierce Welsh derby with Swansea, which was promoted two years ago.
Lionel Messi, the brilliant striker for Barcelona, broke the club’s all time record for goals scored last night in spectacular fashion, netting a hat trick (his 10th of the season).
To put this in perspective, Messi has scored 235 goals for Barcelona and he is all of 24 years old. The previous record for Barcelona, held by Cesar Rodriguez, took 11 years to accomplish while Messi took barely 6.
It appears that Chad Johnson/Ochocinco is taking his skills to Kansas City for a tryout with Sporting KC of the MLS. This got me to thinking about an article from Bill Simmons at ESPN from a few years ago when he mused about a US sports bizarro world where our best athletes would be funneled towards soccer the way they are in European and South American countries. He imagined a scenario where Allen Iverson was playing soccer and claimed (not too far fetched, in my opinion) that Iverson could have been one of the greatest soccer players in the world:
By the way, I’ve been watching the World Cup for four weeks trying to decide which NBA players could have been dominant soccer players, eventually coming to three conclusions. First, Allen Iverson would have been the greatest soccer player ever — better than Pele, better than Ronaldo, better than everyone. I think this is indisputable, actually. Second, it’s a shame that someone like Chris Andersen couldn’t have been pushed toward soccer, because he would have been absolutely unstoppable soaring above the middle of the pack on corner kicks. And third, can you imagine anyone being a better goalie than Shawn Marion? It would be like having a 6-foot-9 human octopus in the net. How could anyone score on him? He’d have every inch of the goal covered. Just as a sports experiment, couldn’t we have someone teach Marion the rudimentary aspects of playing goal, then throw him in a couple of MLS games? Like you would turn the channel if this happened?
Maybe Chad Johnson’s foray into the MLS may prompt other athletes to take a second look at the “perfect game”.
On the eve of the 2010 World Cup, an amazing collection of infographics about all things having to do with the World Cup – from the ball to the venues to the players. If you need to get a crash course on the World Cup over the next three days, this is a great place to start!.
I just wanted to say that I’m very excited for the upcoming 2006 World Cup in Germany. I am very encouraged by the prospects for the US Soccer team, even though Claudia Renya injured his hamstring in a “friendly” vs Morocco. My understanding is that the injury is not as serious as first thought, however it is still a point of concern with his importance to the team. My fallback is England, who should also have a good showing in the tournament.