Saturday, December 10, 2011

What to do in the Offseason

So the offseason has calmed down just a little bit, and while there will be the occasional rumor that pops up, there is unlikely to be a ton of movement until the draft in January and preseason beginning. Until then and with less than 100 days until the home opener on March 17th, what can you do? Well here's a list of some things that I've put together that you could look to do during the rest of the MLS offseason.

Attend a Comets game. Yes it's not Sporting KC, it's not outdoor soccer, but it's still a good time. The level of play isn't MLS level, but it's an entertaining evening and a great place to learn some of the Cauldron chants you may not know if you hang out with Hector and those guys.

Play the game yourself. There are plenty of indoor facilities around the city that have leagues during the week that you can go and sign up for. There's been some talk about starting a Cauldron team at one or two facilities around the city. Check out the Cauldron Facebook page and I'm sure you'll find some information.

Read blogs. It's amazing when I started this blog 5 years I don't know if there really were any other KC Wizards bloggers, now there are more than I even know about. Plenty of good ones out there.

Down the Byline - You're here so you're reading my blog, I'll have updated stats coming up this offseason that you'll be able to check out along with your news. And I'll also continue to cover the Comets.

Sporting Times - When James writes it's always thoughtful, insightful, and in-depth, each one of his writings is a must read.

The Back Post - Thad has taken to mainly posting photos on the blog, but he always gets good shots of the Comets games.

The Front Men, Footy Chronicles, and the other young bloggers. The next generation of Sporting KC fans the two guys in charge of The Front Men and Footy Chronicles are just two of many in a growing number of high school age SKC bloggers.

KC Star. The coverage on the Star is light years better than it was when I started the blog, Gooch, Terez, Pete, and all the others that work on it have made it a place to go to get Wizards news now, instead of reading stuff you knew about a few days ago.

Get on Twitter
. Yes the thing that your kid uses to talk with their friends. It's actually turned into the quickest way to get news in today's world. And obviously you'll want to follow me.

Books - I loved reading forever, then in college I got away from it, and now I'm back to reading basically every day now that I get to do it for fun. But seriously there are tons or really good soccer books out there to read. Here's just a sampling of a few soccer books that I own and have read recently.

The Ball is Round: A Global History of Soccer by David Goldblatt - The most in-depth look at the history of the game world wide that you're likely to ever find. Well over 800 pages, it's not an easy read, but it's absolutely amazing to look at the progression of the game throughout history. My one big problem with this book is it's lack of talking about North America as a whole.

The Miracle of Castel di Sangro by Joe McGinniss - A book most soccer fans know about and have read. It's a great read with the look into one of the non-glamorous clubs of soccer. The big draw back is how much the author seems to want to insert himself into the player selection. It also talks about a topic that is the basis of the next book on my list.

The Fix: Soccer and Organized Crime by Declan Hill - A shocking look at how much match fixing has worked it's way into the sport of soccer. Even into MLS (although not fixing, but getting information from players on clubs). I've really started to look at some games differently after reading this book. The Lyon-Dinamo Zagreb game this past week immediately made me think of this book. It even gets to the point of talking about World Cup games being fixed.

Offside: Soccer and American Exceptionalism by Andrei Markovits and Steven Hellerman - Should be required reading for US soccer fans, especially those in favor of pushing promotion and relegation into the US. It's basically a look into why soccer did not develop to the level the sport did in other countries, and why it continues to struggle. The book is a little outdated at this point (published in 2001 so before the expansion boom that MLS has seen in the past 5-6 years).

Any Chance of a Game? A season at the ugly end of park football by Barney Ronay - I imagine that this book would basically be me if I grew up in England. It's an autobiographical book about a season with his park football team.

The Game of Their Lives by Geoffrey Douglas - The book that spawned the movie. The book (as is often the case) is so much better than the movie. Has interviews in it with some of the players on the team that are still alive, gives a real look into not just the game but how those players got there. Also doesn't act like the England game was the USA's first game as the movie does.

Seeing Red by Graham Poll - Poll's autobiography is great, it makes you take a look at the game through the eyes of the referee and try to see what they're seeing. Makes you have at least some respect for officials now.

Fever Pitch by Nick Hornby - This book really needs no introduction, but for those that don't know, this is a look at the authors love affair with Arsenal. It's the the picture that most soccer fans have now of the die hard fan. I don't put myself to the extreme that Hornby is about Arsenal, but I have no doubts that I'm closer to being a "Hornby" than a "sod-that-for-a-lark floating punter". Still a good read though.

The Beckham Experiment by Grant Wahl - A great look into MLS and Beckham's deal with the Galaxy. As I said in my original review of the book, I enjoyed it more for the look into the league as a whole.

Soccernomics by Simon Kuper and Stefan Szymanski - Statistics, numbers and how they relate to the game. Basically Moneyball for soccer in many ways.

Scorecasting: The Hidden Influences Behind How Sports are Played and Games are Won by Tobias J. Moskowitz and L. Jon Wertheim - Another book on numbers, this one about not just soccer but sports in general. It basically breaks down some of the preconceived notions on sports. Read my full write up on it here.

23 Days in Korea by Andy Gustafson - A look at the USA's trip to the quarterfinals of the 2002 World Cup. A light hearted book that, at least to me, has you reliving the excitement of the USA's run. It gets a little corny at times with the author's story, but still a fun read.

Managing My Life: My Autobiography by Sir Alex Ferguson - Before I was a KC fan I was a Manchester United fan. I still like United but KC is far and away my favorite club, but the autobiography of Ferguson's life is a very interesting read.

Full Time: The Secret Life of Tony Cascarino by Tony Cascarino and Paul Kimmage - Never got to see Cascarino play, but this book I imagine is a lot like the lives of many players who weren't "superstars" but were stars in their own rights.

Ronaldo! by Wensley Clarkson - A biography on "fat" Ronaldo before he was fat. Talks about his growing up and some of the mystery behind his performance in the 1998 World Cup final.


Anonymous said...

I assume you didn't list "enjoy games from the wide world of football on your TV/computer screen(s)" because you knew everyone was doing that anyway. Except MUFC in the UCL.

Mike said...

I watch next to no European soccer any more. Just can't get excited any more about seeing the same 4 or 5 teams compete (unless someone throws money at it to make their way in).

maniac32 said...

Sorry Mike but just like the Comets are not the MLS, the MLS isn't the Premiership, the place most players in the world want to be.

Mike said...

And the Premiership is not my league. My local team doesn't play in that league so I don't have as much interest in supporting a league where the team I support most doesn't play in.

Ray said...

The Ball is Round is a fantastic read. Granted, it's a lot of reading up about British soccer and what not, but it's intriguing. You could get through it in about two weeks if you set aside some time to read.

McBethKC said...

Dang it, I didn't get mentioned in other blogs to follow. Guess I better step up my game then?