The most annoying thing about American soccer is that so many Americans are ... well, dumb - when it comes to the world's game. Take the "fake sports know it alls" like Jim Rome, for who, even a good beating would be a waste of energy. I call these part-time "wanna be"s - tribbles.
Then there is this guy - who for all intents, is at least trying. However, he does not know the difference between this guy ...
It's no big deal, right ? ... I'm sure that baseball fans don't make much separation between the New york Mets and the New york Yankees either.
I thank god every day for the (FSC) Fox Soccer Channel and GOLTV so I don't have to listen to the tribble of ESPN (US version only) - the worst sports channel in the galaxy. It irks me to no end watching a match on ESPN only to be interupted for the latest in Pooh City Vulcans have drafted Romulan Joe Smow in the 101st round.
Imagine if you will, watching your favorite sport - during a break away on the ice or a long pass going for the end zone ... and ESPN breaks away to tell you about David Beckhams toe nail ?
Thankfully, ESPN lost the contract for the Champions League and FSC has won more of the coverage of both MLS, EPL and other important soccer leagues.
My brain is already in overdrive in anticipation of the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa. The USA is making its 6th consecutive appearence and opens against the former empire - ENGLAND on June 12 (live on ABC). No David Beckham. Yes, Landon Donovan.
The contest may seem frenzied but it only reflects the football madness happening world-wide. This vintage album (above) - a 1970 Panini World Cup sticker album is on ebay at $367.00 with 6 days to go. Sorry, that is NOT the prize.
My prize will be much more modest, but will include some older Panini World Cup stuff (before 2010) or some other soccer swag. A chance to score some soccer memorabilia and show your sports smarts.
Because the first 6 or 7 entries might pick the favorites (I'm not going to tell you - keep reading), I will do a high / low contest. Not only pick first place, but the OPTION to pick who finishes LAST.
The European football season came to a close on Saturday when Inter Milan (Italy) defeated Bayern Munich (Germany) for the UEFA Champions League title.
Diego Milito score twice for the Italian side. With the European club season over, he furthers his chances as a starter for Argentina at this summer's World Cup.
Chelsea did well to win the double - the FA Cup and the Premier League in England. Frank Lampard (below) and Didier Drogba will star for England and the Ivory Coast respectively in South Africa 2010.
The German power house Bayern Munich came up roses in the Bundasliga, but just short against Inter. Ribery was suspended for the Final but will surely be a factor for France in South Africa.
Inter Milan has to be the club of the season winning the "treble" - the Italian League, the Italian Cup and the Champions League.
Meanwhile, the heroics of Manchester United reject - Diego Floran propelled Atletico Madrid to the Europa League title over American Clint Dempsey's Fulham United. Floran will be a star to watch for Uruguay at the World Cup.
The flop of the season has to be Real Madrid which splashed out over $200 million dollars for just three players - Kaka', Cristiano Ronaldo and Karem Benzema - and won no trophies.
If you don't know who Wayne Rooney or Cristiano Ronoldo is then your cave is safely secluded from the world. For the rest of us who live and breath the World's game - this NIKE commercial which features Homer Simpson, Kobe Bryant and more - tells us its World Cup time.
The ROWDIES are here, the ROWDIES are there ... a kick in the grass. The 1970's theme song was a hit in the early days of Florida's permier sports teams. Before the Rowdies, the only professional franchise in the Sunshine State was an obsecure ABA basketball team and the NFL Miami Dolphins.
But all that changed in 1975 - when the NASL awarded a franchise to the city of Tampa. By 1976, the Rowdies were the most popular team in Florida. The New York Cosmos signed the legendary PELE' to a multimillion dollar contract. It is no secret this is what prompted baseball's N.Y. Yankees to do the same with Jim "Catfish" Hunter - the first million dollar player in MLB.
But the Rowdies went out and got a wild one ... the quick witted, clown prince of soccer - RODNEY MARSH. A superstar in England, best selling author by age 20, and the hero of the stadium terraces. HE - came to Tampa Bay.
When the Rowdies opened their 2010 season at Steinbrenner Field on May 8th - the fans were introduced to 10 of the original Rowdies. Rodney was one of those in attendance. I did not hesitate to have him autograph his 1977 Topps card and his 1967 Autobiography.
While I was at it, I added to my 1990 ProSet England soccer cards with former Everton and Manchester City star - Adrian Heath. Heath is now the head coach of the visiting Austin Aztex. This was my 3rd signed Manchester City player in this set.
This is not you father's NASL - but the teams are young and exciting. Hopefully, there will be more collectables on the horizon.
I have to admit collecting anything that is over 100 years old is very exciting. Thoughts of how many hands and lives such an object must have touched is equally compelling.
When this is combined with my interest in soccer cards - well, the dyno-meter needle goes whacko.
The rivalry of England v Scotland in soccer goes back to 1872. This is best understood by Americans and their heated battles with Mexico in the past few years.
One such match stands out for Scottish fans - the day that Scotland, who traditionally wear dark blue, instead were outfitted in the horse racing colors of of Lord Archibald Primrose.
The great victory in 1900 was preserved for all time when Ogden's Cigarettes depicted the Scottish players in the pink and yellow kits after their 4:1 triumph.
I have been trying to collect all the players from that famed match and have added two of the players - Smith and Walker. Although the 1900 and 1901 Ogdens tobacco series include 10 of the 11 players, I think only 6 appear in the Primrose. I have three so far.
My other persuit is pre-war goalkeepers - having picked up these three gems: Wenz, Jakobs and Schwatzfischer from the 1932 Monopol Cigarette series.
While the Schwatzfischer card above is a wonderful folly of illusion (above)
the Wenz and Jakobs are both international players who appeared for German National Team before the War.
These items, if you can find them are still bargains. But I risk competition from my readers now that I have revealed this. But maybe we can trade if you happen to beat me to the punch.