5 POINTS PRESS A Journal of New York Soccer 8/2011 Issue #5
A Tale of Two Sisters A Conversation w/ Marvin Iraheta A pitch in peril & more
5 POINTS PRESS â€œEen Draght Mackt Maghtâ€? MMXI Issue #5
5 Points Press is an independent source of news and opinion on soccer and soccer culture in the City of New York. 5 Points Press is a division of 5 Points Media. ( All rights reserved ) www.fivepointsmedia.tumblr.com Editors: Cesar Diaz Chris Dobens Nick Laveglia Creative Director: Brandon A.F. Sonnier Writers: Chris Dobens Cesar Diaz Leo Glickman Nick Laveglia Contributing Writers: J.D. MacKinnon Brandon A.F. Sonnier Photography Chris Dobens Nick Laveglia Cesar Diaz Design and Layout: Brandon A.F. Sonnier 5 Points Press accepts contributing writers and volunteers. To help get involved, please contact us @ firstname.lastname@example.org
A Tale of Two Sisters
6 A Pitch In Peril
Conversation with Marvin Iraheta
14 A Tale of Two Stadiums
Review: Kicking + Screening
by Chris Dobens Even though the US women’s national team lost the World Cup final to Japan this summer, they won millions of fans - here in America as well as around the world - for their thrilling run-up to that PK defeat. It was a cleaner, classier tournament than the Men’s World
Cup last summer, and it was exponentially more entertaining than the Copa America tournament that it overlapped this summer. As that excitement fades, many are wondering if the Women’s Professional Soccer (WPS) league will enjoy a lasting boost in
ratings as a result of the Women’s World Cup. It’s too early to say for certain, but the popularity of soccer among American girls has never been greater, which makes the ongoing struggles of WPS and the uncertainty about its future all the more frustrating.
To get a glimpse of what that future might hold, I thought I’d have a chat with two of the most promising young players in the city. They happen to be girls. In fact, they’re sisters – Jessie and Jackie Himel. Playing with the Boys One thing I noticed from the Abby Wambach photo montages shown during this summer’s Women’s World Cup broadcasts is that the USA’s star striker played on boys teams when she was growing up. And that is true of both Jessie, who is 13, and her 11-year-old sister Jackie.
Jessie’s first taste of soccer was an instructional class at Asphalt Green, a non-profit sports complex not far from her home on Manhattan’s Upper East Side, when she was only 5. Given the promise she showed at that early age, the instructors recommended Jessie tryout for a travel team the following year. There wasn’t a girls team for her age group. In fact, there wasn’t even a competitive boys team at that age, so she joined the Boys U8-B squad. The team lost every game that first year, but she had a lot of fun playing soccer and decided to stick with it. She played on the U8-A team the following
year and ended up playing with the same group of kids – all boys – for the next seven years. That team, which eventually became known as AG Celtic, racked up an impressive record of accomplishments. They won the Cosmopolitan Junior Soccer League championship, finished second in the US National Futsal Championships, finished fourth in the New York State Cup, and won numerous other local and regional tournaments. And despite being one of the few girls in any of these boys leagues and competitions, Jessie clearly distinguished herself. She was named to the all-regional
futsal team and was invited by the US Soccer Federation to participate in several training sessions. Jessie moved on to the Downtown United Soccer Club (DUSC) this year, travelling with their Boys U13 team to an international tournament in Barcelona. And despite offers from several girls teams in the region, including one that’s ranked among the top in the nation, she will be playing with the DUSC U14 boys this fall. Rising to the Challenge They say that people – especially athletes – tend to rise to the
challenge. And that is just as true of a girl playing on a boys team as it is of a younger sibling playing with older kids. And that’s certainly true of Jessie’s younger sister, Jackie, who not only tries to emulate her older sister’s athletic prowess, but also tries to compete with it. Jackie followed in her sister’s “bootsteps” to an instructional class at Asphalt Green and then joined the Boys U8-B travel team when she was only 6. Just like her sister, she went on to play for the Boys U8-A side the following year before progressing through the
age groups with a boys team that eventually became known as AG Rangers (as if a conventional sibling rivalry wasn’t enough). Jackie has been playing with the same core group of boys for the past five years, and will be playing U12 soccer for the AG Rangers this fall. Last season the team won four titles: the Cosmopolitan Junior Soccer League championship, the City Cup, the Chelsea Piers indoor league, and the DUSC preseason tournament. And like her sister, she’s not just playing on a boys team – she’s one of the stars.
In fact, for her contributions, Jackie was named “Player of the Year” by her coach. “Jackie has vision, speed, consistency, and tenacity,” explained AG Rangers coach Glen Bryant. “Even though she’s only 11, her read of the game is amazing, and she never makes a mistake. Jackie’s one of the most balanced players I’ve seen – with no weak side to her game. She has everything!”
Urban Athletes Clearly what’s most amazing about the talent and track record of these two young athletes is that they managed to defy the odds as girls playing in boys leagues. But it’s also worth noting that the two sisters have earned such success in a largely urban environment. They live in a high-rise apartment. Instead of a backyard, they grew up playing on a partially covered concrete terrace in their building. Mistakes meant bloody knees and elbows, or balls flying over the ledge and possibly bouncing down to the street below. And despite playing soccer year-round (they even go to soccer camps in the brief off-season), the Himel sisters are multi-sport athletes. The girls also grew up playing hockey, basketball, and baseball. Jessie is the starting point guard at Trevor Day School, where she’ll be entering the 8th grade this fall. She also plays roller hockey with her mom and a collection of teens and adults in pickup games in Carl Schurz Park. “Hockey is the only sport I play where there are no coaches, practices, or leagues, so I can just be creative and work on cool moves, playing as long as I want,” noted Jessie Himel. “It’s really similar to soccer. I shield the puck just
like I do in soccer, so it’s really hard to steal it from me.” Jackie, who will be entering the 6th grade at Trevor Day, plays soccer, basketball, and softball at the school. Trevor’s girls soccer team played full-field last season, which should give Jackie an advantage when her AG Rangers switch from the 8-a-side half-field to the 11-a-side full-field this fall. She enjoys playing basketball because her sister Jessie has been teaching her some moves. And she hit a home run in her first softball game, so she’s clearly excelling there as well. According to their mom, who was a nationally ranked tennis player in college, soccer rose to the top because the girls liked their teammates and coaches the most. “What I love most about soccer is learning new moves, dribbling past people, juggling the ball, hanging out with my teammates, and having fun at tournaments,” Jessie Himel explained. “My favorite part is to try different things and be creative,” added Jackie Himel. “I love to make passes to wings and making runs. It’s fun to score, but I love setting up the goals. I like to think of the field as a chess board, to see the moves before they happen.” And when Jackie starts talking like that, it’s easy to forget she’s only 11. The sisters have promising futures, and it will be interesting to see how long they continue to play on boys teams. Both sisters have played on girls soccer teams at their school. Jessie has “guested” for a few girls travel teams at area tournaments, serving as an in-demand ringer. Jackie has guested on a few teams as well. But they both prefer to stick with the boys for the near future. “It’s fun to guest with girls
teams, to get a chance to see different styles of play,” noted Jessie Himel. “I think anytime you can play with different people it’s a chance to learn something or try something new.” “For me, it’s a different way of seeing the game,” explained Jackie Himel. “Sometimes it’s hard to play with new people because I don’t know their names or positions, but the good thing is that the girls I’ve played with call for the ball, talk a lot on the field, and are very encouraging.” I asked if either of them have ever got any grief from boys on the teams they competed against. Jessie admitted that she once was asked by an opponent why she played on a boys team. She played it cool, preferring to let her performance answer the question. And having seen her play countless times over the years, it doesn’t take long for players, coaches, and parents from the other clubs to recognize her abilities. It was refreshing to learn that sexism in sports isn’t nearly as strong as it was when I was growing up. The Big Picture The Himels were on vacation in Israel during most of the Women’s World Cup, but they went out of their way to find pubs showing the games. “We were back home in time for the final, and I was surprised it went to PK’s because we had so many chances earlier in the game, but I was even more surprised that we lost,” said Jessie Himel. “But if we had to lose, I’m glad it was to Japan.” While they are fans of individual players like Lionel Messi, Wayne Rooney, Cristiano Ronaldo, Abby Wambach, and Hope Solo, the
sisters don’t watch a lot of soccer on TV – with the notable exception of the World Cup. And they don’t follow the WPS, either on TV or in person. Part of that may be due to their busy schedules. But they also have other interests, such as playing games like FIFA on Xbox. “Playing FIFA is cool because I learn the teams and players and it helps me see the passing lanes and look at the game a little differently,” explained Jessie Himel. “My mom and I watch the New York Rangers play hockey and we also go for long skates through Central Park when we have free time,” added Jackie Himel. Perhaps the WPS can take some comfort in the fact that the more-established men’s leagues
– both foreign and domestic – haven’t caught the eye of these sisters either. But despite dreams of representing their nation, neither of the girls aspires to play the game professionally. “I would love to play soccer in college at the University of North Carolina,” noted Jessie Himel. “And it’s my dream to play in the Olympics and World Cup for Team USA.” Jessie also plans to continue playing basketball and hockey. And she hopes to become a teacher someday. “It would be great if Jessie and I could play together on Team USA in the World Cup,” Jackie Himel added. “I want to go to Boston University and play soccer and
hockey there. Then I want to be a writer or a doctor. Or maybe play for the New York Rangers!” To watch the Himel sisters play soccer this fall, visit the Cosmopolitan Junior Soccer League’s site (cjsl.org) for their schedules. They should be posted by the end of August. Jessie will be playing for DUSC’s Boys U14 team and Jackie will be playing for Asphalt Green’s Boys U12 Rangers. They are two young girls standing tall among the boys. And if the background of some today’s top female players are any indication, that puts them in the running for the future of women’s soccer here in America. ❺
El Chota Valley’s Afro-Ecuadorian Community and Soccer: by Cesar Diaz
The beautiful thing about soccer other than the game is the education that goes hand in hand with this sport’s rich History. Even if I dedicated my entire life to simply reading books on Soccer History, I would barely scratch the surface of the impact this game has in the lives of many throughout the world. When I covered the international friendly between Ecuador and Greece at Citi Field on Tuesday, June 7th, I meet the DreamTown staff of Betty Bastidas, Ethan Veenhuis, and Marvin Green. They’re currently working on the documentary titled “Dream Town,” a soccer’s version of basket-
ball documentary, “Hoop Dreams.” Produced by Betty Bastidas and Maia Monasterios, “Dream Town” is based off Ecuador’s El Chota Valley. Betty informed me that “DreamTown” has been in production for the past four years. In between getting obtaining her Masters in Documentary Film from UC Berkeley and giving birth to a beautiful baby boy, she and her team was able to produce a short version of the film which was published in Frontline World| PBS this past June. Now living in Brooklyn, NY with her husband and their beautiful baby, has masterfully juggled
her responsibilities as Mother, Producer/Director, and Wife. In addition to her back and forth travel to Brooklyn and Ecuador, Betty was recently awarded the HBO/NALIP Documentary Prize Award. With the award, Betty has been able to hire a professional editor to put together a 27-minute work-in-progress. The staff ’s goal is to make “DreamTown” a 90-minute feature length film. In order to achieve their goal, they need our help and donations. Within the next four weeks, their goal is to raise $40,000 and by creating an account through Kickstarter.com, we have the opportunity to assist them in their cause.
As stated in their Kickerstarter.com link, “Funds pledged go directly to the production of the film. Currently we are in pre-production for two trips planned to Ecuador to complete filming, one is as early as August. We are seeking funds to get through 40 days of production. Every cent of your donated money will make its way to the production of our story—such as airfare for crew, licensing rights for sports footage, meals, transportation, graphics for film and initial post-production costs—It will make a HUGE difference!! We are relying on its success to fund and form partnerships with supporters to complete the film. After which we’ll be in post-production for our feature documentary.” As much as I was captivated by their passion and time they’ve invested in making “DreamTown” a reality, I was also disgusted by the fact that they had reached out to 15 different Ecuadorian publications and at the time of my conversation with Ethan, no one had responded to them. So instead of writing one article, I informed Ethan, who I spoke with regularly that I will donate my time and produce a series of 3-4 articles to keep you readers informed of their progress and to educate you about the Afro-Ecuadorian Community and what soccer means to them. What is El Chota Valley? Trust me when I say this, please don’t waste your time reading about this town in a travel guide. I’ve concluded that only in a travel guide you will read how authentic,
beautifully rural and appealing visiting Hell would be. Located at the upper valley of the Chota River in northern Ecuador, El Chota Valley is a town whose residents are 90% Afro-Ecuadorian. Many of the residents’ ancestors arrived to Ecuador as slaves in a time (1680 - 1767) when the Jesuits during the colonial period who owned many of the sugar estates. If you read a tour guide’s review, then you’ll be convinced that it’s a beautiful destination to visit. However from what the staff at Dream Town educated me about El Chota Valley is that it’s an impoverished community where options are limited for many of it’s residents. Interesting enough, El Chota Valley is also recognized as the town where half of the players from Ecuador’s World Cup Squad of 2002 and 2006 came from. For this article, Betty Bastidas who is the Director/Producer took a moment of her busy schedule to explain to me in her own words the importance of Dream Town. “The historic event of Ecuador qualifying to the World Cup in 2002 and 2006 via the last and most excluded in society (Afro-Ecuadorians) caused a shift in social awareness about the role Afro-decendants play within Ecuadorian society,” explained Betty Bastidas, Director/Producer. “This ignited people to shift their attitudes from one of prejudice to one of pride and hope towards Afro-Ecuadorians. Media coverage of the towns of origin of the players revealed the stark reali-
ty of their living conditions and the plight of Afro-decendants in Ecuador. Yet it also gave way to the high moral and human qualities of these communities.” “DreamTown aims to highlight the spirit of resilience among this ethnic community from El Chota Valley and shows the power of futbol as a vehicle to transcend racial, economic, and social barriers previously dividing a country and neglecting an entire region,” further explained Betty. “This film is both necessary and timely. The United Nations has declared 2011 as the “International Year for Peoples of African Descent”. Not only does it enrich a global movement but also adds to the conversation on poverty, race, and identity further enhancing our understanding of people of African descent in Latin America. Through the characters in our film and their personal stories, we seek to have audiences understand a region previously unknown to the rest of the world and ignite positive change for millions of afro-descendants around the world.” Whether you’ve already made a donation or not, please make one before August 11th because if they’re unable to reach their goal of $40,000, then everything that they’ve raised will be forfeited. Thank you. ❺ *Editor’s Note: As of Thursday, August 11, 2001, DreamTown has raised $40,851. All photos should be credited to DreamTown
by Chris Dobens
If you have played soccer in New York City, you know how few fields are available in this city of 8 million. And I’m troubled to report that one of those fields – one of the precious few in Manhattan – is in jeopardy. It all started when Mayor Bloomberg had the noble idea of relocating existing “marine transfer stations” – waterside sites where garbage trucks dump their waste into barges, which are then hauled off to be dumped somewhere else –
from impoverished areas of the city to locations closer to the source of the refuse they handle. This is supposed to be environmental justice, in which wealthy communities must process their own waste locally rather than ship it off to shores where the rents aren’t quite as costly. This, of course, would be nice if the City itself wasn’t then shipping all this garbage – around 12,000 tons each day - off to landfills in other states like Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Virginia. Is the Mayor really after
environmental justice, or is he just playing politics? As part of this grand plan, a huge marine transfer station is slated to be built across the street from one of New York City’s finest soccer fields, located on York Avenue between 90th & 91st Streets. The field is part of Asphalt Green, a 5.5-acre non-profit sports complex, and was renovated in 2009 with state-of-the-art artificial turf and stadium lighting. If this plan was to go through, more than 200
fully loaded garbage trucks would line up around the field each day, ensuring that a steady cloud of exhaust and garbage fumes blankets the pitch throughout the day. In fact, the ramp to the facility would actually bisect the sports complex, running between the aquatics center and the soccer field – as well as a landmark building that houses various youth sports programs. The Mayor’s plan calls for the demolition of the derelict transfer station at 91 Street on the East River, which was built in the 30s and shut down in the 90s. A new garbage plant, twice the size of the existing structure, will be built in its place. Trucks would queue up along the surrounding streets to unload their smelly waste, which would then be dumped into barges and towed away down the river. But the neighbors aren’t letting this unjust attempt at environmental justice pass without a fight. The Gracie Point Community Council has been battling against this proposed blemish to one of the few green spaces in the Yorkville area for a number of years now. And despite the widespread protest, though, the City Council approved the initial plan in 2006. And the Mayor railroaded funds for the project into the 2012 budget, which could mean that construction might start as early as next year – even with the City’s current budget woes. “I oppose putting a Waste Transfer Station so close to a pub-
lic housing facility and a sports complex that serves so many of our neighborhood’s children,” said Daniel Quart, who is running to represent the New York State Assembly’s 73rd District this September. Quart is referring to the New York City Housing Authority’s John Hayes Holmes Towers and Staley M. Isaacs Houses – which provide affordable homes for more than 2,000 New Yorkers just a block away from the proposed garbage site – as well as Asphalt Green, which would be adjacent to the new plant. Quart is quite familiar with Asphalt Green, having played his high school soccer – a midfielder for York Prep – on their field. For those not as familiar with Asphalt Green, the non-profit organization is dedicated to providing sports and fitness opportunities to New Yorkers of all ages and abilities. Nearly 7,500 underprivileged children participated in Asphalt Green’s free sports programs last year, many of which take place on the outdoor field. And more than 43,000 New Yorkers used their facilities last year. Asphalt Green’s outdoor field is home to one of the best youth soccer programs in the area - not to mention a series of adult soccer leagues. As if that weren’t a sufficiently compelling argument to build the plant elsewhere on the Upper East Side, surely the close proximity of two New York City
Housing Authority communities would warrant a reassessment of the plan. After all, the reason for relocating these plants in the first place was specifically to avoid having them near housing complexes like the John Hayes Holmes Towers and Staley M. Isaacs Houses. Between the 7,500 children served by Asphalt Green’s free sports and fitness programs and the 2,000 residents of the City housing projects who live a block away, no one in their right mind can call this location an act of environmental justice. Building a marine transfer station at the 91st Street location is simply burdening a different yet similarly vulnerable population – all at the expense of New York City taxpayers. With Quart and several other local politicians on-board, the Gracie Point Community Council has been spearheading the fight by petitioning the City Council and filing litigation in an effort to block construction. The current focus of the fight is on the Army Corps of Engineers, which has yet to grant the City the permits it needs. So if you value your soccer fields, pitch in and help save this pitch. Visit graciepointcc.com for information on how to write the City Council to voice your opposition and make a donation to support the Gracie Point Community Council’s legal challenge to this hopelessly flawed plan. Help save the soccer field at Asphalt Green!
by Cesar Diaz
On Friday, August 5, 2011 at 2:30PM EDT on Fox Soccer, the New York Cosmos will become the first American team to ever field a team at Old Trafford when they face England’s legendary Manchester United in the Paul Scholes Testimonial match. Whenever I see the New York Cosmos and Manchester United together in a sentence, I can’t help but think about how close the Cosmos were close to acquiring Manchester United legendary midfielder George Best back in 1975. Of course the deal fell through but nevertheless, it made for wonderful reading. New York Cosmos Honorary President Pelé and Director of Soccer Eric Cantona together have assembled a competitive squad consisting of seven Under-23 Cosmos players and 10 former World Cup stars. With players such as Fabio Cannavaro, Brad Friedel, Robbie Keane, and Patrick Vieira to name a few, this Cosmos team maybe able to do something that the MLS All-Stars failed to do against Manchester United and that’s simply score a goal. To be honest, I had no intention of even writing about this historic match for the simple fact that many publications would. Original plans were to simply hang out with my brothers and sisters from the Borough Boys and watch the contest from Legends NYC (6 West 33rd Street) while pounding
a couple of pints of beer. However, all of that changed on Tuesday, July 26, 2011. After interviewing USMNT legendary goalkeeper Tony Meola for an article for USSoccerPlayers.com, I took off to the MLS All-Star HUB at 82 Mercer St. so I can pick up my Media Credentials for July, 27th’s MLS All-Star Game between the MLS All-Stars and Manchester United at Red Bull Arena. While I’m talking to the Staff, I hear someone shout, “Don’t assist him!” I turn to my right side and there’s the New York Cosmos Vice Chairman Terry Byrne. I laughed and humorously retorted, “Make sure he’s not allowed at Red Bull Arena tomorrow night!” Following our greeting, we talked for a few minutes. I’ve known Terry as well as the New York Cosmos staff for almost a year now and they’ve always been more than fair with me. Terry’s always been honest with me about the organization’s progress in joining MLS. During our conversation which many of you would love to have heard, we talked about the current “State of the Cosmos” as well as the upcoming Cosmos – Manchester United match. As we talked about the Cosmos squad, he told me that the PDL team was still in town and that’s where it hit me. Without missing a beat, I told Terry that while the bigger stars will be talked about, I believe the real story is the PDL players com-
peting in the testimonial match. Continuing with my explanation, I explained to him that it’ll be an excellent topic to discuss considering that they’re going to achieve something monumental that many soccer fans of all ages dream about and that’s play at Old Trafford. Like a locomotive picking up speed, I assured Terry that I’ll contact USSoccerPlayers.com to see if they’ll approve this story. Following their reply, I would contact the Cosmos front office and to make arrangements. Needless to say that, I was given the green light interview the PDL players once they’ve returned to the states. Once I contacted the front office about the news, I was offered the opportunity to interview the players before they flew out to England. With the Cosmos Academy practice taking place on Thursday at 7:45pm at Aviator Sports in Brooklyn, I already knew I was going to be one sleep-deprived individual by that time. For MLS All-Star week I was already booked. With the JuventusClub America friendly (Tuesday evening), the MLS All Star Media Challenge (Wednesday morning), Supporters Challenge (Wednesday afternoon), the MLS All-Star Match (Wednesday evening), and a guest speaker role for South Bronx United Career Day (Thursday morning - afternoon), I knew this was going to be a tough task. Between each event I still
my articles to write and photos to edit to compliment my articles so they can be online by 5am so I can sleep until 9am. Once I woke up, I would blast each article through my social media while I’m making coffee, brushing my teeth, and reviewing my emails through my iTouch. Nevertheless, I jumped at the opportunity to meet the PDL players. I figured if I took power naps between my subway rides, I wouldn’t be too tired. Looking back now, it wasn’t one of my better plans because each nap made me more tired than before. Thursday evening finally arrived as I dragged myself to Aviator Sports. Despite my body aching and tired eyes, I made it a point to remain standing because if I sat in any of the benches, I would have simply fallen asleep. It wasn’t necessary because one thing fantastic about covering these games or practices that there are always parents sitting in watching their sons practice. Not only will these parents educate you about the players, they’ll tell you about the team’s overall performance as well as the coaching philosophy. In between the Academy’s scrimmage matches, some of the players would recognize me and drop by to say hi. During this time, I would ask them in either English or Spanish who should I talk to, majority of them suggested Marvin Iraheta.
One of the players called Marvin over so we can be formally introduced. Basically, that’s how my interview with Marvin was arranged. After we shook hands, I asked Marvin, “¿Español o inglés?” Smiling and beaming with confidence, Marvin answered, “Español por favor.” While Marvin Iraheta may be recognized as a Cosmos Academy West product who plays defensive midfielder and has been recognized by U.S. Soccer as one of the best players in the country, I got know Marvin as an individual. Originally born in El Salvador, Marvin moved to the United States two years ago. For many years, Marvin’s father lived in the United States and saved up enough money to bring his family over to the country of opportunity. Marvin told me that he has two brothers living in Colorado; another remained in El Salvador, and one who lives with his parents in Fresno, California. He admitted that he misses his family but he loves the proverbial doors of opportunity soccer has opened up for him in the United States. “I’ve only been here for a few years and I’m living the American Dream. To move here from El Salvador and to be living a dream many children worldwide dreams about… life is good,” expressed Marvin. “Knowing that I’ll be playing with Robbie Keane, Patrick Vie-
ira, and Fabio Cannavaro against Manchester United at Old Trafford in front of a sold-out crowd is one experience I’ll never forget. I’m also happy that my family will get to see me play on television.” While we talked about his family and adjustment in the United States, we also talked about In N Out and education. “If I miss one thing about California is In N Out, I miss their Double-Double burgers,” reminisced Marvin. “To be honest I haven’t made up but my mind but I definitely want a degree in either Engineering or Finance,” stated Marvin. Following our conversation, Marvin agreed to grant me a follow-up interview following the Paul Scholes Testimonial Match. I wished him the best of luck and I stayed for the duration of the practice, met some of the other players while I listened to some of the parents passionately tell met their stories about watching the Cosmos at the Meadowlands. With practice concluded at 10:30pm, one of the player’s fathers offered me a car ride to the train station in Queens. Without hesitating, I accepted his offer. I must admit that nothing is cooler (at least for me) than riding back to the city with a couple of players from the Cosmos Academy who maybe possibly playing for the New York Cosmos if and win they’re formally accepted into Major League Soccer.
Opinion-Editorial: We’re Gonna Win 7-6! ( A Reflection on the Paul Scholes Testimonial ) by: Leo Glickman WE’RE GONNA WIN 7-6! Ok not really. So what was so great about the 6-nil drubbing our band of oldies and newbies took against Manchester Utd? Well, a lot was great about it. Who among the Cosmos fans didn’t get at least a little chill up the spine, watching a Cosmos side take the pitch at Old Trafford? It was a magical moment for a lot of us, not so much for what it represented in the present, but for the possibilities it presents in the future. The truth is, as fans we do expect MLS domination and all world competitiveness. Yes, we get it; MLS is built for parity, not super clubs. But we like so much of what we see. The academies. The PDL side. The football people involved, true winners. So we believe that even with the constraints of MLS, we will be able to bring a couple of superstars in who won’t care as much about money and welcome the opportunity to play for the Cosmos, and play in the best city in the world. And we believe that our front office team will perform the job of identifying and developing young American talent like no other team has done. Are we wearing rose colored glasses? Perhaps. But
just remember, “fan” is short for fanatic, and a fanatic is a person who is intensely devoted to something, often irrationally. Fanaticism also breeds an unusually strong camaraderie with fellow fanatics. And really this was what was best about the Scholes testimonial match. It allowed Cosmos fans to come together and support our side against United. I heard long time United supporters sing “Viera, woh-oh” when he took the pitch, and Arsenal supporters cheer for Nicky Butt and Robbie Keane, all in support of our Cosmos. The 150 of us at Legends had a chance to get together and share the experience of our team. And each one of us left a hell of a lot more excited about the Cosmos, obviously not because of their success on the pitch on this particular day, but because, at long last, we got to stand together, cheer, get drunk, and share our passion for the team. For us the game was a revelation, despite the score-line. With fanaticism can also come a blind acceptance of everything the team does. Let’s face it, the more blindly devoted the fan base, the freer the owners and players are to treat the fans like shit. Trust between the front office and
the fans has to be built. The Cosmos have shown the Borough Boys and the fans nothing but respect, and in doing so they have earned our mutual respect and admiration. So in the middle of the game, Paul Kemsley sent us a text message from Old Trafford for the fans and Legends, sending his love and regards and announcing that the Cosmos are back! A small gesture you say? Sure. But I would like to know the last time Dietrich Mateschitz, Phil Anschutz, or Robert Kraft ever texted their hardest core supporters during a game. Though a goal would have been nice, we were thrilled with the game. As fans, we were excited to see the Cosmos take the pitch on such a hallowed ground and happy to be able to get together to support them. However, we have never been and will never be the blind fans exploited by the owners. That’s why we also get that, while fun, this was no substitute for the real objective, a great MLS club. That’s our goal, and we know that’s the Cosmos goal. The match at Old Trafford was just an amusing little step along the road, and for that small step, we’re thankful and happy. ❺
KICKING + SCREENING SOCCER FILM FESTIVAL REVIEW
by Cesar Diaz *Editor’s note: the following article was first published July 22, 2011
The Kicking + Screening (K+S) Soccer Film Festival celebrated their third anniversary as it returns to New York City from Wednesday, July 20th - Saturday, July 23rd at the TriBeCa Cinemas. Soccer’s Premier film festival presenting sponsor was none other than Major League Soccer’s New York franchise, the New York Red Bulls. Along with the 11 movies who made their K+S, there were the traditional panel discussions where soccer enthusiasts had the opportunity to ask and meet with the speakers who were involved in today’s soccer world. Even though I attended every night of K+S, I’m going to give my recap of Thursday Night’s Festival: Thursday’s night of the Third Annual Kicking and Screening Soccer Film Festival was sensational. The TriBeCa Cinema was filled with patriotism and activism that Americans like you and I can totally feel and quietly understand. Before I continue with my recap of the night of K+S, I have to commend the staff and their volunteers for their professionalism and outgoing personality. While the films are the spotlight of the K+S Soccer Film Festival, the staff is inarguably the stars who are making this festival a success. I see the work that you’re putting forth and to do it with a smile is simply fantastic. Thank You! Thank You! And Thank You! While people were mingling and enjoying the atmosphere, I had the privilege of talking with Ranko Tutulugdzija and Nick Lewis. Both gentlemen are the director’s of Thursday’s night featured film, Rise and Shine: The Jay DeMerit Story. While I probably should write a review about Thursday’s night featured film, I’m going to
pass. I’m going to take Ranko’s lead and only say that you will not be disappointed. What I will talk about is that Rise and Shine: The Jay DeMerit Story is a film made by the people and for the people. What’s fantastic about Rise and Shine: The Jay DeMerit Story is that it demonstrates the love and support Americans have for soccer and how tight-knit of a community it is. Not just soccer fans but everyone else who donated their money through Kickstarter.com made the making of this film possible. From my conversation with Nick and Ranko, they made it clear that they were grateful of the support of everyone and the U.S. Men’s National Team supporters, the America Outlaws. Nick reminisced about how many of the Outlaws volunteered their time to promote the film through their social media outlets and events. So what did I learn about Jay DeMerit from my conversation with Ranko and Nick? For starters, I will never compare Jay DeMerit to Rocky Balboa. I grew up watching Rocky but much like Santa Claus and El Chapulin Colorado he’s a fictional character. If I’m going to compare Jay DeMerit to anyone it’ll be Jay DeMerit himself. I believe you should follow my lead and simply say, “So and so is the Jay DeMerit of...” because non-soccer fans will ask about Jay and soccer fans will want an explanation. Either way, you’ll be talking about Jay DeMerit and you can help promote the film that you invested your money towards. I have no reservation in admitting that I look forward to adding Rise and Shine: The Jay DeMerit Story to my Soccer collection. While I commend and respect the determination of Jay DeMerit and
his path to making it to the EPL and the U.S. Men’s National Team, I will own the DVD because I also wish commend the risk, time, and work that Ranko and Nick put forth in making this possible. I also want to commend the soccer and non-soccer fans for donating their time and money for a fantastic story that you will have to see. Basically, it’s my way of saying thanks while being extremely proud of my American Soccer community. If that’s not American... then I don’t know what is. For information on how you can obtain a copy of Rise and Shine: The Jay DeMerit Story: http://www.jaydemeritstory.com/ About Kicking + Screening Founded in April 2009 by Greg Lalas and Rachel Markus, the Kicking + Screening Soccer Film Festival is the world’s premier international soccer film festival held in New York City every summer and features satellite festivals around the globe. K+S’s mission is to engage, connect, and inspire soccer and film enthusiasts through the celebration and presentation of soccer culture. Dedicated to showcasing the best soccer cultural events, K+S provides a forum for soccer-inspired filmmakers, artists, and writers to showcase their work and bring attention to this under appreciated, emerging genre. ❺ For more information about K+S and tickets, please visit: We b s i t e : w w w. k i c k i n gands cre ening.com K+S Facebook page: www.facebook.com/kandssoccerfilmfestival K+S on Twitter: @KSFilmFest
A TALE OF TW Harrison, NJ Wednesday night, July 27, 2011, the 2011 AT&T MLS All-Star Game at Red Bull Arena between the MLS All-Stars and Manchester United resulted in a 4-0 victory for Manchester United. Is anybody reading this really surprised by the outcome? After trailing the first half 2-0, the MLS All-Star team allowed two more additional goals in the second half within a 16-minute span. The only thing surprising about Wednesday night’s horrific loss to the best team in the EPL was that Wayne Rooney didn’t score a goal himself. While the goals from Anderson (20th minute), Park Ji-Sung (45th minute), Dimitar Berbatov (52nd minute), and Danny Welbeck (68th minute) looked marvelous and easy for Manchester United, this team has outscored the best that MLS has to offer 9-2 over the past two MLS All-Star games. Wow... how am I going to breakdown a meaningless game (right?) that every other writer is
going to do themselves? I’m not because it’s a waste of time and I’m not going to justify to you, my readers why losing 4-0 is definitely better than last year’s 5-2 loss to Manchester United. On a brighter note, David Beckham looked good against his old team. Overall, Manchester United’s American Tour was a success and it was a fantastic experience for our fans to see a team of this caliber competes on American soil. I have no reservation in admitting that they’re a fantastic club who is obviously superior to our MLS squads. However, what I can’t comprehend was their motivation in running up the score as if they’re a college football team competing for a shot in the BCS Championship. Here’s a rundown of the matches Manchester United played in July: New England: 4-1 Victory Seattle Sounders: 7-0 Victory Chicago Fire: 3-1 Victory MLS All-Stars: 4-0 Victory FC Barcelona: 2-1 Victory
Total: Five Victories by a combined score of 20-3 (18-2 against MLS) Seriously, where was the “friendly” in the massacres Manchester United doled out against MLS teams. It wasn’t enough that they made money while promoting their well-renowned brand? While many fans are ecstatic of the dominance that Manchester United displayed, I wasn’t impressed. Manchester United’s dominance of our MLS clubs was as similar as a varsity wrestler slapping a junior varsity wrestler around. Wow… Manchester United triumphs over Major League Soccer teams while finding their time to avenge their UEFA Champions League loss to FC Barcelona in a meaningless match!!! Every team in the EPL should simply throw in the towel because ManU has the firepower to throttle some of the MLS Teams. Come on! Did we as fans really learn anything that we already didn’t already know about the quality differences between the MLS and EPL? ❺
WO STADIUMS by Cesar Diaz
Flushing Meadows, Queens
from both clubs chanted most of the circumstances and believe
A 40-minute rain delay in the first the night.
that they’ve gotten their money’s
half wasn’t able to convince the ma-
While the second half was
jority of the 20,859 fans in atten- pretty much dull because it ap-
While the numbers weren’t
dance to simply pack it up and go peared neither team was willing to as fantastic as the Ecuador-Greece home on Tuesday evening July 26,
potentially have a player injured in
the slick wet pitch. In the second chester United is in town to face
match, one has to realize that Man-
For the second time this half, Club America made four sub- Major League Soccer’s All-Stars
summer, the New York Mets opened
stitutions in the second half. Even
the doors of Citi Field to welcome
though they played well defensive- day night at Red Bull Arena.
an international friendly.
ly, America continued to miss their
As part of the Herbalife 2011 World
opportunities as they took thirteen be interesting if Citi Field will host
Football Challenge, Italian Club
shots for the game with only two a third soccer match to close out
Juventus defeated Mexico’s Club for goal.
when they battle it out on Wednes
With August on its way, it’ll
the summer. Considering the suc-
While the weather could cess of both games, it’s a possibility.
Scoring the game’s winner
have been better, both supporters
Hopefully, soccer fans will receive
and sole goal was Juventus forward
were ecstatic to see their homeland
some news regarding this because
Cristian Pasquato in the 42nd min- teams play in the United States.
many who reside/don’t reside in
ute in the first half when his blast
Considering that there’s nothing
Queens are convinced that Queens
successfully found the back of the to gain here other than bragging
would be a marvelous place for a
net. Despite the horrific 40 minutes rights and a better standing at the second soccer team. ❺ of weather, the air was also filled Football Challenge, many fans with soccer spirit as the supporters
who I interacted with understood