By J Hutcherson (Jan 21, 2020) US Soccer Players - I've been working in soccer since the late 1990s. For most of that time, the idea of a breakaway European Super League has been background noise. Occasionally, the volume gets louder, but it eventually fades out. That can happen courtesy of UEFA doing something with the Champions League or the idea simply not taking hold. There have been enough . . .
By J Hutcherson (Jan 14, 2020) US Soccer Players - While some in Germany press for games during the festive period, the Bundesliga still values taking time off. That ends on Friday when the 2019-20 season resumes with Schalke 04 playing Gladbach. After leading the Bundesliga for most of the season, Schalke ended the first-half in 2nd-place to RB Leipzig. It's an unlikely situation in Germany, with . . .
By J Hutcherson (Jan 7, 2020) US Soccer Players - We've reached the point in the preseason where all 26 MLS clubs have coaches. Welcome aboard Ronny Deila, a surprising choice to take over from Dom Torrent at NYCFC. Orlando City also left it late before officially announcing former Monterrey coach Diego Alonso. Then there was Chicago naming Raphael Wicky just after Christmas, the latest step away . . .
By J Hutcherson (Jan 2, 2020) US Soccer Players - It wasn't a surprise that West Ham United became the latest Premier League club to replace a manager. If anything, the timing was the only issue. In the middle of the crammed holiday schedule, the club decided Manuel Pellegrini was out and former manager David Moyes was in. That's what four losses in a row will do, even if Pellegrini's last loss in . . .
By J Hutcherson (Dec 17, 2019) US Soccer Players - It's hard to feign enthusiasm about the FIFA Club World Cup regardless of whether or not you support one of the teams involved. It's a tournament that asks an existential question every December. More to the point, it asks two. Why does it exist? If it has to exist, why is FIFA running it? Crowning a world champion makes sense, but so does the . . .
By J Hutcherson (Dec 10, 2019) US Soccer Players - Last week, the New York Times' Tariq Panja reported that Real Madrid president Florentino Perez is pushing for a European super league. The start of that league would coincide with the end of the current Champions League broadcast rights deal in 2022. UEFA has been hard at work trying to recraft the Champions League post-2022, recognizing that the . . .
By J Hutcherson (Dec 3, 2019) US Soccer Players - I spent 22 of the first 23 years of my life living just outside of Charlotte, North Carolina. I went to college there. My first paid job in soccer was there. I'd like to think I know the area, but the last time I visited my family it was another rendition of a not all that interesting game of "that used to be here." A lot can change in a couple of . . .
By J Hutcherson (Oct 31, 2019) US Soccer Players - If one thing stood out from the lower seeds advancing on both sides of the 2019 MLS Cup bracket, it's that the same old truism still holds in this league. A standout player can make the difference, but one team doing even a slightly better job holding shape is more likely to result in a championship. That's what turned a mismatch between LAFC and . . .
By J Hutcherson (Oct 22, 2019) US Soccer Players - As the stakeholders in European club soccer try to turn the Champions League into something different to coincide with the start of the next TV deal, it's worth considering the wider audience. There's plenty of talk about the lessening importance of the group stage and the foregone conclusion that most of the big clubs will advance. To hear the . . .
By J Hutcherson (Sep 24, 2019) US Soccer Players - The 2019-20 Champions League group stage opened last week with a few surprises. If you happen to be a fan of certain giants of European soccer, that's putting it mildly. Liverpool and Real Madrid lost while Barcelona drew, piling on the pressure at the earliest opportunity for those clubs. With so many previews and pundits happy to remind us that . . .