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 . . .
By J Hutcherson (Aug 27, 2019) US Soccer Players - If you spent any time around soccer stadiums in Europe a few years ago, you probably saw a few Against Modern Football stickers slapped onto a light pole or a street sign. They took their place alongside stickers proving some other club's fans had shown up in that particular city. Some fan groups put on in-stadium displays of support for a simple . . .
By J Hutcherson (Aug 13, 2019) US Soccer Players - Major League Soccer's other attempt for games that count between MLS and Liga MX will play out on Wednesday night at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. It's the second edition of the Campeones Cup, a sort of super cup between MLS champions Atlanta United and Liga MX Campeon de Campeones winners Club America. Unlike the Leagues Cup, this is a single game to at . . .
By J Hutcherson (Aug 6, 2019) US Soccer Players - With the return to club soccer in Europe, there are always the old reliables. Will it be Barcelona or Real Madrid in La Liga? Will Juventus in Spain and PSG in France once again run away at the top of their leagues? Will the Premier League be competitive or will it only seem that way as the favorite claims the trophy? These are the cliches of . . .
By J Hutcherson (Jul 23, 2019) US Soccer Players - There's an old truism about the Champions League. For most teams, it only really counts if you make the group stage. For the elite, it's making the knockout round. Whenever a team tries to stretch that to the Europa League, it falls flat. UEFA downgraded their secondary competition too many times. The only thing that counts at that level is . . .
By J Hutcherson (Jul 16, 2019) US Soccer Players - Judging good and bad in MLS has long been an issue. The playoffs haven't always helped. From 2002-04, only two teams missed out. It took multiple rounds of expansion to make the playoffs count. In 2010, half the league qualified. The league added two teams and two playoff spots the following season. MLS also couldn't help but tinker. In a nod to . . .
By J Hutcherson (Jul 9, 2019) US Soccer Players - The final of the 2019 Gold Cup highlighted exactly what the organizers seem to want by design. Mexico vs the USMNT in a packed NFL stadium that ended with both teams looking like they could've taken the trophy. That it was the first time since 2011 that the bracket worked to advance the two biggest teams in the region is a success. So are all the . . .