By J Hutcherson (Mar 17, 2020) US Soccer Players - Let's start with the not at all problematic idea that the best soccer books were mostly written years ago. There's a reason almost every list mentions Nick Hornby's Fever Pitch, a book that is closing in on its 30th birthday. Harry Pearson's The Far Corner came out in 1994. So did Simon Kuper's Football Against the Enemy. Joe McGinniss's The . . .
By J Hutcherson (Feb 18, 2020) US Soccer Players - For better or worse, part of the job of a confederation is to run championships for its region. The history of Concacaf's efforts for club and country are stories of relevance, issues, money, and if we're being honest, relevance all over again. The club version, in particular, is a story of trying to force meaning on a competition that may not . . .
By J Hutcherson (Feb 4, 2020) US Soccer Players - Sticking a sell-by date on the current version of Manchester United has become a preoccupation this season. It's not just that United is spending another season buried in the shadow of Manchester City. It's that City is not the best team in the Premier League. Combining those two things leads to the only reasonable conclusion. Change the manager . . .
By J Hutcherson (Jan 21, 2020) US Soccer Players - The financial realities for clubs outside of the top European leagues are well known. There's a low ceiling on what any of them can earn from broadcast and sponsorship rights, limiting what they can do against the clubs from the bigger leagues. Ajax making it to the semifinals of last season's Champions League was both outlier and throwback. A . . .
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 . . .