By J Hutcherson (Jan 26, 2021) US Soccer Players - Frank Lampard is no longer the manager of 9th-place Chelsea, with their position in the league table all the justification needed for the move. There's an agreed-upon elite in the Premier League, and Chelsea is part of it. As fun as it is to watch English pundits load up a hypothetical super league with multiple Premier League clubs, Chelsea's . . .
By J Hutcherson (Jan 19, 2021) US Soccer Players - MLS teams occasionally hire coaches with no direct experience with the league. That creates an easy opportunity for the most obvious of caveats. How will they adjust? Squad building, travel, the weather, and whatever else ends up on a list of differences. All of them can derail a coach new to how topflight soccer works in North America. DC . . .
By J Hutcherson (Jan 12, 2021) US Soccer Players - England's Football Association unveiled Time for Change, its new strategic plan, and there's no need to tag it with spoilers. They'd very much like to do all the things the bigger associations and federations around the world stress as priorities. That includes winning. Under the heading, WIN A MAJOR TOURNAMENT, the FA points to how success on . . .
By J Hutcherson (Jan 5, 2021) US Soccer Players - Depending on your loyalties, it might be easy to forget how much money, transfers, and managers it took to turn Chelsea into one of the best clubs in the Premier League. Improving from 11th in 1995-96 to 6th in 1996-97, the club has finished no lower. That includes winning the Premier League five times. The expectation of top-six is fundamental to . . .
By J Hutcherson (Dec 15, 2020) US Soccer Players - It's probably not even worth asking whether it was Concacaf or FIFA that first decided their club competitions must continue. At least publicly, Concacaf went first by announcing in early November that the Champions League would conclude in December. A month later, FIFA announced that the 2020 Club World Cup would also be going ahead in January . . .
By J Hutcherson (Dec 1, 2020) US Soccer Players - Toronto FC can now add a coaching change to its disrupted 2020 season. The 2019 MLS Cup finalists played out the remainder of the 2020 season in Connecticut due to border restrictions. That ended with a playoff loss to Nashville on November 24. Now, the club is looking for a new coach. Greg Vanney didn't leave courtesy of that MLS cliche of a . . .
By J Hutcherson (Nov 19, 2020) US Soccer Players - Coming up with a problem where the only answer was a convoluted solution, Major League Soccer kicks off its Eastern Conference play-in round on Friday. After realigning the conferences to restart the season, MLS felt it had no choice but to reset playoff expectations in the now-14 team Eastern Conference. Instead of advancing the top eight . . .
By J Hutcherson (Nov 10, 2020) US Soccer Players - The New York Red Bulls finished sixth in the Eastern Conference, taking the final automatic playoff place and with a sizeable lead over the rest of the clubs in the play-in round. Given that the club fired a coach and shouldered significant criticism over its squad this season, it's a success of sorts. Points per game gave them the edge over three . . .
By J Hutcherson (Oct 27, 2020) US Soccer Players - FC Barcelona is a super club by design, intent, and personality. Not winning defeats their broadest purpose. When it occasionally happens, there's no expectation but change. That played out on Tuesday, with club president Maria Bartomeu and the board of directors announcing their resignations the day before Barcelona plays Juventus in the . . .
By J Hutcherson (Oct 20, 2020) US Soccer Players - Last week's brief Project Big Picture debate lasted just long enough to remind everybody how generally annoying revamp ideas have gotten. There's always someone or some group that knows that they can do things better. Then there's the current stakeholders insisting on holding onto what they have. That's been an ongoing them in European soccer . . .