The soccer news starts with an obvious point about the Nations League. It's going to take more than UEFA adding it to the schedule to make the games count. Everybody involved has to buy in. That's the challenge for any new competition, something that the Nations League is already struggling with at some levels. For all the upside when two big teams meet in League A, there's leagues B through D to . . .
By J Hutcherson (Sep 18, 2018) US Soccer Players - The 2018-19 Champions League group stage began on Tuesday with the competition once again trying to figure out its future. This is the first season of additional automatic group stage spots for the top domestic leagues and the introduction of two time slots for each match day. In other words, once again UEFA is changing things. We already know . . .
By J Hutcherson (Sep 11, 2018) US Soccer Players - For anybody with an ESPN+ subscription, the wonders of the UEFA Nations League awaited during the September friendly window. The idea that hardly any soccer fans would've come up with on their own sprang to life with varying returns. Big games designed to count did what big games designed to count tend to do. Down the divisions, the enthusiasm . . .
Thursday's soccer news starts with the beginning of the Nations League era in Europe. UEFA's attempt to make more games count begins today and with it pressure to change the friendly system all over the world. It's no small project, with the league system a new idea in soccer. ESPN's Simon Kuper explains the importance of a global Nations League. Soccer America's Paul Kennedy explains the money . . .
The soccer news starts with the 2018-19 Champions League draw and trouble in Group B. Barcelona and Spurs might be the obvious favorites, but a revived Inter Milan and Dutch champions PSV should cause problems. It's probably not a group of death for either of the favorites, but it's also not Group A, C, or G where picking the 3rd-place team is probably more difficult than who advances. UEFA's new . . .
The soccer news starts with the other elite European leagues trying to compete with the Premier League. Though few would claim parity in the Premier League, they do have more super clubs that could potentially win the title than anywhere else in European soccer. That's a clear advantage in an era where three of the top five leagues have one dominant club. UEFA's coefficient now rules the . . .
By J Hutcherson (Aug 14, 2018) US Soccer Players - Wednesday's UEFA Super Cup doesn't officially start anything. It's not the kickoff for either of Europe's club tournaments, both well into qualifying at this point. UEFA's Champions League couldn't even get out of the way for the World Cup, playing games while that tournament was still underway in Russia. The domestic leagues in Europe stagger . . .
We start the soccer news with a simple point. It's easy to judge the 2018 summer transfer market by its biggest deal. Cristiano Ronaldo moves to Juventus from defending Champions League winners Real Madrid and resets the competitive balance in European soccer. Last season, it was Neymar moving from Barcelona to PSG but that wasn't the key player from the club dominating the Champions League. It's . . .
The soccer news starts with an example of why the revamped UEFA Champions League might not appeal to some parts of Europe. First a reminder. Starting this season, the top four leagues in Europe put four teams each directly into the group stage. The 5th highest ranked league gets three places in the group stage, with the 6th getting two. A quick look at the coefficient table has Spain's La Liga . . .
By J Hutcherson (Jun 5, 2018) US Soccer Players - The biggest question in world soccer right now isn't who will host the 2026 World Cup. It's not if the World Cup will expand to 48 teams a cycle early in Qatar. It's not even what might happen in Russia. It's whether or not FIFA is overreaching. It's hard to downplay FIFA's recent moves. They've pushed through a World Cup expansion that may start . . .