Archive for the ‘D-Bunked’ Category

The scene may be beautiful, but its reality is unlikely. Fans of Real Salt Lake or the LA Galaxy stand a much better chance of capturing MLS Cup snapshots according to the preseason rankings.

 

By Kim DeRaedt

It may not exactly be something to go to Vegas over and Jim Rome probably isn’t burning with anticipation about its release, but the MLS preseason rankings still offer an interesting, if not valuable, peek at the upcoming season’s stories and successes or lack thereof.  Nevertheless, to be ranked as the preseason champion carries little weight if the team plummets in the postseason poll.  Why bother ranking teams aside from providing some water cooler conversation bits to kick about?  Can they really predict the future and just how good are the psychic minds of the business at doing so?

Taking the past three (completed) years’ preseason rankings into consideration, analysts estimated each team’s position and were, on average, nearly +/- 4.5 places away from the club’s actual finishing rank.    

Note within the last few years that predictions are slowly slipping from the resulting reality. 
2008: 3.78571429
2009: 4.4
2010: 4.87500
Average:  4.35357143

So the question begs, what’s worse?  For instance, is it more disappointing when a team finishes in 8th place having been predicted to win the league, or is it a greater letdown to finish lower in general, perhaps to finish in 14th place having been predicted to occupy the 15th slot?  Either way, here is a look at the standings from a unique perspective.  The Expectation Fulfillment Standings (EFS) represent how much better/worse each team has done over the past three years compared with analysts’ preseason prediction for each respective club.  To explain, if FC Dallas was predicted as #9 but finished #5, the club would receive a +4 toward its EFS total.  If FC Dallas was picked at #11 the following season but fell to #14 in the end, the team would be scored -3 and the EFS total would drop to 1.   

Expectation Fulfillment Standings
(Overachievers)
Columbus Crew                          15
LA Galaxy                                  11
Kansas City Wizards                      8
Real Salt Lake                              7
Colorado Rapids                           5
Seattle Sounders*                       5
FC Dallas                                     3
San Jose Earthquakes                   1
(Goal achieved)
Philadelphia Union*                       0
(Underachievers)
NY Red Bulls                               -3
Chicago Fire                                -4
NE Revolution                             -4
Toronto FC                                 -6
Houston Dynamo                         -7
Chivas USA                                 -10
DC United                                  -16

*Seattle includes 2009, 2010; Philadelphia includes 2010

With the 2011 season around the corner, the preseason rankings have travelled through the press.  What finish have they predestined these teams to?  Which club will shake up the status quo?

1. Real Salt Lake
2. LA Galaxy
3. NY Red Bulls
4. FC Dallas
5. Seattle Sounders
6. Colorado Rapids
7. Sporting KC
8. San Jose Earthquakes
9. Houston Dynamo
10. Philadelphia Union
11. DC United
12. Portland Timbers
13. Chicago Fire
14. Chivas USA
15. Columbus Crew
16. Toronto FC
17. New England Revolution
18. Vancouver Whitecaps
 
Rrranking resources: 
2011:  http://www.sbnation.com/soccer/2011/2/7/1978840/mls-preseason-power-rankings-real-salt-lake-only-unanimous-tier-1-team
2010:  http://www.examiner.com/mls-in-national/2010-mls-preseason-power-rankings
2009:  http://mls.theoffside.com/major-league-soccer/mls-offside-preseason-power-rankings.html  
2008:  http://mls.theoffside.com/major-league-soccer/luis-bueno-gives-his-mls-preseason-rankings.html

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College soccer may seem like paradise, but your plane will never get off the ground if you don't punch your own ticket!

By Kim DeRaedt

It’s almost time for college, a teenager’s dream.  Soon he or she will be free—no parents or bosses, no rules or responsibilities.  It’s a chance to do what you want, when you want.  It’s a chance to be whomever you want to be, and dang it, you’re going to be a soccer star!  You can see it now:  Go to class (maybe), do your homework (definitely not), step onto the field and score two goals…each game (sure thing).  After all, you’re getting a full-ride athletic scholarship, right?  So who really cares about school?  It’s free.  You’re getting paid to play the game you love for four years until you’re drafted into the pros, and then the money turns into cold-hard cash for you to spend on whatever you want.  A nice convertible (red, of course) and trip to Hawaii top your list.

Then you wake up and reality hits you like a 30 mph wind gust on an already sub-zero Chicago day (been there, felt that).  For some reason colleges aren’t knocking down your door, your phone isn’t ringing off the hook, and money isn’t pouring out of your mailbox.  Maybe your name has been somehow been omitted from the white pages or maybe, just maybe your name is one of hundreds of thousands of wannabe collegiate soccer stars in a giant encyclopedia of white pages.

Let’s debunk the common myth of college recruitment:  You’re not a star at the top of the Christmas, brightly shining for all to see (and your parents know you aren’t the angel resting on the top limb either).  You’re a needle in the haystack, and you must work your way out to be discovered from beneath tangle.  Soccer may be a game, and college may seem fun.  Getting recruited, however, is nothing but old-fashioned hard work. 

Note:  This is not intended to provide extensive insight on the specifics of recruiting rules nor is it a comprehensive “how to” guide as in how to first contact a coach, write a resume, etc.  This is merely expected to give a prospective student-athlete a solid foundation to grasp the bigger picture of college soccer and the processes and realities that surround the recruiting and selection process. Find out more!

Some say soccer is for the dogs. We already know it's man's best friend!

We soccer fans have heard it time and time again:  “Soccer will NEVER be popular in the United States.”  Never is quite the strong statement.  Certainly, there must be some solid, irrefutable evidence to support this widespread assumption.  Undoubtedly, the top google search for “Top 10 reasons why soccer will never be popular in the United States” would provide, well, the top answer and the top reasons! It turns out that the top google nod goes to Stacey Mickles for her July 2010 article featured on bleacherreport.com.  http://bleacherreport.com/articles/418967-top-10-reasons-why-soccer-will-never-be-popular-in-the-us

Ms. Mickles sure does know her soccer…or does she?  Let’s pick apart her logic to see just how smart this sports expert is. 

1.“Quick name another player on the US team OTHER than Landon Donovan. Can’t name another one? Neither can I.  Unlike the NBA, NFL, Or MLB, there aren’t a lot of superstars in American soccer, and that’s a problem for a sport trying to build its reputation here in the States.”

Clint Demsey?  Perhaps you’ve met Bob Bradley’s son Michael.  Howard, Onyewu, Beasley?  Surely you’ve never heard of Adu or Altidore.  They’re too young.  Don’t worry—Eric Wynalda, Brian McBride, and Kasey Keller never existed either. 

Point:  Mickles

2. “It’s hard to get excited about a sport that, unlike most sports, has its major tournament once every four years.”

Truer words were never spoken.  I’d rather have “major” tournaments contested every year too.  That would really help add value, really make them “major”.  The more, the major.  Plus, last time I checked, the World Basketball Championships were staged every four years too.  Oh, you must be talking about baseball.  Which “major” tournament?  The Baseball World Cup held every year, or the World Baseball Classic?  Which one is more important?  Where are the MLB players on the roster for this “major” tournament, and I’m sorry, but if it was so “major” wouldn’t we send more than a group of amateur players?  Was this tournament on TV or in the newspaper?  I guess I missed it.  Please let me know when the Football World Cup is on, and I’ll be sure to follow my NFL favorites more closely. 

Point:  Mickles Find out more!