July 25, 2015 CUTTONE’S CONCEPTS
Taking the long view with the US National Team
CHESTER, Pa.---Let’s be clear. Results matter in sports. Coaches who don’t get results get fired. It's plain and simple. But there are different kind of results. Yes, winning the Gold Cup, appearing in the final, even winning the third place game should mean something. Same for getting to the Confederations Cup, even though it is a contrived tournament created by FIFA to further clog the calendar and extract money from fans and sponsors. But not winning those competitions (or in the case of the Confederations Cup not getting there) is not the end of the world.
July 13, 2015 CUTTONE’S CONCEPTS
What’s next for women’s soccer?
So, what’s next for women’s soccer? The United States won its first World Cup in 16 years, drawing a record TV audience for a soccer game of some 25 million, as well as a throng estimated at 200,000 for the victory parade down New York’s ”Canyon of Heroes.”
June 13, 2015 CUTTONE'S CONCEPTS
Grandstanding politicians don't help
First, a geography lesson. U.S. Soccer is headquartered in Chicago. Hope Solo, when she is not on the road keeping the U.S. Women's National Team in games, lives in Washington. The state, not the city that is domicile to our largely do-nothing congress.
March 15, 2015 CUTTONE’S CONCEPTS
Making soccer the “City” game
It’s not the iconic subway token the team has selected for its crest, or the typeface reminiscent of graffiti it uses in its billboards, or that it is housed in the most iconic of American sporting venues, Yankee Stadium, that will cement New York City FC’s roots in New York. It is star power. And winning.
April 13, 2014 CUTTONE’S CONCEPTS
Cosmos opening day still holds promise of years ago
Opening day in soccer doesn’t have the same romance in soccer as it does in baseball. Although with the seasons in the United States taking place along roughly the same calendar, some of the clichés that are often applied for baseball, a new beginning, the spring, renewal of the ancient rites of spring could all apply.
September 18, 2013 CUTTONE’S CONCEPTS
HBO Sports could use a soccer primer
So, HBO’s Real Sports has finally discovered soccer. After doing a one-sided hatchet job on Chivas USA a few weeks ago, the cable TV magazine show aired a downright positive piece on Seattle Sounders FC Tuesday night. Sort of.
May 27, 2013 CUTTONE'S CONCEPTS
14 is not 42
Robbie Rogers did a courageous thing by coming out, and then un-retiring, becoming on Sunday night the first openly gay male athlete to play in a game for a major professional sports team in the United States.
January 20, 2013 CUTTONE’S CONCEPTS
Michelle Akers: Simply the best
Every sport has its legends -- Babe Ruth, Jim Thorpe, Gordie Howe, Jesse Owens, Arnold Palmer, Richard Petty, Billie Jean King. Names that resonate even with non-sports fans. Even though she does not think so, Michelle Akers belongs on that list.
December 6, 2012 CUTTONE’S CONCEPTS
Greatest American team ever? Not the Galaxy
Following the Los Angeles Galaxy’s 3-1 win over the Houston Dynamo to capture their second straight MLS Cup on Saturday, former Galaxy player and current team executive Chris Klein proclaimed the team the greatest in American soccer history.
December 2, 2012 CUTTONE’S CONCEPTS
A fitting exit for David Beckham
David Beckham left Major League Soccer on Saturday as he entered it – amid happy, celebratory chaos, his welcoming press conference and final hoisting of the MLS Cup trophy bookending a sometimes rocky road through the still-developing landscape of American soccer.
October 16, 2012 CUTTONE’S CONCEPTS
Home at last
KANSAS CITY,Kan.---For as long as the United States has been playing World Cup qualifiers, it has been looking for someplace where it would truly have a home field advantage.
August 6, 2012 CUTTONE'S CONCEPTS
A true classic
In the short history of women's soccer at the world level, there have been a handful of epic games and epic performances. Monday’s Olympic semifinal match between the United States and Canada was one of the best.
July 29, 2012 CUTTONE’S CONCEPTS
All for one?
Hope Solo is probably the best women’s goalkeeper in the world. But there is something Solo is even better at than stopping opponents’ shots---stirring up controversy.
May 30, 2012 CUTTONE’S CONCEPTS
U.S. celebrates its past, dreams about the future
LANDOVER, Md.---While those of us who have been big supporters of the Soccer Hall of Fame mourn the loss of the campus and museum in Oneonta, NY, one of the nice things about combining the annual Hall of Fame inductions with a U.S. National Team game is that it provides the opportunity to not only reminisce about the rich past of the sport, but also look at the present, and perhaps even a little ahead to the future.
April 26, 2012 CUTTONE'S CONCEPTS
It never gets easier
My colleague here at Big Apple Soccer, Michael Lewis, recently wrote about one of the worst parts of the newspaper business. Writing obituaries. It’s usually hard enough to write them about people you don't know, or might have covered or casually met.
It's nearly impossible to stay objective when it’s a good friend of more than 35 years.
April 1, 2012 CUTTONE'S CONCEPTS
Chinaglia--The real straw that stirred the drink
In the 15 years that the North American Soccer League bounced its red white and blue star-laden ball across the continent, there were many great players who played in the league. World Cup winners, international superstars and legends like Pele, George Best, Johan Cruyff, Franz Beckenbauer, Carlos Alberto and Gerd Mueller.
None dominated the league and the headlines like Giorgio Chinaglia, who died on Sunday at age 65 in Florida.
March 10, 2012 CUTTONE'S CONCEPTS
Ghost of NASL still haunts MLS
It’s not clear if, when working late at Major League's Soccer's midtown Manhattan offices, Don Garber hears the wind blowing through long abandoned soccer nets, or if he hears the eerie guttural chant of “Cos-Mos, Cos-Mos” that once cascaded down on the now demolished Giants Stadium. But it is clear the Commissioner of Major League Soccer knows there is an otherworldly presence hanging over MLS, which kicks off its 17th season Saturday with 19 teams.
January 17, 2012 CUTTONE'S CONCEPTS
Indoor soccer is alive in Kansas City
Indoor soccer is alive and relatively well in Kansas City. Even if it is in a bit of a time warp. But hey, that's always been part of the beauty of indoor soccer. Turn out the lights, pump smoke on the field, blare 80s disco music and watch guys run around on the turf like they were in a pinball machine.
January 7, 2012 CUTTONE’S CONCEPTS
Whoops, WPS misses big opportunity
Thursday afternoon in the main ballroom at the Kansas City Convention Center, Major League Soccer commissioner Don Garber will step up to the podium to announce the first pick of the MLS Super Draft. Twenty-four hours later, Women’s Professional Soccer CEO Jennifer O’Sullivan will step up to a similar podium in a much smaller room at the same convention center and announce the women’s league’s first pick.
July 10, 2011 CUTTONE’S CONCEPTS
It's not always the best teams, with the best players, with the most skill, that win. Sometimes it requires guts, persistence, a little luck and a player that can pick up the team and almost singlehandedly will them to victory.
May 10, 2011 CUTTONE’S CONCEPTS
Tough times for the women’s game
Seeing Brandi Chastain doing a promo for the upcoming Women’s World Cup reminded me just how much has changed in women’s soccer since that glorious summer in 1999, when the U.S. team was the darling of the entire country and Chastain wound up on the cover of Time, Newsweek and Sports Illustrated after ripping her jersey off to celebrate her championship-winning penalty kick.
December 3, 2010 CUTTONE’S CONCEPTS
Not shocked at FIFA’s decision
If FIFA had awarded the 2022 World Cup to Phoenix, Arizona, that would have been a shock. That they awarded it to Qatar, an Emirate with roughly the same population and summer climate, is not.
November 16, 2010 CUTTONE’S CONCEPTS
MLS embracing some NASL history, mis-remembering other
Major League Soccer commissioner Don Garber is certainly more accepting of the North American Soccer League, its history and what the league meant to U.S. soccer and to developing soccer fans around the country than the league’s previous administration. But he still needs to get some of his facts about the league correct.
August 29, 2010 CUTTONE’S CONCEPTS
Thanks for 35 years of memories
There is a line in the epic baseball movie Field of Dreams, where James Earl Jones says baseball has marked the passage of time in America. Maybe so, but in my life it has been soccer. Sure I have been to many memorable sporting events, the World Series, Super Bowl, U.S. Open and New York Marathon, but it has been soccer that’s been there almost every step of the way.
August 8, 2010 CUTTONE’S CONCEPTS
To designate or not
A sellout at Toyota Park Sunday and another at Red Bull Arena next Sunday. It looks like the signing of designated players is having the desired early effect on Major League Soccer by boosting attendance for the teams signing the players.
May 29, 2010 CUTTONE’S CONCEPTS
For U.S. change has been for the better
PHILADELPHIA---When one reaches a certain age—and I don’t know what that age is, other than I am sure I have reached it---you have a tendency to look back at things and remember how they were and to think about how much has changed. Some remember the good old days, perhaps a little too fondly than they really were and others decry how much things have changed, usually for the worse.
April 28, 2010 CUTTONE’S CONCEPTS
Will over-expanding be a problem for MLS?
Major League Soccer has caught lightning in a bottle with its last three expansion efforts. Toronto FC continues to fill BMO Field game after game, despite the lack of much of a reason to do so from the revolving door of players on the at-long-last-grass pitch.
It’s equally amazing that those lives and similar stories can intersect some 30 or 40 years later.
March 20, 2010 CUTTONE’S CONCEPTS
Sitting in an empty Red Bull Arena hours before the start of Saturday’s game, I tried to remember how many opening days in how many stadiums I have been to. I lost track somewhere around a dozen.
February 24, 2010 CUTTONE’S CONCEPTS
No buzz to spring training
There is no Freddy Adu coming into Major League Soccer this year. No David Beckham, either. There isn’t even a “will he or won’t he be back” debate or feud between Beckham and Landon Donovan. In other words, there is no buzz in the run-up to the coming MLS season.
January 7, 2010 CUTTONE’S CONCEPTS
Labor battle can hurt soccer
Labor problems have plagued every American sport for the better part of the past four decades. Baseball, football and hockey have endured and survived major work stoppages.
I am not sure Major League Soccer can.
December 5, 2009 CUTTONE’S CONCEPTS
Draw does matter to many
To read or hear certain comments in the media the last few days, you’d think no one in the United States cared about Friday’s World Cup Draw in South Africa.
Don’t tell that to the folks who gathered in Nevada Smith’s in New York or Fado’s in Philadelphia or La Huasteca and ESPN Zone in Los Angeles.
October 24, 2009 CUTTONE’S CONCEPTS
Stadium will go, memories will last
They’ll play the last soccer game at Giants Stadium Saturday night. Like my colleague and good friend Michael Lewis, I was at the first ever soccer game at the stadium. Unlike Michael, however, I won’t be at the last.
August 22, 2009 CUTTONE’S CONCEPTS
Red Bulls need a prince of New York
Now that Red Bulls coach Juan Carlos Osorio has resigned amidst the most abysmal soccer season in New York area history, rumors have again started to surface that the Red Bull energy drink company is looking to sell the team.
Let’s hope those rumors are true, and let’s hope they find the right buyer.
July 26, 2009 CUTTONE’S CONCEPTS
Last big crowd at Giants Stadium?
Big games and big crowds are nothing new to Giants Stadium. Let’s face it -- the place is home to big soccer crowds. So it was fitting that the stadium saw its largest-ever soccer crowd, 79,156, for Sunday’s CONCACAF Gold Cup Final between the United States and Mexico.
May 12, 2009 CUTTONE’S CONCEPTS
Mazzei left wonderful memories
When I learned that Professor Julio Mazzei had passed away over the weekend, I was not surprised. After all, I had known Prof had been ill for quite some time -- the type of illness that is hard on anyone, but especially for someone with such a vibrant and brilliant mind.
April 27, 2009 CUTTONE’S CONCEPTS
Who hosts World Cup should be no-brainer
Sometime within the next year or so, one or more large loose leaf binders, videos and power point presentations will make their way from an office in New York to Zurich Switzerland. A letter in support of what those materials contain has already been sent by President Barack Obama.
Grammy Award winning singer/songwriter James Taylor wrote those lyrics in the 70s.
Now I’d like to add one more line.
I’ve seen everything.
Feb. 2, 2009 CUTTONE’S CONCEPTS
Voting for Hall of Famers a tough process
Last year, when no one among “modern era” players was elected to the National Soccer Hall of Fame , many of my colleagues railed about the process. There were a number of deserving candidates, but none got the required 75 percent of the vote from the members of the media who make up the voting panel.
Jan. 16, 2009 CUTTONE’S CONCEPTS
MLS Draft has become a must-see event
Back when the National Football League started opening its draft to the general public, in the late 70s, you could always count on Jets and Giants fans to show up for the event at a New York hotel. Maybe even a few fans would make the trek up from Philadelphia.
Dec. 31, 2008 CUTTONE’S CONCEPTS
USWNT was 2008’s best overlooked story
The tv shows and sports magazines have been filled with the top stories of 2008. From the New York Giants winning the Super bowl to the Philadelphia Phillies winning the World Series. From Tiger Woods’ amazing performance in winning the U.S. Open on a bad leg to Michael Phelps and his eight Olympic Gold Medals.
Good thing then, that MLS imported some real fans from New York and Columbus to give The Home Depot Center some real soccer atmosphere. Other wise the place would have been pretty quiet, and that would have been a shame given the performance the Crew and the Red Bulls put on.
October 11, 2008 CUTTONE’S CONCEPTS
Troubles? Not on this night
WASHINGTON, D.C.---No doubt this country has a lot of problems. The economy, the bailout plan, the war, the tenor of the Presidential race. Showing our patriotism and moving on to the next round of World Cup qualifying, however, do not seem to be among them.
Aug. 6, 2008 CUTTONE’S CONCEPTS
Maybe we’ve seen enough
East Rutherford, N.J. -- Maybe we’ve seen enough. How else can you explain the size (or lack of it) of the crowd at Giants Stadium for Wednesday’s FC Barcelona-Red Bulls game?
Gordon Bradley was not a giant because he is the only man to ever coach Pele, Franz Beckenbauer and Johan Cruyff. Nor because he was a championship winning coach.
Gordon was a giant because of all the people he touched.
March 30, 2008 CUTTONE’S CONCEPTS
Soccer memories at Yankee and Shea
With the opening of the baseball season, the final one at Yankee and Shea Stadiums, the newspapers are awash with stories of baseball memories in those two ballparks. While the majority of great soccer memories in the New York area belong to Giants Stadium, there are many at those two New York stadiums as well.
So it’s hard to figure why the U.S. Women’s team isn’t drawing better than they are.
May 30, 2007 CUTTONE'S CONCEPTS
Sports resurgence in Brooklyn includes soccer
There’s a sports resurgence going on in Brooklyn. It started with minor league baseball’s Cyclones, who play at KeySpan Park, and will culminate with the opening of the new Atlantic Yards Arena where the Nets will move in a few years. But soccer has not been left out.
Dec. 18, 2006 STAR POWER
Music impresario Ertegun helped Cosmos glitter
A major player in the development of professional soccer in this country passed away last week. And while Lamar Hunt’s death drew most of the deserved accolades and notice, the death of former Cosmos president Ahmet Ertegun went largely unnoticed in the sporting press.