Thursday, February 18, 2010

RCU Website, NPSL Insider on the Chattahooligan, and Soccer America goes Quarterly

RCU Adds Features To Website

Rocket City United has added some cool new features to it's website. They've added a weekly poll for fans to get register their opinion of various RCU and soccer related questions. They've also added a scrolling news feature that allows you to see all the latest announcements from the home page.

NPSL Insider Post on Chattanooga Fan Blog

I've posted an interview with the guys who write the Chattahooligan blog over at the NPSL Insider. They are really excited about the Chat FC season and the buzz the team is creating in their city.

Soccer America Shutting Down The Presses

It's a sad day for soccer media in the US. Soccer America, the US's only real soccer periodical has decided to shut down it's monthly printings to focus on special issues released quarterly.

I remember a time before the Internet when the only information I could get about soccer was via the magazine rack at the bookstore 40 miles from my house. At the time, I was a youngster without a car and so only made it to the bookstore infrequently. While perusing the copies of Soccer America, Soccer Digest, and FourFourTwo, I could get an idea of what was going on in the sport that was completely ignored by the normal news media, but I was growing to love anyway; maybe because the normal news media ignored it.

FourFourTwo was a British publication and so focused on the game across the pond. It was interesting to see the Brit take on the game, but I couldn't really identify with the "lads" on the field.

Soccer Digest was frustratingly focused on the indoor version of the sport, which for some reason I didn't regard favorably. Perhaps because I realized it was a bastardization of the real sport, that relied on gimmicks to garner attention. At that young age, I was already a soccer traditionalist. :) Also, I realized that Soccer Digest was just another version of the cookie cutter sports publications that were prominent at the time. A few inches from Soccer Digest on the bookstore magazine rack, you could find Football Digest, Baseball Digest, and Basketball Digest. And the writing for the magazine was vanilla, as if it was written by someone who was just drawing a paycheck until they could be promoted to writing for Baseball Digest.

So, I relished the coverage of the sport that Soccer America provided. It covered the American game putting the focus on the outdoor leagues, the college game, and some smatterings of the game beyond our shores but always with an American slant. It gave me a take on the game that I could relate to, and it featured some really good writing. It was obvious that these guys knew the American game and were really interested in the health of the sport that wasn't particularly healthy at the time (remember the USMNT hadn't qualified for the World Cup in decades).

Soccer America's latest special issue: The Complete Guide to MLS 2010

I eventually talked my parents into letting me subscribe Soccer America. At the time, it was weekly tabloid print publication, but as the rise of the Internet occurred in the late 90s, SA reduced its publication frequency to a monthly glossy periodical. Like so many magazines and newspapers recently, SA has suffered greatly form the instantaneous access of information on the Internet. I didn't see the point of reading about things I already knew about 3 weeks after it occurred, even if I did miss some of the insightful commentary that the SA writers provided.

Years later, it appears SA is still struggling to carve out its own niche in the soccer media landscape. In the meantime, SA's website is offering free membership to its online catalog. I think I'll give it a try, if just for old time's sake.

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