Saturday, January 30, 2010

Guest Blogger: Greg Petersen's Review of the African Cup of Nations

Friend of the PWT-blog and former RCU Technical Director Greg Petersen has just returned from a TV commentating assignment in France where he covered the African Cup of Nations. With the final between Egypt and Ghana set for tomorrow, Greg has been kind enough to share his thoughts on the tournament. He's fortunate that he got to see these matches. Again, if only there were a soccer bar in Huntsville that could show these matches... Anyway, here's Greg's post.

I just got back from Paris where I was working as a technical consultant for 2 broadcasts of the African Cup of Nations for LC2. The broadcasts I was involved was Gabon/Zambia and the quarter-final match between Angola/Ghana. All broadcasts where done at the LC2 studios’ located in the Palais de Congres at Porte Malloit in western Paris to be shown in Africa.

The experience was fantastic. The commentators I worked with, Tony Jeffers and Greg Fraser, were seasoned professionals. Both commentators are involved with broadcasts of Champion League matches and other matches in European top divisions. Not only are they masters of their craft, but incredibly knowledgeable of football and other sports.

My job during the broadcast was to make technical comments and insights about the match. This was easy for me because I just had to watch the match as I would on the bench coaching a game. I had a habit of predicting things before they would happen in the matches.

To be fair both commentators made it very easy fro me. As I said these guys where both pros and handled the broadcast in a very intelligent tone and fashion. Neither one was guilty of “verbal diarrhea” which was very refreshing. Broadcasting in Europe is about the match/football and nothing else.

Andreas Evagora, who is the program director for EUROSPORT [the European TV sports channel, not the US soccer mail catalog] was responsible for putting together the broadcast crews. I appreciate very much for Andreas including me in this event. I also have to thank my old friends from France, Eric Descombes, who actually lives in Indianapolis, Noel Tosi, who is the current Technical Director at Dijon FCO, and my new friend Hamed Diallo. Without him I would have been lost through the maze they call the “ METRO and RER. “. Yes, this is the same Diallo who played last year for the Carolina Railhawks and the Rochester Raging Rhinos the season before in the former USL D1. It was both Descombes’ and Tosi’s recommendations to Evagora that got me involved.

The experience was much appreciated and time spent with my old and new friends was well spent. I also don’t want to forget the staff at the studios, a very professional group who treated me very well.

Concerning African football? Even though I only did two broadcasts, I was very involved with the tournament preparing for my broadcasts. I saw almost every match. Here are a few observations from my point of view about African football based on what I saw in the tournament;

- The most complete team in Africa is Egypt. It is really too bad they will not be playing in the 2010 World Cup. They are a very good and well coached team.

Egypt's Emad Moteab controls the ball as Egypt qualifies for the Final.

- The refereeing overall was very good.

- Keep your eye on Zambian Football and its players.

- Overall, the goalkeeping was not special, but Gabon’s Ebang had a very good tournament. The goalkeepers from Angola and Zambia also played well.

- Collective and individual defending can be somewhat of a mystery sometimes.

- Playing with a lead is a tactic African nations need to learn.

- Breaking down organized defenses is something most African teams struggle with. Good news is most African teams are not organized in the back. Gabon needs to be given credit for having one of the better organized defenses in the tournament, but Zambia deserves credit for breaking it down.

- Nigerian player Odenwingie, who currently plays CSKA Moscow, is a

very good player. Watch for a move to the EPL, even though he is taken care of very well in Moscow.

- Possessing the ball is something most African teams struggle with, even though most teams played better when they played collectively and got into a rhythm.

- Let’s hope what happen to the Togo National Team never happens to another team at a FIFA sanctioned event in the future. Politics and Sports have no business affecting the other.

- The US National Team needs to be very weary of Algieria. Even though they got thumped the other night by Egypt, they have shown they are a challenging opponent when things matter.

- Even though Ghana is in the African Cup of Nations’ final, they had a bunch of injuries, including team leaders, Essian and Appiah, giving young players an opportunity to get some experience that can only benefit them for this summer’s World Cup.

Ghana has qualified for the final without their star and captian, Michael Essien.

- Ivory Coast has superstars like Drougba and the Toure brothers, but others lack high level experience. What was the left back thinking on the third goal Algieria scored in over time? It going to be interesting to see what team shows up for the World Cup?

- Angola’s striker Manucho choked when it mattered most.

I don’t know if this will go to one of better quality of play African Cup of Nations tournament in recent history, but at least the best team in Africa, Egypt, will probably end up being Champions of the tournament. An honor they deserve.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Du Nord Links To PWT-Blog, Ziyenge, NPSL, and FSC Goes HD

PWT-Blog Gets Some Love From Du Nord

The Perfectly Weighted Through Blog got some love from Bruce McGuire's great daily soccer internet round up Du Nord when the PWT-blog article on the sale of the domain name was linked on Tuesday, January 26. Du Nord links to all the best articles from all levels of the American game and International game. So, it's a pretty big honor to make the list. Thanks, Bruce.

More Ziyenge Links

As first reported here earlier this week, Tafadzwa "Lincoln" Ziyenge has moved on from UAH to Div I Women's program Arkansas State University.

NPSL Article
Ryan Knapp, PR director of the NPSL, spoke with the Kin of Fish blog about the league. The article does a nice recap of the advantages to the college player of playing in the NPSL.

FSC Goes HD!

Fox Soccer Channel has started broadcasting in HD! But that doesn't necessarily mean that you'll see it. Now's the time to bug you cable/sattelite provider to add FSC-HD! Here's the link to the channel finder again.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Rocket City United: New Ownership, Corporate Offices and Shirt Sponsor

Longtime Madison-based exhibit and design company Southern Convention Services has aquired an ownership stake in Rocket City United. As part of the deal, SCS will become the Title Partner for the club and will feature prominently on the front of the RCU jerseys during the 2010 season. In addition, RCU will relocate the team's corporate offices to the SCS headquarters in Madison, AL.
The partnership comes at a critical time for the defending NPSL South East Region champion. Following the 2010 regular season, RCU will host the NPSL Final Four to be held from July 29-31 and SCS's expertise seems perfectly fit to help make the event a success.

In addition, RCU is planning to build a training facility along with soccer fields for community use in the County Line Road area near SCS headquarters.SCS president Bryan Boyd had this to say about the partnership, "Southern Convention Services is excited about partnering with Rocket City United in Madison to promote the highest level of soccer locally. Madison will benefit from a successful soccer organization that not only promotes player development, but is also giving back to the community."

Searching For Soccer Bars, World Cup TV, and Atlanta Stadiums

Chattanooga Also Needs A Soccer Bar

Looks like Huntsville's not the only city in need of a soccer bar. The Chattahooligan blog is looking for a good place to watch soccer in Chattanooga. Hmm... This may be a light bulb moment!

Someone could make a fortune opening a chain of soccer bars!!! :D

ESPN Announces World Cup Broadcast Schedule

As if we didn't already know, ESPN is taking the World Cup seriously. All matches will be shown in HD, some in 3D, 12 hours of daily coverage in the first round and live coverage on ESPN mobile. They're going all out. Yesterday, they announce the broadcast schedule with 44 matches on ESPN, 10 on ESPN2, and 10 on ABC.

Atlanta Will Have 2 Soccer Stadiums

The Atlanta Beat's proposed stadium

The Atlanta Beat of the WPS has announced that it will build an 8,300 seat soccer stadium in conjunction with Kennesaw State University. The Beat are currently playing in the 5,000 seat RE/MAX Greater Atlanta Stadium built by the Atlanta Silverbacks of the USL/NASL.

Atlanta's first soccer stadium, the Re/Max

So, Atlanta will have 2 soccer stadiums within 25 miles of each other. Who says the south doesn't support soccer?

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Head Coach Ziyenge Leaves UAH

Tafadzwa "Lincoln" Ziyenge has left UAH to become Head Women's Soccer Coach at the Arkansas State University. When asked to comment about his status at UAH, Ziyenge had this to say:
"I can confirm that I did turn in my resignation as men and women's coach at UAH this morning and will be leaving to be the women's head coach at Arkansas State University. I give all thanks to God for the priviledge he afforded me of being a student athlete and coach of both the men and women's teams at UAH. I have enjoyed my time here and will admit I was close to crying as I bid the players goodbye. I didnt realize how much I cared about these young men and women until they had left the room. It has been a blessing for me to be their coach and I have never been around a more determined group of boys and girls. The next coach is inheriting a great bunch of kids. I am indebted to the community for their warm words of encouragement especially when I was asked to coach both teams. I would never have won a single game without the help and support of the club and high school coaches. The true unsung heroes of my success tale are my two assistants Joe Nemzer and Geoffrey Merry. I credit them more than I credit myself for the success that was 2009. I have only fond memories of UAH. This is an excellent school and I am glad that I chose to begin my coaching career here and can only wish both soccer teams continued success in 2010 and beyond."

Ziyenge was named the 2009 Gulf South Conference Coach of the Year for leading the Chargers through a tough regular season and to a successful conference tournament in which the fell in the Gulf South Conference Finals after winning their first conference match in 10 years.

Refs Don't Like Tall Guys and Other Stuff

I Knew It!!! Research Proves Refs Are Biased Against Tall Players

Finally! I've known this for years from personal experience, but I'm still happy to see that science is backing me up on this. Researchers from Erasmus University in the Netherlands have proven that referees are biased against tall players.

My favorite tall player, Jan Koller, is obviously fouling "little guy" Oguchi Onyewu on this play.

I'm a big dude (6' 2" and 225 lbs.), and I'm not claiming that I don't foul, but I've had too many questionable calls go against me to not notice the bias. There's been times when I've had possession of the ball, and I've literally had small defenders run into me at full speed, only to bounce off me and go sprawling. The referee calmly blows the whistle and I set up to take the deserved free kick only for the man in black to claim that I fouled the poor guy who was trying to take off my leg.

So now, when I cordially discuss future poor calls of this nature with the referee I can site the good Drs. Giessner and Van Quaquebeke's seminal work on the subject, instead of my normal modus operandi of whining "...but he ran into me!" :)

MLS Club Will Field A Team In NPSL

In what will probably become more commonplace in the future, the NPSL Insider reports that MLS club New York Red Bull will enter a U23 team to compete in the NPSL Northeast Region.

Red Bull Arena. Looks awesome!

No word yet whether the team will play in NYRB's great new stadium in Harrison, NJ.

Charlie Davies Shows Remarkable Progress

Could we get this Charlie back in June?

Ives Galarcep is reporting that US Men's National Team forward Charlie Davies has far surpassed predicted benchmarks on his recovery from the tragic car accident in October. After multiple broken bones and severe internal injuries, he's already running and doing agility drills and plans on being back on the field for his French club Sochaux in April and barring any set backs is fully expecting to be on the field in South Africa. Wow!

African Nation's Cup Semis Set Dream Match-ups

The African Nation's Cup semifinals have been set and I can't think of two better games to watch than Algeria v Egypt and Nigeria v Ghana. The Algeria v Egypt match will be a rematch of the recent controversial World Cup 2010 one-game playoff put Algeria into the World Cup. And the Nigeria v Ghana match will be a titanic clash between the two sub-Saharan powers. If only we had a soccer bar in town...

Monday, January 25, 2010

Old Guys Rejoice! HASL O-35 Division To Start In Fall 2010

The Huntsville Adult Soccer League will start an Over-35 Division in the Fall 2010 season. A unanimous vote heralded the decision during the Spring 2010 Captain's Meeting held yesterday at Pete's Soccer Shop. The "Old Guys" division will consist of existing teams in the 30 team league and will replace the Division IV or lowest tier in the league structure.

The Over-35 Division will be comprised of 4-6 teams who will drop from their current divisions to participate in the new age restricted division and will not participate in promotion/relegation. Existing teams interested in the Over-35 Division will have this season to adjust their rosters for competition to begin next fall. The current Division III will then serve as the lowest "open" tier and will continue the relegation/promotion battle. The remaining divisions will be adjusted to accommodate the departing Over-35 teams and Division III will be adjusted to include any teams in the Division IV who do not meet the age restrictions.

The overall league size will not change for the Spring 2010 season. There will be 5 divisions of 6 teams with each team playing 10 matches. There is a large amount of interest from new teams including 6 teams on a waiting list. However, do to lack of fields and the dwindling number of qualified referees, the league cannot accommodate any of these teams during this season, assuming all current teams return.

Other business discussed was the replacement of Darrel Owens as League Vice-President. While no single volunteer was elected to replace Owens, several volunteers have stepped up to form what could be called an executive committee to complete the operational tasks that Owens has been performing for the past 10 years. This committee will continue to meet beginning with next week and will attempt to create a schedule with league play possibly beginning on February 17th.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Bar of Dreams: Isn't It Time Huntsville Had A Soccer Bar?

There are two huge matches on TV this weekend (USA vs Honduras 8PM tonight on FSC and the Derby della Madonnina or Milan Derby 1:30PM Sunday on FSC), and that got me thinking about something that Huntsville is sorely lacking... a soccer bar.

In cities all around the country, soccer fans will be gathering at local establishments to watch the game on the big screen in the company of their fellow soccer fanatics. A quick search on shows only one soccer bar in Alabama and that is a 6 hour drive from Huntsville. The closest official US Soccer Bar is in Atlanta, a four hour drive.

Huntsville has plenty of sports bars where they show college football, NFL, baseball and basketball, but that's not the same as a soccer bar.

So, what makes a soccer bar?

In fact, it doesn't have to be a bar at all. It can be a restaurant, a club, or a even a diner. For me, it's simple. It's a place that you know, no matter what, the match you are looking for will be shown. It doesn't have to be a place with soccer jersey's hanging in every corner or a British/Irish style Pub. The food can taste like cardboard, the beer selection can be limited, and the service could be awful. It doesn't matter, the joint just has to treat the sport with respect and before all else, show the games.

Now, I've been to several establishments around town that are happy show the games, if their basic cable/satellite sports package happens to have the channel. In fact, every four years during the World Cup, almost every bar/restaurant in town becomes a soccer bar. During those special few weeks, soccer is a national sport. It's great. The game is treated with respect, and all sports fans are into it. But that does not a real soccer bar make.

A real soccer bar will:
  • Go out of their way to order every conceivable channel where soccer is shown ahead of time.
  • Have multiple TVs to show all the games going on concurrently.
  • Order the special pay per view events (like the African Nations Cup) and advertise all of the games it shows.
  • Open at all times of the day/night in order to show the games live and will often record them and reshow them later in the day, if necessary.
An establishment that does these things will have a loyal, strong following year round, not just during a few months of the year. It's a place that soccer fans will call our own.

If you build it, they will come.

What do you think? Is there already a place like this in Huntsville? Is there anything else that you'd like to see in our soccer bar?

Thursday, January 21, 2010

RCU, UAH and more

RCU Signs Willoughby for 2010

I'm not sure how I missed this earlier.... Rocket City United retained a key piece of their NPSL SouthEast Region Championship team from 2009 by signing winger Paul Willoughby. After losing forward Raphael Barbosa, the signing of Willoughby is a boon to RCU's offensive prowess.

Member of Willoughby's Army suggests the contract period she'd like RCU to sign.

Reportedly, the Huntsville native's fanclub, Willoughby's Army, could be heard squealing their approval from outside Parkway Place Mall at the news of the signing.

UAH Alumni Game on March 27

The UAH men's soccer team will welcome former players to Charger Field for an alumni game at on March 27th as part of a fund raising effort that includes a golf tournament the day before.

NPSL SouthEast Region Adds FC Tulsa

It looks like RCU will add a long road trip to Oklahoma this season when they face FC Tulsa. This news broke through Chattagnooga FC and RCU's twitter feeds.

"Welcome! RT @ChattanoogaFC: Verry interesting Chatt FC would like 2 welcome Tulsa FC (yes, of OK) to SE Region of NPSL. Load up the fan bus!"
FC Tulsa will replace Atlanta club Saturn FC whose owners relocated to New Jersey and can no longer support the team from afar. The rumored team in Nashville will not happen in 2010 as the interested ownership group removed their application in December.

African Football History

In what many are calling the year of African football, the BBC has released a two part podcast on the history of African football. Educate yourself and check out part 1 and part 2.

USMNT and Beer Pairings

Beer loving blog The Shin Guardian does a delightful post on what beers to pair with different types of US Men's National Team events. My only detrimental comment is that the PBR dude needs to open his palate to other brews.

Haiti Through Jim's Eyes: More Ways to Help

One of my buddies from the daily pick-up games in which I play has a special connection to Haiti and the tragedy that has stricken the already desperate country. Jim Biard was part of a missionary group who traveled to Haiti for 3 weeks last summer. On the trip, Jim was struck by the beauty of the Haitian's spirit and the starkness of the poverty. Here's a note Jim has written especially for the Perfectly Weighted Through Blog that describes some of his trip, his despair at what must be happening in the country now, and a list of links that you can use to help. The hardship for the Haitian people is certainly not over...

I went with a mission group to Haiti in June 2009. It was a crazy trip. Haiti really is at the low end of the list of Third World nations. I was prepared for that, and it didn't freak me out, but I found it troubling to see first hand how huge the gap is between the "haves" and the "have nots". There is beauty in Haiti, but the country suffers greatly from erosion as a result of deforestation and other types of poor land management. It sometimes seemed that there wasn't a corner of the country that wasn't littered with plastic bottles or bags. The "highways" are dirt roads. The major cities seem to have only one or two paved streets. There are no bridges over many of the rivers. Most of the agriculture is done by hand with hoes and pickaxes. (Which is probably better in terms of limiting erosion, but it is backbreaking work! It's also hard to make a go of it since your potential crop size is so limited.) There appeared to be no sanitary sewer system anywhere we stayed. In essence, there is almost zero modern infrastructure in Haiti.

Jim, left, kicks around with the kids

But, like I said, there is beauty in Haiti. The last day of our stay, we hiked about an hour out of the city of Port de Paix along the river that bounds it on one side. The river and the areas along its banks were gorgeous! We hiked to a spot where a small waterfall cascaded down a 100 ft cliff into a pool that then fed into the river. It was the sort of place that would be part of a state park here in the USA. We swam in the pool with little Haitian kids and had a great time.

Kids on a burro

We spent most of our time living on the outskirts of the village of Beau Champ. We were on an upland plateau, and the climate was semi-arid. It was much less lush than on the banks of the river down near the coast where we took the hike. There was beauty there as well, but more subdued. Also more thorny. They seem to have every type of thorny plant found in the Americas or in Africa in Haiti!

A young Haitian, Kevinson, and his sister

The most beautiful thing about Haiti was the people. Especially the people in Beau Champ. They were often sweet and shy, kind and generous. I was deeply moved by the strength of spirit that I saw in the people of Haiti. They continued to live their lives, love their families, plant their crops, and look to the future, even though they had little reason (to American eyes) to do so. I know that people often don't miss what they never had, but it touched my heart. It made me realize what whiners we often are here in the USA. We complain and get upset about things that so minor compared to having enough food to keep your children from starving in front of your eyes, or dying from a curable disease because there are no doctors anywhere in the area.

Football is a refuge from the daily struggle

Now, don't get me wrong, I did see people that had no hope. I met some people that were angry with the world. Haitians are subject to the same range of faults as anyone else in this world. They aren't necessarily better for their struggles. Yet they touched me and inspired me.

I was also sobered and felt a bit depressed as I began to realize the enormous effort that will be required to bring the Haitian nation to a point where it is stable and moderately prosperous. Just bringing them to the point of being able to feed themselves will be a monumental task!

Young boy with his plate

(I had written this much back in August 2009. It is now January 20, 2010, Haiti is reeling from the massive earthquakes in the region around Port au Prince.)

What can I do? Where can I start? Haiti was in such a fragile state before the quakes, and now there is no telling how bad it may become, even with aid pouring in. The lack of infrastructure means that it is extremely difficult to get the food and medical supplies to where they are needed. It also means that people in the rest of the country will suffer as well. Port au Prince was the main port, and most of the trade with the rest of the world went through there. The people in other parts of the island are effectively cut off from markets for their crops and goods. Food aid that was being sent into places like Beau Champ won't arrive. Fuel supplies will run out. The impact on the entire nation is hard to fathom.

Young Haitian girl models a hat for the camera

Some authorities estimate that the disruption of their fragile infrastructure may lead to a final death toll of 3 million people! This won't be due to injuries, but to starvation and disease. These beautiful people living in such desperate conditions are only 600 miles from Miami.

I want to go there, to do something tangible to help. I'm donating money, but it doesn't feel like enough. I think of the kids and adults that I made friends with who will likely suffer tremendous hardships over the coming months. I want to ride in like the cavalry and save them, but I have no way to do it. I recognize that I would probably be little help to anyone if I did go, but it doesn't stop me from feeling the desire to do it. So I pray...

Here are some links to a few places where you can make donations to help with the earthquake relief effort. There are many good groups, I just happen to know something about these particular ones. There are also a couple of links to sites that have other lists. These groups are not listed in any particular order.

Please help your neighbors in Haiti.

American Red Cross
In general, Charity Navigator says it sends 90% of donations to the field, and gives it 3 stars. If you are an Intergraph employee, Intergraph says it will match your donation. (There was an email sent out giving the details of how to do it.)

International Disaster Emergency Services
This is a Christian charity. In general, Charity Navigator says it sends 86% of donations to the field, and gives it 4 stars. They are known for helping everyone, not just a particular subgroup. (Some groups only help those in their religion/denomination, etc.)

Yelé Haiti
This is an established Haiti assistance charity founded by Wycelf Jean, who is a Haitian hip hop artist. I couldn't find a rating for this one, but I know of some people that say it is a good one. They say that 100% of donations to earthquake relief will go to the effort.

Northwest Haiti Christian Mission
This is the group that I worked with this last summer. I couldn't find a rating for them, but I know first-hand that they don't have a high overhead. They do a lot of good and have a well-established network of people in Haiti.

Direct Relief International
This group deals with medical supplies and aid. In general, Charity Navigator says it sends 99% of donations to the field, and gives it 4 stars. They also have been working in Haiti for some time. They say 100% of donations will go to the effort.

Haiti Emergency Relief Organization
This is a group based out of Huntsville, AL. The leader is Haitian. They are a Christian group. I couldn't find a rating for them.

You can find a list of other groups at and at

God, work a miracle of help and hope and love in Haiti. Please!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Links To Check Out While At Home Sick

One of the unadvertised perks of parenthood is the passing of every germ your little one can acquire to the parents and this week my daughter passed on a nice stomach bug to me. So, in between trips to the bathroom, I was able to hit the internet for some interesting nuggets.

Soccer on the Radio

Enjoying the company of friends while listening to the game on the radio.

There was no soccer on the radio when I grew up. But I did get to listen to some fantastic sports broadcasters ply their trade over the radio waves. Listening to Jon Miller broadcast Oriole games was a joy. My family would also watch the Redskins with the TV sound muted and crank up the radio broadcast to catch the excitement of the local broadcast crew. So, I totally get it when the guys at EPLTalk advise us to listen to soccer on the radio for a change. The radio broadcast can open up the game in your imagination and bring the excitement of the stadium to you in a way TV just can't do, no matter how good the resolution. I'm gonna give it a try.

Bundesliga is Back
I was so excited to see that the best supported league in Europe was back in action this past weekend after its traditional winter break. And I was excited to read the quote machine Raphael Honigstein's latest Bundesliga wrap-up column. This week he writes about the surprising season Eintract Frankfurt is enjoying. And Raphael doesn't disappoint by dropping this gem of line:
"After 18 matches played, Frankfurt are in seventh, only one point behind Werder Bremen. The position is so incredulous, it really belongs in the Kama Sutra."

Juju in African Football

Juju man blesses a ball.

Andrew Guest of the blog Pitch Invasion wrote an incredibly interesting piece on witchcraft in African soccer. He makes some great points that juju is really no different from western religious blessings, for instance, teams who pray together before a match or the players who cross themselves while entering the field. It's just that many western people are ignorant of the African culture and therefore sensationalize the actions that they don't understand.

Beer/Soccer Q and A

As you know by now, I enjoy a good brew and the beautiful game. Here's a Q and A from a like minded fellow from the soccer blog Avoiding the Drop.

More Sadness From Haiti

I picked up this from my Twitter feed. Terribly sad.
RobHarrisUK at least 30 members of #Haiti soccer federation killed in #earthquake - including players, coaches and refs @AP

Here's a link to Haiti United, where as part of the soccer community you can continue to help the country so desperately in need.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Long Weekend

Interesting Tweet of the Day

From the NPSLInsider...

NASL coming in to address owners at #npslagm. Just announced today.

I can't wait to hear what comes out of this. Exciting times, we live in kids...

Journey to the Center of Angola
Here's another terrific article from one of America's best soccer writers, Grant Wahl. In this one he describes his marathon journey from Baltimore to Angola for the African Nations Cup.

Friday, January 15, 2010

More Pro Soccer Coming Soon

Local League sells Domain Name To New Pro League, Secures Exhibitions

As I speculated in November, the North Alabama Soccer League has sold the domain name to the new North American Soccer League. The Alabama youth league president Kevin Parker has confirmed that the sale has been made and there is a splash screen for the new division 2 professional league at the address.

When asked about the compensation the league received for the domain name Parker said, "There was some monetary compensation, but that was not very important to us. The main goal was to grow the sport of soccer in North Alabama." Parker said that in addition to money, the new Pro League has agreed to hold several exhibition matches featuring several of the Pro league teams and low-cost clinics given by the professional coaches in Northern Alabama in the near future. "We didn't have to give them the domain name [], but this wasn't an opportunity that we wanted to give up. You just don't see this type of high level soccer in this area very often."

As for the teams playing in the exhibitions, those details will be released in the coming months, but Parker said the agreement includes multiple exhibitions spanning at least the next two years.

This is great news for the sport in Northern Alabama. More high quality soccer the better, I say.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Altidore on Haiti and How the Huntsville Soccer Community Can Help

Haitian native and US National Team player, Joe Gaetjens, is carried off the field after scoring the lone goal in the 1:0 World Cup victory over England in 1950.

US soccer fans should hold a special place in their hearts for Haiti, the country devastated by a 7.0 magnitude earthquake earlier this week. After all, the goal that took down the giants of England in 1950 was scored by Haitian native, Joe Gaetjens. Also, current US forward Jozy Altidore is of Haitian decent and has been especially affected by the disaster. Here is a link to Jozy discussing the tragedy with CNN.

Altidore on a goodwill trip he made to Haiti a few years ago.

What can we in Huntsville do to help?

Huntsville resident and native of Haiti, Simeon Nerelus, is the founder of he Haiti Emergency Relief Organization. HERO is collecting food, medications, and other supplies. Here's more info about HERO.

This food and fund raising drive to benefit the people of Haiti. Food is being donated to Food For The Poor (501c3) and Money is being donated to Trinity United Methodist Church and with the note of "Haiti Relief". 100% of these donations will go to direct relief in Haiti.

FOOD: rice, beans, powdered milk
MEDS: over the counter, vitamins


HudsonAlpha Institute
6900 Moquin Drive
Huntsville, AL, 35806

Trinity United Methodist
607 Airport Road
Huntsville, AL 35802

10am - 4pm Daily

Haitian Football Federation Crest

Also, Haiti is a football mad nation. So, this is the time for you in the Huntsville soccer community to go dig into your closet for your old soccer gear and donate whatever you can in an attempt to help bring a bit of normalcy back to a country that is suffering so badly. I've got a ton of old cleats, balls and replica jerseys that I'm planning on taking down to Trinity United Methodist Church to the help the cause. I suggest you do the same.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

New Fox Soccer Plus and World Cup within Driving Distance

Fox Soccer Plus to Launch in March

Fox Soccer Channel will launch an additional channel in March called Fox Soccer Plus. FSP will broadcast EPL, FA Cup and Serie A in HD! As usual, you'll have to go out and shout at your provider to get the channel, but FSP also has a channel finder tool to help with that.

Nashville and Atlanta Make World Cup Bid List

It's looking more and more like we Huntsville soccer geeks will not have to travel far to catch some World Cup matches should the US be awarded the 2018 or 2022 tournament. Both Nashville and Atlanta have been selected as host city finalists for the USA bid. If the USA is selected to host the tournament, which is still a big if, the committee would then cut the list down to 12 host cities. So, there's still a chance that neither city will host matches. Keep your fingers crossed.