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  • DcnJosephSuaiden 6:34 pm on May 24, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Soccer   

    OFFICIAL STATEMENT FROM THE BOROUGH BOYS IN REGARD TO MLS NY 

    The Borough Boys began as a movement in 2008 to attract a top tier professional soccer club to New York and for the past five years we have worked closely with various potential owners, Major League Soccer, local community leaders and politicians to see our goal come to fruition. It at times was frustrating, but always full of hope, that eventually those efforts would yield a club worthy of the support of not only the Borough Boys but for New Yorkers everywhere, with a club that would truly represent the values and authenticity of our great city.

    While we are pleased that Major League Soccer has signaled their commitment to establish a franchise in New York, we are ultimately disappointed and concerned about their expansion announcement. For years we have been told by MLS that a stadium was required in order to award a club, for years we were led to believe that MLS was committed not just to obtaining a club here but also that the club would represent New York and what we stand for.

    While we always desired an MLS franchise, what we never desired was being forced to accept a foreign club’s world wide branding ambitions, using New York City as a vehicle to promote a separate soccer club abroad. The news that Manchester City will be establishing a new MLS expansion franchise, using “synergies”, cross promotion and color schemes of the parent club can only be described as disheartening.

    Over the past three years, we have been working closely with the New York Cosmos, in part because we felt they were the best choice for MLS expansion and in part because they demonstrated a commitment to being an authentic New York club, a club that was born of New York, made its history in New York, and a club who’s very iconic status in this great city attracted countless members to the Borough Boys. We can not overstate the enormous amount of support we have encountered for the revival of the New York Cosmos, and in turn we can not overstate the level of dedication, support and cooperation we have received back from the New York Cosmos.

    The Borough Boys have satisfied their initial mission by not only helping bring one professional soccer team to New York, but two. At this time our mission has changed from promoting the idea of bringing a soccer team to New York to supporting one. With the New York Cosmos we are confident that we are behind a club that not only represents a piece of New York soccer history, but also one many fellow New Yorkers can positively relate to. Many of our members have came to us and expressed their support for the Cosmos and believe they are a club that will truly represent the city unconditionally and look forward to helping them return to their rightful place in American soccer while continuing to build upon their storied history; and perhaps one day our support of the New York Cosmos and MLS will merge again.

    From

     

    This is Cosmos Country

    http://thisiscosmoscountry.com/?p=5481

    Empire of Soccer

    http://www.empireofsoccer.com/borough-b … rk-cosmos/

    Big Apple Soccer

    http://www.bigapplesoccer.com/teams/cos … e_id=33619

     
    The Borough Boys’ Forum, and well, you know I had to put it on BigSoccer
     
  • DcnJosephSuaiden 2:09 am on May 20, 2013 Permalink | Reply  

    Defending the Streaming Sports Model: You’re Just Not Getting it Yet 

    I originally wrote this post on BigSoccer discussing the benefits of the NASL streaming model in response to complaints that the NASL needs a large cable contract like MLS. With Zac Wassink (no great critic of MLS) pointing out new dismal numbers and trying to figure out where MLS will succeed in a major market, my initial analysis unfortunately should be heeded by MLS fans in the long run as well, since in some cases the number of viewers nationwide is less than 50% higher than the total number of people in the stadium. The future of TV is here, and consider the reader warned.

    I am including a lot of links in this post so people don’t think these are unfounded claims that I am making up to defend the NASL streaming model. I don’t have to defend it. It’s a smart, if as yet not fully developed model.

    The reality is the league shouldn’t waste too much time on efforts to set up TV packages. For all of MLS’ negotations and channel switches they haven’t had higher than 1% of total TV viewership for MLS cup in 11 years. See here. Their visibility on what is clearly their flagship now, NBC Sports Network, approaches 115,000 viewers nationwide on average. (EDIT: See note above. It’s now as low as less than half that.)

    Simply put, it’s more likely that more people have watched All My Children premiere this week on Hulu than MLS Cup on cable and a now-Internet soap opera could probably overtake their regular games on a daily basis.

    But this isn’t even the biggest problem with making old TV a priority. The biggest problem is that thanks to companies like Aereo and low-cost boxes like Roku or Apple TV, at least two networks and Time Warner cable may actually dump their current business model in favor of streaming pay services. Don’t believe it? See here and here. Between Apple TV and Roku alone, we are talking about 20 million people. And that last news story was yesterday, so these aren’t ideas that came from 2009 “theorizing about the future”. They are changes to the business models that we will see companies rapidly adopt because….

    If you add to the above the fact that cable subscriptions are at an unprecedented low, then fighting to negotiate your way to ESPN– when you could well create an online channel and undercut them, and achieve similar if not more profitable results– is a waste of time. Proof of the cable fail is right here. If TWC’s plans go through, then cable programming will be competing within an existing online television ecosystem. There is simply no need to go through their old model when you could circumvent it altogether.

    You think with 12 teams, the World Cup, and the Cosmos you can’t get thousands of people watching a streaming game in 2014 if they can put it on the TV? (Because they can: the boxes are already bought.) The league is in the enviable position of being the first professional league in the US to have full coverage online. And guess what else that means– it means blackout restrictions are not only under their control, they can be completely ignored!

    By making the priority streaming availability, there are so many other avenues the league can explore, and frankly, should take advantage of. And I’m confident they will eventually. Since NASL games operate on the UStream platform, my $50 Roku box allows me to watch the games on my TV at full screen, full volume, and no worse definition than when I had cable.

    NASL is therefore, and I admit perhaps totally accidentally due to way they returned to the soccer landscape, already ahead. Don’t be surprised when your cable company offers you a Roku box in lieu of a cable box before long– and you can watch NASL just fine at no extra charge.

    Late edit: By the way, local channels still work well in such a model. There are multiple services which allow the use of local channels on a streaming box… or there’s always an antenna.

     
  • DcnJosephSuaiden 4:33 am on May 12, 2013 Permalink | Reply  

    NASL This Weekend 

    If you missed tonight’s games, this weekend is not over yet! Tomorrow’s game will be broadcast online and on tape delay on Canada’s The Score network.

    Carolina Railhawks 5  San Antonio Scorpions 2

    The Carolina RailHawks blasted their way to the top of the NASL standings with a 5-2 victory over the San Antonio Scorpions to delight a home crowd of 6,708 that packed in to WakeMed Soccer Park.

    Brian Shriver scored twice to lead the NASL in scoring with five goals this season, while Zach Schilawski also found the net twice and keeper Akira Fitzgerald pulled off some spectacular saves in the seven-goal thriller.

    “There were a lot of good goals and a lot of great passing and there’s a lot to be happy about,” said RailHawks coach Colin Clarke.  “It’s a great result and any time you score five goals you’ve got to be pleased, but I don’t like the number two that’s also up on the scoreboard.  We’ve got a good squad of players and we’ll continue to look to improve.”

    A stunning Floyd Franks strike from 25 yards out earned the RailHawks the lead in the 13th minute, but the visiting Scorpions were level seven minutes later.  Hans Denisson scored from the penalty spot, sending Akitra Fitzgerald the wrong way after Paul Hamilton had committed a push inside the area.

    The hosts regained the lead in the 37th minute when Shriver capitalized on a defensive error, pressurizing Pat Hannigan as he attempted to clear a back pass, and Zach Schilawski pounced to find the empty net.

    Three minutes after the break, Shriver scored the RailHawks’ third as Austin Da Luz supplied him with the scoring chance and then with 50 minutes played, Schilawski claimed his second goal of the night with Da Luz again the supplier.

    “It’s nice to get that first goal and the pressure is off now,” said Schilawski.  “It’s been a good start and that was the objective going in and so far so good.  We’ve put ourselves in a good spot.

    “It’s really fun to play and I think we’ve got a lot of guys who are willing to work off the ball and do the dirty work and make unselfish runs.  We’ve got a lot of different attacking weapons and a good team chemistry.”

    Nikola Vaslic pulled San Antonio back into contention when he gathered a rebound after Fitzgerald had parried the ball into his path, but then Scorpions skipper Kevin Harmse was shown a straight red card as he slid into Da Luz.

    Fitzgerald was alert to the Scorpions’ refusal to give up home despite being down a man and produced the save of the match after 63 minutes, tipping a fierce drive over his cross bar for a corner and then denied Edin Husic.

    Five minutes from time, Shriver wrapped up the scoring, meeting a Brian Ackley cross in front of goal for a simple finish.

    Scorpions coach Tim Hankinson said: “We came out and our touch was nervous and they were putting a lot of pressure on us and instead of just playing the ball out we gave the ball away.  Until we stop beating ourselves it’s going to be difficult.”

    Ft Lauderdale Strikers 2 Minn United 1

    The Fort Lauderdale Strikers claimed their first win of the season and rocked league leaders Minnesota United, knocking them off the top of the NASL standings in the process with a 2-1 win at Lockhart Stadium.

    The Strikers climbed off the foot of the table themselves as two goals in the opening quarter of an hour provided decisive despite a nervous ending as ten-man Fort Lauderdale fought off a spirited United comeback attempt.

    “We fought hard and we knew they were going to come at us and they threw numbers at us but you’ve got to give our whole team credit,” said Strikers coach Daryl Shore.  “They dug in and this shows we’re capable of doing good things.”

    Fort Lauderdale led 2-0 at before play was suspended for 64 minutes due to rain and lightning.

    Mark Anderson’s second minute shot crept in off the inside of the far post and then after 14 minutes David Foley pounced on a defensive lapse and doubled the previous winless Strikers’ advantage before the storm closed in.

    “We’ve got to do better.  It’s not good enough to compete in this league,” said United FC coach Manny Lagos after seeing his side lose.  “We had our chances but just couldn’t finish.  We didn’t start well.  We have to get back at it, and can’t feel sorry for ourselves.”

    Shore made several changes from the side that lost 2-1 to Tampa Bay Rowdies on April 27 as on-loan Real Salt Lake goalkeeper Jeff Attinella replaced the injured Cody Laurendi, while Scott Gordon and Walter Restrepo returned to the starting lineup.

    The Strikers were reduced to ten men after 57 minutes when Stephane Guillaume saw red for picking up a second yellow card and the visitors saw their opportunity to strike and produced periods of pressure in the final third of the game.

    Pablo Campos scored his first goal since joining Minnesota this season, the 2012 MVP connecting with a far post header in the 69th minute to pull United back into the game.  But the equalizing goal proved elusive and the Strikers held on to win.

    FC Edmonton Announces TV Deal with Rogers

    FC Edmonton and Rogers have inked a partnership which will see at least six Eddies games live on The Score this NASL season.

    FC Edmonton has rapidly become one of Edmonton’s most exciting professional sports franchises, playing to loud and boisterous crowds at least 14 times a year.

    Thanks to the newly-signed partnership, The Score will broadcast nine FC Edmonton home games this year, starting May 12 vs. Atlanta and culminating October 27 with a game against Tampa Bay.

    “Throughout the club’s first three seasons, FC Edmonton has endeavoured to introduce itself to the Edmonton sports community as a fun and affordable professional entertainment choice,” said general manager Rod Proudfoot. “This new deal with Rogers will further raise the profile of FC Edmonton, our sponsors and our supporters within Edmonton and within the North American Soccer League. And with The Score’s reach, FC Edmonton will now become a more recognizable brand across the country.”

    In addition to having the games televised live, City Edmonton has committed to help support the broadcasts with on-air promotional spots, commercials, creative features and local live content.

    The Score is Canada’s third-largest specialty sports channel with 6.6 million television subscribers, delivering breaking sports news, analysis, highlights and live events.

    City Edmonton offers viewers intensely-local, urban-oriented, culturally-diverse television programming.

    Media are invited to Clarke Stadium today where FC Edmonton owner Tom Fath, coaches, players and representatives from the City of Edmonton will be on-hand to unveil the stadium’s new stands and seats, as well as a few other exciting announcements. FC Edmonton’s first team training session runs from 10:30 a.m. until 12:30 p.m., at which point the media conference will begin.

    FC Edmonton on The Score:

    May 12 vs. Atlanta Silverbacks (Tape Delay)
    May 26 vs. Fort Lauderdale Strikers (Possible Tape Delay)
    June 2 vs. Tampa Bay Rowdies (Possible Tape Delay)
    June 16 vs. Carolina RailHawks
    June 30 vs. Minnesota United FC
    August 11 vs. San Antonio Scorpions
    August 18 vs. Atlanta Silverbacks
    September 1 vs. New York Cosmos
    September 15 vs. Fort Lauderdale Strikers
    September 22 vs. Minnesota United FC
    October 6 vs. Carolina RailHawks FC
    October 27 vs. Tampa Bay Rowdies

     
  • DcnJosephSuaiden 11:20 pm on May 10, 2013 Permalink | Reply  

    Last Post on the Cosmos Until at Least Summer 

    Update: Just noticed that BigSoccer now has a Cosmos/NASL hit piece, along with the typical MLS cheerleading and raging, AS THEIR FRONT PAGE ARTICLE. (A Robert Redford movie AND Field of Dreams reference? Why not just reference Moneyball?) Love it!

    Thanks to both supporters and haters, my Open Letter to the New York Cosmos has been one of the most popular reads on my blog, whether this one or the last (possibly the most popular). It’s been summarized in a few places, so I am not going to repeat its basic points.

    Because now I am sure I have to take it down.  Immediately.  So I have a copy, but I am removing it from the site directly. Let me explain why.

    You see, in the days that followed it accomplished at least a proximate goal, if not the central goal: whether or not the Cosmos knew what was going on– I haven’t received confirmation either way nor do I expect them to respond to some blogger (who still has to buy his tickets)– it was important that some of the New York fan base knew what was going on. The letter was cited (without prompting) on This is Cosmos Country, where there was actually a respectful debate. And I linked it on Big Soccer, which started fights with all sorts of people. It spread on Twitter, thanks to friends.

    It needed noise, and it got noise. On the Borough Boys’ forum, it was decided to put individual views on MLS on the back burner and focus on a successful 2013 season. But in observing the forum, it also became clear to me that a lot dedicated people put a lot of time and money into making the Cosmos a success and were not so much disloyal as they were afraid– and seriously disheartened–  that with the MUFC move  MLS had just gone and burned their work to a crisp. (For my part, I think this is desperate gamemanship on MLS’ part, and they are using bravado to scare the Cosmos fanbase. Just wait for August, guys. Your work is worth it.)

    Though I am pretty sure I have burned a lot of bridges, it appears to me that supporters of the Cosmos are more united than ever.

    Which is why my letter is now being used by MLS-bots as proof that the opposite is happening, and trying to create the false impression that the BB’s are in chaos when in fact the BB’s appear to be just fine.  Since the person who ultimately controls the letter is me, that means without removing the letter I become part of the problem, as opposed to the solution.

    As for solutions people suggested: A few people have suggested I join Sagan’s Army. Technically, I’m kind of in Sagan’s Army though I haven’t attended a meeting yet. That said, I’ve said none of this on the Army forum, because I’d like to stay there, and not be thrown out for being a troublemaker. (Update: Sagan’s Army now has a Yonkers Brigade/Westchester Battalion, to which I have been conscripted. Hurrah!)

    Some have pointed out the team should not be in charge of making their own supporters groups. And they are right. A few said “why not start your own.” Well, in the first place, I’m not in New York city (I’m in lower Westchester) and in the second– contrary to what some may have mistakenly gleaned from my letter–I am not a fan of dividing the supporter base. Doesn’t mean I might not try it anyway, however.

    But those who have linked to this article will have this to read instead.

    Something like the Cosmos coming back is bound to produce a variety of reactions. My reaction, especially not knowing some of the background in this case may have been too, well, um, overprotective. (And I understand that may also be upsetting for people who worked on this a couple of years. Sorry guys.) The Cosmos don’t need me or anyone to protect them; just to support them. And that’s true for me, the BB’s, Sagan’s Army, La Banda and the rest of the New York Metropolitan area.

    So that’sa what ah’m gonna do.

     
  • DcnJosephSuaiden 11:48 pm on May 1, 2013 Permalink | Reply  

    Great Lent and Dieting 

    Since the fast started, I’ve lost 23 pounds. Losing weight should never be a goal of Great Lent, but it happened. And continues to happen.

    The reason it happened is partially spiritual, partially physical, and partially psychological. Our Orthodox tradition requires us to limit our eating; the Ustav, oft forgotten in our days, prescribed times of fasting as well as foods from which we abstain, which is admirably preserved (restored?) in the traditional Western use of Orthodoxy. For the day, until the ninth hour (or sunset in the monasteries) a collation (what we would call a “continental breakfast”, usually a simple baked item and a drink) is all that is eaten, and a single meal should be eaten– after the day hours.

    Of course, the size of the meal is never quite discussed in the canonical rule– though it is discussed often in the Fathers– whether in East or West, which has been used as a perverse loophole by many Orthodox in history, including, sadly, me.

    With all the talk of obesity in this day and age, I went to the doctor a month ago (I’ve gotten to know my doctor much better in worrying about my health) and discovered I was defined as morbidly obese. I hadn’t radically altered my eating habits of late; these were, sadly long ingrained eating habits that made me a chunky kid, nullified by the onset of adolescence and the high metabolism of youth, to finally exact its final revenge in my 30’s. Now, approaching 40 years on this earth God willing, a 303-pound deacon’s visit to the doctor made me realize that it was time to confront it directly.

    I was raised as a son of fairly healthy immigrant parents who had themselves grown up in relative scarcity. The motto was simple: eat everything on your plate. And some of those portions were heaping.  And really tasty too. My sisters could refuse– for that matter, it was almost to be expected, since they were girls. Consequently I, expert plate-finisher that I was, was given fantastic leftovers. I have to wonder whether many children of single parents, who naturally often grew up with less, grew up with similar “scarcity ethics”. (The flip side of this was the “storage ethics”, where everything was stored; this led to less fresh food being eaten and– in some cases– similar eating habits.)

    Morbidly obese. My parents raised a good kid in many respects. But when it came to food, I have come to realize, I was a glutton and it didn’t bother anyone. After all, I’d work it off. Right? My father, after all, was a cook (who really deserved the title “chef”, due to his incredible skill with many varieties of food and flawless palate). And he was thin and ate a lot too!

    Enter 2013, where I haven’t worked for anyone in two years and the last eight years of work were behind a desk or standing and pacing two to three hours a day. That day at the doctor’s office was a final day of reckoning. I didn’t live like my father, nor my mother. I was not active. But I sure ate like I was.

    Before then I viewed the solution to the problem of the Great Fast with legalism. (Before I was Western rite it was even easier. Soy milk and cereal for breakfast, fried calamari–not fried in olive oil, of course– with a side of fries for lunch, and a vegetarian dinner– with seconds!) Consequently, the Fast was nothing more– when it came to food– than a dietary switch and a chance to try out fabulous new recipes! And I know I’m not alone in this: see here — or even worse, here. 2,000 years of Orthodoxy have produced both countless saints teaching us to limit our eating, but have also unfortunately produced hundreds of legalistic ways to deal with recipes. (As a side note, in my opinion, a proper Orthodox cookbook should probably include recipes like “how to boil beans”, and “how to use pepper”. As a side note, Western Orthodox can use oil, and there are no ridiculous debates as to whether the rule means “olive oil”. Just say what you mean, and don’t hide behind legalism. The Eastern Orthodox tradition is no oil, period.)

    Modern Orthodox theological discussion, when we begin talking about fasting, overstresses– to the point of irrationality– that fasting and dieting are two different things, or at the least have two different goals. I’ve begun to question the wisdom of such a blanket assertion. Fasting should never be done for secular reasons (to “look good for the beach”, et cetera) but this is not because we aren’t supposed to have better eating habits– it’s because we are canonically not supposed to pride ourselves in our appearance. But maybe this emphasizing “this is not a diet” is why we see so many fat clergy (surprise! I’m one of them!) Maybe saying “you can eat what you want, but just follow the guidelines for abstinence” is part of the problem, because it can cover up gluttony. Maybe that’s why so many people gain weight during the fast!

    So this fast, I decided to do something I haven’t done before– resist the urge for seconds, and ask myself twice if I was actually hungry before a meal or just eating because I was “supposed to”. In addition to this, my lovely Diaconissa wanted to reduce the risk of diabetes for reasons which, if she so chooses, she can explain herself. So we cut the amount of sides in our dishes (sides are almost always high in carbohydrates) opting for salads in lieu of, say, pasta. I started drinking more water. Switched out high-carb beverages (regular soda, canned tea drinks, and beer– alcoholic or not– for example, are all high-carb beverages) for clear juices, et cetera. I resisted the urge to “clear the pot” (which had become the adult version of “clear everyone’s plate”). We’ve eaten soy “meat” (ugh) exactly twice this Great Lent. (And one of those times was both an accident and a disappointment). In one way the Western fast is useful for such a dietary change: it allows fish, and if I remember the tradition correctly, it allows “small fish”. Thus some whiting with a salad was permissible.

    (Some argue that this is basically the pre-Vatican II Roman Catholic custom. This is wholly incorrect. Roman Catholicism also allows the use of dairy, meaning the only thing you are abstaining from is meat itself. It is interesting that in the Summa of Thomas Aquinas– even over 200 years after the schism of the West from Orthodoxy– abstinence from dairy as well as meat– the Orthodox position— was considered the norm.)

    After the first week of simple (but still miserable due to my habitual gluttony) changes, I looked at the scale and had lost seven pounds. Four weeks later, I don’t eat seconds unless I am hungry. For that matter, I don’t eat except the one meal unless I am hungry.

    For the record, I haven’t exercised regularly in any real and sustained sense in over a decade. I am still not doing so. The weight loss is occurring simply because habitual eating can be countered with simple circumspection.

    From a technical standpoint, I am still morbidly obese, at severe risk of everything from stroke to heart attack and early death. And according to the BMI, I will be for another 40 pounds. But 23 of those pounds are gone. I hope our Lord gives me the time to fix this. I have no thyroid problems. I have no diabetes. I have no excuses. If I die related to my weight, it will have been driven by a long standing greed and gluttony from which I realized too late was a sin against God. Isn’t such treatment of the body in effect a slow form of suicide, which will kill the body and the soul?

    This week, my mother called, and I was complaining about fasting and cutting down on food. My mother’s response was priceless: Didn’t our Lord eat nothing during the 40 days? Don’t you have lentils? What could I say but “thanks, mom?”

    As we approach the final days of Lent, leading from the sadness of Great Friday to the joy of the Resurrection, let us reflect that the changes we make in our lives each Great Lent should effect a permanent character– we must strive to be better, and each repentance we effect THIS Great Lent should bring us closer to our Lord.

    If I am still here next month, God will have given me 38 years on this earth. I would hate to not make it to 40 years due to a lifetime of gluttony for which I did not repent and must do immediately.

    Wednesday of Holy Week.

     
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