Thursday, March 26, 2015

If You're Happy, Then You Know It

Is it possible to rate happiness? If so, how much does that factor into a team sport like soccer?

We've seen disgruntled teams implode in tournaments, and we've also seen teams where everyone was smiling, looking like they're having a great time, genuinely friendly with each other, do very well in games. 

But is happiness measurable as a factor to winning?

What about personal preference? Would a player prefer to be part of a team that was a happy one? 

The truth is, most players will say that they want to play for the best team they can, regardless of the camaraderie among teammates. They'll take sullen silences and diva attitudes in return for winning. 

Then again, losing a lot probably doesn't improve a team's attitude or ambiance. The US have only won 2 of their last 11 games. 

William Yarbrough and Ventura Alvarado are eligible for both the USA and Mexico. 

Mexico seems to be having more fun under Piojo. If that matters to the duo, it could play a factor in any final decision, should Mexico ever come calling for their services. 

If you could choose, which would you pick and why?

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Matosas Offers His Resignation

Whoo, hooo! Fall on one's sword in a great show of sacrifice - or is it really? 

So do others. 

Anyway, never fear, Matosas fans, he's not going anywhere yet. 

Sunday, March 22, 2015

F.C. Fashion Choice - FC Dallas.

Yep, the FC Dallas logo is now apparently all the rage abroad in England. 

But, as I have noted before, FC Dallas has a way of getting into the hands of the most stylish kids. 

Gwen Stefani with kids, check out Kingston's FC Dallas kit

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Who Mexico Didn't Call

They didn't call Billy boy. 

Anyway, I'm not sure anyone even calls William Yarbrough "Billy", but I couldn't help myself. The Mexican-born goalkeeper of American parents has accepted a call-up from the one and only Jurgen Klinsmann, so he's apparently going to throw his lot in with the USA instead of Mexico. 

Club Leon had a nice little throwback to their history of USMNT players. 

But is Klinsmann really serious about Yarbrough? He's made some picks before that just seemed off-hand and not about building a strong senior squad. 

Then again, Yarbrough is probably smart to seize the opportunity. Miguel Herrera wasn't encouraging on El Tri prospects for Yarbrough. 

A friendly match doesn't cap tie Yarbrough, of course. But he would have to file an official FIFA switch to Mexico if he's already suited up for the USA, even in a friendly. 

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Finding Fitness - Pilates

So, yeah, if Rossi can use Pilates for rehab, I should probably give it a try in my finding fitness series. 

My local Pilates spot is Eagle Rock Pilates, although when I look up the site, they apparently call their place Pilates Eagle Rock.   This gives me the same vague embarrassment/stubborness I sometimes get whenever I pronounce a player's name wrong in an interview, but still prefer my version. (Yeah, it's your name, but have you thought about changing?)

I once took a Pilates class at my local gym and thought that was pretty cake, but it turns out, that was at best what is known as a 'mat Pilates' session. The more intense versions follow closely the teachings of Joseph Pilates and make use of specific Pilates equipment like the Reformer. (Cue my reflex reaction to get Snow's Informer ditty stuck in my head for the rest of the day.)
Me on Reformer - As if!

Pilates focuses a lot on slow controlled movements that seem simple at first, but really give muscles a workout. I'm trembling by the time I have to repeat most any movement. The core muscles especially get exhausted. Just try Rossi's sideplank circle walk - it's not easy.

Fitness: 8/10 It's an amazing way to strengthen muscles and build body control, but I felt it was missing a cardio element. 

Fun: 6/10 Pilates is cool way of getting in touch with what one's body is capable of and the exercises are almost like a body experiment - this looks easy, but damn, it's not! - and a good instructor really makes each session an educational experience. Lose-yourself-in-the-moment fun, though? Not so much. 

Sociability: 4/10 For private sessions, the only socialization is with the Pilates trainer. Group sessions are still quite small, and everyone seems serious about the exercises, so there's not much interaction or conversation.

Convenience: 7/10 Pilates is very popular in California, and there are studios all over the South Bay for retiring and rehabbing soccer players. 

Cost: 3/10 Private sessions are more expensive, of course, but even group sessions are pretty pricey. 

Pilates is an excellent workout, especially ideal for athletes who need precise body control, like dancers and soccer players, but it's not a terribly entertaining exercise. I'll probably do it some, like I try to eat some vegetables because I know they're good for me and I should, but not because I wouldn't rather have something else. 

Monday, March 9, 2015

Best of the Bunch

Here's the Liga MX Best XI - IMHO, and yes, I put in Joe Corona, but I'm not being American-partial. 

Tijuana are top of the league right now. 

It's deserved. 

Friday, March 6, 2015

Herculean Effort at Understanding

It's probably the headline of this piece quoting Herculez Gomez on yet-uncapped Mexican-American Ventura Alvarado that threw me off a bit. 

Herc, who played in the 2010 World Cup with the USA, is as red-white-and-true-blue as they come, encouraging other young Mexican-Americans like Paul Arriola to cast their lot with the USA. But I remember years ago asking a young, as-yet-uncapped Herc about his chances with Mexico - and yes, he was open to that possibility. Mexico never came calling, but the USA did. Thus, I was surprised that he would judge Ventura (a bit harshly, I thought) for doing something similar - saying he was undecided as to his final choice, but open at this point to both countries. 

I tweeted that opinion and then went on to do something else. While I was gone, Herc responded in a couple of tweets. But on my phone, this was the first one that popped up. 
While I thought it was odd that Herc would tell me, "Get offended," I figured it was short for "I can't control if people get offended," or something. 

Now I was confused. I scrolled down and saw that the first Tweet I responded to was actually the second part of another one. 

So Herc was explaining that there was more to the quote in the article and he was actually cautioning Ventura about possibly offending fans, not really blasting him at all. Now it was my turn to try to explain. 

Herc was pretty forgiving about it all. 

  Ultimately, Ventura Alvarado will have to make his choice - like Herc and Omar Gonzalez, Joe Corona and many others to come. Honestly, I think part of the fun of the rivalry involving the USA and Mexico is watching what happens with those choices.