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Soccer Culture

18 April 9:54 am

David Beckham has gone one step closer to making his dream of appearing for Team GB at the London 2012 Olympics a reality.

On Wednesday head coach Stuart Pearce and the Football Association announced that an initial squad list of 191 players has been whittled down to 80, with Beckham making the cut. Wales’ Gareth Bale and Craig Bellamy and Englishman Joe Cole also made the list, however any player playing for England at Euro 2012 will not be selected.

The LA Galaxy man reminded fans in the US and worldwide what he is still capable of, with a wonder goal against the Portland Timbers during his side’s 3-1 win on Saturday.

Beckham — who grew up in East London where the games will be held — is keen to be part of Great Britain’s Olympic soccer squad, after helping the team’s successful bidding process way back in 2005.

The draw for the tournament will take place next Tuesday, April 24, as Beckham and the United Kingdom hope for a kind draw on home soil.

Teams Qualified for Olympic Soccer Tournament: Great Britain, Brazil, Belarus, Spain, Switzerland, Mexico, Uruguay, New Zealand, Honduras, South Korea, Japan, United Arab Emirates, Gabon, Morocco, Egypt, Oman or Senegal (AFC-CAF Playoff taking place on 23rd April)

16 April 6:43 pm

Let's play a game of "Name That Soccer Nation!"

  • Yellow jerseys = ?
  • Blue jerseys = ?
  • Light-blue-and-white-striped jerseys = ?

You got them right, didn't you? Because Brazil, Italy, and Argentina have long-defined aesthetic identities. You turn on the TV and if one of them -- or Holland or Spain or Germany -- is playing, you can recognize them without even a second glance. In other words, you know what those jerseys stand for before you even hear who is wearing them.

Now think back over the past couple of decades of US jerseys. How many can you remember?

The denim kit, of course. Novelty is always easy. There was a sash or two, I think, but I'm not sure I remember the color of said sashes. Then there was that gun-metal gray thing that still makes me think the designer spilled mercury on his keyboard when he was typing in the CMYK code.

Anyway, on Monday, US Soccer revealed the latest new US national team jersey, as they do every two years or so. To be perfectly honest, I don't mind it. It's got decent colors, a little character, and with apologies to FC Dallas is relatively unique on the international stage.

But then again, I didn't mind any of the other ones.

And that's the point: None of them ever sticks around long enough for me to care one way or the other. Which seems to suggest that the US lacks a true identity. I guess that's part of what Jurgen Klinsmann talks about when he talks about "finding the American style" and all that other stuff. Maybe, just maybe, he'll convince the federaion that to truly ever define the American style of playing, it would be good once and for all to define the American style of dressing.

14 April 6:31 pm

At halftime of Saturday's match between Philadelphia and Columbus on NBC Sports Network, the 2012 AT&T MLS All-Star Game jersey was revealed.

This is what the MLSers will wear when they take on Chelsea on July 25.

What do you think? 

13 April 4:52 pm

This week, we see the antics of two Sporting Kansas City youngsters on the golf course, two ex-MLS stars share a curry in England and Timbers rookie Andrew Jean-Baptiste shares his favorite movie quote.

Don't forget to follow our two official Twitter handles to find out the latest from inside MLS   

So this is what Sporting's young strikers Soony Saad and Dominic Dwyer get up to in their spare time!? Will Tiger Woods start doing this soon?

US International Stuart Holden enjoys a "rubby murray" (slang for Indian food in England), with fellow US International Robbie Rogers and brother Euan Holden - who also plays professionally for Stockport County in England.

Many people complain about the view from their office window - too many pigeons, construction work, etc. But Real Salt Lake's captain Kyle Beckerman can have no such complaints about the view from his "office." Wow.

Portland Timbers rookie Andrew Jean-Baptiste was drafted with the 8th overall pick this year. The former UCONN standout spends most of his time on Twitter. Here he shares a classic movie quote....well, sort of.

Liverpool striker and Welsh legend Craig Bellamy has always been a colorful character. Leander Schaerlaecken is eagerly anticipating a possible move to MLS.

If you see a soccer tweet that should be included in our top five, be sure to send it to the @MLS_Insider!

13 April 12:37 pm

In honor of Friday the 13th, the players of Montreal Impact were asked what superstitions they have before game time.

Superstitions in the world of sports generally are a result of pre-game rituals which have turned into habit.

Some say athletes are creatures of habit, and if that’s true, these creatures’ habits include: 90’s hip-hop, a propensity to their lower left limbs, and gorging on Gummi Bears.

See for yourself:

12 April 7:15 pm

Oh, that Jimmy Conrad. He's had a good life on the soccer field.

He played in the World Cup.

He captained Chivas USA.

Oh, and he beat Chelsea when Jose Mourinho was their manager. 

11 April 6:17 pm

The latest list released by fashion magazine Cosmpolitan is sure to cause banter, discussion and laughs in MLS locker rooms across the country.

“Hottest Major League Soccer Players,” is a photo gallery Cosmo has put together, showcasing the 19 sexiest players to grace MLS.

Click here to check out the full gallery

There are sure to be a few MLSers flicking through this gallery hoping to see themselves, but they are sure to be sorely disappointed as only one player from each club was selected.

Household name David Beckham makes the list, (I can already hear the ladies sighing and saying, “Obviously”) but other players looking suave and seductive include the chiseled Chris Wondolowski, Stephen Keel with his endless golden locks, and Montreal rookie Andrew Wenger sporting a textbook smile with a slicked-back hair style.

The photo captions alone are worth checking out. This gem about David Estrada may be the pick of the bunch:

“If recent games are any indication, this Seattle Sounders forward really knows how to score.”

09 April 10:08 am

Behold: The jerseys for Euro 2012 have been released. And there are many sashes.

The US men's national team made waves before the 2010 World Cup by reintroducing a sash to their jerseys in homage to the 1950 team that famously beat England. And while it's not exactly unique – teams like Trinidad and Tobago and Peru have been rocking the sash for years – it's not exactly standard fare.

So from whence come the sashes? This is undoubtedly jingoistic, biased, and self-aggrandizing, but I tend to think that the US brought the design back into vogue.

Which would also mark the first time that Europeans have ever taken fashion advice from Americans. Give yourselves a pat on the back, readers.

I, for one, feel pretty good about it. I like the sash on the US jerseys. I think they'll look good at Euro 2012. Undoubtedly, you feel differently. And... discuss!

06 April 5:34 pm

You may have noticed that this Saturday's match between the Columbus Crew and New York Red Bulls has shifted from Galavision to Univision Deportes.

The reason for that is that the Univision Deportes Network, the new all-sports network from Univision, is set to kick off on Saturday on DishLATINO and DISH’s America’s Top 200. The new network launches at 3 pm ET on Saturday with a live broadcast of New York's visit to Crew Stadium and will also air the Red Bulls match against Chivas USA on May 23. Viewers can also watch the Crew and Red Bulls' meeting on MLS LIVE outside the Columbus and New York areas.

“We have created a programming lineup that will connect and inform sports fans all day long on the teams and leagues they follow so passionately,” said Eric Conrad, vice president of Programming, Univision Deportes. “Univision has been bringing many of the most-watched matches to Hispanic viewers for 50 years and created Univision Deportes Network to bring expanded access to the content we know our viewers can’t get enough of. And through our partnership with Televisa, we are now able to offer U.S. audiences access to even more sports content.”

Univision Deportes Network’s launch day schedule for Saturday includes:
 
3 p.m. – 5 p.m. ET                 Major League Soccer: Columbus Crew vs. New York Red Bulls
5 p.m. – 7 p.m. ET                 Solo Boxeo Tecate: Special Edition
7 p.m. – 8 p.m. ET                 “Futbol Central”
8 p.m. – 10 p.m. ET               Liga Mexicana: Santos vs. Estudiantes Tecos
1 p.m. – 12 a.m. ET               Liga Mexicana: Monterrey vs. Tigres de la UANL
12 a.m. – 1 a.m. ET               “Univision Deportes Extra”

06 April 4:51 pm

With the Twitter world working overtime during the MLS season, every Friday we'll post five of the most inventive and interesting tweets from the North American soccer community from the previous week.

The best snippets of entertainment, knowledge and intrigue from inside the world of North American soccer will be displayed here, so be sure to keep up to date on what the players, coaches and journalists are tweeting about.

In our first week, we see how SI.com's Grant Wahl is having pet issues, USMNT coach Jurgen Klinsmann addresses his squad and an MLS star enjoys early morning word puzzles.

Don't forget to follow our two official Twitter handles to find out the latest from inside MLS   

So here they are: our five favorites from soccer's Twitterati: