Monday, June 28, 2010

Intersting Articles about US Soccer

The debate rages on - Will Bob Bradley be back? This and more in the following articles. Feel free to add your opinions by leaving a me crazy but I've got a feeling Bradley will be looking for work sometime soon after reading through the pertinent literature.

The New York Times says US soccer needs a Kobe Bryant (Thank you Captain Obvious. The article is essentially a celebrity viewpoint on how to grow soccer in America ala Mr. Bryant, which makes for an interesting read)

Found this on Kelly Gray's - Does US Soccer want Bob Bradley back?

Who says baseball is boring? With TVs tuned to the World Cup, fans in Kansas City entertained themselves while watching the Royals.

Jeff Carlisle looks ahead to which players might have a shot at the 2014 roster (Carlisle is apparently an Ike Opara fan. Good news for Quakes Nation).

Sunil Gulati isn't a happy camper. Bye bye Bradley?

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Kelly Gray: Exciting Tournament for the USA

I am writing this as I watch the US vs. Ghana game. I am so nervous about the game that I had to pull out my computer and start writing. I thought that I would take a bit of a different approach to this entry and write as the game goes on.

So far I am really impressed with the difference that Mo Edu and Benny Feilhaber have made on the game. Dempsey is taking a beating, but keeps bouncing up and creating problems the Ghanaian defense. Michael Bradley might be the most important player on this US squad. His late runs out of midfield throw off even the stingiest of defenses.


We are in the 77th minute now and the game has slowed a little. I need to change the subject or I am going to go crazy.

Ok lets talk about Uruguay vs. South Korea. Uruguay, for being a really small country, has been a surprise to me. I mean, I think we all knew that Diego Forlan was a great player, but that is it right? I guess not. Clearly they have some serious talent. Watch out for them in the semis.


84th minute now and Jozy was so close to finishing his chance. The US attack is heating up a bit and I think that if we have to go to extra time our superior fitness level and our “never say die” attitude will see us prevail. Of course I say all of that assuming that we don’t make any glaring mistakes defensively.


Full time. Ok time to go to extra time. Bob Bradley has always been known for being a fitness fanatic. This is where all those extra fitness days will hopefully pay off.


NO !!! What is the deal? Why do we have such a problem realizing that the game has started? We always give up a goal early. Now we will really see what we are made of.


Halftime in extra time. Ok Boys. 15 minutes to get a goal. We can do it! Lets have a good start to the second half.

Ghana is playing very patient football. They are just trying to connect passes and kill the game off.


10 minutes left. I don’t like how the Ghana players are faking injuries just to kill more time. Just be honest and try to beat us fair and square. And now a sub taking his sweet time to get off the field. Come on Ghana. How about some class.


Game Over.

Well it was a good run and now the United States realizes that soccer is here to stay. I’m unbelievably proud of our boys and am excited for the future of US Soccer.

Stay tuned for more of my opinions and as always be sure to follow me on twitter at @kelg22 and check my personal blog TheTotalFootballer. You can also email me at


Thursday, June 24, 2010

Kelly Gray: USA! USA! USA!

Now that's what I’m talking about. LD Stepped up and really showed that he is one of the best players in the world. The whole team really impressed me.

It seemed like Algeria kind of gave up and just wanted to stop the US from going through. That being the case, I am glad that we handed it to them.

And what is going on with these refs? I mean come on! Another goal called back for offsides when it was very clear that that wasn’t the case. I think people just have it out for our boys!

After watching all of the games thus far I am thinking that Holland are the frontrunners right now. They cruised to an easy win against Cameroon today, leaving the Orange undefeated thus far. I was really impressed with some of there play and the fact that they got Robben back today is a huge boost for them.

Defending champs Italy are out? And runners up France too? What is going on?

I have to say I am glad that France crumbled. They were all acting like little children and I was glad to see that it translated to the field.

Italy put up a good fight against Slovakia and came close to advancing, but I think in the end they just weren’t able to put the ball in the net, and, in this game, that is all that matters.

OK, on to what is really important…US vs. Ghana. I think this is a great matchup for our boys. I think that the US are looking forward to some payback for the last World Cup and coming off that dramatic win over Algeria, their confidence will be sky high.

Individually, our players are more talented and i's just a question of if we can put the right performance together.

I can’t wait for Saturday and will be wearing my red, white and blue!

Stay tuned for more of my opinions and as always be sure to follow me on twitter at @kelg22 and check my personal blog TheTotalFootballer. You can also email me at


Wednesday, June 23, 2010

A Tribute to the Bafana Bafana Macarena

South Africa might not have made it into the Round of 16, but their signature dance after scoring the inaugural goal of the 2010 World Cup left an impression in our hearts. If you haven't seen the Bafana Bafana Macarena, it goes a little like this:

Get Microsoft Silverlight

Frankly Speaking: My Countdown to Pandomonium

While still jaded by the afterglow of the most dramatic win in my U.S. Soccer history, I decided to share my journey through today's thriller. The thoughts in this blog are reflective of one man's opinion:

4 AM - Can't sleep. Too excited/nervous/ready to fist-pump the USA through to the Round of 16 to sleep.

4:54 AM - Laying in bed trying to will myself to sleep isn't working. Decided to get up and start logging significant points in my day for this blog. (well done so far, eh?)

5:13 AM - Played some old school FIFA on the PS2. Defeated Algeria 7-0. Good things to come?

6:35 AM - Will skip on the unnecessary details that led to me getting out the door. Onwards to The Brit in Downtown San Jose!

6:39 AM - I get a text from a coworker informing me that he's waiting in line to get into The Brit. Odds of finding a table indoors looks bleak.

6:50 AM - No tables left at The Brit. Line out the door. Lots of USA supporters. Looks to be a great atmosphere.

6:58 AM - Went straight to the patio in the back of The Brit. Found a seat near some diehard Quakes fans decked out in USA gear. Come on you Americans, let's do this thing!

6:59 AM - Why are the speakers blaring commentary from the England-Slovenia game? Nobody here wants to listen to Martin Tyler today!

7:03 AM - I've been informed that the speakers in the back were set up long before kickoff to only play the commentary from England-Slovenia. Epic fail for The Brit. I'm joining the exodus of American fans who want to watch and listen to USA-Algeria.

7:07 AM - Settled into a seat at Peggy Sue's. Bring on some pancakes & US goals.

7:21 AM - "Aww, that's horrible. He's not offsides!" There were plenty of expletives accompanying that voice of reason. Dempsey scores only to see the U.S. hit with another questionable, goal-denying call. Fifa 2, U.S. 0.

*Side note: WTF MATE?!?!?

7:47 AM - My original prediction was a pair of second-half goals for the USA. I shouldn't be so nervous then, right? Would rather I were wrong and the US went up 5-0 at the half. Not many words being spoken at Peggy Sue's during the break.

8:02 AM - Like seeing Feilhaber get on the field. Everything you got now boys!

8:14 AM - Dempsey hits the post. Tear :'( The USA is cursed.

8:24 AM - I need to change the mojo. (I'm crazy superstitious. During Little League games, I would strike a pose in the dugout when my team was at the plate. Hits meant I wouldn't move. Outs led to a change in posture. I still do this while watching games. It's slightly embarrassing, but makes me feel better.) Where better to find some good luck than the Irish Pub next door? To O'Flaherty's!

8:26 AM - So this is where that mob that left The Brit ended up...

8:35 AM - Why can't we just score? What's it going to take? I blame Bill Clinton. He should have sent the Secret Service at Algerian keeper Rais M'Bolhi a long time ago.

8:45 AM - DNSO#h89HAAiwbFPIIPEpa9w(W9bofWbioiOBFioFWq90h0h9 QWF(:PH) WEG:B(ABOegjehifHOWoAWoa@@*)*(FWj*%Gh09p308Q#HGbgW?!?!?!?!??!?!??!?!?!?!?

8:46 AM - I will never swear, drink or leave a nearly-emptied carton of milk in the refrigerator again...just please let the US score!




8:55 AM - OK, I'm good. WOW! Amazing finish. Cheers to Landon Donovan and 91st-minute miracles. Somebody strike up a song..."This Magic Moment" and "Na Na Hey Hey" come to mind.


Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Frankly Speaking: Do or Die

This is it. Do or die. Sink or swim. Round of 16 or heading home in embarrassing fashion to the disappointment of millions.

The U.S. is one win away from competing in the knockout phase, a single elimination battle royal that will determine the World Cup champion. No scoreboard watching for goal differentials - one win and you're in.

I would have doubled down last December if told the U.S. would only need a win against Algeria to reach the Round of 16. Algeria? C'mon now, seriously? That's it? No problemo.

Why then do I have the sweaty palms of a teenager awkwardly standing on the doorstep after a first date? So close to scoring, yet so far away.

The U.S. should beat Algeria. The game should be a relative cakewalk if FIFA on XBox player ratings hold true. (If only it were that simple, a couple taps of the "A" button followed by a slight hold-and-release of "B" and voila, goals galore.)

Maybe it's the first 45 minutes of uninspiring soccer the U.S. played against Slovenia or perhaps it's the porous back line, but I'm going to lose some sleep tonight waiting for what is one of the most significant matches in U.S. Soccer history.

Let's be real here, Corporate America has tossed some serious weight at soccer over the last few months. Millions of dollars have been spent on commercials with the world's biggest stars, pumping up the American public for what Nike, adidas and ESPN promised with $$$ would be an amazing tournament.

Here's the cold truth: No matter how many players Lionel Messi jukes or how many goals Wayne Rooney scores, what every American is aching to see is U.S. success.

I've heard my dad's soccer analysis enough to know that wins are what matter. Win and U.S. Soccer has a captive audience for at least one more match. Lose and every middle-of-the-road soccer fan will say, "The U.S. always chokes at the World Cup."

It's time for U.S. Soccer to step up to expectations or spend another four years wondering, "What if?"

Monday, June 21, 2010

Kelly Gray: Italy on the ropes? Second set of games adds flavor

Now, this is apparently where all of the teams start playing. Like I said in my last post, I was disappointed in the first round of games. Teams like Argentina, Spain, Italy, Portugal, Holland and Brazil really didn’t play up to their potential. The second round of games, though, has been different.

First we will start with the U.S. game. The first half was reminiscent of the 1998 World Cup team. The Americans gave up an early goal and couldn’t string any passes together. The U.S. looked like they were out of their league. To Slovenia’s credit, their first goal was an amazing strike.

The second half was completely different. I couldn’t believe it was the same team that came out the first half. The U.S. were working together, getting chances, and doing all of the dirty work that it wasn’t doing in the first half.

I was particularly impressed with both goal scorers. Landon really stepped up and led the charge for the comeback. His goal was typical of Landon - calm, collected and placed perfectly into the net.

Michael Bradley was connecting passes, breaking up plays and his goal was the end result of some amazing play by the U.S. I love seeing him push into the attack and if he keeps making that third-man run then he is going to cause a lot of problems for the Algerian defense.

Onto the other teams. Portugal absolutely handed it to the North Koreans. I mean 7-0, damn. That is a butt kicking, and if you saw the highlights, all of the goals were good goals. If they continue to play like that then watch out for the Portuguese.

Brazil played very calm football with some glimpses of the Samba Boys and created some beautiful goals. Even if Luis Fabiano’s second strike was a handball, it was still a beautiful goal.

Italy is on the verge of being knocked out of the tournament and they will be if they keep playing the boring football that they have the last two games.

Holland is still playing pretty well. I really want to see Robin van Persie take over a game and be the leader for the Dutch.

Spain played some of the best soccer I have seen so far in their game against Honduras. If they keep that up they actually might live up to the expectations that the Spanish people have for their team.

Ok…that is enough for today. As always follow me on twitter @kelg22 and be sure to check The Total Footballer for the latest in the footballer lifestyle. Please email me at

Friday, June 18, 2010

Frankly Speaking: Robbed? Koman Coulibali snatches win from U.S.

Heartbroken. Hopeful. Elated. Robbed. Relieved.

You can use any number of adjectives to describe the way U.S. fans feel after that 2-2 draw with Slovenia. It was a roller-coaster ride of emotions.

First, I was absolutely heartbroken. At the half I thought the U.S. World Cup was over. All the talk about soccer finally growing roots in American culture, millions of dollars spent in advertising by ESPN, adidas and other agencies, would vanish after two measly games.

Next came hope after Landon Donovan roofed a brilliant goal. I moved to the edge of my seat after that strike - it brought back memories of Luis Fabiano finding net in the 46th minute to spark Brazil to a 3-2 comeback win over the U.S. in the 2009 Confederations Cup. Maybe this time it would be the Americans finding that second-half swagger?

When Michael Bradley volleyed in the equalizer in the 83rd minute, I got chills. The standing-room only crowd at The Brit in Downtown San Jose erupted. Chants of "USA! USA! USA" bounced around the room, fans high-fived and hugged as the U.S. resurrected its World Cup hopes.

However, it was the 86th minute that will linger in every American's mind. A silence filled the room as the ball hung in the air, destined for U.S. glory at the foot of Maurice Edu - then jubilation.

"This is it. This is that magic moment U.S. soccer has needed. That epic, highlight-reel comeback win that lives forever," I thought.

Then came the tragic news. Offside.

(It turns out the call was actually a foul on Carlos Bocanegra. Bocanegra, coincidentally, was in a headlock during that play.) (Edit: Check that, the foul, as of 10:24 a.m. PT has been changed to Edu. We'll keep you posted as this mystery whistle continues to evolve.)

Malian referee Koman Coulibali (Now trending worldwide on Twitter) spoiled what would have been the best match of the 2010 World Cup to date, but at least the U.S. are still alive.

Perhaps against Algeria the U.S. won't allow a 2-0 halftime deficit. For now, U.S. fans should feel relieved - after all, the Americans were 45 minutes away from elimination.

Let's hope that sense of urgency never leaves.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

World Cup Day 7 Updates

  • Argentina secured their spot in the Round of 16 with a 4-1 drubbing of South Korea at Soccer City Stadium in Johannesburg. Gonzalo Higuaín scored a hat trick for the Argentines, moving into the early lead for the tournament's Golden Boot.
  • Greece took advantage of a Nigerian red card to come from behind for a 2-1 win. Sani Kaita was sent off in the 33rd minute after kicking Greece's Vasilis Torosidis during a deadfall on the sideline. Kaita was retaliating after a shove, lost his composure and took a swipe with his foot at Torosidis. The straight red negated any momentum Nigeria had built after taking a 1-0 lead in the 16th minute. Greece won its first-ever World Cup match and also scored for the first time.
  • Group B set itself up for a rather interesting final day after the Argentina and Greece results. Argentina has all but locked up a trip to the Round of 16, but all three teams below are in play to advance. South Korea would lock up a Round of 16 berth by defeating Nigeria followed by a Greek loss or draw to Argentina.
  • Mexico pulled away from France for a 2-0 result. Javier "El Chicharito" Hernández made a darting run through the French back line and collected a through-ball for a 1-v-1 in the area. The Mexican striker cut back to beat the keeper and then placed a shot into the back of the net for what would become the game's decisive goal.
  • Group A is all but set with Uruguay and Mexico sitting atop with four points each. France would need a 4-0 win over South Africa and a Mexican loss to re-enter the equation. South Africa are poised to become the first host nation not to advance to the Round of 16 in the history of the World Cup.

Kelly Gray: First Impressions

Every team has now played at least one game. Personally I have been a bit disappointed with the majority of play.

Germany seems to be the team to beat right now. They came out and made a statement. I mean 4-0 against anyone is a beating, but in a World Cup it's a whole other story.

I thought Australia would put up a much better fight and I still can’t believe that Tim Cahill got a red card. I mean come on. If you're the star of the team and a veteran, you should be more professional than to get thrown out of your team’s first game. You are supposed to make a point in your first game, and the point shouldn’t be ,“We will be back in 4 years.”

OK, on to the U.S. game. I think the U.S. actually could have won that game. I was utterly unimpressed by England and thought that we had better possession. Robby Findley had some great touches, but I want to see him be more dangerous. Jozy had a great chance and I think he has to build on that in the next game. For me though, Timmy Howard is the MVP. He is amazing and stepped up every time he was called upon.

Brazil was unimpressive, except for Maicon’s goal. North Korea scored a great one and looks like they could compete with some of the better teams in the tournament. Italy was boring and was lucky to tie up the game. Spain had some exciting play but couldn’t put the ball in the net. Argentina played some sporadic soccer, and Lionel Messi looked dangerous. He was foiled every time though by the outstanding play of the Nigerian keeper.

I loved seeing former Quake Simon Elliott and the Kiwis tie up the game against Slovakia 1-1 in the 93rd minute.

Uruguay came out and really played some exciting football. Diego Forlan is making a play for tournament MVP and as of right now has scored the goal of the tournament.

This is what I love about this tournament: Everyday things could change. It only takes one game.

Stay tuned for more of my opinions and as always be sure to follow me on twitter at @kelg22 and check my personal blog TheTotalFootballer. You can also email me at


Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Frankly Speaking: Komac guarantees more than he can deliver

Why do athletes do this to themselves?

Andrej Komac, a reserve for Slovenia, has guaranteed victory against the U.S. on Friday, an unnecessary jab that will undoubtedly become locker room fodder for the Americans.

I don't mind that Komac is confident. Any player who believes his team is going to lose shouldn't be on the field. However, there's something to be said about modesty and keeping such wishful dreams to oneself.

Let's be real here: Komac is a substitute, an otherwise unnoticed cog in the Slovenian machine. He's playing for a team that just won its first match in World Cup history. His only noteworthy moment at this World Cup - ridiculous prediction notwithstanding - has been a yellow card against Algeria.

Slovenia should enjoy its time atop the Group C table because it may be short lived. A quick rundown of what I saw on Sunday:
In summation, Slovenia needed a lucky goal while playing against 10 men in order to defeat a weak team. Anybody else unimpressed? Before making any noise on the world's stage, please register some meaningful qualifications.

Andrej Komac, consider yourself on blast - if you even see the field - when the U.S. plays Slovenia on Friday.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Friday, June 11, 2010

U.S. Starting XI According to Frank Yallop & John Doyle

The U.S. will play England in Group C action from the FIFA World Cup in South Africa on Saturday at 11:30 a.m. (ABC, ESPN3). A pair of Quakes staff weighed in on what they thought the U.S. lineup should look like. Let's have a look:

John Doyle's XI:





Analysis: Buddle has a hot foot right now and gets the start alongside Altidore. Donovan and Dempsey are a given. Holden is a quality distributor and can create dangerous opportunities. Onyewu is the big question mark - the U.S. needs a healthy back line to match up with England's high-profile attackers.

Frank Yallop's XI:





Analysis: Why not start Buddle? He's been scoring all year and gets the nod up top after putting two in against a quality Australian side. Dempsey are creators and will provide the U.S. some spark from all areas of the field. Donovan especially has a very high work rate and will need to be at the top of his game for the U.S. to be successful. Goodson gets the nod over a banged-up Onyewu, but obviously Gooch gets the start if he's fit. He didn't look the part in the American's first exhibition so we'll have to see what his future holds.

John Doyle is the General Manager of Soccer Operations for the San Jose Earthquakes. He has been an active participant at nearly every level of the game - as a player for the U.S. at the 1990 World Cup; as a coach for the San Jose Earthquakes; as a commentator for Comcast; and now as the GM and resident expert for the Quakes.

Frank Yallop is the head coach of the San Jose Earthquakes. He was born in Watford, England (where current U.S. National Team member Jay DeMerit suits up) and had a playing career that began at Ipswich Town in England and ended with the now defunct Tampa Bay Mutiny of MLS. Yallop has had a successful career as a coach, winning two MLS titles with the Quakes and heading the Canadian National Team for better than two years.

South African Goal Celebration: The Bafana Bafana Macarena

Loved this goal celebration. Bafana Bafana baby!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Kelly Gray: Let it Begin

I have been looking forward to this day for the last four years and it is finally here. The World Cup begins Friday with the match between the host nation, South Africa, and our southern neighbors, Mexico.

I will be waking up at 4:30 a.m. to get the tournament started the right way. Am I crazy? Perhaps, but this event only happens once every four years and I want to take in every second of it.

I am going to be blogging about the tournament for the next month and wanted to start the festivities with my thoughts on who has a chance at winning this thing.

Without seeing how all the teams start the tournament, Spain and Argentina are my favorites to take the trophy. Both teams have big-name players who have experience competing in some of the biggest games in the world.

That said, you can’t sleep on Holland, Germany, France or England. Now I hope England loses their first game, but lets be honest, they play some good football and I would love to see them progress in the tournament along with the U.S.

As for the U.S., I think we have put together the best team we have had in a long time. All of the players are in spectacular form right now and if the U.S. start well against England, the sky is the limit.

I think the U.S. have to be sure not to take Slovenia and Algeria for granted, but those should be two wins for America.

I am realjavascript:void(0)ly looking forward to seeing Landon step up and be the true leader of our team. I am a little worried about our team defensively, but hope that Timmy Howard will continue to make the big saves when called upon.

Ok folks. That’s all for now so please be sure to check back every couple days for my next entries.

Be sure to follow me on twitter at #kelg22 and check my personal blog TheTotalFootballer. You can also email me at


Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Beta Tests the Jabulani for NASA

Steven Beitashour became the first San Jose Earthquakes player to visit the moon on Monday - errr, well he's probably the closest to reaching the moon after taking a trip to the Ames Research Center at Moffett Field in Mountain View, Calif. Beta was the testing subject for a research project using the official ball of the 2010 World Cup, the infamous Jabulani.

(Note: Yes, we know the Jabulani is not used in every clip of this video. There were multiple soccer balls used in the filming if this segment.)

Get Microsoft Silverlight

Friday, June 4, 2010

Caption Contest - Win Two Quakes Tickets!

Write in a caption for this picture from Wednesday's 2-2 draw against the Columbus Crew. The two best responses will win tickets to a Quakes home match in 2010 (either the Sept. 15 home game against the Phildaelphia Union or Sept. 29 vs. the Chicago Fire). Let's hear what you've got! (Hint: If you post anonymously, we will not be able to contact you. If you want to win the tickets, please leave contact info)

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Pelada Screening: Check Out This Amazing Documentary

NEW Pelada Trailer from Rebekah Fergusson on Vimeo.

I can tell you that this documentary is a must-see for every soccer fan. Two students from Duke wrap up their college playing careers and decide to chase the game from from country to country, playing pick-up matches along the way with anybody who would have them.

Take a look at the trailer to get a taste of their journey. The viewing will be Thursday, June 3 in San Francisco. Details below:

San Francisco Premiere of Pelada
Thursday, June 3rd
8:00 p.m. - Victoria Theatre
2961 16th Street (one block from BART)
San Francisco, CA

Q&A with director Rebekah Fergusson after the screening. DVDs will be available for purchase.

TICKETS: $10.00
Cash/Check at the door or BUY TICKETS ONLINE:


What they'res saying about Quakes-Columbus

San Jose Earthquakes vs. Columbus Crew
7 p.m. (sun or no sun) at Buck Shaw Stadium