With Thanksgiving right around the corner here in the states, I thought that I would write a quick piece about what I’m thankful for in the world of soccer. I’ll try to limit the amount of Manchester United related things in the list.
1. No International Breaks until March
Don’t get me wrong, I love watching international matches, but I love watching meaningful club games so much more. It’s almost painful to go two full weeks without being able to watch a Premier League or Champions League game, and instead being force fed meaningless friendlies where our best players get hurt. Now, we can all bask in the glory of club competition uninterrupted for a couple of months.
2. The End of the Klinsmann Era
I really wanted Jürgen to succeed with the national team, and for a while I tried to defend him to my friends, but now that he’s been fired, I’m almost relieved. What he tried to do with our national team was an admirable venture. Promote youth, recruit the top talent, and integrate a uniform playing style throughout the ranks. Sadly, that didn’t quite pan out. While I’m not ecstatic about the re-hiring of Bruce Arena, I think that Sunil Gulati made the right move by parting ways with the energetic German manager.
3. Zlatan Quotes
Now that Ibra plays for Manchester United, I find that I get more joy than usual when one of his quotes graces my timeline in the morning. His latest gem compared his domination of European football to the way Napoleon tried to take over the continent. The Big Swede told reporters, “Lots of people stay in one place throughout their career, but I’ve traveled around like Napoleon, and conquered every new country where I’ve set foot. So perhaps I should what Napoleon didn’t and cross the Atlantic and conquer the states as well.” Humble as ever. Thank you for providing me with an extra bit of joy today Zlatan. I greatly appreciate it.
4. Jürgen Klopp
I know that he’s the Liverpool manager, and because of that I should be rooting for his demise, but it’s impossible not to like Klopp. Seeing him in the Premier League just feels right, and he has somehow managed to breathe back some optimism into Anfield. The former BvB manager seemingly never has anything bad to say about anyone, and he even defended Wayne Rooney when the media demonized him for drinking during the international break. As much as I wish that he would’ve ended up at United, I’m just happy that we get to see more of him now in the Prem.
5. SC STL
For those outside of the states, or even just outside of Missouri, these letters might not mean much to you, but for me, they’re a god send. This month, St. Louis announced that they had formed an ownership group to fund an MLS expansion team and a brand new stadium right outside downtown. Granted, even if we end up getting the team they wouldn’t be joining the league until 2020 or so, but it’s still such an exciting thing to hear. After the Rams and the NFL abandoned us for California, any amount of good sports news for the city is awesome, and this announcement made me proud to be from the Lou. You can bet that I’ll be one of the first in line to get season tickets if this ends up happening.
Well, there you have it, the five things I’m most thankful for in the world of soccer today. I hope that you all enjoyed the read, and I hope you have a happy Thanksgiving! Don’t forget, Man U plays Fenerbache tomorrow, so if you want a break from eating you can tune in.