The core of the first team of the club he’d signed for were expatriated Scots. Most had played professionally at respectable levels in their homeland before an invitation to chase the ball over the pond in sunnier climates tempted them abroad. Some had played in Ranger, Celtic derbies in Scotland’s top flight. It was common knowledge at the club but the players involved never saw fit to broach the subject, at least publically at any rate. Granite tough, skillful and canny, what had been lost with age they’d replaced with nous. They’d take turns to see who could make the young charges look the silliest.

When in possession, a veteran would toe poke the ball into any youngster foolish enough to attempt to relinquish him of it. The ball would ricochet with sufficient force back off of their hapless adversary for the Scotsman to retrieve and repeat the act, whenever appropriate, until the rookie would come to expect it. Given enough time, as the senior of the pair recoiled his leg to smack the ball into his youthful opponent once more, the defender’s self-preservation instinct would kick in. Read More


Suppose for a moment, soccer was your business. You’re the one behind the controls of soccer in your New World country. Your vision and decisions would mould the beautiful game’s future within your nation’s borders. Given the current state of soccer in your country, domestically and internationally, would you echo the sentiments and prevalent trains of thought that have brought New World soccer to its current location? When your trusted counsel remained adamant that the adopted practices of Old World soccer’s superpowers was the most feasible way forward for your  New World nation’s efforts, would you accept their word on face value? In the educated and well-informed opinion of your brains trust, “New World soccer’s transformation into a dominant domestic and international force” was “strictly a matter of time.” Would you accept their prediction as conclusive or would you feel inclined to demand more than that?

“Exactly how much time are we talking here?”

Not all that unreasonable an inquiry to make for someone in your position. They’ve had over 30 years of soccer experience to accrue the data to make such predictions. All the Old World soccer mysteries of consequence have been solved. The Old World nations who establish the benchmarks of excellence to which the rest of the world aspire, and the relative location of New World soccer nations in comparison, is all laid out in black and white. Every single nation on the planet is fully aware of their position on the soccer hierarchy and equally conscious of the passage of time it has taken them to reach their current locale. Most New World nations are quick to point out the improvements they’ve made to the sport within their borders. The unfortunate fact they are somewhat more reluctant to air is the familiarity of their position on the soccer pecking order relative to those Old World nations they have spent over a generation trying to usurp. Read More