The best way for soccer fans to get ready for the upcoming season is to get reading. We’ve always found the off-season to be a great time to dig into the soccer-related blogs (and, yes, football blogs from across the pond, too). This way, you can look through last year’s highlights, get up to speed on trends and rumors of transfers, do a little research on tactics, and even find out how one organization is using soccer to help youth succeed in life.
General Soccer Blogs
Wrong Side of the Pond, Twitter: @wrongsideofpond
Here’s American soccer commentary from the “wilds of Ohio,” a blog specifically for the American soccer fan. Its goal is to “capture, reflect upon and promote the rise of American soccer culture.”
MLS Rumors, Twitter: @mlsrumors
This is a blog that calls itself “for the time between the games.” It follows multiple sources, including websites, online news outlets and Twitter feeds, aggregating the latest headlines, gossip and rumors from the world of Major League Soccer into one handy source.
Zonal Marking, Twitter: @Zonal_Marking
If you’ve always wanted to learn more about formations and tactics, bookmark this blog written by Michael Cox. Zonal Marking is a must-read for soccer fanatics with a deep interest in strategy and tactical analysis. While it’s mostly European and international football matches that undergo scrutiny, the information is global.
The FBM Blog, Twitter: @FreeBeerMovemnt
Building American soccer one beer at a time, FBM’s goal is to make the United States fall in love with soccer. The theory goes like this this: “Buy your friends a beer, and watch as a lifelong love affair with the beautiful game begins.”
This Day in Football History, Twitter: @BrianSeal
Celebrating football’s milestones “from the mundane to the magnificent” is what This Day in Football History blog is all about. An example of the ridiculous is also captured with OTD in 2004, when FIFA’s Sepp Blatter suggested that women’s football could increase its appeal by having tighter shorts.
No Short Corners, Twitter: @_NoShortCorners
A group of four “soccerphiles,” including Greg Seltzer of MLSsoccer.com, reports on soccer across the globe, covering everything from MLS, US national teams and all the Cups, plus college and high school soccer.
Soccer Without Borders, Twitter: @soccerwoborders
The stated mission of SWB is “to use soccer as a vehicle for positive change, providing under-served youth a toolkit to overcome obstacles to growth, inclusion and personal success.” The US program has five locations nationwide: Baltimore; Boston; Greeley, CO; Oakland and New York, giving newcomer refugees and immigrant youth a chance integrate fully in this country by making friends, learning English and succeeding at school.
Soccer isn’t just a game at SWB. Results for participants “come from the commitment of trained, caring coaches and mentors who use a range of activities to develop the whole person — not just the player — and foster a safe, supportive team community.”
World Soccer Talk, Twitter: @worldsoccertalk
You only don’t know about World Soccer Talk if you’re a completely new soccer fan. Since 2005, WST has been offering news, analysis and opinion on the world of soccer and also features TV schedules (so you can plan your life) and has podcasts for those lonely times in between games.
WVHooligan.com – MLS Blog, Twitter: @wvhooligan
Drew Epperley is the owner of WVHooligan, calling himself a “fan of the world’s game (and part-time nut)” and says he looks at Major League Soccer through the eyes of an MLS writer and fan. Epperley also says his views are “always awesome.”
Soccer in Chicago
Chicago Fire, Twitter: @ChicagoFire
Watch GIFs of goals and celebrations along with videos of particularly awesome plays by Fire players, then read quote sheet posts on a game just played, where head coaches and players from both teams discuss their thoughts on the match, goals scored (or not) and everything else soccer.
Hot Time in the Old Town, Twitter: @HotTimeOldTown
Spearheaded by Editor-in-Chief Sean Spence, Hot Time in the Old Town is an admittedly “Chicago Fire-centric blog about Chicago soccer,” and its readers (sometimes referred to as Fire nation) are more than your typical fan.
These are people who are invested in everything Chicago Fire, earnestly discussing topics from from how to plan their weekends and watch parties with the release of the 2015 schedule to the best Pub to Pitch route as well as wondering whether it would have been smarter for the Fire to take advantage of the MLS buy-out clause in the loan situation of Tottenham’s Grant Ward.
OTF Soccer, Twitter: OTFSoccer
Calling itself an independent digital fanzine from Chicago, OTF Soccer also says it provides analysis, insight and fluff. If you take a look at its archives, you’ll see how strongly the presence of Chicago Fire figures, with categories including front office, match previews and reviews, player profiles, power rankings and preseason and training notes.
2014 Champs and Runners-Up
LAG Confidential, Twitter: @LAGConfidential
The LAG Confidential blog titles itself as “Your best source for quality LA Galaxy news, rumors, analysis, stats and scores from the fan perspective.” There was a lot of news to cover last month with the team winning the 2014 MLS Championship, for a record fifth MLS Cup. Another record was reached by Galaxy team member, Landon Donovan, who retired after the championship with the most winners’ medals in MLS history.
100% Soccer, Twitter: @LAsoccerblog
While not specific to LA Galaxy, Nick Green, soccer blogger and columnist for the Los Angeles News Group, does bring you soccer news from in and around Los Angeles. Look for his weekly column as well as reports of trades, preseason schedules and even the exciting possibility of a new hangout for LA Galaxy fans to grab a pre- or post-game brew.
New England Revolution, Twitter: @TheBentMusket
For soccer news, game schedules, roster, stats and analysis on the 2014 runner-up, take a look at the New England Revolution blog on SB Nation. The Bent Musket staff is trying to predict how many points the Revolution will collect next year, having ended the season with 55, the second highest total in its history.
Sounders FC, Twitter: @mattpentz
This football club blog is courtesy of Matt Pentz, the Sounders FC beat writer at the Seattle Times. Although he covers world soccer and “all things soccer in the Emerald City,” Pentz knows his Sounders, posting articles such as “The 14 most memorable Sounders moments of 2014”.
If you need another Sounders source of information, you can always head to the next blog on this list.
Sounder at Heart, Twitter: @sounderatheart
Sounder at Heart brings you SuperDraft picks, player profiles and interviews and announcements for upcoming open S2 try-out dates — with at least one participant to be “offered a trial with Head Coach Ezra Hendrickson’s team.”
Once A Metro, Twitter: @Once_A_Metro
Another SB Nation Soccer blog, Once A Metro covers both the New York Red Bulls (who, like the Seattle Sounders, were 2014 conference runners-up) and the Sky Blue FC. Read about everything from Town Hall meetings by Red Bulls season-ticket holders to Lester Townsend’s article about the benefits of NYRB having a full reserve squad in USL Pro.
New to the MLS
Two teams are joining Major League Soccer this season, and you can get some early intel on them at the official site below.
New York City FC, Twitter: @NYCFC
The team has two exhibition matches scheduled to kick off its inaugural MLS campaign, facing European clubs — St. Mirren in Scotland and Brondby in Denmark — in mid-February. The NYCFC blog posts states that: “Head Coach Jason Kreis believes the pre-season plans will help to give New York City FC the best possible start to its first season in the MLS.”
Orlando City Soccer Club, Twitter: @OrlandoCitySC
Major League Soccer’s 21st team, Orlando City SC picked up some key pieces in the last draft, including forward Cyle Larin (selected as the number one overall pick in the 2015 Major League Soccer SuperDraft and called by OCSC Head Coach Adrian Heath “the best player in the draft”) as well as defender Conor Donovan and forward Akeil Barrett, both in the second round of the SuperDraft.
Couldn’t Resist These
In any roundup of soccer blogs, we’re bound to miss some great ones, but here are a few from around the MLS and elsewhere we think are worth a look:
Real Salt Lake, Twitter: @rslsoapbox
The Real Salt Lake blog is full of news and views, including tracking last year’s draft picks, and also has in-depth fan posts, like the one by Christian Austin that examines the role of universities in America’s developing soccer culture.
Toronto FC, Twitter: TFC_Rumors
Fans of the Toronto-based professional soccer club that competes in Major League Soccer can read about swaps and follow a new series of weekly scouting reports, in which Don Johnson takes a look at players “that the club should consider acquiring to bolster the 2015 Toronto FC squad.”
Real Madrid Football Blog, Twitter: @RMFootballBlog
Founded by a group of writers, the RMFB is an English language blog about the most successful club of the 20th century, Real Madrid, offering news, insight and opinion. Its staff is “dedicated to the Madridista club and culture, and hope to bring the finest coverage of Real Madrid without actually being in Madrid.”