Turd of the Week #20

Heroes of the Week: Kasey Keller, for another classic match between the sticks, including turning away a 42nd minute penalty, and Joe-Max Moore, a 60th minute substitute, for notching the game winner in the 88th minute. Another day at the office? A friendly against Lower Slobovia? No, a 1:0 win against Argentina! *surf dance*

I was wondering this myself:

Why is Kasey Keller unemployed?

By Vin Narayanan, USATODAY.com

The American netminder displayed world-class skills in turning away a variety of point-blank opportunities in the United States 1-0 victory over Argentina Sunday.

Argentina’s strikers, midfielders and defenders all took their best shots, but they couldn’t faze the crafty goalie before 40,119 boisterous fans at RFK Stadium.

Penalty shot? No problem for Keller. Just a fake move to the right, dive left and deny Argentina striker Gustavo Lopez of what is normally a sure goal.

Argentina defender Hugo Ibarra running free in the right side of the penalty area? Keller doesn’t think twice. He closes down the angle and makes a one-handed stab save on a rocket aimed for the left side of the goal.

When Argentina substitute midfielder Christian Gonzalez breaks open near the net, Keller doesn’t flinch. He dives to his left, parries away the shot aimed for the far post.

And in the 88th minute, Keller steamrolls Gonzalez into the ground to keep him from getting to a loose ball in the area, thus preserving the 1-0 victory for the U.S.

This isn’t the first time Keller has given another country nightmares. Last year, Keller did everything but stand on his head to lead the U.S. to a 1-0 win over Brazil.

In that game, Keller made four spectacular saves on shots by Brazilian superstar Romario. After Romario saw his fourth shot — a hard header from six yards out — end up in the arms of Keller, he paused to shake the keepers’ hand before jogging back to midfield.

Now that’s respect.

After spending the last three years with Leicester City in the English Premier League, Keller is widely considered one of the world’s best goaltenders. Keller has been in contact with several teams since becoming a free agent, but a deal hasn’t materialized.

That’s absurd. Clubs throughout the world should be lining up to acquire the services of a top-flight goaltender like Keller. He has the ability to lift a team into the top tier of any premier league. And he could be the difference between winning the UEFA Cup and finishing second.

He’s that good.

So somebody, give this man a job.


The other idiot Jerry: Another week, another brain fart by another hack named Jerry. This one surnamed Langdon, sports editor of Gannett News Service, the company that brought us the very definition of in-depth investigative reporting and journalistic integrity, USA Today. (For you Brits, USA Today is crap like the Sun, but without the redeeming value of a Page 3 Girl.) In his Soccer Times column, Jerry, who likes to hold himself out as some sort of soccer expert, stated that “The United States is 4-2-1 under Arena.” In the US, for sports such as American football, records are listed as wins, losses and draws. But as we who actually do know something about soccer know, soccer records are stated in terms of wins, draws and losses. The US has won four games, drawn one, and lost two under Bruce Arena. That makes the US record, again for those who actually know something about soccer, 4-1-2. Jerry’s gaffe can be explained one of several ways:

Misprint: Considering it is Gannett we are speaking about, this is entirely possible.
Casual Fan Syndrome: Since MLS’ beloved casual fan doesn’t want to take the time to actually learn something about the sport, Jerry felt he had to translate soccer standings into an American-readable form. This is same as a cannibal becomming Born Again, but continuing to roast human cutlets for din-din. If you are going to be a soccer fan, casual or otherwise, then you should convert fully and learn how we do things. I admit the wins, draws and losses format takes some getting used to, but the path to Eternal Enlightenment is well worth the journey.
Idiocy: The most obvious reason. What is it about soccer and guys named Jerry that causes the total IQ drainage? Jerry’s the world over should be embarassed for the damage caused to their fine name.

Jilted again: In a mating dance more intricate than a horney dragonfly’s, the MetroStars on-again, off-again courtship of Lothar Matthäus is back on the rocks after Matthäus’ Bayern Munchen club team, suffering from post-Champions League traumatic stress disorder, gacked in the German Cup finals to lowly Werder Bremen. Daily Variety reports that several networks have development deals in the works based on the real life MetroStars-Matthäus soap opera. Meanwhile the hapless MetroStars are bereft of foreign allocations, marquee players, and hope.

Too little, too late? New England signed defender Chaka Daley from the team’s A-League affiliate, the Boston Bulldogs. The Bulldogs have surrendered 8 goals in 10 games, a respectable .80 GAA, compared to the Revolution’s rather porous 1.33 GAA. Daley may be “strong, athletic, and aggressive”, as Revolution Player/Coach Walter Zenga described him, but what the Revolution really need is not Chaka Daley, but Shaka Zulu. And a few of his spear-wielding mates.

KC Wizards vie for Stanley Cup in 2000: KC Wizards signed Canadian national team forward Alex Bunbury this week, trumping the interests of the Maple Leafs and Blackhawks. Bunbury fills Kansas City’s fourth and final foreign spot, left vacated with the release of Refik Sabanadzovic, a weak-checking third-line midfielder.

Speaking of Refik Sabanadzovic:

Clinton Deploys Vowels to Bosnia

Cities of Sjlbvdnzv, Grzny to Be First RecipientsBefore an emergency joint session of Congress yesterday, President Clinton announced U.S. plans to deploy over 75,000 vowels to the war-torn region of Bosnia. The deployment, the largest of its kind in American history, will provide the region with the critically needed letters A, E, I, O and U, and is hoped to render countless Bosnian names more pronounceable.

“For six years, we have stood by while names like Ygrjvslhv and Tzlynhr and Glrm have been horribly butchered by millions around the world,” Clinton said. “Today, the United States must finally stand up and say ‘Enough.’ It is time the people of Bosnia finally had some vowels in their incomprehensible words. The U.S. is proud to lead the crusade in this noble endeavor.”

The deployment, dubbed Operation Vowel Storm by the State Department, is set for early next week, with the Adriatic port cities of Sjlbvdnzv and Grzny slated to be the first recipients. Two C-130 transport planes, each carrying over 500 24-count boxes of E’s, will fly from Andrews Air Force Base across the Atlantic and airdrop the letters over the cities.

Citizens of Grzny and Sjlbvdnzv eagerly await the arrival of the vowels. “My God, I do not think we can last another day,” Trszg Grzdnjkln, 44, said. “I have six children and none of them has a name that is understandable to me or to anyone else. Mr. Clinton, please send my poor, wretched family just one E. Please.”

Said Sjlbvdnzv resident Grg Hmphrs, 67: “With just a few key letters, I could be George Humphries. This is my dream.”

If the initial airlift is successful, Clinton said the United States will go ahead with full-scale vowel deployment, with C-130’s airdropping thousands more letters over every area of Bosnia. Other nations are expected to pitch in as well, including 10,000 British A’s and 6,500 Canadian U’s. Japan, rich in A’s and O’s, was asked to participate, but declined.

“With these valuable letters, the people of war-ravaged Bosnia will be able to make some terrific new words,” Clinton said. “It should be very exciting for them, and much easier for us to read their maps.”

Linguists praise the U.S. decision to send the vowels. For decades they have struggled with the hard consonants and difficult pronunciation of most Slavic words. “Vowels are crucial to construction of all language,” Baylor University linguist Noam Frankel said. “Without them, it would be difficult to utter a single word, much less organize a coherent sentence. Please, just don’t get me started on the moon-man languages they use in those Eastern European countries.”

According to Frankel, once the Bosnians have vowels, they will be able to construct such valuable sentences as: “The potatoes are ready”; “I believe it will rain”; “All my children are dead from the war”; and “Oh my God, there’s an axe in my head.”

The airdrop represents the largest deployment of any letter to a foreign country since 1984. During the summer of that year, the U.S. shipped 92,000 consonants to Ethiopia, providing cities like Ouaouoaua, Eaoiiuae, and Aao with vital, lifegiving supplies of L’s, S’s and T’s. The consonant-relief effort failed, however, when vast quantities of the letters were intercepted and hoarded by violent, gun-toting warlords.

— Author Unknown

Emmanuel Viviero, a Canadian with a French passport, is considered French under EU law. He sued to play ice hockey for the Austrian national team. (If he’s not good enough to play hockey forFrance, maybe he should play forward for the KC Wizards.)

Naturally, the European Union’s Court of Justice, the de facto Supreme Court of the EU, displayed all the wisdom and insight of its American counterpart by ruling that nationality should have no effect on who should, and should not, be allowed to play on a national sports team. Under the Treaty of Rome, and the laws governing EU membership, “There must be free movement of people, and European citizens cannot be denied employment opportunities in EU countries on the grounds of nationality,” said an EU official.

Current FIFA rules allow a player who has not played a international match to ‘switch nationalities’ and play for a nation other than the one where he was born, lives, or where his parents might be from. (e.g., David Regis, a Frenchman by birth, qualified for US citizenship through his American wife and, not having played an international for France, was allowed to play for the US at World Cup ’98.)

Because of the Court of Injustice’s ruling, at least as far as the EU is concerned, any EU player regardless of nationality can play for the national team of any other EU member country. (The EU member nations are Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Sweden and, by default, England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, which comprise the United Kingdom.) And the ruling doesn’t just apply to hockey.

A few years ago the Bosnich Decision gave footballers whose contracts had expired the right to freely shop their wares to the highest bidder, without the suitor having to pay a transfer fee to the former club. It was a righteous ruling: A contract should be adhered to by all parties while still in force, but when it has expired none should still be bound by it. But the latest Court of Injustice ruling is areductio ad absurdum, reduction to the point of absurdity. It would mean that any footballer from any EU country could sell his services to the highest bidder among the national teams of the other EU countries — each and every time his contract expires. If nationality, no matter how flimsy, ceases to be a criteria for national team inclusion, then national teams cease to be national, and instead are rendered glorified club teams, none of whose players speak the local patois. Like Arsenal.

FIFA, which has on occassion proven itself more powerful than national governments (most recently Poland’s) is lobbying to have soccer treated as a unique exception by the courts of the EU. So far, the plea for such an exemption has fallen on deaf ears.

European Union Court of Injustice

Turd of the Week

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