Posts by James Vlahakis

Women in Soccer, Chicago Fire ‘Keeper Debate and “Puto”

National Women’s Day

Since today is International Women’s Day, I thought I’d use this edition of my semi-weekly Musing column to write about gender equality among soccer fans and players.  Did you know that FC Dallas has female capos?  I did not know this until I read this great piece in What a Howler written by Gaby Kirschner.  Gaby’s piece, linked below, identifies some of the following negative and positive points. Continue reading

Update on USSF Lawsuit versus U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team Players’ Association

The United States Soccer Federation (“USSF”) and the United States Women’s National Soccer Team Players’ Association (“Union”) have decided to play nice with each other and have agreed to short schedule to conduct discovery and ask a federal court to decide whether the parties have agreed to abide by a “no strike” provision.  A court hearing on the issue will be held on May 25, 2016.  You can find my earlier stories on this ligation at: Legal Analysis regarding US Soccer vs. US Women’s National Soccer Team Players Association and The US Women’s National Soccer Team Strikes Back

To recap, Section 6.1(a) of Collective Bargain Agreement (“CBA”) executed in 2005 provided:

Neither the Players Association nor any player shall authorize, encourage, or engage in any strike, work stoppage, slowdown or other concerted interference with the activities of the Federation during the term of this Agreement . . . . Continue reading

#cf97 – Hope, Passion and the Fire’s Three-Way Battle for ‘Keeper

I’m back, with another installment of my “Monday Musings” column on a Tuesday. Why am I back?  Or, why was I gone?  The answer to both questions is simple:  a loss of “passion” for my beloved Chicago Fire Soccer Club.  I’d been sitting on a draft of this piece, weighing whether my passion has been properly reignited.  Yesterday gave me the proper perspective to gauge that it is the proper time to hit “publish”.  Last season, after a series of tragic losses, I lost a bit of passion for the Club and the sport that I love.  It didn’t help that fans and the front office were in general disagreement about pretty much everything.  Fans protested, in a “Black Out” of sorts, with mixed results. It was a low point in my love for the Fire.  My sons also started to give up hope, tired of giving up points after watching 90 minutes of nervous, and at times rudderless soccer.    Against this backdrop, I couldn’t find anything positive to write about.  My “muse” was gone.   Continue reading

The US Women’s National Soccer Team Strikes Back

us-soccer-sues-uswnt

This is Part II of my original analysis of the lawsuit between United States Soccer Federations’s (“US Soccer”) and the United States Women’s National Soccer Team Players’ Association (“Union”).  As you may have heard, the Unions has “fired back” at last week’s lawsuit filed by the US Soccer against the Union.  

While some pundits and fanboys/fangirls on Twitter have accused US Soccer of waging a war of discrimination against the Union and the players, the Union’s response is more about “lawyers doing what lawyers do.”  That means that the Union’s legal team has responding with the typical lawyer armory of posturing, finger pointing and taking strident tones.  All of this is being done as part of a two pronged effort to (a) assert that the players are not going to be cowed into submission and (b) convince a federal court judge to take side with the Union without pointing to any real evidence to support the Union’s position.  I intend to give you a summary of the arguments rather than simply cutting and pasting the entire thing as some have done.  An update of this morning’s legal proceedings has been added to the end of this piece. Continue reading

Legal Analysis regarding US Soccer vs. US Women’s National Soccer Team Players Association

 

soccer_cmay-1024x731(Cheriss May/HUNS)

The above image shows the United States Women’s National Soccer Team at a happier time, celebrating its 2015 World Cup Victory at the White House with various officials of United States Soccer Federation (“US Soccer”).  By now you’ve heard about the lawsuit that US Soccer has filed against the United States Women’s National Soccer Team Players Association (“Union”). The lawsuit is rather simple, and contrary to number of tweets in support or the Union and/or against US Soccer, it is not an attack against the players themselves. Rather, the lawsuit boils down to a single, simple issue. Continue reading

FIFA’s SEPP BLATTER RESIGNS AMID THE “DIASPORA LEGACY PROGRAMME”

Ah, SCHADENFREUDE! Sepp Blatter has just announced his resignation!

Between coaching two AYSO teams, playing weekday and Sunday League soccer, being devoted to following the Chicago Fire, and watching the occasional EPL or friendly match, there’s not a lot of free time. Each time that I found time to start to draft a summary of the eventual downfall of FIFA as we know it, something new emerged as “breaking news.” Today was no different. As I started to type this story, a live press conference was scheduled to take place at FIFA headquarters in no-longer-neutral Switzerland.
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Monday Musings on a Friday

Friendly Banter Friday

Let me start out by thanking the MLS scheduling “computer” for assigning such wonderful start times for our regional rivalry with the Columbus Crew!  A 7pm start on a Friday on Memorial Weekend is sure to fill the Crew’s stadium.  The Crew returns on a Wednesday night in mid-July and the Fire returns to Columbus on the following Sunday evening.  Such wonderful start times for traveling fans of both clubs.

Recent “Derby” talk in the lead up to the NY Red Bulls and NYC FC game got me wondering about the match up between the Fire and the Crew.  Columbus is our closest rival, but it seems like MLS HQ does not think it’s worthy of publicizing.  Then again, there’s a positive out of that, MLS won’t latch on to our fans and reimage them into fans of a team which only exists on paper:

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Monday Musings, Episode V – “Double Header Sunday”

Fire Lose, but Red Stars and Fire Academy top out the Weekend with Victories

The Fire lost to Real Salt Lake in the Fire’s lone meeting with this Western Conference opponent.

On the positive side, Section 8 was loud yesterday and the Chicago Red Stars were greeted with open arms by Section 8 supporters as well as their own supporters, Chicago Local 134.  The Red Stars gave the fans something to cheer about, beating Boston Breakers, 3-0.  Awesome scarf!

For good or for bad, the Fire’s loss did not have the gut punch of last year’s 3-2 loss to Salt Lake with late game goals.  Rather, this time the Fire went down 2-0 and attempted a last minute comeback after Shaun Maloney earned a penalty kick in the 88th minute.  Captain Jeff Larentowicz scored on a strong, well-placed shot.  And credit to him to following up his shot and picking up the ball and running to the center circle with a sense of restrained urgency.

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Jvlaha’s Monday Musings, Episode IV, “May the Fourth be With You”

May the “Fourth” be with you on this fine May day.

A new contributor to OTF Soccer (George George Gorecki) will be providing a game summary of the Fire’s 1-0 loss on Sunday to Sporting KC.  You can read it here:  http://otfsoccer.com/2015/05/05/tactical-notes-sporting-kansas-city-have-the-edge-over-the-fire/

In light of George’s considerable soccer acumen, I will simply offer my usual “fluff” and highlight some clever Tweets from Sunday’s frustrating loss.

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Monday Musings, Episode III – Revenge of the Greek

Here is my third installment of “Monday Musings.”  As always, it’s a mix of insight, analysis and fluff.

Part I – Fired Up Friday

First off, after some notable snipping on Twitter among Fire fans, it’s a relief to see everyone happy after the Fire got its third victory of the season on a cold and blustery Friday night.  While not quite a sell out in terms actual attendance, the crowd was very loud, and truly into this match.  It has been a long time since we’ve had this type of atmosphere at Toyota Park.  Section 8 was very active and there was even stereo effect between Section 8 and Sector Latino during goal kicks.  You all know the irksome chant.  Someone did their best to translate it when Montreal’s Evan Bush was subjected to this “friendly greeting.”

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@Jvlaha’s Monday Musings – Episode II

Here’s my latest “Monday Musings” contribution on various topics:  a weekend without the Fire; #scrimmagegate; fitness; Aston Villa vs. Liverpool; Wrigley Field and “Tweets of the Week.”

Part 1, What’s a Fire Fan to Do Without a Fire Game?

With the Fire not playing this weekend, what’s a Fire fan to do?  Many Fire fans made the trip to Lisle see the Chicago Red Stars play.

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“Dos a Cero”, Remember the Alamo, But Don’t Forget Your Raincoat

USA-Mexico-in-Columbus

(via MLS.com)

True to the mission statement of OTF, my recap of last night’s United States vs. Mexico match will be a mix of analysis, insight and fluff.  I’ll mix it up by starting with some insight, followed by some fluff and a snippet of analysis.

Insight:  Is a “Friendly” Ever Friendly?

The term “friendly” is a misnomer of sorts when the term involves United State vs. Mexico.  Regardless of where played or what’s at stake, a “friendly” match between the US and Mexico can be anything but friendly. As the highlights of the pre-game show demonstrated, shoving matches and stare downs are common place…

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@Jvlaha’s Monday Musings, Episode 1

There’s a new editor in charge of “On The Fire”, and with that, I’ve decided to step up and write a new column. Without further ado, here is the first episode of “Vlaha’s Monday Musings”.  Today’s piece comes in four parts…

Part One, “The Empire Strikes Back”, #Schedulegate

The-empire-strikes-back-soccer

First stop on today’s installment is #Schedulegate. Fire fans are justifiably upset about recent schedule changes which apparently were going to happen whether or not the Front Office was going to go along with them.

Although I can’t say that the Fire was a team firing on all cylinders during the team’s 3-2 Ping-Pong victory against Toronto, the team looked vastly improved over recent games. As a result of this win, the Fire could have strutted into our scheduled games Foxborough Massachusetts (this Wednesday) and Montreal (this weekend) with a bit of a “we can do this” swagger…

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Dispatch: Chicago Fire (1) – San Jose Earthquakes (2)

3/4 Thumbs Up

Coach Frank Yallop gives the Fire’s 2-1 loss 75% of a thumbs up. (Via Chicago-Fire.com)

James Vlahakis’ review of the Fire’s 2-1 loss to San Jose is an exercise in restrained rage.

This was a match that will stick out in the memories of the Fire faithful. My grim review is not what I wanted to do on my spring break vacation, but as a fan of the game and the Fire in particular, I’m going to be blunt and honest in my assesment. I’m not drinking Kool-Aid on this trip, that’s for sure…

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Excitement of 2015 Opening Day Celebration Spoiled by Chicago Fire Match

(via chicago)

Quincy punches the clock again in the Fire opener (via Chicago-Fire.com)

OTFsoccer’s James Vlahakis opts for introspection over analysis in the Fire’s 0-1 home open heart-breaker.

It was a beautiful day for soccer at Toyota Park. Or maybe I should say it was a beautiful day to watch soccer at Toyota Park.

Expectations were high the Section 8 tailgate that was hosted by the Chicago Chapter of the American Outlaws. I could barely focus on Friday as I thought about returning to Toyota Park.

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Legal Analysis of FIFA Ban Against Luis Suarez For Alleged Biting – Part I.

Circumstantial evidence is still evidence, Luis (Photo: nbcnews.com)

Circumstantial evidence is still evidence, Luis (Photo: nbcnews.com)

On Tuesday, June 24, a man from Uruguay wandered onto a football pitch in Brazil and bit an Italian. Allegedly. FIFA is investigating, and OTF contributor James Vlahakis has been investigating FIFA… Continue reading