Friday, December 2, 2011

Friday Free Kicks: Talking Ian Joy, Uniforms and CD9

In the past few weeks we've two impressive stories of professional soccer players battling off field problems. The first was David Testo who made public the fact that he is gay. That is challenging in and of itself, but it takes that much more courage to come out when you're a professional athlete. As impressive as that story was, I was struck by another. The tale of Ian Joy.

Ian Joy, former Real Salt Lake and Portland Timbers player, came out with a very personal tale of his battle with depression. Joy takes a very candid approach in sharing how his life was impacted and the challenges he went through. This is a story that likely rings true to many people all around the world. While reading his article, I could not help but come back to the same thought over and over again: it takes real courage to come out with a story like this. I encourage you all to read his tale, it's a testament to the realities of depression and the power of friendship.


Uniforms (Kits as they say): On another note, the topic of team kits is becoming an interesting one of late. With new uniforms being revealed by several teams over recent weeks, fans and media are having their say on what makes a good uniform. I am in the camp of conservative quality. I don't mind monochrome but I appreciate a kit that keeps itself in check and is not overly flashy.

MLS ran a brief feature on the topic in which Shawn Francis picked his three best kits since 1996. Each of the three has a simple color scheme and subtle accenting colors. This is the type of uniform I prefer as well. However, an enjoyable twitter conversation with Brian Straus and Charles Boehm allowed me the chance to reflect. Each argues that monochrome kits are boring and uninspired. I cant say I disagree that they are not the most exciting but I prefer that to something like this:


Eesh. Simply put, it's overly dramatic and hideous. I look back to some of the more famous teams around the world. Manchester United, Chelsea, Real Madrid, Bayern Munich... all have simple color schemes and jerseys with only subtle changes. Conservative quality. 

Think of the Houston Dynamo or the Seattle Sounders. With a dominant color scheme and only simple accents/changes each year, then fans are able to buy in (literally) to the team and wear their jerseys consistently to each game, thus painting the stadium in home colors. Can't argue monochrome isn't the most exciting, but it does have it's benefits. 

Ol' Charlie Davies: Charlie Davies will not have his buy option picked up by D.C. United. Anyone could have seen this mid-way through the season when he lost his starting place and failed to be a consistent figure in the line-up. Still, that does not mean we wont see him in MLS and certainly does not mean his time was a bust. Davies made a return from horrific injuries and managed to play a full season. He scored 11 goals, respectable numbers. Further more he battled playing injuries to his hamstring and a few nagging others. Those are to be expected after his body has gone through such dramatic changes.


While I do not believe Davies should have been bought for the money he was asking, I do feel he still has a great future as a professional soccer player. A renegotiated contract and recognition on his part that his play does not warrant as much money as it once did, could pave the way for a dominant season in Major League Soccer. He has the talent and we saw flashes of it in 2011. A full offseason and less pressure to be a 18 goal scorer could be the difference. 

[Editors note: I was under the wrong impression that Joy worked directly with RSL now. That is not the case, however he does sometimes collaborate with their media department.]

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