Wait, Gingrich is the humane one?

I scanned the results of the latest GOP debate and while it didn’t turn up anything earth shattering, it speaks volumes that in the current GOP, Newt Gingrich is the humane voice. I’m not sure if he was ever an anti-imigration partisan, or if he’s genuinely not a nice, likeable person. But when he led the Republican house in the 90s, I recall a lot of anit-immigrant sentinement too. In fact, its what finally motivated my family to get our U.S. Citizenship. For additional weirdness, lets create a “red card”, which to most non-Americans, means you’re getting expelled from a soccer game.

At Tuesday’s Republican debate, Gingrich didn’t call for making all illegal immigrants citizens, or even allowing all 11 million or so to stay in America, but for some who’ve been here for decades to get “red cards,” establishing a special new class of non-citizens.

Gingrich Is Brave for Calling for the Humane Treatment of Humans

Academy vs High School Soccer

Today’s washington post looks at the tug of war between MLS’ Academies and High School soccer for elite players. Each kid should make the choice that is best for him. But for those that want to play at the highest pro levels, that will increasingly mean forgoing High School and College soccer programs in favor of developing in a professional stadium. US Soccer is making progress toward developing players as it is done in the rest of the world.

The movement pits those who believe training with elite clubs is the best route for developing international-caliber players against others who say the trend could undermine a uniquely American tradition in which the best athletes compete alongside their classmates for their high school teams.

U.S. youth soccer: Is high school or playing on an elite academy team the best route? – The Washington Post

Bobby Convey, Former Boy Wonder, Turns Comeback Kid – NYTimes.com

I’ve long been a fan of Bobby Convey, and was glad he was included on the 2006 World Cup squad, along with another favorite of mine, Ben Olsen.  He did it again, last week, making D.C. United fans everywhere happy by knocking New York out of the MLS Playoffs.  Given the lack of options on the left side, anyone else wish he’d come back to D.C. instead of San Jose?

It has been a long, undulating road for Convey, going from Washington to Reading, England, and back to the United States with San Jose in M.L.S. But perhaps one of the most significant detours came last Thursday night at Red Bull Arena, where Convey’s virtuoso performance (two goals and an assist) propelled the Earthquakes past the Eastern Conference champion Red Bulls, 3-1 in the match, and gave San Jose a 3-2 victory in the two-game, total-goals series.

Bobby Convey, Former Boy Wonder, Turns Comeback Kid – NYTimes.com

Giase: Missing out financially is Mike Petke’s only regret as Red Bulls defender heads into retirement

I don’t think any other player could be a fan favorite both in NY/NJ and in D.C.

“I’m sure a lot of Red Bull supporters don’t want to hear this, but I absolutely loved my time in D.C.,” Petke said. “It was such a wild ride, something every player should experience. Having experienced that, I can tell you that there would be a hole in my career if I didn’t win (a title).”

Giase: Missing out financially is Mike Petke’s only regret as Red Bulls defender heads into retirement

Behind the Scenes of a Live World Cup – NYTimes.com

Fascinating details about how the NYTimes interactive team built 3 online features for the 2010 World Cup and how they solved some of the challenges faced.  The live match tracker is an interesting exercise in ingesting data real-time from multiple sources and also re-distributing it to thousands (millions?) of clients.

As the Sports department planned its live-blogging strategy, staff in Graphics and Interactive News started thinking about what sorts of interactive features would best complement live game coverage.

Behind the Scenes of a Live World Cup – NYTimes.com

Economic View – Leveling the Playing Field, in Soccer and Finance – NYTimes.com

Refereeing a soccer game is not much different than regulating the financial industry.  There are a lot of parallels in how you would want to set up both systems to be fair and efficient.

The first is that the regulator — in this case, the referee — is fallible. So the rules should make the regulator’s job as easy as possible.Second, regulators can’t detect every irregularity, so the emphasis has to be on getting the big stuff right. Finally, we want performance, not regulators, to determine the outcome. The best regulators are those we don’t notice.

Level Playing Fields, in Soccer and Finance

Don’t need your approval

Dave Barry writes the column I've been mulling over for a few days. Go figure, he's a professional writer and all. With the reception the World Cup is getting this year in the USA, I'm hoping the soccer zealots mellow out and stop seeking the approval of the rest of the domestic sports fans. Seriously, enjoy the game and let them hate. If you've got a friend who isn't a hater, bring them out to a game and buy them a beer.

I truly believe that, even though many Americans say they hate soccer, if they gave it a fair chance — if they took the time to actually watch a World Cup match or two — they would still hate soccer. I don't know why this is, but apparently it's not going to change. I've given up arguing with guys who tell me how boring soccer is, but will happily spend four hours watching a baseball game in which 97 percent of the action consists of batters calling timeout.

Dave Barry: On soccer's big stage, nudity is the goooall!

BBC News – World News America – US soccer finds a Hispanic audience

Overview of how MLS marketing has shifted towards courting the Hispanic market.  D.C. United features heavily, as an example of a team that got it mostly right from the beginning.

"The league had this crazy idea that it was going to be some sort of youth-oriented activity," said Kevin Payne, owner of DC United, a founding MLS team based in Washington DC.

BBC News – World News America – US soccer finds a Hispanic audience

When will soccer fans get MLS games without a cable provider?

I'm looking forward to when MLS is available on one or both of these online video services(?).  Will they do it anytime soon – maybe in time for next season?  Superfans would love this much access to video of games.  I think it'd be particularly cool to go back and watch the 1996 MLS Cup, for example. But how do broadcasting partners feel about it?

Boxee and the NHL have launched a port of the GameCenter Live computer-based video streaming service. Like MLB.TV, a subscription ($20/mo or $80/yr) is required and grants you access to all of the (out of market) hockey – games, live or archived. Of course, this will be significantly more meaningful when the actual Boxee Box launches, allowing us to leave the PC entirely out of the equation

NBA lands on Roku, NHL on Boxee