About a year ago, I was working in the athletic shoe department at Nordstrom when Freddie Ljungberg walked in the store. I knew it was Freddie Ljungberg by his smoking hot girlfriend. Because let’s face it, when you’re a dude who stands roughly 5’8″, it doesn’t matter how good you look, you need big money to pull a girl like the one he had with him.
Admittedly, I’m not a huge soccer fan, so I didn’t strike up a conversation with Ljungberg about the international game. Instead, we talked about Nike. Nike shoes, Nike apparel, the company itself. His girlfriend was trying on Nike Air Maxes. It made sense.
The more we talked, the more I came to the conclusion that Ljungberg was one of the coolest athletes I’d ever met. The dude could carry on a conversation, seemed genuinely interested in what we were talking about, and had zero attitude about him whatsoever. Maybe it had something to do with the fact that I didn’t want to talk with him about his job (soccer fans can be a little passionate around their heroes, from what I hear), or maybe he’s like that with everyone. Either way, he was a nice guy.
After losing 2-0 to the Sounders FC on Thursday night, Philadelphia Union head coach Peter Nowak decided the best way to deal with the inevitable barrage of losses that will follow his subpar expansion team around all season would be to accuse opposing players of being cheaters. Fantastic.
In a sport littered with flopping, dishonest behavior, and oft-suspect injuries, Nowak chose to single out Sounders FC forward Freddie Ljungberg as the sole perpetrator of all three traits. Never mind that Ljungberg is one of the best players in MLS or one of the better players in the entire world. And who the hell is Peter Nowak, anyways?
Every city has its problems and Seattle is no exception. From public spending to transportation and everything in between, the politics of these everyday issues make for no easy solutions.
But what about sports? We often tend to forget that sports are one of the most important components to a functioning municipality. We view sports as recreation, as a diversion from everyday life, when in reality sports help to create, fund, and maintain the everyday lives we lead.
From generating dollars and cents in the economy, to providing multi-purpose venues for public use, to building a sense of community, sports are an integral part of our city and require their own care and maintenance to thrive at a certain level.
It is on us, as citizens, to address areas in need of extra attention in all facets of our city, including sports. Hence, we’ve created a list of 11 ways that the Seattle sports scene can be improved. Your suggestions and additions are more than welcome, as well.
11. Do Something (Anything!) With Mercer Arena
There’s a good chance that many of you have no clue what Mercer Arena is, which just goes to show how irrelevant Seattle Center’s other arena has become.
Seattle Sounders FC coach Sigi Schmid says there’s too much flopping in soccer. We couldn’t agree more. That’s why we have a plan to revolutionize the international game of football. And yes, it involves weapons.
Soccer may be catching on here in Seattle, but around America it still takes a back seat to other sports, like competitive hot dog eating, mixed martial arts, and hockey. Americans don’t like soccer because it’s too soft, with an abundance of the aforementioned flopping. The last thing we want to see is a bunch of pansy cheaters compete against one another to see who can alter the game more by bending the rules and manipulating the officials. So what can we do about that?
Here’s our five-step plan.
1. Allow fighting.
We can look to hockey as the example. The purist may tune in to watch the action, but the casual fan wants to see guys beat the hell out of each other. That’s where soccer is completely missing the boat.
Seattle Sounders FC forward Fredy Montero (or “Mitsubishi,” as I like to call him) is in trouble. The best player on the hottest team in town has been accused of stalking and sexually assaulting a Sammamish woman within the past week. That’s not good.
The 21-year-old middle-of-the-road SUV has been a hit for the Sounders FC so far this year. He’s already recorded three goals in the team’s first two games, and was just named the MLS Player of the Month (or Playa of the Month, depending on your perspective).
Try to think back to the last time three Seattle teams won on the same day. Honestly, I can’t remember that ever happening. You’d likely have to go back to last season when the Sonics were still in town, the Huskies were still playing, and the Mariners were in the midst of Spring Training, and even then it would have been a fluke occurrence. And yet for the first time in ages, that is exactly what happened yesterday.
I said I was going to boycott the Sounders until Vini Oliveira returned, but I had to issue a reprieve for this. While perusing the sports blogs on SeattleTimes.com, I noticed that the Sounders FC blog made a reference to one “Peter Vagenas.” This must be some kind of joke, I thought to myself, because “Peter Vagenas” is just a terribly unfortunate name. But upon further review, I came to discover that Peter Vagenas did in fact exist, and played midfield for our local soccer team no less.