A few months ago, I took a break from covering soccer. Well, not really a ‘few months ago.’ I decided that this season I would just be a fan. As the various soccer seasons have progressed (EPL, MLS, & NASL), I’ve often found myself wanting to write something but just not pulling the trigger. However, I decided this last month to give soccer writing another go. There were a few reasons why I stopped writing and a one big one for starting back up.
First, my wife and I found ourselves getting really attached to Minnesota United. This, of course, is a good thing. The problem was that I didn’t feel I could write on the team objectively and then The Loon Call (the first independent fan site covering the team) turned into the Northern Pitch. What this meant was that there was a site of writers much more talented than I covering the team I loved and writing better content than I could have. There was no reason or need for me to write on Minnesota United.
Second, the team (or brand when I’m feeling salty about MLS) I’ve usually written about, the Chicago Fire, have been just fucking dreadful. There’s only so many times you can write the ‘what’s the matter with…’ piece or a half-hearted preview/postmatch. Chicago Fire have played so poorly that I can’t bring myself to write about it; it’s succeeded in repelling me. That said, I still find the urge to put stuff together but there’s such a sense of defeat that I can’t help but think ‘What does it matter? No one reads this shit anyway.’
Finally, I made the decision to no longer write for free. I’m sick of creating content, getting praise, abuse, and indifference, and then having nothing to show for it. I was under-employed for a long time and now I’m unemployed. I know I’m not the best soccer writer out there but I’m no hack. It burns me that I can’t seem to roll it over into some kind of proper work. So I felt I had to step away because I was getting bitter about it. It’s not like I turned to something more lucrative. Writing and self-publishing non-magic fantasy novels is perhaps the only thing I could have done that earned me less income and readership than freelance North American soccer writing.
Having said all this, I gotta say I love the people I’ve connected with through writing on soccer. The folks I’ve met via Twitter are just aces. I adore going to matches and getting to see them for real. Community is an important thing no matter how isolated you feel you are or want to be. Knowing that there are good people out there who want to engage in real discussion and not just hear themselves talk, well, that’s sweet. And I can say without a doubt that every person I follow on Twitter and nearly everyone that follows me is more than worth the time. They’re good folk and writing something for them to read became something I wanted to again.
This led to being approached for a new project that just launched today, Midfield Press. To my knowledge, it will be the only site exclusively covering the US & Canada’s second tier, the NASL (Reckless Challenge does a good job on NASL but it’s wheelhouse is the third tier USL). I won’t be writing exclusively on any one team, rather I’ll contribute analysis and opinion on stuff covering the whole league.
Not writing about about the league but what’s going on in the league between the teams. I say this because MLS sites tend to be way too gung-ho about being cheerleaders (or naysayers) of the league itself. I don’t believe in supporting leagues or pitting one league against another. I find that to be as interesting as the ‘who would win’ arguments that fanboys have.
So I agreed to ‘get back into the game’ and write for Midfield Press. I’m rusty; I lack match fitness. Therefore, my first contributions to this endeavor are brief team previews as the NASL Fall half of the season is about to begin. I decided instead of looking at the top teams or the bottom dwellers I would focus my attention on the midtable contenders:
I don’t know yet how frequently I’ll be contributing (I am moving from Kansas to Kentucky this summer), but I’m hoping what I do offer up is welcomed and well-crafted. We’ll see.