In this playful piece, we pose a question or make a statement about something in soccer that will be opined about, agreed and disagreed on, by YOU, the reader. No more talking heads giving safe, politically correct answers. Those days are over. Instead, we’ve opened the floor to everyone out there in Cyberland to throw in their two cents.
For this January issue, we asked you to fill the large and smelly shoes of Roger Ebert to critique the U.S. Men’s World Cup Team documentary “Our Way,” which debuted just in time for the holiday season. Well, the reviews are in, and it turns out that you like us … you really like us. Here’s what you had to say, broken down into the good, the bad and the mixed reviews:
“It’s very hard to describe in words the renewed emotion that ‘Our Way’ can invoke in someone. This video makes you feel like you’re back watching the U.S. in the World Cup. I watch this video everyday and each day I feel that Tony Sanneh’s 89th minute header against Germany will somehow magically go in. The video really gets into the emotions of the team and gives you a sense of the team unity it took to make it to the quarterfinals. Every time the movie ends, I want to take the field with the incredible feeling of passion and emotion for the game this movie instills in me.”
- Ike Onyeador / 19 / Wilson, N.C.
“I think ‘Our Way’ was one of the best documentaries I have seen in a long time. It was most certainly the best for U.S. Soccer ever! The video gave us, as fans, great insight into what goes on behind the scenes, plus gave a great highlight reel. I was surprised at how laid back Bruce could be, and I was touched by the rendition of ‘My Way.’ I'm proud of our boys and their great success, we really did do it the American Way. We worked our butts off!”
- Matthew Long / 21 / Palmdale, Calif.
“Both my wife and I enjoyed ‘Our Way’ very much. The locker room talks and the behind the scene footage are especially enjoyable. What stands out for us the most, though, is how the USA players act so similar to the high school soccer team I coach at a small school. Although we don't have a karaoke machine on our big yellow bus, every team I have been associated with for the past 10 years sings on road trips. Each one has ‘their’ song, and watching the ‘big boys’ sing on the bus renewed our faith in those who play for the love of the game.”
- Jerry & Maryetta Pirtle / ages 47,46 / Sedalia, Mo.
“Finally, U.S. Soccer has done some timely marketing for the National Team program. The timing of the release (Christmas) was perfect. Just enough time had elapsed for us to forget about the buzz from this summer. The film does just what U.S. Soccer intended it to do--give us the feeling we had this summer. The excitement, the thrills, the own goals, the disappointment--all of it in one package. You fall in love with these guys all over again. Bruce is revealed as a tactical genius, Frankie as the "personality" of the team, Earnie as the mentor to the younger stars.....it is all there. I give it 5 stars!!!!!!”
- Kelly McGinnis / 44 / Jackson, Miss.
“Karaoke on the bus. Do I need to say more? Well done. Thanks for the memories!”
- Rich Fidler / 25 / Powell, Ohio
“The ‘Our Way’ video presentation centers around Bruce Arena building a team from the wreckage of the 1998 U.S. MNT that went to France, and preparing them for 2002. It often compares his approach, his priorities, his communication with his players, and his attitude with those of his predecessor, Steve Sampson. Favorably to a fault, I might comment, because the DVD is about selling the team as the high point of U.S. Soccer. Of course, this is true. Thankfully most of these comparisons were drawn from players comments, and not the narrator. Now, I guess someone likes home videos of karaoke. It’s fine to send to one's parents, or drinking buddies. But this reviewer would have preferred a bit more training field or non-goal game action for my money, instead of the endless verses of the title song. Did anyone else notice Donovan's and Reyna's looks of amazement at Stewart's and Cobi's lead? The number 10 and 21 player's expressions perfectly mirrored my reaction to the climatic scene on the getaway bus. I got my DVDs in time for Christmas. Good for me, but they arrived too late for inclusion in the care package I had sent out to my stepson. Oh well, has anyone heard of New Year's presents? Thumbs up, I say, for the great footage behind the scenes.”
- Ben Lukas / 50 / Richmond, Calif.
Thumbs All Over the Place:
“Thumbs up to capturing the team and coaching staff in their personal time, showing us what our heroes are really like. Thumbs up to the team and coaching staff for granting them access to their time. Thumbs down for not having more interviews with the team. Thumbs down for not mentioning the women's team, and the inspiration that they must have drawn from their historic win in WWC '99. Thumbs up for highlighting the ‘crucial moment in the Germany game--it was a handball! Thumbs up for highlighting the ‘oops moment’ in the Mexico game--it was a handball! Thumbs down for not having any paper or literature or guide in the DVD case.”
- Paul C. Whitney / 22 / Olympia, Wash.
Thanks to everyone for the passionate responses to the January question. Obviously, we couldn’t print all of them, but keep responding and you’ll get your chance to see your name among these other opinionated folks in the months to come.
Now for February’s question: Having lost perhaps their four most dynamic players in the off-season, will the Chicago Fire be able to claw their way into the MLS playoffs this year (and how)?
Let me help you with some questions to get the ball rolling: Will a healthy Ante Razov put up numbers like he did from 1998-2000 in leading the Fire to the MLS Cup? Will Zach Thornton returning to the form that made him the league’s best goalkeeper in 1998? Can DaMarcus Beasley take on a much-needed leadership role and become the team’s playmaker in the cavernous absence of Nowak and Stoitchkov? What about the man behind the team, Dave Sarachan?
That’s all the help you’re getting from me. It’s your time to decide. E-mail your well-crafted response to email@example.com, including your full name, age and city of residence. Feel free to submit responses for as many months as you wish, but in the interest of sharing the spotlight, we will be giving space to different respondents from month to month.
Table of Contents
1) Armchair Midfielder (What's to be in 2003)
2) In Threes (w/ MNT goalkeeper Tim Howard)
3) D.J. for a Day (w/ U-20 MNT defender Chad Marshall)
4) Queries and Anecdotes (w/ WNT midfielder Angela Hucles)
5) Mark That Calendar (Back to Bidness…)
6) Superstar!!! (w/ MNT goalkeeper Brad Friedel)
7) FAN Point/Counterpoint (Reviews of "Our Way")
8) "You Don't Know Jack (Marshall)" (2002 WNT Trivia)
***HOW'S OUR WRITING?***
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