We've been busy behind the scenes this winter here at Black and Red United. We've been cooking up new features that we think you're really going to like - and which you'll see rolled out over the next week and change as we cover D.C. United's home opener against the Columbus Crew. We couldn't wait any longer, though, to unveil our new staff members, a couple of whom you've already seen in this space. Everybody on the staff, old and new, has written up a short self-introduction to tell you who they are and what they'll be covering in 2014 (and whatever else they feel like sharing). I'll start things off.
Adam M Taylor:
You all know me by now. I'm Adam, one of two Co-Managing Editors around these parts. I've been hopelessly into soccer ever since I first discovered that it was a sport that allowed me kick things really hard with my left foot, which was something I found I could do better than the other little boys in Southwestern Indiana. When MLS came along, I initially followed from afar, until I moved to DC in 2006, at which point I fell into the deep end with United. I became Writer #3 for B&RU in early 2011, when the site's founder Martin Shatzer asked me to move beyond the FanPosts I was writing and contribute something more formally. When Martin stepped away from the blogging game after the 2012 season, he asked me to take the reins, and here we are. I've had season tickets to United since before I could really afford them, and while I started my tenure at RFK on the concrete trampoline of the supporters' sections I've since migrated with my wife and soon-to-be-daughter (coming to a stadium near you in May!) to the quiet side. Look for me in the first row of Section 211, and definitely say hey if you see me.
I am Ben, of course, one of your delightful co-managing editors. I initially came to Black and Red United to be the rumor monger, and have somehow stuck around since then. The first professional soccer game I attended was a Cincinnati Silverbacks indoor game sometime in either 1995 or 1996. My first experience with MLS was a class trip from my home in Ohio to our nation's capital; our teachers decided it would be a good idea to take all 80 of us to a D.C. United versus New England Revolution game (13 May 2000), where we all sat on the top deck at RFK and acted like the dumb teens we were. I started following soccer with the 2006 World Cup, and started following MLS and D.C. United at the end of the 2009 season and the beginning of the 2010 season as I moved to Virginia. I'm also a Richmond Kickers fan, which was born out of US Open Cup games down here at City Stadium and Ethan White's loan here in 2011.
Hey there old friends. I'm Martin and I've been following D.C. United since my dad started bringing me to games back in 1996. I've been writing about the team in some fashion since my thoughts outgrew the Soccer Insider comments section during the Supporters Shield run of 2007. In December 2009 I was given the opportunity to join the soon-to-be-growing SB Nation MLS community and my only regret is that it took me more than five minutes to say yes. With my family and work responsibilities increasing, I handed the reins of the blog over to Adam before the start of last season (impeccable timing as it turned out) so these days you'll mostly see me writing about big picture type stuff, or just generally being a curmudgeon complaining about how things were so much better in the good old days. I'm thrilled to see the B&RU team flourishing under the leadership of Adam (and now Ben), despite the poor quality of the club we cover, and can't wait to see this community continue to thrive when the team returns to its traditional winning form.
I write under the name ChestRockwell, but my actual name is Jason Anderson, which is somewhat less glamorous. A holdover from my workday posting in the Soccer Insider comments before blogfather Martin Shatzer found me on Twitter and pointed my ceaseless prattle towards a new blog, "Chest Rockwell" is taken from a moderately obscure concept album by Handsome Boy Modeling School, who in turn were taking the name from a character in the movie in Boogie Nights. At one point, I founded an indoor soccer team called the Handsome Boys Soccer Club, which won the 2007 Soccerplex 2 Division 3 winter championship.
I got into soccer by playing from the age of 5. I can't quite remember when I became a soccer lifer, though it probably wasn't just one moment. The 5 games of the 1994 World Cup probably sealed the deal, but if that hadn't happened something else would have done the job. As a player I was best as a two-way central midfielder, but I spent plenty of time in other positions as well. I was - and am - very slow, so I figured out pretty early that I needed to know what the hell I was doing out there faster than everyone else to be any good. It also helped that soccer was sort of an outsider sport; that's where my tastes have always run, so it made sense that I would like the sport for foreigners and commies.
Despite the number of indoor soccer franchises in the region, I spent my youth waiting for an actual soccer team of professionals to support. When the Post ran a blurb noting that DC had been awarded a franchise in the new soccer league US Soccer had promised to start to get the World Cup, I was in for life. A year or so later, I was greatly relieved when the team was given a name that wasn't stupid and uniforms that weren't hideous. Sometimes you get lucky.
Since Adam said we can put whatever else we want, I'd like to close by noting that Kurt Russell is awesome.
I've been with the site since the summer of 2012 when Martin invited me to join after some FanPosts on attendance, standings, and schedules. That still largely defines what I write about, with some soccer fan culture pieces and The Last Word posts thrown in as well. I'm probably the old man of the group having grown up playing soccer in the '70s and '80s in a small town that was actually a soccer hotbed (but in a state (Mississippi) not known for its soccer). I lived in DC in the mid-90s when MLS started, and became a huge DCU fan at the time, attending their first game, first US Open Cup championship, the epic '96 US/Portugal Olympic match at RFK, etc (I just wish I had kept all the old DCU gear I had!). My work has moved me all over the United States, but we came back to DC from 2011-2013 during which my wife, kids (two teenagers), and I immersed ourselves in DCU fandom again. We've moved away once again (now in Las Vegas), so I keep up with the team almost exclusively through the internet these days (so I'm counting on you for great coverage to keep me plugged in!).
While my competitive soccer-playing career ended somewhere around 8th grade, my soccer-loving career was just getting started. A high school classmate you might have heard of named Mia Hamm first exposed me to international women's soccer; I started following the USWNT in 1989 and I've been hooked ever since. I've pretty much traveled all over the U.S. (and Canada) for soccer games, and attended the 2003 Women's World Cup. I'm now a Washington, DC-based digital communications professional, writer and photographer. I started covering soccer as a journalist in 2000 for various weekly/daily publications and ultimately the Associated Press (while also covering other pro and NCAA sports primarily in the DC area.) After a break from sports writing to focus on my communications career and sports photography, I added soccer writing back into my world last season when asked to cover women's soccer (Washington Spirit, USWNT) for Black & Red United. I'm glad to be part of the team and grateful fans have embraced women's soccer coverage. If you haven't made it out to the SoccerPlex for a game yet, I encourage everyone to do it 2014.
I'm Rick, otherwise known as BlasianSays on SBNation and also on Twitter. I write a weekly Fantasy MLS column for B&RU, as well as Statistical Analysis. I'm also fairly active at Cartilage Free Captain, the SBNation Tottenham Hotspur blog. I grew up in Northern Virginia, and began going to D.C. United games as a teenager in 1996. I became a member of La Barra Brava in 2006, and I can usually be found a few rows from the field on the Barra/Eagles border. In recent years I've taken to going to away games a few times a year, though this year I probably won't be able to travel too much. I've seen matches in Chicago, Toronto, Columbus, New Jersey, and Philadelphia, and really recommend the Toronto trip.
I've played soccer for about 22 years, and still play fairly regularly now. I ran either one or two coed teams between 2004 and 2012, and now prefer to play on teams that other people run so I can just show up and play. One of the hardest things I had to do as a soccer player was fold Orange Roughians, of whom I was a founding member in 2002, after 11 years, 9 of those under my stewardship. Our undefeated, promotion earning Spring '09 season, and impressive runs of 16 consecutive unbeaten and 20 out of 21 unbeaten will live on forever. In my mind.
I've lived in DC proper for 6 years, which is a streak that will end in a month when I move back to Virginia with my fiancee and two dogs. Apparently you get more space for your money out there. Who knew? My fiancee and I are getting married in October on the final matchday of the regular season. I'm afraid any effort to reschedule that would be shot down, but it doesn't matter because we'll have the Supporters Shield wrapped up before then.
I'm Donald Wine, aka Blazindw on SBNation and the Twitternets. Born and raised in Michigan with a stop in Texas sandwiched in the middle, I've called Durham, NC and Miami my home until moving to the DC area in 2007. I've been playing soccer since I was about 6 years old (started because I have a heart condition that wouldn't allow me to play football) and found that as a kid I was really good at the game. When I was 8, I led the league in goals by scoring 30 of the 32 goals my team scored. My brother scored the other 2. I've been watching soccer since around then as well, adopting Real Madrid because of a player named Hierro who stepped on the scene and instantly became my favorite player. I'm an absolute sports nut, attending several games each year in all of the major sports. I followed MLS from afar until I moved here and attended my first match. I sat on the quiet side and saw the loud side having a ball and told my friend next to me, "Next time, we're sitting over there." In addition to just being an all out sports nut, I'm a jersey and cap junkie and I too enjoy the art of the stadium and yearn for a new palace we can call our own. In my spare time, I run the Duke and Miami alumni chapters here (yep, I'm one of those Dukies you read about in magazines), on the Screaming Eagles field team and am currently the president of AODC. Oh yea, and I'm a lawyer when people hire me, haha.
I'm Ryan Bacic, a junior at Georgetown from Norfolk, Mass. (It's the town over from Foxboro, which used to be great from a soccer perspective, but now...not so much.) I played soccer while growing up and all the way through high school varsity, and I started covering Georgetown's team for The Hoya once I got to DC. A national championship runner-up season in 2012 (along with a year or so of writing for Yanks Abroad) got me hooked on soccer writing, so I'd like to think that's prepared me to help B&RU out. I don't consider myself a DCU fan (at least not yet), so I should be able to provide some neutral-minded game recaps. Looking forward to getting started.
Hi all. I started playing soccer as a kid growing up, and when I went to see my Mother's side of the family (who reside in England) I grabbed any soccer magazine I could find, and I gravitated to Kenny Dalglish and Liverpool, with apologies to Kevin. I went to games sporadically in MLS from inception to 2004, then I said screw it and picked up season tickets in 2007 and have been going ever since. I do a bit of traveling to road stadia (I'm writing this 8-10 hours before going to Charleston), mainly out of envy until DC's gets built I guess? In my free time I also write reviews for DVDs and movies at www.dvdtalk.com.
Hi-yo, this is Touchline, and I'm thrilled to volunteer for B&RU. I played soccer in the 1980s, in elementary and junior high school, at right-back and then center-back. I wasn't bad, but I wasn't the fastest roach in the bathtub. So I learned the art of professional fouls, back when those things were more respected. I always helped the guy up, if he would take my hand. My coach never seriously admonished me for these tactics. He was a Salvadoran immigrant named Fernando whom we all thought was a rockstar soccer god because (1) we never saw him smile, (2) we never saw him without his sunglasses on, and (3) he wasn't somebody's dad reading instruction manuals for drill ideas. For several years, we were the Buffalo Bills of our little league, making it to the championship game each season and losing every time. Except the last time. The last time, we won. And I dramatically hung up my cleats. It was during this era that, thanks to a big aluminum satellite dish in the backyard, I devoured every game of the 1986 World Cup, turning me into a Maradona and, therefore, Napoli fan. I fell out of soccer in high school and college, preferring the music scene over the sports scene. The years 1988 through 1994 were, objectively speaking, the greatest period in music ever, so I don't regret my sabbatical one bit. Law school, career, marriage, kid, and now, once my daughter turned old enough to play, back to soccer. I've coached her team (and read the instruction manuals for drill ideas) and turned her onto DCU games, season tickets, the whole bit. I've fallen back in love with soccer. Maybe it's a midlife crisis. Season tickets are cheaper than a convertible.
Hi guys, I'm Chris. I was born in Massachusetts to British parents, and after we moved back to the UK when I was six weeks old I grew up on a steady diet of soccer (which I sometimes still call football) as well as just about every sport that was on television. I attended the University of East Anglia in the soccer-mad city of Norwich, where I wrote for our student newspaper and took on a couple of editorial roles. After interning for Goal.com and attending a few Premier League games as an accredited media member, I realised once and for all that this was the career for me. I moved to Alexandria, Va. in June to be with my girlfriend, and spent the summer as an intern with D.C. United. Since leaving RFK in August I work as a freelance journalist, mostly focusing on college soccer. However, I'd definitely say I've become a fan of D.C. United, and whenever I go to games you'll almost certainly find me with the District Ultras, as a friend of mine is a member. I'm always looking for new projects, so am very excited to be joining Black & Red United.
Hello all. I'm Dashel Lewis, known as "Dlewis" on SB Nation. I was born in the chic D.C neighborhood of Georgetown, so I started out a hipster. However, soon after my parents traded out trendy for the suburbs, so I spent the rest of my childhood in Alexandria, Virginia and Garrett Park, Maryland, where I'm living now. I'm a senior at Walter Johnson High School and played two seasons in the soccer program, where I had the pleasure of training daily with Arsenal's precocious prospect, Gedion Zelalem, which feels weird whenever I see him on TV. I started following United around 2004, so I grew up on Jaime Moreno, Christian Gomez, and Ben Olsen, which pretty much solidified my allegiance. My general obsession with the league came around 2011 when a family member made the clutch decision to purchase me MLS Live for my birthday. I wrote for my school newspaper for two years and loosely kept an MLS blog, but this is my first go around at a blog this big so I'm excited for the upcoming season. Thanks all, and I hope to get to know you guys well this year.
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And that's the team we'll be entering the season with. I'm unbelievably excited about our staff, though I fully expect to be adding another name or two to the masthead before too much longer. (In fact, another name or two might already be in the works...) Commenters: feel free to introduce (or re-introduce) yourselves down below, whether you're new to the site or somebody who's been reading and commenting since Martin and Jason first turned on the lights back in 2010.