Last night, I was visited by four ghosts. The first was my predecessor on the Friday Freedom Kicks beat, seven years dead, who warned me that every Freedom Kick link he posted was actually another iron link on a ponderous chain which he must physically carry around for all eternity.
I tried to comfort him. "But you were always a good man of Freedom Kicks."
"Freedom Kicks!" he cried. "Mankind was my freedom kick. The common welfare was my freedom kick."
Suffice it to say, all of these social visits distracted me from Friday Freedom Kicks production. Stupid ghosts.
So here are the few Freedom Kicks I could muster. Hopefully, they get you through the weekend:
Youth soccer team's new goal: To give to less fortunate players - Washington Post: What a great group of kids. And if you've never seen the film "Pelada" that partially inspired this charitable spirit, here's the trailer. One of the filmmakers also wrote a book about her experience searching for pickup games around the world. Finding the Game is a great read, especially if you like traveling off the beaten path.
Deceased Eleven 2015 - Beyond the Last Man: Every year, this blog remembers the soccer stars who passed away and how they might be configured into a ghostly formation in that great green pitch in the sky.
Soccer on the Street - ABCNews: This story will warm your heart with the Christmas spirit. It's about a program in San Francisco that organizes homeless adults and homeless kids into soccer teams. From one of the participants: "Technically, it was soccer that got me sober...It was either playing soccer or getting high. I wanted to play soccer."
And here is Thierry Henry explaining Pep Guardiola's success, via World Soccer Talk. The key is POSITION:
Thierry Henry Provides Excellet Analysis of Guardiola, Van Gaal
Watch Thierry Henry's detailed and informed analysis of the playing style of Pep Guardiola at Barcelona as compared to that of Van Gaal. #FCB #MUFCPosted by World Soccer Talk on Tuesday, 22 December 2015
Why the Psycho-Social 'Corner' is the most important - The Whitehouse Address: Fascinating piece by a soccer coach on why players tend to technically peak around ages 9 and 10.
State of the Union - Report on youth soccer coaching in the USA - Proven Quality: Here are the wide-ranging impressions of a UK-born youth soccer coach about the future of soccer in the States.
Season Update: League 1 - Experimental 3-6-1: This blog follows the lower leagues in England. And this post features some wonderful scatter graphics of how each club in League 1 is doing so far this season.
For those of you celebrating, FFK wishes you a happy Christmas. And to all, a very special Boxing Day. Schedule here.
And your Friday Freedom Kicks treat is this tribute to the Commentariat.