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D.C. United to host international tournament, Euros increase Wembley capacity, and more: Freedom Kicks for June 23, 2021

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Some sad news kicks us off, though.

MLS Liga MX at D.C. United Photo by Toni L. Sandys/The Washington Post via Getty Images

Well, it’s not a happy Wednesday, because unfortunately we have to lead off with some tough news. A legend in the stands, Rob Gillespie, has entered hospice care after a long fight with several types of cancer.

Allow me for a moment to give Big Rob his flowers. When I started going to D.C. United matches in 2007 and then 2008, I met a ton of people in Lot 8. Two of the people who always went out of their way to make me feel welcome were Chico Solares and Big Rob. They introduced me to people and looked out for me when I was trying to get my footing in the culture. As I came up into leadership, Big Rob was always there to give me advice, we could always talk about the team, and no doubt I always tried to find him at every tailgate. When he began his cancer fight, his strength and tenacity were an inspiration for all of us, but even while he was enduring that fight, he was still there.

When I was going through some of the verbal and online abuse back in 2018, he called me from across the country to talk it out and give me advice I needed. He supported me when a lot of people didn’t. When people needed to be there for him, he was instead there for me. I never forgot that, and ever so often, I would make sure I was there for him in any small way that I could.

Big Rob is the best of us, and I wanted to make sure he knew how much he was loved. Big Rob, your fight is inspirational. Your zeal to live is something we all can learn from and hope to emulate. But there’s only one Big Rob Gillespie, and I’m honored that you looked out for me and are someone that as a fan and as a person I can continue to look up to. We’re gonna keep fighting for you.

I love you Rob.

——-

D.C. United looks like they will be hosting a an annual tournament beginning in about a week and a half. No word on which teams will be involved this year.

Euro 2020: Wembley to have 60,000 crowd for semis and final - ESPNFC

Wembley Stadium will now have a capacity of 60K for the Euro 2020 semifinals and the final. The question will be whether the fans of the teams that make the final will be able to enter England with the various Covid restrictions.

As today is a United Day, here’s the injury report courtesy of our very own Jason Anderson:

Also, speaking of Jason, after you listen to the latest Filibuster, Jason was also on the latest EQZ Podcast. Our mans is everywhere!

D.C. United has some of the Juneteenth jerseys up for auction right now. It’s open for the next couple weeks, so someone please head on over and bid on a jersey to give me.

[ed. note: It’s Jason, it’s very late and after Donald scheduled this, but I am still an inveterate night owl, so I’m up and can add this tweet in which Kumi Yokoyama was recognized on Twitter by the actual US president]

Harpoon Brewery has a new beer, and it’s a collaboration with USWNT sisters Samantha and Kristie Mewis! Harpoon says they will not be shipping them to DC, so we’re gonna have to find someone in New England or North Carolina to get a 4 pack.

Bundesliga clubs double down in UEFA rainbow row, several commit to displaying pride flags - ESPNFC

Bundesliga teams are joining forces to show support to Munich and Allianz Arena, who were denied the ability to light up the stadium’s outside in Pride colors by UEFA. They’re going to show support by displaying Pride flags in their own stadiums and cities when Germany take the field.

USWNT match in Austin offered a glimpse of the potential for NWSL in the city - The Athletic

The USWNT match in Austin last week was amazing, and the city is hopeful that it can be the start of showing the NWSL that they can be the terrific home of a new franchise.

Yaya Toure: Why bums are so important in football - The Athletic

Finally, we end with Yaya Touré writing an article on the art of using your butt to get ahead in soccer. If you’re wondering on the technique, I leave it to E.U. to not only show you how to do it, but to also carry you into your Wednesday. Enjoy.