We’ve seen a lot around here. Black and Red United opened up a few weeks after one of the most astounding MLS games ever played, a 2-2 draw between D.C. United and the Kansas City Wizards that ended United’s season on a tiebreaker, and ever since then, it’s been a roller coaster.
Think through it all: the hopelessness of the 2010 season is where we really got going as a site. The first serious game we covered was a 4-0 loss. United lost five in a row, and eight of their first nine. They were shut out seven times. That was the raw material we had on hand when the site staff was just me and Martin Shatzer trying to figure out what team site blogging was even going to look like.
But we — Martin and I, yes, but also a lot of you who post in our comments every day, something that I think is the mark of success for a site like this — kept going, kept trying to keep it fun. Sports are supposed to be fun, right?
It’s been all over the place since then. Highs like the Spirit winning it all last year in circumstances that are utterly unlike anything we’ve ever seen in US pro soccer. Opening Audi Field after years of fretting about whether our teams would even carry on. The least-likely trophy an MLS team will ever win? We got to cover it. Having bona fide international stars like Rose Lavelle and Wayne Rooney in town, or players like Luciano Acosta, Trinity Rodman, and Ashley Sanchez announce themselves to the world right here in the District. Not at some big old club you can only see on TV, or at some wealthier team where they’ll visit the DMV once a year. Here, at our place.
Those big moments served as the sustenance when things got bad...and they did often get bad. We’ve covered MLS and NWSL record-holders in terms of attacking futility, after all, as well as club vs. supporter battles, bad broadcasting deals, and so many more tough pills to swallow. The secret at this site has been that the bad times still provide moments of levity, and the bonds we built in those moments kept things going until things turned around.
I’ll stop stalling. After more than 12 years, I am stepping down as managing editor at Black and Red United. The reasons are positive: I have been hired by Pro Soccer Wire (a new soccer vertical at USA Today) to a Staff Writer position. They’re going to pay me a salary and benefits to do soccer posts! I’ve had a few days with the news and can still scarcely believe it.
But the good news does come with bad, and in that case it means this is my last B&RU piece. It has meant the world to me to cover these teams, in this community, with a staff that I think of as true friends. I’m not leaving the area, and I’m betting that I’ll still be at most games at Audi Field, but the nature of what I’m doing for a national outlet has to change from the hyper-local to looking around all of domestic soccer, and even abroad.
However, one thing I want to do is remain a part of the B&RU community. I won’t have writer privileges, but the strength of this site has always been the community that exists around it. I may be moving on from the site in terms of work, but that tab for blackandredunited.com is going to stay open.
It is especially important for me to mention Adam Taylor, Ben Bromley, Ryan Keefer, Donald Wine II, Rick Allen, André Carlisle, Steven Streff, Caitlin Buckley, and Kelley Piper here. The experience has been what it has been because I got to work with extraordinary people. Jeremiah Oshan and Alicia Rodriguez with SB Nation have both been fundamental to the site’s success as well. B&RU wouldn’t be what it is without them.
I want to be clear that I view this chance to literally put food on my table writing about soccer is something that doesn’t happen without this site, and when I say “this site,” that means everyone mentioned above, and you, the people who click the links. From the bottom of my heart, thank you for reading, for commenting, for agreeing or disagreeing, and most of all, for caring like everyone that writes for the site cares.
Until next time, I’ll see you folks on Buzzard Point.