As you've probably noticed over the last few weeks, we've revived Freedom Links, our daily post linking to some of the best soccer news and commentary catching our eye during the previous day. Whether it's D.C. United coverage, news on other Major League Soccer teams, discussion on the US National Teams, or the latest goings on overseas, it's relatively easy for us to find this content and share it with you due to the magic of the interwebs. It's hard to recall now, but there once was a day in the United States when getting soccer news was very difficult.
Way back in the last millenium, there was a time in America when there weren't any dedicated soccer TV stations, the internet and podcasts didn't exist, and most newspapers rarely had in-depth soccer coverage. Sure, NASL and other American soccer leagues rose and fell, PBS had "Soccer Made in Germany", ABC's Wide World of Sports showed the Soccer Bowl, and Sports Illustrated had the occasional soccer article, but getting hardcore news was very difficult. And, while this tour through the Wayback Machine is nostalgic, let's be thankful we live in a day and age when the American soccer fan is awash in soccer content. So, with all the choices available on the internet to get your soccer news, how do you best navigate through it on a daily basis?
The purpose of this post is to pull together the best links B&RU readers use to stay abreast of soccer news. Because, if there is any distinguishing feature of the community hanging out on this little corner of the internet (besides our collective support of the Black-and-Red), it's that it is a very well-informed group bringing a diversity of soccer expertise to the site.
So, what are the soccer news/commentary sites you have bookmarked in your browser right now? These should be the sites you go to daily to get the latest on D.C. United, MLS, the US Men's and Women's National Teams, global soccer leagues and teams, and other miscellaneous soccer topics. I'll start with the sites I currently have bookmarked (as inadequate a list as it is), and I'll continue to update this post wiki-style using the links you share in the comments section below.
D.C. United-Focused Websites:
Black And Red United, a D.C. United community
There are several quality websites focused on D.C. United, but this is where you'll find daily coverage of the team from all angles, plus a lively and informed reader community which is the real secret sauce to the site's success. But, you likely already know all this.
D.C. United Official Website
The team's official website has news, the latest schedule, video, and my favorite feature, post-match team quotes.
Steven Goff's Soccer Insider Blog on the Washington Post Website
D.C. United fans are fortunate to have perhaps the most distinguished and respected American soccer reporter covering the hometown team for the hometown paper. Fortunately, he covers a lot of other things in the world of soccer as well.
Major League Soccer-Focused Websites:
The league's official website is full of news, match reports, standings, schedules, podcasts, and regular features covering the league, the US Men's National Team, and even how former MLS players are doing overseas.
MLS Press Box | PRESS BOX
The MLS Press Box has a lot of valuable information, including the latest MLS press releases, roster rules (for when you're trying to remember the minimum salary for players occupying roster spots 25-30--$35,125 in 2013), and competition rules (for when you can't remember what the sixth tiebreaker is for playoff seeding--road goal differential). But, my favorite section is "Stats & Standings" which is updated following every day in which MLS games are played. The first 14 pages or so are devoted to stats from the current season (updated to include the previous day's games), while the final few pages contain the all-time MLS statistical records.
SBNation.com - Major League Soccer
If you want to keep up with what other local writers and fanbases are thinking about their MLS teams, this page contains a daily sampling of articles from across the SB Nation network (of which B&RU is a part). From this site (as well as the main menu on B&RU), you can quickly get to all the other local SBN blogs covering MLS teams.
Wikipedia - Major League Soccer
I'm a Wiki addict, and I frequently start historical or statistical research here. While some Wiki articles covering certain teams or seasons are better maintained than others, I find this to be a good starting point for almost anything related to MLS and its history. It's always good to double check unsourced facts, but all-in-all this is the most comprehensive historical database of MLS I've found.
- Wikipedia's All-time D.C. United Roster page (h/t Brendanukkah)
US National Team-Focused Websites:
American Soccer Now Home
For all-around excellent coverage of the US Men's National Team, check out ASN. I really like the Infographics and the ASN ranking of the top 100 US soccer players. Also, expect them to ramp up with some awesome World Cup coverage as the year progresses as they did for The Hex in 2013. BTW, according to the ASN 100 (as of Dec. 31st, 2013), D.C. United has the #17 (Eddie Johnson), #43 (Chris Pontius), #58 (Perry Kitchen), #63 (Nick DeLeon), #65 (Bill Hamid), #90 (Sean Franklin), and #94 (Luis Silva) best American players currently on its roster. Note: ASN updated their Top 100 list on Jan. 1st, 2014--check out how the list changed.
Stars and Stripes FC - USMNT and USWNT News, Opinion, and Commentary
This is SB Nation's blog dedicated to the US National Teams (both Men's and Women's). This blog really cranks into gear as these teams head into meaningful games, so get ready for the World Cup by checking it frequently.
US Soccer Players
This is a website created by current and former members of the US Men's National Team through their official association/union, the US National Soccer Team Players Association. The site has some excellent writers, lots of news and content, and covers a wide array of soccer topics (not just USMNT).
Global Soccer-Focused Websites:
Football Statistics | Football Live Scores | WhoScored.com
If you like stats, infographics, analytically-derived player ratings and listings of team strengths/weaknesses, then WhoScored.com will deeply satisfy your inner geek. The sheer breadth of this website is staggering, covering what appears to be most leagues in the world (MLS included). You can argue with the ratings (here are D.C. United's for 2013), but at least WhoScored has a consistent analytic methodology applied across the globe.
Steve Davis and company over at Pro Soccer Talk are prolific bloggers, putting out tons of news and content covering just about everything the American soccer fan cares about.
SBNation.com - Soccer
If you are interested in global soccer leagues (particularly European leagues), check out a sampling of SB Nation's coverage from across their blogs dedicated to these leagues and teams. There's coverage of Liga MX, the English Premier League, La Liga, Serie A, the Bundesliga, lower level English teams, the English National Team, and fantasy soccer, as well as MLS, the US National Teams, and the World Cup--and you can click through to individual blogs on these topics as well.
The worldwide leader in sports does a very creditable job covering the biggest soccer leagues and stories. My only question: why do their league tables follow a Wins-Ties-Losses format when everywhere else seems to follow a Wins-Losses-Ties format?
The Guardian (h/t 2ndsnares)
"[G]reat for EPL news & humour and live-blogging of champions league matches." (2ndsnares)
b/r Serie A (h/t touchline)
"I happened to end up at Bleacher Report many times in search of news on Napoli or Roma, and it's my regular stop now for Serie A news. Writing is very good, by passionate fans of the league." (touchline)
Miscellaneous Soccer Websites:
Since our team is the current champion of US Soccer, make sure you stay up to date on all the latest regarding the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup. This site does a great job of staying on top of the tournament (and not just the rounds when the MLS teams enter) and has become perhaps the authoritative source for all things related to our nation's oldest soccer tournament.
Soccer by Ives (h/t 2ndsnares)
A terrific all-around web site covering the breadth of soccer from local MLS teams all the way up global soccer.
Yahoo's Dirty Tackle (h/t dekotora)
"[This site] is impeccable. It's a mix of news, humor, clips and outright fabrications - what consistently impresses me is how the satire always manages to capture the truth/essence of a situation." (dekotora)
There are lots of other authors I keep up with via Twitter, and we'll write an article on the best Twitter soccer feeds sometime next year. But, for now, give us your list of bookmarked soccer sites in the comments section below.
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