Posted by: Jon Pyle | June 11, 2007

A Guide to Recognizing Your Bloggers: Garth from Soccernista

When the US Men’s Soccer team plays in an important competition and nobody watches, does it still count?

With the US attempting to make a run in the Gold Cup (next match: Tuesday), I’ve got soccer on the brain. But sadly, I’m woefully under qualified to talk about the World’s Game. So I enlisted the help in the form of an interview with Garth from Soccernista. If you’ve ever ventured over to Soccernista, you’re certainly familiar with the genius of Garth. He has the most realistic football disposition of any American soccer blogger that I’ve read and truly knows the game. His passion alone should get you interested in the sport. He also happens to be very funny too, making for a very good interview. The proof is in the pudding so just keep on reading.

Prepare a customized list that you’d like to share with the world.

Pink wine. Mazda Miatas. Sleeveless shirts. Chelsea fans. Excalibur (LV). -Things to be avoided, generally.

Propose a fight for Fracas Friday.

Steve Nash vs. Martin Nash

While Steve goes around crediting soccer for turning him into a superstar, his brother makes a meager living in the sport. Steve probably makes Martin’s annual salary before the end of the third quarter, and you gotta’ believe Marty has some rage issues because of it. No better place to work those out than in the ring.

3 best games you’ve ever watched (in person or on TV).

I’m an American soccer fan, so I don’t watch decent games in person. But televised, there’s really only one that sticks out:

1) Newcastle 3-Liverpool 4 1996

If this game didn’t do it for you, you’re not a sports fan.

What 4 celebrities or athletes do you want in your posse? Whose posse would you like to be in?

You have to approach any entourage like a swiss army knife: you need implements for any situation you run into. Bar fight, art show, flat tire, whatever; I’m looking for adaptability. David James is in there because he’s 6’5″ and could hold his own in a Trivial Pursuit game. Jimmy Bullard for laughs and solid fishing talent. Ian Wright, because we need a wily veteran. And I’m thinking we should include someone who’s English isn’t very good. He’d learn catch phrases and not much else…plus he’d be a good dancer. Can Tomas Rosicky dance?

Give me your picks for the World Series, Super Bowl, and BCS Championship too. This will be recorded and referred to when the time comes, so you better be right…

You can throw the following teams out: Mets, Dallas Cowboys, Texas

What teams do you follow? Sports?

Having grown up in the Northwest, I have a passing desire to see the Mariners, Blazers, and Seahawks do well (of course, there’s only heartache at the end of that road). To be honest the only sport I follow with any enthusiasm besides soccer is horse racing, which probably has more to do with the gambling, binge-drinking during daylight hours, and cigar-smoking than it does the actual sport.

As far as soccer: I’ve had a real crisis this year with West Ham. I’ve loved that team for a long while, but it seems they did everything in their power this year to turn me off. It wasn’t the results but the off-field stuff that really tested my commitment. I’m in serious review of my fandom.

What is your greatest athletic achievement?

I played in college and did ok…but after you get the full picture of what world soccer is, you realize you were mostly participating in an elaborate, bourgeoisie circle-jerk. I can still kick far, though.

Why do you blog?

In terms of soccer media we live in a 3rd world country. The best soccer writer in the country, Grant Wahl, has to spend most of his time covering college basketball in order to pay the bills. Really – how developed can coverage be if the people best people only do it part-time? We’re left with the utter horsecrap churned out by folks like Greg Lalas and Jen Chang (the latter’s horsecrap at least being harmless).

So there’s a gap. And I guess I blog to fill a miniscule part of that gap with the kind of stuff I like to read.

What do you want your blog to be known for? What do you personally want to be known for?

Look at the media available to Americans this past summer: Rob Stone, in soft focus, in a field of daisies, going on and on about how the Brazilians play soccer the way it’s meant to be played. Thing was, Brazil were shit. They were in shambles. I’d like Soccernista to be known for not being afraid to take a dump in Rob Stone’s daisy field.

Do you want to do this for a living?

Show me the blogger who wouldn’t want to get paid to do what he does for free.

Thoughts on the present and the future for the blogosphere. How does it fit with the mainstream media?

I go back and forth on this. Most of the time I think the quality of sports coverage happening in the blogosphere is light-years better than what’s available through major media outlets. I read folks like Will Leitch, Mighty MJD, FreeDarko crew, etc., and pity the ignorant masses who don’t. But after a few beers I think, “Hey, is it possible the blogosphere is aimed only at the insignificant number of folks in America who can actually appreciate it?” Or rather, “Are we a bunch of geeks writing self-indulgent crap for each other in glorified chat-rooms?”

I have a feeling the blogosphere and mainstream media will be forever separate. They have too much to lose, and we too often use dick-jokes as a crutch.

Any suggestions for a future interview?

Absolutely. One of my favorite blogs is Dave’s Football Blog. He used to cover American football, but now tackles soccer, rugby, and Aussie rules as well. It’s a ballsy idea, and he really pulls it off.

Why start a soccer blog?

Access to primo tail that normal guys have no hope of pulling, clearly.

Is it challenging to have single-sport focus for your blog?

If it wasn’t soccer, it might be. The scale of the world game is massive, and you could blog all day and never scratch the surface. Plus soccer provides endless theatrics off the field through fans, owners, and administrators. It really is an out of control sport.

Who wins the EPL next year?

I really see Man Utd repeating. Sir Alex doesn’t do quick fixes: the past few years were all aimed at this year’s title run. They’ll be at the top until Arsenal matures. I leave out Chelsea only because I hate them.

Please say something positive about Newcastle. I’m begging you.

Any team that fights Lee Bowyer, even if he’s wearing the shirt, is tops in my book.

Who is your favorite soccer player? Any favorites growing up?

I tend to choose my favorites for all the wrong reasons. Like right now my favorite is Jimmy Bullard, and that has more to do with his attitude towards the game and how funny he is. Predictably, he folded his knee in half this year, so I’m single again.

Growing up I was a big, big John Barnes fan.

You’ve sung the praises of Christiano Ronaldo. Can he become the next Maradona/Pele-type player or will he be close to an Henry/Beckham type?

I wrote a piece suggesting Ronaldo was reinventing the game, and I stand by that. He really doesn’t fit the mold of any of the accepted greats, and he’s doing things that haven’t been done before. The test will be if he can maintain his form in the coming years.

In terms of stature, if he’s to match Maradona/Pele, he’ll need to lead Portugal to a World Cup final. That’s a tall order.

Diving is a massive issue in soccer. It’s also one of the biggest challenges in appealing to Americans. How does the game need to address this?

There’s diving in every sport. When an NBA player takes a dive, he’s playing heads-up basketball. When a soccer player does it, he’s a pussy. That being said, it tends to matter more in soccer because the margins are so small.

I think a video review system needs to be put in place, but not during the course of the game. Review incidences after the match and suspend divers. Americans, however, will just have to get over it or skip it.

Share your plan for the American national team to win a World Cup before 2100.

Unless the economy collapses, favelas spring up in major cities across the US, and playing soccer becomes your only escape from a drug-addled, criminal existence, I don’t see it happening. Plans to win the World Cup always make me laugh. I mean, what are other countries going to be doing while we’re building youth programs, holding coaching clinics, and traveling on exchange programs? Our best chance to win a World Cup will be to discover a time machine and send our boys back to 1982; they’d kick ass.

Barring that, allowing MLS to start signing 12 year-olds would be a start.

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Responses

  1. Awesome story. Heading over to Dave’s Football Blog now, as I’m an Aussie Rules AND Rugby Union fan.

  2. […] panning out for their clubs? [Winning the Turnover Battle] 8) Interviewing Garth from Soccernista. [Pyle of List] 9) Leave soccer announcing in the hands of the pros — those outside the U.S. [Stupid […]

  3. […] you’re thirsting for the sweet, sweet nectar that drips from my keyboard, so here you go: an interview at Pyle of List featuring yours truly.  PoL covers sports and the bloggers that cover them, and does so quite excellently, I might […]

  4. Well done, gentleman. An entertaining read, provided by two peoples whom I both enjoy reading.

    I will say, though, that more should be made of Garth’s potential break-up with West Ham. It’s an issue worth exploring.


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