Welcome to the Designated Players.
I know you have been holding your breath.
After those-half-ass-viral-campaign-teaser-banners? What, a few new prominent links?
That is one way to look at it.
Look, Frank Dell’apa just got moved at the Boston Globe from covering soccer—he is in the Massachusetts soccer hall of fame—to covering the Celtics (a beat he used to cover). It was not his choice, though I realize most people would consider that a promotion. If it can happen to him, a veteran soccer writer, there, a big city paper, then it can happen anywhere, except at the New York Times where they don’t have a soccer writer to move around. Dell’apa may be the biggest but is just the latest in a line of soccer writers that have moved on from the sport, been reassigned, or quit journalism all together.
While magazines and television have been holding their own, it is certainly not a good time (at least financially speaking) to be working at a newspaper. (With similar problems, broadcast magazine shows—60 Minutes, even Good Morning America—pay the bills for the evening news which nobody watches).
Why all the trouble? The internet of course, and that whole thing about pop culture and technology offering an ocean of choices and dumbing down society (but seriously, go outside).
We’ve been saying for a long time around these parts that soccer is the sport of the internet, digging out its niche in the only place it could. A few former beat writers and columnists have left newspapers and survive exclusively on-line. Even so, faith more than fact has us believing that the internet is just beginning to show its potential for soccer. Life is taking hold, flourishing though fragile, on the barren rock of cyberspace, turning an inorganic desert into a thriving community. It’s not paradise yet, more like planting a flag on a lava flow, but we’ve got a home. This unclaimed island chain over here straddling the equator of planet soccer, it’s ours, and we’re calling it Designated Players.
Do you really need to go anywhere else for your soccer news? Probably. That’s not the point. Every tourism board needs a motto, a brand. It’s a competitive world our there for tourism. We think our islands are a good spot, but there are other island nations and world super powers that I would also recommend you visit. In fact, if I could recommend one change to our educational systems, it would be mandated international travel. I love to travel.
But I also love coming home. And for me, coming home means du Nord, Soccer by Ives, The Offsides Rules, and The Original Winger. A few doses of our diverse directions and you aren’t likely to miss anything. Say what you will about the sales pitch, but well before we discussed a partnership–hopefully more enlightening than those between MLS and EPL teams–this group of sites ruled my bookmarks.
Think of it as the seed of a soccer newspaper or magazine if that helps you get your head around it, each website filling a department or section. Think of it like the launch of a political campaign if you want, looking to unify the party. I kind of like to think of it as the groundbreaking of a pimp resort out in a desert. Five websites, five-star resort treatment. A Four Seasons for soccer. Who doesn’t want to live here.
What it all means down the line—where the waves break and mountains erode—no one knows. But we’re riding this hot spot with faith that once our Kure Atoll crumbles into the sea, our Loihi, however that new island might be shaped, will be ready to populate.
A relaunch of the side panel with the Designated designation coming soon. In the meantime, follow TIAS at Twitter to receive all the soccer news, headlines, and random curiosities as they happen.