Saturday, December 21, 2002

Before I head off to visit the in-laws in the wilds of New Hampshire, I’d better hang up my list for Santa.
First of all, I would like to wish all those soccer fans out there happy holidays and then wish
That college soccer finally scraps its multiple substitution policy and descending clock and starts looking more like the international game.
That the New England Revolution win a title to reward their loyal fans, especially the 61,000 who had to sit through that downright boring MLS Cup in October as their team lost 1-0 to Los Angeles at Foxboro, Mass.
That Major League Soccer insists coaches get to the postgame news conference on time. Don’t they realize writers are on deadline?
That parents and coaches on the sidelines at youth games stop yelling instructions and just let the kids play the game.
That D.C. United coach Ray Hudson gets to play Hamlet on stage one day. His oratorical skills are being wasted in the locker room.
That players clean up their act on the field. It’s getting boring lip-reading crude four-letter words.
That Sports Illustrated writer Frank Deford, who considers soccer un-American, awkward and inefficient, takes another look at the game with an open mind.
That the U.S. national team plays England at RFK Stadium this summer. Oh yeah, dream on.
That former U.S. team captain John Harkes and former U.S. team coach Steve Sampson sit down for dinner and forget their past squabbles.
That the D.C. Sports Commission relents and builds a soccer-specific stadium on the parking lot next to RFK Stadium.
That billionaire Phil Anschutz keeps making tons of money and invests in more soccer teams. He already operates five MLS teams.
That MLS expands to Seattle, Portland, Houston, Philadelphia, Long Island and somewhere near Baltimore like Columbia.
That Arsenal plays Real Madrid in the Champions League final. I’m salivating already.
That D.C. United midfielder Ben Olsen gets another shot at playing in England one day.
That Colorado Rapids midfielder Mark Chung receives a call-up for the U.S. team.
That Mia Hamm is fit next season and plays every minute of every game for the Washington Freedom.
That Hamm and Nomar Garciaparra invite me to their wedding.
That Tonya Harding dare meet Freedom forward Abby Wambach in a celebrity boxing match.
That the U.S. team meets France in the final of the Confederations Cup in Paris in 2003.
That sports fans rise up and declare war on the outrageous parking fees they are forced to pay at sporting events.
That Ray Hudson takes D.C. United to England to play his old club Newcastle United and treats the lads to a fish and chips dinner in his old neighborhood.
That D.C. United makes the playoffs after a three-year absence.
That 5-foot-10 United goalie Nick Rimando grows another inch or two.
That American goalie Brad Friedel wins the Premier League MVP award.
That Colorado Rapids and Colombian midfielder Carlos Valderrama, 41, plays another season in MLS. He’s so much fun to watch.
That Cobi Jones never retires.
That Boston Breakers midfielder Angela Hucles goes on to become the next Julie Foudy.
That Irish star Roy Keane, who walked away from Ireland’s World Cup team, sits down for a Guinness with former Ireland coach Mike McCarthy and makes up. Keane is too good a player to allow his bad temper to dominate him, and McCarthy is one of the nicest guys in the game.
That my neighbor’s trees won’t grow any bigger. My satellite dish needs a clear shot of the southern sky and I can’t live without my Fox Sports Network.
That my 8-year old son goes to soccer practice without me having to bribe him every time. And that he realizes he’s a midfielder and not a goalie.
That English First Division club Reading wins promotion to Premier League, allowing goalie Marcus Hahanemann to become the third American goalie starting in the Premiership.
That Claudio Reyna’s knee will heal quickly.
That Portland’s longtime men’s and women’s coach, Clive Charles, wins his battle with cancer. The Portland programs produced Shannon MacMillan, Tiffeny Milbrett and Kasey Keller.
And, in closing, that I finally prove to my wife that I love her more than soccer, because I do.

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