Cincinnati Reds, Blues, etc.
How’s it going, Michel?
This week’s topic centres around the National Soccer Coaches of America Association convention held in Cincinnati a couple of weeks ago. The first thing to know about this is when you fly into Cincinnati, Ohio, the plane lands in Kentucky and you have a river to cross. Now to cut a long story short and paraphrase America’s well-known centre forward, Abraham Lincoln, some of the taxis can pick up some of the people some of the time, but not all the taxis can pick up all the people all of the time. Politics and state lines are there even if you can’t see them. I’ll skip the details and fast forward to the NSCAA show itself.
One word US of A. Impressive. If you need two words I’d have to say very impressive. Some 6,000 coaches and attendees from the legendary Pele right down to the “ordinary” people. What a nice, humble, giving back to the game type of person Pele is. As a nice, humble, ordinary person, I can say it was a privilege just to be in the same room as Edson Arantes and listen to him speak. Sometimes, words are enough.
It happened to be the biggest annual coaching convention in the world. This is not just another delusion in the sense that American baseball has the “world” series or that the American Superbowl somehow produces “world” champions. The rest of the world is quite aware that land exists outside the fifty states, but on this occasion, the Americans have their sensory deprivation under control and their claim to have the “world” coaching convention stands up to scrutiny. After all, soccer people from all over the world attend, and, in addition to a couple of hundred booths displaying everything from 50-cents earrings to $50,000 tracking systems, presentations were constantly taking place throughout the six days, tactical and technical demonstrations were happening, deals were being struck, and a free and frank exchange of soccer views were the rule. This results in a combination of all that’s best in soccer coming together in the same place at the same time. It was very exciting.
Umbro had their World Cup ’98 outfits on view. You’ve heard of the Cincinnati Reds? Well, this was the Cincinnati Reds and Yellows and Pinks and Greens, Oranges and Purples and Blues. And I can sing a rainbow too. As usual, some were almost too nice to wear and some were downright ugly, but I’m not going to tell you which is which since we all know that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. I will say that Scotland’s attempts to out-Brazil Brazil worked for the jersey but failed miserably with the wimpy shorts. Now that’s going to be some tournament come June. It will, of course, feature heavily in this Joe’s columns as we approach France’98. There are just 17 weeks to go to kickoff June 10th as I write. All I can say at this point is that there are going to be surprises. It’s fair to say it will be the best World Cup this year, but I’m thinking it will be the best world cup ever, and I think two “new” teams will contest the final. There, I’ve said enough already.
If you know you agree with me, let me know. If you know you don’t agree with me, let me know. If you think you know whether you might agree with me, let me know. If, on the other hand, you just don’t know whether you think you agree with me or no, let me know. Otherwise, how do I know? You know.
Until the next time, you know……..