Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Dropping Like Flies

I took a late lunch today and dropped by the Elephant and Castle to watch the Barcelona-Arsenal Champions League tie. I walked out of the restaurant two hours later elated -- it was a game I plan on trying to watch with my daughter again this weekend, just to try and give her a sense of why I love the game.

Although it is a pale vestige of today's spectacle at Emirates, the match got me excited for the seasons of local soccer to come. I finalized an expansion of our season tickets to DC United so that our toddler would have her own seat. I tried to figure out how to increase my support for Real Maryland FC for its inaugural season in the PDL (while, at the same time, getting a little excited about the prospect of seeing Julia Arjona and others at Richard Montgomery). And I am trying to temper my expectations of what seems to be another strong recruiting class for Coach Cirovski -- including three products from the NY Red Bull Academy and U-17 phenom Alex Shinsky.

But that will likely be the extent of our opportunities to follow the sport in the region. Freed of his contract by the collapse of Crystal Palace Baltimore, the gem of the squad, Korey Veeder, has now joined the Columbus Crew for the upcoming MLS season. Howard County's Maryland Red Devils, which had played their inaugural season in the National Premier Soccer League (4th Division) last year were not amongst the teams announced today by the NPSL as populating the league in 2011. The club has announced that:

The TSC MD Red Devils be sitting out for the 2011 season and are planning to be back in 2012.

And so much for my hopes of taking my daughter to see women's professional soccer. Our Game Magazine confirms what everyone who is not an idiot could have foreseen (I, being an idiot, did not) -- Washington Freedom is no more and the team will be playing all of its home games in Boca Raton this season. I hope that Dan Borislow is able to make his vision work down there, because the women's professional game is going to need a lot of help to survive, but it is a shame that the WPS will proceed without a DC-area presence this year.

What does that leave? It is now absolutely imperative to support those teams that are here -- DC United, Real Maryland, and the Northern Virginia Royals. United's signing of Charlie Davies makes the team immediately more interesting. The folks at Real Maryland are doing a great deal to try and make the club relevant to the local soccer scene. Whether the club will be able to draw people and get support remains to be seen, but they are trying. Whether I can convince anyone to trek out with me to Manassas also remains to be seen.

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