The Football Crónicas, edited by Jethro Soutar and Tim Girven (Ragpicker Press, 2014)

If you’ve ever played football at any level then you’ll probably be aware of the importance of ‘banter’ with your teammates. It adds to the enjoyment. It’s part of the experience. Hammering each other about being shit at football, about misplaced passes and wild shots on goal that are more likely to see the ball flying into a tree than bursting the net. Whether it’s sat in a freezing changing room before a Sunday league game or waiting outside a five-a-side pitch on a Thursday evening it’s taking the piss out of each other that helps to build spirit amongst the players. One insult, whether in jest or not, that you’re generally unlikely to hear in a football changing room is that “you’re so gay…you even want to shag men in cartoon strips.”

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U.S. Football Tour: New York Cosmos

New York Cosmos, famous for fielding Pelé and Franz Beckenbauer in the 1970s under a previous incarnation, now ply their trade in the North American Soccer League (NASL), classed as the second tier of soccer in the United States. Cosmos beat Jacksonville Armada 3-0 in front of a crowd just under 4,000 to maintain their perfect start to the season. Mike O’Neill went along with his camera.

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The home fans look on from the stands

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Copa América Centenario Preview

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Credit: Comnebol.com

Like the World Cup and the European Championships, the modern Copa América runs roughly on a four-year cycle. The current South American champions are Chile who won the last tournament on home soil just, er, last year. Yes, last year. The 2015 competition saw the home team beat Argentina 4-1 on penalties and it was a deserved, if somewhat unexpected victory. So why is there another Copa only a year later? Well, 2016 marks a century since the first Copa, or South American Championship of Nations as it was then known (hosted by Argentina, won by Uruguay). And it’s being held in the United States. In ten different cities. And the U.S. is participating in it, along with Mexico. And so are teams from Central America and the Caribbean. One big happy tournament of the Americas. Money is playing a part as well. Ticket prices have been criticised for their, well, cost. Many journalists and commentators (and even national federations) don’t necessarily see this Copa as a ‘genuine’ one. But enough with the negativity, it is going to be good, I promise…

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FC Barcelona: End of Season Review

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Credit: Feelgrafix.com

League position

Champions (W29 D4 L5 – 76% win rate)

Cups

Champions League – semi-finals (lost to Atlético Madrid)

Copa del Rey – WINNERS – beat Sevilla 2-0 on 22/5.

The good

*Retaining the title, with the fight against Madrid going down to the final day. Closer than Luis Enrique probably would have liked but they beat Madrid home and away so ultimately a deserved championship win.

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A Football Weekend in Berlin

In September Mike O’Neill (@zuc82) spent a weekend in Berlin. As well as soaking up the numerous cultural and historical sites, he also caught a couple of lower league football matches. On the Friday night, fan-owned SV Babelsberg 03 hosted Hertha Berlin’s second string in the fourth-tier Regionalliga, winning 3-2 with a last minute goal. On Sunday afternoon, 1. FC Union Berlin were at home to Greuther Fürth in the Bundesliga 2, the away side victorious 2-1. Here are some photos.

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At the S-Bahn station

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