Interest in American soccer is at an all time high. The U.S. men’s team is setting new viewership records. Among 12-to-17-year-old Americans, MLS is now as popular as MLB. As Americans are getting more and more interested in soccer, they crave articles and information about their favorite players and future prospects. This is where American Soccer Now comes in.
American Soccer Now (ASN) was launched in 2012 with a mission to “to provide U.S. soccer fans with a truly immersive experience: We want you to consume our content, create your own, comment on it all, and share everything across your social graph.” The site’s main focus is on the U.S. Men’s National Team, with articles focusing on the current and upcoming rosters, how national team players and prospects are doing for their club teams, U.S. player transfer news, and updates on all U.S. teams from the U-17 to senior level. The site also covers the U.S. Women’s National Team, the MLS, and all other aspects of soccer in America.
In addition to news articles, the website also includes a number of other sub-categories, many of which that are interactive. The first one of these, which originally got me interested in the site, is the player ratings section. After every USMNT match, ASN makes their own player ratings, collects ratings from the New York Times and ESPN (which probably do the best ratings for USMNT) as well as allowing anyone to submit their own ratings which are combined for average. Since statistics are largely meaningless for soccer, the ratings (and explanations that go along with them) really help to elaborate on how a player is playing if you didn’t watch the game, or want a separate opinion/confirmation of your own opinion after watching the game. There are a number of sites that do ratings, but the combination of three expert opinions and the general public’s ratings really make ASN’s player rating system better than anywhere else.
Another interactive sub-category ASN offers is “Staring XI”. In “Starting XI” anyone can pretend to be the coach, and choose the lineup and formation they would start. You can also go the route of predicting Klinsmann’s roster and win a prize if you predict the most rosters correctly. In my opinion, “Starting XI” is most interesting when ASN writers and other soccer experts choose their rosters and give reasons.
ASN’s biggest endeavor is the “ASN 100,” a collection of the top 100 American soccer players at any given date (most recently compiled on January 18, 2015). The ASN 100 is created by a panel of ASN employees based on “current form and availability—not on potential or past glory.” The list is fascinating, especially in recognizing players many Americans have not heard of, that are just on the outskirts of the national team picture. Readers can order and filter the list in whatever way they choose, including ordering by age (helps recognize the up-and-comers), or caps (to see how veterans who no longer are prevalent are doing). You can also click on each member of the ASN 100 and get a bio of the player, his ASN rank over time, and any articles he is mentioned on in the site. If you are trying to learn more about individuals on the U.S. national team, or future prospects, there really is not better place to learn.
One way ASN supplements the ASN 100 is through questionnaires, another one of their sub-categories. For questionnaires, an ASN staff member interviews an American player, asking questions such as, “Describe your first experience suiting up for the U.S?” and “What is you ultimate definition of success in the game?” The answers are often substantive, and give you an interesting look into the life of an American professional soccer player.
While all of the sub-categories are interesting and flashy, what really brings me, and others, back to the site are the articles. There are quite a few that are fluff (there isn’t always enough news about American soccer players to post new substantive articles every day), but they also have some great writers. In my experience, Brian Sciaretta is one of the best. His actual writing is not always excellent, but he is probably the most knowledgeable writer in terms of American soccer, especially when it comes to young prospects and Americans abroad.
His recent article, “Miazga and Carter-Vickers Bolster U.S. U-20 Back Line” is an excellent example of his incredible knowledge base. In this post, he reviews the U.S. U-20 team’s performance in the CONCACAF U-20 World Cup qualification, highlighting the strong showing from center backs Matt Miazga and Cameron Carter-Vickers. In the article he features quotations from both center backs, as well as their coaches, and gives elaborate bios. Sciaretta knows everything from their club backgrounds to home life (Carter-Vickers was the son of former NBA player Howard Carter, but born and raised in England). I would highly recommend Sciaretta’s articles to anyone interested in the U.S. Men’s National Team.
Overall, American Soccer Now is a great website. There are enough different parts to pique the curiosity of any American soccer fan, especially those who want to learn more about the national team. I would highly recommend it to any American with an interest in soccer.