By Jordan Cirocco
Voted as the top American Soccer blog from 2008-2010, Soccer By Ives offers extensive coverage for every top professional league throughout the world. With an emphasis on the state of American soccer, SBI looks to appeal to its primarily American viewership. SBI distinguishes itself from other soccer blogs by offering the unique feature of a weekly podcast, The SBI Show, which has recently focused its coverage on the US Men’s National Team’s journey through qualification for the World Cup.
The homepage of SBI is easy to navigate, offering readers the option to view top headlines from a selection of articles, featuring the most recent articles posted, and filtering articles into a list by subcategory. These features of organization and subcategories allow the read to search through archives of articles that relate to a team, league, or SBI feature of interest. My favorite feature of interest is the SBI match day commentary, which provides a preview of the important matches of the day and a running stream of live match commentary by the site’s main contributors. By providing continuous in-game updates, soccer fanatics are afforded the opportunity to follow the action of multiples games occurring at the same time. The features also allows the average soccer fan, such as myself, to peruse game commentary and find the most exciting matches being played on that day. The site also enhances navigation to outside websites and soccer news outlets, linking to the official sites for favorite MLS teams and international leagues, top soccer news sites, and associated blogs. An ordered layout and link to other relevant sites makes SBI an ideal starting point for someone with a newly developed interest in soccer
Of course no soccer website is complete without a compilation of all the best highlights. In addition to thorough match highlights, SBI provides a subcategory dedicated to must-see goals, such as the one Jair Benitez of FC Dallas, which prompted a commenter to question as to why more players don’t try similar shots when keepers hang out around the 18. While the inclusion of a subcategory dedicated to must-see highlights seems trivial, it presents a common link for appreciation of the game for both the average fan and the fanatic.
With my soccer following being limited to international competition, I found myself searching through the archives of pieces devoted to the US Men’s National Team. One piece that caught my attention outlined the investigation by FIFA of the incidents leading up to the Costa Rica-United States qualifying match on September 6. The incidents included inappropriate fan response to the playing of the United States national anthem, a malfunction in the PA system during Clint Dempsy’s statement of fair play, and the pointing of lasers by fans at the USMNT’s coaching staff. The outrage displayed by the Costa Ricans can be attributed to the previous qualifying match between the two teams, nicknamed “the Snowclasico”, where FIFA dismissed a formal complaint by the federation that demanded the match be replayed. In addition to the investigation against the Costa Rican federation, FIFA is also investigating the exaggerated dive by forward, Joel Campbell, which has since resulted in a one game suspension. The author concludes his piece by asking the readers for their thoughts on the validity of the FIFA investigation, which elicited a strong response from the readers of the blog. The comments covered everything from conspiracy theories regarding FIFA’s desire to improve Mexico’s chances to secure an automatic qualifying spot to arguments over the place of blatant cheating in the game of soccer. Comment sections like these offer an added element to each piece, providing readers with further analysis and opinion not covered by the author.
Searching for articles on the state of Major League Soccer, I found an interesting piece by Dan Karell on the L.A. Galaxy signing of American soccer hero, Landon Donovan, which was described as a “tipping point for the MLS”. Karell argues that the signing sends a powerful message to the USMNT members that the “MLS is a plausible option.” Donovan believes his development can be attributed to his long tenure in the MLS, where he has always been assured significant playing time. He goes on to add “For all the people who are so excited to talk about Europe and playing in Europe, there’s a handful of players that go to Europe and never play or go to Europe and their careers don’t go as well as players in the states.” A recent reversal in trend has seen dynamic players, such as defender Omar Gonzales, turn down interest from foreign clubs to remain in the states. With the MLS striving to be one of the premier leagues in the world by 2022, Karell concludes that continued support by contributors of the USMNT has the league headed in the right direction.
With coverage ranging from the youth national teams to college soccer to the USWMNT, SBI provides Americans with a single site for all of their soccer analysis needs. Whether you are a fanatic looking to use the SBI Awards feature to catch up on MLS action, or someone who is still looking for a channel into the world of soccer, then look no further, as Soccer By Ives is the perfect blog for you.