The Oz Blog View about stuff while living in the Land of Oz

15Apr/13Off

FC Kansas City get off to a fast start but have to hold on tight to survive 1-1 against Portland Thorns

In the very first game of the NWSL the Portland Thorns and FC Kansas City played to a 1-1 draw, which seemed to be the basic running theme for the first matches in the NWSL as 3 of the 4 matches ended in a 1-1 draw.

FCKC seemed to get off to a fast start scoring in just the 3rd minute with a nice run by Cuellar who should be a good player in this league if she can continue the same work that she started with. KC may have gotten to a fast start but seemed to just catch the Thorns off guard to start the game as the Thorns kept the ball in KCs half of the field for most the remainder of the 1st half and a good portion of the 2nd half as KC was only able to get a handful of runs at the Thorns goal, but couldn't keep the Thorns from attacking their own goal and slipping just a little too much and giving up a penalty kick that was smashed past Barnhart who dove the wrong direction.

FC Kansas City was lucky that the game only ended 1-1 as Barnhart made some really good saves which you could see why she is the back up GK for the Women's National team and with an injured Hope Solo has been getting some extra playing time. This was just the first match and their is a long season ahead of them but a lot of people are expecting good things from Kansas City, which would be good to see even more soccer doing well in the area with Sporting also off to another good start.

31Jan/13Off

My 2012 was crazy! (Highs and Lows)

I labeled this my 2012 was crazy but also added highs and lows in the attempts to try and keep it a bit shorter. I am going to try and keep my post shorter to hopefully motivate myself to get more post out and quicker. As you can tell I haven't been doing very well even to start 2013, but that isn't because I just don't care, it would be because I am such a busy person and that would be the other reason why I have gotten bad about getting post out. Well enough of the small talk lets get to the main topic shall we.

Let's start off with the low so I can get that out of the way. There isn't very many actually come to think of it there really is only one.

- The passing of my last blood related grand-parent. Everybody called her Granny and anybody that ever met her loved her. I was fortunate enough along with most of my family got to spend one last excellent time with her as we went out for a nice Mother's Day dinner with her and she even gave me a hard time about having not shaved. Hard to imagine that she wouldn't be with us even a week later, but she had a very good life with lots and lots of family members that loved her dearly.

Now to the high's.
- One of the biggest moments of my 2012 was forming the Kansas City Shock. Everybody involved with the Shock came together in February and its been a non-stop ride ever since and are hopefully getting close to locking down a home venue which will then allow us to start pulling in some sponsors.

- Taking my two son's to Florida to include visiting Disney World and Universal Studios for Halloween. It will hopefully be something that they remember for a lifetime and it should be as it was also their first of hopefully many, many more family vacations.

- NSCAA Convention in KC was my first one and I have since started calling it comic-con for soccer people. There are panels, discussion and sessions to check out from the time it starts till the time it ends.

- Finally being able to get out of the craptastic house that was our old home and get closer to the rest of our families. Our neighborhood that we were living in was started to become a not nice area even to the point that I was nervous to go jogging at night and I have military training.

That about sums up the biggest highlights for this year. There is obviously more, but I am trying to write a blog post and not a book.

16Feb/12Off

WPSLKC Fundraising Tournament

COLOR_wpsl_logo

The idea of this midsummer tournament is to help bring awareness to the KC metro area about the WPSL (Women's Premier Soccer League) and that we are trying to form a WPSLKC team/league. The other purpose of this tournament is to help raise funds to run such a team/league for the following summer. I am sure that of the main people that will be involved in running the team and league I was not the only one that ever thought about starting something like this up, but speaking from experience of starting up a league it is easier to do with more than just one person. After the WPS suspended the 2012 season a few people came out speaking about women soccer as did I and expressing how there was a severe lack of Women's soccer in the Kansas City area after the High School level. I mean there are a few colleges, but it seems that you better be really damn good or have a large amount of money set aside to attend school. It even appears that somewhat local bigger universities (Kansas, K-State, and MU) don't even really have women's teams.

So the question was brought up about what if we could form our own league? Which is the idea that I had been toying around with for a little while as I had quite a few friends that I had come across in the last year and half that were of college age, but really didn't have anywhere to play as only two of the local community colleges had any form of soccer teams, and I think that only one of those had a women's team. I came across a person on twitter that just so happened to already be looking into the rules of the WPSL and more specifically how to run such a thing. Well I had recently been to the NSCAA (National Soccer Coaches Association of America) convention a couple weeks prior and learned a bit more about the WPSL and got to see a map of where all the teams were. I must say there was a lot, but I also noticed that there was what appeared to me like a void circle any where near the KC area. Since I had been playing with the idea of forming a college aged women's league before hand not knowing anything about the WPSL at the time, I thought that this would be a great opporutunity to hook up with this other individual and we started talking about the ideas. Well it seems like that we haven't had any problems getting our group to grow and even getting support for our cause. No cash money support yet, but it seems to me that it probably won't be a problem to get it started. Although I see how the final push to meet our exact goal that we set could be a problem.

As I started this I had mentioned that the idea of a tournament was to bring awareness and fundraising. This was an idea I had for this immediete summer (2012) because I knew that we would need a lot of funds to get everything kick started plus it was also clear to me that as we were discussing all this in the month of January at the time that there was no way to get a full WPSL team ready for this summer let alone a whole league which is what we are utlimately aiming for. I figured that it wouldn't not be beneficial for us to just wait to get everything ready for the 2013 summer and that we should have a small round robin type tournament to, as I keep repeating myself, bring awarness to the KC area.

My idea is to have at least 3 teams that would all play each other once in the span of a Saturday. With the MLS season in full swing at that point and Sporting KC getting a huge following of support this last season, I don't want to have to fight with that, so the best time would be June 30th, July 14th or July 28th, possibly August 4th but that one seems a bit late. We also have to take any sort of youth soccer tournament schedules into consideration, but I think that the best possible day would be June 30th.

Probably the best location would be the newer Overland Park soccer complex as it has a larger set of bleechers that would allow for the selling of tickets and could sit quite a lot of people. I don't know the exact amount, but definitely a significant amount of tickets could be sold. Other possible options would be the Blue Valley athlectic complex right across the street from the OP fields. The idea of High School fields was also brought up, but I really think that some of the High Schools during the summer would probably be less inclined to allow something like that on their fields unless it was turf. So it comes to that we would have to find High School fields that were turf and had soccer lines on them. The other thought is that with the few colleges around that we could probably approach them about hosting such a tournament. My thought also with that is that it could be like a preseason style tournament for that college team as well and allow them to possibly particpate in the tournament. That last part is still up for debate and probably wouldn't actually work, but maybe could. Guess it depends on the school.

The purpose of this tournament is to help raise money to help the WPSLKC get off the ground and so the idea is to have admission to the tournament. Honestly I am not 100% sure what we should charge and there is even the thought that we could just ask for donations and that could possibly wield better results because some people might feel compelled to give us what would amount to several possible admission tickets. There is also the thought that we could just do both, charge admission to possibly even include a pre-sale price. I would also look at possibly getting some special items and what not hopefully donated that we could then auction off or do like a raffle and that would further help increase the amount of money that we receive. I highly doubt that a single tournament like this would get us the full $50K+ that we would need for start up in 2013, but I think that it would give us a good jump of point. Especially with us planning on selling shares.

One of the most important things is the all important concession stand. A place where people can go to get food and beverages. This is obviously a necessity and will have to be figured out. This could be something that is very simple or could be a real pain in the ass if not done the right way or even ran the right way. Hopefully where ever we go we would be able to run the stand entirely on our own and not have to share any profit with some other organization. The problem with that though is if we buy too much stuff, then we have to try and figure out how to get rid of it, but I even think I have an idea for that, especially with it being the middle of the MLS season. The best thing to probably do is to hopefully buy everything up front so that we don't possibly owe any body any payment and then possibly come up short. There is probably also a good possibility of being able to get a lot of the stuff donated and thus cost us even less. We will moderately price everything so that people are encouraged to actually buy stuff from the concession stand. With the tournament being in the middle of summer I think that it would be a wise idea to provide water for free in some sort of aspect, but could still sell bottled water and probably for really cheap. I think another really popular thing would be to have candy items because that is what kids always want and with it usually being a cheaper item the parents tend to get that type of stuff for their kids.

Another possible concession that passed through my mind, but would probably be really difficult to do is the selling of beer. Again I highly doubt that we would be able to pull this off for a small tournament like this, but I do think it is something to be considered since it is technically an adult tournament and can be viewed more along the lines of a professional event rather than just some youth soccer tournament. Plus it is always a good money grab for the most part.

Something else that is a huge part of any soccer event unless you're just playing a pick up game is officiating. Well if you have ever had to deal with some thing like this then you will sometimes find out that it can be expensive. I have two ideas to potentially help lower the cost if not get rid of it completely. The first idea is that if we have three teams playing in this tournament that we could have that third team for every match serve as officials and ball people. The second is to find High School level students with experience and give them a small amount to possibly officiate the games for us. There is also that other idea that could go along with the HS student officials and that is to figure out how to pay them by giving them service credit. Like if they have to do community service to graduate or something like that. There is one other idea and that is to just try to find people that would possibly do it for free, which isn't unlikely, but I'm sure any body would prefer to get paid in some aspect.

That pretty much sums up my plan for the tournament, but I did want to make sure to bring up a few other items that crossed my mind while working on this post and that I jotted down on my notes. Putting them here will help us not forget them.
- Can could potentially be like a college showcase as well for some of the players that are looking to possibly still go to college, but haven't or left for whatever reason.
- Waivers. I am not sure with something like this if we should go ahead and have some sort of a waiver for the players and really anybody that helps us sign so that the tournament is not liable for anything that could happen.
- Fees. Something that we could also look at doing is having the players give us a small fee that would ensure that they get to play, and this would also become a significant amount that would allow us to get uniform, concessions, field space, et cetera.
- Uniforms. I was thinking that we would probably have to buy uniforms, but thinking about it more I am almost convinced that we could possibly get companies that do apparel and/or uniforms to possibly donate uniforms that would have their logos or what not on them and it would be free advertising for them.

5Feb/12Off

Women’s Soccer

Thanks to Thad Bell of the Backpost and Thad Bell Photography

Well this is another one of those blog post that I kind of kept putting off, but it wasn't really time sensitive and it seems like my procrastination worked out in my favor a little bit this time. The WPS or Women's Professional Soccer recently announced that they were going to suspend the 2012 season, which came as a shock to some people especially with the WPS fighting so hard to keep their USSF Sanctioning for at least another two years. It wasn't really a shock to a lot of people though at the same time.

Yes there is even an argument that most people don't even care about any women's sports let alone soccer. But I say this to you that women's soccer is probably the best possible sport for United States and even the world to possibly get behind. Why would I make a statement like that? Well really I think it is quite simple and that is that soccer or as the rest of the world calls it football is also called the worlds sport.

I am going to break away from what I was talking about to talk about something that I was fortunate to sit in on during my time at the NSCAA convention a few weeks ago and that was the WPS Draft. It seemed a bit silly to have a draft for a league that only has 5 teams, but I will tell you that it was taken completely serious and with a high degree of professionalism in my opinion. I was really looking forward to getting to the season to watch some of these new players that were suppose to come in and make a huge a big impact. I mean I wasn't expecting anything huge, but something to start making the league bigger and better, especially after dealing with the whole magic jack issue. Apparently the whole magic jack issue still hasn't been taken care of and the magic jack owner, who probably has the most money of all the other owners, is really starting to cause problems for the WPS as a whole.

Now back to what I was talking about and that was why I think that the women's soccer can become a popular sport in the United States even while Men's soccer isn't all that popular yet. The past two summers we have been able to watch the Men's World Cup and this past summer the Women's World Cup. I think there is an argument to be said that the US was more into watching the US women's team then the Men's team. Granted everybody tends to realize that the women's team tend to do better then the men's team has. Even with the competition getting so much better on the women's side of soccer for the rest of the world.

Most people probably don't realize that there is more then just the WPS league for women's soccer. there is also the W-League that you see some of the MLS teams supporting a women's side like Vancouver Whitecaps and DC United. I'm sure there are more teams, but I just recall those two right off. There is also the WPSL plus more leagues that are lower leveled then those but the WPSL is something that is starting to become considerably bigger in the United States, but if you were to look at a map of all the WPSL teams you will see a huge gaping hole in the middle of the country! More specifically in the KC area, who has a huge youth soccer following especially in the girl/women's side of soccer.

My self and a small group of other dedicated soccer followers are looking to rectify this problem and start forming our own Women's League and get some teams into the WPSL to hopefully give women's soccer a huge presence in the Kansas City area that would allow post High School women soccer players a chance to compete on a bigger level then having to try and go to college where there is a very slim chance that they even get picked up or forced to play in coed leagues where rules are starting to almost push any women players out more and more.

I know this seems weird for me to be dedicated to something like this when I don't even have a daughter but I do have other family members and friends that could greatly benefit from a league like this and a league like this could allow for more women to play on bigger levels of soccer in the future to include overseas in some of the European leagues that are starting to become bigger and bigger. Something like this could possibly result in even higher quality players starting to play for the United States like the recently drafted Sydney LaRoux has played in the WPSL and finding more players like this could possibly help ensure that the United States Women's National Team get back on top and stay on top of the Women's soccer world for a while again like they did before and almost did this past summer. If you happened to miss the Women's World Cup Final.

1Jan/12Off

I_am_McBeth Plans and Goals for 2012

2012-goals

My last post was me talking about some of the awesome stuff that I got to do in 2011, so I figured this post should be about what a few of my goals are going to be in 2012. With the latter half of 2011 being so good for me I don't see how 2012 could get much better except for just doubling what I got to do. There is a possibility of a couple things making 2012 huge for me and I can only hope that they pan out for me.

Starting the year off with a bang the NSCAA convention this year in Kansas City and the MLS Superdraft and WPS draft are both here during that time in January. I have submitted for my media pass and it is looking promising but haven't been completely confirmed if I am indeed getting to go or not. There is a ton of stuff going on during that week and weekend. There is one thing that I would like to do and that is get my national coaching diploma, but I know I will miss out on that. I should however be getting the chance to go to a couple special breakfast meals to catch some great talk about soccer stuff. Not to mention getting to see both the major soccer leagues in the United States drafts.

The CONCACAF have also confirmed that there will be games played at LIVESTRONG Sporting Park so I will be submitting to get a media pass to go to those games as well and of course to go along with that will be hopefully getting my pass to go back to the Sporting Kansas City games this year to cover them.

I am also starting up my own youth soccer club to convert my oldest son's soccer team over to a competitive team and hopefully to build it up by also adding other teams to the club. I have been blessed to have an amazing team with amazing parents of all the kids that have been incredibly supportive and I am just so thankful and stoked about being able to do this.

Something that kind of goes along with forming my own youth club is further developing the corporate soccer league that I started almost 5 years ago and made bigger last year by inviting other companies to join the league. I am really hoping to get to expand that out even more this year and potentially next year making it a full blown 11v11 full field league.

With all this media stuff and other soccer stuff I could only wish that I could get paid something for my time and services. Hopefully that will be something that comes along a little more down the road. Something else that I am looking at doing to go along with my blogging is podcasting, which is like an audio blog, or I should say at least get back into podcasting as I did it for a little while a couple years back and really miss it. Something else that kind of goes along with all this blogging is that I have decided that I would kind of like to write some sort of a book, so one of my big goals for 2012 is to completely write a book. Nothing huge, but probably around 50 to 100 pages to give me a very obtainable goal in my opinion.

It also looks like I have been given some of the tools to finally be able to start wood carving and a little bit of wood working as I received some stuff for Christmas to help me get into wood carving and I have already started on my first project. Wood working stuff is something that I have really wanted to get into for quite a few years now. Both my grandfathers did quite a bit of really good woodworking stuff and I would just like to try my hand at it.

Closing up for anybody that has possibly made it this far which probably isn't many people if any I have some big plans for 2012 besides turning 30 and I just think that putting them down in written form will hopefully give me more motivation to do so. I am sure that there is something that I have missed, but I know that I have it written down, but I am not currently referring to my written list of goals to write this post yet I am still insanely high on the word count for a single blog post, which I think will be one of my other goals this year and to try and create a lot more post but keep them shorter then I have been making them.

I hope that all of you are ready for the new year and have good goals or resolutions if you would like to call them that planned for the upcoming year.

11Nov/11Off

Veteran’s Day – 2011


Veteran's day is upon us and it is time for those to honor veterans whether they be young or old.

It has seem that people the last decade have really taken an appreciation for veterans and given them the respect that they deserve. It would seem like it should be that way but it hasn't always been that way for some reason. Yeah more then half the veterans might not of actually put their life on the line but 99% of people don't even serve in the armed forces, so take that into consideration when you might see someone who did serve but didn't do much and you jus blow them off or show them disrespect.

When I was was younger it just always seemed like the only veterans I possibly knew we're my grandpa's age when in reality they are all over the place and as I get older I find that out more and more each year but a lot of them don't always go on and on about it. They figured they were just doing their job and why should they receive praise for that.

I am a lot like that. I personally served six plus year in the Marine Corps Reserves with a year of that being activated during Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom. I didn't do hardly anything besides what was asked of me and I tend to not go out seeking rewards or praise for what I did. I most times don't really know what to do when somebody finds out I was a vet and thanks me for my service because as soon as they do my mind immediately goes to the men and women that actually gave their lives for our country.

Even people like my great uncle who survived the attack on Pearl Harbor when he was stationed on the U.S.S Oklahoma and was thrown from the ship during the attack as he was headed towards church service. He was also later involved in the Midway Conflict. he survived all that was just recently passed away this year.

It is people like him that all of us, even other veterans, that I think we should be celebrating and honoring the most. But that isn't the way things work and it is still a great honor to be recognized on days like this.

19Sep/11Off

Two and Two: USA Women’s National Team – Canada Women’s National Team

Hope Solo - Photo by Thad Bell for Thad Bell Photography

USWNT GK Hope Solo putting the ball back into play. Photo taken by Thad Bell Photography

It has been a couple months since the Women's World Cup finished up with Japan defeating the USA in Penalty Kicks and a match up that a lot of North American fans would of liked to of seen was USA vs Canada. Well the soccer gods have smiled upon us and put these two teams up against each other for a two game series, the first of which was played Saturday September 17th at the newly opened LIVESTRONG Sporting Park which is were Sporting Kansas City plays all their home games. It is the newest state of the art soccer specific stadium and besides the pitch condition, which is being worked on, cannot be beaten in quality. This isn't a post about the stadium though and is a post about my recap of the US Women's National Team's 1-1 draw with Canada's Women's National Team

USA
- Did pretty good for starting to use a new system. USA has decided to kind of switch up their system and try to play a more an even more attacking type system and force the other teams to have to play more defense. For the most part I think it worked pretty well and they forced Canada to make an error early on in the game that awarded the USA with a penalty kick that Abby Wambach took and made it look super easy. Most of the first half I would say was pretty much dominated by the USA with a couple great shots, but just kept missing by probably mere inches.

- Seemed to let Canada push just a little too much. I don't really think that it was letting Canada push, but it seems more like they might of had a very good counter-attack which is what a lot of teams thrive on and don't focus as much on just attacking. Regardless this could of also been an issue with just starting to learn a new system. Which in its self seems to be abnormal especially since the USA still have the same head coach in Pia that coached the team to the Women's World Cup. The only thing I can think of is that she is trying to stay well ahead of the curve and keep the rest on the countries on their toes, and not let them figure out USA. Seems like a very smart idea. Guess we will see how well it is executed in the upcoming months and year.

Canada
- Knew the USA team was good and would have to push back. I think I can honestly say that Canada was really into this game. They didn't seem to push forward as much as most attacking teams, but tried their hardest to make the pushes they did have good ones, and even good enough to get one past Hope Solo before the end of the first half. Second half is a different story, but it pretty much the same story for the USA in the second half in which was pretty uneventful and lot a lot of action from either side.

- Made some potentially bad plays, but USA couldn't capitalize. USA really probably should of won this game based off of Canada's errors in judgements or just not being completely ready to be back playing soccer, but got lucky to keep USA to scoring just one goal and that was from a PK early in the game when the USA were putting on a ton of pressure, and forced Canada to make a costly mistake. Canada made quite a few mistakes, but again the USA just couldn't seem to capitalize on them. If it wasn't for Alex Morgan seeming to shot it straight at the goal keeper the game again could of been even worse, because I don't want to say it was the Canada keeper fault. The two that played seemed primed and ready, but I don't think that anybody told Canada's defense that they were going to play a game until right before the game.

Well I guess we will see what adjustments will be made when these two teams square off again in just a couple days in Portland in their soccer specific stadium of Jeld-Wen Field, which from what I've seen looks like a great stadium as well, and shouldn't have the pitch problems. I should hopefully be able to get a review up about that game as well.

I normally try to keep these Two and Two post shorter, but I figured a little extra detail couldn't hurt for this game, with it being a little more special.

I hope you are enjoying the blog post of my two friends and mine. We have been putting quite a bit of time into it and would appreciate any sort of feedback you might have. Feel free to follow any or all of us on Twitter by clicking on the buttons on the right hand side. I am slowly trying to add more and more stuff to improve the site each week, but it is a slow process.