Category: #TBT

Throwback Thursday – John Harkes

Captain for life, at least that is the title of his biography, John Harkes is an American soccer legend. When I think of a legend, I think of a player that did something first, a player that was transformative in his time and a player that broke a lot of preconceived notions along the way. Harkes was just that player.

A son of Scottish immigrants, Harkes was a first generation American. As a Kearny, New Jersey native, Harkes had the luxury of growing up in a footballing paradise. Harkes excelled through the youth ranks and ended up at the University Virginia, under current LA Galaxy head coach, Bruce Arena, where he won the Hermann Trophy, which designates the best college player in the country. Upon graduation Harkes began his career in Albany, NY but transferred after a season to Sheffield Wednesday in the English Football League.

Then this happened:

They say all players have a marquee moment. Well, here it is. It was this thunderbolt that earned Harkes, the league’s goal of the year. Beyond that, Harkes became the first American player to play in the Premier League when Sheffield Wednesday gained promotion. He also became the first American to score in a cup final, when Wednesday lost to Arsenal 2-1 in the League Cup Final.

Harkes would play another season in the Premier League with Derby County and West Ham United. During that season, the MLS announced that it was to have its inaugural season in 1996 and Harkes signed with DC United later that year.

harkes dc untited

Harkes played with DC United, the New England Revolution and the Columbus Crew during his time in the MLS.

He also had a stellar international career. He was part of the 1990 and 1994 World Cup squads but was famously cut from the 1998 team just weeks before the World Cup was to begin. The head coach at the time, Steve Sampson, cited “leadership issues” as the reason Harkes was removed from the squad. In his book, “Captain for Life,” Harkes criticized Sampson for lacking “credibility to a group of guys who had hundreds and hundreds of caps among them” and “putting a huge amount of pressure on young, internationally inexperienced players”, and concluded, “I can’t think of one thing that Steve did right in the months leading up to the World Cup.”  The USMNT lost all three games during that World Cup and ended up finishing last overall in the tournament. Harkes would be called up again to the national team in 1999 by his former college coach, Bruce Arena and would finish his career with 90 CAPS.

harkes usmnt

Harkes has been a youth director, a color commentator, and an assistant coach since his time playing.  In 2005, he was inducted into the US Soccer Hall of Fame. He is one of the of the most accomplished American players ever and one that broke many borders for future American players. Player’s that are able to push the limits of what those have done before are true leaders and inspiration for all those to follow. We thank John Harkes for his incredible contribution to the game and that is why is this week’s Throwback Thursday Player of the Week!


#TBT That Time Robin Williams Purposely Kept Calling Sepp Blatter “Sepp Bladder”

From The Washington Post:

Robin Williams sent the whole thing up, describing the chart as “the world’s biggest Keno [numbers] game” and insisting on calling Sepp Blatter, secretary-general of Fifa, Mr Bladder throughout. “This is not a comedy,” chided Blatter lamely at one point.

Williams joked and mocked, wore a surgical glove to select plastic balls containing team names, and talked about “great prizes” for those selected. In fact, the prizes are unimaginable fame and wealth for underdogs such as the Bolivians and Nigerians, and even more fame and wealth for the established stars of the game.

There’s nothing better than someone making fun of Sepp Blatter. Every soccer fan across the world wants to wipe away his smug face and take him down a peg. Unfortunately, he has so much power and FIFA is so corrupt that he controls soccer and it doesn’t look like he will stop controlling it anytime soon. That is why this incident is so satisfying. In fact the most disappointing thing about this incident is that there is no surviving footage

When I first heard about this Robin Williams incident I was angry at myself for not knowing of it sooner; when Robin Williams was still alive. It’s just so perfect. Robin Williams doesn’t care who Sepp Blatter is and doesn’t treat him as if he is anything special. Sepp Blatter is so accustomed to people treating him with deference that he is clearly unhinged by Robin Williams’s jokes at his expense. FIFA has such a self-imposed air of austerity surrounding it that Sepp Blatter had no idea how to respond to a comedian who didn’t care about FIFA’s image. This is what made Robin Williams great. He was a fantastic comedian who could make anything funny and never thought he was above a joke. He will sorely be missed and from now on I will refer to Sepp Blatter as “Sepp Bladder” in remembrance of him and to give myself some satisfaction when FIFA makes yet another corrupt decision.

Throwback Thursday – Ronaldo

Ronaldo Luis Nazario de Lima aka Ronaldo aka Fat Ronaldo is arguably one of the greatest players of all-time. Not one to shy away from the media and the flashy, Ronaldo is known for the elegant & explosive playing style, as well as his shoes and hairstyles. Known as the “phenomenon,” he won Fifa World Player of the Year three times, the Ballon d’Or twice, two World Cup titles and numerous domestic championships.

fat ronaldo
Questionable Hair Styles but Undoubtable Talent


One of the best dribblers of all-time, Ronaldo was known for his mazy runs and acrobatic finishes. He is the second leading goal scored in Brazilian National Team history and held the World Cup all-time scoring record with 15 goals his four trips to the tournament. (German, Miroslav Klose, recently broke this record) If you have 15 minutes to witness some majestic brilliance, check out the video below:

Let’s run down some stats on this prolific goalscorer:

Cruzeiro: 14 appearances – 12 goals

PSV: 46 appearances –  42 goals

Barcelona: 37 appearances – 37 goals

Inter Milan: 68 appearances – 49 goals

Real Madrid: 127 appearances – 83 goals

AC Milan: 20 appearances – 9 goals

Corinthians: 31 appearances – 18 goals

It is safe to say that in whichever country Ronaldo played in he scored goals. His completeness was always something admired by other attackers as Zlatan Ibrahimovic says, “”The best opponent of my career? Ronaldo, Il Fenomeno. Why? Because he was my idol and because, as a football player, he was complete. There will never, in my view, be a better player than him.” He was also feared by defenders as legendary Milan defender, Allesandro Nesta states here, “Ronaldo is the hardest attacker I’ve ever had to face. He was impossible to stop.” Even Messi had something to say about the mercurial Brazilian. “He was the best striker I’ve ever seen.”

Ronaldo was not without his fair share of controversy. He was a bit of a partier and on occasion, he found himself in less than desirable romantic situations. This includes the most public of his misgivings, a scandal involving three transvestite prostitutes which he met in 2008. This occurred while he was engaged to the future mother of this children, Maria Beatriz Antony.

ronaldo with gf
Ronaldo with Maria

The first their third child together would be born later on in that year and the couple continues to live together in Sao Paulo.

Currently, Ronaldo co-owns the sports marketing company 9INE with mixed martial artist Anderson Silva. He recently became part owner of the Fort Lauderdale Strikers of the North American Soccer League and was rumored to want to attempt a comeback by playing with the side. With stints at PSV, Barcelona, Inter Milan, Real Madrid, and AC Milan, it is tough to put anything beyond the 38-year-old wonder-striker (including a shock comeback) and that is why he is this week’s Throwback Thursday player of the week.

ronalod barcelona


Throwback Thursday – Javier Zanetti

Ok, so this is not a dramatic throwback into the mid-20th century but Javier Zanetti’s career was so long that it feels like I am going back in time to speak of the start. These days, loyalty amongst football clubs is nonexistent. Everyone is looking for the next big money move and every player seems to think that the next club will be better than where they currently are. Zanetti was not one of these players.

His senior professional career lasted an amazing 22 years, 20 seasons of which were played with Inter Milan. His incredible fitness level and consistency on the pitch earned him the nickname “El Tractor.” What I find most amazing about Zanetti is that he looks exactly the same as he did when he started his career. Check proof below:

Soccer - UEFA Champions League - First Knockout Round - First Leg - Inter Milan v Manchester United - Stadio Giuseppe Meazza
Zanetti during his last season with Inter Milan
Olympic Games Atlanta ... Soccer ... Argentina v Portugal
An early shot from Zanetti’s international career.


Zanetti stats are unbelievable. He is the most capped player in Argentine history. He played in the 1996 Olympics, five Copa America tournaments and two World Cups. On a club level, he made 715 appearances, netting fifteen goals but what is most impressive is that he holds the record for most ever outfield player appearances, totaling 1123 matches played. He is the only captain to win a treble with an Italian club and is the only non-Italian born player to captain and Italian club.

Zanetti is also well-known for his charity work in Argentina and continues to act as an ambassador for SOS Children’s Villages.Zanetti, along with his compatriot Esteban Cambiasso, founded this charity association to help coach young children with social isolation problems and motor coordination difficulties. Zanetti said that “this spirit lies at the base of all of Inter’s initiatives for youngsters.” He is an incredible human who also has an incredible family seen below:

FC Internazionale Milano v SS Lazio - Serie A

Javier Zanetti is more than deserving of being recognized as one of Inter Milan’s and Argentina’s greatest players of all-time. His contribution to each cause both on and off the field are extraordinary. He is the93rdminute’s Throwback Thursday man of the hour. Check a tribute video to him below.