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Showing posts from July, 2017

No more wandering for this year

The Fusion headed to an unpromising tie at Detroit City's Keyworth Stadium with the serious threat of a blowout against a team with a longer history of...well most things, than they do.The Fusion squad featuring 10 (1, in Miah Wills did not play) former FC Fargo players finished the regular season 9-0-5 (Wins, draws and losses - since you get more points for a draw than a loss) and scrapped their way into the playoffs in a division against teams with that same advantage in experience.By the way, those ten are:
Steve Harris (Fusion's starting goalie all season), came to the area to play varsity at Jamestown.
Habib Beljulji (also a goalie), came to Moorhead as his family fled Kosovo.
Sunaj Beljulji also played for us. Emra Beljulji played for Fusion but not for us.
Ben Prochniak, West Fargo High and then Jamestown.
Fiaz Musa, came here to play soccer. Born in Khartoum, lived in Des Moines.
Ben Eastwell and George Gauld both have roots in southern England, played at Jamestown.

Detroit v Fargo

I love my arbitrary comparisons when it comes to sport, but let's be honest, there's no real way to compare Detroit and Fargo, or for that matter Hamtramck and Moorhead wherein Saturday playoff opponents Detroit City Football Club and Dakota Fusion Futbol Club games have actually been played.Per Google, it is 836 miles between the home stadia of the two clubs (Jim Gotta Stadium at Moorhead High and Keyworth Stadium in Hamtramck respectively)So I'm just gonna reflect on my own experience of Detroit City and their fanatical support as a model.There is this piece I wrote a while backThen, it is often pointed out by the organising members of their main Supporters Group, the Northern Guard that flags don't make themselves and neither are smoke bombs free. Supporters are first and foremost encouraged to support a team in this country, in this sport, by the effort made by clubs to reach out to them and offer a compelling reason to spend three hours in often bare-bones surroun…

Congratulations tinged with sadness

There is a Portuguese word, saudade, which is something akin to sadness over a lost love with an appreciation that that love had existed. Ironically, I learned it from an ex who left me in such a state for a while. It is also used for what are often called Gardens of Remembrance in English. It is the aposite word for how I feel tonight, seeing a Dakota Fusion team led into the NPSL playoffs by a core of players who were products of local high schools or youth soccer clubs in the Red River Valley, or initially invited to play soccer at this level by the ambitious creation of FC Fargo having attended school either here or at Jamestown. These players have their commutes but they also have their roots. The creation of Dakota Fusion largely as an outlet for Tri-City Storm youth/rec club presented FC Fargo with a vastly better resourced local rival which basically finished us off, but after the coup de grace had been delivered, the Fusion offered those players and any fans a continuing o…

What's in a name?

If you were at the game (unlikely) or have listened to the audio I recorded from the Fusion v City game, or even if you didn't - you may be aware of the fact that the Dakota Fusion have been playing in Moorhead, Minnesota so far this year.There are solid financial reasons for being on this side of the Red River. The use of the word Dakota in the team name drew the sarcastic attention of the 'Citizens' so here is my take - as a new immigrant but someone married to a woman with deep roots in the area. No one in Fargo, Moorhead, West Fargo or Dilworth really cares about the border. There is a road sign when you enter ND on the I-94 that marks the border but from memory no such protestation on the Veterans Memorial Bridge (although both state flags are on their 'sides'). Minot Air Force Base put together a side last year and there were rumors of a Bismarck team planning to play FC Fargo last year as a warm-up to trying to get entry to the US Open Cup but neither actual…

Reclaiming the word "amateur"

NCAA athletes are considered amateur. I experienced a tradition of European sports clubs (particularly in Germany) which were amateur, community multisport clubs with for-profit penthouse suites like VfL Wolfsburg. Amateur is what you are if you do something a) without education in it and b) without getting paid for it. And yet people run scared of the word.To be fair this phenomenon is not unique to the US (The UK, after all, coined "semi-pro" to describe footballers who get paid, but not enough that they don't have to do something else to earn a living)However, the use of 'amateur' is virtually shunned universally in the US, where you can be a short season A ball baseball player and still be paid. I consider NPSL to be amateur. The players are not paid, thus allowing those of college age to continue college ball. The season is even timed to encourage college players. The pro-driven Open Cup not so much, and yet the top AMATEUR club every year gets a nice check …

When the crows shit on your car - On the bleachers for Fusion v Mpls City

First of all, may I just say what an untrammeled pain in the ass Minneapolis City supporters are. The headline of this piece is their favorite chant (to "Oh when the saints go marching in") and it sums them up nicely. I also think that these particular fans could dish it out but not take it. Simultaneously though there were entire sections of singing which I couldn't decypher. Is their capo from Belfast or was it just alcohol? I've never heard a Minnesotan accent like it.

Where it not for the politeness of their chairman (which I'm sure he would deny) and their need to scream loudly just to be heard amongst the competitive sports market of the Cities, I would want them to go somewhere and bother someone else but for now at least (no one knows what non-league life brings next) they are a conference rival for a spot in a national playoff and hopefully some much needed national media coverage for "D4" in the 'North'.
And maybe, just maybe, this Mi…