Commentary

Goodbye to you, 2017

Photo: 215 pix

This was a long and arduous year for Philadelphia soccer fans.

Philadelphia Union fans watched their team effectively bring knives to gunfights all year.

The U.S. national team missed the World Cup for the first time in nearly 30 years, robbing us the chance to see the breakout of America’s first potential world soccer star — a product of eastern Pennsylvania — on the international stage.

The Union fan community lost another young leader — too young, and too sudden, and again.

Even here at PSP, we finally had the inevitable happen, as my partner in crime, PSP managing editor Ed Farnsworth, finally ran out of steam after years of superhuman effort in making this publication what it is and decided to step back from the publication that wouldn’t be even half of what it is without his efforts.

That’s just the soccer part of life. Let’s not even get into the rest of America.

But here’s a great thing about 2017:

When Monday rolls around, it will be over.

You can take 2017 and stick it in the past. You can’t pretend it never happened, but you can at least take the soccer garbage and leave it behind. (At least until the World Cup. Sorry.)

The fact is that good things can come from bad times. Sometimes, you have to hit the bottom before you can bounce back up again. Hopefully, this is the bottom.

2018 for the Union

Union chairman Jay Sugarman says his club will be spending more money. Maybe you’re skeptical, but hey, maybe they will. You’ll know things are changing if a legitimate No. 10 shows up.

Don’t forget: This is a team with a lot of the right pieces to make a winning team. Maybe all they need is:

  • Bounceback seasons from Keegan Rosenberry, Richie Marquez and Fabian Herbers.
  • Andre Blake to be Andre Blake.
  • C.J. Sapong and Jack Elliott to play in 2018 like he did in 2017.
  • Let Alejandro Bedoya be the Alejandro Bedoya he wants to be.
  • Find that No. 10 playmaker.
  • All else to remain fairly reasonable.

OK, maybe it seems like a lot after all, but just keep in mind that a lot of good pieces are in place. Earnie Stewart just has to add the rest. (A top left back would be nice too, but six years after Jordan Harvey’s departure, we’ve all stopped holding our breaths on that one.)

If you think of nothing else, think of C.J. Sapong, a guy who captures the spirit of the club better than any player since Sebastien Le Toux or Danny Califf. He’s tough, he hustles, he fights, he never gives up, and he cares. When you start with someone like that, anything’s possible.

2018 for the U.S. national teams

You have Christian Pulisic.

Repeat: You have Christian Pulisic.

Missing the World Cup is awful.

But it has pulled the power brokers out of their comfort zone, that’s for sure. Maybe it will even be beneficial in the long run. We’ll see.

As for the women’s side of things … hey, look, they’re pretty damn good.

2018 for the Philly Soccer Page

We’re entering next year with probably the deepest quality staff we’ve ever had.

In 2017, we brought in the best group of newcomers we’ve ever seen in such a short period of time.

Writers Nick Fishman, Steve Whisler, Jim O’Leary, and Chris Gibbons cemented themselves as reliable PSP regulars with excellent work throughout the year, and you can expect all to play a bigger role next year. Videographer Ryan Griffith produced fantastic videos with high production value and innovative ideas. Matt Custer picked up the slack with our weekly TV listings. Adam Schorr carried our daily news roundups before departing when the season ended. Rob Simmons, Matt McClain, Joe Williams, Christian Sandler and, most recently, John Osborn joined later in the year and each added quality that we hope to see more of in 2018. And the guy you don’t see enough of in print but will hopefully get to know more next year, PSP assistant editor Ryan Rose, held things together behind the scenes as our daily editor most days of the week.

They added to a core of solid contributors you already know, who have been the heart of PSP for years, to produce a quality publication.

We lost Ed Farnsworth, but you, our readers, stepped up in a way we could not have anticipated.

We’ll never be able to replace Ed — we tried this year, and right now, his work is divided among probably eight people — but hopefully this model is sustainable.

And speaking of sustainable, there’s one more thing you did in 2017: You donated to PSP, enough to pay for the site in 2017. This publication is a labor of love run by volunteers. None of us enjoy dealing with the advertising side of things. So thank you for helping us pay for the site.

Now, if I can get my act together (or better yet, find someone who wants to handle our finances), we can do even more with your support in 2018.

That was a lot of talk about 2017, but where we were always frames where we’re going.

2018 for our readers

PSP is in our annual off-season cooldown period right now, but the American soccer season sneaks up on you. Training camps start in late January. Then you’re back in it again.

This is a big thank you to our readers. You stuck with us through our transition year, and we’d like to think it’s working out. The publication continues to exist because of you. Thank you for being part of PSP.

I’ll close this with one of my favorite songs, in a nod to the propensity of some of our readers to quote song lyrics (sometimes insightfully, sometimes hilariously, sometimes unintentionally hilariously) in our Comments section. The first two lines of the song go like this:

A long December and there’s reason to believe
Maybe this year will be better than the last

Happy new year, everyone. We’ll see you in 2018.

21 Comments

  1. Thanks to Dan, Ed, and everyone else that contributed to PSP this past year. This is usually my first stop in the morning and multiple times during the day. I don’t know how I got along without you guys before I found this site a few years ago. I also don’t know what I’d do if you went away. Thank you so very much. All your work is appreciated.

  2. Even when the Union weren’t so I hot, I still looked forward to checking out PSP several times a day throughout the season.

  3. Thanks for all of your hard work And great writing Dan, and all other PSP contributors. Happy New Year to all, and here’s to more positive things to read about in 2018!

  4. Dan – Thanks to you as well as all of the PSP writers, staff and contributors for all of your collective great efforts over this past year. While I don’t share your optimism on the Union, I’m in agreement with you on the state of PSP. Keep up the fantastic work and Happy New Year to all.

  5. OneManWolfpack says:

    Grateful and thankful for this site. For the writers, for those who comment, and everyone in between. Happy to contribute via Patreon which I encourage any daily reader of this site to do. Regardless of whether I keep my season tickets after this coming year or not… I will be loyal to PSP and loyal to the Union. Looking forward to maybe… just maybe… 2018 being our year. Go Union.

  6. el Pachyderm says:

    Agree 100%.
    .
    A place of venting. Daily Festivus.
    .
    In other news 8 Union Academy Kids called in for youth national team camp. This is a good sign and gives me hope amidst the magnifying glass I’ve been pointing over academy representation for NT events.
    .

    • John P. O'Donnell Jr says:

      Indeed! Thanks PSP for all you sacrifice to give us a place to call home…a truly Philly home!

    • And el P is not including the four who were called in to the U-20s for the summit event, because they are Academy graduates.

      Here’s who they are, which team they are with, where they are listed as from, and for the graduates’ their current affiliations.

      US YNT Summit Camp (1st ever such event)

      Jan 2 – Jan 11; Tab Ramos in charge; 153 total invitees

      U-20s Mark McKenzie Bear, DE Wake Forest
      Matt Real Drexel Hill, PA Beth Steel
      Anthony Fontana Newark, DE Phila Union
      Justin McMaster Atlanta, GA Wake Forest

      U-19s Brenden Aaronson Medford, NJ
      Jeremy Rafanello Delran, NJ

      U-18s Kris Shakes Austin, TX
      Axel Picazo Austin, TX

      U-17s Julian Anderson Ocean, NJ
      Aboubacar Camara Philadelphia, PA

      U-16s Nicholas Pariano Ann Arbor, MI
      Selmir Miscic Royersford, PA

  7. Thanks guys and gals.
    I read everything pretty much every day. When there’s nothing new, I often re-read articles and comments.
    Often, PSP is the best thing about the Union. I can’t wait until that’s rarely true.

  8. Going off the article title, shouldn’t that have been a Patty Smyth video embedded there at the end?

    Thank you to PSP staff for all you do. Thank you to the people who comment. May 2018 bring everyone happiness and health.

    And a DP#10. Please

    • Definitely could have been! I probably didn’t think of it because I had a different headline in mind for the piece, and I changed it at the last minute because I’m not a fan of cursing in titles. 😉

  9. Jut echoing the statements here, thanks for everything, psp writers and commenters. This is always my go to site everyday.
    .
    Cheers to our new DP centerback

  10. I wrote like 200 words for this rag and did I get a shout out? No.
    .
    Dammit.
    .
    Happy New Year anyway.

    • What have you done for me lately? 😉

      (Actually, I’m a huge fan of ScottyMac’s writing for PSP and in our comments section — even if I disagree with at least half of it!)

  11. I love it when fans of other teams land on this blog — usually because of one of Adam Cann’s analysis pieces — and they are immediately impressed, and I get to tell them, “We may not have the best team in MLS, but we have the best soccer blog, for sure.”

  12. Thank you to everyone who contributed and participated in the articles for PSP in 2017!!
    .
    This is a go-to Union site for me and I truly appreciate the writing and commenting that goes on around here!
    .
    Cheers to the New Year! We can all go into the new year with the hope that any team in the league can win the 2018 MLS Cup… just don’t ask Ernie about the Union’s chance.

  13. Thanks for all the good stuff in 2017! Looking forward to all the good writing, articles and comments in 2018!

  14. Chris Gibbons says:

    Thank you to Dan and Ed and Adam and Eli and Mike and all of the people I am forgetting for building this site, for picking up Jeremy and my podcast several years ago, for letting me guest write every now and then, and for giving me a regular writing gig this year. It makes me happy to have this place to contribute and, just like most of our readers, is a daily destination for me.

    Here’s the next year.

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