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PSP’s 2010 awards

One year ago today, the Philly Soccer Page went live. When we launched this site, we had no idea what it would become. We didn’t know if anyone would read it or, more importantly, if anyone would regularly write it. We never expected great — or any — photographers. We sure didn’t predict a weekly podcast produced in partnership with the city’s CBS radio affiliate.

But here we are.

So thank you. Thank you for reading. We wouldn’t bother producing a site like this if we didn’t think we had awesome readers who were worth producing it for. It makes it a lot of fun. We basically approach this site like it’s the soccer sports section we wished we could have. Sometimes we nail it. Other times, we just screw around and have fun. Every now and again, we get lucky and the two overlap.

To mark the one-year point, we’re handing out some awards. We made them up on the fly. Some are obvious, some are silly, some are just … well, just read. Hopefully, you enjoy them. Then check out the photo essay we have commemorating soccer fans throughout the area this last year. Philadelphia soccer was one of the stories of the year in many circles, and it definitely was in ours.

Men’s Player of the Year

Sebastien Le Toux. Like we need to explain why.

Women’s Player of the Year

Amy Rodriguez. She came out of nowhere to become one of the nation’s best women’s soccer players this year.

Rookie of the Year

Danny Mwanga. Didn’t get MLS rookie of the year, but we all know that PSP’s award is far more prestigious.

Yes, Holmfridur, PSP has a soccer crush on you.

The I-can’t-believe-she-just-did-that-player of the Year

Holmfridur Magnusdottir. She’s a hold-your-breath type of player. You never know what she’s going to do, but chances are, it’ll be interesting, one way or another.

Coach of the Year

Paul Riley was coach of the year in Women’s Professional Soccer, so chances are, he deserves the same honor in Philadelphia. He did a good job pulling together some disparate parts to create a winning team in its first season.

Executive of the Year

Nick Sakiewicz did all the right things this year. He brought in a good coach and gave him a lot of freedom. He brought in a short-term team president to help launch the Union’s brand. He opened a stadium. And then he filled it. Sure, plenty of people helped, but Sakiewicz swung the bat that hit the home run.

Best Local Soccer Event of the Year
  1. Beating DC at the Linc
  2. USA v Turkey
  3. Opening of PPL Park

In that order. They were all pretty awesome though, so they needed to be listed. The home side won all three games.

Match of the Year

Total cop-out here, but we’re listing a whole bunch of them.

  1. Beating DC in first home game.
  2. Beating the Energy Drinks to close the home season
  3. Comeback win over New England.
  4. Beating Houston for first road win.
  5. Independence win over Washington Freedom to make the WPS Playoffs. (Rodriguez winning goal in closing seconds of extra time.)
  6. Independence win over Boston Breakers to make the WPS Final. (Philly hadn’t beaten them all season.)

Landon Donovan’s goal against Algeria, as seen at the 700 in Philly. (Photo: Nicolae Stoian)

Best Soccer Moment

Landon Donovan’s goal against Algeria. It was one of those moments where, for the rest of your life, you’ll always remember where you were when you saw it. Pure euphoria.

Best Soccer Pub

The 700. Half the PSP crew hang there to watch Union road games and English soccer on weekend mornings. Watching the World Cup there was awesome. The place just oozes soccer street cred, and it’s a straightforward, no frills neighborhood bar. There’s no cover charge to get in to watch a game. The bartenders know the game. (And one of them is Ed Farnsworth, PSP’s assistant editor, who by the way did not write or have any input on this selection.) The bar sponsors one team and supports another in the area’s biggest adult amateur league and helps promote a local indoor pickup game. If you want to tailgate at Union games, hitch a ride with the crew that hang at this pub. You can even get original soccer scarves designed by the guys at the pub. Seriously, what more do you want? (OK, food would be nice, but you can deal without it.)

Honorable mention: Dark Horse, Fado, etc. Too many good places to list them all.

Best Supporters Group

The Sons of Ben. Some think they’re over-hyped or given too much importance. Whatever. Let’s be honest. These guys are at the core of the Union’s support and, more than anyone else, shaped the great atmosphere at PPL Park. Even if you don’t like them, you have to appreciate the John Blutarsky nature of the group. Because they’re willing to do what they do, you don’t have to, and you still get the awesome atmosphere at the stadium.

Favorite Local Soccer Blog (other than ours)

PhillyUnionTalk.com.  If you haven’t checked out the blog run by Conor O’Grady and Matt Giovanisci, you ought to. Sure, they don’t post as often as they used to because of a lack of manpower, but when they do, it’s usually interesting. We liked Conor enough that we brought him over to PSP to write whenever he likes. He doesn’t do it much, but we’ll take what we can get!

Best Soccer Movie
  1. Pelada
  2. Soccer Slaves
  3. The Two Escobars

We were split on this one, so we just listed three that we really like. Yeah, it’s a cop-out, but you know what? You should find time to watch them all.

Best Personnel Move of the Year

Grabbing Sebastien Le Toux in the expansion draft. Thanks, Seattle.

Honorable mention: John Hackworth’s securing of a roster spot at Harrisburg for Sheanon Williams, who then became the Union’s starting right back at the ripe old age of 20.

Most Memorable State Visit of the Year

Joe Biden’s visit for the home opener at the Linc. Thousands of fans (including a few PSP contributors) missed the Union’s first-ever goal because of the security lines. At least we got this great bit of memorabilia from designer Fredo Silva, who tweaked a Union promotional flier to make it accurate.

Most Memorable Traffic Disaster of the Year

The epic flood that shut down Route 291 during the Celtic game. Wow, awesome. Noah wasn’t available.

Dumbest Fans of the Year

Spot the “drunken idiot.” (Photo: Nicolae Stoian)

The Celtic fans who got arrested for lighting flares at the Union-Celtic game. It’s not just because they lit the flares that smoked out a whole half of the field and killed visibility. It’s more because they were dumb enough to get caught on film (by PSP) doing it, which qualifies as, uh, evidence. That’s right, guys. You’re welcome.

Honorable mention: The friends of Toronto defender Dan Gargan who ran around like drunken idiots at the Toronto FC game. It was funny until one of them started throwing punches. Then … well, I guess it was still funny, but that doesn’t make it right!

Funniest Goalkeeping Delay of the Year

Columbus goalkeeper Will Hesmer faked out the entire supporters section at PPL Park by delaying his punt just when the fans were doing the “You suck …” chant. Seriously funny moment that threw off the timing for the chant all game. The Union responding by wrecking his shoulder and knocking him out of the playoffs in the visit to Columbus. Yeah, don’t mess with Philly.

Best Knockout Move of the Year

Danny Califf’s elbow to Julian de Guzman. The PPL’s Elbow, as it was called. Yeah, it helped cost the game, but it’s really funny in retrospect and totally adds to the Califf-is-crazy image, even if those of us here know that he’s really not.

Best River of the Year

The Delaware River! Because it’s right there next to the stadium. And stuff.

Yeah, we ran out of awards. So this post is over.

7 Comments

  1. This is great! I can’t believe I missed this site all season. Instead I wasted time on MLSsoccer.com. I should have gotten out when they posted an article on Brek Shea’s new hairstyle. Speaking of missing things: I still get a kick out of people complaining about Biden’s visit. When I heard that the VP was coming, I thought, “Crap! I better get myself and the 14 others with me to Linc early!” So that’s what we did. We tailgated, walked to the stadium, looked at the long-ass line and made the logical decsion to find a less crowded entrance. All 15 of us made it into the stadium in less than 10 minutes, found our seats, got food, trip to the restroom and back in time for the anthems. I suppose to be fair, not everyone knew about Biden or the security checks. Anyway, thank you for putting PSP together! Now I don’t have to deal with the mindless dribble of MLS and Philly.com.

  2. Pingback: The Philly Soccer Page » PSP’s Best of 2011 Awards

  3. Pingback: PSP’s Best of 2012 Awards

  4. Pingback: PSP’s Best of 2012 Awards | Local Philadelphia News Aggregator

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