Featured / Philly Soccer Page Info

PSP turns 2 years old

So yeah, it’s our birthday.

Two years ago today, PSP went live. Somehow, we’re still here.

So for once, PSP is going to write about PSP — in a bit of a stream of consciousness.

Ch-ch-ch-changes (as in, we had a few)

A lot has changed over two years. Philadelphia actually has a team now, for one. And we have a second team, for two.

Half our original eight contributors (Ed, Adam, Mike, and I) are still here, but the rest have drifted on. Our three awesome photographers (Nicolae, Daniel and Paul) were joined this year by Earl Gardner and his eye for great shots. The Human Storch (aka Eli) has gone from epic comment ranter to reasoned, objective writer in the press box and go-to guy for KYW’s Philly Soccer Show. (Don’t you miss his rants though? Me too.) And a few other new guys keep teasing us with good stuff and making us wonder when we’ll see more of it.

We started producing original reporting, with Adam going into the locker room as PSP’s Philadelphia Union “beat reporter” and Mike doing the same — well, maybe not in the locker room — for the Philadelphia Independence.

Ed stepped up as co-editor and pretty much ran the site this year after I moved to D.C. I eventually got back in the act, but he gets to sit in the driver’s seat most days.

Our photographers continued to wow people. Maybe we’ll find a gallery where we can put together the Philly soccer photo exhibit we couldn’t afford last year. Some of their stuff is just that good.

Props (as in, they’re due)

Union management stopped hating us for all the tough questions I asked during Philly Soccer Show podcasts last year. Their press folks treated us as well as any mainstream publication, granting press credentials and access to players and coaches and enabling us to produce work no one else can replicate. Thanks, Aimee and Cristina. You do a good job, and it helps us do the same. (We’ll keep asking tough questions, by the way.)

John Hackworth, Danny Califf, Kasey Keller, Alexi Lalas and so many others gave great interviews to PSP and KYW’s Philly Soccer Show. Peter Nowak continued to treat the media with disdain, so we started interviewing every other team’s coach instead. Dominic Kinnear, Ben Olsen, and Peter Vermes were among the MLS coaches interviewed one-on-one by PSP contributors either on this site or the Philly Soccer Show podcast. (How funny would it be if we hit all 18 other teams before we got Nowak outside his regular press conferences?)

Greg Orlandini is still the man. The Philly Soccer Show podcast showed there was a legitimate demand for the Union on mainstream radio. I’m glad I answered his email last year.

Danny Califf became the voice of the Union players, somehow growing in stature after surrendering his captaincy. His openness set an example that Union players felt empowered to follow, and they did, endearing them that much more to fans, who appreciate the honesty.

Adam Cann began his career as the best soccer writer in the country. Give it time. He’s on his way.

Cash (as in, we ain’t got none)

None of us got paid a nickel for this site.

In related news, we’re disinterested businessmen, but we have all sorts of indie street cred, right down to Ed and the 700 crew tailgating out of that 1980-nothing van his buddies have. It’s older than the van Chris Farley lived in down by the river — and full of awesome.

We kept running PSP on the side of our real jobs and about 8,000 other things, so maybe that’ll explain the occasional careless error that finds its way onto the site. (We’re always looking to improve!)

You (as in, why PSP exists)

We got to know a lot of our readers online and in person. Every time you comment on the site, we connect a bit more. I was tempted to list some names here, but I know I’ll leave someone out. Bottom line: We know who you are, and we’re really glad you weigh in with feedback, observations, etc. Your comments make this place a dialogue rather than a monologue. Even if we disagree, it makes a great conversation.

We finally figured out Twitter. About damn time.

We drifted away from some of the local soccer scene, which we don’t want to do. But we lost some writers, while others moved away. PSP might have been founded by Casa Soccer League players, but, sadly, Mike Servedio is the only PSP writer still playing in the league. We could use some help, so if you ever want to write about something in the local soccer scene — high school, youth, soccer pubs, adult amateur, the Independence, Reading United, etc. — let us know!

We gained enough readers that PSP drove much of the discussion about the Union. When we were right, our readers spread the word. When we were wrong, they yelled at us, told us why, and sometimes shared great observations that we then amplified with our virtual megaphone.

We were the first to identify Carlos Ruiz as a problem, so if the fans were to blame for prompting his departure, we’d also like to take the blame for enabling Sebastien Le Toux’s torrid return to form, which we predicted well in advance. You’re welcome.

You took the nicknames PSP coined and ran with them. For the uninitiated, here are a few:

  • Bearfight= Danny Califf
  • The Sheanomenon = Sheanon Williams
  • Union Jack = Jack McInerney
  • Garfan = Gabriel Farfan
  • Marfan = Michael Farfan
  • AmoBeast = Amobi Okugo
  • El Kaiser = Carlos Valdes
  • The Dragon = Faryd Mondragon
  • Neon = Keon Daniel

(Did we make up The Dragon? I forget. Not like that and Neon are that original, but hey, I’ll throw them on the list, because they work.)

Blogs (as in, not just one)

PSP continues to maintain a fine balance between opinion and objectivity, with a straight-shooting journalistic integrity leavened by the fact that we are fans who enjoy the team and genuinely like most of the players we’ve met. Facts are facts, opinion is opinion, and PSP’s writers openly and honestly distinguish between the two in a way blogs (and Fox News) often don’t. I spent 12 of the last 13 years as a newspaper and magazine reporter, and I’m consistently impressed with how PSP’s writers and photographers are at least as good as the Philadelphia media market’s professional journalists. That’s praise for them, not me. They’re good, and they make PSP what it is.

PSP was never meant to be just a blog, even though I wasn’t sure it’d last more than a month when I first floated the idea in 2009. As Ed later told me, PSP is the sports page Philly soccer fans wish they had. That’s our current vision for it. In some ways, it’s a journalism experiment. PSP looks more like a magazine than a blog — what blog has original photos of PSP’s quality? — and that’s by design. We wanted something better than a standard blog. The media landscape is in the midst of a revolution, and every revolution has casualties. We’re exploring what might come next. We have some ideas. We’re always looking for more.

Oh, and it’s fun.

Thanks for reading.

Now on to year 3. Free Keon!

12 Comments

  1. Cent’anni. Thank you for the kind words.

  2. And I am taking credit for El Kaiser…

  3. Earl Gardner says:

    I’m glad to be a part of a great team. This year has been awesome and I owe a lot of it to PSP for giving me a creative outlet that I had seriously been lacking. Thanks everyone for their hard work and I can’t wait for the next season to start.

  4. I’ve only been reading for a few months (found you through a link on Twitter) but now I look forward to reading the daily update every day.

    I’m a season’s ticket holder to both teams and would love to see more articles on the Independence. (I only found this site after their season was over, so forgive me if the in-season coverage for them is stronger.)

  5. I *LOVE* this website!! HAPPY 2nd BIRTHDAY, PSP!! 🙂

  6. Great product! Great work!!! Thanks to all y’all!!!

  7. Congratulations and thanks guys. I check out the site regularly and thanks to you I am the most informed member of my circle of soccer friends. Keep up the great work.

  8. I couldn’t be more proud of you guys for keeping this going and growing, and becoming a part of the Philadelphia soccer tradition. Long may it continue. I raise a kolsch and a powers to you all, Up the Union!

  9. i found this website some time last season. its my favorite soccer site. thank you for all the hard work. i come here for union news before i even go to the official one.

  10. Congrats on two great years! PSP is my first stop for all news Union related. I wish you all continued success and if you ever need someone to report and comment on Reading United, I’d be happy to help.

  11. Kensington Josh says:

    We can tell you work hard to provide product- so if you don’t get paid you’re underpaid like the Sheanomenom. Hopefully, like him, you take comfort in the fact that you took the ball off Brad Davis and are generally awesome.

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