Fan Fighting League! European Soccer Division (Including Drones And Fireworks)

Since I invented it a couple of years ago, the Fan Fighting League has been almost exclusively a football thing (with the rare baseball exception).

However, if we take the world as a whole and step outside of our American cocoon for a minute, it's logical to ask ourselves, "Why haven't we broken down an international soccer fight yet?" Honestly, it's a great question. Why haven't we??"

On Wednesday night, I found myself wondering that exact thing. So I went to Twitter to see just how easy (or difficult) it would be to find an international soccer match with a fan fight in it. I searched Twitter using "soccer fan brawl," and lo and behold, it was even easier to find one than I thought it would be!

For our first soccer entry into the FFL, we head to Serbia, where the Serbian and Albanian national soccer teams were facing off in a qualifier for the 2016 European Championship. If you've ever asked yourself, "What would it be like if we plunked a soccer game down in the middle of the Oakland Coliseum and made all the Raiders fans Serbians?" then you're about to get your answer.

And really, who hasn't wondered that?

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ESPN, FOX and UnivisiĆ³n are Betting Millions That You'll Keep Watching Soccer

Categories: Soccer

Photo by Marco Torres
It was a Tuesday afternoon up at my radio station, and the United States' 2-1 loss to Belgium in extra time had just ended, eliminating the American men's soccer team from the 2014 World Cup.

Depressed, I stood there staring at the television, slowly calculating how old I would be the next time I would get to watch a World Cup game, in 2018, when I heard a voice grumble behind me.

"Wondo, man."

I turned around, and it was my co-host, normally a self-proclaimed and proud "non-soccer watcher."

Quizzically, as if I were staring at an alien, I said, "Huh?"

"Wondo, man!" he frustratedly groused. "He missed that goal. If he makes that, we go to the quarterfinals!"

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LSU Head Coach Les Miles's World Cup Analysis Goes Sideways at SEC Media Day (VIDEO)

God bless Media Day.
I've been working on a piece for next week's print edition of the Houston Press on the sport of soccer in the aftermath of the World Cup.

In doing some of the research, I've been gathering the usual cadre of statistics, quotes, historical information and expert speculation (thank you, Glenn Davis and Rob Stone!). As someone who grew up in a soccer family, the sport definitely feels like it's as well positioned as ever to really take off in this country.

Gargantuan television contracts, plush new stadiums, league expansion, all these things are happening. These are all great things.

Then, on top of that, the mere soccer awareness across other sports certainly signals heightened relevance for the beautiful game.

We saw some a couple of examples at SEC Media Days:

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Fifteen Best #ThingsTimHowardCouldSave Tweets

Twitter/Stewey Griffin
That's what this #ThingsTimHowardCouldSave.
A big part of the satisfaction we get from watching sports is about witnessing greatness, experiencing that jump to a higher place when we know we are watching something special.

Tim Howard gave that to all of us here in America on Tuesday afternoon.

In a 2-1 losing effort against Belgium, an effort that was one agonizing play away from being a United States victory, Howard had a mind-boggling 16 saves minding the U.S. net, many of them of the spectacular variety.

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Which World Cup Teams Might Houstonians Root For? [Map]

Photo by Marcello Casal Jr

The U.S. plays its first game of the 2014 World Cup today against Ghana. Of course, Houston is in the good old US of A, and the Americans will have Houstonians rooting for them.

But this is one of the most diverse cities in the country (maybe even the world). With that in mind, we decided to look at what countries, other than the United States, will have fans rooting for them in the World Cup. Thanks in part to Rice sociologist Michael Emerson, we charted what World Cup-competing countries are represented here by using 2010 Census data to find the foreign-born populations in the Houston metropolitan area.

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Hair Balls Viral Video Box Set, Father's Day Weekend Edition

A perfect Father's Day gift.
I hope all of you fathers out there had a great Father's Day. I hope you got everything that you expected, which I know for many of you was a few peaceful hours on the couch to fall asleep to the U.S. Open (and this year's Open was quite conducive to catching a few winks).

If you're one of those dads where your kids get you actual presents, hey, that's pretty cool, too. With my kids, it's hit or miss, and I'm totally cool with that. Some years I get stuff, and other years, I don't, but I always get a few kind words, and that's all I want.

This year, I got a little bit of both.

My 16 year old daughter gave me a card that she wrote entirely herself, was incredibly humbling and may have made the room a little dusty. A few kind words requirement, fulfilled. Meanwhile, my two sons knocked the "tangible gift" category out of the park with this....

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Five World Cup Players Fans Hate

Categories: Soccer, Sports

Photo by

Soccer is called the Beautiful Game. And it can be beautiful. But it's also a game full of whiners and actors and cheaters.

With the 2014 World Cup starting tomorrow, we decided to take a look at five players participating on soccer's biggest stage, but who fans hate.

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Ratings Show Houston Devours World Cup Action (in 2 Languages)

Categories: Soccer, Sports

Photo by Marcello Casal Jr/ABr
Finally, you can whip out your soccer flags for the summer.
It seems like almost yesterday we were right there coming down with soccer fever like the rest of the world. But then we remembered, that was four years ago. Man, time flies, doesn't it? And now we're back. The anticipation was killing us anyway.

Check out: The Best Spots to Watch the World Cup (And Toast to Every Goal) in Houston

For all intents and purposes, this is World Cup week, that means people will be ducking out of work early starting tomorrow, to head to their favorite bar to catch a game, you'll see lots of colorful t-shirts, and you'll hear horns blaring down the street when certain countries win their matches. Oh, and there'll be lots of yelling "goooaaaalll". Or our favorite, "goalasoooo".

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2014 Summer Preview: What Will Sustain Us as a Sports Nation?

Photo by Jennifer Boyer
Summer months are harsh for a sports writer.
The dirty little semi-secret in sports talk radio is that there are many hosts out there who dread the months of June, July, and the first part of August.

Yes, the same time of year to which the rest of the free world counts down like a prisoner approaching their parole date, many in my business abhor, some even fear. For the very reason that you look forward to it (vacation!) is one very big reason that sports talk is a barren wasteland in those months.

Add in the fact that the Astros are working on their fourth consecutive 100-loss season and you can see why some might be fearful of (GASP) having to get creative and maybe even (DOUBLE GASP) talk about something other than sports.

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Ten Things That Could Go Wrong With Brazil's World Cup

Categories: Soccer, Sports

Photo by Stefan Krasowski from Flickr
Brazil is pretty, but pretty doesn't make up for everything.

Oh, Brazil. Beautiful Brazil. Poor-at-planning Brazil. The World Cup kicks off in less than three weeks, and there are tons of problems, with more potentially on the way.

We decided to take a look at 10 things that could go wrong, and are going wrong, with the 2014 World Cup.

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World Cup