Comcast SportsNet

4 Days Away: Questions and Answers for Union Die-Hards, and Newbies Alike

4 Days Away: Questions and Answers for Union Die-Hards, and Newbies Alike

Clearly, I am a soccer fan.

I played the sport (I still pretend to, on occasion), coached and refereed for a few youth teams and watched enough games on TV to have odd cravings for Singha Lager and Crabbies Alcoholic Ginger Beer – popular sideline advertisers in English stadiums.

I love soccer and I want other people to love it, too. But there is one thing I’ll never understand about many soccer fans who want to have their Singha and eat it too.

The same people who complain about a lack of mainstream soccer love – “it’s not on SportsCenter,” “the Inquirer had a 3-inch Union story,” “the game is on a channel I don’t get” – turn their noses up at “newbies” who ask questions about the game or say “field” instead of “pitch.”

You can’t have it both ways. You either want more people to appreciate the game, or you want it to be your cliquey little niche. I prefer the former, which is one of the reasons my three-plus years at PPL Park have been so enjoyable.

Sure, there are plenty of “soccer snobs”  hanging around on the banks of the Delaware. Folks who like to rattle off the current standings in the Dutch Eredivisie, brag about how they’ve “been here from the start” or tell you how you “don’t really understand the game” because you didn’t wake up at 4:45 a.m. to watch the Urawa Reds battle Yokohama in the J-League.

For those people – and soccer-heads who like to analyze formations and pick apart the SuperDraft (that includes me) – there are plenty of Union-specific blogs out there. Here at The Level, we’ll try to continue where @Rev215 left off before his Gareth Bale tattoo got infected (or he had a kid, not sure which). Plenty of smart, nuanced debate about the Union for the die-hards, as well as some light-hearted stuff for those of you who just like to tailgate outside PPL, have a beer (or two) and enjoy a sunny summer afternoon.

So with first kick just a few days away (forecast isn’t looking bad, by the way), here’s a few questions you might overhear on Saturday when the Union host Sporting Kansas City (4 p.m., 6 ABC) – whether it’s a seemingly uneducated ask from a “newbie” or a well-thought-out prediction from a scarf-carrying Son of Ben. We’ve even provided a few stock answers/statements you’re free to use, with or without attribution to The Level.


What happened to Freddy Adu?

John Hackworth happened, that’s what. Hack has made it clear he was not and is not on board with Adu’s game, and the former child prodigy will never suit up for the Union again. But he’s still collecting a BIG paycheck. The team claims to be searching for a way to dump Adu, but it’s much easier said than done.

So the Union are holding him hostage?

Actually, it’s more the other way around. Adu is guaranteed at least $400,000 this year, and, just as any of us would do, he’s not willing to simply ignore than fact and move on. Both sides have been relatively quiet, but Adu seems to be standing pat and waiting for the right opportunity. Given his inflated sense of his own abilities, he might be content to sit tight until Real Madrid comes calling.

Can we talk about something else?

Absolutely. That will be the last Adu reference here on The Level until he is dealt or steps on a field in another shirt. That’s a promise.

Will the 2013 Union be more like the 2012 side that struggled to score goals and win games, or the 2011 team that surprised us all with a playoff run?

If I had to guess, it will be somewhere in between. We’ll have a more in-depth look at this year’s prospects –  as well as a few predictions – later in the week, but it would be fair to expect much more from this team than we saw in 2012. Hackworth has had time to make the team his, and we’re well past “they’re still young” as an acceptable excuse. Anything short of a playoff berth would be a disappointment.

I want to buy that sweet new third jersey (which hasn’t been unveiled yet). Who will score the goals this year so I know what name and number to get?

Hackworth has indicated he will likely play three attacking players up front. At first glance, it seems you’d be safe going with the No. 11 of fan-favorite Sebastien Le Toux, No. 6 of newcomer Conor Casey or No. 9 of last year’s goal-scoring leader Jack McInerney. As was proven during training camp in Florida – where the first team struggled to score – it might take time for those three players to jell. We’ll have more on predicted formations and stat leaders later in the week, but for now, you might want to go with a blank jersey. Just ask anyone wearing a Carlos Ruiz or Jordan Harvey shirt at PPL.


What about Zac MacMath?

It’s put up or shut up time for MacMath. If you want to take the popular side of the argument at PPL, you can talk about how great the young goalkeeper is. If you’re feeling feisty, show a little more skepticism (like I often do on this subject). MacMath is immensely talented and amazingly athletic, but from where I sit, it’s time for the 21-year-old, former first-round pick to put the team on his back and win a few games on his own this season. With the departure of team captain and center back Carlos Valdes, he might get that chance early in the season as the defense finds its chemistry.

Why can’t anyone hit a good corner kick on this team?

I don’t really have an answer for that one. Sorry.

How ’bout a beer?

Options abound, but I’ll politely suggest that you skip the lines at Chickies & Petes. Enter through the southeast Supporters Gate and get a double-sized beer at the Snake & Shield, or walk toward the team store and hit up the Boddingtons cart just across the concourse. If you’re looking to use up all your Weight Watchers points for the week, find one of the Philly Favorites stands for my favorite PPL item: Philly Fries. A large boat of French fries smothered in steak, cheese and onions. Much more bang for your buck than a bready cheesesteak.

So you’re an overweight soccer fan, then?

[Hangs head in shame … orders a salad.]

* * *

So if you’re one of the die-hards and find yourself with an extra ticket, invite that neighbor who mocked your Sons of Ben scarf last weekend. And if someone mispronounces Hoppenot, be a nice guy and help him out.

And if you’re a soccer hater (not including those who will comment on this post – you’re a lost cause), stop by PPL this season. Even if it turns out you hate it, there are far worse ways to spend a summer afternoon.

Plus they have Boddingtons on tap.

Follow Steve Moore on Twitter @smoore1117. Stop by and say hi at the top of section 138.

CSNPhilly Internship - Advertising/Sales

csn-logo-640x360.jpg

CSNPhilly Internship - Advertising/Sales

Position Title: Intern
Department: Advertising/Sales
Company: Comcast SportsNet Philadelphia
# of hours / week: 10 – 20 hours

Basic Function

This position will work closely with the Vice President of Sales in generating revenue through commercial advertisements and sponsorship sales. The intern will gain first-hand sales experience through working with Sales Assistants and AEs on pitches, sales-calls and recapping material.

Duties and Responsibilities

• Assist Account Executive on preparation of Sales Presentations
• Cultivate new account leads for local sales
• Track sponsorships in specified programs
• Assist as point of contact with sponsors on game night set up and pre-game hospitality elements.
• Assist with collection of all proof of performance materials.
• Perform Competitive Network Analysis
• Update Customer database
• Other various projects as assigned

Requirements

1. Good oral and written communication skills.
2. Knowledge of sports.
3. Ability to work non-traditional hours, weekends & holidays
4. Ability to work in a fast-paced, high-pressure environment
5. Must be 19 years of age or older
6. Must be a student in pursuit of an Associate, Bachelor, Master or Juris Doctor degree
7. Must have unrestricted authorization to work in the US
8. Must have sophomore standing or above
9. Must have a 3.0 GPA

Interested students should apply here and specify they're interested in the ad/sales internship.

About NBC internships

5 Minutes with Roob: Mitchell White talks about his time in Canada

5 Minutes with Roob: Mitchell White talks about his time in Canada

In today's "Five Minutes with Roob," Reuben Frank chats with Eagles cornerback Mitchell White:
 
Roob: Hey everybody, welcome to today’s edition of Camp Central here with cornerback Mitchell White. Welcome to Philly! Let’s go back in time — now, you were as much of a track prospect in high school as a football prospect, right? What led you to football as opposed to the high jump? You were a 6-foot-10 high-jumper, which is pretty good.
 
White: I don’t know, I was just always drawn to football in general. I like the team and camaraderie of it. Track was kind of more natural, and I don’t want to brag about it or anything, but it was easy. It came very easy to me, very natural. Football I enjoyed working for a goal and achieving success in that sport. So just more of a thrill and more of a satisfaction out of it.
 
Roob: Now you go to Michigan State as a walk-on. What were the challenges of that, and how tough was it to earn a scholarship as a walk-on there?
 
White: The challenges are pretty similar to being an undrafted free agent here. Every year, you start at the bottom of the depth chart and they bring guys in for that specific position every year. And you have to hustle — you kind of take the back door every single year, so you have to re-earn that scholarship every single year. It just gets you in that mindset of just always working and never taking for granted a play or a rep. Always hustling, being the first guy to do something. Obviously, it benefits me now in the long run, but it was definitely a challenge. I had a twin brother who was on scholarship, I had a younger brother who was on scholarship, so definitely being in that household it felt like I had to get on scholarship.
 
Roob: They’d just walk around calling you walk-on?
 
White: Yeah, yeah.
 
Roob: ‘Come to dinner, walk-on!’
 
White: Right.
 
Roob: You go to Oakland after school finished, you sign with the Raiders and I believe you were there with Matt McGloin if I have my dates right. You were there for that whole first training camp. What was that experience like?  
 
White: Again, I would say looking back to that time, I was just trying to hold my head above water. I was a rookie fresh out of college, so everything was really fast for me and I hadn’t played much at the defensive back position in college in terms of game experience. But yeah, looking back, it’s helped me this time around because I have a little bit more seasoning of what to expect at training camp, how you need to take care of your body, things you need to pay attention to and how you need to get into the swing of things.
 
Roob: What about the decision to go to Canada? You were just talking to Aaron Grymes here, who’s a CFL vet like you. You both did three years up there, you both won a Grey Cup. What was that experience like and was that a tough call going up there?
 
White: I think if you’re born in America and the United States, you want to play in the NFL. I think you’ve got to understand that it comes down to realities, like, ‘Look, I want to keep playing football.’ I didn’t want to spend a year out of football. I wanted to get better, to play to get better. It’s a humbling experience, but then your options get fewer. It’s definitely professional football up there and it teaches you how to play and you’ve got to play every week.
 d up going up there and finding wow, there are some good players up here and there’s some good football and I’ve got to bring my game. You don’t have a lot of options once you go up there and if you get cut, then your options get fewer. It’s definitely professional football up there and it teaches you how to play and you’ve got to play every week.

Roob: Now, a crazy thing happened after your second year with Montreal and this story blows my mind. They asked you to take a pay cut even though you were a starter, you were an established player. And you’re a prideful guy. Tell everyone what happened when they asked you to take a pay cut.
 
White: I don’t want to bring a negative light on that. It’s a business side of football and unfortunately, it came to me. I had a great experience in Montreal all the way up to that point, but yeah, we had a camp and I had moved to a new position that year. I thought I had a good camp but they asked me to take a pay cut and that was a really big moment for me because I trusted myself as a player and I said, ‘Look, I’m not going to take a pay cut and I’ll take my chances somewhere else in this league. I think somebody else is going to pick me up.’ And sure enough, they did. I had to wait four weeks for it, but Ottawa picked me up and I ended up having my best season up there.
 
Roob: So you sign with the Redblacks and you guys go 9-9-1 but you get to the Grey Cup and you’re 10-point underdogs to the Calgary Stampeders in the Grey Cup, which is the Super Bowl of Canada. Oh, by the way, Montreal? Who cut you? You had an interception against them in the regular season to seal the game, so you get a little revenge. But what do you remember about the Grey Cup? And what an accomplishment, I think they were 16-2-1, you guys were 9-9-1. They were heavy favorites and you guys won it all.
 
White: The one thing I remember about that week was how confident as a unit we were. We were just like, ‘We know what to do. It’s game time.’ One of the better feelings is playing championship-level football and playing for your team and that, to me, was one of the best parts of that experience. Really giving it up for your team and your teammates because I just want to win that game. I don’t care about anything else, I just want to win and when you accomplish that, it’s a real feeling. There’s nothing like winning the championship and that’s what I hope we can do here.
 
Roob: Now how do you feel like you fit in? It’s a very young group of corners and everyone’s getting a good, long look. Jim Schwartz talked about, ‘I don’t know who the starters are. I don’t know who the backups are.’ Everything’s up for grabs. You feel like it’s a good spot for you from that aspect?
 
White: One thing that I’m best at is when I have an opportunity to compete. And I think everybody here at the professional level wants to be able to compete and get their fair shake at a chance. Obviously, I came from a household where we’re all athletes and we were taught that the cream rises to the top. And it’s long camp and it’s going to play itself out.
 
Roob: We appreciate a few minutes. Eagles cornerback Mitchell White, good luck. Thank you.