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Entries in Jeremy Brown (7)


World Cup Notes: Misfiring Torres Will Sit For Spain

Fernando Torres

Semifinal Preview: Germans
Ready For Their Klose

One Great Season

The poor form of Fernando Torres may see him relegated to the bench for Wednesday's World Cup semifinal against Germany. It appears Pedro will get the start instead.

Spain should boast a full complement otherwise, minus the injured Raul Albiol, who wouldn't have played anyway. The Germans are without winger Thomas Mueller, who is the latest victim of FIFA's parade of officiating ineptitude. Shame. Toni Kroos is the mooted replacement on the right.

Torres has yet to score this tournament. If he continues goalless, he'll join Wayne Rooney, Kaka and Lionel Messi as superstars who failed to find the net.

Miroslav Klose

+ Speaking of players who are actually scoring, two Golden Boot contenders go head-to-head Wednesday: Spain's David Villa (5 goals) and Germany's Miroslav Klose (4).

+ On the subject of Klose's scoring prowess, the Poland-born striker needs only two goals to eclipse Ronaldo's World Cup record of 15. He's currently on par with countryman Gerd Müller (14), while France's Just Fontaine (13) and Pele (12) are left in the dust. Klose hasn't exactly captured the imaginations of football purists, who would prefer that Ronaldo's violent poetry remains forever ahead of the German's inaesthetic penalty-box poaching as a reflection of goalscoring greatness.

+ The Guardian has commented that this Germany-Spain matchup is a role reversal of their meeting in the finals of Euro 2008, in which Spain were the idealistic young spark plugs and Germany were chafing under the burden of expectation.

Click here for Jeremy's bio and an archive of his previous stories.


Soap Opera Storylines Abound At 2010 World Cup

LeBron James

Dissension Among Ranks
For At Least Five Teams

One Great Season

Disgruntled players griping about their managers is nothing new in sport. The reasons are myriad: They either don't play enough; play out of position; blame the coach for poor results, don't like the coach's practice methods, his tactics or the cut of his jib; maybe the previous guy was better. Or perhaps they're just mentally unhinged like Carlos Zambrano.

Or Nicolas Anelka.


We're all familiar with France's nightmare World Cup campaign, in which cliquishness, mutiny, heated arguments, flying epithets, lost sponsorships, baffling player selection, sex scandals, unshaken hands and confused, passionless, execrable performances conspired to produce soap opera of the most delicious order, especially for those basking in the schadenfreude of watching a collection of overpaid, overrated prigs get unceremoniously dumped from a tournament they cheated to get into.


+ NBA: Free Agency -- Let The Drama Begin
+ ADVERTISING: Nike Fails In Bid To Write The Future
+ FOR FEMALE READERS: The 5 Hottest Players Left In The World Cup
+ NBA DRAFT: Who Said What On Twitter?

It all started -- oh God, who knows when it started? Probably with the appointment of coach Raymond Domenech, the Rodney Dangerfield of the footballing universe, some eight years ago. But for our purposes, we'll start here: "Go fuck yourself, you dirty son of a whore." These are the now immortal words uttered by Anelka to Domenech during halftime of that 2-0 defeat to Mexico, prompting the offended party to send Le Sulk immediately packing for London. Over the next few days, it got worse -- or, let's be honest, funnier -- as a squad rent by personal dislike for one another united to abstain from training just to stick it to Domenech, who was shockingly reduced to reading a prepared statement from the players to the press explaining why he was getting William Bligh-ed.

Now that it's all over, Thierry Henry would like a word with French president Nicolas Sarkozy to explain his side of things. That meeting must surely be superfluous as Domenech is now gone, Henry will probably retire from international play and Sarkozy will never be able to sum up events better than his sports minister: Les Bleus are "no longer heroes in the eyes of the nation's children."


Nothing at this World Cup can compare to the French fiasco, though other squads have endured their share of internal strife. Where England fared only slightly better than their Gallic neighbors, the level of dissent was a hundred times milder, but John Terry's bald criticism of his notoriously militant coach Fabio Capello was the fiercest exercise of English player power since the Robsons Bryan and Bobby butted heads at Italia 1990.

After the drab 0-0 tie with Algeria, Terry spoke to the media about the team's displeasure with several of Capello's policies, including the omission of Joe Cole, the use of Wayne Rooney and the prohibition on alcohol. It was done not without defiance: "If it upsets him then I'm on the verge of just saying: 'You know what? So what? I'm here to win it for England.'"

Terry added: "I will probably get in trouble now." He was right. In an interview with ITV, Capello shot back, "When you speak, you have to speak privately. This is a big mistake." Nonetheless, Terry avoided any official censure, while England won their crucial match against Slovenia and the right to consume beer on the eve of matches.


Sulley Muntari, of Ghana, however, was nearly sent home following his potty-mouthed freak out on Serbian coach Milovan Rajevac for lack of playing time. It was only the intercession of captain Stephen Appiah and President of the Ghana Football Association, Kwasi Nyantekyie, that kept him on the side after they squeezed a reluctant apology from the midfielder, who also rides the pine for Champions League winners Inter Milan.

Losing his place to the young Andrew Ayew prior to the tournament presaged a pattern of surly rebellion. He's gone against team policy to request his own bedroom, sought outside medical attention without notifying the physios and harangued teammates in changing rooms and team buses alike. With Ayew suspended for Ghana's quarterfinal against Uruguay, will Rajevac forgive his fiery charge?


The Netherlands have a long and rich history of tearing each other apart, and Robin van Persie has kept that proud tradition alive. Two weeks before the tournament he, a propos of who knows what, publicly announced his own preferred attacking lineup — and made no mention of Dirk Kuyt. This did not make Dirk Kuyt feel very good. Well, it became a big hubbub in the Dutch camp, with van Persie finally concluding, "I will have to be more careful when I speak from now on at the World Cup." No kidding.

But how soon we forget. He was substituted during the 2-1 victory over Slovenia, and before taking his place on the bench, entered into a very animated discussion with coach Bert van Marwijk. The kind of very animated discussion that looks a heckuva lot like unbridled petulance. Done, you know, in front of everyone in the world. And for all we know, his two-year pissing match with Wesley Sneijder could still be tinkling away.


The battle of Iberia ended with Portuguese tears and a Cristiano Ronaldo controversy. When asked about the loss by reporters after the game, the moody star answered "How do I explain Portugal's elimination? Talk to Carlos Queiroz." This set off quite the firestorm, though Ronaldo has since explained, rather convincingly, that his sullen words were due more to the agony of defeat than blame shifting.

Forward Hugo Almeida, however, did take a half-hearted stab at Queiroz, much like the half-hearted stabs he took on the field all tournament. "I was not surprised with my substitution," he said. "I was upset because I wanted to play, but the coach is the one to make decisions. I was not worn out."

Deco also got in on the act, criticizing the gaffer's tactics after drawing 0-0 to the Ivory Coast. In what amounts to a pretty comprehensive fly-swatting, Queiroz simply chalked up the complaint to "verbal excesses" and got on with the job.

Click here for Jeremy's bio and an archive of his previous stories.


Nike Fails In Bid To Write The Future


Cup Quarters Devoid Of
Stars From Glitzy Mega-Ad

One Great Season

When Nike unveiled its three-minute Alejandro González Iñárritu-helmed World Cup "Write the Future" mega-ad, one thing amidst all the pageantry appeared just slightly out of place: Ronaldinho, prominently featured in the spot, didn't quite make the Brazil squad. It seemed a gross miscalculation on the Swoosh's part, considering the fading Milan maestro hadn't been picked for the Selecao since April 2009. But as the big names rolled out and the cameos piled up, there perhaps grew a sneaking suspicion that this first failure, emulated so pointlessly by Kobe Bryant, would in fact prove a sign of things to come.

And it wasn't just Ronaldinho. Theo Walcott, after all, missed out on a place in the England team, never to be the target of a misplaced Wayne Rooney pass, the most painfully prophetic aspect of the whole video. A week prior to the tournament, Didier Drogba, the first bold-faced superstar we see, suffered a broken elbow in a friendly against Japan, throwing his availability into question and ultimately spiking his influence. And France's Franck Ribery has had a few months to forget: he missed Bayern Munich's Champions League final for a reckless tackle in the previous round; arrived in South Africa under investigation for sleeping with an underaged prostitute (he faces up to 3 years if convicted); reportedly played a key role in locker room divisions and the sad mutiny against coach Raymond Domenech; and did next to nothing on the field.

EXTRA: Complete World Cup Coverage From One Great Season

These players suffered their misfortunes before the commercial ever aired. Others had to wait until they laced up those fancy purple and orange boots.

After a series of geriatric showings led to a group-stage elimination, it's safe to say that Italy defender Fabio Cannavaro won't be getting the C'e Capitano treatment from Bobby Solo and his sequined band of flying figurantes and cartwheeling dudes in wifebeaters.

Patrice Evra was apparently in it, too. But blink and you'll miss him, just like at the World Cup. His most notable contribution was to lead the aforementioned French mutiny against the man who'd named him captain.

Rooney at least made it to the Round of 16, though he failed to score and, I imagine, will fail to be knighted. But let's not bet against him throwing a lager bottle through his bedroom mirror. And while Cristiano Ronaldo did manage to put one run on the board in that 7-0 boxscore over North Korea, the people of Portugal may have to lay that giant statue on the ground if they want to truly commemorate his performance at this World Cup.

Indeed, it looked for a fleeting, glorious moment that Tim Howard and Landon Donovan, awarded a whopping split-second joint cameo, would turn out to be the unlikely success stories of the ad. That is, until a Kevin-Prince Boateng wormburner and some shifty Scouser strumpet killed that dream.

All that's left are three envious Spaniards: Cesc Fabregas, Andres Iniesta and Gerard Pique. But Cesc might want to pick that paper back up as he'll need something to read while riding the bench. The latter two, however, are enjoying a fantastic World Cup, and have so far emerged as the only players worthy of such glitzy apotheosis.

So go ahead, write the future, fellas. But the way it's going, that future will see Paraguay in the semifinals.

Click here for Jeremy's bio and an archive of his previous stories.


World Cup Preview: Group B Final Matches

Diego Maradona

One Great Season

At this point, anyone could qualify and anyone could go home. Though it's unlikely Argentina, with a full six points and +4 goal differential, will capitulate now, especially since Maradona (Photoshop to the right sent in anonymously) has promised not to rest Messi and has seemingly every intention of wrapping up the top spot at the expense of a Greek side revitalized by their hard-fought win over Nigeria.

Greece are hungry, however, and they've proven not to be the group whipping boys as I so wrongly predicted. Their mettle, organization and surprising quickness earned them that much-deserved victory last round. Despite the probable inclusion of Messi, Maradona will likely field several second-stringers today, the prime candidates being fullbacks Clemente Rodriguez and Nicolas Otamendi, as well as defensive midfielder Mario Bolatti. And some guy named Diego Milito may get the nod as well. Maradona has commented that during training, when the A team takes on the B team, there's very little difference in quality. We shall see if Otto Rehhagel's men find this to be true. I think they will.

By the same token, pointless cellar-dwellers Nigeria could conceivably sneak into the second spot by beating South Korea by two goals or more (and provided that Greece doesn't somehow run up the score on Argentina. But Demichelis is slated to start so who knows). That appears unlikely, though, doesn't it?

The Koreans of the South are a much better squad than their Northern counterparts, and will not suffer a similar thwacking to a sputtering attack such as Nigeria's. But anything is possible (unless you're France, haha) and the Super Eagles could very well ride a wave of African support to a comprehensive win. We'll need to see more of Yakubu and Martins for that to happen, however. And perhaps this is the match where we get to see old man Kanu roll back the years. I predict this to be a very exciting clash.

Team Wins Draws Losses Goals For Goals Against Points
South Korea

Click here for Jeremy's bio and an archive of his previous stories.

World Cup 2010: Group B Recap

World Cup 2010 Logo

One Great Season

Finally, it happened. After days of waiting, of bloodshot eyes and bollixed sleep, of unmet expectations and rationalizations to nonbelievers, of enduring untold hours of something we might grudgingly call boredom, it finally came to pass. It took a whole week, but there was no rest on this seventh day. At long last, thanks to Thursday's scintillating Group B matches, the World Cup has begun.

The slow start has inspired and, as much as it pains me to admit, partially vindicated the usual batch of glib, anti-soccer myopia from the tired old guard of sportswriters concerned with little more than a quick swipe at something they've never bothered to familiarize themselves with. But we know better, and today was our reward. Argentina's 4-1 shellacking of a game South Korea and Greece's engrossing one-goal triumph over Murphy's Law victims Nigeria injected some life, some balls and some reverence for the art of attack into a tournament largely characterized by negative tactics, packed defenses, misfiring superstars, candy-assed you-call-yourself-a-fucking-man-? divers, limp-wristed goalkeepers, errant passing, hopeless shots destined for Row Z, and the mystifying starting berth of the biggest boondoggler in sports today, Sergio Busquets.

Oh sure, we've had our moments:

+ USA v England was fun for a chuckle but the haplessness of it all was a general affront to the game
+ Are North Korea lucky or plucky?
+ And couldn't one ask the same of Brazil?
+ It's always amusing watching someone get beat up, though enough becomes enough after awhile as we learned from Germany
+ Switzerland's bland win was less an upset than upsetting to sit through
+ And then there's the stuff I don't really remember, or perhaps repressed ...

Unless I was hallucinating, ESPN on Wednesday ran a "close calls" highlight ticker along the bottom of the screen following Spain's loss, with announcements going something like: "David Villa's 37th minute shot flies just over crossbar." If that's not a commentary for a dull tournament, I don't know what is.

But thanks to Thursday, the tide has changed, beginning with a Gonzalo Higuain hat trick and ending with a stout-hearted yet slipshod Nigerian effort in the face of dissolution.

Argentina v South Korea

Lionel Messi, the only superstar yet to exhibit anything resembling superstardom, had a hand in all four Argentina goals, leading a swarming crew of attackers that one could very well mistake as the cause for all that buzzing you hear, if we didn't already know the lame, lame truth. Higuain proved the main beneficiary, adroitly placing himself amid a tattered and exasperated South Korean defense to earn a trio of poacher's goals, including the easiest put-away in the history of soccer. Maxi Rodriguez started in place of the injured Juan Sebastian Veron, whose controlled, elegant passing game may, one can't help but wonder, actually handcuff Argentina's natural rampaging tendencies.

The Tigers of Asia should be applauded for their unwillingness to sit back, though a lack of precision in the final third proved their undoing, exemplified by a potentially game-tying second-half miss that I'm confident Yeom Ki-hun will be ruing on his deathbed. Indeed, the South Koreans’ man of the match was Martin Demichelis, who should seriously consider a career in shampoo commercials. Thankfully, Messi and company eventually disabused Bayern's bungling backliner, likely keeping him off suicide watch for the second time. Addressing the injury to center defender Walter Samuel will be top priority for Maradona.

Nigeria v Greece

Now this was a great match. A "monumentous day" for Greece as ESPN's Mike Tirico would have it. Nigeria took an early lead through a well-taken free kick from Kalu Uche. It was one of those dreaded damned if you do, damned if you don't shot/cross hybrids from the corner of the box, where the keeper is loathe to come off his line because it's a bit too far out, but can't really stay on his line because it'll just bounce into the far corner. Welp, in this case it was the latter, and the Nigerians were riding high until the 34th minute, when Sani Keita got himself sent off. After a pissy little sideline tussle, Keita aimed a half-hearted Rockette kick at fullback Vassilis Torosidis, who produced this year's Rivaldo moment, crumpling into a ball like he just got kicked in the nuts by Fedor Emelianenko. It was nothing, but as a player you have to know that these officious, card-carrying little guys with whistles will look for any excuse to make the game about them. And so it went.

Smelling blood, Greece coach Otto Rehhagel swapped defensive midfielder Socratis Papastathopoulos for Celtic forward and Jesus impersonator Georgios Samaras in search of a miracle: the first ever Greek goal in a World Cup. And Hallelujah, a few minutes later, Dimitris Salpingidis, who doesn’t look much at all like Jesus, put a deflected shot past a blameless Victor Enyeama.

This was not Nigeria’s day. Ten minutes into the second half, left back Taye Taiwo was forced off with an injury. Twenty minutes later, his replacement, Uwa Echiejile, also made the long slow limp to the sideline. And at some point in between, Enyeama ruins his burgeoning reputation by spilling a fairly routine 25-yard shot right into the path of Torosidis, who somehow recovered from that crushing blow he suffered earlier to put his country up 2-1. Despite playing a man down for most of the match, Nigeria, while naturally cautious, never passed up an opportunity to advance up the pitch in numbers. With Greece pushing hard, it made for damn entertaining stuff. But in the end, injuries, foolish ejections and goalkeeping blunders conspired to relegate the Africans to dead last in Group B, with no points, one goal and little hope.

Click here for Jeremy's bio and an archive of his previous stories.


World Cup 2010: Diego Maradona Timeline

World Cup 2010 Logo

Impetuous Argentina Coach
Sure To Do, Say
Something Colorful

One Great Season

As history has taught us, there are no guarantees at the World Cup. However, I'm compelled to reject the lessons of the past and assert that this year there will be one absolute ironclad lock: that Diego Maradona will do or say something controversial, criminal or just downright weird.

Sure, it doesn't take a keen sense of prescience to suggest that a man with a track record of X-rated tirades, riot inciting, copious drug use and assaults of the verbal, physical, armed and vehicular varieties may be inclined to act impetuously. It's only a matter of time. But make no mistake: I love Maradona. That's why I'll be here throughout the tournament, cataloging every last foible, tantrum, meltdown and effusive, over-the-top celebration that makes the head coach of Argentina the most fascinating figure at the World Cup.

IMAGES: The Hot Girls Of College Football

To get the ball rolling, I've taken the liberty of constructing a timeline of every notable Maradona moment since he became head coach. This, I guarantee, is just the beginning ...

Diego Maradona

6/10/2010Bookmaker William Hill posts official betting odds for several insane yet eminently plausible Maradona scenarios: he's sent off during a match (6-1), he gets in a fistfight with one of his players (20-1).

5/28/2010Messi says he's close to Maradona, but you can tell he's still a little freaked out by him.

5/27/2010Maradona inspires mixed feelings throughout Buenos Aires by promising to run naked through the streets if Argentina win the Cup.

5/27/2010Immune to the lessons of England’s 2006 WAG debacle, Maradona permits his players get their sex on during the finals.

5/23/2010Maradona demands £1,400 worth of bathroom renovations for his private quarters in South Africa, including two luxury bidet toilets featuring heated seats, a warm air blow-dryer and front and rear grundle wetters.

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5/19/2010Shortly after announcing his final 23-man roster, Maradona drives over a cameraman's lower leg, then proceeds to shout at the injured guy: "What an asshole you are. How can you put your leg there where it can get run over, man?"

5/18/2010Following Maradona's criticism of Grondona for canceling a lucrative friendly against Saudi Arabia, Grondona's son Humberto threatens to "crush" and "get rid of" Diego.

5/12/2010Maradona omits international veterans and Champions League winners Javier Zanetti and Esteban Cambiasso from his 30-man provisional roster, opting instead for unproven youngsters and unproven 30-year-olds.

IMAGES: The Hot Girls Of The Kentucky Derby

5/11/2010Maradona is forced to answer claims that he had a hand in dislodging predecessor Alfio Basile from the head coaching position. Basile's son, Alfito, later Twitters: "At the World Cup, Argentina will be coached by a conspirator."

4/9/2010Never one to hyperbolize, Maradona suggests that Lionel Messi, while in the midst of a torrid scoring spell for Barcelona, is simply "having a kick-about with Jesus."

3/30/2010Maradona is rushed to the hospital for emergency plastic surgery after his Chinese Shar-Pei goes Cujo on his upper lip.

11/15/2009Maradona is suspended for two months for telling reporters, among other things, to "suck it and keep sucking it."

10/16/2009Flushed from the qualifying victory over Uruguay, Maradona tells reporters to "suck it and keep sucking it."

10/10/2009Maradona's enigmatic belly flop in celebration of Martin Palermo's qualification-saving last-minute winner against Peru.

10/6/2009Unhappy with the perceived meddling of Bilardo, Maradona threatens to walk.

9/23/2009Maradona accuses technical director and 1986 World Cup winning coach Carlos Bilardo of trying to bring down Argentine Footabll Association president Julio Grondona, adding to the team's internal problems.

9/18/2009Indebted to the Italian government for £28,000 in unpaid back taxes from his time at Napoli, Maradona gets a visit from police at fat camp with orders to seize any valuables "within plain sight." They swipe his £36,000 diamond earrings. Palermo forward Fabrizio Miccoli later reveals himself to be the buyer.

9/15/2009Maradona checks into a northern Italian weight-loss clinic to combat growing stress and rotundity during a dodgy qualifying campaign.

3/27/2009Maradona reopens the feud with hated old rival Pele following the Brazilian's remarks that the Argentine coach is not to be admired because of his past drug use. In a somewhat disproportionate riposte, Maradona intimates that Pele lost his virginity to a man.

3/11/2009Argentina's mercurial playmaker Juan Roman Riquelme quits the national team following public criticism from Maradona.

2/19/2009Maradona becomes a grandfather as Argentina striker Sergio Aguero successfully assures he always has a spot as long as his father-in-law is in charge.

11/19/2008Scotland assistant manager Terry Butcher, who was England's captain at the time of the Hand of God match, publicly announced he'd never forgive the Argentine for his dishonest goal. When asked about it following a 1-0 friendly Albiceleste win over the Scots, Maradona gets a laugh out of the press corps by replying "who is Butcher?"

11/18/2008Maradona says this: "I will not go into controversy. Neither with (FIFA president Sepp) Blatter nor with (UEFA president Michel) Platini, nor with anyone else. We have to tone things down."

11/3/2008To much national fanfare and many skeptical pundits, Maradona is announced head coach of Argentina.

Click here for Jeremy's bio and an archive of his previous stories.


Meet The 2010 OGS World Cup Writers

One Great Season is proud to announce it will be covering World Cup 2010 from start to finish. Group previews begin Thursday and once the games begin, we plan to update at least twice daily with match coverage, analysis and other news and notes. Please take a moment to get to know the nine contributors who will make One Great Season the only online destination you'll need for outstanding World Cup coverage.

Jeremy Brown

Jeremy Brown is a New York-based freelance writer. He's worked as a staff writer covering English and international football at UK and has contributed to several publications over the years, including the New York Post, Scientific American, Seed, Entertainment Weekly, Draft and Star. On Sundays he can be found groggily galumphing around not-always-trash-strewn pitches in the city's Cosmopolitan league, thankful that he never tried to go pro because man that looks like a lot of running. Jeremy will be covering Group B.

Mike Dick

Mike Dick got turned on to soccer by Pele's arrival in the NASL. Living in a virtual soccer vaccuum in Terre Haute, Ind., Mike's love of the game grew via broadcasts of Soccer Made in Germany and the odd NASL match, BBC World Service football coverage on shortwave radio and traveling to see live matches on occasion. He got to see Cruyff, Beckenbauer, Best and others in person in the NASL days, and as a semi-regular at matches of the Indianapolis Daredevils of the Amercan Soccer League, had the privilege to see an aged Eusebio as he pulled a Willie Mays at the end of his career. A former college goalkeeper, Mike enjoyed the 2006 World Cup in Munich, Berlin and Frankfurt. He supports Nottingham Forest and considers himself to be "the special one" when it comes to prowess on the barstool. Mike, a television producer in Louisville, Ky., will cover Group E.

Ben Jackey

Ben Jackey is an Emmy Award-winning former television news journalist from Louisville, Ky. He is a soccer addict who didn't pick up the game until World Cup 2002. Since then, he has travelled to watch and cover the USMNT and was producing a soccer documentary before he left the TV business this year. He is an avid supporter of Aston Villa FC of the English Premiership and may be the only person on the planet with cornhole boards adorned with the Villa crest. Up the Villa! It's important to note that Ben is a Leo, is fun at parties and is a great dancer. Ben, now a communications specialist in Louisville, will cover Group G.

Mike Marshall

Having played football continually for 28 years in some form, fashion or level in six countries — with teammates and competitors hailing from more than 50 nations — no other game could have given Mike Marshall a better perspective both on the human condition and how it might be changed for the better. With interests in history, international relations, anthropology, and design, Mike finds time for kick-ups whenever possible. Professionally he is the principal behind Marshall Arts, a graphic design and other creative works company. Mike will be covering Group F.

Mike Mudd, an assistant sports editor at the Louisville Courier-Journal, is a lifelong competitive soccer player, coach and fan whose claim to fame was making the second team Indiana all-state team in high school in Jeffersonville, Ind. Mudd covered college soccer while a student at Ball State University in the early 1990s. He also gets asked a lot about the time he scored four goals in a varsity match back in 1990. Mudd has watched every World Cup since 1986 and is more of a fan of South American soccer than European, though he has a soft spot in his heart for England. Mike will cover Group C, and can be followed on Twitter @mudd4goals.

Wade Murray

Wade Murray learned to play soccer at an early age while growing up in Iowa. He was a Division III All-American player at Luther College, then played semi-professionally in Minnesota and New York. His favorite national team is the US side, of course, but on the club level he roots for Everton. Wade is currently a digital marketing professional in New York City, and his favorite player is Cristiano Ronaldo. Wade thinks Ronaldo is simply the smoothest son of a #$%^ he's ever seen, although he dives waaaay too much. Wade will be all over Group A.

Bruce Sholl

Bruce Sholl started playing pickup soccer as a kid on the dirty streets of Toledo, Ohio. He then went on to captain the Upper Arlington Golden Bears in Columbus, Ohio, and started for the men's club team of Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. He currently plays for The Barnstonworth Rovers third team, a New York City club group. Along with being a fan of his hometown Columbus Crew, he has traveled abroad to play and watch, most notably the Man U-Man City Derby in 2008 and Espanyol vs. Villarreal this year. His aggressive style of play has translated well to the pub when watching matches and head-butting. Bruce, a retail marketing specialist, is on the general assignment beat.

Steve Susi

Steve Susi is founder and chief creative officer of Brand Spanking New York, a NYC branding and creative consultancy. Steve has attended numerous Premiership matches over the past two decades — most of which involving his beloved yet hapless West Ham Hammers — attended the 2006 World Cup in Germany (watch the video) and is a devout Ohio State and all-teams-Cleveland fanatic. Mr. Susi will spend the second week of World Cup 2010 watching the national teams of Germany, Holland, Denmark and England at pubs located in those countries' respective capital cities, and reporting/photographing the proceedings for One Great Season. Check out for more about Steve and follow him on Twitter at @brandspankingny. He'll be covering Group D.

Jake Yadrich

Jake Yadrich has worked in the video production industry since 2004, spending mroe than five years as a videotape editor for FOX 4 News in Kansas City. While at FOX 4, he and the station's film critic earned acclaim at the 2009 and 2010 LA Press Club National Entertainment Journalism Awards for their weekly interview segments with Hollywood's biggest stars. In January 2010, Jake obtained what he considers a dream job in becoming the head of video operations for the Kansas City Wizards of Major League Soccer. Jake is an avid soccer fan, his favorite team being Barcelona, and brings an industry insider perspective to One Great Season's coverage of the 2010 World Cup. Jake will be covering Group H.