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This week’s #WNSTSweet16 will be performed “Cup-style”

Posted on 15 June 2014 by Glenn Clark

We’re dancing right up to the halfway point of 2014 and the halfway point of our #WNSTSweet16 celebration. In fact, we’ve been celebrating our 16th birthday for so long that it almost feels like it’s time to have our first beer.

(We’re kidding. We’ve had plenty of beers. Just like when most of us were REALLY 16.)

(We don’t by any stretch of the imagination condone underage drinking. Or underage anything else for that matter. We good?)

You HAVE to be familiar with the format by now. We’re celebrating 16 years as Baltimore’s sports media leader and we’re celebrating by taking “water cooler” topics from the WNST era and defining them with lists of 16.

You get it, right? Please tell me you get it.

If you’ve missed any of our first 23 lists this year, here’s a quick reminder of what’s been happening. (The #WNSTSweet16 is brought to you by Jerry’s Automotive!)

Week 23: Glenn Clark-Sweet 16 greatest Baltimore/Washington Bullets/Wizards ever
Week 22: Nestor Aparicio-Sweet 16 all-time greatest local high athletes
Week 21: Glenn Clark-Sweet 16 greatest local lacrosse players of all time
Week 20: Drew Forrester-Sweet 16 most unsung Orioles
Week 19: Gary Quill-Sweet 16 all-time Maryland horse racing moments
Week 18: Luke Jones-Sweet 16 most important picks in Ravens draft history
Week 17: Glenn Clark-Sweet 16 worst draft picks in Baltimore Ravens history
Week 16: Drew Forrester-Sweet 16 greatest players in Washington Capitals history
Week 15: Nestor Aparicio-Sweet 16 games we’ve been treated to
Week 14: Drew Forrester-Sweet 16 Masters moments of the last 30 years
Week 13: Luke Jones-Sweet 16 greatest pro wrestling moments in Baltimore history
Week 12: Luke Jones-Sweet 16 local sports goofballs/personalities
Week 11: Glenn Clark-Sweet 16 local sports saints-athletes who gave back
Week 10: Nestor Aparicio-Sweet 16 events a Baltimore sports fan must attend
Week 9: Drew Forrester-Sweet 16 greatest Baltimore college basketball players
Week 8: Luke Jones-Sweet 16 Orioles who didn’t live up to the hype
Week 7: Glenn Clark-Sweet 16 most underappreciated Maryland basketball players
Week 6: Drew Forrester-Sweet 16 local sports “Heartbreakers”
Week 5: Luke Jones-Sweet 16 local Olympic sport athletes
Week 4: Drew Forrester-Sweet 16 local athletes who deserved to win a championship but didn’t
Week 3: Nestor Aparicio-Sweet 16 local sports people who “had a dream”
Week 2: Luke Jones-Sweet 16 local sports playoff moments
Week 1: Glenn Clark-Sweet 16 “debuts” in local sports history

Every time Drew Forrester is assigned a particular #WNSTSweet16 topic, I can confidently expect to hear the following from him.

“I think I’m going to do something a little bit different.”

We imagined doing a bunch of local lists this year, and with Drew’s experience as the former General Manager of the Baltimore Blast-I thought he’d want to look over the all-time greatest local soccer players during the World Cup.

I was wrong. Drew was thinking bigger than that. With the World Cup underway, Brazilians flopping and Italians coming up clutch (Cats and dogs living together?), Drew wanted to do something a bit more in tune with the Cup.

We’re very much in a golden age of American soccer currently. Despite the fact that FIFA delivered the USA into the “Group of Death” in Brazil, there’s hope Jurgen Klinsmann’s team can reach the knockout round again when they get underway Monday against Ghana. (Shameless plug-I’ll be watching the match at Buffalo Wild Wings Bel Air with our friends from Freedmont Mortgage. You should be there.)

Our topic this week is the Sweet 16 “Greatest American Born Soccer Players of All-Time”. And quicker than you can say “Landon Donovan”, remember that goalkeepers count too.

It would be hard to imagine Donovan and current American keeper Tim Howard won’t find themselves in the top three or five players on this list. But who else? What about Brian McBride? Current captain Clint Dempsey? Brad Friedel or Kasey Keller?

How do these all-time great Americans match up against each other? Who deserves to make the list that you might otherwise not think about? Remember: the list is for American BORN players, not players who simply played in Los Estados Unitos.

Drew wants your suggestions. You can leave them here in the comments on this blog post or email him (drew@wnst.net). We will be discussing the list throughout the day Monday on AM1570 WNST.net. We’d love to have you Tweet with us or discuss the topic via Facebook by using the hashtag #WNSTSweet16.

On Tuesday morning, Drew will unveil the “official” list here at WNST.net and then discuss it with Luke on “The D&L Window Tinting Morning Reaction” at 8am. He will then re-visit the list at 4pm Tuesday with Nestor on “The Happy Hours”.

Who are the greatest soccer players in the history of the Red, White and Blue? Make your voice heard!


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Klinsmann: “We can not win this World Cup” — Me: “Why are you the coach then?”

Posted on 05 June 2014 by Drew Forrester

I’m sure someone will say, “That’s the way the German mind works.”

If so, I’ll pass on the German mindset.

I had several German players on the Blast roster back in the 1980’s and I’ll admit they had a very different “look” at things.  They were always very quiet.  Always very “down”.  Always locked in on the philosophy of “Don’t get too high when things are going well and you won’t get too low when they aren’t.”

I’ll admit some of those thoughts aren’t all that bad in sports, particularly the latter one.  It worked well for me over my amateur golf “career”, if you will, where you need to keep yourself on an even keel as much as you can.  Two birdies can easily be offset by one bad swing and a double bogey, so it’s better “not to get too high” so you won’t “get too low” when things balance themselves out.

That said, there’s absolutely no reason at all for Jurgen Klinsmann to tell a group of reporters yesterday, “We can’t win this World Cup.”

It’s defeating.

It’s dumb.

And, frankly, it’s NOT the American Way, where we learn from an early age that anything is possible.

Anything is possible if you BELIEVE it’s possible.

I can’t imagine for one second gathering my group of golfers at Calvert Hall and telling them before the season “we can’t win the MIAA championship this year.”  Instead, I’d tell them the exact opposite.

“We can win it all.  Of course we can.  We just have to play well.  Have faith in God.  Have faith in your abilities.  Have faith that your hard work is going to pay off.”

Now, maybe Klinsmann is sly like a fox — and some across the country have written that in the wake of what he wrote yesterday — but I don’t believe he was in “ploy mode” on Wednesday.

While he was busy taking a crap on Kobe Bryant and his $50 million contract, he also dove-tailed that comment into a moment of honest reflection when he said, “We can’t win this World Cup.”

Even if he believes that in his heart, he shouldn’t say it.  A great coach wouldn’t say it, that’s for damn sure.  There’s not a coach in the NFL who would EVER, EVER, EVER stand up at the microphone on Wednesday and say, “Frankly, there’s just no way we can beat the Patriots this Sunday.”

Klinsmann is still busy trying to protect himself from the idiotic decision to leave Landon Donovan off the roster for next week’s World Cup in Brazil.   We can all see, now, what he’s doing.  By saying, “We can’t win”, he’s essentially telling everyone, “Out with the old, in with the new.”  Meanwhile he has an 18-year old kid on the team, Julian Green, who is about as ready for this level of soccer as your mailman.

I’ve liked the job Klinsmann has done with this team, in general.  They are much more dangerous offensively — his strength in teaching, of course — and are no longer a one-sided group on the field.  Now, the defensive players can attack with the same vigor as those who are paid to go forward, and the offensive group are more helpful in the back when called upon.

That said, I will never, ever subscribe to the theory that a professional coach tells the masses, “We can’t win.”

Herb Brooks sure as hell didn’t say that to the U.S. Hockey team in 1980 at Lake Placid, did he?

Maybe Jurgen Klinsmann is right.  Maybe he can’t win a World Cup with “this” team.

Perhaps someone should remind the coach he’s the one who picked the team in the first place.


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