Happy Thanksgiving DSS readers! Here's what our staff is thankful for in the world of soccer this year:
Matthew Edmiston: I am thankful for the amount of soccer we have access to either on tv or via stream here in the United States. Just a few years ago I remember it being hard to find soccer on tv but now just about every sports channel shows some sort of soccer. This past summer I watched the Women's World Cup during the day, Copa America after that, and even stayed up some nights to 3 am to watch the U-20 World Cup in New Zealand. I never would have thought 5+ years ago that so much soccer would be on tv without having to pay extra for Fox Soccer Plus or some other a la carte channel. Some even say that the United States even has better coverage of the Premier League than England itself. Also, I'm especially thankful Liverpool signed Jurgen Klopp.
Jason Longshore: I'm thankful that we've been able to use soccer at Soccer in the Streets to better the lives of kids in need. All of us involved in the sport have learned so much about teamwork, perseverance, and respect. I know I didn't realize it until much later, but I learned so much from playing soccer that benefits my life today. It's amazing to be able to pass that on to others. I'm so lucky to have that opportunity.
Brendan Joseph: I'm thankful that we still have a top professional league in this country. There was a time when it looked like that wouldn't happen and MLS would go under. But it hasn't and here we are. We have not one but three (give or take the semi-pro status of certain leagues) professional leagues that are all thriving on some level. It's a good time to be a soccer fan and it's only going to get better. I'm also thankful for the wide variety of pies that exist in this world and that I've been given the opportunity to eat as many as possible for as long as I shall live. Blueberry pie, shoofly pie, pumpkin pie, apple pie, apple rhubarb pie, peach pie, pecan pie, coconut cream pie, lemon meringue pie, chocolate pie, boysenberry pie... what's your favorite pie?
Aaron Bauer: I'm thankful for the opportunity to become a season ticket holder if I move back to Atlanta. The tickets are affordable and the deposit was worth the events that Atlanta United has put on already. This opportunity allows me to see a fun soccer product in my (hopeful) back yard, and the opportunity to tailgate every other weekend with people in the area. Sports are always fun life and I'm thankful for hopefully an opportunity to watch them. Life is still up in the air but knowing there is at least one thing I like waiting for me if I return is a comforting feeling.
Rob Usry: I'm thankful for this whole DSS venture. From the SB Nation staff who gave me this chance to my great staff who is always there when I need them. Most importantly I'm thankful for our ever-growing audience who have supported us on this journey so far. The year 2017 is still a ways away, but you guys have embraced the blog into the AUFC community better than I ever could have imagined. This next year plus is going to be a fun ride and with you guys along for the journey it should go by in a flash.
Chris Fuhrmeister: I'm thankful for Uncle Arthur making the dream happen and bringing Atlanta United FC to life. Sure, a soccer-specific stadium would be nice, and maybe an owner already involved with the NFL is a little concerning based on history, but this thing wouldn't exist without Arthur Blank. And, his early front office hires show he's serious about building a club that can compete.
I'm also thankful for Brewhouse Cafe. The food at the Little Five Points bar is dodgy and the air often contains more cigarette smoke than oxygen, but it's a great place to watch a U.S. men's or women's game. Seeing John Brooks' goal against Ghana at Brewhouse was my favorite sports moment of 2014, and this summer's Women's World Cup final was a blast. If it's good enough for Darren Eales and Carlos Bocanegra, it's good enough for me.
Sam Franco: I'm thankful for networks, like NBC, FINALLY taking soccer seriously. I still remember the days of pay-per-view FA Cup games where I'd have to pay like $25.99 just to watch Manchester United and Arsenal play one time! I'm also thankful for the voice that emits from Ian Darke's mouth. Whenever I'm down, I can always look up his call of Landon Donovan's 2010 World Cup goal against Algeria and get an immediate pick me up. I'm thankful for Zlatan for sending the entire country of Denmark into retirement, and that I get to walk the earth at the same time as the GOAT Tim Howard. Finally, I'm thankful for 2017, and I'll let you guess why...
Eric Quintana: I'm thankful for the USMNT and Jurgen Klinsmann, because while they've provided us with some serious frustration for the past six months or so, they have also provided me with some of the most joyous soccer moments of my life (Landon Donovan last second goal against Algeria, come-back wins against Netherlands and Germany). I'm thankful for Arthur Blank and his bank account, because without him there would be no Atlanta United FC. I'm thankful for Jose Mourihno, because as a fan of drama he provides the entire world with hilarious chaos. I'm thankful for the Atlanta Silverbacks, who provides the league and grounds my adult soccer team utilizes to win multiple division championships, although we were just relegated for the second consecutive season. Finally, I'm thankful for Dirty South Soccer and the equipment we use for the Mouths of the South podcast. Go listen if you haven't! (Shameless plug)
Andrew Wagner: I'm thankful to finally have a club of my own to look forward to in fifteen short months. The national team has been great but I'm very excited to have a Major League Soccer coming to Atlanta. Speaking of the national team, I'm thankful that we get to complain about the Yanks and our coach. It shows how far this country has come as a soccer nation that we now fail to accept average results. In years gone by, losing in a playoff for the Confederations Cup would have warranted a ten second mention on SportsCenter, but our team and media coverage has come so far. It's a great time to be a soccer fan in the States.