As it turns out, when soccer lunatics like myself don’t have any more soccer in their lives, we become just lunatics.
Instead of adding to the lunacy across American soccer Twitter, I decided I’d just report it as a neutral party. Without further ado, here are a few of the most bizarre things I’ve seen in lower-league soccer on social media today:
Tic-Tac-Toe in Place of Tiki-Taka
A variety of matchups between American soccer foes came about throughout the day on a different pitch than usual, the tic-tac-toe board. The idea was gleaned from Southampton and Manchester City’s battle on Twitter, and a few American clubs took the idea and ran with it.
For example, FC Tulsa took on New Mexico United in a USL Championship clash that proved to be quite evenly matched. It was actually the same match scheduled to be played today, and had it really taken place with this much quality, it would have been a contender for the game of the week.
Tulsa kicked off as the home side, making comments on the run of play as each side made its respective move. New Mexico quietly but effectively responded, and the two sides played to a draw in their first match.
New Mexico hosted the second match, which again resulted in a disappointing draw, and the final match, again started by Tulsa, was of no avail, as neither side found a winner and the two decided to split the spoils. Also of note was the fan interest in the match, includng some new variants on supporter chants.
Richmond Kickers attempted to coerce one of the Premier League pioneers of the tic-tac-toe battles into a game of Connect Four. However, Lionsbridge FC of USL League Two jumped at the opportunity and created an interleague matchup with their League One opponents.
Both sides exchanged discourse, banter, and explanations of match strategy throughout in a thoroughly entertaining contest. In the end, the #Cupset was achieved by the 2019 USL League Two franchise of the year with a late deciding blow.
Lionsbridge wasn’t done with their weirdness on the day, as they have unveiled plans to host a FIFA 20 tournament for anyone in North America who wants to join. The winner will receive a Season Ticket Wristband or a shirt and scarf if they’re not in the area for the tickets.
Honestly, we’re feeling pretty tempted to represent SmallWorld Soccer in said tournament… let us know if you would support a SmallWorld team in the FIFA tournament!
They aren’t the only ones filling the soccer-sized gap with FIFA, however. An effort to get representatives from every club in USL Championship and USL League One into a hiatus league is under way. The ambitious aspect of the league is getting someone from every club (either a supporter, a staff member, or a player, per the established rules) to be a part of it on both Xbox and PS4. We’d be very excited to see it happen, though.
The Weirdest of the Weird
Then, this oddity came about between USL League Two and whatever the heck University Campus of Football Business is. Apparently, they have a prior partnership, but the two cast that aside for a few tense minutes in a Twitter battle of hangman. USL2 created the puzzle, and UCFB (apparently some sort of educational program in six locations around the world) attempted to solve it.
As it turned out, UCFB did more than just attempt; they started strong and overcame a tense couple of missed letters to solve the puzzle with just a few body parts remaining. It didn’t make much sense and didn’t feel like much of a contest between two opponents, but I guess it was something to do in this lull period and a nice publicity stint for both sides.
It might get even weirder, though. South Bend Lions decided to simulate their new home, the USL League Two Great Lakes Division, by rolling dice to determine the scores of each scheduled match for this summer.
They’re posting the results on Twitter as well as some high quality match replays and highlights, “for those pressed for time to watch the full 12 seconds.” We kinda dig this, and aren’t ashamed to admit we’re excited to see how the rest of the season turns out. Defending National Champions Flint City Bucks are even with quality newcomers Oakland County FC for the top of the table after playing two matches each.
Wait, Some Actual Soccer Happened?!
Yes, yes it did. Texas siblings Austin United of NPSL and UPSL expansion side River Town FC dueled it out on the actual field of play, since it wasn’t a sanctioned match by either league. River Town found themselves down 2-1 at half, but the recently top-10-ranked San Marcos side found a way to earn a 3-3 draw by the end of the match. That’s certainly a good sign for River Town as they gear up for the rest of the UPSL season after the hiatus comes to a close.
That’s about all the weirdness I could round up; hope you enjoyed reading about it, and be sure to let me know what other weird things are going on in the lower-league soccer world during the hiatus!
Support local soccer, unify those around you, and seek out diversity!