Boots of Spanish leather

I have cherished, and fiercely defended, my ignorance of youth soccer clubs up until now. To me they are simply another mechanism to separate parents from money. Apparently the better your kid is, the more you pay, and they have something against playing soccer for high schools. It all sounds very tedious and depressing, so I ignore it like a homeless veteran.

So I was curious as to why my brand-new local WPSL team, the Los Angeles Rampage, had already managed to sell a spitload of branded gear to their fans before their home opener. Jackets, t-shirts, even kids wearing jerseys! That's a hell of a marketing machine...except it's probably just average for a big-time youth soccer club, which is what the Rampage Futbol Club is.

I'm not saying that the WPSL team is going to be shunted aside, but almost by definition they are the poor relation. The WPSL was formed by teams that didn't want to be shunted aside by men's equivalents. A number of the new teams in the league this year are extensions of existing youth clubs, and at least one has an NPSL male equivalent - the Albuquerque Lady Asylum, one of the anomalies in a league that tries to avoid "Lady Whatevers" in their nicknames.

To me pro sports should have the aroma of hideous and overpriced fried garbage, and not the stink of delicious homemade baked goods. And while it's gonna be a few minutes before the WPSL (or the W-League) resemble what we complacent MLS fans think of as professional, my reactionary bias says that there should be a brighter line between the peak of domestic club soccer and teams called U-18 Gold Premier (Red) and such.

Of course, after following MLS for thirteen years, I should definitely know the difference between my prejudices and economic realities. It will be interesting to see how WPS affects all this - assuming a WPS team takes the field west of St. Louis.

Speaking of prejudices, one of mine came roaring up last night, and it was UFC that saved me from making this a REALLY embarrassing post. The announcer at John Elway Stadium continually pronounced the home team's name to more or less rhyme with "damage" instead of "stone age." Some of the parents grew annoyed at this, and I was all set to write about how amusing it was that the home team announcer wasn't necessarily clear on the name. At the very end of the game, someone must have said something, because we were asked to give a big hand to our undefeated, first place Los Angeles RamPAGE. I smiled. "This will make a funny blog post."

Almost of all of you reading this already know the punchline, but I didn't find out until getting a haircut while the Spanish language broadcast of UFC was on. Anyway, one of the winners on the show was Rampage Jackson. And guess how the Spanish-language announcers pronounced Mr. Jackson's stage name.

Since they call themselves Rampage Futbol Club, rather than Soccer Club, it was the Granada Hills Charter High School announcer who had the name right all along, and not the people who actually pay dues and fees to the thing.

The game was horrible, but I chalked that up to two new sides.

I should have seen the W-League local game, Pali Blues v. Ventura County, last night, but I didn't, for reasons that even I don't find very entertaining, let alone you, the reader. But yes, I do need to catch up on the other game in town.