So, following up on the whole Pepsi Refresh thing, the days leading up to the final vote had me fearing the worst, with Jimmy Conrad playing up the competition aspect something fierce all over the Facebook and the Twitter, with Landon Donovan and Edson Buddle and God knows who all else getting into the act. Is this something that these guys talk smack over in offseason pickup games, or something? "My charity made more than yours did"? If true, I think that combines horrible and awesome, but I can't say in what proportions.
In any case, as you may or may not have heard, the winner of the contest was Alejandro Moreno, a bet I would have lost several times over. Either America is catching Ale Moreno fever, or Philadelphia fans really wanted Chester to have a grass soccer field.
Here I thought it was Sounders fans who had mastered the art of crashing MLS online polls. If there's a fan vote for MVP, go ahead and put Le Toux as the favorite. (Unless Union fans really do love Crash, and his one goal so far this year.)
I should drop this subject, or better still invent a time machine so I don't bring it up at all, but if the competition aspect actually increased the dollars given away, that would have been fine. But it didn't. It was just...weird.
It's not impossible to get a soccer team involved in a charitable endeavor in a fun way. Although it's probably not logistically possible for MLS teams to emulate the Milwaukee Wave's idea for different shirts in honor of different charities, it's still the sort of thing that engages fans without being a zero-sum game.
I dunno, if there must be a competition, let it be an actual fundraising competition, instead of mere online voting. Like a bake sale! Or, stealing the Wave's idea, special uniforms that could then be auctioned off after the game. The team that raises the most gets a little bonus from Pepsi (again, and this will sound stupid because it ain't like I got it in my pocket, but fifty grand isn't that much in the larger scheme of things). The losing teams will at least get, you know, the proceeds from their jersey auctions. If there must be a fan online vote, they could vote for the coolest design. And Pepsi could give, I dunno, ten grand for that.
Adidas wouldn't mind coming up with sixteen separate one-offs, would they? Of course not, civic-minded fellows that they are.
Speaking of the Milwaukee Wave - last week the Chicago Fire declined the opportunity to hire its president to run their team. That president is, of course, Peter Wilt. Actual factual Fire fan Tom Dunmore covered Julian Posada replacing Dave Greeley, but didn't repost Wilt's original blog post when Greeley was hired to begin with.
Is Posada the right choice? How the hell should I know? Doesn't seem like it, but I don't know the guy. He might be really inspiring. But we've seen executives with lots of soccer experience, and we've seen executives with no soccer experience but lots of sports experience...and now the Fire have a general manager with no sports experience.
Well, maybe that's better than the wrong kind of experience. I said this about Greeley, and Shawn Hunter at Chivas USA - there's sports marketing, and there's keeping track of the season ticket holder waiting list. My issue with Greeley was basically, how could you fail to market the Bears in Chicago?
At least Posada has marketed things that don't sell themselves. This looks like his biggest challenge, but that's pretty much true for anyone who joins MLS, except for Thierry Henry.
Even then, I'm not sure. What's harder, winning the World Cup, or bringing MLS Cup to New Jersey?
If you say so. We'll see who wins a trophy first, France or the Red Bulls.
It also bears pointing out that not every soccer guy can sell tickets to a team. Otherwise, the NASL would never have folded. For every Garth Lagerwey, there's a Nick Sakiewicz...oh, wait, this post started out by pointing out a Philadelphia Union marketing triumph?
Well, maybe we have smarter soccer guys these days.
Oh, wait, John Doyle, never mind.
If Wilt was available, and the Fire went with Posada, then I can say Chicago made a mistake. Here's why: the Fire have only won one trophy since Wilt left - the 2006 Open Cup. The Red Stars have done a series of faceplants since Wilt left, too. The lesson is clear. Do not fire Peter Wilt. Like Cuchulainn must not be woken up, but allowed to wake on his own, Peter Wilt must be allowed to leave on his own terms, lest disaster strike.