My apologies for taking the easy way out this week with the cliche holiday column. Just be glad I didn’t decide to write a “Holiday Letter!”. Anyway, here’s my holiday shopping list for prominent folks in American (and Canadian) soccer from A-Z.
Andrew Hauptman: Wisdom to hire a coach with knowledge of MLS players and respect for the Fire’s history and tradition.
Bob Bradley: No more players lost to injury before next June.
Don Garber: This should go without saying, but I will anyway…a new CBA before March 1st.
Eric Soler: A team worthy of his new team’s new Red Bull Arena.
Gavin Wilkinson: A contract extension that would assure the Portland Timbers Head Coach the same role in MLS as the minor league team follows its Washington neighbor into MLS in 2011. Though it’s beginning to look like Santa has a Scotsman in his sack.
Holt, Tim: Peace between Tim’s USL1 and the new US 2nd Division NASL, which has stolen most of the USL President’s USL1 teams. Oh nevermind, I’ll just get him Peace on Earth instead – it’ll be a lot easier (See North American Soccer League).
I want a sold out game this season for the Milwaukee Wave.
Johnston, Mo: I don’t know that he deserves any presents after the teams he’s delivered the last three seasons to some of MLS’ best fans.
Kevin Payne: Richie Williams. Though, i suspect he would return the gift.
Landon Donovan: The greatest sporting year of his life…then he can take three years off!
Major Indoor Soccer League: Relevance….ok, fine, I’ll settle for two expansion teams (See Rapids).
North American Soccer League: A ruling by US Soccer to sanction the new US 2nd Division League and give the owners who have invested millions of dollars into the sport the autonomy they deserve (See Holt, Tim).
Onstad, Pat: A healthy season and a Western Conference Final playoff appearance for the veteran Houston Dynamo goalkeeper (See Zach Thornton).
Qwest Field: Continued passion.
Rapids: Relevance (See Major Indoor Soccer League).
Steve Nicol: Return to health of Taylor Twellman and a successful Ponce de Leonesque journey for Steve Ralston.
Tonya Antonucci: 5,000 fans…every game…and a presenting or title sponsor for Women’s Professional Soccer
US World Cup Bid Committee: A better reception from the rest of the world than the Chicago 2016 bid received.
Vermes, Peter: A long leash and tremendous support from the Kansas City Wizards technical director.
Warzycha, Robert: A new contract for Guillermo Barros Schelotto.
Xango branded team: A sponsorship by Polygamy Porter and conversion of their MLS Cup into thousands of season tickets.
Yallop, Frank: A return to glory for one of the best coaches and nicest guys in MLS.
Zach Thornton: A national team call-up, a healthy season and a Western Conference Final playoff appearance for the veteran Chivas USA goalkeeper (See Onstad, Pat).
Note, that if i could truly deliver on these gifts, the neighborhood atop the MLS Western Conference standings would be rather crowded! I hope all of your holiday wishes come true this year!