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Good Soccer Reads – January 4 Edition

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A new year has arrived, transfer windows are opening all over the world, and the lulls the world of soccer has been in the past couple weeks are ending. That means it is time for another edition of Good Soccer Reads!

Another week, another occasion for FIFA President Sepp Blatter to anger some or all football fans. This time around, Blatter has drawn the wrath of the Americans, as he had some very critical remarks about the sport in the United States in an interview with Al-Jazeera. You’ve probably heard of this story, but have you read Brian Phillips’ response in Grantland from Thursday?  Phillips takes a nuanced look at the furor and Blatter’s comments, conceding that the FIFA head made some decent points, but, “you never know whether he’s misinterpreting facts because he’s unacquainted with them or because he’s working some Big Lie–type long con and it suits him to deny a trend.”

Continuing with FIFA, if on a policy-based level, Montreal Impact forward Andrew Wenger has written a detailed report about Financial Fair Play for Soccer Politics this week. Wenger, a graduate of Duke University, not only learned the sport on the field while in college, he also learned about the workings of the sport off the field as well, and provides a well-researched analysis of the policy. Something tells me this young man will have plenty of opportunities once his playing days are over.

For the sentimentalists, or perhaps those who prefer the “good old days,” comes an article from Zonal Marking’s Michael Cox on ESPN FC about Everton defender Leighton Baines. Arguing that Baines should remain with Everton, despite transfer speculation, for footballing and personal reasons, Cox paints a picture of a shy athlete who has learned to improve his game on his own terms.

Our very own Tom Dunmore had a fascinating read this week on U.S. Soccer’s website. As part of a series looking at the history of the U.S. National teams, Dunmore spoke to former USMNT coach and current LA Galaxy coach Bruce Arena about his only cap as a player.

Scott French has an entry in the series as well, as he checks in with World Cup 1991 winner Linda Hamilton, who is still working on progressing the sport for girls and women in the United States.

Moving South, over on the Football Ramble, Rupert Fryer reviews 2012 in South American football, complete with beau coup links to video clips, in case you missed anything from the year that was.

And wrapping up the reads, comes a follow-up report from our last edition of this column. Not content to see some of her compatriots playing in Europe, it looks like U.S. Women’s National Team midfielder Megan Rapinoe is moving to play for Lyon in France on a short-term deal. She will likely still be back in 2013 to play for the new NWSL, but will get to experience some time with the two-time defending Champions League holders.

Do you have a Good Soccer Read? Let us know on Twitter, and be sure to include the hashtag #GoodSoccerRead or spread the word in the comments section below!

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