Tag Archives: Bridget McDowell

An interview with Jeb Brovsky, Generation Footy

Bridget McDowell - Minnesota United FC/mlsfemale
Official Minnesota United FC Reporter

By Bridget McDowell // @BCMcDowell

Just days after the American football family threw its annual party for all the world to see, the world’s other football family received a gift of its own. From one of its own.

On February 7, semi-retired MLS footballer Jeb Brovsky launched Generation Footy, a lifestyle brand, blog, podcast and resource for all involved with the World’s Game. Its mission: Influence the Game. Amidst the endless debate over the future of US Soccer, Generation Footy aims to change the tone of our conversation.

“We have so many passionate soccer players, coaches and fans in this country but we are overwhelmed in the sea of bad ideas, useless conversations and complaining about what is WRONG with our system,” Brovsky told me.

“Being an American player who has come up through the youth, high school, college, pro ranks… I want to create a community of passionate game changers who are all committed to the success and growth of the game in this country. For me, this only happens with authentic communication and straightforward, high-level ideas. Generation Footy was founded on the principle that we need to raise our expectations, provide small concrete improvements and engage in honest communication that will benefit the development of the game.”

The six-season MLS veteran, with time in Vancouver, Montreal, New York City and Minnesota (in 2016, the club’s final NASL season and build-up for MLS) is well-respected by teammates, coaches and fans, alike, for his adaptability on the pitch and his warrior mentality through injuries. Brovsky’s playing career was put on hold when MNUFC declined to re-sign him after his recovery from the ACL tear that ended his 2016 season, but he remained in Minnesota and is still active in the local soccer scene.

“Right now I’m enjoying coaching youth, high school and college players of all levels and trying to spread my passion, knowledge, and experience. I believe young girls and boys should be taught the right things from the beginning and be empowered to take control of their own development,” said Brovsky.

Generation Footy provides those growing players with the inspiration and resources to do just that. The site’s content so far includes quotes and insights from players like Christiano Ronaldo and Zinedine Zidane, How-To skill breakdowns with video of the masters, light-hearted but truthful pieces like ‘The 10 Commandments of Footy’ and a podcast about dealing with injuries with ACL Club founder Jordan Angeli. But Brovsky is not trying to preach Footy; he is engaging with it and using it to engage with others.

“I want to grow organically and connect with the men/women/boys/girls who are avid learners and who have a DESIRE to grow… Part of engaging with my readers and listeners means I want a two-way conversation and for them to approach me with ideas, passions, insights etc. that they may have. Sometimes this is a complex technical idea and sometimes it could just be an awesome video of someone enjoying the game. Inspiration comes from everywhere.”

Go to GenerationFooty.com to find out how you can Influence the Game. And always remember the Tenth Commandment of Footy: “Thou shalt not be envious of others within the game… Influence the game on your terms!”

Featured image courtesy: @GenerationFooty

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MNUFC kit reveal: Loons In Stripes

Bridget McDowell - Minnesota United FC/mlsfemale
Official Minnesota United FC Reporter

By Bridget McDowell // @BCMcDowell

We Minnesota United FC supporters will sing “Wonderwall” any chance we get. But it isn’t often that we get to sing it in a packed four-story rotunda.

An estimated 1,000 Minnesota faithful and curious onlookers gathered in the Best Buy Rotunda at Mall of America for the reveal of the Loons’ 2018 primary kit. While many of the fans had seen leaked photos of the replica shirt and sneak-peeks released by the club of the authentic jersey’s details, the first glimpse of the entire kit was still an event.

Fresh off the plane from preseason training in Florida, the squad filed on stage to model their new primary kit in its entirety: Grey Henley shirt with a red button, dark grey vertical stripes on the front, the Adidas piping down each side in sky blue, a borderless crest and a small loon silhouette at the bottom. The light grey shorts, with matching piping, set off the dark stripes of the shirt, making it appear much less bland than most fans feared after seeing the leaked images.

This kit will certainly stand out more than last year’s light grey/blue sash kit. I haven’t decided if it’s the dark grey stripes that do the job or the exceptionally bright white bullseye front and center, but it works.

Speaking of bullseyes…

Target, one of the first sponsors to hop on board for MNUFC’s inaugural MLS season in 2017, sent its canine mascot, Bullseye, to model his own dog-friendly jersey (not yet for sale, I checked).

Bridget McDowell - MNUFC/mlsfemale

The event was also an opportunity to get a preseason status check on the squad. Field reporter, and former Loon, Jamie Watson talked with coach Adrian Heath and defensive back Brent Kallman about their Florida trip. Both spoke of progress on the field and off, with chemistry building between the newcomers and veterans. Heath also hinted that the much-talked-about potential deal with Columbian mid Nicolas Benedetti is still on the table despite rumors to the contrary.

There was plenty of promise and positivity to sing about. But, just to be sure, the squad returned to the stage, this time with scarves which they raised high as staff queued up the Oasis hit on the rotunda’s speakers. And we sang…

There’s more to come. The Loons head south again this week to close out their preseason at the Carolina Challenge Cup before opening the season March 3 in San Jose.

Featured image courtesy: @MNUFC

Follow and chat with me on Twitter // @BCMcDowell

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Minnesota joins fight to show the Red Card to Racism

Bridget McDowell - Minnesota United FC/mlsfemale
Official Minnesota United FC Reporter

By Bridget McDowell // @BCMcDowell

If you have spent any time at all on soccer Twitter over the last two weeks, you have most likely seen the story about the Idaho youth soccer coach who discovered a letter on the windshield of his vehicle threatening him over his involvement with the Idaho Juniors Futbol Club which serves a large immigrant population. If you haven’t, you can read the Idaho Statesman’s January 25 report here.

The internet responded to the report instantaneously. More than $6,000 has been raised through a GoFundMe page organized by the club to support anti-racism charities. Even pro players and prominent members of the soccer community have spoken out on social media in support of the club and against racism in general.

Just this Wednesday, USSF presidential candidate Kyle Martino appealed to current and former players to join him for a game in support of Idaho Youth Soccer. Kei Kamara and Mia Hamm, among others, have already answered the call.

Meanwhile, I and some of my fellow Minnesota soccer supporters have launched a fundraiser and awareness campaign to bring Jeromy Tarkon‘s team north in July.

One of the world’s largest celebrations of youth soccer takes place right here, in Minnesota United FC‘s own backyard. Literally.

The Schwann’s USA CUP takes place each summer at the National Sports Center in Blaine. NSC is home to MNUFC’s newly redesigned training facilities and its main stadium played host to MNUFC’s home games in the NASL days (and hosted United’s predecessors, the Thunder and Stars). In 2016, the tournament drew a record 1,176 teams from 19 countries and 19 US states.

The USA CUP is the perfect setting for our fundraising initiative, Red Card to Racism. We hope to raise $24,000 to bring sixteen U-11 players IJFC to the tournament along with three coaches and two chaperones. We want the kids of Idaho Juniors FC, and their counterparts throughout youth soccer, to know that for every one person against them, there are many more of us supporting them, who are ready to show a red card to racism.

This game we love, the World’s Game, would be nothing without the contributions of all the nations and cultures which have celebrated it, cultivated it. This diversity is what makes the game beautiful. So let’s use it to teach others how to celebrate our differences and unite around our similarities.

You can learn more about the fundraiser and ways to give on our YouCaring site.

You can also find Red Card to Racism on Facebook and Twitter, @redcardtoracism.

Featured image courtesy: @redcardtoracism

Follow and chat with me on twitter // @BCMcDowell

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MNUFC SuperDraft Report

Bridget McDowell - Minnesota United FC/mlsfemale
Official Minnesota United FC Reporter

By Bridget McDowell // @BCMcDowell

This team is full of surprises. I was expecting to get maybe a paragraph or two out of the draft day, but Minnesota United FC was making up for lost time. Here is my update:

The north is slightly less restless. In fact, following the early-and-often negotiation tactics of coach Adrian Heath, Sporting Director Manny Lagos and Director of Player Personnel Amos Magee, was like taking a crash course in Advanced Player Acquisition. My head is still spinning, but here’s where we stand.

United first traded their 5th pick to Chicago Fire for $75,000 GAM, $100,000 TAM, the 15th pick and a player to be named later in the day. That lucky Fire player (I hope he feels that way) was goalkeeper Matt Lampson. With 24 starts in 2017, Lampson adds depth and experience to the position behind current starter Bobby Shuttleworth.

The club then acquired the 7th pick from Montreal Impact, in exchange for $150,000 in TAM, and selected forward Mason Toye. The Generation Adidas player out of Indiana University was named Big Ten Freshman of the Year in 2017. United already has two solid strikers in Christian Ramirez and Abu Danladi (the club’s first ever draft pick), but Toye can play backup to Danladi when Ramirez is on international duty and affords the flexibility to play a two-striker formation.

With the 15th pick, United selected defender Wyatt Omsberg out of Dartmouth. His 6’4″ frame will be helpful in set pieces, an aspect of the game in which United has long been lacking. Joe Greenspan was expected to play that role in 2017, but missed much of the season due to injury and was released.

Three players in one round were not enough for MNUFC. Heath and company took the final pick of the first round from Toronto FC in exchange for a second round pick and $50,000 in TAM. With that pick, they selected another defender, Carter Manley from Duke, who trained with the Loons this offseason. Manley adds more depth and options to what we expect to be a new-look back line.

But wait, there’s more! In the second round, with the 41st overall pick, United selected Xavier Gomez of the University of Nebraska – Omaha. Gomez adds depth to a midfield that is currently a little wing-heavy.

In all the post-draft interviews with United staff, one word, spoken repeatedly, stands out: Potential. So, with five new Loons reporting to training on Monday, let’s just say the north is rising.

Featured image courtesy: @MNUFC

Follow and chat with me on twitter // @BCMcDowell

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Latest happenings with MNUFC

Bridget McDowell - Minnesota United FC/mlsfemale
Official Minnesota United FC Reporter

By Bridget McDowell // @BCMcDowell 

Is the north rising? Or is it restless? Throughout Minnesota United FC‘s inaugural MLS season, the short buildup between the end of the 2016 NASL season and the start of the 2017 MLS season was a logical scapegoat for the squad’s slow development.

This offseason was expected to be more fluid, but instead United seems to be going through the same growing pains. With players set to report to preseason training on January 22, just three signings have been announced to replenish a roster reduced by a number of postseason cuts.

The first newcomer, acquired from Atlanta United during the half-day trade window in December, was midfielder Harrison Heath. While Heath featured very little during his time with Atlanta, he is well known to Minnesota’s gaffer – He is coach Adrian Heath‘s son. Days later, during the re-entry draft, MNUFC picked up another Five Striper, right-back Tyrone Mears. It is hoped that Mears’ MLS and EPL experience will shore up a backline that struggled in 2017.

Then, after another month of inactivity, new CEO Chris Wright dangled a carrot in front of news-starved fans at the Dark Clouds Supporters Summit on January 8. He said that the signing of a player who had featured on an international squad would be announced by the end of the week, followed the next week by another of that player’s countrymen. Enter Frantz Pangop.

The 24-year-old has two international caps and one goal for Cameroon and featured for hometown side Union Douala. While a collective groan rose from fans when they learned the first international signing of the offseason was an attacking mid (“Another winger!?”), Pangop’s highlight film shows he is equally comfortable on either side of the pitch and doesn’t shy away from dribbling through traffic.

Speculation about which of Pangop’s Cameroonian teammates will be joining him runs rampant, but the expected announcement appears to have been delayed until after the SuperDraft.

In light of this painfully long and uneventful offseason, one piece of news greatly boosted the morale of longtime United fans. Forward Christian Ramirez was finally called up to the US Mens’ National Team to train for the January 28 friendly against Bosnia-Herzegovina.

Ramirez, an NASL Golden Boot winner, was one of a handful of players to stay with United during the move up to MLS. After his teammate and close friend, Miguel Ibarra made appearances with USMNT in 2015 and 2016, Ramirez’s turn has been expected by fans for some time and the 26-year-old striker is committed to making the most of this opportunity.

A player from MNUFC’s Academy program also looks to make his mark on the national stage. Goalkeeper Fred Emmings was called up to the U-15 Youth National Team’s training camp in Florida.

Whether we are rising or restless, you know what? We’re still just happy to be here and March cannot come soon enough. Neither can a full roster.

Featured image courtesy: @MNUFC

Follow and chat with me on twitter // @BCMcDowell

Check us out on instagram @mlsfemale