Lifting Cups and Groups of Death - AFR Voice Ep.18

In the last week, football in the US has received its fair share of drama – the national team was drawn in a ‘Group of death’ for the 2014 World Cup and we witnessed one of the most dramatic MLS Cup finals in recent memory. Who better to provide analysis (starting 24 minutes into the show) than former USMNT international and Kansas City defender Jimmy Conrad? Jimmy, who you can enjoy plenty more of on the brilliant KICKTV, told us about the unique experience of playing at a World Cup, as well as identifying the secrets of Sporting Kansas City’s recent successes on and off the field.

That exclusive interview is accompanied by our very own debrief of the highly anticipated World Cup draw, including a look at the chances of the big boys – Brazil, Spain, Holland and Argentina. And, lest we forget, the official ball of the tournament was announced last week – we give our take on the ‘Brazuca’ and reminisce on our favourite World Cup balls.

All that plus a Bundesliga round-up, news of a goalkeeper joining WWE and our outrage that Zlatan has been snubbed for the Ballon d’Or shortlist.

Keep an ear out for next week’s Christmas Show Special, featuring a hint of cheap champagne, questionable festive jumpers and acclaimed journalist Guillem Balague, who will be discussing his new book, ‘Messi’ – an in-depth and illuminating study of the life of… well, the clue is in the name!

This week the #whereisfootball project takes us to the hills and mountainsn of Bhutan, where Yeji Hyun caught these breathtaking shots.

Remember, you can get in touch with the team by emailing, or on Twitter @AFRvoice. You can also find us on iTunes here.

MLS x Futbol Artist Network

With Major League Soccer returning in about two weeks, the league collaborated with our friends at the Futbol Artist Network, using the anticipation from fans to garner a fair share of creativity. The result was a piece of art for each club in MLS, designed by fans for their respective communities. While we posted the best designs (in our opinion) above, you can check out the whole collection with information about the artists and their pieces here. [Posted by Eric]

Kei Kamara: The Most Likable Guy in MLS?

Since the 2012 MLS season kicked off last month, our inbox has received a fair amount of emails from footy fans inquiring about everything from how they can watch the games to which team they should support. Now, we’re not here to tell you who to support. After all, isn’t that the purpose of flowcharts? (It is. Rhetorical question) But if you’re like me, then an individual player can catch your eye and convert you into a supporter of a certain team. Almost a decade ago that player for me was Clint Dempsey in his rookie season with the New England Revolution.

But for relatively new MLS fans, I’m here to declare an unparalleled Most Likable Guy In MLS™ and his name is Kei Kamara of Sporting Kansas City. For those who don’t know anything about Kei, he was born in Sierra Leone and grew up in an unspeakable, war-torn environment. To make a long story short, Kei was able to attain refugee status, go to America, play soccer in high school and college, and then go pro. Not only is Kei’s story remarkable, but the man appreciates every day in a manner that we all can admire. Aside from his goal-poaching abilities, he’s a charismatic individual and an entertainer. 

His fans love him for the goals that he scores, but the proceeding celebrations are almost better. You may have seen Kei’s St. Patrick’s Day-styled celebration a few weeks ago. This past weekend, Kei scored the match-winner for Sporting KC against the Los Angeles Galaxy and the finished the sequence off with an epic slow-motion celebration (above). When there are those making millions who hardly give 100% every week, it’s characters like this that we can all embrace. So here’s to Kei Kamara, a man who is exceedingly easy to support.

By the way, there are plenty of genuinely good guys in MLS. And if you’re entirely neutral at this point, then supporting Sporting KC isn’t a bad option by any stretch of the imagination. But that’s an article for a different occasion. [Posted by EB]

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