NWSL 2021 Season Week 2 Round Up


Well that is week 2 of the NWSL complete and once again there have been some great results. I think that this season is really all to play for and no team are going to be running away with the league like they have previous, North Carolina I am looking at you, I think it is certainly going to be closely contested but who knows when the likes of Sam Mewis and Rose Lavelle get back playing again in the league. I am loving how you just don't know who is going to be walking away with 3 points and it makes waiting for results to come in a whole lot more enjoyable. It was also great to see Rachel Daly become Houston Dash's record goalscorer this weekend as she is definitely a massively underrated player who deserves a lot more credit than she gets. So here are how this weekends results went...

Racing Louisville 2 - 0 Washington Spirit

North Carolina Courage 1 - 2 Orlando

Chicago Red Stars 0 - 0 Gotham

Portland Thorns 1 - 2 OL Reign 

Houston Dash 2 - 2 Kansas City

It is nice to see Racing Louisville take away from their game against the Washington Spirit who don't seem to have got up and running just yet. The big result for me though is Orlando Pride beating North Carolina Courage 2-1 which honestly who would have thought that would happen with the past few seasons the Pride have had. There seems to have been something that has just clicked within the Pride squad and they are looking really good where as for the Courage something just doesn't seem to be clicking yet. Chicago picked up their first point of the season against Gotham who are another team that are looking stronger already this year. After a strong Challenge Cup and opening game Portland Thorns fell to a 2-1 defeat from OL Reign who again are looking like a strong side and with Rose Lavelle due to join them I think they are only going to improve game after game. Finally Kanas City pulled a goal back late in the game to gain a draw vs Houston to deny them their first win of the season but hopefully that will come next week when they take on Washington Spirit. 

So here is how the table is looking at the end of week 2...

1) Racing Louisville - 4 

2) Orlando Pride - 4 

3) OL Reign - 4 

4) Gotham -4 

5) Portland Thorns - 3 

6) Kansas City - 2

7) Houston - 1 

8) North Carolina Courage - 1 

9) Washington Spirit - 1

10) Chicago Red Stars - 1

With it only being early on in the season it is looking very close and I think as the weeks progress we are going to see a lot of movement within the standings and hopefully a lot more closely contested games. Roll on next week as there are some tough games coming up. 

NWSL 2021 Season Week 1 Round Up


Finally instead of the Challenge Cup we are back to the regular NWSL season. After disruption last season due to the Coronavirus pandemic we saw the NWSL regular season scraped and replaced with a Challenge Cup tournament instead, unfortunately a lot of the big names from the game sat out of this tournament and either didn't play or went to play abroad instead which was definitely a boost for the FAWSL here in England with the arrival of the likes of Daly, Mewis, Heath and Press to name just a few. Luckily this year though we were treated to another installment of the Challenge Cup which ended with the Portland Thorns winning the competition, then it has been a quick transition into this seasons regular season where honestly I think there could be anyone's season with teams going from strength to strength each year. There has been some great rebuilding from teams over the past year and with the addition of Kansas City & Racing Louisville FC it is all to play for. 

So here are the results from week 1: 

Racing Louisville 0 - 0 Kansas City

Gotham 1- 0 Houston Dash

OL Reign 0 - 0 North Carolina Courage

Orlando Pride 1 - 1 Washington Spirit

Portland Thorns 5-0 Chicago Red Stars 

Out of this first weeks results I have to admit two of the results have shocked me. I know Portland are doing really well lately but I definitely didn't expect them to put 5 past the Chicago Red Stars. Then we had Gotham who were in this years Challenge Cup final beating Houston 1-0 and it seems that Gotham really on the rise after troubles in previous years it looks like the re-branding has done them a huge favour and they are looking like a totally different club who can really challenge their opposition. Of course it was also great to see Alex Morgan getting a goal for Orlando, let's hope this season she can get plenty more and really help Orlando push up that table like they are capable of, I really thing the Morgan Leroux partnership up front could work well for them. 

So here are the league standings after week number 1...

1) Portland Thorns - 3

2) Gotham - 3

3) Washington Spirit - 1

4) Orlando Pride - 1

5) Kansas City - 1

6) North Carolina - 1 

7) OL Regin - 1 

8) Racing Louisville - 1

9) Houston Dash - 0 

10) Chicago Red Stars - 0 

It is going to be interesting to see how these standings change after week 2 as there are some good games coming up. 

I am hoping to have an NWSL weekly round up post up for you every week during the season alongside my yearly predictions post that will be coming within the next week. I am really looking forward to providing you with more NWSL content so keep your eyes on the blog & our social media channels to keep up to date and if there is anything you would like to see from the league please let us know.  I can't wait for the late nights of watching and the early mornings catching up. 

The Puma Classics... I Wish I Tried Them Sooner

Growing up with me nearly always sticking to Nike boots or occasionally picking up an Adidas pair, a brand I always dismissed was Puma and honestly I aren't sure why maybe it is because none of my favourite players were wearing them but then again it might just be because where I got my boots from mainly stocked Nike or Adidas so Puma was never really an option for me, plus I always loved the bold colourways of the Nike & Adidas ones. 

When me and Liam started going for a kick about in our local park we picked up some boots and Liam opted for the Puma Classic take down model as he liked the look of them due to Alex Greenwood wearing them. Luckily with us being the same size I got to take them for a test run too and to be honest they left a really good impression on me and I do wish I had tried Puma boots sooner.

In terms of fit I have always sized up in football boots to accommodate for the thicker socks I wear so these are a size 8 and they provide a really good fit. They aren't too tight when worn with football socks and my feet don't feel restricted in them which I have found in some boots I don't get the best fit and my movement feels restricted due to the boot fitting too snug and narrow. But these are perfect I can move my feet in whichever way I want and not feel like the boot is going to fall off due to being too big or that I aren't going to get a good connection with the ball due to them being too tight or too loose, they are perfect and to say that these are a take down model it makes me wonder what top end would actually feel like. 

There were no issues with these rubbing my feet either so I didn't have to worry about them needing to be broken in as it was simply put them on, lace them up and go. No blisters have appeared either which is great as I used to really struggle with new boots and them giving me blisters so my feet were sore for days after, it just didn't make wearing them enjoyable but with these Puma Classics I have had no such issue and I know when I put them on I can just kick the ball around without having to worry about being in pain. Overall they are actually really comfy and again to say they are a take down model I am really surprised, you can't feel the sole plate under your feet which is always great as no-one wants to be running and just feel the studs hitting under their feet as that is just painful and frustrating. The heel has the right amount of cushioning too so you don't have to worry about it being too thin and rubbing and it also provides a fair bit of support which is always great to minimize those rolled ankle injuries. The tongue is nice and flexible too so you don't have to worry about that being too rigid and cutting into the top of your foot like with some boots. 

The fact that the tongue is flexible means that you can tuck it in nicely so it isn't stuck out of the top of the boot causing issues when you go to strike the ball. I have had boots in the past that have had a ridiculous tongue that has only got in the way so I prefer boots these days where I don't have much of a tongue on show and one that doesn't go over the laces. The placement of the laces is directly in the center of the boot and they are actually quite thin which means they are actually quite close to the upper of the boot instead of standing up a little. This is great as the fact they are close to the upper it isn't going to interfere when you go to strike the ball which is always an added bonus as you want to make the best, cleanest connection possibly with every strike or cross. The overall material of the upper is quite good too to say how cheap they are, I didn't expect them to be super high quality due to them not being top of the range but the quality is good, they are a bit cushioned on the upper and are very easy to clean which is always a bonus. You can make a great connection with the ball with these boots too, they aren't too shiny that the ball will roll over them when wet so you can get some pretty good control with these in a variety of weather. I have tested these in both dry and wet weather and have seen no difference in my training whilst wearing them as the feel and control is very similar no matter what the weather. 

The sole plate on the firm ground version which we got is great too. The actually plate is nice and flexible which helps create great movement but it isn't too flexible that it is going to break easily. The moulds are nice and equally distributed which is always something I love as I feel that this sort of stud pattern works for me better than others. These are also the rounded studs not the blades which I am much more used to due to my rugby and early football playing days. They seem to have kept it nice and simple with this sole plate which is sometimes just what is needed and I am grateful for this as it is nice and balanced and great for the mixture of weather we get in the UK. Plus it is really easy to clean due to the space between the studs and the lack of depth in the pattern, keeping it simple really does have its benefits.  

Whilst I was playing football growing up I always wanted boots that would make me stand out from the rest and just looked nice and vibrant so the toned down boots were overlooked. Now I am older though I still like the vibrant ones but the simple colourways are also starting to catch my eye. These Puma Classics are definitely nice as simple with just the 3 colours making up the whole boot and the 3 colours work really well together. The upper is simply white and black with a small touch of gold that doesn't look out of place and the sole plate is a great combination of black and gold none of the colours outweigh the others and the combination helps create the classic & simple boot that the Classics are known for. 
With these boots being a take down model they only cost us around £28 when we purchased them which to me is an absolute bargain as I can see them getting worn a fair bit as we get back into going out to our local field for a kick about or when we finally sort the side garden out to become our football garden. The fact they are comfy, easy to clean and a great colourway makes these boots a winner for me and I will definitely be looking at Puma boots a whole lot more in the future.

These Puma Classics have definitely shone a positive light on Puma boots for me and I am actually wishing I had these back when I was playing week in week out as they are such a good pair of boots and for the price point of £28 I don't think you can go wrong. I would definitely love to try a top end pair of these as having a good experience with a take down model has sold me on them so I would love to compare what the differences are other than the price. 

What are your thoughts on the Puma Classic boots?

Our Nice Little Scarf Collection

Growing up I loved picking up a scarf when I went to a football match especially those memorable ones such as testimonials or cup matches. Thanks to all these purchases I have definitely started quite a good little collection of scarves and the ones in this post aren't even the full collection as I know that I have a lot more round at my parents. I know that half and half scarves annoy a lot of the football community however, growing up I loved them as they were just a souvenir to keep to remember those matches I went to so I have quite a lot of these in my collection. So here are the scarves I currently have in my collection at my house...

Everywhere we go 
This is one of my favourite Bradford Scarves as it has the Everywhere we go all the way across it. There is nothing better than being in Valley Parade and hearing all the fans chanting this so as soon as I saw this scarf I knew I had to buy it. 

Bradford City vs Liverpool
The first half and half scarf in this post and possibly one of my favourites as it was purchased with money going to a great cause. When I saw these on sale with money being donated to the Darby Rimmer MND Foundation I knew I was definitely buying it as Darby is one of my favourite all time players and what he is doing to help raise awareness is fantastic. 

Bradford City vs Rangers 
This is easily the oldest scarf in my collection as it was a scarf made for Stuart McCall's testimonial game. I was only 7 or 8 years old when this game happened and it is still one I remember to this day, it is even one of the reasons why I ended up taking an interest in Rangers. This scarf is the perfect reminder of that day along with the other memorabilia I have from it. 

Bradford City vs Reading
When City went on their run in the FA Cup I managed to get to a few games as did my family so I managed to get myself a scarf from the game in the 6th round against Reading. Unfortunately this was the round when we went out but it was a great run we had an having the scarf as a memory is fantastic. 

Bradford City league cup final 2013
Unfortunately I didn't get to the League Cup final back in 2013 but my Auntie and Uncle did and they were kind enough to bring me a scarf back which is brilliant. The cup run we had that year was brilliant and again to have a scarf to remember that run is great. I just wish I could say I was at that game. 

Bradford City coloured scarf
Of course I have to have just a claret and amber scarf which is great as this is actually the one I use for the majority of games I attend as it is a decent thickness for those cold West Yorkshire night games. Plus it is nice and simple compared to the other scarves I own. 

Bradford City vs Millwall playoff final
I finally got my first trip to Wembley when I went to see City take on Millwall in the playoff final which we ultimately lost  however, I picked up a scarf to remember the occasion, not just us getting to the final but me also going to Wembley for the first time which was long over due as I had been wanting to go for years. 

Forza City 
My most recent scarf this this brilliant Forza City one from Scarfolk over on Instagram. I absolutely love the bold Forza City on this scarf along with the retro badge, it is just totally different to the others I own and I think this could end up hung on a wall somewhere. 

Bradford City Minions
This was a random purchase when I was on my way into a game one Saturday, I think this was just a purchase as the Minions looked quite funny and it was cold that day and I forgot my scarf. 

Bradford City Frozen
Another random purchase was this Frozen one. Again this is just because I am a huge Disney fan and I actually quite like the Frozen franchise so I had to buy it just for the laugh, it does keep you surprisingly warm though. 

Ruud van Nistelrooy 

This is a special scarf for me as it is the scarf I got when I went to my first Manchester United game with my grandad. The whole day was great and I got to see some of the big names in action for the first time. I just remember being outside the stadium taking far too long to decide which scarf I wanted as I wanted a player one but there were so many I loved, in the end I went for the Ruud van Nistelrooy one as he was one of my favourites at the time and to be honest he is still one of my favourite Manchester United players. 

Manchester United vs Juventus

I honestly don't know if this came from a friendly or a testimonial game but I managed to go see Manchester United vs Juventus so I had to get a scarf to commemorate the occasion. I have always followed Manchester United and honestly never thought I would see them take on Juventus when some of my childhood heroes were at the club so it is still crazy to me that I got there even if it was just for a testimonial or friendly. 

Manchester United vs Inter Milan 

I also went to see Manchester United take on Inter Milan in a friendly I believe back in 2007. This was the second Manchester United game I had been to at Old Trafford and it was one of my first times seeing them play a foreign team so I had to mark the occasion with a scarf and I ended up with a half and half scarf once again so I could remember that day. I have always enjoyed Italian football so to see them against Inter Milan back in the day was fantastic. 

England Lionesses vs Sweden

For so long I had wanted to go see the Lionesses and I managed to do so when they took on Sweden back in 2018. Up until then games just seemed to fall on dates I couldn't attend or they were too far away so when they were in Yorkshire I treated the family to tickets and finally got to see some of my favourite players in action that wasn't just at club level. I am glad it was against Sweden too as they are such a great team in the women's game.

So there you go that is the current collection of scarves I have at my house, I definitely need to go searching at my parents to see which are missing as I have some great mementos from some fantastic football games that I have been to over the years. I am sure I am going to be buying plenty more in the future. What is your favourite football scarf you own? 

My Thoughts On The 2030 World Cup Bid


It was recently announced that the UK government were committing to a bid to host the 2030 World cup as they were keen to bring football home but is now really the right time? Coming out of the pandemic I am sure that there are plenty of other places the bid money could be spent especially at the grassroots and lower league levels where there season has been ended early and suffered from all the cancellations and lack of fans. 

The UK government is reportedly pledging £2.8m to kick off the process which is already a big chunk of money gone which could go towards getting those smaller and grassroots clubs back on their feet. Is the bid coming at the right time or could it be delayed a bit longer? When England lost out on their 2018 World Cup bid they had already spent £21 million on the bid, so would it be worth delaying the process getting the UK football scene back on track and develop the game even more before throwing money into the possibility of hosting the tournament. 

UK Prime minister Boris Johnson has said that this would be a great opportunity for the country which when you think about it, the opportunity would be great but I think right now we need to focus on building the grassroots teams and lower league teams to keep them a float once this pandemic is over. Yes we might be bidding for a tournament that is 9 years away however, a lot can happen in 9 years and who knows where football will be in that time. Clubs are already struggling from the lack of fans and who knows how many clubs are going to end up disappearing in the near future due to the knock on effect. That £2.8m they have already spent on the bid could have been distributed around clubs (not the top flight ones) just to keep things turning over for a little longer. Boris Johnson said football would be coming home, but would it really be coming home if a lot of the clubs the countries population supports are gone or on the brink of collapsing, it is going to take numerous years for clubs to recover from this pandemic. 

No doubt the bid would lead to clubs applying to be upgraded so they were fit to host the games as we wouldn't need to build whole new stadiums like past host countries, ours could just do with a bit of TLC and refreshing. I just hope that the governments bids account for these upgrades because if not I can see a lot of clubs applying then struggling to commit to the upgrades due to the financial strain it puts them under. Hopefully the government would also have an idea in mind of the stadiums they would want to use rather than stringing clubs along and have them spending money for no reason if they are were never even going to be considered for their stadium to be used during the tournament.

Remember when the UK hosted the Olympics back in 2012 and the slogan was 'inspire a generation' well the Olympic stadium is now a football stadium for West Ham United and most of the other facilities ended up being repurposed or reduced in size. I guess at least we already have the stadiums there and they won't go to waste however, we can only inspire people to play the game if there are clubs at all levels for them to go join. This means the government will also need to focus on protecting the grass roots club, invest in training more coaches and referees to keep up with demand and ensure those who want to get involved get the chance, I think the government and FA would also need to look at developing the womens game a lot more too over the years as it could easily end up inspiring a lot of girls who currently wouldn't be able to find a team to play for. 

Fingers crossed the bid would also show that games would be spread out all over the UK instead of the majority of the big games being held down south. This would not only give fans from the UK a better chance of seeing a game and experiencing the World Cup fever which would definitely sweep the nation, just look at how we go every 4 years as the World Cup approaches it would no doubt be a festival atmosphere for the duration of the tournament. It would also be great for the competition to be hosted all over the UK so that the whole of the country could benefit from what the tournament is going to bring in. The tournament would be bound to bring in a lot of tourism to the country with fans from all the nations competing entering the country to watch their team play where they would be needing somewhere to stay, something to eat and drink and no doubt go shopping whilst here, this could just be what is needed to give the economy a boost after the pandemic even 9 years down the line as we don't how long there is going to be implications for following on from the pandemic. 

I wonder if a successful 2030 bid could get the government looking at placing a bid for a Women's World Cup in the near future as we would have the facilities and it could be a big step for the country as the women's game continues to grow over here in the UK. We are already hosting the Euros for the women's game so I am sure we would be more than capable of hosting a World Cup for them too, I actually think this would be a more realistic target than hosting the male one. 

The bidding process formally opens in 2022 and personally I think the government needs to take time to evaluate the situation with football and the effect the pandemic has had on the game at all levels before throwing all the money into the bid when work could be done elsewhere, there is no point putting unnecessary pressure on the clubs and country if it would make more sense to make a bit for a tournament a little further down the line. It definitely would be great to have the World Cup fever running through the country in the build up to the competition and during it as we have all seen how the England fans get during any competition with the country competing in it. 

What do you think is the bid a good idea or should we wait a bit longer?