The Travels Of Adu

By Brad Hubbard | @bradhubbard

Freddy Adu was deemed ‘America’s Soccer Savior’. He was supposed to be for soccer what Michael Jordan was for the NBA and what Wayne Gretzky was for the NHL. It hasn’t worked out that way. So what happened and where is he now?


What happened? That’s tough to answer. No one really knows. Was it not enough nurture vs nature or vice versa? Either way Adu didn’t turn into the American soccer’s first Jordan or Gretzky. Once he left DC United (his original club) nothing ever seemed to stick including playing time. He’s appeared in less than 100 games since 2006.

Where is he now? Well Adu signed on with a Finnish club, KuPS (Kuopion Palloseura). Whether he will see any action at all is still up in the air. Since he was traded from DC United, Adu has been with 10 teams across eight countries. He only saw significant playing time with one club over that time. Ironically, that club (Philadelphia Union) was in MLS.

Where does Adu go from here? It’s hard to tell. He is only 25 years of age. That’s a good 10 years before he is ‘over the hill’ in the soccer world. The fact is Adu needs to get on the pitch. He needs to play and find that rhythm of being a starter. If he can do that then he may have a chance of winning back part of those initial (and unfair) expectations.

Grantland Article on Adu 


The Sunday: Checks & Balances

By Brad Hubbard | @bradhubbard

The SundayCheck In The Mail

As part of the late University of North Carolina (UNC) head coach Dean Smith’s will and testament, a check of $200 was sent to every letter winner during his time at UNC. That’s around 180 people. While that’s not a lot of money in this day and age it’s still a tremendous gesture by one of the class acts of college basketball.

Here is a man who had his memory stolen from him by dementia. Somewhere found the time to stop and remember to make a gesture like this. He is a legend in more ways than one.

A Tough Task

Most people don’t know or remember Trent Steelman. He is the former Army quarterback trying to make it as a wide receiver in the NFL. He was invited to the NFL’s first ever ‘Veterans Combine’ last week. While most of the attention went to former SEC Co-Defensive player of the year Michael Sam, Steelman showed off his skills to the scouts.

Steelman apparently dropped one pass at the combine. Not bad for a guy who was once a triple option quarterback and hasn’t put on pads in a couple of years because he’s been serving his country. No word yet on if an NFL team has signed the former Army officer.

Super Bomb

Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll did an ultimate photo bomb on ESPN NFL analyst and Seattle resident John Clayton. While Clayton got Carroll back later, Carroll is certainly finding ways of keeping himself in front of the camera.

What To Watch Fri. 3/27 – Sun. 3/29

All times are Pacific.


Friday March 27th

Golden State Warriors at Memphis Grizzlies – 5pm NBA League Pass: Well if the NCAA tournament isn’t doing it for you then this is a damn good option.

Duke vs Utah – 6:45pm CBS: Duke is only #1 seed left on that side of the brackett. Utah is very underrated though.

Saturday March 28th

Nashville Predators at Washington Capitals – 9:30am NHL Gamecenter: Two playoff teams getting in some interconference work.

Boston Bruins at NY Rangers – 10am NHL Network: If the Bruins want to be in the playoffs they need to start winning some games.

Denver vs Boston College – Noon ESPNU: Think the basketball tournament is fun, well this a great matchup in the hockey tournament. #5 vs #3.

Arizona vs Wisconsin – 3pm CBS: Could be the game of the tournament.

DC United vs LA Galaxy – 4pm MLS Live: These two teams have nine MLS Cups combined.

LA Kings at Minnesota Wild – 5pm NHL Network: Two teams trying to stay in the playoff picture out west.

Kentucky vs Notre Dame – 5:45pm TBS: Well let’s see if Kentucky can keep it going.

Sunday March 29th

Michigan State vs Louisville – 11:20am CBS: Funny how you always end up seeing the same coaches deep in the tournament. Tom Izzo and Rick PItino are no exception.

Duke vs Gonzaga – 2pm CBS: Like we said above, coaches are everything.

Real Salt Lake vs Toronto FC – 4pm FS1: TFC continues there absurd road schedule. This week, arguably the toughest place to play in all of MLS.

Philadelphia Soul at Orlando Predators – 4pm ESPN2: Yes it’s Arena Football but you know what? It’s FOOTBALL!

Chicago Blackhawks at Winnipeg Jets – 4:30pm WGN: Jets need three points to keep their playoff hopes alive.

Welcome To The North

By Brad Hubbard | @bradhubbard


Minneapolis received the 23rd MLS franchise. Minnesota United FC (MNUFC) will begin play in 2018. Two interesting things to take away from this announcement; first, Minneapolis will enter a rare stratosphere in the US. It will be one of nine cities in the United States that has a team in every major professional sports league and second, a woman co-owner.

Minneapolis is considered a lot of things. Cold, a fly-over city, hockey country, etc. It has over the last 15 years become a sports mecca. While some of it’s teams have not been at the top of their profession (Minnesota Timberwolves) others have been very competitive over the years like the Major League Baseball’s Twins or the NFL’s Vikings. More importantly, each pro franchise will have their own sport specific venue in the next five years or so. This doesn’t include the University of Minnesota who has their own facilities.

With the addition of MNUFC, the Twin Cities joins the likes of the Bay Area, Denver, Chicago, Dallas, Philadelphia, Washington DC, Boston, and the New York City area that has a pro franchise in every one of the five major sports leagues. From the NFL to the NBA, MLB, NHL and MLS, these cities (or areas if you prefer) have a team that competes at the highest level. While Los Angeles and Miami could soon join these ranks, it shows how difficult it can be to support a professional franchise in any sport much less all five leagues. A massive, diverse and economically well off population is needed to spread around that much disposable income.

During the official announcement MLS commissioner Don Garber said that soccer was ‘a sport for a new America’ in reference to why the league and team where focusing on the Minneapolis Farmer’s Market area for a soccer stadium. This reflects in the ownership of the franchise as well. Wendy Nelson Carlson was introduced as a co-owner of the franchise.

Yes, the graphics person got the name wrong.


Carlson is in rare company. There are only a handful of women listed as owners or co-owners of a major professional franchise. Virginia Halas McCaskey is listed as the principal owner of the Chicago Bears, a franchise she inherited from her father George Halas upon his death in 1983. While she is the principal owner, the ownership of the team is often referred to as ‘being owned by the McCaskey family.’ While female executives and other minority groups are underrepresented in the C-Suite at just about any business, it’s even more rare for a female co-owner to be introduced at the official announcement of an expansion franchise. (To show how far women have to go, Fox couldn’t even get her name right.)

The MLS and Minnesota United FC have their work cut out for them. Minneapolis is a very crowded sports market (we didn’t even go into the University of Minnesota Men’s Hockey team) and one that has recently built or is building stadiums for just about every professional and college team in the last 20 years. But this is not new to MLS. They have done this expansion thing many times before (not always successfully) and have a pretty good blueprint of what to do and how to do it. Add in their understanding of their fanbase and MNUFC should find success on the and off the pitch.




acCUSE-d Of Not Paying Enough Attention

By Brad Hubbard | @bradhubbard

Syracuse men’s basketball coach Jim Boeheim is one of the most successful coaches in the history of the sport. He has been the head coach at his alma mater since 1976 and will probably retire after next season. He has spent a lifetime building a legacy that is now going to be tarnished because he wasn’t micromanaging the basketball program enough.

Jim Boeheim

The NCAA investigation pointed out some not so good things about Syracuse basketball. This included academic fraud and improper payments to players by a booster. It’s bad but many feel that the punishment doesn’t fit the crime. That punishment includes vacating wins and suspending Boeheim for several conference games next season.

The 94-page NCAA report reads in part, ‘the head basketball coach’s failure to promote an atmosphere of compliance and monitor his staff…‘ which is a direct slap in the face to Boeheim. The NCAA uses this line to essentially say that the coach should have known what was going on. Boeheim took responsibility and apologized even though he feels that the program was far from running amuck. Regardless, Syracuse will give up scholarships, vacate wins in both basketball and football and the AD has even stepped down.

These sanctions fall on the basketball program while the memory of the Bernie Fine incident is still fresh on everyone’s mind. Boeheim withstood that storm but these latest sanctions appeared to be the straw that broke the 70 year olds back.

Essentially it’s been one thing after another since Boeheim led Syracuse to the  NCAA Title back in 2003. Yes he probably isn’t as “on top” of the program as he was back when he was 50 but who really is “on top” of their program? There are only so many hours in the day and the job is hard enough to do when you are in your 40’s much less in your 70’s.

Does Boeheim deserve to be run out of the game by the NCAA because of these latest violations? Probably not but he is getting a bit of a break. He is getting his choice as to when to leave when a coach of lesser standing may have been fired on the spot. Regardless if the NCAA vacates wins or not, we know who was standing on the sideline for Syracuse during that time. We know the legacy Boeheim built and not even the NCAA can take that away from the memory of basketball fans.

Setting The Standard

By Brad Hubbard | @bradhubbard

Stanford Head Coach David Shaw may be the most respected man in football. He has had success on the field, he is a Stanford graduate, been an assistant in the NFL and is even an advisor/ investor in a virtual reality company. He is doing it all and then some.

Recently Bruce Feldman of Fox Sports sat down with him. They touched on a lot of things but the main thing was the use of Oculus Rift for quarterback Kevin Hogan. He improved dramatically in the last three games of the season in part because of the device.


It’s not just the fact that Shaw has embraced virtual reality (VR) but that he has tried other things like GoPro’s in the past. It’s this embracing of technology, this embracing of the Silicon Valley mentality. Hell, the man has given a Ted Talk.



While in the end he will be judged on wins and losses he, and other coaches, have to do than just win football games. They have to have this long term view of things. From identifying talent at an early age to adapting to how to relate to players as society changes not to mention taking on new football philosophies.

Shaw does this and does it at Stanford, one of the toughest academic schools in the world in one of the best football conferences in the country. It’s not an easy gig and no one would blame him or his staff for sticking with the classic football ideals. He doesn’t. He is taking on new ideas that could help him win, not just next season, but in the years to come.

Shaw is what a college coach should be. Good, tough, smart, and willing to take on new ideas. If college teaches us anything it’s that we should be more like him.

What To Watch: Thurs. 3/19-Sun. 3/22

All times are Pacific.

Thursday March 19th

UAB vs Iowa State – 9:45am TruTV: Why? Cause Iowa State has this knack of getting behind by double digits before coming back to win.

VCU vs Ohio State – 1:40pm TNT: This is that lovely 7 vs 10 matchup that always seems to ruin your brackett.

North Carolina vs Harvard – 4:20pm TNT: Harvard’s Head Coach is a former Duke player and assistant. Just sayin.


Friday March 20th

Northern Iowa vs Wyoming – 10:40am TBS: Wyoming isn’t bad and Northern Iowa may be the sleeper team of the tournament.

West Virginia vs Buffalo – 11:10am TNT: A lot of people (including the President of the United States) are picking Buffalo.

Iowa vs Davidson – 4:20pm TNT: Again, 7 vs 10 matchup. Always fun.

Detroit Red Wings at Tampa Bay Lightning – 4:30pm NHL Gamecenter: Both teams are fighting for better playoff seeding.


Saturday March 21st

Vancouver Canucks at LA Kings – 1pm NHL Gamecenter: Both teams are fighting to playoff position out west. The Kings trail the Canucks by 3 points in the Pacific division.

Utah vs Georgetown – 4:45pm CBS: Neither one of these teams gets a whole lotta love but both are pretty darn good. Winner has a great shot of going to the Elite 8.

Sporting KC vs Portland Timbers – 5:30 MLS LIVE: The last time these two teams met in KC it was goal extravaganza. Both need a win here.

Butler vs Notre Dame – 6:40p TBS: Would you want to play Butler? They are lights out from the free throw line at the end of a game.


Sunday March 22nd

Man U vs Liverpool

Liverpool vs Manchester United – 6:25am NBCSN: It’s one of the best rivalries in all of sports at one of the best venues. Can ‘Captain Fantastic’ Steven Gerrard go out with win against Wayne Rooney and Man U? Liverpool sits two points behind Man U for that coveted fourth spot in the league table.

St Louis Blues at Detroit Red Wings – 9am NBC: Just a solid game for a Sunday morning.

Michigan State vs Virginia – 9:10am CBS: This could be an unexpected/expected upset if you know what we mean.

Wichita State vs Kansas – 2:15pm CBS: A Sweet 16 & state bragging rights are on the line.

San Jose Earthquakes vs Chicago Fire – 4pm FS1: San Jose opens up their new facility, Avaya Stadium. They get to welcome back their former manager too.

Anaheim Ducks at NY Rangers – 4:30pm NBCSN: West meets east and two of the best teams in the NHL face off.

Northern Iowa vs Louisville – 6:40pm TBS: Like we said, Northern Iowa is good and now they have their Super Bowl winning alumni (Kurt Warner) giving pre game speeches. 

The Sunday: Crazy Good Stuff

By Brad Hubbard | @bradhubbard

What’s great about sports is that it always keeps you on your toes. No matter what sport it is, something unpredictable is going to happen…even in its off-season. This week was no exception.


Chip Kelly and the Philadelphia Eagles kept everybody in the NFL on their toes the past two weeks. From trading their all-pro running back and quarterback to signing the leagues leading rusher a year ago from an arch rival. Yes, Kelly and the Eagles made moves that left many scratching their heads unsure if these moves were good or bad.

Chip Kelly

For his part, Kelly seems extremely confident in the moves that he made. ‘We have a vision for what we want for football players here’ Kelly remarked at a press conference on March 11th. Apparently LeSean McCoy, Nick Foles and Jeremy Maclin didn’t fit that vision regardless of what their stats said.

Time will tell if Kelly made the right moves to get the Eagles closer to a Super Bowl or moves that put him closer to returning to the college football ranks.


Nick Fairley

The St Louis Rams are not known for theatrics. You could have fooled just about everyone this week when they brought ‘Nick’ in. ‘Nick’ was supposed to be newly acquired quarterback Nick Foles. Instead, the Rams introduced defensive tackle Nick Fairley. It caught everyone off guard and definitely won for ‘best theatrics’ this off-season in the NFL.


The Iowa State Cyclones won their second Big 12 Tournament in a row. The impressive thing is that they were down by 17 points at one point to Kansas and still won. Even more impressive is that it was the fifth straight game that they were down double digits during a game and won. Needless to say you don’t count out the Cyclones during a game.

This week must be what people mean by March Madness.

What To Watch Fri. 3/13 – Sun. 3/15

All times are Pacific.

–Keep an eye on those conference tournaments. We could have some real interesting matchups come Sunday. —

Friday March 13th

Providence Friars vs Villanova Wildcats – 4pm FS1: Villanova is looking at a #1 seed in the NCAA Tournament but the Friars can ball.

North Carolina Tar Heels vs Virginia Cavaliers – 4pm ESPN: This is the third game in as many days for the Tar Heels. That might be too much to ask to beat UVA.

Notre Dame Fighting Irish vs Duke Blue Devils – 6pm ESPN: Duke should not be this good with only eight guys on scholarship. They split the season series so who knows what’s going to happen in this one.


Saturday March 14th

Chicago Blackhawks at San Jose Sharks – 1pm NHLN: The Shark Tank hasn’t been the feeding ground it use to be for the Sharks but they are still in the playoff hunt and need this game in a big way.

Montreal Canadiens at NY Islanders – 4pm NBCSN: Two of the best teams in the Eastern Conference on a Saturday night on Long Island. Holla.

ACC Tournament Championship – 5:30pm ESPN: Regardless of who is in it, this is always the one tournament final to watch.

Nashville Predators at LA Kings  – 7pm NHL Gamecenter: The defending champs are still fighting for a playoff spot. Meanwhile the Preds are trying to get back on the good foot on a tough west coast swing.


Sunday March 15th

Manchester United vs Tottenham Hotspur – 9am NBCSN: The Spurs sit three points back of United. Tune in just to watch the Spurs Harry Kane. He has 26 goals on the year.

Detroit Red Wings at Pittsburgh Penguins – 9:30am NBC: Two playoff teams on a Sunday morning. You’re welcome.

Big Ten Tournament Championship – 12:30pm CBS: Always a solid game.

Houston Rockets at LA Clippers – 12:3pm ABC: James Harden and company head to Lob City where Blake Griffin should be making his return to the court.

New York City FC vs NE Revolution – 2pm ESPN2: If you have had too much basketball at this point then check out NYCFC’s home opener at Yankee Stadium.

NCAA Selection Show – 3pm CBS: See who’s in and who’s out in this years field.

Portland Timbers vs LA Galaxy – 4pm FS1: The defending champs head to arguably the most hostile environment in all of MLS, Portland. The Timbers Army will be in full force and it should be typical Portland weather, rainy and raw. But as they say, ‘There Ain’t No Pity In The Rose City!’

Portland TrailBlazers at Toronto Raptors – 4pm NBA League Pass: Talk about a sports overload for the Rose City. The best in the west vs the beast of the east.


The Difference In The End

By Brad Hubbard | @bradhubbard

There were several surprising retirement announcements in the last few days. First, the San Francisco 49ers Patrick Willis followed by Tennessee Titans quarterback Jake Locker, former Titans cornerback Cortland Finnegan and Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker Jason Worilds. Common factor, all under the age of 31 and could still command top dollar. It came as a surprise but it shouldn’t be, especially in the age of CTE.

Patrick Willis could, and probably will, be considered for induction into the pro football hall of fame. He’s been that good. In fact he’s been the cornerstone of the 49ers for the eight years that he’s been in San Francisco. Through thick and thin, he’s been the constant.

Patrick Willis

Willis said goodbye to the 49ers and the NFL on Tuesday in a surprise to just about everybody. Reason, his feet and not being able to play at a high level. Later in the day came news that Jake Locker was walking away from the game, only four years removed from being a top 10 pick in the NFL Draft. Locker, like Willis, had been suffering from constant injuries. Unlike Willis though, Locker played 30 games and never lived up to the franchise quarterback tag that people branded on him when he was drafted.

Finnegan and Worilds are two more players who could have commanded top dollar on the free agent market but chose instead to walk away. Finnegan after a nine year career and Worilds at the age of 27. Worilds reason is a bit more interesting, he wants to devote more time to his religion (he is a Jehovah’s Witness). Finnegan did leave us with a great / not-so-great moment, when he and Houston Texans wide receiver Andre Johnson got into a fight during a game.

While each player has their own reason for walking away from a high profile, lucrative career you have to believe that the reports about CTE had to play a part in their decision. What is all the money and glory for if you can’t remember what you did and enjoy your life after football?

Other players have retired at a young age such as former Steelers running back Rashard Mendenhall. He wrote an interesting piece for the Huffington Post last year as to why he left the game at the age of 26. He is currently pursuing a screenwriting career in Southern California.

Could this be a new trend in the game? Players leaving after five, six, seven years? Cashing out while they are up? Convincing themselves that to go any longer would cost more than it’s worth? Time will tell but it is a distinct possibility.