Cover image of The Play: Pro soccer players talk shop

The Play: Pro soccer players talk shop

Field-level commentary from people who have been there. Hosted by MLS and European veteran, Bobby Warshaw.

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Opara walks us through his overhead kick goal

When you score on a bicycle kick, you get an invite onto the show. Ike Opara of Sporting Kansas City saw the ball rise into the air toward the goal, turned his body, and volleyed an overhead kick into the back of the net against LA Galaxy. It's the kind of play that's nearly impossible to describe. The only person who can do it justice is the person who performed it. Opara joins host Bobby Warshaw to break down his magical moment. What goes through a player's mind to decide he should try a bicycle kick? How does he get his body to go for it? From a general standpoint, Warshaw and Opara discuss set pieces and how to defend the second ball back into the box. Later in the show, Opara and Warshaw talk about achieving happiness, and how it impacts one's career.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices


29 Jun 2017

Rank #1

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Bobby wrote a book! Q&A with the author

Host Bobby Warshaw wrote a book, When the Dream Became Reality, about his life becoming and being a professional soccer player. He wanted to give fans a deeper look into life as a pro player, so he went ahead and jotted down 86,000 words (it sounds like a lot, but it comes to 264 pages). It's on sale now. To give people a glimpse of what to expect in the book (and perhaps tease them to buy it...), Bobby cedes the reigns to good friend and former teammate Matt Pryzdowski for a Q&A. Matt got an early read of the book and finally gets to turn the tables on Bobby and ask the probing and uncomfortable questions. Whenthedreambecamereality.com Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices


20 Jul 2017

Rank #2

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Making moves: the players' end of the transfer window

The summer transfer window has arrived. For fans, it's a time of excitement and entertainment. For players, it's their life. What's it like for a player to get bought, sold, traded, or cut? How does it feel to make a big change in your life and career? MLS veteran Stephen Keel and Helsingborgs IF goalkeeper Matt Pyzdrowski join host Bobby Warshaw to discuss their experiences changing teams and dealing with the uncertainty of the transfer window. They share their own stories and answer questions from listeners.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices


13 Jul 2017

Rank #3

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Sorting out if home field advantage is actually a thing

Pundits and fans often discuss the power of home field advantage. It's become a key part of the soccer lexicon. Sometimes we need to stop ask: is it actually a thing? We turn to the pros - the guys that have experienced big crowds and long road trips - to find out if home field advantage actually exists. Danny Cruz, nine-year MLS and NASL veteran, and Ugo Ihemelu, former MLS center back, join host Bobby Warshaw to discuss the facts and myths behind home field advantage. They break down the physical factors (travel, playing surface), the atmosphere component, and the physiological elements.Credits:Producer - Courtney Andrews Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices


22 Jun 2017

Rank #4

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Could Beasley have prevented Mexico's goal? And more USMNT musings

The US Men's National Team went to Estadio Azteca in Mexico City and got a draw against Mexico. The US took the early lead, but conceded when Mexico's Carlos Vela got the ball on the counter and cut inside on DeMarcus Beasley to put a shot past Brad Guzan. A big talking point around American soccer was Mexico's goal and whether the US team and, specifically, left defender DeMarcus Beasley could have prevented it. As always, we go straight to the pros to get the answer from guys who have experienced the exact type of play. MLS veteran outside defender Chris Wingert - a teammate of Beasley on the 2004!! Olympic Qualifying team - joins host Bobby Warshaw to break down the play and give his insight as an outside back. Should Beasley have forced to help in the center? Did he get left out to dry without help in the middle? Or should he have kept Vela to the outside? Or did something happen earlier in the play that mattered more than anything Beasley did...? Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices


15 Jun 2017

Rank #5

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Pulisic’s first goal against Trinidad and Tobago

Bobby was running out to catch a plane to Mexico City, so he and George are giving you the full episode of today’s Dummy podcast. They taped a segment near the end in which they analyze the build-up to the first U.S. goal, but first they discuss last night’s game between the U.S. national team and Trinidad and try to answer a few questions:-Which players are emerging as Bruce Arena’s automatic picks?-Who should be playing between Altidore, Dempsey, and Wood?-Michael Bradley or Kellyn Acosta?-How will Mexico attack the U.S. back line of Yedlin, Cameron, Brooks, and Villafaña?-Why is Villafaña only getting his first caps now, at the age of 27? Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices


9 Jun 2017

Rank #6

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The differences between MLS, USL, and NASL

With the US Open Cup in full swing, teams from the US's top three leagues are taking each other head on. We know MLS is the top league, but how big is the gap to the NASL and USL? We gathered players with experience in all three leagues to give their take on the differences between the levels. Michael Stephens spent seven years with the LA Galaxy and Chicago Fire before landing with the San Francisco Deltas of the NASL. Ryan Richter played for TFC and the Philadelphia Union in MLS, then moved to the Bethlehem Steel in USL, and now plays defender for the NY Cosmos in NASL. They join host Bobby Warshaw to talk about their experiences. What's the difference in quality on the field? How many players from USL and NASL could play in MLS? Why are some players in USL/NASL while others are in MLS? Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices


1 Jun 2017

Rank #7

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Breaking down the match winner with the match winner

Justin Meram completed a hat trick with the game winner in the 92nd minute against the Montreal Impact. Who better to discuss the goal than Justin Meram himself? The Columbus Crew winger and MLS Player of the Week joins The Play to dissect his huge goal. He talks with host Bobby Warshaw and former MLS defender Jeb Brovsky about how he felt, what he saw, and why he did what he did. Where did he find the energy so late in the game? What did he see in front of him when he dribbled forward on the counter attack? How did he approach his technique on the finish? Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices


18 May 2017

Rank #8

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The different faces of the defensive midfielder

In the continuing series on the details of defending (trying to make it cool again, ya know), professional players break down the fact that often the most important defender isn't a defender at all. The defensive midfielder can make the lives of all the defenders much easier. Former MLS center back, Stephen Keel, joins host Bobby Warshaw, a former defensive midfielder and defender, to break down the center back/defensive mid partnership; the responsibilities of the defensive mid; the different tactical options to deploy a defensive mid; and the various types of players who assume the role.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices


11 May 2017

Rank #9

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Catching up on recent events

The players discuss recent events from around the soccer world and provide the kind of discussion that is taking place in pro locker rooms. George John, former MLS defender, and Matt Pyzdrowski, current Helsingborgs IF goalkeeper, join host Bobby Warshaw to give their take on what they are seeing in the soccer news.Topics:Dax McCarty trade from NYRB to ChicagoDavid Villa goal from midfieldLA Galaxy and Philadelphia Union losing streaksSergio Ramos red card against Messi Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices


27 Apr 2017

Rank #10

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Diving deeper into expansion seasons

If the margins of victory aren't small enough, try finding an edge when everything is brand new. Two players who have been through playing for an expansion team open up about the experience. Jay DeMerit, former USMNT defender and captain for the Vancouver Whitecaps' inaugural season in MLS, joins former Whitecaps teammate and guest host Jeb Brovsky to discuss their year playing for a new franchise.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices


13 Apr 2017

Rank #11

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Do soccer stats pit quantity vs. quality?

After Minnesota United’s Jeb Brovsky wrote about the shortcomings of statistical analysis for whatahowler.com two weeks ago, our friend Oliver Miller-Farrell emailed George and Bobby to say that while Jeb wasn't wrong, he might have been “stats-abused.” (Oliver works for Opta in New York.) So on today’s episode, Jeb and Oliver join Bobby and George to talk about how we quantify soccer and soccer players and how statistical analysis can benefit teams and fans.This week’s episode is a co-production of Dummy and The Play.Save 15% on a Howler subscription with the code ILISTEN. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices


6 Apr 2017

Rank #12

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Ask the forwards: Do you prefer to be alone or in a relationship?

Remember the days of the striker partnership? Cole and Yorke; Owen and Heskey; Henry and Anelka. What happened to that? It's all about the single striker nowadays. Ever wonder how the forwards feel about the change? Do they like the changing landscape? We brought two forwards on the show to ask.Christian Ramirez players striker for Minnesota United and spent some time with the USMNT. Herc Gomez played in the 2010 World Cup and had a 15-year professional career in MLS and Mexico. They join host Bobby Warshaw to discuss the difference between playing two forwards up top and just one. Which system do they prefer? How does it change the way they play? What kind of striker is meant for each system?Bios:Christian RamirezHerc GomezBobby Warshaw Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices


23 Mar 2017

Rank #13

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Mentor and Mentee: GK edition

Being a goalkeeper is a tricky, lonely job. On this week’s podcast, we give a young, up-and-coming goalkeeper a chance to ask a seven-year MLS goalkeeper everything his heart desires. Charlie Lyon is in his third year as a professional and currently plays goalkeeper for Orange County SC. He joins MLS veteran Jake Gleeson, the current #1 goalkeeper for the Portland Timbers and his native New Zealand National Team, and host Matthew Pyzdrowski, current #1 goalkeeper for Helsingborgs IF in Sweden, to discuss what it takes to make it as a #1. What was the experience like getting your first start, and being named the starter?What has been the biggest change in your game, and mentality for you since becoming the starter?How do you deal with the the pressures of being a #1?What would you tell your younger self now that would have accelerated your development?What did you tell yourself to stay patient for your opportunity?What do you do both during a game and after when you had a mistake or a poor performance?How do you manage being with a goalkeeper coach that you do not see eye to eye with in regards to training and playing style?Bios: Jake GleesonCharlie LyonMatt Pyzdrowski Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices


16 Mar 2017

Rank #14

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Don't get fooled by the randomness

In his books The Black Swan and Antifragile, author Nassim Taleb touts the importance of looking past the noise and finding the actual signals, searching beyond the random events and finding the variables that actually matter. There are a lot of actions that take place, but only a few that actually mean something. Soccer is no different. We play soccer to win, and to win you must score more goals than the opponent. Winning makes us feel good and losing makes us feel bad. But when does the scoreline not tell the whole story? When should we not let the scoreline impact our future actions? Host Bobby Warshaw is joined by Cole Grossman, a six-year veteran with RSL, Columbus, and Stabaek, to discuss the impact of randomness in soccer and how it influences players' actions and lives.Bios:Cole GrossmanBobby Warshaw Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices


9 Mar 2017

Rank #15