My#2020 #NewYear #Resolutions

Chelsea fans have to be up and at ’em early.

The first day of 2020 brings us a full day of Premier League, thank goodness. Here’s the schedule and if for some unfathomable reason, TheBlackPitch.com is your main source of soccer insights AND you’re a Chelsea fan, I hope you have some other reminder to wake up early for the first match, because we’re only hours away at this point, and you’re likely still out in the streets, whooping it up and drinking yourself into the abyss that was 2019.

PSA: Don’t drink and drive. If you’re gonna drink, don’t drive and if you’re gonna drive, don’t drink.

All times shown are Eastern

Of course, tomorrow (or today, depending on when you’re actually reading this) will be a good day to have NBC Sports Gold Premier League Pass. The Watford v. Wolves match should be interesting, as should the West Ham v. Bournemouth. It’ll be West Ham’s first match at home with newly-reappointed manager David Moyes. Typically, you’d expect a bit of a rebound bounce from a club bringing in a new manager, so we’ll see what the actual turnaround might look like for The Hammers. Of course, the standard NBCSN lineup will provide plenty of fun for the day, as I anticipate you, like me, won’t be leaving the couch.

2020 New Year’s Resolutions

The bigger thing I’ve been thinking about is resolutions for the new year, as it relates to my indulgence in soccer/football/the beautiful game. Here are my Top 5 Resolutions for 2020.

Make a better effort to consistently catch the NWSL and Women’s FA club matches. As much as I’ve caught matches here and there, both leagues haven’t been in my regular rotation as much as they should be. Part of this was tracking down a better way to watch, which I think I might have a solution for, but some of this really comes down to putting together a viewing calendar to make sure I’m not tuning in last minute, all of the time. I do this for Premier League, Bundesliga and MLS, so I simply need to add these leagues to the rotation.

See at least four of the Des Moines’ Menace’s home matches this season. I like the Menace. I have a ton of fun watching the lads, especially in recent seasons. Part of being a supporter of local soccer is getting out to the soccer you have in your community. Sometimes, and this is me being totally transparent, but our local club can be a bit of out-of-sight, out-of-mind for me, and remember, soccer is my favorite sport. Part of this is the ease of watching the bigger clubs with the better viewing options. While it allows me to be a soccer fan and digest a lot of matches, it also allows me to be a lazy fan. I have to be out supporting the community in which I live if I hope that we ever have a real chance at fostering a club in a larger league in the Des Moines area.

Regularly watch USL Championship and USL One matches on ESPN+. While these aren’t new additions to ESPN+ (I believe), I simply need to add them to the rotation. In recent months, my attention has turned to interests in the more localized/regional soccer options. These are all great clubs and I don’t mean this in any type of disrespect, but it’s simply easier to be a fan of the biggest clubs in the world. Soccer has to be, first and foremost, local for it to grow and flourish. So, while our Menace will be playing at the League Two level and I’ll have to see it in person, I can help the audience grow by watching the matches on ESPN+.

Watch at least half as many Sheffield Wednesday matches as I watch Chelsea FC matches. One of these days, the Owls will be in the Premier League. Then, my heart will be tugged into two parts. But, until that day, I need to do a better job keeping up with SW.

Finish hanging my new Chelsea FC and Sporting KC flags in my home office. Typical me. Received two brand-new, beautiful flags to hang in the home office, but both are sitting, folded neatly on my desk. There’s got to be a break in the action on New Year’s Day, right?

The #SupporterScarf – US Edition

If you follow soccer on any level, you are probably familiar with the supporter scarf. Teams across the world have a wide range of scarfs that act as the ultimate memorabilia for fans and collectors alike. In my humble opinion, any club that is worth its weight will have at least two types of supporter scarves: a classic bar scarf and a motto scarf. Scarves have a great history of how they’ve become so central to the beautiful game. Beyond functionality, supporter scarves can quickly create a sea of team colors in a fan section or display fight mottos.

So, let’s take a look at some examples of scarves done right.

MLS Scarves

Atlanta United
Austin FC
Minnesota United FC
Orlando City SC
Philadelphia Union
Portland Timbers
Sporting KC

What these teams get right is a mix of mottos and bold colors that can light up a supporter section. Each of these scarves are found for less than ~$30 and are a perfect accessory for any fan, alongside the pitch or on the street. Austin FC’s colorways are classic in the bar scarf look, with bold colors that really add focus to its shield. Minnesota United FC and Portland Timbers feature large-scale mottos.

USL Scarves

Birmingham Legion FC
Las Vegas Lights FC
Memphis 901 FC
Saint Louis FC
Tampa Bay Rowdies

The USL keeps the excitement going with several teams stepping up to the plate to deliver quality supporter scarves. To some extent, USL teams get a little more flexibility to be bold, or to connect with their historical pasts.

Honorable Mention

Forward Madison FC

Honorable mention goes to Forward Madison FC, who delivers some of the best supporter gear in the category, brings forward several killer supporter scarves. These were finalists for the 2019 competition to select which scarf would become the official club scarf. It was the one on top, but both were stellar.