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Ask Mr. Soccer!

Thursday, May 23, 2002

With the World Cup less than two weeks away, the Post-Gazette sports department took a good look at itself in the figurative mirror and found itself lacking ... well, in many areas, but particularly in the area of international soccer coverage. With that in mind, the P-G proudly presents Mr. Soccer, an English-born "football" expert of some repute. (Note from Mr. Soccer: If you put the word football in quotes again, I'll have your thumbs severed.) If you have any questions about the World Cup in particular or soccer in general, you can e-mail Mr. Soccer at names@post-gazette.com.

Mr. Soccer:
I am a relatively new soccer fan, but I am certainly looking forward to the World Cup, the biggest sporting event in the world. To heighten my enjoyment of the World Cup, I am planning to watch several Riverhounds games. My question is this: What will the Riverhounds games have in common with the World Cup games?

R. Dyer Peters

Mr. Soccer replies:
They'll both be using a ball.

Mr. Soccer:
I am a local youth soccer coach with a secret shame: I have been conducting simultaneous affairs with two of my players' mothers. They are both married, as I am. Neither knows about the other, their husbands don't know anything, and my wife knows nothing. When you weave a tangled web, however, you get caught sooner or later, and I fear my time is coming. How can I extract myself from this situation without ruining lives and marriages? Also, is the 4-4-2 formation too basic for an under-15 team?

Name and address withheld by request

Mr. Soccer replies:
Mr. Soccer does not withhold names and addresses by request. Your name is David Calabash and you live at 24 Anfield Road, Charleroi. The 4-4-2 is perfect for any team at any level. It's uncomplicated, yet provides a lot of room for creativity.

Mr. Soccer:
Tab Ramos, the top playmaker is U.S. soccer history, will be retiring at the end of the current MLS season. Tab is my favorite player, and I was wondering if you could offer your opinion of his career.

D. Bergkamp Lawrenceville (near Arsenal)

Mr. Soccer replies:
Your question required a lot of research, because I had never heard of Tab Ramos or the MLS. I'm told that MLS is your so-called "Major League" Soccer, and that Ramos is one of that league's so-called "stars." Perhaps the nicest way I can put it is thusly: Being a "star" in "Major League" Soccer would translate to being a reserve-team midfielder on a Sunday morning kick-about team back in England. (Note to editor: Please don't bother me with such drivel again. The only Tab I want to hear about is the kind I mix with Tanqueray, and keep 'em coming, sweetheart.)

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