Today is the one year anniversary of this particular soccer blog. Just one of thousands, it has somehow become relatively popular, relatively respected, and relatively fun for yours truly.
When I started this thing last year, I'm not really sure I knew what I wanted to do with it. I just started writing (something I enjoy doing), throwing my opinions and analysis out on a variety of "Soccer in America" topics. Most of it is long-winded dreck; still, I managed to attract a few readers, kept at it, and eventually evolved into a more accessible writer with commentary on the news of the day.
I think I always assumed I'd make it a year without breaking a sweat, though it was much more difficult that I thought it would be. Anyone that runs their own blog knows that the day-to-day pressure to post and do so in a worthwhile way is not an easy task.
Part of the fun of blogging, specifically on soccer, is joining the community that exists. A few of the people I've formed relationships with thanks to MFUSA to weigh in with their thoughts; part of this is self-flagellation, admittedly, though I'm happy to link to each one of their blogs (where possible) because their contributions to both the soccer world and my "success" as a blogger deserve recognition. If there are sites in this post of which you weren't aware, please visit them; you won't be disappointed.
A special thanks goes out to Zach Woosley for being a humorous jackass who knows his footy, helped redesign MFUSA earlier this year, and pushed the podcast I started to a new level, as well as those that have contributed here in recent months, Jason Kuenle, Joseph Millar, Kevin McCauley, Matt from US Soccer Daily, and Adam Soucie of the Captain Positive blog. Oh, and I certainly can't forget Scott "Lil T-Rex Arms" Bornstein.
If I've left anyone out, my apologies; there are literally a hundred people I should be thanking.
John Pini - MFUSA Reader/Contributor:
I heard about MatchFitUSA during my winter break in December 2008. I was listening to The 2 G’s (back in ancient times when it came out on podcast), and Graham plugged it, having received an email from Jason. It was right up my alley at the time—and still is—being relatively new to professional soccer myself, and already a diehard USMNT fan. Yeah, Jason was pretty angsty back in the day—and you can’t cut this part out!—and posted a lot about Eurosnobs and NFL fans etc. Having achieved a level of success, that sharp edge has sort of smoothed off (never affecting the inner drive), and Jason has evolved into a truly professional journalist...okay, a more professional journalist. What I’m trying to say is: he’s the Jose Mourinho of the soccer blogosphere. Minus the special part. Keep blogging jbdavis.
Chris Nee - twofootedtackle
As a newcomer to the US soccer scene for the 2009 MLS season, I needed somewhere to find information and opinions. MFUSA gave me everything I needed and has grown at the perfect pace for me, transforming its podcast just as I wanted more in-depth analysis to further my education. Jason is a fantastic writer and a superb podcast presenter, and getting Zach on board was a masterstroke.
Brian Bentley - Winning Ugly Radio, The MLS Show (Around the League)
Jason Davis is the Lou Dobbs of American Soccer blogging.
Hank Alexandre - The Midnight Ride
"If Soccer wants to get in its Miata and put on his red pants and sunglasses....who are we to judge?"
Jason Davis, The Winning Ugly Show, Episode 19, March 2009
So I get this e-mail back in March of 2009 from this guy who I have never met and only sort of know from his "association" with the Winning Ugly Radio Show, and he's asking me if I want to be a guest on his podcast. I'm thinking to myself - I know NOTHING about this guy - only that he was in on some random e-mail chain with the Winning Ugly gang about some episode involving some underhanded comments about yours truly. So here he is asking me if I want to do a podcast. Well the first thing I do is go and listen to his podcast - and I am thinking YOU'VE got to be kidding. What's with the cheesy computer voices saying "examining the state of american soccer" and that intro music - what the hell is that - some kind of super hero theme song? I'm thinking about coming up with some excuse to get out of it but then I realize - this guy knows his stuff. Everything he is saying is spot on and timely and to the point. So I agree to do the show, and I proceed to step all over his opening segment. That was the first and last time I was asked to be on Match Fit USA.
In the year that Match Fit USA has been in existence, Jason has set a new standard in what an American soccer blog and podcast should be. His level of dedication to his craft is only matched by his desire to succeed. He constantly sets the bar higher and higher for himself, and never settles for mediocrity. Someday, years from now when Jason is Soccer Bureau Chief for ESPN, he can look back on his days with Winning Ugly, Epic Footy, and CSRN with a sense of pride in what he accomplished. Until then, I wish him continued success in his future endeavors with CSRN and The American Soccer Show, and of course on Match Fit USA.
Kartik Krishnayer - MLS Talk/Set Piece Analysts
Jason Davis and Match Fit USA has done an outstanding job of bringing a fresh approach to the analysis of soccer in the United States. A welcome addition to the blogosphere, Match Fit delivers an objective and analytical look at all aspects of the sport stateside. This includes looking at not just the national team and MLS, but also USL, youth development and other issues around the game. Congratulations to Match Fit on its first birthday!
Brian Quarstad - Inside Minnesota Soccer
It's been a fun year watching your blog grow with a lot of parallels to my site which has been active just a few months longer than yours. You've done a great job of reporting on the US soccer scene and I also enjoy your very professional sounding podcasts. Here's to another great year coming and let's hope we can be congratulating each other 5 years down the line when MLS will have greatly improved and the 2nd division soccer woes of this country are long behind us.
Drew Epperly - WV Hooligan
First of all congrats on the one year anniversary here. Time flies huh? I recall around this time last year when you reached out to me as you started your blog. Back then it was long essay type articles that really helped build a foundation to your site. After a couple months it grew into something special with your daily work and your podcast. It also didn't hurt that your shameless promote your site all the time during Live Blogs and what not. Keep it up and good luck with year two!
Again congrats Jason, I don't think any soccer site that I've seen over the last few years grow as quickly as yours.
Graham Bell - President and Founder, Champions Soccer Radio Network
Congratulations Jason on such a successful debut year for Matchfit USA. From the first email I received from you it was clear that you have a true dedication to providing compelling reading for the game in America. With the world of media looking to take as many shortcuts as possible, your balanced fact filled work becomes even more important to assist in the development of the sport especially in the USA. It is no surprise you were nominated as one of the top blogs for the sport by US Soccer in your debut year. I personally am looking forward to even more compelling content from Matchfit USA in the forthcoming World Cup year.
Ben Rycroft - It's Called Football
I’ve never met Jason Davis. I’ve never even seen Jason Davis.
He could pass me on the street tomorrow wearing an ‘I’m Jason Davis’ T-shirt and I still probably wouldn’t connect the dots. And yet Jason Davis, of Match Fit USA, has asked me to write a happy little paragraph or two about him as his site comes up on its 1 year anniversary.
So what do I know about this man I’ve never met?
I know Jason Davis likes football.
I know Jason Davis writes about it too. Jason Davis has a show which I believe covers the same topic.
And I do know that he’s as talented an analyst as is out there.
So, for all that, I commend and applaud him. Lord knows covering football in North America isn’t a glamorous job. Or it isn’t yet. But with the continued efforts and energy of people like him, maybe one day it will be. For now though, it remains a lot of nerds sitting around computers, debating each other in Cover It Live chatrooms.
Jason Davis is a gentleman and a scholar in that community.
Here’s hoping he’s not an axe murderer when he’s away from the computer.
Mark Fishkin - The Kin of Fish
In the span of one short year, Jason has developed a multimedia empire for American soccer fans. MatchFit USA and the newly re-christened American Soccer Show podcast, along with live call-ins around key events, have become must-visit destinations for the serious fan. His ability to quickly boil down the issues and news of the day into short (and not-so short) dispatches has been invaluable for his viewership. Though Jason, do us all a favor. Stop apologizing for trying to do 18 things at once! Seriously, congrats, Jason on your anniversary, and here’s looking forward to a great 2010!
Dan Wiersema, Founder of the Free Beer Movement
Jason Davis and the MatchFitUSA site (along with his podcast, the American Soccer Show) has been a great revelation to the soccer blogosphere. MatchFitUSA and Davis goes beyond just soccer news, but insightful commentary about the American game. Too often our sport lacks proper perspective (with a lot of knee jerk reactions and little depth of knowledge, but Jason and his website are a great home for for a solid soccer community.
We consider Jason a great soccer-blog-friend (even if we're not on his blog roll!) and are happy to wish MatchFitUSA a happy one year anniversary. We can't wait to see what the coming years bring!
From one American soccer lover to the next, we appreciate the great contributions that MatchFitUSA and Davis brings to our sport. One of the main ways that soccer can get bigger in this country (along with the prospect of free beer!) is having intelligent and interesting individuals to bring clarity and commentary that improves the standing of the sport. Jason Davis is a huge part of that.
Thanks for everything.
Again, thanks to everyone that has not only helped MFUSA last a year, but that spurred myself and the site on to bigger and better things. Not in my wildest imagination would I have thought that this site would be where it is, nominated for an award, or given me the ability to cover a sport I love so closely and get as much out of it as I have.
Feel free to leave a comment, even you haters; I'm not naive enough to think that there aren't more than a few of you out there ready to take your shot on the anniversary of the site. Believe it or not, I want to thank you, too.
Here's to an even better year two.