billsportsmaps.com

July 19, 2014

Germany: 2014 football attendance map, with the 52 highest-drawing clubs in Germany [all German clubs drawing over 4 K per game] (from 2013-14 home league matches) Plus, a chart showing he 20 highest-drawing association football leagues in Europe (2013 or 2013-14 season).

germany_2014-attendance-map_top52-drawing-clubs-from2013-14_bundesliga_2-bundesliga_3rd-div_4th-level_post_h_.gif
Germany: 2014 football attendance map, with the 52 highest-drawing clubs in Germany [all German clubs drawing over 4 K per game]



This is a new category, European football leagues attendance maps. I have not done full-nation attendance maps for several years now, and I thought it was time to revisit the theme. I will make maps like this for: Germany, France, England (and Wales), Italy, and Spain. Those 5 countries are home to the top five highest-drawing association football (aka soccer) leagues in Europe [note: see the chart I put together at the end of this post, which shows the 20 highest drawing leagues in Europe]. All 5 maps I do in this theme will show every club in that country which drew over 4,000 per game last season.

On the map, club crests are sized – the larger the crest, the larger the club’s average home crowd {attendance figures from home domestic league matches in 2013-14/link to source at the bottom of this post}. Besides attendance, each club’s stadium capacity and 2013-14 percent-capacity are shown (percent capacity equals average attendance divided by stadium capacity). Also in the chart at the far right-hand side of the map page are: national titles (with year of last title noted), total seasons spent in the first division by club, and national cup titles (with year of last title noted).

Clubs from the former East Germany (9 clubs from the former East Germany on the map & chart) are noted in the chart by an asterisk [East German clubs were finally able to be eligible for promotion to the Bundesliga in 1991-92, with the inclusion of Hansa Rostock and Dynamo Dresden into 2.Bundesliga for the 1991-92 season, which was a little less than two years after the Berlin Wall fell in November 1989 (Hallelujah)].

I will have the attendance map & chart for France (and Monaco) up next, in about a fortnight.

Below – Chart: the 20 highest drawing association football leagues in Europe

2013-14_europe_best-drawing_domestic-leagues_ger_eng_spa_ita_fra_etc_top20_.gif

Source of data, http://www.european-football-statistics.co.uk/attn.htm.
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Thanks to Bogomolov.PL for the blank map of Germany, ‘File:Germany localisation map 2008.svg‘ (commons.wikimedia.org).

Thanks to the contributors at ‘Bundesliga‘, ‘2.Bundesliga‘, ‘3.Liga‘, ‘Fußball-Regionalliga‘ (en.wikipedia.org & de.wikipedia.org).

Thanks to European-Football-Statistics.co.uk, for German attendance figures, european-football-statistics.co.uk.

July 7, 2014

Minor League Baseball: 2013 attendance map, the 84 highest drawing teams of all the minor league teams in USA, Mexico and Canada (all teams which drew over 4,000 per game) (affiliated, independent and summer-collegiate teams) (home/regular season average crowds) / Plus illustrations for the 2 highest-drawing MiLB teams of 2013: Sultanes de Monterrey & the Columbus Clippers.

baseball_minor-leagues_84-highest-drawing-teams_2013-avg-attendance_all-milb-affiliated-and-independent-teams_drawing-over-4000-per-game_post_t_.gif
Minor League Baseball: 2013 attendance map, 84 highest drawing teams





Attendance figures on the map (source)
From Ballparkdigest.com, from Sept. 16 2013, ‘2013 Baseball Attendance by Average [Minor Leagues]‘ (ballparkdigest.com).

From en.wikipedia, ‘Minor League Baseball/ Current system
& ‘Independent baseball league/ Current leagues‘.

    Below is an overview of Affiliated MiLB, its levels, and its relationship to the Independent leagues (or lack thereof)

Affiliated Minor League Baseball is comprised of 18 of the 19 leagues in Organized Baseball
(MiLB is an informal quasi-acronym for minor league baseball.)
Affiliated means that the minor league ball club, though being a separate entity (a separate franchise), has a player-development working agreement (a PDC) with one of the 30 Major League Baseball clubs. An affiliated MiLB team, in other words, is under the protective umbrella of Major League Baseball. I say protective, because, crucially, the MLB team provides players and coaching staff to the MiLB team, and pays their salaries. Affiliated MiLB teams are within a ladder-arrangement on, officially, 4 levels which are below Major League Baseball. But, for all intents and purposes, there really are 6 minor league levels below the Major Leagues (see 2 paragraphs below). Organized Baseball is comprised of the 30 Major League Baseball teams and all their minor league affiliates which are in the 18 MiLB leagues, plus one other league, the Mexican League, which has 16 unaffiliated teams [official name of the Mexican League is Liga Mexicana de Béisbol]. (Note: each MLB team has 7 or 8 minor league affiliates; for example, here are the Boston Red Sox’ farm teams, ‘en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boston_Red_Sox#Minor_league_affiliations‘)

There are affiliated MiLB teams in the United States, Canada, the Dominican Republic, and Venezuela, but outside of the Vancouver Canadians (an A-level ball club), all the affiliated MiLB teams above the Rookie leagues are in the USA. (As the name implies, Rookie leagues players are straight out of high school, and by signing with an MLB team, have turned pro.) The MiLB teams themselves never move up or down the leagues-ladder via on-field accomplishments (as with teams in football [soccer] leagues or in rugby leagues in other parts of the world), but once in a while, MiLB franchises can move up or down a level or so (as with the case of the Durham Bulls franchise of Durham, North Carolina, which moved up 3 levels from Class-A to Triple-A in 1998). But the crucial factor (indeed, the whole raison d’être for Organized Baseball’s minor leagues) is, of course, that minor league players themselves can and do move up the ladder all the way to the big leagues, if they have what it takes to play in The Show (the Major Leagues).

The 4 different types of minor league ball clubs:
1). Affiliated teams in Organized Baseball.
2). Unaffiliated teams in Organized Baseball [Mexican Triple-A teams].
3). Independent leagues teams.
4). Summer collegiate baseball teams [amateur teams].
There are 4 types of minor league baseball teams. Two of these types are within the set-up of Organized Baseball. The affiliated teams come from 18 minor leagues spread out within the 4 levels, which are, going from highest-placed-level to the lowest-placed-level…Triple-A (aka AAA), Double-A (AA), Single-A (A-level/see following sentence for further description), and the Rookie leagues. But actually there are really 6 levels in affiliated MiLB, because the A-level is split into three levels of its own…Advanced-A, Class-A, and short season-A (and short season-A teams are from generally speaking, much smaller cities than adv-A or A-Class cities, and are stocked with many Rookie leagues-caliber players, and play in a season about only 50% as long as higher-placed MiLB leagues [the NY-Penn and Pioneer leagues, which are the 2 short season-A leagues, don't start their seasons until June]).

The other two types of minor league ball clubs are the teams from the Independent leagues, and the teams from the summer-collegiate leagues. Both are not connected in any way with Major League Baseball (although Independent leagues teams can sell players to MLB teams). Independent leagues have sprung up in the last two decades, and there are currently [2014] 7 Independent leagues, two of which have teams which draw well enough to have made this map (see 5 paragraphs below). With Independent leagues teams, while there there is a greater chance of financial failure, there is also a wrinkle in MLB/MiLB/Organized Baseball rules which has inadvertently allowed some Independent leagues teams to do very well at the turnstiles (also see 5 paragraphs below). The basic reason why it is much harder for Independent leagues teams to succeed financially is the simple fact that these teams from the ‘outlaw’ leagues must pay salaries to their coaching staff and their players (and some times build their own ballparks), while MiLB teams within Organized Baseball have the safety net of having their coaching staff and players’ salaries paid for by their parent-club (ie, the Major League team which they are affiliated with). Finally there are the summer-collegiate leagues (see 6 paragraphs below).

Attendance measurement within Organized Baseball’s minor leagues & within other MiLB leagues
Of the 19 minor leagues within Organized Baseball, 15 measure paid attendance – all 3 of the Triple-A leagues, all 3 Double-A leagues, all 7 A-level leagues, and 2 of the 6 Rookie leagues also do: the Pioneer League of the central Rocky Mountains, and the Appalachian League of the southern Appalachian Mountains and Piedmont region. The other 4 Rookie leagues do not measure attendance (those are the Arizona League, the Gulf Coast League [in Florida], the Dominican Summer League, and the Venezuelan League). The attendance measurement within the Independent leagues and within the collegiate summer leagues is way more hit-or-miss, and some of the Independent leagues don’t publish their attendances (because they are so low I am guessing). Also, some collegiate summer league teams inflate their attendance figures {see this from Ballparksdigest.com/3rd paragraph there} (so it is probably just as well that I decided to draw the line where I did with respect to crowd-sizes on the map).


I made a map of the 122-highest-drawing minor league baseball team 2 years ago {here, ‘Minor League Baseball – Top 122 drawing teams within Organized Baseball and in the Independent Leagues – all teams that drew over 3,000 per game in 2011‘ (billsportsmaps.com).

Map of 84 highest-drawing MiLB teams in 2013
This time, I decided to narrow the focus to about three-quarters of that, to all minor league baseball teams in North America which drew over 4,000 per game in 2013 (instead of all minor league teams which drew over 3,000 per game). So the map here shows the top 84-drawing minor league teams in North America from the 2013 season (from home/regular season games). On the map there ended up being 76 MiLB teams within Organized Baseball (68 of them being affiliated with one of the 30 MLB teams as farm clubs, and 8 being from the Mexican League [which, as mentioned before, is part of the Organized Baseball set-up but whose teams are franchises which have no affiliation with any MLB teams - and in fact have minor league farm clubs of their own]).

The 76 Organized Baseball/MiLB teams on the map
The horizontal bar at the top of the map page lists every Organized Baseball/MiLB team in levels 2 through 6 (see immediately below for description of Organized Baseball/MiLB levels), with the 76 Organized Baseball/MiLB teams on the map in bold type (with 2013 attendance rank), as well listing as all the other Organized Baseball/MiLB teams above the Rookie leagues which drew too low to make the map.
At the far right of the map page, the attendance list includes a column for which level the MiLB teams are in, with:
level 1 being MLB (ie, there are no level 1/MLB teams on the map because this is a map of minor league teams),
level 2 being Triple-A,
level 3 being Double-A,
level 4 being advanced-A,
level 5 being Class-A,
level 6 being short-season-A
(note: no level 7 or Rookie leagues teams made the map).

The 8 Mexican League teams on the map
The 8 Mexican League teams on the map include the highest-drawing minor league ball club in all of North America last year – the Sultanes de Monterrey, of Monterrey, Nuevo León. The seven other Mexican League teams on the map are: Saraperos de Saltillo (the Saltillo Serape Makers), Acereros de Monclova (the Monclova Steelers), Diablos Rojos del México (the Mexico [City] Red Devils), Delfines del Ciudad Carmen (the Carmen City Dolphins), Pericos de Puebla (the Puebla Parrots), Vaqueros Laguna (the Laguna Cowboys), and Leones de Yucatán (the Yucatan Lions). The Mexican League has 16 teams; here is their page on en.wikipedia.org, ‘Mexican League‘.]

The 7 Independent leagues teams on the map, and the ability of Independent leagues teams to circumvent the 75-mile-radius protected-market territory which MLB allows each MLB team to enforce within Organized Baseball [via MLB's anti-trust exemption]
As far as representation from the Independent Leagues – on the map there ended up being 7 teams which are from the Independent leagues. Although they can and do develop players who they then sell to Major League teams, the Independent leagues have no formal connection with Organized Baseball. Thus they are able to place franchises in areas that Organized Baseball has zones of exclusion, or protected territory. Such as in south-east-central Pennsylvania, where Organized Baseball protects the MLB team the Philadelphia Phillies as well as the affiliated MiLB teams the Reading Fightin’ Phils and the Harrisburg Senators from there being any other Organized Baseball/MiLB teams in that region, but where the Independent league team the Lancaster Barnstormers (and the York Revolution) ignore that monopolistic edict and flourish. Also as with the case on Long Island, New York in Nassau and Suffolk counties, where MLB protects the New York Mets (as well as the New York Yankees) from there being any Organized Baseball/MiLB team in that region, but where the Independent leagues team the Long Island Ducks ignore that monopolistic edict and flourish. And also as with the cases of the Kansas City T-Bones and the Sugar Land [Houston] Skeeters, among others.

The 7 Independent leagues teams on the map –
[Note: here is my Independent leagues attendance map, which I posted earlier in 2014 (please note that some of the text there has been repeated here, below), http://billsportsmaps.com/?p=26979 .
-The Winnipeg Goldeyes [of the American Association] (from Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, and the only Canadian team on the map besides the Vancouver Canadians).
-The Sugar Land Skeeters [of the Atlantic League] (from the west side of Greater Houston, Texas).
-The Kansas City T-Bones [of the American Association] (from the Kansas side of Greater Kansas City, Missouri).
-The Long Island Ducks [of the Atlantic League] (from Central Islip, Long Island, New York in Suffolk County about 25 miles east of the NYC border).
-The Somerset Patriots [of the Atlantic League] (from what can be referred to as the outer western edge of Greater New York City in Bridgewater, New Jersey).
-The St. Paul Saints [of the American Association] (from the eastern half of the Twin Cities of Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minnesota).
-The Lancaster Barnstormers [of the Atlantic League] (from Lancaster, south-east-central Pennsylvania).

The American Association [of Independent Professional Baseball]
The American Association has 16 teams and is based primarily in the Upper Midwest and the Plains States from Texas to the Dakotas, plus Manitoba and Quebec in Canada, plus a few teams in the Northeast. The American Association has been around since 2006 but features some teams that have been around for over two decades (such as the St. Paul Saints). The American Association was founded by Miles Wolff in 2006. Wolff had previously been founder of the first modern-day Independent league in 1993, with the now-defunct Northern League (of 1993-2010). Here are four excerpts from that former Independent league’s page at en.wikipedia.org…’The modern Northern League was founded by Miles Wolff. Wolff started the league after many midwestern cities contacted him (through his affiliation with Baseball America) asking how they could get a minor league team. After visiting some of them, most notably Wade Stadium in Duluth, he began contacting potential owners to start the league.’/…’The league began in 1993 with 6 teams: Duluth-Superior Dukes (Duluth, Minnesota), Rochester Aces (Rochester, Minnesota), St. Paul Saints (St. Paul, Minnesota), Sioux Falls Canaries (Sioux Falls, South Dakota), Sioux City Explorers (Sioux City, Iowa) and Thunder Bay Whiskey Jacks (Thunder Bay, Ontario). The prospects for the league were originally “cloudy.” Many forecast an early demise especially in St. Paul where competition with the Minnesota Twins led many local sportswriters to consider it a “beer league.” The league, however, was a relatively moderate success, with only the Rochester franchise struggling to draw crowds to their games.’/…’ Following the [2005] season’s conclusion St. Paul, Sioux City, Sioux Falls, and Lincoln announced they were leaving the league to form a new independent league with five teams from the folded Central Baseball League in the southern United States; the new league was to be known as the American Association of Independent Professional Baseball.’/…’Following the 2010 season, the Northern League announced that Winnipeg, Kansas City, Fargo-Moorhead, and Gary SouthShore would be leaving the league to join the American Association’ …{end of excerpts}. The Northern League folded in 2010, but its legacy and 3 of its founding teams and 5 more of its expansion teams still exist today as 8 of the 16 franchises in the American Association (the 3 founding teams of the Northern League [1993-2010] which still exist today in the American Association are the St. Pauls Saints, the Sioux City Explorers, and the Sioux Falls Canaries). Miles Wolff, the founder of the influential publication Baseball America, and the modern-day creator of the Independent league-model, was commissioner of the trailblazing Northern League from 1993 to 2002. Wolff is presently commissioner of the American Association (which is headquartered in Durham, NC). Wolff also owns the American Association team the Québec Capitales (of Quebec City, Quebec, Canada), as well as the collegiate summer league team the Elmira Pioneers (see 7 paragraphs below for more on the impressive drawing power of the Elmira Pioneers). Here is the American Association of Independent Professional Baseball’s page at en.wikipedia.org, ‘American Association of Independent Professional Baseball‘.

There is one American Association team that owns its ballpark, the highest-drawing Independent leagues team, the Winnipeg Goldeyes, who play at Shaw Park. Shaw Park, which opened in 1999 and has been expanded twice since, has a capacity of 7,481. It is owned by Sam Katz, owner of the Goldeyes, and, since 2004, the mayor of Winnipeg, Manitoba. Katz, the first Jewish mayor of Manitoba, is in his third term.

Atlantic League [Professional Baseball],
The Atlantic League has 8 teams in their league (and will expand to 10 teams in 2015). The Atlantic League has 7 teams in the Northeast and one team in Greater Houston, Texas, and will expand to two locations in Virginia next season [2015] (adding one new team in northern Virginia in Greater Washington DC [the Loudon Hounds of Ashburn, VA]; and one new team in SE coastal Virginia near Norfolk [the Virginia Beach Neptunes of Virginia Beach, VA]. It might interest you to know that Baseball Hall of Famer/Baltimore Orioles third baseman Brooks Robinson (in a consortium named Opening Day Partners) is a co-owner of the Lancaster team & the York team and the Texas team (and 2 other franchises in the Atlantic League). The NY Mets fan favorite, mercurial Shortstop Bud Harrelson, is a co-owner of the Long Island team. Harrelson co-owns the Long Island Ducks with Long Island-native Frank Boulton, who used to own the now-defunct Albany, NY Eastern League franchise, then tried to set up a Long Island-based team still within the Organized Baseball umbrella, but was blocked by MLB and the New York Mets from doing so, then set up the Independent league in 1998. 2 years later, Boulton and the Atlantic League put a franchise in Suffolk County, Long Island, NY, with the Mets powerless to stop him. Boulton thumbed his nose at MLB and built the 6 K-capacity Bethpage Ballpark in 2000, where the Ducks pack ‘em in to this day, setting a consecutive-sellout-record for MiLB along the way. Here is what it says about all that at the Atlantic League‘s page at en.wikipedia.org, {excerpt}…’The creation of the league was the result of the New York Mets’ objection to Frank Boulton’s proposal to move the former Albany-Colonie Yankees because of its territorial rights to the region. Boulton, a Long Island native, decided to create a new league that would have a higher salary cap for its players and a longer season than most of the other independent baseball organizations. He modeled the Atlantic League after the older Pacific Coast League, with facilities that exceed AAA-level standards. Boulton also emphasized signing players of Major League Baseball experience for all Atlantic League teams, raising the level of play above other independent leagues.’…{end of excerpt}.

The Long Island Ducks are one of three Atlantic League teams which own and operate the ballparks they play in (the other two are the Sugar Land Skeeters, and the soon-to-be-expansion team the Loudon Hounds of northern Virginia).

The only amateur team on the map, the Madison Mallards
Finally, there is one amateur team on the map – the Madison Mallards. They are in the Northwoods League, which is one of many collegiate summer baseball leagues in the US. The collegiate ballplayers on these teams only receive a room and board stipend (as mentioned before, all the rest of the teams on the map are from leagues which are professional – and that includes the teams from the Independent leagues). In places such as Cope Cod in Massachusetts and in Alaska and in New England and in Upstate New York and in Wisconsin/Minnesota/Iowa/western Ontario, Canada and in the South Atlantic (as well as several other regions), there are leagues such as this. Actually there are quite a lot of these leagues {see this, ‘List of collegiate summer baseball leagues‘}. With one exception, the summer-collegiate leagues teams do not draw above 3,000 per game, but it must be pointed out that attendances in the collegiate summer leagues have been steadily improving in the last few years. In 2013, there were 7 collegiate summer league teams that drew over 2,000 per game, out of 144 teams from the 14 primary summer-collegiate leagues/{see this from Ballparkdigest.com, ‘2013 Summer-Collegiate Attendance by League‘}. The exception is the Madison Mallards, of Madison, Wisconsin (a city which lost its A-level affiliated minor league team after the 1994 season). The Mallards drew an astounding 6,100 per game in 2013. Think about it – 6K per game of ticket-paying public…and no players’ salaries to pay. Talk about a sweet deal for the Mallards’ owners. Why MLB has not put an MiLB team back in Madison, Wisconsin is an absolute mystery to me.

What the map shows
Below is a list of all minor leagues which measure attendance. The total number teams in the league drawing above 4K per game in 2013 (ie, teams on the map here) are listed in bold type.
Below: List of 2013 MiLB attendance by league (the list includes all 15 MiLB leagues within Organized Baseball which measure attendance plus the top 2-drawing Independent leagues)
List below is ranked in order of highest-to-lowest-drawing, with affiliated-MiLB levels noted, and with season length noted [knowing that total games in season divided by 2 equals the number of home games per team].
(Note: at the top horizontal bar above the map on the map page, these league-average-attendance figures are also shown, but here they are shown from highest to lowest league-average.)
(Please also note: level 1=Major League Baseball {not listed here}; Mexican League is at level 2, but with its teams being unaffiliated; while Independent leagues level is n/a but is probably equivalent to Double-A or level 3-caliber.)
#1, International League (Triple-A/ level/ 2 / 14 teams/ 144 game regular season), 7,041 per game. 13 of 14 teams drew above 4K per game in 2013.
#2, Pacific Coast League (Triple-A/ level 2 / 16 teams/ 144 game regular season), 6,053 per game. 15 of 16 teams drew above 4K per game in 2013.
#3, Texas League (Double-A/ level 3 / 8 teams/ 140 game regular season), 5,377 per game. All 8 teams teams drew above 4K per game in 2013.
#4, Eastern League (Double-A / level 3 / 14 teams/ 142 game regular season), 4,616 per game. 8 of 12 teams drew above 4K per game in 2013.
#5, Mexican League (Triple-A, but unaffiliated) / level 2 / 16 teams/ 114 game regular season), 4,519 per game. 8 of 16 teams drew above 4K per game in 2013.
#6, Atlantic League Pro Baseball (Independent league/ level: n/a / 8 teams/ 140 game regular season), 4,152 per game. 4 of 8 teams drew above 4K per game in 2013.
#7, Midwest League (Class-A/ level 5 / 16 teams/ 140 game regular season), 3,907 per game. 5 of 16 teams drew above 4K per game in 2013.
#8, Carolina League (Advanced-A/ level 4 / 8 teams/ 140 game regular season), 3,657 per game. 3 of 8 teams drew above 4K per game in 2013.
#9, Southern League (Double-A/ level 3 / 10 teams/ 140 game season), 3,515 per game. 3 of 10 teams drew above 4K per game in 2013.
#10, American Association of Independent Pro Baseball (Independent league/ level: n/a / 13 teams / 100 game regular season), 3,435 per game. 3 of 13 teams drew above 4K per game in 2013.
#11, Northwest League (Short season-A/ level 6 / 8 teams/ 76 game regular season), 3,292 per game. 2 of 8 teams drew above 4K per game in 2013.
#12, South Atlantic League (Class-A)/ level 5 / 14 teams/ 140 game regular season), 3,262 per game. 5 of 14 teams drew above 4K per game in 2013.
#13, New York-Penn League (Short season-A/ level 6 / 14 teams/ 74 game regular season), 3,173 per game. 5 of 14 teams drew above 4K per game in 2013.
#14, Pioneer League (Rookie)/ level 7 / 8 teams/ 76 game regular season), 2,282 per game. Zero teams drew above 4K per game in 2013.
#15, California League (Advanced-A/ level 4 / 10 teams/ 140 game regular season), 2,275 per game. Zero teams drew above 4K per game in 2013.
#16, Florida State League (Advanced-A/ level 4 / 12 teams/ 140 game regular season) 1,606 per game. Zero teams drew above 4K per game in 2013.
#17, Appalachian League (Rookie)/ level 7 / 10 teams/ 68 game regular season), 894 per game. Zero teams drew above 4K per game in 2013.
-Data for above list at ballparkdigest.com/2013-affiliated-attendance-by-league;
and at ballparkdigest.com/2013-independent-attendance-by-league.

    Below are illustrated profiles of the top two drawing minor league baseball teams in 2013 – the unaffiliated MiLB team Sultanes de Monterrey, of Monterrey, Nuevo León, Mexico (from the Triple-A Mexican League); and the Columbus Clippers, of Columbus, Ohio (the top affiliated ball club of the Cleveland Indians, from the Triple-A International League).

Below: Estadio de Béisbol Monterrey,the largest ballpark in Mexico, and, for the second straight season, the home of the highest-drawing minor league ball club in North America, Sultanes de Monterrey…
estadio-de-beisbol_monterrey-sultanes_best-milb-attendance-2013_.gif
Photo credits for Estadio de Béisbol Monterrey above -
Sultanes cap logo, photo from neweraaustraliasale.com/sultanes-de-monterrey-new-era-snapback-navyred.
Exterior photo, unattributed (uploaded by Jakovo Mtz)at pinterest.com
Aerial photo, unattributed (uploaded by PUMAS AJV) at skyscraperlife.com.
Interior/day-time photo, from sultanes.com.mx.
Interior/night-time photo, unattributed at el-fanatico.com.

Below: Huntington Park, home of the Columbus Clippers…
2014/04/huntington-park_columbus-clippers_2nd-best-milb-attendance-2013_.gif
Photo credits for Huntington Park (Columbus, OH) above -
Exterior, northbankcondos.com/overview/photovideogallery
Left Field Building, scolinssportsvenuesvisited.blogspot.com/2013/05/122-huntington-park-columbus-oh
Right Field Stands, Tom Reed at cleveland.oh.us/wmv_news/tomreed44.htm.
Panorama, dispatch.com/clippers.
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Photo credits on map page,
Lexington Legends cap logo, photo from lexington.milbstore.com.
Winston-Salem Dash cap logo, photo from wsdash.milbstore.com.
Pericos de Puebla cap logo, photo from h2b.mx/products/pericos-de-puebla-mexican-pro-59fifty-cap.
Delfines de Ciudad del Carmen cap logo, photo from http://photos-c.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-frc3/t1.0-0/c0.90.540.360/10177312_275182789310312_2283421102371401731_n.jpg.
Long Island Ducks cap logo, photo from t20.glitnirticketing.com/ldticket/store.
Acereros del Norte cap logo from acereros.com.mx.
Winnipeg Goldeyes home cap, photo from Goldeyes’ site at http://www.goldeyes.com/shop/shop-index.
Rochester Red Wing new 2014 cap logo, illustration from milb.com/news/article ['Wings unveil brand new logos'].
Saraperos de Saltillo cap logo, photo from ecapcity.com/saraperos-de-saltillo-new-era-snapback-teal-black.
Toledo Mud Hens home cap logo, photo from strictlyfitteds.com/blog/2013/01/milb-new-eratoledo-mud-hens-fitted-baseball-cap.
Sultanes de Monterrey cap logo, photo from articulo.mercadolibre.com.mx/MLM-447192360-gorra-new-era-5950-sultanes-de-monterrey.

Thanks to the contributors to the pages at en.wikipedia.org, ‘Minor League Baseball‘.
Thanks very much to Ballparkdigest.com

June 26, 2014

Map and chart of supporter-owned football clubs in the English football league system [England & Wales] (33 clubs as of June, 2014) / Plus illustrations for Brentford FC (highest-placed supporter-owned club), Portsmouth FC (highest-drawing supporter-owned club), and FC United of Manchester (new stadium set for Sept. 2014 opening).

england_june-2014_map-of-supporter-owned_football-clubs_33-clubs_post_e.gif
Map and chart of supporter-owned football clubs in the English football league system (33 clubs as of June, 2014)



Primary source for the map and chart:
Category:Fan-owned English League football clubs‘ (en.wikipedia.org).
Please note that the list at the link above is not complete, omitting [at least, to my knowledge,] 3 clubs:
-Blackstones FC (a 10th Level club from south Lincolnshire, just east of the historic county of Rutland);
-Brentford FC (a just-promoted now-2nd-division club from Hounslow in West London, who are the highest-placed supporter-owned club in England as of 2014-15/see illustration further below);
-and Dorchester Town (a just-relegated 7th Level Southern Premier League club from Dorset, in the West Country).

Also, as of this posting, the now-defunct club Scarborough Town is still included on that list.

So…this map and post features 33 supporter-owned clubs in the English football pyramid [as of July 2014]. There well may be some other 8th or 9th or 10th level clubs in the English football pyramid which are also supporter-owned, and if any one out there has information about possible supporter-owned clubs in the lower divisions of Non-league football which I missed, I would greatly appreciate you putting a comment in here.

Criteria for being called supporter-owned
For the purposes of this map and post, the definition of supporter-owned club is as follows…
Supporter-owned clubs in England & Wales with majority ownership, with either:
1). a majority of seats on the Board (such as in the case of 7th-level-club Chesham United),
2). or being a club which is 50%-to-100% supporter-owned (ie, 32 of the 33 clubs on this map and post),
3). or being a club whose ground is supporter-owned (which is what Wycombe Wanderers’ supporters trust, who currently still own the club, intend to do/see 2 paragraphs below)]…

[Please note: Clubs like 5th-division-club Lincoln City (25%-owned by the LCFC Supporters' Trust/see this), or like Premier League club Swansea City (20%-owned by the SCAFC Supporters' Trust/see this) or like 6th-level-club Cambridge City (10% supporter-owned) are not shown on the map.]

Since I last covered this subject in September 2011, one club was supporter-owned but reverted back to private ownership (Ebbsfleet United). In the interim, a 4th division club’s supporters’ trust took over their club, but then disclosed their intention to sell the club again, yet still intend to retain ownership of the ground. That club is 4th division club Wycombe Wanderers. If this sale goes through, the WWFC Trust will retain a board member and retain ownership of Adams Park in High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire. So this is another wrinkle in the trend towards supporter-owned clubs {see this, from 14 Feb. 2014, ‘Wycombe Wanderers Supporters’ Trust to sell club‘ (bbc.co.uk)}. This is definitely not a step backwards for Wycombe fans…I reckon there are a whole lot of fans of clubs all across the UK who wish their club’s ground was owned by their supporters.

The vast majority of clubs who are on the map here are clubs that came to be supporter-owned via a financial crisis at the club (such as with 4th-division club Portsmouth), or at the original club that was then replaced by a Phoenix-club (such as with Chester and with Darlington and with Telford, among others). But there looks to be a new trend of clubs who became supporter-owned not through crisis but because enough supporters were able to accomplish the takeover. Specifically, 5th division/Conference National club Wrexham of North Wales, who were taken over by their supporters’ trust in December 2011. Two years later, the club became debt-free {see this, ‘Wrexham: Club now debt free under fan ownership‘ (supporters-direct.org); and see this, ‘AGM – Press Report‘ (wrexhamafc.co.uk)}. Fans of other clubs in higher-placed leagues are currently trying to achieve what Wrexham did, such as at now-4th-division club Tranmere Rovers, where current ownership is working with the supporters’ trust to assure proper stewardship of the club, but funds raised have fallen short of the target so far {see this, ‘Tranmere Rovers FC Supporters Trust intend to press on with their attempts to win control at Prenton Park‘ (wirralnews.co.uk)}.

When I first covered the subject of supporter-owned clubs in Britain – in the early autumn of 2011 – there were 20 supporter-owned clubs in the English football pyramid. Now, just under four years later, there are 33, with many others having partial ownership by supporters.

My previous map on the subject, from Sept. 2011 – http://billsportsmaps.com/?category_name=engl-supporter-owned-clubs [20 clubs].

    Brentford FC – the highest-placed supporter-owned club in England

In 2013-14, Brentford finished 2nd in League One, winning the 2nd automatic promotion to the Football League Championship (the 2nd level).

First off…Question: ‘Who owns Brentford Foootball Club?‘ (beesunited.org.uk).
Answer: Bees United [The Brentford FC Supporters Trust], own 60.3% of the shares of Brentford FC; Matthew Benham owns 30.7% of the shares of Brentford FC; others own 9.0% of the shares of Brentford FC.

Brentford FC, aka the Bees, are from Brentford, Hounslow, West London, which was prior to 1965 situated in the former historical county of Middlesex. You can see the connection to Middlesex in Brentford’s crest, which features the three gold hilted, white seaxes on a red background {Middlesex flag, here (britishcountyflags.wordpress.com)} [note: as does the crest and flag of the historic county of Essex].

Despite being located in Greater London and currently drawing a respectable 7.7 K per game, Brentford sails somewhat under the radar and is not too well known, especially amongst the newer breed of Premier League fan. It would probably surprise many that have started following English football in the last decade that Brentford has actually been in the First Division – albeit not in over half a century. Brentford spent 5 seasons in the English top flight, from 1935-36 to 1946-47 [7 seasons of the Football League were lost due to World War II].

It probably hurt the club that World War II interrupted Brentford’s only spell in the First Division – they were relegated the first season after league play was resumed in 1946-47. There then followed a period of slow decline for the club, culminating in the threat of extinction in the late 1960s, when Brentford were in the 4th division and broke, and QPR tried to absorb the club. Brentford was saved at the last minute with an emergency loan of 104,000 pounds. As to the club’s time spent in the second tier, it has been just 13 seasons total, and again, it has been a while – 21 years since Brentford were in the second division (for a one-season-spell in 1992-93). Brentford has historically been a third division club through and through – 2013-14 was Brentford’s 57th season in the third tier.

Brentford became supporter-owned in 2006. Here is an excerpt from the Brentford’s page at en.wikipedia.org, ‘Former BBC Director-General and Bees fan Greg Dyke was announced as chairman of Brentford on 20 January 2006 as part of the takeover by Bees United, the Brentford Supporters Trust.’

Brentford’s Griffin Park, opened in 1904, is pretty old-school as grounds go. At Griffin Park, spectators sit right on top of the action. It might be rough around the edges, but upkeep has been OK. It is situated in a mainly residential neighborhood. Behind one goal, the Brook Road Stand (like the one at Southend) is a nice-and-not-too-large-yet-still-two-tiered-stand {see it here}. Griffin Road features, famously, a pub at every corner of the ground. Its capacity is 12,300. Circa 2001-02 to 2011-12, Brentford had been averaging between 5 and 6,000 per game, until 2 seasons ago [2012-13], when their promotion push fell agonizingly short (see illustration below), and they drew 6.3 K. Last season [2013-14], they finally achieved the promotion they had been striving for for nigh on half a decade – and drew a respectable 7,715 per game, including 10 K on the day they won promotion and a deliriously joyful pitch invasion was had (also see below).

For Brentford’s fans, this is starting to look like the start of a new Golden Age, because a 20 K-capacity stadium has just recently been approved by Mayor Boris Johnson, as well as all the local councils, etc. Their new stadium is slated for a 2016 opening. It is to be situated at a site only a couple miles away from the Bees present location, east of Griffin Park, near Kew Bridge (which, incidentally, still has a sign for west-bound traffic which says ‘Welcome to Middlesex’) {see this, ‘Brentford FC’s new Lionel Road stadium gets the final thumbs up‘ (getwestlondon.co.uk)}.

Once their new stadium is up and running, Brentford FC should be set up well to both increase their fan base and increase their chances of staying out of the lower Leagues. More power to them.

brentford-fc_highest-placed-supporter-owned-club_england_2nd-division-club-in-2014-15_e_.gif
Photo and Image credits above -
Bees Utd banner from beesunited.org.uk.
Aerial photo, by Andreas Praefcke at ‘File:Griffin Park aerial 2011.jpg‘ (en.wikipedia.org).
2013 heartbreak for BFC, photo by Getty Images via dailymail.co.uk/sport/football.
2014, promotion for BFC, 1st photo by Ben Hoskins/Getty Images Europe via zimbio.com.
2014, promotion for BFC, 2nd photo by PA via dailymail.co.uk/sport/football.
-BFC League history data from: brentford-mad.co.uk/league_history/brentford.

    Portsmouth FC – the highest-drawing supporter-owned club in England

Portsmouth’s 2013-14 avg. attendance: 15,460 per game {from home league matches}.
Portsmouth became the largest supporter-owned club in England, after the Pompey Supporters Trust successfully gained possession of Fratton Park in April 2013. After finding themselves drawn into the 13/14 League Two relegation battle, Portsmouth went undefeated in their last 6 matches (winning 4), and finished in 13th place. Previously, Portsmouth had suffered their third relegation in 4 seasons following a 7-year-spell in the Premier League, where they had finished as high as 8th place in 2007-08 and won the FA Cup that same season. Due to automatic points deductions while being in administration, a cash-strapped Portsmouth had suffered back-to-back relegations in 2012 and 2013 during the messy and protracted supporters-trust-takeover-battle. It looked like yet another relegation loomed until academy director Andy Awford stepped back in the caretaker-manager’s role in late March 2014, and shook up the squad. Awford was appointed full-time manager in May 2014.

portsmouth-fc_highest-drawing-supporter-owned-club_england_15k-in-2013-14_b_.gif
Photo credits above -
Aerial photo, unattributed at
pompeychimes.webs.com/frattonpark.
Exterior photo, by PA via telegraph.co.uk/sport/football/teams/portsmouth.
Fratton End fans’ TIFO/team huddle photo, from pompeytrust.com.
-PFC League history data from: portsmouth-mad.co.uk/league_history/portsmouth.

    FC United of Manchester – a supporter-owned club that is building their own stadium

FC United of Manchester, aka FC United, is a 7th level/Northern Premier League club that has been supporter-owned since the club’s formation in 2005. They are currently building their own stadium, Broadhurst Park, in Moston, Manchester, about 3 miles (5 km) north-east of Manchester city center. Construction began in November 2013 and is scheduled to be completed by September 2014. Capacity will be 5,000 (672 seated). FCUM has been averaging close to 2 K per game (1,929 per game in 2013-14), which is over 1.5 K higher than the median-average of the Northern Premier (its median crowd-size for 13/14 was 320; figures here, nonleaguematters.co.uk/divisions/[Northern Prem]).

FC United of Manchester were of course formed by disaffected Manchester United fans in the wake of the widespread anger at the Glazers’ debt-leveraged takeover of Manchester United in May 2005. They entered the English football leagues pyramid at the 10th level in 2005-06, and won promotion three consecutive seasons. But now, FC United have been stuck in the Northerm Premier League for 6 seasons, with 2014-15 set to be their 7th season in the 7th tier. FC United have lost in the Northern Prem playoffs for four straight seasons now (including playoffs finals losses in 10/11 to Colwyn Bay, in 11/12 to Bradford Park Avenue, and in 12/13 to Hednesford Town). But the light is at the end of the tunnel in FC United’s quest to secure their own ground. That will probably boost attendances more towards the 2 K to 3 K crowd sizes they were getting in their first 2 seasons {FCUM league & cup history+attendances, here}, and hopefully it will propel them up the football pyramid further. With their new, supporter-owned ground, FC United will probably find it easier to resume their advance up the English football pyramid.

fc-united-of-manchester_new-stadium_being-built_broadhurst-park_2014_c_.gif

Photo and Image credits above –
1st photo, unattributed at fcunited.ru/news.
2nd photo, by Sean Wilton at manchestereveningnews.co.uk/sport/football/football-news/fc-united-ground-moston-begins.
3rd photo, unattributed at skyscrapercity.com [thread: MANCHESTER |New FC United of Manchester Stadium Broadhurst Park.
Architect's rendering, unattributed at fcunited.ru/en/broadhurst_park.

...

    List of Supporter-owned clubs in England & Wales

Below, clubs listed by 2014-15 league placement and 2013-14 finish,
Brentford FC, 2nd level (League Championship)/ 2nd place, League One {Promoted to the Championship for 2014-15}; 7,715 per game.
Portsmouth FC, 4th level (League Two)/ 13th place, League Two; 15,460 per game.
Exeter City FC, 4th level (League Two)/ 17th place, League Two; 3,700 per game.
AFC Wimbledon, 4th level (League Two)/ 20th place, League Two; 4,134 per game.
Wycombe Wanderers, 4th level (League Two)/ 22nd place, League Two {escaped relegation on goal diff.}; 3,680 per game.
Wrexham FC, 5th level/ 17th place; 2,978 per game.
AFC Telford United, 5th level/ 1st place, Conference North {Promoted to the Conference National for 2014-15}; 1,688 per game.
Chester FC, 6th level/ 21st place, Conference National {relegated to Conference North for 2014-15}; 2,366 per game.
Chelmsford City FC, 6th level/ 17th place, Conference South; 647 per game.
Dorchester Town FC, 7th level/ 22nd place [last], Conference South {relegated to the Southern League Premier for 2014-15}; 390 per game.
Chesham United FC, 7th level/ 2nd place, Southern League {lost playoff final to St Albans City}; 378 per game.
FC United of Manchester, 7th level/ 2nd place, Northern League Premier {lost in playoffs 1st R}; 1,929 per game.
Hendon FC, 7th level/ 8th place, Isthmian League Premier; 176 per game.
Lewes FC, 7th level/ 16th place, Isthmian League Premier; 503 per game.
Enfield Town FC, 7th level/ 19th place, Isthmian League Premier; 385 per game.
Darlington 1883 FC, 8th level/ 2nd place, Northern Premier League Div 1 North {lost in playoffs 1st R}; 1,097 per game.
Merthyr Town FC, 8th level/ 2nd place, Southern Football League Div 1 South & West {lost in playoffs 1st R}; 337 per game.
Scarborough Athletic FC, 8th level/ 7th place, Northern Premier League Div 1 North; 385 per game.
Aylesbury United FC, 8th level/ 12th place, Southern League Div 1 Central; 165 per game.
Prescott Cables FC, 8th level/ 20th place, Northern Premier League Div 1 North; 175 per game.
Runcorn Linnets, 9th level/ 2nd place, North West Counties Football League Premier; 323 per game.
AFC Rushden & Diamonds, 9th level/ 3rd place, United Counties League Premier; 321 per game.
Maine Road FC, 9th level/ 4th place, North West Counties Premier; 92 per game.
Newport (Isle Of Wight) FC, 9th level/ 4th place, Wessex League Premier; 120 per game.
Windsor FC, 9th level/ 6th place, Combined Counties League Premier; 205 per game.
AFC Liverpool, 9th level/ 7th place, North West Counties Football League Premier; 119 per game.
Canterbury City FC, 9th level/ 12th place, Southern Counties East League; 85 per game.
Fisher FC, 9th level/ 14th place, Southern Counties East League; 88 per game.
Bomsgrove Sporting FC, 10th level/ 2nd place, Midland Football Combination Premier Division; 243 per game.
1874 Northwich FC, 10th level/ 3rd place, North West Counties League Div 1; 320 per game.
Saffron Walden Town FC, 10th level/ 5th place, Eastern Counties Football League Div 1; 186 per game.
AFC Croyden Athletic, 10th level/ 13th place, Combined Counties Football League; 44 per game.
Blackstones FC, 10th level/ 20th place, United Counties League Div 1; 42 per game.
___

Thanks to the following sites for attendances,
3rd level/League One, football-league.co.uk/page/DivisionalAttendance [League 1].
4th level/League Two, football-league.co.uk/page/DivisionalAttendance [League 2].
Non-League/5th level/Conference, int.soccerway.com/national/england/conference-national.
Non-League/6th level/Conference N & S, int.soccerway.com/national/england/conference-n–s.
Non-League/7th level through 9th levels, nonleaguematters.co.uk.
Bomsgrove Sporting attendances, bromsgrovesporting.co.uk/pages/first-team/matches.php.

Thanks to the contributors to the pages at en.wikipedia.org, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_fan-owned_sports_teams#England.
A big Thank You to the site called Non-League Matters for the hard-to-get attendance figures in (most) lower-level leagues below the 6th level in Non-League football, at http://www.nonleaguematters.co.uk/divisions/35/.
Thanks to Supporters Direct for existing.

June 13, 2014

2014 FIFA World Cup teams: United States (CONCACAF), prominent players in 2014 FIFA World Cup Qualifying (theoretical best XI for USMNT, with 8 other player-options listed).




US men’s national soccer team. CONCACAF (North America & Carribean). Nicknames: Team USA; USMNT. Home jersey: white, with red and blue trim.
-USA is in Group G (with Ghana, Germany, and Portugal), ‘2014 FIFA World Cup/Group G‘ (en.wikipedia.org).

2014 FIFA World Cup qualification: 2014 is USA’s 11th qualification out of 20 tries (qualified in 1930, 1934, 1950, 1990, 1994, 1998, 2002, 2006, 2010, 2014).
Previous WC finish: 2010, Round of 16 (1-2-1). Highest WC finish: 2002, Quarterfinals (2-1-2).

Population of USA: 317.9 million {2013 estimate}. Capital: Washington, DC, metro area pop. 5.8 million {2013 est.}. Largest city: New York City, NY, metro area pop. 19.9 million {2013 est.}.
The map below shows the 12 largest metro-areas in the United States {source, ‘en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_metropolitan_areas_of_the_United_States‘ (en.wikipedia.org).

-USMNT coach, Jurgen Klinsmann. Jürgen Klinsmann.
-USMNT squad captain, FW Clint Dempsey (of the Seattle Sounders soccer franchise, who had been, most recently, on-loan to former club Fulham FC). Clint Dempsey.

From World Soccer Talk.com, from 13 June 2014, by Abe Asher, ‘Preview Of The United States in the 2014 World Cup‘ (worldsoccertalk.com).

Below: Theoretical Best XI for USMNT (with 8 other player-options listed further below) -
[Note: squad chart below is updated to include all players who have appeared for USMNT in the 2014 WC, including international appearances & goals up to their Round of 16 match (July 1 2014).]
usa_2014-fifa-world-cup_squad_best-xi_alternate-options_s_.gif
Photo and Image credits above -
USA on globe, map by Addicted04 at ” (en.wikipedia.org).
USA map w/ counties, drawn by an anonymous contributor at ‘File:Map of USA with county outlines (black & white).png‘ (commons.wikimedia.org).
USMNT 2014 jersey, photo unattributed at deadspin.com/heres-the-usmnt-2014-home-jersey.
Coach,
Jürgen Klinsmann, photo by George Frey/Getty Images North America via zimbio.com.
Goalkeeper,
Tim Howard GK (Everton), photo unattributed at ussoccerplayers.com/player/howard-tim.
Defenders,
Geoff Cameron RB/LB/DM (Stoke City), photo by BPI/Marc Atkins/Corbis via theguardian.com/sport.
Omar González CB (LA Galaxy), photo by Robert Mora / LA Galaxy via lagalaxy.com.
Matt Besler CB (Sporting Kansas City), photo by USA Today Sports Images via sportingkc.com/news.
Fabian Johnson RB/LB/LW (Hoffenheim), photo unattributed at mlssoccer.com.
Midfielders,
Alejandro Bedoya AM/RW/FW (Nantes), photo unattributed at madeinfoot.com.
Michael Bradley CM/AM/DM (Toronto FC), photo from mlssoccer.com/news.
Jermaine Jones DM/CM/RM (Beşiktaş), photo by Besiktas JK via mlssoccer.com/news.
DaMarcus Beasley LW/LB (Puebla), photo by Jam Media via futboltotal.com.mx/puebla-niega-jugadores-a-klinsmann..
Forwards,
Clint Dempsey FW/W (Seattle Sounders), photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images North America via zimbio.com.
Jozy Altidore FW (Sunderland), photo unattributed at ussoccerplayers.com/altidores-sunderland-advance-in-league-cup
Other player-options,
Graham Zusi AM/W (Sporting Kansas City), photo unattributed at sportingkc.com/blog/post/2013/06/27/graham-zusi-nominated-espy.
John Anthony Brooks CB (Hertha Berlin), photo by Ottmar Winter at bild.de/sport/fussball.
Kyle Beckerman DM/CM (Real Salt Lake), photo by George Frey/Getty Images North America via zimbio.com.
Aron Jóhannsson FW/LW (AZ [Alkmaar]), photo unattributed at goal.com/en-us/news.
DeAndre Yedlin DF/MF (Seattle Sounders), photo by Drew Sellers/Sportspress Northwest via sportspressnw.com.
Chris Wondolowski FW (San Jose Earthquakes), photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images/ via sportsillustrated.cnn.com.
Brad Davis LW (Houston Dynamo), photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images North America via zimbio.com.
Julian Green W/FW (Bayern Munich), photo unattributed at soccerpro.com/thecentercircle/julian-green.
___
Thanks to the contributors at ‘2014 FIFA World Cup qualification‘ (en.wikipedia.org).
Thanks to the contributors at ‘United States men’s national soccer team‘ (en.wikipedia.org).
Thanks to http://www.transfermarkt.com/en/, for player-position details.
Thanks to Soccerway.com, for recent squad line-ups (with positions-on-the-field graphics), at http://us.soccerway.com/international/nc-america/wc-qualifying-concacaf/2014-brazil/4th-round/r15679/.

June 9, 2014

2014 FIFA World Cup: Updated squad charts.

Filed under: >2014 FIFA WC/ updated squad charts (17 teams) — admin @ 7:36 pm

The following 2014 FIFA WC squad charts are updated to reflect final roster selections of 2 June 2014 [for each WC team]/
click on each link below for the team squad chart…
-Argentina.
-Belgium.
-Brazil.
-Chile.
-Colombia.
-Costa Rica.
-England.
-France.
-Germany.
-Ghana.
-Italy.
-Japan.
-Netherlands.
-Spain.
-Switzerland.
-Uruguay.
-USA.

June 7, 2014

2014 FIFA World Cup teams: Uruguay (CONMEBOL), prominent players in 2014 FIFA World Cup Qualifying (theoretical best XI for Uruguay, with 4 other player-options listed).



Uruguay national team. CONMEBOL (South America). Nickname: La Celeste (the Sky Blue One). Home jersey: sky blue with white and gold trim.
-Uruguay is in 2014 FIFA World Cup Group D (with Costa Rica, England, and Italy), ‘2014 FIFA World Cup Group D‘ (en.wikipedia.org).
2014 FIFA World Cup qualification: 12th qualification out of 18 tries (1934 & 1938, did not enter). Uruguay has qualified for the World Cup in 1930, 1950, 1954, 1962, 1966, 1970, 1974, 1986, 1990, 2002, 2010, 2014.
Previous WC finish: 2010, Fourth Place (3-2-2).
Highest WC finish:
1930, Champions (4-0-0).
1950, Champions (3-1-0).

Population of Uruguay: 3.3 million {2013 estimate}. Capital and largest city: Montevideo, metro area pop. 1.7 million {2011 est.}.

-Uruguay coach, Oscar Tabarez. Óscar Tabárez.
-Uruguay squad captain, 33-year-old free agent DF Diego Lugano (who was previously with West Bromwich Albion, and before that, with Málaga, PSG, and Fenerbahçe). Diego Lugano.

From Spectator.co.uk, from 26 April 2014, by Daniel Harris, ‘Morally, can we justify giving Luis Suárez a Player of the Year award?‘ (blogs.spectator.co.uk)

Below: Theoretical Best XI for Uruguay (with 4 other player-options further below) -
uruguay_2014-fifa-world-cup_squad_best-xi_alternate-options_d_.gif
Uruguay on globe, map by Connormah at ‘File:Uruguay (orthographic projection).svg‘ (en.wikipedia.org).
Uruguay blank map by NordNordWest at ‘File:Uruguay location map.svg‘ (en.wikipedia.org).
Uruguay 2014 jersey, photo from worldsoccershop.com.
Coach,
Óscar Tabárez, photo from fifa.com.
Goalkeeper,
Fernando Muslera (Galatasaray), photo by Valerio Pennicino/Getty Images Europe via zimbio.com.
Defenders,
Maxi Pereira RB/RM (Benfica), photo unattributed at abola.pt.
Diego Lugano CB/DM (unattached), photo unattributed at taringa.net.
Diego Godín CB/DM (Atlético Madrid), photo by Getty Images via express.co.uk/sport/football.
Martín Cáceres LB/CB/RB (Juventus), photo by Getty Images via futbol.univision.com.
Midfielders/Wingers,
Christian Stuani FW/RW/LW (Espanyol), photo from diariolagrada.com/noticias/espanyol.
Egidio Arévalo CM/DM (UANL/Morelia), photo unattributed at excelsior.com.mx.
Nicolás Lodeiro AM/W (Corinthians), photo by botofogo.com.br via futbol.com.uy/notdeportes.
Cristian Rodríguez LW/LM/CM (Atlético Madrid), photo by Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images Europe via zimbio.com.
Forwards,
Luis Suárez FW (Liverpool), photo by Rex Features via AP Images via businessweek.com/news/2013-04-24/liverpool-s-luis-suarez-banned-for-10-games-for-biting-opponent.
Edinson Cavani (Paris Saint-Germain), photo by Icon Sport via backpagefootball.com.
Other player-options,
Walter Gargano CM/DM (Napoli/Parma), photo by Daniele Buffa/Image Sport via tuttomercatoweb.com/fotonotizia-parma-roma-le-immagini-piu-belle.
Gastón Ramírez AM/CM/W (Southampton), photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images Europe via zimbio.com.
Diego Forlán FW/LW (Cerezo Osaka), photo by Masashi Hara/Getty Images AsiaPac via zimbio.com.
Álvaro Pereira LW/LM (Inter/São Paulo), photo from ndonline.com.br/esportes.

___
Thanks to the contributors at ‘2014 FIFA World Cup qualification‘ (en.wikipedia.org).
Thanks to the contributors at ‘Uruguay national football team‘ (en.wikipedia.org).
Thanks to http://www.transfermarkt.com/en/, for player-position details.
Thanks to Soccerway.com, for recent squad line-ups (with positions-on-the-field graphics), at http://us.soccerway.com/international/nc-america/wc-qualifying-concacaf/2014-brazil/4th-round/r15679/;
& at http://us.soccerway.com/international/world/wc-qualifying-intercontinental-play-offs/2014-brazil/s6223/final-stages/?ICID=SN_04_85
.

June 4, 2014

2014 FIFA World Cup teams: Switzerland (UEFA), prominent players in 2014 FIFA World Cup Qualifying (theoretical best XI for Switzerland, with 4 other player-options listed).




Switzerland national team. UEFA (Europe). Nicknames: in the French: La Nati (the National); in the German: Schweitzer Nati (Swiss National); in the Italian: Rossocrociati (the Red Cross). Home jersey: bright red with white trim.
-Switzerland is in Group E (with Ecuador, France, and Honduras), ‘2014 FIFA World Cup Group E‘ (en.wikipedia.org).

2014 FIFA World Cup qualification: 2014 is Switzerland’s 10th qualification out of 19 tries (1930: did not enter).
Switzerland has qualified for the World Cup in: 1934, 1938, 1950, 1954, 1962, 1966, 1994, 2006, 2010, 2014.
Previous WC finish: 2010, Group Stage (1-1-1). Highest WC finish: 1934, 1938, 1954, Quarterfinals.

Population of Switzerland: 8.0 million {2012 estimate}. Capital and largest city: Zurich, metro area pop. 1.8 million {2011 est.}.

-Switzerland coach, Ottmar Hitzfield. Ottmar Hitzfield.
-Switzerland squad captain, Napoli MF Gokhan Inler. Gökhan İnler.

[Note: all players in chart below are part of the final 2014 WC roster, 'Switzerland national football team/Current squad' (en.wikipedia.org).]
Below: Theoretical Best XI for Switzerland (with 4 other player-options further below) -
switzerland_2014-fifa-world-cup_squad_best-xi_alternate-options_k_.gif
Photo and Image credits above -
Switzerland 2014 home jersey, photo from worldsoccershop.com.
Switzerland map, by NordNordWest at ‘File:Switzerland location map.svg‘ (en.wikipedia.org).
Switzerland on globe, map by TUBS at ‘File:Switzerland on the globe (Europe centered).svg‘ (commons.wikimedia.org).
Coach,
Ottmar Hitzfield, photo unattributed at goal.com.
Goalkeeper,
Diego Benaglio (Wolfsburg) , photo unattributed at weltfussball.de/news.
Defenders,
Stephan Lichtsteiner RB/RM (Juventus), photo by Valerio Pennicino/Getty Images Europe via zimbio.com
Johan Djourou CB (Hamburger), photo by Bongarts/Getty Images via dailymail.co.uk/sport/football.
Philippe Senderos CB (Valencia), photo by AFP/Getty Images via uefa.com/uefaeuropaleague/news.
Ricardo Rodríguez LB/LM (Wolfsburg), photo by Stuart Franklin/Bongarts/Getty Images via gettyimages.in.
Midfielders,
Xherdan Shaqiri AMF/RW/LW (Bayern Munich), photo by John Berry/Getty Images via gettyimages.com.
Valon Behrami CM/DM/RM (Napoli), photo unattributed at tuttomercatoweb.com.
Gökhan İnler CM/DM (Napoli), photo by Paolo Bruno/Getty Images Europe via zimbio.com.
Valentin Stocker LW/LM/AMF (Basel), photo unattributed at football365.com
.
Forwards,
Haris Seferović FW (Real Sociedad), photo by George Herringshaw at sporting-heroes.net.
Admir Mehmedi FW/LW (Dynamo Kyiv/Freiburg), photo unattributed at rga-online.de.
Other player-options,
Josip Drmić FW/W (Nürnberg), photo by Franconia at ‘File:Josip Drmic FCN 2013.jpg‘ (commons.wikimedia.org).
Granit Xhaka CM/DM/AM (Borussia Mönchengladbach), photo by Getty Images via sportsmole.co.uk.
Tranquillo Barnetta LW/AM/RW (Eintracht Frankfurt), photo by bundesliga.com/en/liga/news.
Reto Ziegler LB/LM (Juventus/Sassuolo), photo by Getty Images via gettyimages.com/editorial/reto-ziegler-pictures.
___
Thanks to the contributors at ‘2014 FIFA World Cup qualification‘ (en.wikipedia.org).
Thanks to the contributors at ‘Switzerland national football team‘ (en.wikipedia.org).
Thanks to http://www.transfermarkt.com/en/, for player-position details.
Thanks to Soccerway.com, for recent squad line-ups (with positions-on-the-field graphics), at int.soccerway.com/international/europe/wc-qualifying-europe/2014-brazil/1st-round/r15653/.

May 29, 2014

2014 FIFA World Cup teams: Spain (UEFA), prominent players in 2014 FIFA World Cup Qualifying (theoretical best XI for Spain, with 8 other player-options listed).




Spain national team. UEFA (Europe). Nickname: La Roja (the Red [One]). Home jersey: red, with gold and dark blue trim.
2014 FIFA World Cup qualification: 14th qualification out of 19 tries (1930, did not enter). Spain has qualified for the World Cup in: 1934, 1950, 1962, 1966, 1978, 1982, 1986, 1990, 1994, 1998, 2002, 2006, 2010, 2014.
Previous WC finish:
2010, Champions (6-0-1).
Highest WC finish: 2010.

Population of Spain: 46.7 million {2013 estimate}.
Capital and largest city: Madrid, metro area pop. 6.3 million {2013 est.}.

-Spain coach, Vicente del Bosque. Vicente del Bosque.
-Spain squad captain, Iker Casillas (Real Madrid). Iker Casillas.

From The Guardian, from 31 May 2014, ‘World Cup 2014: Fernando Torres and Juan Mata in Spain’s finals squad • Diego Costa retains place despite injury worries • Álvaro Negredo and Jesús Navas among those left out‘ (theguardian.com/football).

Below: Theoretical Best XI for Spain (with 8 other player-options further below) -
spain_2014-fifa-world-cup_squad_best-xi_alternate-options_v-del-bosque_v_.gif
Photo and Image credits above -
Spain 2014 home jersey badge, photo from aliexpress.com.
Spain 2014 home jersey, photo from citysports.com/adidas-2014-Spain-Home-Jersey.
Spain/EU map, by HansenBCN Miguillen at ‘File:Spain 2 location map.svg‘ (commons.wikipedia.org).
Map of Autonomous communities of Spain, at en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Autonomous_communities_of_Spain.
Coach,
Vicente del Bosque, photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images Europe via zimbio.com.
Goalkeeper,
Iker Casillas (Real Madrid), photo by Claudio Villa/Getty Images Europe via zimbio.com.
Defenders,
Sergio Ramos (Real Madrid), photo by Juan Manuel Serrano Arce/Getty Images Europe via zimbio.com.
Raúl Albiol (Napoli), photo by AP/La Presse via it.eurosport.yahoo.com.
Gerard Piqué (Barcelona), photo by Denis Doyle/Getty Images Europe via zimbio.com.
Jordi Alba (Barcelona), photo by Stanley Chou/Getty Images AsiaPac via zimbio.com.
Midfielders,
Xavi (Barcelona), photo from fcbarcelona.com/xavi-hernandez-makes-450th-league-appearance.
Sergio Busquets (Barcelona), photo from fcbarcelona.com/sergio-busquets-makes-150th-liga-appearance-with-barca.
Andrés Iniesta MF/AM (Barcelona), photo by Getty Images via bbc.com/sport/football.
Forward/Wingers,
Pedro RW/LW (Barcelona), photo by Alex Caparros/Getty Images Europe via zimbio.com.
David Villa CF (New York City FC), photo by Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images Europe via zimbio.com.
David Silva AM/LW/RW (Manchester City), photo by Kieran McManus/ISIPhotos.com via soccerbyives.net.
Other player-options,
Juan Mata AM/W (Manchester United), photo unattributed at independent.co.uk/sport/football.
Diego Costa CF (Atlético Madrid), photo by Carlos Delgado at ‘File:Diego Costa – 01.jpg‘ (en.wikipedia.org).
Cesc Fàbregas (Barcelona), photo by David Ramos/Getty Images Europe via zimbio.com.
Koke AM/W (Atlético Madrid), photo by Carlos Delgado at ‘File:Koke Resurrección – 01.jpg‘ (en.wikipedia.org).
Juanfran RB/RM (Atlético Madrid), photo by Carlos Delgado at ‘File:Juanfran Torres – 03.jpg‘ (en.wikipedia.org).
Javi Martínez DM/CB (Bayern Munich), photo unattributed at goal.com.
Santi Cazorla LW/AM/RW (Arsenal), photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images Europe via zimbio.com.
César Azpilicueta LB/RB/RM (Chelsea), photo unattributed at upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/5/5d/C%C3%A9sar_Azpilicueta_Chelsea_vs_AS-Roma_10AUG2013.jpg.
Xabi Alonso (Real Madrid), photo by Angel Martinez via mirror.co.uk/sport/football.
Fernando Torres FW (Chelsea), photo by Py21 at ‘en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fernando_Torres#mediaviewer/File:TorresFinale12_cropped.jpg‘.

___
Thanks to the contributors at ‘2014 FIFA World Cup qualification‘ (en.wikipedia.org).
Thanks to the contributors at ‘Spain national football team‘ (en.wikipedia.org).
Thanks to http://www.transfermarkt.com/en/, for player-position details.
Thanks to Soccerway.com, for recent squad line-ups (with positions-on-the-field graphics), at int.soccerway.com/international/europe/wc-qualifying-europe/2014-brazil/1st-round/r15653/.

May 25, 2014

2014 FIFA World Cup teams: South Korea (AFC), prominent players in 2014 FIFA World Cup Qualifying (theoretical best XI for South Korea, with 4 other player-options listed).




South Korea national team. AFC (Asia). Nickname: 태극전사 (Taegeuk Warriors). Home jersey: fluorescent coral-red with royal blue trim.
-South Korea is in Group H (with Algeria, Belgium, and Russia), ‘2014 FIFA World Cup Group H‘ (en.wikipedia.org).

2014 FIFA World Cup qualification: 9th qualification out of 15 tries. (1930-1950, did not enter; 1958: entry denied). South Korea has qualified for the World Cup in: 1954, 1986, 1990, 1994, 1998, 2002, 2006, 2010, 2014 (2014 is South Korea’s 8th straight WC qualification).
Previous WC finish: 2010, Round of 16 (1-1-2). Highest WC finish: 2002, Fourth Place (3-2-2).

Population of South Korea: 50.2 million {2013 estimate}. Capital and largest city: Seoul, metro area pop. 25.6 million {2013 est.}.
Administrative divisions of South Korea/Provincial level divisions [map]‘ (en.wikipedia.org).

-South Korea coach, Hong Myung-Bo (who was squad captain of South Korea when the Taegeuk Warriors made it to the Semifinals of the 20002 World Cup). Hong Myung-Bo.
-South Korea squad captain, Lee Chung-Yong, Bolton Wanderers MF/RW. Lee Chung-Yong.

Below: Theoretical Best XI for South Korea (with 4 other player-options further below) -
south-korea_2014-fifa-world-cup_squad_best-xi_alternate-options_f_.gif
Photo and Image credits above -
South Korea 2014 home jersey, photo from footyheadlines.com/2013/09/south-korea-2014-world-cup-kit-info.
South Korea on globe map, by Ksiom at ‘File:South Korea (orthographic projection).svg‘ (en.wikipedia.org).
South Korea map, by NordNordWest at ‘File:South Korea location map.svg‘ (commons.wikimedia.org).
Coach,
Hong Myung-Bo, photo by AFP/Getty Images via dailymail.co.uk/sport/football.
Goalkeeper,
Jung Sung-Ryong (Suwon Bluewings), photo by Masashi Hara/Getty Images AsiaPac via zimbio.com.
Defenders,
Yong Lee (Ulsyan Hyundai), photo by Kaz Photography/Getty Images AsiaPac via zimbio.com.
Hong Jeong-Ho (Augsburg), photo by Matthias Schrader, AP via sfgate.com/sports.
Kim Young-Gwon CB/LB (Guangzhou Evergrande), photo by Mohammed Messara/EFE via miamiherald.com
Kim Jin-Su LB (Albirex Niigata), photo by Masashi Hara/Getty Images via gettyimages.com.
Midfielders,
Lee Chung-Yong RM/RW (Bolton), photo unattributed at whoateallthepies.tv.
Koo Ja-Cheol CM/AM/RW (Mainz), photo by Alex Grimm/Bongarts/Getty Images via gettyimages.com.
Ki Sung-Yueng CM (Swansea City/Sunderland), photo by Matthew Lewis/Getty Images Europe via zimbio.com.
Kim Bo-Kyung AM/LW/RW (Cardiff City), photo by Jan Kruger/Getty Images Europe via zimbio.com.
Forwards,
Park Chu-Young FW/S (Watford), photo [unattributed] uploaded by KyopoOhNo at bigsoccer.com/community/threads/park-ju-young-watford-f-c-2014-r.2000051/page-6.
Son Heung-Min FW/SS (Bayer Leverkusen), photo [unattributed] uploaded by CoreanBoy671 at bigsoccer.com/community/threads/son-heung-min-bayer-04-leverkusen
Other player-options,
Han Kook-Young CM/DM (Kashiwa Reysol), photo by Lintao Zhang/Getty Images AsiaPac via zimbio.com.
Kim Shin-Wook FW (Ulsan Hyundai), photo unattributed at goal.com.
Lee Keun-Ho (Ulsan Hyundai/Sangju Sangmu), photo from ytn.co.kr/_sn.
Ji Dong-Won FW/RW/LW (Augsburg->Borussia Dortmund), photo unattributed at coowool.com/bbs/sports-sc.

___
Thanks to the contributors at ‘2014 FIFA World Cup qualification‘ (en.wikipedia.org).
Thanks to the contributors at ‘South Korea national football team‘ (en.wikipedia.org & ko.wikipedia.org).
Thanks to http://www.transfermarkt.com/en/, for player-position details; and at transfermarkt.co.uk/en/south-korea/startseite/nationalmannschaft.

May 20, 2014

2014 FIFA World Cup teams: Portugal (UEFA), prominent players in 2014 FIFA World Cup Qualifying (theoretical best XI for Portugal, with 4 other player-options listed).




Portugal national team. UEFA (Europe). Nickname: A Selecção (the Selection). Home jersey: deep red with green trim.
-Portugal is in Group G (with Germany, Ghana, and United States), ‘2014 FIFA World Cup Group G‘ (en.wikipedia.org).
2014 FIFA World Cup qualification: 6th qualification out of 19 tries (1930, did not enter). Portugal has qualified for the World Cup in: 1966, 1986, 2002, 2006, 2010, 2014.
Previous WC finish: 2010, Round of 16 (1-2-1). Highest finish: 1960, Third Place (5-0-1).

Population of Portugal: 10.4 million {2012 estimate}. Capital and largest city: Lisbon, metro area pop. 3.0 million {2011 est.}.

-Portugal coach, Paulo Bento. Paulo Bento.
-Portugal squad captain, LW Cristiano Ronaldo (of Real Madrid). Cristiano Ronaldo.

Below: Theoretical Best XI for Portugal (with 4 other player-options further below) -
portugal_2014-fifa-world-cup_squad_best-xi_alternate-options_e_.gif
Photo and Image credits above -
Portugal 2014 jersey, photo from store.nike.com.
Portugal/EU map, by NuclearVacuum at ‘File:EU-Portugal with islands circled.svg‘ (en.wikipedia.org).
Portugal map by NordNordWest at ‘File:Portugal location map.svg‘; Madeira (Portugal) map also by NordNordWest at ‘File:Portugal Madeira location map.svg‘ (en.wikipedia.org).
Coach,
Paulo Bento, photo by Mario Cruz/EPA via theguardian.com/football.
Goalkeeper,
Rui Patrício (Sporting CP), photo unattributed at svpn.blogspot.com.
Defenders,
João Pereira RB (Valencia), photo by Manuel Queimadelos Alonso/Getty Images Europe via zimbio.com.
Pepe CB/DCM (Real Madrid), photo by David Ramos/Getty Images Europe via zimbio.com.
Bruno Alves CB (Fenerbahçe), photo unattributed at sporting-heroes.net/football/fenerbahce.
Fábio Coentrão LB/DCM/LMF (Real Madrid), photo by Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images Europe via zimbio.com.
Midfielders,
João Moutinho DM (AS Monaco), photo by EPA via dailymail.co.uk.
Raul Meireles CM (Fenerbahçe), photo by EuroFootball/Getty Images via gettyimages.com.
Miguel Veloso DM (Dynamo Kyiv), photo unattributed cdn.record.xl.pt.
Forwards/Wingers,
Nani RW (Manchester United), photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images Europe via zimbio.com.
Hélder Postiga FW (Valencia/Lazio), photo by sslazio.it.
Christiano Ronaldo LW (Real Madrid), photo by Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images Europe via zimbio.com.
Other player-options,
Josué AMF/RW/LW (Porto), photo by Jamie McDonald/Getty Images Europe via zimbio.com.
Neto CB (Zenit), photo by Anna Volkova at demotix.com.
Hugo Almeida FW (Beşiktaş), photo by Getty Images via dailymail.co.uk/sport/football.
Silvestre Varela LW (Porto), photo by George Herringshaw via sporting-heroes.net.
___
Thanks to the contributors at ‘2014 FIFA World Cup qualification‘ (en.wikipedia.org).
Thanks to the contributors at ‘Portugal national football team‘ (en.wikipedia.org).
Thanks to http://www.transfermarkt.com/en/, for player-position details.
Thanks to Soccerway.com, for recent squad line-ups (with positions-on-the-field graphics), at int.soccerway.com/international/europe/wc-qualifying-europe/2014-brazil/1st-round/r15653/.

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