2016 turned out to be a pretty interesting year for this site. We officially rebranded, covered another Orange County Blues season around the clock, and of course were at all the big events and covered the big stories for LAFC. And there were other detours and fancies that grabbed us along the way.
Perhaps it’s a sign of good fortune that we had to leave a lot of big stories off our annual list of the top 11 articles of the year. There’s a lot of great stuff worth browsing through in our archive, but here’s 11 especially worthy of revisiting as we turn the page on 2016:
11. Introducing Angels on Parade (Aug. 15) - We’ll start with the site’s housekeeping. In August, this site officially changed its name, logo and colors, in order to fully reflect our mission as SB Nation’s Los Angeles Football Club blog (Psst: Are you following us on Twitter and have you liked us on Facebook yet?)
10. Beginner’s guide to the Chinese Super League (Feb. 14) - A bit afield, admittedly, but with the rise of bigger purchases of players from around the globe in China, including a few MLS players, we offered a primer on a league that could be a real competitor to MLS in the years to come.
9. It’s time to re-examine the “soccer mom” trope in soccer (May 8) - One of our most discussed stories of the year, this editorial on soccer moms led to considerably divided opinion.
8. LAFC reflect on academy program’s first competitive action (Apr. 22) - It was an eventful year for LAFC on an academy front, between starting a U-12 boys team and committing to a girls program in a partnership with Slammers FC, which starts in earnest next year. Here, club brass and the U-12 boys coach discuss the first ever games in LAFC’s academy history.
7. LAFC owner Larry Berg: “We’ll have, by far, the best stadium in MLS” (Nov. 7) - We scored an exclusive with LAFC’s lead owner at the second Black & Gold Rally of 2016.
6. LAFC shakes up ownership’s managing group (Aug. 9) - Speaking of Berg and LAFC’s ownership picture, no room on this list for Will Ferrell, sadly (but you can look through the archive for a number of stories on the LAFC co-owner/Hollywood star), but the shake-up at the top of the ownership structure was unquestionably one of the biggest stories of the year for LAFC.
5. Initial reaction to OC Blues ownership change? Cautious optimism (Sept. 8) - Of course, LAFC wasn’t the only local team covered by this site to have a change in the ownership picture, with James Keston buying a majority stake in the OC Blues in September. In response to the news, our assessment and hope for the future of the USL club.
4. Boom and bust of American soccer leaves collateral damage (Aug. 5) - If adult soccer team expansion is happening at a faster rate than ever before, the historic thorn of teams moving, or even worse, folding, remains a threat for too many teams. We offer a note of caution for those who callously dance on the graves of dead teams.
3. Former Chivas USA manager Jose Luis Real says MLS “made me a better coach” (May 25) - One of the reasons we rebranded this year was because the readers made it clear they weren’t interested in reading about a dead team, Chivas USA. Totally fair. But if you were reluctant to jump in on this exclusive interview with one of the coaches from the unforgettably shambolic 2013 season, take a look — you will likely come away with a far better understanding of a man put in a very difficult position that year.
2. Mia Hamm is keeping the dream of a Los Angeles women’s soccer team alive (Jan. 7) - We’re not ashamed to admit a hobbyhorse of ours is to see an NWSL team come to the region, and multiple reports this year indicate LAFC could actually take the plunge. Sounds like woso legend and LAFC co-owner Mia Hamm is doing her part to keep that possibility a consideration for the expansion club.
1. The widowers: Black Army 1850 supporters group stronger than ever in LAFC era (Jan. 9) - Soccer is about the teams and players and coaches and front offices and such, but it wouldn’t be what it is, in any real capacity, without the supporters. We check in with one of the many LAFC supporters groups, Black Army 1850, at the team’s crest and colors launch back in January. And we’re looking forward to profiling more SGs in the new year!
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