Tuesday, August 30, 2011

The Newb's Guide to Info, Resources, and Tips

So with a few weeks under our “Newb” belt, let’s take some stock. Manchester appears to hold a lot more cards than any other Premier League city, that’s for sure. Arsenal looks just sickly. And Mrs. Newb and Baby Newb are certainly getting their own crash courses in soccer over the last three weeks, as well.

Since this commitment to “immersing” myself in the BPL/Man City culture, I’ve looked at various different ways to gather info and learn as much as possible as quickly as possible, so as not to sound the “Newb” part for too long. There are so many players and 20 different clubs – it’s been a little overwhelming trying to sort through the important info. For me, I’ve started with the club I support: MCFC. Who are the players? When I’m watching a match, I try to test myself: “De Jong passes to Silva and then on to Dzeko…” And during the week, I read up on some of the sites below, getting history on the players, opinions, and critiques. I feel like I’m back in grad school sometimes, honestly. Once I have Man City down pat, I’ll start more in-depth research on other clubs.

Here’s a rundown of some of my findings, in the hope that others like me can gain access quickly and effectively to the best of the best info out there:

Hey, have you ever heard of The Scoring Third? Great soccer blog. Just first-rate stuff.

Of course, the official sites for the Barclays Premier League and team sites have all the pertinent info you’ll need on standings, clubs, and fixtures (by the way, I wasn’t clear on this without context: fixture = schedule of play. Sorry experienced readers, that’s for the Newbs like me).

As you'd expect, ESPN has put their stamp on international soccer online, and though I always want a little more, it’s pretty good stuff – and it’s great having ESPN2 and espn3.com televise Premier League matches regularly.

Wikipedia. Yeah, I know, I know… But since I haven’t played soccer since 1994 (and only casually watched World Cup matches), I kind of forgot which way the 4-4-2 is oriented. And when picking a squad to devote my passion to, you can bet I researched the history, rosters, and ownership there.

For the tech-savvy amongst us, I really enjoy the Manchester City iPhone app. It’s really sharp, has a lot of info, and is a great, quick, on-the-go reference to news and rosters, when you’re looking to absorb as much info as possible in these first few days as a MCFC supporter. (Of course, other clubs also have their own mobile apps, too.)

Our friends over at EPL Talk have great Premier League-specific info; best of all is the constantly updated US TV schedules (bookmark-friendly, I might add).

Speaking of television… I debated long and hard about adding Comcast’s “sports entertainment package” to my account – it includes Fox Soccer, among other channels – vs. buying a foxsoccer.tv subscription. To make a long story short, reviews have not been good for foxsoccer.tv’s service, to say the least. And, frankly, I bought a big ol’ TV to watch sports on; why squint at my laptop or iPhone if I don’t have to? Additionally, the delay on watching many matches via the subscription didn’t appeal to me, either. Mobile convenience is nice, but I’m waiting til the bugs get worked out. Next season? For the time being, the Fox Soccer freebie app will do just fine for tracking news/scoreboards. (An entirely different question is when all these subscriptions will be integrated – TV, Web, Mobile, etc. Same question for you, Major League Baseball.)

Looking forward to next time – let me know if you have any specific questions or topics you’d like to see tackled: newb@scoringthird.com.

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