Here’s everything I did this week:

Until that happy day, here’s everything I worked on this week:

I was out for the last four days for the 2015 edition of the Great Baseball Road Trip – my third, the 16th overall. We went to six games at five parks in four days, in the Chicago area, South Bend, and Toledo. I lobbied hard to replace the Toledo trip with a Chicago Fire-Seattle Sounders game, but was overruled.

Because of the road trip, I was a little short on soccer content for the week. Here, then, is what I did last week:

Here’s everything I wrote this week:

And that goes double for me.

Here’s everything I wrote this week:

  • Tuesday: The USA women beat Colombia 2-0, and at Northern Pitch, I had three thoughts.
  • Friday: With the Women’s World Cup reaching the quarterfinal stage – i.e., the point at which the games actually start to matter – I wrote a preview of what to watch for in the four quarterfinals for SoccerCentric.
  • Saturday: Soccer Insider in the Star Tribune this week looks at Teal Bunbury, the standout Minnesota kid that somehow flies under the local media radar. (Seriously, he’s like the Tyus Jones of soccer. Why he’s barely been covered is beyond me.) Plus some short takes on Women’s World Cup ticket sales, Jonny Steele, Copa America, and the upcoming Gold Cup, and a weekend watch guide.
  • Saturday: More thoughts, this time from USA-China, as the USA has now finished the warmup rounds.

Here’s what I worked on this week:

Tuesday: At Northern Pitch, three thoughts on the USA’s 1-0 win over Nigeria at the Women’s World Cup.

Thursday: Episode 110 of The Sportive has a lot of Twins talk, some Timberwolves talk, and a little bit of Wild, harmonicas, and nuts thrown in.

Friday: MLS week 16, and even though it’s midseason I’m still complaining about the CBA.

Saturday: This week’s Soccer Insider looks at the USA women’s national team, and how they’re doing the same thing they always do – plus US Open Cup, Mexico national team, Sporting KC, Kassey Kallman, and what to watch this weekend.

Today is the debut of my weekly “Soccer Insider” column in the Star Tribune. I can hardly believe it, but the paper says it’s true – Page 2 has my byline and my mug shot.

This week, I wrote about Minnesota Kicks star Alan Willey – and how the Kicks’ attack from 1976 to 1981 is similar to United’s strikeforce this year, and why Minnesota isn’t currently duplicating the setup that made Willey a star.

Here’s a few more things I wrote in the past two weeks:

The FIFA scandal has reached “parent” status, in that those of us who are known soccer aficionados have spent the week trying to explain the whole thing to our parents, who have always been a little confused about this strange game.

Here’s what I worked on this week:

At Northern Pitch, a look at what LA’s stadium plan means for Minnesota – including a one-act play in which Bill McGuire and Nick Rogers receive a special visitor. Plus, a look at how the NASL is pushing the MLS out of its “chosen league in a chosen land” comfort zone in the Week 12 MLS Preview.

Episode 106 of The Sportive got jubilant over the Timberwolves winning the draft lottery, but sad about the end of Letterman.

At SoccerCentric, I learned to love the Champions League, and wondered why more attention isn’t paid to Liga MX, the USA’s most popular soccer league.

I never really sat down to tell the whole story of Northern Pitch, our new Minnesota-focused soccer website, so now – almost two months after it launched – is as good a time as any.

I’ve been covering Minnesota pro soccer officially since mid-2012, and unofficially following the teams – first the Minnesota Thunder, then the Minnesota Stars, now Minnesota United – for a lot longer. This led to the SoccerCentric blog at startribune.com, where in 2013 and 2014 I did my best to churn out as much soccer coverage as I could while working for free. During that time, I also had lunch with my friend John Bonnes, of Twins Daily and KFAN / Gleeman and the Geek fame, about once every six months.

The first time we had lunch, I managed to pique his curiosity enough that he told me to “keep on me” about starting up a soccer website under the MinnCentric umbrella. So I bothered him for two years. And during that time, more and more people got interested in writing about, and covering, pro soccer in Minnesota.

So, in January, I sent out a feeler email to most of the local soccer-writing community, asking them to sit down and listen to John talk about what we might be able to do. Basically, the MinnCentric umbrellas takes care of the two most annoying things about independent sportswriting – IT infrastructure, and advertising sales. This leaves those of us who just want to write a chance to focus only on that, and even make a (very small) amount of money along the way – attractive, for someone like me who’d been writing for free for two years.

I didn’t know if anybody would be interested – and frankly, had they not been, the whole thing would have died. But almost to a man, they agreed to be part of the team – and that’s how Northern Pitch got here.

I could enthuse further, but instead I’ll just link you to what I’ve written for the site. I’ll be doing United game coverage, a weekly look at the MLS schedule, and the occasional column – but even better, there are nine other guys besides me, all of whom are pumping out unbelievably excellent content.

It’s been fun. It’ll continue to be fun. I’m thrilled it actually happened. And all it took was two years of pestering John about it.