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Mike Bell: "Why is the field called a pitch? And just what is a CONCACAF?" Notes from Cocktail napkins...

If all goes as planned Team USA will meet Mexico in the Gold Cup Finals Sunday in Philly. At least I think that's what's supposed to happen. The Gold Cup is like our hemispheric soccer championship... I think... I don't even know what CONCACAF means. I do know that it is the federation that Team USA is a part of. CONCACAF sounds like something  the acronym happy US Army or Air Force would make up. As in "joining us now on FOX News is General Stenson Steelpants, Commander of CONCACAF, to explain the incursion of US Capital airspace by an orangutan in an ultra-light.

CONCACAF actually stands for Confederation of North, Central American And Caribbean Association Football. If I ran the organization I would shorten the name to the snappy sounding GAF. It would be a lot easier to say, and it makes sense too...GAF  which stands for Gringos And Friends.

Any who, as I write this Team USA is 2-0-1 after wins over Honduras & Costa Rica. We should've beaten Panama too but tied 1-1 as we sleep walked for much of the match. We had already assured our advancement into the next round but we played sloppy on defense. Many critics of Coach Jürgen Klinsmann's squad say this team lacks consistent offensive punch and intensity.

A few days later we whooped Cuba 6-0. Many Cuban players doing their part to help our effort by sneaking away the night before in Glendale Arizona and defecting.

Tonight (Wednesday night) Team USA plays Jamaica at 6pm, later Mexico takes on Panama. If Panama plays as dirty with El Tri as they did with Team USA... they can expect beers and half eaten hot dogs to rain down on them on the pitch...

Two weeks back I tried to explain (and got most of it right) the origins of Soccer team names, like United and FC. Later I received a bunch of texts and tweets asking "so what is a pitch, why do they call the soccer field a pitch" and more importantly "why do American announcers try to sound clever by saying pitch?"

So what's a pitch? Webster's Dictionary says... chiefly British,  an outdoor site (as for camping or doing business). I guess originally from the cricket pitch where ya have to pitch some wickets.  As in dig some holes for the wicket to go in...or for a big event you pitch a tent on the pitch... ok so I don't really know why... but that's what The Euro-weenies call it... so there.

Just a year and a half away from Atlanta United FC taking the field at the new Falcons Stadium rest assured I will not call it a pitch. Or call the United uniform "a kit" Although I do like nil instead of nothing.

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