New England Soccer Today

Best Year Ever?

Photo credit: Chris Aduama/

Photo credit: Chris Aduama/

It’s a new year, which means new possibilities, new storylines, and yes, even new primary kits for some clubs (including the Revolution).

But we’re not here to talk about threads. No, we’re here to talk about what could make 2016 one of the best years ever for soccer locally, nationally, and even globally.

So without further ado, here are the events and storylines that could make this year one which we’ll be talking about decades from now.

1. Copa America Centenario. The high-profile tournament will make its first foray into the States this year, giving American soccer fans a veritable feast of scrumptious football during the summer. With stops across the country, including Foxboro, the biggest international tournament to hit the U.S. since the 1994 World Cup is sure to please even the most discerning critic with Neymar, Leo Messi and James Rodriguez all anxious to help their respective countries secure the biggest trophy on this side of the Atlantic.

2. The outdoor dominance of Alencar Junior. After sitting out the 2015 PDL season to focus his attention on futsal, the Brazilian scorer recently revealed that he’s hoping to re-join the Western Mass Pioneers in the summer. This, of course, can only be a good thing for local soccer fans. With 32 goals in his last 25 PDL games, it looks very much like we’ll get to see his goalscoring exploits across the region this summer.

3. The national tournament forays of Southie FC. If any local club owned the waning months of 2015, it would have to be the reigning MSSL North Division champs. Not only did they become the only New England based side to advance out of the Open Division qualifying for the 2016 U.S. Open Cup in November, but they also punched their ticket to Region 1 play of the National Amateur Cup tournament not long after. No doubt the boys in neon will be looking to extend their successful runs in both brackets come the spring.

4. The Mutiny’s fresh start in United Women’s Soccer (UWS). The summer of 2015 proved to be a turning point for the New England Mutiny franchise. Following their division-winning regular season campaign, the club was confronted with a couple of curious scheduling decisions during the playoffs, which didn’t do them any favors in their quest for another trip to the WPSL finals. With a fresh start in a new league, look for one of the most formidable women’s sides in the area to make a strong push for a championship in 2016.

5. An all-new Breakers side. It would be an understatement to say that the past two seasons have not been kind to the Breakers. After finishing last in the NWSL table in 2015, management cleaned house, and brought in Liverpool Ladies’ manager Matt Beard to right the ship. Proving he meant business from the get-go, Beard immediately traded the club’s biggest star in Alyssa Naeher, and acquired a couple of his former Liverpool charges as well during the offseason. Whether the moves prove to be fruitful or not, it’s all but a given that the 2016 NWSL will not be like the last two for the Breakers.

6. A new FIFA president. Sepp Blatter could only fly under the radar for so long after evidence of alleged corruption finally reached the top of the global organization in 2015. With Blatter and his apparent successor Michel Platini both exiled, it appears that the the sport’s governing body will get a long-overdue makeover in February with the election of a new president. Here’s hoping that whoever wins election will affect positive changes within the organization.

7. The Euros. It may not be the World Cup, but that doesn’t mean the anticipation and excitement surrounding this summer’s tournament won’t rival the sport’s most popular event. For starters, we’ll see if Germany can continue their global domination, much like Spain did not long ago. Another storyline: Will this be the last time we see Cristiano Ronaldo in his prime during a big-time tournament? Plus, we’ll also get to see always-entertaining Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who could be playing in his final Euro tournament at age 35.

8. A possible stadium announcement for the Revolution. We can dream, right? One promising development came last year when The Boston Globe reported that Kraft Sports Group hired Goldman Sachs to find the financial avenues necessary to secure funding for the long-awaited project. If that’s true, then fantasy could become reality for Revolution fans before December 31.

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