Top 10 Soccer Stories of the Year
The Austin Aztex top the list
By Nick Barbaro,
2:31PM, Mon. Dec. 29, 2008
1) Austin Aztex a winner: This one’s easy: a great organization and a great first season. The United Soccer League First Division future starts in early April.
2) Stoke City promoted: Just 12 hours after the Aztex played their first game, their sister club earned promotion to the English Premier League for the first time ever. Huge.
3) Horns fall short: The best senior class in UT’s history played brilliantly at times but finished midtable in the Big 12 and out of the NCAA relatively early.
4) St. Edward’s shut out of NCAA: Both men and women were snubbed for postseason play, despite high rankings and records of 13-4-2 and 13-3-1, respectively.
5) U.S. Women win the Olympics, and everything else in sight, under new coach Pia Sundhage, ending the year a best-ever 33-1-2. Add an Under-20 World Cup title plus a new Women’s Professional Soccer league, and things are definitely looking rosy for women’s soccer.
6) Spain wins Euro 2008 title: After 44 years without a major trophy, Spain was the clear class of the quadrennial tournament.
7) English clubs dominate Europe: For the second year in a row, England supplied three of the four Champions League semifinalists; Manchester United won it, plus the FIFA Club World Cup.
8) USL-1 outperforms Major League Soccer: Montreal and Puerto Rico have had unexpected success in the inaugural CONCACAF Champions League – another auspicious sign for the USL-1 Aztex.
9) Crew ends Dynamo run: Columbus had the best regular season in the MLS, then won the MLS Cup in convincing fashion.
10) Argentine men win Olympics: Sweeter yet, they trounced Brazil, 3-0, in the semifinal.