With Thanksgiving dinner over and all the leftovers eaten (thankfully, turkey breakfast, lunch and dinner for four days straight is enough) it's time to sit down and think about what one wants in 2016 regarding their favorite team. Unless you're lucky enough to have won everything possible, there is always room for improvement.
As yours truly went down to pencil this list, he realized that there was little he could possibly ask for. Sure things didn't go well for the Houston Dynamo, United States Men's National Team, the U-23 men's team, the U-17 men's team, or the Houston Dash. All of them crashed out in one form or another and there is tons of improvement to wish for, but at this point that would be petulant. 2015 has given us far too much to go about wanting such simple things like trophies.
Sure, one could instead ask for good books, good movies, good toys or what have you. But Christmas lists should be reserved for the truly incredible things and well, Santa Claus (or the Soccer Gods) gave the world some pretty awesome things this year.
Well, an awesome thing that has a million different parts, the US Department of Justice - FIFA.
To boot, the following people have plead guilty in court to a host of charges, including money laundering, wire fraud, fraud, bribery, failure to pay taxes, corruption and so forth, and are waiting jail terms and/or hefty fines:
Chuck Blazer - former CONCACAF Secretary General and FIFA Executive Committee Member
Jose Hawilla - founder of Traffic Sports
Daryan and Daryll Warner - sons of Jack Warner, ran Renraw Travel Agency
Traffic Sports - Brazilian marketing firm
Traffic Sports USA - American based arm of Traffic Sports, financial backer of NASL
This next list are of those in handcuffs, awaiting extradition to the United States or have trial dates set in New York:
Jack Warner - sack of awful who wormed his way to FIFA Vice-President and President of CONCACAF
Jeff Webb - FIFA Vice-President and President of CONCACAF after the above
Eduardo Li - Costa Rican FA President and FIFA Executive Committee Member
Costas Takkas - Attaché to CONCACAF President and Cayman Island Secretary General
Rafael Esquivel - Venezuelan FA President and CONMEBOL ExCo member
Eugenio Figueredo - Uruguayan FA President and CONMEBOL President
Jose Maria Marin - President of Brazilian FA
Aaron Davidson - President of Traffic Sports USA and Chairman of Board of NASL
Julio Rocha Lopez - Nicaraguan FA President, President of UNCAF (Central American Federation), and FIFA Development Officer
Nicolas Leoz - President of CONMEBOL before Figueredo.
Alejandro Burzaco - CEO of Argentine sports marketing company Torneos y Competencias
Hugo Jinkis - CEO of Argentine sports marketing company Full Play Group
Carlos Chavez - Bolivian FA President
Mariano Jinkis - Son of Hugo Jinkis, executive at Full Play Group
Jose Margulies - Argentine sports marketer
It's a long, impressive list. The cherry on top is the pending life-time bans for three little folk in the FIFA pyramid: Jerome Valcke (FIFA Secretary General), Michel Platini (UEFA President) and one Sepp Blatter (FIFA President). Sprinkle on Korean politician Chung Mong-joon being banned for six years and what more could any soccer fan ask for?
Between all of these people, the U.S. is looking at somewhere around the neighborhood of $200 - $300 million in fines (at least). Considering the age of some of the defendants, any jail time will mean a life sentence while others serve anywhere from a few years to many. Heck, the Swiss, Australian, Colombian, Costa Rican, Brazilian and Paraguayan governments have opened investigations into the many tentacles of FIFA.
And yet Blatter still contends that FIFA is great and clean and impeccable while only a few of its members might be corrupt.
So while writing your soccer list for 2016 to mail off to Mr. Claus (or as part of the ritual needed to please the Soccer Gods), be sure to keep your wishes honest and humble as we've been given so, so much already this year. While doing so, be sure to give a silent, or not so silent, thanks to Loretta Lynch for starting this ball rolling years ago.
PS: Let the Houston Dynamo be good again. Give us a trophy in 2016. Any trophy.
PSS: Ok, not any trophy. Feel free to give someone else the Wooden Spoon.
PSSS: Preferably to FC Dallas.