Favorite Article of the Year

We’ve only existed for 4 months, but, in that time, we’ve generated some great coverage of lower league clubs, players, and events. We asked our staff to pick their favorite articles from the year, not necessarily by them. The result was a list of articles as diverse as the subject matter we’ve covered so far - it does not disappoint. If you’re new to our site or maybe you missed one of these, check out our staff favorites from this year!

Dan - The Ghosts of Fall River

Before this site ever existed, there was a conversation in a chat with 6 or 7 lower tier soccer guys: four podcasters, several SG founders, even a front office guy from a UPSL side. We’d talk about lower league stuff all the time, literally. I’d have to turn my phone off in the night so the notifications wouldn’t wake me up. In the process of that conversation, I learned about the history of soccer in this country. Specifically Fall River Marksmen. That seed grew into this website and when we did our “dead club” features, it was a no brainer for me. I wrote about a club I love, regardless of their long-ago demise. I think that the average American soccer fan doesn’t know the sport’s history. We need to change that.

Steven - Cracking the Crypt Series

It’s hard to pick just one article, but this series inspired all of our writers to consider our past and what local soccer truly means. Everyone pitched in and we created a week’s worth of unique content. I learned about so many historic clubs and had fun researching Los Angeles’ soccer history. This series also inspired our first #VitalVintage jersey, Vampire Association FC. Evolution as an organization is inevitable and I believe this series was a turning point for Protagonist Soccer.

Shawn-All the articles

I’ll be honest I couldn’t choose just one article.  Each article gave us different perspectives and looks into all of the clubs we’ve covered thus far.  Each of us here at Protagonist has a distinct writing style and it can be seen clearly in the writing.  At the same time, seeing the amount of conversations started because of some of our articles and seeing clubs gain more followers has been amazing to see.  

Phil - Divergence: The Death of the Kitsap Pumas

This is bittersweet for me because I wish I’d never had to have written this story. Kitsap Pumas were a fantastic club with lots of history and ambition, so writing about their demise was difficult. This story quickly revealed itself to be incredibly important though. No club in the US is immune to problems. Your local club needs you. There are so many good people involved with these clubs, make sure you do your part to ensure they still have the opportunity to make a difference with that club by never taking it for granted.

Dominic - We Are a People, We Are Alive

I really enjoy everyone’s work on the site but having more insight into the creation of my own articles than others, I’d say that I most enjoyed the work around my article on Croatian-Inspired clubs called We Are A People, We Are Alive. The article involved talking to two great clubs and got a really positive response from the soccer community, which was great to see, but what made me feel the most positive about the article was that it got positive responses from Croatian Americans in and outside of the beautiful game.

Josh – The Spotlight Series

One of my favorite aspects of learning about all of these amazing clubs, is hearing about it in their own words. What their badges mean to them, where they draw their inspiration from and what they love about their city or neighborhoods. Learning all about a new club from Central Florida is as exciting as learning about the long tradition of an amateur soccer organization in my home town of Portland, Oregon. I am really looking forward to future Spotlight pieces as well as the Uniformity pieces, which deep-dives into the design and meaning of the truly fantastic shirts of all the teams we support.

Brian - Being as Cleveland as Possible

This is not my favorite because of the content, but because it solidified my love affair with these clubs. Researching the end of AFC Cleveland, followed immediately by the rise of Cleveland SC, exposed me to the will these clubs have to have to survive and thrive in this local-based soccer world. Getting the buy-in from the community and understanding Cleveland’s passion for this sport was gratifying. So many people took time out of their busy schedules to grant my interview requests and they were great about the extended timetable for the story process. Plus, they have their own beer and the whole discussion started in a Chipotle parking lot, where many great ideas originate.