WSP Blog

May 5, 2013 

BROOKLYN, NY - The Scousers have won the last four cup ties against the Highlanders (aka Hyenas), and a fifth win tonight will allow them to keep this particular trophy permanently.

If the Scousers are indeed successful tonight, a bigger trophy will then replace the existing cup: a bronzed haggis. But the Highlanders will be keen to keep the existing metal trophy in circulation by getting their first Haggis Cup victory since 2011.

The Haggis Cup is my favorite game to watch. It occurs once every season, each time these two teams face each other. Besides one blowout, it has always been a tight, tantalizing affair. Gritty, sometimes ferocious, the match always maintains a friendly tone. How is this so, you may ask?

No two teams in our league share such mutual origins. And no two teams are closer off the pitch. Though it's at soccer - playing with and against each other - where most made these fast and eduring friendships.

Here's a brief history of the cup event, beginning with the origins of the two teams.

A good few members of the original Highlanders and Scousers played on the same, much older squad: Team Santos. TS first played in NYCoed's Chelsea league circa 2006 and then moved over to said league’s Friday night spot in Williamsburg. It was there that I joined the team. Soon to follow were some notable, original Scousers: Neil Claridge (captain), Jamie Hogan (WSP All Star defender), and Matt Siedman (retired rabble-rouser).

When Santos and I started our own league in Williamsburg in 2010, we decided to take a break from playing. Team Santos members moved over to our league but divided themselves amongst two newly formed teams, the Scousers and the now defunct Daggers.

A few months later, Santos and I couldn't stand sitting on the sidelines any longer. As we were about to start a new Sunday afternoon league at Highland Park, we decided to co-captain a new team, the Highlanders. The team comprised mostly new players but also some Daggers from our Sunday night Williamsburg location.

The Highland Park league soon shifted to Saturdays at Grover Cleveland. The Scousers entered a team there. Following suit, the Highlanders also joined the Sunday night league in Williamsburg.

So, with the two teams playing each other in two locations (and the Daggers no longer in the Sunday night mix), it made sense to create the WSP’s first derby - a home and away affair decided on aggregate.

The Highlanders were the first cup holders, winning both games. But that would be the only aggregate tie. The Scousers dropped out of the Saturday league the very next season. They buffed up their Sunday team but couldn’t take on all their Saturday players. And, as I'd hung up my boots and had never played in the Williamsburg league, the Scouse Saturday keeper took on the role, facing his old mates in black.

The Highlanders were exposed so badly in the first single-match cup tie in Williamsburg that some say the northerners felt too embarrassed to ever wear kilts again. They changed their colors (from red to Edwardian grey) and their name to Velvet Hyenas. These changes may have affected better results but still no victories against their southern neighbors.

Going into tonight's match, the Hyenas are looking better than ever... and not just because they're donning a flash new (back to red) kit. If I were Pete Rose, I'd be putting my money on them tonight.

However it plays out, you should find both teams sharing the same table if not the same version of events post-match at Berry Park this evening.

Winners get a round on me. Like in the other code of football (rugby), how about we start a new WSP tradition - where winners get a round on the losers after each match!?

Good luck to all teams tonight.

WSP Starting New League in Albany


1 Comment

We’re thrilled to announce WSP’s expansion to the state capital! If you know of any family or friends in Albany (or nearby locations), please do us a big favor:
  Tell them about this new league, and ask them to get in touch with us!
  This outdoor 7v7 Co-ed league starts soon, on September 17th! Here are the details.
  Where & When
  All games will be held at Albany’s Bleecker Stadium.
  Game days: Monday.
  Game times: 7 pm, 8:10 pm, and 9:20 pm.
  All games are one-hour long (30-minute halves).
  The season starts on September 17th and ends on November 19th.
  Game and Season Format
  Games are 7v7 (using the width of a traditional grass pitch). 

The league is co-ed.

The season involves a minimum of 9 regular season games.

Playoffs will be held at the end of the season (for the top four teams).

Registration & Fees

Registration is simple. 

If you would like to register a team, have all your players sign up on-line at the following link:

If you're looking for a team to join, we’ll put you on a team that needs another player. Register here, and we’ll be sure to place you on a team:

The fees are just $124 per player. [Please see our home page, which outlines the various benefits you receive for such a reasonable fee - benefits which far eclipse those of other recreational leagues in NY State and most rec. leagues across the US.] 

Playing Soccer for a Good Cause

Your fees (and the work we do off the pitch) make a difference in the lives of local children in need.

In Albany, we'll be working with several organizations to bring free soccer programs to Albany’s under-served youth population.

Hope to see you on the pitch!
While Summer 2012 kicked off for six of our teams last night, two teams (Hammers and Lurkers) battled it out in the Spring 2012 Cup Final on Field 1. Result: Hammers 2, Lurkers 1.

Lurkers, though, were the overall winners of the regular season, again. That's two seasons running. Many still taut them as the team to beat in Summer 2012.

Spring 2012 Ends and Summer 2012 Starts

Just when you thought I'd stop saying the latest season was our most competitive yet, the summer season had to start off with just one goal separating all winners and losers last Sunday night. So it's looking like this season may even best our last on hot contests.

First, though, the Cup Final for said latest competitive season (Spring 2012): While six teams started their Summer 2012, Field 1 hosted the Spring 2012 Cup Final. It was, yet again, Lurkers (finishing first, again, in the regular season) against the Hammers (finishing second, again, in the regular season). And yet again, the Hammers won the cup. But this time, they did it in regulation time, 2-1.

The Hammers started off the game a bit nervy, giving up possession under fairly light pressure. But their defense and keeper held firm. 

In the regular season, most Lurkers goals came from shots taken at a mere yard or two from the goalmouth. Last night, though, the Lurkers found it difficult to lay claim to the opposition's penalty area. But it was the Lurkers who did an even better job at keeping the Hammers' scoring chances at a distance. Rarely was a shot had within a yard of the penalty area.

The half ended at 0-0, with no team dominating any particular aspect of the game. 50/50 balls were fought with equal tenacity. Possession was about even. Valiant attempts were made by both sides to break down the opposition defense. But it wasn't until late in the second half that the Hammers finally succeeded in penetrating the penalty area. They did so twice, and they scored twice.

With about 7 minutes remaining, the Lurkers also got in deep and made good on their effort, taking back one goal. From there, they held about 70% possession but couldn't find themselves in close again. 

Well done to the Hammers. And congrats to the Lurkers for winning the regular season title.

Summer Season Games

On Field 1 at 8pm, it was Williamsburg United looking to make good on their word of a top four finish by taking on AC Kermans. ACK, however, made the going tough, allowing only two goals while slotting in one of their own. Player of the Match: Niall Rouse (W. United).

On Field 2 at 8pm, FC Headers started off with two players down against a keen and almost complete Velvet Hyenas (aka Highlanders) squad. FC Headers, with two down, scored one. And the Hyenas had little response with a lengthy advantage. But they came together once the Headers had a full seven. The final result was perhaps a surprising one, with the Hyenas coming away with their first victory against the Headers. Final score: 3-2. Player of the Match: Laura Williamson (Hyenas).

While the Spring Cup Final was going on at Field 1, Scousers were battling Chico's Bail Bonds - always a great game. Chico's lost in Spring 2012 to the Scousers by their biggest margin ever, against any squad, 6-1. So they were out to show why they beat out Scousers for third place in Spring 2012's regular season. They had many more chances (six of them breakaways) but were only able to get one by Scouser's net-minder, Sean Swift, who was by far and away deserving of the re Player of the Match.

This should be a great season.

Thanks again to you all for choosing to play in the WSP!

We're now deep into the Euros, and so how about some relevant (and non-referee related) questions...

Write your answers in the comment box below. Get all answers right and your name goes into a hat for the chance to win a pint of your choice at Berry Park this Sunday.

1. Who on the England squad had not won a full international cap prior to Euro 2012?

2. How many of the 12 coaches who led their teams to UEFA European Championship titles are nationals of the countries they were coaching at the Euros?

a) All 12 coaches are from the winning countries.
b) 1 coach is not from the winning country.
c) 6 coaches are not nationals of the winning country.
d) 2 coaches were not from the country they took all the way to the title.

3. Only one player has ever scored two hat-tricks in a single Euros tournament. Who was it (if you don't know the name, write the country he played for)?

4. Which country won the UEFA European Championship but actually failed to qualify (hint: they took Yugoslavia's spot after they pulled out, owing to war)?

a) Sweden
b) Denmark
c) Czech Republic
d) Germany

5. Which Italian club has the most players participating at Euro 2012?

a) AC Milan
b) Roma
c) Juventus
d) Napoli
It's been another great and busy season in the WSP, off and on the pitch. 

Here are the highlights:

  • We've been in the news (and are on it again tonight - check out Cuny TV at 8:30pm, channel 75).
  • We've obtained significant and new sponsorships, with adidas and City Sports.
  • We've run another successful NYC Schools League (a free program to NYC's small schools that can't afford to offer after-school sports programs to their students).
  • We've formed a new partnership with a great NGO, the Wishi Project, with which we're helping to build and staff schools in Ecuador.
  • And our flagship league in Williamsburg is getting more and more competitive and increasingly friendly if not family-like!

Williamsburg League Report: shift from spring to summer

Lurkers took home the league title for the second season in a row. And it's their third trophy in three seasons (they snatched away the cup three seasons ago from the then league champions, the RVC Hammers). 

One thing missing from the Lurkers' accolades: a double crown. 

They will hope to make room on their shelves, this Sunday night, for their first-ever second trophy in one season. But, again, they're up against the Hammers - and for the third final in a row now. It's thus safe to say that this is the biggest rivalry in the WSP. Each team in fact has won three trophies in the last three seasons.

Because Sunday's win will give one team that fourth trophy, and because their overall record of wins and losses is pretty much exactly the same over three seasons, whoever wins on Sunday night will be ranked 1st going into the summer season.

Chico's and Headers will of course be looking to knock the above two teams down a notch in the upcoming summer season. Chico's and Headers (the oldest rivalry in the WSP) will each be adding some fresh blood, with some old heads also returning. So we're expecting them to battle harder for a top two finish.

There's certainly no guarantee that the four teams (above) will nail down the top four slots. Scousers have finished a frustrating fourth in lord knows how many seasons in a row. And they will not be content if they don't finish above that in the summer. Word is that they're finally fed up. They're out to top the tables.

Look out, though, for Williamsburg United, who got by Chico's last week in the quarter finals. While ever-improving, they perhaps rely a little heavily on their star attacking midfielder, Dion H., who is out with injury for at least three weeks. We'll see what their new acquisitions bring to the summer season.

Almost without question, each team in the lower ranks has upped its game from last season. This is a season-to-season pattern, in fact. Each of these teams will also have some new acquisitions this summer. So it should be our most compelling season yet.

Good luck to you all!

And thanks for supporting our league and its charitable initiatives! It means a lot to us that you've chosen to play in the WSP.

And finally... A special thanks to those who volunteer their time to help us out on and/or off the pitch:

Niall Rouse
Neil Claridge
Gina Llera
Margot Flemming
Mike Farina
Eric Adler
Eddie Rosario
Alex McWatt
Chris Rohner (Brooklyn Law and Tech HS teacher and Head Coach)
Andrew Ashmall-Liversidge (USSF Ref)
Chris Arnold (USSF Ref)
Elizabeth Gray (Wishi Project)

You all are... a.w.e.s.o.m.e!

NYISL Report: from sponsorships to TV awards

Our league for small schools, which can't afford to offer after-school programming for their students has been a great success - in many ways.

First and foremost, the students had a blast. It was quite apparent that they were exceedingly happy to be out there, playing the game, interacting with their friends and making new friends from other schools. This is evident in the NY1 News segment on WSP and the NYISL: opposing teams were shown standing arm in arm, watching their new friends from other teams in the third-place penalty shootout. You don't see this in soccer very often. 

The positive effects of this league were many. We heard from several students and teachers, and from some parents, that many kids stayed in school because they had to attend class in order to be able to play in the league. Others told us that students' grades had improved (because schools also set a minimum grade requirement). And yet others told us that the social bonds made had transcended the game itself, serving even to help some kids avoid joining gangs. 

All of the above wouldn't have been possible without your support. The volunteers from our WSP adult leagues and the registration fees that you all pay to play have been instrumental in helping to improve opportunities for these local students in need.

And much of the above wouldn't have been possible without the significant in-kind support from adidas and City Sports, who, together, supplied approximately $50,000 worth of equipment to the NYISL.

It's the help and support from all of you that won us the New Yorker of the Week accolade at NY1. If you haven't seen the clip yet, click here.

Our Charitable Projects Outside NYC: The Wishi Project in Ecuador

A few months ago, we forged a new partnership with a young and growing organization, based out of Albany. It's the Wishi Project (named after an Indigenous Shuar village in Ecaudor's rainforest region), whose purpose is to build and staff schools in under-served regions of Ecuador.

We're working with the Wishi Project to expand in and outside of Ecuador - especially into countries where your WSP organizers have some experience dealing with educational issues in under-served populations (e.g., Belize and Guatemala). 

We'll soon be posting photographs of the new school in the village of Wishi, as well as updates on the educational programming that we have supported by paying the village-teacher's salary for the entire school year.

                                                                               # # #

Thanks again for all your support during the last season. We're looking forward to bringing you as much if not more exciting news by summer's end.

Enjoy your footy!
Location, location, location. That sums up the answers to the latest set of trivia questions on free kicks and restarts.

If a defensive free kick is inside the penalty area, the ball must leave the penalty area for it to be considered 'in play.' If the ball never becomes 'in play,' then the correct restart is: retake.

If the ball falls short of any penalty box line, or even if it goes in the net, the ball was never 'live.' 

And it makes no difference if the free kick is direct or indirect. The free kick must be retaken.

Now, let's look at the defensive free kicks outside the penalty area. If for some reason the ball finds the back of the net (without touching an opposition player), the correct restart is: corner kick.

The Laws of the Game state that you cannot score on yourself from a free kick.

So, why the difference in restarts between these two scenarios? Unlike the first scenario (where the free kick is inside the penalty area), the ball is 'live' - because the free kick is taken outside the penalty area. So, when a defender kicks it into his/her own net, the restart is a corner.

This was a tough one. Only two people got it right. They'll go head to head in a best of three rock, paper, scissors to determine who gets the free pint.

Stayed tuned for the next set of questions (this time, they'll have nothing to do with Laws of the Game!)
Same deal as last time: write your answers in the comments section (below); if you get the right answer(s), then your name goes into a hat before your next game; if I draw your name, I buy you a beer of your choice after the match. You don't have to be a registered WSP player to play (but if you want your beer, then you'd better come on down to the games).

Here are four related questions about Free Kicks. You have to answer each correctly to qualify for that beer.

1) It's a defensive (indirect) free kick inside the penalty area, just outside the 6-yard box. The defender shanks it and the ball goes directly into her own goal without touching anyone else. What's the restart?

a) Corner kick
b) Kick off 
c) Goal kick
d) Retake

2) It's a defensive (direct) free kick inside the penalty area, just outside the 6-yard box. The defender shanks it and the ball goes directly into his own goal without touching anyone else. What's the restart?

a) Corner kick
b) Kick off 
c) Goal kick
d) Retake

3) It's a defensive (indirect) free kick just outside the penalty area. The defender shanks it and a gust of wind carries the ball into the back of the net. The ball doesn't touch anyone else. What's the restart?

a) Corner kick
b) Kick off 
c) Goal kick
d) Retake

4) It's a defensive (direct) free kick just outside the penalty area. The defender shanks it and a gust of wind carries the ball into the back of the net. The ball doesn't touch anyone else. What's the restart?

a) Corner kick
b) Kick off 
c) Goal kick
d) Retake

Write your answers as such (in the comment box below): 1a, 2d, etc.

Good luck!
Answer: C

Goalkeepers, with exception to being allowed to use their hands, are subject to the same rules as everyone else.

If a defender leads with his feet and makes contact with the forward in the penalty area, then that's a foul. It's the same deal with the goalkeeper.

But May 7th's question concerned another variable: the ball - and, in particular, when the ball is played in relation to when the ball carrier is hit.

We've all heard, and many of us have said: "Ref, he got the ball first!"

According to the Laws of the Game, if a defending player makes contact with an opposition player - even if the ball was played first (before making contact with the opposition player) - it's a foul. And it doesn't matter whether the defending player is a center back, a striker, or a goalkeeper.

I started our trivia contest with this question for a few reasons. One is that I'm a former goalkeeper. A second, related reason: I used to have an exaggerated view of what goalkeepers are allowed to do in the penalty area (a view that our WSP keepers also seem to share, given their answers to this question). I thought I could dive at will - with my feet, with my shins thrown out at the feet of strikers, with any part of my body - so long as I made contact with the ball first or at the same time as smacking the person who dared to come into the penalty area.

But I was totally wrong. Referees' calls, however, didn't lead me to think any differently. Quite the contrary: they reaffirmed my false views. I whacked people countless times after I had first collected the ball (where the contact was my fault - e.g., not because of a striker's momentum). I aslo hit opposition players several times before getting the ball. Yet, I was only ever called for a foul once inside the penalty area; whereas, I was called for fouling players a good few times outside the box for the very same actions I'd gotten away with inside the box.

So, one reason that the incorrect answer seems to prevail amongst the majority of us, goalkeeper and striker alike: referee error. A good lot of officials either don't know this aspect of Law 12 or they don't have the guts to enforce it. Accordingly, we see what refs call and what they don't and then make assumptions about what's allowed and what's not. On this note, this week's question will likely have something to do with the 'hand ball' rule. Stay tuned.

Now, for May 7th's pint winner...

Only three answered correctly (and not one is a keeper), and so the names went into a tea cup instead of a hat. 

Kevin Palmer (Chico's Bail Bonds) gets a pint next Sunday.

We're going to post local jobs in the world of sport as they come to us.

This - our first ever post of this nature - one comes to you from one of your own: a player on the Velvet Hyenas (Margot Flemming) who works for Nike.


Hope everyone is having a successful season with WSP, I wish I was able to make more games but the past couple months have been crazy for me. My name is Margot Fleming I play on Sunday nights with the Highlanders/ Velvet Hyenas and I also work for Nike. I am the Head Coach (store manager) for Nike Running Flatiron which is a running specialty store opening June 14th and I am looking to hire athletes (store associates) to join my team. The shop is a running specialty store and won’t be carrying soccer or any other sports (unfortunately), but you don’t have to be a “runner” to join us. We will teach you how to fit consumers for running shoes, we will teach you the benefits of gait analysis, and all about apparel technologies which extend far beyond just running apparel. If you are interested in joining Nike please don’t hesitate to contact me at or call me at 646-915-6723

** It doesn’t hurt to mention how excellent the discount is especially if you’ve been eyeing the new Mercurial cleats (includes all Nike Brands; including Cole Haan, Converse, Umbro.. etc) **

See you on the Pitch



If you work for NIKE, Inc., you will be changed forever. You will be changed because you will grow. You will grow because you will be challenged. You will be challenged because you will work with the best talent, the best athletes, and the best business partners in the industry.  

Nike Running Flatiron will be located in Manhattan in the heart of the Flatiron district on 20th Street and 5th Avenue. NRF will be a Running and Sportswear retail space where athletes service athletes. Surrounded by the history and heritage of Track and Field and the sport of Running, NRF will be a place where runners and athletes alike will want to stop by on their lunch break or cruise in on a Saturday morning just hang out and talk about a run.As a Nike Running Athlete (Store Associate) your mission will be to deliver a premium consumer experience by demonstrating the expertise to navigate through individual needs. Nike Athletes will provide a complete solution through Nike products and services to give consumers what they need to connect, train, and compete with the knowledge to achieve their goals. The 2 floor Flatiron construction will cater to both Men’s and Women’s apparel, Nike digital innovations (Nike+, Nike+ Sportband, Sportwatch+ GPS, and Nike+ Fuel) and a comprehensive selection of Nike Running footwear.

From track spikes to trainers, split shorts to 9in inseams we will help all athletes because “Our mission is to bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete* in the world. *If you have a body you are an athlete.” – Bill Bowerman.

As members of the New York Running community we all know how fortunate we are to have so many excellent specialty athletic shops throughout the city. The experience however, at Nike Running Flatiron will be authentic to the sport and it will pay tribute to the history and heritage of Nike Running. For more information about how to join our team visit and search FLATIRON or email (mobile) 646-915-6723

Do you think you know your football? We're introducing challenging or odd questions (one per week, near the end of the week) to test your knowledge, and to generate interest and intrigue.

Every Monday, we'll provide the answer to the previous week's question, and we'll also comment on the juicier comments from you.

Our first ever question concerns Laws of the Game - specifically, Law 12 (Fouls & Misconduct).

Write your answer and add any comments you may have in the 'Comments' field below.

So, here's this week's question (let's see how our goalkeepers fair against the rest of you on a topic they should know better):

If a goalkeeper leads with his feet as he goes down for the ball, making contact with a forward in this manner (with his feet or any other part of his legs) when smothering the ball with his hands inside the penalty area, then...

(a) this is not a foul - so long as the goalkeeper collected the ball before or at the same time as hitting the opposition player.
(b) this is not a violation of Law 12 because the goalkeeper is the only person on the pitch who is allowed to lead with the feet (so long as it's within the penalty area), and so it doesn't matter when contact occurred with the opposition player.
(c) this is a clear violation of Law 12, irrespective of when (before or after collecting the ball) the goalkeeper hit the opposition player.
(d) this is a foul only if the opposition player is injured on the play.

Write the letter representing your answer in the 'Comments' field (below). Feel free to add any comments to your answer.

We're into the second half of the season, with the top four teams appearing to inch away from the rest. Tonight's matches involve some contests between top and bottom tier squads; three teams, in particular, are looking to secure a firm hold on the top three positions with victories tonight.

Williamsburg United v Slackers (8PM)

A United win (with a Headers tie or loss in a 9pm game tonight) will put the Shamrocks into the upper half. But a win won't get them any higher than fifth place, as the top four teams have begun to separate themselves from the pack. However, with Chico’s bye tonight, United can find themselves right on the bondsmakers' tail.

Slackers will be looking to regain last season’s status as anything but slack. At this point of the season in Fall/Winter, Slackers were still contending for first. Now they’re just three points from the bottom. But one could argue that it’s not so much lost form as an increased competitiveness across the league. To be in the top five, though, a team requires consistently good performances. So far, this hasn’t happened for the Orangemen.

Nb: WSP does not support sectarianism in football. It just so happens that tonight’s teams are Green and Orange, and that one is entirely Catholic and the other Protestant. (Visiting fans will be sequestered on the unfinished grass rooftop stadium. Entrance is an immediate left at the main gate.)

WSP prediction: 2-2

Rockville Centre Hammers v AC Kermans (8PM)

It’s 1st against 10th. But we’re predicting a close one.

RVCH’s two weeks off won’t find them sluggish or rusty. Much of this lot grew up together. They’re from the same town. Some of them are siblings. This explains in part why they’re usually if not always on form.

AC Kermans, though, have been together for two years now. Almost every week, they seem a tighter squad. One thing you can always count on from them is a never ending commitment to pressuring the ball.

Half time stats show that ACK are almost never behind by more than a goal. But it’s the second half that often finds them exposed in the back (which, depending on your politics for football, is worse than being exposed in the front).

We’re predicting that a different ACK approach to defense will be used tonight in order to keep this contest tight.

WSP prediction: 3-1

Lurkers vs PIP (9PM)

Lurkers are one of the only two undefeated teams this season, and their form resembles a rising tidal wave. We don’t think they can be stopped tonight.

PIP is in a rebuilding phase. And their efforts to secure a well needed win will be hampered by the absence of tenacious PIP veteran, Jarred G. His speed and commitment in the tackle will certainly be missed. But don’t look to PIP to roll over. They’re a determined squad with some serious offensive threat. But it will be defense tonight that determines their success against the league’s number two offense.

WSP prediction: 4-1

Scousers v FC Headers (9PM)

This should, by all accounts, be match of the day.

Tonight finds FC Headers the underdogs for only the second time of six regular season games against the Scousers. But the Headers do appear to be approaching their 2010 and early 2011 performances. They’ve got their old and very fine keeper back, Chris I. They’ve a new approach to defense, helped along by Carlos, always in solid, cool and calm form. And though they are without striker Chris P. for a few weeks, the Headers attack has so far been creative and crisp.

Scousers have come off a crucial, narrow win in last week’s Haggis Cup against the Highlangers (Velvet Hyenas). The win has kept them in third as well as confident that they can pull off victories against teams performing at their best.

WSP prediction: 1-1


Send Your Feedback