There’s so much that happens inside a locker room that we never get to hear about. This is why I welcome the recent emergence of podcasts created by past and present players.
Let’s be honest, we’ve all heard the soccer cliches before. Recently-traded players are always excited to join their new club. Teams are always looking to work harder after a loss. Coaches are always full of faith that they can make the playoffs.
In all honesty, I can sometimes predict what a player will say before the interview starts.
This is why it’s so valuable to find a player who’s willing to open up and show some personality. This can come in many forms. Jermaine Jones had no issues telling his side of the story. Charlie Davies was unabashed when talking about his life. Antonio Delamea is as honest as they come.
These soundbites aren’t enough, however, as there’s still so much that we don’t understand about life in MLS. We have had a few illuminating books, including Grant Wahl’s The Beckham Experiment and Bobby Warshaw’s When the Dream Becomes Reality. These are excellent, but there’s still more left to explore.
This is where podcasts come into play.
I subscribe to a lot of podcasts, both related and unrelated to soccer. The two that I’m most excited to see pop up in my feed are Off The Chest with Petke and Dunny and The Benny and Sal Podcast.
Off the Chest features two former players in Mike Petke and Brian Dunseth. The hosts tell it like it is, as they editorialize about the latest happenings while sharing their own experiences. The same is true for The Benny and Sal Podcast, which is hosted by Benny Feilhaber, Sal Zizzo, and Ike Opara (he’s a host now, right?).
Each episode helps us better understand life as a professional athlete. They tell us what it’s like to be traded. They explain the ins-and-outs of national team camp. They inform us how fans can effect a game.
In short, they provide us with the information we crave.
I’m not sure what type of reactions these podcasts are getting within a locker room or organization, but I hope we see more since they’re wildly entertaining and enlightening. I firmly believe that players should have the opportunity to express themselves beyond the 90 minutes they’re on the field.