Back in 2010 I was working at a bookstore and my coworkers decided to start a fantasy football league, which they immediately attempted to get me to join. I told them, no, I didn’t know anything about football, except that my team, the Detroit Lions, never did too well.
They were undeterred, and eventually I relented, drafting my team based on important qualities such as who they played for (the Lions ranked number one in this case) or their resemblence to giant teddy bears (Arian Foster) or having an amazing name (Legedu Naanee.)
I won the league.
Flash forward a few years, and I don’t expect to repeat that success playing fantasy MLS, but my goal is really to get into the United States’ version of professional soccer, which is difficult. Especially when compared to say, the Premier League of the Brits with its promotion and relegation that keeps the league fluid. But I’m going to give it a shot.
I chose my team a few years back, the Columbus Crew, because their colors are black and yellow and match my Hufflepuff scarf that my mom made me. I’ve never truly followed them, however, so I was pretty surprised last year when they made it to the finals in the playoffs. Didn’t win, but I’m not the type of supporter who gives up on a team for not winning championships. I’m the sort of supporter who just doesn’t pay attention.
Until this year.
Some friends created a fantasy MLS league, and in an attempt to learn more about the players and teams, I immediately began my research. This is my team. We’re decidedly average in points thus far, but who cares about points? There are more important characteristics to a fantasy soccer team.
Team Shipp Happens
Steve Clark, Columbus Crew
I figure that if Steve Clark can get the Crew to the Finals, he can be my starting goalie. This strategy isn’t exactly paying off yet, as the Crew are 0-2, but they’re sure to turn things around. I hope. Regardless, Clark has eyes that make me trust him in net.
Josh Saunders, New York City FC
Between his smile and that jersey, Josh Saunders is a ball of sunshine, and a worthy backup goalie.
Brandon Vincent, Chicago Fire
In Fantasy MLS, you draft a team based on salary, rather than an actual draft like Fantasy Football. Vincent was an affordable rookie defender who’s starting for the Fire. He’s also adorable.
Nat Borchers, Portland Timbers
Once I saw Nat’s glorious, glorious beard, he was going to be on my team. I mean look at it. Legendary.
Robbie Rogers, LA Galaxy
So Robbie Rogers is one of a select few professional athletes who have come out. So he is one of a select few of MLS defenders playing on my team. It doesn’t hurt that he has a beautiful smile as well.
Tim Parker, Vancouver Whitecaps
When in doubt about how to round off your defense, add a Weasley. There’s also the fact that I’m trying to include as many teams as possible, to spark my interest in as many games as possible.
Tommy Redding, Orlando City SC
Orlando’s first homegrown signing, Tommy Redding is currently sitting on my bench so that I can play more midfielders. But he pulls off purple well, I think.
Diego Fagundez, New England Revolution
Diego was the first player that I saw in my research that was a must-have. It was the hair.
Ethan Finlay, Columbus Crew
If I had to pick a favorite player on the Crew, it would be Finlay, so he made it onto my team. There were a few others in the running, though, after the team made a video responding to mean tweets about their uh… colorful new kits.
Harry Shipp, Montreal Impact
When I first started my research, Shipp was playing for Chicago. A hometown hero who was a bright spot in a terrible season last year. Then he got traded unexpectedly to Montreal, and my team name, Shipp Happens, came to be. He penned an emotional letter to fans of the Fire, and he quickly became a favorite of mine.
Julian Buescher, DC United
Currently a sub for both DC United and Shipp Happens, Julian Buescher has been warming the bench. Hopefully he gets a chance to start for both teams.
Razvan Cocis, Chicago Fire
So, I had Razvan and his neck beard on my team last week, but transferred him out last minute. He scored a goal. I apologized and transferred him back into the team this week. He didn’t start. I was sad, but y’know… it happens.
David Villa, New York City FC
By no means was I going to draft David Villa, one of those players who an expansion team signs right away to launch their team. Then I saw his smile, and he won me over.
Dom Dwyer, Sporting Kansas City
So Sporting KC launched their new kits during the Super Bowl this year, and suddenly Dom’s photo was all over Twitter, and I remembered that when looking for players. But then I found out he was married to Sydney Leroux who played for the US National Women’s team, and there was no question.
Khiry Shelton, New York City FC
I really didn’t expect that I’d have three players from NYCFC on my team but I also didn’t expect them all to have beautiful smiles. And Khiry’s hair is almost always fun, from what I’ve seen.
Sebastian Giovinco, Toronto FC
And last but not least is Sebastian Giovinco, my tattooed team captain who led the league in goals last year. 68% of teams have selected this Italian wonder, and I’m hoping he lives up to expectations after a crazy season last year. If not, his tats are still fantastic.
So there’s Shipp Happens, my first attempt at really playing Fantasy MLS. (Kind of.)