121112_christmaslist_isi_bpi_westhamunitvchel Joe Toth/isiphotos.com
Naughty and Nice

What Do You Give a Soccer Star for Christmas?

It's the most wonderful time of the year, and since we're soccer obsessed, we've added a few luminaries to our holiday gift list. Here's what we're placing under the tree for Klinsmann, Donovan, and others.
BY John Godfrey Posted
December 12, 2012
5:52 AM
I got off to a late start on my Christmas shopping this year, so I’m in a bit of a frenzied state as I try to figure out what to get my wife, my kids, my parents, sanitation workers, and everybody else.

And yes, I include soccer players, coaches, and officials in the “everybody else” category. Here’s my working list, complete with working links.

For Jurgen Klinsmann
Connect Four
The United States national team needs a reliable backline to see them through to the final round of CONCACAF World Cup Qualification. Klinsmann has lots of game pieces to play with, but it’s time to settle on a first-choice defensive quartet. Maybe a few marathon sessions of Connect Four—strictly as a mind-improving exercise that fits within his soccer 24/7 focus! No frivolous activities allowed!—will help Klinsmann solve the backline puzzle.

For Don Garber
A dozen or so stars
Rafa Marquez is on his way out, which is cause for celebration. But David Beckham is gone, which is a real hammer blow for MLS. The league commissioner needs to start bringing more stars to the league, and every time he addresses the subject you get the sense he knows it. Promising young players from Central and South America are great, but Kaka and Frank Lampard and Didier Drogba and players of that caliber will put butts in seats and attract TV viewers.

For Timothy Chandler
Roundtrip airfare to Honduras
We expect to see you down in San Pedro Sula on February 6, 2013, Timmy. There's a big game that day, and we need to know we can rely on you. No lame excuses this time. No more "I need a rest" nonsense. As we like to say here in the States, “Three strikes and you’re out.”

For Landon Donovan
A hammock and a Starbucks card
As Donovan has explained in rich detail, he needs a break. Great! The hammock will be perfect for that. Enjoy! Once he’s rested up—say, December 27th or so—Donovan should walk the dogs over to the Santa Monica Starbucks, order a venti somethingorother, and get on with the important business of sorting out the next two years of his career. We hear Everton might be interested.

For Omar Gonzalez
Rosetta Stone: German Edition
Wir möchten im Voraus für die Armen hier übersetzen entschuldigen. (Wir verwenden Google Translate.) Omar! Es ist Zeit! Go! Wir denken, dass Sie einen tollen Job in Deutschland zu tun, und dass dieser Schritt werden Sie in Nationalmannschaft berücksichtigt zu treiben. Weihnachtsgrüße, großer Kerl.

For Bruce Arena
A microphone and an audience
The Los Angeles Galaxy boss was born to have his own radio show. Tremendous soccer knowledge and success combined with his snarky, candid demeanor would make for must-listen radio. I hope it happens soon.

For Stuart Holden
Body armor
Holden isn’t injury prone; he just has terrible luck. A Homeland Security-grade exoskeleton like this one would come in handy the next time Nigel de Jong or Jonny Evans takes a run at him. Do they make flak jackets for knees too?

For Jason Kreis
A proven goalscorer
Real Salt Lake sent two of its best players—Jamison Olave and Fabian Espindola—to New York for allocation money, so now the question is: How will they spend this cash?

For the New York Red Bulls
A whiteboard, so they can start over. Again.
Dumping Marquez and bringing in Olave and Espindola is a good start, but please don’t stop there. New Yorkers demand excellence. Soon there will be a team in Queens that will walk up to your picnic table, punch you in the face, grab your sandwich, and eat your lunch. The Red Bulls need to do something special before it’s too late.

For Robert Kraft
The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Real Estate Investing
Every time we see 8,000 New England fans jam-packed into 68,000-seat Gillette Stadium to watch a poor Revs team, we think, “How did Robert Kraft win those Super Bowls? How did he make all of that money?” Hey Bob—please click on the link above and note the price tag on this tome. Even YOU might be willing to fork over the cash for this. Get a soccer-specific stadium. Get a good team. Do this right or get out. New England, and Major League Soccer as a whole, deserves better.

OK, this is where you come in, Dear Reader. This holiday gift list is only partially completed. We need you to fill in more gift ideas for other American soccer folk. Please do so in the Comments section below.

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