Episode 2: 1.8.2018

Hello from the bomb cyclone, it is the second episode of the Allocation Money Podcast! We have a new website (the recently reborn Before Extra Time) and it has been submitted to iTunes, Google Play, and Stitcher, so hopefully you’ll be able to find it in the podcatcher of your choice this week.

News:

  • The NASL remains in trouble, with Indy Eleven leaving for USL and the Jacksonville Armada set to make an announcement today about the future of their club (more news came out about their schedule after this was recorded, so we will get to that next week).
  • The MLS schedule and TV schedule was released, and I discuss what it has to do with Disney buying Fox

Calendar:

The MLS draft combines are January 9-11 for the Caribbean Combine and 11-17 for the College Combine

Exploration corner: Who is in the MLS SuperDraft?

In this week’s Exploration Corner, I get into the upcoming MLS SuperDraft and let you know who exactly is eligible. It being MLS, there is weirdness involved.

Thank you for listening to the second episode! There is a new RSS feed, but that should be the one going forward. You can follow the podcast on Twitter and you can follow me there as well. If you like it, let someone know!

Have a great week!

Episode 1: 1.1.2018

Welcome to the first episode of my new experimental project, the Allocation Money Podcast. I recorded this episode while still sick and while still trying to figure out the process of podcasting by myself, but I wanted to get it out there and get this project going. I hope that this podcast is useful to its listeners, fills a niche in the media landscape, and helps me become a better writer for Black and Red United and a better podcaster on Filibuster. Don’t worry, this will not affect those things at all.

News:

Explanation corner: To have a grounding in MLS roster madness, you have to start at the beginning: the composition of the roster and the salary budget.

Calendar: Nothing coming up this week as leagues get back from the holiday break.

Please follow me and the podcast on Twitter, and give me feedback there about this pilot episode, the format, and what I can do to make it better (besides keep practicing the talking). You can subscribe to the RSS feed in your favorite podcatcher, and I will let you know when it is available on other platforms.

Thanks for listening, and have a great week!

Various methods of creating podcasts

Having been the producer of Filibuster – The Black and Red United Podcast, for over 70 episodes, I have gone through a number of methods of recording, most of which have annoyed me in one way or another. People keep asking me, though, how we do this podcast, so I figured I would lay out my tools and all the methods that I have used, and see if any of them work for you. I’ve broken this up into production, hosting, and recording.

Production

First, however, here is the production part which I have always used.

  • I edit the podcast in Audacity, which is a great audio editor that works on Linux, Mac, and Windows.
  • The effects that I typically use are Fade In/Fade Out (for the intro and outro music), Truncate Silence (to remove long pauses and dead air), Noise Removal (to get rid of background hums and hisses), Leveler (to pump out the volume of the outro after I fade it in and out), and Compressor (to even everything out).
  • When everything is done, I export to MP3. Make sure to check your export settings here, because there is never a need for an audio podcast to be 80 MB. I use Variable Bit Rate encoding at quality level 7, which usually gives me a 17-25 MB file, and it sounds perfectly fine.
  • Once the MP3 is exported, you are ready to upload it to your platform of choice.

Hosting

Proper hosting makes sure that you can get your episode off of your computer and into other people’s ears. Over the course of Filibuster, we have used a number of different methods of hosting, but let me just say this now: You don’t have to pay for it, if you’re willing to do a little work.

  • Buzzsprout was the first hosting platform we used, and it was your typical paid podcast hosting site, like libsyn and many others. Their cheapest real plan is $12 a month, so that’s not great.
  • Through SB Nation, we got a free Pro account with Soundcloud, which is where we currently host the podcast. You can apply for their beta podcasting platform, so that could be a good option for you as well.
  • YouTube is always an easy option, even if you’re not a video podcast, but would be difficult to get into iTunes and other podcast providers; not really recommended unless you are video.
  • The best free option, as long as you have a blog (and who doesn’t?), is to host your audio on the Internet Archive. You can embed it into your post, which I have done to the very first episode Filibuster. Placing a link (<a>) to the raw MP3 in the page as well will embed the file in your RSS feed, allowing it to be used by podcatchers. The feed for your podcast category is then your podcast feed.


Download the MP3 here

  • The catch with the Internet Archive is that they really want you to license it under a Creative Commons license. That’s fine for us, we already license it that way on Soundcloud, so IA would work for us too.
  • Some sites recommend running your podcast feed through Feedburner so that you can submit it to iTunes, but I have not confirmed those things.

Recording

This is the part that has caused me the most frustration, going back and forth between methods constantly. A note on recording: whenever possible, record to a lossless audio format such as WAV or FLAC; your final quality will be much better if you do so.

  • Before I took over the producer duties, we recorded via Skype with the producer using Garage Band to grab all of the audio and then do the editing. Update: Via the comments, LineIn and Soundflower were the programs used to record the podcast on a Mac.
  • When I took over, we continued to use Skype to talk to each other; however, since I use Linux, Garage Band was not an option. We started by using Skype Call Recorder, which updates only very rarely (last update in 2013) but still works. We would sometimes have problems with people dropping out, and the recording would get ended if that happened to me.
  • We then switched to Google+ Hangouts On Air for a long time. Despite the fact that it was “live” on YouTube, we only invited those who we wanted to be on the show.  After the show ended, I would download the video file, use VLC to rip the audio out of the file, and then proceed to edit in Audacity. However, we had problems with audio clipping, people dropping out of the call, and people getting into the call in the first place. However, if people drop out the recording continues, and you can try and join the call back. This is a decent way to run a podcast, however.
  • Since I like seeing the faces of the people to which I am talking, we have now switched a regular Google video hangout, which I record using Audio Recorder, which records off of my microphone and my sound card; that means that we could switch between communication platforms and not change how we record. If you’re using Linux, I highly recommend this piece of software, which makes recording a podcast very easy.
  • I just use a Blue Snowball USB microphone, which is a massive improvement over the built-in microphone in my computer. If you’re going to do your own podcast, getting a decent microphone is well worth the investment.

That’s all I can think of; any questions?

In game against the University of Maryland, Richmond Kickers test trialists

Yesterday, the Richmond Kickers played a preseason friendly against the University of Maryland whose purpose was to test the flock of trialists currently with the team and to integrate new signings into the team. Out of the starting lineup, only Mike Callahan and Alex Lee played regular minutes for the team last year. For the newly signed players, Shay Spitz, Samuel Asante, and George Davis IV all started and played most of the game. I was particularly impressed by Asante, who was a pitbull in defensive midfield and constantly pressuring the Maryland midfield. He was also able to jump into the attack, but his best chance was pushed wide.

George Davis IV played mostly from the left wing, and was able to put in some good crosses; he looked composed on the all and looks to be a good addition. Spitz played left back, which I do not think is his natural position. He played adequately there, but will have to get better if he is to be a regular fullback.

There were also a number of trialists who played. The ones who I noticed playing were:

  • Shawn Sloan: Sloan spent all of last year with the Columbus Crew after being selected in the MLS Supplemental Draft. However, he was not re-signed for this season. He initially played as the lone forward in Leigh Cowlishaw’s 4-2-3-1, and he was not very effective.
  • Jack Metcalf: Metcalf is a recent graduate from Clemson University, having grown up in Liverpool. He played for the Liverpool and Wolverhampton Wanderers youth academies before coming to college in the States. He played on the left wing in the second half, and was lively. He took all of the free kicks while he was on the field, and they were threatening.
  • Hugh Roberts: Roberts recently graduated from George Mason University and played centerback alongside Shane Johnson. He was mostly effective but unspectacular.
  • Tish Hanley: Hanley spent last year with the Ocala Stampede of the USL PDL, the year before that with the Fredericksburg Hotspur of PDL, and before that for a team on St. Kitts. He has also made 11 appearances for the St. Kitts national team. He played forward during the second half, and was much more effective than Sloan. His header last in the second half hit the post.

Other trialists who either didn’t play or didn’t play enough for me to notice them:

  • Caleb Lewis: A midfielder who just graduated from CNU.
  • Daniel Welsh: Invited to the MLS Combine, Welsh is a centerback or  a leftback. Grew up in Scottish youth academies.
  • Nick Rich: Played for RVA FC last year as a part of their NPSL championship team. Graduate of VCU.
  • Kelvin Herrera
  • Romena Bowie: Played for RVA FC last year as a part of their NPSL championship team. Graduate of VCU.

There were, of course, three D.C. United loanees. They will be written up on Black and Red United in a day or two.

Philippe Davies transferred to the Ottawa Fury

The Richmond Kickers announced today that midfielder Philippe Davies has been transferred to the Ottawa Fury of the NASL. The transfer is a free one, and Leigh Cowlishaw said that the move was made to free some salary to sign more attacking talent. With the loss of Joseph Ngwenya and Brian Ownby, who were two of the keys to the offense last season. I’m also sure that Cowlishaw has had conversations with D.C. United, and knows basically what players are coming his way on loan; perhaps he then thinks that he won’t be getting the attackers he needs, but will have enough midfielders.

Davies has been the third choice defensive midfielder since he was acquired in the middle of the 2012 season, after he was released by the Vancouver Whitecaps. With Luke Vercollone and Mike Callahan in front of him, it makes sense for Davies to move on so that he can try and get more playing team. Davies has appeared for the Canadian national team during his time with the Kickers, but if he wants to get back to that team he needs more regular playing time.

Tony Glavin says 2015 is the goal for USL PRO in St. Louis

Tony Glavin, current owner and head coach of the St. Louis Lions of the USL PDL, said on 590 AM radio today that 2015 is his goal for bringing a USL PRO team to St. Louis.


The city, one of the historical hotbeds of soccer in the United States, has been without a professional team since AC St. Louis folded after one season in USSF Division 2. This team would be in addition to the St. Louis Lions and the St. Louis Ambush of the MISL, which is also owned by Glavin. There is also a campaign to bring MLS to St. Louis, but without any fully-professional soccer teams yet in the city, that campaign seems unlikely to succeed. Success at the USL PRO level, and establishing a team that has stability, would be a good first step towards that goal (should MLS want to continue its expansion efforts). And, regardless of any MLS aspirations, it would be good to see professional soccer back in St. Louis and to see USL PRO continue to grow.

Richmond United to have both men’s and women’s U-23 teams this summer

As you may know, the Richmond Kickers and the Richmond Strikers announced about two months ago that they were merging their US Soccer Development Academies, to form Richmond United. More recently, they also announced that they will be merging their elite girls’ teams under the Richmond United banner so that they can compete in the ECNL. Yesterday, more news dropped out of Richmond United about their summer U-23 teams.

The picture with this tweet says that Richmond United will have both a men’s and a women’s U-23 team, competing this summer in matches against local and regional teams. The news of a women’s team is new, and is a welcome sight. While they will not be in a league this summer, as far as I know, perhaps down the line they will join the PDL and the W-League.

Richmond Kickers announce list of current players signed

The Richmond Kickers have announced a list of players currently signed to the team, which includes the two players signed so far this offseason, Shay Spitz and Samuel Asante, as well as a group of players returning from last season. Starters Mike Callahan, Sascha Goerres, Henry Kalungi, Alex Lee, Luke Vercollone, and William Yomby all return, as well as reserve players Philippe Davies, Shane Johnson, Ryan Taylor, and Jason Yeisley.

Notably absent from this list are Joseph Ngwenya, who signed with the Pittsburgh Riverhounds, Brian Ownby, who has returned to the Houston Dynamo, and Nate Robinson, who is recovering from surgery. A creative, central player like Collin Martin would be well served in this lineup, as there is no one here who currently plays that role.

As the tweet says, there will be more signings in the coming weeks (and the Kickers will start their preseason games as well).

Joseph Haboush signs with Al-Safa SC of the Lebanese Premier League

The Richmond Kickers announced today that rookie midfielder Joseph Haboush has left the team to sign with Al-Safa SC of the Lebanese Premier League. Al-Safa has been the champions of the Lebanese league the past two seasons and Haboush will join them in time to participate in the AFC Cup, which is Asia’s Champions’ League. One of his teammates in Beirut will be Ibrahim Toure, who is the younger brother of Yaya and Kolo Toure.

Haboush was signed in February to be a contender for the central attacking midfielder position and started the first game of the season in that position; however, when Joseph Ngwenya was signed in April, any opportunities for playing time were severely limited. With Nate Robinson now in Finland, Haboush leaving for Lebanon, and an unknown number of changes still to come to the team, it will be a wild offseason for the Kickers. However, it does please me to see Kickers’ alums moving up in the soccer world, which both shows the talents of Leigh Cowlishaw as a coach and the respectability of the Kickers as an overall organization. Best wishes to Haboush in Beirut!

Nate Robinson to go on trial with Vaasan Palloseura of the Finnish Veikkausliiga

Richmond Kickers winger Nate Robinson will be going on trial for three weeks with Vaasan Palloseura of the Finnish Veikkausliiga, which is the top division of Finnish soccer.  VPS is currently third in this season’s Veikkausliiga, with two games left to play after this international break. Should they stay in third place, they will qualify for the first qualifying round of the 2014-2015 Europa League; this would be an amazing leap for a player who was considering going back to his PDL six months ago. VPS would be a good landing place for Robinson, as the team currently has two Americans who made the jump straight from USL Pro. Karsten Smith played for FC New York in its only USL Pro season and the San Antonio Scorpions in NASL before going to Finland; Jordan Seabrook played for the Harrisburg City Islanders before making the jump to a team in a Swedish regional league and then quickly jumping up to VPS.

It is becoming more and more likely that Robinson’s first season will become his only season in the River City, with D.C. United and the New  York Red Bulls also offering trials to Robinson. If Robinson does not make the jump overseas, there will be MLS opportunities for him.