MLS Bald Force
With much respect to this group of players right from the start, as it is simply no easy thing to lose your hair, whether you’re a teacher, a plumber or a professional athlete. But for a professional soccer player you have to suffer through it all while you’re still striving to score goals and win games infront of crowd of fan. It takes a strong individual to maintain their confidence while they lose their locks. Sure, it helps that they're getting paid to do something they love, but it still ain't easy.
We’ve put together the MLS bald force, to go along with our world football bald force. With the idea originally coming from our pale force team with a knod to Conan O'Brien for the inspiration. Of course, we could have all sorts of super hero like groups or teams, from pale to bald to short and tall, but for now we'll round out our MLS bald force. More teams probably to come later, each with their own special powers and qualities.
The MLS bald force is a group of players who are bald but still have the skills and confidence to help their teams win games. Being bald doesn’t preclude you from being a good player. Just look at the group we've assembled, one of the best keepers in the game in Keller and the best player in the league in Landon. And remember, one of the greatest soccer players of all time had a well know bald spot atop his scruffy head, a certain Frenchman named Zidane.
At least in professional baseball or American football players can don a cap or helmet to hide their lack of hair, but in soccer there’s no way to hide the fact that you’ve got some bad hair genes. It's on your mom's side right?
There’s no shame in soccer though. A bald head is a sign of strength, power and often used to intimidate – or at least that’s what the bald headed soccer player tells himself. Remember the imposing Manchester United defender Jaap Stam? Here was a bald headed player forwards feared and didn’t want to mess with or have to face.
For someone who are going bald, there comes a point in time where you just have to shave it all off and make peace with it, become resigned to the fact that no comb over or clever hairstyle is going to help. Especially in a sport like soccer, you can’t run around and trying to head the ball with your hair plastered to one side or another.
In truth though, as the legend of Samson tells us, hair and long hair is a sign of strength, not the other way around. Jaap Stam is intimidating because he’s Jaap Stam.
We’ve got a couple keepers in the bald force, one defender, a few forwards but mostly midfielders round out the group. Not sure if that says anything, midfielders thinking too much? Usually the keepers are the bald ones, look at our great American keepers, Keller, Howard, Hahnemann and Friedel, all players who sport shiny shaved heads - not by choice of course.
The MLS bald force does have one member who appears to be masquerading as a bald force member: Conor Casey looks like he might be a self-chosen member of the force, as it appears he shaves his head on his own and isn’t losing his hair. Not entirely sure though. Let’s just hope he doesn’t become like Elaine’s boyfriend on Seinfeld, who shaved his head since he was a swimmer but when he tried to grow his hair back for Elaine it didn’t come in like he’d hoped.
The True, the Proud, the MLS Bald Force
Justin Mapp (Chicago Fire)
The very skillful midfielder likes to go at players on the dribble. He's had his call ups to the national team over the years. I'm sure his salary makes losing the precious locks a bit more easier to deal with.
Craig Waibel (Houston Dynamo)
He's a veteran now, having won titles with San Jose and Houston. A knee injury has put him on the sidelines, but don't be surprised if he makes a return to the starting lineup and starts whipping in crosses for goals.
Simon Davies (San Jose Earthquakes)
The New Zealander played for Stanford before moving into the MLS and then on to the EPL with Fulham. He is steady and tough player who plays simple and smart. He brings to San Jose something they've lacked for some time now, a consistant midfielder who can pass and keep the ball but someone who also knows how to get stuck in when he needs to.
Landon Donovan (LA Galaxy)
The only member of both the MLS and world soccer bald force. He nearly signed on with Bayern Munich but thankfully returned to the MLS, at least from the LA Galaxy perspective. Landon is the most dangerous player in the MLS, scoring goals with his head or his foot.
Conor Casey (Colorado Rapids)
Conor played for the University of Portland and scored a ton of goals while he was there. He then left school early to sign with Borussia Dortmund and was later loaned out to Hannover, Karlsruhe and Mainz before returning state side to play in the MLS for the Colorado Rapids.
At just 27 years of old and with his good height, as he's nearly 6 ft 2 inches, he'll be around for some time scoring goals in the MLS, with or without hair. Does he deserve a shot at the national team?
Kasey Keller (Seattle Sounders)
The return of Keller to the MLS was off to was off to a great start, as they hadn't conceded a goal in their first three games, but giving away a goal would eventually come - even for Keller.
Keller just might lead his team to the MLS final in the clubs first years in the MLS though. It could happen, they have the coach in Sigi Schmid, a goal scorer in Fredy Montero, and the experience of the other member of the bald force, Freddie Ljungberg. Apparently he already has a nickname up in Seattle too, "Mittens". Many are probably unaware that Keller has
played for a Portland team already, during his college days with the Pilots, and then with the Timbers in 89'. Of course, he then
went on to lose his hair and have huge success in Europe, setting the way for guys like Tim Howard, by playing for: Milwall, Leicester City, Tottenham, Southhampton, Borussia Monchengladbach and Fulham.
Freddie Ljungberg (Seattle Sounders)
The second Sounder on the list, and his hair loss hasn't stopped him from getting sponsors like Calvin Klein and scoring a goal on his debut, slotting the ball home after a nice give and go in the game against Toronto. There was some worry that he was too old and had too many injuries, but he played for Arsenal for 10 years, that experience is just too much. In his time with Arsenal he used to dye his hair red, blue or even green, now it's all shaved off, but not his skills.
Danny Dichio (Toronto FC)
At 34 years of age the Toronto forward is set to retire after this 2009 MLS season. Dichio has played for a slew of English League teams and a couple Italian clubs. He plans on becoming a coach after he retires.
Matt Reis (New England Revolution)
Reis probably deserves a few more shots on the U.S. national team. The 34 year old keeper has played 154 games for New England, the team that should have at least one MLS title under their belt.