Joe Geek: the Making of an American Hero – Episode 1 (FIFA Career)

Sep 11, 2014

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Hello, and welcome to the first installment of Geeks With Wives’ ongoing career series, following a single player’s career path in FIFA ’14 played on PlayStation 4, from his first match until retirement. Why should you care about this series? Because I’m hoping you’ll either enjoy my insight or learn something about the sport, the game, or the cultures I write about. I selected to play a FIFA career since a lot of us in America don’t understand the sport of soccer/football[i], as a whole, and I thought that I could use the opportunity to write about clubs, leagues, and culture without coming off as redundant. This series will also be a vehicle for my comments and criticisms for the FIFA series and EA Sports in general, as I have played FIFA since FIFA ’97 – an countless other ‘If it’s in the game, it’s in the game’ series – and have various thoughts and opinions.

Also, I like the sport and game, so there is more opportunity to play it.

Okay, so some things you should know about me, the player and writer of this series. I have been following soccer for some time now. I began casually following the New England Revolution of Major League Soccer (MLS) in 2003 or 2004 - somewhere around that time. Around 2007 I began following the club more closely and as a result all of MLS. Though my fandom of the club has waned[ii], I still watch the Revs and some MLS to this day – in fact I have on the replay of the Revs vs Sporting Kansas City as I wrote this article.

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Joe the American Hero.

After I became a fan of MLS it was suggested that I watch the EPL and UEFA Champions League (UCL), citing a better quality of play[iii]. Because of TV coverage at the time, I could not watch any EPL games – in steps John Henry. Growing up in the Greater Boston Area, I was delighted when the owner of the Boston Red Sox, John Henry, had purchased Liverpool Football Club (LFC) and began broadcasting EPL games on New England Sports Network (NESN) so I could finally watch EPL games on a regular basis. I would now consider
LFC my club of choice[iv]. I’m only stating all of this because I will hope that you will better understand my reasoning with some of my decisions in this career series.

Alright, enough about me.

Meet Joe Geek. I came up with the name Joe Geek from Geeks With Wives (GWW). Joe, after our fearless leader. And Geek, because he’s wicked smaht. I also selected for Joe Geek to start his career playing for the Portland Timbers as that is where GWW site began. So think of Joe Geek as an unofficial mascot[v] for the site.

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Joe’s objectives. Meet these or be fired!

I tried making Joe as geeky as possible, but for some reason EA Sports don’t have much in terms of geeky characteristics, so he ended up looking rather plain. There’s nothing wrong with that, I suppose. I was just hoping to have a more distinctive appearance for Joe – oh well. I also made Joe a striker/finisher – meaning that he’s supposed to score a lot of goals. I had a lot of debate about the position I wanted Joe to play, but ultimately I thought that a striker would be more interesting for this series[vi], as I would put up more points and probably advance Joe’s career faster. The way EA’s careers work is that your club gives you a set of expectations. Meeting or exceeding these goals and expectations would make your player, and in our case, Joe, more valuable. Since I’m beginning Joe’s career in the MLS It’s my hope that he’ll eventually make it to the EPL or a UEFA power house club – Real Madrid, Bayern Munich, Barcelona, et cetera.

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Now, on to the football!

Preseason Friendlies

Preseason Match 1: vs C.F. Monterrey (Liga MX)

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What a shot!

My first preseason game is at “home” against Monterrey, one of Mexico’s top clubs. I say “home” because it’s in a generic stadium. With as many teams as FIFA contains EA doesn’t have the memory space to put every stadium in the game[vii]. I still find that FIFA 14 only contains one MLS stadium a bit surprising[viii].

Joe had a very good game preseason debut. He netted a goal and gained a player rating of 9.4, though it still wasn’t good enough for player of the match honors.

Preseason Match 2: @ N.E.C. (Dutch Eerste Divisie) aka Nijmegen Eoefoijef Coioijoijofjgojdofjd – or something like that.

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Goooooooooaaaaaaaaaallllllllllll!!!!!!

Joe wasn’t selected for the squad against N.E.C. which made looking them up on Wikipedia that more infuriating. I was a bit disappointed that Joe wasn’t selected for the second preseason match after his first game, however a lot or FIFA’s career decisions are automatic and him not being on the team for the second game was likely one of them. It’s a little silly since a 17 year old trying to make a professional club would likely have to have three stellar games to make the pro squad, considering he’d still be in high school. But I’ll just chalk this one up to EA being EA.

Preseason Match 3: vs. Melbourne Heart FC (A-League, Australia) now known as Melbourne City FC

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Come on, ref!

Joe was selected for the third match of the preseason fixture. He did not have a great game. He did have a close call, almost goal, but ultimately he finished the match only with a questionable yellow card to show. He ended the match with a 7.3 – and if this was real life he’d probably be listed in the reserves for the Timbers, but since this is FIFA, he’ll likely start once the season begins.

Next time on Joe Geek American Hero: The Timbers, The City of Portland, March and April, and… Loan Listed?

 

[i] The terms soccer and football are interchangeable with me. I understand that this is a sticky subject for a lot of people in the US, since Football – American Football, Gridiron, as in NFL, NCAA (SEC, PAC 12, ACC, et cetera) – is far and beyond the most popular sport in the country. Because of the sport’s superiority in popularity, it for some reason has a stranglehold on the name ‘Football’, despite being predated by ‘sock-ah’.

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Also, I watch a lot of Premier League (more on that in a moment). In the Premier League (EPL) there is no use of the term soccer; It’s simply football. This goes for other European terms such as pitch for field, pace for speed, boots for cleats, sacked for fired, table for standings, fixture for schedule, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera… If you watch  and read as enough EPL coverage, you’ll also adopt some, if not all, of these terms.

And finally, in the whole Soccer vs Football argument, I am also aware of the preferred use of ‘Soccer’ among some US Soccer supporters. Due to the wider global coverage of the sport, more people are watching the European leagues and some in the US have lashed out at them by using ‘Soccer’ as a cultural sticking point. I assure you, when I’m using the term football or footballer it’s not because I’m a ‘Eurosnob’ or I’m trying to slight US soccer culture and heritage (more on that in a moment). It’s simply because I hear and read both terms in context so frequently that I use both. ‘Murica.

And if none of this matters to you, congratulations. I wish more people were like you.

[ii] This may be a story for a future installment. This installment’s primary purpose is strictly for introductions. In future installments I plan to profile and write about clubs, cities, and ownership. When I get to the New England Revolution, and Kraft Sports, perhaps I will fill you in a bit more – though I think a lot of Revs fans may already have an inkling to what this is about.

[iii] Again, this is a major sticking point with football fans, which league you think is the best. With MLS on their current rise in quality, MLS supporters are more vocal about the league’s quality and ranking compared other top leagues. To any die-hard MLS supporters, keep in mind around 2008-2010 the MLS was much different than it is today. Objectively, the UEFA teams were better in quality at that time.

[iv] I also don’t claim to be an expert on the sport or the teams I follow. I’d say that my knowledge is Intermediate, recently graduating from Novice. Though I followed the sport for about ten years now, the majority of it was from casual interest. The EPL now has national coverage on NBCSN, and since then I have watched a lot more football, but I’m still behind a lot of other’s in knowledge. So if I make mistakes, please let me know.

[v] Or… Prospective future mascot…?

[vi] Though I do feel a little like a glory hunter.

[vii] This is the rumor. Though when I think of a large game, such as Skyrim, I immediately question this rumor. It has just been a long accepted fact among us FIFA players.  And also, doesn’t this immediately void EA’s popular slogan? “If it’s in the game, it’s in the game.” Is this why they only say “EA Sports. It’s in the game” now?

[viii] Vancouver Whitecaps FC’s BC Place.

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