Arjun Balaraman is a Sports Columnist at the Tufts Daily. He is a junior majoring in Quantitative Economics. He can be reached at

Off the Crossbar: Nurturing young talent

Just as baseball uses the minor leagues and basketball uses the G-League to develop their young players, all professional club sides in Europe have reserve and youth teams which they use to develop players through their academy system. But while basketball instated a pre-draft age limit, there are no such restrictions in soccer that prevent […]

Off the Crossbar: Time for change for Spurs

After the club’s most successful season in the Premier League era, where they finished third in the league and reached the final of the Champions League, Tottenham Hotspur is in turmoil this season. The Spurs followed up a humbling 7–2 defeat at home to Bayern Munich with a dismal display in their 3–0 away defeat […]

Off the Crossbar: Winning isn’t always pretty

With all of his successes over the last two seasons, it’s easy to forget some of the criticism that Pep Guardiola faced during the Spaniard’s first season in charge in England. In almost his first move, Guardiola opted to sign Barcelona goalkeeper Claudio Bravo to replace one of City’s fan favorites — and longest-tenured player […]

Off the Crossbar: Waning Competition

For much of the last two decades, English sides have largely been overshadowed by their neighbors in European tournaments. While clubs like Barcelona, Real Madrid, and Bayern Munich dominated the continental scene, English soccer had one source of pride — the level of competitiveness of the domestic Premier League. Unlike in Spain (Barcelona and Real […]

Off the Crossbar: A rivalry that became a rout

The summer of 2016 signaled a time of excitement for soccer fans in Manchester, U.K. After Leicester City’s miraculous run to the Premier League title during the 2015–16 season, both Manchester City and Manchester United appointed new, world-class managers as the sides looked to rebound and mount title challenges. City named Pep Guardiola, while José […]

Off the Crossbar: A competitive culture

While the United States has one of the world’s most successful capitalist economies, its sports leagues take a surprisingly egalitarian approach. Each of the four main leagues has a draft every year that rewards the worst teams from the previous season by giving them higher picks. There is practically no financial penalty for bad performance. […]

Off the Crossbar: PFA Player of the Year

Offense always grabs the headlines in sports, and soccer is no exception. The Ballon d’Or is the world’s most prestigious individual award for a soccer player. But since its first edition in 1956, only three defenders have won the award — and none since 2006. Defenders are often the unsung heroes in soccer, but Liverpool’s […]

Off the Crossbar: The Old-School Striker

Liverpool hosted Chelsea in the headline clash of the English Premier League (EPL) this weekend. The Reds looked to avoid another literal slip-up, exorcising the demons of their failed title run in 2014. With Chelsea embroiled in a ferocious battle for the top four and Liverpool in the midst of a grueling title charge, the […]

Off the Crossbar: Can City win the quadruple?

Unlike American sports teams that only compete for one trophy, almost all soccer clubs around the world enter multiple competitions each year. And, while some trophies carry more weight than others, a trophy is a trophy. All the prominent European leagues have one or even two domestic cup competitions, where teams from tiered professional leagues […]

Off the Crossbar: The power of loyalty

Earlier this week, amidst speculation that he would be leaving his Kentucky Wildcat program for the Bruins of UCLA, coach John Calipari signed a deal to keep him in Lexington for the entirety of his coaching career. In 2010, he took over the struggling but big-name Kentucky program that was without a Final Four appearance […]