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: 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 […]

Off the Crossbar: Money well spent

The UEFA Champions League has long been Europe’s most prestigious club competition, and while the English Premier League (EPL) is widely considered to be the most competitive league in the world, its teams have struggled recently in this tournament. Since Chelsea lifted the trophy in 2012, the number of English teams in the quarterfinals of […]

Off the Crossbar: A changing of the guard

The Champions League treated soccer fans with a host of captivating fixtures last week: Porto and Manchester United overcame 2–0 first leg deficits to advance to the quarterfinals, while Dutch side Ajax defeated Spanish giants Real Madrid 4–1 to overcome a first leg defeat and send the three-time defending champions crashing out of the competition. Despite […]

Off the Crossbar: The changing identity of the MLS

In the MLS’s 23rd season kickoff this weekend, the Los Angeles Galaxy commemorated its best-known No. 23 and star, David Beckham. The Galaxy unveiled a statue outside their home stadium of the international icon, who moved to the MLS in 2007 at the age of 32 in a benchmark moment for the budding league. Beckham was the […]

Off the Crossbar: Player power

In a fitting precursor to Sunday’s primetime event, Chelsea goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga produced an Oscar-worthy performance during the final minutes of his team’s defeat to Manchester City in the Carabao Cup Final. The Spanish goalkeeper had gone down twice with leg injuries during extra time after a goalless 90 minutes of regulation time. His manager, Maurizio […]