Coffee with the Caps, Monday December 12


Photo by Bill Barrett/ISI Photos/Getty Images

Good Monday morning Caps fans. I hope you all had a lovely weekend and are warming up some coffee for the final pre-holiday sprint.

This column was to be about the Caps’ seemingly quixotic quest to address the center back position, a topic that is very much still timely.

But the untimely and gutting death of Grant Wahl while covering the Netherlands/Argentina match on Friday evening changed things.

I didn’t personally know Grant like some of my other friends at SB Nation soccer did. But like anyone in American (or even North American soccer) his work was seminal in introducing me to the sport and forging my interest and passion for it.

It is difficult to put into words how much of a loss this is for the sport in the United States and beyond. Good soccer journalism isn’t always easy to come by. Thoughtful, conscientious reporting that tackled difficult subjects, such as the reality of the Qatar World Cup, is even rarer. Losing a person capable of producing that work is a blow for us all, even if we only knew Grant via his byline.

If you’re reading this you’ve probably seen the numerous tributes and stories that have been posted, written and shared over the last few days.

Let me say, as a journalist in my day job, you often encounter reporters who are insular, self-absorbed and cutthroat. I have almost certainly been that way myself. Our heroes, journalistic or otherwise, don’t always live up to who we want them to be. And Grant’s social media presence underscored that he wasn’t perfect and was as liable to make mistakes as the rest of us.

But it has been emotional to see that Grant was someone who would help, who is a person with integrity consummate to his reporting abilities, who would help younger reporters get ahead and who wanted to lift others up, rather than bring them down.

More is to come, almost certainly, on Grant’s passing. It is unwise to speculate on the circumstances surrounding his death but an investigation is certainly warranted given his fierce criticism of Qatar.

But my takeaway for this week is to be the kind of person to mirror the best qualities of Grant, to be the person to look out for others in my field and help them, support them, listen to them. Hopefully all of you reading are moved to try and recommit yourself to those same goals.

Here are the links from Caps-world and beyond.

Best of the Rest

Derek Cornelius’ move to Malmo appears to be nearing completion for a sizable fee

John Herdman is re-thinking how Canada should be preparing for the 2026 World Cup after their 2022 misadventures

Meanwhile, the U.S. Men’s National Team is a hot mess

Former Caps man Doneil Henry is headed to Minnesota United, after being claimed on waivers

The 2023 She Believes Cup will feature Canada, as well as the U.S., Brazil and Japan