Today at 5:23 PM, this website will celebrate its first anniversary. Now, typically, most blogs would just quickly note this and move on, but The DCenters is a pretentious, egocentric website, so I'm going to go with a full on Academy Award style post. If that's not interesting to you, the great thing about a blog is that you can check back later, and this post will be farther down the page.
See, when I kicked this thing off, I had no idea what I was doing, or how long I would feel devoted to it. All I knew was that I wanted to get back to writing, and that I loved me some DC United soccer. I still have no idea what I'm doing, but I feel more comfortable with it. Since I started, the DCenters has had over 21,000 unique visitors, almost 40,000 page views, and 428 postings. Not bad for a year, especially since I forgot to install Sitemeter until September of 2005. In more insufferable bragging, the DCenters is the Technorati #1 blog for American Soccer, US Soccer, Major League Soccer and DC United, and the #2 blog for "MLS" (second to a real estate blog). Now, that doesn't mean much, since it only tracks people who are also in Technorati and use the tags feature, but it's still kinda nice. Really, there are better blogs on the US Soccer scene as a whole than this one, but my ego won't let reality get in the way of a brag.
When I started The DCenters, US Soccer blogging was pretty much in its infancy. In learning about both blogging and US Soccer, I owe a debt to Maradawga, We Call It Soccer, Ramblings of a Soccer Junkie, and Soccer Fever, as they were some of the few blogs that I knew of when this started. Climbing the Ladder, the Kin of Fish, Pseudo-Corner Kick, Bruce's Belly, and others that started soon after were also major influences. You are good company and great reading. Like many, I've come to rely on Du Nord lots of news and Mike H's Soccer Blog. Oscar of Record as I Am created Soccerblogs.net, and I am an addict. When Grant Wahl gave a kind mention to the DCenters in his "best Soccer blogs" column, I suddenly felt a responsibility to become better. Strange, but thanks for the shout-out Grant. Soon there were many more soccer blogs with a US or International interest that had sprung up, and to everyone over on my blogroll at the right, I thank you, as I read you all, and I apologize for not giving you a special shout-out, as you deserve it.
I'm also happy to see some growth in team-specific blogging. To begin with, it was myself, the now defunct (?) Rapidsfan, and Kali from RSL out here. I've always said (usually to the Dawg) that MLS can not succeed by creating fans of the league, but rather by creating fans of teams. So to those of you that are dedicated to a team, I salute you.
In terms of team specific blogging, I really should admit that most of my early learning was done from blogs on the Washington Nationals, which were plentiful in quantity and quality in a way that MLS team specific blogs were not. Basil of Nationals Inquirer (now Federal Baseball) gave the DCenters one of its first blogroll links, and I confess to stealing many ideas from Distinguished Senators, Nats Blog, Capitol Punishment, Just a Nats Fan, Ball Wonk, the soccer-friendly Donut Ball, and many other Yudites.
Finally, the big three. To everyone who has commented or dropped an email to this site, I've appreciated them all. I'd be lying if I said it didn't make this easier and more rewarding to do if I didn't know people were reading it.
DC United's front office has, from time-to-time, put up with me sending them random questions and requests, and they have always responded with more honesty and respect than I probably deserve. Special thanks to Kyle Sheldon, Boris Flores, and Jamie O'Connor.
Finally, I need to mention that my wife, who rarely reads this blog, has been very supportive and encouraging regarding this venture. She supported my getting a half-season plan, going out to game viewings, and sends me stories that are interesting. I am a lucky, lucky man.
There, that should be saccharine enough for everyone. But I want to say that I have learned a great deal about writing and soccer. Perhaps not enough, and I need to learn more, but a lot. Let's hope the next year continues that trend. I'm having more fun than ever.