Saturday, May 31, 2014

BISERGS Draft - First Round Report

Brazil, the host nation and the oddsmakers favorite to win the World Cup, was the first team selected in the 2014 BISERGS draft.  Matt Snyder had no doubt about his choice and used the number one overall pick to take el Seleção.  With the second pick in the draft, Rick Samuelson moved across the Atlantic and chose Christiano Ronaldo's Portugal team.  Derek Samuelson went with the defending world champions and current world number one Spain with the third pick overall.  Evan Samuelson used the next pick to take Germany, which is ranked second in the world.

To accommodate 35 participants in this years BISERSG, each World Cup team can be picked by up to five different players.  Ivan Glenney was thrilled to see Brazil still available when his 15th pick came around.  When he became the fifth BISERGSer to claim the hosts, Brazil was removed from the draft board.  Spain is the only other team that won't be available in the second round.  Josh Rutz became the fifth player to pick the defending champs with pick number 25.

Argentina and Germany were both taken four times in the first round and aren't likely to last long in the next phase of the draft.  The only other teams to be taken more than once in the first round were Italy, Switzerland and Portugal.  All three were selected twice.  In all, 18 different teams were selected in the first round.

Krista Rutz must have felt unlucky that her top two teams Brazil and Spain were unavailable when it was finally her turn to pick in the 31st position.  She was the only player to not get her first or second choice today, but she still managed to get the highly regarded Germans.  She also gets the fifth pick in the second round and may well have the last laugh come July.

The draft will continue tomorrow night Abu Dhabi time.  To check which team you got in the first round, go to the team selection page.

Submissions Close and the Draft Begins

BISERGS Draft Headquarters in action.
In the most dramatic fashion imaginable, Matt Snyder entered his picks at 11:59 PM, just one minute before the team selection window slammed shut.  With the close of team selections, the BISERGS staff has snapped into action.  Over the course of the next few days, they'll be matching up the picks with the draft sequence and team selections will be revealed one at a time on the team selection page.  Thirty one BISERGSers submitted their picks and four decided to take their chances with a random draw.  While it appears Spain and Brazil were the most common first pick, BISERGS participants made 14 different countries their first choice.  That means the likelihood of getting a number one choice is higher than ever.

Friday, May 30, 2014

Last Minute Heroics

Less than 24 hours remain for all BISERGS participants to get their team preferences in.  A steady stream of picks have been getting registered over the past week, but 17 players have waited until the last minute to pick their teams.  Waiting until the last minute isn't always a bad thing as the US team showed us in South Africa in 2010.  They were just minutes away from exiting the World Cup prematurely when this happened.

If you are looking at this on a phone or iPad, the video may not appear, so you can follow this link instead.

Defending champion Carol Barrera and three time winner Sharleen Samuelson have selected their teams, but current BISERGS world number 3, Dan Rutz, and number 4, Gray Samuelson, are still contemplating their strategies for this huge event.  Matt Snyder who was the lucky winner of the first pick after the draft order draw has also delayed submitting his teams.  He is certainly feeling the huge pressure of choosing the first team.   BISERGS newcomer Renee Samuelson was the first to submit her teams back on May 16th and has been patiently waiting for the draft tomorrow.

Tomorrow at midnight pacific time, the team selection form will be shut down, and the draft will begin.  You can watch the draft board get filled in on the Team Selection page.

Good luck everyone.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

New Page - Team Selection Check

You may have noticed that there have been a few changes to the website recently as the World Cup kickoff draws nearer.  There is a new page where BISERGS scores will be updated daily.  For the rest of this week, this page serves a double purpose of reporting who has made their team selections.  If your name is highlighted in green, that means you have selected your teams.  If your name is in a white box, you haven't sent in your teams yet and need to before Friday night.  I haven't heard of any problems with the form, but please check and make sure that your team selection has been sent in.  If someone that you live with or live near hasn't sent in their selections yet, please remind them that time is running out.  I'm sure that the reason for some of your slow responses is a desire to watch as many warm-up matches as possible and monitor the injury status of all the players up until the last possible minute.  Wow, I'm glad you guys are taking this so seriously.

The other changes to the website are the leaderboard that will also be updated daily throughout the tournament, the label cloud (scroll down on the right side) that will help you to locate the BISERGS posts and a space that collates all of the comments that are made on the website.  

Monday, May 26, 2014

And Your First Pick is ...

Don't be sad because you forgot to pick your favorite teams
Don't make it Iran or Australia.  Wouldn't you rather have your first pick be Brazil, Spain, Germany or Argentina? If you don't get your picks in by May 30th, your picks will be made randomly and you may end up with teams that you don't want.  My apologies to all of the Iran and Australia fans playing the BISERGS, but I'm sure you can get your teams in the later rounds of the draft.  Make your picks here.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Joy and Heartbreak in Madrid (well Lisbon actually)

Last night's Champions League final ended with all of the twists and turns that make soccer such an exciting spectacle and have us all looking forward to this summer's World Cup.  The world's most prestigious club competition came down to a contest between two cross-town rivals, Athletico Madrid and Real Madrid.  Real was gunning for its record 10th European crown while Athletico was looking to stop their hated rivals and cap an extraordinary season that saw them beat both Barcelona and Real Madrid in the Spanish League for the first time in 18 years.  Ahtletico seemed destined for glory as they held on to a 1-0 lead deep into stoppage time, but then Sergio Ramos rose to head home a corner kick and equal the score.  This sent the teams into a 30 minute overtime when the exhausted underdogs couldn't hold off the powerful Real side and gave up 3 goals.  The 4-1 scoreline is the most misleading result ever as Athletico were mere seconds away from victory.

Ramos breaks Athletico's hearts at the death.
The game highlighted some key figures in the summers world cup.  Athletico's opener was scored by Uruguayan defender Diego Godin.  Ramos plays for Spain and Real's other goal scorers Marcelo (Brazil) and Christiano Ronaldo (Portugal) are both playing in the world cup.  Of the scorers, only Gareth Bale of Wales won't be playing because his country failed to qualify for this summers event.

You may be wondering if there is any connection between Champions League success and national success in the World Cup. Spain certainly hopes so, but recent history doesn't look good for the defending champions.  In 2010, Inter Milan won the Champions League, but Italy (who were the defending World Cup champs at the time, just like Spain is now) crashed out in the first round.  In 2006, Barcelona won the Champions League, but Spain lost in the round of 16 to the eventual champion France.  2002 was the last time Real Madrid had won the Champions League before yesterday, but that year Spain were eliminated by host South Korea in a match that was decided by penalty kicks.

This years Real Madrid squad has many key Spaniards, but is lead by Ronaldo of Portugal and also boasts Portugals best defender (Pepe), Croatia's best player (Luca Modric) and important players from Germany (Sami Khedira), France (Karim Benzema) and Argentina (Angel Di Maria).  All of these players and many more are on national squads that could lift the World Cup and make them winners of the two most prestigious soccer competitions on the planet this year.


Saturday, May 24, 2014

Picking your Teams

With only 6 days left to select your BISERGS teams, some of you may still be looking for help. The odds makers know exactly who the favorites are and using one of their lists isn't a bad idea.  FIFA ranks the teams based on their performance over the past four years and if Vegas betting isn't your thing, FIFAs formula based system may be just for you.  Some of the major media outlets have their own guides such as Fox Soccer , ESPN, BBC, but beware, there are some national team biases there.  It is also a good idea to keep up with injuries that could have a huge impact on your BISERGS success.  However you decide to choose your teams, make sure you do it before May 30th.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Slogans - Another great way to pick your teams

If you are still struggling to rank your World Cup teams for the BISERGS, even with the help of the recent guest posts about uniforms, studying each countries slogans may be just what you're looking for.  If you already have your teams selected, at least this article from the Washington Post will make you laugh and get you even more excited about the world's biggest sporting event that starts next month. 

Another BISERGS Fashion Update

Here is another guest post, this time by the reigning champion Carol Barrera.  Thanks for your contribution Carol.  To the rest of you, please send me anything you'd like posted

Ladies: this is our chance to shine by discerning posts showing our fashion sense.

Sharleen’s description of our watching the 1994 World Cup together while she recuperated from a tonsilectomy is bitter sweet—because it was the last time she lived at home with us.  I treasure the memory, while lamenting her suffering from the sore throat and the disappointment of that last failed shot by her hero.  After running through all the webs sites showing the uniforms, my favorites are in this order:
1)      Russia (away) astronaut theme.
Carol's favorite - the Russian away astronaut theme
2)      Mexico (home), sharp lightning design
3)      Costa Rica (asymmetrical v design and clever neck pattern)
4)      Germany (home): wing shaped design on front
5)      USA (away): something about that red, white and blue
6)      Nigeria (simple, clean lines with pleasing shades of green)
7)      Argentina classic white and sky blue horizontal stripes (or is it just nostalgia over my Messi shirt bought by Greg for me in a Moroccan market.)

Some uniforms have nice details up close, but these touches are not visible from afar.  Cases in point: Ghana (neck pattern on home, horizontal strips with designs on away), Belgium’s crown motif and Iran’s water mark cheetah. But for someone like me who is visually challenged and watching games on an old, small TV, I like a uniform that sticks out so that I can identify it easily.  Of course, on that basis alone, I would have chosen the Netherlands survival orange, Croatia’s home red and white checks or Japan’s away Electric Yellow (to me, chartreuse) with orange paint swipe on back.

Strangest: Iran’s socks, which have small white and red bands, but from a distance just look pink.

Originally Posted May 21, 2014 on

True Confessions of a Three Time Champion

The following is a guest post by three time BISERGS Champion, Sharleen Samuelson.  Please respond by using the comments section below.  BISERGS 2014 welcomes guest posts from all BISERGS participants.

As the current record holder for BISERGS wins (1998, 2002, 2006), I have a true confession to make. The only World Cup I really ever watched was in 1994. I had just graduated high school, all my friends had flown away, and I was laid up recovering from a nasty tonsillectomy. I watched every game and all the commentary in between spooning ice cream down my sore throat. I shouted "GOOOAAAAL!" from my heart even though I could barely whisper. I also may or may not have developed a slight crush on Roberto Baggio (named as having one of the "30 most breathtaking mullets in sports history") and was truly heartbroken at his missed penalty that cost Italy the win. 

Sharleen's heartthrob after penalty kick failure.
In fact, it may be that Baggio's missed penalty was the beginning of the end of my short lived passion for soccer. My only strategy in those first three BISERGS Championships was to choose Italy and wait for them to be vindicated. When they finally won in 2006, it also brought my reign to an end.

Will Mexico's Power Stripe lead
them to World cup Success?
This year, however, I've decided on a new strategy (although I'm not saying whether or not Italy will still be my first pick). After reading's "The Horrifying True Story of the Ugliest Jerseys in U.S. Soccer History", I was inspired to take a look at this year's team jerseys. Check out this storyif you want to see them for yourself. I admit that I might not be completely impartial, but I like Mexico's "power stripe", here's hoping that it is more than metaphorical. I also like Cameroon's African print, and the Netherland's choices are classy as usual (especially the away print). 

If you were choosing your team solely on their team jersey, what would be your favorite? What other non-strategic criteria could you use to choose your teams?

Originally Posted May 20, 2014 on

What's Next?

Now that you know what place you get to pick in the draft, it is time to decide which teams you want.  Everyone chooses their BISERGS teams for different reasons.  Some pick based on their favorite foods, dream holiday destinations or the coolest looking flags.  Some are wine people (Italy, France and Chile are good choices), others prefer beer (Belgium and Germany are top seeds in this world cup) .  Others pick based on actual soccer related criteria (these people tend to do the best in the BISERGS).  Over the next couple of weeks, I’ll post some information about all of the teams playing in the World Cup that may help you make up your mind.  I’ll also email you a document that you can print out to help you sort through the teams and put them in your preferred order.   This is especially helpful for helping kids put their picks in order.  As explained on the rules page, your teams’ performances in the World Cup determine your BISERGS success.  

Once you have decided the order you want to select your teams in, go over to the team selection and complete the form.  This needs to be completed by May 30th.  If you complete the list and then change your mind, you can always fill in the form again any time before May 30th.  The last form that you submit will be the one used in the draft.  To make things fair, I’ve already completed my form, so I won’t be influenced by being able to see the selections as they come in.  If you do not send in a preferred draft order by May 30th, your teams will be selected randomly from the teams available in the draft.

Originally Posted May 14, 2014 on

Snohomish Snyders and Portland Samuelsons Dominate Draft Order Draw

Matt Snyder was the big winner today as his name was the first pulled from the hat at BISERGS headquarters in Abu Dhabi.  When news reached Snohomish, Matt (pictured above, thanks for sending me the photo Carol) ran into his backyard and slid across grass on his knees in celebration. Rick Samuelson was the second name selected and he was followed immediately by his sons Derek and Evan. Irma and Byron Xitumul wrapped up the top 5 and Max Snyder joined his father in wild celebration as his name was pulled out 6th. Current BISERGS World #1, Carol Barrera, watched the entire event live via Skype, but had to wait until number 17 to hear her name called. Not every Snyder in Washington state was pleased with their place. Cookie Snyder didn't receive a mother's day gift from the draw as her name was picked last. She'll take consolation in the fact that she has the first pick in the second round and can possibly snatch up two World Cup group winners. For the complete list of draft results, visit the draft page.

Originally Posted May 10, 2014 on

Draft Order Draw - Saturday May 10th

On Saturday evening Abu Dhabi time, the draft order for the BISERGS team selections will be determined by drawing names from a hat.  You can see the event results live here or here.  Follow @_GregSam on twitter to get updated information about the exact start time of this monumental BISERGS 2014 event.

Originally Posted May 9, 2014 on

BISERGS Field is Set

A record 35 relatives of Greg Samuelson will be vying for the title of BISERGS this summer. The list of players includes the top performers in the last two BISERGS and a number of talented first timers, making this the most exciting BISERGS ever. With registration now closed, the world’s attention now turns to Friday evening (Abu Dhabi time) and the all important draft order draw. Everyone will be hoping to get a high draft pick to make sure they have a chance to pick their favorite team in the first round. Visit this page on Friday to see where you get to pick in the draft.

Originally Posted May 5, 2014 on

BISERGS World Rankings

In the latest update to the BISERGS World Rankings, the reigning BISERGS Champion, Carol Barrera, has overtaken three-time winner Sharleen Samuelson to claim the number one position. Dan Rutz is the current world number 3 after being narrowly defeated by Carol in the closest ever BISERGS back in 2010. Gray Samuelson is in the number 4 spot due to his consistently strong performances in the last two competitions, while Krista Rutz rounds out the top 5. The BISERGS (Biggest International Soccer Expert Related to Greg Samuelson) World Rankings are calculated to take every BISERGS ever played into account, but are weighted to place greater value on the most recent competitions. If you’ve played the BISERGS before, have a look at where you are ranked.

Originally Posted March 26, 2014 on

See who's playing

The Teams and Participants page of the BISERGS 2014 website now has a map that shows where everyone who signs up is living.  Sign up yourself for World Cup summer fun and put yourself on the map.

Originally Posted March 26, 2014 on

Registration is up and running

Registration opened for the 2014 BISERGS a few days ago and eight eager family members have signed up to play. None of them are more eager than my niece, Krista Rutz (USA), who had already found the sight and signed up a week before I let anyone know the address.  Well done to Krista who is obviously ready to get started after finishing third in 2010 and was the highest ranked nephew or niece in the competition. So far, there hasn't been an overwhelming crowd, but it is pretty cool that those eight participants live in three different countries.  Also registered are defending champion Carol Barrera (Guatemala), my nephew Gray Samuelson, who finished fifth last time around, and Gray’s sister Katelynn who will be playing the BISERGS for the first time this summer. Three-time winner Sharleen Samuelson, and my two daughters, Emilie and Annika (UAE) are also registered to play.  If you haven't signed up yet, you can do it here.  For more information about the game, follow this link.

Originally Posted March 11, 2014 on

BISERGS joins the twittesphere

I just figured out how to get any tweet with #BISERGS to automatically load to this website.  If you aren't on twitter yet, get your self an acount and start hashtagging the BISERGS.  All the cool kids are doing it.

Originally Posted December 30, 2013

BISERGS Logo revealed

​All great events require a top notch graphics design team.  BISERGS is no different, except that I don't know anything about graphic design and I don't have a team.  So, to keep with BISERGS tradition, I stole and adapted the FIFA World Cup logo again.

Originally Posted December 26, 2013 on