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Who had soccer’s worst 2015?


The end of the Gregorian calendar year is a time when many publications, websites and blogs pull out their “best of” lists.  These are always fun to read because they provide a nostalgic look back on the year that was, but if you really think about, it these are sad articles.  The heroes we commemorate may have reached a high-point that can never be reached again.  Will the person who created that dress no one could tell the color of ever garner that much buzz again?  Probably not.

However, it’s those lists of the disasters, disappointments and disgraces that provide us with a glimmer of hope.  Those people who failed spectacularly in 2015 have a chance for redemption in 2016.  Maybe Jason Garrett can turn around the Dallas Cowboys.  Maybe Radio Shack’s brand can be resurrected online.  Maybe Jeb Bush can actually get votes in a Republican primary.

With that in mind, here is a list of some of the people, brands and personalities that had the worst 2015s.  Disagree?  Think I missed someone?  Share your thoughts in the comments or social media:

The Finalists



The tire company began a roughly $60 million shirt sponsorship with Chelsea this season only to see the club wearing its name become a tire-fire of a disaster.  Maybe not the best investment of funds.

Jurgen Klinsmann


That surprising World Cup runs seems like more than 18 months ago.  Despite a high-profile win over Germany, the US men’s national team has seemingly taken a few steps back.  His job may or may not be in danger, but the shine is definitely off the golden child.  Speaking of US Soccer …

SEE MORE:Veterans key for Klinsmann to balance US’s old and new.

Sunil Gulati


Despite the women’s team winning the World Cup, the US soccer system had a rough year.  As mentioned above, the men’s team is stuck in neutral.  Meanwhile, some of Gulati’s business partners have been caught up in the FIFA scandal, and finally tough questions are beginning to be asked about what he knew when around some of these scandals.  Either he was incredibly naive or complicit, and neither is a positive for the man who is supposed to be improving the US’s standing in the soccer world.

SEE MORE: Gulati had a bad 2015; 2016 needs to be better.

Bolton Wanderers fans


That Premier League time seems like eons ago.  The club barely avoided relegation to end last season and end the calendar year at the bottom of the Championship.  Their club is almost £180 million in debt, the bank has seized their assets and put a transfer freeze on the team, and the manager — widely acclaimed from his time in Celtic — has been struggling with a scandal in his personal life.  2016 may see brighter days ahead for these fans, but there will probably be a few more clouds before.

SEE MORE: Ownership uncertainty leaves Bolton unable to pay players.

Jermaine Jones


Coming off a great World Cup performance, the US international joined New England Revolution in 2014 and made them one of the league’s MLS Cup favorites.  However, the team underachieved and he (probably) ended his MLS career by physically confronting a referee in a playoff game.  On the international front, he continued to start but became an example of how poor of a head coach Klinsmann was.  He ends 2015 without a professional team and an unclear international future.

SEE MORE: Beckerman, Jones, Borchers highlight MLS’s 2015 All-Hair Team

MLS executives


Point to all the metrics you want about the growth of MLS, but as World Soccer Talk has documented, the abysmal television ratings for the top-flight domestic league continues to hinder its growth.  People simply aren’t tuning in to MLS matches, but they are watching soccer matches in larger numbers.  Continued tweaks may change this but the hill is steep to climb.

SEE MORE: MLS unable to generate TV ratings from Women’s World Cup.

Ashley Cole


He was essentially cut from Roma after getting no playing time and, on the edge of signing a big deal with a league he criticized in the past, is the poster child for what is wrong with the LA Galaxy.  Quite the fall for the former England number one left back.

SEE MORE: Cole links the perfect addition to LA’s nonsensical offseason.

The Runner-Up: Manuel Pellegrini


The Manchester City gaffer has had a rough 12 months at the head of one of the world’s richest clubs.  At the beginning of the year, his club was level on points atop the table but proceeded to tank the title race, lose to a Championship side in the FA Cup and lose to Barcelona in the Champions League.  This season, his side has failed to take advantage of turmoil with Chelsea and Manchester United, inconsistency with Liverpool and Tottenham, and well, Arsenal being Arsenal. Thus, they sit third in a weak Premier League.  To top it all off, his job is publicly being discussed.  It would have to take an especially bad year to top that, but behold, we have just that.

SEE MORE: Chelsea’s upheaval should make Manchester City reconsider ditching Pellegrini for Guardiola.

The Worst Year in Soccer Winner: Sepp Blatter


The deposed head of FIFA is an obvious pick for this prestigious award for a number of reasons.  He had to step down from his position and watch as people ran against his corrupt regime.  He made repeated stupid statements about women’s soccer and had to watch as people lined up against the sexist way FIFA treated the Women’s World Cup.  He watched as his records and his co-conspirators’ records were splashed across international newspapers and books before he finally was banned from the organization he led for so many years.  Knowing Blatter, don’t be surprised if he makes a reappearance on the international stage in 2016, but 2015 is certainly a year he will want to forget.

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  1. Jimbo

    December 31, 2015 at 3:10 pm

    Where’s Mourinho?

  2. Bishopville Red

    December 31, 2015 at 1:53 pm

    Surprised Michel Platini is not on the list. He fell almost as hard as Blatter and had far more “future” destroyed in the game than the near-80 year old who was on the way out anyway.


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