Southern California’s senior soccer voice is stilled

i-a357a877a4438aaefbb716ffab934f3a-090604GJ_smlr.jpgLA soccer original: The Times’ Grahame L. Jones in his natural habitat – The Home Depot Center press box.

I sat next to long-time LA Times soccer reporter Grahame L. Jones in the press box at Galaxy, Chivas USA and assorted other soccer games for the last decade or so of his almost four decade-long career.

Grahame’s elegant game stories concisely and authoritatively encapsulated the game; his columns provided nuanced perspective and context, yet never alienated the novice fan.

He pioneered soccer reporting in Southern California, enduring copy editors to the end of his career who were largely clueless about the sport. His was a national voice for a largely ignored sport, contributing to the game’s growth in a way few others did.

If his worst fault was that he was too harsh on the nascent Major League Soccer (The Times, with its global pretensions, preferred he focus on the European game anyway), well, Grahame had earned the role of grumpy uncle by virtue of his long career.

Typical of Grahame, his final column was not about him, but Southern California’s rich soccer history – much of which he had chronicled.

Grahame’s retirement e-mail bemused those who don’t know of his passion for maritime history and culture.

But if he hadn’t retired to take care of his elderly parents, you would likely find him aboard a freighter with a good book in one hand and a whiskey in the other, content in the slow inexorable journey across the ocean rather than the destination.

Which is a good metaphor for his career: It has been a grand voyage and one that smoothed the waters for those of us who came after.

Cheers.

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About Nick Green

South Bay-based Los Angeles News Group columnist and blogger Nick Green writes about soccer at the 100 Percent Soccer blog at www.insidesocal.com/soccer and craft beer at the Beer Goggles blog at www.insidesocal.com/beer. Cheers!
  • Colin

    I’ve always enjoyed Grahame’s writing, even when I was 9 years old and the only coverage I could get about that fledgling MLS team in Pasadena with the crazy Mexican goalkeeper was in the LA Times. It always seemed that he wasn’t given the credit in the newspaper that other writers received. On skill and intelligence alone, Grahame could write circles around TJ Simers and Bill Plaschke.

    I will miss his writing and hope that the LA Times doesn’t forget about the beautiful game completely.

  • studs & elbows down

    “Grahame’s elegant game stories concisely and authoritatively encapsulated the game; his columns provided nuanced perspective and context, yet never alienated the novice fan.”

    You gotta be kidding me Nick.

    I never found his reporting to be of any value or insight. He is no friend of American soccer and his scribblings nor the LA Times sport section will not be missed. I think his snobbish and condescending attitude was in fact a detriment to the sport in this town.

  • studs & elbows down

    “Grahame’s elegant game stories concisely and authoritatively encapsulated the game; his columns provided nuanced perspective and context, yet never alienated the novice fan.”

    You gotta be kidding me Nick.

    I never found his reporting to be of any value or insight. He is no friend of American soccer and his scribblings nor the LA Times sport section will not be missed. I think his snobbish and condescending attitude was in fact a detriment to the sport in this town.

  • studs & elbows down

    “Grahame’s elegant game stories concisely and authoritatively encapsulated the game; his columns provided nuanced perspective and context, yet never alienated the novice fan.”

    You gotta be kidding me Nick.

    I never found his reporting to be of any value or insight. He is no friend of American soccer and his scribblings nor the LA Times sport section will not be missed. I think his snobbish and condescending attitude was in fact a detriment to the sport in this town.

  • studs & elbows down

    “Grahame’s elegant game stories concisely and authoritatively encapsulated the game; his columns provided nuanced perspective and context, yet never alienated the novice fan.”

    You gotta be kidding me Nick.

    I never found his reporting to be of any value or insight. He is no friend of American soccer and his scribblings nor the LA Times sport section will not be missed. I think his snobbish and condescending attitude was in fact a detriment to the sport in this town.

  • bear

    Sorry, I disagree! His writing was many times inaccurate to facts! His attitude about US Soccer was obnoxious!
    Do NOT miss him!!

  • Paul D

    Grumpy uncle? Please don’t try to sugar coat it. This guy did more to harm soccer in LA and the US in general than Jim Rome or Frank Deford could ever hope to because he was on the inside. How many POTENTIAL soccer fans did this jerk turn away when they decided to check out what was going on with the local soccer team and read his trashy, inaccurate account… delivered in the English style to give it weight.

    I saw him write once that he was hard on local soccer to make it better. He had it wrong. You make it better by making people interested in it. It’s butts in seats and games on television that bring in the money that makes it better. The EPL isn’t great because the commentary is demanding. It’s that the money is there. Its not complicated.

    Galaxy is rolling, Klinsman is building, Grahame Jones is retiring. Now we can get some things done.