In previous years, per mutual agreement with my previous employer, I stopped writing once the MLS season expired, and all of my offseason anguish and inactivity was banished to the outer reaches of my mind. But now, with the outright graciousness from my current employer, I'm like the Love Boat: exciting and new.
1. Do extensive interviews to propel a purported point and push an agenda.
2. Inject a dose of morality (perhaps with photographs) to pull on the heartstrings.
3. Make stuff up.
I'll be honest, I find option No. 3 the most intriguing. So now the question is, should I write what I really feel or what sells (an issue I'm positive columnists have internally debated since opining became a profession)? Hmm. Since I've never been one to pander to the masses, I am going to write what I really feel -- in a format that sells: a David Letterman-style/Top Ten/VH1/E! Entertainment/Best-Of List.
A list has order, a top-to-bottom hierarchy, and manifests itself to us on a daily basis. Lists are everywhere, and the pull is strong. Everyone wants to know what, when, where, why, how and who No. 1 is, then we can talk about it. But not just talk:
3. Agree to disagree.
4. Provide evidence for why someone or something else should be No. 1.
In essence, lists create a diversion to the mundane and give us a reason to hear ourselves talk. So in the spirit of hearing my own voice, I will address all the topics that come fast and furious during the rumor and speculation-fueled break in the MLS schedule ... one list at a time.
The Lists (in countdown mode for dramatic effect)
Reasons the Los Angeles Galaxy are this year's MLS champion:
5. Steve Sampson. According to Steve Sampson.
4. A .500 team in the regular season winning the Cup looks good for the league.
3. Actor Drew Carey came to every home game.
2. They didn't have to face the Kansas City Wizards in the playoffs.
1. Sigi Schmid didn't pray hard enough for it not to happen.
Reasons Taylor Twellman won Most Valuable Player of MLS:
5. The Kraft family demanded that their son be recognized.
4. Pat Noonan.
3. His head is twice the size of a normal human being's.
2. Opponents forgot to mark him with five minutes left to go in games.
1. His shorts. Which are so tight it looks like he's wearing spandex.
Reasons the San Jose Earthquakes have to move out of the Bay Area:
6. To follow Alexi Lalas' lead.
5. Common sense. The team only had the best regular-season record, did not lose one game at home and had the second-best home attendance. Ship them out, I say.
4. Khodadad Azizi wants to rejoin the team.
3. So that the Spartan Stadium price-gouging landlords (San Jose State University) cannot hold MLS hostage anymore.
2. Because the local newspaper still hasn't recognized there is a professional soccer team in their city.
1. Landon Donovan says the fans there aren't loyal anymore.
Most annoying ailment/injury to soccer-playing Americans:
6. ACL tear.
5. Blister on the heel.
4. Jammed finger.
3. Sports hernia.
2. Athlete's foot.
1. Brandi Chastain.
Reasons Freddy Adu will play a lot more next season:
7. His mom said so.
6. Nike said so.
5. Pele said so.
4. Commissioner Don Garber said so.
3. DC United general manager Kevin Payne said so.
2. Freddy himself said so.
1. D.C. United head coach Peter Nowak said, "Umm, no."
Reasons Bob Bradley will be successful as head coach of Chivas USA:
6. 2004 MLS MVP and current MetroStars midfielder Amado Guevara is looking for a new team.
5. Real Salt Lake, the Colorado Rapids and FC Dallas are in his division.
4. The last time he coached a team that had primary colors of red and white, he won a championship.
3. He's Bob Bradley.
2 In Chivas-land, eight wins out of 32 games is a success.
1. His new general manager gave him the green light to wear sweats during games again.
Best look-alikes in the league (minus the valuable pictures to back it up due to a possible infringement on Internet copyright laws, or my editor is too lazy to sort it out for me):
5. Matt Reis of the New England Revolution and Rob Corddry of "The Daily Show."
4. Me and Brad Pitt (how I envision myself).
3. Bruce Morgan, head athletic trainer of the San Jose Earthquakes, and David Hyde Pierce of "Frasier."
2. Me and Anthony Michael Hall (how I really am).
1. Eric Wynalda and Ryan Seacrest.
All Major League Soccer wants for Christmas is:
6. More sports turf and football lines.
5. To bring back the MLS Shootout.
4. A bigger television audience for MLS Super Soccer Saturday.
3. To rule the world one single-entity structure at a time.
2. David Beckham.
1. For me to stop writing until April.
Enjoy the holidays.
Jimmy Conrad is a defender for the U.S. national team and Major League Soccer's Kansas City Wizards. He contributes regularly to ESPN.com.