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Roundtable: Meet the new TSF’ers!

We’ve got some new blood.

The Total Package Tour With New Kids On The Block, Paula Abdul And Boyz II Men In Las Vegas Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images

The process took a while, but we now have a bunch of new writers here at TSF Central HQ. It was an exhaustive search, but we think we found some awesome people that you’ll be hearing a lot from this season (and in some cases, already have heard from). Who are they, you ask? Well, let’s let them tell you!

Hi! My name is Alex Ellenthal. I'm from Wilton, CT, but I am currently a student at Union College in Schenectady, NY. I first became aware of Arsenal in 2010 after Thierry Henry signed for the New York Red Bulls. My interest in Arsenal actually picked up after playing with them on FIFA 10 on my PSP. One of the first games I remember watching was the 2-1 win over Barcelona in February 2011. From then, I've been hooked. I've been fortunate to see Arsenal play in person a few times, both at the Emirates and at Red Bull Arena when they came to the United States in 2014. In addition to Arsenal, I am also a big fan of the New York Rangers and the New York Mets. I blogged about the Rangers while I was in high school. I especially enjoy reading and writing about advanced statistics and tactics. I'm really excited to get started!

It felt like fate. My family and I were visiting England in 1998. We wanted to watch Manchester United play—forgive me I was just a kid—but seats were sold out. Instead, my dad got us tickets to see Arsenal vs. Nottingham Forest. Arsenal? I found out quickly that the Gunners were (and still are) the best show in England. In the 32nd minute, Marc Overmars scored what would be the winning goal and, in celebration, ran to the section where I was sitting. We hugged each other. I think we did. Or, I definitely hugged someone. Anyway, I knew one thing for sure: I loved Arsenal. I’ve been a suffering Gooner ever since.

My name is Conner Bassett. I played collegiate soccer and spent some time playing for Fluminense FC in Brazil. I’m originally from Las Vegas, and currently live in Northern California with my wife and two dogs. When I’m not thinking about Arsenal, I’m usually thinking about the Oakland (soon to be Las Vegas) Raiders.

Brandon J:
My name is Brandon Johnson and I am an age 25 college graduate of Washington State University. My passion for Arsenal was passed down to me by my great-grandfather, who was one of the men who built Highbury. I haven't missed a game since I was 17 years old, and I refuse to let an 8 hour time difference stop me from watching my favorite club. I saw my first live game against Crystal Palace and had the pleasure of seeing the Giroud scorpion kick live in a 2-0 win. My favorite subjects to write about are youth development, tactical breakdowns, and game previews. I also work as a reporting consultant in Seattle, Washington. I spend my free time with my girlfriend and taking care of our 3 month old puppy, Dexter. Follow me on Twitter: @ArsenalMan23.

Hi--my name is Kate Hartman. I'm from Wisconsin, and I'm a fourth-year undergraduate at Pomona College, a tiny liberal arts school near LA. I've been an Arsenal fan for two years, after falling in love with the club while watching a bunch of Premier League games for writing research purposes. I haven't been to a game yet, but I almost always get up early in the morning to watch matches. My other sports are Formula One, which also requires getting up at ridiculous times of day, and American football--Green Bay Packer fandom is practically a religion where I'm from. I'm an astrophysics major, and I love writing fiction--I'm about 80% of the way through my first novel.

Hello fellow Gooners! I’m Aaron Lerner from Bethesda, MD. My love for Arsenal began after a school trip to London in 2010 included two games at the Emirates: a 3-1 win over Burnley and a 5-0 Champions League win over Porto featuring a hat trick by Nicklas Bendtner, the best striker to ever live. I enjoy writing about tactics, breaking down plays, analyzing individual performances, and a healthy bit of #banter. If I’m not watching Arsenal, I’m probably watching another sport, usually my beloved Washington Capitals. But I’m not a discriminating sports-watcher – I’ll turn on pretty much anything as long as it’s exciting. I’m looking forward to getting to know the community here at TSF as we collectively root for that fourth place trophy. COYG!

Hi all, I’m Aasim Hashim from Toronto, Canada. Been an Arsenal fan since about 2001 and increasingly got more in more into Arsenal ever since then, especially once Arsenal matches were much more readily available on TV here. I haven’t been to an Arsenal match yet, but definitely one that’s on the bucket list. Other than the Arsenal, I watch pretty much all sports, especially hockey and the Toronto Maple Leafs! I’m also a Toronto FC season ticket holder and must say, it’s been a pretty fun summer here for that. And definitely looking forward to getting the season underway! COYG

Brandon B:
(Ed. note: for those of you keeping score at home, that’s THREE Brandons we have on staff now)

Hello everyone! My name is Brandon Birkhead and I’m from and currently living in the glorious hellhole know as Troy, IL, which is a suburb of St. Louis. I currently write for The Champaign Room as well, which is the SB Nation site for my Alma Mater the Illinois Fighting Illini. I’m also an alum of Turf Show Times, where I first worked with fellow TSF’er 3k. I’m a former college athletics employee. I worked in sports marketing and digital media at the University of Illinois, the Air Force Academy, and SMU.

I started really paying attention to soccer during the 2010 World Cup. I played in my youth, but like many in America moved on to other sports, but the love of soccer returned that summer with the US Men’s National team. I started watching the Premier League and the Champions League, and fell in love with the style and the players that Arsenal had. There was just a certain special magic about the club that drew me in. Then we sold off basically the entire starting lineup over the next two years, but I stuck on because the soul of the club remained even as players like Cesc and RVP left.

Also despite working in sports, I’ve never actually been to a professional soccer match! I’ve worked many college soccer games in my time in college athletics, but never actually have had the chance to see the professionals line up.