A small town in Northern Michigan had the eyes of the soccer world watching it with the largest crowd in American history on hand to witness Real Madrid and Manchester United at Michigan Stadium. A grand total of 109,318 were in the stands to witness the event. The game was broadcast around the world in up to 40 countries, with an estimated economic impact of $15-20 million on Washtenaw county…
As expected, the atmosphere inside the stadium was even louder and more energetic than the one created outside of it leading up to the match. Fans had descended onto Ann Arbor from around the world, and once the game kicked off, it was easy to forget that the match was only a part of a preseason tournament. Nonetheless, Manchester United, only needed a point to reach the final in Miami, and Louis Van Gaal wanted his team to be there…
The game on the pitch was rather action packed, but it was those watching the match in the stands that really made it such a special occasion. Saturday afternoon in Ann Arbor was proof that soccer has made it in North America.
Major League Soccer continues to grow in strength, reputation and competitive level. Reflecting not only the growth of proper football in the United States; but, the reputation and ability of teams throughout our regional association CONCACAF.
Today’s record attendance broke the existing record by almost 10% – and that was a match between Brazil and France. Not in Michigan.
The match was fun BTW. Man of the Match was Mr. Potatohead – which is not a negative in my mind for Wayne Rooney from Man U.
“Ethical behavior of coaches is always in the spotlight,” said lead researcher Mariya Yukhymenko, PhD, a visiting research associate at the University of Illinois at Chicago. “Our study found several negative effects related to abusive coaches, including a willingness by players to cheat to win games.”
Men’s teams were much more willing to cheat than women’s teams, according to the study, and men’s football, basketball and baseball teams reported the highest willingness to cheat at large universities in Division I of the National Collegiate Athletic Association, where players are often under intense pressure to win…
Both men’s and women’s basketball teams were much more likely to report they had abusive coaches than any other sport, although the reasons weren’t clear from the study, said researcher Thomas Paskus, PhD, a quantitative psychologist and the NCAA’s principal research scientist. Almost one-third (31 percent) of male basketball players and one in four female basketball players at Division I schools said their head coaches put them down in front of others, according to the survey results. “I think that raises some questions about the culture in that sport, even though there are a lot of coaches doing it the right way,” Paskus said…
Abusive behavior by college coaches has been a growing concern, following several high-profile incidents of coaches being fired or sued by players for alleged abusive behavior, including screaming insults, shoving or kicking athletes. This study looked only at verbal abuse by asking players whether a coach ridiculed or put them down in front of others. The study did not determine whether abusive coaches actively encouraged or permitted cheating by their teams, but there was a correlation between abusive coaches and an increased willingness by players to cheat in order to win.
Players who said they had abusive coaches also were more likely to report that their coaches didn’t create an inclusive team environment and that both their coaches and teammates were less respectful of people from other racial or ethnic groups and less accepting of differing viewpoints and cultures, according to the study…
The researchers recommended that college athletic departments conduct workshops or other programs to improve ethical leadership by coaches. “The impact that athletic coaches have on their athletes potentially affects everything from retention and chances of graduation to how these student athletes coach future generations of young athletes,” the study noted.
Offhand, I can’t think of a team sport at the collegiate level where I haven’t witnessed players diving to gain an advantage.
How strong has this become at the high school level?
While thousands of Russian fans were left devastated by their team’s early exit from the World Cup tournament, one Orthodox priest has openly rejoiced at their failure, denouncing the contest as a “homosexual abomination.”
Priest Alexander Shumsky seems to have taken particular exception to the brightly colored footwear on display in Brazil, writing in his column on Christian website Russian People’s Line that players who wear green, yellow, pink or blue shoes helped promote the “gay rainbow.”
“Wearing pink or blue shoes, [the players] might as well wear women’s panties or a bra,” Shumsky wrote, adding that he was also offended by the “unthinkable” hairstyles of some of the players in Brazil.
The 2014 World Cup has seen competitors from across the globe sport a range of colorful shoes, with all three of the major sporting brands — Adidas, Nike and Puma — unveiling brightly colored designs at the tournament in an effort to capture something of the Brazilian carnival flair.
But for Shumsky, the marketing campaigns appear to have had the opposite effect.
“The liberal ideology of globalism clearly wants to oppose Christianity with football. I’m sure of it. Therefore I am glad that the Russian players have failed and, by the grace of God, no longer participate in this homosexual abomination,” the priest wrote in his online column.
Shumsky is still pissed-off that Robbie Coltrane beat him out for the part of Rubeus Hagrid in HARRY POTTER.
Tim Howard’s stunning performance against Belgium in Tuesday evening’s epic last-16 contest in Salvador was the talk of the US yesterday after his remarkable, bloody-minded refusal to let the ball past him in the 90 minutes of normal time captured the hearts of sports fans Stateside.
But its true significance may take years to gauge because the preformance, and the reaction, may prove the tipping point which confirm the US as a real football force, establishing the sport as a real rival to American football and baseball.
Howard may have eventually succumbed in extra-time but as the New York Times put it yesterday morning: “All around the country, from coast to coast and through the nation’s belly, sports fans of every kind were inspired by the performance of a soccer goalkeeper. In a loss.”
Howard’s performance was the best statistically by a goalkeeper at any World Cup since 1966. The Everton man made a record 16 saves according to Fifa, starting as early as the 40th second when he denied Divock Origi after the Belgian striker broke through. That was one of four stops in the first half but it was after the break, when Belgium turned up the heat, that Howard came into his own and the American captain transformed into a footballing Captain America. He made eight saves in a gripping second period to keep Belgium at bay – leaping high to paw away two Origi efforts, while using his feet and legs to block a series of low strikes.
It was only with substitute Romelu Lukaku running at a tired American defence in extra-time that his resistance was broken; Lukaku, his team-mate at Everton last season, set up Kevin de Bruyne before lifting one over Howard himself. If Lukaku’s first action at the end of the match was to embrace Howard, it is a feeling shared by millions of Americans.
The goalkeeper’s heroics went viral on the internet in the hours that followed, with the hashtag “ThingsTimHowardCouldSave” inspiring pictures of the 35 year-old rescuing Bambi and the swimmer from Jaws. US vice-president Joe Biden tweeted: “Proud that our guys, just like our country, never gave up. Tim Howard – most valuable player in the World Cup.”
RTFA for more details about the whole team. We’re getting there. Nice to see we can catch up with the rest of the world in an area with social value. Lifetime sports can be a passion for spectator as well as participants.
Not-very-good athlete of the day
A Michigan man faces felony charges for allegedly trying to hurl a football stuffed with heroin and cell phones into a state prison yard…
The man hopped out of a vehicle on Sunday morning and heaved the football, which landed short, between two security fences at a state prison in Jackson, Michigan, about 75 miles (120 km) west of Detroit, prisons spokesman Russ Marlan said…
The football had been sliced open, stuffed with drugs, phones and chargers and stitched back together, Marlan said.
The man, identified as Christen Deon-Sterling Moore of Detroit…was charged with furnishing contraband and cell phones to prisoners.
A prison officer apprehended the would-be quarterback and the driver after seeing him toss the football and turned them over to Michigan State Police, Marlan said.
We already know that being a crook doesn’t require lots of smarts. Apparently, having a strong throwing arm doesn’t always make it to the job description either.
Most people associate FIFA, the organization that oversees international soccer, with the quadrennial joy of the World Cup. But as the 2014 tournament begins next week in Brazil, FIFA is plagued by levels of corruption, graft and excess that would shame Silvio Berlusconi…
FIFA was founded in 1904 in Paris as a simple rule-making committee that aimed to regulate the guidelines for a new, rapidly expanding sport when played between nations. Because it was founded in Paris, the organization took its acronym, FIFA, from the French: Fédération Internationale de Football Association. What began as an effort to make sure that practices like punching one’s opponents would not be seen as a legitimate part of the game, morphed over time into one of the most successful and disreputable organizations in the history of sports.
Under the iron-fisted leadership of Sepp Blatter, FIFA has been steeped in rotating scandals for so long, it’s difficult even to imagine its not being immersed in one public relations crisis or another. Mr. Blatter succeeded his mentor, the similarly scandal-plagued João Havelange in 1998. Under his stewardship, FIFA officials have been accused of financial mismanagement, taking bribes and projecting a level of sexism and homophobia that seems to come from another century…
FIFA is supposed to police match-fixing, yet a New York Times investigation revealed that only six people on its staff of 350 are responsible for that enforcement. It is supposed to monitor corruption, but it’s not clear it does. There have long been allegations that bribes secured the 2022 World Cup for Qatar.
The head of FIFA’s own independent governance committee (which was recently disbanded) suggested holding a new vote for the right to host the 2022 World Cup. And the European football federation’s representatives to FIFA have threatened to protest against Mr. Blatter when he declares his intention this week to seek yet another term as FIFA’s head…
Finally, the world is seeing FIFA for what it is: a stateless conglomerate that takes bribes while acting as a battering ram for world leaders who want to use the majesty of the World Cup to push through their development agendas at great human cost.
People don’t have to be displaced and workers don’t need to die for soccer. The World Cup can be staged in countries with existing stadiums and infrastructure. Moreover, the secret bidding process for host countries must end so that soccer isn’t abused for economic and political ends.
It is past time to abolish FIFA. It is like a gangrenous limb that requires amputation before the infection spreads and the beautiful game becomes decayed beyond all possible recognition.
Soccer is worth saving. FIFA needs to take its ball and go home.
Gareth Bale’s go-ahead goal for Real Madrid in the Champions League Final — REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach
Here are more photos from the Champions League Final. Real Madrid 4 – 1 Athletico Madrid. Don’t let the score fool you. It was an even match with the score being tied in stoppage time.
The victory came to Real’s Galacticos from goals scored during double overtime starting with Bale’s header.