Category Archives: Soccer

Parting World Cup 2010 Thoughts

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FIFA World Cup 2010 lived up to the hype and the world’s expectations once again this year.  Fantastic games, great players, a terrific atmosphere in South Africa, a rejuvenated U.S. population, and unbelievable drama made the World Cup truly a “world-class” event once again.

I watched countless hours of matches either live on ESPN or ESPN2 or taped on ESPN Classic.

To me, the best moments of the World Cup can be summed up in many different ways.  Who can forget Landon Donovan’s dramatic last-minute, extra-time goal against Algeria to secure a Round 16 birth for the first time in a very long time.  The U.S. wasn’t even expected to win its group but it truly outplayed its competitors in Group C.

And even though the U.S. lost to a young Ghana squad in the Round of 16, I have high hopes that the U.S. squad qualifies for another World Cup in Brazil in 2014.  In my opinion, they need to give Bob Bradley another nod as coach and keep building a solid defense and more players with speed in the forward spots.

I even enjoyed the non-U.S. moments of glory in the World Cup.  It was great to see the vuvuzelas make their debut even though they drowned out the play on the field.  And who can forget the passion of the South African continent.  When Ghana lost to Uruguay in penalty kicks I could feel the collective hearts of Africa beating 1 million beats a minute.

And how about all the drama? It’s no wonder this sport is “must-see” T.V. While referees and players didn’t always make the game look pretty, to follow the back-and-forth dialogue between the fans and the sports commentaries was truly something to behold.

I love the argument some naive fans had about the game being boring and the fact that most soccer players faked injuries to stop time.  The truth is “The Beautiful Game” is just that: A game of intricate moves, fantastic passes and great goal-keeping.  To get a goal in the World Cup is truly an amazing feat! Are you reading this Rooney, Renaldo, Kaka, et al?

I predicted before the tourney began that there would be major surprises in the World Cup.  How many of you didn’t have England, Brazil, Italy, France, Argentina and others in your final bracket?  Did the soccer populace truly believe New Zealand, the USA, Uruguay, and Ghana would have nice runs in the World Cup?  They were all written off before the Cup started.

Congrats to Spain for emerging as this year’s winner.  While the Spaniards didn’t score a lot of goals, their defense was impeccable at all times.

As soccer continues to emerge as the “World’s” game, I hope FIFA grants the USA another bid for the World Cup in 2018.

Wouldn’t that be another dream come true?


Soccer Seen Through My Eyes

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The US National men’s soccer team selected its 23-man roster today for the World Cup and I’m ecstatic to say with a few exceptions that Bob Bradley made the right choices.

Most people I know could care less about “The Beautiful Game” but I’m very passionate about the sport.  I truly believe the World Cup is the most amazing sporting event in the world, I envy the Renaldo’s, the Donovan’s, the Beckham’s, and the Rooney’s of the soccer universe.

You see they all play a sport that I played on a regular basis growing up. When I was growing up in a suburb in Connecticut, soccer was one of the most popular youth sports.  I played in rec leagues, travel teams and our high school team and many of my friendships were made on the soccer field.

I always loved the beauty, the grace and the simplicity of the game — from fancy dribbles to short finesse passes to artistic goals.  If Picasso painted a picture of soccer, it would be a masterpiece no doubt!

This past Spring I coached my older son’s U-4/5 soccer team and enjoyed it immensely.  I emphasized sportsmanship, having fun and was overjoyed to see the kids pick up a few basic technical soccer kills.

I’m also keeping active by playing on an adult rec league here in the Georgia burbs.  While I don’t have the flash and speed of my glory days (actually, I was never blessed with the SPEED), I still have a few crafty moves on the pitch. My team continues to lose most games but just getting out on the field and touching the soccer ball invigorates me like no other sport.

I really hope the World Cup becomes center stage for the girls and boys of the USA.  Once the watch, they may be obsessed with the game just like I am.