I am disappointed to announce that my favorite player, Zinedine Zidane, was a supporter of the 2022 Qatar bid. Not only did he support the bid but he campaigned for it…and was paid a hefty sum of money. The agreement was Zidane would receive 3 million dollars for allowing his name to support the Qatar bid. And if Qatar won the bid then he would receive 15 million. Not a bad pay cheque for doing relatively nothing.
The Brazilian national soccer team that won the 1970 World Cup in Mexico was a team that we can always learn from. They played some of the best possession and attacking football seen to this day.
Watch the build up and finally triumphant goal that Carlos Alberto scored off the Pele assist in the 1970 world cup versus Italy. The Brazilian players were calm and collective with the ball in their defense third all the way into the offensive third before the goal was scored. What an incredible play to witness. I can only imagine what it must have felt like to be in the stadium and witness this moment of history with my own eyes.
The New York Red Bulls of the MLS – whether they realize it or not – have embarked on a project that will change North American soccer forever. Earlier this summer they signed French allstar Thierry Henry and recently confirmed that they have added the Mexican legend Rafael Marquez to their lineup. For the New York Red Bull, at a micro-scale, this project involves creating a team that is built to make a championship run. At a macro-scale, they are raising the bar for soccer in North America as a whole. Marquez and Henry are both coming from arguably the best team in Europe: FC Barcalona.
This past weekend while working a promotional event at the Canadian Broadcast Corporation (CBC) in downtown Toronto I was able to take part in a very large world cup street party. This street party was part of what has been known as Soccer Day in Canada. Like many cities around the world hosting similar events, this was a fun filled street party. Several streets were closed off to traffic allowing businesses and tents to be set up for the general public. There were a number of sporting companies on site, a large beer tent, a stage for musical performances and several large screen tv’s which showed the Toronto FC game (MLS), the third place between Uruguay and Germany and the finals between Holland and Spain. The entire weekend was a great soccer event that was free of charge and brought together people of all nationalities and backgrounds for one thing: the love of the game.
Recently the discussion came up regarding team loyalty at all levels of play or should I say the lack of team loyalty. Every year, and more often than not, players at all levels are switching teams to seek greater personal fame, a larger pay cheque or immediate championships. The sense of loyalty where young players grow up supporting their favorite team and then playing for them is gone. This type of behavior hurts the game in the short and long run. Furthermore, it takes away from fan enjoyment. This type of non-loyalty is becoming common in all sport today including the NHL, NBA and the NFL. When there is a lack of respect, loyalty and honor, aspects surrounding the sport begin to lose value quickly. The expression “blood, sweat and tears” is no more.
While watching the FIFA 2010 World Cup, teams and players are committing errors that they would normally not do at club level. There are moments of brilliance followed by moments of complete mental lapse and selfishness. The problem at the top level is that good teams will punish you for your errors and often times it is the smallest detail that will determine whether you win or lose. No matter your level of play, whether you’re playing in the world cup or college level, each of us can take away from this and learn not to make the same errors.
Luis Suarez, the player from Uruguay red-carded in the 121st minute of the Uruguay-Ghana game in the Word Cup quarterfinals, has turned from a goat into a hero, at least in his home country. While his handball was a blatant foul, it put his team into the semifinals of the World Cup.
Cheating is never a good thing, but there are times when a player must sacrifice himself for the team. And for Luis Suárez, who plays as a forward, this was one of those times.
As one commentator put it, “the American dream has come to an end.” The men’s US nation soccer team fell out of the 2010 World Cup in the round-of-16. Once the dust settles, there are many questions to be answered: did the US exceed expectations or fall short? Where does US soccer rank in comparison to the top teams in the world? Finally, what conclusions can be drawn about US soccer and, ultimately, North American soccer?
You want the good news or the bad news? Let’s start with the bad news…
When your skill level becomes very abundant and your team is playing at a high level it is often the smallest details of the game that separate one team from another, one player from another. The smartest and best players often have a trick or two up their sleeve in case the time comes to use it. They have often practiced these traits in training and mentally gone over the scenario in case the play occurs in a game. This summer’s world cup has seen some ‘sneaky’ goals scored and surprise plays that were by no means lucky. Whether you’re a professional or amateur player developing these secrets will always put you one step ahead of the competition and make you a feared apponent.
Ahh, the good old French. From public disputes between players and coaches, to the sending home of self-centered stars, right to the resignation of the soccer federations president, this years French squad was nothing short of a walking time bomb waiting to implode. With one of the most disappointing and controversial World Cup campaigns in French History, you couldn’t help but think you’d seen it all…right? Wrong.
American soccer will never be the same. After years of hard work and a growing population of soccer fans, American soccer has finally turned the corner and will start receiving the media and fan attention it deserves. Landon Donovan’s 91st minute world cup goal versus Algeria has changed American soccer forever. His goal puts the US top of the group, ahead of the almighty England, and advances them to the knock-out stage. More than that, it was the first time that Americans could truly experience the passion and joy that the game of soccer can bring. After all, this is what it’s all about!