Spain and Real Madrid legend Raúl joins New York Cosmos
Spain and Real Madrid legend Raúl joins New York Cosmos avatar

You can add Raúl to the list of famous players that have played with the New York Cosmos.

Raúl signed a multi-year contract with the Cosmos to join Pelé and Franz Beckenbauer as legends to have played for the NASL side.

Raul was the face of Madrid and served them well. (Getty Images)

Raul was the face of Madrid and served them well. (Getty Images)

Raúl made his name playing for Real Madrid, scoring a club-record 323 goals across 741 all-time appearances in 16 years. In those 16 years, he led Los Blancos to six La Liga titles, four Spanish Super Cups, and three Champions League titles. His goal-haul (71) in Champions League play still stands as the most ever.

Head coach Giovanni Savarese was obviously thrilled upon the singing of Raúl. “His skill and ability is world renowned. He’s a world-class player and he adds a whole new dimension to our attack.”

He will also serve as the technical adviser to the youth academy, which opens in 2015 before overseeing the academy on a full-time basis following his retirement. As one of Real Madrid’s most famous players to come through the youth academy, Raúl will surely be a great influence on the academy.

“He brings immense passion and knowledge that he can share with our team and with the next generation of Cosmos players in our youth academy,” Savarese explained.  “He’ll help set up the academy training curriculum, structure, and establish or player development pyramid.”

In addition to his exploits with Real Madrid, Raúl netted 44 goals in 102 caps for the Spanish national team, a record that was later broken by David Villa.

Since his departure from Madrid in 2010, Raúl has plied his trade in Germany with FC Shalke 04, scoring 40 goals in 98 matches across two years before playing two seasons in Qatar with Al-Saad Sports Club.

After initially retiring in March 2014, he has come stateside to enhance his reputation even further after reportedly rejecting an offer to become technical director of Real Madrid.

Franz Beckenbauer running onto the pitch for the New York Cosmos in 1978(Getty Images)

Franz Beckenbauer running onto the pitch for the New York Cosmos in 1978(Getty Images)

“Everyone throughout the soccer world knows the Cosmos name and the legacy of the players that played for this team previously,” Raúl claimed. “They helped establish soccer in America and I’m honored to follow in their footsteps. I believe in this club’s vision and I’m excited to a part of that.”

The New York Cosmos are currently in a playoff spot and are looking to defend their NASL Soccer Bowl Championship they won in 2013.

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EPL – Rooney Returns for Manchester Derby
EPL – Rooney Returns for Manchester Derby avatar

Gerrard open to move

Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard he is prepared to join another club if he is not offered a new contract.

Steven Gerrard could end up playing overseas. (Getty Images)

Steven Gerrard could end up playing overseas. (Getty Images)

Gerrard’s current contract is due to expire in May, but the 34-year-old who has been with Liverpool since the age of nine has rejected any suggestions he will retire if he is not offered a new deal by the Reds.

“I won’t be retiring this summer. I will play beyond this season,” the midfielder said.

“We will have to wait and see if that’s at Liverpool or somewhere else. That’s Liverpool’s decision.”

Gerrard, who announced his retirement from the international scene after the World Cup in Brazil, made his debut for Liverpool as an 18-year-old substitute back in 1998 against Blackburn Rovers. Since then he has gone on to make 678 appearances for Liverpool scoring 176 goals.

In a wide ranging interview with the Daily Mail and Telegraph the Liverpool captain described current England and Liverpool striker Daniel Sturridge as “possible the number one English striker I have played with”.

Gerrard also said it to early to judge new striker Mario Balotelli and added his surprise that former Liverpool striker Luiz Suarez was omitted from FIFA’s 23-man world player of the year shortlist.

“He scored 31 goals and was voted the best player in the hardest league in the world,” he said. “So you tell me how he’s not on the Ballon d’Or list. Incredible.

“He should be fighting Cristiano Ronaldo for it. That’s a fact.”

 

Swansea in talks with U.S. Investor

Swansea City is understood to be in discussions with American businessman John Moores over potential investment in the club.

Swansea chairman Huw Jenkins said the club has opened discussions with potential investors but refused to name specific names.

The Swans chairman said: “Until there is actually a bit more detail and more definite information to give, this is pure speculation.”

He added: ”There is a level of confidentiality that has to remain until there is a bit more to give.”

Moores is an entrepreneur and previously owned the San Diego Padres Major League Baseball franchise.

Wilfred Bony is Swansea's top scorer in the EPL. (Getty Images)

Wilfred Bony is Swansea’s top scorer in the EPL. (Getty Images)

In September Swansea chairman Jenkins said the club were miles behind most of the other EPL clubs in terms commercial income. The club currently makes the bulk of their income via TV money and transfers.

However, Swansea is a unique EPL club in that 20% of the club is actually owned by the supporters’ trust, and a spokesman said the club should be cautious about changing its financial regime.

“We’re not convinced that this is the time to change that set up and bring in some foreign ownership,” trust chairman Phil Stumbler told BBC Radio Wales.

He added: “The board of directors believes they have proved over the years that the decisions they make are in the club’s and fans’ best interests.

“This philosophy is a priority and any future investment will only be accepted if it is right for the club and fans.

If Swansea accept investment from Moores they would become the fifth EPL team to be back by US investors joining Arsenal, Aston Villa, Manchester United and Sunderland.

 

Cardiff Owner and Magic Johnson to invest in MLS

Cardiff City owner Vincent Tan and basketball legend Michael Johnson are among a group of investors that have been awarded new MLS franchise Los Angeles Club.

The investment group also includes QPR co-owner Ruben Gnanalingam and US women’s soccer legend Mia Hamm.

The new team will enter MLS in 2017 alongside an expansion team in Atlanta and the LA club’s managing partner Henry Nguyen said: “We believe this team can become a globally-recognized brand.”

Earlier on Thursday Tan, who also owns FK Sarajevo in Bosnia, said he was going to be “minority partner” in the new franchise.

“That’s my personal, private investment,” he told BBC Business. “I believe the MLS will be a good investment.”

Vincent Tan doesn't have the best track record with Cardiff and has caused a lot of controversy. (Getty Images)

Vincent Tan doesn’t have the best track record with Cardiff and has caused a lot of controversy. (Getty Images)

Tan said: “I enjoy investing in a football club and I believe that you can make money in a football club.

“I didn’t really start off well investing in football, I wasn’t that lucky.

“But there are a lot of clever owners who make money every year so I now understand the business so much better.

“I joked that I invested so much money in Cardiff and it is my tuition fees to learn the football business.”

Tan has proved a controversial figure since taking over Cardiff in 2010, redesigning the club’s crest to include a red dragon and changing the club’s home kit from blue to red—Cardiff are known as the Bluebirds had worn blue from 1908 until 2012. Last season he caused more controversy when he told manager Malky Mackay to resign or be fired.

Cardiff were relegated from the EPL last season and currently sit 11th in the Championship.

Predictions

Week 9

Result

My Predictions

Luke

James

Neil

Mabs

DJ Lew

SATURDAY
West Ham v Man City 2-1 1-3 0-3 1-2 1-3 0-1 1-4
Liverpool v Hull 0-0 2-1 2-0 1-1 1-1 2-1 1-3
Southampton v Stoke 1-0 2-0 1-1 3-0 3-1 1-1 1-2
Sunderland v Arsenal 0-2 1-2 2-3 0-2 1-3 1-2 1-3
West Brom v Crystal Palace 2-2 2-1 2-0 2-0 1-1 2-0 1-1
Swansea v Leicester 2-0 2-1 3-1 2-1 2-0 2-1 2-2
SUNDAY
Burnley v Everton 1-3 0-1 1-2 0-0 1-2 1-2 1-2
Tottenham v Newcastle 1-2 2-1 2-1 2-1 3-0 1-2 2-2
Man Utd v Chelsea 1-1 2-2 1-4 0-1 1-2 2-1 2-1
MONDAY
QPR v Aston Villa 2-0 1-2 1-1 1-0 1-1 2-1 3-1
Total Score 5-points 3-points 7-points 8-points 7-points 4-points

A correct result (picking a win, draw or defeat) is worth ONE point. Getting the exact score correct earns THREE points.

Week 10

Predictions

SATURDAY
Newcastle v Liverpool 2-1
Arsenal v Burnley 3-0
Chelsea v QPR 4-0
Everton v Swansea 2-1
Hull v Southampton 1-2
Leicester v West Brom 2-2
Stoke v West Ham 0-1
SUNDAY
Man City v Man Utd 3-2
Aston Villa v Tottenham 1-1
MONDAY
Crystal Palace v Sunderland 2-0

Previews

SATURDAY

Newcastle v Liverpool

Newcastle were struggling a couple of weeks ago and Alan Pardew looked certain to be fired, but all of a sudden they have turned things around and are currently the inform team.

The Magpies beat Tottenham 2-1 away last week, before beating League Cup holders Manchester City 2-0 at the Etihad. In fact, Newcastle has not lost a game since losing away to Stoke in September and went the whole of October unbeaten.

Visitors Liverpool have still to hit the form that saw them challenge for the EPL title last season. The Reds could only manage a 0-0 draw away to Hull last week, but did overcome Swansea 2-1 in the League cup thanks to goals from Mario Balotelli and Dejan Lovren.

Liverpool have struggled since the departure of Suarez and also the injury of Sturridge.(Getty Images)

Liverpool have struggled since the departure of Suarez and also the injury of Sturridge.(Getty Images)

Newcastle striker Papa Cisse is struggling with a knee injury meaning Ayoze Perez could keep his place in attack.

Cheick Tiote is out with a calf problem and Mike Williamson is still a doubt after missing the last two games.

Liverpool are without Luis Enrique, Daniel Sturridge, Mamadou Sakho, Suso and Jon Flanagan, who are all out injured.

The Reds are unbeaten in their last four meetings with Newcastle (W2, D2), but with Newcastle hitting form—Alan Pardew’s side have lost just two of their last eight Premier League matches—that could change on Saturday.

Liverpool cannot seem to put a run of games together this season—after winning 11 Premier League games in a row between February and April, Liverpool have won just five of the subsequent 12 matches. The Reds are really struggling for goals in the absence of Daniel Sturridge and are not creating much either.

There has never been a goalless draw between these sides in their 40 Premier League clashes, and if both teams continue to defend as they have done so far this season the trend should continue. A few weeks ago I would have backed Liverpool to just edge this one, but after their recent results I think Newcastle will win.

Prediction: 2-1

 

Arsenal v Burnely

Arsenal returned to winning ways last week with a 2-0 away to Sunderland. The win was the Gunners first in two games after losing way to Chelsea and drawing at home to Hull. Arsenal didn’t play well but were gifted both their goals after defensive errors by Sunderland’s back-line.

Burnley gave Everton a good game last week, but still lost 3-1 at home. The Clarets are hard working and well organized, but lack the quality to achieve the rewards their work deserves.

Alexis Sanchez has put in some fine performances for Arsenal this season. (Getty Images)

Alexis Sanchez has put in some fine performances for Arsenal this season. (Getty Images)

Arsenal injury woes continue with Jack Wilshere set to join Mathieu Debuchy, Yaya Sanogo, Laurent Koscielny, Mesut Ozil, Abou Diaby and Olivier Giroud on the sidelines due to injury.

Burnley’s Dean Marney is expected to return from a hamstring problem, but Saturday’s game comes to soon for Steven Reid, who is not yet fit enough to play after a groin injury.

Arsenal are unbeaten in their last five top-flight games against Burnely, and with the Clarets conceding 12 goals in their last four league games I expect Arsenal to make it six games unbeaten.

Prediction: 3-0

 

Chelsea v QPR

Chelsea and QPR square up this weekend to settle the debate over who is west London’s finest club.

Chelsea maintained their position atop of the EPL with a 1-1 draw away to Manchester United. The Blues might count themselves unlucky as they conceded in the fourth minute of stoppage time, but they only had themselves to blame, as they didn’t push for a second goal when they had the chance. The Blues created a few good chances against United, but looked to be lacking a little cutting edge without Diego Costa and if he picks up a long-term injury they could struggle.

QPR got their first win of the season last week with a 2-0 victory over Aston Villa. The Hoops have been slowly improving and were unlucky a few weeks back to lose to Liverpool 3-2. Charlie Austin got both their goals against Villa and the Hoops will have to keep him fit if they want to have a chance of staying up, as he looks like he will get them goals.

Costa has taken the league by storm thus far. (Getty Images)

Costa has taken the league by storm thus far. (Getty Images)

Chelsea striker Diego Costa and midfielder Ramires have both overcome injury and could return to the starting eleven.

Forward Loic Remy remains out and Cesar Azpilicueta is banned, but fellow defender Branislav Ivanovic returns after a suspension of his own.

QPR remain without midfielders Jordon Mutch and Joey Barton, who are both injured. But Adel Taarabt could return despite a recent public fallout with manager Harry Redknapp, who claimed he was overweight.

Chelsea are the overwhelming favorites for this game, but QPR actually have a good record against the Blues—QPR have lost only one of their last five matches against Chelsea in the Premier League and won 1-0 in their last visit to the Bridge in 2013. Nevertheless, I cannot see anything other than a comfortable win for Chelsea.

Prediction: 4-0

 

SUNDAY

Man City v Manchester United

Week 10 draws to a close with one of the biggest games of the season so far, as champions Manchester City host neighbors Manchester United.

Manchester City are in a mini crisis and are without a win in their last three games. The Champions lost 2-1 away to West United last weekend and then lost at home 2-0 to Newcastle in the League Cup.

Falcao (L) is still out and has not featured extensively for United. (Getty Images)

Falcao (L) is still out and has not featured extensively for United. (Getty Images)

Neighbors Manchester United continued their steady form with a 1-1 draw at home to Chelsea. The Red Devils scored with a last gasp goal, but deserved their point for their attacking endeavor. Going forward United look as good as any team in the EPL at the moment, but in defense they still look vulnerable and give teams chances.

Manchester City look set to be without David Silva who picked up a knee injury in their defeat against Newcastle.

Manchester United welcome back captain Wayne Rooney from suspension, but fellow striker Radamel Falcao remains out through injury.

Both of these sides boast good attacks, but neither is defending well at the moment so expect goals. A few weeks ago I would have predicted City to run away with this game, but they have looked sloppy recently and that is why I think United have a chance. Nevertheless, I think City will just about edge this one.

Prediction: 3-2

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NJ Youth Soccer Crowns State Cup Champions
NJ Youth Soccer Crowns State Cup Champions avatar

The NJ Youth Soccer State Cup Championships for U11 – U14 teams were held October 26 at the Marlboro Soccer Complex. Winning teams advance to interregional and eventually the national championships, if successful.

The NJ Youth Soccer State Cup Championships for U11 – U14 teams were held October 26 at the Marlboro Soccer Complex. Winning teams advance to interregional and eventually the national championships, if successful.

EAST WINDSOR, NJ (October 27, 2014) ― The 2014-2015 NJ Youth Soccer National Championship Series and NJ State Cup tournaments were decided at the Marlboro Soccer Complex. This event concluded the statewide competition that included hundreds of teams representing the U11 to U14 age groups.

New Jersey continues to be a one of the largest state youth soccer participation groups in the northeast.  The tournament provides two levels of competition: At the elite level, the National Championship Series, and for travel program players, the NJYS State Cup. Winners in both categories will represent New Jersey in the next level of competition against other state champions in US Youth Soccer Region I.

The NJ Youth Soccer State Cup and National Championship Series will continue in the spring of 2015 for the U15 through U19 age groups. To learn more about NJ Youth Soccer tournaments, visit njyouthsoccer.com.

NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP SERIES CHAMPIONS

Age                             Team and Club                                Town

U11 Boys                      FC Gottschee James                             Teaneck

U12 Boys                      PDA Drogba                                          Bernardsville

U13 Boys                      PDA Kaka                                              Bernardsville

U14 Boys                      PDA Donovan                                       Bernardsville

 

U11 Girls                       Middletown Sonic Dynamite Red         Middletown

U12 Girls                       NJ Rush Wildcats                                   Turnersville

U13 Girls                       NJ Wildcats Averbuch                           Oceanport

U14 Girls                       NJ Stallions Freedom                             Clifton

 

U11 Boys (8v8)              Morris United 03                                  Morristown

U12 Boys (8v8)              NJ Rush 02                                            Turnersville

 

U11 Girls (8v8)               SDFC Galaxy Yellow                              Montclair

U12 Girls (8v8)               Rage FC Renegades                               Williamstown

NJ YOUTH SOCCER STATE CUP CHAMPIONS

U13 Boys                      Toms River Stuttgart                          Toms River

U14 Boys                      PDA Rossi                                             Bernardsville

 

U13 Girls                       Medford Hurricanes                      Medford

U14 Girls                       Pt. Pleasant Barracudas                Point Pleasant

About NJ Youth Soccer Association

New Jersey Youth Soccer, a 501(c) (3) organization affiliated with U.S. Youth Soccer and the U.S. Soccer Federation, is comprised of more than 156,000 players from 5 to 19-years-old; 40,000+ coaches; and thousands of volunteers. Members collectively support the sport of soccer through training, practice, competition and the spirit of good sportsmanship. The association features recreational, travel soccer programs at multiple skill levels; Olympic Development Programs (ODP); tournaments including the National Championship series; coach and referee training and certification programs; and TOPSoccer, a program for children with special needs. The New Jersey U.S. Youth Soccer ODP provides training and competitive programs for players of the highest caliber for the purpose of increasing the success of the U.S. National Teams.

 

 

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NWSL- Heather O’Reilly acquired by Kansas
NWSL- Heather O’Reilly acquired by Kansas avatar

U.S. WNT midfielder Heather O’Reilly has been traded from the Boston Breakers to FC Kansas City in exchange for forward Morgan Marlborough and defender Kassey Kallman.

Heather O'Reilly was Boston's most consistent player last season. (Getty Images)

Heather O’Reilly was Boston’s most consistent player last season. (Getty Images)

O’Reilly, 29, has impressed for the U.S. since making her debut in 2002, scoring 36 goals for the red, white, and blue and setting a record for consecutive games played for the U.S. with 74 straight appearances between 2007 and 2011.

“I would like to thank the Breakers organization, my teammates, and the fans for their support and for their continued efforts to grow the game,” said O’Reilly after the trade was made public by NWSL.

In return for O’Reilly, the Boston Breakers will be receiving two young players with loads of potential.

Morgan Marlborough, 23, is currently on loan in Scotland with Glasgow City FC after scoring two goals in nine games for FC Kansas City last season.

Kassey Kallman, 22, played in 18 games for FC Kansas City last year. She played a huge part in a Kansas City defense that allowed only 22 goals in 38 regular season games last season on their way to a NWSL Championship title.

“We are a little sad to be losing two quality players but we understand that in order to get quality you have to give up quality,” explain FC Kansas City coach Vlatko Andonovski.

Boston's O'Reilly will be a huge loss to their front line. ISI Photos/Andrew Katsampes)

Boston’s O’Reilly will be a huge loss to their front line. ISI Photos/Andrew Katsampes)

O’Reilly, who has won three gold medals at the Olympics, is a quality midfielder and she is looking forward to getting down to business next season.

“I’m excited for this next chapter of my career,” revealed O’Reilly. “I look forward to helping FCKC defend the title.”

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NCAA Division I Women’s Soccer- Roundup
NCAA Division I Women’s Soccer- Roundup avatar

UCLA remain undefeated and atop the NCAA Women’s Soccer rankings heading into the final three weeks of the college soccer season before the first round of College Cup in mid-November. The ACC remain the dominant conference with Florida State, North Carolina, Virginia, and Notre Dame all in the top 10.

No. 2 Florida State draw No. 5 North Carolina (10/23)

In a pivotal matchup in Chapel Hill, North Carolina overcame a first half deficit to tie Florida State, which keeps both teams tied for first in the ACC.

FSU's Dagny Brynjarsdottir  (ISI Photos/Steven Limentani)

FSU’s Dagny Brynjarsdottir cost UNC trouble all evening(ISI Photos/Steven Limentani)

Midfielder Dagny Brynjarsdottir scored her tenth goal of the season to put the Seminoles up in 33rd minute. After Seminoles goalkeeper Cassie Miller made a point blank save, a counter attack occurred, which allowed Mart Bakowska-Mathews to float a perfect ball across the field onto the head of Brynjarsdottir ten yards from goal.

In the second half, the Tar Heels posed more of a threat and equalized through freshman Annie Kingman. Kingman received the ball on the edge of the 18-yard ball, took one touch and shot across the face of goal, eluding Miller in the process.

Brynjarsdottir searched for her second goal on the night and nearly found it through another header, only to see her effort go off the crossbar.

Ten minutes later, she had a shot cleared off the line by North Carolina’s Megan Buckingham.

There were no clear-cut chances in overtime and both ACC powerhouses had to settle for a point.

No. 7 Penn State Rallies Against Iowa to Win Big Ten Championship (10/26)

Penn State overcame an early deficit to defeat Iowa 2-1 to claim a 16th Big Ten Championship in University Park, Pennsylvania.

Iowa gained the lead five minutes into the game when Corey Burns’ corner went directly into the goal.

Penn State's Kori Chapic was on fire and led her team to victory. (ISI Photso/David Bernal)

Penn State’s Kori Chapic was on fire and led her team to victory. (ISI Photso/David Bernal)

Kori Chapic scored two goals in the space of five second half minutes to give Penn State their third outright title in four years.

Chapic’s equalizer came after a good spell of possession. Emily Ogle found Chapic on the wing who, after cutting inside, sent a shot from 25 yards out rocketing past Iowa goalkeeper Hannah Clark.

The go-ahead goal was similar in the build-up, but rather than a powerful shot, Chapic elected to chip Clark from 20 yards out.

The win meant second-place Wisconsin (9-2-1) were mathematically eliminated with one game remaining, while Penn State (11-1) retained their Big Ten Championship.

No. 9 Notre Dame Narrowly Defeats Louisville (10/26)

Notre Dame clinched the last spot in the ACC Championship with a 1-0 win over Louisville.

Notre Dame . (ISI Photos/Brad Smith)

Notre Dame continue their winning streak. (ISI Photos/Brad Smith)

Notre Dame got off to a flying start when forward Lauren Bohaboy headed Kaleigh Olmsted’s cross past the Louisville goalkeeper.

The Fighting Irish could not add to their lead, even though they dominated the game in every aspect, attempting 22 shots to Louisville’s 5.

The win meant that Notre Dame joins Florida State, North Carolina, and Virginia in the ACC Championship.

No. 6 Texas A&M Held at Home by No. 21 South Carolina (10/26)

South Carolina scored a last-minute goal to come from behind to tie Texas A&M 2-2 in College Station, Texas.

South Carolina took the lead in the 34th minute when Andie Romness’ free kick from 40 yards out went untouched through a crowd of players into the back of the net.

Texas A&M drew level via the head of Janae Cousineau, who got to the near post to divert Liz Keester’s corner past South Carolina goalkeeper Sabrina D’Angelo.

(Courtesy of Texas A&M)

The Aggies v South Carolina.(Courtesy of Texas A&M)

It only took 13 seconds into the second half for Texas A&M to take the lead. Kelly Monogue pass found Annie Kunz, who laid it back off for Monogue to slot it in from 15 yards out.

The Aggies thought they had the win in the bag when South Carolina made one last push to steal a point from the game.

South Carolina pumped the ball forward and when the Texas A&M defense failed to clear, midfielder Stevi Parker’s daisy-cutter from 20 yards eluded the outstretched hand of Jordan Day.

Neither team could muster up a chance in the overtime periods that followed and both had to settle for the draw, but South Carolina were clearly the happier team to gain a point on the road.

RANK SCHOOL RECORD POINTS PREVIOUS
1 UCLA (31) 15-0-2 823 1
2 Florida State (2) 15-1-1 784 2
3 Virginia 16-1-0 741 3
4 Stanford 14-1-2 732 4
5 North Carolina 11-2-2 701 5
6 Penn State 16-2-0 648 7
7 Texas A&M 14-2-2 630 6
8 Florida 13-4-0 584 8
9 Notre Dame 12-4-1 549 9
10 West Virginia 13-2-2 536 10
11 Wisconsin 15-2-1 481 12
12 Pepperdine 13-2-3 445 11
13 DePaul 14-0-3 403 13
14 Kansas 15-3-0 359 15
15 BYU 12-3-2 349 17
16 Virginia Tech 13-5-0 321 14
17 Washington 12-4-1 298 18
18 Texas Tech 14-3-1 283 19
19 UCF 15-3-0 207 23
20 South Carolina 11-4-3 196 21
21 Clemson 12-3-2 166 20
22 Washington State 10-2-3 158 24
23 Rutgers 11-4-1 83 16
24 Kentucky 11-5-0 74 NR
25 Michigan 11-5-2 61 NR

 

 

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NCAA Division I Men’s Soccer- Roundup
NCAA Division I Men’s Soccer- Roundup avatar

With little under a month remaining until the College Cup begins, the Men’s rankings have been in a constant state of flux. No. 1 Notre Dame lost in Indiana, No. 2 Creighton lost at home and No. 3 UC Irvine lost twice in the space of a week, allowing for UCLA to take top spot.

No. 1 Notre Dame Falls to No. 8 Indiana (10/22)

Just two days after jumping ten spots to the top of the rankings, Norte Dame were outplayed in a 1-0 defeat to Indiana in Bloomington.

Patrick Doody (L) was on target for Indiana. (ISI Photos/Tony Quinn)

Patrick Doody (L) was on target for Indiana. (ISI Photos/Tony Quinn)

Indiana maintained possession for the majority of the first half and capitalized on the domination when defender Patrick Doody diverted a corner kick off the far post and into the net.

Notre Dame’s only threat before halftime came in the way of a low, angled shot from Vince Cicciarelli that was well-saved by Indiana goalkeeper Colin Webb.

The second half was much more even, but the Fighting Irish could not find the back of the net with any of their eight shots. Webb made three saves to earn his sixth clean sheet on the year.

No. 3 UC Irvine Upset by UC Riverside (10/22)

UC Riverside halted their four-match skid by defeating No. 3 UC Irvine in Riverside, California 2-1.

Despite numerous chances for both sides, neither was able to break the deadlock until the 78th minute.

Riverside’s Philipp Dominique got on the end of Ricardo Ruiz’s corner to put his team up 1-0.

The lead was short-lived as Riverside defender Stephen Copley fouled an Irvine attacker inside the box, which allowed Eduardo Calzada to dispatch the resulting penalty kick.

Copley redeemed himself one minute from full-time as he earned a penalty kick that was taken emphatically by Hector Romo to give UC Riverside the lead that they would hold on to.

No. 4 Washington Lose at Home to No. 6 UCLA (10/23)

In a pivotal matchup in the PAC-12, UCLA left Seattle with a valuable win over Washington to leapfrog them in the PAC-12 standings.

Washington took the lead three minutes into the game when a corner taken by Justin Schmidt was headed in at the near post by Ian Lange.

Spencer Richey was a standout performer for the U.S. youth team. (ISI Photos/John Dorton)

Spencer Richey was a standout performer for the U.S. youth team. (ISI Photos/John Dorton)

UCLA grabbed an equalizer before halftime, despite being outshot 11-4 in the first half. Aaron Simmons rose high on a corner to head the ball past Huskies goalkeeper Spencer Richey.

UCLA’s resilient defense did not concede a go-ahead goal in the second half, even though the Bruins were outshot 10-4 in the second half.

UCLA completed the comeback when Seattle-native Seyi Adekoya controlled a chipped pass over the top and slotted it past the on-rushing Richey.

No. 2 Creighton Lose at Home vs. No. 17 Georgetown (10/25)

Georgetown traveled to Omaha, Nebraska and handed Creighton only their second defeat of the season.

Arun Basuljevic  his goal. (ISI Photos/Brad Smith)

Arun Basuljevic his goal. (ISI Photos/Brad Smith)

Georgetown had Arun Basuljevic to thank after his shot from eight yards out found its way past Creighton goalkeeper Connor Sparrow to give Georgetown a 1-0 lead in the 73rd minute.

Georgetown goalkeeper Tomas Gomez made four saves to preserve the shutout and help his team upset Creighton.

No. 3 UC Irvine Lose Second Game in Four Days vs. Cal State Northridge (10/25)

UC Irvine lost their second game in a row, this time at home versus Cal State Northridge in Irvine, California.

Just days after losing at local rivals UC Riverside, UC Irvine were embarrassed at home by the Matadors 3-0.

Patrick Hickman (center) heading the ball.

Patrick Hickman (center) heading the ball.

After a scoreless first half, the Matadors were put ahead when defender Patrick Hickman bent a shot in from distance past a helpless UC Irvine goalkeeper in the shape of Michael Breslin.

After UC Irvine attempts to equalize were denied by Northridge’s Adam Hobbs, Sagi Lev-Ari scored two goals to ensure that Northridge would leave with the win.

Lev-Ari beat an offside trap and, after having his initial shot saved, put the ball in the back of the net before adding his second of the night and tenth of the season in the 88th minute.

The finish came after good wing-play from Edwin Rivas, who crossed to Lev-Ari who drilled in a high shot that Breslin could do nothing about.

 

RANK SCHOOL RECORD POINTS PREVIOUS
1 UCLA (21) 10-3-3 597 6
2 Indiana (2) 10-2-3 565 8
3 Syracuse (1) 13-2-1 547 5
4 Washington 11-3-1 506 4
5 Notre Dame 9-4-2 496 1
6 North Carolina 11-4-0 472 9
7 Charlotte 11-2-1 452 7
8 Stanford 9-2-2 428 11
9 Xavier 10-2-2 387 16
10 Creighton 11-2-2 365 2
11 Providence 9-2-2 313 23
12 Michigan State 9-3-3 304 10
13 Georgetown 8-3-4 291 17
14 UC Irvine 11-3-2 277 3
15 New Mexico 10-3-1 271 18
16 Kentucky 9-3-3 228 19
17 California 8-3-1 219 14
18 Penn State 11-3-1 184 12
19 Saint Louis 10-3-2 169 13
20 Northwestern 7-2-5 144 25
21 Virginia 9-5-1 106 22
22 Louisville 8-5-2 92 NR
23 Navy 10-4-2 82 NR
24 Marquette 7-4-3 65 15
25 South Florida 9-5-1 58 NR
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Men’s Ballon D’Or Nominees Named – Klinsmann In For Coach of the Year
Men’s Ballon D’Or Nominees Named – Klinsmann In For Coach of the Year avatar

22 of the greatest players in the world join 2013 winner Cristiano Ronaldo as nominees for this year’s Ballon d’Or Award for the World Player of the Year.

Ronaldo should steal the trophy for the second time. (Getty Images)

Ronaldo should steal the trophy for the second time. (Getty Images)

The Real Madrid and Portugal superstar will be favored to emerge with the honor for the second year running, although he faces tough competition from a group featuring his rival Lionel Messi (Barcelona and Argentina) and group of six Germans.

It can be no surprise that so many of Germany’s World Cup winning side received recognition. A sign of Bayern Munich’s dominance of the German game, is that all six of the German nominee’s played for Bayern Munich for most of the year, with Toni Kroos having moved to Real Madrid over the summer. Arjen Robben of the Netherlands also plays for the Munich superteam.

Six of the 23 play or played for Real Madrid at some point in 2014, and El Clasico rivals Barcelona placed four of their stars on the Ballon d’Or shortlist.

Nationally, Spain and Argentina each landed three nominations to place second behind Germany, while Belgium and France had two nominees a piece. One player each from Wales, Portugal, Sweden, Brazil, the Netherlands, Colombia, and the Ivory Coast also received nominations.

Suarez will miss out  through his biting incident. (Getty Images)

Suarez will miss out through his biting incident. (Getty Images)

Uruguayan bad boy Luis Suarez paid the price for his bad behavior at the World Cup, missing out on a Player of the Year nod, in all likelihood for his bite on Italian defender Giorgio Chiellini.

10 coaching nominees were also named, with U.S. national team coach Jurgen Klinsmann among the selections for his work in leading the American team through the World Cup “Group of Death” in Brazil.

Klinsmann is the first American based coach to be nominated for the honor, although it should be pointed out that Coach of the Year was first awarded in 2010.
Previous winners receiving nominations include inaugural honoree Jose Mourinho (Chelsea), and 2011 winner Pep Guardiola, honored in for his work with Barcelona and nominated this year for his work with German giants Bayern Munich.

A sign of Bayern Munich’s dominance of the German game, is that all six of the German nominee’s played for Germany for most of the year, with Toni Kroos having moved to Real Madrid over the summer.

Muller (L) has shone is this World Cup as he did in 2010 and he is still only 24. (Getty Images)

Muller (L) had a fantastic World Cup and should have taken the golden ball. (Getty Images)

The shortlist of 23 will be whittled to a more manageable group of three finalists on December 1. On that date FIFA and France Football will also announce the names of the three women, as well as the three coaches for women’s soccer and three coaches for men’s soccer, who have made it to the final round.

The three nominees for the FIFA Puskás Award and the FIFA FIFPro World XI shortlist for the best forwards (15), midfielders (15), defenders (20) and goalkeepers (5) will be unveiled in the end of November and the beginning of December.

Here are the 23 nominees for Player of the Year and Coach of the Year in the Men’s game.

Gareth Bale (Real Madrid), Karim Benzema (Real Madrid), Diego Costa (Atlético Madrid/Chelsea), Thibaut Courtois (Atlético Madrid/Chelsea), Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid), Ángel Di María (Real Madrid/Manchester United), Mario Götze (Bayern Munich), Eden Hazard (Chelsea), Zlatan Ibrahimovic (PSG), Andrés Iniesta (Barcelona), Toni Kroos (Bayern Munich/Real Madrid), Philipp Lahm (Bayern Munich), Javier Mascherano (Barcelona), Lionel Messi (Barcelona), Thomas Müller (Bayern Munich), Manuel Neuer (Bayern Munich), Neymar (Barcelona), Paul Pogba (Juventus), Sergio Ramos (Real Madrid), Arjen Robben (Bayern Munich), James Rodríguez (Monaco/Real Madrid), Bastian Schweinsteiger (Bayern Munich), Yaya Touré (Manchester City).

Klinsmann has been shortlisted for his teams World Cup performance. (Getty Images)

Klinsmann has been shortlisted for his teams World Cup performance. (Getty Images)

Coach of the year shortlist
Carlo Ancelotti (Real Madrid), Antonio Conte (Juventus/Italy national team), Pep Guardiola (Bayern Munich), Jürgen Klinsmann (USA national team), Joachim Löw (Germany national team), José Mourinho (Chelsea), Manuel Pellegrini (Manchester City), Alejandro Sabella (Argentina national team), Diego Simeone (Atlético Madrid), Louis van Gaal (Holland national team/Manchester United).

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MLS – Big 5
MLS – Big 5 avatar

It has been a busy, and in some ways historic week in MLS, so let’s get to this week’s Big – 5.

1) Goodbye Chivas USA

League Commissioner Don Garber broke the news in a letter to the beleaguered supporters of the Chivas USA club, which the league has been operating since before the 2014 season began.

Chivas (ISI Photos/Michael Janosz)

Chivas’ players are still unsure of where they will be playing next season. (ISI Photos/Michael Janosz)

Here is some of what the Commissioner said to Chivas fans in his letter, “As part of our new Los Angeles strategy, we will launch a new MLS Los Angeles club for the 2017 season and will announce the new team’s ownership group later this week. I believe strongly that a new MLS Los Angeles team with passionate local ownership and an inclusive approach targeting all soccer/sports fans will be very successful.”

This may be the first time in professional sports history that a team has been voluntarily shut down for a prescribed amount of time, with a planned re-emergence.

Many questions remain to be answered, not least of which is whether L.A. needs or wants a second soccer club. And how will the league disperse the players on the Chivas USA roster, in particular breakout star Erick “Cubo” Torres? And what happens to the Goats highly rated academy? Garber should address those and other questions at a Thursday press conference.

2) Westward Ho! For Sporting Kansas City and the Houston Dynamo

With Chivas out, and eastern based clubs Orlando and New York City in, SKC and the Dynamo will join the Western Conference in time for next season with the two expansion clubs slotting into the Eastern Conference.

Adam Moffat (center) celebrates his goal against Kansas. (Getty Images)

Houston are set to join the Western Conference.. (Getty Images)

The moves figure to tilt the balance of league power further west, unless the two newcomers can get off to a good start.

3) Welcome Orlando and New York City

New York have made the biggest signings thus far and looks set to have an exciting lineup.. (Courtesy of NYCFC)

New York have made the biggest signings thus far and looks set to have an exciting lineup.. (Courtesy of NYCFC)

With the 2014 regular season behind us, it is time to welcome Orlando SC and New York City FC to MLS. By the time next season kicks off, the two newcomers will have passed from the realm of the possible, to actual flesh and blood teams.

4) The Playoffs

All the off the field news threatens to overshadow the league’s most exciting time of the year. There was just one playoff spot up for grabs last weekend and congratulations to Vancouver for nailing it down.

Both Donovan and Dempsey were shown a yellow card in this heated match. (ISI Photos/Joshua Weisberg)

Both Donovan and Dempsey were shown a yellow card in this heated match. (ISI Photos/Joshua Weisberg)

The Whitecaps went into their last match of the season against Colorado needing a win to advance, and the Caps took care of business 1-0, eliminating 2013 Western Conference Champs Portland in the process.

Meanwhile Seattle topped L.A. 2-0 in an ill tempered affair to claim the Supporters Shield, securing the regular season title and home field throughout the playoffs.

5) Playoff Matchups

The Western Conference Play in opens the postseason with fourth place Dallas hosting fifth place Vancouver Wednesday night in Frisco, Texas.

(ISI Photos/Andrew Katsampes)

Zizzo in action for Sporting KC.(ISI Photos/Andrew Katsampes)

In the Eastern knockout 2013 MLS Champions Sporting KC face last year’s Supporters Shield winners.

The KO winners go on to host the Conference Champions, DC United (east) and Seattle (west) in the first leg of home and away two leggers on November 2. DC will be home for the return fixture on November 8, and Seattle will host the reverse fixture on November 10.

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U.S. Thrash Costa Rica to Claim 7th CONCACAF Title
U.S. Thrash Costa Rica to Claim 7th CONCACAF Title avatar

With a place in next summer’s World Cup in Canada already secured, the U.S. WNT set about confirming its regional dominance, beating Costa Rica 6-0 at PPL Park.

After being left out of the starting lineup for the 3-0 semifinal win versus Mexico, Abby Wambach led the way with four goals tonight against the young Ticas.

Wambach got a hattrick and has proven that she is still a force in front of goal.(ISI Photos/Brad Smith)

Wambach got 4 goals and has proven that she is still a force in front of goal.(ISI Photos/Brad Smith)

With World Cup hosts Canada receiving a bye into the 2015 Women’s World Cup, this World Cup Qualifying/ CONCACAF Championship figured to be a stroll for the world’s number one ranked nation.

When the U.S. opened the tournament with a less than impressive 1-0 win over Trinidad and Tobago, some cracks began to appear in the Americans facade of invincibility. But a 5-0 win over Guatemala righted the ship and the U.S. WNT machine began picking up steam as the CONCACAF Championships progressed.

Coach Jill Ellis has experimented with various lineups throughout this regional championship. College star Morgan Brian got a run tonight at the fulcrum of the U.S. attack, playing between seasoned vets Carli Lloyd and Lauren Holiday in a stacked a U.S. midfield.

Centerback Becky Sauerbrunn also was back in the lineup, as she continues to compete for a spot in a crowded central defense.

Wambach was lethal (ISI Photos/Michael Janosz)

Wambach was lethal and was just too physically superior to the CONCACAF opponents – earning her the golden boot.. (ISI Photos/Michael Janosz)

As for Wambach, the powerful striker played like she had something to prove against Las Ticas, and prove it she did, notching a first half hat trick to devastate Costa Rica.

Wambach towered over Las Ticas diminutive defenders and her physique played a role in all three of her first half tallies. But goal number four, career goal 178 was pure skill, as Wambach delicately chipped the keeper.

The U.S. showed that they meant business right from the start of this final, when Carli Lloyd scored in the fourth minute off of a set up from Wambach. Roles were reversed in the 17th minute when Lloyd, who scored two goals for the U.S. against Mexico on Friday, served up an assist for Wambach.

Two more Wambach goals before the halftime whistle put this one to bed early, and should be enough to allow the U.S. to maintain its grip on the number one position in the FIFA World Rankings.

From the start Costa Rica were not content to sit back, to their credit the young Ticas tried to attack their illustrious opponents when they could. Alas, discretion is often the better part of valor, although despite this beating Costa Rica may have learned some valuable lessons tonight.

The learning continues too for Ellis, who took over as U.S. WNT head coach on a full time basis in May. Ellis has the difficult, if enviable task of leafing through the enormous depth of talent at her disposal, and figuring out her best 11, and 23.

Llloyd won the tournament's golden ball as best player. (ISI Photos/Brad Smith)

Carli Llloyd won the tournament’s golden ball after been named the tournament’s MVP. (ISI Photos/Brad Smith)

Keep in mind than that injury knocked Alex Morgan out of this tournament early. Add Morgan to the mix of attacking options that includes Wambach, Sydney Leroux, Carli Lloyd, Christian Press, Lauren Holiday, Tobin Heath. It is dizzying. The Americans outscored their compatriots 21-0 enroute to claiming a seventh straight CONCACAF title.

In addition to selecting her team, Ellis is now faced with sharpening her squad in preparation for far tougher competition that awaits next year in Canada as the defending Olympic Champions look to claim its third World Cup, and first since 1999.

Scoring Summary: 1 2 F
USA 4 2 6
CRC 0 0 0

USA – Abby Wambach (Morgan Brian) 4th minute
USA – Carli Lloyd (Abby Wambach) 17
USA – Abby Wambach (Carli Lloyd) 35
USA – Abby Wambach (Carli Lloyd) 41
USA – Abby Wambach (Sydney Leroux) 71
USA – Sydney Leroux (Tobin Heath) 73

Lineups:
USA: 1-Hope Solo; 16-Meghan Klingenberg, 3-Christie Rampone (capt.), 4-Becky Sauerbrunn, 11-Ali Krieger; 12-Lauren Holiday, 7-Morgan Brian (2-Sydney Leroux, 56), 10-Carli Lloyd; 14-Christen Press (9-Heather O’Reilly, 56), 20-Abby Wambach, 15-Megan Rapinoe (17-Tobin Heath, 57)
Subs Not Used: 5-Kelley O’Hara, 6-Whitney Engen, 8-Amy Rodriguez, 18-Ashlyn Harris, 19-Julie Johnston
Head Coach: Jill Ellis

CRC: 1-Dinnia Diaz; 5-Diana Saenz (9-Carolina Venegas, 46), 6-Carol Sanchez, 8-Daniela Cruz, 10-Shirley Cruz (capt.); 11-Raquel Rodriguez Cedeño, 12-Lixy Rodriguez (2-Gabriela Guillen, 76), 15-Cristin Granados, 16-Katherine Alvarado; 17-Daphnne Herrera, 20-Wendy Patricia Acosta (19-Fabiola Sanchez, 74)
Subs Not Used: 3-Mariane Ugalde, 4-Maríiana Benavidez, 7-Gloriana Villalobos, 13-Noelia Bermudez, 14-Yesmi Rodriguez, 18-Yirlania Arroyo
Head Coach: Avedissian Garabet

Stats Summary: USA / CRC
Shots: 21 / 2
Shots on Goal: 14 / 0
Saves: 0 / 8
Corner Kicks: 8 / 2
Fouls: 18 / 6
Offside: 1 / 2

Misconduct Summary:
USA – Megan Rapinoe (caution) 27th minute
USA – Lauren Holiday (caution) 60

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U.S. Brush Past Mexico to qualify for 2015 Women’s World Cup
U.S. Brush Past Mexico to qualify for 2015 Women’s World Cup avatar

It was all too easy for the U.S. WNT as they punched their ticket to the 2015 Women’s World Cup next summer in Canada with a 3-0 win tonight over Mexico.

Carli Lloyd ®  celebrating her goal in the first half. (Getty Images)

Carli Lloyd ® celebrating her goal in the first half. (Getty Images)

It was clear from the throw in of tonight’s CONCACAF semifinal at Pennsylvania’s PPL Park, that there would no repeat of Mexico’s shocking 2-1 upset win over the U.S. at the same stage of the 2010 edition of this World Cup Qualifying tournament.

Mexico seemed to concede this result before the referee’s opening whistle, leaving several expected starters on the bench, apparently content to pin their World Cup Qualifying hopes on beating Costa Rica in the events 4/5 game.

The Americans dominated possession from the start to such a degree that it was a surprise that it took almost six minutes for Carli Lloyd to put the U.S. in the lead.

A wide open Lloyd was the beneficiary of a perfect cross from a similarly unperturbed Tobin Heath, and Lloyd headed home for the 1-0 U.S. lead.

Heath has brought a new excitement to the women's team.'(Getty Images)

Heath (R) has brought a new excitement to the women’s team.’(Getty Images)

Leading the U.S. WNT into her first big tournament since taking over for Tom Sermanni, Jill Ellis gambled by leaving Abby Wambach on the sideline, even as the Americans came into the match minus Wambach’s fellow goal machine, injured star Alex Morgan.

With the U.S. in complete control Lloyd added a second goal from the penalty spot after Tobin Heath was tripped up in the box. The p.k. was a bit soft, in that Heath would have had a tough time catching up to the ball, but the creative winger was clipped by the Mexican defender.

Mexico had to be pleased to make it to the half trailing just 2-0, but El Tri would have no respite on the restart. Sydney Leroux almost made it 3-0 minutes into the second half, but her chance clipped the crossbar. Christian Press got that third goal for the Yanks off of a wonderful through ball from Leroux.

That would be the last contribution on the night from Leroux, who would check out in the 62nd minute, replaced by Wambach. It is difficult to imagine what the Mexican players were thinking when the world’s all time leading international goal scorer entered the match for the U.S. as a substitute.

Wambach, who earlier today was nominated for Women’s Player of the Year honors, nearly extended the U.S. lead seconds after entering the match, but a cross from Press was just behind her.

Mexico’s decision to more or less tank this game in favor of concentrating on the 4/5 match will have to be judged another day, but for the U.S. today’s win means another chance to win a first World Cup since 1999.

This easy U.S. win was keyed by their complete possession dominance, Lloyd’s goals, and brilliant play from several players, in particular the creative play of Tobin Heath.

Costa Rica qualified for the World Cup after (Getty Images)

Costa Rica qualified for the World Cup after beating T&T in a penalty shoot out. (Getty Images)

The U.S. will face Costa Rica in the final on Sunday afternoon, again at PPL Park, with both nations already qualified for the 2015 Women’s World Cup to be played next summer in Canada.

Las Ticas beat Trinidad and Tobago in extra time thanks to a heroic performance from goalkeeper Dinnia Diaz, who saved three consecutive shots from T&T shooters to secure the win.

Scoring Summary:   1          2          F
USA                            2          1          3
MEX                            0          0          0

USA – Carli Lloyd (Tobin Heath) 6th minute
USA – Carli Lloyd (penalty kick)        30
USA – Christen Press (Sydney Leroux)        56

Lineups:
USA: 1-Hope Solo; 11-Ali Krieger, 3-Christie Rampone (capt.), 6-Whitney Engen, 16-Meghan Klingenberg; 12-Lauren Holiday (9-Heather O’Reilly, 75), 10-Carli Lloyd, 15-Megan Rapinoe (7-Morgan Brian, 67); 14-Christen Press, 2-Sydney Leroux (20-Abby Wambach, 62), 17-Tobin Heath
Subs Not Used: 4-Becky Sauerbrunn, 5-Kelley O’Hara, 8-Amy Rodriguez, 18-Ashlyn Harris, 19-Julie Johnston
Head Coach: Jill Ellis

MEX: 12-Pamela Tajonar (capt.); 2-Arianna Romero, 3-Bianca Sierra, 4-Alina Garcíamendez, 15-Christina Murillo (14-Monica Alvarado, 72); 6-Liliana Mercado, 7-Lydia Nayeli Rangel, 13-Kenti Robles (8-Teresa Noyola, 76); 18-Dinora Garza, 19-Tanya Samarzich, 20-Luz Duarte (10-Sandra Stephany Mayor, 55)
Subs Not Used: 1-Cecilia Santiago, 5-Paulina Solís, 11-Monica Ocampo, 9-Veronica Charlyn Corral, 16-Karla Nieto, 17-Veronica Perez
Head Coach: Leonardo Cuellar 

Stats Summary: USA / MEX
Shots: 21 / 1
Shots on Goal: 7 / 0
Saves: 0 / 4
Corner Kicks: 4 / 1
Fouls: 4 / 12
Offside: 9 / 1

 

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Ballon d’Or – FIFA Women’s Player of the Year Finalists
Ballon d’Or – FIFA Women’s Player of the Year Finalists avatar

Abby Wambach was the lone American named today when FIFA announced the 10 finalists for the 2014 Ballon d’Or for the 2014 Women’s World Player of the Year. German goalkeeper Nadine Angerer heads the list, and the 2013 winner is joined by a diverse group of  women representing a total of seven countries.

Wambach has once again had a good year internationally.(ISI Photos/Brad Smith)

Wambach has once again had a good year internationally.(ISI Photos/Brad Smith)

Angerer is joined by countrywoman Nadine Kessler, making German one of three countries with two players among the 10 nominees. Sweden, with Nilla Fischer and Lotta Schelin and Japan, represented by Nahomi Kawasumi and Aya Miyama, are the other nations with multiple finalists.

One name surprisingly missing is Seattle Reign’s NWSL player of the year Kim Little. The Scottish international took the league by storm and had an outstanding year for her country. She should definitely feel disappointed not to have made the final 10.

Rounding out the list of 10 finalists are Brazilian superstar Marta, the five time Women’s World Player of the Year, Wambach the 2012 winner, France’s Louisa Nacib, and Veronica Boquette, of Spain. Here is the complete list.

Former Portland Spanish starlet Veronica Boquiete is up for the reward for the first time . (Getty Images)

Former Portland Thorn’s Spanish starlet Veronica Boquiete ( R)  is up for the reward for the first time . (Getty Images)

Nadine Angerer (Germany), Veronica Boquete (Spain), Nilla Fischer (Sweden), Nahomi Kawasumi (Japan), Nadine Kessler (Germany), Marta (Brazil), Aya Miyama (Japan), Louisa Necib (France), Lotta Schelin (Sweden), Abby Wambach (USA).

Also released today by FIFA are the 10 nominees for the top coaches in the world of women’s soccer. Fans of the U.S. WNT will note that former U.S. coach Pia Sundhage has been nominated for her work with her native Sweden. Sundhage will be looking to add to the 2012 Women’s Coach of the Year Award that she earned for leading the U.S. to that Olympic triumph in 2012. Below is the complete list.

Seattle Reign's Laura Harvey's success in the NWSL is recognised with her nomination. (ISI Photos/Howard C. Smith)

Seattle Reign’s Laura Harvey’s (pictured) success in the NWSL is recognised but many will be disappointed with NWSL standout player Kim Little’s exclusion. (ISI Photos/Howard C. Smith)

Philippe Bergeroo (France/France national team), Peter Dedevbo (Nigeria/Nigeria U-20 national team), Laura Harvey (England/Seattle Reign FC), Ralf Kellermann (Germany/VfL Wolfsburg), Maren Meinert (Germany/Germany U-20 national team), Norio Sasaki (Japan/Japan national team), Pia Sundhage (Sweden/Sweden national team), Asako Takemoto Takakura (Japan/Japan U-17 national team), Jorge Vilda (Spain/Spain U-17 national team and U-19 national team), Martina Voss-Tecklenburg (Germany/Switzerland national team).

FIFA and France Football will name three finalists from both of these categories on December 1. The top 10 finishers for the men’s honors will be released on October 28th.

The winners will be presented at the annual Ballon D’Or gala in Zurich on January 12. That same night FIFA will also select its World PRO XI, the Puskas Award for the “most beautiful” goal of the year, the FIFA Presidential award, and the FIFA Fair Play award.

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EPL Week 9 – Manchester United face their Biggest Test
EPL Week 9 – Manchester United face their Biggest Test avatar

It’s EPL time once again guys and gals, and week 9 promises to be just as intriguing as the last. Man City and Liverpool will be hoping to bounce back after disappointing midweek performances in the Champions League, while Arsenal and Tottenham will hope to translate their good midweek results in Europe over into the EPL. Elsewhere there is the little matter of Manchester United versus Chelsea on Sunday.

So sit back and relax as we at GotSoccer take you through some of the news, predictions and previews of Week 9.

NEWS

Valdes to train with Man Utd

Former Barcelona keeper Victor Valdes is set to train with Manchester United as part of his rehabilitation from a serious knee injury.

The 32-year-old tore his ACL whilst playing for Barcelona in March causing him to miss the World Cup in Brazil.

Valdes has still many years left at the top level. (Getty Images)

Valdes has still many years left at the top level. (Getty Images)

Manchester United confirmed Valdes would work with their medical staff as part of his rehabilitation on their website.

Valdes is a free agent after turning down an offer to extend his contract with the Catalan club last season. He was rumored to be on his way to Monaco, Liverpool and Arsenal but injured his knee before any move could materialize.

Valdes worked with Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal when the Dutchman managed Barcelona in 2002-2003, though he did not become Barcelona’s number one until the arrival of van Gaal’s successor Radomir Antic’s.

 

Brendan Roger warns Balotelli

Liverpool manager Brendan Rogers has reminded Mario Balotelli of “the culture in English football, and in particular, Liverpool” after the striker swapped shirts with Real Madrid’s Pepe at half-time.

The Italian international swapped shirts with Real Madrid defender Pepe as the teams left the field at half time. Liverpool were losing 3-0 at the time and Balotelli was soon watching from the bench with Adam Lallana taking his place for the second half.

Balotelli (R)   never looked like a real threat against Real Madrid. (Getty Images)

Balotelli (R) never looked like a real threat against Real Madrid. (Getty Images)

Ballotelli’s actions angered many Liverpool fans as he once again put in a disappointing performance. Former Liverpool player Graeme Souness was so enraged by Balotelli’s act that he could not bring himself to speak about it as a Sky Sports pundit on the night

Liverpool manager Rodgers said: “As long as he’s doing his best that’s all I can ask for. Whether his best will be good enough, remains to be seen.”

“But that’s the same for every player – not just for Mario.”

“Any action with Balotelli over the shirt swap will of course be kept within ourselves.

“We had a conversation on the culture in this country and, in particular, Liverpool – and that was it – matter closed.”

Balotelli has only scored once in eight games for Liverpool since joining from AC Milan at the end of August for $25.6m. However, it is his lackluster performances that have most disappointed the Liverpool faithful and questions are already being asked of his long-term future.

“He is working hard to try to fit into the team ethos here but only time will tell. We will see come January what the team needs.” Added Rogers.

 

PREDICTIONS

Week 8

Result

Anthony

Neil

Marc

Samuel

SATURDAY
Man City v Tottenham 4-1 3-0 2-2 3-1 3-1
Arsenal v Hull 2-2 2-0 3-0 2-1 2-1
Burnley v West Ham 1-3 2-2 1-1 0-2 2-1
Crystal Palace v Chelsea 1-2 0-2 0-3 1-5 1-3
Everton v Aston Villa 3-0 2-1 3-1 3-2 3-0
Newcastle v Leicester 1-0 2-1 1-0 1-1 1-2
Southampton v Sunderland 8-0 2-0 2-1 2-1 1-0
SUNDAY
QPR v Liverpool 2-3 0-1 0-2 0-3 0-1
Stoke v Swansea 2-1 1-1 1-2 0-1 1-2
MONDAY
West Brom v Man Utd 2-2 1-2 0-3 2-3 1-2
Total score 6-points 7-points 6-points 7-points

A correct result (picking a win, draw or defeat) is worth ONE point. Getting the exact score correct earns THREE points.

Last week I got SIX correct results, including ZERO perfect scores to give me a humble total of SIX-points. Challengers Neil and Samuel both got FIVE correct scores, including ONE perfect score to give them a total of SEVEN-points, meaning I have been beaten for the first time this season.

But that is why we enjoy this predictions game, because the best and most knowledgeable do not always win. Can they repeat the feat and beat me? Or perhaps a new challenger will take the crown this week. If you want to join in the fun please leave your predictions at the bottom of the page. GOOD LUCK!

Week 9

Predictions

SATURDAY
West Ham v Man City 1-3
Liverpool v Hull 2-1
Southampton v Stoke 2-0
Sunderland v Arsenal 1-2
West Brom v Crystal Palace 2-1
Swansea v Leicester 2-1
SUNDAY
Burnley v Everton 0-1
Tottenham v Newcastle 2-0
Man Utd v Chelsea 2-2
MONDAY
QPR v Aston Villa 1-2

SATURDAY

West Ham v Man City

West Ham won 3-1 away at Burnley last week to continue their impressive start to the season. Last season West Ham fans were calling for manager Sam Allardyce to be sacked because of his negative tactics, but he has changed the Hammers’ style of play this campaign and it seems to have worked wonders with West Ham winning four of their opening eight games so far this season.

Aguero has looked dangerous and seems to be getting back to his best. (Getty Images)

Aguero has looked dangerous and seems to be getting back to his best. (Getty Images)

However, they face arguably their toughest test yet this season in the form of the champions Manchester City. The Sky Blues thumped Tottenham Hotspurs 4-1 last week with striker Sergio Aguero netting all four of his side’s goals. However, midweek they were disappointing allowing CSKA Moscow to draw level after leading 2-0 at half time.

West Ham midfielder Cheikhou Kouyate and defender James Tomkins are available for selection after overcoming groin and thigh injuries respectively.

Manchester City midfielder Frank Lampard misses out on the chance to face the club where he started his career after injuring his thigh against Tottenham last weekend. Samir Nasri is also out for City following a groin operation.

City are unbeaten in their last 10 meetings with West Ham in all competitions (W8, D2). Indeed, City have scored 14 goals and conceded just one in their last four games against the Hammers, so will be confident of winning this game.

However, the Hammers are a much-improved side this season and have won over their fans with their adventurous style of play. City have yet to hit form and are still conceding sloppy goals at the back. I think West Ham will have attack City and will probably score, but the Champions have so many quality attacking players that they will outscore them.

Prediction: 1-3

 

Liverpool v Hull

Liverpool won a pulsating game at QPR last weekend beating the Hoops 3-2 thanks to a stoppage time own goal. The Reds were fortunate not to lose the game never mind win it, after QPR squirmed a series of guilt edge chances in the first half. However, they managed to take the lead and then recapture it twice with two goals in stoppage time. In fact, four of the game’s five goals came after the 87th minute.

However, the Reds were humbled midweek as Real Madrid put them to the sword with a 3-0 win at Anfield. Liverpool looked poor with Mario Balotelli especially disappointing.

Hull drew 2-2 away to Arsenal last week and will feel they should have left with all three-points after Danny Welbeck equalized for the Gunners in stoppage time. The Tigers made some good signings during the summer with Mohamed Diame the pick of the bunch. The Senegal captain was once again at the heart of all Hull’s good play and scored their opener, taking his tally for Hull to four goals in five games.

Sterling is struggling to create without Sturridge..(Getty Images)

Sterling (L)  is struggling to create without Sturridge..(Getty Images)

Liverpool look set to start striker Rickie Lambert after Mario Balotelli once again disappointed and caused controversy in the game against Real Madrid.

Hull’s injury trouble have been worsened by the absence of Michael Dawson and Nikica Jelavic who both could be out for up to six weeks because of injuries suffered at Arsenal. Goalkeepers Allan McGregor and Steve Harper both injured, meaning third choice Eldin Jakupovic is set to play.

Hull have only beaten Liverpool once in 18 meetings in all competitions (W1, D4, L13). However, that one win came in last season’s home game against the Reds. Liverpool are really struggling to match the form they showed last season and are really missing the presence of Daniel Sturridge up top.

Hull are a good side and will cause Liverpool trouble, but I think injuries to defender Michael Dawson and goalkeeper Allan McGregor are major blows and they will surely miss the sturdiness they provide on Saturday.

Prediction: 2-1

Sunderland v Arsenal

Sunderland equaled their record defeat in all competitions last week losing 8-0 away to Southampton. The loss was their heaviest in 32-years and caused the club’s players to offer to compensate all of the 2,600 Sunderland fans that traveled to watch the humiliating defeat.

The Black Cats were up against a good Southampton team, but many of the goals they conceded were poor and would not even be acceptable in the school playground.

Danny Welbeck has made a good start for Arsenal and has scored some important goals. (Getty Images)

Danny Welbeck has made a good start for Arsenal and has scored some important goals. (Getty Images)

Arsenal drew last week at home to Hull thanks to a stoppage time equalizer by Danny Welbeck. The Gunner’s actually took the lead in the game and looked set for a comfortable afternoon, but once they conceded they looked nervy and in the end were lucky not to lose the game, though they did have a chance at the death to win it. They also managed another great escape midweek in the Champions League scoring two goals in the last few minutes to beat Anderlecht.

Sunderland are without Sebastian Coates, Billy Jones, Emanuele Giaccherini and Ricky Alvarez who are all injured. New signing Anthony Reveillere who joined as a free-agent could start at full-back if he gets international clearance.

Arsenal will be without Jack Wilshere after the midfielder picked up his fifth booking of the season, meaning captain Mikel Arteta could return to the first team.

Sunderland desperately need a response after last weeks dismal performance, but they face a tough test against Arsenal who are on a nine-match unbeaten run against the Black Cats in the Premier League and are vying to win at the Stadium of Light for the fourth season in a row.

I expect the Black Cats will try and get in Arsenal’s faces and unsettle them, but I don’t think they have enough quality to hurt the Gunners and that’s why I’ll go for Arsenal to win this one.

Prediction: 1-2

 

SUNDAY

Manchester United v Chelsea

This game is undoubtedly the pick of Week 9’s game as Manchester United host EPL leader Chelsea.

The game is just as exciting because it pits two of the biggest and most intriguing coaches and egos against one another. The two coaches actually used to work together at Barcelona, where Mourinho acted as van Gaal’s number two for three-seasons.

Sunday’s game is Manchester United biggest test so far this season and will let them know how far they have come or still have to go until they can compete for the top trophies. United drew 2-2 away to West Brom last week, coming from behind twice. The Red Devils had a lot of the ball, but school boy defending at the back once again cost them and they will have to be a lot better if they are to have any chance against Chelsea.

Di Maria has been United's most outstanding player thus far and they will be hoping that he recovers in time. (Getty Images)

Di Maria has been United’s most outstanding player thus far and they will be hoping that he recovers in time. (Getty Images)

Chelsea maintained their fine start to the season with a comfortable 2-1 win away to Crystal Palace. The Blues looked in control from the first kick and their disappointment will be the red card received by Cesar Azpilicueta.

Manchester United midfielder Angel Di Maria is expected to overcome a thigh injury in time to face Chelsea, while Michael Carrick could make his first appearance of the season. However, Wayne Rooney once again misses out as he completes his last game of a three match suspension.

Chelsea look set to start Didier Drogba up front with Mourinho saying Diego Costa has “little chance” of playing and LoicRemy out injured.

Cesar Azpilicueta is suspended for the Blues, but Ramires could return from injury.

Chelsea have a terrific record against Manchester United in the EPL and are the only side to have beaten United more often in the EPL(15) than they have lost (13). Indeed, the Blues are unbeaten in their their last three league matches against Manchester United, conceding just one goal.

Manchester United seem to be improving and look especially impressive in the final third, however, their defending still leaves a lot to be desired and they always look likely to concede a goal a two.

I expect Chelsea to approach this game as they did against Man City by keeping things tight in defense and trying to hit on the counter. The absence of Diego Costa will be a big loss, but the Blues have plenty of other players capable of scoring a goal.

United have to take the game to Chelsea and I expect them to do so, however, that means they will leave gaps at the back for Chelsea to exploit.

Prediction: 2-2

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U.S. WNT take on Mexico in Semis
U.S. WNT take on Mexico in Semis avatar

The U.S. WNT play host to Mexico in a CONCACAF Championship semi-final at PPL Park in Chester, Pennsylvania on Friday at 7:30 PM.

Amy Rodriguez got the game's opener and the winning goal in their 4-0 victory over Mexico in September. (ISI Photos/Brad Smith)

Amy Rodriguez got the game’s opener and the winning goal in their 4-0 victory over Mexico in September. (ISI Photos/Brad Smith)

The winner of Friday’s match will advance to the final of the regional tournament and qualify for next summer’s World Cup in Canada, while the defeated team takes on the loser of the other semi-final in a third-place match.

This match also serves as a rematch of the 2010 CONCACAF Championship semi-final, in which Mexico achieved their most famous result by defeating the Americans 2-1.

However, that is Mexico’s sole victory over the U.S. As recently as mid-September the CONCACAF foes met, which saw the U.S. dominate in 8-0 and 4-0 wins.

The U.S. reached this stage after narrowly defeating Trinidad and Tobago and convincingly overcoming Guatemala and Haiti in the group stage which saw Abby Wambach score three goals to pass Mia Hamm on the all-time CONCACAF Championship scorers, leaving her four goals from passing Michelle Akers (17 goals).

Mexico reaches the semi-finals for the fifth time after rebounding from a 1-0 loss to Costa Rica to defeat Martinique and Jamaica. Mexico are the highest scoring team in the CONCACAF Championship (13 goals) and are equal with the U.S. with shots (73).

The U.S. have just too much firing power for Mexico and should ease through.(ISI Photos/Michael Janosz)

The U.S. have just too much firing power for Mexico and should ease through.(ISI Photos/Michael Janosz)

The U.S. are favorites to win the event to qualify for their seventh straight World Cup, while Mexico have qualified twice before (1999 and 2011).

Costa Rica face off against Trinidad and Tobago in the other semi-final. The winners of the semi-finals and the third place match automatically qualify for next summer’s event, leaving the fourth place team to play Ecuador in a two-legged playoff to determine who will join the other 23 nations in Canada for the World Cup.

Despite being having only one win in thirty-one games versus the Americans, the Mexico can draw inspiration from that one win and will look to recreate the upset on Friday night.

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Kansas Youth Sports Symposium
Kansas Youth Sports Symposium avatar

For more information, please visit the Kansas Youth Soccer Association website.

Courtesy of Kansas Youth Soccer Association

Courtesy of Kansas Youth Soccer Association

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