Archive for the ‘Soccer’ Category

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What a year 2010 turned out to be in sports. From the Alabama Crimson Tide winning the national championship to the Giants winning the World Series.

2010 saw Tiger Woods’ first full calendar year without notching a single victory, neither in majors nor non-major events.

2010 was host to both the Winter Olympics in Vancouver and the World Cup in South Africa. Surprisingly, South Africa seemed to handle the role better with seemingly less to work with. Really, the only negative throughout the World Cup were those Vuvuzelas (they haunt my dreams).

2010 was the year of the media. Endless talk of where LeBron James would play the ’10-’11 season and beyond hijacked every sports radio station, column, channel, etc. until finally, it built up to “the Decision”, a poorly thought out plan by the LeBron James group to publicly announce his contract plans live on ESPN.

“The Decision” badly backfired when James chose against returning to Cleveland, where he was drafted 6 years ago, and left to play in Miami with Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh. The backlash was instant in Cleveland and soon even the media, which profited greatly from “the Decision” threw James under the bus, calling his actions classless, selfish, and pretty much all the things the audience was wanting to hear.

Nearing the end of the year, and with the season under way, many of the media are forgiving of James and are more focussed on his play on the court.

2010 was a shaky shaky year for college football. It started with expansion rumors out of the Big East and the Big 10. The Big 10 fired first, inviting Big 12 member Nebraska into their ranks. Nebraska accepted the invite. The PAC-10, not to be outdone, fired next. They invited Colorado, Texas, Texas Tech, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, and Texas A&M. Colorado was the only school to accept. They later invited the University of Utah, who gladly accepted.

BYU, being passed over and no longer sharing a conference tie with rival Utah, left for far greener pastures as an Independent in Division 1A football, and far browner pastures in everything else, joining the West Coast Conference in all other sports.

TCU left for the Big East, and the top half of the WAC in football shifted over to the Mountain West Conference, to fill the holes left by the power trio that had, for nearly a decade, ruled the top of the conference.

Cam Newton burst onto the scene, dominating all in his way to winning the Heisman trophy and leading the Auburn Tigers into the national championship game. Looming over his accomplishments, however, were allegations that he was involved in a pay for play scheme with his father and an agent. Cam was ruled eligible for lack of evidence that he knew anything about the scheme. Let’s hope 5 years from now that we don’t have another Reggie Bush situation.

2010 was the year of the pitcher in the MLB. Roy Halladay, Tim Lincecum, Cliff Lee, and numerous others were in the spotlight this season. The Giants’ pitching staff received praise all season and they showed why. Solid pitching and late season play from Rookie Buster Posey led the Giants into the playoffs and hot bats at perfect times in the World Series sealed the deal for them.

The Lakers won their 2nd straight title, beating the Celtics and avenging their 2008 defeat in the finals to that nearly identical Celtics team.

Jimmie Johnson won his 5th straight Sprint Chase for the Cup title in a row (first ever to do so).

The UConn women’s basketball team broke the once thought impossible win streak record of 88 wins, set by the UCLA men’s basketball team under coach John Wooden. The lady Huskies’ record ended at 90 games.

All in all, a very crazy year. Can’t wait to see what 2011 brings.

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I know the title of this post will probably offend a few people but I think this is a valid argument. I will not sit here and say that soccer players are not athletic. In fact, soccer is one of the most trying sports on the body and rarely do players stop moving throughout the game that often goes for over an hour and a half.

That being said, there’s a lot to say about why the United States can’t compete with the Brazils, the Argentinas, and the Spains of the world on a regular basis in world competition in soccer.

Most all professional athletes today have started their athletic careers from a very early age. There are those exceptions where they didn’t play for a team until the senior year in high school and turned out to be naturally gifted but for the most part, athletes today begin with kid leagues and rec leagues.

If you were to ask 100 random people in the states “who is the most athletic person in England?” most everyone would name Wayne Rooney or David Beckham (both soccer players for those of you living under rocks). The same can be said of other European countries (Portugal: Christiano Ronaldo, Holland: Sneider or Robben, etc.)

But if you were to ask those same 100 people “who is the most athletic person in America?”, you will assuredly get mixed opinions ranging from LeBron James to Kobe Bryant to Chris Johnson. Whoever that American might be, I would be surprised to hear Landon Donovan or Freddy Adu or Jozy Altidore. Although each of these men is extremely athletic, they just don’t belong in the same sentence when talking about pure, athletic, talent. Could they beat the tar out of Kobe, LeBron, or really any other NBA or NFL star when it comes to conditioning and cardio endurance? Sure! But that’s just what it is, conditioning.

If NBA players were required to run around for over an hour and a half, I’m sure their conditioning would match that of our soccer stars. The plain and simple fact of the matter is, America’s 50 greatest athletes are playing in other leagues.

You tell me who on the soccer pitch is going to out-jump LeBron James for a header. You tell me who, on the USA World Cup team, is going to beat Chris Johnson in a foot race for a free ball. No one. Landon Donovan looks like “George” from “Seinfeld” next to these guys.

The fact that the United States can make it as far as they do in the World Cup tournament is a tribute to the type of athletes we do have in this country because if we had a roster filled with the Kobes, LeBrons, and Ochocincos of the country, well, I think we all know who would be taking home the World Cup every 4 years and it sure wouldn’t be Spain or Brazil or Argentina.