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Where does US Soccer Go from Here?

 The U.S. men’s soccer team are now out of meaningful international competition for some time so what does the team do now?

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After an embarrassing defeat to Trinidad and Tobago in the CONCACAF and not even qualifying for the Fifa World Cup, the USMNT (U.S. Men’s National Team) is lost.  They have no one steering the soccer ship as National Team coach Bruce Arena resigned following the team’s failure to qualify.  They are now out of meaningful international competition for some time so what does the team do now?

 

Enter former French National team and PSG coach Laurent Blanc, who is now being considered for the job.  ESPN’s Jonathan Johnson reported that the team is interested in Blanc and he is receptive to the idea of molding the team.  If he is given the job he will have an uphill climb to restore the team to a respectable level but he will have almost total control.

 

Blanc has been out of work since he left PSG last year after taking that team to three Coupes de la Ligue titles in three years.  He is a winner who does nothing but builds competitors and we think his hiring would be amazing for the USMNT.

 

The USMNT has never been a force in the World Cup but hiring a coach like Blanc would be a good step in the right direction.  In the 2012 UEFA World Championships, he coached France all the way to the quarter-final stage where they lost to the eventual winners, Spain.

 

The US is a country of untapped soccer talent since the sport is still not as popular as football, basketball, and baseball.  The USMNT is an exciting team to coach with budding superstars like Christian Pulisic and a cast of intriguing talent.  It all depends on who the team decides to hire to steer them in the right direction.

 

Some like former USMNT star Taylor Twellman think Blanc is a poor choice to lead the squad into the future.  

He states on Twitter that “Laurent Blanc would be a poor fit for the USMNT IMO. For a start, he admits himself that he likes coaching teams ready to succeed.”

That is a good point because the USMNT is nowhere near ready to compete on a major level like Blanc’s last few coaching spots.

 

On the other hand, grabbing a coach with Blanc’s prestige and swagger would be a great coup for a struggling team and demoralized fan base.  Seriously, what do soccer fans in the US think?  They can’t be happy about this entire situation, especially after the Klinsmann years.  

 

I honestly have no clue why the team hired Arena again, but what do I know?

 

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Messi Follows Maradona’s Skills and Goals but Has His Preferred Lifestyle

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Lionel Messi is the sole athlete to deserve being compared to Diego Maradona. Avid fans assert that Messi follows Maradona—or, at least, is very similar to the late athlete. In Sunday’s game against Osasuna, Messi dedicated his 4-0 win to Maradona.

The two Argentine iconic athletes are, in fact, very dissimilar in character. However, they are both very fond of Newell’s Old Boys. During the said Sunday event, Messi pulled up his shirt to show the black and red colors of the Rosario Club and then he pointed to the sky.

Messi follows Maradona, literally, since Maradona was Argentina’s captain during the 1986 World Cup victory in Mexico which was a year after Messi was born. Messi, as a fan, also attended Maradona’s 1993 club debut at Newell’s Stadium.

During Sunday’s game, Messi did a similar dribble across the edge of the field prior to reaching the top area—a move that Maradona previously did during an event against Emelec. That move wasn’t the only one that proves the fact that Messi follows Maradona in so many ways.

Messi’s moves against Getafe during a 2007 game echoes Maradona’s moves against England during the quarter-finals of the 1986 World Cup event, an event that is also commemorated for Argentina’s ‘Hand of God’ goal. This spectacular move was delivered by doing a dribble past the goalkeeper plus an iconic slide on the ground prior to letting the ball finally trickle into the awaiting net.

Indeed, Messi follows Maradona as the pair are both known to have a low gravity center, an excellent passing vision and range, and that famous left foot. Nonetheless, their characters are entirely disparate.

Maradona was known for his off-field preoccupations. He deftly craved being in the spotlight. He was Argentina’s beloved hero as many of his fans defied the restrictions and fear of the COVID-19 virus as they mourn his passing on Wednesday at the age of 60.

Although Maradona did not win Europe’s topmost club prize in his lifetime, he victoriously grabbed a UEFA CUP win and even a couple of Serie A awards. He was also the 1986 World Cup’s most dominant player.

Messi, on the other hand, is the all-time top scorer of Argentina. His team, however, lost to Germany during the 2014 World Cup finals. He also was part of the losing team in a couple of Copa America finals due to penalties they incurred.

“Maradona is definitely the best player I ever saw, but Messi fans shouldn’t get angry about that because he lives in a different era. But you could put Maradona alongside 10 broomsticks and he would still make the team win,” Alberto Fernandez, Argentina’s president, shared during an interview earlier this year.

Former athletes, however, do not know who to choose as the best. However, many fans agree that even if Messi follows Maradona in so many aspects of his career, both are labelled as Argentina sports heroes who can never be forgotten or replaced.

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Baseball

Sports World Today Still Heavily Affected by Covid-19

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The unprecedented outbreak of the novel coronavirus badly impacted the normal sports routine worldwide. Massive suspension and cancellation of various sports events were initiated in a move to curb the rapid transmission of the deadly virus earlier this year. Let’s take a look, however, at the condition of the sports world today.

In the world of basketball, Mississippi coach Kermit Davis unfortunately tests positive for COVID-19. His condition might result to him being placed at the sidelines when the season finally begins. The news was announced earlier on Tuesday, adding that Davis will undergo a second test. If he, however, tests positive again, he will be forced to opt out of the Rebels’ first couple of games as he will be required to go through self-quarantine at home.

To offset his absence, though, Ronnie Hamilton is expected to play as head coach during the upcoming home events on November 25 and 26. The Rebels are scheduled to go against Central Arkansas and Jackson State on the said dates. To soften the blow, Davis will be allowed to watch through the practice sessions and even contact the team via virtual means.

During the scheduled basketball season opening, the Indiana Hoosiers won’t have the usual live audience to cheer them on. According to school authorities, the stands will indefinitely remain empty. Nevertheless, officials plan to work closely with local health authorities and the campus and Big Ten leaders to find out when fans can be permitted to enter the Assembly Hall.

The sports world today is anticipating the time when new normal protocols will provide them easier gameplay. As for the Hoosiers, they are used to having the biggest basketball student fanbase.

To stem the lack of live audience, the university plans to put cutouts for sale. These cutouts will be placed on the empty seats. They will be priced at US$25 a piece with the option of having either women’s coach Teri Moren or men’s coach Archie Miller autograph these cutouts which will, then, be sent to the fans who purchase the tickets. Also, ticket buyers are guaranteed to avail of refunds or simply avail of the different options via the varsity club’s online site.

As for Tennessee Tech, the school is presently undergoing a difficult time with regard to their attempt to begin their women’s basketball season. Vanderbilt cancelled their game and then Chattanooga followed suit.

On Tuesday morning, Vanderbilt announced the necessity of cancelling their game against Tennessee Tech that was scheduled for November 25 due to the sudden occurrence of positive tests among their athletes. Following that announcement, Chattanooga made a similar call, stating the need to halt activities for a two-week quarantine. The said move resulted to the cancellation of their schedule games against Tennessee State and Tennessee Tech.

Indeed, the sports world today is still reeling from the hideous impacts of the unprecedented COVID-19 outbreak. At present, it is not only basketball events that are being cancelled and suspended. Several other sports are being halted, as well, as sports authorities struggle to find a way to conduct their events while observing the new normal protocols.

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John Jay Defeats Lourdes as Sports Events Resume in Dutchess County

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Interscholastic games finally start in Dutchess County despite the current COVID-19 pandemic. “You always want to have a great season and make it far, but this time it’s not just about winning. We have to do the right things to make sure the season keeps going so we’ll even have a chance to get far,” asserts Kari Horos, a sophomore member of the John Jay East Fishkill girls soccer team as sports events begin in the country.

However, Horos mentions that this season will be a unique experience as bagging a victory won’t be the only goal during this time. As it happens, there are several other things that factor into the equation. Amid the on-going Covid situation, there are several hindrances that players need to tackle—and get accustomed to—so that this season becomes a good experience for all.

Many players mention the difficulty of playing while wearing a mask. Wearing a mask, they say, prevents them from breathing easily. This problem is exacerbated by the fact that athletes are not in their optimal conditions due to the prolonged inactivity brought about by the previous and on-going COVID-19 lockdowns, according to Patriots coach CJ Greenwood.

Running, a basic activity involved in various sports, is like “taking deep breaths with a plastic bag on your head,” says the 61-year-old referee, Rick Snyder, referring to the necessary protocol of wearing masks during in-game events. Nonetheless, they all accept that this is one of the sacrifices that they have to tackle this season.

Despite the various difficulties experienced by players during these season’s events, John Jay’s Ava Viebrock got to handle the game well. She was able to lead John Jay into winning over the Patriots with a 2-1 score during their game against the Our Lady of Lourdes High School. “[It] was important because it gets us started on a good note,” Viebrock shares.

With only about 40 spectators present, the boys’ and girls’ soccer teams successfully hosted the Duchess County high school games in spite of the raging coronavirus pandemic that forced all schools in the country to close in March, earlier this year.

The decision to push through with the events remained previously unclear. But in August, authorities decided to resume the activities. This, amid the continuous health concerns as New York became the country’s epicenter during the height of the pandemic. Hayler, Viebrock’s sister, is part of the Johnson and Wales’ soccer team. Earlier in July, her school opted to withdraw from all fall sports.

John Jay team members feel that this fall season is in a precarious condition. The games, they say, may depend on the unfolding situation as authorities are strictly monitoring any upsurge in COVID-19 in-game infection which could decide whether the games will continue or not.  “It’s been a long, winding road to get here. [District athletic directors] Kurt Jesman and Maureen Myers have done a great job to get us to this point and my girls are doing what they need to for the protocols. But I keep telling them that every game could be our last, so play like it,” Greenwood shares.

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