OK real Time Pet peeve of mine – Why don’t teams/coaches put players on the post of corner kicks. Again today 2 goals on corner kicks- both of them would have been saved with someone / anyone on the post. The players now not on the post are standing in box – covering no one – playing center field – what the hell. Isn’t the concept on corners to not give up a goal. THEN PUT SOMEONE ON BOTH POSTS YOU IDIOTS!@$%&! I guess I need some rocket scientist coach to explain to me why having no one on the posts and giving up goals on corner kicks in more important than having another useless player in the field doing nothing.
For the first time in Champions League history one country (England) has 5 teams in the final 16. The EPL teams will be favored in 3 of 5 instances with Man City on a roll, Liverpool facing Porto and Man United favored over Basel. Chelsea has a tougher go as they host Barcelona next week and Tottenham vs Juventus is a pick-em despite the fact Juve is a 2 time finalist over the past 2 years.
Tues, Feb 13 – Champions League
2:45 pm FS2 Basel vs Man City
2:45 pm Fox Sport1 Juventus vs Tottenham
Weds, Feb 14 – Champions League
2:45 pm FS1 Real Madrid vs PSG
2:45 pm Fox Sport2 Porto vs Liverpool
So folks have asked me why I didn’t give my opinion on the US Soccer election prior to Saturday. You want to know why? What happened? Carlos Cordeiro – Sunil’s #2 guy –a guy who has been involved with soccer for 11 years – won the election. Are you friggin kidding me? So what did we vote for – MORE OF THE SAME OLE SHIT. Way too expensive National Team games (over $100 per ticket for mens NON qualifying games) in the wrong cities in the wrong stadiums. Build US support – no – play games in 20K stadiums at $150 per ticket so only the rich or stupid (me) can afford to support our country and our team. MOTSOS – The US Ladies continuing to get screwed – with regards to pay and benefits, not getting the proper recognition as the top team in the world – oh and now the elimination of the ENCL which allowed the best players to play high school in the fall and Super Competitive Travel soccer in the Spring. Oh that system has helped the US win the World Cup twice!!! Replacing it with full time Academy. It worked so well for the US Men !!! Now high school soccer is removed from the equation nationwide as players are forced to choose playing Academy ball or High School. The whole thing just MAKES ME SICK ! So that’s why I had no opinion of the US Election – because I HAVE VERY LITTLE FAITH IN US SOCCER or its Leadership, and its ability to change with the times. Does it mean I won’t support our teams – won’t follow each US player as they play their club ball – of course not. But it just proves that change in US Soccer is a lost cause. Hopefully we’ll continue to get there despite the incredible continued ineptitude at the very top of US Soccer.
Speaking of US Soccer – the defending World Champion US Ladies team comes to Columbus, OH to play Germany in the She Believe’s Cup on Thurs, Mar 1 at 7 pm. Honestly assuming The Columbus Crew are probably moving to Texas next year – this might be your LAST CHANCE to See a US Team play in the GREATEST HOME FIELD ADVANTAGE IN US SOCCER HISTORY – in Columbus. Until last year when the men lost to Mexico – The US had never lost in this mecca of US Soccer registering multiple 2-0 wins over Mexico in THE Game of each Men’s Qualifying Cycle. Anyway a Thursday night won’t be easy – but it might be worth the drive over. Tickets are in the $35 to $50 range behind the goals. And you get both games – the England vs France game kicks off at 4 pm and the US Game follows at 7 pm. Anyone interested in Traveling over – I have a hook up with American Outlaw tickets behind the US Goal.
I found a great place in La Porte, IN on Airbnb. Check it out: https://abnb.me/EVmg/KjWULabehK
Cordiero is Different than Gulati – SI – Brian Straus
GAMES ON TV
Mon, Feb 12
3 pm NBCSN Chelsea vs West Brom
Tues, Feb 13 – Champions League
2:45 pm FS2 Basel vs Man City
2:45 pm Fox Sport1 Juventus vs Tottenham
Weds, Feb 14 – Champions League
2:45 pm FS1 Real Madrid vs PSG
2:45 pm Fox Sport2 Porto vs Liverpool
Sat, Feb 17
FA Cup Weekend
Tues, Feb 20 – Champions League
2:45 pm FS1 Bayern Munich vs Besiktas
2:45 pm FS 2 Chelsea vs Barcelona
Weds, Feb 21 – Champions League
2:45 pm FS1 Sevilla vs Man United
2:45 pm Fox Sport2 Roma vs Shakhtar
Thurs, Mar 1
7 pm ESPN2 US Ladies vs Germany (She Believes Cup @ MAPFREE Stadium Columbus, OH)
Tues, Mar 6 – Champions League
2:45 pm FS1 PSG vs Real Madrid
2:45 pm Fox Sport2 Liverpool vs Porto
Weds, Mar 7 – Champions League
2:45 pm FS2 Man City vs Basel
2:45 pm Fox Sport1 Tottenham vs Juventus
Tues, Mar 13 – Champions League
2:45 pm FS1 Man United vs Sevilla
2:45 pm Fox Sport2 Shakhtar vs Roma
Weds, Mar 14 – Champions League
2:45 pm FS1 Besiktas vs Bayern Munich
2:45 pm FS 2 Barcelona vs Chelsea
EPL 2018 Schedule
What to Watch For as Champions League Round of 16 Gets Underway
February 12, 2018
The UEFA Champions League is finally back after a two-month break and you can bet football fans around the world are already preparing for the upcoming game nights with their friends. The group stage came to a close in December and now it’s time for the real action as the Last 16 begins.There are four matches set to take place this week on Tuesday and Wednesday, and with giants like Paris Saint-Germain and Real Madrid squaring off against each other, fans better be prepared for any twist or turn the match week might have in store.
JUVENTUS VS. TOTTENHAM
Another Titan for Spurs to Topple?
Tottenham enjoyed a memorable group campaign after taking four points off back-to-back reigning holders Real Madrid, which included a stunning 3-1 win over Los Blancos at Wembley.Juventus, who were beaten to the top spot in their group by Barcelona, are a historic giant cut from the same cloth as Real and would be another huge scalp for the Premier League side, who are definitely still ‘small fish’ in this ‘big fish’ pond.It’s not exactly David vs Goliath, but it’s not a level playing field either.
Choker vs Choker?
While a dominant force in Italy throughout their history – 33 Serie A titles can definitely attest to that – Juventus are the ultimate chokers when it comes to the Champions League.Including the days of the original European Cup, Juve have played in nine finals over the years and managed to lose seven of them. The most recent was, of course, last season against Real Madrid, while they were also played off the pitch by Barcelona in 2015.’Spursy’ Spurs have long held a reputation as being England’s chokers of choice, although it is a label they have started to shed under Mauricio Pochettino.
A Story of Two Number 10s
The hopes for both teams will ultimately rest on their respective No. 10s, Paulo Dybala for Juve and Harry Kane for Spurs.Each man is currently 24 years of age and both are expected to kick on and establish themselves as the best in the world in the seasons to come – these are two players who could genuinely win the Ballon d’Or when the Ronaldo/Messi duopoly is finally over.What’s more, each is having a ‘career’ season in 2017/18. The typically deeper Dybala is fast closing in on 20 goals so far, while Kane has astonishingly found the net over 30 times already.
Potential Twist: Fernando Llorente spent two seasons at Juve between 2013 and 2015, scoring 27 times for the Bianconeri. He has been a bit-part player at Spurs since joining from Swansea, but it would certainly be a story if he could make an impact against his former club.
BASEL VS. MANCHESTER CITY
Beyond the Last 16
National champions on 12 occasions this century, Basel have been Switzerland’s regular representative in the Champions League. But the club has never gone beyond the Last 16.Manchester City were eliminated at the same stage last season, falling to Monaco, and have only been further on one previous occasion, despite six attempts in total – that was when Manuel Pellegrini led a team to semi-finals in 2015/16.This time, one of the two sides has to go beyond the Last 16.
Does a ‘Quadruple’ Beckon?
With the Premier League all but sewn up and a place in the Carabao Cup final booked for the end of the month, City are looking at the next small step in completing a never-before-seen ‘quadruple’ by getting off to a good start against Basel.No English team has ever won four major trophies in the same season to complete what has always been seen as the impossible dream.A ‘quadruple’ would be a massive step because City have only ever done a ‘double’ once before, combining the 2013/14 Premier League and League Cup – and that’s not even the real ‘double’. Ironically, Basel are actually well accustomed to ‘doubles’ in Switzerland.
You Look Familiar
The only scary thing for City fans about Basel striker Ricky van Wolfswinkel is getting hopelessly tongue-tied trying to utter the Dutchman’s name. That is because he was worse than awful during a single season at Norwich back in 2013/14.The thing is, he could actually come back and bite City, though. Van Wolfswinkel scored 23 goals in the Netherlands for Vitesse Arnhem last season and had netted eight in 14 for Basel this season before suffering a fractured foot in September.He’s fit again now and should be getting back to his former sharpness for City’s visit.
Potential Twist: City are such massive favorites to win the tie that there’s a risk they are just too complacent, giving Basel the inch they need to cause an upset. Either that or the Swiss side’s red and blue shirts will kid City into thinking they are facing Barcelona…
PORTO VS. LIVERPOOL
Liverpool finished top of their group, but it certainly seemed like there were times when they didn’t want to after twice throwing away leads in games home and away against Sevilla.Jurgen Klopp’s team just couldn’t see games out against the Spaniards, giving up a 2-1 lead with 20 minutes to go at Anfield and then a 3-0 half-time lead in the reverse fixture in Andalucia.When aggregate scores are at stake, Liverpool cannot afford to do the same against Porto. If they manage to open up a cushion, they absolutely have to hold onto it.
Liverpool are linked with players all across Europe and the wider world on a near daily basis and there are a handful of individuals in the Porto ranks that have been rumored Anfield targets.Any substance in such speculation has been tellingly lacking, but if nothing else this Last 16 tie will give fans a good opportunity to have a look for themselves and make their own mind up.Legendary ex-Real Madrid goalkeeper Iker Casillas is one, tricky Algerian winger Yacine Brahimi is another popular source of gossip. There are also midfield pair Hector Herrera and Danilo Pereira, although the latter faces a serious battle to be fit for the first leg.
Virgil Steps In
Philippe Coutinho may be gone – he won’t play for Barcelona in the Champions League until next season – but Virgil van Dijk will make his Champions League debut for Liverpool following his record £75m move from Southampton last month.The Dutch center back was bought to address Liverpool’s defensive weakness, although it must be said that the Reds have only managed to keep one clean sheet when he’s played.Van Dijk isn’t new to the Champions League. In a total baptism of fire, he was part of a Celtic team that was thrown into a group of death with Barcelona, AC Milan and Ajax in 2013/14.
Potential Twist: Porto have been in this position before, underdogs at this stage of the Champions League against English opposition. On that occasion it was 2004 against Manchester United, with Jose Mourinho making a name for himself on Old Trafford’s touchline.
REAL MADRID VS. PARIS SAINT-GERMAIN
The Ultimate Old vs New
Real Madrid are reigning back-to-back European champions, the most iconic club in the history of the entire history of the European Cup/Champions League. PSG are upstarts formed in 1970 and are only enjoying their current success because of a wealthy owner.But the two are equals on the pitch now and there is plenty for Real to be scared of in the French club’s ranks, especially after they set a new goals record in the group stage.If PSG win, it could well be the catalyst for more to come in Paris. On the other hand, they have choked so many times in previous seasons, people are still not ready to take them seriously.
The Neymar Factor
PSG bought Neymar for a world record €222m in the summer, forcibly ripping him away from a Barcelona that were so desperate not to sell they are even suing the player for €75m in earnings he was paid from his new contract last season, plus damages.Neymar has a point to prove every time he steps out onto the pitch, to show people that he joined PSG to further his football ambition and not simply for the monster payday. Going head-to-head with Real is the perfect chance to do that.The other side of this is that Real are rumored to be very keen on signing the Brazilian. This could be an opportunity to establish contact without raising too much suspicion.
Has Ronaldo Still Got It?
With a 26-year-old Neymar on one side hoping to drive PSG to victory, there is a 33-year-old Cristiano Ronaldo on the other hoping to prove he can still perform on the very biggest stages.Ronaldo is the Champions League’s top scorer after the group stage with nine goals from six games so far. Four of those came against minnows APOEL, though, and the Portuguese icon has scored way less than normal in La Liga this season.His own personal ambition to be the best has always been all the motivation he’ ever needed, but if Ronaldo wants any more for this game there’s plenty of it.
Potential Twist: With all the focus on Ronaldo, Bale, Benzema, Neymar, Mbappe and Cavani, what if all that incredible attacking prowess on both sides simply cancels out and it is actually the defenders who steal the show. We all know that Sergio Ramos likes to be the center of attention.
Tottenham can’t be wasteful against Juventus as UCL clash looms
8:42 AM ETJohn Crace
Almost seven years ago to the day, Tottenham travelled to Italy for the first leg of their round-of-16 Champions League tie against AC Milan in the San Siro.Spurs were given little chance. The team were dogged by injuries, were without their talisman Gareth Bale and AC Milan were the form team in Serie A.Tottenham sneaked a 1-0 win courtesy of Peter Crouch partly because many of the players lifted their game, but mainly because Milan severely underestimated their opposition. The Italians started as if they believed they only had to turn up to win and by the time they realised they were involved in a tough battle, it was too late.There will be no chance of Juventus taking Spurs for granted in Tuesday’s Champions League tie. Where the 2011 Spurs team was built around a few stars — Bale, Rafael van der Vaart and Luka Modric — the current team has world class players in almost every position.They are a side that has the understanding and trust in one another that comes having played together for nearly three years and they are hitting their best form at the right time of the season. To take seven points out of a possible nine in matches against Manchester United, Liverpool and Arsenal is a sign of just how well they are playing.If Mauricio Pochettino can have any gripes with his team, it is that they sometimes lack a killer instinct. They fail to put away sides that are there for the taking and make life unnecessarily difficult for themselves. Against Manchester United, Spurs had several chances to increase their first-half lead that they failed to convert. Against Liverpool, they started slowly and gave away an early goal to a silly error. But in the second half, they bossed the game. And though ultimately they will have been pleased to grab a point with a last minute Harry Kane penalty, there was a lingering feeling they missed a golden opportunity to take all three.It was a similar story in the North London derby. After a cagey first-half, Spurs were utterly dominant in the second 45 minutes after taking the lead when Kane headed home. Tottenham had several golden chances to increase the lead and should have been out of sight at 3-0 up with 10 minutes to play. Predictably the game drew to a nervy conclusion with only the poor finishing from Arsenal striker Alexandre Lacazette denying the visitors a draw their performance had not deserved.Tottenham can’t afford to be that wasteful against Juventus. The Italian side are not only the dominant force in Serie A, they have also not conceded a goal in 15 games. But Spurs will get their chances and they must take them. Serie A is not nearly as strong as the Premier League and the Juventus defence does not often get tested. They aren’t used to be competing against players with the attacking flair of Kane, Christian Eriksen, Son Heung-Min and Dele Alli. Spurs must take advantage of what may be a slight rustiness in the Juve defence.Which isn’t to say Pochettino’s men should be reckless. Make no mistake, a draw would be a decent result away to one of the best sides in Europe. But neither should Spurs be too cautious and respectful. They have already brushed aside two fancied teams in Real Madrid and Borussia Dortmund in the group stages and Pochettino has shown he has learned from his bruising first outing in the Champions League last season. Now is the time for Spurs to lay down a marker.Pochettino has made most of the right calls so far this season. His one weakness has been a slowness to react when his game plan is not working. Against Juventus he must be prepared to be flexible and make the necessary changes before it is too late. The Italians are too good a team not to punish any sign of weakness.Spurs need to stay strong and believe in themselves. If they remember the club motto, “To Dare is To Do,” then anything is possible.
Mauricio Pochettino: Tottenham won’t change approach vs. Juventus
5:30 PM ETDan KilpatricTottenham Correspondent
LONDON — Mauricio Pochettino has said Tottenham Hotspur will not change their approach for Tuesday’s Champions League game at Juventus.Spurs have taken seven points from league games against Manchester United, Liverpool and Arsenal, and Pochettino said that had given them the confidence to win the round-of-16 first leg in Turin without sacrificing style or adventure.The Londoners controlled possession in home wins over United and Arsenal and a 2-2 draw at Anfield, but their best results in the Champions League came with a more counter-attacking style.They had around 35 percent possession in home wins over Borussia Dortmund and Real Madrid and a 1-1 draw at the Bernabeu — suggesting a blueprint for how to beat Juve.And Pochettino said: “My idea is to keep playing the same way, to try and be a little bit braver if we can, while being clever because their level is one of the best in Europe.”Watching the last few games, we are comfortable in the way we are playing and the shape we use [4-2-3-1]. I think the players know we don’t have to change too much and in the last three Premier League games they have started to feel good.”It is important sometimes not to change too much, unless you want to rotate to provide more freshness to win.”When you beat Arsenal and United, it means you have the quality to beat big teams in Europe too. Of course, Juventus is a great team, one of the best in Europe and they have a lot of experienced players who know what it is to compete in the Champions League — in three seasons they have played two finals.”For us, we don’t have that. But our belief, our confidence, our form are good, and we will be ready to very competitive.”Pochettino said Spurs would face a challenge “to beat a great team like Juventus, to score against a team that has conceded one goal in 16 games.”He added: “But if we could win the first leg it would be fantastic.”It was a very tough period, all big teams, so I think we showed great maturity, great character and the performance was so good. For me, it has been one of the best periods since I’ve been at Tottenham.”Spurs’ 1-0 win over Arsenal on Saturday moved them back into the top four, and a step closer to both playing in next season’s Champions League and a second consecutive finish above their north London rivals.Pochettino, though, said he does not care about the Gunners and his focus was on continuing Spurs’ quest for a maiden Premier League title.”Arsenal is our sworn enemy and I know what it means, the derby, but we don’t care if Arsenal are behind us, or where they are. It is more important to build something special at the club with these players.”I know it is different to when we play other big rivals but our motivation is always the same: to win. But we are winning because we are building something special in the Premier League, here in England.”We are close but not so close to win the title — but getting closer. We must win all the games, and Manchester City fail every game.”In football, things can happen. But it would be very difficult for this to happen.”
PSG more ready for Real Madrid now than for Barca last year – Unai Emery
Feb 9, 2018Jonathan JohnsonESPN
PARIS — Paris Saint-Germain coach Unai Emery has said that his club are more ready for their Champions League round-of-16 tie with Real Madrid next week than they were for Barcelona at the same point last campaign.Speaking at a prematch news conference ahead of PSG’s Ligue 1 trip to Toulouse on Saturday, Emery feels that his players are ready for the challenge that awaits them at Santiago Bernabeu and more so than they were for their ill-fated outing at Camp Nou a year ago.”The team is better prepared this season than last,” Emery said at a snowy Camp des Loges. “The team has grown the same way that the club has grown.”We need to continue this way. We all want to demonstrate this [in Madrid].”Emery also said that Brazilian superstar Neymar is ready after being rested for the 4-1 Coupe de France round-of-16 win away at Ligue 2 side Sochaux on Tuesday.”Neymar has been training well,” Emery said. “I think that he really wants to play in Toulouse. Everything is fine, normal — we have managed his playing time carefullyEmery also praised Angel Di Maria, who scored three of PSG’s four goals in midweek amid speculation that he could start away at former club Real Madrid next week.”Angel is doing well right now,” Emery said. “He has been a breath of fresh air [since the start of 2018].”He decided to stay when he had the chance to leave and go elsewhere to play. Angel is an important player for us.”Emery also confessed that although he is not 100 percent sure of his starting XI at the Bernabeu, he has an idea of how he will line his PSG side up.”There is a match on Saturday and we still have a few training sessions,” Emery said. “Today, I cannot say what the starting XI will be in Madrid.”I have an idea, of course, as we have worked the whole season to reach a moment like this one and we have analysed all of the possible information to make the best decisions.”
Jupp Heynckes says Bayern are hungry for a Champions League win
Feb 9, 2018Mark Lovell
MUNICH — Jupp Heynckes has said Bayern Munich are “hungry and highly motivated” for Champions League success this season.Seeking a sixth consecutive Bundesliga title, Bayern have moved 18 points clear at the top and reached the DFB Pokal semifinals with a 6-0 win over third division Paderborn on Tuesday.ayern face Besiktas in the Champions League round of 16 later this month, aiming to repeat their 2012-13 win under the veteran coach.”When I arrived at the club in October we were five points behind Borussia Dortmund. We definitely want to be successful in the Bundesliga and the German Cup,” Heynckes said at a news conference ahead of Saturday’s Bundesliga game against Schalke.”Winning the Champions League is a massive challenge for every team. The team is hungry and highly motivated — many of our players have not yet won the Champions League.”However, success in the Champions League often depends on the draw and form on the night, but Bayern has many hugely experienced players and vast experience in the competition.”We have developed and made great strides in many aspects since the winter training camp in Qatar. We have perfected our play — you just don’t turn up and play like we did in Paderborn on Tuesday. We have worked hard for that success.”Top scorer Robert Lewandowski is aiming to find the net for the 11th consecutive Bundesliga home game and surpass Jupp Heynckes’ own record for Borussia Monchengladbach in the 1970s.”We have joked with each other about this,” Heynckes said.”Today’s generation of players knows everything about how us old sweats played the game. A journalist is creative and has to check what he writes but I didn’t actually know about this record. But I can appease you — Robert will start the game and won’t be subbed unless he is playing badly.”Heynckes confirmed that Thiago Alcantara has recovered from a thigh injury which has sidelined him since November.”It’s looking good at the moment –everyone is fit apart from Manuel Neuer,” he said, before adding: “I will not risk anything with Thiago and he doesn’t make the squad.”I will be careful with Thiago and hand him his comeback in Wolfsburg next week. It’s pleasing to have another top player back. Javi Martinez will also return and it’s vitally important in the coming months to have all players fit and available.”Peter Hermann [Heynckes’ assistant] told me today that the 18th player in our squad could play in our best starting XI. There’s very little difference in quality in our squad.”Schalke midfielder Leon Goretzka will move to Bayern on a free transfer this summer and the Germany international has been criticised for agreeing the transfer to the Bundesliga champions.Asked about the transfer and the possibility of Goretzka potentially facing his future employer at the weekend: “I think he’s handling the criticism very well. But it hasn’t been easy for him as he was carrying an injury until Wednesday and wasn’t able to deliver top performances.”He is very mature for his age and understands the fans reaction as well, “he said.But this type of move has always happened in the Bundesliga, it used to be between Bayern and Monchengladbach and we also experienced this situation with Neuer. I think he is quite relaxed about it and handling it very well.”
Klopp’s rotation dilemma at Liverpool as Karius shows promise in goal
Roberto Firmino and Mohammed Salah’s roles in Liverpool’s 2-0 victory at Southampton were celebrated, although such performances become less surprising by the week. Both are having outstanding seasons.Although they could hardly claim to be under siege it was Liverpool’s defence that was scrutinised more. Hardly a surprise, since it is largely considered to be the team’s weakness.Loris Karius did well in goal. Liverpool have been shipping goals lately, with every opposition strike on target seemingly going in.Southampton’s threat fizzled out after Salah made it 2-0 just before the break. In such games it’s difficult to gauge if this was a direct consequence of Liverpool’s efficiency or not.Jurgen Klopp won’t care. In fact he’ll note for the third game running his goalkeeper made an important save to either keep his team in the lead or, as against Huddersfield and Tottenham, on equal terms.Nothing that could be described as world class or miraculous, but given how things usually go for Liverpool there was enough to justify Klopp’s public pronouncement of Karius as his No.1.With the Champions League returning this week, Klopp can’t return to alternating keepers. Even if his countryman were to make a bad error in Porto on Wednesday, he must persist with him.In December 2016, Karius made errors in a few games — enough for Klopp to bring back Simon Mignolet. With hindsight, that doesn’t appear to have been very patient.Having promoted Karius again, Klopp tried to do right by the Belgian by giving him a place in the FA Cup team. There were times in that 3-2 defeat at Anfield against West Brom that Mignolet let himself down badly, and any concession to him for what remains of Liverpool’s season would be a mistake.Herein lies the problem with squad rotation. It isn’t just about maintaining fitness, it’s also about keeping squad players sharp and hungry. You can’t just stick to the same XI, as once somebody regards himself as surplus to requirements they’ll down tools and be on to their agent looking for a club that does want to use them.Twice on Sunday, Karius made saves that spared the blushes of his left-back Andrew Robertson, who’d been caught out by long crosses over his head.
Those aside, the Scot is another example of a player who perhaps shouldn’t be rotated any longer. Fans feel he’s done more than enough to keep his place, and that players like Mignolet and Alberto Moreno have had plenty of chances to stake claims for regular selection.That may also apply to Dejan Lovren, as patience has worn thin with the Croatian too . Klopp’s argument there is that nobody has really stood out in the fight to partner Virgil van Dijk.The Dutchman himself has only just earned his first Liverpool clean sheet, seeming almost to glide through the Southampton game and smirking whenever the home fans tried to unsettle him.His £75 million fee guarantees he’ll take one of the central defence places on a regular basis, but nobody has stood out yet to be his long-term partner.As with the goalkeeper, Klopp needs to see out the season with what he currently has at his disposal and gauge if more transfer investment is needed in any position.At right-back, Klopp has also rotated more than usual, dealing as he is with two young albeit talented players in Joe Gomez and Trent Alexander-Arnold.Both have done well when selected but also have a propensity for lowered concentration levels — vital in a defender, but rare in younger players.Gomez has the edge defensively while Alexander-Arnold is better going forward. In this instance rotation can actually benefit Liverpool as both players are given match experience to suit different opponents. It’s just difficult for their colleagues at the back to acclimatise to a different individual on the flank every week.Liverpool’s last two wins have been comfortable, both away against relegation-threatened opposition. That doesn’t mean fans didn’t appreciate them, given that the previous two defeats were also against sides in the lower depths of the Premier League.With the season starting to heat up, Klopp may tinker less with his side. It may also mean some players are gradually impressing upon the manager that they shouldn’t ever be dropped.The conundrum now is whether change is necessary to rest tiring players. Porto is a huge game on Wednesday, but there are 10 free days after that because of FA Cup elimination. There’ll be plenty of time for rest then.Liverpool’s only chance of a trophy, unlikely as it may already seem, depends upon Klopp making the right choices this week. He’s not got a lot wrong so far this season.
Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde: Gerard Pique should be fit for Chelsea
Feb 10, 2018Sam Marsden
BARCELONA — Gerard Pique missed training on Saturday but has been included in the Barcelona squad for Sunday’s league game against Getafe and should be fit to face Chelsea in the Champions League.Pique played over 80 minutes in Thursday’s win against Copa del Rey semifinal win against Valencia despite picking up a knee injury at Espanyol last weekend.The defender was clearly in pain by the time he was taken off, with TV images showing him holding his knee on the bench, and has not been able to train since then.But with Samuel Umtiti suspended and Thomas Vermaelen sidelined with a hamstring injury, Ernesto Valverde has included him for the visit of Getafe.However, the Barcelona coach told a news conference: “We will have to see if Pique is able to start the game or not.”I would like all my players to be able to train the day before a game, so if he hasn’t trained then there’s obviously a reason for that.”It’s true that he still has a problem. The other day we decided to risk him [against Valencia] because it was a decisive game. We will see if he plays, but it’s another important game.”With Barca’s trip to Stamford Bridge just 10 days away, Valverde added: “We hope he’s fine for Chelsea and, touch wood, he doesn’t have any setbacks.”Yerry Mina, who came off the bench against Valencia, is in line to make his full debut against Getafe regardless of Pique’s fitness, with Valverde saying the Colombia international would be ready if called upon.If Pique is left on the bench, Valverde suggested he was considering playing left-back Lucas Digne or midfielder Sergio Busquets alongside Mina.Further forward, Ousmane Dembele returns as Barca include both their record signings — Dembele and Philippe Coutinho — for the first time.Dembele has been out for nearly a month with a hamstring injury after missing four months with a ruptured tendon earlier in the season.Valverde said: “Dembele’s a player that we have high hopes for, as I have said many times since we signed him.”We will be careful bringing him back into the team, but he’s going to add things to our game.”With the quality he has, he can help us. He has qualities which are different to the rest [of the squad]. There have been moments when we could have done with him. We hope that now he’s back again we can begin to see those qualities.”Coutinho, meanwhile, scored his first goal for Barca against Valencia on Thursday, but Valverde said the best was yet to come.”I think Coutinho’s looking good,” he said. “The goals help, they give you confidence.”He is a player that is good individually and also as part of the team, in one-on-one situations, linking play … we think he’s looking good but the best is still to come.”
How to pronounce the players’ names correctly
Monday 12 February 2018
English speakers tend to mangle foreign names; UEFA.com cracks more rocks of ignorance and makes the toughest round of 16 players’ names seem simple.
UEFA.com’s ongoing mission to ensure that the world’s football fans get the players’ names right continues as the round of 16 commences; take a deep breath and try these.
Barcelona’s universal popularity has ironed out most pronunciation errors, but Lucas Digne is a tricky one and don’t forget that Ivan Rakitić’s ‘ć’ is a ‘ch’ for English speakers. Also worth mentioning that ‘Lionel’ is not pronounced the same in Spanish as in English.
Paco Alcácer – Alka-sare
José Arnaiz – Are-nice
Lucas Digne – Loo-cah Dee-nyuh
Lionel Messi – Lee-oh-nell
Ivan Rakitić – Ra-key-titch
Thomas Vermaelen – Ver-mah-len
Albanian names can cause some problems; it’s also worth remembering for Basel’s goalkeeper that a Czech ‘c’ without an accent is more like a ‘ts’.
Albian Ajeti – A-yeti
Léo Lacroix – Lack-wah
Dimitri Oberlin – Oh-bear-lan
Geoffroy Serey Dié – Serray Dee-ay
Marek Suchý – Sook-hee
Tomáš Vaclík – Tom-arsh Vats-leak
Taulant Xhaka – Tow (to rhyme with cow)-lant Jacka
Manuel Neuer’s surname can be a problem for English-speakers, who tend to panic when they see more than two vowels in a row. For Robert Lewandowski, note that the Polish ‘w’ is more like an English ‘v’. Up-and-coming forward Kwasi Okyere Wriedt is better known by the first name ‘Otschi’ (phonetically: Ot-she).
Joshua Kimmich – Kim-ikh
Robert Lewandowski – Le-van-dov-ski
Kwasi Okyere Wriedt – V-reet
James Rodríguez – Ha-mess Rod-ree-gess
Manuel Neuer – Man-well Noy-er
Sven Ulreich – Ool-rike
The accents on Turkish player names can be daunting, but pronunciation is not impossible. Fans and commentators in Turkey generally use players’ first names rather than second, which can make things easier. The Turkish ‘c’ sounds more like an English ‘j’, and as for the club’s name, it is Besh-eek-tash.
Caner Erkin – Janner
Gökhan Gönül – Gern-ool
Cyle Larin – Kile La-rin
Oğuzhan Özyakup – Oh-zyan Erz-ya-koop
Duško Tošić – Doosh-ko Tosh-itch
Necip Uysal – Neh-jip Oo-sal
Domagoj Vida – Dom-a-goy Vee-dah
Most fans in the UK have these correct, but it is worth considering that, for French speakers, N’Golo Kanté’s surname sounds the same as Antonio Conte’s does to English ears.
César Azpilicueta – Ath-pili-coo-et-ah
Gary Cahill – Kay-hill
Thibaut Courtois – Tib-oh Cort-wah
Olivier Giroud – Jee-roo
Eden Hazard – Ay-den
N’Golo Kanté – Con-tay
The Italian ‘ch’ is more like a ‘k’ for English speakers, whereas the Croatian ‘ć’ is an English ‘ch’. Gonzalo Higuaín’s name has three vowels in a row – a red light for English speakers – but can be anglicised elegantly enough.
Federico Bernardeschi – Bernard-ess-kee
Gianluigi Buffon – Boo-fon
Giorgio Chiellini – Kee-ell-ee-nee
Paulo Dybala – Dee-bar-lah
Gonzalo Higuaín – Ee-gway-een
Mario Mandžukić – Man-joo-kitch
Claudio Marchisio – Mar-kee-sio
Miralem Pjanić – Pee-ah-nitch
Wojciech Szczęsny – Voy-check Schen-snee
Emre Can – Jan
Simon Mignolet – See-mon Min-yo-lay
Georginio Wijnaldum – Why-nal-dum
İlkay Gündoğan’s many accents can alarm, yet it is easier than it looks; Kevin De Bruyne’s name is still routinely mispronounced to rhyme with the English word ‘coin’. For extra pronunciation kudos, try saying Sergio Agüero’s name as if the ‘g’s were ‘k’s.
Kevin De Bruyne – De Bruh-nah
İlkay Gündoğan – Ilk-eye Gun-doe-wan
Gabriel Jesús – Jay-zooss
Aymeric Laporte – Em-rick
Davide De Gea – De Hayer
Victor Lindelöf – Linda-love
Anthony Martial – Mar-see-al
The French language’s many vowels continue to confound English speakers. Take heart: it is simpler than it looks. Yuri Berchiche is from the Basque Country, meaning a very different pronunciation from what French speakers might expect.
Yuri Berchiche – Bare-chee-chay
Layvin Kurzawa – Kur-zha-va
Giovani Lo Celso – Gee-oh-var-ni Low Sell-so
Marquinhos – Mar-keen-yoss
Thomas Meunier – Mur-nee-ay
Adrien Rabiot – Ad-ree-an Rab-yo
Years of effort have almost eradicated the English tendency to pronounce Iker Casillas’s first name as if he worked as an optician (eye care).
Iker Casillas – Ee-care Ca-see-yass
Gonçalo Paciência – Gon-sah-lo Passy-en-sia
Jorge Teixeira – Tay-shay-ra
The ‘oo’ in Toni Kroos’s surname does not sound like English speakers would like it to.
Dani Carvajal – Car-va-hal
Dani Ceballos – Seb-eye-oss
Mateo Kovačić – Ko-va-chitch
Toni Kroos – Crows
Luka Modrić – Mod-rich
Andrea Ciofi – Choffee
Edin Džeko – Jecko
Radja Nainggolan – Nine-go-lon
Cengiz Ünder – Jen-giss on-dah
Daniel Carriço’s name sounds a good deal softer in his native Portuguese than you might anticipate.
Daniel Carriço – Car-hiss-oh
Simon Kjær – Care
Clément Lenglet – Clay-mon Long-lay
Nicolás Pareja – Pa-ray-ha
Ukrainian names are transcribed from Cyrillic into the Latin alphabet phonetically, so names sound pretty much as they look – though bear in mind that the Ukrainian ‘h’ (as in Bohdan, Serhiy, Oleh) is more like a ‘kh’ for English speakers. Shakhtar’s new Brazilian right-back is a ‘dudu’ and not a ‘dodo’.
Dodô – Du-du
Yaroslav Rakitskiy – Rack-its-key
The spelling is not the usual one in English, but ‘Dier’ is pronounced the same as the more common ‘Dyer’ – and not ‘dee-ay’ as some may be tempted to try.
Toby Alderweireld – Al-der-vay-reld
Serge Aurier – Or-ee-ay
Eric Dier – Die-er
How Carlos Cordeiro Wound Up Winning U.S. Soccer’s Presidential Election
By GRANT WAHL February 10, 2018
ORLANDO, Fla. — It was a small sign, perhaps, but it may have been indicative of what’s to come from Carlos Cordeiro, who was elected as the new president of U.S. Soccer here on Saturday after three rounds of voting and a historic and contentious eight-candidate campaign.Not long before he was scheduled to take the podium by himself for his first press conference as president, Cordeiro asked U.S. Soccer CEO Dan Flynn to come to the stage with him and take questions side by side. Many inside U.S. Soccer think Flynn has been the federation’s most important figure for years, the guy who runs the day-to-day business and has built a $150 million surplus, but Flynn has always kept a low public profile during the 12 years Sunil Gulati was president. They almost never did side-by-side press conferences. Cordeiro is different. “My campaign was all about being more collaborative, inclusive, working on teams,” Cordeiro said of the style he will use as federation president, the chair of the board of directors. “You will see a very different leadership [from Gulati’s] going forward.” And so Flynn was on the podium with him.Cordeiro freely admits he is not a soccer expert and will soon be part of a collaborative process to hire two U.S. Soccer general managers—positions newly approved by the board, one for the men’s side and one for the women’s—who will oversee technical decisions and report to the CEO. Those decisions include the hiring of coaches; the U.S. men’s job needs to be filled, though that may wait until after this summer’s World Cup. Under Cordeiro, who has served as the federation’s vice president for the last two years and as an independent board member for nine years before that, the federation president will have less power than Gulati did. Not only will the new general managers oversee technical matters on the soccer side, but the board itself and members of the Athletes Council, among other entities, are set to be more engaged in decision-making.One of Cordeiro’s biggest challenges will be to convince those inside and outside the federation—including fans—that even though he was seen as Gulati’s right-hand man for a decade, he will bring about real change now that he is president in a way that Cordeiro did not fully push for (publicly, at least) as vice president. And even though Cordeiro split from an angered Gulati by announcing his candidacy before Gulati had exited the race, that process of convincing everyone will take time for Cordeiro.Yet Cordeiro won on Saturday—defeating the slight favorite, Kathy Carter—by convincing enough voting blocs that his promises of reform were real. Cordeiro was the only one of the eight candidates who had been through the federation election process before, having won a contested vice-presidential election two years ago. That required him to build relationships with the voters, which include youth and adult state associations around the country.While other candidates were spending more time speaking to the media, Cordeiro kept a lower media profile and focused more on traveling to spend time with the voters. In some weeks he visited as many as 10 different states.“I’ve been back and forth across the country for the last three months on a weekly basis,” Cordeiro said on Saturday. “I’ve been to places and states and cities I’ve never visited before.”While Cordeiro was viewed as one of two “establishment” candidates, it’s also worth noting that Cordeiro defeated the preferred candidate (Carter) of MLS owners and the two most powerful figures in U.S. Soccer (Gulati and MLS commissioner Don Garber). This election was swung, in the end, by the 20-member Athletes Council, which is required by U.S. law to have 20 percent of the overall vote.Everyone knew coming into Saturday that the Professional Council, which includes MLS, the NWSL, USL and NASL, was almost unanimously in support of Carter, giving her 24.1 percent of the overall vote. But the Athletes Council was undecided, and its typical desire to vote as a unified bloc meant it could play the kingmaker as long as the athletes involved reached a consensus on a candidate.That consensus took time. It reminded more than a few participants of serving on jury duty. A three-and-a-half hour closed-door meeting on Friday afternoon by the Athletes Council didn’t achieve consensus, and the group returned for another session late Friday night after dinner. The council was considering three candidates: Carter, Cordeiro and Kyle Martino.“It’s not easy when people feel passionately about certain candidates to build that consensus,” said Athletes Council member Stuart Holden afterward. “It took a number of hours.”Finally, not long before midnight, the Athletes Council decided to throw its entire support behind Cordeiro. Had it chosen to do so with Carter instead, Carter would have won the election in the first round with 54.6 percent of the vote. Instead, Cordeiro had 36.3 percent in the first round with Carter at 34.6 percent, sending the election into Round Two with no candidate having a majority. (Cordeiro himself didn’t know he had the bloc support of the Athletes Council until Saturday morning.)Why did the athletes go with Cordeiro and not, say, a former athlete? Holden said: “Getting behind Carlos Cordeiro as a candidate, we felt [better] with his skill set to be able to change some of the governance, to be transparent, to be open to working with different groups and still have international relations and the business side.” Holden added that he felt Cordeiro’s inclusiveness—that term again—would be “empowering” to the athletes.“I was just impressed by Carlos’s ideas,” Holden continued. “And I loved that he was vulnerable in saying that he’s not the smartest soccer guy in the room and he wants to find the smartest soccer guys. To me that resonated strongly.”
Round Two didn’t create a majority winner either, but Cordeiro’s support went up 5.3 percent (to 41.8 percent) and Carter’s support went down 1.3 percent (to 33.3 percent). The writing was on the wall for Carter. In Round Three, MLS and the Pro Council switched from Carter to Cordeiro, giving him 68.6 percent and the victory.Of course, it remains to be seen whether Cordeiro can win over the public. In my Twitter poll conducted in late December that had more than 12,000 votes, Cordeiro got just 4 percent of the vote when users were asked to choose among him, Martino (44 percent), Eric Wynalda (41 percent) and Carter (11 percent). In a vote among the American Outlaws supporters group last week, Cordeiro finished dead last among the eight candidates, receiving just 1.3 percent of 904 votes.What the public thinks doesn’t matter in the election, however, and when the time came on Saturday for the voters to decide, Cordeiro convinced enough of them that he was the candidate who would be best for the federation. Now he’ll have four years to convince the public that he’s the right person for the job.
Despite Ties to Gulati, Cordeiro’s U.S. Soccer Platform Differs From Outgoing President
By BRIAN STRAUS December 20, 2017
Among the eight presidential candidates certified Wednesday by the U.S. Soccer Federation, Carlos Cordeiro is the only one who currently sits on a board that’s served for the past dozen years under the leadership of the incumbent Sunil Gulati. Cordeiro joined the USSF as an independent director in 2007 and has been its treasurer and executive vice president, among other things. And for a long time, his proximity to Gulati appeared to represent Cordeiro’s short, easy runway to succession.As Cordeiro unveiled his campaign platform, however, he tried to make the case that his time at U.S. Soccer has informed his candidacy and leadership style in ways the public might not expect. Rather than seek to emulate a president who could’ve been a model or mentor, Cordeiro told SI.com he’s following an alternative path.“We can’t have more of the same. I think when we talk about change, ultimately, we need to ensure that we have very open, inclusive, transparent leadership if we are to achieve the growth we want,” Cordeiro claimed. “It can’t be about one person making every single decision. It can’t be an organization that focuses on only some members … I’ve worked very hard to get the board more engaged, and not just have it there as a rubber stamp—that may be too strong a word—but just to ratify things. We need a board who are engaged. That means they’re deeply involved in strategy, making critical decisions about expenditures. Those boards are, by and large, the best boards to have.”Cordeiro, a long-time Goldman Sachs executive, publicly broke with Gulati six weeks ago, announcing his run for U.S. Soccer’s presidency before Gulati decided whether he’d seek a fourth term. Multiple sources indicated that Gulati wasn’t happy with Cordeiro’s decision, the timing of which now seems shrewd. With the beleaguered Gulati opting to stand down and the election two months away, Cordeiro is in position to proclaim himself a candidate of change with significant, hands-on federation experience and established connections abroad (he sits on the CONCACAF Council for example).Whether or not that’s attractive to federation members, it’s a unique calling card among the candidates.
Cordeiro has witnessed U.S. Soccer’s growth and then what he believes is a “plateau.” He argued that the presidency as currently constituted has limited the influence and impact of the board and certain federation constituents, and that increased inclusion will drive improvement on the field and on the bottom line. One begets the other.“If we want to grow multiples from where we’re at, we have to get our governance right,” Cordeiro said. “We’re already too big now for one person to be doing more and more of the same.”The USSF is a complex organization responsible for everything from the high-profile senior national teams to coaching education and referee administration. During his tenure as executive VP, Cordeiro said he’s helped create four board-level committees designed to generate additional oversight (three are released to USSF finances and the fourth handles governance and nominations). If elected, he aims to form two more that may be of more interest to the American soccer public—a technical committee and a commercial committee. The former will be chaired by a former athlete and the latter by an independent director, Cordeiro said. And they’ll interact and advise U.S. Soccer’s paid, full-time CEO as much or more than the president.
Even as Gulati exits, the process of recruiting and hiring national team coaches has become a source of contention (it was discussed at the Dec. 10 board meeting in Toronto). The pursuit, appointment, retention and cost of Jurgen Klinsmann, who finally was fired 13 months ago, is regarded by critics as an example of the excessive power Gulati wielded as president. Cordeiro believes it was too much for one person.Cordeiro’s platform calls for the new technical committee to advise the CEO on the hiring of two “general managers” (for lack of an official title). They’ll be the highest soccer officers at the USSF and there’s no current analogous position, although it’s somewhat common abroad. One GM will direct men’s soccer and the other will be in charge of the women’s game, and Cordeiro said, “I would think so, yes, it should be a woman,” when speaking of the latter.The GMs will report to the CEO, not the president, and ideally they’ll be long-term appointments charged with shaping the direction of the country’s junior and senior national teams and player development initiatives. And that includes hiring and firing coaches.“Responsibility has to be vested in people who have the expertise,” Cordeiro said. “The GM won’t work in isolation. He or she will have a team of people. Ultimately, it’s the GM—reporting to the CEO—who would be making the [national team coach] recommendation. When you’re talking about the senior coaching position, they come back to the board for approval either because of their contracts, the visibility, the importance and so on. It’s collective, collaborative management. But holding the people accountable who are responsible. And I don’t think that responsibility should be that of any one board member, including the president.”Cordeiro continued, “By and large, the more sophisticated federations—the large ones we look to as competitors—they all absolutely formalize these sorts of decisions with people who are housed more on the technical side, not the political side … You’ll find that whether they call them technical directors, general manager for soccer operations—people have different names—these are highly experienced people who are full-time executives of the federations they work for.”The second new committee, the commercial committee, would oversee the USSF’s marketing, sponsorships and TV deals.“We don’t have that,” Cordeiro said. “In an organization this size, given all the potential conflicts of interest that you’re familiar with, we need some board oversight. It can’t be one or two people making deals.”Much of the aforementioned federation business currently is conducted through Soccer United Marketing, the MLS investor-owned company whose contract with the USSF expires in 2022. The bodies’ relationship has been the source of some controversy, especially as the North American Soccer League points to SUM as evidence of the alleged collusion between MLS and the USSF that’s driving the second-tier league’s antitrust lawsuit.That ongoing litigation (the U.S. Court of Appeals just conducted a hearing last Friday), along with a promotion-and-relegation complaint filed by the NASL’s Miami FC and NPSL’s Kingston Stockade to the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Switzerland, puts Cordeiro in a tough spot. Because he’s a board member with the defendant in both cases, he said he’s unable to discuss issues like pro league structure, sanctioning and support. They’re important, but off the table for the time being. The USSF election is in February. Meanwhile, Cordeiro’s platform calls for, “increase[d] support for professional leagues,” and it says he’ll be “working with all professional leagues, including the [NWSL] to help develop even stronger players, coaches and referees.”On a broader level, however, Cordeiro maintains that clarity and oversight are part of better governance. His platform promises “open, inclusive and transparent leadership.” And better governance is the key component of a “virtuous circle” that will help U.S. Soccer catch up with its peers, he said. It doesn’t just trail on the field. Fiscal year expenses of around $110 million are “probably five times where it was maybe a dozen years ago,” Cordeiro claimed, but still way behind the game’s global powers.“We need substantially more resources,” he said. “Germany or England—they’re over $500 million in annual expenditures. Even Spain, Italy and France are double or more where we’re at. They’re smaller economies, smaller populations, but it gives you a sense of the scope of those federations.
“By growing the [USSF’s] financial resources, you’re able to invest more in the federation’s activities, including all your members,” he continued. “That’s my fundamental point. To get to that next level, we’re going to have to transform this organization beyond where it’s at.”Hosting the 2026 World Cup (along with Mexico and Canada) and then the 2027 Women’s World Cup is part of Cordeiro’s plan. Strengthening U.S. Soccer’s relationships with members and potential members is another. He said that while there are around 3.5 million affiliated youth players, there are “three to four times that many outside [the USSF] umbrella.” Connecting with unaffiliated or under-financed youth and amateur organization will increase membership and interest. And that, along with favorable demographic trends, will help the federation lift the value of its properties and sponsorships, Cordeiro argued.“We’re the only sport that can transform itself in the next 10-20 years,” he said. “We need to change and we need to change right now, because I think we’re going through a period of history that will be unprecedented in favor of soccer. If you look at young people, the growth of the immigrant populations in this country—just the Hispanics alone, to name one large community—we haven’t been able to tap into those communities fully. To make soccer preeminent, one of the top one or two sports—not the top five—if we’re going to make the transformational job, we have the opportunity to do that in the next generation.”He calls his plan Mission 26/27, targeting the two World Cups the USA should host and the approximate time he thinks it’ll take to grow U.S. Soccer to a $500 million organization. Then, he reasons, the federation’s potential is about more than the much discussed $100 million-plus surplus. According to Cordeiro’s platform, it’s about full-time federation employees dedicated to serving youth and amateur members. It’s about “scholarships and grants” for youth players, subsidizing coaches and licensing programs, investing in existing amateur tournaments, and “working toward equal pay” for the U.S. women.“Women deserve to be treated equally and investing in our women’s teams is one of the best ways to grow the sport,” Cordeiro’s platform states.Then, he says, it’s about making way.“What I’m trying to do is put some structure into a large organization,” he said. “We—the board, the president—have a responsibility to make sure we have the right chief executive in that seat. Beneath the chief executive, there are director-level people [like the GMs]—experts in what they do—who should be an appointment, a hiring, by the CEO. The board needs to be involved, and maybe they board should have an opinion. That’s where the committees come in.“If you have the right governing structures in place that are institutionalized and where the board members are meaningfully involved, you’re getting all the benefit of their advice,” Cordeiro added. “I don’t look at [president] as a job for life. It’s a huge job. Very challenging, even as a part-time person. Making these governance changes permanent is not something you do overnight. From there, I think the changes will flow.”
Hope Solo Rips Into Carlos Cordeiro, Kathy Carter at U.S. Soccer Presidential Election
By AVI CREDITOR February 10, 2018
Hope Solo has never been one to mince words, and she used her platform during the U.S. Soccer election to air some grievances prior to the presidential vote to replace the outgoing Sunil Gulati.Each of the eight candidates was given five minutes to address the National Council at the Annual General Meeting in Orlando, Florida, on Saturday, and Solo’s was presented more as an explosive indictment on the establishment–embodied in her eyes by U.S. Soccer president-elect Carlos Cordeiro and Soccer United Marketing president Kathy Carter–as she implored voters to consider a significant change.
Solo took aim at both in an impassioned speech, which was in line with her platform during her campaign:
“For those of you who think the state of soccer today is good enough, then you should vote for more of the same,” Solo said. “The establishment is backing two candidates who represent continuity, who represent not change and who will deliver more of the same. Failure on the pitch, conflict and chaos off of it and not the progress that we need.”The two establishment candidates, Kathy Carter and Carlos Cordeiro, haven’t just been part of the system, they have created and shaped U.S. Soccer into what it is today. A vote for either one of them is a vote for the status quo: disunity, discord and more failure.”I was a player for 20 years, and I saw first-hand what Carlos Cordeiro’s idea of change is. You cannot, as a vice president, claim you are the lone voice for change while all of this happened under your watch. And you as delegates cannot buy that. He was part of a federation that generated millions of dollars off the backs of its players, and much of it off the back of its women’s players, who have been the economic engine of this federation for years, yet treated like second-class citizens.Solo then detailed a direct discrepancy in payment that she received for one year vs. that of U.S. men’s goalkeeper Tim Howard before continuing. “[Cordeiro] was part of a federation that could have been the first to pay its women equally,” Solo said. “Instead, that honor goes to Norway. While the U.S. women, the most successful team ever, has to force it through the court system. He was part of the same federation that time and time again approved unsafe playing conditions for the women and who still play on turf, while the men play on grass. He was part of a federation that thinks it’s acceptable for a player in the NWSL to make less than $10,000 a year and have to take a second or third job just to fulfill her dream of being a professional athlete. He was part of the same federation that leaves me with no health insurance, no retirement of any kind, after serving my country as the best in the world for 20 years. For 10 years, Carlos Cordeiro was in a position to create change, and he did nothing. He failed me, he failed my teammates and he failed the women of the NWSL.”Solo lambasted the federation for allowing the NWSL’s Boston Breakers to fold and said that growing the women’s game is “good business” before turning her attention and ire to Carter.”Yes I am passionate about equality … Yet the business women among the candidates, Kathy Carter, who proclaims that she is ‘all in’ on the women’s game, never once showed any kind of support for us during our fight for equal pay. As the highest ranking female soccer executive in America, whose voice could have meant something, Kathy Carter’s voice was silent. She calls for equal pay and transparency, yet when the two United States senators asked Soccer United Marketing under Kathy Carter for a breakdown of revenue for the men’s and women’s national teams, she refused. We are better than this.” The speech evidently didn’t resonate among the voting electorate. The two candidates combined to receive almost three quarters of the vote on the first ballot and were the runaway leaders during the election process.
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