Totino-Grace vs. Breck Section Boys High School Soccer



10-19-2017

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The Original OJ Simpson Inspirational Story

We have all heard of the trial of OJ Simpson, but not many people know about the original inspirational story of OJ Simpson, the greatest running back in National Football League during his time.

This inspirational story began when Orenthal James Simpson was on 9 July 1947 in San Francisco to Eunice and Jimmy Simpson. OJ was raised in poverty and his early days were spent in a Ghetto when food was always in short supply. As a result, OJ suffered from malnutrition and developed rickets. At the age of six, OJ’s legs became permanently bowed and his calf muscles suffered from severely atrophy. He acquired the nickname of ‘Pencil Legs» at an early age.

Growing up, OJ found his inspirational story in American Football through the All American running back Jim Brown from the Cleveland Browns. Brown was the best running back in the NFL at that time. But OJ was too poor to afford the tickets to see his idol in action whenever Cleveland visited San Francisco. That never stopped his dream and goal of becoming a star player in the future.

During those games when Cleveland played in San Francisco, OJ would diligently wait outside the stadium until the maintenance crew to open the stadium gates late in the 4th quarter. He would then go into the stadium and soak in the final few minutes of the game, dreaming for seeing his idol and also his own goals and inspirational story to become a professional football player.

On one of these occasions at the age of thirteen, he finally got his dream of meeting up with his idol, Jim Brown. As the inspirational story went, he approached Brown and said, «Mr. Brown, I am your biggest football fan!» Graciously, Brown thank thanked the young boy and went on his way. But OJ persisted by asking for Brown’s autograph. As Brown signed the autograph, OJ related to him how he had all his pictures on his wall, and that he knew all the football records that Brown held. Brown was flattered and thanked his young charge again. Before leaving, OJ surprised Brown by saying, «Mr. Brown, one day, I am going to break every one of your records!»

O.J. Simpson went on to break all but three of the rushing records held by Jim Brown before injuries shortened his football career and inspirational story.  Goal setting is the strongest force for human motivation.  Set a goal and make it come true.

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Christie Rampone: USA Soccer Super Mom



USA Women’s Soccer captain, World Cup champion, two-time Olympic gold medalist, and all around super mom Christie Rampone joins Amy K. Nelson in studio for a conversation about her role as a world class athlete and mother of two, her experience winning a championship while three months pregnant, and other stories of her life and career.

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Did Cristiano Ronaldo Deserve To Be World Player Of The Year 2014?

FIFA’s recent award of the Ballon d’Or 2014 (World Player of the Year) to Cristiano Ronaldo proves that the accolade is more about politics and personal popularity than about performance on the field.

Although players from several nationalities are nominated and win the award, they always all play for European clubs while those active in other leagues such as in South America and Mexico are generally overlooked. The best player is chosen by players and managers based on favoritism rather than merit which often creates unworthy winners. Thus the award has lost its recognition and become the object of amusement and ridicule.

The Ballon d’Or was established by a magazine called France Football in 1956 to recognize the history-makers of the game. But that is not what it has turned out to be.

LA LIGA

Between January 1 and December 31, 2014 in this competition Lionel Messi scored 35 goals in 36 matches (11 with the right foot, 23 with the left and the other with the head) while Cristiano Ronaldo scored 38 but with less versatility as only 4 were with his head and unfavorable left foot.

In addition Messi created 97 chances, 24 more than any other player and completed 164 dribbles, 63 more than the nearest rival Iker Muniain of Atletico Bilbao (MAILOnline – Why Lionel Messi should win Ballon d’Or after a record-breaking year with Barcelona; by Kieran Gill, January 12, 2015).

EUROPE

Messi conquered the continent on November 25 when he became the all-time top goal scorer in the Champions League in Nicosia, Cyprus. It was his 23rd European city, his 16th European country and recorded the 24th different stadium in which he had scored (MAILOnline etc.)

WORLD CUP 2014

At soccer’s most important competition Messi led Argentina to the final, was voted Man of the Match in 4 games (the most of any player in the competition) and won the Golden Boot as the best player of the tournament.

He had the most impact on the competition. His goals were all match-winning goals which propelled Argentina to the final. He was the third joint highest goal scorer with 4 goals and 1 assist, created the most chances, had the most successful dribbling runs, made the most deliveries into the box and produced the most through balls of any player.

In contrast, Ronaldo was a non-factor and only scored a late goal against minnow Ghana and had an assist against the USA.

HISTORY MAKER

Messi’s performance in 2014 was what the Ballon d’Or is all about, namely, history-making performances. On March 16, he became Barcelona’s all-time top goal scorer (371). One week later he became the El Clasico (matches between Real Madrid and Barcelona) top goal scorer (21) with a hat- trick.

He scored his 400th career goal on September 27 against Granada and surpassed a 59-year-old record to become La Liga’s all-time top goal scorer (253) on November 22. Three days later he overtook Raul by scoring a hat-trick to become the top goal scorer in the history of the Champions League (74).

Given all these achievements one would think that of the three nominees Messi was the most deserving to win the award. Instead he not only lost to Ronaldo but he and the other nominee Manuel Neuer got less votes combined (31.48 %) than Ronaldo (37.66%).

In 2013 Ronaldo won nothing and Franck Ribery won everything but nevertheless Ronaldo beat him.

How can all this be explained?

POLITICS BEHIND THE VOTING

FIFA’s criteria call for national managers, captains and media officials to vote for the most outstanding performer of the previous twelve months.

Not unexpectedly players vote for their team-mates and compatriots. In the 2014 contest for example, Bastian Schweinsteiger (Germany) gave all three spots to Germans, Manuel Neuer, Phillip Lahm and Thomas Muller.

Diego Godin (Atletico Madrid) voted for his former team-mates Diego Costa and Thibaut Courtois.

Vincent Kompany (Belgium) voted for team-mates Thibaut Courtois and Eden Hazard as the world’s two best players with Arjen Robben third.

The best example of the politics in all of this is illustrated by Robert Lewandowski (Bayern Munich) who declared without giving a reason that he regretted voting for Ronaldo instead of his team-mate Neuer. This ‘change of heart’ can only be explained as coming from a player who wants to save face with team-mates in the dressing room rather than from a voter with any real conviction.

The same criticism applies to managers who only vote for national players. For example, Argentina’s manager Gerardo Martino gave all three places to his fellow countrymen namely, Lionel Messi, Angel di Maria and Javier Mascherano, Belgium coach Marc Wilmots voted for Belgian Thibaut Courtous for third place, Didier Deschamps (France) gave the final spot to French striker Benzema and Holland’s Guus Hiddink gave top honor to compatriot Arjen Robben.

Players will get a lot of votes if they are popular ‘with the boys’ and can play to the cameras to advertise commercial products. Those who defend the choice of Ronaldo as best player point to the fact that in the second half of 2014 he scored 32 goals. The problem is that 9 of those goals were penalties so his non-penalty goals were 23, the same amount as Messi who had no penalties. Ronaldo is nicknamed «Penaldo» because of his mastery of drawing and scoring penalties.

In a World Cup year such as 2014 your performance in that tournament is what defines you. On the world’s biggest stage Ronaldo was a nonfactor and his supporters excuse this by saying he was carrying an injury. If that is true that is unfortunate but injury is a misfortune, not a privilege and he can only be judged on actual performance and not on speculation as to what he might have achieved had he been fully fit.

The Player of the Year award has lost its authenticity. But it does not have to be so. It is not a personality or school prom contest. It is supposed to recognize performance on the field. Maybe the officials of FIFA should themselves become the judges, give more consideration to non-European clubs and use criteria like achievements and fair play to choose the winner. This would not be a perfect system but would be preferable to the present one which is deeply flawed and cannot be taken seriously.

Victor A. Dixon

January 18, 2015

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The Magnificent 7, USA Women's Soccer, and Atlanta's enduring Olympic legacy | Flame Catchers



Twenty years on since Atlanta 1996, we relish in Magnificent 7’s legacy with Shannon Miller and Kyla Ross, and remember the miracle birth of Centennial Park.

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Messi Is a Better Player Than Cristiano Ronaldo

After losing the Player of the Year award (Ballon d’Or) to Lionel Messi for four consecutive years Cristiano Ronaldo won the accolade in 2013. This and the great start Ronaldo has made in the new season have livened up an old debate as to whether he is a better player than Messi.

The discussion has focused on a particular set of statistics, namely, goals. To the extent that the data can help us to hazard an educated guess about player performance, Messi is the better of the two at club and international levels.

However if goals are used as the criteria to compare players it is not sufficient to look only at the number of goals scored. You also have to break down the conversion rate into such things as whether the shots are from inside or outside the area, the goal expectation i.e. whether an average player would score given the chance presented and the quality of the opponents.

CLUB LEVEL

The findings of a recent mathematical study were published in the Washington Post which showed that in 2009 to 2013 Messi’s average chance quality (i.e. quality of chances created) was higher than Ronaldo’s. Ronaldo had more shots but were mostly from long distance and he only scored 30 goals from 587 such shots whereas Messi scored 28 goals from his 287 long distance shots. Messi was more efficient because a higher percentage of his shots were converted i.e. 9.75 % to 5.11%.

The study found that Messi is better at getting into goal-scoring positions since he had 29 danger zone shots (from inside the area) to Ronaldo’s 20.

Messi is also a better finisher. In the period 2009/10 through 2013/14 Messi averaged 40% more goals than expected goals compared to Ronaldo’s 20% (see WASHINGTON POST – Despite great season, Cristiano Ronaldo is not better than Lionel Messi; by Michael Caley, November 7, 2014).

Last season Ronaldo broke the norm and outscored Messi. This propelled him to win the Ballon d’Or in 2013. But this has to be looked at in light of the fact that Messi missed a part of the year through injury and when he resumed playing he almost caught up with Ronaldo’s tally of 31 by scoring 28 by the end of the 2013/14 season.

Also, in the current season Ronaldo has made a great start by scoring 12 non-penalty goals to Messi’s 7. A plausible explanation for this is not that Ronaldo is now a better player but it is attributed to the changing roles of both players at their respective clubs.

With the addition of Neymar and Luis Suarez on the flanks of Barcelona’s 4-3-3 formation Messi now plays a deep-lying playmaking role which has led to his goals trending down while his assists are going up. His goals per game fell from little under 1.50 in the season 2012/13 to 0.86 in 2014/15 while his assists in 2013/14 was little under 0.50 and rose to 0.86 in the current season.

At Real Madrid the trend was the opposite. With the recent addition of Gareth Bale and James Rodriques in the midfield Ronaldo is now more of a striker and less focused on distribution. He now takes more shots from inside the penalty area and in the current season his 12 non-penalty goals except for 2 were from inside the box. His goals per game rose from 1.00 in 2013/14 to 2.20 in 2014/15 while his assists in the same period fell from 0.25 to 0.17 (ESPN FC GLOBAL- Realigning Stars: Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo face changing roles; by Michael Cox, October 23, 2014).

INTERNATIONAL LEVEL

Messi has a better strike rate than Ronaldo. The all time stats for all competitions show that Messi has 44 goals from 95 caps (0.46 goals per game) whereas Ronaldo has 51 from 116 caps (0.43 goals per game) (INTERNATIONAL STATS – November 8, 2014).

World Cup – Messi also surpasses Ronaldo with 5 goals from 15 caps (0.33 goals per game) to Ronaldo’s 3 goals from 13 caps (0.23 goals per game) (INTERNATIONAL STATS etc.).

Messi’s record is very impressive. In 2014 he led Argentina to the final, was voted Man of the Match in 4 games (the most of any player in the competition) and won the Golden Boot as the best player of the tournament.

Contrary to what some critics say he was the most deserving of the latter award. He had the most impact on the competition as Argentina would not have progressed to the final without him. He was the joint highest goal scorer with 4 goals and assists, created the most chances, had the most successful dribbling runs, made the most deliveries into the box and produced the most through balls of any player.

In contrast, Ronaldo has a sorry record. He has only scored thrice and against weak opposition, namely, a penalty against Iran (2006), the sixth goal in a 7-0 win against North Korea in 2010 and a late goal against Ghana in 2014. In the last tournament his only real contribution was an assist against the USA.

QUALITY OF OPPONENTS

Messi has more career goals for club and country. He has a total of 420 goals in 564 games (or 0.74 goals per game) while Ronaldo has 449 goals in 702 games (or 0.63 goals per game).

The important difference is that the Argentine has more game changing goals and against stronger opposition. His goals are directly associated with winning titles in La Liga, Champions League victories, Olympic gold medal matches and Youth and Club World Cups.

For example, as at March 24, 2014 for Barcelona he has scored against the best teams namely, 21 against Real Madrid (Barcelona’s fiercest rival), 20 against league champion Atletico Madrid and 18 against Sevilla (most successful club in Andalusia). In the Champions League he has 12 against German teams, 8 against English teams and 5 against Italian teams. And in the World Cup 2014 he scored 4 match winning goals.

Ronaldo on the other hand has failed to score in decisive matches and succeeded in scoring multiple goals against weak teams not only with his club but with his country. For example, in the English Premier League for Manchester United he only scored 2 goals in 9 games against Liverpool (United’s fiercest rival) and scored 1 goal in 15 games against stalwart Chelsea.

In the Champions League for United he failed to net in his first 26 games and although he scored in the final in 2014 for Real Madrid he had little impact in the other final in which he played in 2009 in a 2-0 loss to Barcelona.

In Spain in his first 9 games against Barcelona (Real Madrid’s main rival) he scored just 3 goals.

In the World Cup he has a sorry record which was discussed above and in the European Championship he has 6 goals against minnows Greece, the Czech Republic and a weak Holland team and underperforms against strong teams like Germany and Spain.

All in all the stats show that Messi is the better player because he is better at getting into goal scoring positions, is a better finisher and is a more efficient goal scorer. Messi has an age advantage because he is 27 and Ronaldo is 29 and though it is likely that both will still be playing for a few more years the Argentine will have more time than Ronaldo to extend his record of achievements. In the meantime the debate goes on.

Victor A. Dixon

November 20, 2014

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World Cup Qualifying Preview: Canada vs USA



The Canadian men’s national soccer team is gearing up for a 6-pointer at the top of the table against the United States.

Win or draw in Hamilton and Canada stay in 1st place and keep their unbeaten record heading into the last game of this World Cup Qualifying period.

It’s all to play for this Sunday at Tim Hortons Field. Duane Rollins joins CBC’s Signa Butler to break it all down.

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Saturday’s A Rugby Day & Here’s 3 Reasons Why

«Saturday’s a rugby day!», is what you will hear from most people that play the sport. It refers to the most common day around the world that the game is played on. I say it pretty much every time I see a bumper sticker, t-shirt or anything else that is remotely related to rugby. I can still remember arriving to practice one day and the coach saying to me, «You’re with the Forwards today Miley.» I thought to myself ‘why is he calling me Miley?’ It turns out I was given the name because of my phenomenal rendition of Miley Cyrus’ song ‘Party In The U.S.A.’ at a club event the night before. It’s always fun to hear how one gets their rugby name.

Now that you know a little about me, let’s get into how rugby changed my life for the better. «In the beginning, God created rugby», is what I want to say. He probably did a few other things first. He did; however, create the sport that millions of people around the world know and love. Disclaimer, all of my experiences with rugby were not good, especially when I almost broke a few bones.

1. Rugby has allowed me to connect with people from all around the world. I have met French, Ecuadorian, Cuban, Chinese, Polynesian, English and even African rugby players. I think there was a clown in there too. In the beginning of this reading I mentioned how I shout anytime I see anything remotely related to rugby. Even if I see someone going for a light afternoon jog I’ll say, «Saturday’s a rugby day!» It’s like we are a family and automatically feel connected to those that enjoy the sport as well. From Miami Beach to Hong Kong I meet guys constantly who play rugby. They’ll invite me out for drinks, their children’s birthday party, one guy even designed our current club logo FOR FREE!

2. It’s a great way to keep the pounds off too. Imagine running a 5K and every 0.25 kilometers having to tackle a 215 lb guy carrying groceries into his house. That is pretty much how rugby is. To effectively play the sport, you have to be in great shape because it involves a lot of cardio. Running. Unlike football but similar to soccer, game play is continuous and there are no breaks between drives. The field is 100 meters long and you will run the entire distance at least 10 times in a game. As I am writing this, I was motivated to do 50 squats so please give me a second…

3. There’s no better feeling than scoring a Try! A Try is scored by grounding the ball in the opposition’s in-goal area. Imagine a touchdown in football, but you have to press the ball against the ground. Scoring a Try is so great because of all of the hard work that is involved to get there. Imagine a soccer player scoring a Goal. That type of excitement!

So I hope I’ve converted you to the nation of Rugby and that you will get out on the field one day. Most towns have a Men’s League and most colleges have a College League. I have played against UM, LSU, UF, FSU, Auburn and even Duke University. There is rugby everywhere. You just have to go out and find it.

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Allianz field prepares to host Team USA vs. Honduras World Cup Qualifier | FOX 9 KMSP



On Wednesday, Allianz Field in St. Paul will be home to the U.S. Men’s Soccer Team as they take on Honduras and hope to get one step closer to a World Cup appearance.

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