"The difficulty that Everton face, though, is that when you have four defenders up against three attackers, it is easy to lose sight of the runners from midfield. And, in Frank Lampard, Chelsea have the very best in the business at making those runs…"
Friday, May 29, 2009
"The difficulty that Everton face, though, is that when you have four defenders up against three attackers, it is easy to lose sight of the runners from midfield. And, in Frank Lampard, Chelsea have the very best in the business at making those runs…"
LONDON (AP)—Goalkeeper Tim Howard thinks an FA Cup final win with Everton on Saturday would feel even better than the one he enjoyed with Manchester United five years ago.
Unless the Union wanted to extend its coaching search beyond the U.S. borders and delve into Europe or South America, Nowak, who will be introduced today, might be the best name currently available to the expansion franchise, which will begin play next spring.
You want a no-nonsense coach who puts the team above individual players?
Thursday, May 28, 2009
A decorated player for the Polish national team, Nowak left a long career in Europe to play in MLS, which he joined in 1998 with the Chicago Fire.
SC Cambuur is close to gaining promotion to the Eredivise and playing in the Netherlands' top flight for the first time in nine years. Why should we care?
Because Cambuur's general manager, Alex Pama, was born in Bethesda, Md., coached youth programs in Idaho, Arkansas and Georgia before arriving at the Dutch club three years ago. Under his guidance, Cambuur has pulled itself out of financial ruin, and this spring has advanced to the final round of playoffs for promotion. It will play top-tier club Roda (16th place among 18 clubs) in a series that begins Thursday.
With an American background, however, he needed to prove himself to a skeptical audience.
"Americans in football in Europe are not easily accepted," he said in a phone interview today.
"You come from a third-world country in soccer. As Americans, we look at the possibilities, not the impossibilities. In Europe, they want to see it; they're more negative. I was working at a faster pace that they are used to."
Tuesday, May 26, 2009
On the eve of the 2009 UEFA Champions League final between Manchester United and FC Barcelona, David Ornstein of BBC Sport caught up with United central defender Nemanja Vidic - Vidic certainly has his priorities in line when it comes towards winning titles.
Nemanja Vidic is sure Manchester United will beat Barcelona in the Champions League final - and does not care about the style in which they do it.
Wednesday's match in Rome pits holders United against the team regarded as the most attractive in Europe this season.
But United defender Vidic, 27, told BBC Sport: "All that matters is the result, you'll quickly forget about the style.
"Football is not about the style - it's about the winning and we have the confidence and belief to do it."
The Serbia international added: "I don't think we are arrogant - we respect Barcelona but we believe in ourselves and in the players we have.
"We won the league and have reached the Champions League final so we have to believe we can win it. We know it's going to be a hard game and have big jobs to do but we are excited and we will try to hurt them."
Thursday, May 21, 2009
Guardiola, less than half the age of Fergie, came through Barcelona’s academy to play in one great era for the club, and accepted the chalice to coach the team’s collection of world stars last summer.
The distinction between them is that Ferguson manages not just the team but the club. He makes the decisions on who United hires, from schoolboy talents to multimillion-dollar star players.
He has steered United to 25 trophies in 22 years, and managed the transition through different epochs during which the coaches, and, of course, the players, have become multimillionaire cult figures.
It is not uncommon for a coach to be fined for comments made about officiating, but when you see why Tony DiCicco was fined the other day, it certainly seems like the WPS is walking the line with disciplining a coach who didn't say anything over the top.
The WPS Disciplinary Committee fined Boston Breakers coach Tony DiCicco $750 for comments after the game that had "an effect prejudicial and detrimental to WPS including public criticism of game officials and WPS officiating generally." He is also required to do four hours of community service in the sport of soccer.
"It's just not good enough," the dean of WPS coaches told the Boston Globe. "They're over their head. They have to learn, just like the players have to learn to play at this level and coaches have to learn coaching at this level, and the refereeing has to get better at this level."
Wednesday, May 20, 2009
"Fabio Capello summed it up best when he said football was the only profession where you could go from the shop floor to chief executive's office in one day," Roxburgh told me.
"You wouldn't throw a talented youngster straight into a huge game and the same principle applies for coaches."
"After he left his next managerial job, at Watford, he returned to Italy to get his coaching qualifications. That is clearly the wrong way round and Gianluca has told me that he wishes he had been trained before getting those jobs in England."
Tuesday, May 19, 2009
"But this is not enough and there is a practice element which becomes very important. If you watch Cristiano Ronaldo, he practices after every training session and quite a few of the others do the same."
"As a coach we dedicate parts of the training to improving touch, movement, passing and speed of play, but the special quality, the detail, depends on the player being willing to sacrifice himself after training - this is the hallmark of the great players."
"If the big talents only rely on their natural ability, they won't have that extra edge. They must do something extra on their own."
From the Evansville Courier Press, May 16, 2009
I always tell campers and youth soccer players that practice makes permanent, not perfect — that how and what you train will stick with you on game day.
According to acclaimed author Malcolm Gladwell, practice — not natural ability — is the key to becoming a world-class expert in your field. Ability, according to Gladwell, is just one factor in success. Work ethic, luck, a strong support base and even being born in the right year plays a far larger role.
Gladwell references the 10,000-Hour Rule in his book "Outliers: The Story of Success." The 10,000-Hour Rule says that you need approximately 10,000 hours of practice to become a world-class expert in a field. The rule applies to geniuses like Mozart and Bill Gates.
"What's really interesting about this 10,000-hour rule is that it applies virtually everywhere," Gladwell told a conference held by The New Yorker magazine. "You can't become a chess grand master unless you spend 10,000 hours on practice. The tennis prodigy who starts playing at six is playing in Wimbledon at 16 or 17 (such as) Boris Becker. The classical musician who starts playing the violin at four is debuting at Carnegie Hall at 15 or so."
The obsessive approach is evident in sporting icons. Tiger Woods in golf and the Williams sisters in tennis have trained relentlessly since they were children.
The greatest athletes, entrepreneurs, musicians and scientists emerge only after spending at least three hours a day for a decade mastering their chosen field. The years spent intensively focused on their area of expertise place the world's most successful people above their peers.
Think about that: If you consistently practice 4 hours a day for 6 days a week, you will still need 8 years to get 10,000 hours.
When I read about the 10,000 hour rule, I was reminded of the Gary Player quote: "The harder you work, the luckier you get." When you really think about it, those who put in hours of practice effectively make their own luck. The harder you work and the more time you put in, the more prepared or "lucky" you are when asked to perform.
I had the opportunity to see a piece of Tim Gibbons and Tammie Forster's landmark study for the United States Olympic Center's Athletic Development Program, "The Path to Excellence," in which they provided an in-depth look at the development of U.S. Olympians who competed between 1984 and 1998. The average U.S. Olympian began his or her sport-specific participation at the average age of 12 for males and 11.5 for females. Most Olympians reported a 12- to 13-year period in which they developed their talents (practiced) to make their Olympic team.
While watching my 7-year old son play last weekend, I was taken aback by a parent who was screaming at their child for both not playing well enough and not working hard enough. It made me think about both the 10,000 hour rule and the US Olympic Center study — If the average Olympian is starting to compete in their sport at the age of 11 or 12, and it takes 12 to 13 years to develop those talents, how motivated will this player be to set out on that challenge if he has been demoralized and mentally beaten down before he turns 8 years old?
Passion and support need to go hand in hand with practice. When you think of anything you were really good at, you probably were very passionate about it as well.
I can't believe that a young competitor would invest 10,000 hours in an activity if they didn't really enjoy it. Doing something you love is essential to meet your 10,000-hour mark, and I don't think that your child can be pushed towardthat. If you are passionate about it, it will help you go through the difficult times. It will help you overcome boredom. Without that passion, your 10,000 hours will be a painful journey, and unlikely to be reached.
As parents and coaches, we have to make sure that we are supportive of our children's endeavors. If you have to force your players to go out and practice, they will do it begrudgingly. In most cases, the players who are most passionate are the ones that work the hardest. If you can instill a passion for the game and a strong work ethic, everything else will take care of itself.
Not every athlete will train for 10,000 hours or become an Olympian, but their best chance for success is to develop an appreciation for practice and a passion for their sport.
The former England captain has spent the second half of the season playing under Ancelotti at the San Siro and revealed the Milan players are ''pleading'' with their boss not to leave.
''I just wish I had been able to play for him for many more years. It has been a lot of fun. Every single one of the Milan players adores him and doesn't want him to go. They are pleading with him to stay."
''I know wherever he goes, and whatever he does, he will always have my admiration and respect.''
''Perhaps Ancelotti's experience at AC Milan is about to end but I repeat, I am not certain and I hope Milan are able to keep him.''
Monday, May 18, 2009
Robson is really clever, and has some amusing comments about this past weekend's English Premiership action...
On Middlesbrough and WBA - Both Boro and Albion have at least tried to keep the ball on the deck and knock it around. At times both teams have been a nice watch - like Arsenal but without the results. Then again Arsenal are like Barca but without the results. It's a bit blinking irritating when teams with big lads who treat a football like it needs to be taught a lesson - Stoke, Bolton, Blackburn - end up way above you. I think all three of them will stay up next year 'n all, mind, cos no matter what your average half-interested lass says, football's not about being pretty. Just ask Steve Bruce. It's about results.
On Benitez - So I'm not sure why Benitez is being quite so petty. Perhaps it's cos he knows that he spent half the season being way too negative and ever since they lost at our place, they've been, well, brilliant and exhilarating and, a poor home display against Chelsea in the Champs league apart, unstoppable. In short, by being too cagey it's Liverpool that've lost it. Can't see that mistake happening next season - so come on, sulky-chops! Say well done, and win it next year.
On Hiddink and Drogba - That's what Guus Hiddink would be saying if he was to stick around at the Bridge. Every time that bloke opens his gob I'm more impressed. The players like him and any one who can get two self-appointed members of football's royalty to dovetail like Drogba and Anelka have done in the last few weeks deserves all the plaudits going. The bloke shouldn't be off back to Russia he should be helping Blair's Middle-East peace talks. I don't know whether Drogba will be there either but every time that bloke sets his mind on staying on his feet for 90 minutes he's twice as good a player. Lesson learned? I doubt it. If he's in Serie A next season he'll be expected to revert to type and he'll be throwing himself on the floor and weeping like a Blue Bell regular.
And when Rafael Benitez led Liverpool to Champions League success against AC Milan in Istanbul in 2005, Ferguson was again prepared to put pen to paper.
It is hardly a major feat of deduction to guess that Benitez will not be moved to prose in praise of Ferguson after United equalled Liverpool's tally of 18 titles.
The problem Benitez has here is two-fold. Firstly, even though Ferguson will be supremely indifferent as to whether he receives bouquets from Liverpool's manager or not, it makes his Anfield counterpart look petty and a bitterly sore loser.
Secondly, and more importantly, the man who holds the trophies wins the arguments and Ferguson has beaten Benitez hands down by securing a third successive title.
Madrid may prove to be an 'interesting project' for whoever gets the job, but Wenger may be merely playing a game with the board, and his critics, to prove just how important he is to the Gunners in the face of some harsh criticism.
"I think maybe if we lost all of those seven games, then guys would be discouraged. But I really think we've just been unlucky."
Sunday, May 17, 2009
“You’re starting to think, ‘I’ll maybe rest Rooney this week’. It was definitely an option to consider in the run-up to the second leg of the Champions League semi-final with Arsenal, which was to be played on the Tuesday following what was liable to be a tough league game at Middlesbrough. Then he comes up to you at training and says, ‘I hope I’m playing on Saturday. If I don’t play against Middlesbrough I won’t play well against Arsenal. I’m hopeless if I’m rested’. He’s something else."
Zinedine Zidane has recommended Bordeaux coach Laurent Blanc to Real Madrid's prospective president, Florentino Perez.
According to Sport, Perez has asked members of his team to suggest a coach and Zidane, who is widely expected to have a role to play at Real Madrid, has built a case for Blanc.
The current Bordeaux coach, who played with Zidane for the French national team, has enjoyed a successful start to his young managerial career. He was elected manager of the year last season after guiding his side to second, while they find themselves on top this season, pending Marseille's result tomorrow. Zidane favors him because of his commitment to attacking football, as well as his calm demeanor.
Blanc might not have the experience of some of the other names linked with the Real Madrid job - Arsene Wenger, Carlo Ancelotti, Jose Mourinho and Jorge Valdano - but has risen to the top of the French coaching ranks with his success at the domestic level.
Recently, Goal.com reported that he chose to deflect questions on his future in press conference prior to the league match against Manchester United yesterday.
Speaking to The Observer, Cech said, "Mr Hiddink restored the spirit of the old Chelsea and added his own things."
"You can see everywhere he's been he's had success. This isn't a coincidence. You could see his experience of working with top players."
"The strength he has is that he knows what he has in the team. He doesn't ask people to do things that aren't in their character."
"You can see that working perfectly when the manager knows to use the right people for the right jobs."
Cech also said he felt Hiddink had performed the basics well, helping the team gain some consistent form.
"In December and January (under Scolari) we were missing a lot of discipline," he said.
"That, for me, was the key, going back to basics. Basic things we were getting wrong and losing points."
"Everyone knows what the strength of the team was, and in every game he (Hiddink) has used the right players to achieve exactly what we wanted on the pitch."
"When you get that right, everything works. He's not one of the managers who speaks a lot, but every time he says something he's spot on."
But they've coped with that pressure extremely well because manager Sir Alex Ferguson has set the highest of standards and refused to let them drop, even slightly.
In his early management days he would have treated all of his players the same and blasted everyone; but over the years he has adopted a far more flexible management style to ensure that he copes with the demands of today's game.
Friday, May 15, 2009
Every successful title campaign has a defining moment. Think back to Arsenal’s Premier League triumph in 1998 and it was crowned by the sight of Tony Adams marauding forward to score a goal against Everton that typified their enlightenment under Arsène Wenger.
Go back another five years and it was Steve Bruce’s stoppage-time header for Manchester United against Sheffield Wednesday at Old Trafford. Rewind another five years to Liverpool’s class of 1988 and it came with a goal against Arsenal that had it all: a shimmying run from John Barnes, a lost cause chased by Steve McMahon and a six-yard tap-in from John Aldridge.
When the apparent formalities are completed, a single moment will emerge as the one that defined United’s eighteenth league title. It came on an April afternoon on which a patched-up defence had been torn to shreds by Aston Villa at Old Trafford, when Sir Alex Ferguson’s team, exhausted, seemed to be hemmed in against the ropes, drifting towards a third consecutive league defeat until Cristiano Ronaldo equalised and then finally, dramatically, Federico Macheda, a 17-year-old Italian making his debut as a substitute, sparked delirium with a spectacular winning goal deep in stoppage time.
It was a goal that said much about United under Ferguson and, long before that, under Sir Matt Busby: a tendency to do things the hard way, a willingness to give youth its head and, above all, a commitment to attacking football that would often overwhelm opponents in the final moments of matches.
The article below was forwarded on to me by Western Michigan University coach Stu Riddle, who found an Evening Times report by Thomas Jordan that references Maurice Edu paving the way for positive exposure of the American game over in Scotland.
ONE was reared in arguably the most famous footballing institution in the world, surrounded by the best players on the planet.
The other served his apprenticeship in a country where football - or soccer - isn't even close to being the top sport.
Thursday, May 14, 2009
Ives Galarcep reports on Soccer by Ives on how Mike Grella and his Leeds United teammates shoot for promotion from the English third division (League One) to the second division (League Championship).
Grella, who passed on the 2009 MLS Draft to sign with Leeds, has become a regular substitute as the team's first forward option off the bench.
...As for Grella, he saw minutes in all of Leeds' matches down the stretch of the regular season. Not bad for a 22-year-old striker who was playing for Duke University just seven months ago.
Leeds trails Millwall 1-0 after the first leg, but will host the second leg today. Johnson's MK Dons is in a better spot, having tied Scunthorpe United, 1-1, in the first leg of their series. MK Dons will host the second leg on Friday.
Mike was as dynamic a goal scorer as there was in College Soccer the past four seasons while at Duke University, and a promotion into the Championship might lead to a call-up by US National team coach Bob Bradley.
He wrote "The Lords of Discipline," changing forever the way people viewed The Citadel, revealing hidden layers of institutional anger and cruelty and racism. The military college's alumni responded with hatred, vowing if he ever set foot on campus, he might never step off.
Gladwell continues to churn out books that promote thought - "The Tipping Point", "Blink" and "Outliers"; Simmons column in ESPN the magazine - 'The Sports Guy' - is first-class reading.
It was amazing to know that this duo not only were friends, but had a great exchange in 2 different three-part interviews on ESPN.com. I raced through their interviews, and they were so enthralling that I read them twice. These two great writers and sports fans going back and forth is like the Ali-Frazier of writers...
Gladwell on loving what you do-
I'm happy writing anywhere and under any circumstances and in fact I'm now to the point where I'm suspicious of people who don't love what they do in the same way. I was watching golf, before Christmas, and the announcer said of Phil Mickelson that the tournament was the first time he'd picked up a golf club in five weeks. Assuming that's true, isn't that profoundly weird? How can you be one of the top two or three golfers of your generation and go five weeks without doing the thing you love? Did Mickelson also not have sex with his wife for five weeks? Did he give up chocolate for five weeks? Is this some weird golfer's version of Lent that I'm unaware of? They say that Wayne Gretzky, as a 2-year-old, would cry when the Saturday night hockey game on TV was over, because it seemed to him at that age unbearably sad that something he loved so much had to come to end, and I've always thought that was the simplest explanation for why Gretzky was Gretzky. And surely it's the explanation as well for why Mickelson will never be Tiger Woods.
Evansville's Chris Lowery, the head coach at Southern Illinois, and Purdue University's Matt Painter have been named to the coaching staff for the under-19 USA Basketball team that will compete in the World Championships this summer.
They will assist Pitt's Jamie Dixon, who was selected as head coach by the USA Basketball Men's Junior National Team Committee.
"This is an exceptional young coaching staff," said Jim Boeheim, who chaired the committee.
"Matt (Painter) has done a great job at Purdue retooling that program and what Chris (Lowery) has done is remarkable. Jamie Dixon has won more games in the Big East Conference than anybody in his first few years of coaching."
"They're young guys who have had a lot of success and I just think it's really a tremendous coaching staff."
Lowery, a Harrison High School graduate who played at SIU, said it was an honor to coach a USA age-group national team, but that he also going to treat the experience like a coaching seminar.
"It's an opportunity to work with some of the best coaches in America and pick their brains and see how they do things," Lowery said. "It's also a chance to see kids in other countries and the style they play."
Added Painter: "Any time you get the opportunity to represent your country, it's a tremendous honor. It's very humbling to be selected to work with USA Basketball.
"I'm also excited to get the opportunity to work with Coach Dixon and Coach Lowery, two coaches for whom I have tremendous respect."
Wednesday, May 13, 2009
Moyes has prided himself on building a tight-knit unit at Goodison Park and doesn't want to bring in anyone who would upset the applecart.
"Sometimes you have to bring people in who aren't just the exact same because they help enhance the team in the dressing room as well."
"It is not always easy to get all the details about the players' personality. You have to do your homework and find out from the people who are close to them, but you tend to find they say they are great guys and everything is good."
"You have to do a little bit of delving and detective work to try to find out about them."
"But footballers are like anyone else. They want to come and play and be part of a team and part of a good set-up. I think when they get that, they tend to mould together."
Football has shown itself to be willing to take risks on inexperience but, as the fledgling careers of Marco Van Basten and Jurgen Klinsmann came to end over the past few weeks, has also shown a naiveity when it comes to management decisions.
Tuesday, May 12, 2009
You'll see Artest gathering the players and trying to motivate them. Battier is often the one providing the technical details, pointing out where they should be on defense. He gives the final words to his teammates before they leave the tunnel and take the court, trying to leave them with a couple of last-minute reminders to focus on, like golfers' swing thoughts.
Steve Coppell resigned as manager of Reading on Tuesday night after his club’s failure to reach the Coca-Cola Championship play-off final.
The Berkshire side were beaten 2-0 at the Madjeski Stadium by Burnley, 3-0 on aggregate, coming just a week after Reading failed to gain the home victory over Birmingham City that would have given them automatic promotion to the Premier League.
It was known that Coppell, very much his own man, had been considering his future even before last night’s result. He once walked away from the manager’s job at Manchester City in 1996 after six games and 33 days in charge.
Coppell had been manager at Reading since October 2003, gaining promotion to the Premier League after winning the Championship title in 2005-6. Reading were relegated to the second tier after two seasons in the top-flight, although a petition by fans concerned that their manager might feel honour-bound to resign convinced Coppell to stay. Coppell had been in management since 1984, starting with Crystal Palace, where he would end up having four different spells in charge.
Coppell was named the manager of Palace’s centenary XI by the fans, got Reading promoted to the Premier League and was so loved by supporters of the Berkshire club that they launched a successful petition begging him not to resign after the Royals were relegated back to the Championship.
He also spent time at Brentford and Brighton before taking charge at the Madejski Stadium. In all that time he has only been sacked once, instead choosing to walk away on his own accord on numerous occasions.
Coppell was a great servant for the club while a player at Manchester United, and steps away from Reading with a tremendous reputation among his peers and fans.
The longer your back four stays intact the better chance you have of keeping the ball out of your area.
Gibbs is inexperienced and if that had been Nigel Winterburn he would have already been in the box waiting for the cross not running back.
Little things like that contribute but what went before the slip was not the fault of Gibbs - the ball came into the box too easily.
When I played in the Arsenal back four we always had that protection in front of us.
Vieira was brilliant at that. If he felt exposed he would get hold of someone and get them to help him.