Tag Archive | "Soccer"

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UMBC soccer continues to bring in honors

Posted on 18 December 2014 by WNST Staff

PRESS RELEASE

BALTIMORE – UMBC senior back Marquez Fernandez (Baltimore, Md./McDonogh) was selected to the 2014 NSCAA Second Team Scholar All-American squad for his dual accomplishments on the field and in the classroom.

To be named to a Scholar All-America Team, a student-athlete must have at least a 3.30 cumulative grade point average (on a 4.0 scale) throughout his or her career; start more than 50 percent of all games and be a significant contributor to the team; and be nominated by an institution that is a current NSCAA College Services member.

Fernandez, who will be receiving his degree in sociology at UMBC’s Commencement on Dec. 18, carried grade-point average of 3.68 through the spring semester of 2014.

He started a school-record (tied w/others) 25 games in 2014 and keyed the Retrievers’ NCAA Championship record-setting defense, which did not allow a goal in four consecutive road contests. Fernandez scored four goals and added two assists during his 41-game, two-year tenure with the Retrievers.

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UMBC was also well-represented as the ECAC released its men’s soccer awards on Dec. 16. Senior back Oumar Ballo (Baltimore, Md./Archbishop Curley) earned ECAC Defensive Player of the Year honors, while head coach Pete Caringi was tabbed as the ECAC Coach of the Year.

Ballo and senior midfielder Mamadou Kansaye (Baltimore, Md./McDonogh) earned All-ECAC First Team honors, while senior forward Kay Banjo (Upper Marlboro, Md./Largo) was tabbed to the second team.

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The Retrievers ended the year ranked No. 4 in both the NSCAA poll and the Top Drawer Soccer poll, the highest a UMBC-sponsored intercollegiate team has been nationally ranked.

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UMBC’s Billy Heavner Earns NCAA Elite 89 Award

Posted on 11 December 2014 by WNST Staff

PRESS RELEASE

BALTIMORE—UMBC red-shirt sophomore goalkeeper Billy Heavner (Landisville, Pa./Hempfield) is the recipient of the Elite 89 award for the 2014 NCAA Division I Men’s Soccer Championship.

Heavner, majoring in financial economics, currently carries a 4.00 GPA. He was presented with the award during the College Cup Men’s Soccer Team Tribute on Thursday evening in Cary, N.C.

The starting Retriever netminder also received the America East inaugural Elite 18 award, which closely replicates the NCAA honor. Heavner has posted a record of 11-1-3 in the goal in 2014 and is ranked third in save percentage (84.7) and fourth in goals against average (0.50) in the latest NCAA statistics. He and the Retriever defense have not allowed a goal in 400 minutes of NCAA Tournament competition.

The Elite 89, an award founded by the NCAA, recognizes the true essence of the student-athlete by honoring the individual who has reached the pinnacle of competition at the national championship level in his or her sport, while also achieving the highest academic standard among his or her peers. The Elite 89 is presented to the student-athlete with the highest cumulative grade-point average participating at the finals site for each of the NCAA’s championships.

Eligible student-athletes are sophomores or above who have participated in their sport for at least two years with their school. They must be an active member of the team, traveling and a designated member of the squad size at the championship. All ties are broken by the number of credits completed.

For more information on the Elite 89 award winners, log on to NCAA.com/elite-89.

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UMBC soccer to face Virginia in NCAA semifinal

Posted on 07 December 2014 by WNST Staff

BALTIMORE – The UMBC men’s soccer team will face the 16th-seeded Virginia Cavaliers in the first semifinal match of the NCAA College Cup on Friday, Dec. 12. The contest will take place at WakeMed Soccer Stadium in Cary, North Carolina at 5:00 p.m. and we be televised by ESPNU.

The unseeded Retrievers (14-5-5) have arrived at the national semifinals by advancing four times on the road. UMBC advanced past Wake Forest on Nov. 20 (0-0, 3-2 penalties), No. 4 Maryland on Nov. 23 (1-0), No. 13 Louisville on Nov. 30 (1-0) and No. 12 Creighton on Dec. 5 (0-0, penalties).

UMBC enters the College Cup unbeaten in its last ten contests (8-0-2) and has not allowed a goal in 400 minutes of tournament play.

The Retrievers have competed in four of the last five NCAA Men’s Soccer Championships and five in school history. After dropping a 4-3 overtime decision at No. 1 Duke in 1999, UMBC is unbeaten in its last nine contests, winning three, advancing three times and failing to advance after a draw in 2010, 2012 and 2013.

Virginia (12-6-3) advanced through its second straight road match in the NCAA tournament – a first in program history – with a 5-4 decision in penalties after a 1-1 draw at No. 8 Georgetown on Dec. 6. After opening the tournament with a 3-1 home victory over UNC-Wilmington on Nov. 23, the Cavaliers knocked out top-seeded Notre Dame last Sunday on the road with a 1-0 win.

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UMBC to face Wake Forest in first round of NCAA soccer tourney

Posted on 17 November 2014 by WNST Staff

PRESS RELEASE

INDIANAPOLIS – The America East champion UMBC men’s soccer team will take on Wake Forest University in the first round of the NCAA Championships in Winston-Salem, N.C. on Thursday, Nov. 20. The Retrievers and Demon Deacons will kick-off at 7 p.m. at Spry Stadium.

The Retrievers earned their fifth bid to the Division I championships by virtue of a 2-1 victory over the University of Hartford on Saturday, Nov. 15 at Retriever Soccer Park. UMBC has earned bids to the tournament in three consecutive years and four of the last five campaigns.

The Retrievers’ first appearance in the tournament occurred in 1999.

UMBC finished the season on a six-game winning streak and currently stand at 12-5-3.

The winner of the UMBC-Wake Forest match will play at No. 4 seeded Maryland on Sunday, Nov. 23 in College Park, Md.

Wake Forest stands at 10-7-1 overall and did not advance in the first round of the ACC Tournament, as they drew at Clemson, 1-1, and the Tigers prevailed, 3-2, in penalty kicks.

UMBC has not played Wake Forest since 1989, a game the Deacons captured, 5-0, in the only meeting between the two schools. The two sides have not played any common opponents in 2014.

The Retrievers have advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament in its previous three appearances and were eliminated in penalty kicks each time. UMBC defeated Princeton, 2-1, in 2010, before failing to advance in a scoreless draw at William & Mary. In 2012, the Retrievers got past Old Dominion in penalty kicks, but could not advance past North Carolina in the same scenario. Last season, 16th-seeded UMBC received a first-round bye and played UConn to a 2-2 double overtime draw, but failed to advance.

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#JennStrong receives the greatest “life and love” letter ever written from Germany

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#JennStrong receives the greatest “life and love” letter ever written from Germany

Posted on 07 August 2014 by Nestor Aparicio

Today, while on her usual visit at the hospital, my wife got a massive surprise. Jennifer Ford Aparicio (aka #JennStrong) received a letter from her donor. It came from her bone marrow transplant coordinator on three sheets of paper in 12-point type. The blanks indicate information that was literally whited out on the original documents to ensure anonymity. We do not know his name. We aren’t allowed to officially meet or exchange names for another 11 months.

This is the most poignant, amazing document I have ever seen. If you think it’s hard reading it, you should’ve seen me trying to re-type this to publish on my blog. Obviously, I might have to ask Mark Cuban or Dirk Nowitzki for a favor…

 

Dear Ms. “;”

Honestly, I don’t really know how to start such a letter. Maybe it is the best way to start by introducing myself as good as I can.

I’m a 21 year old man from Germany. I’ve got several sport activities which I very like. I really like soccer. I’ve played it for almost ten years in clubs. The first time I played soccer, I was a little boy and my father went with me to the football pitch. It was such an awesome feeling to play with other kids and have fun. I didn’t play very successfully, but if I’m honest, it wasn’t my intention to be the next soccer star. I just wanted to have fun. After some years and a few injuries, I decided to give up what I really love. Of course, it was a tough decision, but I had to take care of my health, so it was the only decision I could make.

I’m interested in basketball. The origin of basketball is your country! Of course as a German, I’m a huge  ______ fan, so it’s no wonder, that I’m also a “fan” of the _________. Are you also interested in basketball, or are you prefer another sport activity?

Now, I’ve got a few questions which I’d like to ask you. The first and for me, most important question is:

How are you feeling?

Did you overcome blood cancer, the pain and everything else which is included by this awful disease?

How did you get to know of the diagnosis “blood cancer”?

What were your first thoughts once you got the message of leukemia?

Have you ever doubted that you’ll survive?

What did you feel, when receiving the message, that there is a donor for you?

Of course, I’ll understand if you don’t want to answer some of these questions, because maybe they’re too personal.

Probably it is time to explain to you, why I did donate stem cells.

A couple of friends asked me “why do you donate for a person you don’t even know?”

The answer actually isn’t as easy as it looks like. Once I was in the hotel, previous and after this donation, I often asked myself the question. But if I’m honest, it’s complicated to describe. Sometimes it’s hard to explain with the words I know. Maybe it’s best to tell you how I anyway get into position to donate for somebody.

About two years ago, when I was in vocational school, there was a charity event organized by ____. I was asked if I wanted to sign up or registrate to the database of ______. I didn’t really think about what I was doing and potential consequences for me or other people so after a few minutes I was a potential donor.

My first thought was “Oh, you won’t get the chance to donate” but this thought should become a huge fallacy.

One Year after my registration, it was a Saturday, I came home from work and while I was having breakfast, the doorbell rang. I thought it could be the mailman, because it was the typical time in Germany for post. He gave me the usual catalogues of advertisement and one huge envelope. I was quiet fascinating and didn’t expect that this letter was for me. My mind noticed very quickly “Oh, it’s for you!” I saw the logo of _____ and something in my mind told me, that this letter could change a few things immediately.

While I was reading the first lines, I was shocked in a “special” way. Obviously, at this moment I realized that my name and information about me were remaining in the database of the ____. I really had to sit down for some minutes in my room and had to think about what just happened.

It was unreal to read that I could make a contribution to rescue the life of somebody!

The next weeks were quite a journey for me: I had to fill in a lot of papers about health issues, went to doctors, had a couple of calls from employees of the ____ and got also several letters.

One day I had to go to my family doctor, because I had to give a blood sample. This blood was sent to a scientific institute to check if I’m the right donor for you! My responsible official had already told, that could take a few weeks until I’ll get an answer.

Weeks passed, but at the end of May, I finally got a positive answer. I was snoozing until I looked up on my mobile phone and saw an incoming call. I’ve already recognized the number, because I got several calls from this number in the last weeks. It was the _____! Immediately, I was wide awake and listened carefully the woman on the phone. As she had asked me, if I would like to donate, I did not hesitate for a second. I’ll do it!

So a couple of days later I had to go to ______, because of pre-examinations to check if I’m completely healthy. The donation should start a few days after the check-up, but one day in the evening I got a call from the clinic where the donation should take place. She said the target date had to be postponed.

This was a strange feeling, because I worried a lot and asked myself what could be the reason for this delay. But after some calls on the other day, the worries didn’t exist anymore.

On the 24th of June I went to ____ again, but this time I stayed there two nights in an incredible hotel.

Next day was donation day! The breakfast in the hotel was impressive, but honestly I couldn’t eat as much as I’d like to, because I was too excited about the things which should come later that day.

At eight O’clock, it all began. Of course, I speculated a lot about how this day will look like and I also had a few doubts if I’ll get any pain or side-effects. But was so relaxed, I couldn’t believe it myself.

I lay there about three and a half hours. It sounds like nothing than boredom, however it wasn’t. I listened to music a lot and talked to one of the nurses for some time.

The feeling after donation was unbelievable! I couldn’t realize that I possibly saved a life. I had to wait about half an hour, because the doctors wanted to know if I felt good after this process. I didn’t expect that I’ll feel so good if I’m honest because when I was at the check-up they told me, you will feel like you ran a marathon. But everything was good.

In the evening I finally realized what I had done. If everything went well, I would save a life! A life of a human! The thoughts and the feelings which I have while thinking about it, are so unbelievable! After the donation, friends texted me “we are so proud of you – you’re a hero!” Of course, the support of my friends was amazing and just in the moments as I had worries about the things that will come. I felt a lot more secure.

But am I really a hero?

In my opinion I’m not a hero! Actually, I did something very special and maybe uncommon. Of course, everybody has his own definition of becoming a hero. For me a hero is a person who risks his own life to save a life of somebody whom he or she actually doesn’t even know. A soldier in Afghanistan is a hero! He or she puts his/her life on the line, just to create a little bit of freedom in a country where freedom never could exist. A fireman risks his own life to save a life or even more from people he actually doesn’t know everyday. But why do they do something like that? In my mind, those people do this out of deepest conviction. They don’t do it because they have to. No, they do it because they believe it is right to do it!

What does it mean to my situation?

I did this donation also out of deepest conviction. I didn’t do it because it’s highly regarded in society. No, I did this for you because I believe it is our assignment to help people when they need help the most.

But there is another reason why I did such a thing.

I told you previously, that I was admitted into the database of the ___ because there was an initiative at my vocational school. There was a guy of the same age and his little brother suffered leukemia, so he was looking for a donor for his young brother.

While I was listening to the story of his young brother, I asked myself what I would do for my little brother if I was in his position. I don’t know if you have children or if you are even married, but the thought that you may lose things which you truly love was beyond all bearing. By knowing that I could make at least one person much more happier pushed me a lot. A lot of people want to have so much money that they don’t know even what to do with it, they want to have a fast car, a huge mansion or even a yacht. But what you only wish is, that you can see your kids, play with them in the garden, see them growing up, just do what you want to do and not spending every second thinking about your disease. You just want to live your life! Happiness is one of the things you can’t buy!

I’d like to come to the end of this letter. I actually don’t know how to end such a letter, like I previously didn’t know how to start. But what I’d like to say: I also have to thank you! It may sound strange but I’m deeply grateful that I had such a chance to do something like that. Every time I’m upset, I think back on what I did and that you could be the happiest person on earth. And so I become very happy too. I wish you, your family and your friends all the best and that you will become the person you were before the disease, that you can do whatever you like to do, that your dreams and wishes you have become reality at some point.

Someday, I hope that I’ll get the redeeming message from you: “I’m fine!”

 

Your genetical twin!

 

 

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Big Ten Map B

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TERPS MOVE TO BIG TEN – FAIRLY QUIET

Posted on 08 July 2014 by Tom Federline

It’s official. As of July 1, 2014 the University Maryland Terrapins are a part of the B1G Ten Athletic Conference. If you didn’t catch the 60 second clip on the evening news that night or the 30 second blurb on sports radio that day, you missed it. I understand there was a “celebration” at Under Armour headquarters for supposedly an afternoon and official announcement on campus the following day for about an hour. Of course, WNST was on this in early June. But did you hear anything more about this from any other local media as the date approached? I do not spend $75+ for a shirt that breathes or $100+ for tennis shoes (UA apparel) and I also do not contribute thousands of dollars to the Terrapin Club – so I guess that’s why I wasn’t invited.

Initial announcement – “Terps are moving to the Big Ten, good-bye ACC. All lifetime Terp fans, if you don’t like it – to bad. Its’ a done deal.” Official move date – “Terps headed west, mid-summer, prior to 4th of July Holiday. It’s a done deal. Tune in Terp fans at the beginning of September to follow the mens football and mens/womens soccer teams hitch hiking on Routes 76 and 80, trying to locate Cedar Rapids, Iowa.” I have heard half the teams will be heading to Raleigh-Durham area, the other half will be attempting to dodge tornado’s on their first road trip to the Midwest.

Wait-a-minute, they won’t be hitch hiking, they’ll be riding in luxury motor coaches. Five players to an RV, equipped with all the luxuries of their dorm rooms for their 3 month road trip. I understand the university is supplying each motor coach with IT personnel that were fired from the “Identity Theft Scandal” last year. They are to help keep up the kids academic obligations, with remote access to their classes and to Facebook. In addition, I believe the University is also providing traveling “tutors” (from the basketball team),  to assist in providing guidance to the youngsters for those ”remote access” classes. The motor coaches are part of the “financial stability package” the university will be receiving as part of this transfer to the midwest.

Remember the words from UMCP’s current athletic director, (not verbatim) – The move to the B1G Ten will help the University of Maryland academically, as well as financially. Really Kevin Anderson? Academically? Please provide those fabricated “academically enhanced” documents in order to safe face. What I read was - “Maryland is set to make $100 million dollars more in the next 6 years by joining the B1G Ten as opposed to if they had stayed in the ACC.” Really Kevin Anderson and President Loh? Does that include the $52 million dollar penalty for transferring out of the ACC and joining the B1G Ten? Does that include re-instating the sports programs that were dropped because of “misappropriation” of funds within the Athletic Department? Good ahead blame it on Debbie Yow – she’s gone. Does that include paying off Turgeon when he blows another basketball season? It’s all about the money and only about the money. Isn’t it Mr. AD and Mr. Pres.? Academics? Really? Maryland established itself as a top notch academic college many moons ago. Don’t embarrass yourselves, keep the athletics and academics totally separate. Ya ain’t foolin’ no one, no mo’.

College athletics are a changing. Traditions – gone. Rivalries – gone. Geographical accommodation - gone. Student athletes -  gone. Fan base - diminishing and/or transitional. “Show Me the Money” – IN. The re-arrangement of college conferences apparently are a necessary evil. As you know by now – I’m old school and that I believe – “Its All Fixed.” It does pain me when the almighty dollar wins out. I can accept there will be new traditions, new rivalries new fan bases. It’s just gonna take awhile. ”O” and it’s going to take more gas money for the RV when we are picking up the kids hitch hiking across the country. FYI – here’s a look at the new B1G Fourteen:

This whole Terp transfer from the ACC to the B1G Ten has been like one huge ”Firework” – (Katy Perry). One right after the other. We got blasted on the initial announcement over a weekend in the Fall. Blasted again, when the official move was done a couple of days before the 4th of July pyrotechnics. I know, I know – “It will work out in the end…….and if it doesn’t……. it’s not the end.” Or someone could just introduce the university on another scam to get some mo’ money and BAM – more fireworks.

Good luck Terps, we’ll be watching you on the B1G Ten Network (that is a plus). Good luck Terps, with local fan support during the second year of your Midwest run. The faithful will probably stay with you this initial year -it’s a novelty. Then watch the numbers dwindle. Let’s hope for the best. Go Terps – see you up in Madison. BTW -that is a cool college town. “Time to face the strange.”

D.I.Y.

FEDMAN

 

 

 

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USMNT – my take

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USMNT – my take

Posted on 03 July 2014 by Dwayne Showalter

I’m no soccer guy.  I played one year as a kid when my hometown football program folded because of a lack of interest.  My kids both played soccer for a year or two of clinic.  I helped the head coach.  My main job was to lift the kids high in the air to celebrate when they would “score a goal.”

My loves are football, lacrosse and college hoops.  I have a basic knowledge of soccer but couldn’t name 3 English Premiere League teams until my son picked up FIFA ’14 for Xbox.  I actually knew several players on the national teams for the World Cup before the tournament started.  That probably put me in the top ten percent of fans in this country.

I knew a flock of Man City guys like Yaya Toure (Ivory Coast), David Silva (Spain) and Edin Dzeko (Bosnia) to name a few.  I actually watched a few EPL games as the season wore down.  I knew Belgian Vincent Kompany who actually got a yellow card in the US game!  A major strike against my soccer knowledge, I did not know US goalkeeper Tim Howard played for Everton.  Oh well.  My son rolled the Xbox with the Spanish league players so I could drop some names there too.

All that said, here is my take on the US effort in the World Cup.

Game 1: US 2, Ghana 1.  What a start.  The Dempsey goal made you take notice 34 seconds in.  Then reality started to sink in.  This team was not going to go out and throttle anyone in their group.  Ghana dominated possession from what i saw.  Howard played well and a late corner gave the US a win they knew they needed to get out of the group.  It showed the first and second signs of the resolve they showed in each game.

Game 2: US 2, Portugal 2.  I thought this was the US’s best effort, certainly in the second half.  They seemed in control.  The chances they allowed were thwarted easily enough.  The Jones goal was a gem.  But leading 2-1 with the final seconds running out, they allowed one of the greatest players in the world time and space to create and Ronaldo delivered a scathing dagger of a cross for the game-tying header.  The final whistle sounded and it felt like the US had lost.

Game 3: Germany 1, US 0.  Here is where our shortcomings really came to light.  Germany dissected the US defense and piled up chance after chance.  Eventually, they solved Howard for a goal and held on to win the group.  What the US did show in the closing minutes was American resolve.  Two chances in the last minute nearly tied the game…but in the end, 1-0 was enough to move on to the round of 16.  And a loss felt like a win.

Game 4: Belgium 2, US 1.  Tim Howard elevated himself to Jim Graig status on the world stage.  The only difference was the final result.  If you don’t know Jim Graig, you’re probably pretty young and haven’t seen Miracle.  Howard became a household name.  Soccer folks around the world knew that Belgium might have won 5-0 if not for his effort.  As it stood, after full time, the game was scoreless.  As badly as things had gone through the first 90 minutes, there was more time to sneak a goal.  Then things went worse through the first extra 15 minutes as the US trailed 2-0.  I remember saying, “if we could just get a goal, at least we would make it interesting somehow.”  And boy did they ever.  Losing only after numerous chances to force the game to penalty kicks went awry.

In the end, no one knows how close the US is to winning the World Cup but i believe its fairly far off.  This team wasn’t talented enough…even the coach said so before the tournament.  Shoot – winning the thing is almost unthinkable with the advanced skill around the world.  Pure talent, however – and this team showed it – is less a factor in this sport than any other i have watched.  A single lightning strike can be the difference in winning and losing a given game.  Winning the World Cup though requires much more than a single lightning strike.  If we ever do win, it will be quite a party for sure.  Unfortunately, for most folks, i think soccer is relegated to a once-every-four-years event in the US.  There is a good chance the US won’t win in any of our lifetimes.  We are lucky here that, for the most part, the best basketball, baseball, hockey, football, golf, tennis and lacrosse players play here.  In soccer they don’t.  Until there is real change in that statement, i think we are doomed to be eliminated.  It was still a pretty entertaining ride – the fake injuries, dives, mysterious stoppage time, and knockout games being decided on penalty kicks notwithstanding.

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Dorsey’s Dugout- USA Helps Soccer and Caps Make Moves

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Dorsey’s Dugout- USA Helps Soccer and Caps Make Moves

Posted on 02 July 2014 by Nick Dorsey

 

USA

All of America was on the edge of their seats once the United States and Belgium match went to extra time. Despite the 2-1 loss in the first round of the World Cup sweet sixteen, that same excitement for soccer in this country will only grow.

The United States does not have the same kind of intensity within its fan base as the other countries in the World Cup, but this team might have changed the popularity of the sport going forward. A team that was not given a lick of a chance to advance out of the group of death, team USA silenced the critics and gave the fans across the country something to be proud of.

When team USA went down 2-0 in extra time to Belgium, the life was sucked out of the American fan base and their World Cup hopes had diminished. All the excitement that Klinsmanns squad brought to all of America seemed to be lost. Then Julian Green scored a goal off of a wonderful pass from Michael Bradley.

Even though the one goal was not enough to force a round of penalty kicks, it gave the team hope. Not only did Julian Greens goal give hope at a chance for a comeback, but also the goal symbolized hope for the game of soccer in this country.

Team USA does not have the talent that the other world powers have in the World Cup. Other teams feature their best athletes within the country to represent their nation. Since the United States has other professional leagues like the NFL and NBA, the best athletes in the country do not play for Team USA soccer.

While team USA does not have the same talent as the other world powers, they showed the heart needed to compete on the big stage. They tied one of the best teams in the world that featured soccers second best player and only lost by one to Germany who is amongst the worlds best.

The fact that the United States was able to advance out of the group of death and other soccer powers such as Spain, England, Italy and Portugal could not is astonishing. There are a lot of positives to come away with from the performance of the American squad and it will for sure carry over to the next Cup.

It was Jurgen Klinsmanns first opportunity as head coach for Team USA and he got the job done well. He made good adjustments during games within group play and came away with good results. The former German athlete did a great job in his first appearance as head coach for team USA and the fans will sure be by his side as the next Cup approaches.

T.J. Oshie was the American “hero” during the Olympic games in hockey for his performance in the shootout against Russia. After the stellar performance, Oshie was a household name everywhere in America. The same situation came to be when USA goalkeeper Tim Howard had a record-breaking match against Belgium.

Sure Howard has been the goalie for team USA the past few World Cups, but Clint Dempsey was the biggest name when it came to USA soccer. After the Belgium match, Howard is being called a hero for his incredible individual performance. With Howard now being recognized as a household name similar to Oshie, now fans in America might check out the goaltender play some in the English premiere league.

There are so many different parts of this team that make for a brighter future for soccer in this country. There is a plethora of young talent, new stars that have been born and a solid coach in control of it all. With all that being said, not only does team USA have a bright future, but also the popularity of soccer in the country.

Grading Capitals Free Agency Moves

The free agency period in the NHL kicked into high gear July 1st at noon and the Washington Capitals made several moves. New General manager Brian MacLellan got his first crack at making decisions at the helm and started the first day off with a few signings.

Washington had several needs heading into free agency such as finding a top-4 defenseman, a veteran backup goalie and a second line center. MacLellan began the day by signing veteran backup Justin Peters from the Carolina Hurricanes.

Peters, 27 years old, got to play in twenty-one games last season and finished with a .919 save percentage. This is a good addition to the Caps roster for several reasons.

The message being sent to Braden Holtby with this signing is that he is clearly the number one goalie on the team. Peters is a career backup who is trying to prove he is amongst the top tier backup goalies in the league. This should come to be no threat to Holtby as he will be leading the team onto the ice this year.

The best part about this deal is that it is cap-friendly. Peters signed a 2-year deal for $1.9 million that comes to be about $950,000 a season. Finding a veteran backup for this cost allows for Washington to make other moves during free agency. Grading the Justin Peters signing, a B- is a fair grade.

Brian MacLellan was not done after the Peters signing as he added two pieces to the biggest weakness on the roster. Two former Pittsburgh Penguin defensemen were added to the Capitals top six rotation. One is considered a good signing and the other is a bit of a head scratcher.

Brooks Orpik, 33, signed a 5-year deal with the Capitals worth $27.5 million. This addition to the team came to be a huge surprise  for many reasons. Orpik is 33 years old and is on the down side of his career. What makes this deal not so sexy is the money and longevity of the deal. Paying a player past his prime $5.5 million a year is quite risky. It also does not make sense giving a player who is 33 years of age a five-year deal.

Although there are a few negatives to the signing of Orpik, he does bring some qualities that will help this Capitals team. The former Penguin has been one of the assistant captains for Pittsburgh since 2008. He has been in a leadership role for several years and the Caps could use more leaders especially on the defensive end.

Most of the Capitals blue liners favor playing a style in which they like to carry the puck. They are considered finesse defenders and Orpik is the opposite of that. Brooks Orpik is the physical kind of defenseman that Washington needs. The Brooks Orpik signing gets a C- grade.

Joining fellow Pittsburgh teammate in Washington is new Capitals defenseman Matt Niskanen. The former Penguin cashed in on a seven-year deal worth $40.25 million that equates to a $5.75 cap hit per year. Niskanen finished the 2013-14 regular season with 46 total points and a +33 rating. Niskanen is a very similar defender to what the Caps current defensive roster already has.

This was the best addition that new general manager Brian MacLellan made all day during the first bit of free agency. The Caps are getting a defender who is 27 years old and is in the prime of his career. He is a versatile defender who also has a good plus/minus rating. Niskanen was expected to get $6 million or more per season when he hit the market, but Washington managed to get him just under that range.

With the additions of Orpik and Niskanen, the team’s biggest weakness has been repaired. Last season featured a never-ending cycle of defensemen getting their chances to start. The Caps often called up prospects from Hershey to start at the blue line, but those times look to be done.

The defensive pairings look to be Carlson-Alzner, Niskanen-Orpik and Green-Orlov. The pairings could change as Orpik does have experience playing with Carlson during the Olympics. As of now, those pairings have a chance to resemble what it will look like when the team hits the ice this season.

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Top 10 Baseball Distractions

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Top 10 Baseball Distractions

Posted on 30 June 2014 by Glenn Clark

Honorable Mention: WNBA-Indiana Fever @ Washington Mystics (Wednesday 7pm from Verizon Center live on Comcast SportsNet/NBA TV); Golf: PGA Tour Greenbrier Classic (Thursday & Friday 3pm live on Golf Channel Saturday & Sunday 1pm live on Golf Channel 3pm live on CBS. All golf from White Sulphur Springs, WV); MLL: Chesapeake Bayhawks @ Ohio Machine (Friday 4pm from Columbus live on CBS Sports Network)

10. Ports America Chesapeake 4th of July Celebration (Friday 7pm Inner Harbor); 4th of July Parades (Friday various times Arbutus, Kingsville, Towson, Bel Air, Dundalk, Catonsville, Glyndon, etc.) Joan Rivers (Wednesday 7:30pm Sixth & I Historic Synagogue); Tammy” out in theaters (Wednesday)

When you watch “The Sandlot” Friday, please tag me in your photos. You WILL watch “The Sandlot” Friday.

9. Beyonce & Jay-Z (Monday 8pm M&T Bank Stadium); Goo Goo Dolls/Daughtry (Saturday 6:45pm Jiffy Lube Live); Crosby, Stills & Nash (Thursday 8pm Wolf Trap), Counting Crows/Toad The Wet Sprocket (Saturday 7pm Wolf Trap); Neko Case (Tuesday 8pm Rams Head Live); Ed Sheeran (Tuesday 5pm Power Plant Live); Juicy J (Thursday 10pm Echostage); A Capitol Fourth feat. Frankie Valli, Phillip Phillips, Patti LaBelle, Michael McDonald, Jordin Sparks (Friday 8pm from US Capitol live on PBS); Old Crow Medicine Show “Remedy” available (Tuesday)

I mean, Beyonce could perform…OR…they could just show the “Partition” video on the screens at the stadium…

Speaking of Mrs. Carter, Ed Sheeran does a pretty solid Mrs. Carter.

Remember how good the Goo Goo Dolls used to be?

Almost as good as the Counting Crows.

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Top 10 Baseball Distractions

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Top 10 Baseball Distractions

Posted on 24 June 2014 by Glenn Clark

Honorable Mention: Legends Football League-Atlanta Steam @ Baltimore Charm (Saturday 8pm Baltimore Arena); WNBA: Connecticut Sun @ Washington Mystics (Friday 7pm Verizon Center), San Antonio Silver Stars @ Washington Mystics (Sunday 4pm Verizon Center); MLL: Chesapeake Bayhawks @ Florida Launch (Saturday 7pm from Boca Raton, FL live on YouTube); Boxing: Tori Nelson vs. Nicole Williams (Saturday 6pm Du Burns Arena); Auto Racing: NASCAR Quaker State 400 (Saturday 7:30pm from Sparta, KY live on TNT); Mixed Martial Arts: UFC Fight Night Nate Marquardt vs. James Te Huna (Saturday 5am from Auckland, New Zealand live on UFC Fight Pass), UFC Fight Night Cub Swanson vs. Jeremy Stephens (Saturday 10pm from San Antonio live on Fox Sports 1)

10. Great American Backyard Campout (Saturday 6pm Oregon Ridge); Transformers: Age of Extinction“, “Snowpiercer” and “They Came Together” out in theaters (Friday); 300: Rise of an Empire” available on Blu-Ray/DVD (Tuesday)

None of this means much of anything for me-so instead I’ll post this new photo of Sofia Vergara that came out Monday. You can thank me later.

9. Thank You Festival feat. Tiesto (Thursday 4pm Merriweather Post Pavilion); Katy Perry (Tuesday & Wednesday 7pm Verizon Center); OneRepublic/The Script (Friday 7pm Jiffy Luve Live), Toby Keith (Saturday 7pm Jiffy Lube Live), Avicii (Sunday 7pm Jiffy Lube Live); Ben Folds (Wednesday 8:15pm Wolf Trap); Ballyhoo! (Friday 8pm Power Plant Live); Say Anything (Wednesday 7:30pm Rams Head Live), Drive-By Truckers (Thursday 8pm Rams Head Live); Diana Ross (Saturday 8pm Modell Performing Arts Center at The Lyric); Dr. John (Tuesday 8pm Rams Head on Stage); Air Supply (Friday 8pm Rams Head Center Stage); Primus (Sunday 8pm Fillmore Silver Spring); Lake Street Dive (Tuesday 7pm 9:30 Club); Jamestown Revival (Sunday 8:30pm Gypsy Sally’s); Rebirth Brass Band (Sunday 2pm DC Jazz Festival); Ed Sheeran “X”, Phish “Fuego” and Clutch “Earth Rocker Deluxe” available (Tuesday)

I’m including Katy Perry this week. Let’s just go ahead and move on so we don’t have to talk about it any further.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0KSOMA3QBU0

Say hello to Kevin Van Valkenburg at the Truckers’ show.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-A8n4IVd308

Lake Street Dive is rather enjoyable.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=89Oc1UE7SS4

Someday I’ll be coming home…to see Jamestown Revival.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hy9EzRP8tdc

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