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Topics - K_Lincourt30

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1
Players / Elizabeth Lambert
« on: November 09, 2009, 09:10:25 PM »
What was she thinking? I know the conference tournaments can get a little crazy, but she was just laying out beat-downs to BYU's players. She might as well just enter the WPS draft, because her days at New Mexico are over. UNM will pull her scholarship and no other school will be able to offer her one. Even if they did, she'd have to sit out her senior season because of the transfer student rules.

Speaking of conference tournaments, I watched the final for the Big 12 tournament yesterday, and Oklahoma State's goalkeeper is pretty good. She denied Texas A&M over and over again, and she's only a freshman. OSU Cowgirls won 1-0 off a corner kick. (I enjoy Texas A&M losing at anything) :)

2
USA Women's Football / WPS May Player of the Month voting
« on: June 03, 2009, 03:10:04 AM »
Voting is open until June 4th at the WPS website. The winner will be announced June 5th.


May Nominees:

Sonia Bompastor: 2 goals in comeback tie for Washington against STL;

Lori Chalupny: corner kick-turned goal in first win for STL over FCGP;

Christine Sinclair: game-wnning goal for FCGP against CRS;

Jillian Loyden: shut-out against CRS in Hope Solo's national team absence;

Shannon Boxx: game-winning goal against STL for LA

-----------------------------------------------------------------

No suprise, Sonia Bompastor has jumped out to a HUGE lead (45% of the fan votes; second most is Jillian Loyden with 17%).

3
•Boxx Opens Scoring 93 Seconds Into Match

•Rapinoe, Tapley and Cheney Add Goals

•Nairn Earns First WNT Cap


TORONTO, Canada (May 25, 2009) – The U.S. Women’s National Team scored twice in each half, getting goals from four different players to defeat Canada 4-0 in front of 10,255 fans at BMO Field. It was the USA’s first match in Canada since 2001.

Midfielder Shannon Boxx opened the scoring just 93 seconds into the match and midfielder Megan Rapinoe added a second just before the halftime. The USA put two more in the net during a four-minute span late in the game. Both second-half goals came from substitutes, as Lindsay Tarpley scored her 30th career goal in the 77th minute and 21-year-old Lauren Cheney knocked in a fantastic header in the 80th minute.

The USA dominated possession in a match played on the artificial surface at BMO Field and put together some excellent attacking soccer while out-shooting its northern neighbor by a 19-6 margin.

"I am happy about the performance and I am happy that we scored a goal on a corner kick,” said U.S. WNT head coach Pia Sundhage. “That's something we are starting to work on and I believe that come 2011, when the games are so tight, that set plays will be very, very important. So, four nice goals and a pretty good game on turf.”

Boxx’s strike, which was the USA’s first shot of the game, was her second goal of the year after scoring just once in 2008 and it came against her club teammate on the Los Angeles Sol in Canadian goalkeeper Karina LeBlanc. It was also Boxx’s 20th international goal as she became the 16th female player in U.S. history to score 20 or more goals in her career.

The goal was created on the USA’s first piece of possession as right back Heather Mitts played a penetrating pass forward to Boxx from the right side of the field. Boxx dribbled hard toward the edge of the penalty area, and when no Canadian defender stepped up to challenge, unleashed a 20-yard shot from 10 yards right of the penalty arc that skidded into the lower left side netting.

Canada’s only good chance of the first half came in the 43rd minute on a long free kick from Kara Lang, but the shot flew wide right of Hope Solo’s goal.

The USA got a huge score just seconds before the halftime whistle after Heather O’Reilly fed Rapinoe above the penalty area on the left side. Rapinoe collected and dribbled toward her defender before cutting hard inside, losing Canadian back Brittany Timko. The nifty dribble created a sliver of space for her bending 16-yard shot that actually curved around Abby Wambach and her defender, who were screening LeBlanc, and then spun perfectly into the lower right corner. It was Rapinoe’s fourth international goal in just nine career caps.

The USA struggled to find its rhythm early in the second half as Canada picked up the pressure, but settled down and regained control before putting the match away in the 77th minute after Wambach earned a corner kick on the right side. It was Wambach who jumped over two defenders to get a head on the ball, sending it powerfully toward goal. The ball hit Canadian captain Christine Sinclair near the goal line, but Tarpley pounced on the loose ball to force it over the line and into the open net.

Wambach, who came into the match with 99 goals, will now have the chance to bag her historic 100th goal in her hometown of Rochester, N.Y., where the USA will play Canada in its next match on July 19. Canadian forward Christine Sinclair, who also came into the game with 99 goals, failed to hit the century mark as the U.S. defense did a fine job of keeping the star striker out of dangerous positions.

The final goal came after O’Reilly ran down a long pass on the right flank and struck a hard cross from the wing that deflected off a Canadian defender’s foot, but it had enough steam on it to sail towards the near post. Cheney was making a hard near post run and deftly re-directed the ball with a superbly angled header into the upper right corner from about five yards outside the post. It was Cheney’s fourth international goal in 17 career caps.

Amy LePeilbet got the start in the center defense with team captain Christie Rampone and played an excellent first half in her first cap since Sept. 13, 2006. She was replaced at halftime by Rachel Buehler, who also played an extremely solid 45 minutes, highlighted by a thunderous tackle on Canadian Melissa Tancredi in the waning minutes.

Canada’s best chance of the second half came in the 54th minute as the USA lost a ball in the back, but the Maple Leafs couldn’t capitalize as Jodi-Ann Robinson launched her shot over the goal from 25 yards out.

Besides the header off the corner kick that led to Tarpley’s goal, Wambach didn’t get too many clear chances for her 100th goal, but she did take a good swipe at a loose ball in the 62nd minute that fell close to her after a long free kick.

The USA hit a flurry of shots in the second half, highlighted by an O’Reilly blast from the top of the penalty area on the right side, but couldn’t bust through until Tarpley’s 77th minute score effectively put the game away.

U.S. goalkeepers Solo and Nicole Barnhart split the match, with Solo hitting some booming punts in the first half that caused some danger for the Canadian backline. Barnhart had a bit more to do in the second half in tidying up her penalty area, but was not forced to make a save.

Eighteen-year-old midfielder Christine Nairn became the first member of the USA’s 2008 U-20 Women’s World Cup championship team to earn a senior team cap, coming on for Angela Hucles in the 83rd minute. Nairn was the eighth player to be given her first cap by U.S. head coach Pia Sundhage.

The U.S. players now head back to join their WPS clubs and will not coming together against until mid-July for two more matches against Canada, on Sunday, July 19, at Rochester Rhinos Stadium in Rochester, N.Y., and then again three days later on Wednesday, July 22, at Blackbaud Stadium in Charleston, S.C. These will be the USA’s first domestic matches of the year after playing the first five on the road and compiling a record of 4-0-1.

The game in Rochester kicks off at 3 p.m. ET and will be broadcast live on ESPN. The match in Charleston kicks off at 8 p.m. ET and will be broadcast live on Fox Soccer Channel and Fox Sports en Español. Both matches will be available online via ussoccer.com’s MatchTracker.

Match: U.S. Women’s National Team vs. Canada
Date: May 25, 2009
Competition: International Friendly
Venue: BMO Field; Toronto, Canada
Kickoff: 7 p.m. ET
Attendance: 10,255
Weather: 61 degrees, breezy, party cloudy

Scoring Summary: 1 2 F
USA                            2 2 4
CAN                            0 0 0

USA – Shannon Boxx (Heather Mitts)              2nd minute
USA – Megan Rapinoe (Heather O’Reilly)     46
USA – Lindsay Tarpley                                       77
USA – Lauren Cheney (Heather O’Reilly)      80

Lineups:
USA: 1-Hope Solo (18-Nicole Barnhart, 46); 2-Heather Mitts (19-Marian Dalmy, 61), 3-Christie Rampone – Capt., 6-Amy LePeilbet (4-Rachel Buehler, 46), 17-Lori Chalupny, 9-Heather O’Reilly, 16-Angela Hucles (13-Christine Nairn, 83), 7-Shannon Boxx, 15-Megan Rapinoe (5-Lindsay Tarpley, 61), 8-Amy Rodriguez (12-Lauren Cheney, 77), 20-Abby Wambach
Subs not used: 11-Casey Nogueira, 14-Brittany Bock, 24-Kelsey Davis
Injured: 10-Carli Lloyd
Head Coach: Pia Sundhage

CAN: 1-Karina LeBlanc; 3-Melanie Booth (14-Melissa Tancredi, 46), 9-Candace Chapman (23-Carmelina Moscato 84), 10-Martina Franko, 17-Brittany Timko (20-Marie-Eve Nault, 64); 15-Kara Lang, 19-Kelly Parker, 8-Diana Matheson, 7-Rhian Wilkinson, 21-Jodi-Ann Robinson (4-Alyssa Lagonia, 83), 12-Christine Sinclair – Capt.
Subs not used: 2-Emily Zurrer, 5-Chelsea Stewart, 6-Kaylyn Kyle, 11-Christina Julien, 16-Jonelle Filigno, 22-Stephanie Labbé
Head Coach: Carolina Morace

Statistical Summary: USA / CAN
Shots: 19 / 6
Shots on Goal: 7 / 1
Saves: 1 / 3
Corner Kicks: 8 / 3
Fouls: 6 / 10
Offside: 1 / 5

Misconduct Summary:
CAN – Candace Chapman (caution)       57th minute

Official:
Referee: Darci Kruse (CAN)
Asst. Referee: Suzanne Morisset (CAN)
Asst. Referee: Shauna Poirer (CAN)
Fourth Official: Carol Anne Chenard (CAN)

ussoccer.com Woman of the Match:
Shannon Boxx
 
 

4
Players / Christine Sinclair
« on: May 21, 2009, 05:06:43 AM »
FC Gold Pride forward Christine Sinclair has been selected WPS's Player of the Week for Week 8 after leading the Bay Area club to a 1-0 triumph at Chicago. The Canadian star scored in the 30th minute, knocking home a rebound for her second goal of the season, and was constantly dangerous as Gold Pride had the better of the game.

The WPS Player of the Week award is voted upon by a panel of journalists from the North American Soccer Reporters.

Week 1: Aya Miyama (Los Angeles Sol)
Week 2: Marta (Los Angeles Sol)
Week 3: Kelly Smith (Boston Breakers)
Week 4: Aly Wagner (Los Angeles Sol)
Week 5: Abby Wambach (Washington Freedom)
Week 6: Sonia Bompastor (Washington Freedom)
Week 7: Lori Chalupny (Saint Louis Athletica)
Week 8: Christine Sinclair (FC Gold Pride)

5
USA Women's Football / Japan cancels games against USWNT
« on: May 13, 2009, 10:59:27 AM »
The latest reaction to the H1N1 flu has struck the U.S. Women’s National team as Japan has pulled out of two matches that were scheduled for late May in the U.S. and one set to take place in Canada. 

The U.S. matches, May 20 in Frisco, Texas and May 23 in Sandy, Utah, have both been canceled and all ticket buyers will either be refunded their money or allowed to exchange the tickets.

In Canada, Japan had been scheduled to face the women's team at BMO Field on May 25th.

 “This is an unfortunate situation, but one that we had absolutely no control over,” said U.S. Soccer President Sunil Gulati said in a press release. “We have been assured that the risk to the participating teams is exceptionally low, but we accept the Japanese Federation’s decision not to travel.”

The U.S. Women will now have to wait until July to play their first domestic matches of 2009.

They will take on Canada twice this summer, once on July 19 in Rochester, N.Y., and on July 22 in Charleston, S.C.

 



6
USA Women's Football / Mothers' Day and the USWNT
« on: May 11, 2009, 03:50:26 AM »
May 10, 2009 is Mothers' Day here in the States. (It took me 3 hours calling around to finally get my mom on the phone today! Her house, her cell, my step-dad's cell, his work number...she was "busy" shopping. Yuck) Anyways, here is a cute article from USSoccer.com about the USWNT and their mommas. :)



 In commemoration of Mother’s Day, ussoccer.com asked a few of our Women’s National Team players to share some memories from their youth involving their moms and soccer. Today, we honor those who were Soccer Moms before it was cool to be one.

U.S. midfielder Megan Rapinoe

A purple vest, Mom?
“Whenever I played bad, she always used to ask me if I was sick. ‘No, Mom, I just played bad.’ She would always ask crazy questions because she wanted to understand what was going on, but didn’t quite get it. She’s better now. My dad was my coach when we were younger and one time he kicked a ball into her head. She was ok; she’s tough. When I was in college at Portland, she showed up at one game wearing purple corduroy pants, a purple long sleeve shirt and a purple vest. She thought nothing of it. I was like, ‘Mother, what are you wearing!’ She’s a super fan.”

Thanks, Mom!
“My parents sacrificed a lot. They used all their free time to take us (Megan has a twin sister Rachel who also played at UP) everywhere. I am sure they didn’t want to drive two and half hours every weekend, but they did. Thank you mom, I love you!”


U.S. midfielder Lindsay Tarpley

A card a day keeps homesickness away!
“When I was younger, around 13 years old, I started traveling with the youth regional teams. While I was at national team camp, my mom would give me a card for every day I was gone. That was really cute. It was my first time traveling and it was a whole new thing, so it helped me get used to the experience. She would also drive me from Kalamazoo to Detroit, two hours each way. She never just sat and watched training. If she stayed, she would always have a book. Sometimes she would go shopping. She always kept herself busy.”

Thanks, Mom!
“I wouldn’t be where I am today without the never-ending support of my mom and my whole family. Happy Mother’s Day, Mom!”

U.S. defender Rachel Buehler

Cheerleader Mom!
“One funny memory is that we were playing in our back yard, she said, ‘I’ll play goalie for you guys.’ It was all the neighborhood boys and me. The goal mouth was these brick stairs that led up to the driveway. I rocket the ball at her, she caught it and fell back onto the stairs and broke her tailbone! Poor Mom! Occasionally, for Surf Cup or the State Cup finals, both teams would do the international walk-out and lineup. Every time we walked out, she would do cheerleader kicks and bounce up and down and cheer for us, and make our team crack up! After a while, all the players wanted her to do it. It became sort of our good luck charm.”

Thanks, Mom!
“She’s my role model. She’s helped me became the person I am today. She’s taught me so much. She was there for every soccer game, drove me everywhere, never pushed me in a bad way. She was my girl scout leader, our classroom mom, and always planning our school parties. She was there for everything and always loving me. I appreciate everything she’s done. She is ultimate soccer mom.”

U.S. defender Lori Chalupny
 
Race Car Mom!
“I remember one time I left my cleats at home and I was playing an hour away. I got to the game and opened up my bag to get my cleats out for warm-ups and I didn’t have my cleats! My mom got in the car and raced back home. I don’t know how fast she was driving, but somehow she got home and back to the field in 45 minutes. I only missed five minutes of the game.”

Thanks, Mom!
“Both my parents played a huge part helping me get where I am today, but what I really appreciated about my mom was that she always had such unconditional support. I don’t think I’ve ever played a bad game in her mind. She’d bring out her lawn chair and she enjoyed watching me play whether we won or lost, she was just happy to be out there watching me.”

U.S. midfielder Heather O’Reilly

What’s that flag for!
“My mom has always been a huge fan of whatever team I was playing for, whether it was PDA, UNC or the national team. She also has been known to go a bit overboard, like wearing stick-on tattoos on her face! What’s amazing is that after watching all these games, she just figured out the offsides rule about two years ago. Of course, what’s more a sign of love for your daughter than thinking she is never offsides?”

Thanks, Mom!
“My mom and dad have always enjoyed going to my games and hanging out with the other parents. I swear my mom is better friends with some of the parents than I am with their daughters, and I am talking about some of my best friends. But I always love when my parents can get to one of my games and I am sure they are loving me playing for the Sky Blue in New Jersey. So Happy Mother’s Day mom!”

U.S. forward Amy Rodriguez

Run, Amy, Run!
“Back in the old days at my club games, whenever I would look over to the sidelines my mom would always do this thing with her hands where she was rolling them around in circles trying to get me to run faster. I remember having her as a cheerleader over there and I would look over and be like, ‘I’m trying to focus on the game. Mom!’ But maybe I did run faster?”

Thanks, Mom!
“My mom has always played the supportive role for me. Even though sometimes she can get on my nerves, I love her to death! She’s the reason I am where I am today.”

U.S. midfielder Angela Hucles

Note: Angela’s mother is a psychology professor at Old Dominion

Mom says: See the ball, be the ball!
“When I was younger, my parents were never ones to just console me and tell me I had a good game even if I didn’t. We would go on our trips in ‘Large Marge,’ our conversation van, and after the games we would all pile into the van and after a few minutes, my mom would ask me to analyze the game and tell her how I felt I did. She would basically force me to do some self-analysis. It was very psychological. Before the game she wanted me to mentally visualize my performance, and this was before sports psych and visualization were all the rage. So one time I finally blew up at her because I was sick of analyzing myself! Now, years later, we have our sports psych people asking us to do the same things, and she’s like, ‘See! I had you prepared and doing the same things!’”

Thanks, Mom!
“She’s supported me throughout my whole career. She has allowed me the freedom to evaluate and learn things myself, but has also given me that extra push when I needed it. She had the perfect balance.”
 
 

7
Players / Sonia Bompastor
« on: May 06, 2009, 02:24:15 AM »
Bompastor named WPS Player of the Week

BOYDS, Md. – For the second time in as many weeks, a Washington Freedom player has been named the WPS Player of the Week. With two goals, including the game-tying goal in the 90th minute, in a 3-3 draw with Saint Louis, midfielder Sonia Bompastor was awarded the honor by the North American Soccer Reporters (NASR).

Bompastor’s two goals on Sunday were her first as a member of the Freedom, although she did record the assist on the team’s first WPS goal back on April 11 against Chicago. Both of Bompastor’s goals were scored with her head.

This is the second straight week a two-goal scorer has been named Player of the Week. Abby Wambach won the award the previous week for her two goal, one assist performance against FC Gold Pride, which included the game-winner in stoppage time.

Also released this afternoon was a statement from Wambach in regards to the injury suffered by Saint Louis Athletica’s Daniela on Sunday. Daniela has a crack in her tibia and two damaged knee ligaments as a result of a tackle by Wambach.

“In regards to the injury Daniela sustained during our game, the thing I need to convey most is how hard it is for a player who has sustained a significant injury in the past year to now be on the other side of it,” Wambach said. “It’s been crucial for me to find out exactly what injuries Daniela has sustained because of how important I know she is to the Saint Louis franchise. I’ve been in contact with a close friend on the team to stay updated. Unfortunately soccer is a physical game and players do get injured. There was no intent on my side to cause any harm. I wish Daniela nothing but the speediest of recoveries. My thoughts and prayers are with her.”

8
 :'(  My friend Ericka (Stein) Manint lost her battle with cancer this weekend. She had a rare form that attacked her lymphnodes, and was actually told 3 years ago she wouldn't live past 35. She was married to a great guy from Louisiana, and had two beautiful kids. I know you don't know her, but please keep her in your thoughts.

9
SAN FRANCISCO (May 1, 2009) – Kelly Smith of the Boston Breakers has won the first-ever WPS Player of the Month Award for April. The award was selected by team, media and online fan voting with each group accounting for one-third of the final tally. Nearly 1,000 fans voted at the league’s Fan Corner at http://fancorner.womensprosoccer.com/ to help select the monthly-award winner in the league’s Inaugural Season.

Smith notched three goals in April, striking once in each of the Breakers’ first three games, along with one assist, leading Boston to victory twice and keeping them close with a terrific second-half goal against FC Gold Pride in their opening game 2-1 loss. After playing for the English national team last Thursday, the Breakers rested Smith in their 4-0 defeat to the Chicago Red Stars.

Smith edged out the Los Angeles Sol’s star forward Marta – with whom she is tied atop the league leaderboard with three goals on the season – and Sol goalkeeper Karina LeBlanc in the final POTM results.


 

10
These days, everyone is all a-Twitter about Twitter.

In just the past few months, Twitter has become the hot new media platform to link professional athletes directly to their fans. By receiving messages from athletes on their computers and directly as text messages to their phones, over 800,000 fans are following NBA players like Shaquille O'Neal or legendary cyclist Lance Armstrong.

Followers of professional players' "tweets" are allured by the behind-the-scenes access to an athlete's every move.

Women's Professional Soccer (WPS) has been ahead of the trend, integrating the communication tool into the league site and its grassroots approach as much as possible. Over 20 WPS players are officially tweeting, giving fans a new take on their daily lives, including one trio of English internationals.

Alex Scott, Kelly Smith (Boston Breakers) and Karen Carney (Chicago Red Stars) are regularly tweeting, giving Twitter followers bouts of friendly banter each day about their training, the league and most recently the Chicago Red Stars thrashing of the Boston Breakers.

Smith tweeted, "finally back to Boston after a dreadful performance v. Chicago." Scott posted, "still hurting from getting beat 4-0, a game to forget, good goal Karen, will see you for a rematch soon, hehe." Fans also got an update from Karen about Chicago's bye week, "On my way to training�no game this week = running."

However, these three players are not about to stream live status updates during a match — they say that, for them, it can be a distraction. But they do see the value of forming a unique connection with the league's fans.

"I think I heard about Twitter on TV and was curious as to what it was," said Boston defender Scott. "Since I signed up it has now become an everyday habit for me to go on there and update what I am doing, to talk or have some banter with Karen Carney." Scott, Smith and Carney have a combined total of 412 followers on Twitter.

Los Angeles Sol midfielder Aly Wagner has over 600 followers on Twitter and WPS has nearly 4,000 followers, numbers that rise daily. The WPS website also lists several other players Twitter accounts for fans to connect to.

Twitter updates, Scott says, give fans fresh insight into what players are doing on and off the field and an opportunity to learn more about the players; Carney agrees saying the more exposure the players and their teams get, the better for the league.

On the flip side, some critics and media columnists contend that Twitter could interfere with game day focus and preparation, if players do it too much. WPS allowed players, Aly Wagner and Kati Jo Spisak, to Twitter during the WPS Inaugural Match on March 29.

These player tweets contributed to the historic moment of the opening game. And now, during the season, fans can view live game updates on each of the seven WPS teams Twitter pages as most teams also send live in-game texts to wanting recipients.

While the status updates are a cost-effective way for the league to disseminate minute-by-minute messages, the greater effect is generating relationships and a direct connection with WPS supporters and fans. Twitter takes out the middleman and allows players, coaches and even team owners/staffers to issue their own play-by-play out to curious followers.

Now that's something to Tweet about

11
USA Women's Football / Player of the Month voting
« on: April 29, 2009, 12:45:56 AM »
To anyone who has an account at the WPS website, they have the voting for the April Player of the Month going on. The nominees are the top player of each week, and they are:

Week 1: Aya Miyama (free kick for first WPS goal against Freedom)
Week 2: Marta (two-goals in three minutes against Sky Blue)
Week 3: Kelly Smith (goal and assist for goal against STL)
Week 4: Aly Wagner (assist for winning goal against FCGP)
Week 5: Abby Wambach (opening goal and winning goal against FCGP)

When I cast my vote for Kelly, she had a slight lead over Marta for the title by 4 votes.

I also think that if Abby hadn't scored the goals against Gold Pride, Brittney Klein would have been the Week 5 Player of the Week for her goal and two assists for CRS.

12
USA Women's Football / FC Indiana
« on: April 29, 2009, 12:13:29 AM »
INDIANAPOLIS, IN, April 26, 2009 —  FC Indiana are hoping to pull off the shock of the season when they host Women’s Professional Soccer (WPS) powerhouse Chicago Red Stars at Kuntz Stadium in Indianapolis this Saturday (kick-off 7pm).

FC Indiana coach Shek Borkowski and his squad relish the tag of underdogs as they head into Saturday night’s clash. Borkowski said: “It will be a really good game, they are the best team in WPS right now. But the pressure is on them. They’re the WPS team, and they’re expected to win.”

Chicago will arrive in Indianapolis sitting second in WPS standings, 2 points behind leaders Los Angeles, having demolished Tony DiCicco’s Boston team 4-0 over the weekend. Offensively the Red Stars are led by Lindsey Tarpley (2 g), Karen Carney (1g), Megan Rapinoe (1g), Carli Lloyd (1g) and Brittany Klein (1g). “We demonstrated why we are one of the best attacking teams in the league,” said Red Stars coach Emma Hayes after the win.
In goal Swedish goalkeeper Carolina Jonsson, protected by back four of Marian Dalmy (USA), Ifeoma Dieke (Scotland), Nicky Krzysik (USA) and Frida Ostberg (Sweden), has 3 clean sheets.

13
;)  Uh, yeah...I think we got this for 2022...and we will England a heck of a fight for 2018

NEW YORK (April 23, 2009) – Public officials and executives representing 58 major stadiums in the U.S. last week formally confirmed interest in playing host to FIFA World Cup™ matches in 2018 or 2022, the USA Bid Committee announced today.

The respondents represent 58 venues in 49 metropolitan markets, ranging in size from New York City, where the new Meadowlands Stadium will open in 2010 in nearby East Rutherford, N.J., to college town markets from coast to coast. Three new candidates also reached out to the USA Bid Committee to express their interest, including Las Vegas, Nev., which currently does not offer a suitable stadium but requested to be included as a market for consideration.

“We are very pleased by the impressive response, and are certainly gratified by the enthusiasm and thorough understanding everyone has shown for this unique opportunity,” said David Downs, the Executive Director for the USA Bid Committee. “The benefits to a host nation, and particularly to the venue cities where the matches could be played, are numerous and lasting. Tourism, economic impact, meaningful global exposure and a legacy of being at the center of a FIFA World Cup™ competition await host venues and cities if we are fortunate enough to stage the tournament here in 2018 or 2022.”

Earlier this month, the USA Bid Committee mailed letters to public officials and executives representing 70 stadiums in more than 50 metropolitan markets. The letters outlined FIFA’s bid process and criteria for venue selection, which includes the candidate host nation providing a minimum of 12 stadiums capable of seating 40,000 or more spectators. Stadiums with a minimum capacity of 80,000 are required by FIFA for consideration to play host to the Opening Match and Final Match.

In 1994, the U.S. used nine stadiums to host the FIFA World Cup™, which then featured a 24-team and 52-match format compared to today’s field of 32 nations competing in 64 matches. Despite the smaller field and schedule of matches in 1994, the United States set an overall attendance mark of 3,587,538, a record that broke the previous tournament mark by more than one million fans and still stands today.

Representatives from the Las Vegas, Nev. and the Raleigh-Durham markets, as well as Rice Eccles Stadium in Salt Lake City, Utah – none of them included in the original list of 70 venue and market candidates – have requested to be considered as hosts in 2018 or 2022. Twelve stadiums declined to be considered as potential candidates while conversations continue with representatives of two stadiums as local officials there explore various venue feasibility issues before confirming their interest.

“We will soon begin contacting all venue and metro market representatives on a one-on-one basis to ensure that their candidacy is in accordance with FIFA criteria,” Downs said. “We are looking forward to working with all the parties involved as we continue this exciting bid process.”

Highlights among the stadiums that have confirmed interest in playing host to matches in 2018 and 2022 include:

Thirty of the 31 stadiums in the National Football League have confirmed interest. Candlestick Park, home of the San Francisco 49ers, was not listed as a candidate, meaning 100 percent of the NFL stadiums contacted by the USA Bid Committee have confirmed their candidacy.
More than 20 stadiums have confirmed interest that are either on college campuses or serve as the primary venue for NCAA Division I college football teams.
Two confirmed stadiums are currently home to Major League Soccer teams in the U.S. – Gillette Stadium (New England Revolution) and Qwest Field (Seattle Sounders).
All continental United States time zones are represented by stadiums in 28 states and the District of Columbia.
The United States, Australia, England, Indonesia, Japan, Mexico and Russia have formally declared their desire to host to the FIFA World Cup™ in 2018 or 2022. Netherlands-Belgium and Portugal-Spain have each submitted joint bids for the 2018 and 2022 tournaments, while Qatar and South Korea have applied as candidates to play host only to the tournament in 2022.

FIFA has set May 2010 as the deadline for countries to submit their final paperwork to play host to the FIFA World Cup™ in 2018 or 2022. FIFA’s 24 member Executive Committee will study the bids, conduct site visits and name the two hosts for the 2018 and 2022 tournaments in December 2010, completing a 21-month bid and review process.

World Cup passion continues to be strong in the USA, demonstrated by the number of tickets assigned last week in the official FIFA’s selection draw for the first phase of ticket sales for the 2010 FIFA World Cup™. Outside of the host country, South Africa, the highest number of tickets drawn was to residents of the United States, with a total of 69,208 tickets. The USA had also had the highest number of online ticket applications (outside of the host country) from around the world.

The USA Bid Committee’s efforts have already earned the support of President Barack Obama, who has reached out to FIFA – the world's governing body of soccer – to endorse the efforts to bring the world’s largest sporting event back to the United States. In a letter to FIFA President Joseph “Sepp” Blatter and U.S. Soccer President Sunil Gulati, President Obama noted the role soccer played in his life as a youth, and its ability to unite people, communities and nations from every continent.

“Hosting another successful World Cup is important for the continued growth of the sport in the United States. And it is important to me personally,” President Obama wrote in his letter. “As a child, I played soccer on a dirt road in Jakarta, and the game brought the children of my neighborhood together. As a father, I saw that same spirit of unity alive on the fields and sidelines of my own daughters’ soccer games in Chicago.”

“Soccer is truly the world’s sport, and the World Cup promotes camaraderie and friendly competition across the globe,” President Obama added. “That is why this bid is about much more than a game. It is about the United States of America inviting the world to gather all across our great country in celebration of our common hopes and dreams.”

U.S. Soccer and the USA Bid Committee announced last month that former U.S. Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger accepted an invitation to join the USA Bid Committee and play a leadership role in the nation’s candidacy to play host to FIFA World Cup™ in 2018 or 2022.

ABOUT U.S. SOCCER:
Founded in 1913, U.S. Soccer has helped chart the course for soccer in the USA for more than 95 years as the governing body of the sport. In this time, the Federation’s mission statement has been simple and clear: to make soccer, in all its forms, a pre-eminent sport in the United States and to continue the development of soccer at all recreational and competitive levels. To that end, the sport’s growth in the past two decades has been nothing short of remarkable as U.S. Soccer’s National Teams have continually succeeded on the world stage while also growing the game here in the United States with the support of its members. For more information, visit ussoccer.com.

ABOUT THE USA BID COMMITTEE INC.:
The USA Bid Committee is a non-profit organization created to prepare a successful application to host the FIFA World Cup™ in 2018 or 2022 on behalf of the United States Soccer Federation. The Bid Committee will submit its comprehensive bid to FIFA by May 2010, with FIFA’s 24 member Executive Committee making a decision in December 2010. Members of the USA Bid Committee include Executive Director David Downs, U.S. Soccer President and USA Bid Committee Chairman Sunil Gulati, U.S. Soccer CEO and General Secretary Dan Flynn, Major League Soccer Commissioner Don Garber, former U.S. Secretary of State Dr. Henry Kissinger, former Democratic National Committee National Finance Chair Philip Murphy, and former Goldman Sachs Vice Chairman (Asia) Carlos Cordeiro.

          Metro Market    Stadium    Location
YES      Atlanta, Ga. Georgia Dome  Atlanta, Ga.
NO       Atlanta, Ga. Sanford Stadium  Athens, Ga.
NO      Austin, Tex. Royal Texas Memorial Stadium  Austin, Texas
YES    Baltimore, Md. M&T Bank Stadium  Baltimore, Md.
NO    Baton Rouge, La. Tiger Stadium  Baton Rouge, La.
YES   Birmingham, Ala. Legion Field  Birmingham, Ala. 
NO    Birmingham, Ala. Bryant-Denny Stadium  Tuscaloosa, Ala. 
YES     Boston, Mass. Gillette Stadium  Foxborough, Mass.
YES     Buffalo, N.Y. Ralph Wilson Stadium  Orchard Park, N.Y.
YES   Cedar Rapids, Iowa Kinnick Stadium  Iowa City, Iowa
YES     Champaign, Ill.  Memorial Stadium  Champaign, Ill. 
YES     Charlotte, N.C.  Bank of America Stadium  Charlotte, N.C.
YES          Chicago, Ill. Soldier Field  Chicago, Ill.
YES      Cincinnati, Ohio Paul Brown Stadium  Cincinnati, Ohio
YES      Cleveland, Ohio Cleveland Browns Stadium  Cleveland, Ohio
YES         Columbia, Mo.  Faurot Field  Columbia, Mo.
YES        Columbia, S.C.  Williams-Brice Stadium  Columbia, S.C.
NO         Columbus, Ga.  Jordan-Hare Stadium  Auburn, Ala.
YES          Columbus, Ohio   Ohio Stadium Columbus, Ohio
YES            Dallas, Texas  Cotton Bowl  Dallas, Texas
YES        Dallas, Texas  Dallas Cowboys New Stadium  Arlington, Texas
YES           Denver, Colo.  Invesco Field  Denver, Colo.
YES        Detroit, Mich.  University of Michigan Stadium  Ann Arbor, Mich.
YES               Detroit, Mich.  Ford Field  Detroit, Mich.
NO             Detroit, Mich.  Spartan Stadium  East Lansing, Mich.
YES           Fayetteville, Ark.  Reynolds Razorback Stadium  Fayetteville, Ark.
YES               Green Bay, Wis.  Lambeau Field  Green Bay, Wis.
YES             Greenville, S.C.  Memorial Stadium  Clemson, S.C.
NO                Harrisburg, Pa.  Beaver Stadium  University Park, Pa. 
YES              Houston, Texas  Reliant Stadium  Houston, Texas
YES              Houston, Texas  Rice Stadium  Houston, Texas
NO                Houston, Texas  Kyle Field  College Station, Texas
YES           Indianapolis, Ind.  Lucas Oil Stadium  Indianapolis, Ind.
YES          Jacksonville, Fla.  Jacksonville Municipal Stadium  Jacksonville, Fla.
PENDING    Jacksonville, Fla.  Ben Hill Griffin Stadium  Gainesville, Fla.
YES           Kansas City, Mo.  Arrowhead Stadium  Kansas City, Mo. 
YES             Knoxville, Tenn.  Neyland Stadium  Knoxville, Tenn.
YES          Lexington, Ky.  Commonwealth Stadium  Lexington, Ky.
YES     Los Angeles, Calif.  Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum  Los Angeles, Calif.
YES             Los Angeles, Calif.  Rose Bowl  Pasadena, Calif.
YES            Madison, Wis.  Camp Randall Stadium  Madison, Wis.
YES                Miami, Fla.  Dolphin Stadium  Miami Gardens, Fla. 
YES             Minneapolis, Minn.  TCF Bank Stadium  Minneapolis, Minn.
YES       Minneapolis, Minn.  Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome  Minneapolis, Minn.
YES                       Nashville, Tenn.  LP Field  Nashville, Tenn.
YES                New Haven, Conn.  Yale Bowl  New Haven, Conn.
YES                  New Orleans, La.  Superdome  New Orleans, La.
YES               New York, N.Y.  Meadowlands Stadium  East Rutherford, N.J.
PENDING    Oklahoma City, Okla.  Oklahoma Memorial Stadium  Norman, Okla.
YES                   Omaha, Neb.  Memorial Stadium  Lincoln, Neb.
YES                Orlando, Fla.  Florida Citrus Bowl  Orlando, Fla. 
YES           Philadelphia, Pa.  Lincoln Financial Field  Philadelphia, Pa.
YES          Phoenix, Ariz.  University of Phoenix Stadium  Glendale, Ariz.
YES                Phoenix, Ariz.  Sun Devil Stadium  Tempe, Ariz.
YES                Pittsburgh, Pa.  Heinz Field  Pittsburgh, Pa.
NO               Roanoke, Va.  Lane Stadium  Blacksburg, Va.
NO           Salt Lake City, Utah  LaVell Edwards Stadium  Provo, Utah
YES             San Antonio, Texas  Alamodome  San Antonio, Texas
YES        San Diego, Calif.  Qualcomm Stadium  San Diego, Calif.
YES     San Fran/Oakland, Calif.  Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum  Oakland, Calif.
YES     San Fran/Oakland, Calif.  Stanford Stadium  Palo Alto, Calif.
YES     San Fran/Oakland, Calif.  California Memorial Stadium  Berkeley, Calif.
YES                     Seattle, Wash.  Qwest Field  Seattle, Wash.
YES                  Seattle, Wash.  Husky Stadium  Seattle, Wash.
NO           South Bend, Ind.  Notre Dame Stadium  Notre Dame, Ind.
YES             St. Louis, Mo.  Edward Jones Dome  St. Louis, Mo.
YES         Tallahassee, Fla.  Doak Campbell Stadium  Tallahassee, Fla. 
YES              Tampa, Fla.  Raymond James Stadium  Tampa, Fla. 
YES          Washington, D.C.  RFK Memorial Stadium  Washington, D.C.
YES                 Washington, D.C.  FedEx Field  Landover, Md.
Addition to Original List of Candidates
YES                  Las Vegas, Nevada Sports City USA Las Vegas
YES              Salt Lake City, Utah Rice-Eccles Stadium Salt Lake City

 
 

14
Off Topic / Events scheduled for the Cowboys' new stadium in Arlington
« on: March 25, 2009, 12:13:27 AM »
From Staff Reports

A list of events scheduled for the Cowboys' new stadium in Arlington.

June 6, 2009: Concert with George Strait, Reba McEntire, Blake Shelton and Julianne Hough.

July 19, 2009: CONCACAF Gold Cup soccer doubleheader

July 26, 2009: Chelsea vs. Club America in World Football Challenge

Sept. 5, 2009: Oklahoma vs. BYU football game.

Oct. 3, 2009: Texas A&M vs. Arkansas football game (10-year contract with options of up to 20 more years)

Dec. 5, 2009: Big 12 football championship

Dec. 19, 2009: Texas vs. North Carolina men's basketball game

Jan. 2, 2010: AT&T Cotton Bowl Classic (10-year contract with options of up to 25 more years)

Feb. 14, 2010: NBA All-Star Game.

Dec. 4, 2010: Big 12 football championship

Feb. 6, 2011: Super Bowl XLV

Oct. 5, 2013: Notre Dame vs. Arizona State football

April 2014: NCAA men's Final Four


15
Men's Football / Chelsea looks to leave blue footprint
« on: March 25, 2009, 12:11:53 AM »
No European club has pursued a share of the North American soccer market with more intensity than English Premier League side Chelsea.

The West London outfit will make its fifth trip to the United States in six years this summer when it takes part in the inaugural World Football Challenge – a round-robin tournament also featuring AC Milan, Inter Milan and Club America.

Chelsea’s desire to grow its brand Stateside is good news for its growing army of U.S. fans, who will have the chance to see their heroes in action in Seattle, Los Angeles, Baltimore and Dallas in July.

Yet despite the inroads Chelsea has made in generating support over the past few years, it still lags way behind EPL rivals Manchester United and Liverpool in terms of American fan backing.

So what can the club bankrolled by Russian oil magnate Roman Abramovich’s billions do to match its chief rivals in this corner of the world soccer map? And why does it keep coming back instead of targeting other regions such as Asia or the Middle East?

In an exclusive telephone interview with Yahoo! Sports, Chelsea chief executive Peter Kenyon spelled out the club’s North American blueprint for growth.

“The United States is one of our four key areas, along with Russia, China and India,” Kenyon said. “It is and will continue to be an important market for us in the future.

“Coming here regularly has definitely helped us so far. Our fan base over here has more than doubled in the last three years and we are seeing a genuine interest in our team, our club and our brand from people in this part of the world.”

Ultimately, Kenyon insisted, Chelsea invests its time and energy in the U.S. because it is a strong believer in the future of the North American game.

“Everyone wants success today but you have to remember that clubs in England have been around for 100 years, while Major League Soccer is a new and growing product,” he said. “Starting up our own MLS club (like FC Barcelona considered recently) is not something we would look at. Running our own franchise is enough for us.

“We feel strongly that there are other, better ways in which we can make a big commitment to North America but in a way that is easier for us to manage. You get out of a market what you put into it and we have shown how important North America is to us. That is why we come here and why we will continue to do so.”

Before the World Football Challenge begins, Chelsea will play a friendly against the MLS expansion Seattle Sounders FC on July 18 at Qwest Field.


16
Off Topic / Sorry I haven't been around much...
« on: March 08, 2009, 07:04:15 PM »
Hey, everyone. I have been busy lately, and the thing that's taking up most my time is these darn tax papers. I look at them, trying to make sense of it all, and I nearly start crying. It's like trying to read Vulkan or something.  :'(

17
USA Women's Football / Darn it!!
« on: February 20, 2009, 06:20:05 AM »
I am having to plan our trip to St. Louis for a different date!! We had planned for June 24th, when Athletica takes on LA Sol, but Misha can't get off work, because it's a Wednesday!! Its frustrating me to death. I try very hard to plan things out in advance to the upmost of perfection... :'(


Shlj, you are a man of the world. What do you suggest??

18
Men's Football / Mikey Likes It!!!
« on: February 12, 2009, 03:29:37 AM »
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP)—Michael Bradley scored twice to lead the United States to a 2-0 victory over Mexico in a World Cup qualifier Wednesday night, preserving the Americans’ domination in the series over the last nine years.

On a wet and windy night at Crew Stadium—under the threat of a tornado watch—the Americans ran their record to 9-0-2 on U.S. soil against Mexico since 2000. Tickets had sold out in 90 minutes, with many of the 23,776 fans showing up hours before to stand in the rain while waving flags and wearing their national colors.

After both teams played cautiously at the outset, the Americans finally broke through.

DaMarcus Beasley’s corner kick found Landon Donovan at the far side of the 6-yard box, with Donovan heading it back into the scrum. Oguchi Onyewu’s header was stopped by diving Mexico goaltender Oswaldo Sanchez, but the rebound came right into the path of Bradley, who kicked it in from 6 yards.

“It was a great corner from Beas, and Landon did a great job heading it back,” Bradley said. “It was not so hard for me to put it in.”

That touched off a wild celebration just a few feet from the red-clad Sam’s Army, which danced in the aisles and threw confetti up into the jet stream winds.

Then, in second-half stoppage time, Bradley took a pass from Donovan and his shot from 28 yards dipped under Sanchez’s arms. It secured the third straight 2-0 win for the Americans over Mexico at Crew Stadium in World Cup qualifying.

Mexico captain Rafael Marquez was ejected in the 65th minute when he went high to spike goalkeeper Tim Howard as they went for a loose ball. Howard, who angrily threw the ball down while he flexed his leg, also picked up a yellow card for delay of game on the ensuing free kick.

The loss could mean more trouble for Mexico coach Sven-Goran Eriksson. His team, with just one win in its last seven outings, barely made it into the final round of qualifying. A former manager of England, he had been brought on to stop what many Tricolores fans consider an almost unforgivable sin: losing to the United States. Mexico easily controlled the series for decades, but the U.S. team has now gone 13-7-8 since 1990 to narrow Mexico’s advantage to 29-15-11.

“We did a real nice job of getting after them and not letting them breathe,” Bradley said.

The match was the first of 10 in the final round of qualifying for each team. The United States next plays at El Salvador on March 28 before taking on Trinidad and Tobago on April 1 in Nashville, Tennessee. Mexico entertains Costa Rica on March 28.

Both teams played somewhat guardedly in the opening minutes, thrusting and parrying to determine how the ball would react in the windy conditions and what the opposition strategy was.

Mexico had one strong scoring chance stopped by Howard’s leg save and another shot was high over the crossbar in the first 6 minutes. The United States’ best early scoring chance came in the 22nd minute after a foul just outside the box. From 22 yards, Donovan’s hard, low kick was just wide left.

The Americans also had another prime opportunity in the 31st minute when Donovan headed the ball to Clint Dempsey for a hard shot that Sanchez deflected with the lower part of his body.

Bradley then broke the impasse.

Mexico’s best shot at tying came in the 71st minute when Carlos Ochoa was wide right on a kick from 34 yards.

The weather was relatively calm once the game got under way. A steady rain pelted the stadium most of the afternoon. Then around 90 minutes before the start, a mammoth storm front rolled through, shaking the windows around the stadium, blowing away anything that wasn’t tied down and reducing visibility to almost nothing.

Shortly after, crews came out twice to squeegee the field. Stadium officials warned the early-arriving spectators to seek shelter under the stands after a violent lightning strike not far away.

With temperatures throughout the day in the 60s, a cold front came through to create dangerous possibilities. At gametime, it was 52 degrees.

Fans from 43 states, the District of Columbia, Canada and, of course, Mexico snapped up the tickets. Hours before the game, the fans were singing, chanting, drumming and blowing on horns while wearing 3-foot wide sombreros, national flags and Uncle Sam hats.

The United States has not lost a home match to a continental rival since 2001, going 37-0 with 10 draws. Included in that domination is a sterling record at Crew Stadium, home of the 2008 Major League Soccer champions. The Americans are unbeaten in eight international games (5-0-3) in Crew Stadium and are 4-0-2 in World Cup qualifiers.

On Feb. 28, 2001, the Americans won 2-0 in 28-degree weather, with ice fringing the field—a match now called Guerra Fria, or the Cold War. They won by the same score in much warmer weather in September 2005 to help secure a spot in the 2006 World Cup in Germany.


19
Off Topic / Just because it makes me proud!!
« on: February 12, 2009, 03:00:36 AM »
I thought I would share this with everyone because the winning team is my high school alma mater from Texas.


Honey Grove 68, Melissa 59 (G)

HONEY GROVE — The Honey Grove Lady Warriors picked up a 68-59 overtime victory over No. 17 Melissa on Tuesday night to claim a share of the District 11-2A championship.

Honey Grove (25-4, 12-2) led for most of what was a nip-and-tuck affair before pulling ahead by seven points after the third quarter.

Melissa (25-4, 12-2) showed exactly why it is a state-ranked squad in the final quarter by sending the game into overtime.

But it was the Lady Warriors who stood their ground in overtime by outscoring Melissa by nine points en route to the win.

The Lady Warriors will now enter the playoffs as the first place team in District 11-2A.



Melissa 11 13 12 18 5 — 59

HG 12 15 16 11 14 — 68



Melissa (25-4, 12-2): Skler Zadow 25, Stephanie Sweetin 14, Monica James 7, Sara Parish 6, Jacqui Nickell 3, Shelby Hill 2, Taylor Keleigh 2.

Honey Grove (25-5, 12-2): Deosha Mackey 19, Regan Rickman 18, Raven Finney 10, Jessica Brigham 5, Chanda Foster 5, Sham Beard 4, Crissy Blair 4, Chelsea Edwards 2, Kandace Martin 1.

20
Men's Football / Racism troubles Madrid’s Olympic-World Cup bids
« on: February 09, 2009, 11:00:59 PM »
MADRID (AP)—Spain is a serious contender to host the 2016 Olympics and 2018 World Cup, but a failure to clamp down on fans’ racist and extremist behavior could end up compromising both bids.

Buoyed by Rafael Nadal’s Grand Slam tennis wins, the national soccer team’s European Championship triumph and Alberto Contador’s sweep of cycling’s three premier events, Spain is in a golden age of sports.

It would seem the perfect time to land the two biggest sporting spectacles on Earth.

But scenes of offensive fan behavior still tarnish the country’s image, an issue that came to the fore when spectators at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium greeted England’s black soccer players with monkey chants during an international exhibition game in 2004.

And the problem extends to sports such as Formula One, where fans don’t known when to differentiate between competitive spirit and racism.

ADVERTISEMENT
 
“In Spain, there is a profound problem and the fight against racism hasn’t been taken seriously. The problem is a lack of education and sensibility when it comes to tackling racism,” Esteban Ibarra, head of the Movement Against Intolerance, told The Associated Press.

“The public would react positively to a campaign, but there is a real lack of political push in this fight.”

Spain’s exhibition game against England on Wednesday—the teams’ first meeting since the events in the Spanish capital in November 2004—comes at a crucial time.

It’s a day before Madrid submits its documents to the International Olympic Committee outlining its bid plans for the 2016 Games, and a little over a week after Spain confirmed its joint bid with Portugal for the 2018 World Cup.

“It’s going to be a great test to see if we’ve overcome that episode or if we’re just continuing on with this problem,” said Ibarra, who has been charting racial incidents for 20 years.

Monkey chants still rain down on players across the country, with Barcelona striker Samuel Eto’o of Cameroon nearly quitting a game at Zaragoza in February 2006 because of the abuse.

“When I first experienced it, I didn’t even hear it. It was reporters that brought it to my attention,” said Julian De Guzman, a Canadian of Filipino-Jamaican heritage who plays for Deportivo La Coruna. “Then I was watching (a replay of) the game and I was like ‘Wow.’ It was pretty surprising and kind of disappointing.

“The fines are never enough. They’re just a slap of the hand and they’re back at it again. It doesn’t really do anything.”

Last month, Real Madrid was fined $3,900 after some fans displayed fascist banners, made gestures and chanted slogans with reference to the death of their opponents and the gas chamber.

The Spanish soccer federation said fines correspond to current laws, but preferred not to discuss the issue at length.

“In Spain, we take all preventive measures possible to fight racism,” spokesman Jorge Carretero said. “I don’t see any type of problem with racism in Spanish football. The same problems exist in England, in Germany, in France, and elsewhere.”

Spain’s bid with Portugal for the 2018 World Cup is up against competition from England, the United States, Russia, Japan, Australia and Netherlands-Belgium, among others. The host will be selected by FIFA in December 2010.

“There is no place in football for corruption and racism,” FIFA said in a statement sent to the AP. “Football, given its global reach, power and influence has a duty to act in a responsible and progressive manner.”

Spanish Olympic Committee president Alejandro Blanco doesn’t believe recent events will bear any influence on Madrid’s chances of hosting the 2016 Games, with Tokyo, Chicago and Rio de Janeiro also in the race. The IOC will choose the host city on Oct. 2.

“These things can happen in any stadium in any country in the world, from Brazil to Italy to anywhere,” Blanco said. “It’s too easy to just say that Spain is a racist country, when it is not.”

The Spanish government passed a law against racism in sport in July 2007 in a bid to clamp down on the behavior, but experts say that it is not being used. Clubs can be fined up to $842,000 and deducted points, places and even relegated for serious incidents, but it’s up to the league to enforce such punishments.

Yet extremist supporters, usually with far-right leanings and known as “ultras,” are still allowed into the stadiums. They have infiltrated all levels of Spanish soccer—from local leagues to the topflight game—and have “a fundamental influence in promoting xenophobia in society,” Ibarra said.

“I think football fans have a clearer idea that they must turn their backs on the ultras. There is a rejection, but the ultra groups continue to be aided, receiving favorable attention from the clubs. The clubs need to stop supporting these groups.”

Last month, several players from a regional third-division team made up of Barcelona ultras were accused of assaulting members of an opposing team comprised solely of foreigners, mostly from South America, with several sent to the hospital with injuries.

In Europe, Britain and Germany have been leaders in expelling extremist groups from their grounds.

In Spain, only Barcelona has made an effort, while clubs like Madrid—voted FIFA’s top club of the 20th century—have publicly endorsed extremists.

“Concerning the (ultras) I have nothing but good things to say,” former Madrid president Ramon Calderon has said.

A construction and tourism boom in Spain over the past decade has fueled immigration and the sudden wave of foreigners has led to a rise in xenophobia, which has spread out from the cities to villages.

The Internet has allowed radical groups to form better bonds domestically and internationally, and there are now at least 150 Web sites in Spain to lend their voice.

“Before 2000 you would walk down the street and be looking around and see no color,” said Joan Lino, a Cuban long jumper who moved to Spain and won bronze for the country at the 2004 Athens Olympics.

Lino is one of three Dominicans on the team involved in “Everyone Olympians,” which is sponsored by Madrid’s 2016 bid committee and aims to educate young people about the values of the Olympic spirit.

“Integration has always been complicated, but the Spanish are not racist,” Lino said. “They just haven’t had much immigration until now, so it’s a matter of coping with change. If you don’t have something, it’s usual to initially reject it. Racism is too strong a word for it.”

Spain’s Socialist government promised to pass a more wide-ranging and general law related to racism in society after winning last year’s election, but has yet to act. Spain’s Interior Ministry does not keep any record of racist acts.

The Spanish media’s close links to soccer clubs has also kept it from opening the debate.

Then-Spain coach Luis Aragones’ racist jibe in 2004 against France striker Thierry Henry to motivate one of his players was treated with humor, which set the tone for the abuse of England players in the ensuing match.

In August, Spain’s silver-medal winning Olympic basketball team was photographed in an ad using their fingers to apparently make their eyes look more Asian.

Last year, F1 champion Lewis Hamilton, the sport’s first black champion, was the target of racist abuse by a Spanish Web site nine months after a group of people wore dark face paint and T-shirts with the slogan “Hamilton’s Family” at testing near Barcelona.

Hamilton continues to be a target for many Spaniards who believe the British driver derailed Fernando Alonso’s championship hopes at McLaren.

De Guzman, the Deportivo La Coruna player, said he looks at the abuse as just a way for fans to try to knock a player off his game.

“At the end of the day,” he said, “these guys making the monkey chants, they also have dark-skinned players on their side.”


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