VIDEO: Arsenal players attempt New York City accents

arsenal-jack-wilshere

With the massive success that the Barclay’s Premier League has had in terms of drawing interest from the United States over the past few years, it isn’t a surprise that a slew of teams are making their way across the Atlantic Ocean for exhibition games.

Tottenham Hotspur has played several friendlies already, with another one scheduled for Saturday night against the Chicago Fire at Toyota Park. Manchester United battled the Los Angeles Galaxy on Wednesday night at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena. Liverpool will take on Greek side Olympiakos at Soldier Field on Sunday. All of these teams have played on American soil in recent years as well, but one team that hasn’t set foot on the continent in a quarter century will do so this weekend.

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When reporters meet their heroes (aka my experience with Freddie Ljungberg and Thierry Henry) Part 2

Journalists aren’t supposed to have biases, I get that. Makes a good amount of sense in theory. In practice, however, it’s safe to say that most people who cover sports were sports fans before they became sports reporters, and true sports fandom is not something that can just be tossed aside- thus, while it is noble to try to be completely objective, we all have biases somewhere in our heads.

I mention this because there is no point in denying that I’m a big fan of Arsenal FC in England’s Premier League, and I have been for nearly a decade. So when I told people I would be covering the Fire-vs-Red Bulls match last week- a match that featured Thierry Henry and Freddie Ljungberg– people wanted to know what it was like to meet two former Arsenal stars. After all, it’s not every day that people get to meet legends from their favorite team.
By: Sam Svoboda [Read more…]

When reporters meet their heroes (aka my experience with Thierry Henry and Freddie Ljungberg) Part 1

thierry-henry

Journalists aren’t supposed to have biases, I get that. Makes a good amount of sense in theory. In practice, however, it’s safe to say that most people who cover sports were sports fans before they became sports reporters, and true sports fandom is not something that can just be tossed aside- thus, while it is noble to try to be completely objective, we all have biases somewhere in our heads.

I mention this because there is no point in denying that I’m a big fan of Arsenal FC in England’s Premier League, and I have been for nearly a decade. So when I told people I would be covering the Fire-vs-Red Bulls match last week- a match that featured Thierry Henry and Freddie Ljungberg– people wanted to know what it was like to meet two former Arsenal stars. After all, it’s not every day that people get to meet legends from their favorite team.

By: Sam Svoboda

For part two, with Freddie Ljunberg go here

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Record crowd sees five designated players, zero goals as Fire and Red Bulls draw

A crowd of 21,868- the largest crowd ever to watch the Chicago Fire in Toyota Park– saw a 0-0 stalemate between the Fire and the New York Red Bulls, but still probably left happy after seeing one of the biggest concentrations of international stars in the leagues history.

A record five Designated Players took the pitch in Bridgeview, with Freddie Ljungberg and Nery Castillo representing the Fire and Juan Pablo Angel, Thierry Henry and Rafael Marquez suiting up for New York. Yet while each flashed some moments of brilliance, neither team could manage to find the back of the net. In fact, Chicago’s rookie goalkeeper Sean Johnson outshone all of the stars, pulling off multiple spectacular saves to keep the Red Bulls out.
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New stars collide as Fire host Red Bulls

Given the current standings and the rivalry between the cities, a FireRedBulls match was always going to be a big one for supporters of the two teams. However, when the two teams play on Sunday at Toyota Park, there will be soccer fans from across the country- and beyond- tuning in.

These people won’t be watching just because the Fire can make up some crucial ground in the Eastern Conference, but because of the two new Designated Players– a.k.a. international stars- that each team will be fielding. (With New York’s veteran DP Juan Pablo Angel included, it will be the first time in MLS history that five Designated Players will be on the field together.) With two of the newly-arrived four having starred for Mexico and three having delivered illustrious club careers in Europe, fans from all over will be curious to see how each adapts and contributes to his new team- and new league.
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USA-Slovenia Game Poster-Child for Instant Replay in Soccer

world cup ref

The USA’s disallowed goal against Slovenia may go down as one of the worst calls in sports history and may leave a sour taste in the mouths of USA fans for the rest of their lives. However, if the right action is taken by FIFA, it could be a blessing in disguise for the future of soccer. Sometimes there needs to be a catastrophe in order to perfect a system. We have seen this happen in other sports.

  • In the 1998 NFL Wild-Card Round, before there was instant replay, Jerry Rice blatantly lost the ball before his knees touched the ground, resulting in what should have been ruled as a fumble. However, he was ruled down before the ball popped out. This play paved the way for instant replay in the NFL.
  • Just recently, umpire Jim Joyce blew a call that cost Detroit’s pitcher, Armando Galarraga, a perfect game. Bud Selig came out after the game and said he would look further into instant replay in baseball. The MLB already has replay for home runs.

So, why is FIFA refusing to budge when it comes to replay?

by Justin Mertes-Mistretta

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Empire State of Mind for Theirry Henry

Henry & Nash

By Alex Simon

The Thierry Henry to MLS rumor resurfaced over the weekend. According to the Daily Mail, Henry will look for a new challenge after the World Cup with the 32-year old excited at the prospect of playing football in one of the world’s biggest cities in New York.

For some time now, Henry has stated he would eventually like to play in the states. However, this report is the first to put a timeline on when Henry would come to Major League Soccer. Henry has stated numerous times that he loves New York and would not be willing to play for any other MLS club but the Red Bulls. Given this and the many subsequent reports, the Thierry Henry Watch is now in full effect.Red Bull?

There has only been one other player close to Henry’s worldwide popularity to play in MLS, David Beckham. There has been much debate whether Beckham coming to America has been a success. While Beckham has sold out jerseys and stadiums, the Galaxy have not been competitive until this year. I believe it is still too early to decide if Beckham’s influence was a positive one for MLS and soccer in America.

Beckham may be a heartthrob and a fashion mogul, but Henry has something to offer that Beckham can never, scoring goals. The few well-informed soccer fans in the U.S. understand that you do not have to score a goal to have a good game. However, this would be a non-issue regarding the Frenchman. Henry is a forward, and scoring goals is what he does best. If Juan Pablo Angel can put up impressive numbers in MLS, there is no telling the damage Henry could do to opposing defenders. My guess is to expect video game-like numbers if Henry were to come play here.

We learned that one guy can’t change the way Americans look at soccer, but Henry’s goal scoring would bring more awareness to the game than Beckham’s occasional free kick strike. Whether you like soccer or not, most people are fans of scoring. SportsCenter is not going to put a nice Beckham cross in their highlight-reel, but Henry putting one in the back of the net, now that is something to work with.