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Win Tickets To See The Kooks!

FTonline_color2014_Kooks_High_RES-0741-medium 2The Kooks, whose fourth studio album ‘Listen’  entered the UK album charts at no. 16 this month, will be making an appearance at the Paramount in Huntington, Long Island on Thursday Oct. 9th as part of their current tour of the USA.

The band then continue their busy schedule, traveling to Mexico, Switzerland, Spain, and Japan before performing 13 dates in the UK followed by the rest of Europe, finishing in Dublin next February.

A self-described “pop” band, the Kooks possess a very unique rock sound which can be attributed to inspiration from various sources.

The band has received extraordinary global success since forming a decade ago, but the new album is their first release for three years and has received a number of glowing reviews.

The Telegraph gave the album 4 stars out of 5, stating that “the Kooks have come out fighting though, completely re-evaluating and overhauling their sound and the result is an exuberant fourth album bristling with character.”

The Independant also gave the album four out of five stars, praising lead singer Luke Pritchard’s ability to search for new musical directions.

WIN KOOKS TICKETS!

logoFirst Touch and Live4ever.uk.com are giving away 3 pairs of tickets to the Kooks show at the Paramount, Long Island on Thursday Oct 9th.
Fill in this free entry form for your chance to win.

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Tickets for the show can also be purchased here

 

Interview With Fairfield University Head Coach Carl Rees

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Fairfield University Head Coach Carl Rees with Assistant Coach Phil Murray

This week, I was fortunate enough to have the honor of interviewing Fairfield University’s men’s soccer coach, Carl Rees. Coach Rees took the reins of the Stags in 1996. He immediately had an impact on the team, and turned a traditionally underperforming, infant side, into a serious contender.

Prior to Coach Rees, the team had only two winning seasons in their 22-year history. He changed that right away and after being in charge for two years, gave the team their first national ranking: 24th in the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA). The year after that, the Stags entered the NCAA tournament for the first time. Coach Rees proceeded to excel, guiding his side to the final three more times in 2006, 2008, and 2011. Under his leadership the team also received a national ranking of 12th place, the highest for any Fairfield team.

Carl Rees’s team participates in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC), which features teams like Monmouth University, Rider, Quinnipiac, and St. Peters to name a handful. In 2005, the team went 8-0-1 to achieve a first time-ever, unblemished conference record.

Moreover, Coach Rees’s role in U.S. Soccer Development is a critical one. He has joined a “network” that enables the country to be on high alert in all corners of the United States. One of the country’s many problems in youth development is the sheer size of participation. Players, although they may be stellar, could slip through the cracks, simply because they were not spotted in time to get them into the system. The Director of Scouting, Tony Lepore, leads the country in picking up new talent. Everything he and Carl Rees have been doing, has truly made a meaningful impact on this country’s soccer legacy.

I was able to ask this illustrious college soccer hero some questions about himself, his team, and his involvement in US Soccer.

What are your expectations of the team this season?

My expectation of the team this season is that we develop throughout the year technically, tactically, physically and socially to reach our potential. The collective personality of our group will ultimately dictate our success. If this translates to a conference championship and a chance to win a national championship then that is the tangible reward for our efforts.

Fairfield has only been in the NCAA tournament when you coached. It’s a major accomplishment. Do you think your team will be more consistently in the tournament?

We feel that each year we are genuine conference title contenders and we have started this season well, being rewarded with a national top 30 ranking. The emphasis is on development and adhering to the social contract we all committed to on the field and off since we got together in pre season. I am optimistic about our chances again this year.

Do you see the school realistically claiming the title in the (near and far) future?

To win a National Championship at a mid major University is a challenge. The emphasis at Fairfield University is not only on the athletic component of our student athletes but also on their academic and social progress. My job is to create an environment that facilitates success in these areas. Its a job I love and feel extremely fortunate to have the opportunity. We have defeated some of the larger Universities such as UCONN in national tournament competition and I don’t see any reason why with the right balance and commitment we can’t win the conference and then five games for a national Championship. The game is a powerful and humbling thing so we will respect it and do our best to master it.

Any big games you can tell me about that you are looking forward to this season? Any rivalries?

We have a local rivalry with Yale and our in conference competition is becoming increasingly fierce as recruiting, facilities, tactics and the players available become more advanced and sophisticated. Upcoming games include away at UMASS and home to Brown in a rematch of our 2011 NCAA second round game. That was a mind bending experience that I need to put to bed!

(As a side note, Coach Rees is referring to the hard fought match against Brown, where Fairfield fell 3-2. They will have a chance to claim victory on September 28th.)

What are some personal goals you have set for yourself? You are already a very accomplished coach with two NSCAA awards and a MAAC award under your belt. What else do you see yourself accomplish?

In terms of personal goals I want to learn more about the game and about myself through the game. The relationship I have with the players who I work with every day and those who have graduated through the years is the best reward of all. I have been incredibly fortunate to have my life revolve around the game. I am forever indebted to it. Thank goodness for football!

There has been a proposal to extend, or rather spread, the college soccer season over the course of the academic year. What is your take on this move?

The current college soccer season is not the perfect environment for player development. The season is too short and game preparation is limited because the games come thick and fast with not enough time allowed for individual technical development or collective tactical education and competition preparation. I hope we can extend the season from the Fall through the spring. One game a week. This will afford players and coaches the best chance to develop. It will reduce the chance of injury, improve the overall college soccer product on the pitch and also allow our National Championship Final to be played in a climate that lends itself to bigger crowds and a higher media profile.

Can you elaborate on your involvement with US Soccer in regards to scouting and development?

I am really enjoying working with US Soccer identifying the players in our development academies and helping them grow into national team players at the various age groups is extremely fulfilling. The national network of scouts and the organization and thoroughness of the id process and emphasis on player development through game evaluation and National Training Centers has been a real education. The National team coaches at all levels and the relentless work of people like Tony Lepore mean the game in this country is in good hands. To play a part its development is an honor and a real privilege.

College Announcements:
The crew at ESC at NYU is proud to present on October 4th, the New York University men’s soccer team playing Rochester University. As it is parents’ weekend, coupled with the fact that it is a nice little rivalry, we hope to see a large turnout for this game. We are expecting parents of the players, NYU students, local soccer fans, and the Empire Supporters’ Club (NYRB) to show. The game is at 11 am in Gaelic Park in the Bronx (Right off the 238th St stop on the 1). We hope to see you there supporting your local team!

Show Me the Money

lampsBy Bill Thomas

It was a weekend dominated by a man who built his career at one club, headed off into the sunset with another in the summer, only to return to a third via a loan deal.

Frank Lampard, for it is he of whom we speak, once of Chelsea, now of NYCFC, and partly Manchester City, turned up in the dying stages of the game between the two main title chasers at the weekend and, as he has made a career from doing, came from out of nowhere and stuck the ball in he back of the net to deny his old club and save his new one.

In a game of such magnitude, grabbing such a critical goal would normally be the cause if monumental celebration, neck veins bulging amid a roar of utter delight. But in keeping with the modern trend, from Frank, celebration was there none. Now ok, his relationship with Chelsea is a particularly special one, but as Jose Mourinho was realistic enough to say afterwards, that affair is over. He plays for someone else, his duty lies elsewhere.

He did his duty by scoring what might end up being a title winning equaliser come next May. But then there was no sign of satisfaction as he followed the now seemingly unbreakable convention that you do not celebrate if you score against your former club, a code that has crept in over the last decade or so.

I don’t like it.

Here’s how it works. When you are under contract, you play for the club that is paying you. Because they pay you, they expect you to be dedicated to them, do your job diligently, put in your shift.

As supporters – who do still help pay those wages – we expect a bit more. We expect you to be part of the cause every week, every game, play every fixture as though it were your last, as though your life depended on it. We expect you to share in our misery if we lose and to join in with our joy when we get goals, especially in games that could be season defining.

Yes, of course you should have some respect for past employers. You don’t need to go on an Adebayoresque 70 yard run to beat your chest in front of your past fans as he did – for City ironically enough – against Arsenal. But you should be perfectly entitled to jump up and down with your team mates and go running to your own fans to enjoy the moment with them.

Actually, it isn’t an entitlement. That’s a duty as well…

A Sporting Problem

esclogoThe View From 101
By Tim Hall

The American sports landscape has been a downright nightmare as of late, and almost entirely for issues away from the field of play.

The biggest story as of late has been that of NFL running back Ray Rice, caught on video delivering a roundhouse left to his then-fiance in an Atlantic City elevator, and then dragging her unconscious body from said. That story has since devolved into a “who knew what, when” fiasco that has come to involve Rice’s team’s management, owners and league higher-ups. As America first learned with Watergate, it’s not so much the crime as the cover-up that will get you.

As that story came to a full boil, another NFL running back, Adrian Peterson was arrested, this time for beating his four-year old son with a small stick. This stick is commonly called a “switch” in certain areas, and that has led to some people discussing cultural norms in child discipline. What most of these “my parents beat me with a switch and I turned out just fine” advocates seem to be leaving out is another detail in Peterson’s police report: the claim that he shoved leaves in the mouth of his four-year old son to prevent him from screaming while Peterson beat him with a small stick, whatever you want to call it.

And then there’s NFL running back (why always the running backs?) Jonathan Dwyer who, allegedly, headbutted his wife when she refused to have sex with him. And there’s Greg Hardy, an NFL defender for a change, who has actually been convicted of choking, dragging, and threatening to kill his then-girlfriend, although the case is under appeal.

With all of these cases as a whole building to a crescendo, many fans had to wonder if it was the right thing to pay money to see or donate their television viewership to these (alleged) monsters. Should these (alleged) scumbags still be allowed to play this sport? Should these (alleged) men keep their jobs? When suspensions were handed down, were they enough?

And before you could turn to the world of “the better football” for a brief respite, before you could tout that soccer was far more civilized and aboveboard, fans started snitching to the media asking why they weren’t asking the same questions of US Women’s goalkeeper Hope Solo.

To review: in November 2012, Solo was involved in an altercation with then-fiance, and – surprise! – former NFL player, Jerramy Stevens at a party. Three people, one believed to be Solo herself, reported wounds ranging from cuts and bruises to hip injuries. Stevens was arrested for his role in the fracas, but released, and he and Solo were later married. Fast forward to June of 2014, when Hope Solo was arrested and charged with two counts of domestic assault stemming from an “out-of-control” family gathering where Solo is alleged to have struck her sister and nephew. Those charges remain pending.

Solo’s club team, Seattle Reign, did bench the goalkeeper in the wake of this most recent incident, but the national team did not, even in the face of increasing pressure from the populace. In an early statement from US Soccer’s director of communicaitons Neil Buethe, Solo had “an opportunity to set a significant record (the all-time USWNT shutout mark) that speaks to her hard work and dedication over the years with the National Team. While considering all factors involved, we believe that we should recognize that in the proper way.” A more recent statement from Soccer House has walked that ‘but she’s so close to the record!’ stance back and instead takes the more delicate line of taking “a deliberate and thoughtful approach” and the promise to monitor the situation carefully.

Solo has since broken the all-time shutout record, and to honor that achievement was given the captain’s armband in a recent friendly. Still, the questions remain: should Solo be given the captaincy, even for a moment? Should she be allowed on the national team, ostensibly to represent this country, with domestic assault charges hanging over her head? Should Solo be let go from her club team? Is there a double standard when viewing domestic violence perpetrated by women as opposed to men?

That final question is the key that opens the Solo incident up to, not just comparison to those in other sports, but all of those incidents together to greater inspection, and, in so doing, asks so many larger questions than many of us have the ability to answer. All of these, taken together – Rice, Peterson, Stevens, Solo and so on – bring up discussions on the state of race in America, gender equality, privacy, the role of “innocent until proven guilty” in regards to employment and being a public figure, the fine line between discipline and child abuse as it relates to cultures the world over or even just across state lines, how a women can be viewed as a victim in one breath but “crazy” in another and what that says for our use of language in a male-dominated society, the importance of soccer in America and the importance of women’s soccer within that narrower view, the reactionary desire of American soccer fans to wave their arms and scream “look over here!” when they see an opportunity to draw attention to their sport, even in a situation as stomach churning as domestic violence.

And the list goes on.

There are no easy answers to any of these, and the issues they lay out before us seem so massive as to be unsolvable. It is, without a doubt, a good thing that we are having a national dialogue about some of these issues, even if that well-intentioned beard-stroking had to come from things so horrific. However, just because these issues seem so impassable on the larger scale doesn’t mean we can’t do something in the micro.

The number for the National Domestic Abuse Hotline is (877) 920-3302. It is toll-free and available 24 hours a day. Further information about them, as well as other groups such as the National Network to End Domestic Violence, National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network (RAINN) and others are available with a simple Google search. There are also local outlets available through churches, police departments, community organizations and so on. You also have your family and friends and neighbors. Do not suffer in silence. Tell someone.

And as you roll through your mental Rolodex and think “well, no one in my life is going through this”, think again. One person every two-and-a-half seconds is the victim of domestic assault, rape, or stalking in America by someone they know, and that’s even with domestic violence being chronically under-reported by victims, both male and female. One-in-four women will be the victim of domestic violence sometime in their life. The numbers are staggering, and don’t even begin to scratch the surface.

While domestic violence is in the national discussion, let’s use this moment to change the way we talk about it. We need to take the right approach, not only top-down but bottom-up. It is incumbent on all of us to change this from a private family matter to a public health one. Nevermind the star athletes and their big contracts, let’s work on all of us together.

Juventus & Roma Show Early Promise in Serie A

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Genoa goalkeeper Mattia Perin – The new Buffon?

By Michael Ottolenghi

This is a busy week in Serie A – with a round of midweek games preceding the traditional weekend encounters.  Although barely a month into the campaign, it is hard to escape the conclusion that the script for this season’s title race has already been written.

After 4 games both Juventus and Roma are the only teams on 12 points, with none of their rivals looking likely to be contenders. Both teams won their home Champions League debuts and brushed by their league games last weekend, Juventus beating Milan 1-0 at San Siro and Roma winning 2-0 at home against Cagliari.  The top 2 will meet in two weeks in Turin, before which Roma will face Verona while Juve play Atalanta.  Roma will hope to travel to Turin on an equal footing with the defending champions, hopeful that this can finally be the year the bianconeri are dethroned.

But there is plenty of other football to be played before Juventus-Roma, and this weekend’s games give us the opportunity to examine the goings on elsewhere in the league, which include a derby, a former Prime Minister’s sniping and an early season crisis.

The first derby of the season is Sunday night’s derby della lanterna between Genoa and Sampdoria.  Although keenly felt in Genoa itself, in recent years this game has had little at stake from a broader Serie A perspective. While neither team is expected to contend for much beyond mid-table anonymity this season, both teams bring something to the Serie A story.  Genoa have in goalkeeper Mattia Perin a potential future star who is already being talked of as the long term replacement for Gianluigi Buffon in the national team.  Perin is only 22 but has already established himself as Genoa’s starter after a couple of seasons on loan in the lower leagues.  He was Italy’s third choice goalkeeper at the World Cup in Brazil and in last Sunday’s 1-0 home win against Lazio he produced a dazzling series of saves that prompted manager Giampiero Gasperini to label him “priceless.”

Sampdoria lack star players but strongman/manager Sinisa Mihailovic is the real attraction for fans this season, and he has his work cut out for him following the listless 0-0 draw against Sassuolo last weekend. Perin should not be too worried, except if he believes the cliché that anything can happen in a derby.

Meanwhile Rafael Benitez’s Napoli will travel to face Sassuolo in full crisis mode. After failing to get to the group stage of the Champions League, two consecutive defeats have led to talk of Roberto Mancini replacing the Spaniard on the Napoli bench, and rumours about Gonzalo Higuain’s disquiet also abound.  Benitez did not help himself by fielding a below strength side (missing Marek Hamsik, Dris Mertens and Jose Callejon) for the 1-0 defeat against Udinese last Sunday, in a move that seemed to prioritize the Europa League over Serie A.  Sassuolo should provide some relief for the Neapolitan side, although they managed only a draw against them at the San Paolo last season. Anything but a victory will deepen Napoli’s crisis and possibly hasten Benitez’s departure.

This weekend could also provide some confirmation of whether Fernando Torres finds Serie A to his liking.  After getting off the mark in Milan’s 2-2 draw against Empoli on Tuesday evening, Torres will hope to repeat himself as the rossoneri travel to Cesena.  But as the 2-2 draw with Empoli highlighted, all is not well on the red and black side of Milan.

The disappointing performance during the 1-0 defeat against Juventus last Saturday led Silvio Berlusconi to publicly question new manager Filippo Inzaghi’s team selection in attack. As usual, he missed the point, for Milan’s strikers were not to blame for a complete lack of initiative in midfield.  Things seemed to improve in Empoli after an abysmal start, but Berlusconi and Milan fans will expect nothing less than a win against Cesena, or Inzaghi’s honeymoon may be very short.

 

Cosmos Look to Bounce Back From 5-4 Loss

CrossIslandCrewBy Cesar Trelles

The New York Cosmos played one of their highest scoring matches this past Saturday against the Carolina Railhawks. Unfortunately for them, they also played their worst defensive match thisseason. The end result was a 5-4 loss and another lost opportunity for three valuable points.

Head coach Giovanni Savarese was forced to assemble a lineup that Cosmos fans were not comfortable with, especially with the importance of the matches down the stretch. Once again injuries forced Savarese to tinker with the lineup and this past Saturday’s team included some players starting in questionable positions. In this week’s press conference, coach Savarese revealed that Marcos Senna is still healing from a previous knee injury and while he was available to play this past Saturday, the Cosmos wanted to limit his minutes on the pitch. That coupled with a recent knee injury plaguing Danny Szetela meant that Savarese went into the match with two starting midfielders unavailable and was forced to start Dane Murphy in an unfamiliar position.

Also missing from the lineup this past Saturday were Roversio, Ayoze and Andres Flores.

Roversio is still recovering from a nagging calf injury but is almost ready to come back, maybe as early as this weekend.

As for Ayoze, he was experiencing discomfort with a groin muscle and thus was held out of the match as a precaution. No assurances were given as to whether he would be available for this week’s match.

Andres Flores had been on international duty with El Salvador for almost two weeks and had played several rigorous minutes during the Copa Centroamericana. As a result coach Savarese admitted that Flores reported back to the Cosmos “exhausted” from the tournament and the Cosmos did not want to risk injury by starting him.

With players unavailable on offense, Savarese went into the match with a greater defensive mind set than usual. Starting Hunter Gorskie as a forward was symbolic of that. Gorskie has been a defender all year for the team but Savarese noted that he wanted Gorskie’s defense on the left side of the pitch to help contain Ty Shipalane of the Railhawks who had given the Cosmos trouble in the past. As a result of having Gorskie start up front, Savarese was forced to start on-loan Connor Lade defensively who had already played two matches in the last 7 days, one with the Cosmos last Saturday and another with his parent team the Red Bulls on Wednesday. Lade was visibly tired during the second half of Saturday’s match against Carolina when the Cosmos defense allowed five goals to be scored.

In Savarese’s opinion, he had no choice but to play the hand he was dealt this past Saturday and that hand clearly included a lot of injured players. He was proud of the determination that his players showed as they continuously battled back on a few occasions after being down two goals. One could argue that this result showed that the Cosmos roster thankfully has depth as they were able to continue battling the Railhawks. But one can also argue that it needs more depth since they did come up one goal short.

Looking ahead to this Sunday’s match in Edmonton, the Cosmos will be getting some players back from injury. Diomar Diaz is expected to come back from a lengthy hamstring injury and Andres Flores is expected to be fit enough to play again on Sunday. Those two additions to the roster would help the club immensely on offense. Questions still remain over how the defense will perform.

With the loss on Saturday, the Cosmos are now eight points behind fall season leader Minnesota United FC. With their hopes of a fall title dwindling, Savarese insists that the Cosmos are looking at things on a game by game basis. Hopefully for the Cosmos, they will return from Canada with three more points to their season tally. Game time in Edmonton this Sunday is 4pm.

cosmosqandaOn Sunday September 28th there will be a special away viewing party at Prost Grill when the Cosmos take on FC Edmonton. Gametime is 4pm. Prior to the match however Cosmos COO Erik Stover along with Cosmos Director of Marketing Rafael Morffi will be hosting a Q&A session at Prost. Cosmos fans will have an opportunity to come on down and ask the Cosmos head honchos anything that might be on their mind. Q&A is expected to start at 3pm.

 

Lansdowne Bhoys Win Sal Rapaglia Champions Cup

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The Lansdowne team after routing Real Sociedad 4-0 to lift the Sal Rapaglia Champion’s Cup at the Verazzano Sports Complex in Brooklyn

By Jay Mwamba

Irish ace Daryl Kavanagh scored twice at the Verrazano Sports Complex last Sunday as CSL titlists Lansdowne Bhoys (above) routed the EDSL’s Real Sociedad 4-0 to win the Sal Rapaglia Champions Cup.

Kavanagh, 28, whose former clubs include St. Patrick’s Athletic, Shamrock Rovers and Cork City, all in Ireland, was the Bhoys’ top scorer with five goals in three games in the six-team tournament for New York State’s top amateur clubs.

The other participants were: Islas Malvinas [Allfut league champions], Port Jefferson [Long Island Soccer Football League champions], New York Greek Americans [Manning State Cup holders] and Westchester CF [Flamhaft Cup holders].

LANDSLIDE
Drawn in Group ‘A’ with Islas Malvinas and Port Jefferson, Lansdowne got off to a flying start with a 10-0 landslide victory over Malvinas. Kavanagh and his Senegalese striking partner Papa Thioune each bagged a hat trick. Mohammed Kaba [two], Gareth McGlynn and Sean Kelly were the other scorers against the Argentines.

The Bhoys were held to a 1-1 draw by Port Jefferson in Game Two, with Thioune on the mark again. The tie secured Lansdowne’s place in the final against Sociedad. Kavanagh and Kaba both connected twice against the Spanish side to add another prestigious title to the Yonkers club’s collection.

“Overall, I’m pleased to win the Cup,” said player-coach Austin Friel. “It’s good to win a piece of silverware at the start of the season.”

RAPAGLIA LEGACY
Lansdowne’s victory kept the Rapaglia trophy in the CSL’s possession for the fifth year running.  Cosmopolitan Soccer League clubs have triumphed in six of the seven finals since the tournament was introduced in 2008.

Previous CSL winners of the Rapaglia Cup include Pancyprian Freedoms [2008, 2011], New York Albanians [2010], Greek Americans [2012] and New York Athletic Club [2013].

GREEK SHAME
Greek Americans had a forgettable outing this time after losing 2-1 to Sociedad in Group ‘A’ and edging Westchester by the same scoreline.

“An embarrassment for our club, in all ways, including myself,” head coach Stavros Zomopoulos condemned the USASA champions’ collective effort.

FIRST TOUCH
In the CSL top flight, second half substitute Julio Dos Santos scored with his first touch to hand Pancyprian Freedoms a 1-0 victory over NYAC on Travers Island. Andreas Chronis set up the goal that preserved the Greek-Cypriot’s 100 percent record atop the West. Scott Noble, Bobby Linaberry [two] and Junior Spinks fired NYAC’s reserves to a 4-0 win.

CHRISTMAN TIME
Peter Christman made a memorable debut for East leaders New York Rovers with the winner in a 2-1 decision over Stal Mielec at Icahn Stadium.

Chris Wiggins, had opened the scoring with his fifth goal of the early season.

“Chris would have had two if not for a wrongly disallowed goal,” said coach Andy Abramovits, after his men improved to 3-0 [9]. Dritan Sela replied for Stal, whose reserves lost 3-1. Zach Pritchard, Luis Gonzalez and Retta Mulugetta starred for Rovers’ retooled “B” team. Waldemar Pyryt had Stal’s lone response.

EAGLES FALL
Jeff Natale struck twice [15th, 61st] as Hoboken FC picked up their first win over the fall, 3-1 at Clarkstown Eagles’ expense at Laurel Hill Park. Josh Corpuz [88th] sealed it after Bljerdi Bardic [65th] had pulled one back for the visitors.

“An all-around good effort in a tough game,” summed up GM Bill Marth. Greg Pilla and Jon Rudnick led the Hoboken reserves to a 2-1 victory.

CELTIC POINT
Simon Kearney leveled against a United FC side that finished with ten men to earn Manhattan Celtic a 1-1 draw at Pier 5. His volley canceled out Paul Nittoli’s fifth minute strike.

“Great to get our first points of the season,” said Celtic’s 23-year-old coach Matt Kane. “We have three attacking players coming back from absences next week and we feel confident we can build on this result.” United’s reserves won 3-1.

SHANE LENNON
Elsewhere in the First Division, Shane Lennon had Central Park Rangers’ face-saver in a 4-1 loss to New York Croatia on Randalls Island. Justin Dotzman had the assist.

CPR’s second unit ran off 3-0 winners. Mike DeChristopher connected off a pass from Chris Norelli who later scored himself while Daniel Miller accounted for number three. Marc Weisi had the assist on Norelli’s strike.

ROCKS SLIP
Shamrock’s sizzling form in the second tier that had seen them score ten goals in their opening two matches suddenly turned cold against Polonia. The Rocks slipped 2-1 at St. Michael’s Playground in Flushing.

Mohamed Fofana notched the Irishmen’s only goal. With the win, Polonia [2-0-1, 7] went atop the standings, a point ahead of both Shamrock and  NYPD. The reserve tussle ended 1-1, with Sean Hand scoring on his Shamrock debut.

NICK OF TIME
NYPD’S Nick Baum scripted the Cops’ 1-0 decision over Japan at Flushing Meadow Park.Japan’s second team was crashed 7-0.

BLANK CD
On Randalls Island, defending champs CD Iberia picked up their first point of the season despite drawing a blank against Manhattan Kickers in a goalless tie. Iberia’s reserves, however, prevailed 4-1 in the opener.

MO GOALS
After contributing to the reserves’ 5-1 rout, Mohammed Jalloh grabbed both goals in Sporting Astoria’s 2-2 tie with New Amsterdam United at Evander Childs High School. His first pegged back Wassim Najjar’s ice breaker for the Dutch. His second, assisted by Marc Vilson, was canceled out by a goal United attributed to Andrew Dickler.

“Another disappointing result but our patience and character improved,” said Astoria boss Ed Romero.

Sporting’s reserves made it ten goals in two games with the 5-1 romp. “They are on a tear,” exclaimed Romero. “Coach Edgar Avila has the team playing really well. ”

In addition to Mohammed Jalloh, Damian Paz, Steven Arenas, Abu Jalloh and Christian Valencia tallied.  Arenas, who also had an assist, earned Man of the Match plaudits from Romero. Samuel Gozlan had Amsterdam’s face-saver.

PERFECT RED
CPR Reds added Ridgewood to their list of conquests after a 6-0 drubbing on Randalls Island stretched the Metro Div. One East pacesetters’ record to 3-0. It was closer than the scoreline reflected, according to CPR’s Blake Berg, whose teammates led just 1-0 at the interval.

The floodgates opened on resumption, and at the end, Johnny Williamson [two], Declan Heffernan, Richie Kavernagh, Eric Pierot and Mack Woodruff had seen Ridgewood off.

“Second straight shutout credited to keeper Andrew Snell in his second career start with the Reds. Goal of the match goes to Richie “K” with a slashing volley from 20 yards out followed by his signature maholo man hang loose celebration” remarked Berg.

DENNEHY DELUGE
In a remarkable revival after back-to-back losses in their first two fixtures, Mr. Dennehy’s hit peak form to smash Dynamo SC 8-3 at the Greenbelt Recreational Center. Josh Southall pumped in four goals while Kenny Shirley, Ronan Gardiner, Johnny Imundo and Francisco Patino  had one apiece.

GOTHAM TWO
Nicholas Chang and Eric “Gonzo” Goncalves [pen.] were the Gotham Argo heroes in 2-0 win over FC Gwardia at Pier 40.

VLLAZNIA TIE
On Randalls Island, NYC Vllaznia had goals from Ritvan Mehmeti and Dardan Jashari in a 2-2 tie with Brishna.

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Williamsburg Internationals’ Moudatsos brothers, Nunzio [left] and Andreas.
Nunzio, the older scored four goals and Andreas two in the 10-2 win over New York Galicia.

DEADLY DUO
High scoring Williamsburg International’s Moudatsos brothers, Nunzio and Andreas (above), accounted for six of the Metro Div. Two club’s goals in a 10-2 trouncing of New York Galicia at Bushwick Inlet. Nunzio, the older of the two strikers, got four while Andreas struck twice.

Sergio Garcia, Logan Roos and Charles von Rosenberg were also on target as the side formerly known as Doyle’s Corner FC brought its two-week goal tally to an incredible 25! They crushed Metro City Fury Athletic 15-2 the previous week.

DÉJÀ VU
Metro City Fury, meanwhile, suffered another shellacking; 9-1 this time at the hands of AO Brooklyn at Abraham Lincoln High School. Jordan Breslauer had two goals and an assist,  Chris Vega two goals and two assists, Xavier Castro a brace, Dash Martin and Sebastian Ribiero both a goal and an assist and Mike Cannizarro one goal.

STAR-CROSSED
FC Partizani is another team down on its luck in Metro Two early in the season. Hammered 10-1 by Barnstonworth Rovers in their previous game, they suffered a second drubbing in Week Three. Metro Stars was the team dishing out the punishment on Staten Island, an 8-1 drubbing marshalled by hat trick hero Othman Lantir, John Guaguen [two], Wayne Doyle [two] and Cristian Vazquez.

ROVERS SET-BACK
For Barnstonworth Rovers, on the other hand, there was a set-back against Mola SC who pulled out a 4-2 win at the Verrazano Sports Complex.Sal Ingravallo [two], Neil Franco and Giussepe Aveta had the goals.

HALL CONSOLATION
Also in Metro Two, Alex Hall notched SC Eintracht’s lone effort in a 4-1 loss to New York Bravehearts. Seung Min Jun assisted on what was the go-ahead-go.

“Defense suffered injuries and forwards had to play out of position. Tough loss since we scored first and they tied it up right before the half.  Our goalie Doug Calov saved a penalty to keep the score at 4-1,” reported VP Mark Lesser. Diego Soto, Clement Osbert and Mora Reyes [two] were the Braveheart marksmen.

Eintracht’s old timers fared better with Vinny Vasconcelos, Ronald Gotz, Jean Paul Garzon, and Andres Garcia mauling Banatul 4-1 in the new CSL Over-35 division.

IRISH DERBY
Paddy McCarry’s Shamrock Over-30s made it two wins out of two games after holding off Manhattan Celtic Legends 4-2 on Randalls Island.

Sean Riley got the first of his double in the tenth minute.  Celtic’s Tyrone Kent leveled in the 25th minute but the Rocks would take a 2-1 lead into the locker room courtesy of Danny Parkin’s screamer of a free kick [40th].

On resumption, goals from Alex Berne [50th] and Riley again [55th] put the hosts 4-1 up before Ansumana Gaye [80th] pulled one back.

“As a whole, they were brilliant. Total team effort,” McCarry lauded his side.

Celtic Bhoys also came a cropper, 3-1 to Guyana Veterans, in their Over-30 fixture.  Souley Diallo scored off Jaime Gonzalez’ assist.

GOTTSCHEE KICKED
Manhattan Kickers Over-30s broke a goalless half time tie with a flood of goals on the restart to swamp BW Gottschee 6-2 at East River Park.

Jack Vivonetto [50th, 55th] David James Stewart [60th], John Slover [70th, 75th] and Paul Cowler connected, the latter after Kickers had conceded twice.

“A good result certainly, but I’m [annoyed] that we gave up our zero goal-against record unnecessarily!” fumed Eddie Yee Woo Guo.

Barnstonworth Premier drew 2-2 with Greeks. Goals were scored by Emin Avasar and Duane Pena, and assists by Mike Butler and Errol Mcfarlane

LONE RANGER
On Randalls Island, Manohar Venkataraman’s strike for CPR Legends earned them a share of the points from a 1-1 tie with SC Gjoa.

Cosmos Lose 9-Goal Thriller in Carolina

splash-page-oct-4-indy-eleven-breast-cancer-awareness-day_1tin1vwlj5rim16z2m87xjtqpgCosmos fall 5-4 to the RailHawks following a wild nine-goal second half

The New York Cosmos fell to the Carolina RailHawks 5-4 in a wild encounter at WakeMed Soccer Park in Cary, N.C. on Sept. 20. New York and Carolina – the third and fourth place teams in the NASL Combined Season Standings, respectively – contested a subdued first half, but nine goals in the second half produced 45 of the most exciting minutes of the NASL Season.

“[This was] a game with two completely different halves,” said Cosmos head coach Giovanni Savarese after the match. “In the first half we did a very good job tactically, not to give anything to Carolina. We closed spaces very well, and we were able to go forward and be dangerous. We didn’t do as good of a job in the second half tactically, but I have to give credit to the team. We almost tied the game at the end. [It was] a crazy game.”

Neither side took control of the game early, but the first real chance of the match came to Carolina after midfielder Naz Albadawi’s perfectly-weighted through ball put Devon Sandoval in on goal in the 10th minute. The forward on loan from MLS’s Real Salt Lake failed to convert his effort, though, much to the relief of the visitors.

Carolina weathered a growing storm of Cosmos possession following the early chance for Sandoval, and nearly had the game’s opening goal on its next meaningful attack. The aforementioned Albadawi found himself in space at the edge of the Cosmos area, and nearly found the top corner with a curling effort in the 29th minute. His shot sailed high in the end.

While the first half took a while to get going, the second half produced action almost immediately after the restart. The RailHawks opened the scoring just three minutes into the second half, when midfielder Ty Shipalane found Sandoval, who hit a low shot into the corner of Cosmos goalkeeper Jimmy Maurer’s goal.

The home side could have doubled its advantage just two minutes later, after midfielder Enzo Martinez was put clean through on goal by a fantastic ball from Albadawi, but Maurer stood strong in goal to deny the shot.

Another goal came soon enough, though, for the home side. Midfielder Leo Osaki lined up a free kick from about 25 yards out, and produced a moment of real brilliance with his perfectly-placed curler past a diving Maurer in the 58th minute.

The Cosmos got one back after defender Kwame Watson-Siriboe’s own goal header in the 64th minute halved the deficit to one. Carolina would restore its two-goal advantage, and make it 4-1 less than four minutes after that, thanks to goals from Martinez and Sandoval, respectively. Martinez’s goal came just a minute after Watson-Siriboe’s own goal, when he directed Shipalane’s cross in from close range in the 65th minute, and Sandoval scored just two minutes after that, after he rounded an on-rushing Maurer and passed the ball into an empty net.

The frenetic pace of the second half continued, and the Cosmos were once again able to halve the host’s advantage. This time the goal came from the head of Jimmy Ockford, who nodded home off New York’s first corner of the half in the 69th minute.

Carolina substitute Zack Schilawski turned and cracked a thumping shot past Maurer in the 78th minute, which restored the host’s three-goal advantage. The madness continued at the other end, after Cosmos forward Mads Stokkelien struck from close range in the 80th minute to bring the Cosmos within two once again, and make the score 5-3 with 10 minutes remaining. To their credit, the Cosmos continued to chase the game, and things got very interesting after Cosmos substitute forward Stefan Dimitrov cut Carolina’s lead to one. He finished from close range in the 89th minute following a scramble in the box.

In the end the Cosmos would fall just short of their comeback attempt, with Carolina holding on for a wild 5-4 win in a nine-goal thriller.

“We were down 4-1, and we managed to come back,” said Cosmos forward Mads Stokkelien. “We had the opportunity to get one point in the end and we almost got it, but it’s good that we managed to come back in the game. We still believed we could get a good result, and we almost did it. I think that is something we have to take with us from this game.”

The Cosmos will look to rebound next Sunday, Sept. 28, when they travel to north of the border to take on FC Edmonton at Clarke Stadium at 4 p.m. ET.

Sweet, FA

bowlerBy Bill Thomas

Greg Dyke has not always had an easy time in these pages, but credit where it is due. The Football Association’s chairman was bang on the mark with his latest public utterance, designed as it is to cut down by some 50% the number of non-EU players plying their trade in the English game.

Given that there is nothing to be done about EU players flitting from one nation to another within the community’s boundaries, it must be those from abroad that are concentrated upon in order to try and get the epidemic of foreign nationals under some semblance of control and allow young, home grown footballers the chance to come in and thrive.

Footballers from outside the EU must apply for a work permit if they are to play in England – or, indeed, Scotland and Wales – and there are a number of rules laid down to determine whether or not they are a positive addition to our national game or not – international caps won coming into play and so on.

But if they do not meet those requirements, a club can go to a tribunal and lodge an appeal to make a case for him to be allowed to play, generally successfully, for few are the appeals that are rejected.

Dyke makes the wholly sensible point that, “Eighty per cent of the players that come in from outside the EU come in on appeal, where the manager goes along with a video and shows it to the committee and they say, “Well, he looks  a good player””.

This is clearly a pretty stupid system for all football supporters know full well that each team will contain a “Match of the Day” player or two, one who is good for a couple of eye catching tricks that get him onto the highlights but who is otherwise a liability to his side and the kind of player for whom no bargepole is truly long enough. If you watch him each week, you would never conclude that he is an asset to the game, but if you catch a glimpse of his showreel, he looks like Lionel Messi. What kind of way is that to make a judgement on a player?
None at all according to Dyke, who has waded in to the argument to say, “We want to get rid of that subjective part of the appeal process and say you either meet these criteria or you don’t.

“The analysis we’ve done says we’re not bringing in the best talent. There’s quite a lot of players coming in who aren’t the elite. They come and they take squad places.

“I think what we hope will happen is roughly half the number of players that are now coming from outside the EU won’t be able to get in here. It’s not vast numbers. But if you think that 30 a year won’t come, it means places for English kids in the squads.”

While the language might smack a little bit of UKIPcentic “they come over here and take our jobs” rhetoric, it isn’t that at all, because the simple fact is that the opportunity for young talent to break through into the English game is being smothered by players of no greater talent blocking up the entry routes.

We are all more than happy to see the likes of Angel Di Maria and Samuel Eto’o in the Premier League, players who bring in the crowds and inspire a younger generation of talent, but the presence of a slew of mere journeymen does nothing for the wider game.

As Dyke makes abundantly clear wherever grey areas exist in a bureaucratic system, there exists the opportunity for rules to be bent, thoughts to be clouded, poor decisions to be made, often under some degree of pressure from huge football clubs that can mobilise massive forces of opinion against some mere minion who dares prevent then bringing in those who do not comply with the requirements. Better by far to simply nip that possibility in the bud, create hard and fast, non negotiable rules and live by them.

Championship Contenders Emerge From The Shadows

championship_rhodes

Jordan Rhodes – helping Blackburn Rovers to turn their fortunes around.

By Paula Marcus

With 24 teams in the division and only a limited amount of space allocated for Championship football, it is hardly surprising that some teams get little coverage through the season.

The general rule to getting extra interest is to either be a perceived ‘big’ team (like Fulham) or to be a complete train wreck (step forward Leeds and Blackpool). The teams that work hard and play by the rules are often the ones that get overlooked.

One such club, is Blackburn Rover’s, who have experienced an impressive turnaround over the past few seasons. Just over two years ago fans were protesting at the manager, owners and pretty much anything to do with the club. Fast forward and Rovers are currently in their third Championship season and things couldn’t be more different. After spending big following relegation, using parachute money to fund Jordan Rhodes move to the club, they have continued to create a competitive side, now spending within their means.

After getting off to a poor start, especially in their efforts in fan relations, Venky’s London (the Indian group that own the club) now seem to have the fans on side. They have learnt the hard way just what it takes to own a football club and Rovers seem stronger for it, although sadly this probably means there won’t be a return of the flag wearing chicken from 2012. Last seasons eighth place finish was a drastic improvement on the previous season, and they will be hoping to use that momentum to challenge for promotion this time round.

Unlike Rovers, Ipswich Town managed to challenge for promotion in their first few years back in the second tier, and, it was after that they began to lose their way a little. What currently makes them stand out is their transfer policy. At a time when many teams have paid record fees and clubs are still spending more than they have, Ipswich have chosen to sign only free transfers, meaning that they are only required to pay signing on fees for their players.
After selling Aaron Cresswell to West Ham for over £3million it’s easy to see why some fans may be a little disgruntled. But manager Mick McCarthy is taking a gamble that there are plenty of talented players out there willing to work hard, that are all too often overlooked. This strategy has also enabled home grown players like Teddy Bishop to reach the first team, when they might otherwise have been left in the reserves. Whilst Town might not have players that are the same quality as teams like Forest and Derby, their squad is certainly strong enough to improve on last seasons ninth place and challenge for the play offs.

Another team concerned with Financial Fair Play (FFP) is AFC Bournemouth. After posting losses of £15million on the way to promotion in 2013, Bournemouth are now hoping to avoid fines associated with FFP, whilst at the same time becoming self sufficient. Having off field money troubles aren’t anything new for Bournemouth fans. Financial problems in 2008 saw them plummet to League two, after incurring points deductions associated with entering administration.

In order to balance the books, Bournemouth have done two things that would normally anger your average fans. Firstly they have reduced spending on players. That’s not to say they have followed Ipswich in not paying fees for players. Instead they have adopted an in-out policy, using money gained from the sale of Lewis Grabban to Norwich to fund Callum Wilson’s move from Coventry city.

The second thing that usually angers fans is a hike in ticket prices, and an announced 20% increase in the price of a season ticket would usually be followed by talks of a boycott. Instead the Bournemouth fans generally see this as the price of success and a necessary evil to fund the clubs further ambition. The problem Bournemouth face is that Dean Court (or now the Goldsands Stadium) is one of the smallest stadiums compared to other Championship grounds, holding only 12,000 fans, and increasing prices is the only way to increase revenue.

Fans usually expect the owner to have deep enough pockets to fund the club no matter what, and the lack of noise from the Bournemouth fans really shows the feel good factor around the club at the moment. Even though their impressive tenth place finish last season probably has something to do with it (along with the fact there is a belief they can do better this year), the relationship between the fans and the club really is impressive in this current climate.

These obviously aren’t the only clubs who are trying to do things the right way, with little chance of overtaking the daily update on who is the next favourite for the Leeds mangers job. Sheffield Wednesday, Millwall and Derby County are three more teams who have spent wisely despite the first two being embroiled in relegation battles for most of the past two seasons.

Even though the season is just over a month old, a few things are already clear; Championship spending is high, fans are as disillusioned as ever and there are far more controversial owners than usual. With this in mind, it’s nice to occasionally praise those clubs bucking the trend.

Listen to Paula’s latest Championship podcast.paula_02

Serie A Produces Goalfest But Fans Stay Home

Inter's hattrick hero Mauro Icardi

Inter’s hattrick hero Mauro Icardi

By Michael Ottolenghi

The fans are staying away, with just over 55% of seats filled so far in Serie A stadiums this season.

Star players have departed and few have arrived (depending on your opinion of Fernando Torres). But on the pitch Serie A has started with a bang, with an exciting weekend ahead.

Last weekend saw goalfests involving both Milanese teams, as Inter beat Sassuolo 7-0 and Milan shook off Parma in a 5-4 thriller at the Tardini stadium.  Juve and Roma also won, while Napoli were upset by Chievo at the San Paolo.  That leaves Juve, Roma and Milan top of the table with 100% records, with Inter two points behind and Napoli trailing by another point. This weekend’s games are likely to deliver more crucial early season verdicts, particularly in three games tinged with managerial nostalgia.

Juventus travel to Milan in a clash of new coaches and, the rossoneri will hope, changing destinies, as Milan have been far inferior to Juventus for the past three seasons.

This will be the first return to San Siro for Juventus’ new manager Massimiliano Allegri since he was sacked by Milan two seasons ago.  Allegri was seen as an odd choice to replace Antonio Conte in Turin, but he has produced two wins to start the season and the players seem happy under his guidance.  He has made few tactical changes and is heavily reliant on Paul Pogba in the absence of Andrea Pirlo to injury.  After their midweek Champions League win against Malmo, Allegri’s squad will be tested at San Siro on Saturday.

In the opposite dugout will be Filippo Inzaghi, who distinguished himself on the edge of the side line for both clubs, but now manages Milan.  Inzaghi has secured two wins to start the season, including that spectacular 5-4 victory in Parma last Sunday. But while that game showcased the talents of Jeremy Menez  and Inzaghi’s other strikers (whose goal tally represents the best start to a Milan season in over 50 years), Milan’s defence will have to perform much better against Carlos Tevez and colleagues if they have any chance of a result.  New recruit Alex, in particular, has been abysmal, although Daniele Bonera has also looked suspect.  But for the neutral Milan’s defensive frailties should ensure that this game should be remembered for more than managerial subplots.

Another game featuring an interesting managerial confrontation will see Zdenek Zeman’s Cagliari travel to Rome to face Rudi Garcia’s table-topping Roma.  Roma are favourites for the title and so should easily beat an inferior Cagliari side coming from a home defeat against Atalanta.  But Roma hardly shone themselves in a feeble 1-0 win against Empoli, and with midweek Champions League action of their own, this may be a good time for the old master to face the giallorossi. Zeman remains an iconic figure in Italian football, particularly in Rome. His second spell in charge of the giallorossi ended disastrously a couple of years ago, and his sometimes reckless devotion to attacking play has again been on display in Cagliari’s first two games of the season.  But with a point to prove and a rested squad, fireworks are guaranteed at both end of the pitch.

The final game of managerial intrigue will see two former Inter managers face each other far away from Milan, as Rafa Benitez’s Napoli travel to Udine to face Andrea Stramaccioni’s Udinese. Napoli are coming off a worrying home defeat to Chievo, courtesy of former Milan striker Maxi Lopez.  Coupled with the team’s exit from the Champions League at the qualifying stage, the partenopei already seem in crisis and need a win to calm their restless fans, who have questioned Benitez’s decision to visit his family in Liverpool during the international break.  Stramaccioni, for his part, is keen to prove that he can manage successfully in Serie A.  Udinese have not exactly impressed under their new manger, seeming, as ever, over-reliant on the brilliant if ageing Toto Di Natale (above), so far, but a result against Napoli would go a long way to endearing the Roman manager to his new fans.  Hopefully they will be in the stadium to witness the occasion.

Adios, Gus Johnson – We Hardly Knew You.

esclogoBy Tim Hall

Coming off a masterful job by ESPN broadcasting the most recent World Cup, very interested eyes now turn to Fox, owners of the American television rights to the next tournament, to see how they will get on. Topping the slick performance turned in by the self-proclaimed Worldwide Leader in Sports will be a massive mountain to climb for a company that, while experienced in sports and – with Rupert Murdoch’s deep pockets – capable of anything, has never broadcasted a World Cup.  

Fox Sports wisely realized that attempting to match ESPN stride-for-stride was a fool’s errand, and instead attempted to focus, even in the earliest stages of planning, on points of differentiation. If you can’t offer as polished a product, you can at least put something out that’s gussied up with bells and whistles. It’s a strategy that has served Fox well over the years, from their bizarre reliance on dancing robots during NFL coverage, to their wholly unnecessary invention of the “glowing puck” for ice hockey. Even down to the Murdoch empire’s so-called “news” organizations, the overarching ethos is clear: if you can’t be better, you can at least be louder.

One point of difference Fox could offer was an American voice. ESPN’s reliance on British commentators to broadcast the World Cup to an American audience was a small fly in the ointment to some viewers. Despite the quality work done by the Ian Darkes and Jon Champions, there is something to be said for hearing a familiar accent.

So, there were the rather simple requirements Fox looked for on an application: be different, shout louder, speak American.

Enter Gus Johnson.

Gus Johnson is best known to American audiences for his work on college basketball, where his energy and excitement mesh well with the typically boisterous atmosphere. His over-the-top shouting made exciting games memorable, his myriad catchphrases launched a thousand soundboards online, and his proclivity to laughter when words would not suffice made him seem personable, like a friend seated on the sofa or the barstool right next to you. But Johnson is also a professional, working tirelessly to know the ins and outs, all the personalities and storylines needed to keep the action fresh and relatable.

Johnson was a late comer, as most Americans are, to soccer, but did fall in love with it just as the rest of us have. So it seemed a solid, Murdochian choice, to anoint Johnson the future voice of soccer in America. Fox Sports did this well in advance of the big stage, letting Johnson call UEFA Champions League games to get his feet wet.

How Gus Johnson performed while under his learner’s permit is up for debate. There were times when he seemed a bit too reliant on his notes, cramming in stats about each team’s history in the tournament. Some of his terminology from basketball came with him into soccer. His natural bombast for the big moments simply never could shine through in a terse continental tournament game. But he was prepared, was engaged, was learning and steadily improving, and when the ball crossed the line Johnson could crank up the volume with the best of them and make even a scruffy goal sound like a work of sheer beauty. And remember, for all the criticisms, Johnson was being given better than five years to work off the rough spots and be ready for Russia 2018.

So it came as a surprise this week when Fox announced that Johnson had stepped down from his role as number one soccer broadcaster. Outwardly, the decision was due to schedule conflicts with other sports and Johnson’s desire to be with his family more. But even the honchos at Fox were forced to admit that they had heard the criticisms of Johnson’s style, not that those necessarily had anything to do with the change.

And so, many people, many of the same people who had been hammering on about the need of American play-by-play men over the summer, took to social media and thanked God, or even used this as proof of the existence of a supreme being, that Gus Johnson was out as the go-to voice for the big matches, improvement and time be damned.

In short, the people were given exactly what they asked for, and they didn’t want it. The entitled American soccer fan wants an American voice on their games, but demands that it be one that came rocketing out of the womb fully-formed, able to name every FA Cup winner since the dawn of time. And we want him now, right now, Veruca Salt standing on the Eggdicator, don’t care how, I want it now, now. But, of course, don’t forget what happened to her. She was a bad egg.

This is the state of American soccer in the year 2014. The sport has a foothold in this country, and now that we’ve got it, we want to take our new toy out and see what it can do and how we can go about putting our larger stamp on it. Magical disappearing spray for free kicks? We were among the early adopters here in the States, and it’s now catching on the world over. Goalline technology? That’s a really fancy way of saying “instant replay”, and we’ve been doing that in our sports basically since the invention of cameras. And don’t act surprised when actual instant replay comes to town and there are reviews on fouls. We’re going to American that part of the game up too. Enjoy Mourinho throwing a challenge flag. What about the idea of a penalty box for infractions somewhere between a yellow and a red card? No less an authority than chewing-gum-and-wristwatch enthusiast Sir Alex Ferguson has spoken up recently about a sin bin. Hopefully, instead of an “orange card” the referee can pull a tiny American flag out of his pocket and wave that around. Soon you’ll see a glowing ball and a dancing robot and monster trucks circling the field during a World Cup final because America. We simply can’t help ourselves. We are cursed to ruin the things we love.

It’s hard not to be happy for Gus Johnson. He’ll still be doing what he loves, get to spend time with his family, call an occasional soccer game from time to time without the pressure of being The Guy. Moreover, he will no longer be subject to the table-pounding criticisms of an American public that wants filet mignon quality in hamburger time. And maybe, just maybe, by the time we chew up and spit out a few more JP Dellacameras or Steve Cangialosis, Gus will come back and be the commentator we so richly deserve.

UPCOMING EVENTS

Saturday September 20: New York Red Bulls vs. Seattle Sounders – Just four (guaranteed) home games to go for New York to make hay and get into the playoffs. Seattle will come into this game off of the US Open Cup final on Tuesday, while New York has CONCACAF Champions League play on Wednesday. Late season, short rest, tired body MLS excitement! Join the Empire Supporters Club at El Pastor (570 Market St. Newark) for the pre- and post-game falderal.

‘Mads’ And Cosmos Begin To Surge

madsstokkelienBy Cesar Trelles

There are seven weeks left in the 2014 NASL Fall campaign for the New York Cosmos. After a slow and frustrating start to the season, the New York Cosmos are startingto play the way their head Coach Giovanni Savarese had envisioned.

Following a scoring drought at home this  fall season, the Cosmos have scored five goals in their last two matches. Three of those goals came this past Saturday when the Cosmos defeated the Atlanta Silverbacks on a rainy night at Shuart Stadium.

“We are very content in the development that we have had these past few weeks. We hope now that we can carry that onto this weekend,” commented Savarese on Tuesday during his midweek conference call with the media.

The three points that the Cosmos earned against Atlanta last Saturday were especially important since the fall league leaders, the San Antonio Scorpions, lost their match this past Saturday against the Carolina Railhawks. The victory catapulted the Cosmos into 4th place in the NASL with only 6 points now between them and the Scorpions.

The Cosmos have also seen a resurgence in striker Mads Stokkelien as he has now scored for the Cosmos in three of their last four matches. This past Saturday he scored just 38 seconds into the match. Queens, New York native Sebastian Guenzatti also scored again for the Cosmos when he received a brilliant pass from another Queens, NY native David Diosa. Danny Szetela however had the biggest goal in the match when he tucked the ball into the lower left hand corner of the net in the 84th minute to give the Cosmos the 3-2 lead that would stand as the final score.

ProstThe goals couldn’t have started flowing at a better time for the Cosmos as they are traveling to Carolina this weekend to play the Railhawks right after they toppled the league leading San Antonio Scorpions. The Cosmos have been unable to win in Carolina in their two matches there since their reboot. In fact they have failed to score any goals there as they were shutout 1-0 earlier this year and 3-0 last August during the Fall 2013 campaign. The task for Savarese is to turn those fortunes around this weekend.

“We know that Carolina gets stronger when they have to play the New York Cosmos,” he admitted.
“They have beaten us twice in Carolina exactly the same way. So we have to make sure that we are a little smarter and the more mature team and that they are not able to find their own balance when we attack. I think we have grown as a team so we have more resources going forward. I think it’s going to be a completely different match, at least from our standpoint going into this game right now.”

There is no question that if the Cosmos are to have success in Carolina they will expect Mads Stokkelien to rise to the occasion once again. Coach Savarese was quick to not only praise Stokkelien but also Danny Mwanga for their recent play.

“I think first of all when a striker gets his confidence back and strikers go on a streak of scoring goals, things always become better and easier.

“But I think also we have introduced Danny Mwanga into the linuep and he has helped us to be a more dangerous team and also for oppositions to focus on not just one player but now we have another player that teams now need to be aware of in the defensive area. I think also tactically there are some things that we have changed that I think have added some extra support to Mads and that allows him to be the player that we know he can be – which is more lethal around the box.  So we have seen him improve and become more confident so that he can score more goals.”

Confidence will be a vital component for the Cosmos if they are to finish the season on top. Of the last seven matches remaining for the Cosmos, the final three will be against the three teams that are currently ahead of them in the standings: Minnesota, Tampa Bay and San Antonio. Before that, the Cosmos would love to get as many of the twelve points that are up for grabs ahead of those three matches, starting this Saturday night against Carolina.

Cross Island Crew Tidbits:.
•    Jimmy Maurer, Ayoze and Andres Flores will all be back an available for the New York Cosmos this Saturday against the Carolina Railhawks. Maurer was unavailable last week due to a finger injury. Ayoze was unavailable last match due to yellow card accumulation. Flores returns to the Cosmos after playing with El Salvador in the Copa Centroamericana.

• The New York Red Bulls have recalled defender Connor Lade from his loan to the Cosmos. The Red Bulls have had numerous injuries and need Lade back for depth purposes as they will also be embarking on two CONCACAF Champions League matches (CCL). It is expected that after those two CCL matches, Lade will be returning to the Cosmos for the remainder of the season.

• The Cross Island Crew, will be hosting their regular viewing party at Prost Grill & Garten (652 Franklin Avenue, Garden City, NY) this Saturday (9/20_when the Cosmos battle the Carolina Railhawks. Beer and food specials will be available throughout the night.
• On Sunday September 28th there will be a special away viewing party at Prost Grill when the Cosmos take on FC Edmonton. Gametime is 4pm. Prior to the match however Cosmos COO Erik Stover along with Cosmos Director of Marketing Rafael Morffi will be hosting a Q&A session at Prost. Cosmos fans will have an opportunity to come on down and ask the Cosmos head honchos anything that might be on their mind. Q&A is expected to start at 3pm.

• Supporters Scarves are available Cross Island Crew Supporters Scarves are available for sale for $20. For information email crossislandcrew@gmail.com or visit www.crossislandcrew.com

College Soccer – The Bully Factor

stay-strong-and-stop-bullying-257x300By Pat Glodkowski

In a perfect college soccer world all we would have to deal with are the scores, the support, and passion that comes from the game. Unfortunately, in this world, even in the seemingly disconnected soccer world, we have to understand the existence of detrimental effects resulting from bullying.

Oftentimes, people treat soccer as a recluse  from the activities surrounding them in the real world. Soccer offers a place of escape for all, as the game ensnares its onlookers into a different atmosphere. Yet, that does not mean that we are shielded from all the evils that surround this small, temporary bubble that is lifted after the final whistle. Horrible things such as bullying often permeate, sadly, into the soccer life. Bullying is a serious matter that plagues this country, especially in the realm of education where students interact and often engage in bullying (knowingly or not). As students grow older, they tend to cast aside such acts. Some come to terms with the fact that it was a serious mistake to partake in bullying and have corrected their actions and mentality. Nonetheless, that process is more idealistic than realistic.

The unfortunate reality of the situation regarding bullying is that many other students carry on with their derisive acts into high school, and even college. Their methods become more refined and intricate the older the students get. College sports are deplorably involved with many allegations of abuse and bullying on the teams. Sometimes the coach perpetrates the bullying on the whole team, sometimes a single player. Another case would be if a group of teammates start to gang up and single out an individual player for whatever reason.

A handful of cases have been released regarding the matter. The most recent case to reach the public originated from the Clemson women’s soccer program. The incident happened back in 2011, but the lawsuit was only filed this past month. Haley Ellen Hunt is now formally suing her coach at the time, Eddie Radwanski, assistant coaches Siri Mullinix and Jeff Robbins, former Athletic Director Terry Don Phillips, several other school administrators, and 14 of her teammates for the abuse she received during her hazing. Hunt, along with some fellow teammates were blindfolded, put into a car and then had to do a handful of degrading acts. One of the acts caused her to suffer a brain injury, which ultimately led to her leaving the sport.

The whole incident is particularly gut-wrenching. The phrasing found in the law suit would strike at the heart of any bystander as the young soccer player was not only bleeding from her head after hitting the wall that caused the brain trauma, she was also never taken to the hospital after she slipped into unconsciousness. To make it worse, the authorities were never contacted, and Assistant Coach Siri Mullinix allegedly told the players to keep quiet about the situation. Head Coach Radwanski affirmed this command. In fact, Radwanski supposedly also had the hazing levels increased, telling Hunt to “stop complaining.”

This intense treatment of a player is deplorable at best, criminal at worst. However, because the proper channels were not tapped into, and because the school somewhat took matters into their own hands, this case may only reach civil court, rather than criminal court. Hunt’s legal representative Robert E. Summer will assume the responsibility for bringing justice for his client. He will create an argument around the fact that Coach Radwanski had actually tried to dissuade Ms. Hunt from attending  Clemson. After ignoring the coach’s opinion (or whatever you want to call it), Hunt proceeded to enroll at Clemson and join the team.

As comments proceeded to file in regarding the night in question, apparently most of the hazing rituals are “mandatory team events.” To some extent, I personally understand the value of team building exercises without the presence of the coaches. However, two very critical facts in this case make their acts inexcusable. First, the team was completely immature, naïve, and down right cruel to watch their comrade take a direct hit to the head and fail to respond appropriately. As a student athlete myself, I know those students received proper and more than sufficient education regarding head injuries and their possible long term side-effects to leaving it untreated. These girls should have acted like leaders and teammates. Instead, they shrugged their duties and worried more about potential punishments rather than helping their new teammate.

Second, the coaches are very much at fault. They have a duty to maintain the safety and well-being of their student athletes. Should the allegations of the cover up prove to be true, it would be a massive disgrace to Clemson and their soccer program. The coaches abetted in this hazing process and neglected a noticeable head injury, which the lawsuit correctly asserts that long-term consequences will arise from the lack of treatment. If they end up being found guilty, the coaches must be stripped of their coaching licenses, and permanently banned from future coaching positions. This dishonorable and shocking manner of dealing with the situation makes them unworthy of leadership roles.

This case in particular is horrifying. Not only did the teammates not help Ms. Hunt, the coaches covered it up as well. Moreover, the school seems to have taken a very defensive stance, suggesting some sort of involvement in the matter. SB Nation reported that FitNews and GreenvilleOnline, the news sources that first covered this lawsuit, requested further information and insight from the school and they were immediately deflected, and told to speak with the school’s attorneys.

I would like to say this article is not meant to bash the Clemson soccer program. The purpose is to bring to light that bullying is conducted even among teammates, one of the few havens that should be a place of rest and not restlessness. Fear of injury by other teammates is detrimental to the psychology, and therefore performance of the players. Another student by the name of Hunter Peel also testifies (not in this lawsuit) that during her time on Cisco College’s soccer team, she was abused so badly she had to stop playing. That already is depressing enough, but to make matters worse, she left the main campus as well. Her teammates tweeted profane comments that could ruin anyone’s emotional psyche. Here again, the coach did little to stop the bullying (however, he luckily did not accentuate the matter, either).

Bullying, and the manner which schools deal with it, along with other heinous transgressions, must be reviewed and revamped. Initiatives will have to be executed by the administrators and the athletes to help deter bullies. Another South Carolina school, The College of Charleston held a ‘Stands Against Bullying” day in 2012. The men’s soccer team their as well as Coach Ralph Lundy travelled to middle schools and met with young students to discuss the bullying situation in this country. A noble effort. It also was a good way to rub some salt in Clemson’s face, considering their athletic relationship.

More schools should employ methods such as the one enacted by Charleston’s team to help raise awareness about bullying and to weed it out of our culture. A long and difficult process, but it can gradually be done. It can start with Ms. Hunt’s case. Those involved must be punished. Only then will their be a precedent involving the severe consequences of continuing to bully players.

A few announcements pertaining to college soccer: first, the NYU homecoming game for men’s soccer is October 4th, Saturday at 11 am. This will be the first conference game, against Rochester University. The game will be played at Gaelic Park right off the 238th St. stop in the Bronx. It would mean the world to these players if more fans came out. You will be able to see me, along with the ESC@NYU crowd. You will also get a chance to meet Empire Supporters Club (ESC) members, as well as support your local soccer team. Second, New York Red Bulls is having College Night for the game against Seattle, where you will definitely find me, and my band of NYU supporters.

NYAC Stun Champions

cosmoyellowBy Jay Mwamba

In an early season clash between the defending CSL champions and their predecessors, titlists Lansdowne Bhoys succumbed 3-2 to New York Athletic Club [NYAC] at Tibbetts Brook Park lastSaturday night.

Former champs NYAC, six of whose seven titles came under then Irish coach  Ronan Downs, stunned the Yonkers Irishmen with two early goals through Bayo Adafin and Leo Gomez.

Lansdowne fought back to level courtesy of debutant Mohamed Kaba’s brace. But disaster struck for the Bhoys 15 minutes from time when Mike Valencia snatched the NYAC winner.

“We fought up to the end for a goal,” said Paul Doherty, whose side is now 1-1 after two games.

The curtain raiser went true to form as reserve champs NYAC ‘B’ run off 7-2 winners New signings Fahad Alshamson and Eden Spinks accounted for five of the goals.

“Suffice it to say that Lansdowne were game but couldn’t hang with us in the second half,” remarked coach Bill Saporito.

GREEK ROUT
New York Greek Americans gave Stal Mielec a glimpse of their U.S. amateur championship form in a 7-0 rout at the Metropolitan Oval.

Christopher Megaloudis [two], Ben Marcu [two], Keith Detelj, Stephan Bares and Kene Eze connected for the reigning USASA kings.

“Kene’s goal was a goal of the season candidate,” noted coach Stavros Zomopoulis before describing the superb solo effort.

“Stranded for most of the half, he came 15 yards in our half to pick up a ball from the left back, turned, beat his marker, beat the entire Stal midfield, out [paced] the entire defense and went one-on-one with the keeper [before] slotting to the far post — 70 yards, eight opponents beaten!”

Jacek Korba and Waldemar Pyryt handed Stal’s reserves a 2-0 win.

SPLIT DECISION
Pancyprian Freedoms, the other Hellenic club in the CSL top flight, needed an own goal and a Pete Halkidis strike to edge Central Park Rangers 2-1 at Icahn Stadium.

Conor O’Donoghue scored from the spot for CPR after a foul on Damian Lopez.
The result reversed the outcome in the reserve game won 2-1 by CPR on goals by Mike DeChristopher and Chris Norelli. Ben Hirsch and Greg Moss, respectively, provided the assists. Nicholas Psaras was the Pancyprian scorer.

CELTS CLIPPED
Moriken Sangary and Bljerdi Bardic [two] were on target in Clarkstown Eagles’ 3-0 swoop over Manhattan Celtic on Randalls Island.

Celtic’s 23 year-old coach Matt Kane started the same 11 players for both fixtures, with his reserves prevailing 4-1.

“We had some of the worst luck the club had ever seen with 25 players being unavailable or injured for the game,” lamented the Belfastman.

His seconds trailed early but hit back through Herve Diese, Pat Kelly, Charlie Grover and Joe Cooper.

UNITED TIE
Adam Himeno was on target for United FC in a 1-1 tie with New York Croatia in Boonton, N.J.

United’s second unit prevailed 4-2 on goals by Andrey Serebryannik, Pavlo Kolonifa [two] and Timur Nadarbaev.

Also in the First Division, NYC Rovers thrashed Hoboken FC 5-0 at Laurel Hill Park. The Rovers reserves were equally emphatic in a 6-1 rout.

BLITZ
Shamrock went on another scoring spree in the Second Division, pasting FC Japan 5-0 on Randalls Island to go top of the table.

New boys Leo Nizzi and Mohamed Fofana each hit a brace while Brendan Lane, last season’s top goal scorer, accounted for the other goal. The Rocks crushed CD Iberia 5-3 the previous week.

Shamrock’s reserves thrashed Japan’s second unit 7-0 in the curtain raiser. John Riordan, Leandro Fregossi, Jim Wong, Paul McDaid [two] and Dan Meola connected.

clip_image002[2]FIVE-STAR PRAWDZIK
MVP Lukasz Prawdzik banged in four of his five goals on the day in the New York Ukrainian first team’s 5-2 drubbing of New Amsterdam United on Randalls Island.

Steve Kovalenko’s side made a whirlwind start and led 3-0 after five minutes, David Alkasimi [1st] and Prawdzik [4th, 5th] putting the Dutch to the sword early.  Prawdzik struck three more times [25th, 55th, 63rd] before Alkasimi iced it [70th].

Ukrainians’ Adam Maliniak could even afford to miss a penalty kick [49th].

Daniel Friedwald and Andrew Dickler [penalty] replied for Amsterdam.

Prawdzik had warmed up earlier in the opener by netting in the Ukrainian reserves’ 4-1 victory. Iurii Vovk, Nazar  Zarichnyy and Vitaliy Firsov also tallied.

ASTORIA NICKED
Nick Bill and Tommy Herlihy scripted relegated Manhattan Kickers’ first win in Division Two, 2-0 at the expense of promoted Sporting Astoria at East River Park.

“Tough, tough loss!” griped Astoria boss Ed Romero, who left the East Side talking of another “round two curse.”

His reserves had a better outing. They bounced back from the previous week’s 5-1 blowout against Ukrainians to hammer Kickers “B” 5-1. Mohammed Jalloh [two], Abu Jalloh, Christian Valencia and Johan Quinde led the charge. Sasha Gamzatov got Kickers’ face-saver.

CHAMPS HELD
On Randalls Island, Kevin Sales earned Doxa FC a point from a 1-1 draw with Division Two champions CD Iberia.

Jonathan Dasilva and Akay Nuredini snatched a 2-1 result for Doxa’s seconds.

RED PERIL
CPR Reds came away from Tibbetts Brook Park with a 2-0 decision over Metro Div. One titlists Lansdowne Bhoys. Phil Zubkowicz and Lance Brune connected.

“A hard fought game that CPR controlled for [the] most with Lansdowne failing to capitalize on some good opportunities at the beginning of the second half, including one off the post,” summed up Blake Berg.

FLYING POLES
Konrad Sobotka and Piotr Silski secured full points for FC Gwardia in a 2-0 defeat of Mr. Dennehy’s at Bushwick Inlet.

GRUDGE MATCH
In other Metro One action, Ridgewood edged old rivals Brishna 2-1, with a goal in each half by Emre Tetik [26th] and Catalin Ionita [73rd].

“Our goalkeeper Tomasso Martello and our defense deserve praise for this win,” said assistant coach Ovidiu Ordean.

SOUND & FURY
Williamsburg International FC [formerly Doyle’s Corner FC] won by a cricket score [15-2] against Metro City Fury Athletic at Bushwick Inlet. This on a day when three of the games in Metro Div. Two produced a combined 39 goals.

Andreas Moudatsos [three], Benjamin Bryden [two], Esteban Garcia [two], Sergio Garcia [two], Dimitri Saad [two], Ryan Kampe, Fraser Campbell and Charles von Rosenberg went for the jugular against a City team that started with nine men.

Metro City finished with ten after a red card in the first half.

PARTIZANI CRUSHED
At the Greenbelt Recreational Center, Barnstonworth Rovers crushed FC Partizani 10-1.

Jorge Español [three], Aldo Morales [two], Joaquin Lynch [two], Brandon Rowley, Matt Donovan and Sergio Restrepo were on target.  Erjon Arapi had Partizani’s consolation.

Newcomers Huerto United were the other big winners in Metro Two. They blew out fellow CSL rookies NYFC Iliria 11-0 at Memorial Park.

MOLA GOALS
Not to be outdone, Mola SC went on a scoring spree as well, mauling New York Galicia 6-2 on Randalls Island in another Metro Two goalfest.
Stefano Ingravallo [two], Sal Ingravallo, Vito Coldonato, Kanijah Lucien and Gianluca Palanca tallied.

LANTIR LEVELER
Othman Lantir’s late leveler [73rd] earned NYC Metro Stars a 1-all tie with SC Eintracht at on Randalls Island.

The latter had led from the first half through George Villalta who was assisted by Victor Guaiquil.

BRAVE LOSS
New York Bravehearts, meanwhile, had goals from Clement Osbert and Guillermo Arbelaez in their 3-2 defeat by AO Brooklyn.

PRIME TIME
Gilad Bloom [65th] and Joe Whiteman [80th] secured a 2-0 win for Over-30 Div. One champs Manhattan Kickers over Greek Americans at Van Buren HS.

Kickers’ other Over-30 side drew 0-0 with CPR Old Boys.

EIGHT BALL
Barnstonworth Premier, who beat Kickers Premier on opening day, massacred BW Gottschee 8-2.

Mike Butler [two], Emin Avasar [two], Nedgy Nazon, Shaka Hinds, Nasan Fitz-Henley and Errol Mcfarlane scored.

ROCKS OPENER
Paddy McCarry’s Shamrock cruised past Barnstonworth Old Boys 2-0 in their delayed season opener.

Alex Berne [35th], from Johnny Llangari, and former Golden Gloves boxer
Tomas Maher [44th], from Keith Buckley, connected.

“A good team performance. [We] were organized and very solid at the back,” said McCarry.

MIXED FORTUNE
Celtic’s Over-30s enjoyed mixed fortunes in Week Two.  Gareth Hasson scored in the Celtic Bhoys’ 1-0 decision over Hoboken, while the Celtic Legends were mauled 5-0 by CPR Grays.

COPS CUFFED
Nieuw Amsterdam saw off NYPD FC 3-0 in an Over-30 Div. Two fixture at Flushing Meadow. Josh Salsi and Louis Pacilio [two] did the damage.

LEGENDS FALL
And in the CSL’s new Over-35 division, SC Eintracht made it two wins out of two with a 3-0 romp at CPR Legends’ expense.

Olimpiu Roman, Andres Garcia and Dani Ceabuca did the honors.