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In an ongoing effort to hijack the world’s most talented prospects, Manchester has agreed on a partnership with Western India Football Association (WIFA) to bring some of the world’s best coaching programs (read: scouts) to Mumbai.

Manchester United CEO, David Gill:

“We are delighted to be partnering with the WIFA in bringing this exciting training program to India…this is a long term commitment and we hope we will make an important contribution to the growth of Indian football.”

Which is easily translated to:

“We are delighted that WIFA was naive enough to allow us to place some of our top scouts in India…this is a long term investment in acquiring talent and we hope we will be able to steal away the future stars of Indian football.”

In all seriousness, this is fantastic news for Indian football as Manchester United Soccer Schools have produced players such as Ryan Giggs, Gary Neville, Paul Scholes, and Danny Welbeck. This has to be considered a win-win for both India and the Premier League giants. After kids are trained “the Manchester United way,” Man U can simply sit back and let the nation’s top talent head their way!

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As if a bicycle kick goal wasn’t impressive enough, Gimnasia La Plata’s Sebastian Romero and Marco Perez decided to both execute a bicycle kick at the exact same time. One could argue that two bicycle kicks, “a tandem”, is better than one, but it is hard to say this goal is more impressive than the shot from Bayern Leverkusen’s Eren Derdiyok:

Which goal was harder to execute? Leave your comments below.

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It has now become perfectly clear why English superpower Chelsea F.C. has lost 4 of their last 6 Premier League games – all Chelsea players are forced to listen to Justin Bieber’s “Baby” before each match. Chelsea Manager Andre Villas-Boas has made it a point ever since he took over in June to focus more on Justin Bieber and less on the actual tactics involved in the game, which is clearly working, especially after a 0-3 loss to middle of the pack Newcastle United. This will clearly be an international story worth keeping an eye on as the season develops.

Kudos to Bieber for actually looking like he’s seen a Soccer ball before as he shows some decent skills at :20, :23, and :41. It’s worth noting how jealous Lampard and Torres are about this 5’5″ 120 lb. 13 year old girl’s Justin Bieber’s skills.

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Goal of the Day

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“Super” Mario Balotelli provides some fantastic footwork en route to the Goal of the Day. However, Chelsea had the last laugh as they took down Manchester City 2-1.

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The College Cup is upon us

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Men's College Cup

Today is the weekend every College Soccer player dreams about being a part of, the College Cup. The 2011 College Cup is taking place in Hoover, Alabama (at a minor league baseball stadium?) and today’s matches are Charlotte vs Creighton (6 ET, ESPNU) and UCLA vs North Carolina (8:30 ET, ESPNU). Here is a look at some of the top players you’ll be able to see on display -

Men’s National Top 100 Players

Charlotte: Tyler Gibson #52

Creighton: Ethan Finlay #9, Tyler Polak #32, Greg Jordan #35

North Carolina: Billy Schuler #4, Matt Hedges #13, Kirk Urso #58, Ben Speas #59, Enzo Martinez #64, Scott Goodwin #89

UCLA: Kelyn Rowe #1, Chandler Hoffman #20, Matt Wiet #73

Men’s National Top 100 Freshmen

Charlotte: Giuseppe Gentile #8

Creighton: Eric Miller #23

North Carolina: Boyd Okwuonu #2, Mikey Lopez #7, Jordan McCrary #12

UCLA: None


 

 

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FIFA 12 gets hot and steamy

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There have been a ton of glitches when playing FIFA 12, where a player will randomly fall, and start twitching like he just had a seizure. We’ve also seen many different versions where two players land on top of each other, and proceed to make digital love.

However, the video below takes the cake! After Arsenal goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski dives into Andy Carroll in a failed attempt to make a save, the two get tangled up, and Carroll seizes the opportunity to pull Fabianski in for a passionate smooch.

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There are a few clear cut things in life :death, taxes, and if you’ve been watching men’s college soccer all season – North Carolina’s dominance. This year’s baby blue footballers can score in bunches, they defend, and they are very deep! The Tar Heels are in the College Cup for the fourth straight season, and if there was any year for them to bring a trophy back to Chapel Hill, this might be the best opportunity. Over the course of the entire season, they only have 2 losses, and have a goal differential of +40.

If you look at their opponents in the Cup, it is apparent they’re the favorites and should be able to win, but not without difficulty. Their first match in the last four is against a UCLA team that is seeded 13th overall in the tournament. Again, I’m not saying it will be easy, but if you base a lot off of the seedings it would seem the Heels should get the win in that one. Despite Chandler Hoffman having a ridiculous season, I’d expect the seasoned UNC defense to key on him, and most likely shut him down.

Their next opponent would be against the winner of Creighton vs. Charlotte, and if they’re matched up against Charlotte they’ve got a clear advantage. Despite my hopes for a Cinderella story, I must be a realist and Carolina would probably dispel any hopes of Cinderella finding her Prince.

Where it could get a little dicey is if the final is between the Heels and the Jays. Creighton is a solid team, they’re #2 in the overall tournament seedings, and pose a dangerous threat to UNC. The Jays have only given up 5 goals this year, and haven’t lost since October! However, UNC hasn’t either, and I think the Tar Heels have more offensive fire power than Creighton’s seen all year. The Heels have scored 55 goals to date, and I’d bet they are going to get pretty close to 60 after it’s all said and done.

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It felt like the NBA lockout lasted forever. While the players were away from the court, many of them had to find new ways to fill their time. Blake Griffin was no exception to this, he chose to fill his time with ping pong. I wish he would have tried to pick up soccer though, could you imagine him as a center back? There’s no chance any striker would win a header off of a corner…EVER! Oh well, at least the NBA lockout is over.

For the record, Blake Griffin would have been such a better choice to act in “Balls of Fury” than that fat dude. Once his basketball career is over, in about 15 years, I hope he considers getting into some Hollywood movies. Griffin is hilarious!

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Is there anything better than a Cinderella Story? Seriously, there’s something about an underdog rising up to take down the big dogs that gets everyone excited. Even the Disney movie will get you; I guarantee you can’t look me in the eye, and tell me you don’t smile every time the prince picks Cinderella.

Seriously, you didn’t crack a smile? Exactly.

Now, if you have ever participated in an NCAA Men’s Basketball tournament bracket pick’em, then you know that it’s always important to figure out who you’re Cinderella is going to be. Sometimes you don’t have your Cinderella getting to the grand ball, and only making it to the pumpkin stage coach, that’s fine as long as that team doesn’t go on to make it to the Final Four (you just feel dumb). Regardless, there’s something fun and magical about a Cinderella story.

Now if only College Soccer had a Cinderella team… Cue Charlotte.

The 49ers have had one heck of a run through the College Cup; they started with Furman, and blasted them 3-1. They followed that performance up with another 3-1 drubbing of 11th seeded UAB. Their next match proved to test the 49ers, and it came in the form of Akron: That’s right, last year’s champion, Akron. The guys from the queen city were able to pass the test though, winning 1-0.

Now, this would have been a heck of a tournament as it was, especially for a team that had a third place finishes in their conference. However, they were just getting us warmed up for a heck of a game with UConn. The Huskies came into the match as the #3 overall seed, demolishing Monmouth and James Madison in the two rounds before. Charlotte had a few tricks up their sleeve, and was able to get the match into PKs, where this happened:

Now, I know I have blindly picked teams to win, **cough** Creighton over USF, but it’s hard not to root for these guys! I know Creighton is the #2 overall seed in the tournament, and I know that the Jays have been terrorizing opponents to the tune of a +35 goal differential this year. But this is the College Cup, anything can happen. I’m rooting for you, Cinderella!

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adidas and Major League Soccer today unveiled the adidas PRIME, the new official match ball for the 2012 MLS season. Designed to improve accuracy, consistency and performance in all conditions, the PRIME is created exclusively for MLS with a unique graphic design and will be used by all 19 clubs beginning in 2012.

The adidas PRIME’s new panel design provides more accurate and consistent ball movement to support the modern soccer game which is faster than ever. The Prime also features a matte finish for better grip and improved sealing for better performance in all weather conditions.

“We worked directly with both field players and goalies to rigorously develop a ball with the truest and most stable flight path,” said Ernesto Bruce, MLS manager for adidas.

adidas wasn’t done unveiling new products today, they also unleashed the third kit for the Portland Timbers. Timbers defender David Horst and midfielder Darlington Nagbe revealed the new look during a special unveiling event in the KeyBank Club at JELD-WEN Field on Tuesday morning.

“One of the greatest strengths of the Timbers is the rich history of the club,” said Merritt Paulson, president of the Timbers. “With this third kit, we are paying homage to the teams and players that inspired our city to become Soccer City, USA.”


The kit is awesome, and the gift box has a cool story behind it. There will be 2,012 made, which makes this a collectors item, and a great holiday gift. Anything limited edition is usually a collectors item, but this time it might be worth trying to grab one. I’m also a fan of the collage of Timbers pictures on the inside of the box, it really does a good job of showing the history of the club.

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