The 2015 United States Men’s Soccer Season


The United States Men’s Soccer team will look forward to bigger and better things when the year 2016 comes around as 2015 was considered to be an up and down year for the Americans. The men’s national team did not play to the expectations as many people thought they would. They lost the Confederation Cup playoff against Mexico and finished in fourth place in the Gold Cup.

The Men’s national team had some great moments during a few friendly matches. In June,  the U.S was able to defeat the Netherlands with a game winning goal scored by forward Bobby Wood. It was a great moment for both the young star and the men’s national team. Gedion Zelalem, another rising star, decided to commit to the the U.S national team instead of Germany and Ethiopia. This was a huge win for the U.S. They now have a rising star who will be key part for this team for years to come.  Another key moment the U.S national team had this past year was when they took a total of four points from their two World Cup qualifying matches. The U.S won half of it’s games going 10-6-4 on the season.

There were some moments that U.S men’s national team would like to forget in 2015. For the U.S, winning the Gold Cup was a true goal for them coming into 2015 because this would secure a CONCACAF’s berth in the 2017 FIFA Federations Cup. However, things did not go as planned for the U.S as they lost to Jamaica in the semifinals of the Gold Cup.  Many people are starting to doubt head coach, Klinsmann because of some of his coaching decisions and how the U.S has played of late, but U.S Soccer president, Sunil Gulati feels otherwise.  Gulati stood behind his head coach and believes things will eventually turn into the right direction for Klinsmann and U.S national team.

For more information, please check out:

The MLS As A Field of Retirement

We’ve seen numerous football stars hang their cleats up and call it day, diversifying their careers into coaching or business owning when their time on the field is over. Stars like David Beckham and Thierry Henry refused to do this. Instead of hanging their cleats, they transferred over to the MLS and began what it seems to be the second chapter of their soccer careers. The MLS is becoming the league for retirees to dip their feet in the water, even just one more time. Perhaps the league might not be as challenging as the English FA or Bundesliga, it still provides an avenue to generate income still doing what they love.

This article by DailyMail UK explains how Beckham who once played for LA Galaxy is close to realizing his dream of owning his own football club- the Miami MLS. He hopes to have the team running by 2018, and though the name has not been picked yet, it seems that he is closer than he has ever been in realizing this opportunity. It hasn’t been easy for Beckham, he has encountered many challenges in developing this project. Some of these challenges r Beckham has enjoyed a successful 21 year career as a soccer player. His career began at Manchester United,

As more soccer stars diversify their careers, the world focuses on Cristiano Ronaldo who has now turned down long terms rumors of his joining the MLS as part of his own retirement plan. The retirement plan rhetoric which has followed stars like Didier Drogba, Thierry Henry and the legendary Kanu Nwankwo doesn’t seem to apply to Ronaldo who was quoted last week saying-

“I’m 30 now and I’d like to keep playing for another five or six years. I know that it gets harder with age, but I believe it’s possible. As I’ve said several times before, my dream is to end my career at Real Madrid.”

Ronaldo’s decision or hopes of retiring in Real Madrid will most likely not be as challenging as David Beckham’s plan to build his own club and stadium. Ronaldo is still ranked as the number one player in the world right after Lionel Messi, and I doubt Real Madrid would want to do away with such a valuable asset. We just have to wait this out and see.

Also, how about that own goal from Van Persie this weekend? Completely heartbreaking


The Origins of Soccer

This presentation focusses on the origin of soccer and its rise in popularity throughout the last decades. Soccer is extremely popular among European countries and Latin America, however, its popularity in the US is slowly increasing.  This is the Newest soccer presentation via Prezi.

Chelsea v PSG : An Agressive Match to Date

Ralph CotranJosé Mourinho, the manager for Chelsea, has announced that his team members will not be awarded a bonus during the Champions League playoffs unless they take home the Champions League trophy this upcoming June. After his return to Chelsea in 2013, Mourinho restructured his team’s salaries and the per match bonus give aways. Although these payouts are by no means on the low end scale, Chelsea’s manager wonders whether money is an adequate incentive to motivate his players to do better. 

Mourinho believes that unless the team comes out victorious in the finals, they are not deserving of team bonuses, given that they already get paid very well. In a recent interview regarding this matter he was quoted:  “If we take the club into quarter-finals, semi-finals, finals but we don’t win the competition, we are doing a very good job for the club financially but I don’t think we should get extra money if we don’t win the last prize. Every player at the high level has enough money in salaries and I think everyone plays to win.” Mourinho states that the pride and success that comes with each win should override the desire to incentivize players with large bonuses. The love and passion the players have for the game should be enough encouragement to try their hardest and win each match. 

The Champions League has been a time of reflection for the Chelsea coach and his team, and as they close on the first part of CL, Jose believes that Paris Saint-Germain is one of the most aggressive teams they have played thus far. On the game against PSG, Mourinho voiced a real disappointment stating that the game was more about foul calls and aggressive interaction among the players and much less about soccer. 

NCAA Men’s Soccer Tournament Explained

The Men’s Soccer Committee of the NCAA has just released the official bracket for 2014. Notre Dame was predictably awarded the number one seed after last year’s championship.
With soccer growing in popularity after this year’s World Cup, the hopes are that this year’s NCAA tournament will have record audiences. There’s still a barrier to entry for the average sports fan, having to learn the ins and outs of a new tournament. Here’s what you need to know…
There are 24 conferences in NCAA men’s soccer. Each conference’s champion is automatically qualified.
The top 16 teams receive first-round byes.
2014’s first round begins November 20th (this Thursday!), and the final (the ‘Men’s College Cup’) will be December 12th and 14th in Cary, North Carolina.
The Atlantic Coast Conference has the most teams in the tournament, with Notre Dame, Syracuse, Louisville, Virginia, North Carolina, and Wake Forest all making the cut. The Big Ten Conference has six teams, including Michigan State, Maryland, Indiana, Penn State, Northwestern, and Ohio State.
There are no new-comers in the tournament this year. Saint Louis is making it’s 48th appearance – that’s right, this isn’t a new tournament, folks!
Games are played at universities all over the country. Securing a spot in the top four means a team gets to enjoy all home games until the quarterfinals.
For some, this tournament is a very big deal, but it still lacks the press coverage and editorial coverage enjoyed by larger tournaments. Since there’s not a lot of material online to give you a great idea of what teams to bet on, your best bet will be to watch the games.
The top 16 teams are…
Notre Dame
Michigan State
Tournaments are always more fun when you fill out a bracket with some predictions before it starts. The NCAA supplies a great interactive bracket that can be printed. []


Chuck Blazer US Soccer Executive and FBI Informant

FIFA World Cup - Coke

FIFA World Cup – Coke

Chuck Blazer was by all accounts a reliable professional in the soccer industry. From 1996 until 2013 Blazer served on the FIFA Executive Committee, he was an executive in CONCACAF (The North American, Central America, Caribbean Soccer Federation), and even served as an executive for US Soccer.

FIFA is an organization that is widely recognized as the world’s most corrupt governing body in sports. It is also the most recognized and wealthy. Allegations of bribery and vote-rigging abound. Most noteworthy was an investigation into the voting that made Qatar the location for the 2022 World Cup. That vote has since been revoked and a new location has not been decided upon.

Chuck Blazer was completely immersed in this shadowy FIFA organization, and a huge part of the problem. While earning millions of dollars, Blazer was not paying income taxes, which is a recipe to get caught. His offshore bank accounts funded his getaways to secret islands, private jets, and even apartments just for his cats! He also had expensive food tastes which led him to 450 pounds.

Upon discovering this blatant offense, the FBI and IRS both investigated him further and found he misallocated funds for CONCACAF.

Blazer, who is now very ill with colon cancer, was approached by the FBI and the IRS to be an informant against other high ranking officials in FIFA and other related soccer organizations around the world. He has recorded meetings with Russian, Hungarian, Australian, and American officials and could lead or have lead to further indictments including charges of money laundering and fraud.





The war on artificial turf

Tweet From Basketball Star Kobe Bryant

Tweet From Basketball Star Kobe Bryant

Basketball superstar Kobe Bryant tweeted a gruesome picture, but it had nothing to do with any injury that he sustained. This was a picture of US Women’s National Team member Sydney Leroux’s legs after playing a game on artificial turf in Salt Lake City. This has been a huge concern for women’s soccer players because the field surface for the 2015 Women’s World Cup with be played on an artificial surface when the world cup is held in Canada. Kobe Bryant is one of the few non-soccer player celebrities that are supporting the worldwide campaign to have the world cup playing surface changed to a grass field for 2015.

As of today, all 6 stadiums that will be used to host the 2015 Women’s World Cup will be using the artificial turf field surfaces. There is a coalition of over 50 star women’s soccer players from across the globe, including USA superstars Abby Wambach and Alex Morgan, who have decided that they are going to retain legal counsel on the grounds of gender discrimination. Their argument is that not once has the men’s World Cup has never been played on any surface but natural grass and that it is unfair that they would have to play on the artificial surface. One of the demands that this group has is that the Canadian Soccer Association, CSA, lay temporary grass fields over the artificial turf surface.

But the CSA is not going down without a fight, as president Victor Montagliani called the charges of discrimination “nothing but misinformation and typical hyperbole.” He is also claiming that CSA’s $4 million annual budget for women’s soccer programs is almost double of their male counterparts. This isn’t the first time that the CSA has been in hot water with their women’s team, they almost went on strike before the 2011 World Cup because “ad-hoc compensation.” There has also been another Canadian Soccer Association official that has been on record saying that the Canadian Men’s team would never play a World Cup qualifier on field turf because “our coaching staff and players prefer grass.”

But what about the voices of the women’s players, who also stated, that they also prefer to play on a grass surface. It was found in a recent FIFA report which surveyed 190 female players during the 2013 Algarve Cup, that 77 percent agreed or strongly agreed that “all matches at a major tournament should be played on natural turf.” Yet it seems as though the women’s voices and concerns about the playing surfaces are falling on deaf ears.

#USMNT goalkeeper Tim Howard the New Secretary of Defense?



World Cup fever has officially ended here in the the states, as the US Men’s National Soccer team was defeated yesterday afternoon by a score of 2-1 during their elimination match with Belgium. The #USMNT goalkeeper turned in what will most likely go down as the greatest goal keeping effort in World Cup history when he recorded a record high 16 saves during the US match in Brazil. The performance has taken the internet by storm. But before we get into that lets go over Tim Howard’s tale of how he arrived at his 15 minutes of internet fame. Timothy Matthew Howard was born on March 6, 1979. Howard started his long journey to the top when he first started playing for the now defunct North Jersey Imperials, of the United Soccer League, at the age of 18. For the next five years Howard was the goalkeeper for the MetroStars of the MLS and because of this he started to gain attraction from one of the most storied football clubs in the world, the famed Manchester United. He enjoyed get success while in Manchester and even won the FA Cup in 2003 and the League Cup in ’05 and ’06. But the honeymoon in Manchester was over as Howard was put on loan to Everton after ManU signed goalkeeper Edwin van der Sar. Howard first started to represent his country in 2002 when he first made the men’s national team and was an unused substitute for the 2006 World Cup in Germany. But then it all changed for Howard, and the National team, in 2010. Howard earned the starting position on the field and helped lead the US back to the Round of 16 and again in 2014, saving his greatest performance for what could be his last World Cup game. This years group truly inspired the entire nation. And with inspiration comes crazy memes based off of Howard’s legendary performance. American soccer fans took to twitter with the trending topic of #ThingsTimHowardCanSave. One super fan decided to change the position of US Secretary of Defense to Tim Howard. Not a bad promotion after his 16 save performance, and it’s nice to see such American pride before the Fourth of July on Friday. #ibelievethatwewillwin

Adnan Januzaj – Ralph Cotran’s Blog

This is an image of Adnan  Januzaj on Ralph Cotran's Hobbies and Interests website.

Adnan Januzaj

Welcome to Ralph Cotran’s Hobbies and Interests blog. One of Ralph Cotran’s favorite pastimes is Soccer. Soccer is a sport that is appreciated all across the world. Adnan Januzaj from Manchester United will be 19 this year. He is well known and respected player for Manchester United. He garnered 75% of the votes on a multilingual website related to selecting valuable players. He received money to be awarded to charity of his choice. Januzaj selected the organization, UNICEF. Other players chose to donate to UNICEF as well. Adnan has continued to be successful on and off the field. Manchester United fans chant his name when he appears and Adnan appreciates their singing. For more of a biographical look at Adnan, he was born in 1995 during the month of February. His birth places was Brussels. Like Ralph, Adnan Janujaz traveled many places around the world at a young age. He joined the Anderlecht club team when he was only ten years old. In 2011, Adnan started with Manchester United. He was only 16 years old. His number was 44 and stayed so during the ups and downs of his career thus far. One of his downs was that he encountered a bad injury that brought his 2011/2012 season to an end. Januzaj’s position on field is winger and he has had 27 appearances. Patrick Schaal believes Adnan Januzaj’s nomination for Player of the Month is deserved. Adnan thanks his fans and all of those who have supported him along the way. Like Adnan, Ralph has always appreciated soccer and used to play avidly. He used to talk the sport with his peers growing up. Ralf is still a very big fan and supporter of the sport. More details on Ralph Cotran’s experience with soccer can be found reading his Hobbies and Interests biography on the homepage of this site.