Michael Rand started RandBall with hopes that he could convince the world to love jumpsuits as much as he does. So far, he's only succeeded in using the word "redacted" a lot. He welcomes suggestions, news tips, links of pure genius, and pictures of pets in Halloween costumes here, though he already knows he will regret that last part.
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A few years ago, Tony Sanneh -- St. Paul native, a candidate this year for the U.S. Soccer Hall of Fame and Founder and CEO of the Sanneh Foundation -- went to Haiti on a humanitarian mission and was gracious enough to blog about it for us. Sanneh and his crew have returned, and once again he is sharing his thoughts. Here we go, including an intro via his foundation:
In 2010 an earthquake tore through the country of Haiti, inspiring The Sanneh Foundation and Los Angeles Galaxy to come together in a humanitarian effort to provide clothes, food and soccer clinics to the kids and families dealing with the devastation. Over 850 youth were served on that trip. The Sanneh Foundation subsequently sponsored a team to come back to Minnesota for the Schwan’s USA Cup, officially launching The Haitian Initiative and Exchange Program. Today the effort continues in the form of a children’s league in Cite Soleil started by the Foundation. Sanneh and the staff are so committed to its success that nearly all of them are back in Haiti over two weeks to lead, evaluate and provide additional aid. They will spend a majority of time in Cite Soleil, hit hard by the hurricane three years ago and regarded as one of the roughest and most dangerous areas in Port-au-Prince with 300,000 residents, and mostly children or young adults, living in extreme poverty. They will also be working at other locations, including Grace Village and other orphanages. If you are interested in donating or raising money for The Haitian Initiative or to host a Haitian Exchange participant during the USA Cup, please contact Sarah at email@example.com.
Dana Wessel is a friend, so we suppose we know that 90 percent of his tweets (at the bare minimum) are jokes.
But apparently the San Jose Mercury News staff isn't as well-versed in Wessel's ways. The other day, Wessel tweeted this as a joke signifying how much the U.S. Soccer team needed Landon Donovan:
Obama to Landon Donovan: "You wanna take Air Force One to Mexico City? We can still make it. Just say the word."— Dana Wessel (@DanaWessel) March 26, 2013
And the paper ran with it as fact. It's still up, in fact. Google Landon Donovan and it's one of the top stories.
People Magazine will be similarly upset to find out Wessel isn't really dating Anna Kendrick.
Of course, the best part is that the media story about the Mercury News story calls Wessel "her."
The U.S. men's soccer team is in trouble as it heads into two huge World Cup qualifiers (Friday vs. Costa Rica and next Tuesday vs. Mexico). Just how much trouble -- and how much it revolves around coach Jurgen Klinsmann -- is subject to debate, and the subject of a lengthy takeout piece by The Sporting News.
It goes well beyond the situation with captain Carlos Bocanegra, who is not on the roster for these next two matches. Per Sporting News:
Over the past several weeks, Sporting News has spoken to 22 individuals with ties to the U.S. national team or its members—including 11 current players based in MLS or abroad. The remaining sources make their living in American soccer and have reliable relationships with players, coaches and executives. Sources were offered anonymity in exchange for their anecdotes, observations and opinions. Those identified by name are Klinsmann and three players who spoke shortly before Sporting News commenced reporting this story.
What emerged over the course of these discussions was near unanimity regarding the players’ flagging faith in Klinsmann, his staff and his methods, along with the squad’s absence of harmony.
In conversation after conversation, the same themes emerged:
— Klinsmann and chief assistant Martin Vasquez either lack the tactical acumen and game-day chops to successfully lead the team or fail to communicate their wishes effectively.
— Too much time and too many resources are spent on initiatives that don’t translate to the field.
— Constant lineup changes and building resentment over the perceived importance and attitude of the German-born players are harming team chemistry.
This group isn’t on the same page with its coach or each other, and the World Cup campaign might be in peril unless that changes. Sources painted a picture of a coach whose big ideas might not fit a team he could be in danger of losing.
All of that could add up to a team crumbling at the worst possible time and missing out on qualifying for the 2014 World Cup. Give the rest of the piece a read. It's worth it.
Take a good look at those six still photos (from the Associated Press) taken during the 2010 World Cup. See how the ball is clearly across the goal line, but know that it was not ruled a goal. England would have tied its match with Germany 2-2 with that Frank Lampard shot. Instead, it lost 4-1.
But that loss was soccer's gain.
Because that goal call was blown by on-field refs, FIFA has committed to goal-line technology for the 2014 World Cup, it was announced Tuesday. That single play was the clear impetus, as noted in this story:
Before the 2010 World Cup, (FIFA president Sepp) Blatter had long opposed taking the human element of decision-making from referees. He changed his stance after seeing match officials miss Lampard's shot bounce off the crossbar and land fully over the goal line in Bloemfontein. England would have leveled at 2-2 before halftime but lost 4-1 in the second round.
Blatter said two days later that FIFA should reopen the debate, although video replay remains off-limits for judgment calls.
Hey, goal reviews are a start. It's an easy thing to fix, much as home run/no home run is for baseball. So FIFA will pick a company and get the technology installed for the next World Cup to determine if a ball crossed the goal line.
Now the only question, really, is will the U.S. squad be in Brazil to use it?
Gus Johnson's style is a mixed bag among sports fans, who tend to either love him or hate him. How will that play with soccer fans? Well, we're about to find out. Per SI.com:
The radical idea was hatched in October 2011, shortly after FIFA awarded the U.S. broadcast rights to Fox Sports for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups. Fox Sports president Eric Shanks wanted to do something bold with his soccer coverage. Most importantly, he wanted to brand it with something unique to Fox. So he called up broadcaster Gus Johnson, who had joined Fox only five months earlier, and asked him a question: Would you be willing to work for the next six years to become the American voice of soccer?
Johnson was stunned. But he was also interested.
Fourteen months later, after an immersion in the sport that has included calling a dozen games on the radio for the San Jose Earthquakes of the MLS and a series of practice soccer broadcasts from Fox studios across the country, Johnson begins the long road to becoming the voice of the 2018 World Cup for Fox.
The 45-year-old broadcaster will call his first match for Fox Soccer on Feb. 13 (2 p.m. ET) from Madrid's Estadio Santiago Bernabéu when Real Madrid faces Manchester United in a mouthwatering Champions League Round of 16 match.
Gus is an excitable guy. It will be interesting to see how that enthusiasm translates into matches that potentially end in scoreless draws. Probably something like this: