Tag Archives: World Cup

Holden Impressing This Season for Bolton

Stuart Holden has impressed Bolton manager Owen Coyle and fans of the Wanderers with his work ethic in the midfield. Holden signed a contract extension with the club in September. (Courtesy William Holtkamp)

By Kevin Koczwara

Stuart Holden made the jump from Major League Soccer to the English Premier League last year. Holden decided to let his contract with the Houston Dynamo run out and was given a tryout with the Bolton Wanderers by the club’s new manager, Owen Coyle Coyle liked what he saw from the blond haired midfielder.

Holden signed with the club and hasn’t looked back since.

A leg break in an international friendly slowed down Holden’s progress last season. The tackle by Nigel de Jong of the Netherlands in a World Cup warm up game for Holden and the U.S. Men’s National Team looked to push Holden out of Bob Bradley’s plans for the World Cup in South Africa. But the Aberdeen, Scotland native made leaps of progress and was able to slot himself in the 23-man roster for South Africa.

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The World's Best Play for Barcelona; Xavi Tops the List

Barcelona midfielder Xavi has been a remarkable career at the Camp Nou, and it is about time he be rewarded for his play by winning the Ballon d'Or as the best soccer player in the world. (Courtesy of Wikicommons)

By Kevin Koczwara

Barcelona plays soccer the right way, and they do it with a style no other team can copy. The Catalan club may be “more than a club” to the people of Barcelona in a historical and social sense, but for the rest of the soccer loving crowds, Barcelona is more than a club because the team plays like no other.

Any 11 players that walk out on to the field for Barca understand how this game was meant to be played: beautifully.

Spain’s National Team has been playing the Barcelona way for a few years now.

Spain’s dominance in the Euro’s of 2008 through the subsequent winning of the World Cup this summer looked much like that of Barcelona’s global dominance. Both the national team and Barca play the ball on the ground, pass it quickly, run into space, dominate possession, play a high defensive line, and try to score goals. Neither Spain nor Barcelona sit back, and play on the defensive for a draw. No, both teams out play and out class their opponents. The way the game wasn’t meant to be played.

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Mike Burns Disappointed About U.S. Missing World Cup Bid, But Hopeful for the Future

Mike Burns played on the U.S. Men's National Team in 1994 when the U.S. hosted the World Cup. The Marlborough, Mass. native played for the New England Revolution in the MLS after the World proved to mainstream America that there was a fanbase for professional soccer in the U.S. (Courtesy Dwight Darian of Revolutionsoccer.net)

By Kevin Koczwara

Despite being labeled a “high risk” country, lacking a a poor transportation system, and the dangerous heat, Qatar walked away with the 2022 World Cup Thursday. The little country in the Middle East with oodles of wealth will be the first in the region to host a World Cup.

The United States vied for the same spot, and evidently the U.S. star studded bid featuring Bill Clinton, Morgan Freeman and Landon Donovan wasn’t enough to swing votes in favor of the red, white, and blue.

Like many other American soccer fans, former U.S. Men’s National Team and New England Revolution player, Mike Burns was hoping the U.S. would come away with the World Cup.

“Sheer disappointment [that the U.S. wasn’t awarded the 2022 World Cup], from a personal perspective, from a Revs perspective, from a former national team player perspective.I think that’s the one word, disappointment,” says Burns, who now works for the Revolution as the team’s Vice President – Player Personnel.

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John Doyle Brings The World's Biggest Soccer Tournaments to Life in "The World Is a Ball"

John Doyle was born and raised in Ireland, but now lives in Canada where he writes for the Globe and Mail. "The World is a Ball" is his second book.

By Ryan Fleming

Many sportswriters often dream of covering “the big game.” Depending on what sport you’re talking about, whether it be hockey, baseball, or soccer, you often work your entire life toward that game.

Irishman John Doyle, a television critic, has covered four of those elusive but priceless sporting events. For Doyle,  the pinnacle of a sports writer’s life happens to be sent on assignment to cover two World Cups and two European Championships. Not bad for someone who writes about TV.

In Doyle’s book, “The World Is A Ball,” he writes about how life growing up in Ireland affected his vision and idea of soccer, how his family, particularly his father, frowned upon the “English game,” but at the same time how it eventually grew on him.

From Toronto, Ontario, where the author currently resides and works at The Globe and Mail, he sends the reader first to the 2002 World Cup and immediately displays his wit and humor.

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Who Will Host The Wolrd Cup in 2018 and 2022

Sepp Blatter announced today the winning bids for the 2018 and 2022 World Cup host countries. (Courtesy PanARMENIAN Photos)

By Kevin Koczwara

Brazil will host the 2014 World Cup. The South American country won the right to hold the next World Cup in the last round of voting. Brazil will also host the next Summer Olympics in 2012. The Brazilians have some hefty partying to plan, good thing the country is well known for its partying skills already, which should make the transition a breeze — if we are to believe the crime problem many of the major cities pose is being fixed up properly.

This round of FIFA’s World Cup voting was to settle the destination for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups. Those years may be far off in most peoples’ minds, but the planning needs to begin now if the elected hosts of 2018 and 2022 want to be 100 percent ready for their time in the soccer spotlight.

Allegations of corruption in the FIFA voting committee swirled in the news this week, but the bidding war went on uninterrupted. The bidding nations splashed out the cash on advertising campaigns and presentations. Countries pithed their country as the perfect place to host a World Cup, and as the next best place for the game of soccer to grow and develop in the world.

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Landon Donovan Talks About U.S.A.'s Bid for 2022 Olympics

Videos Courtesy The USA Bid Committee

Now that you are actually in Zurich going through the process of preparing for the Bid presentation, what are your thoughts on the process?


As a player, your job is to focus on your performance and the team’s performance. What has it been like get a glimpse behind the scenes of how these big events are organized?


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Heather O'Reilly Talks WPS and World Cup

Heather O'Reilly has won at every level. She was part of the Sky Blue FC's 2009 Championship team in the WPS's innagrual season. (Courtesy Sky Blue FC/David Todd)

By Kevin Koczwara

Heather O’Reilly started playing for the United States Women’s National Soccer Team while still in high school in East Brunswick, New Jersey. O’Reilly was asked by the national team coach April Hendricks to suit up for the match against Sweden in the Algrave Cup on March 1, 2002 despite being only 17 years old and still in high school. The forward hasn’t looked back since, making over 1oo appearances.

O’Reilly played on the 2004 U.S. Olympic team, she was the youngest member of the team, winning a gold medal. She scored a crucial, game-winning overtime goal for the USWNT in the semi-finals match with Germany, which the U.S. won, 2-1. She would go on to be a vital member of the gold medal winning team in 2008 in Beijing, China.

The North Carolina Tar Heels retired O’Reilly’s number 20 jersey in 2008 after she graduated from the university with a degree in education and earning numerous awards for her play on two NCAA Division 1 Women’s soccer teams. She was named Offensive MVP of the NCAA Tournament twice and won the prestigious NCAA Honda-Broderick award for the best female college athlete as a senior – she was nominated three previous times.

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Carli Lloyd Talks WPS and The World Cup

Carli Llyod put the soccer world on notice at the 2008 Olympics when she scored the game winning goal in extra time of the gold medal game against Brazil. Courtesy Sky Blue FC/Howard C. Smith - ISI Photos

By Kevin Koczwara

Carli Lloyd holds down the midfield for the United States Women’s National Soccer Team [USWNT]. Her presence in the midfield for the U.S. has been a major part of the team’s success over the past few years.

Lloyd played all 600 minutes of the 2008 Olympics for the USWNT in Beijing and scored the game winning goal of the gold medal game against Brazil from 18 yards out with her left foot in extra time. Her goal clinched the U.S. the gold medal. After the goal and the gold medal, Lloyd was named U.S. Female Soccer Player of the Year.

Lloyd played for Rutgers College in her home state of New Jersey for her four collegiate years and left the school as its all team leader in points with 117 assists and 50 goals, impressive numbers.

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Fabregas Leading Streaking Gunners

Arsenal captain Cesc Fabregas scored twice and assisted on two other goals in the Gunners 6-0 win over Braga in the Champions League on Tuesday. (Photo Courtesy Gordon Flood)

By Joe Meloni

Come May 2011, Arsenal’s last two victories – a pair of routs over Bolton Wanders in a Premiership match and Braga in a Champions League match – will be forgotten. They were ostensibly Arsenal’s notice to the favorites of each competition that the club from North London has its eye on trophies. In each match, the Gunners took a lead, withstood a rush and eventually ran away with the match – both ending with exclamation points from Carlos Vela. Lost in the barrage of goals was the performance of the Gunners 23-year-old captain.

Yes, Cesc Fabregas is only 23 years old. People forget this often. Blaming them is difficult when watching Fabregas play. Whether he’s patiently leading an Arsenal attack or positioning himself four steps ahead of an opposition rush, he almost never displays angst or nerves associated with young, gifted players.

“He has taken another dimension,” Wenger told ESPN Soccernet after the 6-0 win over Braga. “People forget he is 23, where other players start. Cesc has a fantastic influence. What is important is that he leads the team to winning.” Continue reading

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Gerrard should be Capello and England's captain


Steven Gerrard has been Liverpool's captain for sometime now and he has displayed great leadership as his hometown club's captain. It's now time for Fabio Capello to name him the captain of England.

By Kevin Koczwara

When Fabio Capello began managing of the England National team in 2008, he the team’s most qualified players a chance to claim the captain’s armband by showing they could lead the squad on and off the field. One of the players Capello gave the opportunity to was Steven Gerrard, and the Liverpool midfielder could not convince the Italian manager.

Capello named Chelsea defender John Terry captain of the Three Lions, but Capello was forced to make an unexpected change.

When Terry’s extramarital affairs become public knowledge, Capello was forced to make a a tough decision and remove Terry from the captaincy. Terry’s affair affected the England locker room directly, his choice of mistress was a teammate’s ex-girlfriend. When the news broke about Terry sleeping with Wayne Bridge’s ex-girlfriend, the England locker room and brutal English press forced Capello to look for a new leader.

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