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La Super Liga se colapsa

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en

La Superliga se derrumbó antes de que se pateara un balón en la nueva competición europea tras ser abandonada por los seis clubes ingleses, dejando varados a los participantes españoles e italianos.

Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester United, Manchester City y Tottenham durante la noche del martes abandonaron la propuesta de lanzar una competencia futbolística completamente elitista en gran parte en medio de una creciente reacción de sus seguidores y advertencias del gobierno británico de que se podría introducir una legislación para frustrarla.

El proyecto de la Superliga estuvo a cargo del presidente del Real Madrid, Florentino Pérez, que también fichó al Barcelona y al Atlético de Madrid en España, y a la Juventus, el AC Milán y el Inter de Milán de Italia. El rival de la Liga de Campeones de la UEFA se volvió inviable sin los seis clubes de la liga más rica del mundo.

El resto de la organización de la Superliga en ciernes se mostró desafiante, culpando a la “presión” que se estaba aplicando por expulsar a los clubes ingleses e insistiendo en que la propuesta cumplía con la ley y aún podría ser revivida de alguna forma.

“Dadas las circunstancias actuales”, dijo la Superliga en un comunicado, “reconsideraremos los pasos más adecuados para remodelar el proyecto, siempre teniendo en cuenta nuestros objetivos de ofrecer a los aficionados la mejor experiencia posible al tiempo que potenciamos los pagos solidarios para toda la comunidad futbolística.”

Los clubes ingleses atendieron los llamamientos del presidente de la UEFA, Aleksander Ceferin, para seguir formando parte de la Liga de Campeones, que tiene un criterio de clasificación basado en el desempeño de un equipo en la liga nacional.

Cuando quedó claro que Chelsea y City dejarían la Superliga el martes por la noche, el capitán del Liverpool, Jordan Henderson, y sus compañeros de equipo publicaron un mensaje en el que abogaban por permanecer dentro de las competiciones europeas abiertas.

La Premier League amenazó con sancionar a los seis clubes rebeldes y el primer ministro Boris Johnson consideró introducir leyes para evitar que formen una nueva competencia europea a la que llamó un “cartel”.

Las divisiones dentro de los clubes de la Superliga también crecieron con el entrenador del Manchester City, Pep Guardiola, diciendo que la Superliga dañaría la integridad y los valores del deporte. El entrenador del Liverpool, Jürgen Klopp, también ha expresado su preocupación por las acciones de los propietarios de su club.

La Premier League había amenazado a los seis clubes con la expulsión si intentaban hacerlo solo en Europa. Los otros 14 clubes se reunieron el martes y rechazaron “unánime y vigorosamente” los planes de la Superliga.

El secretario de Cultura de Gran Bretaña, Oliver Dowden, dijo que los propietarios fuera de contacto “juzgaron completamente mal la fuerza de los sentimientos de los fanáticos, los jugadores y todo el país”.

Everton denunció la “absurda arrogancia” de los clubes de la Superliga. Los nueve títulos del Everton son la cuarta mayor cantidad de un equipo en la historia de la primera división inglesa, y el club de Merseyside fue considerado parte de la élite del país en la década de 1980 y principios de la de 1990.

“La reacción es comprensible y merecida, y debe ser escuchada”, dijo la junta directiva del Everton en un comunicado. “Esta absurda arrogancia no se quiere en ningún lugar del fútbol fuera de los clubes que han redactado este plan”.

Los clubes italianos se negaron a comentar antes y los equipos españoles no hicieron comentarios el martes por la noche.

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other sports

Publicado

en

In June, it was announced that Minnesota would soon have its first ever professional women’s team. The move comes after decades of advocacy for women sports and the growth of soccer in the U.S.. Minnesota Women’s soccer is joining the USL-W League as a founding member, joining eight other teams, across the country, in its inaugural season in 2022.  

 

Vida Y Deportes spoke with Andrea Yoch, one of the founders of Minnesota Women’s Soccer, about the development of the club and its inaugural season in the spring of 2022.  

 

What does it mean to you to be both a pioneer and a founder of professional women’s soccer in the state of Minnesota?

 

Andrea: I’ve been working in sports since I was 19, but for a long time I’ve been the only woman in whatever area I was in–radio, newspaper, business. I’ve had great mentors, they were great, but they were all men. There are some things men don’t know about being a woman in sports.

 

Being able to create an environment to help players with what they want to do after soccer, means a huge amount to me. I didn’t have that.I look forward to providing that to the next generation. 

 

What inspired you to get involved in this venture and why is soccer in Minnesota, particular for women footballers, so important?

 

Andrea: Serendipity. I’ve worked in soccer for 10-20 years, i worked at MNUFC.  I worked at international cups, men and womens. What I saw was that there was a passion for women’s game, growing in the last few years. A few of us were chatting about waiting to bring a women’s team to town–why not us? When we were investigating, we said we could do this.  We don’t need to wait for anyone, and that’s when we decided to go for it. 

 

Where does your love of soccer come from?

 

Andrea: I love soccer. It’s international, my parents were immigrants, and soccer is the one game that transcends country. You don’t have to explain it like hockey and american football. Soccer is the one melting pot and I love that.

 

My father was hungarian and a world refugee and my mother is from Ireland. They met in London. My dad stayed in Boston and they loved being in America, so they stayed. My favorite memories are going to sporting events, baseball. I live in Baltimore and used to have Baltimore Blast tickets, an indoor soccer league. You made friends with everyone around you at Memorial Stadium. That’s the atmosphere I want to create and invite everyone to be a part of. 

 

I read that you were a community owned team, what exactly does that mean to you? 

 

Andrea: Pre-professional, not everyone is pro. There will be college players. Community ownership has been done on the men’s side, fans can own a share of the team. For example, The Green Bay Packers, you own the team, as pride, but not ownership. Our fans can decide things like team names, team branding, those are big pieces to vote on. 

 

As we grow, as things come up and make sure we are dialed in, we will put that out to vote. What do you think? Should we try this or not? Having a dedicated focus group all the time, instead of big decisions with the small group, but always reflecting with the community which is very important for us. 

 

The first games are expected to be played in May of 2022. What’s on your to-do list before the opening day?

 

Andrea: Urgent is community ownership piece. We just got permission to be at the state fair, we hope to do a community ownership piece there, tell folks. We are doing the legal paperwork and so people can trust their money with this. We just launched a new logo by with a Minnesota Gopher player. After, is finding head coach. We would like to have her in place no later than late fall, early winter. We need her for tryouts, player searches, looking for staff, and where we play.

 

So, Community ownership, head coach, and we are having sponsorships conversation.

 

How much did your experience as VP at MNUFC prepare you for this? 

 

Andrea: When I got to United, no one knew we had a team. We had to convince people to drive to Blaine. We were able to build an atmosphere that created a crowd of 12,000 people that loved to be there. Saturday nights in Blaine were a personal party. I would see so many friends and family members and make new friends. We are applying that same energy towards this new venture, telling people, “We want you, please come,” and not just assuming that people will show up. 

 

I was fortunate to do it with ICC and women’s ICC, taking something that people don’t know about, bring them and making sure that on Monday night, that person is saying “I went to this game. It was fun, my kids loved it. Have you heard about it?” That’s what we created with the with United that I want to recreate with this team.

 

What has been the most exciting part of building the foundation for the club?

 

Andrea: Support from the community has been overwhelming. When we launched, the media was supportive and excited. We had a huge launch event. The other women and I were in the Gopher locker room changing from set up to event clothes. We came out to the soccer field, we had so many people on the field. We were like, “Wow!” All sorts of people, the representation that we had hoped for.

We invited everyone and they came excited, and they had fun and it was all over social media. It was amazing, and it validated what we were doing, validated that we were doing the right thing, that it’s something the community wants and that’s what continues to fuel us. 

 

What has been the most challenging? 

 

Andrea: I am a “lets have an idea and lets run with it” person.  It’s great in marketing, and I’m a freelance marketer. That said, this is serious and big time, so, for me, it’s taking time–attorneys are looking at language, that the franchise agreements are okay, state fair agreements, etc. Not just signing things, we have a group of smart people. Business, accounting and legal to set up properly. We want people to trust us, so we have to be organized to do this thing. We have attorneys donating time and financial people to help us out. Having them has been great.

 

What message do you have for young girls and women training hard to become professional soccer players or work in the sports industry in some capacity? 

 

Andrea: The opportunities are growing by leaps and bounds everyday. If this is what you want to do on the field, in the office, with lots of jobs supporting sports, it’s possible. The world is changing. When I was younger, I wanted to go into sports and people would say, “Why? Girls don’t do that.” I never played, I’m on the business side. Some people would say, “I’m looking for a husband.” I just love sports, the opportunity is so bright. 

 

Keep working hard in school, think about what you want to do, network, reach out to people that you want to know, people are generous with networking when asked. To work in sports is a privilege, we are not saving lives, as we saw during the pandemic, we can survive without sports, we were not critical in getting vaccines, so it’s fun and a privilege, if you want to do it, go for it. You work really really hard and have so much reward. 

 

What do you imagine as the impact of the club long-term?

 

Andrea: It’s treating the women’s game equally to the men’s game–not cutting corners, not treating the women as lesser than athletes. It’s treating them like they deserve to be treated. I look at Jessica McDonald, my hero, as a mother, being the best at what she is. Crystal Dunn, Megan Rapinoe, they are the best of their sport but they are role models, and have other endeavors, that’s something that women do. That’s not just one thing, we do 40 things. 

 

I want this to be a place we want people to play. We treat players the best, coaches are the best, no one screaming in your face. We have great medical care, we want to make them feel welcomed in the Twin Cities. We’ve had great outreach from other teams in the Cities, in what is an amazing sports scene.

 

The women’s team are understaffed, they are the secondary product of the men’s team, they don’t have dedicated people, until that changes, it’s hard to change perception and the media can’t change the perception, might be the 7 things that PR team should do. By being independent our only focus is the women’s team and we hope that will start changing things. We will be a pebble that will become a mountain, people will be sick of me and I will keep trying. 

 

I urge readers to go to https://mnwoso.com/. You can become a community member of MN women soccer! 

 

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other sports

Euro 2020 and Copa America Final Preview

Publicado

en

The Euro 2020 and Copa America have been filled with drama–on and off the pitch–and has provided us with new classics that we’ll be talking about for years to come. But just as quick as it came, we are now at the climax–the finals.

In the Euro final, we have England taking on Italy. In the Copa America it’s the South American powerhouses, Argentina facing off against Brazil.

Euro final

England has not made a major tournament final at the senior men’s level since the World Cup 1966. In fact, this is their first ever appearance in the Euro final. Their opponents, Italy, are four time World Cup champions (1934, 1938, 1982, 2006) and one time European champions (1968). For both sides, it’s an opportunity to surge back to European glory. 

Both sides play very different brands of soccer. The Azzurri pride themselves on their stingy defense and fast counter-attacking style. The Three lions play a balanced style of counter-attacking and possession, looking to expose defenses with their speedy wing play. 

The key to glory is the midfield

For Italy, they need to create more openings through the midfield and put away the chances they create. Against Spain, they let La Roja run rampant in the final third, where they fired off 16 shots on goal. Luckily for them, Spain couldn’t score. Against England, a team that loves to play with space, it would be their undoing.

Controlling the midfield is just as crucial for England. Despite their 17 shots against Denmark, the Danish often looked dangerous on the ball. Against an Italian team with more bite and an even more stout defense, the Three Lions must do what Spain couldn’t–take full control of the ball and finish their chances.

Prediction

Italy has been the headline of this year’s tournament. They’ve exceeded all our expectations, but they may be facing the deepest team they’ve encountered this tournament. England has had an easier route to the finals, and have often looked off the mark of a championship team, but they have more than enough quality to “bring it home.” 

There’s not much to separate these two squads, but should it become a game of endurance, like the semi’s, their bench mob of Rashford, Foden, Sancho, etc, could change the course of the game. Final prediction, England wins, 2-1. 

Copa America Final

In what has turned out to be a fairly predictable Copa America, soccer fans are in for a treat as South American juggernauts, Argentina and Brazil face off in the finals. 

The Seleção, reigning champions and nine time winners of the cup, are looking to win their tenth Copa America tournament, while La Albiceleste, 14 times winners of the tournament, are just one victory away from tying Uruguay as joint-record holder (15). 

Keys to the game: Defense and Clinical Finishing

Brazil has enjoyed a comfortable run to the finals. Though they’ve been challenged, they never looked in control of the outcome. Against Argentina, they’ll have to maintain their confidence and defensive shape. More importantly, they have to find a way to slow down red-hot Lionel Messi from creating opportunities.

For Argentina, it’s much the same. Ten different players have scored for Brazil this tournament, highlighting their ability to score from all over the pitch and in a multitude of ways. With Messi and Lautaro Martinez on their squad, scoring won’t be their primary concern, defending Brazil on the counter and build-up play is. Limiting easy chances and counters will be crucial. 

Prediction

Defense will be important, but make no mistake about it, this match will be a battle of possession between the best two attacking teams on the continent. Brazil holds a slight advantage in that department, but it will be close.

La Albiceleste have Messi, the soccer wizard and leading scorer of the tournament. The Seleção has Neymar, one of the most electric and perturbing players in the world. 

Either maestro could tip their balance to their squad, but their teammates will have to step up as well. For this reason, Brazil has the upperhand in this match-up. With a more balanced line-up and relentless attack, the Seleção will win la decima with  3-1 Brazil over their rivals. 

What are your predictions? Comment below!

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other sports

Nadal le dice ‘no’ a Wimbledon y a los Juegos Olímpicos

Publicado

en

Rafael Nadal decidió saltarse la próxima edición de Wimbledon, privando al torneo de Grand Slam más antiguo de una de las principales estrellas del tenis en su retorno tras haber sido cancelado el año pasado por la pandemia de coronavirus.

Nadal, dos veces campeón en el All England Club, anunció el jueves en sus redes sociales, que también se ausentaría de los Juegos Olímpicos de Tokio para descansar y recuperarse tras “escuchar” a su cuerpo.

“El objetivo”, según el español de 35 años, “es alargar mi carrera deportiva y seguir haciendo lo que me hace feliz”.

Nadal, quien alcanzó las semifinales del Abierto de Francia pero perdió ante Novak Djokovic, se consagró en Wimbledon en las ediciones de 2008 y 2010. También se colgó el oro olímpico de sencillos en los Juegos de Beijing 2008 y el de dobles en Río de Janeiro 2016.

En un comunicado difundido en sus redes sociales, Nadal subrayó que quiere seguir compitiendo “al máximo nivel de manera competitiva”.

Señaló que la transición de apenas dos semanas entre Roland Garros y Wimbledon “no ha ayudado” a que su cuerpo pueda recuperarse de la “siempre exigente” temporada en tierra batida.

“Han sido dos meses de un gran esfuerzo y la decisión que tomo va enfocada al medio y largo plazo”, indicó Nadal.

“En estos momentos de mi carrera como deportista, una parte importante es la prevención de cualquier tipo de excesos en mi cuerpo que pudieran impedir seguir luchando en el medio y largo plazo por los títulos”, añadió.

Nadal presume de 20 coronas de Grand Slam, con una cifra récord de 13 en el Abierto de Francia.

La derrota en Roland Garros el viernes pasado fue apenas su tercera en 108 partidos en un certamen en el que se había consagrado en cada una de las cuatro ediciones previas, incluyendo un triunfo ante Djokovic en la final de 2020.

Nadal mandó un “mensaje especial” a los aficionados en Gran Bretaña y Japón.

“Los Juegos Olímpicos han significado mucho en mi carrera y siempre fueron una prioridad como deportista, donde encontré el ambiente que todo deportista quiere sentir al menos una vez en su carrera”, dijo Nadal. Personalmente tuve la suerte de vivirlos intensamente en tres ocasiones y además ser el abanderado de mi país”.

Nadal ha jugado poco en medio de la pandemia de coronavirus. Atrapó un par de títulos, en Barcelona y Roma, y tiene foja de 23-4.

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