Playing a sport instills values in the player. Work ethic, teamwork, respect and the ability to overcome adversity are all key qualities which playing sports teaches. Those who begin playing from a young age will ultimately learn these values more quickly. They might have grown up watching certain sports with their families and learned to embrace their competitive spirits early on. They might even be inspired to play and compete by their parents or siblings. Whichever path led the player to his or her chosen sport, the player gains immeasurable qualities and experiences learning how to thrive on a team and understanding the value of a strong work ethic. Check out the presentation below to learn more:
There’s universal agreement that Germany was the best team at the World Cup and deserved to win it. Goalkeeper Manuel Neuer was absolutely superb, giving up only four goals in seven games. Of course, it helps that the defenders in front of him, Jerome Boateng and Philipp Lahm in particular, were air-tight, thus making things a touch easier in what is considered the zenith of the national team’s decade long journey to get here.
A journey that began in 2004 with the hiring of Jurgen Klinsmann. The current U.S. Men’s National Team manager came in and shook the very foundation of German soccer to its core, changing the joyless, stringent approach often associated with the team for a more progressive, attacking style of play.
Klinsmann needed to establish young cornerstones to see his vision through: Lahm, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Lukas Podolski and Per Mertesacker. That’s 4 players on the current roster of this year’s World Cup winning team, although the latter two were reserves. Mertesacker was quick to give Klinsmann credit saying they were only continuing what he started, but not everyone agreed as evidenced by the German media’s brutal treatment of him. Perhaps with time and now signature hardware, Klinsmann will be judged differently. He certainly deserves it.
So this is how it’s going to go, huh? Wait, I’m answering my own question. That would be a resounding YES. Yes, this is how it’s going to be with Johnny Manziel whose every move, frivolous or not, is getting the ultimate Tebow treatment. Did I mention that we’re barely into OTA’s? You may have heard he went to Vegas over Memorial Day weekend. Imagine that. A 21 year-old who wants to go to Sin City. Ah, but it’s not just any 21 year-old. It’s Johnny Football who’s living in his own sphere which doubles as a fish bowl.
Maybe Manziel was on to something when he was asked about being drafted by the Cowboys, “I don’t know if the world could have handled that, honestly.” He’s absolutely 100% spot-on. If he was in Dallas or New York, we would’ve been absorbed in an armageddon scenario. All city municipalities would be shut down. Meteors would crash into the Earth. Computers would malfunction. As is, he’s the Browns quarterback and that’s causing almost as much chaos. Almost. Who cares if he went to Vegas? Really. There’s reports he even sat in the middle seat on a Southwest Airlines flight.
You see, he’s slumming it like the rest of us. Of all the people, he’s put it into perspective by saying he hasn’t done anything yet to even create a buzz. Right again, Johnny! If and when his off-field antics become a distraction, then and only then, should we process his choice in pool parties he attends, but until we reach that point, let him, as he says, “live life to the fullest.” Browns head coach Mike Pettine says Manziel is studying the playbook. That’s all you can ask for right now. For what it’s worth, he took reps with both the first and second teams. Last week, he worked exclusively with the third team, so he’s making strides on the field. Let’s ease up on the Tebow-like fascination and put this in perspective. At least Manziel is.
Calling it the toughest decision in his career, U.S. men’s manager Jurgen Klinsmann nearly tipped the earth off it’s axis by leaving beloved star Landon Donovan off the final World Cup squad of 23. Klinsmann’s move took, for lack of a better word, stones to make.
It was highly unpopular among die-hard fans and a head scratcher among the fringe ones. After all, we’re talking about the U.S. men’s national team’s all-time leading scorer, but Klinsmann didn’t just wake-up and make this decision based on one week of World Cup training camp. No, it had been one that was germinating for awhile, ever since Donovan took a sabbatical during CONCACAF World Cup qualifying when a roster spot was anything but solidified. Klinsmann never got over what he perceived as Donovan’s lack of committment and fitness.
In short, the two men simply did not mesh. The painful reality is that at 32, Donovan is not the same player he once was, lacking the burst of speed that was his trademark. Consider this: He hasn’t scored a goal in any professional match since October 6th 2013. With the Donovan omission, there’s now a total of 5 players who have World Cup experience on this roster, while the rest are newbies entering the Group of Death.
However, there is talent with attacking options at Klinsmann’s disposal. Still, a player of Donovan’s ilk would’ve provided a nice spark off the bench. That’s the risky part of this. Klinsmann may have made this move and possibly others with an eye toward 2018, but let’s remember that the German may not even be around then. As the realization of a World Cup without Donovan sets in, take a moment to remember perhaps the greatest memory we have of him. The stoppage time goal against Algeria in the 2010 World Cup, a sequence that for a glorious time, stopped the planet from spinning on its axis.
Manchester United striker Robin Van Persie recently tossed a significant chunk of kindling into the smoldering fire that threatened to become a raging blaze when he said he wanted to actually stay at Old Trafford for two more years, even going so far as vouching for his often maligned manager David Moyes. In one of his statements that was drenched in defiant sarcasm, Van Persie told United Review: “Last time I checked my head was still attached to my body, so I’m the only one who knows exactly what I’m thinking.” He’s right you know. His head is attached to his body. Good, glad we cleared that up.
He’s also correct on the latter count. RVP is the only one who knows exactly what he’s thinking because, well, the last time we thought we knew what was rattling around his cranium, he professed to be a Gunner for life. Truth is, he was in top form under Sir Alex Ferguson, helping the Red Devils to the Barclays Premier League title with world-class play. The afterglow, however, quickly dimmed and RVP was said to be unhappy with Fergie’s retirement. From there, the trap door seemed to open up under the Dutch national team captain, swallowed up by injury, disappointing results and Moyes training tactics. His simmering status finally came to a boil when he was substituted for Danny Welbeck in the victory over West Brom. The body language didn’t just speak volumes.
It was at a deafening decibel in surround sound, all the while the team appeared more balanced with Welbeck in there the rest of the match. The synergy that was hoped for with Wayne Rooney hasn’t materialized this season. It’s far from the partnership shared by say, Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge that was on display in Sunday’s win. What they have resembles an Indy car with an engine that purrs. RVP and Rooney are lurching along in a lemon. The timing of Van Persie’s comments are most curious, coming at a critical juncture for the club. They can be looked at as a money grab, but Manchester United might be better served if he goes.
There are reports the Red Devils are targeting PSG star Edinson Cavani, a costly maneuver that would prove to be beneficial. Problem is, it’s highly doubtful the club will just fork over an armored truck filled with money to Moyes, the same man whom RVP gave a vote of confidence to. Moyes may not even be back as manager following the debacle versus Liverpool. As for RVP’s exit, it would certainly help ease some of the financial and perhaps emotional burden attached to him. At the very least, it saves everyone from getting another anatomy lesson.