Tag: Soccer

Andrew McCutchen Shows Support for USWNT with Customized U.S. Soccer Jersey

Pittsburgh Pirates outfielder Andrew McCutchen is a big fan of the U.S. women’s national soccer team—big enough to have his own customized jersey.

On Friday, the All-Star posted a picture of himself wearing a personalized Team USA jersey in anticipation for the team’s opening World Cup match on June 8.

McCutchen also tagged Meghan Klingenberg, a defender for the women’s national team and a native of Pittsburgh:

[Twitter, h/t USA Today]

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People in Sports Who Had the Best and Worst Year Ever

In life, and in sports, nearly everyone experiences prolonged periods of both success and failure. Of course, the 2014 sports year was far from different, as fans were treated to some truly memorable performances, of both the good and bad sort.

Madison Bumgarner, for example, had a downright iconic year, establishing himself as one of baseball’s all-time greats with the type of postseason pitching we’d never seen before.

In a similar vein, Russell Wilson led his Seahawks to the mountaintop and, in so doing, catapulted himself into the upper echelon of NFL quarterbacks.

In contrast, however, Tiger Woods battled injury all year long and lost his spot atop golf’s world rankings, while Robert Griffin did the same and lost his stranglehold on the starting quarterback spot in Washington.

So, with these guys and others in mind, we’ve done our best to highlight 10 People/Teams in Sports who had the best/worst year ever.

We should note, we’ve dodged the heavier side of sports in 2014, excluding from our list major violators like Donald Sterling, Jameis Winston, Adrian Peterson, Ray Rice and Roger Goodell.

Instead, then, we’ve explored those who struggled for non-legal reasons, and exalted the athletes who had a dream 2014.

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World Cup 2010: Which MLB Players Could Have Been Pro Soccer Stars?

Soccer is the most popular youth sport in the United States. In 2002, 17.5 million American kids played in organized soccer leagues, not to mention the countless other children who gather for street scrimmages or spontaneous exhibition matches. Compare that to the classic pastime of Little League baseball, which had only 2.2 million participants in 2006.

But while soccer dominates the amateur market, most serious athletes in the U.S. have to switch sports if they plan to play professionally.

Let’s be honest: American soccer is a joke compared to baseball, football, basketball, and even hockey.

It’s not nearly as lucrative, either. David Beckham, the most expensive player in American soccer, is earning $6.5 million this year. By comparison, the Houston Astros are paying Carlos Lee nearly triple that to hit .223.

With all the excitement of the World Cup, it’s only fitting to think about athletes who might have been soccer superstars had the sport been more popular in their home countries—not just in the U.S., but in places like Venezuela and the Dominican Republic.

In this slideshow are the 10 current or recent MLB players who I think would have been most successful in professional soccer. Each player on this list has some combination of skills and attributes that are important in the game the rest of the world calls “football.”

There’s no way to predict with certainty what would have happened had things been different. But it’s still worth a try.

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It’s All The Buzz: The Prestige and History of the Vuvuzela

Wait! Wait! What’s that noise? Is the stadium holding the world cup built over the most ridiculously annoying bees nest in the world? I asked myself this question, the first game I watched of the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

Did you ask, the same thing? Admit it, you must have wondered.

Thus, I thought, perhaps the noise is coming from an amazing guitar chord…Guns ‘n Roses or something… a note held for a long time. A really, really long time. However, after 90 minutes of chord-on-blues, I realized it wasn’t that either. I mean, come on, even Slash couldn’t hold a chord for this long.

Anyways, my analysis of the background buzzing was totally adrift. Turns out the zip, zip, zipping is courtesy of what’s known as the “stadium horn,” or the vuvezela. So what is the vuvezela, and what’s all the buzz? You know I wasn’t going to let this one go unanswered.

The vuvuzela was conceptualised by a man named Freddie “Saddam” Maake, who sought to create an instrument from metal handlebars of a bicycle. He removed the rubber handles and blew into the aluminum to make a horn sound. Voila! The vuvuzela became Freddie’s fruition. Mister Maake, being the marketing genius that he was, introduced his super-duper invention to Mexican soccer stadiums in the 1970’s, and through word-of-mouth (or blow-of-mouth), it grew even more fab-tastic, eventually meeting South Africa in the early 1990’s.

Now has become the concert of the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

This little musical diddy produces a loud, and quite distinctive monotone noise. The sound coming from the vuvuzela has various decibels depending on the frequency of air pressure, and remains in the chord of b. Like a traditional horn, fans blow into the top and the noise comes out the bottom.

This famous horn is 65 cm long, and has been used throughout Latin countries for the last few decades. The vuvuzela comes in an assortment of colors (to match team apparel we’re sure), and has totally increased in popularity within the South African Soccer traditions. It’s loud and distinctive sound is the victory call for the South African spectators. We might compare it to the USC band here in the states.

The vuvuzela’s earned notoriety during the 2009 Confederation Cup. The horns were blown in anticipation of the the impending 2010 World Cup Games.

This sweetie-pie little noise-maker has stirred up all sorts of controversies throughout it’s introduction to the soccer arena.

For starters, the not-so-fabulous soccer fans have used the aluminum form of the instrument as a weapon (the horns have since been made from plastic). In addition, the sound pressure from the horn is said to cause hearing loss. Actually, a study has found that the output of the vuvuzela varies between 113-131 decibels, which is 21 decibels higher then your average neighborhood chainsaw.

Okay, imagine a soccer stadium filled with chainsaws, and you’ll see where I’m going with this. It’s like a demolition derby, on steroids. Louder then a hydroplane race; several times louder.

American baseball recently had it’s brush with the vuvuzela. As a promotional item, 15,000 of the musical creatures were handed out during a Tampa Bay Rays vs. Florida Marlins game. Criticism of the instruments during the game lead to a league-wide ban of the vuvuzela during all MLB games.

In addition, other stadiums and venues to ban the instrument include; Yankee Stadium, Wimbledon, SWALEC, Millennium Stadium, Melbourne Cricket Ground, and Cardiff City.

We must admit, the history behind the vuvuzela is fascinating. Wither you find it annoying or intriguing, it’s a sound that’s here to stay for the remainder of the World Cup Games. We’d prefer the South Africans be introduced to old fashioned thunder sticks and pom-poms, but that’s our inner-cheerleader speaking for us.

Either way, now… you know!


Stay Fabulous,

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