Daniels: MLS is here to stay

first_imgWhen soccer icon David Beckham decided to take his talents elsewhere this past offseason – leaving the Los Angeles Galaxy in Major League Soccer for Paris Saint-Germain in France – many loyal MLS fans feared the worst.And this fear was certainly justified.In six seasons with the Galaxy, David Beckham had a tremendous impact on the state of soccer in the United States.Since his first game in 2007, the MLS has added five teams, while also increasing the average attendance at an MLS game by 3,000 fans. Teams that were lucky enough to schedule a game against Beckham and Co. in his five-year stint in America were likely to experience the benefits of the “Beckham bump,” which was a rise in attendance at games just to see him play.But that was then.Although it’s still considered a fringe sport in the United States, just outside of the big four – basketball, football, baseball and hockey – soccer has slowly but surely found its niche since MLS’s origins in the early 1990s.However, without its poster boy to advertise across the country, American soccer seemed poised for an identity crisis when the red carpet was rolled out for opening weekend in the MLS March 2 and 3.While teams continued to bring in new talent, none of the names were on the same level as Beckham’s – a name that is estimated will sell 22.7 million dollars worth of jerseys in his one-year contract with the Paris-based team – and so it seemed the MLS might fade back into the sports shadows without a new player to take the torch.But when the curtain was lifted for the opening act of MLS, and America’s best soccer was put on display Saturday, those who predicted an early exit stage left for the league could not have been more wrong.Of the season’s opening nine games, five of them finished with an attendance above the 2012 average of 18,807, two matched it, and only two fell below it. Leading the way Saturday was a raucous 38,998 crowd at hand for the Seattle Sounders’ first home game against Montreal.This begs the question: What has changed?The answer to that question is certainly not a simple one, as there are many factors that play a role in a league’s success, but the underlying factor contributing to continued growth for MLS soccer seems to be the direct result of a changing culture around the sport in the U.S.Like never before, the league has developed a sense of pride, a sense of camaraderie among its fans, spurred on largely by the MLS’ ability to market the league more effectively than in past seasons.I have seen this pride firsthand.Not long ago, after writing a column that lightly chastised the league and predicted MLS had reached its peak importance in America, my inbox was inundated with emails and comments from MLS fans across the country telling me I was wrong – some of the comments even longer than my column itself.While I brushed it off at the time as a few crazy fans too prideful to recognize a stagnant league when they saw one, I now see that they were the rule, not the exception.The MLS is here to stay, and the league itself has played a critical role in the successful branding of the fledgling league, especially heading into a 2013 season without the Beckham brand to help it out.While league games have typically been scheduled throughout the week in past seasons, the MLS made a move this season to host over 90 percent of its games on the weekends; the majority of those games have start times between the primetime hours of 7 p.m. and 10 p.m., which will make the league easier to follow than ever before.Even more importantly, the MLS has finally realized the tremendous power that rivalries hold in the world of sports.If there is one thing sports fans love more than cheering for their own team, it is cheering against the villains they despise.With the development of league rivalries over the last few years, such as Seattle, Portland and Vancouver in the annual Cascadia Cup and the Los Angeles Galaxy vs. Chivas USA (also based in Los Angeles), the league has decided to take a play out of college basketball’s playbook by creating “rivalry week,” which is scheduled to take place March 16.The chance to watch bitter rivals face off all in one day is enough to make a diehard soccer fan’s mouth water, and is sure to draw in a few casual sports fans along the way.In essence, the MLS has proved it is not about the players. After all, they will come and go.Instead, it is the fans who determine whether or not a league is successful.Now that the MLS understands that, the sky is the limit.Nick is a junior majoring in journalism and political science. Think he is wrong? MLS doesn’t stand a chance unless it brings in better talent? Let him know at ndaniels@badgerherald.com or send him a tweet @np_daniels.last_img read more

Pete Carroll returns to the Coliseum

first_imgPhoto courtesy Bobak Ha’EriJust like old times · USC fans have many fond memories of the Pete Carroll era, when the Trojans won two national championships. Here, Carroll participates in the “Trojan Walk” before a game in during the 2008 season.Despite a lackluster, defensively oriented game, Sunday afternoon was an electric return for the Los Angeles Rams in their first game in L.A. since 1994. With a rowdy crowd, an energetic Red Hot Chili Peppers pre-game concert and a much-needed home victory for the Rams, lost in the shuffle was a major storyline: Former USC head coach Pete Carroll’s first appearance at the Coliseum since leaving the school in 2009.The coach wasn’t sure how he would be received when asked before the game.“No idea,” Carroll said. “I don’t think there’s going to be an actual reception, I think we’re just going to start the game.”It turns out he was largely correct. Most of the crowd’s attention seemed to be directed at the pure excitement of seeing their Rams back in Los Angeles or urging for rookie quarterback Jared Goff to replace starter Case Keenum. Goff did not play.Carroll’s return to the Coliseum was an appealing narrative largely because of his controversial exit from USC. After amassing 83 wins, four Rose Bowl victories and two national championships during his nine seasons with the Trojans, he left abruptly following the 2009 Emerald Bowl to fill the Seattle Seahawks’ head coaching vacancy.Six months later, the USC athletic department was hit with crippling sanctions stemming from improper benefits received by running back Reggie Bush and basketball player O.J. Mayo. The football program faced a two-season bowl ban and the reduction of 30 scholarships. Some felt that Carroll knew about the severe penalties and that his departure was a calculated measure to avoid any punishment from the NCAA.“I regret that anybody had to go through all of that, and I’m as remorseful as I can be about that,” Carroll said of the circumstances surrounding his exit. “I think it was really off-base and out of line the way they handled it, and I felt like it was a miserable thing to do to a great university. I’ve always felt really kind of upset about that. I wish I could have done something once we realized that it was a problem, but I was already gone by the time all of that stuff came out, and I felt bad about that.”The Trojans have not been able to replicate Carroll’s successes following his departure. Since 2010, the football program has had three head coaches, three athletic directors and a series of mediocre seasons. USC has failed to maintain national prominence since the NCAA investigations.Carroll, on the other hand, continued his success, leading Seattle to five postseason appearances in six years and a Super Bowl championship in 2013.However, Carroll experienced much less success in his Coliseum return than he was accustomed to when leading the Trojans. The Seahawks were stifled by the Ram’s defensive front, mustering just 67 rushing yards in a miserable 9-3 loss. After the two-minute warning in the fourth quarter, Seattle began to drive into Rams territory, but a potential game winning drive was spoiled when Alec Ogletree forced a Christine Michael fumble at the 32-yard line. The Seahawks have now lost four out of five of their last games to the Rams. Both the Rams and Seahawks have experienced little offensive success so far in their respective 2016 campaigns.Former USC All-American and current Rams safety T.J. McDonald also made his return to the Coliseum. He recorded one tackle during his defense’s dominant performance.Next up for Carroll and the Seahawks is a divisional matchup against the 49ers, who defeated the Rams in a 28-0 opening weekend clobbering. This Sunday, the Rams will aim to score their first touchdown since relocating in an away game at Tampa Bay.last_img read more

Syracuse dominates another unranked opponent, beats Harvard for 9th win

first_img Facebook Twitter Google+ As Syracuse took the ball upfield during a clear attempt, Meaghan Tyrrell broke away. The freshman attacker drifted into space behind the Harvard defense and situated herself directly in front of the crease. Nicole Levy noticed and lofted a pass from the left sideline toward her teammate, who was defended only by Grace Rotondo, Harvard’s goalie. Rotondo was stuck between knocking away the incoming pass and guarding her goal. She chose neither and simply flung her stick upward, allowing Tyrrell to corral the pass and score.No. 4 Syracuse (9-2, 2-1 Atlantic Coast) took down Harvard (4-4, 0-1 Ivy League), 15-6, on Tuesday, matching its win total from last season in eight fewer games. After a seven-game slate which included five ranked opponents, the Orange won by their largest margin since Feb. 18. Paced by Emily Hawryschuk’s seventh-straight game with four or more goals, the SU offense took advantage of a number of mistakes by the Crimson defense and often turned them into scores. Syracuse has now defeated Louisville and Harvard — its last two unranked opponents  —  by a combined score of 29-13.“I look at (unranked opponents) as a great opportunity to dig down,” SU head coach Gary Gait said. “For our starters to go in and stay motivated and continue to grind and work on what we need to work on, to provide opportunities for the rest of their teammates.”Syracuse’s starters led it on Tuesday, scoring eight goals and causing four turnovers. Even when it looked like the Crimson had stopped the Orange, they hadn’t. On SU’s second possession of the game, Megan Carney’s shot from the eight-meter arc sailed high of the goal and out of bounds. But Harvard failed to earn possession, with Hawryschuk instead getting to the spot first. On the ensuing play, Hawryschuk scored on a question-mark dodge.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textThen, four minutes later, Syracuse nearly prevented itself from scoring. After the Crimson turned the ball over due to a dangerous projectile violation, Levy controlled the offense again. She found Mary Rahal for an eventual goal, but Rahal was obstructed by Morgan Alexander, who was right behind her and collided with a Harvard defender after the play.Harvard kept the game close early on. After falling behind 4-0, it scored a goal that prompted an immediate Orange timeout. Ninety seconds later it poured in another, cutting SU’s lead to two. “Seeing it was 4-2, we needed a run,” Hawryschuk said. “Knowing that if we stayed smart on offense, if we could stay composed, we would be able to build off of that and have the end score that we did.”The run, a 6-1 scoring stretch to end the half, began almost 10 minutes later when Alexander was doubled by a pair of Harvard defenders. She jabbed away from the goal at the 12-meter arc while protecting the ball, and the hesitation threw both defenders astray. She converted on the mistake, scoring just inside the left goalpost and tumbling immediately after.Harvard wouldn’t improve in the second half. After falling behind by 10 goals, the Crimson secured a free position attempt. Grace Hulslander, Harvard’s second-leading scorer, set up on the right side of the goal in an attempt to cut SU’s lead to single-digits. But instead, she missed and drew a “dangerous propelling” foul, called for when a shot hits or endangers another player. It earned Hulslander a yellow card and sent her to the bench. Alexander scored just over a minute later. With just under 10 minutes to go in the game, Hulslander had another chance to score on a free position shot. It clanged off the right post. Fourteen seconds later she was fouled and earned another attempt. That one was wide. Harvard went scoreless for the next 14 minutes. The Orange turned in a solid performance against the Crimson and still cruised. In six games against ranked opponents this season, they’ve played up to their foe’s level. Against unranked Harvard on Tuesday, Syracuse didn’t play to its full potential — it didn’t need to.“We’re getting to see more ACC opponents coming up soon, so wins like these are great,” SU goalie Asa Goldstock said. “(But) games like these, especially these last two, when everyone on the field gets to go in, that’s more rewarding to me than beating an ACC opponent.” Published on March 19, 2019 at 6:03 pm Contact Eric: erblack@syr.edu | @esblack34center_img Commentslast_img read more

Punter friendly Premier League weekend bloodies bookmakers

first_img StumbleUpon Submit Share Share A full schedule of English Premier League football this Saturday gave bookmakers a severe battering as seven out of eight market favourites won their respective matches.Bookmakers have detailed to SBC that they are still counting the cost of ‘EPL Game Week 6’ (23-25 September), as punters cashed-in on heavily backed favourites Tottenham, Everton, Liverpool, Manchester City and Manchester United.Adding salt to bookmakers’ wounds, crafty punters bet a number of accumulator bets on the weak line-up of EPL matches, with the ‘customer friendly’ results likely to cost the industry a multi-million £ pay-out.On Monday night, there would be no relief for Bookmakers EPL woes, as a heavily backed Arsenal won comfortably against West Bromwich Albion.Speaking to SBC Jessica Bridge Ladbrokes Head of PR commented on the weekend’s EPL action: “Saturday was a nightmare if truth be told, with all the well-backed favourites obliging and ‘Both Teams to Score’ markets copping it was very much a day that went in favour of punters. The two underdogs winning on Sunday helped soften the blow, but ultimately the damage had already been done.” European betting group, Kindred Plc confirmed to SBC, that Saturday 23 September 2017 had made its ‘top 10 biggest losing days’.“In the Premier League, the lack of any shocks meant barely a Kindred win in sight, Southampton v Man Utd being very comfortably our biggest hit. The trend continued abroad with our 8 of our 10 biggest global football turnover events all going the punters’ way,” stated Alistair Gill Sportsbook, Commercial Relations at Kindred Plc.“Away from the football was not much improvement. Patriotic Brits backed the cricket team to beat the West Indies, the Tour Championship went heavily the punters’ way and Joseph Parker’s win over Hughie Fury in the boxing triggered a winning 12 fold, 6 figure win for one customer, just to add insult to injury.”Now entering a crucial Autumn trading period, all bookies will be praying for ‘No Saturday 23 September repeat’. As an industry stakeholder, Team SBC would like to remind those winning punters that even bookmakers can be hurt too!last_img read more

Eboue, Kolo suspended by Ivorian FA

first_imgIvory Coast international defenders Kolo Toure of Manchester City and Galatasaray’s Emmanuel Eboue are facing suspensions from the country’s Football Federation following their recent media outbursts against the body.The two players were not included in the Elephants’ squad to face Gambia and Tanzania in the forthcoming Fifa World Cup qualifying.Supersport.com understands that the disciplinary measures against the duo were requested by the team’s coach Sabri Lamouchi, to put his set up in order.Both players also figure on a list of the team’s veterans, whom the technical staff is planning to offload in the very near future to make way for younger players.Ivory Coast will play two away fixtures against the Scorpions on June 8 and the Taifa Stars on June 16 in Group C’s World Cup qualifying.last_img read more

Nationals’ Patrick Corbin wearing No. 45 to honor Tyler Skaggs

During their early years in the league the pair became close, according to Martinez.“We’ll keep an eye on him the whole game,” Martinez said of Corbin, who normally wears No. 46. Related News Corbin and Skaggs were both drafted by the Angels in 2009 and were both sent to the Diamondbacks in 2010 as part of the same trade. They remained together until 2013, when Skaggs was traded back to the Angels.Corbin played with Arizona until after the 2018 season, when he signed a six-year, $140 million deal with the Nationals.Skaggs, 27, was found dead Monday afternoon in his hotel room in Texas. A cause of death has not been revealed, though police ruled out foul play. Nationals manager Dave Martinez said pitcher Patrick Corbin will be wearing No. 45 Tuesday night against the Marlins in honor of his former teammate and friend Tyler Skaggs.“They came up together. His best friend. He was emotional earlier. But he wants to pitch. He feels that’s what he needs to do,” Martinez told reporters, via USA Today. Autopsy set for Angels pitcher Tyler Skaggs; Rangers-Angels game to be played Tuesday The Angels were scheduled to open up a three-game series against the Rangers Monday night, but the first game was rescheduled. Los Angeles and Texas are slated to play Tuesday and Wednesday night.Despite the emotional game that Corbin will play, he has a stellar record against Miami. In two starts against the Marlins this season, the 29-year-old Corbin has posted a 2-0 record with a 0.56 ERA.In 99.1 innings pitched this season, Corbin has a 7-5 record with a 3.71 ERA. read more