Soccer

  • Happy Birthday, Hope Solo!

    After an incredibly long time away from our blog to develop a content schedule to start some awesome conversations for you guys, we're back! If you want to learn more about Live It Everyday, click here!

    Hope SoloThis year has been an unforgettable one in the US Soccer world. As we all know, the US Women’s National Team soared high and claimed the Women’s World Cup as their own for the third time in history. One of the major key players for the team’s success, was the lady standing in goal – Hope Solo.

    Hope Solo celebrates her birthday on July 30th, so we thought we would do a quick highlight of her career for readers to enjoy just in time for the American icon’s birthday. Solo has contributed so much to the sport in our country, and this is just a small way to honor and thank her for everything.

    Hope Solo played collegiately for The University of Washington, where she broke school records for most shutouts as well as saves. She began playing for the U.S. in 2000. During her professional career, Solo has become a two time Olympic Gold Medalist, FIFA Women’s World Cup Winner and Runner-up, and has won many other tournaments with the Women’s National Soccer Team. Hope was awarded the U.S. Soccer Female Athlete of the Year in 2009.

    Click here to see a short video showcasing some of the goalkeepers top saves of 2015!

    Most people can’t discuss the Women’s National Team without discussing Hope Solo and everything that she has contributed over the years. She has given the fans so many exciting and incredible moments, and I’m sure many more are to come. She is one of the most talented individuals I have ever seen play the game. There is no doubt that Hope Solo will go down as one of the greatest American Athletes of all time.

    Stay tuned, Kelby

    More from // Kelby Photo // Wallpaper Hi
  • Experiencing Landon Donovan's Last Game

    On Thursday, October 9 around 1:00 pm, I had just gotten out of my last class of the day and was ready to drive home. I was looking forward to just relaxing and taking it easy on what was now my fall break, seeing as I didn’t have anything planned. That all changed when I received a call from an old high school friend. As soon as I answered the very first words he said were “hey man, I got three tickets to Landon Donovan’s last USA game up in Connecticut, you want to go?” I was completely shocked to say the least. There was absolutely no way I was going to turn down this once in a lifetime opportunity. So around 10:00 that night, we, along with a third friend, set out toward New England.

    The trip from where we left (eastern Kentucky) to East Hartford Connecticut, where the game was, took about 11 hours of driving. Along the way, we made a detour to Philadelphia to enjoy the historic sites and kill some time. The tour of Liberty Hall was completely free and completely worth it. It was pretty cool having the opportunity to see the place our Nation was founded. If given the chance, I would love to make a second trip to the wonderful city.

    Anyway, back to soccer. When we arrived to Rentschler Field (home of the UCONN football program), the atmosphere was terrific. The stadium was completely packed and the support from the fans was incredible. Landon Donovan was named the captain for the match, and the plan was he would just play the first 30 minutes, giving him time to rest for his MLS game the following Sunday. Landon played for what was more like 40 minutes, and then he was finally substituted off ... for the last time ever. As he was walking off, the fans -- myself included -- gave Landon Donovan the standing ovation that he most definitely deserved.

    After the game, Landon took part in multiple interviews, and was honored with a very special presentation, along with a video presentation attributing his most impressive USA achievements. I made my way down to the supporter’s section and got a picture with Sports Illustrated’s Grant Wahl, along with his signature. As we were walking out of the stadium, we found the USA bus. As the players were loading up, I managed to take some pictures with Chris Wondolowski (USA forward), Nick Rimando (USA goalkeeper), and the head coach of the National Team  -- Jurgen Klinsmann!

    Experiencing LD 2 Experiencing LD 3 Experiencing LD 4 Experincing LD 1

    This was an experience that I will never ever forget. Landon Donovan has given so much to this sport and to this nation. I am so grateful that I had the opportunity see his final minutes in a USA jersey, and help give him the thanks that he deserves. I think it will be a long time before our country sees another legend like Landon Donovan.

    Until next time, Kelby

  • When To Watch Team USA

    This past year, The World Cup sparked a huge interest in soccer from millions of Americans. We rallied together as a nation, and supported Team USA during their entire campaign. It seems like the same exact thing happened in 2010. I love the American passion that comes out for the tournament -- but it seems like it just goes extinct during the years between each World Cup. There is absolutely no reason as to why America can’t continue to support and love its team, even after the World Cup comes to a conclusion. If you’re desperately wanting to watch the national team take the field again, but don’t want to have to wait until 2018 -- then don’t worry, I’ve got you covered.

    Next year, Canada will be hosting the Women’s World Cup. Women’s soccer is just as fast paced as men’s soccer, and is definitely just as exciting. USA’s women’s squad is regularly one of the very best teams in the entire world, and will prove to be very strong competitors. This is surely a tournament you won’t want to miss.

    The CONCACAF (this is the name of our region, which consists of nations from North & Central America and the Caribbean) Gold Cup will also take place next year. Teams from all over the region will face off to become the champion of CONCACAF. Expect to see quite a few new faces, as these young, untested players will be trying to solidify their role in the national team.

    2016 should be a very exciting year for U.S. Soccer. There is of course, the Olympic Games in Brazil. The thing I really like about the Olympics is that our entire squad, with the exception of three players, all has to be younger than 24 years of age. This gives all of these young players a chance to show their talents on a global stage.

    In addition to the Olympics, USA will actually be hosting Copa America – which is a South American Soccer tournament that invites a few CONCACAF teams to participate. We’ll get the chance to watch very talented national teams like Brazil, Argentina, Chile, and Colombia face off….right here in our country! If you have the chance, I urge you to go out and support Team USA during this tournament, it should be an incredible experience!

    In 2017, the Confederations Cup will be held in Russia. This is an 8 team tournament, with at least one team from each region around the world competing. It’s sort of like a “pre-game” to the World Cup the following year, if that makes sense. If USA wins the Gold Cup in 2015, we will compete in the Confederations Cup.

    Finally, before we know it, 2018 will roll around and The World Cup will be upon us! I am very excited to see what this tournament holds for our country. Don’t just watch soccer every four years. There is a major tournament every single year between the World Cups, so get out there, have some fun, and support Team USA every day of the week!

    Kelby

  • Experiencing It Live -- Supporting and Loving Major League Soccer

    On August 16, I had the privilege of traveling to Ohio to watch Columbus Crew face off against Los Angeles Galaxy in the Major League Soccer showdown. Before the match kicked off, Columbus honored legend Landon Donovan by showing a video of the most memorable goals that Donovan has scored over the years at Crew Stadium. After the video presentation, former Galaxy and USA teammates Frankie Hejduk and Gregg Berhalter (currently the coach of Columbus) presented Donovan with a framed piece of netting from the north net -- which is from the goal he scored on in the 2-0 victory against Mexico in September, 2013.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z9k4R1yVvm4&list=UUQsasqjpe_blMBHbUoWYGZg

    “I have a lot of very good memories here and I was very appreciative of them doing that. They certainly didn’t have to and I certainly have a lot of respect for the Gregg [Berhalter] and the Crew organization.” – Landon Donovan

     

    It’s very heartwarming that the Crew went out of their way to honor Landon’s career in such a way as that. In the next game the Galaxy played, the Colorado Rapids presented Donovan with a ski pass, a Vail Resorts gift basket, and a bottle of wine from the vineyard of Colorado’s owner.

     

    Getting back to the actual game in Columbus -- it definitely didn’t have the turnout that I was hoping for. The Galaxy were basically ineffective throughout the entire match, resulting in a 4-1 thrashing from Columbus. Both teams have been on fire and have won every game since their meeting on the 16th.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wRXL3OJarSE&index=2&list=LLomvsraQAHLT6HdA95wcrYA

    After the match, the Crew treated fans who decided to stick around for a while longer to a fireworks show. Although the Galaxy didn’t get the win they were hoping for, I’m so glad that I got to experience Landon’s very last game in Crew Stadium, and a fantastic fireworks showing.

     

    I urge everyone to start supporting Major League Soccer. The best way for soccer to further develop in The United States, is to build a stronger fan base. The best advice I can give is to find an MLS team and support it. Watch as many televised games as you can. If you ever have the opportunity -- PLEASE buy tickets and watch a game live. I promise the atmosphere is totally different from any sporting event you have ever been to, and you will absolutely love it. You definitely won’t regret it. I’m so excited for our league and our national team to continue to grow. Soccer is beginning to become one of the major sports in our country, and that is something I’m proud of.

     

    Stay tuned, Kelby

  • Thank you, Landon Donovan

    On August 7, US National Soccer Team & Major League Soccer (MLS) legend Landon Donovan announced that he will retire from professional soccer following the conclusion of the 2014 MLS season. Donovan is the leading goal scorer in MLS history, US National Team history, MLS playoffs, and in the MLS All-Star games. He has won five MLS Cups, a Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup, two MLS Supporters Shields (best regular season record), and four CONCACAF Gold Cups. He has scored 5 goals in three World Cups (earning Best Young Player in 2002), and arguably should have competed in a fourth.

    Donovan has been the “face of soccer” in the United States for as long as I can remember. He has been consistent throughout his entire career, and has even carried his team on his shoulders when they have needed him most. One moment that I, and I’m sure everyone else will surely never forget, is the stoppage time goal against Algeria in the 2010 World Cup. It looked like the US were certainly eliminated from the tournament, but with just minutes remaining, Donovan smashed home the game winning goal in the 1-0 victory over the Algerians. Please feel free to share your favorite memories of the greatest American soccer player in history.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b7eZmKWW9s4

    On Saturday, I traveled to Ohio to watch Columbus Crew host Los Angeles Galaxy in the MLS regular season match. Los Angeles, as I’m sure many of you know, is the club that Landon Donovan plays for. It was my third and final opportunity that I have to watch Landon Donovan play in person --  and what a privilege that has been. I’ll be sure to share my experience in Columbus with you, and hopefully have some pictures to post too. Donovan and the rest of the Galaxy only have 14 MLS regular season games remaining. I encourage everyone to watch as many of these games as you can -- you still have an opportunity to watch a true legend play before he hangs up his cleats for good -- so please don’t waste it.

    There’s no doubt that Landon Donovan is the greatest American to ever play the game. He has given so much to this sport, and this country -- and said he will continue to do so -- however he can. This certainly isn’t the last we’ll hear of the legend. After the 2014 season comes to an end, there are countless opportunities for him -- whether that be coaching, commentating, or just offering his expert opinions -- Landon Donovan will continue to give to soccer.

    With Donovan leaving, this will obviously free up quite a bit of salary space, so who will LA sign to the team? There are endless possibilities, and it’s probably a little too early to start guessing. It probably won’t be until around January that we actually start hearing news about potential signees. As always, I’ll be sure to keep you updated.

    Landon will definitely be missed by soccer fans all around the world. He was playing in the first soccer match that I ever watched in my life. He inspired me quite a bit during my soccer career, and I’ll definitely miss watching him do what he’s best at. He is a one of a kind player that has had such an impact on our country. Landon Donovan is a true American Hero. It’s tough to grasp that we will never see him in the US jersey ever again, but soccer in America still has a very bright future.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b-0yrpvNUbI

    Stay tuned, Kelby

  • The World Cup Recap -- What You Need To Know Now It's Over

    The World Cup has finally come to an exciting finish as Germany outplayed their opponents and raised the trophy at the end of the tournament. Germany eased through the Group Stage and remained undefeated. They earned tough wins over Algeria and France in the round of 16 and the Quarter Finals. In the Semi Finals, the Germans completely dismantled Brazil 7-1, leaving the hosts heartbroken. In the championship match, Germany faced Argentina, with superstar Lionel Messi leading the team. At the end of regulation, the two teams were still locked at a scoreless tie. The game was coming to an end, and it appeared the fate of each country was going to be decided in a penalty shoot-out. With roughly 7 minutes remaining until the shoot-out, Mario Gotze brilliantly finished a ball into the back of the net, winning Germany's fourth World Cup.

    I'll certainly never forget Brazil 2014. The tournament was loaded down with spectacular goals, dramatic upsets, and tons of emotion. The spirit and support that The American Outlaws produced completely astonished me. I would definitely argue that USA had the absolute best fans at the World Cup. For the entire duration of the tournament, we all united and became a soccer nation. Excluding the hosts Brazil, USA fans bought more tickets than any other fans from any nation -- that is extraordinary. The American passion was definitely present during the World Cup. The national team has influenced this nation, and I cannot wait to see what the future holds for soccer in our country.

    Stay tuned, Kelby

  • Recording Your Workouts

    Planners, agenda, diaries, whatever you call it, I love having a book to record my thoughts or whatever ramblings are in my head for that day.

    1

    When I ran in high school, my cross country coach gave all of us a journal and wanted to record our progress throughout the season, from then on I was hooked on writing down info from my runs.

    My times, the weather, how I felt, what I saw, it all went in this journal. At the end of the season, it was fun to go back and look at how I progressed as a runner, and a person throughout the season.

    Last year for Christmas, Ryan (my fiance) got me a 365 day running journal. And every day since January 1 I have recorded my miles, my weight, where I ran and how I felt. I love tracking my progress. I like being able to keep a schedule of my workouts and measure my distance from week to week.

    2PicMonkey Collage

    So. I already told y’all that I like recording my runs and whatnot. Wellll. I also kind of love stats. And while I’m not a math person (at all), I do like percents and things of nature (just don’t ask me to figure them for you). So along with journals and whatnot, I use Fitbit to keep track of my weekly progress. The Fitbit (that I reviewed here) emails you weekly updates on how far you walked, your total minutes active, calories burned, sleep patterns, etc. I love it.

    My suggestion to everyone is start recording your daily activity. Whether it's a five mile run, 20 minute walk around your neighborhood or playing soccer with your brother, I want people to become passionate about being active. While I love some McDonald's chicken nuggets, I also know that I can't eat those everyday and not workout at all. I don’t have the metabolism of a five year old and I would like to not clog my arteries.

    This is the only body you are going to have. You might as well keep it in shape. 

    While I am also all about body confidence and loving the skin in your in, I also want people to be healthy! Find whatever it is you are passionate about and do it! Mine is obviously running, but I also love to play soccer, go hiking and (throwback) play Dance Dance Revolution with my best friend.

    And if recording your daily activity is not your thing, that’s fine! Do whatever works for you. Post inspirational notes on your bathroom mirror, tell Facebook you're going to run a 5k and let your friends hold you accountable, or practice something new and surprise your family with your new talent.

    So tell me: What do you love to do? Is there something you wish you could try? If I had the money and the time, I would LOVE to try gymnastics; stereotypical girl answer and I don’t care. It looks like SO much fun.

    Have a great week, everyone!

    Run happy, Meghann

  • When Life Throws You Bananas: A Response to Racism

    Live It Everyday is passionate about whatever it is in the world that inspires. Sometimes, that's soccer. Sometimes, that's peace. Some days, those two worlds crash together. In spirit of the World Cup, I thought I'd tell you about when I was inspired by one soccer player's humorous response to racism. Don't worry. You don't have to be a futbol guru to get this.

    Dani Alves is quite the character. He is Brazilian born, a fantastic defender, and plays for FC Barcelona. Playing for a Spaniard team and coming from Brazil isn't exactly a harmonious transition. Over the years, Alves and players like him have suffered from numerous racist attacks. Alves experienced his most recent attack during his match against Villareal, but his quick and humorous taste (literally) shamed the offender.

    Here are the details.

    As Alves was getting ready to kick the ball, a banana was thrown at him from a Villareal fan in the stands. What happened next was epic. Alves picked up the banana, peeled that sucker, ate it, kicked in the ball, and went on almost playing simultaneously. What a CHAMP.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R6b7bU3DMiA

    When life throws you bananas ... Eat them like a boss!

    All of us may not face discrimination against our race, but at one point in your life, you WILL find yourself in a position where you are being looked down upon, held back, or deciding how to respond to an offensive action. We all have to decide how to react to these kinds of situations.

    Alves could've done ANYTHING. He could've delivered his middle finger, thrown the banana back into the crowd, or any other childish response to match the play. Instead, he ate the banana and played on. The symbolism remains deep even as he, by this immediate reaction, had no idea how it would greatly astound the world. Picking up and silently eating it shamed the offender by Alves, radiating how little he cared, how he would remain unaffected, and his team would finish with a cherry on top of the banana split as they walked away with the victory. Olay!

    So next time you encounter a moment where your patience is tested against a situation that ridicules, belittles, doubts, hurts, or betrays you ... Remember to eat it like Alves, shame with a taste of humor and honor.

    Live on & until next time, Cara Hope Starns

  • USA & Portugal -- FIFA World Cup

    I've never been much of a soccer fanatic. I've been to a few of my high school games, but that's more of my sister's and cousin (Kelby, who's review of last week's game you can see here) thing. Kelby will be giving his thoughts on USA and Portugal later this week, but as we begin to make plans for parties surrounding the TV, cheering on the USA team in the FIFA World Cup, here are the predictions from the Men in Blazers who are coincidentally hilarious.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XRbwOxoAyE8

    What do you guys think? We sure do hope USA pulls through!

    Happy World Cup, Haley

  • No Landon Donavon? No Problem: World Cup 2014

    World Cup 2014

    Hello there! My name is Kelby Ferrell. I was recently offered a chance to keep you informed and up to date on all of the excitement that is happening in Brazil during the World Cup 2014 this summer. I graciously accepted the offer. Just a little about myself before we get started. I'm a graduate of Belfry High School in Kentucky where I captained the varsity soccer team my junior and senior years. As you can imagine, I live and breathe soccer. I am a passionate follower of the United States Men's National Team (USMNT), and I would love to share my knowledge and analysis of the team and the entire World Cup with you. So let's get started.

    If you follow the US team at all, then you're probably aware that coach Jurgen Klinsmann excluded American superstar Landon Donovan from the World Cup roster. Donovan has scored more goals and recorded more assists than any other player in USMNT history. American fans have become outraged at the coach's decision, doubting his judgement. Regardless, they had to accept that they would not be cheering on their favorite player this summer.

    On June 16, the USMNT faced a familiar foe for their first game of the World Cup 2014 -- Ghana. In the last two World Cups, (2006 & 2010), Ghana not only beat The US, but they were the team that eliminated them from the competitions. Most USA fans will agree that Ghana is their most hated team, and are desperate for revenge. On the evening of the 16th, their dream of revenge was fulfilled.

    The game opened up quickly -- very quickly, actually. In just 34 seconds, American captain Clint Dempsey calmly slotted a left footed shot into the net. The goal is the fastest of the World Cup so far.  The Americans held on to their 1-0 lead for almost the entire game.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hb8vOGI1JQA

    With roughly eight minutes left of the 90 minute match, Ghanaian forward Andre Ayew finally beat the US defense and scored the equalizing goal. With a draw, the US would only earn one point instead of three. With four minutes remaining, 21 year old John Brooks headed a corner kick delivered by Graham Zusi into the goal. The US held on for the 2-1 victory and earned all three points.

    Along with the positives, the game also produced its share of negatives for Team USA -- including one BIG negative. Twenty-three minutes into the game, Jozy Altidore dropped to the ground, clinching the back of his thigh. Altidore is arguably the best goal-scorer on this US squad, so this is obviously a huge blow to the team. He was later diagnosed with a hamstring tear. The severity of the tear is still unclear, so it's possible that he could return for World Cup play. I'll be sure to keep you updated on Altidore's injury.

    Overall, it was a fantastic start to the tournament for the US. On June 22, they'll face Cristiano Ronaldo and the rest of Portugal in their second game of the Group Stage (which I'll explain more in my next post). A win for the US would be absolutely fantastic.

    Stay tuned, Kelby

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