I’m sure you soccer fanatics have heard that Dwayne De Rosario, captain of DC United and MVP of the major league soccer team in 2011, was suspended for the first two major league soccer games of the 2013 season. De Rosario was suspended for violent conduct on midfielder Danny Cruz of Philadelphia Union in a pre-season game on February 23rd. Not only did De Rosario missed DC United’s home opener against Houston Dynamo and the March 9th match against Real Salt Lake, he was fined an undisclosed amount for his violent conduct.
This season so far, DC United has beat Houston Dynamo 1-0, tied Real Sal Lake 0-0, and lost to Columbus 1-2. Their next game will be against Kansas City on April 5th, which will be the first game in which De Rosario will be allowed to play following his suspension.
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Barcelona player Lionel Messi was named La Liga’s best player for the 2011-2012 season by players and coaches of the top two divisions in Spain that vote on the awards. He was also named La Liga’s best striker and former Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola was named best coach. Others in contention for the best player award were Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema.
“I want to thank the coaches who have voted me the best player and my professional colleagues who have named me best player,” Messi said after winning the two awards for the fourth consecutive year. “I am very happy and very proud.”
It has been a record year for Messi. He recently broke former Brazil player Pele’s scoring record of 75 goals during one calendar year. Now Messi is aiming to outscore the top record, held by Gerd Muller, who scored 85 total goals for Bayern Munich and West Germany in 1972. To date, the Barcalona striker has scored 76 goals in 59 appearances and still has nine appearances in 2012 for Messi to catch or pass Muller’s record.
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The English Football Association, better known as FA, has handed down a new set of rules to English soccer players. The disciplinary code bans players from tweeting about matches for 24 hours prior to the game and dictates that the messages players post on Twitter about “the opposition, management or individuals could all result in disciplinary action.”
Several English players have been reprimanded by FA due to content posted on the social network. Ashley Cole, England defender, currently faces an FA fine because of a vulgar tweet about how the governing body ruled on the John Terry case. The FA stripped Terry of his captaincy twice – first following an alleged affair and second before his high-profile racism case. The FA can also ban players indefinitely without the right of appeal.
The FA code of conduct is 16 pages long and covers “everything from what players can say on Twitter, how long they are permitted to play video games and whether they can order room service at team hotels,” according to a story by UK newspaper The Independent. The code also includes alcohol and drug bans, a ban on betting on soccer games, a limit on the time spent playing video games, a request to not wear headphones in public as a way to avoid interviews.
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On Sunday, Chelsea captain John Terry announced that he would be retiring from international soccer with England, effective immediately. This came just one day before the 31-year-old defender was scheduled to begin a personal hearing with the Football Association (more commonly known as FA) regarding the alleged verbal abuse of an opponent using a racial tone in a Premier League match last October.
“I feel the FA, in pursuing charges against me where I have already been cleared in a court of law, have made my position with the national team untenable,” Terry said in a statement. “Representing and captaining my country is what I dreamed of as a boy and it has been a truly great honor. I have always given my all and it breaks my heart to make this decision.”
Terry has made 78 appearances for the national team since his first match against Serbia and Montenegro in 2003. He captained the team in a World Cup qualifier against Poland. He will continue to play for Chelsea even after his retirement from the International stage.
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At the end of the 2013 Major League Soccer season, midfielder Landon Donovan’s contract with the Los Angeles Galaxy will expire. The player, who is arguably the face of U.S. soccer, has hinted recently that he is unsure of his next move. Will he retire? Will he play abroad? Many questions remain unanswered.
“At the end of this season, I’m going to re-evaluate everything and see how I feel,” he said in a recent interview. “If I want to keep playing, I’ll keep playing. If I don’t want to keep playing, I won’t keep playing… I don’t know the answer to that right now.”
During his 13 years as a professional soccer player, he’s done almost everything there is to do. He was awarded the U.S. Soccer Athlete of the Year in 2009 and 2010, earned an MLS MVP award in 2009 and won an MLS title with the Galaxy in 2011. His two loan spells with English Premiership team Everton in 2010 and 2012 were both successful stints abroad.
There’s still one big accomplishment Donovan would like to reach before he retires, however. “I’ve always wanted to be the captain of the national team,” he said. “I think that’s a great honor the few times that I have in my career, I’ve played well and the team has responded well.”
Tomorrow, the U.S. Women’s soccer team will have a chance for redemption. Thirteen months ago, the women’s national team fell to Japan in a dramatic finale to the 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup. On Thursday, the two teams meet again to battle for Olympic gold.
“I’ve been hoping for this final from the moment I stepped off the podium in Germany,” U.S. forward Abby Wambach told the press.
The Americans are currently favored to win Thursday’s game. They are still ranked No. 1 in the world and are the two-time defending Olympic champions. The Japanese women’s team is hoping to pull off both World Cup and Olympic gold in back-to-back years. To say that Thursday’s game will be intense would be an understatement.
“The truth is, this is going to be a great day,” Wambach said. “A great day for soccer, a great day for women’s sports, and something that hopefully we’ll be able to remember for the rest of our lives – and hopefully it’s in a good way.”
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Ahead of the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, Games organizers have withdrawn half a million tickets and reduced stadium capacities due to lack of demand. Even with the reduction, 250,000 soccer tickets are still available for purchase and another 200,000 will be put on sale before the games begin on July 27. The Olympic soccer games will take place in six venues across the U.K.: Wembley Stadium in London, St. James’ Park in Newcastle, Old Trafford in Manchester, Hampden Park in Glasgow, Millennium Stadium in Cardiff and the City of Coventry Stadium in Coventry. The men’s and women’s finals will be played at Wembley.
“We’ve sold more football tickets than we’ve sold anything else,” said Games chief Seb Coe. “They are in reduced size venues of course, we’ve had to scale down the size of those venues. We are not in bad shape on tickets but football tickets at a Games are always the challenge. I think we’ll do pretty well.”
When speaking of reduced capacities, it means organizers have closed off parts of many stadiums. For example, the upper tier of seats at Cardiff’s Millennium stadium will be closed for all games, reducing the stadium’s capacity from 75,000 to 40,000.
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A can of Pepsi usually costs just $1, but for one famous soccer player a Pepsi just cost him $750,000. Two-time FIFA World Player of the Year, Ronaldinho was caught on camera at a press conference last week with not one, but two cans of Pepsi in front of him. Not only that, but he was caught drinking the product on camera as well.
Ronaldinho’s actions seemed to be the last straw for Coca Cola, who pulled the $750,000 a year endorsement deal that was set to run until 2014.
“Coca Cola recognizes the career and the value of Ronaldinho,” the company said in a statement. “However due to recent developments it has become impossible to continue the partnership.
According to a Brazilian news outlet, a Coca Cola marketing manager said, “[Ronaldinho] didn’t perform up to expectations and his name was associated more with negative than positive news.”
The news conference was being held to promote an upcoming Atletico Mineiro game. Ronaldinho joined the Brazilian club in early June after quitting Flamengo, another Brazilian team. He is now suing that team for unpaid wages and bonuses. Flamengo, a five-time league champion, has filed a counter-suit against Ronaldinho, telling the press that he was lazy in training sessions and would frequently get drunk. The case will be settled in Brazilian court.
England earned a spot in the European Championship quarterfinals yesterday after a win over Ukraine. Striker Wayne Rooney returned from a two-game suspension to score the game’s only goal.
England’s captain Steven Gerrard was originally aiming for the goal when he kicked a cross ball into the penalty area. That shot glanced off two Ukrainian defenders and slipped through the hands of Andriay Pyatov. Rooney was across the field at the far post and was able to make the goal count. It was Rooney’s first goal in a major tournament since Euro 2004, when he scored four goals. He was unsuccessful in the tournaments that followed, including the 2006 and 2010 World Cups.
“There was a lot of pressure on Wayne,” Gerrard said in a post-game interview. “But he stood up and when we needed him he was there.”
In the game’s 62nd minute, Ukraine’s Marko Devic made a shot on the goal that appeared to cross the line before it was recovered by England’s John Terry. Neither the referee nor his extra assistant behind the goal gave Ukraine the point. The Ukraine coach and players saw something different.
“I was said because the ball was in the goal by one meter,” said Ukraine coach Oleg Blokhin.
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