by - Ken Reed Sports Policy Director, League of Fans
The fall is a busy time of year for youth sports. If you take a short drive on a weekday evening -- or just about any time during a weekend -- within a few miles you're sure to find boys and girls playing soccer, football, softball, lacrosse, tennis, and undoubtedly, a few sports I've left out. It's a joy to watch kids running around and having fun playing sports. Especially on a beautiful fall day.
However, the problem with these games is there are too many adults who bring their egos to the fields of play. Virtually every youth sports league is plagued by adults who are pathologically focused on winning. Yes, the majority of parents and coaches keep youth sports in perspective but it only takes a few adults -- especially coaches -- to ruin the sports experience for a bunch of kids.
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After a long wait, we are back on the writing board for our blog. We will get some articles posted about Youth Soccer Players Development as well as some articles of interest that we will share along the way. Keep checking back with us!
Joe Cole is a man who started the season with a few pundits looking at his odds of winning premier league Player of the Year trophy as a decent shout.
However, since the start of the new campaign, he has become simply a player who would love just to experience a fleeting moment in which he can prove to Liverpool fans that he really is worth the extortionate amount of money that the club are paying him to stay on their books.
With this season's odds of winning UEFA Europa League not making wonderful reading for troubled Reds fans, Joe Cole may well be able to turn himself into a Liverpool legend if he can find his form and inspire Liverpool to reach the latter stages of the competition. Despite ultimate success in the Europa League clearly not the main priority at the moment for manager Roy Hodgson, Liverpool fans are beginning to realise that they cannot be too picky about where and how they win silverware this season, especially since theirs is a club which has recently been spoken about in relation to the current betting odds for relegation from the Premier League!
However, in light of the recent good news regarding the chances of the club being taken over by a new set of American owners (only this time the owners from the US are expected to take the club out of a financial mess rather than taking them to the point of bankruptcy), the situation seems to take on a slightly new angle. If the club is taken over, it may turn out to be the case that Joe Cole, rather than battling to find top form, is left merely fighting to stay at a club which initially welcomed him with open arms in the summer.
MILAN (AP) -Rafa Benitez signed a two-year contract to become Inter Milan's new coach on Thursday, taking over a club that won three titles this year under Jose Mourinho.
Benitez, who left Liverpool last Thursday after six years at the English club, will be presented in Milan next Tuesday after agreeing to a contract with Inter until June 30, 2012.
"That's great - I hadn't heard that so I'm happy,'' midfielder Sulley Muntari told The Associated Press after being informed of the news while at the World Cup with Ghana.
"He is a top manager, he did a great job with Liverpool and I look forward to meeting him. We are very happy to have him.''
Mourinho left Inter to join Real Madrid last month after guiding the San Siro club to the Champions League, Serie A and Italian Cup titles this year.
"Mourinho is hard to follow - he did his thing and I wish him all the best,'' Muntari said. "We have a new manager now so we will follow him and do whatever he wants.''
Having started well at Liverpool by winning the 2005 Champions League and 2006 FA Cup, Benitez came under increasing pressure as the club failed to break its run without winning the domestic championship.
"It's most definitely important (he is a Champions League winner),'' Muntari said. "We will work hard with him to achieve our aims.''
Liverpool last won the English title in 1990 and in recent years has seen rival Manchester United equal its record of 18 championships.
Benitez also clashed with American owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett Jr. over a perceived lack of transfer funds. Having led Liverpool to second place in the league in 2009, the team finished seventh this season, spelling the end of his tenure.
Before joining Liverpool, Benitez won two Spanish titles and the 2004 UEFA Cup with Valencia.
AP Sports Writer Rob Harris in Sun City, South Africa contributed to this report.
And speaking about his future, the national team manager stressed: "Abete already knows what I'll be doing after South Africa." Ancelotti a candidate: the president of the Football Federation is pinning his hopes on the Chelsea manager now that that Prandelli is no longer in the frame. On the battle for the scudetto he commented: "This is what's great about football. Credit to Roma and Milan who have done an excellent job." A training camp for the Azzurri from 3-5 May
ROME, 29 March 2010 - "Italy don't go to the World Cup just to put on a good show. We go to win. We should not forget that we are the reigning champions: we should remember that not in a boastful way, but because we know how to win. We know what it takes to win." The national team manager Marcello Lippi is impatient, with just over two months to go before the World Cup begins in South Africa: "I can't wait to go." The concept of "outgoing champion" is not one our national coach likes much: "We've had two years of qualifying without any real highlights or lowlights, with some good matches and some not so good. But then when we're together for 30-40 days Italy always manages to do well, with players who are technically skilled and mentally strong, regardless of what has happened in the club sides," said the manager, interviewed on the "Politics in football" programme on GR Parlamento radio.
PREDICTIONS — Michel Platini, the UEFA president, sees three teams as the favourites: Spain, Brazil and England. "That's his assessment. All over the world people are backing Brazil. It was the same before the 2006 World Cup, but in Germany they went home before the quarter-finals. Spain are very strong, they won the European championship, they're in great form and they have an excellent group of players. But they have never won the World Cup. England have 10-12 very talented players and an excellent manager. But we don't see ourselves as inferior to anyone, and we're not going just to make up the numbers."
Future — Lippi - who has set aside 3-5 May for a training camp for the Azzurri, probably in Rome, at the Borghesiana - was a little more forthcoming than he had previously been when asked about the national team manager's job: "The president of the Federation already knows what I'll be doing after the World Cup. We have a lot of regard and respect for each other." Translated into terms that Italian fans can understand, that means that Lippi will end his time as coach in South Africa: his dream is to do it with the cup raised once again, as it was in Berlin. The head of the Italian Football Federation, Giancarlo Abete, reiterated that the future of the national manager's position will be determined in May, before the team leaves for Africa. At this stage, with the odds lengthening on Cesare Prandelli (he's being linked with Juventus and in any case seems set on staying with a club), Abete is looking at the options. He likes Ranieri, but getting him away from Roma at this point is impossible. And then there is the dream candidate: Carlo Ancelotti. He has done fairly well at Chelsea, but his position is far from secure. Should he be sacked he might be interested in coaching the Azzurri, a job he has never denied he would like one day.
SCUDETTO AND EUROPE — The national manager then spoke about the race for the scudetto: "Uncertainty, that's the beauty of football. We haven't had a title race this close since 2001-2002. Then it was Roma and Inter three years ago. In our competition you only have to ease off ever so slightly and someone will be snapping at your heels due to their own excellent work, and I'm talking about Roma and Milan here. These two teams are right there, one a point behind, and the other three points behind. It's great that the outcome is in doubt right to the end. The fans of these teams must be delighted - especially Inter's fans, as their team is in the running for the Coppa Italia and the Champions League title as well." And on the European competition: "I hope there's an Italian team in the final, and the only Italian team left is Inter. They will have to beat CSKA Moscow, then Barcelona or Arsenal. Let's hope Inter are in the final: if not, it will be Barcelona and Manchester United." Milan were knocked out of the Champions League:"Recently their problem has been having so many players out through injury." Finally, an observation: "If we slipped in the European rankings we would be behind Germany, and have one less team in the Champions League. But that's not the way to judge the quality of a country's football: such a judgement needs to be made overall, and the assessment should include, in particular, the national team."
Maurizio Nicita - Source Gazzetta.it