Football ‘Hey, you are using a lot of 4G!’ – Carlos Carvalhal’s Swansea phone bill shock Share on Twitter Play Video The former Swansea and Sheffield Wednesday manager had been told this interview might touch on what he likes to do when not at work, and he has come prepared. He has written down all his favourite gigs on a pad, as well as all his favourite bands and the influences that led him to them. He has thoughts on the similarities between gigs and football matches too. “Usually a band plays like a team; they want to entertain the people,” he says. “For the people, they need catharsis and concerts give that to them, like football does. I think it’s not too much different.”Carvalhal is in the UK to put himself about a bit. The 52-year-old has been without a job since he left the Liberty Stadium in the summer. After a few months helping care for his father (now on the mend), Carvalhal is back in London. “When you are out, it’s a good opportunity for people to know you better,” he says. “When you are working, I must tell you, if someone wants to talk to me, to 99.9% I say no.” 2:28 “The problem nowadays is that we are doing everything to isolate the players,” he says. “With the PT [personal training] and the data, to the GPS, we do everything to make them like individual machines. It’s a scientific approach, from Descartes, that if we study the particulars of the phenomenon, then we know it better. But complexity proves it is completely wrong. By isolating the individual you do not understand the whole. Football is a collective game. A collective game is made by connections. Connections, you don’t have any machine that can evaluate those.” Carlos Carvalhal best Swansea quotes: ‘Sardines can become sea bass’– video The Fiver: sign up and get our daily football email. Share via Email Facebook Topics Pinterest Share on Pinterest “I started at age five, when the usual age was six,” Carvalhal says. “I would walk five kilometres each day to get there. I was not very musical but I would ask my friends in class and they would explain. I grew up in this environment for six years. I was surrounded by classical music, art and ballet all these things. But they also had a football field and it was at the conservatoire I decided to be a footballer.”By the age of 15 Carvalhal was going to gigs but he had begun to play for Portugal at youth level. The influence of the conservatoire lingered. He would travel to Lisbon for training and take his books, studying as he played. His friend Paolo Futre called him “the doctor”. By the time Carvalhal left school he had not only turned professional with his home-town club but had begun a degree studying sports science at university. It was there he was taught by Vítor Frade. interviews Share on Messenger Twitter “I saw U2 in Vilar de Mouros in 1982 and I saw the Cure there too. Lloyd Cole and the Commotions also did a very good concert. But there is more.” Carlos Carvalhal draws breath. “I remember Simple Minds, Echo and the Bunnymen, Nina Hagen, Elvis Costello and Duran Duran. And the best concert I ever saw was the Rolling Stones, in the stadium of Sporting Lisbon.” So as a way of getting to know the person, we start with music. Carvalhal is a keen gig goer and a fan of new wave music. “I like music more balanced between the voice and the guitar and the percussion,” he says. “I don’t like heavy metal.” During his time in Sheffield, he made the acquaintance of much of the city’s rock royalty, including the Arctic Monkeys’ Alex Turner (he also knows Tim Booth from the band James who, it turns out, are massive in Portugal).It’s not just a hobby. Music is a thread woven through Carvalhal’s life. Raised in Braga, he did not have a wealthy upbringing but earned a scholarship to the Gulbenkian conservatoire, a school that specialised in the intensive study of music and the fine arts. Reuse this content Read more Share on Facebook Share on LinkedIn Carlos Carvalhal, pictured here during his time as Swansea manager, is weighing up an offer to do a PhD on genetics in football. Photograph: Dan Mullan/Getty Images When I presented my thesis to the jury, they gave me 19 out of 20. They said I should publish it as a book Share on WhatsApp Tactical periodisation is a methodology for coaching football which breaks down the barriers between physical, technical and tactical conditioning. Used, among others, by José Mourinho, it was invented by Frade. “He put us to study a lot of things,” says Carvalhal of his time under Frade. “For example to do my thesis I had to study chaos theory, complexity and systems theory. When I presented my thesis to the jury, they gave me 19 out of 20. They didn’t give me 20 because I had some problems with my Portuguese. They said I should publish it as a book and they would keep it in the university library. So I finished university with a football specialism. Then, at 32 years old, I started as a manager.”Carvalhal has gone on to hold 17 managerial posts in 20 years, from the Portuguese third division to the Turkish Super Lig and then England. He wants another job in this country, preferably in the Premier League. “When you achieve in England, you are at the top,” he says. But he retains the values he learned from the conservatoire and from Frade. They have fostered a lifelong passion for learning (he is, he says, weighing up an offer to do a PhD on genetics in football). As a manager, it was the idea of complexity and inter-connectedness that stuck.
The Government, during this fiscal year, will be increasing the use of information and communication technologies (ICT) in the education sector, as part of efforts to bridge the digital divide and enhance knowledge.This was disclosed by Minister of Education, Rev. the Hon. Ronald Thwaites, during the opening of an ‘ICT in Education’ capacity building workshop on Monday, April 22, at the Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ), St. Andrew.He said that additional information on the initiative will be provided by Minister of Science, Technology, Energy and Mining, Hon. Phillip Paulwell, during his upcoming contribution in the Budget Debate.Minister Thwaites noted that while the focus will be on students, teachers and administrators will be required to increase their capabilities in the use of the technology to allow for effective integration. “How it (ICT) is received and how well it is used depends very much on the outcome of capacity building among our teachers and among our administrations in education and indeed, the public at large, because the insertion is not mainly for students, although that obviously will be the main focus, but also for the entire community,” he stated.Rev. Thwaites said the Government is committed to increasing the penetration of ICT in schools, as the prism through which quality education, transformed content and methods of delivery are going to be delivered and achieved.“The insertion of information technology into education is not just for the higher forms but must go to the primary level and indeed wherever possible into the early childhood level, so that habits are formed and the competencies are developed,” he stated.He noted that Jamaica has a strong ICT platform, and commended all the stakeholders, who have played a critical role in bridging the digital divide and fostering the advancement of knowledge in the island.“This is the kind of partnership we need. The state cannot do it all; it is important that not only do we have the financial but the technical collaboration of our partners…to advance what is the most fundamental concern of the Jamaican state and the Jamaican people and that is the advancement of knowledge,” he stated.In his remarks, United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Representative for the Kingston Cluster Office and the Caribbean, Robert Parua, said his organisation is committed to advancing the objectives on digital inclusion; universal access to information and knowledge; and quality and education for all.The workshop, which ends on April 25, is being organised by the Ministry in collaboration with UNESCO.By Chris Patterson, JIS Reporter
Houston native rapper Bun B has teamed up with SB Projects founder Scooter Braun to present Hand in Hand: A Benefit for Hurricane Harvey Relief telethon to aid those affected by Hurricane Harvey.The one-hour special will be based in Los Angeles with stages in New York, Nashville and a special performance by Country Music icon and Texas native George Strait from his San Antonio benefit concert. Hand in Hand will air live on ABC, CBS, CMT, FOX and NBC on Tuesday, September 12, 8:00-9:00pmEST on the East Coast and replay 8:00-9:00pmPST on the West Coast. The show will also be available internationally via live stream on Facebook, YouTube and Twitter starting at 8:00pmEST during the first broadcast.Hand in Hand will bring the country together to raise funds, spirits and help rebuild Texas in the wake of this unprecedented devastation. Proceeds from the telethon will benefit United Way of Greater Houston, Habitat For Humanity, Save the Children, Direct Relief, Feeding Texas and The Mayor’s Fund for Hurricane Harvey Relief (administered by the Greater Houston Community Fund) through the Hand in Hand Hurricane Relief Fund managed by Comic Relief USA.The broadcast will feature appearances, performances, taped tributes and messages from some of the nation’s biggest stars including George Clooney, Jamie Foxx, Karlie Kloss, Beyonce, Matt Lauer, Rob Lowe, Matthew McConaughey, Norah O’Donnell, Dennis Quaid, Julia Roberts, Kelly Rowland, Adam Sandler, Ryan Seacrest, Michael Strahan, Blake Shelton, Strait, Barbra Streisand, Oprah Winfrey and Reese Witherspoon with more to be announced. Strait, a Country Music Hall of Fame member who is leading the country music world in these efforts, will perform directly from his benefit concert at San Antonio’s Majestic Theatre.Phone lines, text messaging, and digital donations will be open at the beginning of the show and will conclude one-hour after the show ends. For more information, updates and a link to donate, please visit www.HandInHand2017.com.The Hand in Hand broadcast will be produced by SB Projects and Den of Thieves with Scooter Braun, Bernard ‘Bun B’ Freeman, Allison Kaye, Jesse Ignjatovic and Evan Prager serving as Executive Producers. Additional Executive Producers are Chris Choun, and Lee Lodge with Jordan Brown, Penni Thow and Barb Bialkowski serving as Co-Executive Producers.
The Canadian Press WINNIPEG – A second teenage girl charged in the fatal beating of a young woman from an eastern Manitoba Indigenous community has pleaded guilty to manslaughter.The body of Serena McKay, who was 19 and from the Sagkeeng First Nation, was found last April.Two girls, who cannot be named because of their ages, were charged with second-degree murder after video of the bloody attack circulated on social media.One of the girls, who was 16 at the time, pleaded guilty to manslaughter in Winnipeg youth court Wednesday.She agreed to a statement of facts that includes witness statements from neighbours and DNA evidence.The Crown indicated it will seek an adult sentence.Another teenager, who was 17 when McKay died, pleaded guilty to second-degree murder last month.McKay was a Grade 12 student at Sagkeeng Anicinabe High School.The video showed a young woman lying bloodied on the ground and barely conscious as she was repeatedly kicked and punched in the head.Court heard a drunken argument led to the vicious on-camera beating.
With each click and drag of a mouse, young soccer fanatics are creating the building blocks of the advanced stats that are changing how the sport is played, watched and analyzed.Opta and Prozone are among the companies that have taken soccer stats far beyond goals and saves, into the realm of pass completion percentage, defensive touches, percentage of aerial balls won, tackle percentage and goals scored above expectation. Cameras alone can’t process all these stats. So companies employ people — mostly young, mostly male, most logging matches in their spare time as a second job — to watch matches and document every event.Their work has helped develop stats that capture the value of players who don’t score many goals, but who set them up with pinpoint passing and hustle. Teams use advanced stats to decide which players to buy and put on the pitch. And fans, whether they like it or not, read and hear more numbers than ever before about this sport that for so long bucked the sports-analytics trend.On a Sunday last month, Opta1Opta Sports provides soccer stats to ESPN, which owns FiveThirtyEight. Opta also provides stats for other sports, including cricket, rugby and motor sports. Last year, Opta was bought for 40 million pounds ($67 million) by Perform Group. let me watch as the loggers at its South London headquarters tracked the last 10 matches of England’s Premier League season. I stood among rows of young men at computer monitors as they scrutinized games, sometimes rewinding on one monitor to check a tough call while keeping track of the live feed on another. I tried to stay out of the way while their supervisor leapt away from watching his favorite team’s match to confirm every goal was attributed correctly. And I watched as Opta’s media team processed the raw numbers — 1,600 to 2,000 events per game — into TV-ready factoids, which they heard commentators repeat to TV audiences moments later.In soccer stats, as in so many other numbers-gathering endeavors, big data sets are built piece by piece by human collectors with human imperfections, moods and preferences. Throughout the year, 350 part-time analysts working in London and a half-dozen other Opta branches in Europe and North and South America record every pass, header and goal while watching live or recorded video of more than 14,000 matches around the world. The London operation I watched will be logging each of the World Cup’s 64 matches.Opta says software, standards and oversight can help it harness the best of human judgment while curbing any potential downsides. It sees the people behind its stats as a selling point. I wasn’t the first to be invited to watch. Many prospective customers visit during matches, said Aidan Cooney, chief executive of Opta. “Frankly, that sells the business.”The business is providing stats to professional clubs, to national teams, to leagues — as the official data provider for the top divisions in England, Spain and Germany — and to the media.A Tebow jersey and a Yankees capMy day at Opta was an unusually busy one: Every Premier League club was playing its last match of the season. The finale wasn’t as exciting as 2012’s: Manchester City was all but assured of edging Liverpool for the title, and most Champions League and Europa League slots had been sewn up. The biggest suspense was whether Tottenham would finish in sixth or seventh in the league.That was the case, anyway, for Paul Pettitt, 31, who is the assistant manager of data collection and a Tottenham Hotspur supporter. He spent the two hours between kickoff and final whistle alternately tracking Tottenham’s match against Aston Villa — when Tottenham took an early lead, he said he wanted a 25-goal win to contend for fifth place on goal differential — and jumping out of his chair to check on calls in other games, such as whether an early Swansea goal was a deflection. All logged events scrolled down a screen at his station, and when an important one came up, he conferred with the analyst who entered it.This is when soccer’s rare stoppages of play are so valuable for analysts. A lengthy goal celebration allows loggers to rewind and rewatch goals and other major events, often while Pettitt looks on.But most of the work is logging routine passes. Opta’s analysts log each one by dragging and clicking a mouse at the spot where the pass was received, then keying in the player who received it. Their monitors have an image of a soccer pitch in the background with video of the live match superimposed on top.Confusingly, to my eyes, the broadcast image hardly ever corresponded to the image on the field. So loggers had to drag the mouse to a spot that had nothing to do with the ball’s location in the video rectangle. None of the loggers I watched got stuck on this point: After all, this was the 38th and last match of the season.Each of the 10 matches had a pair of analysts assigned to it, plus a checker. Each analyst had his own monitor and tracked only one team’s touches. Sometimes the analysts conferred over calls — “Is it a tackle?” was a question in the fourth minute of the Liverpool match. (It wasn’t.)Until eight years ago, Opta didn’t even produce the live numbers that are now such a staple of TV broadcasts. Pettitt started at Opta in 2001, fortunately just as the company was phasing out pen-and-paper logging. He wasn’t lucky enough to miss the VCR era. “My elbow started aching after a while” from all the rewinding, he recalled.The more unusual a team’s formation, the harder it is to log its matches. A well-organized side like Barcelona can be easy to log, Khalid Hussain, U.K. training manager for Opta, said. Today he particularly enjoys challenging matches.At his peak, Hussain was logging 10 to 15 matches a week during each Premier League season. His primary assignment was Arsenal, and he also worked four nights a week covering matches around the world. He once logged six matches in a day. “Then I went home at the end, in a pretty bad state,” he said.All this meticulous work changed how Hussain, now 33, watches soccer. He became “very passionate” about Arsenal, to the point where he’d enjoy watching a Gunners match against Stoke more than Real Madrid versus Barcelona, a minority opinion in global soccer. When he clicked a name at one end of the pitch and then entered the same name at the other end seconds later, he came to appreciate the players who covered a lot of territory more than the flashy dribblers.And he learned that his previous pet stat of possession time doesn’t mean much. “Working here burst that bubble,” Hussain said. “It doesn’t matter how much ball you’ve got. You’ve still got to do something with it.”Hussain is mainly a supervisor now, though he pitches in as an analyst when needed. On this day, he logged Cagliari for its 1-0 loss to Chievo.2Opta didn’t make available for an interview any of its more junior analysts who were working the Premier League matches. Like other pinch-hitters who aren’t familiar with their assigned clubs’ players and formations, Hussain watched DVDs of recent Cagliari matches to prepare.The loggers Hussain supervises generally are between 18 and 24 years old and male. (“We’ve got two girls in Leeds, and one girl in Germany,” he said.) They love sports. They enter an office fantasy NFL league. They go home and play video games. They day I watched, none wore soccer apparel but I spotted a Tim Tebow jersey and a Yankees cap.It helps to be nuts about soccer, to appreciate “a job where they get to come in and watch football,” as Pettitt put it.There is occasionally cheering in the analysts’ box. “As much as you can try to control them, if Liverpool score a goal while Man City are down a goal, you might hear a yelp from our Liverpool fan, and probably some censored words as well,” Pettitt said.Candidates are tested for their understanding of soccer and their hand-eye coordination when using the Opta logging software. They have to type quickly with their left hands, without looking at the keyboard. Certified soccer coaches sometimes don’t have the required hand-eye coordination; the avid PlayStation players often do. “We give them five-hour tests, and pick out the ones who are best,” Hussain said.At that stage, successful applicants remain far from match-ready. It will be at least a month before they’ll produce usable data, even under the easiest conditions of logging a recorded match. “For training, they do the same game over and over for two or three days,” Hussain said.Cooney, the Opta chief executive, has tried his hand at logging, “much to everyone’s amusement,” he said. “It’s impossible, absolutely impossible for someone of my motor skill set,” he added. “If you don’t play PlayStation, basically, you’re finished.”Opta employs full-time analysts to review every event of the matches it logs, a process that can take three to five hours. Its live analysts get 99 percent of player identifications correct, Pettitt said.The match-trackers are rated on their performance, and the best get spare games.3Opta doesn’t disclose how much it pays analysts. It creates a competition, and “keeps them on their toes,” Hussain said. He’s confident that today he’s one of the best loggers in London. He also gets to travel to train loggers at offices around Europe.The dubious goals panelAmong Opta’s competitors is Prozone Sports, which tracks players on the pitch using cameras and player-recognition systems. Stewart Mairs, the U.S. operations manager for Prozone, said the company’s optical tracking system — like SportsVU’s for the NBA — gives it a leg up over Opta. The system produces millions of data points per game.Prozone, like Opta, needs human loggers, too. Prozone’s cameras sometimes can’t tell players apart when they cluster, and don’t distinguish crucial game events. So it employs coders, usually interns or students who are interested in soccer, Mairs said. Like at Opta, they are supervised and trained by more experienced managers, and, for big matches, supplemented by more experienced coders.Cooney said Opta is offering something different from camera tracking. “People want analytics,” he said. “That requires holistic data sets, which only we can deliver.”Keeping standards consistent across offices is vital for Opta. An assist needs to mean the same thing in London, New York and Montevideo. Soccer stats already have plenty of doubters, and it doesn’t help that different companies track different numbers. Also, individual companies sometimes change what they track, as Opta does nearly every year after an annual review. (Possibly coming soon: more detail on fouls.)So it’s all the more important that a company’s data can be trusted across space and time. “What we’ve had as a clearance” — a defender clearing a ball out of the goal area — “has always been the same, and will not change,” Pettitt said.In addition to post-match reviews, Opta monitors stats across leagues, to make sure they don’t vary too much — and if they do, that it’s because of style of play and not analyst inconsistency.Opta also updates its stats according to decisions of a Premier League group called the dubious goals panel, which weighs whether a player should be awarded a goal when, say, the shot deflected off a defender.Close calls mean the live data is provisional. It’s good enough for television broadcasters, who pepper Opta’s media team with questions via instant message during the matches. I wandered over to watch the media group in action during play. They sat next to a wall with six television screens, usually more than enough but four short of the required number on this day. So laptops filled the gap.During play, the media team moved quickly. Liverpool’s Martin Skrtel scored an own goal in the 20th minute. Duncan Alexander, 36, head of U.K. content and customer services for Opta, told his colleague to “run it” — in other words, to check that Skrtel had just set the league record for most own goals in a season, with four. The stat was confirmed, sent to the broadcasting company Sky, and announced by studio host Jeff Stelling right after the commercial break.Later, Stelling mentioned that Fulham had used 38 players this season, a new record. I asked if that was from Opta. Alexander nodded.These sorts of stats are nice to have, but won’t change the way managers set their lineups or choose tactics. However, the work of Opta and its ilk have brought soccer, very slowly, into the wider statistical revolution in sports. Alexander and Pettitt pointed to the increasing prominence of assists. A decade ago, “some people would refuse to give assists credence,” Alexander said.Opta’s soccer-stats professionals acknowledge their numbers aren’t for everyone. “There will always be fans who, to use a phrase we hear occasionally, say the only stat they care about is the one in the top left-hand corner” — the score, Alexander said. “We’re not zealots. We don’t bang the drum saying, you have to view football the way we do.”
To: Lionel Andres MessiFrom: Benjamin Morris, professional skeptic, sports researcher and Messi obsessiveDear Mr. Messi,Over the past half dozen years, you have been far and away the best player in the world’s most popular sport, but we know you’ve been having a bit of a rough time of late. You’ve been dealing with tax evasion charges. You’ve dealt with injuries, and fallen to third in scoring in La Liga. Your club team Barcelona was unable to repeat last year’s amazing treble after being knocked out of the UEFA Champions League in the quarterfinals.And finally, following Argentina’s loss against Chile in the Copa America final – in which you missed a kick that may have been the difference in a penalty shootout – you seemed to indicate an inclination to retire from the Argentine national team:It was the thing I wanted the most, but I couldn’t get it, so I think it’s over. I think this is best for everyone. First of all for me, then for everyone. . . . It’s very hard, but the decision is taken. Now I will not try more and there will be no going back.We’re not entirely sure what you meant by this, and I hope by the time this letter reaches you, you’ll have relented. But, just in case: Retiring is a terrible idea.Of course you don’t owe anyone anything, and you can do what you want. But here’s why you shouldn’t:You missed a damn free throw.Look, you screwed up. You missed a penalty kick that would have put Argentina ahead, and your team ended up losing. You also failed to put the ball on frame – thus violating the first rule of penalty kicking.But let’s dispel the myth that penalty kicks are easy. In the top divisions of soccer (the Big Five leagues and major international tournaments) about 75 percent of the penalty kicks taken connect – similar to the rate at which free throws are made the NBA (76 percent in 2015-16). But even this partly masks their difficulty, as penalty kicks are generally taken by the designated (and typically best) penalty kicker on each team.You’ve made about 78 percent of your penalty kicks, for both club and country. This is below the rate of some other top strikers like Cristiano Ronaldo and Zlatan Ibrahimovic (who have made around 85 percent each), but is above average overall. For comparison, LeBron James has made around 74 percent of his free throws in his career (below average in the NBA) — and just made 72 percent against the Golden State Warriors in the NBA Finals.High-leverage misses are painful — had LeBron missed his second straight free throw in the waning seconds of Game 7 and the Warriors tied the game, it would have been a disaster, percentages be damned. But percentages win out in the long run nonetheless, and following this miss, you’ve now made three of your four shootout shots for Argentina, perfectly in line with your career penalty kick conversion rate.International play may not be as pretty, but you’re still the best at itAnother persistent myth in soccer is that you haven’t been as good for Argentina in international play as you’ve been for Barcelona in club play. While it’s true that the numbers you’ve put up at Barcelona have been mind-boggling, you’ve also played brilliantly for Argentina. To see just how much so, let’s look at some very basic stats: Goals plus assists per game played, for both club and country (excluding international friendlies). Here’s what we have according to ESPN Stats & Info data (which includes data from most club and some international results back to 2010-11, and from World Cups back to 1966): Your play for Argentina has been the third-most productive on a game-by-game basis (0.88 GPA/G over 42 games). Of the 324 soccer players with at least 20 appearances for both (Big Five) club and country, only two have put together more productive runs: David Villa, with 0.90 GPA/G over 31 games for Spain and Klass-Jan Huntelaar with 0.96 GPA/G over 29 games for the Netherlands. (In fact, despite international soccer being notoriously low-scoring, the international version of yourself has been more productive than any club players save yourself, Ronaldo, Ibrahimovic and Luis Suarez.)As great as Villa and Huntelaar have been, they’re basically the result of the field playing playing “best hand” against you. How well have their international hot streaks have been corroborated by their club careers? In the Stats & Info data, Villa scored 0.49 goals plus assists per game in club play, and Huntelaar scored 0.61. You’ve scored 1.46. In other words, their combined club production still falls well short of yours.Your play with Argentina does affect your legacy. It cements it.But let’s face it: In Barcelona, you pretty much play for an all-star team in a game so unequal it makes Major League Baseball look like a communist revolution. You play for a team so good that you aren’t even the most productive player on it! I mean, you’re likely still more valuable, but Luis Suarez has had a Messi-like season.Playing for Argentina is your one chance to play a substantial number of games on a relatively even playing field.Of course, other players benefit from playing for what are essentially all-star teams as well, but on the other side: While Argentina is a decent team on its own, without you it doesn’t have the star power as Germany, Brazil, Spain or the Netherlands. Many players have been significantly more productive playing for their international team than their club team, and vice versa. We don’t always know which represents a player’s true strength, so let’s look at the less productive setting of the two for everyone: You come out on top, even though some players have fewer games and higher variance (the three other dots in your neighborhood are – you guessed it – Ronaldo, Ibrahimovic and Suarez). Of the players who have done worse for club than country, only Neymar and Robin Van Persie have produced within 0.1 GPA/G of the 0.88 you put up for Argentina.If you take an unweighted average of country and club performance, your 1.17 GPA/G easily tops all players, with Ronaldo second at 1.08 and Ibrahimovic in third at 0.96.Still not convinced? Here are a few hundred million other reasons to keep playing.So you’ve never won a major cup for Argentina. Continuing to play is no guarantee that you will. And no matter what you do, some Argentinians will never think you’re better than Maradona. International play is hard and high variance.But it’s also incredibly popular.You’ll be turning 31 at the start of the 2018 World Cup, meaning you could legitimately have two or three more runs on the grandest stage in sports left in you.Of the hundreds of millions of soccer fans who have seen you play, most have seen you in the blue and white.1Note your most famous fan isn’t wearing creamsicle. I think I can safely speak for all of us when I say that we appreciate seeing your magic on the international stage, even if it’s a long, frustrating and potentially futile struggle.
Ohio State sophomore forward Dakota Joshua surveys the defense against Wilfrid-Laurier in an exhibition at the Schottenstein Center on Oct. 2, 2016. Credit: Ric Kruszynski | Ohio State AthleticsOhio State men’s hockey coach Steve Rohlik’s message to his team in the offseason was clear: A fast start to the season will be a key factor in the team having an opportunity at postseason play. The Buckeyes did just that in their exhibition game on Sunday at Value City Arena inside the Schottenstein Center by jumping all over the Wilfrid-Laurier Golden Hawks from the get-go.With the help of two first-period goals from sophomore forward Dakota Joshua, OSU defeated Wilfrid-Laurier 9 – 2. Yes, it was just an exhibition, but Rohlik said he was pleased with the team’s offensive attack in the early period.“We talked a lot about getting out there, and the guys were anxious to play against somebody else besides themselves,” Rohlik said. “Just trying to get out there and throw the first punch, get out there, get after it, that was kind of our focus today.”Joshua would come back in the second period to tack on another goal to his already impressive performance, topping off a hat trick. Joshua added an assist on a second-period goal by sophomore defender Tommy Parran, for a total of four points on the day.“I was fortunate enough to get two in the first,” Joshua said. “It was a little weird being the first game back from a long break so it was nice to see the first one go in.”Sophomore forward John Wiitala had four points as well, and newcomer forward Tanner Laczynski had three points on Sunday. The Buckeyes registered 50 shots on net.Being selected in the sixth round of the 2016 NHL draft by the Philadelphia Flyers, Laczynski is being asked by the coaching staff to fill a big role for an OSU team that has postseason aspirations. Joshua said that the youngster didn’t have any deer-in-the-headlights looks out there in his first game action.“He knows, in his head, that he has a big role to fill, so it was good to see him go out in the first game — even though it was an exhibition — and do what he needed to do,” Joshua said. “Hopefully that will give him a little jump start.”Concerning the defense, Rohlik stuck with his pairs of defensemen that he ended last year with. Senior captain defensemen Josh Healey and Drew Brevig possess the most experience on the back line, but each of them was paired with sophomores Tommy Parran and Sasha Larocque, respectively.Twelve out of 26 OSU players are sophomores or freshmen, and one particular pairing that showed OSU’s youth was the duo of freshmen defensemen Matt Miller and Gordi Myer. Healey said he believes the coaching staff has figured out its six defensemen for the regular season, but Sunday’s game provided an opportunity for the freshmen to compete for a spot in the lineup.Earlier in the week, Rohlik said the penalty kill and powerplay units will be crucial this year for the Buckeyes. On Sunday, OSU was 2-for-5 on the powerplay, but did allow a goal on the kill.The Scarlet and Gray ranked near the bottom of the NCAA in penalty kills last year, which Healey said he believes caused several results in ‘15-’16.“It’s definitely been something we have worked on and have been working on,” he said. “We had a lot of one-goal games last year that came down to penalty kill and powerplay either not capitalizing or giving up a goal. This year, we are definitely focusing more on that.”The Buckeyes will switch its focus to the regular season and No. 3 Denver, the team’s first opponent on Friday.
Nineteen of Ohio State’s top track and field athletes will participate in the NCAA’s highest level of competition this season, the NCAA Division I Track and Field Outdoor Championships. Eighteen of these 19 OSU athletes earned their berth in the national meet at the NCAA East Prelims, which were held Thursday through Saturday in Jacksonville, Fla. In order to qualify for the national championships, an athlete or relay team had to finish in the top 12 in preliminary competition. On the men’s side, six individuals and one relay team earned top-12 finishes, while five individuals and two relay teams qualified from the women’s team. Senior sprinter Christina Manning will lead the OSU women into nationals. She was the lone winner among OSU athletes at the prelims, with a time of 12.78 seconds in the 100-meter hurdles. That time is good enough for Manning to hold the No. 1 seed going into the national championship meet. Coach Karen Dennis said Manning “has an excellent shot” to win the national title in the 100-meter hurdles. Manning is also a member of the 4×100-meter relay team, which finished second in prelims with a time of 43.98 seconds. That team also consists of junior Christienne Linton, freshman Aisha Cavin and sophomore Chesna Sykes. Cavin also qualified as a member of the 4×400-meter relay team, which ran a time of 3:33.41 to finish third at prelims. The 4×400-meter relay team also includes junior Nyjah Cousar, senior Jackie Dim and senior Shaniqua McGinnis. Cousar and McGinnis also qualified as individuals. Cousar placed 10th in the 400-meter hurdles (58.19 seconds) while McGinnis finished 12th in the 400-meter dash (52.78 seconds). The OSU women also doubled up with qualifiers in the hammer throw. Junior Alexis Thomas, who went into the meet as the No.1 seed in the hammer throw after setting the OSU school record and Big Ten Outdoor Championship meet record with her throw of 64.62 meters, finished sixth with a throw of 60.43 meters at prelims. Senior Maggie Mullen earned the 12th and final qualifying spot with a throw of 57.91 meters. Dennis said she believes her qualifying athletes can place high enough to score points in the national championship meet, but that competing at the elite level comes down to motivation. “It’s about who wants it the most, and who’s willing to fight for it for it the most,” Dennis said. “We have to be real scrappy.” Among the OSU men, senior long jumper Mike Hartfield was the first Buckeye to qualify in Jacksonville, earning a sixth-place finish with a jump of 7.62 meters on Thursday. On Friday, the Buckeyes doubled up with earning berths in the 3,000-meter steeplechase, with redshirt junior Cory Leslie and senior Adam Green both qualifying with respective times of 8:41.95 and 8:43.96. “Cory Leslie is probably in a great spot to really make an impact on the national championship meet,” said interim head coach Ed Beathea. Freshman Antonio Blanks will compete in two events at nationals. He qualified in the 400-meter hurdles with a third-place finish in a time of 50.19 seconds. He is also on the 4×400-meter relay team that finished seventh with 3:06.08, along with juniors Korbin Smith and Marvel Brooks and senior Thomas Murdaugh. Murdaugh, who finished 15th at nationals last year in the 400-meter dash with a time of 46.02 seconds, failed to qualify individually this year, finishing 25th at prelims with a time of 48.40 seconds. Murdaugh said he has battled groin and hip injuries throughout his senior season, and was unable to run as fast as he did last year. “Not making it in the 400 was definitely a disappointment,” Murdaugh said. Other men’s qualifiers are senior Matt DeChant in shot put (18.89 meters) and sophomore Demoye Bogle in the 110-meter hurdles (13.81 seconds). Redshirt junior Heath Nickles will also compete at national championships in the decathlon. The decathlon is not contested at prelims, but with one of the top 24 decathlon scores in the nation, Nickles goes into nationals as the No.12 seed. The 2012 NCAA Division I Track and Field Outdoor Championships will be held June 6-9 at Drake Stadium in Des Moines, Iowa.
Ohio State redshirt sophomore defensive end Sam Hubbard (6) looks off during warm-ups of the Buckeyes game against the Wisconsin Badgers on Oct. 15. The Buckeyes won 30-23 in overtime. Credit: Alexa Mavrogianis | Photo EditorOhio State football coach Urban Meyer said Tuesday that the strength of the team is the defensive line.It’s not hard to see why.Big Ten Defensive Lineman of the Year redshirt senior Tyquan Lewis, redshirt junior Sam Hubbard, senior Jalyn Holmes and sophomore Nick Bosa all return to the Buckeyes as the defensive ends that made up the dominant third-down Rushmen package that became a staple of the defense.Personnel wise there’s not much changing to the unit, but there could be a change coming with Hubbard practicing at times standing up at linebacker rather than on the defensive line.“Stand up, dropping a little bit, (I’m) getting back to playing in space like I did in high school,” Hubbard said. “Also coming off the edge and coming from depth on guards and stuff, it’s really fun. It’s a whole new aspect of my game I get to show.”Meyer said that he and defensive coordinator and associate head coach Greg Schiano have been experimenting with having the five “premier” defensive lineman on the field at the same time. A healthy rotation of seven to eight players was expected on the defensive line, given every player was returning, but having five guys on the field is new territory for the defense.Last season, Lewis, Hubbard, Holmes and Bosa combined for 18.5 sacks and 34 tackles for loss in 13 games. The four were a substantial factor in OSU’s 11th-best opponent’s third-down conversion percentage of 32 percent. Hubbard said that the Rushmen package is utilized to get the best players on the field at the same time. To Meyer, that list can now be extended to redshirt sophomore Dre’Mont Jones, which is perhaps why Hubbard has been practicing at linebacker.“We have five premier — in my mind, five, four defensive ends and Dre’Mont Jones,” Meyer said. “You know, I would like to see all five on the field at one time.” After Jones led the defensive line with 52 tackles last season — including four tackles for loss — it seems the staff believes Jones can’t be left off the field in critical situations either. Bosa said that the five haven’t been put on the field at the same time together yet, but believes that package will be implemented some time in the future.“We have so many good players that it’s criminal not to have them on the field,” he said. “Dre’Mont, he’s got to be one of the best three-(technique) rushers.”Hubbard playing linebacker is most interesting given his background at OSU. He was recruited as a safety from Cincinnati Archbishop Moeller High School, then when he arrived in Columbus, he began a transition to convert to a defensive end. Now at 6-foot-5, 265 pounds, Hubbard has the awareness in coverage that most college defensive lineman have to learn through their careers.“Telling me to drop, they didn’t have to coach me up much. I already know what I’m doing,” Hubbard said. “Telling me to rush from like a linebackers stance, it’s like a d-lineman coming from depth, so it’s really a good blend and I think they’re really having me show my skill set to benefit the team.”If OSU moves to five defensive lineman on the field at one time, a linebacker would likely have to come off the field. That would leave just two backers plus Hubbard or another defensive end like Holmes — who defensive line coach Larry Johnson said can also drop back from the line — in the second line of defense.“We’ve got some versatility,” he said. “Sam and Jalyn give us some versatility to do some little things, so you bring another guy in and you take Sam and Jalyn and drop them. So there’s a lot of things we’re going to do with it because there is guys athletic enough to do it.”Johnson added that he and Schiano haven’t thrown out a package of five defensive lineman yet, but if they do, it will only be put into action if it fits into the defensive scheme.“I think coach Johnson and coach Schiano want to get the best guys out on the field and if that means me standing up a little bit to get another Dre’Mont or four (defensive) ends on the field, or me out in space, it’s just what they decide,” Hubbard said. “So we’re just playing around with a bunch of different combinations right now.”
The ex-Barcelona player has scored two amazing goals in just three matches with Vissel Kobe in the J-LeagueWhen he was in Barcelona, Andrés Iniesta knew how to awe the crowd.His 35 goals in 442 appearances with the Blaugrana were just jewels in the world of football.Now, after being transferred to Vissel Kobe in the Japanese football league, Andrés Iniesta is doing it again.In his third appearance in the J-League, Iniesta’s club hosted Sanfrecce Hiroshima.Anderson Patric Aguiar Oliveira opened the score just 15 minutes after kick-off.Barcelona legend Andres Iniesta credits father for his career Andrew Smyth – August 30, 2019 Andres Iniesta revealed the influence his father has been on his incredible career, which has seen him everything in football for Barcelona and Spain.But two minutes after that, the Spanish footballer would score a beautiful goal.He received a pass at the border of the rival’s area, and from there would shake two defenders off.He then kicked a missile that would end up inside the goal defended by Takuto Hayashi.これぞワールドクラス‼️✨#イニエスタ 選手の２試合連続となるゴールはコチラ??This is World-Class!! Watch Andres Iniesta´s J League second goal.#vissel #神戸vs広島 #WeAreKobe #一致団結#Jリーグ 中継は #DAZN！ #iniesta #WorldClass @andresiniesta8 pic.twitter.com/O2QYdiqvSq— ヴィッセル神戸 (@vissel_kobe) August 15, 2018