Posts Tagged ‘World Cup’

Soccer drills for children with autism spectrum disorders and other disabilities should be easy, fun

July 4, 2010

With the U.S. soccer team advancing to the second round of the World Cup last month, soccer got a bump in interest in the U.S.

Though the U.S. is long gone from the tournament, the semifinals and finals coming up this week and next weekend present a good opportunity for children to watch the games on TV and get interested in the sport.

For children with autism and other disabilities, soccer is one of the best team sports to attempt, since it is fairly simple and doesn’t require a lot of equipment.

Playing soccer and other sports, exercising, and developing motor skills are areas that are often overlooked and under appreciated when it comes to therapy for children with autism. Sports and exercise can even improve social and cognitive skills for children with autism. Most importantly, soccer and other sports are fun.

To see the rest of my article on Examiner.com, click here.

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ESPN’s World Cup coverage has been great. Now they need to do the same for MLS.

June 27, 2010

ESPN’s coverage of the World Cup has been excellent.  Chris Fowler, Mike Tirico, and Bob Ley have done a great job of hosting pre-match, halftime, and post-match shows. Color commentators Alexi Lalas, Steve McManaman, Ruud Gullit, Roberto Martinez, Jurgen Klinsmann and Shaun Bartlett have been spot on. The questions asked by Fowler, Tirico, and Ley shows they have done their homework, and ESPN is treating the World Cup with great respect – of course they have the broadcast rights to it along with ABC.

“Show it and they will come” – just like “Build it and they will come.”

Now ESPN needs to cover MLS more.  There are hour long SportsCenters in which ESPN not only doesn’t show any MLS highlights, but they don’t even mention any scores. Hockey has grown in the U.S. in large part because ESPN covers it so much. They should do the same for soccer, and MLS should try to get a contract with ESPN. If hockey can make it in the U.S., soccer can. A lot more Americans have played soccer than hockey.

Most people under 50 played soccer when they were young.  So there are more people who have played soccer than ever before in the U.S. The sport may never overtake football and basketball in America, but it may overtake hockey and baseball within 30 years.

ESPN should pay more attention to soccer and treat it with respect like Fowler, Tirico, and Ley have. Some of the anchors still joke about it when they show highlights because they think it’s a stupid sport or they don’t like the fact that some of the names of players are foreign-sounding.

ESPN: just cover MLS. You don’t have to do it a lot, just a few minutes each show, and do the occasional feature.  Whoever thinks that a ratio of 20 minutes of baseball highlights to 6 minutes of golf highlights to 0 minutes of soccer is best for the network is flat out wrong.  How about a ratio of 18 minutes of baseball to 6 minutes of golf to 2 minutes of MLS.  At least that’s better than nothing.

NBC’s Sports Report: no mention at all of U.S. World Cup soccer game? Disgraceful.

June 26, 2010

I just watched an NBC Sports Report during Wimbledon coverage at 1:55 p.m., five minutes before ABC’s coverage of the World Cup soccer match between the U.S. and Ghana was about to begin.  Andrea Joyce first did a promo for the U.S. Track and Field Championships, then did a promo for some Mountain Dew extreme sports event.  Then she said, “Let’s start with baseball.” After doing baseball stories for a couple of minutes, she finished the “Sports Report” without even mentioning the soccer match.  Shame on NBC. Sure they have competing coverage of another sport, but they could have at least mentioned it – even in just one sentence.  That was disgraceful.

World Cup soccer: Put it in the net, or at least close

June 23, 2010

Today in the 37th minute of the World Cup soccer match between the U.S. and Algeria, Jozy Altidore had a point blank shot that went way, way, above the goal.  I realize the stakes are very high and there was some traffic in front of the net.  I said in an earlier blog entry that even though I’m not a good dribbler, have poor endurance, and no speed or quickness, if I had a point blank shot at the goal, I would either make the goalie make a play, or if I missed, at least the shot would be respectable. I wouldn’t shoot it 60 feet above, to the right, or to the left of the goal.  20 feet, maybe.  I know it sounds ridiculous, naive, arrogant to think that I could shoot better than some of these world class players, but I would not miss by a ton on easy shots.  I also wouldn’t do what Landon Donovan, one of the greatest soccer players in U.S. history, did in the MLS final last year, when he shot the ball above the goal during the shootout.

World Cup soccer: bad kicks and worse calls

June 20, 2010

Let me preface this by saying I am by no means a great soccer player. I do think it’s just about the most fun sport I’ve ever played, but I haven’t played in a league since I was 12, played a bit of intramurals in college, and played some pickup games a few years ago.

I don’t have any speed, quickness, dribbling ability or endurance. However, unlike some of the players in the World Cup, I can get a shot on goal.  I know it sounds ridiculous, maybe incredibly naive or arrogant to say that – they’re under great pressure and have people chasing them.

But if I had a clear shot on goal that was within the penalty box, I’m pretty sure that I would get a shot on goal, making the goalie make a save, or at least not miss the goal by a whole lot. Some of these guys are missing the goal by a mile.  They kick it so far above the goal or so far to the right  or the left of it, it’s hard to believe. So, yes, if I had a clear shot with no one covering me, I’d kick it on goal or at least make it respectable.

Second, the call against the U.S. in the last game against Slovenia disallowing Maurice Edu’s apparent winning goal was a terrible call – everybody agrees with that. Let’s hope that that call was just a mistake and not part of some scandal. The ref wouldn’t even tell the players after the game what the call was. If anything, it should have been a penalty kick for the U.S. because two players were being held.  Before you say no, there was a scandal in Italian soccer four years ago. The goal could mean the difference between the U.S. advancing and not advancing.  And how about one of Brazil’s goals today against Cote D’Ivoire? It looked like a possible hand ball, and after the goal, the ref was joking about it with the Brazilian player.

Kornheiser and Wilbon: Who cares about New York and Chicago?

May 21, 2010

I’m so sick of Tony Kornheiser and Michael Wilbon constantly talking about how they are from New York and Chicago, respectively.  Who cares?  You’ve been in Washington longer than those places but you’re constantly disassociating yourselves from DC by bragging about how you’re from New York and Chicago.  Wilbon now lives in Phoenix but still writes for the Washington Post.  People shouldn’t write for a newspaper unless they live in that town.

Another thing – they both like watching the World Cup but won’t admit that they like soccer.  Like every other sports media person in the U.S., they find it fashionable to bash the sport because it’s not cool among the fat sportswriters.