Soccer birthdays: U.S. goalkeeper Hope Solo turns 31 today. I have a feeling we’ll be hearing more about her later today on the blog, so we’ll just move on.
Besides, we have lots of big B-Days to celebrate today. U.S. national team coach Jurgen Klinsmann turns 48. And U.S. Soccer president Sunil Gulati turns 53. I mean, how cute is that? The two biggest figures in U.S. Soccer share a birthday!
Big Important Story of the Day: Spain has fallen in the Olympic soccer tournament (pictured), so a new champ will be crowned. Might this be the opening Brazil needs? The giants of global soccer have won all kinds of FIFA competitions, but never an Olympics.
RASNoD (Random American Soccer Name of the Day): Hugo Perez
Ahead on the blog today*: MLS Team of the Week and Player of the Week. Plus the Monday “Meh” list and a few words about all the friendlies that have washed up on our soccer shores this year.
PST background noise while blogging today: What, are you kidding? Olympics, yo! I watched some kick-ass field hockey (soccer with sticks!), some very cool volleyball and even a little table tennis yesterday. Olympics in the modern TV / internet streaming age are absolutely irresistible.
We’ll leave you with this: Field hockey now has a “self start” restart, where players can essentially just begin playing after a foul, wherever they are with the ball. Hmmmm. Now that would certainly help neutralize the scourge of tactical fouling in our game, wouldn’t it?
Play until you hear the referee’s whistle. In theory, so simple. In practice, it only takes a single second of concentration lapse to become an internet sensation for all the wrong reasons.
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Such is life for Karyn Forbes, member of the Trinidad and Tobago women’s national soccer team. In the above video, you’ll observe Forbes, a 24-year-old midfielder, giving away perhaps the most bizarre penalty kick you’ll ever see. You’ll have to watch for yourself to believe it.
[ MORE: USWNT opens Olympic qualifying with 5-0 victory ]
Unfortunately for Forbes, though the whole of the ball might have crossed the whole of the end line, the referee did not blow her whistle… not until Forbes picked the ball up with her hands and carried it to her goalkeeper.
BERLIN (AP) The German Football League (DFL) has given the go-ahead for the possible testing of video replays in the Bundesliga over a two-year pilot phase.
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The DFL says it will be lodging an application with FIFA to take part if the pilot phase is approved by the International Football Association Board at its next annual general meeting on March 5.
The DFL says video replays could be used by a “team of impartial match officials for the purpose of avoiding any evidently incorrect decisions” and that the pilot phase would be preceded by “intensive preparations.”
[ MORE: 17-year-old American MF Pulisic gets Bundesliga debut for Dortmund ]
These would include the settlement of costs among FIFA, the IFAB, the DFL and German football federation, as well as training for the candidates.
West Ham United hope Dimitri Payet is going absolutely nowhere after the club announced on Thursday the 28-year-old Frenchman has signed a contract extension through the summer of 2021.
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Payet’s current contract was scheduled to keep him at the Premier League club through the summer of 2020, but a series of standout performances (6 goals, 4 assists so far this season, mostly during the season’s opening three months) and rumors of interest from “bigger” clubs meant tacking on another year — and plenty more cash — was the best way to keep Payet in east London for the foreseeable future. The club confirmed earlier this week that negotiations over an extension were underway.
“He’s the best player I’ve signed in 25 years,” said West Ham co-owner David Sullivan. “He’s a [$43 million] player. He’s a supreme footballer. He makes every player in our side play better. On his day, he’s world class, he’s unstoppable.”
Payet, who’s been at West Ham just eight months after signing last summer, could still depart in the summer should he finish the current season strong and/or show up and show out at the European Championship, which kicks off in June. In that event, West Ham would now bag a much heftier transfer fee than they would have done prior to the extension.
Remember that Dele Alli goal? No, not that one… that one. Of course you remember it. How could you not?
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How often does a player receive the ball out of the air, flick it over his head, spin 180 degrees and hit an inch-perfect volley from 20 yards out to secure all three points for his team? The answer is, of course, not very often.
[ MORE: Top 5 Premier League storylines — Sunday’s top-four battle royal
Thus, a goal such as Alli’s stunning winner against Crystal Palace last month has been, and will continue to be, immortalized through numerous recreations in this Digital Age. Above is Alli’s goal recreated in hand-drawn crayon.