Germany's headcoach Joachim Loew gesture

German boss Joachim Löw weighs in on Soccer in the U.S.A.

4 Comments

For whatever reason, we love to hear what the big voices in the game say about soccer in our part of the world.

Never mind that guys like Sir Alex Ferguson or Jose Mourinho or even the clownish Sepp Blatter cannot possible know much about soccer in our part of the world. After all, why should they? They’ve got more than enough on their soccer plate without paying attention to what most of the world still sees as an outlier in the game. Well, maybe not Ferguson anymore … but you get the point.

Still, it’s part of the American soccer condition. We are constantly on the lookout for affirmation or validation. That spirited quarterfinal dash at World Cup 2002, easily U.S. Soccer’s high-water mark on the men’s side, only goes so far.

(MORE: Everyone take a breath; the US soccer team has been here before)

So when guys like Joachim Löw, manager of a ridiculously talented German side, one that will be among the favorites for World Cup 2014, speak on soccer here, fans and members of the fourth estate lean in.

Here’s what Löw said about the game here in a bigger, historical and cultural context:

Soccer here in the USA is still somewhat lagging behind what it is in Germany, not necessarily in terms of quality but in terms of tradition. Soccer in Germany is enjoying much higher status than over here, where the other sports, the famous ‘Big Four,’ are ruling the roost.”

He also talked about Klinsmann’s novel managerial approaches. Here, the current German boss does have a unique perspective worth hearing. Remember, all this novelty was not well received as Klinsmann sought to wrest Germany from too many of its former (and quite stodgy) ways. Löw was his top assistant in building that fashionable, younger Germany side that finished as such high-fliers, third place as hosts at World Cup 2006.

What Klinsmann will do, what he has done, is introduce new ideas and fresh approaches to the game. He’s been privileged to train under a whole array of coaches, and he was coach himself with Germany national team and Bayern Munich. So he has accumulated immense wealth of experience and knowhow. Couple this with the courage he has to effect change, and I think he will introduce a whole lot of new things that will do a load of good for the future of US soccer.”

Löw did get one part wrong, saying that Klinsmann’s final objective at U.S. boss was to “qualify for the 2014 World Cup.”

On that account, the current German coach could not be more incorrect. Steve Sampson, Bruce Arena and Bob Bradley all qualified U.S. teams for the World Cup. If we’re being honest, the “getting there” isn’t such a fancy trick out of this CONCACAF region.

Klinsmann was hired to move the United States off its sticking point, which has been second-round elimination at the last two World Cups. It was especially painful three summers ago in South Africa, where there was such a feeling of “opportunity lost.”

A lot of managers could get the United States to Brazil, and perhaps a few could successfully navigate the opening round.

Klinsmann needs to drive the bus a little further. Not that Löw needs to concern himself too much over that.

(MORE on USMNT: Talking about “venerable” old RFK)

(MORE on USMNT: Notes on the preliminary Gold Cup roster)

USC wins NCAA women’s soccer national championship

Southern California's Morgan Andrews celebrates after scoring a goal against West Virginia during the first half in the NCAA Women's College Cup soccer final, Sunday, Dec. 4, 2016 in San Jose, Calif. (AP Photo/Tony Avelar)
AP Photo/Tony Avelar
Leave a comment

SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) Katie Johnson broke a tie in the 75th minute and Southern California won the NCAA women’s soccer title Sunday, beating top-ranked West Virginia 3-1 at Avaya Stadium on Sunday.

The second-seeded Trojans (19-4-2) also won the College Cup in 2007.

The Mountaineers (23-2-2) lost for the first time since a 1-0 setback to Georgetown on Sept. 18. West Virginia had a 17-game unbeaten streak snapped, and allowed three goals for the first all season.

Johnson, who also had the winning goal in USC’s 1-0 semifinal victory over Georgetown on Friday, was wide open in front of the net when Leah Pruitt took a pass up the left sideline, beat defender Easther Mayi Kith, and delivered a perfect cross. Johnson simply rolled the ball into the goal to the right of goalkeeper Rylee Foster.

Johnson scored again off an assist from Nicole Molen in the 87th minute.

The Trojans got on the board just 1:22 into play after Julia Bingham directed a corner kick to the top of the penalty box, where Savannah Levin headed the ball forward to Morgan Andrews, whose header from 5 yards eluded Foster.

West Virginia’s Ashley Lawrence, a member of the 2016 Canadian Olympic team, tied it in the 66th minute when she ripped a shot from the top left corner of the penalty box just inside the near post.

After USC took the 2-1 lead, the Mountaineers nearly drew even in the 81st minute on a shot by Heather Kaleiohi that was stopped on a diving save by goalkeeper Sammy Prudhomme.

The Mountaineers outshot USC 21-8 and held a 9-1 edge in corner kicks.

The Trojans joined North Carolina (21 titles), Notre Dame (3) and Portland (3) as the only multiple winners of the College Cup.

USC won its 126th national team title on the same day its men’s water polo team lost 10-8 to Cal in the NCAA final just 45 miles away in Berkeley.

West Virginia, in its first College Cup final, was hoping to claim its first NCAA title in any sport besides its co-ed rifle team, which has won 18 national titles.

VIDEO: 70-yard volley from Chile is nearly impossible to believe

Alejandro Camargo, Universidad de Concepcion
1 Comment

His name is Alejandro Camargo, and he scored what might just go down as the best goal of 2016 on Sunday: an impossibly perfect volley from well beyond the halfway line.

[ MORE: PL roundup — Chelsea top Man City; Arsenal, Spurs win big ]

Miguel Pinto is the opposing goalkeeper whose long-range clearance, which covered about 50 yards during the final seconds of Universidad de Concepcion’s clash with O’Higgins in the Chilean first division, was taken off the fly, first-time, by the Argentine midfielder to seal a 3-1 victory for the home side.

[ MORE: Serie A roundup — Roma, AC Milan win, still tied for 2nd ]

“The coach told us Pinto was always playing in advance of his goal, so I closed my eyes and hit it,” Camargo said after the game.

“Hit it and hope” has never looked so good.

Roma fans stay away from derby to protest new security barriers

A view of a huge section of empty seats as Roma fans desert derby in protest over security barriers, during a Serie A soccer match between Lazio and Roma, at the Rome Olympic stadium Sunday, Dec. 4, 2016. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)
AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia
Leave a comment

ROME (AP) Roma’s most ardent supporters stayed away from the derby match against Lazio in protest at barriers introduced at the start of last season in their area.

Normally filled with supporters waving huge banners, lighting flares and singing, half of the “curva sud” — southern end — of the Stadio Olimpico was left empty for Sunday’s match.

[ MORE: Serie A roundup — Roma, AC Milan win, still tied for 2nd ]

Three of Roma’s locally born standouts held a meeting with the “ultra” fans during the week. Captain Francesco Totti, Daniele De Rossi and Alessandro Florenzi asked the supporters to return, and the club itself has also tried to resolve the matter.

But the appeals had no effect.

In contrast, Lazio fans filled the northern end of the stadium as usual.

The plexiglass barriers were put in place by city officials for security reasons.

VIDEO: “Behind The Badge: Watford FC” — Episode 2

Leave a comment

In Episode 2 of Behind the Badge: Watford FC, watch the players’ recovery after a win against Leicester, a look at the club’s one-of-a-kind internship program and a flashback to a memorable moment in Watford’s history.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s PL coverage ]

To watch past episodes of Behind The Badge, including last season’s edition featuring a look inside Crystal Palace, head over to the full archive by clicking here.

[ MORE: PL roundup — Chelsea top Man City; Arsenal, Spurs win big ]

First episode: Watch full episode, here
Second episode: Above video
Third episode: Sunday, Dec. 11, 2 p.m. ET – NBCSN
Fourth episode: Sunday, Dec. 18, 2 p.m. ET – NBCSN