2012 MLS Cup - Houston Dynamo v Los Angeles Galaxy

Google’s Most Searched Soccer Players/Teams of 2013; amazed two Americans top list?

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Not Lionel Messi. Not Cristiano Ronaldo. Not Zlatan Ibrahimovic or even, for that matter, Alex Morgan. When it comes to Google’s most searched soccer players in the United States last year, an old but perhaps surprising name tops the list: Landon Donovan.

Okay, perhaps it’s not that surprising, but in a country where European soccer’s popularity still eclipses that of our domestic league, it’s interesting to see Donovan outranking stars with a bigger global profiles. But when you look back at the Galaxy star’s 2013, things start to make sense.

At the beginning of the year, it was unclear when Donovan would return to soccer, the soon-to-be 31-year-old going on walkabout through East Asia as he took some time away from the game. When he came back to Los Angeles, questions about his future shifted to worries about his international career, with fans asking when Donovan would get back into the U.S. Men’s National Team. Near season’s end, Donovan’s future in Major League Soccer was in doubt, though he eventually signed a new deal with the Galaxy.

Combine the stories, and you have the formula that vaults Donovan to the top of this list. Everyday, there was a question people wanted answered about the U.S.’s all-time leading scorer. And what do we do when we need answers? We “google” them.

With that in mind, it shouldn’t be a huge surprise Donovan tops Google’s list, just as it’s not shocking to see Clint Dempsey second. This is a U.S.-based list, after all. There’s nothing U.S. soccer fans care about more than their national team stars, even if we sometimes need lists like these to remind us.

Beyond that, the list of Top 10 most searched players  (as announced by Google) gets international, with Tim Howard’s place the only exception:

1. Landon Donovan
2. Clint Dempsey
3. Wayne Rooney
4. Tim Howard
5. Luis Suárez
6. David Villa
7. Thierry Henry
8. Robin van Persie
9. Eden Hazard
10. John Terry

No Messi. No Ronaldo. Suck it, superstars.

Here are the Top 10 most searched teams, with six spots taken by Major League Soccer franchises:

1. Manchester United
2. Chelsea F.C.
3. Liverpool F.C.
4. Portland Timbers
5. Philadelphia Union
6. Real Salt Lake
7. FC Dallas
8. Arsenal F.C.
9. Columbus Crew
10. Houston Dynamo

VIDEO: T&T women’s team gives away one of the most bizarre PKs

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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.

Bundesliga to go ahead with video replay tests over two years

FILE - In this Saturday, Dec. 8, 2012, file photo, a Hawk-Eye camera is set up at Toyota stadium in Toyota. For the first time at a World Cup, technology will be used to determine whether a ball crosses the goal line during matches at the upcoming tournament in Brazil. With vanishing spray also being used to prevent encroachment by defenders making up a wall during free kicks, officials at the highest level of the world’s most popular sport are finally getting some assistance. (AP Photo/Shuji Kajiyama)
AP Photo/Shuji Kajiyama
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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 extend Payet’s contract in “enormous show of faith”

West Ham’s Dimitri Payet celebrates after scoring while soap bubbles are blown during the English Premier League soccer match between West Ham and Newcastle at Boleyn Ground in London, Monday, Sept. 14, 2015.(AP Photo/Frank Augstein)
AP Photo/Frank Augstein
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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.

VIDEO: Dele Alli’s magnificent juggling goal recreated in hand-drawn crayon

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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.