Considering everything that happened in 2013 in domestic soccer, can there be any question that the year was the most newsworthy, eventful year yet for the sport in our country?
The national team’s dramatic fall and rise in perception bracketed the year in soccer news. According to whom you did or didn’t believe, Jurgen Klinsmann’s program was in tatters. Then it wasn’t.
In fact, “it wasn’t” became a huge understatement. But year’s end, Klinsmann’s improvements initiatives having apparently taken hold, the national team had enjoyed previously unseen highs.
Along the way, as memory makers go it’s nearly impossible to top the “Snow Clasico,” not only for the surreal and amazing aesthetics, but also for the way it helped turn around the entire World Cup qualification campaign.
Take a gander at the other elements that made 2013 the most eventful, newsy year in U.S. soccer history:
- Robbie Rogers coming out as a gay man and retiring. Then un-retiring and returning to Major League Soccer. That became an important story in sports generally, one that transcended soccer.
- Landon Donovan’s sabbatical, a news story that sprung all kinds of tentacles (for club and country). Foremost was his estrangement from the national team, which then evolved into one of the summer’s big news makers: his glorious return to national team grace.
- Not coincidentally, Donovan’s reemergence drove the U.S. Gold Cup conquest, as the playmaker’s sensational form led a dominant United States tournament performance.
- Later, back in his club jersey, Landon Donovan equaled Major League Soccer’s career scoring record.
- Jozy Altidore’s record-setting year abroad, the best year ever for a U.S. scorer in Europe.
- Altidore’s amazing summer of scoring for the national team, highlighted by his U.S.record of scoring in five consecutive matches.
- Clint Dempsey, still on top of his game, traded in Premier League status for a second run in Major League Soccer, a huge development for a league where the best talent typically migrates out rather than in.
- Huge MLS expansion news, as New York City FC came on-line as the league’s 20th franchise. A few months later, Orlando was announced as No. 21. And all along, news continued to filter out (strategically so, it’s probably worth saying) of David Beckham’s ongoing efforts to plan an MLS expansion flag in Miami.
- The United States qualified for another World Cup, about to appear its seventh consecutive tournament. (Dos a cero. Again!) Later, and certainly related, Klinsmann was signed to another four-year deal.
- The unbelievable drama of the final night of CONCACAF qualifying, a made-for-TV moment if there ever was one.
- And, finally, a World Cup draw for forget for the United States.
All that, plus the usual newsiness of the MLS Cup final, the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup, CONCACAF Champions League, notable transfers, trades, retirements, coaching coming and goings, etc.
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.
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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.”
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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.
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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.