Thomas Hitzlsperger

Hitzlsperger hopes his announcement will help other players reveal they’re gay

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On Wednesday former German international midfielder Thomas Hitzlsperger became the most high-profile former soccer player to announce he is gay following his retirement from the sport.

Hitzlsperger, 31, retired from playing last season after multiple injuries meant he had to cut his promising career short. Stints in the Premier League with Aston Villa, Everton and West Ham saw him become a fans favorite as he was nicknamed ‘the hammer’ for his ridiculously hard shot with his left foot. Now he has decided to follow the LA Galaxy’s Robbie Rogers, who announced he was gay but then left English soccer and moved to MLS.

During his playing days Hitzlsperger represented his national side 52 times, and after revealing his sexual orientation earlier this week, he hopes players currently playing at the top level will speak out and become the first to reveal their gay while still playing professional soccer in Europe.

“Hopefully talking about it the way I am now, it encourages some others because they see that they can still be professional football players, play at the highest level, and be gay,” Hitzlsperger said. “It is not a contradiction as I proved. Therefore, hopefully it gives some encouragement to young players.”

But, given the huge level of interest from the media, fans and just about everyone out there, is it actually possibly for a current player to reveal his homosexuality and still concentrate on being a professional?

“I certainly think that it is possible and it will happen one day,” Hitzlsperger said. “In my case it just took longer to realize that I’m gay and t admit it to myself. But I think young players these days, when they’re sure about their feelings, they can talk about it.”

(MORE: Former German national teamer, Aston Villa star announces he’s gay)

On a personal level, Hitzlsperger was with his former female partner for eight years before breaking off their engagement and solely focusing on soccer.

“It took me a long time to realize how I felt,” Hitzsperger said. “When I started playing as a professional footballer I was in a relationship with a woman. we stayed together for eight years but after that time when we broke up. I focused more on football because this was what I always wanted to do, be a professional football player. Only the last few years I’ve realized that I do want to live with a man, that I am gay.”

source: Reuters
Hitzlsperger believes current PL stars shouldn’t feel afraid to reveal their homosexuality.

But what about the conception that soccer fans across Europe are against homosexual soccer players and all of the stereotypes that exist? Hitzlsperger thinks he did a lot with his playing style to help get ride of those negative connotations.

“I’ve heard that in professional football you have to be strong, powerful and they think being gay means you aren’t that. You’re soft, don’t like to tackle and that you’re very weak,” Hitzlsperger said. “But then I look at myself and people nicknamed me ‘the hammer’ early on because I have a powerful left foot and I’m a strong guy. So that’s a contradiction again. Why do people think that if you’re gay that you’re also weak? I think I proved the opposite”

In the future Hitzlsperger hopes the visibility of gay players will be embraced by fans across European soccer. But right now, it’s like they don’t even exist in many leagues and cultures.

“It’s difficult for me to say if there’s an anti-gay atmosphere because so far there isn’t an openly gay footballer in a European league,” Hitzlsperger said. “It’s probably easier if you compare it to racism. In racism you know who people dislike when they shout things at them, it’s clearly visible. But gay players, so far, don’t exist officially.”

PSV goalkeeper scores bizarre own goal

AMSTERDAM, NETHERLANDS - DECEMBER 18:  Goalkeeper, Jeroen Zoet of PSV in action during the Eredivisie match between Ajax Amsterdam and PSV Eindhoven held at Amsterdam Arena on December 18, 2016 in Amsterdam, Netherlands.  (Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)
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If you’re having a rough Monday morning, things could always be worse.

You could be PSV Eindhoven goalkeeper Jeroen Zoet.

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On Sunday PSV’s goalkeeper scored one of the most bizarre own goals ever as he stopped a shot on the line in the 82nd minute, then as he pulled the ball into his chest while on the floor he actually carried the ball over the line.

The Goal Decision System (GDS) awarded the game-winning goal and the reigning Dutch champs lost 2-1 to Feyenoord who are the current Eredivise leaders and stretched their lead over third-place PSV to 11 points.

Take a look at the video below to see the monumental error, as the video replay showed that all of the ball was about one blade of grass over the line.

Fine margins indeed…


Is NYCFC showing Mix Diskerud the door? (Photo)

LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 01:  Mikkel 'Mix' Diskerud #8 of the USA looks on during the singing of the national anthem prior to their international friendly match against the Korea Republic at StubHub Center on February 1, 2014 in Los Angeles, California. The USA defeated the Korea Republic 2-0.  (Photo by Victor Decolongon/Getty Images)
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Since arriving on the New York City scene two years ago it’s fair to summarize Mix Diskerud’s tenure with New York City FC as a disappointment.

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While the expectations of a quick transition from life in Europe to MLS were surely massive, the 26-year-old midfielder has failed to live up to the billing of not only being one of the NYCFC’s highest-paid players but also as a potential U.S. Men’s National Team candidate.

Diskerud saw his playing time dwindle down from 23 starts in 2015 to nine this past season under new manager Patrick Vieira, and it doesn’t appear that the Norwegian-American will see an influx of opportunities during the upcoming 2017 season.

Rumors have surfaced throughout the offseason about NYCFC potentially buying out Diskerud’s contract, however, the midfielder’s cryptic post to social media on Sunday afternoon suggests that he may not be in New York for much longer.

Somebody told me I'm not part of a plan and if he was I – he'd run like the others ran 'cause the budget is tight and binding contracts might be broken, to improve 5-6 positions – in exchange for only one man. – He went on to say; "the message is clear – unless you're clueless – 'cause you've lived it all'year since the budget is tight and binding contracts might not need to be broken if…. you crack, kneel or leave the hemisphere" – Who could tell so straight and clearly tales of destiny I fight sincerely when mental games are attempting aims to make me rage severely? – On and on the conversation went about money spent and special rules and mgt's tools and something about allocation being different cent – I wish I had right there – my pad 'cause then my favorite line fused by Robin Williams spine would play dead poets – real bad

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It has been suggested that Diskerud would possibly consider a return to Europe in the event that his contract was in fact bought out, however, the difference in salaries would likely be drastic.

According to figures released by the MLS Players’ Union, Diskerud made $761,250 in 2016, which was the fourth-highest salary on NYCFC books behind only David Villa, Frank Lampard and Andrea Pirlo, each of whom were classified as Designated Players.

Report: Aguero seeking Real Madrid move at season’s end

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - JANUARY 21:  Sergio Aguero of manchester City in action during the Premier League match between Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur at Etihad Stadium on January 21, 2017 in Manchester, England.  (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)
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Gabriel Jesus was a revelation for Manchester City before suffering an injury, but even with a spot in the lineup for the time being Sergio Aguero may not be coming back to Manchester City next season.

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According to the Sun, Spanish giants Real Madrid are eyeing up a move for Aguero in the hopes that the Argentine striker will join the club at the conclusion of the Premier League season.

Prior to joining City back in 2011, Aguero played five seasons in La Liga with Atletico Madrid, where he scored 101 goals in all competitions for the Rojiblancos.

While Aguero is likely to hold his starting spot for some time due to Jesus’ injured metatarsal, manager Pep Guardiola had heavily favored the young forward over Aguero since officially joining the club in January.

U.S. U-20s paired with Mexico, El Salvador in CONCACAF knockout round

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Tab Ramos’ side completed their first task, but now the U.S. Under-20 national team has its next challenge lying in front of them.

[ MORE: Whitecaps acquire Brek Shea from Orlando City in trade ]

The U.S. U-20s finished second in Group B at the CONCACAF U-20 Championship after winning two of its three group stage matches.

Now, Mexico and El Salvador await the U-20s in the classification stage with a spot at May’s Under-20 World Cup in South Korea on the line.

During the classification round there will be two groups of three teams, with the top two teams advancing to the World Cup. Each group winner will meet in the CONCACAF Championship final.

Classification stage schedule

Group D

Feb. 27 — U.S. U-20s vs. Mexico

Mar. 1 — Mexico vs. El Salvador

Mar. 3 — U.S. U-20s vs. El Salvador

Group E

Feb. 27 — Panama vs. Honduras

Mar. 1 — Honduras vs. Costa Rica

Mar. 3 — Panama vs. Costa Rica