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Wayne Rooney answers critics, posts pictures of gruesome gash to Facebook

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If you clicked on a post that has the word “gruesome” in the headline, you don’t need this warning, but I feel obliged to put this at the top: These pictures are graphic. They’re gross. They’re being posted because people do, in fact, want this information, but you may not be one of those people.

You may have just believed the story: Wayne Rooney, left out of Manchester United’s team for Sunday’s trip to Anfield, would not participate for England this week. A training ground clash of heads with teammate Phil Jones opened up a huge gash on his forehead, the story went, but as with all things Wayne Rooney (or, all things English soccer) there was an unhealthy amount of suspicion. With players often pulling out of international duty with minor or manufactured injuries (albeit, not World Cup Qualifiers), some questioned Rooney’s commitment to the Three Lions, even if huge, gaping, head wound is not your typical opt-out excuse.

Rooney addressed those questions today on his Facebook page, posting two pictures none of us will be able to un-see:

source:

Oh, it gets worse, with a picture I can’t bring myself to post directly in the story. You can click here to see a more detailed, closer look of that cut. Suffice to say, that’s going to leave a mark.

This might be a good place to note it’s never a good idea to question an athletes’ injury claims, short of a confession of fraud from the athletes themselves. Then again, not many people were doubting Rooney, and those that were occupy a fervent extreme who are unlikely to be dissuaded by this lesson.

Rooney’s words, from Facebook:

Some people seem to be questioning my commitment to the England squad and the fact I had to pull out of the 2 games. There’s nothing I would like more than to be helping the lads in the qualifiers. I’m sure people will see from these images the reason why I won’t be able to play.

So that should quell doubts. Until next time, that is.

Carlos Bocanegra takes to Facebook, gives defense of Klinsmann

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If Carlos Bocanegra really was broken hearted, he got over it.

That was the distraught picture painted by an anonymous player in yesterday’s buzzworthy piece, but judging by what the U.S. men’s national team captain posted to Facebook last night, he was either never as crestfallen as described or is showing an admirable amount of resiliency.

Posting to his Facebook page last night, Bocanegra provided a tacit defense of Jurgen Klinsmann, lauding one aspect of his coach’s communication style while providing some perspective on a coach’s prerogative:

During the last 18 months Jurgen has introduced a lot of new ideas to the team and has a vision of how he wants to grow the program. Every coach around the world has his own style and methods. He has always been up front with players about where they stand and where he sees them going. Not every player is going to be happy with all of the decisions and methods, but he will tell you to your face where you stand. From a coach, that is the best thing you could ask for. One of the greatest strengths of this team has always been our unity and spirit, and we all remain committed to the cause of qualifying for the World Cup.

Let’s go ahead and read way too much into this.

One possibility holds Bocanegra has put aside his broken heart (another person’s diagnosis) and taken the high road, electing to issue a pacifying statement with the hopes that it can defuse the potentially distracting controversy. Even from Spain, the captain’s providing leadership. He may not be happy with situation, and he could very well share all the concerns that came out this week. But as far as his public face is concerned? He’s the captain.

Another other possibility: Bocanegra is being earnest and just stating the obvious. After Tuesday’s early backlash, he felt it was important to provide a more level-headed perspective. Yes, there are unhappy players, but “[n]ot every player is going to be happy.” Klinsmann’s “vision” is “new”, but “[e]very coach around the world has his own style and methods.”

Much like the Sporting News piece, Bocanegra’s embodies both sides of the debate. Klinsmann has changed things, but players know that, and they know why. According to Bocanegra, “that is the best thing you could ask for.” At some point, players need to adjust.

 

Heather Mitts retires: Time has come to move on

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After 14 years and 137 international appearances, U.S. international Heather Mitts became a former U.S. international on Wednesday, the 34-year-old right back announcing her retirement from soccer via Facebook.

The University of Florida product was a part of three gold medal winning teams during a national team career that began in 1999.

At the professional level, Mitts spent time with the Philadelphia Charge, Boston Breaks, Philadelphia Independence and Atlanta Beat between the WUSA and WPS.

“The time has come for me to move onto a new stage of my career,” Mitts wrote on Facebook.

“It’s been an amazing journey with some obstacles but in the very end I feel so fortunate that we were able to close on a golden note.”

Mitts was part of the team that won gold at the 2012 London Olympics but had spent most of her time in a reserve role after the emergence of Ali Krieger before the 2011 World Cup.

In all, 104 of Mitts’ international appearances came as a starter. Her 137 caps are sixth all-time among U.S. national team defenders.

According to her announcement, Mitts plans to stay involved in the game and is set to assume a role with the Philadelphia Union:

I will continue to stay close to the sport as I will be working as a sideline analyst & ambassador for the Philadelphia Union while taking part in other soccer related projects. I also look forward to starting a family and becoming an ultimate soccer mom.

Mitts had been allocated to the Boston Breakers of the new National Women’s Soccer League.

The final thoughts from her Facebook post:

Its amazing how 28 years of playing a sport I love and always will, can fly by. From my first cap til now, the growth of the sport has been profound. I look forward to the launch & success of the NWSL, and rooting on my Boston Breakers. Old ladies club of Christie Rampone & Shannon Boxx keep the flame alive! I leave with so much gratitude to US Soccer for allowing us the right to play for our country. Lastly the fans. Your constant love and support for the sport and this team is among the best in the world. I look forward to joining you to cheer on this amazing team.

“Don’t cry because it’s over. Smile because it happened.”

Thanks to all the people who have made this dream possible.