Thierry Henry

Kyle Martino running for USSF presidency


Former MLS and USMNT player Kyle Martino is throwing his hat in the ring for the United States Soccer Federation presidency.

Martino, 36, launched to detail his candidacy. He won eight caps for the United States men’s national team between 2002-06. Martino will be taking a hiatus from his current role as a Premier League analyst for NBC Sports.

[ MORE: Kljestan, Altidore react to fight ]

Backed by Thierry Henry and David Beckham, Martino announced his candidacy on Monday, joining the first contested election since Sunil Gulati took over in 2006. Gulati is also a member of FIFA’s Executive Council dating back to 2013.

Martino said he’d resign if the U.S. failed to qualify for the 2022 World Cup or missed the quarterfinals of the 2026 World Cup.

Already announced for the election are Eric Wynalda, Gulati protege Carlos Cordeiro, Boston lawyer Steve Gans and UPSL executivePaul LaPointe. Gulati hinted at his candidacy during a conference call following the USMNT’s embarrassing failure to qualify for the 2018 World Cup.

NFL’s Ajayi clearly pleased to see hero Thierry Henry (video)

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File this under: Star running backs, they’re just like us.

Miami Dolphins bruiser Jay Ajayi is in London for a Sunday match-up with the New Orleans Saints, and he got a chance to meet childhood hero Thierry Henry.

[ USMNT: World Cup qualifying roster looks odd ]

Ajayi, 24, was born and London and is set to become the first London-born skill position player to hit the field in England (Granted that’s a stretch of a designation, as Osi Umenyiora had plenty of skill at defensive end).

The two had met before, with Henry surprising Ajayi at Sky Sports last year.

Here’s how Ajayi reacted to his London return earlier this week, via The London Evening Standard:

“It’s exciting,” he said. “I’m getting to go home. My whole family is flying out. It’s a special thing and I think it will be even more special when I get there and the game’s about to kick off. I think that will be a great moment for me and for my family.”

We like to think Henry called him the Jay Train and Ajayi responded by saying “Invincible man, Invincible!”

Lukaku hails debut win, “intense” Pogba friendship, Henry’s tutelage

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Sunday couldn’t have gone much better for Romelu Lukaku, Manchester United’s $97-million superstar signing from the summer, as the big Belgian striker scored twice on his Premier League debut for the club and helped the Red Devils to a 4-0 victory over West Ham United.

[ RECAP: Man United thrash West Ham to opening 2017-18 season ]

After the game, the 24-year-old joined the NBC Sports broadcast team field-side at Old Trafford for a lengthy interview (above video) on a wide range of topics — from his own performance on the day, to his “intense, competitive” relationship with Paul Pogba, to the icons of the game who bestowed their wisdom upon him during his five years in England, and so much more.

“[It was] a difficult first 20 minutes, I’d say, but then afterwards we found the spaces to play and we played at a higher tempo. From the press of Nemanja [Matic] we recovered the ball and he went really quickly; before the ball came to me, I had a couple looks at the goalkeeper; the pass from Marcus [Rashford] was excellent, so it was all instincts.

“The second goal was a good free kick from [Henrikh Mkhitaryan], something we worked on in training. From then on, we really controlled the game. We tried to be entertaining for the fans. That’s what they want at Manchester United.”

“Our relationship is really intense. He’s really competitive at the training ground, outside the training ground really competitive, and on the pitch we just want to win. We’re two winners.

“When we play opposite each other, the guy that loses he’s going to get stick until the next day, or has to serve the other guy for the whole day. We are like that, we’re really competitive. Playing together, I think is the best thing, because he has things in his game that I want to have, and I have things in my game that he wants to have, so we try to learn from each other. We push each other everyday on another level.”

[ VIDEO: Lukaku scores his first Man United goal ]

“I think [having Thierry Henry as a coach at mentor with the Belgian national team] is the best thing that happened to me. He’s the best thing that happened to me.

“If I look back, from 18 when I came to England until now, I’ve had possibly the five best strikers in the last 10 years as mentors. I had Didier Drogba, Nicolas Anelka, Samuel Eto'o, Fernando Torres, and now Thierry Henry. … I think it’s the best thing that could happen in my career as a young guy. … Everyday, if it’s negative or it’s positive, I really take it in stride because I know what is expected at the top level.”

VIDEO: Kane scores 4, takes charge in Golden Boot race (again)

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Harry Kane is having himself a(nother) season to remember — not bad for a so-called “one-season wonder,” is he? — and the 23-year-old had a night to remember on Thursday, as he bagged four of six goals in Tottenham Hotspur’s demolition of Leicester City.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s PL coverage ]

Harry’s haul erased a two-goal deficit to Romelu Lukaku in the race for the 2016-17 Premier League Golden Boot, and handed him a two-goal advantage heading into the final day of the PL season this weekend (despite the fact he’s played in seven fewer PL games this season, due to injury, than the big Belgian).

1. Harry Kane — 26 goals
2. Romelu Lukaku — 24
3. Alexis Sanchez — 23
4. Diego Costa — 20

[ RECAP: Kane gets 4, Son gets 2; Spurs increase record points total ]

If Kane holds off Lukaku on Sunday, he’ll become the first player since Robin Van Persie (2011-12 and 2012-13) to lead the PL in goals scored in consecutive seasons, and just the second to do so since Thierry Henry went back to back to back in 2003-04, 2004-05 and 2005-06.

Henry says “no power shift” despite Spurs current control of North London

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Tottenham has done just about everything right in the Premier League this season, but a former Arsenal great believes Spurs still have some ways to go before overtaking their London rivals.

[ MORE: Tottenham revel in ruling North London, but want more ]

Coming off of a critical 2-0 win against Arsenal, Spurs remain four points behind league leaders Chelsea with four matches to play, while the Gunners are currently struggling to stay within reach of a place in Europe next season.

Thierry Henry still isn’t overly impressed with Mauricio Pochettino‘s side just yet though.

“Not envy, because after 20 years they still don’t have anything to show for it, so far,” Henry said on Sky Sports. “I know they are trying to.”

Tottenham have secured just one trophy since 1999, a league cup crown during the 2007/08 campaign, but Henry suggests that Spurs need to continue their ascent toward the top of English and European soccer before they can surpass the likes of Arsenal.

Despite participating in three competitions this season, Spurs bailed out of the Champions League, FA Cup and EFL Cup without anything to show.

Henry went on to compare Spurs to Chelsea, who have come alive over the last two decades with significant hardware of their own.

The former Arsenal striker discussed how Frank Lampard, who sat alongside him on a Sky Sports program, and the Blues warranted the respect they earned after working their way up the ladder in England.

“I have a man next to me, for a long time we were beating them,” Henry added. “Then, at one point, I was like ‘hang on a minute, they [Chelsea] are doing something right.’

“They had won the league, then they won the league again, and then they won the cup. They won something with it, and we thought ‘hang on, the power is shifting’.

“At the moment I don’t see any shift.”