Providence and its big American striker Mac Steeves are off to a red-hot start (video)

2 Comments

Mac Steeves and his Providence Friars had just made history, but the 6-foot-4 scoring forward was too busy looking ahead to appreciate his and their accomplishments.

After scoring a pair of goals in a 3-2 semifinal loss to UCLA in the College Cup semifinal, Steeves became the first player in 31 seasons to be named the tournament’s most outstanding player despite not playing in the final.

“It wasn’t even on my mind,” Steeves said. “I was pretty upset that we lost in the semifinals. I was thinking about that and getting back into fitness in the few weeks we’d have off.”

[ MORE: College soccer news ]

This after the No. 11 seed Friars knocked off No. 3 Michigan State to head to the tournament. Since then, Steeves and his Friars teammates have been on the minds of opponents, having made their first College Cup while under the tutelage of English coach Craig Stewart.

On opening weekend of the 2015 season, Providence picked up where it left off. Against good competition in Monmouth and Bryant, Steeves scored braces in each match to help boost the Friars to a 2-0 start.

The goals are typical Steeves. On the first, the big American striker uses his deft touch to plunk a shot from the 18 into the corner of the goal. On the other side of halftime, Steeves bulled his way between a pair of Monmouth defenders to head a rebound home.

“He’s a modern day No. 9, where he’s obviously a physical presence with a lot of other qualities,” said Stewart, whose Friars are ranked No. 8 in the nation. “In terms of professionals, he’s like Edin Dzeko. The one player I like to compare him to, and probably cause it’s my hometown Newcastle, is Alan Shearer as a big target forward.”

source: AP
(AP Photo/Gerry Broome)

A Spurs supporter with 16 goals in his college career, Steeves prefers Zlatan Ibrahimovic of PSG and Diego Costa of Chelsea, but that’s neither here nor there. What we have here is a big, tall American forward with good lineage — his father played semi-pro in Japan while serving in the Marines — good feet and the right mindset.

[ THREE THINGS: US U-23s vs. England U-21 ]

Providence hits the road this weekend, where they’ll face Holy Cross and Rhode Island. It’ll still be nearly a month until Big East play for the Friars, but another Cinderella run to the College Cup would be far from a surprise.

Just don’t label it with the Italian folktale around Stewart.

“In many ways it was a historic season but we never felt at any point that we didn’t belong or deserve to be there,” Stewart said. “A Cinderella story is where someone makes it when they didn’t have a shot, where we really felt we belonged and deserved to go onto the final.”

Steeves is just a junior, but the next step can’t be too far away. And the former NSCAA All-American and NSCAA State Player of the Year in Massachusetts has been caught a bit off guard by the attention, but not his production.

“I put a lot of work into my game and trying to become better,” Steeves said. “The amount of success I’m having is a little surprising just because I didn’t know exactly what I was capable of.”

Benzema: ‘I’m F1’ quality compared to ‘go-kart’ Giroud

Photo by Stuart Franklin - FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images
Leave a comment

It would appear that Karim Benzema lives for exactly two things in life: scoring goals and creating/participating in very public drama.

[ MORE: Monday’s transfer rumor roundup | Friday | Thursday ]

Benzema, who hasn’t feature for France’s national team since he was allegedly involved in a scandal to blackmail teammate Mathieu Valbuena with a sex tape in 2015, slammed compatriot forward Olivier Giroud as the “go-karting” alternative to his own “F1” quality.

His main gripe with Giroud doesn’t appear to actually be with the player himself, but the fact the two get compared to one another so frequently. In Benzema’s absence from Les Bleus, Giroud has been the main beneficiary, leading many to wonder if the team could have reached greater heights with Benzmea in the team instead — quotes from Sky Sports:

“You shouldn’t confuse F1 and go karting and that’s me being kind. On to the next topic. I’m not talking about him [Giroud] anymore. I just know that I’m F1.

“He has his career, he does what he wants and scores the goals that he wants to score. He’s in his corner and I’m in mine, I’m not thinking about him. If we’re talking about playing style, his suits France well.

“It’s good because there are fast players like (Kylian) Mbappe and (Antoine) Griezmann who play out wide or feed off the centre-forward. When Giroud is up front, he’s a handful for defenses, which gives the other two plenty of space to show what they can do.

“He occupies defenders and it works. It might not be brilliant to watch and you won’t say, ‘Wow, that was incredible.’ Does everyone like that style of play? I don’t know, but it suits France well.”

Giroud: 39 goals (third-highest) in 97 appearances for France. Benzema: 27 goals in 81 appearances.

Guardiola: ‘We will come back stronger, kinder … and a bit fatter’

Photo by Matt McNulty - Manchester City/Manchester City FC via Getty Images
Leave a comment

Through all of the innumerable challenges and tragedies the world is currently facing during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola is doing his best to not only help the fight back in his native Spain, but also give everyone a chance to smile and laugh at their own expense.

[ MORE: Monday’s transfer rumor roundup | Friday | Thursday ]

Guardiola, who last week donated $1.1 million to fight the virus in Catalonia, released a video message of encouragement and hope on Monday — encouraging everyone to stay inside, and hopeful of returning to a sense of normalcy in short order:

“We miss football. We miss the life that we had a few days ago but now is the time to listen, to follow our scientists, doctors and nurses.

“You are my football family and we are going to do everything possible to make you feel better. We’ll come back from this stronger, better, kinder … and a little bit fatter. Stay inside, stay safe.”

Germany’s UCL clubs pledge support for cash-strapped clubs

Photo by Boris Streubel/Getty Images
Leave a comment

DUSSELDORF, Germany — Four German soccer clubs have pledged a combined $21.9 million to support other teams struggling to stay afloat after games in the country were suspended because of the coronavirus outbreak.

[ MORE: Monday’s transfer rumor roundup | Friday | Thursday ]

Bayern Munich, Borussia Dortmund, Leipzig and Bayer Leverkusen will forgo $13.7 million in as-yet undistributed TV money and add another $8.2 million from their own funds. All four clubs played in the Champions League this season, giving them extra income.

The German Football League, which oversees the top two divisions, will decide how the money is distributed. The league has previously said it fears many clubs could face financial collapse if games can’t resume.

“In these difficult times, it’s important that the stronger shoulders support the weaker shoulders,” Bayern CEO Karl-Heinz Rummenigge said on Thursday.

It’s the latest in a string of gestures to help those in need in German soccer. Players at clubs including Bayern, Borussia Monchengladbach and second-tier Karlsruhe have agreed to voluntary pay cuts to help other staff.

[ MORE: Tottenham offer stadium to help with coronavirus effort ]

Dortmund CEO Hans-Joachim Watzke said clubs had a responsibility to keep other teams running in what could be a long period without income from ticket sales and sponsors.

“We have always said that we would show solidarity if clubs, through no fault of their own, should run into difficulties that they can no longer overcome themselves,” Watzke said in a statement.

“BVB is currently having a major impact on society through a wide range of initiatives. And naturally we are prepared to help out other professional football clubs if it is ultimately a matter of cushioning the financial effects of the pandemic.”

Transfer rumor roundup: Sancho to Man Utd; Madrid’s Haaland backup plan

Photo by Alexandre Simoes/Borussia Dortmund via Getty Images
Leave a comment

A roundup of all of Monday’s biggest transfer rumors, including those involving Premier League clubs…

[ MORE: Tottenham offer stadium to help with coronavirus effort ]

Jadon Sancho is a virtual lock to leave Borussia Dortmund and return to the PL this summer, and the 20-year-old winger will almost certainly command a transfer fee of more than $150 million just three years after signing from Manchester City for just $10 million. Today, it’s Manchester United who are rumored as frontrunners for Sancho’s services, based upon reports that Sancho has “unofficially confirmed” he will choose to join Man United when the transfer window opens.


Updating a transfer rumor from last week, Real Madrid are still very much in on another Dortmund starlet, Erling Haaland, but that doesn’t mean they’re putting all of their eggs in one basket. Los Blancos are reportedly eyeing Arsenal forward Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, a former Dortmund man himself, as a backup option should Haaland remain at Dortmund or land elsewhere this summer. Aubameyang, who’ll turn 31 this summer, isn’t likely to move for less than $60 million, which could prove a stumbling block.


If the rumors are to be believed, this summer will be a costly one for Man United, who are also interested in Atletico Madrid midfielder Saul Niguez. The price tag on the 25-year-old? Close to $170 million. It would seem unlikely that United could afford Niguez (at that price) without getting $100 million (at least) for Paul Pogba.


Another current Arsenal (and former Dortmund) player, midfielder Henrikh Mkhitaryan, hopes to turn his loan to Roma into a permanent move this summer. Arsenal are expected to ask $22 for the 31-year-old, but the Serie A side is hoping to pay closer to $12 million instead.