Socceroof

Startup company Socceroof aims to grow the beautiful game in NYC

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New York City is fast-paced. It’s one of the social and financial capitals not just in the United States, but also on a global scale. For that reason, the congestion associated with the Big Apple has made it difficult for soccer players — both young and old — to find a place to play on a regular basis.

[ MORE: Previewing the USMNT’s crucial WCQ against Panama ]

Hopefully that will change in the near future though, with the help of Socceroof — a startup company co-founded by Jean-David Tartour and Jerome Meary, as well as general manager Jonathan Lupinelli that aims to bring a wide-ranging group of soccer fanatics the ability to find soccer solace in the “Concrete Jungle.”

The company is financially-backed by several of soccer’s most-recognizable figures, including Manchester United’s Anthony Martial, Gerard Houllier (global football figure in charge of Red Bull’s teams throughout the world) and former Paris Saint-Germain owner Patrick Sayer.

“Socceroof is more than a facility, it’s a community that brings soccer enthusiasts and players together both online and offline. Socceroof will change the way you think, play and experience soccer,” reads the mission statement on the company’s website.

Socceroof’s unique blueprint features a number of small-sided soccer fields located on building rooftops, with the first project set to launch in Brooklyn in November or December of this year.

Pro Soccer Talk had the opportunity to meet up with several of Socceroof’s founders and visit the company’s first site — which provides an exquisite view of New York City’s skyline.

“Our idea is to provide a high-caliber environment for players from across the city,” Meary told PST. “There simply aren’t a lot of places to go in New York where players can find top venues to play soccer, especially during the winter months. With this project, we hope to provide assistance to those people while also offering a fun environment for adults that could tap into the city’s existing nightlife.

“We want to give easy access for everyone in the area. And we believe we can do that. It’s the first really big facility in New York.”

Socceroof

Socceroof is following in the footsteps of a similar project currently thriving in Europe, France in particular, previously created by Tartour. The company, LE FIVE, features 22 venues throughout Europe that have focused on providing players of all ages with world-class facilities to participate in small-sided matches while also giving adults the ability to socialize and relax in a mature setting.

In addition to the 10 fields throughout the Brooklyn site, the company’s first venue will also feature an indoor and outdoor bar area to go along with two decks that overlook Manhattan.

“We have seen the success of the project in Europe and realize that it’s time to help grow the game further here in the U.S., where there is so much potential for soccer’s already-growing culture,” Meary stated.

While the group’s primary focus is aimed towards helping develop the city’s youth players, Socceroof also plans to tap into other areas as well, including corporate get-togethers and adult leagues.

The company also believes that its backing from Major League Soccer will help further its partnerships will local youth clubs and potentially with the two local professional teams as well, in New York City and the New York Red Bulls.

Both Meary and Lupinelli have experience working with the U.S.’ first-division league and hope that their resources will help with the growth of their new venture.

For Lupinelli, he also feels that Socceroof has the opportunity to build something unique when it comes to the company’s community outreach.

“I’m really excited to give back in the area and help develop soccer in New York,” Lupinelli said. “There’s obviously tons of interest in soccer and we want to help players reach their full potential.”

Another way that Socceroof plans to enhance the playing experience for players is with the development of the company’s web application.

The goal of the application is to follow trends already set forth by social media tycoons like Facebook and Twitter in order to connect fellow players and also allow them to track their progress on a game-to-game basis.

“The app will allow you to track your performance, build your dream team, schedule pick-up games, join leagues and ultimately define your own soccer experience,” Lupinelli said.

“The goal for the web app is the “gamification” of soccer. Players will be able to grade each other and their stats will evolve depending on performance results. It’s a little like FIFA (the video game) in real life.”

Below is a brief video of how the first complex will be set up.

It’s another Zlatan day, as Galaxy star rips Vela, talks Area 51

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Zlatan Ibrahimovic took a shot at his rivals and his league in one fell swoop.

Perhaps Major League Soccer’s hit is down to proximity and not intent, but the LA Galaxy star certainly didn’t disguise his feelings when asked whether LAFC star Carlos Vela is the best player in the league.

[ MORE: De Ligt joins Juve ]

Vela, 30, has lit MLS on fire to the tune of 19 goals and eight assists in 19 matches, driving the second-year squad to the top of the Western Conference.

Zlatan and the Galaxy’s seasons have trailed behind, relatively speaking. The third-place Galaxy are 12 points behind LAFC, with Ibrahimovic contributing 13 goals and three assists in three fewer games.

“29, he’s playing in MLS and he’s in his prime. When I was 29, where was I?”

Herculez Gomez replies that Ibrahimovic was in Europe (Vela turned 30 in March. At 29, Ibrahimovic scored 21 goals in 41 appearances for AC Milan, on loan from Barcelona. At 30, he scored 35 in 44 for Milan).

“Big difference, exactly.”

Vela, for what it’s worth, spent 2005-17 in Europe. Anyway, here is the exchange.

But wait, there’s more.

Zlatan was also quizzed on Area 51 while in a scrum. For those who may not know, Area 51 is a classified United States military facility in Nevada which has long been speculated as the home of extraterrestrial testing and scientific experimentation.

He doesn’t need to worry about going there, because he has his own Area 51 and there is only one Zlatan.

Who will make Ballon d’Or final three?

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When Luka Modric won the Ballon d’Or last summer, marking the first victor neither named Lionel Messi nor Cristiano Ronaldo since 2007, it threatened to signal a new era for the trophy in more ways than one.

Ronaldo didn’t win the honors, finishing second, but Messi was inexplicably left off the final ballot altogether.

[ MORE: De Ligt joins Juve ]

Could this be the year that neither makes the top three? Probably not, but it could be the first time Ronaldo fails to make the list since Barca swept the honors Messi, Andres Iniesta, Xavi in 2010.

So while most of us are not thinking of the award right now, Ronaldo has it on his brain. It’s no surprise that Marca, known for its backing of Real Madrid royalty, has thrown his name in the mix as a “favorite” given his scudetto with Juventus. That it mentions his performance in the UEFA Nations League is a little goofy — it was a two-match summer — but such is life.

Ronaldo and Messi are deadlocked on five Ballons d’Or, the most ever, and Messi’s year was superior to his longtime rival. Both won their leagues and Messi did not claim domestic honors at the Copa America — in fact he was not his phenomenal self — but Messi scored 12 goals in 10 Champions League appearances before Liverpool stunned Barcelona prior to the final (Ronaldo’s Juve lost to Ajax).

Marca proffers this “I don’t care but obviously I very much care” from CR7:

“I don’t live with an obsession about awards,” Ronaldo explained. “My numbers don’t lie, this year I’ve won three titles and I’ve been good in the Nations League. What else can I do?”

Ronaldo, it should be noted, was still incredible last season. He scored all three goals as Juventus erased a 2-0 first leg deficit in the UCL Round of 16 versus old rivals Atletico Madrid, then scored in both legs of the side’s exit via Ajax. And he likely would’ve won the top scorer’s prize in Italy had he not missed six matches through injury and rest.

Messi again breached the half-century mark in goals, scoring 51 times in all competitions for Barcelona. He chipped in 22 assists and also missed six matches between the UCL and La Liga.

Are there three players who could surpass both to make a new final three?

It would be stunning if Liverpool and Netherlands center back Virgil Van Dijk was kept off the top three, while Sadio Mane may have a Champions League crown and Africa Cup of Nations victory. And you can follow the Luka Modric logic to a land where treble- and Nations League-winning Bernardo Silva is in the discussion (Raheem Sterling was also great).

Kylian Mbappe had probably the best-looking season on Earth, scoring 39 times with 17 assists in 43 matches and navigating the attention that came with Neymar’s long-term absence by shouldering the burden to great success. We made the argument that his 19 goals and six assists in 23 Neymar-free matches is one of the prime reasons he’s be worth almost any transfer fee.

Also remember that the odds of the captains of international teams having enough ballots without Ronaldo and/or Messi named is very difficult to imagine.

Still, Messi, Mbappe, and Van Dijk seems like the final three to us. What do you think?

LIVE — UEL second legs will determine possible Wolves opponents

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Wolverhampton Wanderers will find out its first Europa League opponent on Friday, and the field will be winnowed with a bevy of second qualifying round second legs on Thursday.

[ LIVE: Europa League scores  ]

Malmo, Aberdeen, Kilmarnock, Rangers, Legia Warsaw, and Hajduk Split are the biggest names in play on Thursday, with only the Polish side failing to hold an advantage after the first leg.

American forward Romain Gall is in the mix for Malmo, though he’s been an unused sub of late for the Swedish powers. That could change today, with Malmo in Northern Ireland with a 7-0 advantage over Ballymena United.

You can follow the dozens of ties by clicking the link above.

Klopp: Liverpool has all answers it needs even without transfers

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Claiming Liverpool has “solutions for all the situations” that could arise over the course of a season, manager Jurgen Klopp insists that the UEFA Champions League winners need not buy anyone this transfer window.

Of course, Klopp could still spend and admits that he has at least one position he’d like to strengthen by the end of the window.

[ MORE: De Ligt joins Juve ]

He also continues to play down the idea that Liverpool will spend big annually, naming Manchester City as one of four sides which can continue down that path on the day Juventus sealed the addition of reported Reds target Matthijs de Ligt.

From The Liverpool Echo:

“People talk about it like, ‘Now another £300m or £200m’. There are maybe only two clubs in the world – it looks in the moment like Barcelona and [Real] Madrid can do the same – City and PSG that can do it every year. I’m happy with the team, we are really happy.”

Klopp has claimed that injuries and youth progression make Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Rhian Brewster transfer-like additions to the squad. Perhaps he’s been told that there’s not a lot in the budget this summer.

However, he’s also said that Liverpool has to “splash the cash” to compete with its rivals, and it wouldn’t be a surprise if this was all more Cheshire Cat talk ahead of a purchase.