Ruud van Nistelrooy

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USMNT prospect Ledezma earns praise from van Nistelrooy

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Even for talents of the highest levels with top soccer education, sometimes a kid’s gotta learn how to eat.

Richard “Richie” Ledezma, 18, is in the midst of his first year at Eredivisie side PSV Eindhoven, a spot which beckoned after a five-match, one-goal season in the USL with Real Monarchs of the USL.

[ MORE: Chicago adds USMNT hero ]

Ledezma starred for U.S. U-20 team at the World Cup after his first half-season with PSV, which saw him play with the U-19s while trying to lose some weight.

From Goal.com:

“PSV help me with my nutrition, with my food and how I eat. It’s the quantity of food you eat, I guess,” he added. “Because I came a little chubby, when I got here, I guess. They all called me ‘fatty’ and stuff, so I was like, cool, you know? So no more McDonald’s.”

Goal’s James Westwood had a wide-ranging interview with Ledezma and also spoke with soccer royalty: longtime Real Madrid and Manchester United scorer Ruud van Nistelrooy was Ledezma’s coach with the U-19s.

“He’s making a difference in midfield with very quick-thinking passes, movement, can score a goal, play people in, he’s creating chances for the whole team.”

That’s not just good praise from a legend, but a solid sign for fans of the United States men’s national team. A proper No. 10 or playmaking midfielder could allow Gregg Berhalter or another future USMNT coach to use Christian Pulisic on the wings.

Ledezma has some work to do before he breaks into the first team of the Dutch runners-up, who have signed former Stoke City man Ibrahim Afellay and has Gaston Pereiro in the fold as well.

WATCH: Jamie Vardy scores again, ties Van Nistelrooy’s Premier League record

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Jamie Vardy is the joint standard-bearer for consistent goal scoring in the history of the Premier League.

Leicester City’s former non-league frontman buried a goal past Rob Elliot in first-half stoppage time to give him a goal in 10-straight Premier League games, joining with Ruud van Nistelrooy for the most consecutive games with a goal.

[ MORE: Premier League clubs honor victims with ‘La Marseillaise’ ]

Vardy was slipped into the 18 and cut around an out-of-sorts Moussa Sissoko before neatly hitting a low ball near post.

The Foxes’ forward can now make history at King Power Stadium against van Nistelrooy’s Manchester United next week.

Video coming shortly.

Vardy’s pursuit of history in doubt over injury concern

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Perhaps no team in the Premier League is currently more of a “must-watch” than Leicester City — unless, of course, you love a good car crash; in that case, Chelsea is the club for you.

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That distinction is one-half “they’re third in the league, how long can this possibly continue,” and one-half the fact that Jamie Vardy couldn’t stop scoring goals right now if his life depending on it. Vardy’s current scoring run — 11 goals in Leicester’s last nine league games, which includes at least one goal scored in each of the nine — places the 28-year-old recent England debutant on the precipice of history, as a goal against Newcastle United on Saturday (Watch live at 10 a.m. ET on Live Extra) would tied Ruud van Nistelrooy’s PL record with a goal in 10 straight games.

Unfortunately for Vardy, his pursuit of Van Nistelrooy’s record remains in doubt less than 48 hours ahead of Saturday’s kickoff. A hip injury, which kept him out of the England squad for friendlies this week against Spain and France, is threatening to rule Vardy out of contention for his shot at history.

Leicester manager Claudio Ranieri, on Vardy’s availability — quotes from the Guardian:

“Today he trained a little and tomorrow I hope he can continue to train. Maybe on Saturday morning I’ll choose. If he is fit he plays because every time he wants to play.

“I hope he is available. I speak with the doctor and the physio, if they tell me he is okay and 100 percent, he plays. If not, I don’t want to risk a player – not just Jamie. In all my career I don’t want to risk a player for a match and then lose them for a month.”

[ MORE: Top 5 PL storylines ahead of Round 13 this weekend ]

If Vardy is unable to play on Saturday, his scoring record would remain intact, though a different qualifier would be applied: he would then be chasing the record for goals scored in consecutive appearances by an individual in England’s top division — currently 15, by Stan Mortensen of Blackpool (1950-51) in the old Division One.

Here’s to Vardy’s good health — and that of every other player in the league, of course — because watching someone break records and make history remains one of the most enjoyable parts of watching sports.

Leicester City 2-1 Watford: Foxes tied for first as Vardy scores again

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Heurelho Gomes gifted Leicester its first goal, then helped Jamie Vardy to a bit of history on the second.

After muffing a bouncing shot from N'Golo Kante into the goal, Gomes took down Vardy for a PK in Leicester City’s 2-1 defeat of Watford on Saturday.

Leicester’s 25 points are even with Arsenal and Manchester City, with both playing on Sunday. The Hornets sit 11th on 16 points.

Vardy converted the chance for a goal in his ninth-straight Premier League game, one shy of Ruud van Nistelrooy’s PL record. If he scores against Newcastle on Nov. 21, Vardy will try to break the record against Van Nistelrooy’s Manchester United.

Watford pulled one back on a PK of its own, converted by captain Troy Deeney.

[ MORE: Watch full match replays ]

The Foxes had some good chances to net in the first half-hour, but it was Watford which was denied by a pair of beautiful saves from Kasper Schmeichel.

The first, from Odion Ighalo, may’ve only been touched by the extreme of Schmeichel’s outstretched glove, but he soundly parried the well-struck rebound over the bar.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

The Foxes came close early in the second half, but Marc Albrighton worked a brilliant chance only to hit his shot right at Heurelho Gomes.

Moments later, Gomes gave up a howler. The ex-Spurs keeper fumbled a low bounding shot from Kante, and Leicester had its lead.

[ MORE: Click here for full lineups, stats, box score

Gomes then took down a streaking Vardy at the edge of the box, and the English striker was given his chance to score in nine-straight. He did not miss.

Then Kante gave Watford life when he took down Juan Carlos Paredes in the box, allowing Deeney his goal and the Hornets the momentum.

 

Tim Howard’s book details Cristiano Ronaldo’s soccer-obsessive nature

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Forget the underwear talk when it comes to Cristiano Ronaldo.

I just finished up Tim Howard’s book, “The Keeper”, which has unfortunately become more known for its soon-to-be-edited-out story about Brad Friedel than anything else.

That’s unfortunate, because the book is filled with neat little stories for soccer fans and truly revealing tales about his struggles to be a father and husband, and his battle with Tourette Syndrome.

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One such story that’s sure to capture minds involves his World Cup rival and former Manchester United teammate Ronaldo. One of my favorite quips is that many soccer players have talent and drive, but rarely do players feature high in both attributes.

CR7 and Howard, it seems, are among the few.

From “The Keeper”:

“I often lingered after practice. Just as I had enlisted Tab (Ramos) to fire balls at me back in our MetroStars days, now I asked Ruud Van Nistelrooy to open up a can of thunder. Ruud was happy to oblige, sending balls in with swerve and dip at speeds up to 90 mph. But no matter how long we stayed out there, we were never the last to leave the field. That’s because no one could outwork Cristiano Ronaldo.

“I remember watching him one afternoon as the rain pelted down. He kept working on his ball tricks while the rest of us took shelter inside.”

I guess there was never a fear of what Ronaldo would do on those rainy nights in Stoke. This is one of those selections that coaches should print out and affix to the bulletin boards in their locker rooms.

And, honestly, “The Keeper” is a quick and easy read. It’s not going to blow your mind, but it’ll give you valuable perspective on a number of things including the reaction to Landon Donovan being left off the World Cup roster and how the time away from family can affect a player.