Soccer

Different controversies about soccer throughout the world.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

A Star on and off the Field

At the end of each semester, many universities throughout this world honor members of their graduating class with a degree with their specific field work. Throughout an individual hard work and success, the reason of honoring them is combined with level of education and past history. Every year the University of Southern California honors individuals for their accomplishments and work ethic. In the USC website it states the reason why USC honor such individuals, which is to “honor individuals who have distinguished themselves through extraordinary achievements in scholarship, the professions, or other creative activities, whether or not they are widely known by the general public.” Therefore, one of the nominee that should be recognized is former USA soccer player Mia Hamm. Because of her hard work and contribute to women’s soccer, she is highly respected from many people.

Mia Hamm is widely recognized as the world's best all-around women's soccer player. In Atlanta at the 1996 Centennial Olympic Games she proved it by leading her team to a gold medal in front of 80,000 screaming fans in Athens, Georgia. “Never in history had so many spectators come out to watch a women's sporting event. The Games highlighted female athletes like no other time in modern history and Mia emerged as one of the Game's true examples for people of all ages who have a dream and go for it.” The 1999 Women's World Cup, where the USA took home the championship in front of 40 million viewers in this country alone, sold over 650,000 tickets, including sellouts at Giants Stadium and the Rose Bowl. There is no stopping women's soccer and Mia's tremendous impact, both on and off the field.

Not only was she influential on the soccer field but because of her skill she was also a role model to many young women. For this reason I think she should be given the honorary degree award from the University of Southern California. As stated specifically by the University of Southern California, the purpose of the honorary degree is to " honor individuals who have distinguished themselves through extraordinary achievements,” and “made outstanding contributions to the…communities of which they are a part,” as well as “elevate the university in the eyes of the world by honoring individuals who are widely known and highly regarded for achievements in their respective fields”. Mia has contributed in many ways to youth soccer team, women’s breast cancer organizations, and bone marrow transplant foundation. She has been a successful woman in the hearts of others.

Having played collegiately at UNC and leading her team to four consecutive NCAA championships, she inherited the nickname "Jordan" (after a basketball player at NC named Michael!) because of her athletic ability on the field and sportsmanship, determination and commitment off it. “Her awards and accomplishments only tell part of the story of this remarkable athlete; she gives much of her precious free time to charitable causes and strives, in anything she does, to promote women's athletics, the sport of soccer, and a feeling of confidence and sense of purpose in young people” (male or female).

Mia was the youngest player ever to play for our National Team at age 15 and has been a member ever since (the team won the World Championships in 1991, Mia's second time on the team). “Her records in appearances and goals, MVP awards and overall performance put her at the top of the sport as she looks forward to the 2000 Olympics, she has been US Soccer's Female Athlete of the year for five consecutive years. As Phil Knight, Chairman of Nike says ‘I think we've had three athletes who just played at a level that added a new dimension to their games. That's been Michael Jordan, in basketball, and in some ways Mia Hamm in women's soccer and Tiger Woods in golf." In April of 1999, Nike named the largest building on its corporate campus after Mia.

Hamm has come a long way to become where she is right now. She grew up playing soccer on some girl teams but mostly played with the boy teams. That also helped her get her aggression and passion for the game. It really helped her become the best women's soccer player of all time. But soccer is not the only interest in Hamm's life. She also enjoys playing golf, reading, and cooking.

Having seen the enormous support her and her teammates received at the '96 Games, “Mia hopes to pioneer new initiatives, which further promote the sport of soccer and women in sports.” Poised, articulate and honest, Mia is a pioneer in her sport and a role model for athletes and fans alike who believe in equal opportunity, Title IX legislation, and the love of the game.
Hamm and the rest of the Women's National Soccer Team really make anyone want to sit down and watch the game. They are all very talented players and should be very proud of the influences they are to younger athletes. Mia Hamm didn't let anything get in her way to strive for the gold. Her brother Garrett's death really made her work harder, and with the help of her teammates she pushed through it. Garrett helped her want to win and get trophies for herself. She also established the Mia Hamm Foundation to help other people who, like Garrett, have bone marrow diseases. Mia Hamm has been my hero for most of my life, which makes me want to follow my dreams like she followed hers.

Throughout Mia Hamm’s career, not only was she the greatest soccer player of her time, s was also a role model to many younger women and children. Many women and young children looked up to her because of the great things she accomplished at such an early age. At the age of sixteen, she was playing on a team with women almost twice her age. Not only did she have to physically be capable of doing this, but also playing on the nationalhe team demanded a maturity that isn’t required from most sixteen year olds. At this age, young women are more concerned about whom they are going to prom with and what time their curfew is. Mia on the other hand, was living on her own and traveling to different countries to represent her own country.

Mia Hamm is important to all girls because she is a role model to them. She takes time to sign autographs and take pictures. She is important to me because she tries her hardest during games, and practices with perseverance. She makes people feel like they are a million dollars and she puts a smile on every ones face. She is the best woman soccer player alive today. Pele (a former soccer player from Brazil that was considered the most talented player during his time) said, “When I was playing, they said soccer was a man’s world and that women should remain on the sidelines. All one can say is, glad I never have to go up against Mia Hamm!” She made many opponents feel this way because of her aggressiveness and fast ball skills, she was an amazing threat.

Mia's life experiences include growing up as the daughter of a U. S. Air force colonel, a military fighter pilot. Her mother was a ballet dancer. Bill and Stephanie Hamm had six children, including Mia who was born in Selma, Alabama. “As a military family they moved quite a bit, including time in California, Texas, Virginia and Italy. Her brothers and sisters became her soccer team at about age seven, and may have given her the sense of persistence that is needed to really achieve in any field.” Mia was intensely competitive and loved to play games. As much as she loved to play and win, she hated losing with a passion. She hated it so much that she'd just quit if the game was not going her way. “She claims that she always had it in mind that she could just walk away at any point in the game.” However, her siblings had enough of that approach pretty quickly and refused to play with her unless she stuck it out no matter what. She has not quit since.

Mia Hamm had talent and a great desire to win, but another factor may have played an important role in her rise as an athlete. She was among the first generation to grow up with equal emphasis placed on boys and girls sports. Before 1972, boy's sports were predominant in high school and college. Football, basketball, track and field, baseball and most others were geared toward young men developing their talents, playing competitively with other schools and gaining scholarships to college. An article states,“Girl's sports were barely supported. Girls were just one percent of all high school athletes and received just two percent of college athletic budgets.”

Mia Hamm has done so much more than score goals and win world titles; she has dramatically increased the popularity of women's soccer in the United States and inspired thousands of kids to play the game. She has changed many women’s lives today, for example she has created a website and non-profit organization called the MiaFoundation. Her goals for this organization are: “The Mia Hamm Foundation is a reflection of my life experiences. I created this foundation to benefit important issues that have directly affected me throughout my life. The foundation is focused on providing support for two important causes: raising funds and awareness for bone marrow transplant patients and continuing the growth in opportunities for young women in sports.”

Mia Hamm would be a great nominee for the University of Southern California honorary degree award because of what she has contributed as an athlete and women. She is respected greatly and well known around the world not only for her hard work as a soccer player but also what she has done off the field. As it is stated in the USC website for the purpose of the honorary degree, Hamm fulfills all the qualities that are stated above. She contributes to society greatly and has achived many things that no other individual has. This is why Mia Hamm should awared the University of Southern California honorary degree.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Keeping up to date with ESPN: in the Soccer World

Soccer throughout the United States is becoming more and more popular; In Europe, however, it is the most popular sport not only being played but being watched. As a soccer player, it is disappointing at times when there is a big match being played in Europe involving two great teams and not one American television station is showing the game. Because of lack of games on television, the only way to stay caught up on your favorite soccer teams throughout the country, is to use the internet. One can keep track of every game your interested in on game tracker using the ESPN website. As seen in the picture above, one can also check the standings of your favorite league playing any where in the world. Doing this allows you to keep up with the games on a play by play basis. ESPN is one of the few popular sites that has great access to sports media around the world, especially soccer. This past summer, during the World Cup, ESPN was the only website to show clips of all the games played in Germany. In 2005, ESPN.com received the Webby Award for best sports website because of its great accessibility, content, ease of use, and appearance.

ESPN is a website that has easy access for everyone all over the world. Anyone who has a computer can access any type of sports information they want through ESPN. The ESPN soccer website is called ESPN SoccerNet.Through this site, you can access any type of media information or any game scores throughout the world. Just from the click of a button one can navigate your way through all kinds of information. One can find anything from any player one can think of past or present, to any game that has ever been played, and any league from around the world. Throughout the soccer world they are many different leagues that top players play in and the only way to keep track of them is through this ESPN website, because they post every score and statistics to every game being played. The content on this website is amazingly thorough and informative.

The ESPN website is far more advanced than any other current sports website. ESPN allows you to locate any statistic you can imagine. You can find how many times a player scores in a match, in a week, in a season, and even as specific as how many times a player scores on a Monday. You can gain more information about a player than a player knows about himself, or remembers anyways. ESPN’s player profiles allow you to gain even more intimate knowledge than probably should be allowed. Information related to their personal lives is often broadcast on the website. For example, an article was released not to long ago stating "The 27-year-old Liverpool striker is accused of common assault against Holly Smith and Sophie Palmer during an incident at the Number 10 nightclub in Cardiff city centre on February 5 of this year." Although this information is not directly relevant to their sports careers, it makes for news that soccer fans are interested in. As previously mentioned, the statistics they keep are astonishing. They not only keep individual player stats, but also team stats and league stats. One can access more information about a favorite team than one will ever need. If one would want to know where a team stands in its league it will tell you, if one would want to know how your team compares to teams in the past it will tell you, it will even tell one how your team is going to match up in their up coming matches. Although, ESPN is not all about stats. The picture above is the September 23, 2006 2006/07 Serie A Standings.

This site can give one any stat one will ever desire, but it is also the first sports site to make public any type of off the field stories about your favorite team or player. As soon as anything happens in the sports world ESPN is the first place to make it public. If your favorite player get drunk and tries to drive home and gets caught they will let one know, if someone tries to rape a girl and gets caught they will let one know, if an old soccer player tries to comment suicide ESPN will be the first to publish the story. Not only are they the first to publish it, but they are the best at publishing all types of stories. One article shares an interesting story about a player, "Joey Barton has admitted a charge of improper conduct for dropping his shorts in front of Everton supporters." Even though this article is a negative publicity, it shares everything and anything that deals with these professional soccer players. This website is not all about negative publicity; they also tell you when a player gets hurts, how it happened, how long he will be out for, how the team will deal with his injury, and how is rehabilitation is coming along. Anything one wants to know is right there for you and it is incredibly easy to find. Even a computer illiterate person could maneuver their way through this website and find what they are looking for.

With all this information at your finger tips and all the different possibly things to search for, one would think it would be hard to find exactly what you are searching for. This could not be farther from the truth when looking at the ESPN website. ESPN.com has easy ways to find search boxes, all one would have to do is type in what one is looking for and it will bring it up. It is extremely simple to search for almost anything. If one would like to know what the score of tonight’s soccer match type,just type in the name of your team and just like magic it is right there for one to see. Not only does it bring up the score to the game, but it also brings up all the stats from that particular game. This site also brings up all the different stories involving the two teams that were playing against each other. ESPN is so good with its content and accessibility, but the best part of the website is its appearance.

Not only are ESPN’s graphics are so far advanced compared to any other sports websites, but they also superior to graphics on almost any other types of website. The overall appearance is extremely eye catching with all the different colors, designs, pictures, and videos. According to the Web Style Guide, it states "Although people will notice the graphic design of your Web pages right away, the overall organization of the site will have the greatest impact on their experience." When one first opens the site, the opening page is compeling and leaves one wanting more. As one continually moves deeper and deeper into the site, your interest simply continues to grow. ESPN.com has numerous picture catalogues. In these catalogues one can find different snap shots of your favorite players and teams. These pictures get so close to the action that one can actually see the sweat dripping off the player as he shoots and scores the game winning goal. Also in these catalogues one can view different slide show. One can create your own slide show, showing different teams throughout your favorite league. One can also create a slide show just for your special team, or even dedicate a slide show solely to your favorite player. These pictures are incredibly clear and detailed. Though it is impossible to attend ever soccer match in the world, after viewing all the pictures from all the matches, you feel as if you were actually there in person. That is how close ESPN can bring one to the action. This website is not merely for pictures, but they also provide videos clips and highlights. One can view any highlight from any soccer match in the world with the simple click of a button. An extensive amount of media is right there for one to view, it’s all right there waiting for you. Go try it for yourself, go find out what your team has been up too.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Other Bloggers Thoughts About Soccer

I thought it would be interesting to see what other Bloggers are saying about soccer issues throughout the world. It was also interesting reading all the different views that people have about soccer. One of the posts that I commented on is called “Stupid Italians,” it caught my attention because it was a post about the world cup and being Italian I thought it was interesting what others had to say about the Italian National Team. I am not exactly sure why many soccer fans don’t like them; people just always seem to have a negative comment about them. My second post is from a blog called "The Zidane Head Butt Heard Around the World…” It was interesting to read different people’s thoughts on Zidane’s horrible actions in the World Cup. French fans were very disappointed in him for doing such a thing because that is the last thing they are going to remember about him. Also, being such a great soccer player it is unfortunate that he had to end his career like this.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

FIFA wants Zidane and Materazzi to make peace

This past summer in Germany the 2006 World Cup was hosted and for those of you who do not know, Italy won the World Cup. In the final game Italy vs France, Zinedine Zidane, France’s captain and best player, head butted one of Italy’s defenders, Marco Materazzi because comments that were made on the field. In a particular play Materazzi, Italy’s defender, was marking Zidane when France had a freekick and Materazzi was tugging on Zidane’s shirt. Right after the play Zidane told Materazzi that he can have his shirt after the game (in soccer after every match the two teams exchange jerseys). Materazzi then shouts to him “could I have your sister after the game?” Zidane felt insulted by this comment so he turns around and head-butts Materazzi in the head. The referee does not see this right away but the fourth official sees the whole play from the sideline. So both referees talk it over and as well as the FIFA (Federation International Futbol Association) president and came to a conclusion that Zidane deserved to be thrown out of the game because of his unsportsman like actions. The game ended up in a one to one tie and continued to penalty kicks to crown the championship. Italy did not miss any of their kicks while France missed one therefore, Italy are the 2006 World Cup champions.

The altercations between Materazzi and Zidane were a big disappointment to many France and Zidane fans because Zidane ended his career on a bad note. Before the World Cup had started, Zidane announced that this was going to be his last world cup and last appearance with the national team. So fans were very disappointed with his actions. He is still looked at as one of the greatest soccer players of his generation and won the golden ball at the World Cup. Many people feel that he cost the final game for France. FIFA is trying to still get involved with this altercation, the president Sebb Blatter is encouraging Zidane to make peace with Materazzi. Not only for Zidane’s sake but for the president as well since he is French and does not want to make his country look bad. Zidane as of now does not want any part in this and feels like he does not have to. Materazzi on the other hand says “he knows where he can find my address and my front door will always be open to him.”

As of now Sebb Blatter is still working on bringing together Zidane and Materazzi and plan on considering South Africa's notorious Robben Island as the stage for a reconciliation between the two of them. He hopes to take them to the prison where former South African president Nelson Mandela was held. He feels that this is an appropriate place for this type of situation and wants to into a cell so they can settle this lock them up once and for all. It was a shame how the World Cup ended in such ways for Zidane but being such a great player it is his duty to make it up to not only himself but for his fans as well.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Footvolley

Footvolley is the new upcoming sport in the nation. About 35 years ago, professional soccer players founded this sport in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Players got together on the sandy beaches in beautiful Brazil and started juggling the ball. Once this became to easy for them they decided to make it a little more chalenging. They did this by starting to kick the soccer ball over a volleyball nets as a training exercise to enhance their skills. Just like that the sport footvolley was born. The sport is a combination of soccer, volleyball, and tennis. Players use their feet, head, thigh, shoulder, or pretty much any part of their body except their hands to kick the ball over the net. There are two players on a team and just like volleyball each player can only touch the ball once. Also like volleyball they can rally the ball three times until it has to go over the net. The points are given the same way as volleyball; first team to fifteen points wins. First to win two games wins the match.

The sport is played on the soft sand. If it is possible, free of rocks, shells or any other objects that may pose threats to the athletes. The court size is about the same as a women’s volleyball court played on sand and is surrounded by a free zone of a minimum of three meters in width with an obstacle free-space of up to eight meters in height from the ground. The net is twelve meters above the ground and width is the same as a women’s beach volleyball net as well. The dimensions of the court and net may very depending on players playing with pairs or one on one. The ball that is used is very different than a soccer ball or volleyball; it is something in between the lines of both.

Footvolley became habitual; players showed up every Saturday and Sunday morning and would play until the sun went down. Many people started to come and watch these amazing players play this difficult sport. They were curious about the sport and how it was played. More and more fans came to watch; they were astonished as to how talented these players were. Footvolley quickly became a fundamental part of Carioca, a Brazilian dance similar to the samba, life: samba, soccer, sun, carnival, beautiful women, and footvolley. Just like soccer, it is almost part of their culture. It has become very popular and has an infinite number of followers all around the world and the numbers of spectators has been increasing day by day.

Footvolley has become the second most played sport in Brazil. If you would go to any beach in Brazil, you would find many people playing footvolley, especially on the weekends. Today this sport is both played by men and women, of nearly all age groups, and skill levels. In many ways similar to pick-up basketball, “this is the game that everyone who is anyone athletically with ‘mad skillz’ plays.” This sport has made its way to other parts of the world but not completely. In the United States this sport has only been introduced to very few people and very few people know how to play. It is also hard to find an open net along the beaches because most people would use the nets to play volleyball here in the States. But once people start to see players playing this sport, many stop and stare because they are curious and amazed as to how talented you have to be to play.