Arrogance gets the best of USMNT, fails to qualify for World Cup (10/12/17)

When the United States men’s soccer team stepped on the field in Trinidad and Tobago, they already knew they had qualified.

Needing just one point to qualify for a playoff World Cup spot against a “B-team” Trinidad and Tobago, the U.S. men clearly weren’t sweating it.

Yet, 90 minutes later, what happened?

A disaster.

As the Trinidad team celebrates, the U.S. team looks dazed, unable to contemplate their 2-1 loss to the small island nation.

While millions all over the country were shocked, it is clear to see, when examining this defeat more closely, that there was a multitude of problems right from the start. With poor results against Honduras, Mexico, Guatemala, and Panama in the fourth and fifth qualifying rounds, it’s clear that this United States team lacked some of the fire that we had seen from previous U.S. teams.

But still, what type of problems caused the USMNT to lose yesterday?

The main problem with the USMNT last night was simply attitude.

Going into the game, the U.S. team had a certain arrogance about the game. Despite their shaky performances throughout the qualifying rounds, many of the players appear to treat this game a “blow off” game and one that they were assured to win.  The players didn’t seem to take the game seriously until the final minutes, and by then, it was way too late.

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Christian Pulisic in utter disbelief after the final whistle. Pulisic was the lone bright-star in the U.S. attack yesterday.  (Pic: Getty Images)

Next was the poor quality of play. Despite a good 4-0 win over Panama last Friday, the U.S. team failed to bring that type of fire and energy to the field against Trinidad. Passing was extremely poor in midfield, and the back four, primarily the two centre-backs, looked incredibly shaky from the start. Effort was also very poor, as many of the USMNT players failed to hustle for the ball in midfield and were slow to pressure the Trinidad team, giving the Trinidadians plenty of time and space to control the ball.

I am not taking anything away from Trinidad and Tobago’s win.  Their players brought heart, intense energy and effort throughout the match. Trinidad had nothing to play for in this game – their qualifying hopes were gone – yet, they still played with enormous passion and emotion.

The question after the 2014 World Cup, in which the U.S. team reached the Round of 16, was how the team could legitimately challenge the German and Argentine teams of the world. That seems to be in the distant past. Now, almost four years later, the question is: how do we get back on track?

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Alvin Jones (#17) celebrates after scoring for Trinidad and Tobago. (Pic: AP)

It is clear changes need to be made.

First, there needs to be a higher sense of responsibility ingrained in the United States players.

In other countries, soccer is literally life or death. Players use soccer to stay out of crime and trouble, and to provide for their families. Also, in smaller professional leagues, some town’s football teams are essential to their economy. Jobs depend on those club teams and, if the players fail to get promoted or stay in the division, their hometowns suffer.

That is not the case in the United States. The MLS, where most of these athletes play, has money poured into it. These players do not have that sense of urgency that other foreign players have. They don’t see qualifying as life or death, and they don’t seem to care as much as they should.

Second, the United States needs to fix its recruiting process. The pay-to-play system clearly is not working. In the U.S., the primary way for a player to get noticed is by joining top, expensive academies.  However, due to the cost prohibitive nature of these academies, many talented, passionate young players who are low income cannot join and their talents goes unnoticed. Soccer is a democratic game.  All you need is a soccer ball and players. Many of the best players in the world grew up poor and played in the streets. There is plenty of talent in the U.S., but not all of it is being seen.  Recruiting needs to be broadened to obtain the best players.

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In most countries, soccer is a sport played in streets or empty fields. But in the U.S., it’s become a suburban, upper-middle class activity. (Pic: SB Nation)

It was definitely the most embarrassing night in U.S. soccer history. That being said, there is no time to hang our heads. The U.S. team’s training for 2022 starts now. Maybe now there will be a sense of urgency.

 

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Why I have a problem with athletes protesting the anthem now (9/25/17)

Regardless of whether you are a sports fan or a socially-engaged individual, it is hard to miss the protests that have been erupting all over the American professional sports landscape.

Some athletes in the MLB and NBA, but mostly the NFL, have been “taking a knee” during the playing of the National Anthem as a form of silent protest for the perceived racial inequality in the country. Taking a knee has generated much controversy.

The situation escalated after President Trump expressly espoused the idea of firing athletes who kneel during the anthem. On Sunday, players from many NFL teams kneeled during the anthem (with nearly the entire Steelers team not even showing up on the field) and locked arms in a symbol of unity.

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In a Sunday game against the Bears, the entire Steelers team chose to sit in the locker room during the anthem. Only one member of the team, OT Alejandro Villanueva, came out and stood during the anthem. Villanueva was a former Serviceman. (Pic: AP)

And as a long-time NFL fan, I have to say I am disappointed.

I’d like to first mention that I firmly acknowledge the right these athletes have to protest. I am not doubting their freedom of speech rights, and I am certainly not going argue against the Constitution. That is not the issue.

While I believe that all athletes should stand for the flag, because the flag serves as the symbol of our country and the protection that the U.S. military gives us, I don’t even necessarily have an issue with the athletes protesting. That is not the issue, either.

The issue I have is with the timing of it all.

It’s been over a year since the former NFL QB Colin Kaepernick first took a knee during the National Anthem. And while other players followed, they were small in number, and nothing like it was this past Sunday.

I genuinely feel that the large number of players that kneeled on Sunday were just doing it because it was “trending” and the issue was at the forefront.  These players had a year to express their protest, but the majority of them never did.

So, why now?

While I don’t doubt that these NFL players are aware of the major police brutality cases and injustices, I doubt that many of these players believe in this cause strongly enough to kneel during the anthem. It feels as if these athletes didn’t want to stir up unnecessary controversy, but when it was made clear, as on Sunday, that everyone was going to kneel and that it was safe to do so, then they decided to do it.  It doesn’t seem genuine or heartfelt.

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Where were you guys last year? (Pic: USA Today)

As much as I dislike Colin Kaepernick, at least he was genuine and kneeled because he truly wanted to protest inequality and police brutality.  By contrast, I feel that the majority of the NFL players who kneel are just doing it for PR reasons.

And again, I’d like to stress the fact that I don’t believe that all of these athletes did this just because it was the “popular thing to do.” However, some did.  Players, like Martellus Bennett, who had once refused to protest during the anthem and are now choosing this time to attack the President and claim they wouldn’t mind being fired for doing something they believe in, are hypocrites.  They are just doing it because everyone else is.

The main concern I have with this protest is the use of “identity politics.”

I feel that a lot of these players are being pressured into kneeling when they might not necessarily agree with it. Identity politics generalizes groups of people and pressures  a person to think or act a certain way by virtue of his membership in a particular group.  However,  not all people in these groups have the same views or live in the same condition. In America, you should think for yourself and act freely, and you shouldn’t feel pressurized into agreeing with something you might not believe in.

Is America a perfect country?   Absolutely not. While the patriotic side of me would like to say yes, the reasonable, logical and realistic side says no. And while we, as a country, understand that our country has flaws, we also have to be reminded of the great things our country provides and stands for.

So, to the NFL players, next time you think of kneeling, think LONG and HARD about the opportunities this country has given you and decide for yourself if you really want to kneel or not.  Do not feel pressured into kneeling.

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Don’t be afraid to stand if it’s what you truly believe in. (Pic: SI)

 

 

 

Sorry America, no politics in this fight (8/28/17)

It was bound to be a second Mayweather-Pacquiao, right?

So hyped up, yet ultimately so disappointing and so not worth the ridiculous pay-per-view fee.

But, it wasn’t.

Floyd Mayweather v. Conor Mcgregor turned out to be a real, honest-to-goodness fight, and a genuine source of excitement and entertainment.

There was no real way Floyd was going to lose. He was the legend. Undefeated, 49-0, going for his 50th straight victory. This was his sport, and there was no chance he was going to let McGregor, a UFC fighter known for primarily using his feet to fight, show him up.

Yet, with all the odds against him, McGregor didn’t back down. He took it to Mayweather, arguably winning the first three rounds, and taking Mayweather ten, before losing via TKO.

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Floyd Mayweather (right) catches Conor McGregor (left) with a right jab. (Pic: MMAMania)

And while it was the outcome we expected, it was so enjoyable, partly because it was an example of a typical sports story we all love: David vs Goliath.

Even though it’s hard to compare McGregor to David because of his massive physical nature, in this boxing matchup, he was the big underdog, and even though we knew it wasn’t possible, he went out there and competed. He embraced the persona of the “little guy” and served as an inspiration to small guys everywhere, showing them courage and perseverance.

The best part of the fight, though?

No politics.

It didn’t seem that the fight would be politics-free, though. Both athletes had notably commented on political issues in the country.

Conor McGregor was caught singing along to “F*** Donald Trump” and has stated numerously in interviews that Trump should “shut his big fat mouth”.

Mayweather also made headlines when he called out former-NFL player Colin Kaepernick for protesting the national anthem. He also spoke about the importance of cops, calling for the black community to trust the police more.

For awhile, massive sporting events or spectacles have been used to prove a political agenda. Since Trump’s election, numerous celebrities have used their powerful status to broadcast messages of disapproval towards the current president. And while it’s good that athletes are engaging socially and politically in the world, recently, the atmosphere in the United States has been too rife with politics.

Sports has always served as a symbol of fun and entertainment. People play sports for fun and to escape reality.

Due to the political partisanship and division in the world today, politics has infiltrated the sports world.  But the fight on Saturday was a reminder of just how enjoyable sports are meant to be and that no matter how bad things get, sports will always serve as a symbol of fun.

 

 

 

For England, Wimbledon has a special meaning this year (6/30/17)

On Monday, July 3, the Wimbledon Championships, once again, will kick off in London, England.

In the tennis world, Wimbledon is the most special tournament. And for good reason, too.

There’s the unpredictability of the grass which always causes shocking upsets.

There’s the appearance of English royalty, the sweetness of the traditional strawberries and cream, and the class and prestige of the All-England Club.

Yet this year, something is different.

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Kate Middleton applauds after watching a semi-final match at the 2016 Wimbledon Championships. (Pic: The Sun)

Manchester. London Bridge. Finsbury Park.

All of these places have been the subject of terrorist attacks, and all of the attacks have occurred with weeks of each other.

And while this isn’t the first time that a terrorist attack has occurred in England, it’s the first time in a while that England, one of the most powerful and influential nations in the world, has looked so vulnerable.

The worst news: it might not even be over.

The UK Terror threat level still remains at SEVERE, which means that security and armed forces are still on high alert.

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Citizens leaving the area with their hands up after the London Bridge Attack on June 3. (Photo: Reuters)

While England still continues to pick itself up after the deadly attacks, it’s worth noting that one of the attacks, the attack on a mosque in Finsbury Park, was not perpetrated by an Islamic extremist.  This attack highlights the difficulty in preventing terror attacks.  As more people who don’t necessarily fit the terrorist profile resort to hatred and violence, it is nearly impossible to identify potential terrorists.

And while we condemn the Islamic extremists for their repulsive actions, there is no reason to take out anger on the Islamic religion and people as a whole. We are no better than terrorists if we attack innocent people simply because of their religion.

As former President George Bush did after the 9/11 attacks, it would be wise for British PM Theresa May to make a statement about respect for Muslims as well.

These recent attacks certainly raise security concerns for the upcoming Wimbledon tournament.  However, it is important that the tournament serves as a symbol of inspiration, tradition and entertainment and does not contribute to the fear in England.

If anything can cheer up a nation’s spirit during a tough time, it is sports.

We saw it after 9/11 with George Bush and his famous Yankee Stadium Pitch. We saw it at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, at a time where there were many doubts over government corruption. And now, we will see it in England with the greatest tennis tournament.

This is what makes Wimbledon so special this year. It can serve as a symbol of hope for Britain. It can show the terrorists that no matter how much they attack us, we will not change our lives for them. It can bring the people of England together, even at such a anxious and dark time.

And while given Andy Murray’s current form, there might not be a winner from the UK this year, we know that he, other English players, and all the other athletes will be playing with a little bit more in their hearts.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Off the court, Lebron James is greater than Michael Jordan (6/2/17)

While Lebron James may not have surpassed Michael Jordan as the greatest basketball on the basketball court (well, at least in my opinion), it is a different story, off the court.

Both Michael Jordan and Lebron James are icons of their time.

During the 90’s, Jordan was must see TV. His sneakers were top sellers (and are still to this day), he was an endorsement magnet for commercials and advertisements, and he was the greatest basketball player in the world.

However, ‘His Airness’ never used his platform to get involved in any political affairs or social issues, at least not until recently.

Lebron will be the first to admit that he wants to be like Mike. And to be fair, Lebron is a lot like Mike. He, too, has amassed enormous wealth and fame, and is also the greatest basketball player in the world (sorry, it’s not Russell Westbrook or James Harden).

Yet, while Lebron might not have had the career, at least so far, equal to that Michael Jordan had, it is undeniable that his impact on the black community, as well as his impact politically, is much greater than Jordan’s.

Michael Jordan declined to endorse Democrat Mayor Harvey Grant in his bid in the 1990 and 1996 election for Senate against known racist and bigoted Republican Jesse Holmes. Jordan famously stated, “Republicans buy sneakers too” implying that he didn’t want to lose valuable sneaker sales by potentially alienating Republicans.

Jordan took a lot of flack for his comment, particularly from the black community, with some African Americans feeling that he was more concerned with money than racial fairness and civil rights.

On the other hand, Lebron James has been much more active politically, endorsing Hillary Clinton in this past election, claiming that he wanted to build a better America for his kids. He even spoke at the Democratic National Convention.

James has also been involved heavily in civil rights activism, publicly supporting the Black Lives Matter protests, even wearing the famous “I Can’t Breathe” warmup shirt after the death of Eric Garner. At the ESPY Awards last summer, he and a few other fellow NBA players, spoke out on the need for political activism. He has also done much for his community of Akron in Ohio, donating millions of dollars to public services and helping impoverished children.

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Lebron speaking at one of his foundation events after proposing to build a new school in his hometown. (Pic: Ohio News)

So, why do I bring this up now?

Well, Lebron James has been in the news recently, and while it might be because of the devastating 113-91 loss to the Warriors in Game 1 of the NBA Finals on Thursday, it is also because Lebron James was recently the victim of a racist hate crime.

Earlier in the week, James’ Los Angeles home was vandalised with racist graffiti. The “n-word” had been spray-painted on the front gate of his home. James spoke about the incident in a press conference before the finals.

“No matter how much money you have, no matter how famous you are, no matter how many people admire you, being black in America is tough,” James stated.

Lebron also referenced the death of Emmett Till and spoke about how Till’s mom wanted to show the world about the true horrors of racism. He spoke about his concerns for his children and the world they are growing up in.

While I have been a little bit concerned about athletes taking political stances in the past, Lebron’s messages on race that he spoke about during the press conference are extremely important. Lebron not only showed that racism is still very much alive, but that even successful, famous people can be targets of racism.

That’s a big deal, because for a lot of us, it’s hard to imagine these super star celebrities as regular people. While many of us associate racism in America with the lower class, Lebron reminded us that all African-Americans, regardless of social class or celebrity, are still  fighting racism today.

Lebron’s statement, “Being black in America is tough” is powerful because it is so true. Even with the world appearing to be more and more accepting, racial hatred still exists and surfaces too often.  While America has certainly come a long way, it’s important to remember that we still have a long way to go.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Why March Madness is more important for America this year (3/17/17)

The 2017 NCAA Men’s Basketball tournament is underway this year.

At first glance, “March Madness” seems the same this year; brackets being busted within the first early games, students and coworkers crowded around TV screens and laptops at either school or work, and many wishing they hadn’t bet any money.

But this year, ever so subtly, something is different.

For Americans these days, everything seems to have to do with politics. Award shows have turned into political stages, where famous celebrities have not been afraid to speak their mind. Advertisements and tv- shows have increasingly turned to political satire. These days, politics dominate the headlines, and it is clear that in today’s America, every act can be considered a political act.

Sports, for the most part, has usually been an escape from the politics of the world. The idea of people getting together and either watching or playing a game they love is essential to the American culture. Sports is a release for most people – something that people watch or play just to have fun.

But recently, even the world of sports has become increasingly political. From athletes protesting the national anthem, to several NBA and NFL players criticizing the president, and arguably the most famous athlete in the world campaigning for Hillary Clinton, sports has stopped becoming the “release” from the other pressures of the world.

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Lebron James, arguably the most famous athlete in the world, was not shy about voicing his political opinion during the 2016 election season. (Pic: SI)

This is why, this year, March Madness is ever so important.

The tournament is a reminder that, even in this ever so partisan and divisive world, we can still all come together and watch basketball.

For the next month, Americans will not have to hear an anti-Donald Trump speech inside a stadium, but rather, they can watch the best colleges in the nation face off in the biggest tournament of the year.

We’ll jump up and down and scream when the team we have picked to advance hits a game-winning shot. We’ll cover our faces with our hands and berate ourselves when the college team we support is eliminated. But most importantly, we’re going to enjoy a sport for what it is supposed to be: fun.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

More athletes protesting during the National Anthem (9/11/16)

America is at the top echelon in world sports. Just last month, the world witnessed the U.S. come out on top at the Rio Olympics, with the highest medal and gold medal counts. The professional athletes who play in leagues within the U.S. are highly blessed with the opportunities that the country provides.

Recently, however, several athletes have publicly expressed their protest on the playing field.  Most notably, Colin Kaepernick, NFL quarterback of the San Francisco 49ers, has made his”protest” during the singing of the National Anthem. Kaepernick, who at first sat throughout the playing of the  National Anthem, is now kneeling during the playing of the song.  Kaepernick was heavily criticized for these actions, but despite this, Kaepernick has stated he would continue his protest until “oppression towards black people and people of color” stops.

Several NFL players, including Broncos linebacker Brandon Marshall, and Kaepernick’s teammate, Eric Reid, have joined Kaepernick in protest. Other athletes, including U.S. women’s soccer player, Megan Rapinoe, have also protested during the national anthem.

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Eric Reid (left) and Colin Kaepernick (right) kneel during the National Anthem at a preseason game in early September. (Pic: Getty Images)

These athletes received a lot of criticism for their protests. Many felt that while Kaepernick’s reasons behind the protest were valid, he could have found other, more respectful ways to protest. Kaepernick’s fame and fortune are the fruits of the opportunities that America has given him. Many felt that Kaepernick shouldn’t be disrespecting the very country that gave him these opportunities.

The thing is, we, and the athletes who are protesting, live in America, where no matter how ridiculous or heinous a protest is, people have the right to protest. The right to protest is based on the constitutional right of free speech.  While the exercise of free speech may come with negative consequences, there can be no denying that people have the constitutional right to express themselves.

While I am not a proponent of athletes sitting or kneeling during the playing of the National Anthem, I do recognize their right to protest. I suggest that these athletes express their views on social media, start a fund or campaign, or join a social cause.  Personally, I will do what I believe every American SHOULD do during the National Anthem.  I will stand tall and sing out loud in celebration of this great country.

Interesting Players to watch at the 2016 U.S. Open (8/28/16)

Once again, the U.S. Open is nearly upon us, as tennis fans get ready to watch the last Grand Slam of the 2016 calendar year. This year, however, Roger Federer will not be participating due to injury, and his absence will leave a considerable mark in this year’s Championships.

Many interesting stories dominate the headlines of this year’s U.S. Open: the race for the number one spot between Serena Williams and Angelique Kerber, Andy Murray’s quest to finally get a second grand slam this year, and the impact recent silver-medalist Juan Martin Del Potro will have in the men’s main draw.

Along with some interesting storylines, there are also quite a few interesting players to watch (different from the main stars, as they’re always interesting to watch). Here are some of the interesting players on both the men’s and the women’s side to take note of this year.

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Mens: Mackenzie Mcdonald 

Mackenzie “Mackie” Mcdonald will make his Grand Slam debut at this year’s U.S. Open. This year, after an incredible season at UCLA (in which he won both the NCAA Singles and Doubles Championships), Mackie decided to go pro. Possessing very solid groundstrokes, great movement, and a very smooth gameplay, it will be interesting to see how an accomplished college tennis player like Mackie does in his first Grand Slam. Standing at 5’10 and weighing around 150 pounds, Mackie is on the small side for most men’s professionals, but his strong mental composure makes him much bigger on the court,

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Mackie lining up a forehand. (Pic: Daily Bruin)

 

Womens: Monica Puig

Monica Puig is a national hero. At the 2016 Olympics in Rio, Puig won the Olympic Gold medal, defeating the No. 2 player in the world, Angelique Kerber. Representing Puerto Rico, Puig’s gold medal was the first in the small nation’s history and just its ninth overall. Puig’s brilliant tennis and fighting spirit were displayed throughout the match, as she fired powerful groundstroke after groundstroke at Kerber. This year’s U.S. Open is a chance for Puig to show the world that the Gold medal she won was no fluke. In the same quarter as world No.3 Gabrielle Muguruza, Puig’s journey will be a fascinating story to follow.

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Puig’s backhand gave opponents all sorts of trouble in the Olympics. (Pic: Getty Images South America)

 

Mens: Michael Mmoh 

Another promising young U.S. star in the making, Michael Mmoh, joins Taylor Fritz, Frances Tiafoe, Tommy Paul, and Stefan Kozlov as young American tennis players who are destined for greatness. Currently 18 years old, Mmoh won the 2016 Boy’s National Tennis Championship at Kalamazoo in early August. A strong young player, with good groundstrokes and great feel at the net, Mmoh will be a fun player to watch at this year’s open. He faces a tough opponent, Frenchman Jeremy Chardy, in the first round, but Mmoh will have the American crowd supporting him the entire way.

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 Michael Mmoh striking a backhand. (Pic: Getty Images)

 

Caroline Wozniacki 

Caroline Wozniacki has had a tough year. In the early hardcourt season, she struggled to find form, and later on during the clay court season, an ankle injury kept her out of the French Open. Wozniacki’s ranking slid to 51, and, at 26 years old, she is no longer one of the younger stars on tour. At her best, she is the No. 1 player we saw a few years ago, who lit up the tennis world with her movement and charming personality. Wozniacki’s two Grand Slam Final appearances have both been at the U.S. Open, so hopefully she can find her form again.

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Wozniacki hopes to find good form at this year’s U.S. Open (Pic: WTA)

 

Good luck to these guys at the tournament!

 

 

 

Despite being a U.S. Soccer legend, Hope Solo remains a controversial figure (8/7/16)

In their first match of the 2016 Rio Olympics, the United States Women’s Soccer Team clawed and fought their way to a 1-0 victory over France. Carli Lloyd scored the lone goal for the U.S.,  tapping in a rebound in the 63rd minute. However, it was Hope Solo, the United States goalkeeper, who was the hero of the game for the U.S., making save after save and consistently denying the French efforts to score.  Hope reminded us why she is the top goalkeeper in the world, and certainly one of the the game’s greatest keeper ever.

However, greatness, often comes with controversy, and with Hope Solo, it is no different. With two Olympic gold medals (possibly a third in Rio), a World Cup title, and numerous other awards, Hope has become the definition of greatness in women’s soccer. On the field, no one can reasonably deny that Solo has been a figurehead for U.S. women’s soccer and is one of the game’s greatest.  However,  her reputation off the field is much more polarized.

Several incidents off the field have caused Solo to become a controversial figure. There was her arrest, in 2014, on charges of domestic abuse.  Solo’s words to police officers on the night of her arrest received significant media headlines, and the media coverage of the fight between her and two family members portrayed Hope as an angry and violent person. Hope received a one-match ban from the National Women’s Soccer League, sparking a debate about a possible double standard between genders regarding domestic violence. While Solo’s charges were dropped, they were reinstated in October 2015.

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Solo’s domestic violence case casted a dark cloud over both her legacy, and the U.S. Women’s Soccer Team.  (Pic: Reuters)

More recently, Solo became involved in more controversy right before the 2016 Rio Olympic games. Solo posted pictures of insect repellents and “Zika” repellent spray on Instagram, claiming she “didn’t want to take any chances,” and that she “knew of what was going on in Brazil.” While Solo later defended her comments, fans attending the Olympics were offended and, in the United States’ opening game, they booed her and shouted “Zika” every time she had the ball. After the match, Solo stated that she knew the fans were booing her, and that the jeers did and would not affect her at all.

Hope Solo came to Rio with one goal: to win another gold medal for the United States. A gold medal would certainly add to Solo’s plethora of awards.  However, controversy appears to accompany Solo where she goes.  Solo has been an inspiration for girls, women and athletes all over the United States, but her numerous controversies are starting to overshadow her accomplishments in her illustrious soccer career.

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All that glitters is gold? (Pic: USA Today)

 

 

 

 

 

Wimbledon Final Preview and Prediction (7/916)

As the Wimbledon Championships draws to a close yet again, only one main event is left. That event is the Men’s Championship match, which will include players Milos Raonic and Andy Murray. Here is my prediction for the Men’s Final tomorrow.

Milos Raonic at Wimbledon 2016

Raonic has had an exceptional Wimbledon this year, making it to his first Grand Slam Final of his career. Raonic overcame David Goffin in a Fourth Round match in which he was down two sets. It was the first time Raonic had ever done that in his career. Perhaps even more impressively, Raonic took down living legend Roger Federer in the semifinals, in a match in which he was also losing. Raonic held his nerve against Federer, and played incredible tennis in the final set to win it.

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Raonic celebrates after defeating Roger Federer. (Pic: Associated Press)

Andy Murray at Wimbledon 2016

Andy Murray came into Wimbledon this year after his best clay court season yet. Murray continued to show his exceptional form during Wimbledon this year, with notable wins over Nick Kyrgios and Tomas Berdych in straight sets. Murray was dominant in both matches. Murray’s greatest obstacle came against Jo-Wilfried Tsonga of France in the quarter-final stage. Murray was cruising after winning the first two sets, but Tsonga made a comeback and won the next two sets. Murray would go on to win the fifth pretty easily, but it was still a shocking turn of events.

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Murray has continued his good form from the clay court season into the grass at Wimbledon. (Pic: Getty Images)

Prediction:

Murray def. Raonic: 7-6, 4-6, 7-5, 6-3

I predict Andy Murray will defeat Milos Raonic in four sets. Raonic is playing the best tennis of his life, but Murray will have a packed crowd behind him on Sunday. Murray is also playing quite well, and his defense and returning abilities will give Raonic a lot of trouble. Murray makes players hit a lot more shots than they want to, and I believe his movement and defense will give him the edge over Raonic. The two played an epic semi-final earlier this year in Australia (in which Murray prevailed in five sets), so we should be in for a treat on Sunday.