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Europe embraces Latino flair, how about the USA?

Ten minutes into Tuesday's Champions League game between Manchester City and Barcelona, TV commentator Martin Tyler told us "There are South Americans everywhere you look on the pitch here."
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In search of youth soccer ... and do we really want it anyway? Part 3: Street soccer -- to be crushed or cherished?

The purest form of youth soccer -- maybe it is really the only form -- is street soccer. With its own rules, invented by the boys, without coaches or referees, anarchic but functional, plenty of appalling language but not (as I recall) much rough play, chaotic but with its sudden surprising moments of joyful teamwork.
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In search of youth soccer ... and do we really want it anyway? Part 2: Correcting bad habits, or the intrusion of the adults

Youth soccer is a manifestly imperfect sport. What else would one expect from kids, anyway? It is, we are told -- this is an ongoing criticism -- full of bad habits that have to be corrected. But from the youth-development point of view -- in other words, from the way adults see things -- the biggest negative of youth soccer ...
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In search of youth soccer ... and do we really want it anyway? Part 1: The young naive mischief-makers ...

Back in 1977 FIFA initiated an under-20 tournament and called it the FIFA World Youth Championship. With that title, the event sailed merrily along through 15 editions until 2007 when it suddenly became the FIFA U-20 World Cup
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Argentina shines; Brazil not so much

The way I look at it, Brazil owes us something. Us. Meaning the vast world soccer community that has -- with good reason -- treasured Brazilian soccer as the glittering truth of the sport, the Beautiful Game at its pinnacle.
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Tab Ramos and the Soccer Speed Trap

Comparing his very ordinary current under-20 team with the highly promising version he had two years ago, Coach Tab Ramos says that the new team is "more dynamic, and we have speed on this team."
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'A flag on the play' -- something soccer could learn from football

From Saturday's FA Cup game in England: Leicester's Andrej Kramaric gets clean through the Tottenham defense, ball at his feet, only goalkeeper Michel Vorm to beat. As Kramaric tries to dribble around him, Vorm makes a slide tackle. Something goalkeepers are not very good at (if you doubt that, take a look at the video of Manuel Neuer's recent attempt ...
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A Look Back at 2014 and a Resolution for 2015

I see we're being told that 2014 was a great year for soccer etc, etc, etc. Familiar news, no? Maybe there's always a tendency to look back and paint a rosy-tinted view of the past ... and why not? It seems a pretty spontaneous, natural, human thing to do, a weakness perhaps, but an understandable and an enjoyable one.
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The EPL begins to embrace Latino talent

All 20 English Premier League teams were in action on Boxing Day (Dec. 27). Between them, they scored 27 goals, meaning 2.7 goals per game, which is about average for the modern game.
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Burley rants against diving -- and gets it badly wrong

Craig Burley, I must say, comes over rather well on TV. Down to earth, with an attractive (and understandable) Scots accent, and a lively personality to deliver his various views.
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MLS: a Soccer League without a Soccer Voice

A few names to consider: Dick Walsh, Ken Macker, Bob Cousy, David Prouty, Howard Samuels, Doug Logan. All of them, within the past 50 years, have been Commissioners of American pro-soccer leagues. And not one of them had more than the flimsiest knowledge of the sport. Fittingly, none of them lasted very long in their soccer jobs.
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College Cup serves up more bland brew

After several years of boringly vapid finals it can be safely said that the College Cup is now firmly established as the sport's most over-rated annual event.
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Yet again English refs land themselves in trouble with silly simulation calls

This past Saturday gave us a sharply well-defined view of just how big a mess the English EPL referees have got themselves into. Simulation is the problem -- or rather, their problem. That is to say, the English referees have created this problem.
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Donovan departs in triumph. Pity about the soccer.

The winner of MLS Cup 2014, the only winner, really, was Landon Donovan. He ended his wonderful career in triumph. He dominated the post-game activities, as he deserved to.
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Klinsmann and Walton cast shadow over MLS Cup

As MLS bows gracefully (well, that's my hope) off the soccer scene for a short while, and the English Premier League prepares to dominate the TV screens over the holidays, it's the moment to sort out some loose ends, or at least raise them as talking points.
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