WBEZ | soccer http://www.wbez.org/tags/soccer Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Retiring as a soccer mom http://www.wbez.org/blogs/cheryl-raye-stout/2013-03/retiring-soccer-mom-106038 <p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Jaxon%20Soccer.jpg" style="float: right; height: 388px; width: 300px;" title="When a kid hangs up the cleats, a soccer mom retires. (Photo/Glenn Stout)" />It&#39;s over. After years of sweating or freezing watching a multitude of games in various sports, my career as a sports (mostly soccer) mom is over. I&rsquo;m being forced into retirement, no longer sitting on wonderful bleacher seats to watch the only player who mattered to me: my son.</div><p>As a sports reporter, I&#39;ve seen thousands of professional games. You analyze and question all the different nuances of the game as&nbsp;you&nbsp;watch. You go to practices, pre-game warm-ups, stay through the game and then go the post-game to get players and coach&rsquo;s reactions. You are not a fan during that time.</p><p>This is not a complaint, but a matter-of-fact element of the job. You absorb, question and process the sport.</p><p>When you are a mom, it is simpler but more emotional. And at the younger ages, it&#39;s very pure.&nbsp; We let our son try a variety of sports: baseball, basketball, tennis, volleyball, golf and soccer. He did reach his black belt level in taekwondo, a shared accomplishment with his dad. Soccer was a mainstay for my son and the sport my husband played in high school and college.</p><p>For the star athlete, sports may be their best way of racking up accomplishments and satisfaction. That wasn&rsquo;t the case for our son. He took the route of doing it for fun and to be part of the team. No travel for any sport.</p><p>He is not a gifted athlete. He was born later then the kids in his grade, so size and physical maturity didn&#39;t measure up to his teammates. He did possess the ability to be coached and was a terrific teammate. We stressed that he focus on playing defense, since&nbsp;that would be appreciated in&nbsp;any sport.</p><p>Too bad his freshman soccer coach insisted he play forward instead of defense. It wasn&#39;t a fit, but he never complained. He just decided just to play recreational soccer instead.&nbsp;</p><p>Now nearing his sixteenth birthday and having other interests, my son will be hanging up his cleats for good. Scratch that. He NEVER hung up anything.</p><p>That is something as a mom I will not miss at all. Shoes, gloves, dirty uniforms and empty water bottles never seem to make it to the right place. Add these to the list: Washing mud off shoes, trying to get grass stains off a uniform and buying shoes last minute because of a growth spurt.</p><p>There are several things I will miss.&nbsp;</p><p>Gratefully, my husband is a camera buff so the most magical sports moments have been caught. Like as a 5-year-old when he ran to first base with the biggest smile and just sat down once he got there.</p><p>One indoor soccer season as a goalie, my son was nearly flawless and only giving up a few scores. His second year of golf at age 10, he played a nine-hole public course and got a hole-in-one. He had no clue what that meant.</p><p>Coming off the bench in a volleyball tournament in eighth grade he led a win in a deciding match and was picked up by his teammates in celebration. After that day he would be a starter.</p><p>Watching him use his hands to break several boards to earn his black belt, I was just I relieved he wasn&#39;t hurt.</p><p>There were plenty of times he would be on the bench, but he liked to talk with his teammates. He never disrespected a coach or an official.</p><p>Here is some unsolicited advice to young parents. Enjoy the moment, don&rsquo;t push and make sure the kids are having fun. Chances of becoming a professional are really, really slim. If they do have phenomenal talent, let a coach tell you. You need to have perspective when you analyze your child&#39;s ability. Don&#39;t live through your son or daughter.</p><p>Last weekend it felt sad leaving the soccer venue for Jaxon&#39;s last game. But he played hard and had a smile when he was done. I didn&#39;t realize until that moment I was retiring from a great job: soccer mom.</p><p><em>Follow Cheryl on Twitter <a href="https://twitter.com/Crayestout">@CRayeStout</a> and Facebook <a href="http://www.facebook.com/CherylAtTheGame">Cheryl Raye Stout #AtTheGame</a> </em></p></p> Wed, 13 Mar 2013 06:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/cheryl-raye-stout/2013-03/retiring-soccer-mom-106038 The Rosie Schaap Interview http://www.wbez.org/blogs/claire-zulkey/2012-12/rosie-schaap-interview-104518 <p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Rosie.jpg" style="float: right; height: 200px; width: 300px;" title="Photo by M. Sharkey" />After all the Christmas posts this week, I know you expected me to interview a snowperson (why always a man? Or a woman? Snow gender need not be so definitive!) but instead today I&rsquo;m chatting with someone who will (I hope) not melt away. Cheerful spirits are a key part of the holiday season, so today I&rsquo;m interviewing the author of the upcoming memoir <em><a href="http://www.amazon.com/Drinking-Men-Memoir-Rosie-Schaap/dp/1594487111">Drinking With Men</a>, </em>a love letter to the bars, pubs, and taverns. She is also contributor to <em>This American Life</em> and npr.org, and writes the monthly <a href="http://query.nytimes.com/search/sitesearch/#/Schaap%2C+Rosie/since1851/allresults/1/allauthors/newest/">&quot;Drink&quot; column for The New York Times Magazine.</a> You can learn a lot more about her <a href="http://rosieschaap.com/">here</a>.</div><br /><p><strong>Drinking and writing: do they go together? </strong><br />For some, perhaps, but not for me. A glass of wine to calm my poor nerves and loosen me up a little is fine, but that&rsquo;s about all I can manage and still get work done. I tend to keep the writing and the drinking separate. Conveniently, my best writing hours are between 7 a.m. and 3 p.m., so there&rsquo;s no conflict with my best drinking hours.</p><p><strong>What&rsquo;s your favorite thing to eat while you drink? I&rsquo;m not talking about wine/food pairings, I mean happy hour snacks.</strong><br />Pretzels. Macadamia nuts. Charcuterie of many kinds. <a href="http://www.foodandwine.com/recipes/alain-ducasses-gougeres">Gougères</a>, if I&rsquo;m drinking at the sort of place that has them, which seldom happens. And Cheez Doodles&mdash;that very, very distant cousin of gougères &mdash;are delicious with beer.</p><p><strong>When you travel, do you investigate good drinking establishments ahead of time (and if so, what are your resources) or do you prefer to wing it?</strong><br />Mostly I wing it, and follow leads from locals and my own instincts. I&rsquo;d never heard of Else&rsquo;s, a terrific neighborhood bar, before I visited Montreal in 2006 or so. I just happened upon it when I was walking to a restaurant and fell in bar-love at first sight. In Belfast a few years ago, I got into a conversation with an off-duty constable at a bar across the street from my hotel. When I told her I was a writer, she said, &ldquo;Oh, well then you have to go to the <a href="http://www.thejohnhewitt.com/">John Hewitt</a>.&rdquo; She and her friends walked me over there, and it remains one of my favorite pubs in Belfast&mdash;a city with no shortage of great places to drink.</p><p><strong>Where would you like to drink in Chicago? </strong><br />Anywhere lively and local, with a good mix of regulars who like to talk to strangers. Wherever you want to take me. I trust you, Claire.</p><p><strong>Babies in bars. Your thoughts. </strong><br />As long as they&rsquo;re snugly strapped to a parent&mdash;and the sort of parent who will remove them from the bar the second they start crying&mdash;I think babies in bars are fine. Once they start getting really squirmy and learning how to walk, all bets are off. A neighborhood friend&mdash;an English expat&mdash;used to take his daughter to our local soccer bar so he could have a pint or two (no more than that) and watch a match. She was the best bar baby ever, until she started toddling. There are just too many sharp edges, drunk people&rsquo;s feet, tall barstools, and loud noises in a bar for a mobile baby to be safe and comfortable&mdash;and not annoying to grown ups.</p><p><strong>I am starting a new job in January and haven&rsquo;t had time to properly celebrate yet. What would you toast to a new beginning like that with (taking into consideration the time of year).</strong><br />First, congratulations! Assuming you&rsquo;ll have a bit of Champagne on New Year&rsquo;s Eve, I believe the martini&mdash;made with gin, not too dry&mdash; is the drink for new beginnings (even though I&rsquo;m usually a brown liquor girl in the winter). Better yet if that martini is accompanied by a pile of oysters.</p><p><strong>What&rsquo;s a drink that everyone else seems to adore (either of the moment or a classic) that you just can&rsquo;t get into? </strong><br />The current craze for <em><a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amaro_%28liqueur%29">amari</a></em> &ndash;a family of bitter Italian digestifs&mdash;in cocktail-making has gone too far. I like many amari just fine, but when deployed with too heavy a hand or too little thought, they make for drinks that taste suspiciously like cough syrup, but without the expectorating benefits.</p><p>Oh, and <a href="http://cocktails.about.com/od/whiskeyrecipes/a/pickleback_cocktail.htm">pickle-backs</a>. Has Chicago been stricken by this scourge yet? [<em>Editor&rsquo;s note: not that I am aware of, but if I am wrong, please let me know where pickle-backs are happening in the city</em>.] I like whiskey. And I like pickles. I like bars. And I like delicatessens. But pickle juice makes a bar smell like a deli, which just isn&rsquo;t right.</p><p><strong>What&rsquo;s your advice to women who like to have a drink alone in a bar but who aren&rsquo;t looking to be picked up on how to be polite to &#39;friendly&#39; men?</strong><br />If a woman can claim a barstool in a corner, that&rsquo;s the first step; that way, she limits access because she can&rsquo;t be surrounded on both sides. Beyond that: absorbing reading material helps (and an actual book or newspaper is more effective than an iPhone or eReader as a PLEASE STAY AWAY FROM ME signifier). If a &ldquo;friendly&rdquo; man is too persistently friendly, I find that saying something like, &ldquo;Nice meeting you. But I&rsquo;ve had a long day and need to spend a little quiet time with my book and my drink&rdquo; usually works fine.</p><p><strong>What&rsquo;s your favorite film version of <em>The Secret Garden</em>? (Mine is <a href="http://www.amazon.com/Secret-Garden-Hallmark-Hall-Fame/dp/B0000639G3">the Hallmark movie classics one with Derek Jacobi</a>.)</strong><br />Nothing can come close to the splendor of the book. But I&rsquo;ll have to go with <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZSQKt1klbrQ">Agnieszka Holland&rsquo;s 1993 adaptation</a>, mostly because I think John Lynch is such a brilliant and underappreciated actor. Still, even he is no match for the Archibald Craven I&rsquo;ve imagined since I first read the book more than 30 years ago, and no one can ever approach the Dickon of my dreams, who really is the perfect person.</p><p><strong>Which soccer teams have the best uniforms?</strong><br />KNVB&mdash;the Dutch National Football Team&mdash;obviously. <a href="http://shinguardian.files.wordpress.com/2010/07/johan.jpg?w=225&amp;h=300">ORANJE</a>! Although the font they used on their kit during EuroCup was <a href="http://speakingchic.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/dutch-uniform-euro-2012_thumb.jpg">weird and sort of space-age</a>. Alas, that was the least of their problems during that tournament. But anyway: ORANJE!</p><p><strong>If you could pick just one person to have a drink with right this very second, who would it be and why? </strong><br />In <em>Drinking With Men,</em> I devote one chapter to the late, much-missed <a href="http://nymag.com/listings/bar/liquor_store_bar/">Liquor Store bar in TriBeCa</a>. It was my favorite New York bar, and there, I met the finest drinking companion of all time&mdash;a brilliant, funny, soulful artist who was also a great listener and true friend. He is no longer with us either. What I wouldn&rsquo;t give to be able to meet up with him at Liquor Store for a few more rounds.</p><p><strong>How does it feel to be the 335th person interviewed for Zulkey.com/WBEZ?</strong><br />Seriously? <em>I </em>am #335?! That is huge; a gratifying rebuke to everyone who said I&rsquo;d never do anything of value.</p></p> Fri, 21 Dec 2012 08:55:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/claire-zulkey/2012-12/rosie-schaap-interview-104518 Serving up a feast of Chicago sports: "May I ask you for a moment of silence…for last week's game?" http://www.wbez.org/blogs/cheryl-raye-stout/2012-11/serving-feast-chicago-sports-may-i-ask-you-moment-silence%E2%80%A6for-last <p><p>There has been a smorgasbord of sports news on and off the playing field/court, some more appetizing than others. Here are some of the morsels:</p><p><strong>First an appetizer:</strong></p><p>- My quote of the week came on Wednesday from the Bears media sessions at the practice facility. No, it wasn&#39;t Jay Cutler, Brandon Marshall opened up his session, &quot;May I ask you for a moment of silence&hellip;for last week&#39;s game?&quot; Yes, we will put that game to rest--permanently. (Unless they play like that again.)</p><p><strong>Main course:</strong></p><p>- No Rose-no problem for the Bulls Opener; it was just one game and it was Sacramento. It was rough watching the opening video of the team just before the intros and seeing flashes of Rose, a painful reminder to the fans and his teammates.</p><p>Off the court, the team and Taj Gibson did get a deal done just before the 11pm deadline on Halloween. Gibson signed a four year deal worth $38 million. As Gibson was talking about it in the locker room, his teammates were yelling at him that the big contract meant he was buying dinner.</p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/rsz_1taj_gibson_charles_rex_arbogast.jpg" style="float: right; height: 393px; width: 300px; " title="Taj Gibson got a win and a new contract Opening Night. (AP/Charles Rex Arbogast)" />- Wednesday night was also a MLS playoff night for the Chicago Fire, they fell 2-1 to Will Bruin and the Houston Dynamo. Bruin tallied both goals. And I was thinking about covering their next game&hellip;next year.</p><p>- White Sox General Manager Rick Hahn (strange to have a new GM) is already making noise, and it seems to be directed at the Detroit Tigers and the AL Central division-they are going to compete with them next year. By re-signing Jake Peavy to a two year and an option for the $29 million plus and picking up Gavin Floyd&#39;s $9.5 million, this team has secure their starting rotation. They also have good news on pitcher John Danks; the lefty is throwing weeks after his surgery. Not at all surprised the Sox didn&rsquo;t pick up the options on third baseman Kevin Youkilis and reliever Brett Myers. That was $23 million that would have bloated the payroll. Unless they find difficulties with free agency...it was nice knowing you.</p><p>That brings me to the one free agent that filed and will be testing the market: A.J. Pierzynski. In all likelihood, the Sox catcher is gone. He <em>will </em>be getting some decent contract offers. If A.J. leaves there will be only one player left from the World Series team: Paul Konerko.&nbsp;</p><p>- Kudos to Peavy and Cubs second baseman Darwin Barney, both won the Rawlings Gold Glove for their defense. We were used to Mark Buehrle winning that honor for the Southsiders. Buehrle did win it in the National League. The real story is Barney, it has been a long time for a Cub second baseman to earn that honor; Ryne Sandberg was a fixture for it.</p><p>I spoke with Darwin from his home in Oregon. He said Sandberg helped him when Ryne was his minor league manager. One of the few bright spots for the Cubs this dreadful season was the 141 errorless games streak by Barney. He told me it wasn&#39;t hard physically, but tough mentally. &ldquo;There were times when it was tough, it was on your mind all the time,&quot; said Barney. It was also treated like a no-hitter; no one wanted to jinx it so it was not talked about. Darwin said it was &ldquo;uplifting&rdquo; during a tough season. Maybe now the Cubs management will consider him a core player.</p><p>- Anyone interested in seeing Patrick Kane play hockey in Switzerland?&nbsp; You don&rsquo;t think the Blackhawk brain trust is squirming a little bit with this development?&nbsp; There will be more players leaving as the NHL lockout continues. The league is now making rumblings of cancelling the &ldquo;Winter Classic&rdquo; between Detroit and Toronto, scheduled January 1<sup>st</sup> at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. That is over one-hundred thousand seats to refund and big network dollars lost.</p><p>- Rack up another Bears honor: Cornerback Charles Tillman was named Defensive Player of the Month. He is having an incredible season.</p><p><strong>Dessert:</strong></p><p>- And finally some college football: love them or hate them, an undefeated 8-0 Notre Dame team-third in the BCS rankings and a competitive 7-2 Northwestern team is always good for Chicago. While the Wildcats take the week off, The Irish are hosting Pittsburgh. Have you ever watched head coach Brian Kelly on the sidelines or hear one of his press conferences? He is as wound up as you ever want to see in a coach. Obviously, Kelly is getting his message across and making ND very relevant for a shot at the National Championship. If you are a sports fan and love to see cool venues, I highly recommend a trip to South Bend. Seeing an Irish home game is really a terrific experience--even if you don&rsquo;t like Notre Dame.</p><p><em>Follow Cheryl on Twitter <a href="https://twitter.com/Crayestou">@CRayeStout</a>&nbsp;and on&nbsp;Facebook: Cheryl Raye Stout <a href="http://www.facebook.com/CherylAtTheGame?fref=ts">#AtTheGame</a></em></p></p> Fri, 02 Nov 2012 06:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/cheryl-raye-stout/2012-11/serving-feast-chicago-sports-may-i-ask-you-moment-silence%E2%80%A6for-last Euro 2012: Germans positioned to wallop Italy — and stay on top http://www.wbez.org/blogs/bez/2012-06/euro-2012-germans-positioned-wallop-italy-%E2%80%94-and-stay-top-100421 <p><p style="text-align: center; "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Euro%202012-Germnay.jpg" title="Germany’s Philipp Lahm, center, makes a move against Greece during the Euro 2012 quarterfinal match last Friday. (AP/Frank Augstein)" /></p><p>Can Italy beat Germany?</p><p>No.&nbsp;Well, that was easy. End of blog post.</p><p>But seriously, Germany will win the second semifinal game of the European soccer championships, thus beating Italy for the first time ever in a major tournament. (West) Germany lost the 1970 and 2006 World Cup semis to Italy in two of the best games of those tournaments. With two extra rest days, and the England v. Italy game going to extra time and penalties, the Germans will be fresher, quicker to the ball, more aggressive and, player-for-player, better than Italy.</p><p>Germany even had the luxury of resting Gomez and Podolski against Greece, and their replacements, Klose and Reus, both scored. Reus looked impressive and Klose led the line as he has done for Germany for much of the past decade. Ozil looked fantastic in the quarterfinal match (yet again)&nbsp;and, even if Bastian Schweinsteiger is injured as some reports say, Germany&rsquo;s strength in depth is remarkable. Players like Goetze, the highly rated and in-demand midfielder&nbsp;Borussia Dortmund, have hardly been featured so far.</p><p>If Germany does have a weakness, it&rsquo;s at the back; Italy may be able to exploit this. Boateng looks like he&rsquo;d be prone to an error or two, and in central defense, although Hummels looks solid, Badstuber can be a yard slow at times. I also thought Neuer was slow to react to the cross for Greece&rsquo;s first goal in the quarterfinal &mdash; although it was a great pass, the ball should never have been allowed to travel so far across the box.</p><p>Despite all this, I just can&rsquo;t see Italy winning. This is a strong German team and I think they&rsquo;ll go all the way, and not just in 2012. I saw on a website that their starting 11 versus Denmark, with an average age of just over 25, was their youngest ever at a European championships. Germany could be on top for years to come.</p><p>Now the caveat: Mario Balotelli. For all Pirlo&rsquo;s artistry and De Rossi&rsquo;s energy, if Italy can win, Balotelli will make the difference. So far in this tournament, he&rsquo;s been relatively controlled, both on and off the field. Against England, Balotelli just couldn&rsquo;t quite connect, but he got into positions where he could make chances. He&rsquo;s a cool finisher usually, and perhaps he may just give Italy a spark (the <a href="http://www.guardian.co.uk/football/2011/oct/22/mario-balotelli-house-fire-fireworks">fireworks</a>?!) to force a surprise. But Italy have only scored one goal from open play in the tournament (vs. Spain) and four over all &mdash; two of those coming from corners against a hapless Ireland. They are heavily reliant on Pirlo (now 33 years old) to dictate play and just had an energy-sapping game with England. In the end, I think Germany&rsquo;s youthful midfield will win the day.</p></p> Tue, 26 Jun 2012 10:54:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/bez/2012-06/euro-2012-germans-positioned-wallop-italy-%E2%80%94-and-stay-top-100421 Despite sport’s popularity, global soccer still lacks American fans http://www.wbez.org/blogs/bez/2012-06/despite-sport%E2%80%99s-popularity-global-soccer-still-lacks-american-fans-100290 <p><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/AP110113115148.jpg" title="Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo, right, vies for the ball with Atletico de Madrid's Thomas Ujfalusi, left, during their 2011 Copa del Rey quarterfinal match. (AP/Victor R. Caivano)" /></div><p><em>Editor&#39;s Note: The Euro 2012 soccer championships move into the quarterfinals Thursday, and the world&#39;s eyes will be glued to the screen. But here,</em>&nbsp;Worldview&nbsp;<em>soccer contributor</em>&nbsp;<em><a href="http://las.depaul.edu/geography/People/EuanHague/index.asp">Euan Hague</a>&nbsp;says that in the U.S., there&rsquo;s still a surprising gap between the number of soccer players and the number of global soccer fans.</em></p><p>I was in a small town in South Dakota last week, with no internet access or wireless reception. The landscape was flat, the weather hot and dry (until the heat was temporarily broken by 15 minutes of golf-ball sized hail!) and the local newspaper equally arid in its Euro 2012 coverage.</p><p>The match schedule was buried deep in the results page, with the names of high school swim meet competitors and summer rodeo info. And the next day, scores were nowhere to be found. It was like this for four days &ndash; and I suffered.</p><p>I got a glimpse of a <em>USA Today</em> so knew that Ireland was eliminated, and, driving for a couple of blocks in a rental car, heard a snippet of satellite radio that had the TV feed of the Poland v. Czech Republic game. TV on the radio may be a fine rock band but it doesn&rsquo;t work for soccer! The announcers say surprisingly little about the game in play, other than the occasional player ID.</p><p>From such snippets I calculated scenarios and second-guessed line-ups and results. But my wall chart sat untouched, waiting anxiously for updated scores, final group tables and the quarterfinal lineups. Just when I was about to give up, I saw three boys, roughly aged six through ten, playing soccer on a patch of grass across the street. I watched for a while as one of them bamboozled his friends, performing step-overs that Christiano Ronaldo would have been proud of.</p><p>I walked over to chat with them. The oldest one said he was playing at state-level; he played recent tournaments in Fargo, Rapid City and Sioux Falls, and was looking forward to away games in Minnesota to play teams from Germany and Japan. Recognizing a fellow soccer enthusiast, I asked, &ldquo;What do you think of the Euros so far?&rdquo; He looked at me and asked in reply, &ldquo;How is Manchester United doing?&rdquo;</p><p>Maybe this is just small town South Dakota. But I&rsquo;ve noticed there&rsquo;s often a disconnect between the mass phenomenon of youth soccer in the U.S. and the global game. When I was as old as these kids, I watched the 1978 World Cup on TV and found the countries in an atlas. Such exposure is still helpful &ndash; I met a Polish guy back in Chicago today and we reminisced about players like Grzegorz Lato and Zbigniew Boniek.</p><p>Friends who coach high school kids tell me their players come to practice performing moves they watched on YouTube the night before, and have an encyclopedic knowledge of current players. But those kids tend to be from urban areas, often with greater access to global media and more parental resources. But here, in rural South Dakota, a ten-year-old kid was playing like Ronaldo and asking me about Manchester United.</p><p>I bet a decade ago I wouldn&rsquo;t even have been able to have that conversation. The <em>New York Times</em> recently argued that <a href="http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9A03E2DE1030F933A25755C0A9649D8B63&amp;ref=georgevecsey" target="_blank">the U.S. has finally awakened to soccer</a>. That may well be true, but the connections to the global game, I would suggest, are still primarily metropolitan, strongest in places like Chicago, where, after four days away, I was able to get online and catch up on Euro 2012, watching the action on the computer &ndash; something else that was not possible just a few years ago.</p><p><strong>Thursday on <em>Worldview</em></strong></p><p><em>DePaul University professor Euan Hague&nbsp;and <a href="http://athletics.uchicago.edu/menssoccer/msc-assistantcoaches.htm" target="_blank">Michael Madero</a>, assistant coach for the University of Chicago&rsquo;s men&rsquo;s soccer team, share their predictions for the upcoming Euro Cup matches. Plus, Jakub Parusinski, staff writer for the Kyiv Post, tells us how soccer fans in Ukraine and Poland have been behaving at the matches.</em></p><p><strong>Join in the conversation: Why do you think your team will take the championship?&nbsp;</strong><strong>Call us at 312-923-9239.</strong></p></p> Thu, 21 Jun 2012 08:42:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/bez/2012-06/despite-sport%E2%80%99s-popularity-global-soccer-still-lacks-american-fans-100290 Worldview 6.21.12 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/bez/2012-06/worldview-62112-100288 <p><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/AP120620030474.jpg" title="U.S. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, right, meets with Crown Prince Salman bin Abdulaziz, left, during a condolence call at the Royal Court in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, Wednesday. (AP/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)" /></div><p>Thursday on <em>Worldview</em>:</p><p>Saudi Arabia&rsquo;s Prince Salman bin Abdulaziz al-Saud was officially named crown prince earlier this week, making him the heir-apparent to the aging King Abdullah. His promotion followed the unexpected death of Crown <a href="http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/people/n/nayef/index.html?inline=nyt-per" title="More articles about Nayef.">Prince Nayef</a> bin Albdulaziz al-Saud. Middle East scholar Joseph Kéchichian tells <em>Worldview </em>what the jostling means for the complicated web of Saudi family politics.</p><p><em>Worldview</em> soccer contributors <a href="http://las.depaul.edu/geography/People/EuanHague/index.asp" target="_blank">Euan Hague</a>, a professor of geography at DePaul, and <a href="http://athletics.uchicago.edu/menssoccer/msc-assistantcoaches.htm" target="_blank">Michael Madero</a>, assistant coach for the University of Chicago&rsquo;s men&rsquo;s soccer team, share their predictions for upcoming Euro 2012 quarterfinals matches. Plus, Jakub Parusinski, staff writer for the <em>Kyiv Post, </em>describes how fans in Ukraine and Poland have been behaving at the matches (hint: they haven&#39;t always been peaceful).</p><p><strong>To join the conversation call us at 312-923-9239 and tell us why you think your team will take the championship.</strong></p><p>On our<em>&nbsp;Global Activism </em>segment,<em>&nbsp;</em>Holly Ezinga talks about her company,&nbsp;<a href="http://www.ourfairearth.com/" target="_blank">Fair Earth</a>, a socially-conscious, eco-friendly company that produces and markets high quality, Fair Trade merchandise from East Africa.</p></p> Thu, 21 Jun 2012 08:41:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/bez/2012-06/worldview-62112-100288 Worldview 6.7.12 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/bez/2012-06/worldview-6712-99895 <p><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/AP070418012749.jpg" title="Soccer fans in Poland react to news that Poland and Ukraine would co-host the 2012 European Championship. (AP/Piotr Hawalej, file)" /></div><p>Thursday on <em>Worldview</em>:</p><p>Poland and Ukraine will co-host the 2012 European Championships. Sixteen teams will battle it out on the soccer field, but there&#39;s growing concern potential violence off the field. The two host countries are under scrutiny because of some fans&#39; racist behavior at their soccer matches.</p><p><em>Worldview</em> talks with Michael Madero, assistant coach for the University of Chicago&#39;s men&#39;s soccer team. As a soccer player in Eastern Europe during the early &#39;90s, he saw the fan bases of these two countries up-close.</p><p>Then, Argentina&#39;s new gender identity law went into effect this week. Said to be the first of its kind, it allows individuals to legally change their gender without any kind of medical procedure. The Associated Press&rsquo; Michael Warren joins us from Buenos Aires to explain the circumstances that made the law possible.</p><p>Finally, &quot;Bike to Work Week&quot; starts this Saturday June 8. WBEZ team leader Jerome McDonnell and his former nemesis, Sarah Dandelles from the Old Town School of Folk Music, confront last year&#39;s winner and new nemesis, The Center for Neighborhood Technology, represented by Kathryn Eggers.</p></p> Thu, 07 Jun 2012 10:02:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/bez/2012-06/worldview-6712-99895 Euro 2012 soccer championship kicks off with excitement and controversy http://www.wbez.org/blogs/bez/2012-06/euro-2012-soccer-championship-kicks-excitement-and-controversy-99889 <p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/euro%20soccer%20AP.jpg" title="Wales' Gareth Bale, left, gets away from Bulgaria's Ivelin Popov, center, during their UEFA Euro 2012 Qualifying match. (AP/Andrew Matthews, PA)" /></div><p><em>Editor&#39;s Note: Poland and Ukraine will co-host the 2012 UEFA European Football Championship (Euro 2012), but there&rsquo;s growing concern for potential violence and boycotts. The host countries face scrutiny because of political turmoil in Ukraine and racist behavior by soccer fans in both countries. </em></p><p><em>As a soccer player in Eastern Europe during the early &#39;90s, </em><em>Michael Madero</em><em> saw the fan bases of these two countries up-close. Madero </em><em>is now the assistant coach for the University of Chicago&#39;s men&#39;s soccer team and he </em><em>will blog for us during the 2012 Euro Cup.</em></p><p><strong>Bread and salt (and beer): Poland and Ukraine welcome Euro 2012</strong></p><p>Finally! No more dreadful warm-up friendlies. No more pissing and moaning about who&rsquo;s on the squad and who&rsquo;s not. No more conspiracies, no more transfer rumors, no more infighting and no more awful media drivel that&rsquo;s suffocated all who troll the footie websites day after day.</p><p>Euro 2012 kicks off Friday as host-country Poland bangs up against the 2004 winner, Greece. While the game may not be a masterpiece, at least the day of reckoning for all 16 teams has come. We can now turn our attention away from Cristiano [Ronaldo] and just focus on the games.</p><p><strong><u>The favorite</u></strong></p><p>Spain: Hopefully the magisterial dancers, artists and maestros that are Spain&#39;s players will hog the headlines as they bid to become the first team to ever win back-to-back-to-back major championships (Euro 2008, World Cup 2010, Euro 2012).</p><p>How good are the Spanish? Good enough where most football cognoscenti harmonize and croon about witnessing the best football played in a lifetime. And yes, this has everything to do with the &ldquo;Barca&rdquo; style. The otherworldliness of Xavi, Iniesta, Fabregas, Busquets and Pique form the spine of the national side. The only thing standing in the way is that they&rsquo;ve all played an ungodly number of competitive games over the past four years. The cracks are starting to show. The boys from Barca fell just short of the finish line. They lost the title to Real Madrid and the Champions League to Chelsea. The fellas from Madrid (Casillas, Alonso, Ramos, Arbeloa) have also logged hundreds of game miles.</p><p>But by all accounts, Spain is as hungry as ever. They&rsquo;ve studied their lines well for the big show. The sport is at its best when Spain is at its best. We may never see the likes of them again.</p><p>Flop: Sorry Fernando. A two year lack of form will not disappear for Torres just yet.</p><p>Surprise: Pedro, youthful and rested, will rise.</p><p><strong><u>The opposition</u></strong></p><p>The Germans: Schweinsteiger, Muller, Kroos, Ozil, Badstuber, Gomez &mdash; all from Bayern Munich. They lost the Champion&rsquo;s League final in a dominating run. They&rsquo;ll be desperate to put that failure behind them to fulfill the promise of the high-level performances they gave us in South Africa.</p><p>The Dutch: They are primed as well. Most of their squad returns. The Dutch finished runner-up in South Africa. Van Persie, Huntelaar, Van der Vaart, and Robben might have just had their best seasons ever. On their day, those boys are as deadly as it gets.</p><p><strong><u>The losers</u></strong></p><p>The Italians: Surrounded by past scandal (match-fixing allegations have surfaced everywhere in Italy), they went on to win World Cups in 1982 and 2006. But not this time around. They&rsquo;re not good enough and lack a genuine goal scorer.</p><p>The English: Woeful. What a mess: a coach installed only weeks ago; four players lost to injury before the tournament has even started; a former captain and center back caught up in racism allegations (Terry) that preclude another center back from being part of the squad (Ferdinand). They are so desperate that many of its players do not often get the start for their own clubs (Milner, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Jones, Kelly, Defoe, Carroll, Welbeck.)</p><p>The Brits may be eliminated by the third game before Wayne Rooney can save them. They might want to start thinking about World Cup qualification.</p><p><strong><u>The surprise</u></strong></p><p>France: After a team mutiny and a national embarrassment two years ago in South Africa, Laurent Blanc brought order to a ship with too much quality and class to bow out early in the tournament.</p><p><strong><u>The wish</u></strong></p><p>All the fears of racism and violence are rendered insignificant a few weeks hence. The miscreants and hooligans might just be gobsmacked by all the holiness and wizardry of the game&rsquo;s best. Hopefully they&rsquo;ll have a bit of fun with all the goings-on, and forget about their own inhumanity.</p><p><strong><u>Another wish</u></strong></p><p>Ukraine beats England in extra-time and faces Spain in the quarter-finals. The feel good factor is so great that former Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko gets a reprieve from prison. Meanwhile, Poland meets the Germans after the group stage and Germany&rsquo;s Polish-born player, Podolski, scores the game-winner. [Angela] Merkel is all smiles. With Tymoshenko&rsquo;s hair back in those braids, Euro leaders abandon their boycott of the games, meet-up, and do a deal to save Greece and the Euro during half-time of the Final.</p><p>Well&hellip;the Germans might have to <em>win</em> the Final for that to happen.</p></p> Thu, 07 Jun 2012 08:03:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/bez/2012-06/euro-2012-soccer-championship-kicks-excitement-and-controversy-99889 An Englishman surveys Chicago's love-affair with soccer http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-07-27/englishman-surveys-chicagos-love-affair-soccer-89705 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/segment/photo/2011-July/2011-07-27/Sir Alex.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Football fans got some relief when football's prolonged lockout ended. But for some Chicagoans, life was just fine without the NFL and "Da Bears;" they watch the other football, or what some folks call soccer.</p><p><em>Eight Forty-Eight's</em> intern and resident Brit, Mike Wilson, knows his football. But even he had to rethink the sport once he began watching it among the Yanks. Wilson shared his experience on the heels of an exciting visit from Manchester United last weekend.</p><p>1994 is a year many Englishmen want to forget – and not just because that’s the year somebody decided it was a good idea to make <em>Four Weddings and a Funeral.</em> It was also the football world-cup finals. We had failed to qualify; and the location of the finals only made things worse.</p><p>Don’t get me wrong, we love our “special relationship” with America – almost as much as you love our royal couple. But we always liked it when you didn’t pay much attention to “our” sport. You had your football; we had ours. &nbsp;You had baseball; we had cricket. You had basketball; we had netball-for-men.</p><p>But now football was making the journey across the pond and we were worried it would never be the same again. Not only was it coming back to us with a new name – just the mention of the word “soccer” is enough to send shivers down an Englishman’s spine – but there were rumors circulating in my school playground.</p><p>Apparently, “the Americans” didn’t like the fact that soccer games can be tied; so they wanted any tied game to be decided by a penalty “shoot-out.” The Americans didn’t like that soccer games were low-scoring; so they wanted goals to count for more if they were outside of the box. The Americans didn’t like the pace of the game; so they wanted power-plays, with extra balls put on the pitch (or field, as they called it) to make things more interesting. We were scared. The beautiful game – born on the playing fields England’s public schools – was about to be Americanized.</p><p>Fast forward nearly two decades and I find myself living America. Like football, I was quickly given a new name unlikely to catch on at home – “the Brit”. And when it came to sports, my mind was filled with my playground prejudices. But I was in for a surprise. Not only did I end up liking American sports a lot more than expected, but it turns out Chicago is a football savvy city – I’m sorry, I just can’t bring myself to say “soccer”.</p><p>As Zach Rose – a younger fan – explained to me, there are plenty of places to catch a game: “Temple Bar, Fado, the Globe…” And thanks to American TV rights, it’s actually far easier to watch English football in the States than it is at home. So it wasn’t a total surprise that tickets were in high-demand when Manchester United – England’s reigning champions and one of the most lucrative sports franchises in the world – came to town. They played the Chicago Fire at Soldier Field last weekend.</p><p>Besides those packed into Soldier Field, some fans paid $100 to watch their idols up close in training at Toyota Park the day before the game. Admittedly, some were slightly more excited than others. Take Anna Mulch: “This is just a dream come true, to be this close to the boys. You see them and you watch them play and you never, ever, ever, ever think you are going to be within looking and screaming distance because they never come … Here they come! … [SCREAMS].”</p><p>Despite such enthusiasm for English stars, it’s proven hard for the US’ own soccer league – the MLS – to break into the established order of American sports, as the Chicago&nbsp; Fire’s captain, Logan Pause, acknowledges: “Obviously, it’s a big sports town so sometimes we get lost in the mix, but we’re just trying to do everything we can to grow our own team and our brand here in Chicago.”</p><p>But the fans I spoke with think that soccer’s lack of popularity compared to the “Big-Four” sports can be overplayed. Whereas in Britain we’re struggling to tempt teenagers away from their PlayStations and back out onto the abandoned football fields, in the US young people are already playing – as lifelong soccer fan Ricky Austin explained to me: “I think the media likes to play that story of “is it taking off or not,” but I think it has. If you look at the number one sport that’s played by kids it’s soccer.”</p><p>And Sir Alex Ferguson – who has been so successful as Manchester United manager that he’s been knighted – sees significant changes on the horizon: “I think in a few years’ time you’ll see a massive difference. The US will grow even bigger, because the kids are playing. That tells you there’s a future”</p><p>But these kids are important not just for the future of the country’s professional soccer leagues and national teams. They are also drawing their parents into the game.</p><p>At 6’3’’ and 285lbs, CJ Rose’s sport growing up was always going to be American football. But since his kids started playing soccer 7 years ago, his interests have shifted: “They started playing rec league and became really interested in all the superstars in Europe and stuff. And as a good parent I just followed them and said, ‘Hey, let’s go see this game, and this game,’ and they started getting the chance to see their superstars play in front of them.”</p><p>Now a season ticket holder at the Fire, he thumbs the sports pages looking for soccer news and not the traditional American sports: “Honestly, I do – I look for soccer. I do, because my kids ask me questions about it and with them asking me questions, it made me want to follow soccer.”</p><p>And he’s not alone. There definitely was no lack of fervor among the Fire fans at the game on Sat – even if they did lose 3-1.</p><p>So, soccer in the US is not just a youth game with promise, or the sport of choice for hipsters turned off by the Wrigley’s brashness. It seems it’s quickly becoming a family-passion – as I found out when my friends called me a “soccer mum” for buying a station wagon.</p><p>Putting the snarkyness to one-side, the truth of the matter is that us Brits don’t so much look down on American “soccer” any more. We’re now looking over our shoulders, worrying that the next generation of Americans will turn out to be very good at it.</p><p>Then you might just join the rest of the world at being better than us at a game we invented.</p><p><em>A correction has been made to this story.</em></p></p> Wed, 27 Jul 2011 14:59:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-07-27/englishman-surveys-chicagos-love-affair-soccer-89705 Freddy Adu, Landon Donovan named to U.S. nat'l soccer team http://www.wbez.org/story/freddy-adu-landon-donovan-named-us-natl-soccer-team-86928 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2011-May/2011-05-23/Freddy Adu_Getty_Otto Greule Jr.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Freddy Adu has been selected to the U.S. roster for next month's Gold Cup as well as a June 4 exhibition against World Cup champion Spain, the first time in two years he's been selected.&nbsp;</p><p>USA Soccer, the Chicago-based organization that serves as the national governing body for the sport, <a href="http://www.ussoccer.com/News/Mens-National-Team/2011/05/Gold-Cup-and-Spain-Roster-Release.aspx">made the announcement on Monday</a>.</p><p>The 21-year-old midfielder has struggled to fulfill the potential he showed when he joined D.C. United at age 14, being left off the World Cup team last summer. But he's gotten regular playing time at Rizespor in Turkey.</p><p>U.S. coach Bob Bradley's 23-man roster is heavy on veterans, including Landon Donovan, Clint Dempsey, Tim Howard, Jozy Altidore and captain Carlos Bocanegra.</p><p>He also chose up-and-comers Juan Agudelo, Eric Lichaj and Tim Ream for the all-important Gold Cup, soccer's championship of North and Central America and the Caribbean.</p><p>The Americans open group play against Canada on June 7 in Detroit.<br> &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;</p></p> Mon, 23 May 2011 20:55:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/freddy-adu-landon-donovan-named-us-natl-soccer-team-86928