10 Famous American Soccer Players Who’ve Inspired Millions

4 famous American soccer players
The American audience has always been crazy about action-filled sports such as basketball, ice hockey, NASCAR, and baseball. Soccer had a bit of a tough time getting a foothold in this land of adrenaline-craving audiences, but it came to the spotlight at the 1994 World Cup, which the U.S. hosted. The games in the 1994 World Cup saw a record for average attendance, signifying the growing love Americans held for soccer.

The U.S. men’s national soccer team, having been surprising semifinalists in the very first World Cup in 1930, have once again come in vogue, progressing beyond the group stages in the last two World Cups and reaching the quarterfinals in 2002. The ever-improving national team has made liking soccer cool in the U.S.

The U.S. man’s national team, called the USMNT, has had a fair few genuine stars over the years. Here’s a list of the best of the lot.

The players haven’t been ‘ranked’ in any way. This Buzzle article contains only male players, and legends of the female game such as Mia Hamm, Abby Wambach, and Michelle Akers haven’t been mentioned. Statistics of currently active players are correct as of July 5, 2014.

Greatest American Soccer Players Ever

Landon Donovan
Birth: March 4, 1982, in Ontario, California
Position: Forward/Winger
Clubs: Bayer Leverkusen, San Jose Earthquakes (loan), Los Angeles Galaxy, Bayern Munich (loan), Everton (loan)
Active for USMNT: 2000-present
Appearances for USMNT: 156 (57 goals)
Considered by many as the greatest American soccer player ever, Donovan is a living legend in American soccer. He has been playing for the U.S. national team since 2000, and is the team’s all time leader in goals scored and assists. He is the first and, as yet, only player to score and assist more than 50 goals

Famous Players from Italy Who Dominated the Soccer World

Famous soccer players from Italy
Football is the national sport of Italy. This is just one of the reasons the Italians are crazy about football. The country has a well-established domestic soccer league system in place, attracting the best footballing talents from across the world. So, well entrenched is this domestic league that the fervor with which the club supporters support their respective clubs is legendary. There have been riots on match days when rivals play against each other. Failing to achieve the club’s expectations can get the club officials fired, and if a player scores a winning goal in any final, he is given god-like status. In short, Italy is a nation of football maniacs. They love their football … and their stars.

The domestic league structure has produced legendary home-grown players. These players are handpicked from youth sides, taught the Italian brand of defensive football, and sent to the senior sides to play. Unlike England and France, Italian players usually stay in their own clubs for life. The loyalty of some players is legendary as we will see in the subsequent paragraphs. This makes the Italians love their players even more, and this forms a cycle of a player’s incentive to perform for the country.

Italy’s national team has won 4 FIFA World Cups, second only to Brazil. They also have won the European Championships once and the Olympic football tournament once. Italian clubs have also won a record 27 club European Championships, making them the most successful country in club football, ever. After such a record, there has to be a big list of legendary players who made it possible, at the club and international level. This article lists out some of the most well-known footballers to ever play for Italy.

Gianluigi Buffon
✦ Known

Jupp Heynckes Facts That You’ll Never Get Out of Your Head

Jupp Heynckes, born in 1945 in Mönchengladbach, Germany, was an extremely influential figure in the world of German Football Association. After a successful career as a football player, Heynckes went on to become one of the most skilled managers in the Bundesliga (German Football League).
His Early Career
Heynckes played as a striker which means he played at the front of the field and was responsible for scoring goals. He began his footballing career with the Borussia Mönchengladbach squad, called Borussia for short. At the time that Heynckes joined the team in 1964, Borussia was a second division team, meaning that they competed in a league below the First Bundesliga. The year after Heunckes joined, Borussia managed to make their way into the first division where they enjoyed some success.
The Mönchengladbach Golden Years
After a brief period with another team, Hannover 96, Heynckes went back to Mönchengladbach. He stayed with Borussia for the remainder of his career as a football player, until 1978. During his second stint at Mönchengladbach, the team was in its heyday, and as the top scorer in the Bundesliga during 1974 and 1975, Heynckes was in no small part responsible for the team’s success. During his career there, he won four championships, one national cup, and one UEFA cup (the Europe-wide club championship). Before winning the UEFA cup, Borussia became the first German team to play in a UEFA cup final in 1973. Additionally, Heynckes was a part of the West German national team, which won a European championship and a World Cup during his tenure.
Heynckes as a Manager
At the relatively young age of 33, Heynckes left the football field and began his managerial career. He managed his home team, Borussia Mönchengladbach, for eight years, until 1987. As a young

Best Soccer Players in the World

Talent is not the only thing that drives these players towards their dream. But their dedication, willpower and honesty is what makes them stand out. You need many qualities to play soccer, like presence of mind, speed, strength and stamina, and lastly scoring goals.

You need only one thing and that is the love for the game, and all the above mentioned qualities will follow. This is what these players have and this is what has driven them towards their dreams. Pick your favorite from the following great names:

Pele (Edson Arantes do Nascimento)
Pele is a legend. He was 17 years old when he scored 6 goals in the 1958 World Cup and won his national team, Brazil its first title. He started playing at the age of 15 and played for Santos for quite some time. He started playing international matches at the age of 16 and became the star of the 1958 World Cup. One of the most famous player from Brazil, Pele too suffered his share of injuries and breakdowns, but made a glorious comeback to win his team another World Cup in 1970.

Diego Maradona
He played for Argentina, and is one of the greatest footballer the world has ever witnessed. Diego led his team to win the 1986 World Cup title, which earned him the World Player of the Year award. His talents knew no bounds as he started at the age of 15 and scored amazing 43 goals in 45 matches while playing for Argentinos Juniors. He stepped into the international team at 16, but later played in the World Cup. Though Diego Maradona was known to be one of the controversial footballers with drug abuse and scandals following him, he will always be remembered for his single handed victory

Arsene Wenger – Football Genius or Megalomaniac

To place men in certain defined categories is a task beyond the normal realms of functionality. This holds true especially in the case of football managers. To label one manager as a footballing genius, or an inconsistent assessor, or simply as a failure is a mistake many of us tend to make.

Watching Arsenal play can take you to two very distinct dimensions. Theirs is a brand of football that discards the stereotypical ‘English’ game of lump the ball ahead and follow it up with a horde of muscle bulging beasts. They instead choose to patiently build up the game from the back, pass the ball around with quick touches and exquisite technical movement, drawing similarities to the eye-catching ‘tiqui-taca’ game that Barcelona adopt. To a great extent, they manage to pull it off amazingly well.

Wenger has been at the helm of the London club since 1996. He quickly transformed the way they played from a dull yawn-inducing sleepwalk (Highbury was rightly dubbed ‘the Library’), into an exciting fiery rodeo. He got rewarded handsomely for this transformation as well. He is the only non-British manager in the Premier League to have won the double (1998 and 2002), and is also the longest serving and most successful manager of Arsenal FC (winning 3 league titles and 4 FA cups). 2004 saw the pinnacle of this football revolution at Highbury, when they went the entire season unbeaten, a task that was last managed over a 100 years ago by Preston North End.

But soon after that, things began to crumble. Slowly but forcibly, Arsenal have been transformed from genuine title contenders, to the almost-maybe men. The last 3 seasons have seen them battle it out with the likes of Aston Villa, Tottenham Hotspurs, and Everton for 4th place.

Maradona – The Living Legend

The left-footed Maradona, who had been battling drug addiction, suffered a severe heart crisis in Uruguay back in 2000 due to a cocaine overdose. He then began a long recovery in Cuba, but since an overweight Maradona returned to Argentina, speculation and concern had grown over his health. Recently, he uploaded an image of himself via Twitter in a much fitter form, far from the Maradona who couldn’t carry his weight around.

In his colorful 20-year career, Maradona won the Italian and Argentine league titles and led Argentina to the World Cup victory in 1986, and the second place in 1990. But the story started long before that. In 1970 precisely, when the 10-year-old Diego was tried for Los Cebollitas, a junior team. Thereafter, Los Cebollitas remained unbeaten for 136 matches and he had started his journey to become a legend. This gave followers a fair idea of what was to come.

Born in Villa Fiorito, Diego chose to play with Argentinos Juniors, though he was being wooed by the best clubs since 1976. By 1977, he was invited to train for the national team. A place in Boca Juniors came next, along with historically stupendous economic deals. His destiny lay in Spain and specifically, the Barcelona Football Club, who bought his services for a whopping $1.7 million back in 1982.

In 1984, he moved to Napoli for a record-busting $4.1 million, and transformed a mediocre club to one of the best in Italy. During their stint with Napoli, the triumvirate of Maradona, Giordano and Careca broke all sorts of records and statistics. During his fifth season with them, Napoli won the UEFA Cup for the first time. With a doping controversy and consequent health problems pursuing him, Maradona had to flee Italy. He was the world

Soccer Defensive Tactics

They say that offense is the best form of defense. But for soccer players, it is all about defending your goal to strengthen the attacking prowess. No wonder players like Rio Ferdinanad, Gary Neville, and Mikael Silvestre have played pivotal roles in the smashing success rates for Arsenal F.C. and Manchester United. Defenders are as important as the strikers and midfielders, as they tackle the strikers of the opposite team as well as create chances for their own strikers and midfielders to score.

Zonal Marking
This is the basic defense tactic in soccer, and not very complicated either. Here, every defender and midfielder is allotted a zone on the field which he has to cover. Each of the team members has to perform his role to the best of his capability. The main task is to defend your allotted area, and at the same time communicate with other team members. But in case there is a problem, needless to say, you have to chuck your zone and go and help your team member first. The strikers or attackers from the opposing team will face 2 rows of 4 defenders, covering half of the soccer field.

Rally Your Goal
Defenders can defend best when they are as close as possible to the goal. This way, they can protect the goal as well as win back possession of the ball for their team. This will also reduce the opposing team’s threat towards your goal.

Interception
For under hit or misdirected passes, interceptions work the best, and are a perfect defensive tactic if you do not want to meddle with the other team’s attackers. Just intercept the ball before it reaches the intended receiver, and side track the striker.

Man to Man Marking
Man to man marking refers to a tactic

Strength and Conditioning Workouts for Soccer

Soccer is a very demanding sport and the training programs are to be adhered to strictly to prevent injuries and also ensure fitness. The modern game especially is fiercely competitive and to sustain the whole season, players need to keep themselves fit throughout the year. Training exercises are devised with the aim of achieving proficiency in the game, all the while ensuring top fitness levels.

Coaches must focus more on trying to build skills in an individual player. On the other hand, girls training sessions can be more productive if they are shorter and involve a democratic and team oriented approach. The relationships between players and the coach matter a lot for the girls and constant encouragement is a must to bring out the best in them. It is essential for trainees to know basic soccer rules, to derive maximum benefit from the training schedule.

Basic warm ups and stretching sessions should always precede workout programs.

Power and Strength Training
This training can begin with functional ability development. This includes conditioning the joints, ligaments, tendons, and muscles for hard and demanding sessions of workouts. The trunk, back and the abdomen forms the crux of a soccer player’s most used body parts and should be specially dealt with, to avoid injuries.

The next stage is to build muscular strength and develop a solid foundation for playing with the greatest force and intensity. This should be followed by workouts aimed at developing skills and associated weight training regimes. In the last phase of strength training, a coach should focus on the maintenance of top physical and mental condition. Actually, this is a part of the continuous training and gym sessions, like lifting lighter weights, moving on to heavier weights and finally back to lighter weights. This cycle can be maintained

Offside Rule in Soccer

Sometimes you do tend to feel, Oh, he was so close! What was the whistle for? The simple answer is, the player was stopped because he was offside.

The definition of offside as explained in the official ‘FIFA book of soccer rules’―the player is in an offside position because he is nearer to his opponent’s goal line, than both the ball and the second last opponent. Offside rule is the law in soccer that limits the exploring span of the forward attacking player, when he is involved in the play. The player cannot grab the ball, when there are less than two opponents present between him and the goalpost. Soccer offside application takes place in three ways, namely the offside position, the offside offense and the offside sanction.

Let me explain the basic signs to highlight the offside rule:

  • The attacking player must have at least one defender and the goalkeeper (or another player) between him and the goalpost.
  • The offside position is determined when the ball is actually kicked and not on the position of the player, when he receives the ball.
  • The attacking player must be in front of the ball to be considered offside.
  • The attacking player must be over the half-line mark, and the half-line rule is not allowed on throw-in balls.

A player is not offside in case of the following cases:

  • If the player is in his own half of the ground.
  • If the player doesn’t get past the second-last opponent, usually the goalie (when the goalie is outside the goalpost).
  • If a player receives the ball directly from the throw-in, corner kick, or goal kick.

The offside rule makes the game of soccer a bit complex, because the player can be in the ‘offside position’ without actually being ‘offside’.

Two important things to know to be considered offside, are:

  • The

How to Play Indoor Soccer

Indoor soccer, as the name suggests, is played indoors, and is quite similar to outdoor soccer, except some changes made to suit an indoor arena. Traditional soccer rules do apply, but are molded to complement the fast pace and smaller arena. A typical indoor soccer team has six players, but this can vary depending on the size of the field. Five-a-side indoor soccer is also very popular, and is commonly known as ‘Futsal’, an acronym of fútbol sala. Rules vary between different administrating sports bodies, but here are some universal rules of the game.

The Field
The arena can be rectangular or oblong in shape, and incorporates an artificial turf floor. It is surrounded by walls along the perimeter of the field, usually ranging around six feet in height. The height of the ceiling may vary. The dimensions of the field are usually 85 x 200 feet. The penalty area is thus smaller to accommodate the field.

Duration
A game is spread over four quarters of 15 minutes each, which add up to a total of 60 minutes. The breaks are of 3 minutes each, after the 1st and 3rd quarter, and a fifteen minute timeout after the 2nd quarter. The game may spill over to overtime if the scores remain tied. Overtime is usually of 15 minutes.

The Teams
Each side consists of six players including the goalkeeper. This number can vary between governing bodies or according to the size of the field. The usual positions, i.e., defenders, midfielders, and strikers are assigned to the players.

Substitutions
Indoor soccer employs the ‘on-the-fly’ method of substitution, wherein, players can be substituted as many times as needed, provided the player to be substituted leaves the field before the new one steps in.

Contact Rules
Standard soccer rules apply in indoor

Causes of Soccer Injuries

Soccer is an excellent sport to improve speed and agility, build endurance, and remain fit. However, soccer being a ‘contact sport’, can give rise to a number of injuries. While some of these injuries might be minor and can heal on their own, some can be quite severe, and in some cases, may even prove life-threatening. On the whole, these injuries can be of two types: acute/traumatic injuries and cumulative/overuse injuries. Let us delve further into the common injuries involved with soccer and how to avoid them.

Common Injuries

Mostly soccer injuries are associated with the ankle, knees, and hip region. The players also tend to injure the lower leg, upper leg, and head quite often. Some of the common injuries are:

  • Sprains
  • Fractures
  • Muscle-tendon injuries
  • Bruises
  • Abrasions
  • Knee injuries
  • Meniscus tears
  • Concussion
  • Muscle cramps
  • Achilles tendonitis
  • Ligament tears
  • Iliotibial band syndrome
  • Muscular strains

Causes

Cumulative Trauma: Overuse injuries also known as cumulative trauma disorder, occur due to cumulative stress on the muscles, joints, and soft tissues. These injuries are characterized by mild pain, which might become severe later. Since physical contact with other players is unavoidable in soccer, there is an increased risk of collision injuries.

Heading: Head-to-head contact with another player, heading the ball, being struck by a ball, and falls are common reasons for injuries. Head injuries are quite serious and may cause damage to the eyes, teeth, and brain. Concussions can also occur due to repetitive heading of the ball and/or collision with another player or a goal post. Repeated heading of the ball may cause chronic brain injury.

Strain: Muscle strains are also quite common. They mainly affect hamstrings, groin muscles, and quadriceps. Constant stop-and-go movements or long strides can also result into strain.

Abrupt Movements: Sprains can occur due to sudden stops or an abrupt change in body’s direction during the course of game. Fractures in the lower region of the body are also

Premier League Clubs

The Premier League operates within a system of promotion and relegation, with the established season running from August to May. Each registered team plays thirty-eight games, and this is a history that dates back to 1888. The advantage of a lucrative television rights deal and fame via the primary football competition, have made the Premier League―the world’s most watched sporting league! It is also the most lucrative, with combined club revenues that shoot into billions, basically due to the increase in media revenue. The system operations is within a tie-up with 20 ‘shareholder’ clubs.

The Clubs
Till date, the Premier League has on record 40 clubs that have competed, but by far, the most well-known and recognized winners of the title are Manchester United, Chelsea, Blackburn Rovers, and Arsenal. The clubs are seasoned, having endured crumbling stadiums, poor facilities, and hooliganism. England’s win at the 1990 FIFA World Cup saw the rejuvenation of the systems operations. The five-year ban on English clubs was lifted for European competitions, stadium safety standards were upgraded, and expensive upgrades to the all-seater stadiums were sanctioned.

Media Coverage and Advantage
The generated funds netted in via media coverage, within preset deals create ‘super leagues’, and the Premier League, with the improved stadiums and match attendance and revenues also capitalizes on the money being invested in the sport. The 1991 proposal for the establishment of a league that would attract more money into the game, witnessed the setting up of the FA Premier League. The top division enjoys commercial independence, and the ability to negotiate sponsorship agreements. This has renewed interest in the game worldwide, since the English clubs once again compete with the best of Europe. It works under the rules applicable to a ‘limited company’, and is a breakaway from

Rugby Rules and Positions

Rugby, or rugby football, as it is called, is an aggressive game descending from a common form of football, which was developed in the United Kingdom. In the UK, they call rugby a ‘thug’s game’, because of the nature of the game which involves a lot of power play. With those intimidatingly strong rugby players, it is bound to seem that way. In the USA, it is very close to American football.

The Game: A rugby union game is referred to a match, and its duration is 80 minutes. It is divided into 2 sessions of 40 minutes each. Now, some time can be added on account of timeouts and injuries during the game. A single referee controls the play on the field, in addition to a couple of assistant referees. Professional matches have a video referee as well.

Scoring: A try or a goal, either of these can score for a team. A try happens when a player takes the ball across the goal line and then grounds the ball. Then, a proper goal is scored when a player kicks the ball between the uprights and above the crossbar of the goal posts.

Playing Area: The length of the pitch is supposed to be 100 meters or less between the two goal posts. Further, an in-goal area behind each post is a must, with the length of the in-goal area ranging between 10 and 22 meters. The H-shaped goal posts are stationed on the goal line. The pitch must be 70 meters wide. The 2 uprights have a distance of 5.6 meters between them, and the crossbar lining them is just 3 meters above the ground.

Game Play: One team with the possession tries to move the ball up-field and score a goal. In such a situation,

Rugby Drills

Rugby is an old sport that has its beginnings in England. Rugby could be termed as the purest form of sport, as it requires a player to possess tremendous strength and speed together, wearing minimum protective gear, a combination not generally seen in other forms of sport. It is a highly physical sport demanding top-notch fitness levels from players. Surprisingly, this sport is not at all brawn and a player does require a significant amount of skill as well. Rugby drills are designed to enable players inculcate these skills among them.

Basic Rugby Drills

Defense vs Attack
This drill involves quick passing among forwards and also tests the ability of defense players to tackle attackers from inside the shoulder as they are running. Requirements for this drill would be a ball and about 11 cones for marking purposes.

The Drill

  • Arrange all attacking players in a diagonal line. Let defenders stand all together at a considerable distance away from the attackers on their right .
  • Pass the ball to the attacker on the extreme right.
    With the ball in hand, the attackers should run ahead in a straight line, passing the ball to the side.
  • As these attackers move forward, defenders should try to prevent them from scoring with a two handed tag.
    The drill ends when either group succeeds.

Variations

  • Try increasing the number of defenders
  • Reduce space between markers and perform the drill in a shorter space to get players even more focused.
  • Give defenders more liberty in tackling attackers.

The coach should make sure attackers run straight and pass the ball around quickly. There must be communication and coordination among players of the same group.

Ball Presentation Drill
This is an exercise for kids and adults alike. It has a very simple setup and improves basic passing skills of a player. Requirements for

Rugby Positions Explained

Rugby requires incredible amounts of stamina, agility and lightning pace. The reason for that is, offense has to make the play and defense has to break the play. Filling any position in rugby is not an easy task. The entire idea is to get the possession of the ball and you shall be repeatedly called upon for that. Well, there are some positions which might get more limelight than others, but you have to remember that this is a team game. Without the synchronized efforts of entire team, you will not succeed. This fact is known by all (even by those who are considered as superstars by all others), in the game of rugby as well as American football, which are intriguingly similar.

In this article, I shall try to meticulously explain the various rugby positions, which are again quite similar to American football positions. This article will be most helpful for a beginner. My intention for the reader through this article is to have fun as well as educational experience about the beautiful game of rugby.

The Forwards

Props and Hookers
The front row is like a large boiling pot which does the job of providing foundations for every play. Anyone who plays in the front row is typically characterized for having brute strength. They are also characterized for having broken noses and missing teeth as well! Ironically, longevity is the mark of such players and you will observe that experience and intelligence are inherently present.

The Second Row
This row typically requires people with strong legs. The second row athlete, also known as the lock forward, is tall and very strong. Mobility is not expected, but if the lock forward has it, this becomes a big advantage. The power and the strength of the lock forward