Category Archives: Soccer


Lloyd Hat Trick Leads Solid USA Effort To World Cup Title


USA Women Capture Third World Cup Title

By John Ventola

Team USA got a kick out of Carli Lloyd Sunday in the FIFA Women’s World Cup Finals. Then another. And, finally, the biggest kick of all. This blogger does not know if Lloyd ever had a “Sweet Sixteen” growing up in New Jersey, but she had the sweetest sixteen minutes of her soccer career to spark America to a dominating 5-2 victory over Japan to avenge the 2011 finals loss to the crisp-passing opponent. Continue reading

Ability and Focus Lethal Combo


Ability and Focus Tough to Beat

By John Ventola

It comes as no surprise that today’s athletes, whether high school, amateur, collegiate, or professional, are the best trained in the history of sports. Specialization now starts at a much younger age, oftentimes with a youngster getting a gentle “nudge” to go with a particular sport by parents who like a certain game, or type of participation.

Workout regimens start much earlier, and the concentration on proper techniques and movements for an individual sport frequently results in a well-developed, accomplished player in the chosen activity. While early beginnings and overemphasis can sometimes result in individual burnout, and body maturation, or extremes in growth patterns, can determine if a youngster can continue his pursuit of an individual sport, the concept of specialization is here to stay. How many star eighth grade football players stopped growing, and how many pixy gymnasts didn’t? Many factors figure in the formula that culminates in a top collegiate or professional athlete.

Years ago, it was common for high school athletes to compete in two or three sports during a school year. Some of the more talented even managed to do the four-sport (football, basketball, baseball, track) routine by jogging between the diamond and track for dual practices in the Spring. Later, golf, soccer, wrestling, and cross-country gave youngsters a broader range of events from which to choose as they continued their sporting endeavors. Continue reading

College Baseball and World Soccer Scoring Mimics Each Other


Low Scores Now In Vogue

By John Ventola


Sports fans that enjoy close, low scoring athletic events should be happy these days. The World Cup is in full leg-swinging motion in Brazil, and College World Series participants in Omaha are swinging bats in hopes of scratching in a run. Consequently, fans do not have to crane their necks too much doing scoreboard checks. It seems almost every match and game is 1-0 or 2-1. While the scoring in national soccer and collegiate baseball lends itself to such low-scoring affairs, the World Cup and CWS are not lacking for feverish, fanatical fan bases. Each goal and run results in hugs, high fives, and flag waving.

Every kick, every header, every pitch, and every throw are followed with anticipation. Both games feature skilled, well-trained athletes, and strategy that often bores the unfamiliar watcher, but positively thrills the knowledgeable viewer when a point or run is scored. The stadium celebrations are enough to make national soccer and collegiate baseball worth watching. Although one is for national pride and world recognition, and the other is only USA- based, I would hate to explain to a young, college championship shortstop that the trophy he is holding does not mean much. Or mention it to the fans and students of that university at a football tailgate in the fall. Continue reading