Ronaldo to Replace Brand Beckham?

Experts feel there is currently a need for a central soccer brand. Beckham's 34 years of age and current career phase doesn't exactly make him a hot youth icon anymore. Sure, no one can deny his good looks and knee weakening ability among adults, but he's past the stage of driving 13 year olds crazy. And that's where Ronaldo can step in and fill Beck's shoes. The 24 year old Portuguese has all the right qualities to appeal to kids and teens – he's a looker, has a great body, plays well and is part of an extremely popular and successful team.

If Becks raked in $ 42.5 million through product endorsements last year, Ronaldo earned $ 19.6 million. But now that this 2008 FIFA World Player of the Year has become the world's most expensive player after his transfer from Man U to Real Madrid, his worth has sky rocketed. When Ronaldo was 'unveiled' on the 6th of July at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium wearing Real's soccer uniforms, nearly 80,000 screaming teens and young adults were there to greet him!

Actually, Ronaldo seems to be following in Beckham's footsteps in more ways than one! Becks left Man U for a successful stint with Real, so did Ronny boy! Becks wore the number 7 soccer shirt at Man U, as did Ronaldo after him! Becks was the ultimate youth icon, as Ronaldo is slated to be! If there's anything that can go against this young man, it's his lack of 'family life' and the accusation that he's not much of a team player. This could bring his appeal down among advertisers. Beckham continues to shine in that arena with his image of a happy family man and his reputation as a great team player. For this reason, some experts would like to see Ronaldo settled and married to a nice girl!

But, at the end of the day, it's his on field performance that will determine his success as brand Beckham's successor. After all, you're only as good as your last match … And companies are looking for endorsements from soccer stars so they can associate their product with the star's phenomenal success. As far as veteran football agent, Jon Holmes, is concerned, "Ronaldo is a good looking guy and I would say his level of articulateness is about the same as Beckham's … He is probably a better player than Beckham in that he is more Beckham is a workhorse of a player, Ronaldo seems to be a more natural player. "

Well, let's see if Ronaldo is going to be the next big clothes horse after Becks! Time will tell …

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Freestyle Soccer – Confused on Where to Start?

First of all, let's start with a simple question, what is freestyle soccer? Freestyle soccer is simply the style and ability to combine various soccer tricks in juggling and ground moves. It's a new trend in soccer along with other types like five a side futsal and beach soccer. In a soccer context, freestyle is perceived as less significance to the modern game. However, freestyle soccer does improve a footballer's ability to control the ball.

The ball control is what I perceived as the most important element in soccer before other attributes like fitness and tactics. There's a saying that if you can control the ball you can control the game. In fact, I stumbled one of Zlatan Ibrahimovic's, an Inter Milan player, quotes saying that as long as you have the ball, you'll have the advantage. Yet majority of footballers still ignore the importance of freestyle soccer. There are reasons behind it and one of them is that the soccer tricks are difficult to execute and only brings less to the modern game. True enough, but let's not forget the concept of ball control. Learning freestyle allows a player to enhance his touches especially the first touch. A great first touch buys you thousands of mili seconds to give you an edge over the opposition.

Those seconds could change the game in an instant especially in the modern game where it demands fast and furious soccer. As a result of those reasons, they don't even bother in the first place. On the other side, the ones who love freestyle soccer perceived it as something that they can express their creativity and improve on ball control and touches to a greater heights. But I'm more concern to those who are ignorant and may not have the slightest interest on freestyle soccer. The problem is, they may not know where to begin especially after watching a series of freestyle videos on streaming sites like YouTube. I'm assuming that they only watched the difficult tricks and instead forget the basics of freestyle soccer. I believe that freestyle soccer should begin with the basics like juggling and planting before moving on to the more advanced soccer tricks like the around the world, crossover, flip flap and others. It's important since juggling is the principle of all types of ball control along with dribbling. In this case, I shall focus on juggling since it's related to freestyle soccer.

Juggling the ball

Simply done by doing kick ups without letting the ball fall on to the ground and expanded to different parts of the body from foot, thigh, shoulder and head. The aim is to be able to link your juggling skills from one part to the other. For example, transfer your juggling from foot to your thigh. You can start with a simple transfer and improve to more advanced transfers like juggling from foot to thigh and then head. Once you've mastered juggling, you can start planting or stalling a soccer ball.

Planting the ball

The ability to balance the ball on a specific part of your body like balancing the ball on your foot. You can start by placing the ball on your foot and once you've mastered, you can plant the ball during your juggling. For example, juggle with your foot which is then transferred to your thigh and then balance it with your foot ie foot plant. Focus on these two abilities will help build confidence for you to start on learning some of the basic freestyle soccer tricks. Improving your juggling and planting skills increases your coordination abilities especially when you practice your transferring or linking skills. For this one, I'd recommend the around the world trick because it's the principle of all soccer tricks. Once you've mastered this trick, you have a great chance of doing other tough soccer tricks like the MATW, TATW, crossover etc. The trick is simply to rotate your foot around the ball after either juggling or footplant and kick it as you finish the rotation to complete the process.

These are a couple of basics that you'd need to constantly bear in mind. Similar to soccer, the techniques are very important and I highly encourage you to practice these tricks with a lot of dedication and once mastered, you'll begin to appreciate the beauty of freestyle soccer.

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The FIFA World Cup is the Most Prestigious Soccer Tournament in the World

FIFA stands for Fédération Internationale de Football Association and the first FIFA world cup came into being in 1930 in Uruguay. The commencement of the first FIFA world cup was history in the making. The soccer world cup came into being only after the game met with success in numerous other tournaments across the world.

Soccer Championships – Where it all started

The first soccer match ever recorded in history was between England and Scotland in Glasgow in 1872. This was followed by the British Home Championship that was started in 1888 and at this point in time, the popularity of the sport remained within the United Kingdom only. In the early 19th century, soccer started becoming popular outside the UK and was being played largely as a demonstration sport. This simply meant that there were no medals or awards for the taking. In fact, soccer was introduced in the 1900 as well as 1904 Summer Olympics in France and Canada respectively. Only 3 club teams participated in the tournament during both the Summer Olympics. Soccer was also played in the 1906 Summer Olympics also known as the Intercalated Games in Athens and there was participation from 4 teams including 3 clubs.

Following the 1904 Olympics, FIFA (Fédération Internationale de Football Association) was formed. The Federation made an attempt to organize an international soccer tournament between countries that were outside of the Olympic framework. This tournament is considered as the first ever step towards modern soccer championships and this was held in Switzerland in 1906. The sad news is that FIFA declared this competition as a complete failure.

Soccer went on to become an official sport in the 1908 Olympics in England and it was only in 1914 that FIFA started recognizing the Olympic soccer tournament as a «world football championship for amateurs.» Following their acceptance, FIFA agreed upon taking the responsibility of the management of the event. This opened the doors for the first international soccer competition in the form of 1920 Olympics. The champions were Belgium followed by Uruguay in the next two Olympics in 1924 and 1928.

The FIFA world cup

The success of soccer in Olympic tournaments made FIFA reconsider their dream of organizing an international championship. With President Jules Rimet heading from the front, the FIFA congress in a meeting at Amsterdam in 1928 decided to organize a world championship. The host country for the first FIFA world cup was named as Uruguay since they were two time Olympic Champions. So in 1930, the first FIFA world cup came into existence. The first soccer world cup saw participation from 13 countries including 7 from South America, 4 from Europe, and 2 from North America.

The first FIFA world cup matches were held simultaneously on 18 July 1930 and the winners were France and USA. Uruguay went on to become the champions by defeating Argentina 4-2 in front of a 93,000 strong home crowd in Montevideo. The FIFA world cup is played once every 4 years with 32 teams participating for the trophy.

The last FIFA world cup (2006) was held in Germany and Italy was crowned as the champions. The next FIFA world cup (2010) is going to be held in South Africa from 11 June to 11 July 2010.

Gerald Green Dunks Or How To Increase Vertical Jump

Ok, Gerald Green finished second this year in the Slam Dunk Contest (2008). His birthday-cake-dunk was sick, but the one between the legs with no shoes on wasn’t necessary – he can do better!

But have you seen Gerald Green’s 2005 summer league dunk where he – just like Vince Carter at the 2000 Olympics – jumped over a 7 footer for the dunk?

What about the 2005 McDonald’s All-American Slam Dunk Contest that he won? And in case you forgot, Green won the NBA Slam Dunk contest in 2007!

In this contest, Green first made a two-handed slam on an alley-oop pass off the side of the backboard from teammate Paul Pierce. Then he jumped over fellow finalist Nate Robinson while wearing the No. 7 Celtics jersey of 1991 dunk champion Dee Brown – and shielding his eyes in the crook of his elbow in an homage to Brown’s memorable no-look dunk.

«I knew they were going to be tough, because those guys had the creativity and the dunking style,» Green said about the famous judges Michael Jordan, Dominique Wilkins, Kobe Bryant, Vince Carter and Julius Erving.

«I tried to come out with something they never did before, and hopefully they could give me a score.» – Gerald Green

At the end of the contest, G-Money effortlessly leaped over a 3-foot table for a windmill jam.

«That boy has some serious hops,» Nate Robinson said after that dunk, eyes wide. «Kid can fly.»

Actually, Gerald Green has the highest vertical leap in the NBA by now – 48 inches!

The 6’8»/ 200 lbs. shooting guard jumps so high, he has to watch out not hitting the rim with his head! On one occasion in high school, Green went higher than expected and cut his head on the rim.

«If you’re trying to glide, you want to get your footwork right,» said Green. »If you don’t get your footwork right, you won’t accelerate as far or glide as far or get as high as you need to get. Then, at the height of the dunk, you want to reach your peak. That’s where you want to get the ball where it needs to be. Sometimes I don’t reach my peak. I dunk and then I seem to go a little higher then I fall down. It has happened before. I’m just trying to put the ball in a certain area.» – Gerald Green

By now, you may think:

So what? It’s great for him that he can jump that high,

but how can I increase my vertical?

Well, besides the excellent, but common exercises like jump rope, calf raises and squats, there are some very effective exercises only few people know about:

Thrust ups:

Starting position: Stand with your feet shoulder width apart, and close your knees. Then jump up only using your calves, only bending at the ankles. When your land, go jump again as high as possible.

Burnouts:

Starting position: feet shoulder width apart, knees closed. Now go up on your toes und jump up only using your toes.

Laundry Jumps:

Take an object – a bag or something like that – and try to jump laterally over it. It can be between 10 and 20 inches high. Try to jump as high and far as you can back and forth over object.

Power Skip

Jump and try to bring your left leg up to your chest. Then do the same with the other leg.

For more exercises and crucial things to know about vertical jump (f.e. why often what you «don’t» do is more important then what you «do» do) please take a look at this page I strongly recommend:

http://www.howtodunk.org

p.s.

Did you know that Green plays with only four and a half fingers on his shooting hand? He ripped his ring finger on a nail when he was about eight and doctors were forced to amputate down to the knuckle.

p.p.s.

In case you haven’t heard yet – the 22-year old Gerald Green was released by the Houston Rockets…

For more infos, take a look at this page:

http://celticsgreen.blogspot.com/2008/03/gerald-green-released-by-rockets.html

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Four Different Baltimore Pro Football Teams Have Won Championships

Winning the championship is the primary goal of any football team, or any sports team at all really. There is only one reason to go out and play and that is to win the championship. A championship season is not only rewarding to the players that duke it out on the field, but also to the fans that root them on. Cities and regions should be very proud of their championship winning teams.

Baltimore is a great football town and professional football has been present there in one form or another for more than 60 years. Many people don’t know this, but four different professional football teams have won championships while representing the city of Baltimore.

The Baltimore Ravens – 2000

The last Baltimore team to win a league title in pro football was the team that currently represents the city in the NFL, the Baltimore Ravens. The Ravens began as a franchise in 1996, having been active as the Cleveland Browns the previous year. They had a few tough years, but in 2000 everything came together behind a strong running game and an out of this world defense. They ended up defeating the New York Giants 34-7 in Super Bowl XXXV.

The Baltimore Colts – 1958, 1959, and 1970

The Baltimore Colts won championships three times. In 1958, they defeated the New York Giants for the NFL title in what many would refer to as the greatest game ever played. After trailing most of the 1959 title game, the Colts would eventually score 24 unanswered points and defeat the Giants in a rematch of the previous year’s championship game by the score of 31-16. The Colts won their third league title in 1970 when they beat the Oakland Raiders in Super Bowl V by the score of 27-17. Technically, the Colts have a fourth title as they were champions of the NFL in 1968, but went on to lose Super Bowl III to the New York Jets of the American Football League before the two leagues merged.

The Baltimore Stars – 1985

The Stars franchise had played the first two seasons of their time in the USFL in the city of Philadelphia. The team was moved to Baltimore for 1985 and though they weren’t as successful as they had been in the past, they were able to make it into the playoffs. The magic was still there though and they marched through the post season and would win the last championship game in USFL history by defeating the Oakland Invaders.

The Baltimore Stallions – 1995

The Canadian Football League expanded into the United States in the mid 1990’s, and one of the cities that got a team was Baltimore. In 1995, their second season, the Baltimore Stallions not only won their division, but they became the first team based in America to win the Grey Cup as champions of the Canadian Football League. The team was gone the next year as they were moved to Montreal and renamed the Allouettes.

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