Leicester City Football Club has won the UK's Premier League title, an event which bookies were giving 5,000 to 1 odds against at the beginning of the season. As a result, bookmakers will be paying out £25 million, the biggest loss in British history on a single sporting market, with some people winning £10,000 on £2 bets. Striker Jamie Vardy broke a league record for goals scored in consecutive games. The team's new manager, Claudio Ranieri, was initially viewed as an uninspired choice; in another betting market statistic, he was initially considered the most likely manager to be the first to lose his job this season. Ironically, the game that sealed Leicester City's victory was a drawn match between Tottenham City and Chelsea, a team that fired Ranieri in 2004.
Dan Marshall (@danthat) knows nothing about football. Is that going to stop him from making a football game? It is not! [more inside]
RoboCup is a robotics competition featuring autonomous humanoid soccer-playing robots. The action may be a bit clunky at times, but there are some surprising moments. The project's goal is ambitious and maybe a bit threatening for fleshy carbon-based soccer players:
By the middle of the 21st century, a team of fully autonomous humanoid robot soccer players shall win a soccer game, complying with the official rules of FIFA, against the winner of the most recent World Cup.
The fall: how diving became football’s worst crime
“The numbers speak for themselves,” Solo said. “We are the best in the world, have three World Cup championships, four Olympic championships and the USMNT get paid more to just show up than we get paid to win major championships.” Five members of the World Cup-winning USWNT have filed a wage discrimination complaint against US Soccer for being paid less than then men's team "despite the women’s team being more successful and, at the moment, more profitable."
One of the only football (soccer) players to have invented a move that is known by his name: The stunning Cruyff Turn. "The move became instantly world famous, seared indelibly on the brain, stored forever and available for replay on your mind’s eye-player." In slow motion.
ESPN estimates nearly a third of young Americans play soccer, so why can’t a sports powerhouse of 320m people produce a Messi – or even a João Moutinho?
As the US searched for a new league after the 1994 World Cup, a rival to MLS emerged – complete with four goalmouths and striped pitches. [slGuardian]
Premier League leader Leicester City entered the season as a 5,000-1 underdog -- the same chance as a bet on Elvis being alive -- which is why the English soccer team could become the undisputed champion of beating the odds. [more inside]
Anfield Road prices to stay frozen for two years. After many protests [nsfw:language] over a price increase from £59 to £77 - that included an unprecedented 10000 fan walk-out against Sunderland at the 77th minute (result 2-0, final score 2-2), Liverpool FC owners Fenway Sports Group stepped back and apologized from the original pricing plan. [more inside]
“the eleven most boring conversations i can’t stop overhearing” (in which a liberal white male american san francisco bay area resident possessive of the auditory acuity of a baby chihuahua learns to scream).
"Jose Mourinho - the manager, his methods and why it always goes wrong in the third season." The Blizzard with a 12,000 word essay on The Special One. Part One. Part Two. Also a long read from a few years ago about Jose, Real Madrid, and the Spanish National team: The Assassination Of Iker Casillas By The Coward José Mourinho
A FIFA-charterd independent ethic committee has suspended FIFA President Sepp Blatter from all football-related activities for eight years. The decision takes effect immediately. [more inside]
BBC: "Former Match of the Day presenter Jimmy Hill, one of English football's most influential figures, died on Saturday at the age of 87. As chairman of the Professional Footballers' Association, he led the campaign for the scrapping of maximum wages for professional footballers. He played 297 games for Fulham and was later manager and chairman at Coventry. Hill - diagnosed with Alzheimer's in 2008 - made more than 600 appearances as presenter of Match of the Day." Guardian Report - Guardian Obituary.
In honor of Thanksgiving, Sports Illustrated presents their 2015 Turkeys of the Year slideshow.
Less than half of FIFA’s national federations have girls soccer programs. Those that do exist give a girl less access to facilities, less support, and poorer development pathways than her brother. She will play in competitions with less investment, minimal promotion, and consequently fewer fans than the all-important male versions. Media coverage will amplify this skew, battling age-old preconceptions and making her all but invisible in the mainstream. Administrators preoccupied with the men’s game will struggle to meet her needs. (SLNYT)
The Stade de France–A History in Fragments
Or did he, and the other players, make the same decision that many are now saying we should: that in the face of horror the only thing to do is to keep playing, moving, living? Watching it now – knowing all that we do about what happened Friday night in Paris – we can perhaps count it as one of the most surreal things to ever take place in this storied stadium, a place built nearly two decades ago specifically to house history.
certain football clubs have become symbols of football hipsterdom and many of them seem to have a lot in common: an almost blanket lack of on-field success, a history of anti-establishmentarianism, the status of plucky underdog, a nice away shirtThe Grauniad's regular football column, Joy of Six, presents hipsters' favourite football clubs.
Get an in-depth look at what it takes to be a referee in MLS. (Warning: Auto playing video) Related: Behind the Scenes: See how PRO monitors its refs on matchday
Meet Bastian, a German WWII soldier collectible doll. Also meet Bastian Schweinsteiger, the 31-year old Der Mannschaft current captain and Manchester United star, who is certainly not amused by the similarities.
A year ago, someone took a well-composed photo of a fight in Ukranian Parliament. This prompted the creation of a small subreddit that finds photos (many soccer-related), that look like they're from the Renaissance - r/AccidentalRenaissance. Here are a few post samples: Pence & Morse * Ukraine * The Orchestration of Heisenberg * Maldini * The Accused, Etc.
Football in the Phillipines has been largely an unsuccessful project. But is it Azkals' (street dogs) time to shine? Maybe, but it's a long way to the top if you want to kick and rush.
BBC: Swiss prosecutors have opened a criminal investigation against Sepp Blatter, the head of football's world governing body Fifa. Telegraph: Criminal proceedings have been opened against him by the Swiss attorney general on two issues: a TV rights deal that FIFA signed with Jack Warner's Caribbean Football Union and an alleged "disloyal payment" of two million Swiss francs made in 2011 to UEFA president Michel Platini. Guardian: Office of the Fifa president has been searched and data seized. LA Times: The new investigation targeting Blatter involves “suspicion of criminal mismanagement as well as -- alternatively -- on suspicion of misappropriation,” according to Swiss Atty. Gen. Michael Lauber.
Here is video of an unusual moment in David Beckham's varied career: the time he was called upon to defeat Mister Woe and the monsters of the Fourth Division. It's GO! GO! BECKHAM! Here's when he fought a giant bird with his soccer powers. Here is the beginning of his adventure on Soccer Island, and here's a complete speedrun.
Have you ever been cornered and asked, “So, what do you do?” Or maybe, “What’s your major?” Sometimes, it can be tough be explain. Everyone thinks they know what a pro athlete does. But do we really know? We asked MLS All-Star Chris Wondolowski of the San Jose Earthquakes to explain his job without any cliches. What You Don’t Know About: Being a Striker
In the new New Orleans, an international soccer hero hides in plain sight. There are many Tony Laings in New Orleans. You can find them on weekends in City Park, playing in the Spanish-speaking leagues that have boomed since Katrina; professional stars who once played before big crowds back home. Now they work construction jobs in America’s south, speaking a language the rest of the city doesn’t understand, living in the open, but hidden all the same. [more inside]
The greatest game of women's soccer ever played. An oral history from the Globe and Mail of the US-Canada Women's Soccer match, played 3 years ago today at the London 2012 Olympics.
If you're a long time user of Steam, you might assume that the current top selling game would be a AAA blockbuster, or maybe a half-finished multiplayer survival game. But for the past few weeks, the gaming world has been completely gripped by a game about cars playing soccer. [more inside]
"[W]hat moves me [about women's soccer] is not a beautiful pass, or a bad refereeing call, or even the players’ backstories. What moves me is the players’ faces, and watching women want. ... And we need to see this, because when you’re in the act of wanting something badly enough, there isn’t room for self-consciousness. How you look, your stance, your hair, your makeup, whether you appear pretty, your sex appeal: all of these things that coalesce in my brain, and maybe yours, to form a hum so low and so constant that I take it as a state of being—and when you want, they disappear. When you want, the want goes to the fore. The you can take a backseat."
The Grass Ceiling: How to Conquer Inequality in Women's Soccer [Atlantic link] An attorney who helped players file a gender-discrimination lawsuit over artificial turf in the World Cup proposes a way forward for the sport. [more inside]
16 teams remain in the FIFA 2015 Women's World Cup as we enter the knockout stages. Let's review the 16 survivors, how they got there, and how far they might go. [more inside]
United Passions started out as a FIFA vanity project telling the story of the men who helped found the organization. Then one month before the film's release in theaters, Fourteen FIFA officials were arrested on corruption charges (previously) and president Sepp Blatter announced he would step down from his post. Now, in the wake of incredibly dismal box office and rock bottom ratings on both Rotten Tomatoes and Metacritic, Both director Frederic Auburtin and star Tim Roth (who portrays Blatter in the film) have publicly come out against the film and apologized for their involvement.
What did he do in Mark Lawrenson's kitbag ? Ian McIntosh of the Guardian's on-hiatus "Football Weekly" tells the evocative tale of proto-70's legend Robin Friday, soccer's first rock star. (SLGrauniad audio - NFSW)
The oldest and one of most prestigious international football competitions, the Copa America, begins Thursday as hosts Chile play Ecuador. [more inside]
While FIFA may be in a bit of a getting caught with their hands in the cookie factory, as we're discussing over here the game goes on, as the highest level of international competition has begun in the Women's Game, the FIFA 2015 Women's World Cup. [more inside]
Luzira was once the most notorious prison in Uganda. Now it’s home to what is surely the world’s most elaborate prison football league. "Upper Prison has kept itself busy with extraordinary ingenuity. The prisoners have created their own drama, they dance, and they play music on homemade instruments. There is prayer and counselling in the church and mosque. But more popular than anything else is football. Within the prison there are 10 football clubs, some of them almost two decades old, each with their own players, boards and constitutions. Alongside Moses’s old team Aston Villa, there is Liverpool and Manchester United, Everton and Chelsea, Arsenal and Newcastle United."
FIFA officials, in Zurich for their annual meeting, were arrested this morning by Swiss authorities. They will be extradited to the United States to face charges of wire fraud, racketeering, and money laundering.
Steven Gerrard played his last game in the English Premier League and in a Liverpool shirt today. Things went...badly. But this farewall tour hasn't been all he'd hoped for in any fashion. (Last link has a lot of profanity.)
Today's Orioles and White Sox game at Camden Yards in Baltimore will be the first game in MLB history played in an empty stadium. However, the phenomenon is more common in football (soccer) because of reasons ranging from punishment for racist fans to fears of contagious diseases. The crew at 538.com suggest that the Orioles might lose the home-field advantage from umpiring calls that teams playing in front of a friendly crowd typically enjoy. If you want to view the surreal scene yourself, the game is MLB.com's free game of the day.
Corley Miller of Eight by Eight magazine writes a wonderful piece about Arsene Wenger.
The unveiling of a new sporting venue is, in and of itself, not terribly out of the ordinary. In fact, there have been numerous new stadium projects proposed for Rome over the years, though none have made it past the mock-up stage. There is a sense on this day, however, that something is different. It is because of the two suited figures sitting at the center of the room, businessmen known throughout Rome simply as gli Americani — the Americans.
Eduardo Galeano, Uruguayan chronicler of Latin American history, politics, and football, has died at the age of 74 today in his hometown, Montevideo. [more inside]
Russia and Qatar World Cups are 'insane' due to homophobia, says Robbie Rogers. Soccer/Football's first openly gay player, RR has things on his mind. Will Klinsmann come around? On Mefi Previously.
Recently released into the public domain - the oldest known football footage in existence. The 45 second film is of a First Division match between Blackburn Rovers and West Bromwich Albion at Ewood Park, which took place on the 24th September 1898. [more inside]
If you built a $7,000 pool table big enough to walk around on and replaced the balls with soccer balls, you'd be playing Snookball. The sport was invented by two French entrepreneurs and there are 10 tables in that country so far. "We know this game will be popular when beer is involved," one told Sport Bible.