Archive for March, 2015

USA U-17 team one win away from the World Cup

The USA U-17 team is one win away from qualifying for the U-17 World Cup as they currently lead Group A for the automatic berth to Chile later this year. The U-17 USMNT has beaten Guatemala, Cuba, and Trinidad & Tobago, and drew with Honduras to set up a final group stage match with Jamaica, who is currently third in the group. The US has also clinched a spot in the 2nd place Group A vs 3rd place Group B for a spot in the World Cup in case they do not win the group, and it looks like they would face either Panama or Costa Rica in that game if the US does not win the group. Beating Jamaica and qualifying automatically is the goal without a doubt though. The team was unfortunate to give up a late equalizer against Honduras otherwise they would have already clinched a spot.

Overall, the Young Yanks have been quite impressive, outscoring opponents 13-3 so far. Their attack is fluid and creates tons of chances, with great performances from Christian Pulisic, Luca De La Torre, Josh Perez, and Joe Gallardo in particular. All of these players have been dangerous and have both created and finished chances, with Josh Perez really being the danger man over the last few matches.

I have been most impressed overall with both of the outside backs and the Young Yanks’ keeper. Both John Nelson and Matthew Olosunde have looked really good at left and right back respectively, in terms of their one-on-one defending, their organization, their positioning, and their confidence on the ball going forward. Nelson in particular has been willing to take guys on, beat them, and then make the right pass regularly. William Pulisic has been huge in net, coming up with multiple big saves against both Honduras and Trinidad & Tobago. The defense as a whole has been quite solid, with only a couple mistakes. Kickoff today between the US and Jamaica is at 4 PM PST, on Fox Sports 2. Here what coach Richie Williams and both Pulisics have to say about the final group game below.

U-17 World Cup qualification is within reach for this team, and look for them to attack early and often against Jamaica in their quest to lock up a World Cup spot in Chile in fall 2015.

Help Charity Ball change lives and win signed Michael Bradley USMNT gear

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A ball can change everything

 

Ever notice when you are playing soccer or just messing around with a soccer ball that everything else fades away? It’s just you and the ball, and anything is possible. Winning the Champions League with a perfectly taken free kick? Done. Combining with Messi for another highlight reel goal? Easy. Escaping your problems for even a fleeting few minutes? No doubt. Charity Ball is trying to give kids all over the world the ability to do the same thing by providing new, quality soccer balls to kids in poverty-stricken communities worldwide. Over 5,000 kids in 25 countries have received a ball, with 2,000 of them delivered in 2014 and they are trying to go even bigger this year. Their goal is 10,000 balls delivered to kids this year, and they need help. First, a bit of back story. Charity Ball was founded by Ethan King in 2010, who was 10 at the time. His visit to Mozambique opened his eyes to poverty around the world and motivated him to try and change the world, one ball at a time.

Here’s the background on what inspired Ethan to start Charity Ball and how Charity Ball got to where they are today.

 

Check out Charity Ball’s goals for 2015, and below that see how you can help and win signed game-worn Michael Bradley USMNT gear.

 

Donating is the best way to help. For only $25, you can provide a kid the chance to dream with the ball at his/her feet. The chance to be the next Messi, Ronaldo, or Bedoya. Even better, donating gives you a shot at some incredible signed US gear from Michael Bradley. Jesse Bignami, the USMNT kit man worked with Michael and Ethan to give you a shot at some amazing gear. Here’s what you need to do: First, head to Charity Ball’s website to make a donation by clicking on this link. For every $25 you donate, you will get one entry into the raffle for the signed gear, and for each entry, one lucky kid in need will receive a new soccer ball. Everybody wins here! Please take a minute and donate to this awesome charity and help spread the word. We cannot raise enough awareness for this! Once you have donated, please send a screen shot of your donation confirmation to the following email address, jessebignami@gmail.com and you will be entered into the raffle. Michael and Jesse will choose a winner on March 8th. Pretty simple. Get donating, even though it hurts my chances of winning. Giving kids a brand new ball and hope is more important then my raffle odds, that is for damn sure.

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Give Charity Ball a follow on Twitter to see more of the awesome results from your donation, and check out Jesse Bignami while you are at it too. Remember, this contest closes this week, so donate today.