Here, There and Everywhere

Posts tagged ‘Futbol’

Faith In Football

41KtvjU6HDL._SY346_Great Expectations: Chile’s 99-Year quest for the South American Soccer Championship by Thomas Jerome Baker. Reviewed by Gabriel Constans.

Be for-warned that I love futbol (soccer), so am pre-disposed to like almost anything about the subject. Having stated that fact, it is still a nice surprise to read something about the sport that I did not know. I knew very little about the history of Chilean futbol, until now. Great Expectations provides a brief glimpse into the impacts soccer has had on the country, and people, since the ANFF (Football Federation of Chile) was founded in 1895. It is a heart-breaking history.

In 1920, Chile loses out on winning the South American Championship by falling to Uruguay by one goal. In 1945 they lose by one goal to Brazil, in the same tournament. Nineteen-fifty-two comes around, with the Pan American Games, and they lose to Brazil by three goals. Three years later, it is Argentina who knocks them off the winners podium by defeating them 1-0. In 1956 Chile comes in second in the South American Championship. It takes Chile 40 years before they ever beat Brazil.

Mr. Baker adeptly points out some of the psychological, and organizational reasons, that have kept the people and players going through so many defeats, including descriptions of the terms “jinx, “hex”, “charm”, and “curse”. He says, “Chile has a 100-year history of snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.” This lasts until the glorious year of the 2015 South American Championships, when Chile beats Argentina in the final and wins it all for the first time ever! Alexis Sanchez kicks a penalty kick past the goal keeper and “Seventeen million Chileans celebrate across the globe”.

Great Expectations gives us one of the best descriptions of what futbol (soccer) means to many around the world, not just Chileans, that I’ve ever read. “In this new religion, a football stadium is a place where individual and national identity is built and rebuilt, imagined and re-imagined.” Chile has seen themselves for many years through the eyes of their national team. In the past, that message was always that they just weren’t “quite good enough”. They stuck by them however, generation after generation. As Pope Francis II said, “Amongst all unimportant subjects, football is by far the most important.”

What I Learned From Futbol

Watching the fútbol festivities over the past month has taught me much and more about the power of sport – its ability to unite nations toward a common cause, create hope for the future, and celebrate the victories of others as one’s own.

What if these same responses – unity, hope for the future, and celebration of success – also happened each and every time a poor entrepreneur pulled herself out of poverty?

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In Honduras – a player in this summer’s games – FINCA reaches nearly 20,000 individuals, and we consider each success akin to a game-winning goal. For Ana Osorio, that goal was receiving a FINCA loan for her cheese business, allowing her to buy greater quantities of milk at better prices. Initially clearing just US$2 in profit per day, Ana has nearly quadrupled her earnings, allowing her to better provide for herself and her family.

Join FINCA as we celebrate the success of Ana and the over one million other microentrepreneurs in 22 countries who have benefitted from FINCA loans – and show your support today.

Thank you for your generosity.

Sincerely,

Soledad Gompf
Vice President
FINCA

Greatest Game on Earth

The English Premier League (EPL) started again last weekend and I must admit that it always hooks me. The MLS (Major League Soccer) is good (with my favorite team being the Seattle Sounders) and the WPS (Women’s Professional Soccer), but I always watch the EPL more than any other.

My favorite club team in the world is Barcelona, but most of their games are not televised in this area. National teams to which I’m drawn are the US (both the men and women), Ghana, Ireland, Mexico, Japan (men and women), Spain and Turkey.

Most fans claim that you have to have only 1 favorite team and stick with them through thick and thin to be considered a real fan. I beg to differ. I’m an avid fan of many. In the EPL, my favorite teams are Liverpool, Everton, Wigan and the Wolves. Two of those teams are from the same town and huge rivals (Liverpool and Everton). I enjoy watching Manchester United play, but always want them to lose.

If you’re a futbol fan, there is always a league, country and/or tournament to watch throughout the year, but right now, it is the EPL that will get most of my attention.

Barcelona Best In The World!

When it comes to futbol (soccer), there is only one team that comes to mind as the best in the world (at this time) and that is Barcelona FC. That’s only if you have a need to compare and all futbol fans must of course do so. Some are already claiming that is one of the best of all time and they may be right.

Here are 10 (of countless) reasons that Barcelona FC is presently the best team in the world.

1) The Players (every position)
2) The Coach
3) The Fans
4) The Back-Up Players
5) The Timing
6) The Style of Play
7) The Teams Love of the Game
8) The Culture & History of the Club
9) The Finances
10) The Players (every position)

Japan Win World Cup!

Who would have thought? Of all the teams in this year’s Women World Cup, Japan is not the country I would have picked to win it all, let alone knock off powerhouse Germany and No. 1 ranked U.S. They sure did it though and they did it with style, cohesion and determination. A new found defense and superb goalkeeping were key.

Before the World Cup begin, I would have picked Brazil or Germany to win it all. The United States didn’t look as solid as they have in the past and barely made into the tournament in the first place. The fact that they got to the final was somewhat of a surprise and once they were there, I hoped they’d win it all, but if they had to lose, losing to Japan was a sweet consolation.

Before every match they played, the Japanese team would unfurl a banner thanking everyone around the world for the support they had received and it seemed that they were playing not just a game, but for a countries sense of hope. Similarly (though not really an accurate comparison in the least), the Japanese women beat all the odds to hoist the cup, as the Japanese people are surviving despite being hit with 2 natural disasters (and one human made) all at once.

Another touching part of the story is that Japan’s captain Homare Sawa (who was playing in her 5th World Cup!) scored the most goals in the tournament and brought her team back again and again.

The tournament overall was outstanding and couldn’t have been more exciting. Three of the four quarterfinal matches went into overtime and two of those to penalty kicks (as did the final). The stands were filled and Germany completely embraced the Women’s World Cup, even after their team took a shocking defeat at the hands of the excellent passing, possession and opportunistic Japanese.

Thank you Germany for hosting such a great Women’s World Cup; all the teams for giving it their all; and to Japan for showing us once again that nothing is impossible.

Help Deliver Soccer Supplies to Youth Around the World.

If you are traveling out of the country this summer (live in the Santa Cruz County area) and are willing to take a suitcase or two of donated soccer supplies (uniforms, balls, jersey’s, cleats, shorts, shin guards, shirts, socks, ball pump, etc.), please give us a call. 429-9511. Gabriel or Audrey.

Young people at orphanages, youth centers, schools and other non-profit organizations have little, if any, such items and LOVE soccer (futbol). People from all over the county donate their children’s used uniforms to us and we hand deliver them to various places. We’ve delivered supplies to 3 different groups in Rwanda, a center for street children in Guatemala, a school in Mexico and a school in Kenya.

Right now, we have a lot ready to go, but aren’t personally traveling anywhere this summer. We’ll bring suitcases full of uniforms to your home, if you can take them on a trip, deliver them to a youth center and take a picture when you deliver the items.

Thank you for taking the time to consider supporting this. It’s a small, easy way of giving back from the game we love to others around the world. Call Gabriel or Audrey at 429-9511.

FC Barcelona – Fantastic !!!

Futbol Club Barcelona (FC Barcelona) did it again! They won the Champion’s league for the second time in 3 years! In one of the most difficult and highly respected tournaments of club futbol anywhere in the world, the best team in the world, pulled it off once more.

Not only did they FC Barcelona win the Champion’s League final, but they also won La Liga (Spanish League).

About half of FC Barcelona’s staring 11 were on the 2010 world cup winning Spanish national team. They have played together for many years now. Add the likes of one of the greatest players in history (Leonel Messi), Brazilian Pedro and Malian Keita and you have what many would call a dream team. Lionel Messi runs with the ball, as if it is stuck to his feet and changes direction and moves so fast, that he either dribbles through entire teams or gets fouled. Once he sees goal, he rarely misses. He scored over 50 goals this season alone!

Xavi Hernandez, who is the oldest player on the team (at 31) is the best midfielder presently playing anywhere. He completed over 91% of his passes during the championship game against Manchester United! FC Barcelona possessed the ball for over 70% of the game, giving few chances for their opponents to do anything.

You could write all day and night about the amazing attributes of this young FC Barcelona team, but one of my favorites is the fact that they do just that, they play as a team. They appreciate and acknowledge every players role and contributions and pass and control the ball as if they were simply tying their shoes or having lunch. Even though they have lots of stars, there is very little individual ego. They are indeed proud, but proud of themselves as a team. And they should be. They are and will be known as, one of the best teams to ever play the game.

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