Here, There and Everywhere

Posts tagged ‘soccer’

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?

futbol2014-Header-copy-4

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

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ROP Eagles of Rwanda

From ROP Stories

ROP has a Day Out for a Football Match
Posted on September 1, 2011 by Sean

On Sunday the ROP Eagles played a match against children from OVC Rwanda (another orphanage across town). The event was meant to be an all day tournament featuring the ROP Eagles, OVC Rwanda, another local center and a team composed of mixed players, including myself, but at the last minute one of the teams cancelled so we decided just to have a friendly match against OVC. The event was organized by Veronica, an American working in Rwanda who wants to organize fund raising events that multiple centers like ours can participate in.

The day of the match Coach Alex prepped the players at the ROP Center while Jean de Dieu, the Center supervisor, loaded up all the non-players on a bus to bring out to the football field near the airport. Jenny, myself and some of our friends were already on the pitch when the bus arrived, and soon the bus door burst open and dozens of our small boys started flooding out. All them were very excited to not only have a day out of the Center but to have the opportunity to support their older brothers from the sidelines. (excited fans below)

Shortly after the Eagles bus arrived OVC Rwanda pulled up in their own bus. The two teams changed into their uniforms and began their warm-up routines as the other children mingled with each other and with the various guests who were there to watch including Jenny, myself, my cousin Chris and his wife Sherri, Jonathan – our new social worker volunteer – and Veronica, the organizer. Also in attendance were Mary and Patrick, two Americans who had just came to Rwanda from Uganda and wanted to see the boys play football. Since Patrick was a neutral party we talked him into being the referee for the match. But first we had to improvise by making yellow and red cards for him to use. We just colored two pieces of paper with markers. (The ROP Eagles below)

At 2:30 sharp Patrick blew the whistle and the competition had begun. OVC Rwanda struck first in the 5th minute with a shot that was just out of the short Eagle keeper’s reach. The Eagles looked a little overwhelmed playing on this new, large field and it showed in their lack of good passing and confusion on defense. They pulled together and in the 20th minute scored an equalizer from a nifty counter attack, bringing loud cheers and shouting from the ROP supporters on the sideline. Their spirits were soon dampened, however, when OVC scored two more goals in the last ten minutes of the first half. The referee blew his whistle and the half ended with OVC Rwanda ahead of ROP Eagles 3-1.

Read the rest of the story, see more photos and find out the exciting conclusion of the game at ROP Stories. ROP Stories is the blog for the Rwandan Orphan’s Project.

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.

Crazy Women’s World Cup Quarterfinals!

What crazy, exciting games today and yesterday in the quarterfinals of the women’s world cup! Three of the four games went into overtime and two ended up in penalty kicks.

Japan was amazing in their game against 2 time world champion (and hometown favorite) Germany. Their defense, passing and cohesion was awesome. The goal by their young 18-year-old 5 foot sub Maruyama in overtime was incredible and gave them the much deserved win and advance to the semi-finals for the first time in their history.

http://youtu.be/_Xeb3yD9eZc

Then there was the England and French match, which seemed to go on and on, even though France looked the much better team. When it came down to the penalty kicks however, the Brits fell just short.

To top it off was the U.S. vs. Brazil game today. On average, I’d have said the Brazil team is, in their present form, better than the U.S. and wouldn’t have been surprised to see the U.S. lose. Instead, the U.S. scored in the first few minutes and later had one of their players sent off with a red card for a tackle in the box on Marta. It seemed like a fair call to me, but on the insuing penalty kick, which Hope Solo saved, Brazil was given a second try because of an unbelievable call by the Assistant Referee which said she came off her line. In fact, it is clear she made a totally legal and fantastic save of the ball and the game should have stayed 1-0 for the U.S. On the second try, Marta put it in the back of the net and the score was 1-1.

Then they went into a 30 minute overtime period and Marta scored within the first few minutes, giving Brazil the lead at 2-1. The U.S. was playing a woman down all this time, because of the red card during regular time. So, with only 10 players, compared to Brazil’s 11, the US hung in their until Amy Wambach got on the end of a header just minutes before the end of the extended time, and scored. That took them to penalty kicks.

It was during the penalty kicks that my hero Hope Solo made another save and the U.S. won the game!

Talk about being on the edge of your seat! Regardless of what happens next, I don’t see how the semi-finals on Wednesday or the final can be any more exciting than this weekend, but I’ll definitely be watching.

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.

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