MLS Insider :: Sacha Kljestan Comes Full Circle

Filed under: MLS News, Highlights, Videos, and Scores | Major League Soccer Highlights, Soccer News, Videos

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~~ If you’ve been a part of The Original Winger for awhile, you know that Sacha Kljestan is our boy…. From his first day of pre-season in MLS with Chivas USA, we knew this kid was special.  And he proved it.  From MLS to a European mover to Anderlecht and toughing it our through the ups and downs as he started his young family off the field, dude kept his head down and earned his chances over and over…… And keep in mind, when all the talk was about ‘American Players’ playing in Champions League, Sacha was front and center.

‘As a young player, Sacha Kljestan benefited from mentorship from his college coach, Manfred Schellscheidt and his teammate at Chivas USA, Jesse Marsch. Now all three have reunited with the New York Red Bulls, where Sacha looks to share what he’s learned while winning titles in Belgium and representing his country.’

Kljestan MLS

Added on April 24th, 2015 by

Nike Academy Black Pack

Filed under: Boots, Culture & Lifestyle, Nike

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The Nike Academy is an elite development program for talented young footballers. The players who reside at the Nike Academy not only have access to world-class facilities and coaching, they are among the very first to wear Nike’s latest innovative products. In some instances, Nike Academy players have even tested blacked-out versions of Nike’s groundbreaking boots before the boots and their colors were officially revealed to the world.

But all-black boots aren’t just for wear-testing, they’re for any player with the understated confidence to let his talent do the talking. Some youth academies mandate that players wear all-black boots, lest individuals attempt to stand out on colorways alone.

As a nod to academy players who never fail to make a statement in muted black, Nike is launching the Nike Academy Black Pack. Unlike wear-testing boots, this pack will feature black gradient changes that amplify the design features of each boot. There is also a subtle pop of color on the sole plate.

That is the official release info from Nike about this all black collection. My official release info on these is that they are fire. I am a longtime admirer of all black boots. And this lineup right here is putting out serious heat. My beloved Tiempos look great, but so do the Magistas, Mercurials and Hypervenoms. I legit would cop a pair of each of these just to have on display in the office. A four piece art collection of all black boots. Hell yea. And I would have a secondary pair to play in.

I don’t have a problem with all the crazy color ways that boots come in these days. In fact, I’m a pretty big fan of some of the louder and more inventive color ways (see the women’s color way that were dropped yesterday!!). But there is something about all black boots. Maybe they feel a little bit tougher. Maybe they are a bit more raw and less flashy. I don’t know. But I do know that I am drawn to all black boots like a cot damn moth to a flame.

The low cut version of these all black Mercurials look mad sleek. Like you could wear these with a tux or something. Kind of like the patent leather Jordan XI’s.

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If I had to choose one pair, it would be my beloved Tiempos… That little pop of color on the soleplate really sets these off. I heart these.

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The Nike Academy Black Pack will be available via the Nike Football App on April 24 and on Nike.com April 25.  Heading to the Nike Football app now…

Added on April 24th, 2015 by

Trailer :: “Black Mass” starring Johnny Depp as Whitey Bulger

Filed under: Culture & Lifestyle, Movies, Trailers

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The true story of Whitey Bulger, the brother of a state senator and the most infamous violent criminal in the history of South Boston, who became an FBI informant to take down a Mafia family invading his turf.

Donnie Brasco is one of my favorite movies of all times. What’s Eating Gilbert Grape is incredible. Blow is phenomenal. Benny and June is good. I think we tend to forget that Depp is an incredible actor after all of the Pirates fiascos. But, lowkey, he’s made like a half a bil in salary and participations over the course of the last decade doing box office movies, so I can’t hate. And you can’t hate when he’s on his Leo DiCaprio behavior. Plus, he’s a great f’ing actor. This right here makes up for the tomfoolery, if you have a problem with it.

In two minutes of trailer, its apparent that he knocks this one out of the park.

Have you seen the rest of the cast by the way… Kevin Bacon, Benedict Cumberbatch, Adam Scott, Peter Sarsgaard, Joel Edgerton, Jesse Plemons, Sienna Miller, Dakota Johnson and others. Good lord. Thats a murderers row. Pun intended.

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* By the way…. I’d never heard of this Whitey Bulger character until I was visiting Boston a few years back. And then, after a cabbie talked to us about it, and explained who he was, I thought he was just an urban legend type of thing.

Then, I started asking people about him and all my friends from Boston were like, “Oh, yeah…he’s real and he’s verrrry real.”

And then, he was captured living in Santa Monica and he looked like one of my friends granddads.

Really curious about this movie and the story that they tell, he was a really interesting dude. A criminal for sure, but a really interesting dude.

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Added on April 24th, 2015 by

Talkin’ Real

Filed under: Culture & Lifestyle, MLS News, Highlights, Videos, and Scores | Major League Soccer Highlights, Soccer News, Videos

~~ A solid night on Talkin’ Real starting off with the comments made yesterday by Sporting KC midfielder Benny Feilhaber who went on record calling Real Salt Lake ‘Snobby’…. Love it.  Wish more players spoke their mind like Benny.  We need way more ‘Villians’ in this league.

Then David James and I take a look back at RSL vs Whitecaps this past Saturday and the New England Revolution’s come from behind win on the road in Philadephia before previewing what to look for this weekend as the Revs play host to Kyle Beckerman & Co at Gillete Stadium on Saturday with #KMYU coverage beginning at 5pm MT.

Added on April 24th, 2015 by

UPDATE :: Sunderland’s Adam Johnson Arrested – ‘Suspicion Of Sex With Underage Girl’

Filed under: EPL News, Highlights, Videos, and Scores | English Premier League Highlights, Soccer News

UPDATE :: “Following an investigation by Durham police, I have today authorised police to charge Adam Johnson, aged 27, with four offences under the Sexual Offences Act 2003,” said Gerry Wareham, the chief crown prosecutor for the north-east, in a statement. “The offences are alleged to have been committed on one girl aged 15 at the time.”

And radio silence from Sunderland on their Twitter and Digital Media platforms…. After clearing him to play.

Let this sink in for a second.

~~  I’m going let you read that again…..

Nothing from Sunderland’s Twitter feed.  OR their official website.

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Added on April 23rd, 2015 by

Jordan Henderson Re-Ups w/ Liverpool – 5 Years & £100,000 A Week

Filed under: EPL News, Highlights, Videos, and Scores | English Premier League Highlights, Soccer News

~~ Shots. Fired.  Don’t think for a minute that the tweet above is aimed DIRECTLY for Raheem Sterling….. But is he good enough to become the Captain of this club?

via Liverpool

“There has been talk about it for a while now. It’s brilliant news for me to commit my future to this football club – I really feel that it’s a good time for us to look forward to the future, with the squad we’ve got, the manager, the size of the club and the fans we’ve got. I really think, over the next few years, we can challenge and start winning trophies.

“That’s the next phase; we’ve improved massively over the last few years, and I think the next phase for us is to start challenging for titles and trophies as well.”

Under the tutelage of Brendan Rodgers, the midfielder has established himself as a regular starter in the Reds first team and was installed as the club’s vice-captain in September last year.

The manager said: “Jordan is a brilliant professional and his dedication to his career and football in general makes him a role model to all young players.

“He has faced adversity in his time at Liverpool, but his improvement, growth and development is entirely down to his own hunger, commitment and willingness to learn and be better.

“The fact he has made such a long-term commitment to Liverpool is a sign of his belief in what we are looking to do here. He will have a crucial role to play as we look to take this side forward and look to add success to the progress we have made.

“I am very excited about our future and what this group can achieve together; today’s announcement is another important positive step forward.

“The owners are committed to creating a team that can grow, improve and ultimately win together. We have seen some very important contract renewals this season and I’m confident, under Ian Ayre’s stewardship, we will see further commitments made and more exciting talent secured and added to our squad.”

Added on April 23rd, 2015 by

Video :: Real Madrid Team Bus Receives Incredible Reception at the Santiago Bernabeu After Champions League Clash

Filed under: Champions League, Fans, Real Madrid

Raphael Varane posted some video on twitter after the team defeated Atletico in the latest derby / Champions League game.

That was the view and sound from inside the bus.

Annnnnnnd, this is what it looked like outside of the bus.

Whoa. That’s some serious support there for Real Madrid.

Added on April 23rd, 2015 by

Nike Unveils New USWNT Kit + More

Filed under: Alex Morgan, Boots, Culture & Lifestyle, Nike, Sydney Leroux, US Women, Women's World Cup

The run up to a World Cup inevitably means releasing new kits for participating countries and other ancillary goods that are rolled out in advance of the tournament. Yesterday, in a studio in Hollywood,  Nike brought out USWNT stars Alex Morgan, Sydney Leroux and Tobin Heath to help unveil the new USWNT home kit, boots and a plethora of other World Cup related goodies.

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Before jumping into the current hot topic of the latest home kit, let’s talk about a few other things that were announced yesterday. Starting with footwear. Here’s official verbiage from Nike:

For the first time, Nike also created a tournament pack of women’s footwear, that includes all four of Nike’s cleat types – Mercurial, Magista, Hypervenom and Tiempo – in a stunning color combination designed in concert with the USWNT home uniform. The cleats combine flashes of Volt yellow with a striking ‘Blue Lagoon’ color, a nod to the famous lakes of tournament host nation Canada.

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Here is what I find most interesting…

Soccer boots have always been made with a one size fits all type of approach. By that, I mean that the sizing is typically based on the sizing of men’s shoes. So female soccer players have been at the mercy of having to wear boots that are essentially made for the form and fit of male athletes. Imagine being a professional female soccer player and having to wear boots that are essentially designed for men. That just seems wrong. Well, Nike has gone and done what Nike often does, and that is innovate. For the first time, soccer boots are being released in sizes that are sized according to the foot shape of female athletes and their style of play.

This is an important moment for women’s soccer. It signifies a greater commitment to the women’s side of the game. This gives women the opportunity to wear boots that are specifically made for their form and for their style of play. Imagine the USWNT winning the World Cup with the majority of the players wearing women’s specific boots. That will be a major moment for women’s soccer. Trust me on that.

Big brands are often needed to help drive a sport forward, and Nike’s commitment to the women’s side of the sport will certainly help that. It’s the muscle and strength of a brand like Nike that is needed to help drive the conversation and move the sport forward. Plus they look really rad. The color way of these boots is striking and bold and looks incredible with the new kit. I would most definitely wear these. I might need to do some size calculating to figure out what I would wear in these boots…

The Mercurials might just be the best of the bunch…

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But I am historically a Tiempo guy, so these have me some kind of way too.

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And last but certainly not least. The Magista.

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Let’s stay on the topic of fit for a minute. The new US women’s jersey is first and foremost, tailored and cut to the specifics of female athletes. Just like they should be.  According to Nike:

The simple, classic aesthetic belies the uniform’s innovative features. Informed by 3-D body mapping, the 2015 USWNT home uniform features a new, fully-articulated women’s-specific fit to maximize natural movement, comfort and performance. The dual-knit cotton and recycled polyester fabric provides a softer feel. 

The part that moves the needle with the fit though, is that for the first time, the women’s specific jersey will be made available in a men’s fit. That’s never happened before. Men didn’t have an option to wear the US Women’s jersey before. Now, I get to wear the same jersey as the women. So when I’m supporting them this summer, I can sport what they are sporting. When I sat down with Tobin Heath yesterday I asked her about this. She told me what a massive thing this is for her and her teammates. That this jersey means that for the first time, her father and her brother will be able to wear the same jersey that she is wearing. That they can finally put her name and number on the jersey that she is wearing. Sydney Leroux said that her husband will actually be able to wear the same jersey that she is wearing. This clearly matters to the team and to the individual players. It matters to the sport. This actually changes the way in which we support the team. There is no longer a separation of the jerseys we wear when we support the USWNT. All for one. (You can use that as a hashtag or something if you need to).

I actually think that the jersey being made available in a men’s version and the boots being made specific to female soccer players are watershed moments. We might not fully realize the importance of them right now, but I think they are game changing in the long run. Let’s circle back around in about 5-10 years and see what these two moves from Nike have meant to women’s soccer.

Oh, you know what else is great about this? This summer, I will be wearing a US jersey that has two stars on it. My countries jersey has two stars on it. Two time World Cup champions. That’s dope as hell. And I will be wearing it with pride while supporting them in their quest to add a third star. ***

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Now, let’s talk about the jersey design. In the 24 hours since this jersey was unveiled, opinions have flooded in. The consistent narrative is that the jersey lacks any red and blue and therefore doesn’t speak to the identity of the USA. That it is underwhelming given the fact that it comes in a simple white jersey with black accents (I have a theory on that which you can read further in this story**). That the green socks don’t really make sense. All of that is true on some level. And I can understand this. After all, I recently wrote a story about the lack of identity within the home kits of the US National Team.

But I’m going to give what may be a contrarian view to what many people have been saying about the jersey. Where some people are seeing a lack of color with the white and black kit, I see a crisp and modern kit. The jersey may be lacking in red and blue trim (which is usually what is on the white home kit), but the black provides start contrast to the white. And in full disclosure, I am generally a fan of this combination. It’s always crisp and it never looks dated. Plus, I love an all black logo or crest. I realize that this is precisely where fans want to see red and blue, but an all black crest is kind of tough. You have to have some bravado to pull off a black crest. Some swag (I really don’t like that word) is needed. And the women’s team has that in spades.

Which leads me to my next point. I feel like this kit actually represents the spirit of the US Women’s Team pretty well. The kit may buck conventionality and what fans have come to expect of a US jersey. It pushes boundaries and changes expectations. It’s bold. And isn’t that indicative of the USWNT? We won the first ever Women’s World Cup. We were the first nation to win two Women’s World Cups. We’re fighting to be the first to win three. The USWNT has always pushed boundaries and expectations, and this kit shares in that.

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** I will say this about some of the photos I am seeing online. The promo photos that Nike shot for these jerseys with Alex, Abby and Sydney were done on a whit backdrop. I think these should have been shot on a vibrant green pitch. Because when the girls were showing these off and standing on grass, the green of the grass really helped complete the look. That’s personal opinion, but I think that would potentially have helped for all those who weren’t on hand to see these in person. An all white background with an almost white kit makes things too washed out.

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That pop of green from the pitch though…

Lastly, I’m going to bring up the lifestyle angle with this. We are about the lifestyle around here, and I think this jersey makes for a great lifestyle piece. I love jerseys. But there are certain ones that I can’t really wear unless I’m attending a game in person or watching one on TV. Certain jerseys are just way too sporty to wear any other time than when supporting your team. The Bomb Pop jersey was like that for me. Cool jersey. But I could only wear it when watching the US team play. This new white and black kit though? I can wear this as a lifestyle piece. And I will wear it as a lifestyle piece. And there is a good chance the first time that happens will be with these Air Max’s that share the same color palette as this kit. You will see me in the streets in this…

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And finally, the first official selfie of someone in the new USWNT kit.

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Added on April 23rd, 2015 by
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