Weekly Soccer Column: Bad boys Neymar, Clint Dempsey and Arturo Vidal bid to upstage Hope Solo in worst way

NemarcopaWho Me: Neymar protests his innocence at this year’s Copa America (Associated Press Photo).

Like it or not, athletes are role models. It’s why they get the big bucks on the field and often big bucks off it, as sponsors seek famous pitchmen to hawk their products.

But when sports stars go off the rails — the substance abuse issues of George Best and Paul Gascoigne come to mind — the results can be tragic if no one is willing to tell prodigiously talented stars with egos to match to straighten up fast for the good of their careers and lives.

This week one notable sports site suggested that the recent actions of Neymar, for example, at Copa America were merely about boys being boys.

That’s a dumb, small-minded attitude that portends trouble ahead.

Accountability has sadly been missing of late in the corrupt world of soccer off and on the field.

For more, read this week’s 100 Percent Soccer column.

Updated

By coincidence, U.S. Soccer issued a ruling on the Dempsey red card this morning:

The U.S. Open Cup Adjudication and Discipline Panel has suspended Seattle Sounders FC forward Clint Dempsey a total of six U.S. Open Cup matches or the next two years of U.S. Open Cup competition, whichever is greater. The suspension is due to his actions during the U.S. Open Cup match between Seattle Sounders FC and Portland Timbers on June 16, 2015.

In addition, Dempsey has been fined an undisclosed amount.

The panel convened Tuesday, June 23, 2015 to review the evidence gathered in regards to the incident. Mr. Dempsey waived his right to an appeal.

Due to the suspension, Dempsey cannot play in any U.S. Open Cup matches in 2016 or 2017, and possibly longer depending on the number of tournament games in which Dempsey’s team participates in those years.

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Video: Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel tonight on HBO explores the perils of heading the ball and concussion in youth soccer

headingHeading to a concussion? Real Sports correspondent Mary Carillo spotlights the increasing concern among parents, coaches and players about the health dangers of heading the ball in youth soccer (Photo courtesy HBO).

Former USWNT star Cindy Parlow-Cone, once considered one of the best headers of the ball in the women’s game, talks about memory issues and other health problems she attributes to repeatedly heading the ball in HBO’s “Real Sports.” The show airs at 10 o’clock tonight. Check out the clip below.

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Father’s Day Weekend TV Schedule: Copa America, FIFA Women’s World Cup and MLS

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The Galaxy face the Philadelphia Union at 7:30 p.m. Saturday on Time Warner Cable SportsNet

Mexico-Ecuador kicks off at 1 p.m. today on BeIn Sports, while Chile-Bolivia kicks off at 4 p.m. On Saturday the game of the day is Argentina-Jamaica at 2:30 p.m., while on Sunday Brazil-Venezuela is at 2 p.m. A complete schedule is here.

Fox Sports 1 Women’s FIFA World Cup schedule:

1 p.m. Saturday Germany v Sweden
4:30 p.m. Saturday China v Cameroon
10 a.m. Sunday Brazil v Australia
1:30 p.m. Sunday France v Korea Republic
4:30 p.m. Sunday Canada v Switzerland
2 p.m. Monday Norway v England
5 p.m. Monday USA v Colombia
7 p.m. Tuesday Japan v Netherlands

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USA-Nigeria is third most-watched women’s soccer game of all time, but viewership still dwarfed by NBA finals

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Tuesday’s USA-Nigeria FIFA Women’s World Cup game attracted five million viewers on Fox making it the third most-watched women’s game of all time, but those numbers were still dwarfed by the sixth and deciding game of the NBA finals, which drew 23.3 million viewers over on ABC.

Only the USA-China 1999 Women’s World Cup Final (17,975,000) and the Japan-USA 2011 Women’s World Cup Final (13,458,000) were watched by more people than the USA-Nigeria game, Fox said.

About 52 percent more viewers tuned in for the third USA group game compared to its tournament opener.

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Euro 2016 Qualifying Weekend TV Preview: Grieving LA Galaxy striker Robbie Keane a doubt for Ireland against Scotland live at 9 a.m. Saturday on Fox Sports 1

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LA Galaxy striker Robbie Keane will decide whether his mindset will allow him to play in Ireland’s crucial Euro 2016 qualifier Saturday against Ireland after the death of two cousins earlier this week in an industrial accident.

Here’s some other recommended Euro 2016 qualifiers available on television this weekend:

*11:30 a.m. Saturday Gibralter-Germany on Fox Sports 2
*4 p.m. Saturday Armenia-Portugal on ESPN Deportes

*9 a.m. Sunday Ukraine-Luxembourg on Fox Sports 2
*11:30 a.m. Sunday Belarus-Spain on Fox Sports 2

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Weekly Soccer Column: Copa America 2015 begins today, will American soccer fans notice?

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Most of the top players and all the teams have Facebook pages providing the latest updates like this one for Mexico.

Read the 100 Percent Soccer column here and learn the best and most inexpensive way to watch Copa America 2015.

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U.S. Women’s World Cup Opener sets ratings record for Fox Sports

WCFoxFox Sports announced today that Tuesday’s U.S.-Australia Women’s World Cup game has become the highest rated group game in tournament history on American television.

The 3.3 million viewers that watched the 3-1 U.S. win beat the previous record of 2.5 million for the 1999 U.S-Denmark contest. That means three times as many fans watched the game as they did the U.S. opener in the 2011 World Cup.

The game also earned the highest-ever rating for a soccer game on Fox Sports 1.

The rating in Los Angeles was the 10th highest in the nation with Baltimore No. 1.

Overall through the first eight games of the tournament, viewership has increased 76 percent over 2011 when the tournament was held in Germany, Fox Sports announced..

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Complete FIFA Women’s World Cup Fox Sports Game Schedule

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From the Fox Sports press release:

Combining games with anticipated pregame, postgame, bridge shows and complementary programming, FOX Sports is expected to provide almost 200 hours of coverage from FIFA Women’s World Cup 2015™ averaging between six and seven hours a day over the month-long tournament.

No broadcast network has ever televised 16 FIFA Women’s or Men’s World Cup matches in a single tournament, and the 2015 event marks the first time since 2003 that any FIFA Women’s World Cup™ matches are scheduled for over-the-air broadcast in the U.S. In addition to the 16 matches committed to FOX, five of which are in primetime and include one semifinal, the third place match on July 4 and the final on July 5, FOX Sports 1 carries 29 matches, including all eight in the round of 16, two quarterfinals and one semifinal. The remaining seven games are slated for FOX Sports 2.

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Five cool places to watch the UEFA Champions League Cup Final Saturday between Barcelona and Juventus in Los Angeles

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*Alpine Village near Torrance:

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*Guinness will host a watch part at Hennessey’s Tavern in Hermosa Beach on Pier Plaza. There will be International Champions Cup ticket giveaways, swag and specials on select Guinness drinks.

*Cock ‘n” bull Pub, Santa Monica.

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