World Cup fashion Statement of the Week: Zooop!

soccerclothesFirst, let me say I have no fashion sense.

And yet, I have the sense not to wear one of these billed as “the ultimate World Cup wardrobe for serious soccer fans.” Seriously?

Especially for $199 apiece.

If you feel differently about this” hooded, footless, unisex ZOOOP made of soft, lightweight cotton and featuring two front pouch pockets and two side zipped pockets” good for the fearless inside or outside the home (or so it’s claimed), click here.

And good luck.

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In Pictures: Soccer jerseys so bad they’re good and soccer jerseys that are just plain bad

We saw both ends of the spectrum in just one week:CARIBOUSThe slightly homoerotic 1970s-era NASL Colorado Caribou get up unearthed by the Colorado Rapids this week as an April fools joke (Photo courtesy of the Colorado Rapids).

On the same day, the U.S. unveiled their new away jerseys that would be worn for the first time Wednesday against Mexico:

Landon Donovan(Associated Press Photo)

Reviews were mixed:


Ah, well. At least we’ve got the stylish (ahem) new U.S. home jerseys, right?
USshirt

Watch: Preview David Beckham’s Super Bowl Spot

Former Galaxy midfielder David Beckham may be retired from the soccer field, but he’s still modeling what H&M refers to as “bodyware” in a new spot that will air Sunday during the Super Bowl.

Fans are being asked to vote on what version of the stunt-laden ad (and, yes, I’m told that no body doubles were used) will air. Voting began today here and ends at at midnight Saturday.

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Was the 42 Penalty Kick Heartbreaker Redondo Endured A Record?

Redondo’s Janel De Curtis glumly walks away after missing a game-tying 20th penalty against Great Oak of Temecula Tuesday (Photo by Staff Photographer Robert Casillas).

Hardly.

This occurred in Southern California just last year.

And here are plenty of similar pnealty kick-oriented eyebrow-raising, um, accomplishments.

Still, the South Bay game between Redondo and Great Oak must have been something to see.

And hang in there, Janel.

Someone had to miss.

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Weekend rewind: Who’s the rabbit & more

If you need to get caught up on soccer news after the Easter weekend, you’re in the right place:

*The Galaxy’s Landon Donovan was named MLS Player of the Week today after his brace in Saturday’s win over the Portland Timbers.

*The Galaxy reserves lost on Sunday, however, to the Timbers. (That’s academy products and subs Justin Dhillon replacing Frankie Hejduk and English-born defender Matt Tilley replacing Bryan Jordan in case you were wondering).

Via the Galaxy:

Rancho Santa Margarita resident Dhillon plays for the Galaxy’s U-16′s, where he’s scored seven times in 12 games, while Tilley, who recently joined the Academy program and now lives in Irvine, has scored once in his five games with the U-18′s.

*Chivas USA, meanwhile, saw the senior squad beat the San Jose Earthquakes, but the reserves fall, 3-1.

*Could former Real Madrid star Guti be coming to the Galaxy or Chivas USA? He tweeted this weekend (translated by Google):

“Los angeles, new york to istanbul are my target for the year qque coming but still I have nothing decided in a month will decide all”

*Former Galaxy star Herculez Gomez, the streaky LA native, scored yet again this weekend and now has four goals in four games for Pachuca, which tied Queretaro, 1-1.

*Lawndale’s kei Kamara had two goals in a losing cause as 10-man Sporting Kansas City blew a one-goal lead to lose 3-2 Saturday to the New England Revolution. Chivas USA nearly man Benny Feilhaber had an assist in his first game for the Revs after returning from Europe.

*Torrance’s Shannon Boxx has played on three WPS teams that folded. Now she’s playing for the weirdest team in the league.

*It turns out 19-year-old Loyola Marymount University soccer player David Kucera died in January from a “genetic disease that is the single most common cause of death for young athletes.”

This picture is from Victoria Beckham’s Twitter feed: Wonder who it is?

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Stupid soccer tricks: Of Power Rangers & bored Christian college students in the Deep South running amuck

This has nothing to do with Southern California soccer, but sometimes you just can’t resist stories like this – let alone make something like this up.

I’d like to poke fun at this story, but it’s hard to know where to start.

It’s a serious enough crime they would actually detain college students for doing something like this? In White County in Georgia? Really? Do we all feel safer now?

This is the sort of story that provides proof this country increasingly has no sense of humor and a very short fuse. And that’s the truly weird part.

Read it and weep howl (with laughter):

CLEVELAND, Ga. (AP) — Six men wearing costumes — four Power Rangers, a ninja and a Spider-Man — have been arrested and charged with disrupting or interfering with a girls’ high school soccer game in Cleveland, Ga., authorities said.

Players and coaches said they didn’t know what was going on, and were fearful as the men dashed onto the field and surrounded a goalie during Tuesday’s Gainesville vs. White County game.

White County Coach Nathan Adams said it was scary to see the men charge the field.

“It’s the craziest thing I’ve ever seen in a sport event,” he said. “They were completely
covered, masks, all the way down to their feet.”

Gainesville coach Mark Wade now describes the ordeal as a “childish joke” but says he was concerned about his goal keeper during the chaotic scene.

“I was scared for her safety,” Wade told the Gainesville Times. “You immediately start
thinking about the bad things you see on TV.”

After they surrounded the goalie, spectators pursued the men into a wooded area where most were found behind a log cabin.

The men told sheriff’s officials they ran onto the field as a prank and that they were bored, a sheriff’s report stated.

The Gainesville High player who was surrounded wrote in her statement to deputies that one of the men proposed marriage.

“Words said were meant to be funny, but weren’t. ‘May I please take your hand in marriage?’,” she wrote in the report.

Two women were also arrested and accused of dropping off and attempting to pick up the men in a vehicle.

All eight suspects were booked into the White County Detention Center. Authorities say they are students at Truett-McConnell College, a private Christian college in Cleveland, Ga.

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Tuesday’s (bonus) column: Reckless Ruud?

i-8003899128d924a2787378753e99128b-Gullitgals.jpgClueless? Is Ruud Gullit, who once had a clue about human rights and admired Nelson Mandela, now ignoring similar issues in Eastern Europe all in pursuit of big rubles? (AP Photo)

The second column today isn’t by me, it’s by Associated Press columnist John Leicester. But it certainly holds plenty of interest for Galaxy fans still simmering at the coaching record of Ruud Gullit who was fired after a club-record 12-game winless streak in 2008, a season that ended with the Galaxy’s worst-ever record of 8-13-9. And it begs the question, just how big of a nitwit is Gullit?

PARIS (AP) — The query from my editor had the merit of being blunt: What’s got into former Galaxy Coach Ruud Gullit?

So began a search for clues. How to determine whether one of soccer’s most famous names, an elegant midfielder who led the Netherlands to European Championship glory in 1988, might have shown a colossal lapse in judgment?

Well, taking a coaching job in Chechnya — yes, that Chechnya, of two wars in the past two decades, shocking brutality and Islamic terror — might arguably qualify. The former manager of the Galaxy, as well as Chelsea, Newcastle and Feyenoord has agreed to an 18-month contract with Chechnya’s Terek Grozny team.

Equally questionable: agreeing to work for Ramzan Kadyrov, the bullnecked president of both Chechyna and of Terek.

Kadyrov’s opponents — it’s wise to chose words carefully — have a habit of disappearing and turning up dead. Rights groups have accused his security forces of abducting, torturing and killing civilians. In a particularly chilling portrait of Kadyrov a few years ago, the Los Angeles Times said the Chechen leader smiled, put a knife in his mouth and bit down on it when the term “human rights group” was uttered in his presence. It also described Kadyrov delighting in using his pet tiger to scare his imported swans, pelicans and ducks, saying: “I’m going to make them scream.”

Closer to home for Gullit, Kadyrov in 2008 also said that for Terek, “it’s better to be dead than to be second.”

Perhaps Gullit should have spent more time talking this through during his Christmas vacation in St. Barts. His wife, Estelle, told the Dutch magazine Miljonair that the 1987 European player of the year mulled over the Chechnya job when they mingled on the Caribbean island with Diddy, Demi Moore and Roman Abramovich, the billionaire who knows a thing or two about how soccer glitz can help gloss over the darker sides of his native Russia.

Or perhaps it’s just the money. Maybe the problem, if there is one, is not with Gullit’s
sanity but his moral compass.

“Of course, Ruud is going to be well paid. How much? I’m not saying. But you can assume it’s a question of millions,” Miljonair quoted his wife as saying.

“His budget will be unlimited and his salary is good by any measure,” she reportedly added. “(The alternative was) a 48-year-old man sprawled on the couch. You don’t want that.”

After peace deals are negotiated, the resumption of sport can be a milestone in the return to normality after war. For instance, the Olympic Games — not held in 1940 or 1944 because of World War II — were organized in bomb-ravaged London in 1948, just three years after the conflict ended and despite continued rationing of vitals like gasoline and food.

Likewise, the Chechen capital, Grozny, is no longer the bombed-out moonscape it became when Russian forces and Chechen separatists fought. Gullit, if he ventures out, will discover restaurants, cafes, even sushi, a showcase new mosque, rebuilt schools and universities and, in Putin Avenue, a thoroughfare as nice as any in a provincial Russian city.

Terek, the team Gullit is acquainting himself with this week at a training camp in Turkey,
fell apart in 1994 amid the beginnings of the first Chechen war, its players scattering to
other clubs. Later reformed, it wasn’t able to play at home in Grozny until 2008 because the city was deemed too dangerous. For the moment, while a new 30,000-seat facility is built, Terek plays at Grozny’s Sultan Bilimkhanov stadium.

That is where Kadyrov’s father, Chechnya’s first Moscow-backed president Akhmad Kadyrov, was killed in a 2004 bomb blast.

So perhaps Gullit shouldn’t be knocked for exporting his soccer expertise and big name to Chechnya, not if one also believes that its people should not be deprived of the hope and reconciliation that sport can foster. If nothing else, his appointment is focusing minds on both the good and evil in Chechnya. Another Netherlands great, Johan Cruyff, is among his defenders.

“It reminds me of my choice to play for Barcelona in 1973. Many critics said I was opting to play in the country of the dictator Franco, who was still in power in Spain,” he wrote this week in the Dutch daily De Telegraaf. “Many people underestimate the power of sport — which sometimes gives you the power to change things through play.”

But sport’s ability to capture imaginations, to rouse passions and pride, can make it a tool for savvy dictators, too.

That’s what British lawmaker Lord Frank Judd fears is happening here. He’s long kept a close and critical eye on human rights abuses in Chechnya and last visited the region a year ago. He says Gullit has fallen into a propaganda trap laid by Kadyrov. He also pointedly noted that South Africa was shunned, not embraced, by world sports during its apartheid years.

Gullit is “maybe motivated by a lot of goodwill,” Judd said in a telephone interview. “But it
is exactly the type of endorsement that these tyrants are looking for.

“It is an exploitation of his expertise, prowess and knowledge. That is very sad for him,” he added. “Things are not back to normal. That is exactly what Kadyrov and the Kremlin want us to think.”

So is Gullit a pawn, a pioneer, or just plain ignorant?

In Grozny, he should have plenty to think about.

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