Our Game / Ruffneck Scarves

OUR GAME: 2014 looks to be a great soccer year

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(See more “Our Game” entries here.)

BY NICHOLAS SPILLER

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As 2013 heads down its final stretch of December and into the holiday season, the time is ripe for soccer fans to look ahead to the exciting fixtures of soccer that 2014 figures to display! With major tournaments looming ahead and with the many domestic leagues around the world set to excite in narrow end-of-season races, the upcoming year will be an absolute joy for the sport of soccer. Here is a preview of what lies ahead in the upcoming year:

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First and foremost, we must discuss the 2014 World Cup! Every four years, much of the world literally stops turning as billions of people tune in for the ultimate prize in sport: the World Cup. Set to be held in Brazil, the tournament will feature 32 of the top soccer nations in the world! With every major super-power involved, and containing players the likes of Lionel Messi, Neymar, Wayne Rooney, Cristiano Ronaldo, and scores of other international superstars, these games will be among the most exciting and dramatic in the year. This is the ultimate treat for soccer fans around the world, and the United States will surely be put to the test. Let’s see who rises to the top and is crowned as champions of the world!

But aside from the ever-popular World Cup, 2014 will also bring about several other matchups of extreme excitement, especially in the domestic leagues. At this halfway point in many of the European leagues, there figures to be several dramatic finishes to the season.

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The English Premier League is widely touted as the most watched soccer league worldwide, and for good reason! The highly energized and often physically abusing league attracts many of the world’s best players and coaches. There are currently 5 English clubs within 4 points of the lead! With over half the season left, the intensity will certainly rise as pressure mounts between the likes of Manchester City, Arsenal, Liverpool, and Chelsea, who currently look to be among the title contenders.

Meanwhile, Spain’s La Liga figures to be a 3-way race for the first time in years, with Athletico Madrid joining the pair of Barcelona and Real Madrid at the top of the mid-season standings. Led by rising star striker Diego Costa and the mature David Villa, Athletico Madrid may just be the surprise of the season!

France’s Ligue 1 also looks to have an exciting finish between the big-spending clubs Monaco and PSG. With highly talented strikers like Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Edinson Cavani, and Radamel Falcao, the French league title may come down to who scores the most goals!

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For Americans, the 2014 MLS season figures to be an exciting one with the return of Clint Dempsey to United States with Seattle Sounders. Although he failed to make an impact last year arriving towards the end of the season, with a fresh start in 2014 expect Dempsey to make an abundance of highlight-reel plays. Facing competition from the LA Galaxy’s Landon Donovan and Thierry Henry of the New York Red Bulls, 2014 figures to be a dramatic battle in the MLS.

But club soccer may just find the greatest excitement through the UEFA Champions League, in which 16 of the top European clubs will square off in a 2-legged knockout tournament throughout the spring. With the top world stars competing ahead of the summer World Cup, expect high drama and sensational soccer as these clubs play with flair and less of the international pressure that will surely come in Brazil.

world-cup-logo-2014While traditional clubs like Barcelona, Real Madrid, Manchester United, Bayern Munich, and AC Milan hope to earn another notch in their trophy cases, other exciting teams like Zenit St. Petersburg, Arsenal, Chelsea, Manchester City, Athletico Madrid, Borussia Dortmund, Bayer Leverkusen, Olympiakos, Galatasaray, and Shalke will all be looking to make a statement and prove their worth.

Additionally, as the World Cup approaches, many of these players will be competing for places on their respective international teams. With the urge to prove their worth on the biggest of stages, 2014 will showcase the sport of soccer in the most incredible fashion! Look forward to what could possibly be one of the sport’s finest years, and be sure to pick up a soccer scarf from Ruffneck Scarves of your favorite team so that you can help cheer them on to success!

Be sure to follow more soccer news at the Ruffneck.com blog!

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7 thoughts on “OUR GAME: 2014 looks to be a great soccer year

  1. @bill Well maybe if it was played at the pace of aforementioned teams, with comparable technical ability, similar athleticism, or the managers were anywhere near the quality of mangers of male teams it would deserve a shout out. Otherwise an utterly stupid comment. Even Zlatan knows thishttp://sports.yahoo.com/news/soccer-male-players-deserve-more-recognition-women-says-155454217–sow.html

  2. Bill, in many ways the women had the spotlight in 2013. Though the article doesn’t mention them, goalWA.net is committed as always to covering women’s soccer. We look forward to an improved Reign FC squad and new additions to the WPSL Northwest, along with another title run by the W-League Sounders Women!

    • Well Robert, I would like to see you compete against any of the established stars in the league. I have to agree with you that your comment, about women competing on the same level as men, is an utterly STUPID comment. By the way, at what level do you coach or manage?

      • Bill,

        Why would it matter what level I complete at? We are talking about the players not my armchair antics. However if you would like to go point for point I can.

        Technical ability- Better coaches equal better players and the top coaches for the most part are in the men’s game, even at the academy level (In Europe, title nine skewed US coaches). Which means that unfortunately our girls are not exposed to the best level of coaching. Can you imagine Eric Steele (You probably won’t know that name until you google it) coaching Hope Solo, or Wenger coaching Alex Morgan. It would literally be night and day, but if Jordan Belfort and Stratton Oakmont (Feel free to use google again, Wolf of Wall Street) have taught us anything people follow fame and money. At the top level female soccer doesn’t come close in either regard.

        Athleticism- Fair play to be honest, that is an unfair and biased comparison.

        Managers- Almost a segway from technical ability, however we can explore it. I noticed you are very familiar with the Seattle Reign. So can you tell me why Laura Harvey decided to organize the team in the manner in which she did? Oh and just to be fair you can’t cite her previous achievements with the Arsenal women as a reference. She (and her staff) were in far over their head. With the team she had at the beginning of the year she should have played a 4-2-3-1, parked the bus, and counterattacked because they were lacking talent in important areas. To the contrary, what did she do? An attacking versed 4-1-4-1 and opened the team up to exposure in areas they were not able to cover. (She tried to emulate Arsene, but it’s a little bit harder to do when lacking the proper pieces, namely someone named Ozil or Cesc) So how does that show a good manager? Point being that if any decent manager would be able to recognize this, why couldn’t she? The fact of the matter remains that she could not recognize this shortcoming and produced subpar results versus what a proper manager could do.

        In regards to my previously mentioned citation of your “Stupid comment.” Look at the names mentioned in the Article; Neymar, Messi, Ronaldo, Zlatan, Cavani, and Suarez. No one, and I literally mean no one in the female game deserves to be mentioned with the likes of the aforementioned company. Name any female that has the technical ability of Neymar (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ko5g5fP57gI) and can bring a slight smile of enjoyment and arrogance while watching them play with unyielding confidence. Look at the teams mentioned; Brazil, Arsenal, Man City, Liverpool, Barca, PSG, and Madrid. How the the reign compare with that kind of talent with the sample size being so small.

        The level I played / currently manage is trivial. My theory is as follows; you get what you pay for and currently female soccer is behind men.

        • I am sure that the team’s in the EPL, when they first started,could compete with today’s.team’s. How many years have these premier team’s been in existence? How long have the Reign been in existence? Athletically, women do not match up to their male counter parts. Some could probably outplayed some of the professional players. By the way, how many players in the EPL, can compete with the h as of dozen players you mention? I never implied that women athletes were.as good as men. I was just curious why, as a professional team, they were not mentioned. Obviously not “all” managers are equal. If they were, the win/loss records would be more competitive. I love watching the EPL and La Liga players, but I love to watch our ladies a nd will continue to root for them. I am a Seattleite and love our team’s.

  3. Thanks Nicholas, I do realize how extensively you covered the Reign this past season, and thank you for that. I was just surprised that no mention of them in the article. Excited for next year, thanks

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