Category: Soccer

Small World, Eh?

It turns out Margaret Hoelzer isn’t the only athlete with North Alabama ties competing in Beijing.

Toyin Augustus is a Nigerian 100 meter hurdler who prepped at and ran track for Grissom High School (Number One and Three’s alma mater) prior to competing at Penn State.

Also, Julianne Kirchner is a 50 meter freestyle swimmer from the Marshall Islands whose parents grew up in North Alabama and attended UNA.

(UPDATE 8/16: You can read how her race went here).

Why the Marshall Islands? Julianne (age 16) has lived most of her life on Kwajalein Island, and if you’re from Huntsville, you probably know at least one rocket scientist in your circle who has spent some time in that distant atoll.… Read the rest

Not Just Any Old Europe

I’ve seen it so many times: A team fufills Cantona’s charge to “play beautiful,” out-passing and out-possessing their opponents for 89+ minutes, but fails to find the back of the net. And then, in those waning seconds, comes the knife in the back, cruelly twisted–the junk goal rolling past a desperate keeper’s outstretched fingertips. An impostor emerges from the fray, holding aloft the champion’s cup.

But not yesterday. Spain’s Fernando Torres saw to that.

His immaculate chip in the 33rd minute, made possible by another all-eyes pass from midfielder Xavi Hernandez, proved to be all that was needed as the youthful Spanish, skilled, fit and fast from front to back, created a masterpiece of stingy short-ball, rarely giving the Germans so much as a touch much less the time and space to mount any sort of attack.… Read the rest

Die Mannschaft v. La Furia Roja

It’s on: Die Mannschaft v. La Furia Roja.

But does anyone care? I do. So does the entire Eyefam. Especially Number Two Son who’s in the thick of it over there. And I bet Brady will watch too, despite the fact that his beloved Nati bit the dust hard and early.

But chances are all this soccer futbol talk will cause the eyes of the average NASCAR/American football fan who hangs out here to glaze over a bit.

Too bad.

Covering World Cup ’06 2 years ago has been one of the highlights of my blogging career. Among my favorites during that time were the story of my very-best-day-ever on the pitch in “Allez, le Vieux” (“Go, you old boys!)… Read the rest

When in Spain–Or Vienna–Do as the Spaniards Do

Eyegal and I are back home from our D.C. excursion, a little exhausted, but full of stories and good memories of the people and places we saw.

But our travels pale in comparison to Number Two Son. He’s currently on a 3-week tour of Germany, Austria and Switzerland with a group of students from Huntsville. About a year ago he approached us with the idea of going, and since then he has worked hard to help pay for it, including a lot of 5:00 am lifeguarding shifts at the local YMCA.

All that hard work has payed off. From what we’ve heard, he’s having an incredible experience so far.… Read the rest

Good Vision

My heart went out to Brady and crew this week when I learned of the cruel fate of his beloved Nati at the hands of the Turkish National Team in Euro ’08. Losing in the 90+ minute is a terrible way to go. And with Federer losing too, it made for a very terrible, horrible, rotten Swiss cheese kind of day. Ouch.

But I did take great delight in watching the Azzuri fall 3-0 at the hands (or perhaps I should say “feet”) of The Netherlands on Monday. For those with long memories, you might recall my feelings about Italian footballers.… Read the rest

Marvin Stone, 1981-2008


I regret to announce the sudden death of Marvin Stone of Huntsville from an apparent heart attack. He collapsed at halftime of a game in Saudi Arabia yesterday where he has just signed with his team Al Ittihad Jeddah. He was 26.

Marvin was a McDonald’s High School All American, Alabama Mr. Basketball and the main cog in the Grissom High School State Championship basketball team of 1999. He went on to play for Tubby Smith at the University of Kentucky and later transferred to The University of Louisville. There he started 23 games, averaged 10.3 points, 7.1 rebounds and 1.5 blocked shots during his senior year for Rick Pitino’s Cardinals.… Read the rest

Senator Obama, It’s Time to Come Clean

It was a crisp, fall evening in October, 2000. My U-10 soccer team, The Blue Vipers, were up against the perennial city champs, the Boys Club Hardrollers. They were a juggernaut–I swear some of their players had stubble and drove themselves to the match. I could go on and on about how they illegally recruited by grabbing up the best players from across the city, but that would make me seem small and petty. After all, it’s only a game, right? Right.

We took it to them, though, and at the half, we were leading 2-1. The lads were a little shocked at their success and so was I.… Read the rest

Now That’s Trickeration

I was in Jackson, Mississippi with Number Three Son on Saturday attending The Crossroads of the South Invitational sponsored by The Jackson Futbol Club. Kudos to the club and the city for putting on one of the best tournaments we’ve ever attended.

Number Three’s U-15 United squad played very well, winning their bracket by defeating a Chicago Fire junior team 3-1. Despite carrying the field in both possession and shots on goal in the semifinal, we fell 1-0 off a free kick from 35 yards out (one of only 3 shots on goal our opponents had all afternoon) that slipped past our keeper’s fingers and just under the crossbar.… Read the rest

Pray for Lamar

I realize that very few of you know Lamar Jackson, but take my word for it: He’s a great guy. Lamar played club and high school soccer with Number One Son, and he is a sophomore pharmacy student at Ole Miss. Like many college kids in town, he had come back to Huntsville to rendezvous with friends at Big Spring Jam. On his way back to Oxford, he apparently fell asleep at the wheel and was injured badly in a single car accident near Tupelo Sunday evening.

Things were touch and go for a while and he was on a respirator, but he is now able to breathe on his own.… Read the rest

That’s the Way Soccer Should Be

Watching 16-year-old boys play soccer at a very high level is not for the faint of heart. They are insanely quick, closing down the available space in the blink of an eye; if you find yourself thinking about your next decision of what to do with the ball, it’s already too late. And the physical contact? Brace yourself, because it hurts just watching. They are young kamikazes in colorful kits who have no regard for their own bodies or the bodies of their opponents. They are young rams testing their mettle in head-to-head combat, guarding their turf as if it were a matter of life or death.… Read the rest

I’m An Optimist–I Just Have to Work At It

In case you haven’t noticed, I try to remain fundamentally cheerful and optimistic on this blog. I figure that the world is full of enough overwrought, rant-filled, spiteful fare, so I aim to provide a little counterweight. Plus, it’s an exercise in self-discipline, for I am by nature fundamentally pessimistic and sometimes downright morose.

So, this morning, I pause to take in a lungful of crisp, autumn-tinged air and give thanks for the following:

  • My wife, who rather than committing me to the local mental hospital, playfully joined in my craziness last night and helped me track down and destroy that nasty wood roach (the mere sight of which caused me to go apopleptic) which managed to slip inside when I opened the door to the garage
  • Number One, who, despite being involved in two, count’em, TWO car wrecks (plus a close encounter as a pedestrian with another car which he has not seen fit to tell me about yet–I have my sources) since arriving in Tuscaloosa, is nonetheless in good health.
Read the rest