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Thursday
Jul 10th

Soccer: the worlds game

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For many Americans soccer is a fairly new phenomenon, yet for the rest of the world it is a favored pastime and a long held tradition. Loyalties run deep and even divide friends and family members in nations such as Italy, England and Scotland. Professional athletes from Africa, Australia, South America, the Caribbean and Europe comprise some of the world's most valuable players. Up until the last decade, American men's soccer has done little to put a dent in the world scene.

For many Americans soccer is a fairly new phenomenon, yet for the rest of the world it is a favored pastime and a long held tradition. Loyalties run deep and even divide friends and family members in nations such as Italy, England and Scotland. Professional athletes from Africa, Australia, South America, the Caribbean and Europe comprise some of the world's most valuable players. Up until the last decade, American men's soccer has done little to put a dent in the world scene.

Loyal fans travel the world over to see their favorite team play in tournaments large and small, the most notable of which is the World Cup held every four years. European soccer players can be high salaried individuals with status equivalent to that of our professional basketball and American football players. Soccer in fact is the world's game, and may finally be putting down roots in the American sports arena. Commentators surmise that once African Americans become truly integrated into the world of soccer, the United States may finally be able to compete on an international level.

Twenty-nine-year-old African American soccer player Sharlie Joseph has recently been selected to lead the American Major League Soccer's (MLS) All Star team against Celtic, the Scottish Premier League (SPL) champions. The defensive midfielder was born on the small island of Grenada and raised in Brooklyn, New York, and tried his luck for various European clubs in Italy and Germany before making a name for himself in the U. S. Joseph played for the New York Freedoms before joining the New England Revolution in 2002. The handsome 6'3" 180 pound player was named the top holding MLS midfielder by Soccer America magazine in 2006.

Other New England Revolution players of African decent currently sharing the field with Sharlie Joseph include Kyle Helton (U.S.), Amaechi Igwe (U.S.), Avery John (Trinidad & Tobago), Marshal Leonard (U.S.), Arsene Oka (Ivory Coast) and Khano Smith (Bermuda). The athletic ability, grace and overall talent of professional African American athletes is indisputable, making the future of soccer (or "football," as it is called throughout the world) the next best thing for American sports fans.

 

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