18
May

Interactive vending machine rewards keepy-uppy skills with free Pepsi

Have you ever been thirsty but short a few bucks? It’s not pleasant.

Luckily for all us cheapskates, Pepsi has a new interactive vending machine that challenges customers to a game of keepy-uppy and rewards them with soda.

Using Microsoft’s Kinetic technology, Pepsi will release 20 of these machines across the world, with just one in North America — at Dallas Forth Worth Airport of all places.

Per the press release:

"The interactive vending machine allows customers to show off their soccer skills utilizing Microsoft Kinect technology, with no purchase necessary. Users can create an avatar with their name and begin earning points immediately. Throughout the interactive experience, fans are encouraged to keep the virtual football in the air for 30-seconds as they move through a series of skills challenges. Advanced players can earn bonus time and compete for “Hall of Fame” recognition at each location."

Sure, you’ll look pretty foolish juggling an invisible ball and flailing in front of a vending machine, but it’s bound to be more effective than trying to kick the thing for a free drink.

(h/t Yahoo)

24
Apr

President Obama plays soccer with Japanese robot because why not

The robot takeover is upon us. Run for your lives. IT’S HAPPENING!

Alright, alright, not exactly. Maybe robots will take over the world one day, but thankfully we’re not there yet.

We are, however, now living in an age where a robot has a better first touch than the President of the United States. Sorry, Barack, but this Japanese masterpiece has you beat:

You might want to keep your day job, Mr. President.

7
Nov

Columbus Crew roll dice with Gregg Berhalter hiring

Columbus investor Anthony Precourt purchased the Crew in July with a grand vision for his new club. He found himself in the market for a new coach by September. He wanted to use this opportunity to continue the cultural and the structural evolution he commenced when he took charge.

Precourt and club president Mark McCullers searched far and wide for the man to lead this charge. They discussed the opening with the cognoscenti of American soccer — US Soccer president Sunil Gulati and CEO Dan Flynn, former US Soccer secretary general Hank Steinbrecher included — and former Crew stars Guillermo Barros Schelotto (a candidate), Brad Friedel (also a candidate) and Brian McBride. They started with a broad list and whittled it down. And then they made their emphatic decision.

The two men extolled the virtues of former US international defender Gregg Berhalter when they named him head coach and sporting director on Wednesday. They lauded his desire to construct this club brick-by-analytical-brick. They noted the need for cohesive and consistent procedures to foster success year after year. They tasked him with the burden of two jobs and the responsibility of performing both of them well.

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Former USA and LA Galaxy standout Gregg Berhalter will manage the Crew next season (Image: German Alegria/MLS).

“We talked a lot about different structures,” Precourt said during a conference call. “The structure needed to match the person’s skill set. I feel just overwhelmingly confident that Gregg was the man to handle both. He has a soccer mind. When you talk to him, you just see he has the perspective of a sporting director and a head coach. I think it’s efficient in terms of making decisions. It creates a sense of accountability.”

Read More

18
Oct

Iker Casillas reveals plans about future to adorable kid journalist

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Image courtesy of Getty.

Ever since Iker Casillas lost his starting role at Real Madrid, questions have swirled about his future, but not much has been confirmed. We now know that Casillas is going to decide in roughly three months whether he’s staying with Los Blancos.

Who squeezed this information out of him? A child, of course.

The interview begins with a child asking him sweetly if he thinks Real Madrid are playing well. But it’s the next kid who steps up to the mic that asks the hard-hitting question.

"Would you like to stay at Real Madrid?"

Considering his surroundings — a publicity event with a bunch of young children — Casillas opens up and reveals how deeply he’s thought about his future.

He reiterated that he wants to stay at the club that he’s been with since he was little, Casillas admitted if things don’t change soon he may leave:

"As of now my decision is to stay and fight, to struggle and play every day. If I wasn’t sure about it I would have told the president I wanted to leave in September and that no matter what at Christmas. But I decided that I want to be part of this squad for a long time yet.

"That said, if the situation doesn’t change within three months, I’d say that I’ll be looking to leave."

If the Spanish international decides to leave, we can think of a club that is in the market for a goalkeeper (we’re looking right at you Manchester City).

20
Sep

Colombia fans implore Pelé to not pick them as favorites

Brazilian soccer legend Pelé is as iconic as it gets in the global game. Widely considered as the best soccer player ever, it would stand to reason that his blessing of a team ahead of a World Cup would be welcomed.

Evidently, it isn’t.

Colombian fans have taken up a grassroots effort to dissuade Pelé from naming Los Cafeteros as favorites heading into the 2014 World Cup. The hashtag of choice? #PeléFavoritosNo

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As noted in the video, the last time Pelé picked Colombia to succeed in the World Cup, 1994, the team failed to emerge from the group stage and crashed out unceremoniously from the competition:

Upon reviewing “O Rei’s” track record, it makes sense why the video refers to him as the “Anti-Nostradamus.” On separate occasions, Pelé picked Germany, Spain and Brazil to have varying degrees of success, and he whiffed on them all.

So what happens if the Colombians falter in Brazil? Well, it looks like they won’t have Pelé to blame.

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(Image: Getty Images/Slaven Vlasic)

(h/t Kckrs)

31
Aug

Mexican goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa returns to square one

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By Kyle McCarthy

This summer has not delivered the rewards Guillermo Ochoa expected.

Ochoa did everything within his power to position himself for a lucrative move. He performed admirably in a poor Ajaccio side last season and stuck to his task even as he angled for a transfer elsewhere. He racked up a few extra caps earlier this year before Mexico coach José Manuel de la Torre opted to return to preferred number one Jesus Corona.

By the start of his club campaign, Ochoa probably expected to turn out for a significant European side on a fairly regular basis. Maybe he even harbored genuine hopes of applying pressure with his increased profile to reclaim his number one shirt with El Tri.

So much for those mooted developments.

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Ochoa joined Carlos Vela in the cast of prominent de la Torre exiles when he rejected overtures to feature as Corona’s backup for the upcoming World Cup qualifiers against Honduras and the United States. He then listened on Saturday as Ajaccio president Alain Orsoni noted a lack of concrete interest from AC Milan or any other purported suitor and suggested it would take a miracle for Ochoa to sign for a new club before the window slams shut on Monday.

At some point, Ochoa must start to wonder whether things will shift in his direction. He can point to his work over the past year or so and reasonably contend that he warrants the number one shirt for his country and a larger club somewhere in Europe.

Instead of fulfilling those ambitions, Ochoa — barring a late swoop inspired by Orsoni’s fairly transparent entreaties — will bide his time on Corsica and wait for patiently for his luck to turn. It isn’t exactly what he envisioned, but the prospect of spending some extra time on a Mediterranean island in the interim at least provides modest compensation for his toil:

Images: (Pascal Pochard-Casbianca/AFP/Getty Images)

22
Aug

Santos teenager pulled from stands to score match-winning goal

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Image: Divulgação Santos FC

by Thomas Hautmann

Sixteen-year-old Santos youth player Gabriel headed to the senior side’s Copa do Brasil match on Wednesday to watch it with his father. Soon, however, Gabriel found himself on the pitch, shirtless, celebrating his late match-winner.

After another Santos player was scratched from the squad after using a nasal decongestant (who knew that counted as doping?), Gabriel was pulled from the stands and included on the Santos bench for the Round of 16 first leg against Gremio. After having already practiced with his youth side earlier in the day, a relaxing evening with his father was therefore put on hold. According to the Rio Report, Gabriel told reporters:

"I was playing a video game at home and came to watch the game with my father and only knew I would play when I got here. It was a present."

As fortune would have it, the young Brazilian striker got the call to inspire his teammates midway through the second half in a scoreless game. And, in the 82nd minute, Gabriel swept home Montillo’s low cross for the match-winning goal. It was only his seventh professional match.

Watch the goal below:

Scroll to the 4:19 mark

Expect to hear more from Gabriel, who has already received the promising nickname ‘Gabigol’ (just rolls off the tongue doesn’t it?).

Gabigol has represented Brazilian’s youth national teams since age 14, and the professional contract he signed with Santos last year includes a whopping €50 million buy-out clause.

In comparison, Neymar’s deal to Barcelona netted Santos a cool €57 million this summer.

3
Aug

11-year-old prodigy becomes first American to join Real Madrid academy

America has longed for a world soccer star like Cristiano Ronaldo. It’s taken an eternity, but we may have finally found one.

Too good to be true? Pinch yourself. 

Joshua Pynadath is an 11-year-old US soccer prodigy and just became the first American to sign with Spanish giants Real Madrid. And did I mention he is American? I think I’m about to pass out.

Pynadath, from Los Altos Hills, CA, was offered a trial at Real last year after having been discovered in a highlight video of his youth club De Anza Force SC in California’s Bay Area. The trial earned him a second tryout this spring, and clearly, that one went so well that Real Madrid finally made the deal. Barcelona also held a tryout for the US youngster, but Pynadath had wanted to sign with Madrid, his favorite club, all along.

After the big move, Joshua told his hometown paper, Los Altos Town Crier:

"I was blown away when I got the official news from Real Madrid. They told me that I was the first American that they have ever accepted into their academy. I told them that I would set a good example."

Though he still has a lot of growing up to do, Pynadath seems destined for greatness and hey, maybe one day he could — dare I say — lead the United States to World Cup glory.

We’re rooting for you, Joshua.

Video by The Guardian

3
Jul

Jose Manuel “Chepo” de la Torre talks Mexico, Gold Cup and more

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By Leander Schaerlaeckens, FOXSoccer.com

The Gold Cup is a deceptively difficult tournament. This biennial championship of the CONCACAF region, constituted of North and Central America and the Caribbean, is short on marquee names.

Just don’t tell that to Mexico’s manager Jose Manuel “Chepo” de la Torre.

Mexico is in crisis. An alarming start to World Cup qualifying and an inglorious exit from the Confederations Cup have left Mexico’s manager a man whose job could be taken from him any day now.

The Mexican federation claims this isn’t true. “There is no Plan B,” national team director Hector Gonzalez Inarritu said in a press conference last week. “I’m confident that we will qualify for the World Cup and we will win the Gold Cup.”

In an exclusive interview with FOX Sports, de la Torre explains the current state of Mexico’s national team before this summer’s Gold Cup tournament:

Make sure to catch the interview in its entirety on July 7 (live, FOX Soccer, Sunday, 7:30 p.m. ET). For the latest Gold Cup news, visit FOXSoccer.com.

8
Mar

Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson tried his best to squash reports of Wayne Rooney’s possible exit from the club by addressing the media early Friday morning.

The United boss left Rooney out of the Red Devils’ lineup for Tuesday’s Champions League match against Real Madrid, prompting many to speculate Fergie’s willingness to accept a transfer bid later this summer.

“Wayne will be here next year, you have my word on that. There is no issue between myself and Wayne Rooney. To suggest we don’t talk is nonsense.

“He understood the reasons completely. Tactically we got it right. We don’t always but we did then. There are no issues with the player and he will be involved on Sunday.”

Of course he understood, Fergie. Tuesday’s match was nothing “special.” It’s not like players want to showcase their skills in big stages, right?  We don’t buy it, and you shouldn’t either. So we gotta ask, is Rooney staying or leaving Old Trafford?

Chime in!