2
Jul

Tim Howard gets call from Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel

United States men’s national team goalkeeper Tim Howard became America’s favorite bailout plan on Tuesday night, and with good reason.

The USA netminder made 16 heart-stopping saves in USA’s 2-1 defeat Belgium — the most by any goalkeeper in a World Cup match since 1966. His exploits set the internet ablaze and got fans calling for the renaming of the Ronald Reagan Airport in his honor.

Now, the Pentagon joined in on the praise with Secratary of Defense Chuch Hagel calling the USA soccer hero after Hagel’s “Secretary of Defense of the United States of America” Wikipedia page was replaced with an image of Howard in action.

Per an official release from the United States Department of Defense:

“Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel called United States men’s national team goalkeeper Tim Howard to thank him for defending the United States of America at the World Cup. Secretary Hagel congratulated Howard on his record-breaking game and a great run in Brazil. He invited Howard and the entire team to come to the Pentagon later this year. He told Howard that with some training, he could someday become the real secretary of defense.”

And that’s not all! 

Later, President Barack Obama also dialed up Tim Howard, as well as captain Clint Dempsey to commend the team for their valiant performance.

20
May

Miralem Pjanic buys out pharmacy’s stock to aid flood victims

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If you follow the news even remotely, you probably heard about the current crisis in Bosnia-Herzegovina. Bosnia’s government recently said that over one million people, a quarter of the country’s population, have been affected by a historical flood that has already destroyed over 100,000 homes and cost the lives of more than 40 people.

In response to the natural disaster, Bosnia international and Roma midfielder Miralem Pjanic is doing his best to help out. According to Bosnian newspaper Avaz, Pjanic visited Sarajevo on Monday evening, and emptied the shelves of the very first pharmacy he came across, buying up the entire stock of medical supplies to give out to those in need.

According to the article (translated by Google Chrome), Pjanic told reporters, “I sympathize with the misfortune that has befallen our nation.”

What an amazing guy. Our thoughts and prayers here at FOX Soccer are also with those affected by the flood, not just in Bosnia but all the Balkan countries.

imageImages via Avaz.ba

H/T Yahoo!Sports

1
May

Corinthians pay tribute to F1 legend Senna before match

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It has been 20 years since a tragic accident in the San Marino Gran Prix took the life of Brazilian F1 legend Ayrton Senna. The extraordinarily talented driver was from Sao Paulo and an avid fan of the club.

Although Senna’s career was cut short at just 34 years of age, he was a sporting hero to millions of Brazilians.

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Before their match on Wednesday night, the team walked out of the tunnel carrying replicas of the helmet Senna used to wear. It was a moving tribute to a man who so many in Brazil revere:

The players weren’t the only ones involved in paying their respect to the late Senna. Fans in the stadium created signs and banners for him as well:

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Photographs courtesy of Action Images.

6
Apr

Ronaldo treats fan who woke from coma listening to his games

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Cristiano Ronaldo is at it again.

It was only last month that CR7 paid for a young fan’s brain surgery, and here he is producing yet another reason for why, regardless of your opinion of him, he deserves your respect and admiration.

Fourteen-year old Ronaldo fan Dawid Pawlaczyk was in a coma for three months after getting hit by a car, during which time his family had been playing Ronaldo’s matches for Dawid to listen to. In a magical coincidence, according to Yahoo, the boy finally woke up on the same day his favorite player shot Portugal past Sweden in the World Cup qualifying play-offs.

After Polish outlet Fakt contacted Ronaldo about the story, the selfless star immediately treated the boy and his family to a trip to Madrid for Real’s Champions League clash against Dortmund, even giving the boy his jersey after the game.

And so the legend of Cristiano Ronaldo grows a little more.

H/T Bleacher Report

4
Apr

Jon Stewart gushes after Pele gives him a 1970 World Cup jersey

Even heroes have heroes of their own. Brazilian superstar Pelé opened up about his idol — Dondinho, his father — on The Daily Show last night.

Pelé reflected on the first time he saw his father cry, back in 1950.

"[I saw my father crying], and I asked him, ‘Why are you crying?’

'Brazil lost the World Cup.'

'I'm going to win one World Cup for you, don't worry.'”

Yeah, he fulfilled that promise (and then some).

And from Jon Stewart’s reaction to the extraordinary gift the Brazilian legend gave him, it’s safe to say Pelé is one of his idols:

We feel you, Jon.

31
Mar

Italian player to adopt baby abandoned on a train

Sassuolo foward and family man Antonio Floro Flores may not consider himself a hero, but for one little boy, he will be.

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Floro Flores, his wife and three children. (Photo via @FloroFlores83)

According to Football Italia, a baby believed to be three or four days old was found abandoned in a bag under a train seat. When Floro Flores heard of the story, he was so moved he inquired about the young child. After attempts to find the birth parents failed, the on-loan Sassuolo forward began the process to officially adopt the boy.

“After seeing the profile of little Francesco, we followed what our hearts told us,” Floro Flores said on Twitter. “Before being a player, I am a father. I’m certainly not a hero! We are going through the regular procedures.”

What a guy.

12
Mar

Cristiano Ronaldo pays for young fan’s brain surgery

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This is the type of tear-jerker story that draws us closer to our idols, and reveals the human side of larger-than-life athletes.

Ten-month old Erik Ortiz Cruz suffers from cortical dysplasia — a brain abnormality that can cause up to 30 seizures each day — and his family has been desperately looking for help.

Without brain surgery, Erik’s seizures can only worsen and lead to more developmental problems in the future. With one, Erik could win a second chance at life. But the operation costs $83,000 alone, necessary follow-up tests an additional $8,000+ each. Attempts to raise money by Erik’s family haven’t nearly been enough to cover the costs.

Running out of options, a Cruz family friend reportedly reached out to Cristiano Ronaldo, asking if he could donate some signed jerseys or boots to auction off. Not only did Ronaldo happily agree to the donations after hearing of Erik’s plight, he pledged to pay the entire sum of his medical costs and visit the young Merengue in the hospital!

Ronaldo may have plenty of haters in the world, but he just won another fan for life.

H/T Metro 

Editor’s note: For more information on epilepsy and how you can help, please visit Purple Day, a world-wide organization dedicated to epilepsy awareness. 

6
Jan

Eusebio’s final wish is granted

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Portugal legend Eusebio had one last wish after he passed: a lap around Estádio da Luz before he is laid to rest.

Thousands of fans showed up at the stadium and thousands more lined the streets to bid farewell to their footballing hero.

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In a touching moment, his coffin was placed at center field.

Rest In Peace, Black Panther.

20
Dec

Matt Reis’ greatest save, revisited

Earlier this year, MLS Insider released the gripping story of how Matt Reis saved his father-in-law’s life during the Boston Marathon Bombings in April.

Reis, who recently announced his retirement and currently serves as the LA Galaxy’s goalkeeping coach, appeared on FOX Soccer Daily as a guest analyst on Friday, and reflected on his greatest save, also giving an update on his father-in-law’s condition.