19
Apr

One-legged soccer player inspires World Cup commercial

imageImage via Coca-Cola

Get ready to choke back the tears, because this is one heck of a story.

Nico Calabria was born with only one leg, but the rare disability has never inhibited him from achieving greatness on and off the field. Using forearm crutches now after learning how to play soccer, basketball or even how to ice skate with the help of a prosthetic leg, Nico still excelled competing against two-legged peers, even at the varsity high school level.

Now 19, Nico has become one of the best players on the United States National Amputee Soccer Team and an inspiration to anyone with a pulse. Six years ago, Nico became the first person to ever summit Mt. Kilimanjaro on crutches, raising more than $100,000 for charity in the process. (Now that kid’s got some upper body strength!)

Inspired by Nico’s amazing journey, sports drink makers Powerade have now featured him as part of their 2014 FIFA World Cup campaign, and the ad is perfect. Watch:

For more on Nico’s story, check out Coca-Cola’s profile on him.

H/T Huff Post

6
Apr

Poor Aron Johannsson gets ‘inappropriately touched’ by opponent

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AZ and US national team striker Aron Johannsson was the victim of on-field bullying in the Eredivisie this weekend, getting his privates pulled by Roda defender Guy Ramos.

Ramos appeared to squeeze the Icelandic-American’s genitals in response to something Johannsson had to say, and the referee let him off scot-free. However, Ramos did get sent off in the second half of the game, while Johannsson scored to secure AZ a draw, so at least justice was somewhat served.

If you have a Y chromosome, chances are you are solemnly nodding to yourself right now, having been hit in that area probably more than once.  Ladies, admit it: this is worse than getting your hair yanked by an opponent, albeit similar. Completely uncalled for and painful.

Here’s “The Grab:”

H/T Dirty Tackle

28
Mar

Seydou Keita scores fastest goal in La Liga history


Other than recording a Vine video, 7.6 seconds is enough time to do… barely anything. Usain Bolt can’t sprint 100 meters in that time, nor can competitive eating champion Joey Chestnut eat even a single hot dog that fast (it takes him nine seconds).

However, that’s all the time Valencia’s Seydou Keita needed to score the fastest goal in La Liga history against Almeria.

Incredibly, Almeria was the side kicking off on Thursday night, but Keita profited from a truly terribly back-pass to the goalkeeper and pounced for the goal. With the strike, Keita beat out previous record-holder Joseba Llorente, who scored in 7.8 seconds for Valladolid in January 2008.

Not only was Keita’s goal the quickest ever in the Primera Division, it was also his first for the club. However, it wasn’t a perfect evening for the Mali international. Almeria woke up after the blitz attack and came back to earn a 2-2 draw.

26
Mar

Vancouver Whitecaps lose player to ‘off-field walking accident’

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We’ve all been there.

You’re walking around downtown, without a care in the world, when something across the street grabs your attention.

Maybe it’s a cute girl, or boy. Maybe it’s a shiny new Ferrari (humans love shiny things), or a new frozen yogurt shoppe that just looks so appealing! Whatever it may be, you stare a little bit longer, when suddenly — BANG! — down you go. 

What the heck?! That bike rack came out nowhere!

It’s okay, we all eventually fall victim to the occasional walking hazard. Unfortunately, when you’re a professional athlete, the embarrassing mishap quickly goes viral. Sorry, Nigel Reo-Coker.

According to Major League Soccer’s official website, the Vancouver Whitecaps midfielder faces a short spell on the sidelines after what the league termed an “off-field walking accident.” The club confirmed that Reo-Coker was “looking elsewhere while walking when he tripped over a bike rack, cutting his face and hitting his head in the process.” According to the CBC, he also suffered a slight concussion.

Ouch. That sounds pretty rough, though not nearly as brutal as the roasting he’s sure to receive from his teammates. And from his coach, Carl Robinson, for that matter. “I don’t think he was looking where he was going, which is never a good sign for a midfield player,” Robinson deadpanned to reporters.

At least the former West Ham and Aston Villa player can take solace in this: as far as oddball injuries are concerned, it could have been a lot worse.

(H/T MLS)

Composite: USA Today/FOX Sports - Eddie Hon

26
Mar

Torino’s Ciro Immobile scores volley of the year

Who isn’t a fan of volleys?

Oh, you aren’t? Well, then this video is not for you:

Torino striker Ciro Immobile scored an improbable goal against Roma on Tuesday that will have you questioning gravity and physics and all that nonsense. It also proves not to judge a player by his last name.

Immobile one-timed a high-arching pass from midfield and smashed it perfectly past Roma goalkeeper Morgan De Sanctis for the golazo, which brought back memories Antonio Di Natale’s masterpiece a year ago:

Since that epicness, all volleys have been judged against “the Di Natale.” But after Tuesday, we may have to make “the Immobile” the new high-water mark, even if it doesn’t quite have the same ring to it.

18
Mar

Galatasaray fan feeds Chelsea jersey to lion

Aslan is not only the name for the lion in “Chronicles of Narnia,” but also one of the nicknames for Champions League club Galatasaray. It means: “the lion.” (What a coincidence!)

So, naturally, one Gala fan went to a local zoo and fed one of the lions a Chelsea jersey in the lead-up to Tuesday’s Champions League clash between the two teams. And a Turkish TV station was there to film it for us. Naturally.

H/T 101GG

11
Mar

Trabzonspor fans get Fenerbahce match abandoned

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It’s well established that Turkish sides Fenerbahce and Trabzonspor don’t like each other very much, but hostilities reached a new high on Monday night. The home Trabzonspor fans caused their fixture against the Süper Lig leaders to be abandoned after throwing missiles onto the pitch without end.

The referee had already stopped the match twice — once in the 28th minute to allow police to deal with crowd violence and a pitch invader, then again shortly after play restarted — before he was ultimately forced to call the game off before halftime. The unruliness in the stands was simply too much to bear:

According to The Guardian, fans continued to clash with police in the aftermath of the match. The intense rivalry between the two sides started in the fallout of the 2010/11 title race, when Fenerbahce overturned a significant points deficit to steal the championship away from Trabzonspor on goal difference. Fener then became the subject of a high-profile match-fixing investigation that eventually saw club president Aziz Yildirim sent to prison.

Fan violence in the stands is nothing new in Turkish football, but perhaps  Trabzonspor officials should take a page out of their rival’s book and deal their fans an unconventional punishment: only let women and children attend the next home match.