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Syrian refugee in Turkey U14 squad

The war in Syria has destroyed and disrupted millions of lives.   The numbers are almost incomprehensible, the suffering unimaginable to anyone who has not experienced war, but the pain and damage is real and will last for generations. Horror and grief surround the country and its far-flung diaspora. There are very few good news stories…

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INTERVIEW: State of (dis)Union

How do we judge the health of soccer in the USA?   Major League Soccer just kicked off its 21st season. It has grown to 22 teams from its original 12 with further expansion imminent. It has lots of big-reputation, high-wage foreign players, some shiny new stadia, a fat TV deal and big plans for…

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Adrian Petre and the goal paradox

Someone once said goals are overrated. And they were right. When it comes to young players nothing puts them on the map quicker.  Goals and goalscorers grab headlines but they do not tell the whole story.  Indeed, they often distort it. In the wonderkid vortex they can be dangerous, amplifying a young player’s potential. Goals…

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No pressure for Tatenda Mukuruva the calm Warrior

Goalkeepers are only ever a moment away from death or glory. The nature of their craft ensures that they face a unique kind of pressure. No other position on the football field demands so much. Young keepers face an immediate sink or swim assessment. There is no time to play themselves into a team’s starting…

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Zaha the star that England forgot

Wilfried Zaha was an enigma England could not solve. After two friendly appearances in 2012 and 2013 his England career is over. It never really began. The Crystal Palace winger, one of the most uniquely talented England players in recent memory, has pledged his international future to the Ivory Coast. England have let a diamond…

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Future One – Tennai Watson

Jaap Stam is building something very interesting at Reading. In a squad filled with promising youngsters 19-year-old right back Tennai Watson is arguably the brightest prospect. After impressing in pre-season with the first team Watson was promoted to the senior squad and signed a two-year professional contract. His progress since then has been rapid. Although…


Cruyff’s lessons are immortal – just ask Pep Guardiola

  Anyone with even the slightest interest in football should read Johan Cruyff’s My Turn, the parting words of arguably the most influential the sport has ever seen. We don’t need to write about what a legendary player, coach and thinker he was – others have described his legacy far more beautifully than we ever…

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Marlos Moreno is not (Rafael) Scheidt

When Tim Vickery, expatriate South American soccer pundit extraordinaire, tips a young player for success it is usually worth paying attention. Listeners to the BBC’s fantastic World Football Phone-in will know that, despite the occasional ‘Rafael Scheidt moment’ (*full description below), he is generally an excellent judge of talent. Vickery knows his stuff. So when…

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