I've played soccer since I could walk thanks to my father and love keeping up on all the latest gear and gab. I'm in my twenties, and I'm lucky enough to have found work in search marketing for a leading soccer retailer after completing my M.A. at Georgetown in 2008. My team is Liverpool, and national side is Ireland, but I've also got a passion for GAA and a number of sports. Feel free to give me a shout on Google+
Posts by Matthew Wall
While a player is on the ground after an obvious dive, waving frivolously for the stretcher…we forget about why we watch football. When a football powerhouse steals a young starlet away from his hometown club and ends up ruining his career…we forget about why we watch football. But, as soon Eric Abidal started warming up on the sideline to come in and play for Barcelona during a 5-0 win, our love of football came flooding back.
For those of you that do not know about the French defender, Abidal has already had one miraculous recovery under his belt and he fought cancer for several months. After the cancer had finally gone in remission, he was told that it would be a long time before he was able to play top level football again. However, three months later, he was on the pitch for Barcelona as they took home the Champions League title at Wembley Stadium.
As if his story was not inspiring enough, the tale does not end there. In March of 2012, Abidal was told that his liver issues had worsened and that he would need a liver transplant to live out a full life. At the time, his ability to ever return to the game he loved seemed like impossibility and his story seemed destined to have a slightly sour ending.
But, if there was anything that we had learned about Abidal, it was that he should never be counted out. After receiving a liver transplant from his cousin, Abidal began the recovery process. Of course, despite the fact that this man had to recover from MAJOR SURGERY, he is now back in the fold at Barcelona. Not to be redundant, but it is not like Adibal recovered enough to play charity matches in France with local intermediate players. Abidal is playing for a team that is largely considered to be one of the best club teams of all time.
So, the next time there is a player waving the fake yellow card at the referee. Or, the next time that a coach pitches a toddler-esque fit on the side of the pitch. Or, whenever any black spot tries to take away the joy that we all get from the beautiful game, remember the amazing journey that Eric Abidal has been on and remember why we keep tuning in every weekend
Written by: Andrew McCole, Soccerprose.com
Although the matches that happen today might see Madrid march on and BVB end Malaga’s Cinderella run, the Champions League matches from yesterday have left no doubt that Bayern Munich is now the favorite to make it back into the Champions League final and seems the likeliest team to emerge victorious. A 2-0 victory by the soon-to-be German champions against Italian giants Juventus was impressive enough, but the fact that Barcelona stooped to a 2-2 draw against PSG translates into the Bayern club becoming the Champions League favorite.
Although this writer proclaimed the Munich club to be the favorite from the beginning of the competition, a recent stumble against Arsenal had many jumping off the Bayern bandwagon. Despite dismantling the London club when they visited Munich’s home fortress, Arsenal made it a very interesting affair when Munich played the second leg at the Emirates. Then, as if in response to that stumble, Munich went out and made Juventus look second-rate.
Although a second leg will have to be taken into account, Munich seems to be one of the strongest in every area of the pitch of the teams remaining. Barcelona has an immaculate attack force but their defense is typically poor, Madrid can’t seem to string two positive results together, BVB has a questionable midfield, and Juve has already fallen prey to the Bayern machine. Bayern has one of the best defenses in the world, their midfield is filled with international powerhouse players, and their attack is as deep as any other club in the world, making them the deadliest team remaining in the competition.
Remember, Juve knocked out last season’s champions Chelsea and they have looked very impressive throughout the Champions League campaign. PSG looked like they deserved to be on the field with Barcelona, but Munich makes teams look like they have no right to be a part of any competition that Bayern is involved in (including Juventus).
If Ribery, Schweinsteiger, Neur, and Lahm are involved, the German giants have to be considered as the favorite against any other club. Lahm has shown that he is the best outside defender on the planet and Schweinsteiger can control the pace of any match that he is involved with. If any of these players accrue yellow cards or injuries, the tide may turn, but until that happens then it seems that no one should really have a chance against Bayern. If they aren’t already the heavy favorites for most betting companies, then they need to be.
Written by: Andrew McCole, contirbutor, soccerprose.com
Nike have just released the first update to their Nike5 line combining births colors and new technology to create some the sharpest and most advanced soccer shoes on the market today. The first one of the sick new pairs of boot worth a look is the new Nike5 Elastico.
At the highest level, the Nike Elastico Finale II features a brand new upper material, called Nike Skin, which follows the shapes and contours of your foot as you move, and features dimpling to maximize surface area when striking the ball. It also fits like a dream, and has to be the thinnest Nike synthetic upper ever released. In terms of looks, the bright green tonal base color with and black and pink speckled swoosh will definitely get you noticed, but not be for everyone.
The Nike Bomba Finale II is another top end model, build for turf surfaces, and featuring a black and orange color scheme. Its upper is also made from Nike Skin and is sure to make a statemtn for the coming season.
The biggest change, integrating some of Nike’s running technology and a new leather, has to be the Lunar Gato. This pair of indoor soccer boots features goat leather, which feel like a dream, and LaunrLon to keep your feet cushioned in any street game.
Overall, this is a sweet new offering from Nike, and we can’t wait to try them out.
Adidas have just released more apparel for all your Galalcticos fans out there and we’ve been lucky enough to get first hand look at one piece of it, the Real Madrid Anthem jacket. Now this jacket is inspired by the colors and designs that are important to the club and its history, namely, white and light blue. And that what really sets this jacket apart from you typical Real Madrid jersey, its bright blue with with a navy band across the chest and white shoulder stripes. For my part, I love the look of this jacket. The navy strip across the center of the chest on this jacket really makes the look of the piece. It sets off the lighter, shimmering blue on the rest of the coat, and with the thin white stripe running through the center it really brings things to life.
The white adidas stripes running down the shoulders and sleeves also look gorgeous, and give this jacket an authentic feel. However, what really makes it a Real Madrid jacket is the embroidered crest on the left breast. It doesn’t get lost against the lighter blue background, and combined with the v-neck style collar makes this a fashionable bit of kit you wear out to the pubs or around the town.
The jacket itself is made out of polyester, so don;t get near any open flames, and will keep out the wind fairly well but will not protect you from rain or a truly wintery chill. Other than that, it fits true to size, so if you own a medium jersey, you’ll need a medium jacket, and they run $76 to $84 dollars depending on where you shop for them.
Nike and US Soccer have just launched the new US Centennial soccer jersey and its a stylish mix of classic style and modern attitude. The jersey, which is a celebration of the U.S. Soccer Federation’s 100th year, is designed to pay tribute to a century of American soccer by including several classic elements.
The first one of these elements featured on the kit is the original US Soccer crest. It looks like Capetian America’s original shield, from the 1940′s and 50′s, and is a stunning departure from the anemic modern crest that has sullied to surface of recent US soccer jerseys. The majority of the kit is a classic white design, with this sharp crest on the left breast and the Nike logo opposite. It also features navy trim around the collar and end of the sleeves, with room for official numbering and name sets on the center front and across the back shoulders.
Its constructed from the same Nike Dri-Fit material you’ll see in any other current soccer jersey, and should wick away sweat and moisture from your body. This fabric is also stain resistant, and fits true to size. So if you are a large in a t-shirt, then you’ll need a large one of these kits. The short, socks, and shoes in the rest of this collection look stunning as well, and you can get them all now for 10% off at our favorite partner, SoccerPro.com
The ultrabright red and white colors on the instep and outstep of these boots are stunning. Adidas haven’t done a bright red and white F50 in years, and the three stripes design looks aggressive and interesting in white and red when set against the opposite color on the upper. They also feature Messi’s new log on the top of the tongue, also in red against a white tongue.The soccer shoes feature the same material on the upper, a Sprint Web, that allows for quicker cuts and better stability. Keep in mind, these shoes are built for a speedy striker, and have a foot area built for high-speed dribbling. An internal SprintWeb also gives increased support to the upper, meaning it won’t flex or stretch too far despite being ultrathin when you make a quick turn off the ball. The upper also offers decent ball feel, and while it may not the best after a season, its far more durable than any other speed boots on the market.
The outsole of these Messi F50 adizeros is the same TRAXION™ 2.0 stud configuration you’ll see on the other Adizeros. Its designed for maximum energy return and easy release through the flexibility of the sprint frame construction, and the triangular stud offers decent traction in the wet and the dry. These boots are adidas miCoach compatible, which means you can stick this little device goes into the sole of your left cleat and look at acceleration, top speed, and distance traveled by you post-match.
Overall, they’re a stunning pair of soccer shoes and well worth a look at our favorite partner site, SoccerPro.com.
For anyone that was lucky enough to see the Champions League match between Manchester United and Real Madrid, there may never be another occasion where the ball is launched at the goal as much as it was during this particular span of 90 minutes. Madrid spent the entirety of the game seemingly intent on testing Davi De Gea and the United defense while United managed to create shots out of very little actual attacking impetus. All of this resulted in an amazing match that saw a set-up being created for a titanic match when the two teams go to Old Trafford.
The only player wearing a Manchester United kit that will believe his performance was worthy of such an important game should be De Gea. The young shot-stopper was called upon constantly throughout the game and he is the main reason United still have a chance of getting through to the next round. Fabio Coentrao could have easily made the game 1-0 in favor of Madrid extremely early in the game if De Gea had not pulled off a finger-tip save and pushed the ball onto the post. Although his proficiency at crosses is still in question, the way that he caught extremely hard shots instead of having to punch or parry them away proves that his pure shot-stopping ability may be top-5 in the world (and he’s only 19).
United will need to place more emphasis on their defense and in the center of midfield once the tie at Old Trafford takes place. Although many were pleased that Sir Alex had chosen such an attacking line-up for the trip to Spain, United seemed constantly outnumbered in the midfield and they were only allowed a few actual sequences where they were able to build into the attack. In fact, most of United’s actual chances were from an occasional defensive lapse or a quick counter attack.
Although United will hope to finish off the tie at home, they should realize that if Angel Di Maria stays on the post during corner kicks, they would not have scored. Considering how many attack-minded players they had on the field, this is somewhat discouraging. Although the score ended in a draw, Madrid will certainly feel that they have the upper hand going forward. Considering that a large contingent of the team has either played at Old Trafford or in other English football stadiums before, home-field advantage may not be enough for Rooney and co. to progress this season.
Written by: Andrew McCole, soccerprose.com
The English Premier League continues to grow in strength throughout their table. Where a few seasons ago any light follower of the EPL could predict places 1-7 as soon as the first ball was kicked in the season, the EPL now has the talent pool and the coaching talent to provide shocks, surprises, and quality play from top to bottom. With the way the EPL is growing, will the battle for Europa League spots become as heated as making the top-four once was?
This year, if we have a situation like last season where top four clubs win the continental club cups, the Europa League spots will be fought over by six to seven clubs. Although either Tottenham or Arsenal will probably end up in the top four when the final game is over, the teams that will be in the hunt for the Europa spots include Everton, Liverpool, Swansea, West Brom, and Stoke City. Considering teams like West Brom and Swansea have rarely ever been in a situation to be involved in European competition, this is making for a fascinating race.
European competition adds serious money to any team’s coffers. Although you will only be making a fraction that the Champions League provides, entry into the Europa League still provides your squad with a definite addition to your bankroll. Teams like Everton and Liverpool would prefer to be in the Champions League, but their coaches and players will start to look towards the Europa league once they realize that CL qualification is out of their reach.
Swansea is definitely a club that would be great to see in European competition. Their nickname of Swansea-lona is very apt and their passing would provide some fantastic football for the entirety of Europe to enjoy. Swansea may also find their qualification route through winning the League Cup, so they definitely have the most likely pathway of the smaller clubs.
West Brom has started to fall off their early season hot-streak that saw them sitting in the top four for a large portion of the season, and a fixture against Liverpool will definitely define the direction that the rest of their season will be heading in. Steve Clarke has done wonders with the club, and Europa qualification would be a dream-realized for a club the size of West Brom.
Liverpool and Everton will both want Europa qualification merely so that they can hold it over the head of their rival. Although Everton have been consistent this season, they are experiencing a similar situation to West Brom and the nagging injury that star-man Fellaini continues to play with may end up costing them in the long run. Liverpool, however, have shown that they are coming back to prominence by collecting draws against Arsenal and Manchester City.
Although this will definitely take a better shape in the next few weeks, the depth of the EPL is providing excitement across the entirety of the table. For all we know, the battle for Europa qualification may soon become something that clubs start to target at the beginning of a campaign. All I know is, I am loving this!
Written by: Andrew McCole, soccerprose.com